Shows of Note – The Root/Fruit of Life

Stephen_Marley_1

Stephen “Ragga” Marley, second son of Bob Marley was born April 20, 1972. Stephen started following in his father’s footsteps early in his life. As a matter of fact, When Bob closed out his shows, he would have Stephen and Ziggy Marley join him onstage. By the time Stephen was a teenager, he had acquired some studio skills from his father and assisted in the production of a handful of Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers albums, including Conscious Party (1989), One Bright Day (1990), and Fallen is Babylon (1998), all three albums won Grammys for “Best Reggae Album.”

Stephen’s first solo album, Mind Controlcame along in March 2007. The album was well balanced between some old school (roots) reggae, some modern (contemporary) reggae and also a little bit of hip-hop. This mixture was melted into one solid project and the outcome was nothing less than a successful debut solo album. Mind Control has some well known hits such as “Hey Baby” ft Mos Def, “Mind Control“, and “The Traffic Jam” ft Damian and Julian Marley. What made Mind Control reach number one on the Billboard Reggae Album chart was its delicate balance between issues surrounding love and social justice.

Stephen "Ragga" Marley

Stephen “Ragga” Marley

Stephen’s sophomore album, Revelation Pt. 1: The Root of Life was released in 2011 and it went on to win a Grammy for best Reggae album. The Root of Life (TRL) was different than the first album as it had more collaborations and the overall sound of the album was more various. Mellow at times, and in various instances, Stephen would up the ante, throwing in some dancehall, just when you thought you understood the album’s theme. Some popular songs from TRL included “No Cigarette Smoking” ft Melanie Fiona and “Jah Army” ft Damian Marley and Buju Banton.

Its 2014 and Stephen is back! After missing his music for three years, Stephen is raising the bar high by going a different route with his upcoming album, Revelation Pt. 2: The Fruit of Life.

“The concept of the [new] album means merging my music with hip-hop and anything else I feel like,” Stephen told Rolling Stone Magazine. “Every aspect from the songwriting to the production, even the way I sing certain parts of a song, has to return to that concept.”

Apparently, part of what he feels like is incorporating some dubstep into his music, as is the case with single “Rock Stone.” The song kicks off with a typical reggae beat and it builds up to dubstep, the transition is smooth and finds Stephen in his own, creative zone.

Stephen Marley will be performing in the Pacific Northwest May 6 at The Showbox in Seattle and on May 7 he will be at Wonder Ballroom in Portland. Tune-in to “Reggae Lovers,” this Sunday, April 20 from 12 to 2 p.m. with Selecta Steppa for a chance to win tickets to see Stephen “Ragga” Marley in Seattle!

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Shows of Note – Age is a State of Mind

Danny Brown

 

Danny Brown

Danny Brown

Danny Brown, formally known as Daniel Dewan Sewell, is straight out of Detroit, Michigan. Making the leap from an internet cult-favorite mixtape rapper to mainstream success, MTV called him “one of rap’s most unique figures in recent memory.”

Even though the rapper is just now hitting his stride at 32 in an industry where rap years are equal to dog years, Brown claimed in an interview with NPR that age is a state of mind. Brown’s 2013 release of his third full-length studio, Old features A$AP Rocky, Charli XCX, ScHoolboy Q and a handful of other artists. Sputnik Music had this to say about the album:

“Even though the emphasis of the record is on its expansive production, the lyrics are more telling than they’ve ever been. While each song has a solid musical backbone, it’s Brown’s narratives that make the most profound impact, and move the album forward.”

If you want the chance to see Danny Brown perform, he’ll be in the northwest May 9 at Wow Hall in Eugene, May 10 at The Showbox in Seattle and May 11 at the Roseland Theater in Portland. We’ll be giving away tickets to the Seattle show tomorrow (4/17) between 1 and 3 p.m. so be sure to tune-in for your chance to win!

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Shows of Note – Progressive Perfection

Mastodon

Although they haven’t produced a full length album since 2011 with The Hunter, Mastodon is still a popular favorite among sludge metal fans. While the word, “metal,” may seem intimidating to those who prefer softer sound, the great thing about Mastodon is that their alternative metal sound make them a great “segue band” for anyone interested in the metal genre.

Mastodon

Mastodon

What fans love about Mastodon, is their ability to move forward and constantly evolve but not in a way that makes them unrecognizable to fans that have been with them since their beginning. The Hunter, was more melodic then past work and rock, metal and even flavors of bluegrass mold to create quite a piece of art.

Mastodon got its start in 1999 and has since released five full length studio albums but they claim 2011′s The Hunter is their best work yet. Guitarist Bill Kelliher had this to say on the album:

“Our last album Crack The Skye, was such a deep, long record,” says Bill. “It was very heavy. We thought let’s make a spontaneous record based off music that comes off our fingertips in the moment. We didn’t over think it—like Hey, we gotta really dazzle the kids! It’s like let’s not over do it. Just let it fall naturally, and we did.”

You can be the judge as to whether Mastodon is performing at their best or not. The band will be in the pacific northwest April 28 at Showbox SoDo in Seattle and April 29 at he Roseland Theater in Portland. Listen tonight (4/16) between 10 and midnight for a chance to win tickets courtesy of Bill James on “Alternative Reality.”

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Shows of Note – Drive-By Lovin

Drive-By Truckers

When it comes to alt-country, few bands are as seasoned, well respected and appreciated more than the Drive-By Truckers. The Georgia based band got its start in 1996 and while some of the members have changed throughout the years the band has remained as one of the best in its genre.

Drive-By Truckers

Drive-By Truckers

The band consists of Patterson Hood (vocals, guitar), Mike Cooley (vocals, guitar), Matt Patton (bass), Jay Gonzalez (keyboards) and Brad Morgan (drums). Hood and Cooley are the only original members but have kept the band’s unique, three guitar sound alive.

Drive-By Truckers’ 12th studio album, English Oceans dropped March 3 of this year. Most of Drive-By Truckers‘ music is written by Hood, but this changed with English Oceans. Cooley wrote 6 of the 13 tracks for English Oceans creating a sort of dialogue between the band’s long-time members. Fans on iTunes have given English Oceans a four out of five star rating. One fan (Jason1225) wrote:

“This is Mike Cooley’s strongest and most consistent song writing in years. Not only is this true given he has more songs on this record, but the guitar solos he plays (not just in his songs mind you) are really strong. Usually I like Patterson’s stuff…but some of these feel like leftovers from Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance. The song “Hanging On” is especially unfortunate. Otherwise, this is overall a pretty solid album. It dangles in the middle of country and rock territory, never really going too far into either. Honestly, that is their thing, and they deliver on it once again.” 

The truckers will be performing in the northwest April 23 in Seattle at Showbox SoDo and April 24 in Portland at Roseland Theater. The ‘Burg is giving away tickets to the Seattle show, this Sunday (4/13) between 4 and 6 p.m. on “The Big Show,” with Elliott the Engineer. Tune-in for a chance to win!

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