Dub Be Good To Blog

I think I’m starting to run out of barely-known acts from the 80s and 90s to write about. I’ve gone pretty deep down the new wave/dance/electronic rabbit holes, but are there any acts out there you all would recommend that I haven’t yet featured on this blog? Any suggestions would be appreciated. I’m trying to get more into 90s dance music, but there’s just so much of it! I love acid house and trance, if that’s any help to anyone thinking of recommendations.

Tonight’s post is all “dub,” a genre whose defining aural charactistics are as mysterious to me as its name. I only know that these tracks are dub because the Internet tells me it is true.

What makes these songs dub? The basslines? The general “grooviness” of them? Their instrumental passages? And what the hell does dub have in common with dubstep? How the hell did that connection form? Reggae has about as much in common with Skrillex as baroque pop has with Mastodon.

Zion Youth (Dreadzone Mix)
Zion Youth (Digidub Mix)
Zion Youth (Underworld Mix)
Zion Youth (Dan Donovan Mix)
Dreadzone is a dub/reggae/electronic group comprised mostly of former Big Audio Dynamite members, including Dan Donovan and Greg Roberts. When you consider the fact that I own every single release Big Audio Dynamite (II) ever put out, the fact that I had never even heard Dreadzone until I picked up this 12″ single last week is pretty amazing. It’s less amazing when you consider the fact that I don’t really like reggae.Don’t get me wrong, after listening to a bit of their music I’m convinced that Dreadzone are very good at what they do – it’s just not my scene. However, if I smoked weed this shit would probably sound amazing.

Even if you don’t like dub/reggae I recommend checking out the Underworld mix, since it basically transforms the track into an above-average mid-90s rave tune. In fact, I suspect they reused much of their work on this remix for their own track, “King of Snake,” a few years later. It certainly sounds familiar to that legendary track.

Beats International
Won’t Talk About It (12″ Norman Cook Mix)
Won’t Talk About It (7″ Norman Cook Mix)
Won’t Talk About It (12″ One Big Bad World Mix)
Won’t Talk About It (12″ Frankie Foncett Mix)
Won’t Talk About It (7″ Beats International Theme)
Beats International was the first dance music vehicle for Norman Cook (AKA Fatboy Slim) after his days as the bass player for The Housemartins, but before his days as Freak Power, Pizzaman, The Mighty Dub Katz or whatever other horrible name he went by for five minutes in the mid-90s. That’s an interesting bit of music trivia, but what I find to be much more of an interesting tidbit about Beats International is that they employed a graffiti artist as a band member. This person’s only job was to spray paint shit on the stage during live shows.

And I thought that The Mighty Mighty Bosstones were the only band to have members whose sole purpose was to do stupid shit on stage. The Internet, read it, you’ll learn shit. Not important shit, mind you, but hey, beats working.

These are all excellent mixes of a great tune. I especially love the “One Big Bad World Mix,” as it has a pretty awesome intro. The “7” Beats International Theme” mix is pretty great too, although its propensity for using record scratches as a backbeat totally wreaked havoc with my scratch-removal software.

6 Responses to “Dub Be Good To Blog”

  1. Travis says:

    That Zion Youth (Underworld Remix)?

    Another song I’d lost along the way that I never thought I’d hear again.

    Thank you for bringing gems back into the light, your blog rocks my ears!

  2. Stevo says:

    I can wholeheartedly recommend Little Britain by Dreadzone, I would say it’s their signature song. Certainly the one they are most associated with in the U.K.

  3. Stevo says:

    In fact here’s the performance that turned me onto the band, towards the end you can see Liam Gallagher from Oasis leching at a podium dancer…….

  4. Chris says:

    Calling them dub/reggae purely on the basis of Zion Youth is a bit like calling Beats International a dub/reggae band purely on the basis of Dub Be Good To Me, excellent though that track is. Dreadzone were a similar mishmash of musical influences – Captain Dread sounds more like electronic folk/pirate music. The final band I’d add to the confused but enjoyable trio is the Grid who even throw C&W (Swamp Thing) and opera (Golden Dawn) into the mix.

  5. serpic009 says:

    I’m sure some angry genre police will jump down my throat but:

    dubstep has it’s roots in the grime scene in the UK, but alot of early stuff by acts like Digital Mystikz is heavily heavily drawing on dub reggae, and there are still producers who take that approach:


    the Skrillex stuff is like taking all the midrange wobble stuff to it’s logical extreme.

  6. Ugly Dog says:

    Boom Crash Opera

    The Glove

    How about dance and extended remixes that mainstream 80s rock acts did, just so we could have some laughs?

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