by Mark Anthony Brennan
“Reggae Calling” by Toronto’s Exco Levi (aka Wayne Ford Levy), as premiered by premiered on BBC 1XTRA, September 28, 2014.
Toronto is a resilient city. Instead of sulking in the disappointment that was Nuit Blanche on Saturday, hordes came out to the ‘Shoe for an evening of crunchy west-coast rock courtesy of Current Swell.
Theatre Crisp had an admirable consistent peppy energy as the venue was gradually filling up. Bringing their brand of ‘funk-hop’, the Niagara-based band played their unique cross genre of ska, funk and hip-hop. Fedora-adorning frontman humbleHAB was equally stellar as emcee and singer, impressing during A Tribe Called Quest and Jack Johnson covers. David Cox, tap dancer extraordinaire, was put to good use for percussion elements during brief ballad moments. Other times, Cox’ tapping sounds were understandably masked by instruments, appearing more to be a distraction. The band’s honest energy was particularly charming, as they ended the set with groovilicious ‘Suzie’.
Packed house on a Sunday night was apparently not the expectation from lads of Current Swell. Thankful for the roaring crowded reception, Scott Stanton and his buds from Victoria jumped right into their catalogue full of radio-friendly alt-rock tunes. What sets them apart is the varied mix of genres catering to your every music need. You have the funky & acoustic ‘Young and Able’ or nostalgic & folky ‘Long Time Ago’ or slide-guitar party jam ‘Rollin’, off the new release Ulysses. Newer material resonated even more with gems like ‘One Day I’ll Be Rich’ (move over, BNL!) or reflective ‘Man of Maps’. The hits never stopped comin, and there was barely a soul in the audience that wasn’t sweating along. Even Ghosty Boy shared his sentimental bliss. “Looked into the crowd during the song, and just the amount of beaming smiles back at me”, said the bassist, “made me realize it’s all worth it’. A true ‘awe shucks’ moment!
Humble and organic talent. That is word association for Current Swell. Doubt anybody would disagree with that. When you get to see them live, you would mostly like add ‘effing awesome’ to that list as well.
by Tiana Feng
Toronto based Keh Sun is heavily inspired by his origins of Ghana in his latest EP Outside the Barcode. The album was written while in Africa and recorded on 2 inch tape on a farm in Ontario. It’s some great raw acoustic that allow him to express some intimate moments and storytelling. Join in the clapping as you listen to Weh Weh.
Keh Sun- Weh-Weh
Oh and check out this Southern Souls stile music video!
Plan B have just finished 2 shows in the LA and NY, impressing the likes of Paloma Faith and Elton John hoping to break ground as they already have done since 2005 here in the U.K. Plan B’s music is best described as rap mixed with other genres such as Pop/Rock/Hip-Hop/Soul and Dubstep. Continue Reading
When someone mentions German music to me, I normally think either Wagner or Rammstein. There’s no in between. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that not only is reggae extremely popular in Germany, but that there are many German reggae artists who, although they may not be household names to those of us in North America, play to sold-out crowds of tens of thousands all over Europe.
Instead of focusing on one of the really big mainstream bands, I chose to showcase a musician signed to an indie label, Sebastian Sturm. He was born in Aachen, Germany to a German father and an Indonesian mother in 1980, and spent his youth between Germany, Belgium and Holland. At the age of 14 he started his first punk band, and stuck with music since. Soon afterward, he realized that punk was not his scene, and started a reggae band at the age of 20. In 2007, he was named Best Newcomer by Riddim, a German reggae magazine. He may not be Jamaican, but his focus on real instruments and roots reggae makes his brand of music authentic and head-bob inducing.
by Tiana Feng
The title of the EP describes it all; it’s all about the soul driven harmonic rock. The Manchester, UK band has appeared at the same bill as The Prodigy, The Hives, Supergrass, The Holloways, Skunk Anansie, Bombay Bicycle Club, Blood Red Shoes and Pete and The Pirates. Their reggaesque vocals remind me Bedouin Soundclash except these guys lean more toward the rock side with their guitars such as in the track Desire. The song Solitaire is a full out alternative rock song from beginning to end to mix it up a bit. They’re definitely a unique listen for what they have to offer. Their music is full of soul, love and compassion from the vocals to the last strum on the guitar.
Head over to their BANDCAMP to download the entire thing.
Clockwork Radio- Desire
Clockwork Radio- Please You
Clockwork Radio- The Soul Harmonic
by Tiana Feng
Here’s this week’s music from commercials. If you have any requests for future posts hit me up in comments or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org! If you’re an indie artist who’s music has been featured recently in a commercial we’d love to hear from you too!
Victoria Secret Miraculous Push Up Bra
Rinocerose- Get Ready Now
The Black Seeds- Fire
by Tiana Feng
Brutal Hearts is the first single off of Bedouin Soundclash’s new album Light the Horizon. It features a sensual duet with cutie Béatrice Martin otherwise known as Coeur de Pirate. Compared to Bedouin’s normal stuff it is a darker and very laid back track. Coeur de Pirate adds a delicate touch against a softer side of Jay. The percussion against the violin help create the warm atmosphere that seduces you and makes you close your eyes and hopefully not fall asleep. There’s been mixed opinions in the mainstream about how Bedouin fans feel about this track. Some say its boring and others love it. What do you think?
Bedouin Soundclash (feat. Coeur de Pirate)- Brutal Hearts
Stream Bedouin Soundclash’s Light the Horizon at albums.ridethetempo.com
Buy This Album iTunes|7 Digital|AMAZON
Get 25 FREE MP3s at eMusic.com Choose from over 3.5 million songs!
by Tiana Feng
From Toronto, Bonjay is the type of musician that you’d probably exist to hit big one day in the mainstream. They’re masters of the R&B hook and infectious beats like the ones you hear in Stumble. Once you hear it you feel like it already should be one of those urban tracks you hear in clubs around town.
by Tiana Feng
Here’s the video for Bedouin Soundclash’s latest single Mountain Top off their upcoming album Light The Horizon which will be released September 28, 2010. I love the fact that its filmed in Toronto and I can recognize landmarks such as Kensington market.
Check out more on Bedouin Soundclash: OFFICIAL WEBSITE
By Sweet Sound of Sunrise
When I think of world music, I generally think of songs sung in different languages, often over melodies strange to inexperienced ears. But this isn’t the case this week. In fact, does this count as cheating?
This week’s pick comes from Jamaica, home to its own distinct musical genres and legends like Bob Marley. However, this isn’t about him, or even reggae, which is arguably the most popular Jamaican genre on an international level. This is about the highly influential, heavily sampled, and unfortunately underappreciated Alton Ellis.
Born in 1938, Alton Ellis grew up in Kingson’s infamous Trenchtown district and first planned on being a dancer. However, he was very successful as a singer in Jamaica when he teamed up with Eddy Perkins to make R&B music as Alton & Eddy. Ska was dominant in popular music, but the upbeat genre was making way for a slower rhythm called Rocksteady, which is where Ellis made his mark and which would in turn evolve into reggae. Rocksteady has also had a tremendous influence on dub and dancehall, and is sampled in countless songs. Ellis was active in music right up until his death in 2008 at the age of 70.
Mad Mad – Alton Ellis
In 1967, Ellis released the song “Mad Mad,” which features a riddim that has been used so often in Jamaican music since then that it continues to reemerge onto the scene decades later. Yellowman, famous for being one of the first Jamaican performers in the 1980s American hip hop scene, brought this riddim over to the United States. There, it reached a wider audience and caught the attention of a new group of artists that would sample it in turn, ranging from Tupac to Sublime.
There’s a reason they call Alton Ellis the Godfather of Rocksteady. Still unconvinced of his influence on music? Perhaps this sounds familiar. Like many North Americans my age, I first heard it in a Sean Paul song of the same name.