This week’s local music dive is gettin’ tropical as we explore a little bit of North Carolina’s Reggae, Ska and Dub scene. When I say “scene”, I mean a pitiful handful of bands. Unfortunately (or fortunately based on your view), there aren’t too many performers in NC that make their artistic sounds modeled after Jamaica’s beautiful sounds, but that is okay because the bands we do have here are interesting too.
From Carrboro, NC is The Unsustainables who focus on “traditional ska” and Reggae as their main sound influences. They perform around Raleigh in venues like the Pour House. As for band influences, here’s what their Bandcamp page states: “Inspired by the legends of Studio One, Treasure Isle, and Black Ark Studios”.
Raleigh has their own Reggae and Dub influenced band called Sons of Paradise. Now, I’m not too keen on their sound as it sounds pretty white-washed, but maybe someone else will enjoy it. They also perform around Raleigh in venues like the Pour House.
And my favorite I’ve found is a Ska Punk band from Chapel Hill, NC, SiBANNÄC. These guys have a hardcore edge to their music in similar fashion to Bomb the Music Industry! When I started looking for Reggae and Ska music in the area for this blog post, I didn’t think I’d be listening to a sound like this. I enjoy the explosive percussion, raw and throaty vocals, diabolical thrashing guitar and vengeful subject matter in their songs.
The Sounds of NC Reggae, Ska and Dub:
Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy “You Hate to See It” off of this EP, but I did vibe with the long, windy “Heart Thief”. It is a slow moving jam, with nice chill lyrics, while “You Hate to See It” feels corny and overdone. “Heart Thief” feels more like an original sound based on the original Ska noises with a lot of sweet sax and island strums from the guitar.
I didn’t like any of the songs I’ve listened to by Sons of Paradise. They’ve pulled the weakest parts of Reggae and Dub from the genre and turned it into music that doesn’t feel authentic. I might have been hoping for too much from picking through this genre in NC.
FCC warning: there are many curse words and inappropriate things for ears unaccustomed to non-radio approved music. This album came out last year in 2022, and since then I think they’ve added a new vocalist and released their final album. I loved “Bomb the Block” off “Repeat Offenders” because it’s a short and sweet ACAB piece of pie with all the Ska and angsty punk built into it. Also, their album that came out in April this year “Closing Statement”, which is stated as their final album that features many community members involved with their music.
Well, I hope you all can find some island tunes for this warm November weather that puts you in a relaxed mood. I think The Unsustainables are the best sound for you if you’re seeking that, but if you’re like me and the coming Winter weather gets you heated up, then SiBANNÄC is just the band for you.