Check this page for updates and announcements from Easy Star.
August 24, 2015GENTLEMAN'S DUB CLUB SIGNS TO EASY STAR RECORDS
"Gentleman’s Dub Club, the beloved UK reggae act that plays to packed venues and festivals in their home country, is poised to release their second full-length album, THE BIG SMOKE, partnering with indie reggae powerhouse label Easy Star Records, on November 13, 2015. Gentleman’s Dub Club (GDC) will be touring The Big Smoke live with a UK run starting in October. The London show will be at Brixton Electric on October 16. Joining the Gents will be Scotland’s finest, Mungo’s HiFi featuring YT on vocals and a Jungle set from the mighty Kenny Ken.
GDC’s debut album, FOURtyFOUR, drew upon the city of Leeds - the birthplace of the band - as inspiration for a collection of songs that reflected on their initial development period. A few years later the Gents can all be found in and around the capital, and it was this shift of location, and the band’s experiences within the big city, that inspired the new record. Using London as a backdrop, The Big Smoke explores everything from the personal to the philosophical and is peppered with the trademark GDC sense of fun and vitality. A return to a more raw roots sound is evident, along with a markedly upfront writing style, underpinned by the band’s familiar monstrous horn riffs and cavernous bass lines. This is immediately palpable in the romper-stomping opener “Music Is The Girl I Love,” a record already championed by the legendary David “RamJam” Rodigan: “This new song from GDC is outstanding and I am hooked big time! Please hail up the gents for me!”
The Big Smoke takes listeners on a well-paced and diverse musical journey, with guest appearances by major UK reggae talent and “Bedroom Eyes” writer Natty (on “One Night Only”) and tenor sax star Josh Arcoleo (best known for his work with the legendary Pee Wee Ellis as well as Joss Stone, Katy B, and many others). Up-tempo tunes (the catchy single “Bad Girl,” “Pressure”) mix with dubbier tracks that veer closer to Fat Freddy’s Drop’s style (“Earthquake”, “Extraordinary”) and instrumentals (like “Enter The Chamber,” which fans will recognize as often being the band’s live show opener).
Working with Easy Star Records on the release will give GDC more opportunity to continue their push to become a worldwide phenomenon and not just a UK favorite. This past summer the band traveled to the US for the first time and plan to follow with more shows in 2016, as well as trips to continental Europe along what expects to be a busy touring and festival year in their home country. Easy Star has been releasing reggae for nearly two decades, and in recent years has been at the forefront of a burgeoning US reggae scene, while helping to cultivate a fast growing UK scene that includes label mates The Skints and Backbeat Soundsystem. Gentleman’s Dub Club now joins a family that includes those acts, as well as Easy Star All-Stars, The Black Seeds, Rebelution, The Expanders, New Kingston, John Brown’s Body, Cas Haley, The Green, and more.
The Big Smoke comes out November 13, but pre-orders for digital and physical (including on vinyl) will launch September 25 (more info on that to come soon). The Gents just finished shooting a music video for “Bad Girl,” which will premiere in October close to the band’s upcoming tour.
02 SEP - OUTLOOK FESTIVAL - PULA, HR
21 SEP - ANTWERP MANSION - MANCHESTER, UK
25 SEP - PARTY IN THE VALLEY - KESWICK, UK
26 SEP - FOOLS PARADISE FESTIVAL - LEEDS, UK
09 OCT - ENGINE ROOMS - SOUTHAMPTON, UK
10 OCT - THE GLOBE - CARDIFF, UK
16 OCT - BRIXTON ELECTRIC - LONDON, UK
17 OCT - BULLINGDON ARMS, OXFORD
23 OCT - EPIC STUDIOS - NORWICH, UK
24 OCT - ARTS CLUB - LIVERPOOL, UK
13 NOV - M11 - MILTON KEYNES, UK
20 NOV - MR KYPS - POOLE, UK
21 NOV - MADNESS HOUSE OF FUN - BUTLINS, UK
12 FEB - MOTION - BRISTOL, UK
13 FEB - PRINCESS PAVILION, FALMOUTH, UK
16 MAR - HORIZON FESTIVAL - BANSKO, BGR
" More info »
August 12, 2015NEW KINGSTON ANNOUNCES "THE PROTECT ME TOUR"
"BROOKLYN-BASED REGGAE BAND TO EMBARK ON FALL TOUR PROMOTING NEW SINGLE & VIDEO “PROTECT ME” FROM THE #1 BILLBOARD REGGAE ALBUM KINGSTON CITY
New Kingston, the NYC-based, chart-topping reggae band, will embark on an extensive fall tour in support of their new single and music video “Protect Me,” off their #1 Billboard album Kingston City. “Protect Me,” which features guest vocals from the legendary reggae group The Wailing Souls, is available to stream here: (https://soundcloud.com/newkingston/protect-me-feat-the-wailing-souls). The debut of the accompanying music video will be unleashed in September shortly before the band launches a 30+ city national tour. Fans can keep up with all the tour happenings via social media with the hashtags #TPMT and #NEWKINGSTON. Tickets go on sale for most shows at 10am EST on Friday, August 7, 2015 at http://newkingstonmusic.com
New Kingston is a true family affair, featuring three brothers (Stephen, Courtney Jr., and Tahir), who all sing and play instruments, joined by their father, Courtney Sr., who plays bass. With their Jamaican roots, reggae is in the band’s blood, but having grown up in the musical melting pot of New York City, the three brothers bring in plenty of other influences as well. The latest record includes 12 songs and guest appearances by members of Tribal Seeds, Hawaiian singer-songwriter Kimie Miner, Sister Carol, The Wailing Souls, and the late, great reggae legend Sugar Minott.
The song “Protect Me” revolves around the positive message of staying true to your core values especially in the face of the many distractions the universe throws your way. Stephen elaborates, “The song is about protecting yourself from the different entities that take you away from your path and staying strong. It’s asking for protection from a higher force. Tahir’s verse states ‘They try and clip our branches, but can’t kill our roots,’ and this is exactly the statement we want our single and tour to promote.” Don’t miss the opportunity to catch what FDRMX calls, “a refreshing brand of reggae that is as authentically Jamaican as it is refreshingly unique among other U.S. reggae outfits.”
--- TOUR DATES ---
SEP 24 Providence, RI - Fete
SEP 25 Virginia Beach, VA - Shaka's Live
SEP 26 Asbury Park, NJ - TBA
OCT 2 Vienna, VA - Jammin' Java
OCT 3 Myrtle Beach, SC - Carolina Roots Sessions
OCT 4 Atlanta, GA - Smith's Old Bar
OCT 7 Sanford, FL - West End Trading Co.
OCT 9 St. Petersburg, FL - Jannus Live
OCT 10 Boca Raton, FL - Funky Biscuit
OCT 11 Jupiter, FL - Guanabanas
OCT 12 New Orleans, LA - Blue Nile
OCT 13 San Antonio, TX - Jack's Patio Bar
OCT 15 Houston, TX - Scout Bar
OCT 16 Albuquerque, NM - Launchpad
OCT 17 Mesa, AZ - Club Red
OCT 18 Las Vegas, NV - Hard Rock
OCT 22 San Diego, CA - Tin Roof
OCT 23 Los Angelos, CA - The Mint
OCT 24 Santa Cruz, CA - The Catalyst
OCT 26 Sacramento, CA - Harlows
OCT 29 Portland, OR - Goodfoot Lounge
OCT 30 Seattle, WA - Sunset Tavern
NOV 2 Aspen, CO - Belly Up
NOV 4 Denver, CO - Cervantes' Other Side
NOV 5 Fort Collins, CO - Hodi's Half Note
NOV 6 Kansas City, MO - Riot Room
NOV 7 Minneapolis, MN - Cabooze
NOV 8 Chicago, IL - Schubas
NOV 13 Burlington, VT - Nectars
NOV 14 Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
" More info »
July 13, 2015BACKBEAT SOUNDSYSTEM & PASSAFIRE TO TOUR UK
"Two Easy Star bands are teaming up for the first time for five shows in the UK! dubbed the Reggae Soundwaves Tour, Backbeat Soundsystem will be joined by Passafire (who will be making their UK debut) for shows in London, Exeter, Manchester, Norwich and Perranporth (in Backbeat’s home neck of the woods, Cornwall). Details below.
Aug 3 - London, UK - Brooklyn Bowl: BUY TICKETS
Aug 4 - Perranporth, UK - Watering Hole: BUY TICKETS
Aug 5 - Manchester, UK - Deaf Institution: BUY TICKETS
Aug 6 - Exeter, UK - Phoenix: BUY TICKETS
Aug 7 - Norwich, UK - Epic Studios: BUY TICKETS
Full list of Backbeat Soundsystem tour dates: Tour Dates
Full list of Passafire tour dates: Tour Dates
" More info »
June 25, 2015THE EXPANDERS DEBUT #1 ON BILLBOARD REGGAE
"The Expanders' Hustling Culture has impressively debuted at #1 on the Billboard Reggae chart. Hustling Culture (released June 16th, 2015 on Easy Star Records) is the band's third studio album and their first release to claim the #1 spot on the Billboard Reggae chart. The Los Angeles-based quintet, comprised of John Asher (Drums, Vocals), John Butcher (Guitar, Vocals), Roy Fishell (Organ), Chiquis Lozoya (Bass, Vocals), and Devin Morrison (Guitar, Vocals), have been making reggae fans and critics take note with their refreshing sound that references the “golden era” of reggae.
“With its #1 debut on the reggae chart, Hustling Culture proves that all styles of reggae are being represented in today’s diverse scene. Their hard work, dynamic shows, and deep-rooted knowledge of the history of the genre, make them a must see act” says Easy Star CEO Eric Smith. He adds, “Furthermore, the critical and commercial response for this release proves how much potential this band has and we are confident they will only grow from here.”
There is a subtle, yet powerfully conscious thread woven throughout all 12 tracks of Hustling Culture, with appearances by organist Roger Rivas of The Aggrolites as well as keyboardist Dan Hastie of Orgone. Limiting the featured guests on this record was a conscious decision for The Expanders, preferring instead to make a record that is all them. The band continues their national tour playing shows with Tribal Seeds and The Green, showcasing songs from the new album and back catalog. Press accolades for Hustling Culture have been pouring in from a diversity of national and international media outlets.
“It's a good time for fans of the classic '70s reggae sound…there are a handful of contemporary bands that take the sound very seriously, striving to respectfully and properly pay tribute to the mood and feel of vintage reggae. The Expanders, a Los Angeles-based quintet, are among those leading that charge.” – Wax Poetics
“From the top to the very last drop, the tight musicianship—and ebullient performances make Hustling Culture an album that’s easy to keep on repeat.” – LA Examiner
“The Expanders have nailed the feel-good vibe of reggae on this album. This is perfect music for sunny days…If you want to be in a better mood, this album is a pretty good prescription.” – The Examiner " More info »
June 18, 2015THE EXPANDERS' NEW RECORD OUT NOW
"For more than a decade, U.S. reggae artists have been building a foundation from the Hawaiian islands to the east coast. This new generation of reggae artists continues to reach new heights of success with album and ticket sales, as well as winning over fans worldwide. While most modern American reggae bands are rooted in the rock reggae style, there are a few U.S. artists championing the lineage of classic roots reggae traditions, and Los Angeles-based vintage reggae revivalists The Expanders are leading that charge, building their sound around classic 70's and early 80's style reggae, with three-part vocal harmonies, conscious songwriting, and an indie-DIY spirit.
The five-piece band comprised of John Asher (Drums, Vocals), John Butcher (Guitar, Vocals), Roy Fishell (Organs), Chiquis Lozoya (Bass, Vocals), and Devin Morrison (Guitar, Vocals) have been making reggae fans and critics take note with their refreshing sound that references the “golden era” of reggae. Morrison and Butcher grew up listening to the record collection of famed reggae archivist Roger Steffens, and credit much of their love and knowledge to the accessibility and education of those experiences. Becoming friends with Steffens' son, they developed an obsession with exploring the deepest reaches of the genre.
Hustling Culture is the band's third studio album, but for the band members feels like their first proper album as a cohesive unit. Asher explains, “Our first album was a collection of music from good friends making a record together. Our second album was a great covers album, but Hustling Culture is the band coming into its own with our songwriting and musicianship.” Morrison adds, “For this album we spent more time prepping and rehearsing, giving us more confidence in the recording studio. The result made the process more fun and enjoyable as we approached the song-writing in a more organized way and explored a wider range of topics than on the first album. Our combined efforts really shine through and all the musicians really stepped up and gave an inspired effort on the whole record.” In addition to the core members, their extended family includes keyboardist Roger Rivas of The Aggrolites and Rivas Recordings. Rivas has been an integral part of The Expanders' recordings and helped maintain and produce the authentic sounds, which shine through on all the band’s releases.
Hustling Culture was recorded entirely on analogue tape at Killion Sound in North Hollywood, CA, from 2012-2014. The studio is a favorite recording place for the band because it's run by Sergio Rios (Orgone), a friend who understands their unique aesthetic and has the gear to capture it, giving the album a warm and colorful palette.
The album title, Hustling Culture, comes from the album's opening line: “One dollar gone but the next soon come, we never stop from hustling culture.” Morrison explains, “Everyone has a hustle, and ours is roots & culture music. It's a way of reminding ourselves that outside of just entertaining and financial gain, there is a bigger picture and larger purpose for writing about the topics and playing the style of roots reggae that we do.” The Expanders' music is a reminder that reggae music wasn't born in a tropical beach paradise, but in the impoverished and underprivileged areas of Jamaica, resulting in a passionate expression for human rights, social justice and freedom from oppression.
There is a subtle, yet powerful conscious thread woven throughout Hustling Culture. “Uptown Set,” for example, is about the hidden effects of our country's party lifestyle, which brings suffering and misery to innocent poor people caught along the routes where party drugs come across the border. “Thanks For Life” is a dedication to women, the struggle they face every day, and the debt of life that we all owe to them. “Top Shelf” is a tribute to the ganja farmers and the reflection of the changing cultural views on marijuana.
The band is part of a burgeoning Los Angeles reggae scene that sprang in large part from The Blue Beat Lounge (the longest running weekly ska night that happened at the Knitting Factory) and LA’s longtime premier weekly reggae night Dub Club held at the Echoplex. A song that was inspired by a key member of that scene is “Reggae Pops,” an infectious instrumental tune laid over a “steppers riddim” featuring John Butcher on lead guitar and Dan Hastie from Orgone on clavinet. The title was chosen as a tribute to the late-great Reggae Pops (born Nemencio Jose Andujar) who was a pillar of the Southern California reggae community for decades. Morrison states, “It's impossible to accurately describe what he meant to reggae music in Los Angeles, but those who remember him from shows will never forget him. He was a dancer, a fan, and a presence that was always felt. He was the man!”
The Expanders will be on tour throughout the summer. Morrison concludes, “Our goal is to bring that vintage reggae feel and sound that we love to places where people might not get to hear it on a regular basis.” " More info »
August 24, 2015 officialGENTLEMAN'S DUB CLUB
SIGNS TO EASY STAR RECORDS
Gentleman’s Dub Club, the beloved UK reggae act that plays to packed venues and festivals in their … More »
August 12, 2015 officialNEW KINGSTON ANNOUNCES
"THE PROTECT ME TOUR"
BROOKLYN-BASED REGGAE BAND TO EMBARK ON FALL TOUR PROMOTING NEW SINGLE & VIDEO “PROTECT ME” FROM TH… More »
July 13, 2015BACKBEAT SOUNDSYSTEM
& PASSAFIRE TO TOUR UK
Two Easy Star bands are teaming up for the first time for five shows in the UK! dubbed the Reggae S… More »
June 25, 2015 officialTHE EXPANDERS DEBUT
June 18, 2015 officialTHE EXPANDERS' NEW
April 28, 2015GIANT PANDA GUERILLA …
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