LATEST NEWS. 03 - 01 - 23
JM and the bbb will be back recording
their debut album soul exodus at colour
field studio on Saturday Jan 7th.
Tim Julian will as always be at the
helm, directing proceedings.
Keep an eye out for photos and
more, coming soon.
latest news. 11 - 11 -22
Kia ora and greetings.
The band is super excited to announce after
a two year wait they're debut gig @ the jam
factory tauranga Aotearoa.
The band has been busy rehearsing up the
set list and are itching to get the kiwi
soul reggae sound out there live.
tickets are limited so get in early. click the link below for tickets.
John Michaelz and the Black Brothers Band - EP Review: Limited Edition
26 SEP 2022 // A REVIEW BY KEV ROWLAND
It is not often that I am asked to review reggae, as it is an area which is very much a strange land to me, so I am coming at this as a straightforward listener as opposed to having any knowledge in the genre. This EP is a collection of three previously released singles, plus dub versions of the same, one of which has been broken in two to provide us with seven numbers. Michaelz was nominated for a Tui award all the way back in 2010 for his gospel album Walk on Water, but most of his work has been in the rock field in different bands, and it is only fairy recently that he has turned his attention to this style, and very effective it is too.
The songs are perfect for the summer, as sunshine comes pouring out of every note, fresh and inviting, encouraging everyone who is listening to get up and dance. This is not music to be played at home, but where there are gatherings of people who want to have a good time and party. My favourite of the three songs is Do Tha Do’s which is slowed down so much that movements are jerky, yet underneath the staccato strikes there is a wonderfully fluid bassline which is simply sublime. It grooves, links in, moves off, comes back and is the beating heart of the song. Only Michaelz can say if he means all the words he is singing, as they come across as full-blown Rastafarian both in terms of lyrical content and slang usage, but this definitely comes across as genuine as opposed to using certain words and stylings as that is what others do within the genre.
If reggae is a scene with which I am unfamiliar then dub takes that to the next level, but I found it fascinating to hear how the songs have been broken down and moved in different directions. The songs are still there at the heart though, and to my unpractised ears I found these versions fascinating. I love the backing vocals throughout the EP, as they add so much to what is undoubtedly a solid slice of being on the beach, sharing a barbie and beer with friends while dancing the night away.
Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ ( 4 / 5 )
REGGAE SINGLES By winston watusi the weekend sun 29 july 2022
This EP collects the band's three singles to date as well as four dub versions created by singer/songwriter John Michaelz's son Dylan Israel.
This is the latest direction for John, who has previously fronted such bands as Hard To Handle, The Stone Babies, and Kosher, and been nominated for a Tui Award for his gospel album “Walk On Water”. Now he turns to stripped-back old-school Marley/Tosh-style reggae, with the able assistance of bass guitarist Gary Black and drummer Wayne Black.
The Black Brothers are something like legends on the New Zealand music scene, where they have worked with everyone from Prince Tui Teka to Dalvanius Prime, from Brendan Dugan and Eddie Low to Frankie Stevens and Ritchie Pickett. They are a fantastic rhythm section and contribute great harmony vocals (and no one in the biz has a bad word to say about them!).
Completing the line-up is Mike Kirk, until 2020 guitarist with Kokomo and B-Side Band, who adds impeccable guitar flourishes, Dylan on keyboards, and Porina Whetu McLeod, whose lovely vocals make her into the band's very own I-Threes.
The songs are concise and to the point, three straightforward, catchy, grooves with positive lyrical sentiments. Perhaps the strongest is the latest, “Jah Face”, which emphasises the commonality of the human race and preaches unity. The production is warm and welcoming and the band's mix is filled with subtle detail and clever touches.
I must confess dub mixes are not an area of speciality for me and I'm not sure I exactly understand their function. They are chill instrumentals with odd snippets of vocals and emphasis on heavy reverb and delay. All four here seem very pleasant.
As is my habit, I played this to everyone visiting. Spreading the local vibe, as you do. And the general reaction has been very positive. The only reservation from a couple of people was at the adoption of “Rastafarian slang”. Lyrics such as the grammatically-challenged “Jah give I inspiration”. Is this some sort of cultural appropriation, or just the language you use in a Rastafarian song? I have no idea.
The closest I've come to such reggae arguments is when Adele got it in the neck a while back for wearing dreadlocks. Turns out that even the term “dreadlocks” is offensive - it should now be just “locs” - and it's okay for Adele because she comes from Tottenham. Who knew? It's a tricky world culturally...
Anyway, if you fancy a little reggae, check out John Michaelz and the Black Brothers Band.