The Hope Street Steppers
Born of 70's-era Roots, Rockers and Dub Reggae, ‘Black Lightning’ – a 13-cut debut LP stacked deep with dark, dirt floor instrumentals and crashing echo-chamber dubs - hearkens a mysterious, world incinerating doom. The End is here.…
Born of 70's-era Roots, Rockers and Dub Reggae, ‘Black Lightning’ – a 13-cut debut LP stacked deep with dark, dirt floor instrumentals and crashing echo-chamber dubs - hearkens a mysterious, world incinerating doom. The End is here.
The Hope Street Steppers have begun to project their devoted and distinctly shadowy vision of Jamaican music. By uprooting and exploring Reggae's rich African, Caribbean, Latin and R'n'B past, they have unearthed the essential ingredients for a vital and unique new opus. Stripped bare and sharpened, these elements form an uncommon and penetrating sound that cuts an authentic noir arc through the wasteland of cheap electronic tourist trap reggae.
From the dusky ease of the opening number "Last Picture Show" to the final apocalyptic title track, raw and dynamic drums pound, shuffle and weave around heavy, sinister pulsing bass lines creating deep foundation riddums for a remarkable range of musical stylings. Rockers, Steppers, One-Drop, Reggae, Ska, Dub, Soca and Memphis Soul are linked and layered to create lead-heavy dance grooves and vividly eerie cinematic nightscapes. Each song a shifting orchestration of skanking and chomping organs, reverb-dripping guitar attacks, hypnotic jungle percussion, stabbing, pugilistic horns and a world-weary barroom piano.
Proudly independent and inspired by outsider anti-heroes, traditional Jamaican, African and Cuban music, Film Noir and their own rust and concrete turf, The Hope Street Steppers emerge from the urban catacomb of their experimental, minimalist laboratory - Pumatone Studios - with a deeply rooted, foreboding album that breaks with the recent tradition of robotic digital instruments and the current trend of flat, click-tracked auto-tunes. Instead choosing to acquire and learn to play the lion’s share of instruments themselves, and asking a few friends to stop by to add a little spice and character on a song or two each along the way. There’s even a brief but very special vocal appearance by the charming tour and session legend, Eddie “Tan Tan” Thornton (Beatles Revolver, Rico Rodriguez Reggae Jazz Attack, Lilly Allen Alright, Still).
Whether entranced on the dancefloor, baked in their lowrider, or sunk into the couch floating between their headphones, the listener will be moved to a timeless, primeval island and immersed in a smoky world of cinematic earcandy and heavy handcarved grooves.
PRODUCED BY: Mr. X and Dead-I
BASS: Dead-I, Dr. Numb
DRUMS: Dr. Numb
KEYS: Dr. Numb
GUITARS: Dr. Numb, Dead-I, Toothless George, Andrew Lannutti, The Big H
PERCUSSION: Dr. Numb, Carlito, Ras D, The Big H
SAXES: Mark Gallagher, Chad Stern
TRUMPETS: Kris Alutius, Dave Ramsey
VOCAL BY: Eddie “ Tan Tan” Thornton
RECORDED AND MIXED BY: Ben Edwards and Jason Herrick at Pumatone Studios
DESIGN AND LAYOUT BY: Jason Herrick and Ben Edwards
PHOTOS BY: Ben Edwards, Jason Herrick and Ryan Suits
ALL SONGS WRITTEN BY: Dead-I and Dr. Numb
expt. #9 - by Biafra, Ray, Flouride, Henley - arr. Dr. Numb
and #16 - by Dr. Numb, Dead-I, Eddie Thornton