Artist Radar – The Expanders

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In lieu of the 2014 Pier Awards, we bring you this week’s Artist Radar in the form of the four-piece vintage reggae outfit, The Expanders.

The Expanders originally formed back in 2003, but the reason we are highlighting them now is because of their big 2014, including tour dates with Slightly Stoopid, Tribal Seeds, G.P.G.D.S., Passafire and Fortunate Youth as well as performing at California Roots, being nominated for The Pier’s 2014 Breakout Artist of the Year, and a big New Years Eve Celebration Show with Iration at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, CA.

Since 2006, The Expanders have been a popular backing band for some of Jamaica’s biggest artists when coming to California, including: Alton Ellis, The Maytones, The Ethiopians, and The Wailing Souls, among others. They haven’t released a new album since their 2012 self-titled release, but they are currently working on their new record, which I am told is due out some time in early 2015.

Unfortunately 2014 wasn’t all good for The Expanders, as they were robbed of all of their gear back in October, while on tour with Passafire in Seattle. All of their gear and a ton of their merchandise was stolen along with most of their luggage. Because of this, they set up a GoFundMe Campaign that fans can donate to by clicking HERE!

Artist Radar: The Expanders

I recently caught up with vocalist and guitarist, Devin Morrison, who explained that: “Getting robbed so far from home is a crappy feeling! They stole most of our merchandise and a lot of our equipment and personal belongings. We did recover the van and trailer though. And the support from the community for our GoFundMe campaign to replace our gear has been truly humbling! It’s an indescribable feeling to see how many people want to help us get back on our feet. We are more than halfway to our goal of $10,000.” Actually, they are at 70% as of this writing, so please go give these hard working musicians some support.
The Pier actually interviewed The Expanders about three years ago, which you can read about HERE!. Each of the band members came from different California based bands, leading to a drawn out five years of recording their self-titled album. Now, Devin says, their priorities have changed a bit, where “Chiquis still sings lead in The Boogaloo Assassins, and I play with The Lions whenever I’m in LA and they have a show. But we’re all committed to The Expanders as our first priority.”

I saw The Expanders for the first time out in California for this years California Roots Festival and was impressed by their ability to represent such a traditional style of reggae music, especially when they performed a stripped down acoustic set in front of The Pier booth. In a scene, that is dominated by “true” Jamaican artists as well as “white-boy reggae”, how does a band that flirts between both genres of reggae, set their own path? Devin gives such a great explanation, we included the entire quote below…

“Well, we are all life-long fans and students of classic Jamaican music. Our mission statement as a band is to bring the sounds of vintage reggae to modern audiences, and to share what we’ve learned about the origins of this music with today’s reggae fans. In that spirit, I’d like to use this opportunity to discuss the term ‘rocksteady.’ We hear people use that term a lot when describing our sound, and they seem to apply it as a synonym for “old-school” or something like that. ‘Rocksteady’ is in fact the name of a very specific style of Jamaican music that was recorded on the island for a small window of time (1966-1968). Classic examples are tunes like ‘Engine 54′ by The Ethiopians or ‘Save A Bread’ by Justin Hinds The Dominoes. Rhythmically speaking, The Expanders actually play almost no rocksteady at all. Our tune ‘Moving Along’ from our first record was an attempt at the style, but in the end it morphed into more of a hybrid thing. There are some modern bands playing great rocksteady, most notably LA’s legendary Hepcat, as well as Roger Rivas from The Aggrolites. Roger just released a free album of rocksteady songs called “The Last Goodbye” that is absolutely killer! John Butcher from The Expanders did a lot of guitar work on that album.”

Devin continues on by further breaking down the technicalities of their brand of reggae, dropping knowledge on the intimate differences within the variations of classic reggae music.

“In a rhythmic sense, we identify much more with mid-70s roots and “rockers”, a term coined by legendary Jamaican producer, Augustus Pablo, in the mid-to-late 70s that was widely used to describe what reggae was sounding like at the time. We also play a lot of the early 80s sound that was mastered by The Roots Radics and producer Linval Thompson;’Something Wrong,’ ‘Race Is Run’ and ‘Snow Beast’ from our first album are examples of that early 80s style, while ‘Evilous Number,’ ‘Gone Away’ and ‘Careful’ have a more roots ‘rockers’ feel.”
When asking Devin how their throwback approach towards classic Jamaican reggae fits into today’s American reggae scene, Devin explained that: “The scene today has a strong culture that is largely centered around common themes of positivity, unity, and social upliftment. In that context, I think we fit in much the same way many other bands in the scene do. The really awesome thing to us is that fans seem to be recognizing and appreciating our attempt to pay homage musically to the golden era of Jamaican music, and so far no one seems to mind that we don’t play the ‘reggae-rock’ style that so many other amazing bands in this scene do so well.”

After almost two years without releasing an album, The Expanders are back in the studio working on their next release. Devin told me that the album is about 95% complete. They’re currently putting some of the final touches on the record. When asked about the new sound, Devin had this to say: “We feel this record captures how the band has grown together musically in the time since we made the first album. I just think the grooves are a little tighter, the songwriting is a bit more focused, and everyone has really learned to listen to each other musically.”

Without getting the name, or track listing, I was able to learn that the boys are in the process of recording one more track with “some pretty amazing vocalists who everyone in the scene knows and loves. I won’t let the names out just yet, but I think people are gonna be pretty stoked on this one.”

Right now you can head over to the MP3 Massive to download the song “Snow Beast” off their 2012 self-titled release by clicking HERE!

The Expanders Tour Dates

The Expanders Links:
The Expanders MP3 Massive
The Expanders Website
The Expanders GoFundMe Account
The Expanders Facebook

Article By: Andrew McClatchy
Photos By: Lindsay Fordham

Watch: The Expanders – “Top Shelf”

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 18th, 2014 at 1:28 pm and is filed under Daily News.
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Happy Merry Christmas From Key West!

Posted in Trop Rock Happenings | No Comments »

Happy Merry Christmas From Key West!

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The end result is a very fun recording and we’re offering it for sale for less than a dollar!!! 

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The Green’s Chocolate & Roses 2015 Tour

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The Green, nominated for Live Artist of the Year for the 2014 Pier Awards, have announced their plans for the New Year with a list of shows that span from late January into mid-March. Dates that include spots with SOJA, the 311 Cruise and Through the Roots.
The Green will officially kick off 2015 in Guam at the Trench Fest, but their official 2015 tour begins Jan. 27th. The title of the tour will be “Chocolates Roses,” like the song off their 2013 release of Hawai’i 13. That tour officially kicks off on January 27th at the House of Blues in San Diego, CA. Knowing the heavy presence The Pier has in southern, CA, we hope as many of you in the area will join us for this kick off show to their tour. The tour will conclude on March 11th at the Gas Monkey in Dallas, TX.

Between January 27th and March 11, The Green will perform 19 total shows in 19 different cities and 12 states with Through the Roots playing at all but their January 31st show at the Rialto Theatre in Tucson Arizona.

From February 12th – February 21st, However, The Green will be sharing dates on the east coast with SOJA, starting at the Music Farm in Charleston, SC and ending at The National in Richmond, VA. They will be playing 8 total shows with SOJA in SC, FL, SC, NC, and VA.

Then, from February 25th through March 1st, The Green will be traveling with 311 on their bi-annual Caribbean Cruise. This is already sold-out, but for the sake of relevancy, I thought I’d include it in this announcement.

The Green is following the momentum of their 2014 run where they performed 75+ shows, including 3 sold-out shows with Bruno Mars in Honolulu as well as previous dates shared with Rebelution, J Boog Stick Figure. The start of 2015 for the group from Hawaii appears to look just as promising as 2014.

Check the dates links below and let us know where you will be seeing The Green perform!

The green Tour Dates

Related Links:
The Green Website
The Green Facebook
Rootfire Website

Article By: Mike Patti

Watch: The Green – “Good One” (Live Acoustic)

Watch: The Green – “Something About It”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 at 12:52 pm and is filed under Daily News, easy star records.
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Short blog today…

Posted in Island Enthusiasts | No Comments »

This is going to be a quick blog today. Friday night Sunshine Cindy and I were honored to be named as the Emerald Coast Parrot Head Club’s Volunteers of the Year! Wow and thanks is all we can say. We appreciate the honor!

Saturday we hung out with our friends Alan and Jackie at Landshark Pizza for a while.

We missed the Destin Christmas Parade and the harbor lighted boat parade. We will make both next year for sure!

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Video: SOJA – Easier (ft. J Boog & Anuhea)

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From the Grammy Nominated album, Amid The Noise And Haste comes the music video for SOJA’s latest single “Easier”. The song features guest appearances by J Boog and Anuhea and was filmed during time spent in Hawaii. This is the 2nd music video released by SOJA from their new album that includes 2 guest appearances, the other being “I Believe” with Michael Franti Nahko. The album is also nominated for Album of the Year inside the 2014 Pier Awards. Enjoy the song video…

This entry was posted on Monday, December 15th, 2014 at 11:33 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Review: Arden Park Roots – Burning The Midnight Oil

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Arden Park Roots – Burning The Midnight Oil
APRTrack Listing:
1.) Write Your Wrongs
2.) Grateful That the Sun Shines
3.) The Music (ft. Spice 1)
4.) As Long as You’re There
5.) I Could Never Be Wrong
6.) Jolene
7.) Hey Girl
8.) Stormy Weather
9.) Revolution
10.) When I’m With You
11.) Not A Day Goes By
12.) Hair of the Dog

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: April 20th, 2014
Record Label: Anxiety Boy
Official Website: Arden Park Roots Website

Artist Background:
From humble beginnings in California’s capital, Arden Park Roots has since sprouted into a nationally recognized band in the reggae-rock community. Since 2007, Tyler Campbell (Vocals), Nick Ledoux (Guitar), Spencer Murphy (Bass), and Jason Duvall (Drums) have released three previous albums: 2008’s The Hard Way, 2010’s No Regrets in the Garden of Weeden, and 2011’s Pipe Dreams, the latter of which debuted at number two on the iTunes reggae charts. In 2012, APR was honored by their hometown by being inducted into the Sacramento Music Hall of Fame, and more recently completed their first national tour in 2014, followed by the release of their newest album, Burning the Midnight Oil through Campbell’s label, Anxiety Boy.

Album Review:
American-made reggae often carries the stereotype of being influenced by two things, Sublime and the marijuana leaf, and in the case of this album, it seems like that stereotype lives on.

Starting with the opening track “Write Your Wrongs,” the mellow and melodic instrumental track is drowned in layers of reverberated vocals that sound a lot like an impersonation of Brad Nowell. Like several tracks on this album, the tempo and tone of Tyler Campbell’s vocals on “Write Your Wrongs” give the song a more abrasive feel than necessary.

The music slows down momentarily for “Grateful That the Sun Shines,” a song that seamlessly blends Campbell’s vocals, Murphy’s bass line and the easy plucking of Ledoux’s guitar strings.

We hear the return of Campbell’s abrasiveness on “The Music,” a song that’s at it’s best during rapper Spice-1’s guest appearance. The album hits it’s stride from tracks four through six, as it starts to adopt a more significant rock sound on “As Long as You’re There,” “I Could Never Be Wrong,” and my personal favorite on the album, “Jolene,” which are all better suited to Campbell’s voice and also accentuate the skill of both guitarists.

The album reaches a cliché lull through two generic roots songs; “Hey Girl” and “Stormy Weather,” before picking up again with politically influenced “Revolution.”

The tempo of the music slows down for the final songs, and eventually fades out with the simple but enjoyable acoustic track “Hair of the Dog” to close the album.

Overall, I feel like Arden Park Roots are a band that’s still in the process of finding their identity. Tyler Campbell has a good voice and he’s accompanied by great musicians, but his tone and tempo often feels like a mismatch with the mellow instrumentals provided by his band-mates on this album. I think APR would best be suited as a rock group who utilizes reggae influences in their music, rather than a roots/rock group.

In an interview with a Northern California based site, Campbell was quoted as saying, “When I write lyrics, I usually don’t reveal them to my band-mates until I hit the vocal booth. It’s one thing to show them words on a piece of paper, totally different expressing the emotion and inflection behind them.” While this may be Campbell’s preferred methodology, I believe the band’s future releases could definitely benefit from some new perspectives.

Written Reviewed By: Andrew Aroche

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art contribution]

This entry was posted on Monday, December 15th, 2014 at 12:10 am and is filed under Album Reviews, Reviews.
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Cali-Roots ’15 Daily Line-up Announcement

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The 6th annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival that takes place at the historic Monterey County Fairgrounds from May 22-24, 2015, announced its third and final round of artists on December 5th. Now, following the revelation of all 39 artists on the line-up, California Roots has posted the highly anticipated daily break down for the weekend.

It’s not every day someone can go to a show and see so many of their favorite acts all play in one place, one after another. That’s one reason why music festivals are increasinly popular.

A mellow and intimate gathering with a dedicated fan-base, California Roots is quickly becoming known for the party they throw every Memorial Day weekend.

Set to be the premier gathering for the progressive US “Roots” movement, festival organizers never fail to put together a weekend of daily line-ups which together, surpass any show a fan of the genre could see another time of the year.

The 2014 edition of the event was a landmark year for the California Roots brand by breaking record attendance and expanding the festival into the legendary “Bowl Stage” to accommodate the growth.

In 2015 with SOJA, The Roots and Slightly Stoopid headlining the bills, Califorina Roots will surly once again pack ‘em in!


For this year’s event the California Roots Festival includes 10 fan-favorites set to return as well as the appearance of 29 acts, some from across the globe, all never to have played the event.

With their full day-by-day line-up, the California Roots Festival will showcase the influence of the ever expanding stretch of sounds encompassed in this corner of music. Booking a variety of bands from around the world, playing everything from Reggae to Blues to Hip-Hop, this event has put together another stellar and diverse line-up, truly giving fans something to look forward to attending.

The only thing left now is for festival organizers to decide at what time exactly everyone will play. Last year the performance schedule was released on April 25th, so be sure to stay tuned for that announcement and any other California Roots updates.

For a complete list of the artists that have been announced, please read below, or click HERE for a link to the Spotify Artist Playlist.

General and VIP tickets went on sale on Friday, November 7th and Single day tickets went on sale Deceber 10th. Click HERE for tickets to secure your spot today.

For more about California Roots Presents Inc., their events, or information about any of the artists performing at the 6th annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival, check out the details listed below.


California Roots Presents Inc. Links:
Cali Roots 2015 Facebook Event Page
California Roots Presents Inc. Website
California Roots Presents Inc. Facebook
California Roots Festival Website
California Roots Festival Facebook
California Roots Festival Facebook Event
California Roots Festival Twitter

Article By: Aaron Solomon

This entry was posted on Saturday, December 13th, 2014 at 12:10 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Video: The Expendables – Music Move Me

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On January 13th, 2015, the wait for The Expendables new record, Sand In The Sky, will be over. “Music Move Me” is the first single off the 12 track album they’re promoting with a new music video for the song below. The new album was mixed by Paul Leary and produced by both the band and Gordon Brislawn. You can grab a FREE download of the song “Starry Night” by clicking HERE! Those that Pre-Order the album on iTunes will receive both “Starry Night” and “Music Move Me”. Stay tuned for more details and enjoy the song video…

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 11th, 2014 at 12:10 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Showtime’s ‘Roadies’ Moving Forward

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It’s All Happening! Back in June we reported that Showtime picked up the pilot for Roadies, a new 1 hour series directed by Almost Famous screen-writer director, Cameron Crowe. The project is moving forward and the characters have been revealed casted.

The show is being billed as a comedy that will follow the day the life of the road crew for a successful touring rock band. Shooting for the Pilot will take place in Vancouver from Jan. 19 to Feb. 11 with production being based out of North Shore Studios.

Cameron Crowe will executive produce the pilot, along with Star Wars Episode VII director J.J. Abrams and My So-Called Life creator Winnie Holzman.

[Related: Roadies Pilot Picked Up By Showtime]
The 1 hour pilot will star Luke Wilson, Imogen Poots, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Peter Cambor and Rafe Spall. The pilot will follow “the day-to-day life of a successful rock tour as seen through the crew members who get the show on the road” with Luke Wilson as the sober and “sleep-deprived” tour manager Bill, Imogen Poots as electrical tech Kelly Ann, Keisha Castle-Hughes as the “outspoken and passionate” sound mixer Donna Mancini, Peter Cambor as “offbeat American anglophile guitar tech” Milo, and Rafe Spall as a British financial adviser named Reg Whitehead who “knows less than zero about the music business.”

Keep in mind this is just a pilot episode – a standalone episode that is used to sell the show to a television network. Most pilots are never publicly screened if they fail to sell a series to a network. If the series is picked up, it’ll be Cameron Crowe’s first TV Project.

“J.J. and I have been talking about it for some time. We’re fans of crews, those workers up on the rigging towers, or walking feverishly with eight phones on their belt, those quietly devoted people live huge lives, they’re often the real keepers of the flame. So happy to also be telling these stories,” shares Cameron Crowe.

If you’re any fan of music movies, then you’re familiar with the cult-classic Almost Famous that came out in 2000. Cameron Crowe directed the film and won an Oscar for it with best original screenplay. The film is loosely based on his own experience as a journalist for Rolling Stone magazine. And as of this writing, it is available to watch on Netflix.

Stay tuned for more information as soon as it’s made available to us – It’s All Happening!

Article By: Mike Patti

Watch: Trailer – Almost Famous

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 at 8:26 am and is filed under Daily News.
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Welcome to Jamrock Cruise 2015

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So we’ve received the details for 2015′s Jamrock Cruise, a 5-night musical voyage that will depart from Miami to Jamaica on Norwegian Cruise lines and they’re set to sail twice next year! Tickets go on sale Dec 16th…
The 2015 Artist Line up for the musical voyage includes Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Julian “Juju Royal” Marley, Ky-Mani Marley, Bounty Killer, Capleton, Elephant Man, Barrington Levy, Third World, Morgan Heritage, Tanya Stephens, Cham, T.O.K. and Christopher Ellis.

There will be Sound Systems and DJ sets from Stone Love, King Jammy’s, Saxon Sound, Mertro Media, Black Scorpio and Kingston 12. And yes, there will be more artists DJ’s announced later!

Tickets go on Sale Dec. 16 to General Public. Pre-sale Available as of Dec 2 for 2014 Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruisers Dec. 9 for 2013/2014 Wait Listers.

Due to the overwhelming demand for cabins, the state-of-the-art Norwegian Pearl ship will set sail twice next year. The first 5-night musical voyage departs November 30, 2015 from Miami, Florida with two stops in Montego Bay, Jamaica before its return on December 5, 2015. The second ship leaves Miami, Florida on December 5, 2015 with stops in Falmouth and Ocho Rios, Jamaica before its return on December 10, 2015.

Many other entertainment events will be planned to satisfy every reggae lover’s appetite. This cruise is all that is reggae, but especially all that is Jamaica. For more information and to purchase tickets, please click HERE! Or call 1.800.248.7471

Related Links:
Jamrock Cruise Website
Jamrock Cruise Facebook

Article By: Mike Patti

Watch: Video Recap of the 2014 Musical Voyage

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 at 12:03 pm and is filed under Daily News.
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