The Big Takeover
While competition may be scarce, the Big Takeover are undoubtedly the region's hometown kings (and queens) of reggae. But this is certainly not a case of damning with faint praise: The New Paltz sextet, led by powerhouse vocalist Neenee Rushie, has worked the local music scene for 10 solid years. Silly Girl is their fourth full-length recording and easily their most confident and diverse. "Sizzlin' Bacon II" is exactly what the title implies; fatback bass thumping courtesy of Rob Kissner abetted by the gritty funk guitar of Kerry Shaw. The skittering beat of early Jamaican ska is front and center on the opener, "Rubber Biscuit," with the horn section charging out of the gate and exploring some jazzy and energetic terrain. The Jamaican-born Rushie injects a world of charisma, stretching her chops and acting teasingly playful. Bigtakeoverband.com.