Tafari Anthony

Press Photo

Toronto LGBTQA+ artist Tafari Anthony drops his new single, "Live in a Dream," a song about the universal search for contentment.

Tafari explains, "We are constantly trying to strive for more, and I know personally I feel a great deal of failure or shame if I don't live up to expectations. But I had to slow down and stop worrying about what I don't have, and who I don't know and be happy to live my own personal journey." Pulsing with pop, reggae, and Afro-beat elements, "Live in a Dream" allows Tafari to showcase his cashmere, dynamo voice.

Keep Reading Show less
New Releases

ARI Releases Dark Dance Hit “Oh Well”

Intoxicating, dark dance music.

ARI

Press Photo

Close on the heels of her debut single, "Nothin' but a Monster," alt-pop singer ARI releases "Oh Well," from her forthcoming EP, IDIOTGRL, slated for release in June.

ARI shares, "'Oh Well' is about a dream I had one night. I woke up in a strange place surrounded by people to find my voice had been forcefully ripped away. There was nothing I could say or do to get people to notice me." Merging elements of reggae and trap with dark pop flavors, "Oh Well" throbs with a seductive rhythm. "Is it all a waste of my time / Is it all made up in my mind," she sings."

ARI - Oh Well youtu.be


Follow ARI Instagram | Twitter | Spotify

MUSIC

7 of the Best Anti-War Songs

The best protest music transcends time and is always relevant. Today, we need it more than ever.

This morning, Donald Trump authorized a drone strike at Baghdad International Airport that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran's top security and intelligence commander.

Since this action, which The New York Times described as a "serious escalation," the United States has been preparing for potential retaliation.

This event feels like a turning point in the midst of endless conflict between the United States and Iran, a flashpoint that has everyone waiting with bated breath. It's impossible to say at this point whether the strike will merely mark a continuation of previous conflicts or if it will launch a full-blown World War III, but for fear of the latter, some people have been turning to age-old mechanisms of coping with war and fighting for peace: anti-war protest songs.

The history of American war protests is intertwined with music. From Bob Dylan to Bob Marley, from Joan Baez to Jimi Hendrix, anti-war protests of the 1960s marked a glorious ascendance of protest songs, but many of them had their roots in the past, either in gospel or blues or from somewhere else, some undercurrent of defiance.

Many of the greatest protest songs are applicable across movements, accessing a core of anger and solidarity, and that's what each of these songs does. War has never ended; it's only moved and shifted. These songs remind us that the struggle is an age-old one.

  1. Masters of War — Bob Dylan

Very few artists are as synonymous with protest music as Bob Dylan, and "Masters of War" is one of the most damning songs of all of his work. It was written in 1963 as a protest against the nuclear arms buildup of the early 60s, and it's ultimately a treatise against the military industrial complex and all the forces that profit off the deaths of others. "You hide in your mansion / while the young people's blood / flows out of their bodies and is buried in the mud," he sings, one of the most searing lines in protest music.

Bob Dylan - Masters of War (Audio) www.youtube.com


2. War Pigs — Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath's vehement, sprawling f*ck you-ballad to everyone making money off war. The song was the opening track on the album Paranoid, and its original title was "Walpurgis," which references April 30th, a traditional feast day sometimes referred to as the "witch's Sabbath," a holiday with roots in the 8th century. It was released as a protest to Vietnam and the draft but has endured as an anthem to rage at the futility of pointless war.

BLACK SABBATH - "War Pigs" (Live Video) www.youtube.com


3. Redemption Song — Bob Marley

Few voices captured the fear of war and spun it into something like hope as well as Bob Marley. "Redemption Song" is timeless and of its time. With lyrics inspired by Pan-Africanist speaker Marcus Garvey, it speaks to a very specific and universal feeling. It's the last song on Marley's last album, written in 1979 when he was already suffering from cancer, and the stripped-down acoustic version is a mix of pain and faith.

Bob Marley - Redemption Song (from the legend album, with lyrics) www.youtube.com


4. Zombie — The Cranberries

"Zombie" is so catchy that it's easy to forget what it's about, but it was written about the casualties that occurred during the 1993 IRA bombing in Warrington, England as part of the ongoing war between England and Ireland. Dolores O'Riordan wrote the song in 1993, and its release—along with a music video that showed children playing war games and clips of British soldiers—resulted in a ban from the BBC; the video later garnered over a billion views and the song became a protest anthem.

The Cranberries - Zombie (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com


5. Jimi Hendrix — All Along the Watchtower

This cryptic song was written by Bob Dylan, but even Dylan began covering Jimi Hendrix's version when it came out in 1968. The song might be about Vietnam, Armageddon, or the crises of meaning that these kinds of events open up, but its true power is in the sound and the power of Hendrix's guitar skills, perfectionism, and ability to distill centuries of oppression into sound.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - All Along The Watchtower (Audio) www.youtube.com


6. People Have the Power — Patti Smith

Patti Smith just turned 73, but her song "People Have the Power" is timeless and still resonates just like it did when it was released in 1988. Inspired by the radical spirit of the 1960s, it has since been used in protests everywhere from Greece to Palestine.

Patti Smith - People Have The Power www.youtube.com


7. We Shall Overcome

This song is likely descended from a gospel hymn by Reverend Charles Albert Tindley, who wrote the original version in 1900. The first version of the song as it is today was sung by Lucille Simmons, who was leading a cigar worker's strike in 1945. It was popularized by artists like Pete Seeger and became a seminal song of the Civil Rights Movement when it was performed by Guy Carawan. Then it was used by folk singers like Joan Baez at rallies and concerts of the 1960s. The song's mutability and applicability to so many movements reveal more about what all these movements have in common than anything else—a desire for freedom, equality, and peace, and a faith in the people's ability to get there.

We Shall Overcome www.youtube.com

MUSIC

Kalpee Waxes Nostalgic on “Miles Away”

Polished fusion of R&B, Pop, Calypso and Reggae Rhythm.

KALPEE

Press Photo

From Trinidad and Tobago, singer-songwriter Kalpee recently released the video for "Miles Away," from his latest EP, Home.

Commenting on the song, Kalpee states, "Musically I wanted it to be real chilled, a fusion of rock, pop and reggae. Something that you could easily head bop to, but that still makes you feel like taking a drive down North Coast Road (In Trinidad) on an evening at sunset time."

Kalpee - Miles Away (Official Music Video) youtu.be


Kalpee exploded on the scene with the release of his first single, "No One," piling up more than 7.5 million views on YouTube, followed by "Colourful" and "Love Letter," resulting in over 25 million streams collectively.

Full of cool tropical textures, "Miles Away" offers nostalgic tones over an infectious beat. "It don't really matter where I'm at / Though I'm miles away, miles away / Can nobody take away the weight of my back / When I'm miles away, miles away."

Follow Kalpee Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify

MUSIC

Jah9 Has a Spiritual Reckoning on "Ma’at (Each Man)"

"What we pay, will be weighed, when we meet our judgment day."

Jah9

Wade Rhoden

Ever since her emergence from the cocoon of Jamaica's "reggae revival" movement, Jah9's polished jazz vibe has captivated listeners.

Described as "black magic," Jah9's spellbinding vibrato conjures up balanced textures steering the way toward spiritual evolution. Her latest single, "Ma'at (Each Man)," the second single from her forthcoming third album that drops early 2020, carries her potent feminine energy with its blend of reggae, soul, and spiritual consciousness.

Jah9 - Ma'at (Each Man) | Official Music Video youtu.be

Jah9 explains, "I speak about the karmic cycle and its real implications for the individual relative to their actions on 'Ma'at (Each Man).' No actions go unnoticed, and I am ever reminded that 'what we pay, will be weighed, when we meet our judgment day' in the lyrics. For [me], it represents a coming-of-age, an initiation into the real meaning of social and personal responsibility, an understanding that fosters self-discipline and strength of will: the key tools for rising above karmic forces."

Follow Jah9 Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | YouTube

MUSIC

HIRIE Talks Addiction, Bipolar Disorder, and Spirituality on her Album "Dreamer"

Tropical-pop singer-songwriter releases third album ahead of headlining her U.S. fall tour.

Tropical pop singer HIRIE's third album, Dreamer, is a sonic journey base-lined by islad beats that celebrate the bold, joyful, and even messy impulses that drive the female experience.

This album marks the first time frontwoman/vocalist Trish Jetton has collaborated with other songwriters. The body of work covers a multitude of topics and themes like self-care, the struggle of dealing with addiction and indulgence, and the "wild woman archetype."

Popdust was able to chat with Jetton about the album and how a present from a fan inspired Dreamer.

I love how vibrant yet simplistic the video is for your song "She Go" and how it features many badass women and beautiful tropical scenes. What was the conception process like?

So for that song, it's interesting because there are so many different messages in it, so I left it open to interpretation. But you know the hook in itself, "she go." It's a term we use a lot in Hawaii; it's like, say, if the waves are pumping, you know the waves are going off. Somebody might be like, "Oh, she go." Like Mother Nature, she go, like she's getting it right now. Or like if there's a beautiful you know girl walking on the street, and she's just totally owning it and paying no mind to anyone: She go. It's an endearing term you see, whether it's about... a human being or just nature in general.

And then the song itself [goes], "Put down the gun," which is meant to mean, "Put your ego down." I co-wrote that song with a couple of guys from The Drive. At one point in the day, we were discussing the gun violence that was going on around the time we wrote the song. I believe there was a mall shooting. So it just blurted out of me like, "Put down the gun, you know, be sensible." Let's cut the drama and let's get it. So when I did the video, I didn't want something that felt egotistical. I just wanted to show or highlight women that were just badass.

I didn't want anything that seemed like we were trying too hard production-wise. We kept everything low-key and minimal. The director, producer, videographer Tim Slusarczyk, he was just so humble. He did everything himself with one camera, one lens, and we got it all done pretty quickly. We wanted to keep it organic.

HIRIE - She Go (OFFICIAL VIDEO) www.youtube.com

As for "I'm Messed Up," it's evident in the lyrics and live performance what the song is about, but how does it fit into the album? What are some of the elements and themes that you hope people pick up on in the project?

I think we introduced some elements that we haven't done before. "I'm Messed Up" is the only song with a mariachi band in it, for example. In others, we added in violins and were able to tie that into songs like, "Message in a Bottle" and "Frida Kahlo." I think, though, when it comes to authenticity, "Messed Up" was one of the easiest to write. There was just so much; it was just so close to home, and I probably could've easily written ten verses. I think the way that it ties into the album is just the honesty and authenticity in the lyrics and the emotion behind it all.

So it's safe to say that that authenticity is consistent throughout the album?

I think that with this album, I allowed myself to express almost everything that I feel...I'm a proud bipolar person, and I go through swings of depression and anxiety and then epic bliss. On this album, I did collaborate with songwriters, and I felt like they helped me convey the emotions I was feeling in a way that I think people will be able to understand. I was guided, and that helped me communicate more clearly. I'm a very metaphorical person, and when I write sometimes, I'm almost too poetic. They'd be like, "Hey, I don't think everybody knows that word or understands that phrase. Maybe we can find something else or use something different." Overall, it was cool to write about all of the highs and lows of the human experience.

I think the last track on Dreamer, "Stay Wild" was one of the songs that spoke to me the most.

Ironically enough, I almost a named the album Stay Wild! That tune kind of started the creation of this album. One of my fans gave me this book called Women Who Run With Wolves, and it's a book about the wild women archetype and how throughout history and different cultures, women have been suppressed and made to believe that if you're wild or eccentric, [then] you're mad, or crazy, and you deserve to die or don't deserve a quality life. You can see the unfairness between male and female promiscuity and how we judge genders. When I read the book, things started flowing out of me, and I felt all of these different emotions that led me to write Dreamer in the way that I did. In the book, I was reading that it was okay to feel these things that other people avoid. "Stay Wild" has a folklore vibe to it, and it's based on all of these women. I'm so proud of those lyrics, and that's one of the few songs that I wrote [solo] on the album. It's the least mainstream in a sense, but it's last because it's the one I love the most.

In the end, why did you end up naming the album Dreamer?

In the book, I read a passage that talked about how there are two types of spiritual people. There is the Dreamer, and there is the Seer. The Seer can see your aura and see the future right in front of them. They're the kind of people that can anticipate the future. For The Dreamer, for example, the Native Americans would ask them a question, or they'll ask themselves a question and have a dream or lucid dream that they would then interpret. I started to think about how my dreams are super lucid and how in the past I'd write them down and understand them too. It came to a point where I was like, "Okay Trish, what is the strongest, most important message? What are you going to call this album?" I woke up the next morning, and literally, the first word that came to mind was "dreamer."

No way!

I didn't even know why! It didn't occur to me what it meant to me, so I wrote it down on a memo on my phone and forgot about it. Later that day, one of my band members was trying to quit. He was one of my oldest band members, and he was saying, "I can't do this anymore. We're not making money, and we're struggling. I'm ready to stop doing it." I was like, 'I can feel that something is right around the corner. Don't worry about it.' He kept on saying how it's just a dream, and all we are are dreamers, and I had this, like, Keanu Reeves 'a ha' moment. I'm supposed to be a dreamer. And that is what we are. He just said it in such a kind of a negative way at the moment; I realized that it wasn't negative. It is what we are. We are dreamers, and we have to keep believing.

Be sure to check out HIRIE's latest album Dreamer below and be sure to catch her on tour!

HIRIE will embark on a headline U.S. tour starting October 13th in Huntington Beach, CA and stopping in cities like Orlando, Washington D.C., Seattle, San Diego, and more.

Dreamer

October 13 – Huntington Beach, CA @ On The Water Fest 2019

October 18 – Corpus Christi, TX @ House of Rock

October 23 – Orlando, FL @ The Abbey

October 24 – Stuart, FL @ Terra Fermata

October 25 – Melbourne, FL @ Florida Institute of Tech

October 26 – Jacksonville Beach FL @ Surfer the Bar

October 27 – Greensboro, NC @ Blind Tiger

October 29 – Virginia Beach, CA @ Elevation 27

October 30 – Washington, DC @ Union Stage

November 1 – Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory

November 3 – Somerville, MA @ ONCE Ballroom

November 6 – Detroit, MI @ El Club

November 9 – St. Louis, MO @ Blueberry Hill

November 10 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown (Front Room)

November 14 – Garden City, ID @ Visual Arts Collective

November 15 – Spokane, WA @ The Big Dipper

November 16 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile

November 17 – Portland, OR @ Holocene

November 20 – Sacramento, CA @ Holy Diver

November 21 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst

November 23 – San Diego CA @ The Observatory