Posts Tagged ‘Reggae’

Sorry for the delay! I had promised this a couple weeks back but due to illness and adding a second job I haven’t had enough time for my true love, MUSIC!!

 

 

Spiritual Rez is back to bring us some more of their own brand of progressive reggae-rock. Their last two studio albums, Vex and Rising in the East, were works of art in their own right. They pulled influences across time and genre that really made them stand out in the expanding american dub and reggae community.

After some drastic lineup changes they’ve come back with Apocalypse Whenever which is arguably more diverse than the first two releases but something is seems to be lacking in the originality sector.

“We wanted to create an album that flows as one piece of art sonically and conceptually. Apocalypse Whenever is an album for the times. We want to encourage the people not to fear the future but to embrace it”
Toft Willingham

While this concept of “embracing” the future can be argued for with a few tracks that preach acceptance and optimism; like their powerful anthem “Don’t be afraid”. If you listen to the album more than a couple times you can hear themes that completely undermine their concepts. The political undertones alone shed light on paranoia.

So conceptually the album isn’t quite what he claims. Musicically… I’m not sure what the attempt was here. They used to mash every genre of Reggae and Dub into one smooth candy bar package.

Spiritual chocolate Rez bars… Get on that.

Now instead of their soft dubby center with the salted rock crunchies they seem to have gone for a more consistent sound. The ska and punk mix is a good one but not something we haven’t seen before. Nobody wants to hear another pseudo-sublime album. There are too many bands trying to do that. Hell, even SUBLIME is trying to be Sublime.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some great tunes on this record. Just not their usual caliber.

They went for more of a punk/ska feel for most things and the reggae is more inspired by 311 than the Wailers. There are even tunes like “Worker Bee” which is straight political-punk. I commend their diversity and expression but this song in particular just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the album.

The album itself is filled with political and social references and promotes some libertarian values.

“Until our savior comes,
Man’s got his hands to rely on…

Somebody’s got to build your homes
Somebody’s got to grow your food
While the men, making up the rules
Sitting in offices planning our apocalypse”

“I’ve got my second amendment stockpiled in my basement
I ain’t scared, I am prepared…

Go ahead and occupy Wallstreet and the banks
at least you’re asking questions
positive reflections…

They keep raisin’ taxes
Everybody’s askin’
Whatcha gonna do now”

Luckily, I don’t see these guys attending any Tea Parties any time soon. Maybe just lighting joints and shooting some guns off. Y’know. Good ol’ American things.

These tracks sound more like sing-a-longs with easy to remember and representative lyrics with uninspired melodies. They’re catchy but theres not much else substantial along the lines of creativity.

An unfortunate aspect and contributing to the downfall of this album is that Willingham’s voice has really gone downhill. I loved his grinding vocal cords and smooth delivery but on this album he sounds like he attempted to gargle some gravel.

You too can have the voice of an angel!

 

Possibly taking advantage of the release date right after Valentine’s day this year Willingham makes references to his wife on two of the songs. In “Don’t be Afraid” they address being on the road and wondering when they will see each other again.

The second tune revolving around Mrs. Rez is “Agapoula Mou”, their hit single.

 

Go vote “Agapoula Mou” as best music video of the year at ThePier.org!

 

“Decisions” is a song I’m really split on. Musically it’s one of my favorites on the album.

 

The progression keeps you listening and they bounce genre’s a couple times but it really solidifies the song.

My issue with it is the content. It’s an attempted attack on the rave/”molly” (mdma) culture. They were so close to coming off as poignant but only showed their musical blinders. I am in no way defending the rave and dubstep scenes, but their approach was sub-par. It had real promise by shining light on sexual and drug abuse but fell short on delivery. Maybe a better fit for another song, or another band!

Melodically I have to hand it to them, they have some great ones on this. Definitely some daily hummers. The instrumental tracks really shine on here, just showing they’ve still got chops. “March of the Reptoids” and “The Rapture” are fantastic songs that span jazz, rock, dub, and even some Cajun jam…. That sounds good. Note to self. Eat before writing reviews…

But alas… no real winners that make me want to put this album on in the future. It was a great listen through for the times I needed to write this review. I wanted to love it but it’s missing that wow factor from their earlier releases.

 

The Good: “Man’s Hands“, “Bring It On“, “March of the Reptoids“, “Agapoula Mouparts 1 & 2, “Rapture

The Meh: “Don’t Be Afraid“, “Decisions

The Ugly (Skip)Anunnuki Invasion” – Interlude track, not a song, “One Big Song“, “Who’s Gonna Come“, “Let’s Go Out With a Bang“, “Worker Bee“, “What’s it All About

 

 

Despite my less-than rave review that album has received tons of acclaim. It’s a decent reggae rock album. Was it wrong of us to expect more?

Their live shows had revealed they were in a slight downward slope; especially with the recent line-up shake down. The expectations of another Nexus was maybe a bit too optimistic that they could redeem themselves. I’d expect this for a first album, but if was indeed their first I’d pass on their sequel without much second thought.

 

At the end of the day they’re still a bunch of dudes from Boston who know how to rock a house. I’d go see them any day of the week. Go check em out, pick up this album, grab their earlier ones, and plan on having a good time.

This album and others are available on their Store, BandCamp, Spotify, Last.fm, and iTunes!

 

 

 

 

 

The internet is a wonderful place. It helps you connect to the world and be able to link up with everything around you. All without ever leaving the comfort of your heavily fortified pillow fort.

Sitting there, patrolling facebook while listening to the newest The Glitch Mob, Periphery, and Phantogram albums.

But what if… STAY WITH ME!

What if you went outside and saw these artists… LIVE!? It’s good for you!

gif parks and rec

More importantly it’s good for the artists.

It’s no longer difficult and tedious either. You no longer have to talk to that annoying hipster at your local coffee shop who knows too much for someone who hates everything. Thanks to the wonders of the internet you can easily track your favorite artists in real time and find out who’s playing your local venues.

You may be surprised what places have live music.

Gigfy

Gigfi is a relatively new website that allows you to search your local area or favorite venues to find upcoming gigs and then creates a Spotify playlist out of them. If that’s not innovation and integration it’s finest, I don’t know what is.



songkick

Songkick is another integration tool that brings gig alerts right to your facebook, right when they’re announced. Enter some of your favorite artists and it will alert you when they’re in town or use the stalker feature to find out the shows you weren’t invited that your “friends” are seeing.



Bandsintown

Bandsintown is similar to Songkick but also has an app for android and iOS that gives you updates the moment a new concert is announced. It tracks your Spotify, Last.fm, or iTunes accounts for bands you’re listening to so no need to constantly search and update your favorite artists.
This is also a fantastic tool for artists as well who can set up an account to alert all their fans of where they’ll be.




PollstarPollstar is an international music news website with a real time ticker listing average ticket prices of various acts. It can be a little daunting and shove things in your face but it’s perfect for finding ticket deals. Look! They even know who Karl Denson is..




Scout.meScout.me is not just a great tool for finding shows but also restaurants, local attractions, hiking trails, sporting events, human sacrifices; basically where all the cool people will be.





So go out this weekend. Bring your imaginary friends and shake your imaginary fannies to some good music. We have to support those that bring us so much enjoyment to our lives when we’re ruling the realm from our pillow forts.


You will find me at the Set Back Inn tomorrow night (Friday 2/28/14) in Tarrytown watching the massively talented Reggae/Dub/Funk/Afrobeat/Jazz/Wutd’hellwuzthat? group, Sixth Degree.

Try not to get overwhelmed by their awesomesauce.

Free music, can’t get enough of the stuff? Well you’re in luck my friends, because below you’ll find links to some really awesome sounding music, courtesy of Last.fm. Just click the pictures below for a free download of a random track from the artist’s album. Enjoy!

Jolly's 'The Audio Guide To Happiness Pt1' was released on February  28th, 2011 via EMI Germany. Genre: Alternative Rock/Metal

Jolly’s ‘The Audio Guide To Happiness Pt1’ was released on February 28th, 2011 via EMI Germany.
Genre: Alternative Rock/Metal

Abigail WIlliams's 'In The Absence Of Light' was released September 28th, 2010 via Caroline Distribution. Genre: Black Metal

Abigail WIlliams’s ‘In The Absence Of Light’ was released September 28th, 2010 via Caroline Distribution.
Genre: Black Metal

The Bloody Irish Boys' 'Drunk Rock' was self-released in 2005. Genre: Folk Rock/ Punk Rock

The Bloody Irish Boys’ ‘Drunk Rock’ was self-released in 2005.
Genre: Folk Rock/ Punk Rock

The Antlers's 'Uprooted' was self-released in 2006. Genre: Indie

The Antlers’s ‘Uprooted’ was self-released in 2006.
Genre: Indie

Free music, can’t get enough of the stuff? Well you’re in luck my friends, because below you’ll find links to some really awesome sounding music, courtesy of Last.fm. Just click the pictures below for a free download of a random track from the artist’s album. Enjoy!

Meshuggah's Koloss was released March 27th, 2012 via Nuclear Blast Records Genre: Technical Death Metal

Meshuggah’s Koloss was released March 27th, 2012 via Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Technical Death Metal


Textures's 'Silhouetts' was released October 31st, 2010 via Listenable Records Genre: Metalcore/Math Metal

Textures’s ‘Silhouetts’ was released October 31st, 2010 via Listenable Records
Genre: Metalcore/Math Metal


Alai Oli's 'Satta Massagana' was self-released December 1st, 2011  Genre: Reggae/Rock

Alai Oli’s ‘Satta Massagana’ was self-released December 1st, 2011
Genre: Reggae/Rock


Kraft Klub's 'Mit K' was released January 20th, 2012. Genre: Indie Rock/Alternative Rock

Kraft Klub’s ‘Mit K’ was released January 20th, 2012.
Genre: Indie Rock/Alternative Rock



Lauren Zettler's 'On Your Back Porch' was self-released Janurary 1st, 2009. Genre: Singer-Songwriter

Lauren Zettler’s ‘On Your Back Porch’ was self-released Janurary 1st, 2009.
Genre: Singer-Songwriter

Arkayem was busy this week to post your dose of awesomely free music because he’s out fighting crime or selling oriental rugs, we’re still unsure.

Free music, can’t get enough of the stuff? Well you’re in luck my friends, because below you’ll find links to some really awesome sounding music, courtesy of Last.fm. Just click the pictures below for a free download of a random track from the artist’s album. Enjoy!

More Late Night Transmissions with Jaya the Cat was released back in 2007 via iScream records.
You may know them from your local stop sign sporting one of their vibrant stickers.
Genre: Punk/Reggae/Hip-hop
The band is originally from Boston but now resides in Amsterdam. Where they probably feel more at home.

Trifonic’s Ninth Wave was dropped back in Nov 13th, 2012 on his own label Trifonic LLC.
Genre: Electronic/Triphop/Glitch

Michael “Iron Man” Burks released Show of Strength was released August 21st, 2012 via Alligator records
Just a few months after his passing at just 54 years old.
Genre: Blues/Soul

Dom Kennedy’s From the Westside with Love was released June 28th, 2011 by The OpM Company.
Genre: Hip-Hop

Daley’s Those Who Wait was released July 2nd, 2012 on Polydor Records.
Genre: Pop/R&B

Sorry internet! It has been a while since I have posted anything, I’ve been distracted with life and writing a full feature article on Spotify, it should be done in about a week or so.

This woman came into my ears a few months ago and seriously shook things up. Not only is she a gorgeous Belgian white girl who can sing soul and reggae like the greats but she is also an extremely talented songwriter. Her self-titled debut album features all music that she has written herself as a teenager. At just sixteen she produced a demo and was offered a recording deal with Universal Records but declined citing that she only wanted to record her own music, giving up immense fame for her passion of expression. Luckily she didn’t have to give it up for too long thanks to the wonders of the internet! Selah, or Sanne Putsey, had always uploaded her music to her Myspace account and with the help of some devoted fans created a huge amount of buzz which attracted the attention of Euro R&B artists Patrice and Nneka on the independent Because Music label.

During the recording process Cee-Lo Green was asked to do a duet with her on the song “Please” and also featured it on his own album (but then later removed). She got the chance to perform in front of thousands when Prince (or whatever he refers to himself these days) asked Selah to be a supporting act for his tour in Belgium. In just a few years she went from being a quiet bedroom singer to an international phenomenon.

“This World” is my favorite track on the album. That smooth bass line matched with her airy singing… whew… I’m getting hot and heavy just thinking about it! But, I’m obviously not the only one because the single went platinum this year. Her song “Ragamuffin” is her earliest work, writing it in high school, was her first single and has been viewed over 12  million times on Youtube. Selah explains that the song symbolizes her and all of her sides. “It shows my soulful and singing side, but also my hard side, between rap and ragga”. You can hear her doing some “toasting” (dancehall/reggae style of singing) which most people -mainly… white people- would never attempt, let alone record it, and she’s damn good at it I must say. Much better than Jamaican Eek-a-mouse…..

Looking like the more petite and curvier Amy Winehouse (no doubt healthier and more sober as well) and having a similarly impressive vocal prowess she shatters the rigid pop barriers like no one has done before. She’s even performed with punk rock band Triggerfinger and rocked the house with her unique voice. She’s proven many times over that she shines no matter what stage, genre, or band she is in.

You can listen to her entire album on Spotify but she also has her music available on Soundcloud and Last.fm

Whew.. shivers. From the moment Rochelle Bradshaw uttered that first line my skin erupted with goosebumps. “Jammin” has always been my favorite Marley tune and this jazzy and soulful rendition only affirms that. The laid back rhythm laid down by Yaniv Taubenhouse on that bright grand piano takes the down-tempo reggae riddim from a hot beach in Jamaica to a smokey jazz bar in NYC.

Rochelle really makes the song her own adding a sensuality Mr. Marley would swoon to himself. Even the videographer, Leo Smith, can’t seem to keep his camera focused and there are several moments the “gaze” drifts downward to Rochelle’s chest. Hey, who could blame him? There’s nothing sexier than a talented woman with a sultry voice.

Recorded at Crisp Recording International in 2012 as a part of a cover song series where they also performed Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed”.