Summer Preview – Top 5 Cali Reggae Bands

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As we’re in the heart of winter now, perhaps already feeling the effects of seasonal depression and cabin fever, it seems appropriate to talk about the sounds of summer and what we can look forward to listening to when the weather eventually changes. Few things represent summer better than reggae and roots rock music. So, here are some of the top bands you should be listening to, and why.

  1. IrationIration reggae band

Iration is the perfect reggae/rock group. They’ve put out five albums since 2006, and a few EPs on top of it, including songs like Time Bomb, Falling, Wait and See, and Summer Nights.

Originally from Hawaii, Iration formed in Santa Barbara around 2004, under the lead vocalist and guitarist, Micah Peuschel. Their blend of reggae and rock music has earned them a spot on the top list of reggae artists out today. The albums Automatic (2013), and Hotting Up (2015) peaked at number 1 on the U.S. Reggae chart.

  1. Stick FigureStick figure reggae band

This band is the brainchild of singer and songwriter Scott Woodruff, and started in 2006. Woodruff wrote, produced, and recorded 4 albums from 2006 to 2012. After the fourth album, Burial Ground¸ was released, Woodruff put together a live band for Stick Figure.

They have a sound like no other group. Woodruff’s music is a rich and smooth soundscape that is unique to the reggae scene. Unlike most other groups, the entirety of the music radiates from Woodruff’s songwriting and lyrical talent. He writes the music, performs the music, sings, and even has a dog, Cocoa, that often joins the band on stage and tours with Woodruff.

Last year, Stick Figure released Set In Stone, which has ranked higher on more charts than any previous album, peaking at number 1 on the Reggae chart. Woodruff collaborated with Slightly Stoopid, Collie Buddz, and Eric Rachmany of Rebelution on the album.

  1. Rebelutionrebelution reggae band

Led by the silky voice of Eric Rachmany, and formerly, Matt Velasquez, Rebelution is one of the smoothest reggae bands out there. Their use of a horn section gives the music a bright, traditional sound, and Rachmany’s lyrics are emotional and genuine.

Rebelution has released six albums since 2007, plus one live album and three EPs. They formed in Isla Vista in 2004, and in the past twelve years have made their mark on the reggae scene with superb songwriting and complex instrumentals.

  1. Dirty Headsdirty heads reggae band

Similar to Sublime, the Dirty Heads have mastered reggae fusion and the relaxing sounds of California roots rock. Dirty J and Duddy B lead the band’s vocals, often incorporating some very chill rapping. They fuse hip-hop beats with the sound of roots rock quite often, and feature artists like Matisyahu, Kymani Marley, and Tech N9ne.

The Dirty Heads define Cali reggae, and no one makes music as unconquerable as they do. On warm summer days, whether it be on the beach, in the car, or even on the couch, the Dirty Heads should be the first band that comes to mind. Life needs a soundtrack, and the Heads cannot be a more perfect choice.

  1. Slightly Stoopidslightly stoopid reggae band

Before there was the Dirty Heads, and before there was any 2000s Cali group, there was Slightly Stoopid. They describe their sound as a blend of “folk, rock, reggae, and blues, with hip-hop, funk, metal, and punkSlightly Stoopid is like Sublime 2.0. In fact, Bradley Nowell of Sublime discovered the band around the time they formed, and signed them to his label, Skunk Records. The song “Prophet” from their debut album features Nowell.

The band has put out eight albums from 1995 to 2015, plus one EP and four live albums. When they began in ’95, the band members were still in high school. Their prominence in the reggae scene is matched only by groups like Sublime. Slightly Stoopid has been the absolute standard for reggae fusion in the late 90s and 2000s.

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Tyler Rigg

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