Since 2009, Boston-based roots reggae band Dubbest (pronounced da-best) has consistently built a name for themselves across New England and the greater East Coast through years of relentless touring, self-produced album releases and quality live recordings.
With the release of their third album, Light Flashes, set for July 7th and a month-long west coast tour booked through Colorado and California, Dubbest is now poised to take the country by storm with their infectious sound and high-energy live performances.
Forming back in high school as a hardcore punk outfit influenced by bands such as Bad Brains and Black Flag, the boys in Dubbest soon discovered their love for reggae music when a friend turned them on to Augustus Pablo’s 1974 dub classic Ital Dub. While formulating their new sound, the boys looked to incorporate the classic styles of roots reggae and dub music along with jam elements and live improvisation via Phish and the Grateful Dead.
Flash forward six years: Dubbest is now set to release an album three years in the making, Light Flashes.
Recorded with veteran reggae producer Craig “Dubfader” Welsch of 10 Ft. Ganja Plant at Rear Windows Studios in Brookline, MA, the band credits Welsch with taking their music to a higher level of musicianship and authenticity. In addition to Welsch’s ability to draw the best out of each band member’s performance, the band also had an arsenal of vintage instruments at their disposal. Utilizing instruments like a Hammond B3 organ and 1950’s Fender Stratocasters, the band was further able to evoke that classic old-school roots reggae Jamaican sound.
Aided by the soulful harmonies of John Brown Body front-man Elliot Martin, as well as horns from 10 Ft. Ganja Plant’s Mark Berney, Jared Sims, and Brian Thomas and Steve D on synthesizer, Dubbest had all the necessary pieces in place for success.
(Official music video for “Spend the Day” off Light Flashes)
In reference to the album Light Flashes, guitarist Andrew MacKenzie notes, “It is a powerful name to us, and it tends to catch one’s attention, like an actual flashing light. It’s a great fit for this album. The name and the artwork together help bring out the album’s edge.”
Agreed. This “edge” is what really separates Dubbest and Light Flashes from the countless other reggae bands out there. The band’s innate ability to craft intricate song compositions and harmonies, are further amplified by the outstanding vocals and memorable, thought-provoking lyrics provided by lead vocalist/keyboardist Ryan Thaxter. The songwriting truly shines on tracks like “By Design”, “Spend the Day” and “Give In”, easily surpassing a majority of the mainstream pop reggae tunes found on the airwaves.
Other tracks like “Cross Pollination”, “Weeping Heart” and “End of the Road” all resemble upbeat “love songs”. However, each song channels very different emotions and imagery, which is a nod to the band’s ability to write genuinely fun and unique upbeat tunes, while still retaining substance and a sense of purpose in the music and lyrics. Sprinkled in for good measure are instrumentals “Iron Paw” and “Escape Route” which further highlight the band’s musicianship, as well as one dub track “Leave In Dub” remixed by Welsch himself.
In order to fund the Light Flashes album, merchandise and tour, Dubbest launched an Indiegogo campaign with an aggressive goal of $10,000. In only two months, the band raised over $5,000 which helped them recoup some of the huge expenditures that went into this project. Backed by the gracious support of their dedicated fans and armed with an incredibly polished, explosive new album, Dubbest is surely ready to take on the West Coast head on with their defining roots reggae sound and heavy-hitting live show.
Light Flashes Tour Dates
Jul 3: Providence, RI – The Spot Underground
Jul 9: Salem, MA – Opus Underground
Jul 10: Plymouth, MA – The New World Tavern (Album release show)
Jul 11: Cambridge, MA – Middle East Upstairs
Jul 17: Denver, CO – Bushwacker’s
Jul 19: Denver, CO – Walnut Room
Jul 20: Colorado Springs, CO – Jive’s 1
Jul 21: Colorado Springs, CO – Jive’s 2
Jul 23: Denver, CO – Quixote’s
Jul 24: Boulder, CO – Owsley
Jul 25: Crested Butte, CO – The Eldo
Jul 30: Long Beach, CA – Pike Restaurant and Bar
Aug 1: Grand Terrace, CA – The Venue Grand Terrace
Aug 4: San Diego, CA – Tin Roof
Aug 5: Sand Diego, CA – Winston’s
Aug 6: Carlsbad, CA – Boar Cross’n
Aug 7: Pacific Beach, CA – 710 Beach Club
Aug 9: Santa Monica, CA – The Trip
Aug 11: San Luis Obispo, CA – Frog & Peach
Aug 13: Santa Cruz, CA – Bocci’s Cellar
Aug 14: Half Moon Bay, CA – Half Moon Bay Brewing
Aug 15: Petaluma, CA – Mystic Theatre
-Mark McGwin @markmcgwin