JOVM pays tribute to The Mighty Upsetter, Lee “Scratch” Perry.
Growing up in a small island community in Florida, the Florida-born, Denver-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jeff White believes the experience is imprinted onto his soul and his work. Inspired by the likes of Sublime, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, Jack Johnson, Barrington Levy, and Paul Simon, the Florida-born, Denver-based artist has developed and honed what he has dubbed “acoustic roots soul” with Jeff White & Soul Taxi, The Casual Strange and as aa solo artist.
White got the vision for his latest single — a recreation of Peter Tosh‘s classic “Treat You Right” — while surfing in Costa Rica. He recruited his friends and longtime collaborators JJ Grey and Morfo‘s Todd Small, Magic Beans‘ Casey Russell and Joey Lanna to record two versions of the track with Color Red Music founder and The New Mastersounds‘ Eddie Roberts: The A side is a soulful reggae version that slows the tempo down but still manages to hew closely in spirit to the original. The B side is a shuffling Motown meets Muscle Shoals-like take on the song that makes the song sound as though it could have been released in 1972 or so. Interestingly, while both versions prominently feature White’s soulful crooning, they manage to pull the hurt and betrayal at the center of the original, even more into the spotlight.
Yesterday was the legendary Lee “Scratch” Perry’s 85th birthday. And what better way to show love and respect to the beloved creator of dub than with some live footage of the man doing his thing –= with the energy and verve of someone half of his age.
Happy birthday, Mr. Perry! May there be many more.
JOVM celebrates Black History Month — and Bob Marley’s birthday, belatedly.
Formed almost 20 years ago, the Brooklyn-based act Dub Trio — Grammy Award nominated-Stu Brooks (bass), DP Holmes (guitar) and Joe Tomino (drums) — have firmly established a critically applauded boundary pushing approach to dub that incorporates metal, punk rock, alt rock and shoegaze through the release of four albums, 2004’s full-length debut Exploring the Dangers Of, 2006’s New Heavy, 2008’s Another Sound Is Dying and 2011’s IV.
During that same exact period, the members of Dub Trio have been rather busy: they’ve done studio work with Mike Patton and Lady Gaga; they’ve toured alongside the likes of Clutch, Gogol Bordello, and The Dillinger Escape Plan — and they’ve toured as the backing band for Peeping Tom. After extensive touring to support IV, the Brooklyn-based trio went on hiatus.
Reconvening for a two week reunion at a tiny Brooklyn rehearsal room in 2018, the trio began working on the material for their fifth album, The Shape of Dub To Come. Featuring collaborations with Melvins‘ King Buzzo, Mastodon‘s Troy Sanders, Meshell Ndgeocello and an impressive array of others, The Shape of Dub To Come finds the act actively pushing dub into as many new sonic territories as possible — while serving as their first release through New Damage Records.
“Them Thing Deh,” The Shape of Dub To Come‘s latest single finds Dub Trio collaborating with Skindred’s Benji Webbe on a strutting single featuring sinuous and propulsive bass line, twinkling keys paired with Webbe’s soulful vocals, shuffling reggae riddims and reverb-drenched effects. And while seemingly centered around the prerequisite irie vibes,
“Them Thing Deh” is fueled by the sociopolitical concerns of our current moment.
“We’re putting this song out for the love of it. We knew we wanted to do a track that paid homage to our fore-fathers of reggae and dub, rhythm section greatness, Sly & Robbie,” Dub Trio’s Stu Brooks says in press notes. “They have been an endless source of inspiration to us as a band from the beginning. So, as helicopters swarmed over Hollywood during BLM protests, my wife and I felt compelled to finally break quarantine. As we approached Hollywood and Vine to join in solidarity with the protesters, ‘Them Thing Deh’ happened to be the soundtrack in my headphones. Feeling the anger we share with the BLM movement, the lyric ‘got to keep your cool; really spoke to me as I could feel the tension in the air. That week, we quickly put the rhythm tracks together, recording from 3 different states, with the help of Roger Rivas on organ and keys and hit up our old friend, legend Benji Webbe from the UK band, Skindred. Benji is the ultimate genre-masher, soulfully clashing metal, reggae, punk, dub, dancehall…all the sh*t we love!”
Melbourne, Australia-based producer and musician Jake Savona has had a long love affair with the music and culture of Jamaica, releasing a string of critically and commercially successful reggae and dub albums with his recording project Mista Savona.
Eventually Savona discovered Cuban music — and he began dreaming of a collaborative project that would bring top musicians from Cuba and Jamaica together to collaborate on material. In 2015, Savona received a great from the Australian Council that funded his ambitious project. Both countries are connected by common African roots and colonial histories and yet the music of Cuba and Jamaica have largely traveled in separate lanes. And while both countries individually have had an immeasurable influence on music globally, their influence on one another have generally been less evident.
The acclaimed Aussie musician and producer along with Sly & Robbie (drummer Sly Dunbar and bassist Robbie Shakespeare) traveled to Cuba and began recording in EGREM Studio, where Buena Vista Social Club and a number of equally legendary artists have recorded material. More sessions followed, many other artists invited to take part and after years of painstaking effort, Mista Savona Presents Havana Meets Kingston was released in 2017 to worldwide acclaim.
Slated for release next year through Cumbancha Records, Mista Savona Presents Havana Meets Kingston Part 2 continues the bold and ambitious mission of its predecessor — bridging the incredibly diverse and important music cultures of Cuba and Jamaica. The album features a deep lineup of artists collaborating together including Jamaican stars Clinton Fearon, Randy Valentine, Prince Alla, and Micah Shemaiah, Cuban stars Barbarito Torres, Changuito, Brenda Navarette, Solis and Beatriz Marquez, as well as a lengthy list of others from both countries.
Mista Savona Presents Havana Meets Kingston Part 2’s latest single “Beat Con Flow” can trace some of its origins back to 2015 when Savona first saw Cimafunk performing with Interactivo, years before Cimafunk became a household name in his native Cuba. The backing band, which featured Sly Dunbar (drums), the late Winston “Bopee” Bowen (guitar), Gaston Joya (bass), Julito Padrón (trumpet), Savona (piano, Hammond organ) and DJ Wasabi (turntables) recorded an infectious and hook-driven, strutting party anthem that’s indebted to old school reggae, hip-hop and pop.
Later Cimafunk recorded his vocal parts at a small, rundown Havana recording studio, bragging in Cuban slang that he’s dope and spits fire on the mic — and that along with the backing band, that’s providing the infectious funk that will make you get up, dance and forget your problems for a little bit. 2020 has been difficult for all of us, and the song offers the much-needed fun and upbeat vibes our exhausted hearts and souls need right now.
Directed by Rick Mereki, the recently released video for “Beat con Flow” features beautiful brown and Black people dancing to the song in a variety of colorful and interesting spaces from graffiti covered streetscapes, living rooms, clubs and an abandoned pool.
Hailing from the Parisian suburbs — bouncing between the 18th, 92nd and 93rd arrondissements — Bambino is a rising emcee and vocalist, who has contributed toplines and melodies to the work of acclaimed French artists like Amir, Kendji Girac and others. The tracksuit and Afro wearing emcee and vocalist is the first signing to French label Local Records, who will be releasing his debut, EP Enfant difficile.
The six song debut EP finds the rising French artist crafting a genre-defying, club friendly sound centered around his dexterous flow, which finds him spitting bars and singing infectious melodies. Thematically, the EP’s material touches upon several things — his love of wild parties and beautiful women, and the heartaches and lingering ghost of the past that still haunt.
Enfant difficile’s latest single “Kekra” is a smooth reggae-influenced banger centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, stuttering trap beats and the rising French artist’s self-assured rapid fire flow and smooth melodies, and an infectious hook. Sonically, the track may remind some listeners of Sean Paul and others –but while managing to eb the sort of song you’f wine down with a pretty young thing at the club.
Directed by Romain Habousha, the recently released video for “Kekra” is cinematically shot visual that employs a bold color palette while being a perfect vehicle to show the rising French artist’s infectious, Busta Rhymes-like energy.
Led by Jon Panic, the Sydney, Australia-based roots reggae and dub act Black Bird Hum have spent the past four years touring across the continent, becoming a rising name in the Aussie reggae and festival scene. And although “My Side” is their first single released through Denver-based funk and soul label Color Red, the Aussie band’s connection to the label runs very deep: Jeff Reis (drums) had spent 15 years playing in Denver‘s scene, performing with labelmates ATOMGA during that band’s formative years before relocating to Sydney.
Centered around fluttering flute, a sinuous and two-step inducing groove, twinkling keys and laid-back riddims, Little Green’s sultry vocals and an infectious horn line composed by Greg Chilcott (trumpet), “My Side” is the band’s homage to some of their favorite artists — Roots Radics, Gregory Isaacs, and Hollie Cook but with a modern take. Developed and honed over months of touring. “My Side” is a road tested song that feels both modern and timeless as it tells an age-old tale of good love gone horribly and confusingly wrong. Most of us have been there and have reflected on what was, what could have been and what happened with a vivid preciseness. The B side is a classic and very trippy dub mix that further emphasizes that deep and sinuous two-step groove with reverb-drenched everything. Listening to the dub mix is an enveloping trip into groove, if you dig what I’m saying?
“The groove got it all started, the horn line kept it going, and then Little Green (Amy) singing over the top was all we needed to know it was our next release.,” Black Bird Hum’s Jon Panic says of their latest single. “All our songs are fun live, but this pocket is probably the best to drop into. It’s a nod to all of our favorite reggae artists and the mad grooves they’ve given us.”
Ibis Lawrence is a Dominica-born, US Virgin Island-raised, French-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger, who can trace the origins of his music career to his childhood — and by the time, he turned 15 he was playing guitar and percussion in a band called Axis. As he moved up in high school. he started his own band Dread Ones. And since then, he learned how to play several different instruments including keyboard before deciding to go solo.
Over the past two decades or so, Lawrence has toured across Europe, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, making stops at some of the world’s biggest festivals including Reggae Sunsplash andMontreux Music Festival, sharing stages with the likes of Exile One, Grammacks’ Jeff Joseph, Bankie Banx, Jimmy Cliff and a lengthy list of others. And throughout that same period of time, Lawrence has developed a reputation for crafting material that’s centered around socially and spiritually conscious lyrics that address justice, equality and love. And he’s done this while developing a reputation as a highly sought-after producer, arranger and remixer working with a number of acts including Alpha Blondy, Secteur-A and others.
Lawrence’s latest single “Earth Will Take A Rest” is a breezy reggae track full of irie vibes, infectious riddims, shimmering and arpeggiated keys and an enormous hook. But just underneath its irie vibes, the song is centered around an earnest message: that COVID-19 has forced all of us to pause and reconsider our lives, what’s truly important — and at the same time, the past few months of quarantine has allowed Mother Nature to recover a bit from our corruption, greed and stupidity. But the song also hints at a much larger hope: that there’s a massive paradigm shift coming — one that will finally bring equality and peace for all people.
Born Mark Anthony Myrie, the Kingston, Jamaica-born and-raised dancehall legend Buju Banton is widely considered one of the most significant, well-regarded and commercially successful recording artists in Jamaican music. Starting his career back in 1987 with a string of singles, Myrie came to national and international prominence with his first two albums, 1992s Stamina Daddy and Mr. Mention — with Mr. Mention at the time, becoming the the best-selling album in Jamaican history. Adding to a breakthrough year, he broke Bob Marley‘s record for #1 singles in Jamaica.
1993 saw the Kingston-born and-based dancehall artist sign with Mercury Records, who released that year’s Voice of Jamaica. Interestingly, by the mid-1990s his work became more influenced by his Rastafari faith — especially on albums like ‘Til Shiloh and Inna Heights. As a result of his critical and commercial success, Banton has collaborated with a number of internationally renowned artists in a variety of genres and styles including hip-hop, Latin and punk rock, as well as Bob Marley’s sons.
The dancehall legend recently released an appropriately titled 4/20 anthem “Ganja Man.” Fittingly, the track is all irie vibes and strutting riddims paired with Banton’s imitable vocals. Puff, puff pass y’all. And happy 4/20 to those who celebrate!