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Steel Pulse sits down with Top Shelf Music | Top Shelf Reggae

Steel Pulse members David Hinds and Selwyn Brown sit down with Top Shelf Music journalist Keela Sweeney following their Day One BeachLife Festival performance in Redondo Beach, California. With their long-awaited Mass Manipulation album out as of May 17th, Steel Pulse chats about the inspiration behind the album that took 15 years in the making and more. 

Purchase or stream Mass Manipulation album:

Band links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/video/steel-pulse-sits-down-with-top-shelf-music

WORLD VIDEO PREMIERE: Ras Teo x Lone Ark “Down In The Garrison” | Top Shelf Reggae

Ras Teo brings his humanitarian efforts to the forefront in his new track “Down In The Garrison” off his Ten Thousand Lions album and featuring the likes of Lone Ark. The duo felt called to action after witnessing the struggles of the Caribbean streets, a situation that doesn't seem to be improving any time soon. “Down In The Garrison” preaches although times are hard, violence isn't the answer: “let go the violence” for shooting up the place doesn't solve anything. It doesn't help that ghettos keep getting flooded with guns, either.

The track's video shows just how bleak it is, with actual footage around the streets…

The track's video shows just how bleak it is, with actual footage around the streets in question. “Down in the ghetto, life no easy,” Teo chants and it's clear to be true. Rundown buildings house hungry residents, working around the clock to get by however they can. No wonder outbursts erupt as a result; everyone wants deliverance and yet, no one in office is raising a finger to help. Good thing Ras Teo and Lone Ark shine a light on the ignored.

Ras Teo Links: Facebook | Twitter 

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/video/world-video-premiere-ras-teo-x-lone-arc-down-in-the-garrison

Back To The Beach Fest: Day Two | Top Shelf Reggae

Fans returned to the Back To The Beach Festival on Sunday, April 28th, excited for another day of music and family fun. Kids were off making sand castles as punk rock and ska fans made their way to the stage to check out the music.

Back To The Beach Fest remains the rockin' ska-centric epitome of what punk rock fests should be.

Starting out the day, pulling the crowd to the stage was Lowlives. Taking to the stage next was Teenage Wrist and Story Of The Year. Fan favorites Less Than Jake and The Wonder Years lit up the stage next and got the crowd circling in endless skank pits. Rounding out the evening was Anthony Green, The Story So Far and The Used

Back To The Beach Fest remains the rockin' ska-centric epitome of what punk rock fests should be. Cheers till next year! 

Recap by Jenni Lynne; Photography by Sean McCracken

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/back-to-the-beach-fest-day-two

Locos Por Juana drop new video for “Don’t Tell Me No” | Top Shelf Reggae

Earlier this month, the GRAMMY-nominated bilingual band Locos Por Juana blessed the internet with brand new raging music video for their new song “Don't Tell Me No”, featuring the living legend reggae artist Freddie McGregor. With upbeat and feel good lyrics, LPJ’s new song does not disappoint. “Don't Tell Me No” is the second release off their upcoming album, due out early summer 2019.

“This song was inspired by love and perseverance.”

Prior to the release of this song, the Miami-based band released the music video of their lead single “Crazy for Jane”, featuring Common Kings in mid-February. Mark Kondrat, composer and guitarist for Locos Por Juana, reflects, “This song was inspired by love and perseverance. The best things in life don't come easy and when something feels right, the only answer is yes!”

Mark continues, “[Freddie McGregor] came to the studio and met with us and laid down his verse that same night. It was surreal to be able to work and write with someone like Freddie and we were also lucky to get him to join us in the video shoot for the song.”

Locos has been touring nonstop throughout the United States and is gearing up to release their new reggae album Crazy for Jane later this year. The new song “Don't Tell Me No” is out now and available everywhere you purchase and stream music.

Links: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/video/locos-por-juana-drop-new-video-for-dont-tell-me-no

Locos por Juana ft. Freddie McGregor “Dont Tell Me No” | Top Shelf Reggae

Earlier this month, the GRAMMY nominated bilingual band Locos Por Juana blessed the internet with brand new raging music video for their new song “Don't Tell Me No” featuring the living legend reggae artist Freddie McGragor. With upbeat and feel good lyrics, LPJ’s new song does not disappoint. “Don't Tell Me No” is the second release off their upcoming album, due out early summer 2019.

“This song was inspired by love and perseverance.”

Prior to the release of this song, the Miami based band released the music video of their lead single “Crazy for Jane” featuring Common Kings in mid February.

Mark Kondrat, composer and guitarist for Locos Por Juana, reflects, “This song was inspired by love and perseverance. The best things in life don't come easy, and when something feels right the only answer is yes!”

Mark continues, “He came to the studio and met with us and laid down his verse that same night. It was surreal to be able to work and write with someone like Freddie and we were also lucky to get him to join us in the video shoot for the song.”

Locos has been touring non-stop throughout the United States, and is gearing up to release their new reggae album, Crazy for Jane, later this year.

The new song “Don't Tell Me No” is out now and available everywhere you purchase and stream music.

Links: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/video/locos-por-juana-ft.-freddie-mcgregor-dont-tell-me-no

Getting to know Root Shock | Top Shelf Reggae

Root Shock is making WAVES from coast to coast. The band formed in 2012 when bassist Bill Eppel and singer Jessica Brown joined forces; their energy surged right from the beginning, as they quickly started to create material. After collaborating and creating their first songs, the two founders were joined by guitarist/singer Phil Grajko.

Root Shock grabs the attention of a diverse audience…

Along the way, there have been a few additions and subtractions from the bands lineup, yet this has not stopped the fans from multiplying. The Root Shock fanbase is described to be incredibly supportive and Root Shock mentions, “They have come along for the ride on every stylistic twist and turn the band has made over the years.” Root Shock grabs the attention of a diverse audience, as the band has created a fusion of musical arrangements. A new single called “Waves” is out now, too! Get to know Root Shock with our exclusive interview.

I love your latest single, “Waves”! How would you describe the creative process?

  • “Waves” came together very naturally and spontaneously. We were in the studio recording the EP, Many Paths. During a break, several members were in the live room jamming over an untitled groove by guitarist Dan Valvassori and bassist Bill Eppel. Phil Grajko jumped into the vocal booth and started humming the melody that would become the chorus of “Waves”. Grajko then took the rough recording home and wrote the lyrics for the song, which became the first duet between him and singer Jessica Brown.

The music video of “Waves” is what really caught my attention and has had great success on YouTube. Who created and directed the video's content?

  • Director Jesse Conti had the idea that the music video should have a very 'live performance' feel, following the more narrative-focused style of our previous video, “Ripple”. Shot in Auburn, NY, the “Waves” video highlights the strengths of each individual member and the unique style we each provide to bring the song to life.

Can you share with us where you draw your inspiration?

  • One of the fundamental strengths of Root Shock is its diversity of influences across its membership. Ask any member and you'll get an entirely different answer. Whether it's reggae, soul, rock, jazz, classical, punk, hip hop, experimental, pop or metal, this band listens to it all — and it shows!

When can we anticipate new music?

  • We've been slowly picking away at new studio recordings and is extremely excited about our next release, but the real magic is in hearing new material at a live show. Root Shock always let's a song find its voice in the live setting before taking it to the studio, so the best way to hear the freshest new songs is when we come through your town!

Any interesting information or stories you would like to share with our readers?

  • We laugh a lot. We're is always cracking jokes and finding humor in the oddest of scenarios. There are so many characters and unique personalities in the group that it always makes things interesting. Our favorite podcast while on the road is Miracle Nutrition with Hearty White (it has nothing to do with nutrition).

Root Shock “Waves” Official video:

Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/news/getting-to-know-root-shock

Art Garfunkel at LA’s Saban Theatre | Top Shelf Reggae

The voice of an angel, the musings of a man well-traveled and the familiar songs of multiple generations filled the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills as Art Garfunkel entertained a full house on May 9th. Over the next hour, Garfunkel took the audience back in time on a magical, musical and lyrical storytelling journey. The evening started off with a sweet rendition of “The Things We've Handed Down”, followed by Simon and Garfunkel songs “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.” and “The Boxer.”

Garfunkel took the audience back in time on a magical, musical and lyrical storytelling journey.

Considering the majority of Simon and Garfunkel songs were penned by Paul Simon, the 2017 publishing of What Is It All But Luminous: Notes from an Underground Man, Garfunkel's autobiography, showcases his fantastic and unique ability to write. Garfunkel shared with the crowd excerpts like “Hampshire House”, “The Publicist” and “Authorship.” Garfunkel then double-downed with more Simon and Garfunkel fan favorites, like “Scarborough Fair”, “Homeward Bound” and “The Sound of Silence.” He shared his five favorite American songwriters to be Paul Simon, thanking him amongst the applause, Stephen Sondheim, James Taylor, Jimmy Webb and Randy Newmann, launching then into a beautiful rendition of “Real Emotional Girl”.

Garfunkel also displayed his storytelling skills, sharing that the story “Authorship” from his book was about his parents, thinking after his father died that our parents are our “ideal”, our “everything”. Continuing on, Garfunkel sang “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her”, showing off his still sweet and tender voice, which had been compromised for four years due to vocal paresis, rendering it near impossible for him to sing.

Throughout the evening, Garfunkel continued to take fans back in time with his tender and angel-like voice, backed by a fantastic guitarist and talented pianist. Keeping with stories of his childhood, he shared how, in 1951, he began singing in his temple in Queens, breaking into of a beautiful acapella hymn. Garfunkel told the audience that at a young age, he saw that he moved grown men to tears and thought, “I'm going to stick with this singing thing!”. He then shared “Creatures” from his book and sang “Bright Eyes”.

Noting he had seen a recent interview with Paul Simon where he spoke about the rudimentary form of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and was sharing the original version, Garfunkel thought, “That's better than the real thing” and incorporated it into his version for the night. With his guitarist, pianist and sans brass section, Garfunkel played a beautiful version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.

His storytelling continued, sharing about a birthday party for Paul Simon…

His storytelling continued, sharing about a birthday party for Paul Simon and their long friendship: reminiscing about the moment when Simon called him to tell him he had written “the best song of his life”, sharing that it was the fifth song penned by his friend. Simon came to Garfunkel's house and played for him “The Sound of Silence”. Just when you thought the evening was over, Garfunkel came back to the stage to share about his experience performing at the Royal Albert Hall and the story “Royal Albert Hall” from his autobiography. He graced us with a tender version of “Kathy's Song” after thanking Paul Simon for writing it. Closing out the night, Garfunkel read from his book Lord Almighty and sang “Now I Lay Me Down.”

As he left the stage, Garfunkel graciously thanked the crowd for a fantastic evening. It indeed was a fantastic evening: as I closed my eyes, I could hear the sweet, tender and angelic sounds of my childhood, the memories of the sound of the needle on countless Simon and Garfunkel albums that spun in my living room. It is to you, Mr. Garfunkel that I say thank you — not only for a magical evening of memories, but for a lifetime of them.

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/news/art-garfunkel-at-las-saban-theatre

Sitting down with Save Ferris’ Monique Powell | Top Shelf Reggae

Save Ferris frontwoman Monique Powell is anything but conventional. And, after 24 successful years making exceptional ska music, she has solidified herself in the ska hall of fame if there ever was one. So, when I had the chance to sit down and chat with Monique shortly following her Day One Back To The Beach Fest set in Huntington Beach, I had to jump on it. Monique had just got off the stage from an insane set. Here's her personal testimony to the event, what's new for the 90s idol and more.

You just command that stage so well, it's amazing!

  • Monique: Thank you!

So, I’m curious about new music! I know you released the EP Checkered Past in 2017 and it was awesome! I LOVE the title being old-school.

  • Yeah, thank you! I think you might like the title of the new one.

Oh yeah?

  • It’s going to be called The Silence Before The Upbeat.

I like it a lot! So, when are you guys going to have new music out?

  • I'm just putting on the finishing touches; we are doing pre-production right now. We're going to start recording in a couple weeks, so that should be done hopefully very soon. It's funny because I asked my manager for the last interview, I was like, “So what's our estimated release date?”

Yeah, you’re like, “Everyone is asking!”

  • Yeah, he goes, “Last year.”

That is a perfect answer.

  • I was like, you're a manager, that’s a manger-ey thing to say. [Laughs]

Exactly! Well, I know we are all excited for it.

  • Yeah, me too. I really am. I can’t wait for this to be over, so,that I can tour behind it and get on the road where I belong.

You really are amazing up there. I actually saw you guys both nights closing Irvine Meadows with Gwen.

  • Oh my god, those were great shows!

It was really was. And, I grew up going there.

  • Me too.

I know you said your first show was…

  • Duran Duran… no, no! I’m sorry, it was the Go-Go’s! My second show was Duran Duran.

Very nice! And, I know you did a lot of Oingo Boingo shows. You went to a lot of those.

  • I did, I went to a lot of the Halloween shows.

So, what was it like working with John (John Alva from Oingo Boingo)? Because, you’ve done it a couple of times now.

  • It was weird because I had worked with John on the Reel Big Fish record when I did “She Has A Girlfriend Now”. It was their first album or something. And then, like 20 years later, I called him and asked, “Do you remember me?” He’s like, “Of course, I remember you. You know, how could I forget you.” It’s just who John is though. He's just a very real, loving, wonderful person. And, working with him, I really felt heard and respected which was very new for me in the studio.

What’s the writing process like for you now compared to before?

  • [Sighs] It's always torturous. You know, Brian and I would write together in the past and Brian would also write most of the song. And, so when we did that EP, it was definitely at least a year of me trying to figure out how to do this on my own.
  • I just try and come from a very real place. But, also with our fans in mind first. For me, it's like a little bit more methodical or a little bit more calculated. Or, you know, there’s more of an equation to how I write Save Ferris songs. You know, it just comes when it comes. But, I also like collaborating! So, I’ve been collaborating with a couple people on this record. Writing is a very exposed sort of thing for me. I feel really vulnerable. So, I’m a little bit weird about who I write with and stuff like that. I don’t know why… I feel very open when I’m doing that. I have to be around people who understand that.

And trust.

  • Yeah. I have to be able to trust.

Tell me a little bit about how you got involved with Sidewalk Project, the non-profit homeless organization in Los Angeles?

  • So, Soma Snakeoil is one of my closest friends, who I love very much and we spend a lot of time together. We've done some political actions together and I'm a huge fan of everything she does. So, it was just natural to jump in on the Sidewalk Project stuff with her because I support everything she does.

It is a great cause.

  • It’s incredible what they've done!

In such a short time, too.

  • Oh my god! It's catching on like wildfire. These women have done something so incredible. They're changing so many lives.

They definitely are. It’s amazing, a big strong group of women coming together and helping a community like that. It's exactly what we need right now.

  • Yeah, It’s just so beautiful. My life has changed so much just by being around these women. I feel loved and supported and heard. And, like I'm a part of this great family. It’s wonderful and I feel so lucky to have found all of them.

Do you think you are going to collaborate with Bad Cop Bad Cop at all?

  • Oh my god! I would so love to.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?! You with them!

  • I haven’t even thought about that! I mean, we have to. But, I've been talking to Tim Armstrong and Jesse from Operation Ivy; we keep talking about writing songs together. What I really want to write is an anthem and have a bunch of women sing on it with me.

Your Sidewalk Project girls.

  • It could great. Right now, I’m figuring out the direction I want to come from. The thing I like about Sidewalk Project it is that it was started by a bunch of women, but it's inclusive. They're very inclusive of everyone and they make everybody feel important. It doesn’t matter who you are. I really like that and I’d like to write a song that does that, as well.

That would be awesome! I just got involved with this project down in San Diego and it’s called Our Unsung Minds.

  • Oooh, what’s that?

It’s a photography project on mental health bringing to light mental health, not keeping it under the shadows anymore and the social anxiety that exists for people. So, I hit up some of my bands in the music world and am getting them involved. I'm excited to hit up like Stacey and I'm going to bug you too!

  • Yeah, for sure. I've actually been fairly active in that. My friend Derek Hess — there's a documentary about him called Forced Perspective. He has struggled with mental illness and addiction most of his life. He is a very good friend of mine and I'm actually in the movie for like a second. 'Oh, there she was!' That same filmmaker and I are working together to do a film about me.
  • I feel like I’ve grown up around mental illness and I’ve also had my own challenges and I think for women, in particular, there's just more stigma. And, back in the day, if [men] wanted to kill your career, all they had to do is call you crazy. You were done, if you were a woman. I never want to feel like I can’t be my authentic self because I’m afraid of…

 … your personality being too big.

  • Yeah. And I want to help dispel, like you were saying, the stigma around it. Particularly for women. I think it’s hard for us to come out because we don’t want anyone to think we are weak or fucked up or crazy or unpredictable. You know? Because, if they don’t like you, that’s what they say about you — 'she’s crazy'. If they don’t like you, 'Oh, dude, she’s whackado.'

Yup, when it’s just passion.

  • Yeah, that’s totally it! It’s like, God forbid, we express ourselves. She’s crazy. And, I have really been through it. When I brought the band back in 2013, I got a rash of shit for doing what all the other guys in this scene were doing. I’m the only original member and so are they. And, the first thing they did was go to TMZ and I remember the headline, “Monique Powell has lost her mind. She’s crazy.” I was terrified my career was over before it had started again. Then, I had to hire a publicist and give a response. The response was, “It’s my band now, bitches!”

[Laughing] I LOVE IT!

  • I can’t even believe that TMZ posted it. This was before 'Me Too' and stuff. So, it was still really difficult for me to feel supported in any way.

With your fans funding the album, I think you know we got your back, girl!

  • Oh yeah, I mean I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t do this if people didn’t want to see Save Ferris. All of these people were writing to me saying, “Please, come back.” And, all these women were like, “We really want you back… We really need you back.” At that point I was like, “Okay, it’s worth the fight.” I could’ve just given up.

Started over as something else.

  • But, they really wanted Save Ferris! As long as they want it, I’ll bring it! I’ll fight for you. I’ll fucking fight for you! Like Larry H. Parker, the lawyer on the commercial: “We’ll fight for you!” [Laughs] But, it was all worth it.

Photography by Sean McCracken

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/news/sitting-down-with-save-ferris-monique-powell

BeachLife Fest 2019: Day One | Top Shelf Reggae

Redondo Beach was taken by storm May 3rd-5th as the hottest new festival hit the beachfront sands! That's right, the inaugural BeachLife Festival was in full swing by noon Friday, with perfect weather, plenty of space to roam around, a stage on the sand, some of the biggest beach names on the ballad and a Ruby's restaurant open only to festivalgoers in the middle of it all. From SoCal heroes Slightly Stoopid to the east coasters Roots of Creation, reggae-rock met jam band vibes all day long (with musical legends in between). 

… Deadheads adorning tie-dye shirts were freaking and wiggling to familiar favorites…

Alinea preceeded island goddess Anuhea before the main stage kicked off with the aforementioned Roots of Creation, who naturally showcased remixed dubby jams off their Grateful Dub album. Considering Grateful Dead's Bob Weir was closing the night down, assembled Deadheads adorning tie-dye shirts were freaking and wiggling to familiar favorites as far as the eye could see. The smaller Riptide Stage near the entrance rarely stopped jamming, with groovy sounds of The Higgs wafting over the food trucks while Donavon Frankenreiter shredded on guitar next door on the sandy Lowtide Stage. Bruce Hornsby and his Noisemakers were next on the main Hightide Stage, bringing a mellow touch to the day while Sack Lunch geared up on the Riptide, sporting surfing celeb Rob Machado on guitar. Longtime reggae greats Steel Pulse were up next; their onstage antics are entertaining all on their own, let alone the long list of hits they've acquired over the years. Bassist Amlak even crawled his way through the VIP balcony mid-song for photo ops! Clayton Joseph Scott started just as the sun was beginning to set, as Chris Robinson (of The Black Crowes) launched into his As The Crow Flies set.

Wrapping up the Lowtide Stage was (initially) a Slightly Stoopid acoustic set… that is, until Bobby Weir grabbed a guitar to join the boys in a once-in-a-lifetime full band collab of Dead and Tom Petty songs. Soaring on Festival Cloud 9, Deadheads were lifted ever-higher by Weir & Wolf Bro's, chiming in at all the right audience participatory times to classic Dead songs. As Bobby brought Day One to a close, attendees realized it was only 9pm, meaning it was time to after party on the pier! Day Two and Three promised even more fun, prompting some attendees to be smart and opt for bed. Regardless of late night destination, all were ready to continue the party the next day. Coverage of Day Two and Three are to come, so stay tuned! 

Photography by Kristy Rose

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/beachlife-fest-2019-day-one

Back To The Beach 2019: Day One | Top Shelf Reggae

The KROQ 2nd Annual Back To The Beach Festival hosted an approximate 37,000 fans who packed the beach in Huntington Beach, CA on Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 29. Festival co-creators Travis Barker (of blink-182) and John Feldmann (of Goldfinger) hosted a family-friendly event, bringing back fan favorite acts for a fabulously fun weekend.

… fan favorite acts for a fabulously fun weekend.

Saturday kicked off with The Drowns, who got the crowd warmed up. Following was British favorites The English Beat led by Dave Wakeling, who paid tribute to their recently passed bandmate, Ranking Roger. Next up was hometown favorite Save Ferris, with Monique taking command of the stage. When The Aquabats took to the stage, Aquacadets were out in full force. The lineup also included ska-lebrities Streetlight Manifesto and Reel Big Fish before festival co-producer bands Goldfinger and blink-182 closed down the night alongside extra special guests. Stay tuned for Back To The Beach 2019's Day Two photo gallery, coming soon! 

Recap by Jenni Lynne; Photography by Sean McCracken

Source: https://topshelfreggae.com/gallery/back-to-the-beach-2019-day-one