Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Chronixx "Capture Land" Video

Check out the video for Chronixx's "Capture Land," the latest feature track from his Billboard-topping album Dread & Terrible.

Large Up has a nice review and profile of the video shoot, mentioning that the video was shot by Jerome D of Top Dawg Entertainment, the same director responsible for Kendrick Lamar's "Swimming Pools" video.

Overall, Chronixx's auspicious rise reminds ForwardEver of 80/90s roots singer, Ini Kamoze, who, like Chronixx broke through via his Sly & Robbie-produced mini-album. Kamoze's "World A Music" was later sampled for Damian Marley's smash "Welcome To Jamrock." Chronixx's looks to have the same poise, songcraft and message-driven lyrics as Kamoze at his peak.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Riddim Reviews

ForwardEver recently published some new riddim compilation reviews over at United Reggae site.

Jump For Joy riddim review
Maxfield Avenue riddim review

Both collections feature excellent line-ups and production. Read a little more below or follow the links for a full report!

Jump For Joy riddim
As if we didn’t need more evidence that reggae from the Virgin Islands is every bit as accomplished and well-produced as its Jamaican equivalent, Splatterhouse Productions brings for Jump For Joy, a 15-tracks riddim excursion of the highest caliber.

With an experienced Jamaican music team on board, including master drummer Sly Dunbar, keys-man Donald Dennis and guitar legend Earl “Chinna” Smith, this project already had an advantage. They conjure a honeyed mid-tempo one-drop rhythm that has all the vital elements: tasteful guitar accents, bright and colorful keys and piano, and Dunbar’s heavyweight thump.

Producer J. Carrington and mixing engineer Dean Pond didn’t skimp on talent, bringing in VI talents Pressure, Ras Batch, Danny I and Army, American singer Notch, as well as Jamaican greats Junior Reid, Sizzla and Lutan Fyah. For most riddim juggling fans that would seal it. But the surprise on this set are the strong performances from the newer talent.

On “Smile” crooner Maurice’s voice has a touch of Da’Ville’s delicate, soulful delivery. Paired with some delicious backing singers and overdubs, it’s a solid lovers rock track. Likewise, Rema impresses with her crisp and present singing, while singjay Mada Nile has the confidence and strength of an artist like Queen Ifrica on the message-imbued “Bended Knees.”

Overall, Jump For Joy is another solid and sweet set from the Vis, proving that the wider Caribbean holds much promise for the reggae’s future. 

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Duane Stephenson Channels Bunny Wailer [Video]

Duane Stephenson previews his new album Dangerously Roots (out Sept 23 on VP Records) with a cover of Bunny Wailer's anthemic number "Cool Runnings."

The song was on Wailer's 1981 album Rock and Groove, and was an important bridge between the Bob Marley-roots era of the '70s into the early dancehall and run-a-dub era of the early '80s.

Stephenson, who has two highly regarded previous albums (From August Town and Black Gold), does a fantastic job with the tune, and shows his reverence for times "when music was nice," in Jamaica. Watch a video for the track below and look out for his new album.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Gussie Clarke's 'Right Tracks' In The Spotlight

Gussie Clarke: A man and his hits
Leroy Sibles, Augustus Pablo, The Mighty Diamonds and Jacob Miller. Some of the biggest names in foundation reggae music passed through his studio, and graced his hits. Pioneering producer Augustus "Gussie" Clarke, founder of Music Works studio, is being honored with several new digital and vinyl reissues this summer. 

Clarke had been recording since the 1970s–including Big Youth's seminal album Screaming Target–when, in 1988, the song "Rumors" by Gregory Isaacs, and the subsequent versions by JC Lodge ("Telephone Love") and Shabba Ranks ("Telephone Love Deh Pon Mi Mind") took the world by storm. 

His success following was nearly unparalleled in reggae at the time, charting with Shabba, Cocoa Tea, Deborahe Glasgow ("Champion Lover"), Home T ("Pirates") Lady G, Maxi Priest and Brian & Tony Gold. He even recorded one of the few duet albums by Gregory Isaacs and Dennis Brown (No Contest). Wikipedia lists his exhaustive discography, but for collectors and fans of '70s and '80s reggae, some new reissues should reveal more about Clarke's early work, much of which is totally out of print on vinyl or unavailable digitally.

During his peak in the late-80s and early-90s, Clarke's crisp, digital reggae sound was cleaner and more modern sounding than even dancehall pioneer King Jammy's output at the time. It was also the era of hitmakers like Donovan Germain at Penthouse Studio, and Bobby Digital at Digital B, but Clarke's Music Works songs stood out for their rich, melodic production and fresh, talented singers. To this day, Music Works studio is an in-demand facility for both Jamaican and international acts.

Gussie Clarke Presents The Right Tracks, a compilation album from 1976, will be reissued digitally, on LA and in a 7" single box set format in coming months. The set features rare productions with melodica master Augustus Pablo, crooners Horace Andy and Heptones' Leroy Sibles, plus classic DJs I-Roy and Trinity. The double CD set drops July 22, while the vinyl box set hits the streets in August.

Best of all, an album of rare August Pablo dubs produced by Clarke  (titled Born To Dub You) is slated for an August 25 release. If that weren't enough, a collection of Music Works hits from the late-80s and '90s are slated for issue this fall.

Gussie Presenting The Right Sevens (out August 5)

Disc 1
A. Leroy Smart – Pride And Ambition
B. Old Boys Inc. – Pride Version

Disc 2
A. Leroy Sibbles – No, No, No
B. The Society Squad – The Killer Version

Disc 3
A. Roman Stewart – Try Me
B. Simplicity People featuring Big Youth

Disc 4
A. Leroy Sibbles – Guiding Star
B. Augustus Pablo – Classical Illusion

Disc 5
A. Gregory Isaacs – Oh No I Can’t Believe
B. Augustus Pablo – Believe A Dub

Disc 6
A. The Mighty Diamonds – Danger In Your Eyes
B. Tommy McCook – Danger In Your Dub

Disc 7
A. Mikey Dread – Proud To Be Black
B. Augustus ‘Gussie’ Clarke – Black Foundation

New Dre Island: Natural & Dubby

The new single from Dre Island, produced by JA's Natural High Productions, lives up to the promise that this singer has shown to date.

Dre has been featured on the Militancy and Rough Road riddims, and alongside artists Kabaka Pyramid and Chronixx. He definitely deserves to be in that company, with a confident flow and clear vocal timber, Dre comes across with the fire of a Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley or Protoje.

Preview the new track below and look out for more from this rising youth whose already been featured on a slew of mixtapes.

Best part about the new track "Live Forever" ? The serious, serious, dub version! It's a true dub fan's treat. Make sure you grab the track at all digital retail outlets.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Roots Music on the Radar

New roots reggae music is coming by the bushel and the pound as summer kicks in. And it's a global effort, with great productions coming out of the Jamaica, UK, Africa, Virgin Islands, Hawaii and elsewhere. As Ini Kamoze sang, "World of reggae music on yah!"

We'll discus a few releases in detail below, but start – look out for the following new titles soon in your record stores and digital retailers... New release albums: JUNE 3: Mungo's Hi-Fi Serious Time, JUNE 10: Popcaan Where We Come From, Hollie Cook Twice, Maxi Priest Easy To Love, Rebelution Count Me In, JUNE 17: DJ Vadim Dubcatcher, Mato Homework: Dub, JUNE 24: Tessanne Chin Count On My Love, Specialist Presents: Alborosie & Friends,  also also soon: Bob Marley Legend: 30th Anniversary Edition and new albums from Jah Sun and Earl 16. Also out now

Ethiopian musicians (now based in Tel Aviv, Israel), Zvuloon Dub System don't have a date yet announced for their next album Anbessa Dub. But ForwardEver has heard previews, and it's their most solid effort yet. The band plays horn-infused roots reggae that sounds like the UKs Misty In Roots or Jamaica's Twinkle Brothers. Yet Ethiopian chords, rhythms and influences are also prominent, making this an authentic blend of reggae and dub inspired by Jamaica but grounded in Africa. Highlights include solid reggae tracks like "Tenesh Kelbe Lay" and "Sab Sam," while "Yene Almaz" is a traditional Ethiopian melody. Fans of Augustus Pablo take note, and look for this one to be out summer or fall via VP Records. The band tour across the US this summer.

Sizzla has released a flurry of albums in recent months, including the XTM-produced Radical and the JohnJohn (King Jammy$ son) released Nuh Worry Unu Self.  Next up is the Mr Savona creation Born A King (Muti Music), which features solid reggae one-drop arrangements and some innovative global beats, dancehall and hip-hop backing tracks. Savona, an Australian studio whiz, utilized a 10 piece band for the 15-song album.  Guests on the album include Errol Dubnkley, Turbulence and even the dear missed rocksteady legend Alton Ellis. Listen to the entire album on Muti's Soundcloud page. Or check the player below.

We first reported on UK soulstress Hollie Cook in 2011 – and that post has become one of ForwardEver's most read! Ms. Cook is back in a big way with her new album Twice, out June 10 on Mr. Bongo Records. (Listen) With backing again by the supremely talented Prince Fatty, the album features odes to the Slits' Ari Up, and balances mature roots productions with fantastic throw-back UK lovers rock style tunes. Fans of Carol Thompson, Sandra Cross or Janet Kaye will adore this album. Seriously lush, dynamic tracks like "99" and first single "Looking For Real Love" [Watch official video] showcase Cook's smooth and relaxed yet fully realized R&B reggae delivery. She's a true gem.

On his latest album The Sound, Pressure Bus Pipe extolls his birthplace on the song"Virgin Islands Nice," but doesn't shy from fiery political and social topics throughout the rest of the album, as on "Stand Firm," Run Away," and "Cry For Humanity." Produced by Zion I Kings (Zion I, Lustre Kings and I-Grade) the album features great guest stints from Volcano, Lutan Fyah, Midnite, Ras Batch and more.  Grab the excellent official Digital Ancient remix of "Run Away" right here. It's a dubbed-out and dub-stepped up blast that suits the original's vibes well. Pressure is definitely a leader of the modern roots army, and The Sound is a worthy example of his powerful vocals and conscious messages.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Video: Protoje's "Who Knows" + Interview

Watch rising roots reggae artist Protoje's new video for the track "Who Knows" (now up to 200K views!) Then watch him discus the track and his career with On Stage's Winford Williams.

Video: Protoje "Who Knows (ft. Chronixx)"

Video Interview: Protoje: On Stage

Monday, April 28, 2014

New Kabaka Pyramid Video – Grab Free Track

Watch Kabaka Pyramid's new video for "Never Be A Slave" on DJ Frass's Cane River riddim and grab a free tracks from Kabaka right here. 

And catch Kabaka live at festivals this summer, including June 20 at Sierra Nevada World Music fest in Boonville, CA.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Video: Chronixx – Rastaman Wheel Out

It's a the new video from Chronixx, taken from his debut mini-album Dread & Terrible, out now.  The video features extended dramatic scenes, with Chronixx playing the lead role of a humble rasta from the hills going about his business only to be harassed by babylon (police). The video itself harkens back to classic Jamaican films like Harder They Come or Rockers. Check it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Outta Road: Great Cover, Video & Riddims

With it's classic dancehall poster artwork, Mr. Vegas's new two-riddim showcase is a brilliantly marketed and presented set of music. The compilation features two riddims, one roots and culture, the other bashment dancehall.

The cover art depicts comically accurate images of a dread with his staff of judgement to represent the roots riddim ("Protector"), and a "shotta" with his gold chain and "gun finger" pose to represent the dancehall riddim, titled "Outta Road."

There has been a renewed appreciation for dancehall posters and reggae folk art, as evidenced by the use of cartoon artist Clovis for several recent album and single covers and LA's Sonos Art Gallery's "Ring Di Alarm" sound system culture art show.

Now watch Mr. Vegas and crew tear up the road with this clever medley video.