Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Selecter Announce North American Tour Dates

In news that should warm the hearts of ska fans across North America, 2-Tone legends The Selecter featuring Pauline Black and Gaps Hendrickson, have just announced 8 American and 2 Canadian tour dates during the month of September.

The band was here in April for Coachella and played dates around California and the southwestern U.S.  The new dates will finally bring the band back to Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Washington DC, which they haven't visited since the mid 1990's.

Watch part of the band's set from Coachella below:

The band is touring behind their new release "String Theory" which has garnered positive reviews and which is available on Vocaphone Music.  Read my review of the new album  here.

The Selecter September 2013 Tour Dates:

9/13 - Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis
9/14 - Riot Fest, Chicago
9/15 - The Magic Bag, Detroit
9/17 - Lee's Palace, Toronto
9/18 - Starlight Room, Waterloo
9/19 - The Trocadero, Philadelphia
9/20 - The Gramercy, New York
9/21 - The Paradise, Boston
9/22 - State Theatre, Washington, DC

See you in New York City!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Introducing The Churchills! - Watch Pilot Teaser About Anglo-Jamaican Family With Reggae & Ska Soundtrack

What happens when you transform The Griffins from animated smash, "The Family Guy" into an Anglo-Jamaican family living in London featuring a ska and reggae soundtrack and a theme song by legendary trombonist Rico Rodrigues? You get The Churchills!

The idea for the show is based on a concept developed by Keith Finch (an original 60's skinhead, musician and a member of The Dance Brigade with Lee Thompson of Madness) who manages the music company JA-13 and Othman Mukhlis of Jamdown Records.  Though still in the very early stages of creative development, the recrption to the concept has taken Finch and his partners by surprise.  According to Finch,  the feedback to the trailer has been "amazing!" despite the fact that he and the team behind the show are still in the process of fleshing out the backstory and script. 

Here's what we do know: The show focuses on Winston Churchill (voiced by reggae singer Tenor Fly) and his wife Krystal (voiced by reggae singer J.C. Lodge), and their children, David (a law student) Talisha (a star struck potential singer/actress/ footballers wife) and Iesha (a rebel without a cause).  

Supporting characters include Caribney, a white deadlocked rasta, the dearly departed Uncle Gladstone, a 'windrush' passenger, who as a ghost, provides context for the Black British experience and will take viewers through flashbacks to the 1950's and 1960's when he lived in Notting Hill, and  played bass on Trojan Records recording sessions. Other characters include Jimmy, the local wide boy who runs the hospital social club (voiced by Lee Thompson of Madness) and neighborhood canines Rio (voiced by Mickey Biggs) and Teddy, who are up to date with the latest technology. 

The plan is also to include plenty of guests from the world of reggae and to feature a ska or reggae song in every episode.

Watch the trailer below:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Rare Audio Of The Clash's "Red Angel Dragnet" Featuring Ranking Roger

In September 1981, the Clash played a legendary seven-night residency at the Theatre Mogador in Paris (read an amazing article from The Guardian about this series of shows and the influence they had on a whole generation of young French musicians). This was the post-Sandinista!, pre-Combat Rock, version of the band – the one that was obsessed with dub reggae, funk, hip-hop and Latin America. Joining them on the bill was The Beat! Talk about an amazing show!

Joe Strummer and Mick Jones of The Clash admired Ranking Roger so much that they invited him to sit in with them each night of the European tour to toast along on their versions of Junior Murvin's "Police & Thieves" and Willie Williams' "Armagideon Time."  The sound is electric and you can hear the chemistry between The Clash and Ranking Roger as it unfolds in real time.

The friendships forged during these shows extended long after the tour ended. So when it came time for The Clash to record a new album in 1981-82, Jones contacted Ranking Roger and invited him to come toast on a few tracks. In case you didn't know, The Clash's iconic album "Combat Rock" was originally planned as a double album with the working title "Rat Patrol From Fort Bragg." Jones had mixed the first version by himself without input from his band mates.  His mix featured Ranking Roger on a version of "Rock The Casbah" that was never released.

Recently an amazing version of "Red Angel Dragnet" featuring Ranking Roger from the "Rat Patrol" sessions have surfaced.  In my opinion, the song is far superior to the final album version produced by Glyn Johns. Though neither of Roger's contributions made the final version of "Combat Rock," it cemented a friendship between Jones and Ranking Roger that has gone on to this day.

Give this a listen and play it loud!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

UB40 Preview Another Track From Country-Themed Reggae Album "Getting Over The Storm"

UB40 have posted another preview track from their forthcoming country-influenced reggae album "Getting Over The Storm."

The album, which has taken much longer to record than either the band or their fan base have expected will finally be released on August 5th. The band was slated to kick off a UK tour in mid-June, but postponed the shows to September in order to focus in finishing the album.

The band released another thirty second snippet of the title track from the album on Soundcloud earlier this week.  The song, which is an original written by band saxophonist Brian Travers, has generated a variety of comments on the band's Facebook page .  While most fans like the mix of reggae and country the band is exploring on their new album, a few have expressed some reservations about the track which features a mix of reggae bass and drums with steel guitar.

Have a listen to the track below and decide for yourself. As for me, I give them credit from trying something new and unique.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rude Boy George: "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" EP Preview Video

In the shameless self-promotion department, Rude Boy George, the other band I'm in, has just put out a preview video below of one of the tracks we recently recorded with producer Wayne Lothian (ex-English Beat, General Public, Special Beat), which will be released as a digital EP later this year on Electric Avenue Records.

If you're not familiar with Rude Boy George, we're made up of members of Bigger Thomas, Across The Aisle, The Toasters, and my fellow ska blogger Steve Shafer (Duff Guide To Ska) --and we do ska and reggae versions of New Wave hits.

I met Lothian nearly 20 years ago and actually took a few bass lessons from him at the time when he was living in New York City. We reconnected a few years ago when Bigger Thomas played support shows for The English Beat throughout the Northeastern United States.

A bassist with a career spanning over 25 years, Lothian has played with some of the most prominent musicians of UK ska and reggae, from The English Beat and General Public to The Specials and UB40.

Hailing from the UK, Lothian grew up in Coventry, hometown of The Specials and The Selecter. He grew up hearing his father play guitar and picked up the bass—at age 11. His eclectic tastes influenced his sound early on, fusing Bob Marley and the Wailers’s reggae grooves with the exuberant disco stylings of Chic. By age 13 he formed a band with Lynval Golding, guitarist for The Specials and Fun Boy 3. They named the project After Tonite and soon went on tour with The Pogues, featuring Joe Strummer and Kirsty MacColl.

Lothian and Golding continued their collaboration with a short-lived band called Sunday Best, with Neville Staples of The Specials and Pauline Black of The Selecter rounding out the line up. Sunday Best was an immediate hit, and they quickly found themselves performing for the prestigious show The John Peel Sessions at the BBC. These early successes compelled Wayne to study music at Matthew Bolton Technical College in Birmingham, UK, where he honed his bass chops and added drums, guitar, keyboard, and sound engineering to his bag of tricks.

Stay tuned for more details about our 6-song EP produced by Lothian and look for us playing out a lot more this summer and fall...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

One Sip Beyond! - Madness Launch Their Own Beer "Gladness"

Madness have teamed up with the award-winning Growler Brewery in the U.K. to produce their very own beer "Gladness," which they have dubbed "A Lager That's An Ale That's Totally Mad."

The band hosted a launch party for the new ale at The Walrus & The Carpenter pub in London earlier this week to pour the first few pints of Gladness, a lager-style ale which features floral aromas with a hint of spice. The band teamed up with bosses at British brewers Growler Brewery in Essex to create the beverage, which will be stocked at 800 venues, owned by Nicholson's Pubs, across the U.K. for the next three months beginning on Monday June 10th. Watch a video of the launch party below:

Named after a line in their iconic song "Madness," Suggs commented "After many many years spent in a pub discussing and debating what would be our ideal beer, we decided to work with Growler Brewery to get on and do it. It's been a long but enjoyable process and we're very proud of our first attempt and we've got a great excuse to spend a bit more time in great British pubs!"

See promos photos below of Suggs and Mike Barson mixing up a batch of the grog!

Monday, June 3, 2013

UB40 Preview First Track From New Album "Getting Over The Storm"

UB40 have begun previewing tracks from their forthcoming country-influenced reggae album "Getting Over The Storm."

The album, which has taken much longer to record than either the band or their fan base have expected will finally be released on August 5th. The band was slated to kick off a UK tour in mid-June, but postponed the shows to September in order to focus in finishing the album.

Today the band released a 30 second snippet of a cover of the Allman Brothers song "Midnight Rider" on Soundcloud. The band posted the following message of their Facebook page promising to unveil a new song each week:
Apologies to all for the interminable delay in the release of our new album, "Getting Over The Storm". It really is beyond our control!

So, while you wait we've decided to frustrate you further by tantalising your lugholes with 30 second snippets of our new tracks, a new taster will be uploaded every week.
Have a listen to the track below: