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KAABOO Cayman 2019: Day One | Top Shelf Reggae

Friday, February 15th might've been the day after Valentine's Day for some, but for those arriving or living on Grand Cayman island in the Caribbean, it was officially Day One of the premiere KAABOO Cayman Festival. Following in the footsteps of its sister festival, KAABOO Del Mar in San Diego, KAABOO Cayman brought culture to the forefront with live music, comedy acts, art installations, gournet cuisine, vendor indulgences and more.

The day was simply beautiful as festivalgoers explored sandy shorelines of private beaches…

First up was the hip hop routine of Rico Rolando, followed by local favorites Suckerbox on the two musical stages. Los Angeles alt band Transviolet erupted onto the Main Stage after that, with reggae-pop stars Magic! serenading swooning girls in the front row by midday. The day was simply beautiful as festivalgoers explored sandy shorelines of private beaches between Maxi Priest and Margo Price.

Flo Rida hit the stage right before sunset to get the party rocking into the night, with Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson surprising all by joining the pop icon onstage for a dance! Champagne was popped and people were sitting on shoulders for the best view of Maren Morris and Bryan Adams before headlining acts Counting Crows and The Chainsmokers topped it all off. Richard Branson reappeared to introduce The Chainsmokers, stuffing his mouthful of cigarettes to do so. With fireworks and pillars of smoke exploding up to the sky, Day One came to a close to the deejay duo spinning hit after hit. Stay tuned for Day Two highlights, coming soon.

Photography by Kristy Rose

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/kaaboo-cayman-2019-day-one

Slightly Stoopid: then & now | Top Shelf Reggae

Just before the start of the 2019 and February's One Love Cali Reggae Festival in Long Beach, I sat down with Kyle McDonald of the southern California cative band, Slightly Stoopid. We chatted about how they were discovered by Bradley Nowell of Sublime, their relationship with Skunk Records, their musical influences and their relationship with Don Carlos.

While attending high school in Ocean Beach, California, a letter came from Fat Mike (of Fat Wreck) saying he was interested in Slightly Stoopid, then only consisting of Kyle, best buddy Miles Doughty and drummer Adam Bausch. During all the excitement, the boys discovered that it was a fake letter a friend had sent. Shortly after in 1994, Bradley Nowell entered the picture and invited Slightly Stoopid to perform at the Foot Hill Tavern in Long Beach, CA. They were then given an opportunity to record at Fake Night Club and were signed to Skunk Records almost immediately. The band members decided to skip college and spent the next five years on the road touring bars.

Slightly Stoopid members remain the breadwinners of the industry, yet the most humble men in the business.

Around 1999, after recording two albums via Skunk Records, the band transitioned to their own record label, Stoopid Records and have since bought back all their music. In 2001, Stoopid Records was formed as an outlet to give opportunities to upcoming bands, like The Expendables. The band has vast musical influences; one of the first cassettes that Kyle McDonald purchased in elementary school was Eazy E. As they grew individually and as a band, bands like Motley Crüe and the song “Girls, Girls, Girls” became influential. Other bands like Sublime, NoFx, Rancid and Pennywise have also contributed to the unique sound that is Slightly Stoopid.

On tour, Slightly Stoopid is almost always accompanied by Jamaican reggae legend, Don Carlos. The band had known Don Carlos’ manager, Jah Fada, for many years: whenever Kyle would be on the phone with him, Don Carlos would always say “hi”. The band met Don Carlos at a show and asked if they would play a song he wrote. They have been doing songs together ever since. Kyle shared that 'Uncle Don' puts in a lot of work, but “rolls like he’s 22”. Together, they are all on the same path, enjoying cooking and time with family, making music secondary between them.

Now, 25 years strong, Slightly Stoopid is the epitome of the California reggae movement. They have paved the way for so many badns to follow, whether that be reggae-rock, hip hop or roots influenced. Collaborating with countless artists and headlining festivals around the world, it's hard not to know who Slightly Stoopid is. With nine full-length albums and no end in sight, Slightly Stoopid members remain the breadwinners of the industry, yet the most humble men in the business.

Be sure to catch Slightly Stoopid this summer on their How I Spent My Summer Tour alongside Matisyahu, Tribal Seeds and HIRIE at a city near you!

Photography by In The Barrel Photo

Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/news/slightly-stoopid-then-now

Twiddle & Iya Terra at The Troubadour | Top Shelf Reggae

Iya Terra and Twiddle hit The Troubadour for their first show starting off a two month tour on Friday, March 1st, hitting the north western states right now. I'm sure you’ve been to a show before where the feeling in the air is magical; that is how it was on this particular evening. These two bands are great compliment to one another, both having a great fan base of their own and they surely walked away with new fans from this tour!

These two bands are great compliment to one another…

Iya Terra had the crowd roaring, energized and screaming for more, especially when they played their recent single “Stars”, leading into a Jimi Hendrix “Little Wing” outro. Twiddle hit the stage next and when they did, happy, dancing listeners sang along while they played two one-hour sets. Interestingly, Twiddle spelled out 'LOS ANGELES JAMS' by using a letter that represented each song that they played, starting with “Lost in the Cold” and ending with “Smoke Two Joints”. Twiddle always has fun props too, which give a fun element to the stage. You just might spot one in the gallery! This Twiddle and Iya Terra show was one for the books! Get on out there and hit this tour if you can, for you will not be disappointed.

Photography by Gia Krietzberg

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/twiddle-iya-terra-at-the-troubadour

Clint Stevens drops “First Place” single ahead of debut album | Top Shelf Reggae

Reggae-funk band Clint Stevens is gearing up to drop their debut full-length album, offering fans of the Arizona band a taste ahead of time with their lead single “First Place”. A retrospective reggae-rock anthem centering around a relationship gone wrong, “First Place” is danceable, yet dark track — a yin and a yang. But, this seven-piece band has always had a knack for complimentary designs, stemming from when guitarist Clint Richardson started making music with vocalist Steve Rector when they were roommates. Yin and yang. Now seven members deep, Clint Stevens follows up on their 2017 EP The Pinner with Choice Chillington, out soon! 

… “First Place” upholds an upbeat tonality that will have you dancing…

If the album is along the same fibers as “First Place”, then reggae-rock lovers will surely be pleased. The track outlines 20/20 hindsight, as lead singer Rector broods “you should've warned me that you never loved me in the first place.” Perhaps… but how do you live and learn without heartache? Life is a journey, whether the bumps on the road bring about a bunch of flat tires or not. Time heals all wounds and Clint Stevens recognizes that, stating that this isn't the first time a heart's been broken and most likely not the last. However, you have to hope for a better tomorrow, for living without love is more depressing than not loving at all. With a smooth guitar and a slightly melancholic saxophone, “First Place” upholds an upbeat tonality that will have you dancing despite its jaded subject matter.

The single is now available only on YouTube and, as mentioned above, the full-length album is about to follow! Although it's unknown at this time when the official release date will be, Clint Stevens fans and reggae-enthusiasts alike will want to mark their calendars when the time comes. After the band's smashing performance at the inaugural Arizona Roots Festival back in February, it's apparent that Clint Stevens is only going up from here. For more information, visit www.clintstevens.com.

Tune into Clint Stevens' “First Place” single on YouTube:

Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/news/clint-stevens-drops-first-place-single-ahead-of-debut-album

WORLD PREMIERE: 9 Mile Roots drops new remix “When In Rome” | Top Shelf Reggae

Baltimore’s own 9 Mile Roots released today a remix featuring Passafire’s lead singer Ted Bowne — and Top Shelf has the premiere for you to start off your weekend! “When In Rome” is a full remix of their song “Sun” from their most recent LP, ReEvolve.

The original track was impactful enough, but the remix takes the song to a whole new level.

The original track was impactful enough, but the remix takes the song to a whole new level. Musically, the track sways in a slightly more dub direction, utilizing delays and reverb to achieve that nice dreamy effect. This new beat structure really fits with the band’s vocal timbre, a combination of late 70s-style dub with some slick guitar flourishes. When the song slows way down about three-quarters in, it builds into an explosion of sounds, including heavy bass lines and a sexy horn solo. The ammunition required for the perfect head-bobbing experience is courtesy of 9 Mile Roots in this remix. The track pulls more than a few heart strings and it’s clearly meant to do so.

Bassist Josh Behun states, ”We were excited to get the chance to collaborate with Ted for this track: his lyrics and melody addition hit right in line with the existing theme and complements the song very well. Add all that with Matt from Piper Street Sound, who always puts together high quality production and does super creative dubwork, and this remixed version for the song 'Sun' really adds a new dimension that sits well with the existing track.”

Exclusive 9 Mile Roots “When In Rome (Sun Remix)” stream:

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | SoundCloud
Album artwork: Brad Wells

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/news/9-mile-roots-drops-new-remix-when-in-rome

9 Mile Roots drop new remix “When In Rome” | Top Shelf Reggae

Baltimore’s own 9 Mile Roots released today a remix featuring Passafire’s lead singer Ted Bowne—and Top Shelf has the premiere for you to start off your weekend. “When in Rome” is a full remix of their song “Sun” from their most recent LP, ReEvolve.

The original track was impactful enough, but the remix takes the song to a whole new level.

The original track was impactful enough, but the remix takes the song to a whole new level. Musically the track sways in a slightly more dub direction, utilizing delays and reverb to achieve that nice dreamy effect. This new beat structure really fits with the band’s vocal timbre, a combination of late 70s-style dub with some slick guitar flourishes. When the songs slows way down about three-quarters in, it builds into an explosion of sounds including, heavy bass lines, and a sexy horn solo. The ammunition required for the perfect head-bobbing experience is provided courtesy of 9 Mile Roots in this remix. This track pulls more than a few heart strings, and it’s clearly meant to do so.

Bassist Josh Behun states, ”We were excited to get the chance to collaborate with Ted for this track – his lyrics and melody addition hit right in line with the existing theme and complements the song very well. Add all that with Matt from Piper Street Sound, who always puts together high quality production and does super creative dubwork – and this remixed version for the song 'Sun' really adds a new dimension that sits well with the existing track.”

Click here to listen to “When In Rome”

 

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | SoundCloud

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/news/9-mile-roots-drop-new-remix-when-in-rome

A moment with Mike Love at One Love Cali Reggae Fest | Top Shelf Reggae

One Love Cali Reggae Fest 2019 brought a new era of reggae musicians, all bringing back the true roots sound! One such talented artist was the amazing and eccentric Hawaiian native Mike Love. Back in May of 2018, I attended the Trevor Hall show at The Observatory Theatre in Santa Ana; opening for him was Mike Love. Before the set, I bought a Mike Love pop dot for my mom, but little did I know exactly what I was in store for…

The ever-present and spiritual Mike Love took to the stage.

The ever-present and spiritual Mike Love took to the stage. I was hooked on his eccentric musical style, backed by an amazing band and emphasizing raw truth in his lyrics that spoke directly to my heart. When it was announced that Mike Love was going to be playing his first One Love Cali Reggae Fest, I had to be there! And, I just had to interview him!! I hope you fall in love with this man and his music just as I did. 

TSR: Your music has been called “revolutionary, conscious music”… it seems you have a message of returning to a more natural and spiritually-grounded way of living. Who do you find inspirational in this process?

  • ML: It’s kind of a really long process, I guess, to describe. But, there’s kind of been a million different shifts that have led me to this point. But, you know, I’ve always been [that way]: growing up where I grew up, I’ve always been connected to the earth. Just always in the ocean or the mountains. I'm kind of blessed to grow up in a place surrounded by a really natural habitat instead of growing up in the city.

With the rat race.

  • [Laughing] Yeah! So, I think that definitely contributed to it. And, then being raised by my beautiful parents; that really taught me the importance of our connection and our balance with nature. They taught me to be a caring and compassionate person. That’s really the most crucial thing I think, you know?

I think that comes through in your music.

  • That’s what attracted me in the first place, to positive music. To want to make music that actually touches and heals people and connects with people rather than just, you know, rocking out and partying… playing my guitar as fast as I could.

Lyrics no one can understand.

  • Yeah.

After forming Melodious Solutions and your 10-piece band Dub Conscious, you started playing solo in 2008 and released your first solo album in 2012. What was it like to be a one-man band, playing multiple instruments when you usually had a band behind you?

  • It was a really good experience for me because I came from a place of writing music and arranging music for a really big band and I was really focused on that. And, I was really focused on like kind of the pizazz of it all, just having a bunch of instruments to work with. Creating really cool arrangements that kind of built up to these big credenzas and then broke down into stripped down parts. That arrangement was what I was really focused on.
  • When I started playing solo, I realized I couldn’t play most of those songs because they depended on these moments that were dependent on these big drum parts and hits with the horns and all this stuff. When you took all that stuff away, it’s like you had a song that kind of really didn’t make sense without it. You know? That was when I realized hey, you know, maybe I’ve gotten too far away from the song just being powerful and having an impact on its own. So, I started writing songs without any arrangement in mind and just to write music; a song that I could just play with just my guitar. It would be still good if I didn’t have a bass player or if I didn’t have a drummer. And, then I sort of rebuilt everything from scratch like that.
  • That was a really key thing for me, because I retain that all times now and have discovered the importance of that. Even though now I have a big band again, I come around full circle back to that. I still retain that essence of having a song that is potent and powerful on its own for its lyrical content and its melodic chordal structure that works without the band. And then, when you add a band to that, it becomes something even more powerful and there’s so much beauty in that. I just love it. And, I’m still totally in love with the process of arranging and writing parts that a group of musicians can really sync up together and dig into. I have the most amazing band in the world that I love and am so thankful for. But, it took stripping it down to be able to build it up again and I was able to build a band that I really feel strongly about each member and really connected to each member. We’re really connected as a group with one heart.

I’ve really enjoyed following your friendship with Nahko, Trevor Hall, Xavier Rudd and Satsang. I feel there’s a new movement coming along… sort of like what Bob Marley was doing. It’s a new generation creating a novel movement for kindness and getting back to being cordial with one another. The power of music is really unbelievable to me. Have you seen a shift yet in how we are treating each other as fellow humans?

  • Yeah, of course! You know, I think the music that a lot of musicians are making that’s really inspiring to me is of course coming out of the times that we are living in. And, people are having very profound reactions to the way that the world is changing. A lot of people are having these really deep and amazing spiritual awakenings; we see it all the time because our music attracts the kind of people that are going through this shift. And, so everywhere we go in the world, we come across the most beautiful people that are really kind and take care of each other.
  • Of course, we are out in the world and see a lot of the darkness and a lot of the anger and a lot of division that is going on in the world. It makes it just that much more precious for us that the messages we are always trying to put forth is empowering the people that we attract. I feel like we are the strongest people in the world, because we are so loving and so caring. We have the power of love on our side and we have the power of compassion, of kindness, of forgiveness, of understanding. And, so now, we have the chance to make a real change with our understanding, with our forgiveness and with our love and compassion. We are able to go out into the world in a place where we don’t necessarily feel the same safety and protection that we feel when we come together in these groups to sing and to give praise together and give thanks together and take care of each other. We do that to nourish each other so that we know that we are strong; and we remind each other that we are strong. And then we go back out into the world and do our best to share it with everybody that we come across.
  • It’s a difficult path in a world where there’s a lot of negativity. There’s a lot of sorrow, but all we can do is our best and all we can do is try and be the brightest lights that we can be and shine the brightest. Also, remember that there are people who will see that light and be envious of it and hate it because they have led such a life where they’ve been left behind and neglected and abused and have never known that kind of caring and compassion. While we attract the positive people, we also attract the negative people in that way. So, you have to be conscious and aware of that, aware of how we can use our positive energy and our strength to redirect that anger and hopefully, help fill some hearts with love and kindness. Show people that they are not alone.

You’ve collaborated with quite a few people. Going forward, is there anyone that you would like to collaborate with?

  • [Laughing] Oh yeah, there’s a million! We had a really cool experience in Brazil with a brother named Allesandra Carlo from a band called Natty Roots down there in Brazil. The biggest reggae band in Brazil, a beautiful brother. We made some music with him and looking forward to doing some more of that. Our uncle Clinton Fearon: amazing, legendary founder of reggae music from the band The Gladiators. Working on some stuff with him and working on a project with some of the musicians from the band Groundation, which is one of my absolute favorite band of all time.
  • There are so many musicians that I just love and look up to, and I know I’ll just keep manifesting that. Like you said, I’ve been lucky enough to make music with Nahko and Trevor Hall and Xavier Rudd and Paul Fua. You know, lots of amazing musicians… Tubby Love, Paul Isaac. Great, great musicians out there. I’m just so thankful! You know sometimes, I just can’t believe the journey this music has brought me on; all the incredible musicians that I’ve been able to collaborate with and just to know as friends. It's amazing. I’m so thankful.

Artist links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Photography by Sean McCracken

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/news/a-moment-with-mike-love-at-one-love-cali-reggae-fest

Death by Dub’s second single “Birth of Giants” | Top Shelf Reggae

You know a track is a good one when you've spent the last 10 minutes swaying your head uncontrollably, soaking up the rhythms and hitting the repeat button once the track is over. From the very first seconds to the ultimate finale, there’s nothing except positivity and good feelings conveyed from the recording studio to the consumer. “Birth of Giants”, is Death by Dub’s second single as part of a monthly release series via Color Red. This track is an effortless, yet powerful listen.

This track is an effortless, yet powerful listen

Drawing influence from prominent dub producers Lee Perry and King Tubby and iconic reggae instrumentalists Tommy McCook and Rico Rodriguez, Dan Africano and Scott Flynn have formed a group in reverence of these pioneering artists. They have recruited a roster of musical collaborators with an equal passion for dub and reggae to create and to showcase the music they have grown to love including former John Brown's Body bandmates alongside members of The Motet, Thievery Corporation, and more.

In 2019, Death by Dub will release a new track on the first Tuesday of every month via Color Red. These single releases will be bolstered by exclusive content and culminate in a full album release.

If you’re in the Colorado area, make sure to check out their show at Cervantes' on March 12th, 2019.

Death By Dub “Birth of Giants”

Links: Distrokid | Facebook

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/reviews/death-by-dubs-second-single-birth-of-giants

Arizona Roots 2019: Day Two | Top Shelf Reggae

Day two of the inaugural Arizona Roots Festival began warmer than the frigid day before, leading to less people huddled around the provided outdoor heaters at the Rawhide Events Center in Chandler, AZ. Local bands got the good vibes up again after a night's hiatus before LA up-and-comers Iya Terra took the main stage by storm. Local fan favorites Black Bottom Lighters perfomed next to an already packed house on the side stage before The Movement upped the ante. Headlining Stick Figure members Johnny Cosmic and KBong appeared for an early for a quick cameo too, before SYNRGY surrounded themselves with fans and friends on the side stage. Collie Buddz started a midday sing-along next, which is a good thing, considering the Bermuda reggae legend's voice was fading fast! Rasping through the last half of his set, Collie Buddz stuck it out til the very end.

Thanks Arizona Roots for proving that the reggae-rock movement exists everywhere.

Indigenous activist-rapper Xuihtexcatl closed down the side stage as the sun set, giving blessings to the Native American land we were all standing on. It's always a treat being able to witness Dispatch in action, considering the extra long moratorium between their active tours and the fact they paved the way for the independent music industry. With Cocoa the Tour Dog making her signature grand entrance before the Stick Figure boys took the stage, Arizona Roots 2019's grand finalé was underway. Floating on high, attendees emptied out into the Rawhide parking lot, talking next stop Cali Roots X! Thanks Arizona Roots for proving that the reggae-rock movement exists everywhere.

Photography by Kristy Rose

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/arizona-roots-2019-day-two

One Love Cali Reggae Fest 2019: Day Three | Top Shelf Reggae

After two days of festive fun, eager fans raced through the gates in the rain on Sunday to get to carch HIRIE in action. The Orange County boys of The Simpkin Project followed on the side stage as New Zealand Reggae star Sammy Johnson followed main stage.

After two days of festive fun, eager fans raced through the gates…

The Ohana vibes radiated on the KOI CDB Stage with Hawaiian band The Green. Back for their second visit to the festival and bringing with them their catchy alternative/hip hop vibes, Katastro were next up on the second stage. Quickly following on the SMKFLWR Stage was GRAMMY recipient Morgan Heritage. Back over at the KOI CBD Stage, Orange County Natives, Common Kings brought their feel-good vibes to get the crowd moving, while Maui sweetheart, Anuhea, closed out the female performances of the weekend on the SMKFLWR Stage.

Crowd favorite, J Boog started out the evening sets on the KOI CBD Main Stage, with Josh Heinrichs following on the SMKFLWR side stage. As Iration kept the party going on the main stage, One Love Cali Reggae Festival newbie Kyle Smith took the crowd by storm.

The hip hop duo Atmosphere stormed onto the KOI CBD Main Stage with a vengeance while the reggae punk rhythms before Sublime with Rome closed out the weekend. With three sold out days in Long Beach in the books, One Love Cali Reggae Fest 2019 came to an end. Until next year!

Photography by Sean McCracken

Recap by Jenni Lynne

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/one-love-cali-reggae-fest-2019-day-three