At a first listen to this I was taken back to the mid-90s when my life revolved around skateboarding, music, good friends, and trying to stay carefree (if only things could have stayed that way). Hailing from Virginia Beach, Bimini Road do have that unmistakable SoCal sound I was once so into.
An energetic five-piece with a rock edge, this band have a summer feel firmly placed on their self-titled record. From the first guitar riff, my comparison to Long Beach Dub Allstars was obvious, a band formed out of the flames of the great ‘Sublime’. Now this is by no means a bad comparison – those two bands were the sound track to my mislead youth. (more…)
It’s about time for a new edition of the column where we run down some of the more interesting reggae and dancehall releases in recent times. These are not necessarily the ‘biggest’ tunes or those getting the most airplay, but tunes that have caught my ear and might have slipped you by.
The Marley family have recently put out an album on their Ghetto Youths International label, Set Up Shop Volume 1. The album is an attempt to introduce and showcase new and upcoming talent on the traditionally Marley-focused label. The album is a fairly even mix of both roots and dancehall material from the Marleys themselves – Damian, Stephen and Julian – and new artists. (more…)
One of the countries most high profile reggae bands returns with a new full-length album and DVD package. There are no surprises here, their smooth, skanking Pacifikan reggae has an unconfrontational and pop-like feel from start to finish, which should appeal to their core fans in New Zealand and internationally.
Opening with the title track, ‘On The Road Again’, this is an an ode to touring and travelling their sound around New Zealand and throughout the world.The LP continues through two more cuts of niceness, ‘Sweet As’ and ‘Yr Dreaming’.
A sombre call for leadership is up next. The socially concious, ‘Lead Us’ mentions a ‘fatality up in the streets’ and highlights how crime can lead to jail time for far too many youth in Aotearoa.
Each month I’ll be writing about a few tunes that I’m feeling, both roots and dancehall. It won’t be a comprehensive review of everything out there, but it will let you know about some of the better releases out there that have caught my attention and might have slipped by you.
On the roots tip it’s still all about the Corner Shop riddim from industry luminary Johnny Wonder’s 21st Hapilos Digital Productions outfit. This is a release from the tail-end of 2012, but it still stands up as one of the strongest roots riddims out and continues to receive significant airplay. The lineup is all-star and voiced well across the board, including strong numbers from Chris Martin, Romain Virgo and Collie Buddz, but picking them out is equally unfair on the other featured artists. Make sure you check this out of it’s escaped you. (more…)
As usual I have left listening to this EP to the last minute. And boy am I kicking myself. This guy is a straight-up bad man and I should have been banging these tunes for the last month now. On my first listen I was happy to say that Natty is the UK Jahdan Blakkamore. Now that might be a great comparison and all, but Natty really does have his own vibe and style.
This is a conscious EP, heavy on the bass and quite steppy, with an acoustic number tagged on at the end for good measure. I have always said I prefer more dub than step in my dubstep, and this EP delivers that. Natty has a great voice and flow and doesn’t put on the Patois voice too heavily which is a refreshing change. He delivers a somewhat political message in his lyrical content, but in saying that it still has a feel good vibe about it. (more…)
Neva Done is the debut EP from well-known Auckland vocalist Silva MC. Silva has been rising quickly through New Zealand’s roots and dancehall scene in recent years and established herself with an authentic JA style and flow in the live arena. Her live work alongside serious names like Ladi6, Cornerstone Roots, Dam Native and Che Fu illustrates the speed at which she has cemented herself in the reggae scene.
The EP is short and sweet with four solid tunes and no unnecessary filler. Production is a truly international affair with producers from New Zealand, Jamaica, France and Chile lending their hands. (more…)
This is a group that until recently I knew nothing about, and as I am usually a little pessimistic on giving new things a go, it took me a while to give these guys a chance. I put the album on in the background and carried on with the house cleaning.
After a few minutes I had to stop and check that I hadn’t accidentally put on The Selecter instead. I cut my teeth on the two-tone sound during the late 80′s early 90′s and am still in love with the British ska sound (The Specials were amazing, and I’d only waited 24 years to see them in New Zealand). (more…)
I reviewed a tune from Courtney John earlier this year, after I first discovered this modern day lovers rock champion. He has a voice that really sounds like no other modern day reggae recording artist. A smooth falsetto crooner matched with impeccable song writing skills has Courtney sitting high on top of the modern-day lovers rock throne.
This album doesn’t miss a beat. It has some very Peckings sounding production could have you thinking this album was made thirty years ago. It was in fact released in July 2012, and the much anticipated release of this album has been met with rave reviews from not just reggae fans, but all music lovers from all corners of the globe. Strangely classed as world music, it has hints of soul, jazz, Latin and is very reminiscent of the late Gregory Isaacs. (more…)
To top off a busy summer performing in Europe, it’s pleasing to see the highly anticipated release of Solo’s Banton’s new album ‘Higher Levels’. With 15-tracks by a variation of Europe’s leading producers this will surely be on replay all over the world.
Like his 2008 debut album ‘Walk Like Rasta’, Solo and Reality Shock Records producer Kris Kemist team up, and things are straight down to business, with Solo unloading his mind with ‘Mi No Know’ on the catchy Ba Ba Boom riddim. In an uninterrupted flow from verse to chorus and back again, he delivers the first of his cautionary messages with melodious ease.
‘England Story’, a definitive tune on the album ‘Straight Outta Britain’ released by YT in 2006 , heralded an era where British sounds ruled the waves. This salute to a poignant time in UK sound system history helped to spark a renaissance among many British sounds who began re-launching their careers, spearheaded by YT bursting onto the scene.
His entry to the scene was refreshing, taking the spirit of the old and combining it with the feeling of the new. YT’s latest work also showcases that essence. Sativa Records, which is YT’s own label, has put together a sound track fit for the ‘revolution’.