The Pier, the number 1 site for up-to-date reggae-rock music and news, has released their Pacific Island music sampler. This release features 29 tracks from 17 different artists, all from the Pacific Island region. While there are a handful of established bands in the collection (Pepper, Ooklah the Moc, The Black Seeds), there are several great new bands waiting to be discovered.
The opener “Love and Affection” by The Green is the perfect 1st track to the sampler. Out of the groups featured on this compilation, no band has made a bigger splash in the scene in the last year. This song is just a small taste of what's to come from this talented Hawaiian band.
The 2nd track comes from House of Shem. “Party” is a phenomenal track. I first heard about House of Shem while I was traveling in New Zealand. While their music has yet to make an impact in the States, they are definitely deserving to be recognized.
It is always tough for me to get into female vocals. If it wasn't for seeing Anuhea live with Mat McHugh and Mishka, I would have easily skipped over “Crown Royal.” Anuhea has an amazing voice and will no doubt do some great things for the scene.
The Sampler carries on with solid tracks from The Black Seeds, Inna Vision, Pepper, and Ooklah The Moc. Although the tracks from The Black Seeds are not new material, I have no problem with these tracks making the Sampler. This New Zealand band in my opinion is the most talented band on this album and they are quickly gaining a strong presence in the USA. Inna Vision is a band I first discovered while reading The Pier. From what I've heard, I really enjoy them. Pepper's “Wake Up” shows that they still have some old school Pepper vibe left. I haven't been pleased with their last 2 releases but this new song shows a glimpse of the rock-reggae sound they brought to the scene over 10 years ago.
Kora was the only group I had a tough time getting into on the album. For me, this band didn't really follow the Pacific Island reggae feel as the rest of the album. Both of Kora's tracks are too bass heavy for my mellow mood. Additionally, Splinta's “Leaving the West” had a very creative opening (PITTED!), however it was a bit too hip-hop for me.
The reason I come back to The Pier day after day is for music discovery. There are several groups on the Pacific Island Sampler I had never heard before and was happy I had the opportunity to stumble upon them. Although only one of their songs stuck with me, I look forward to hearing more from 1814. "Jah Rastafari" is a stellar track and has some great pacific island vibes. Konfrontationand Rootikal Riddim were two other bands that my ears heard for the first time. They are two bands that will be a welcomed addition to my expanding reggae music collection. Rootikal Riddim is my favorite “new band” that I got from this sampler. I've had a chance to check out their full length albums and they do not disappoint.
The sampler wraps up with another new band for me, The Alliez. “Right Time” is a very catchy song and a perfect way to close this great sampler. During the horns section of the song, I got similar vibes to the Mystic Roots Band (previously feat. on The Pier Summer Sampler '08). The Pacific Island Sampler is another solid release from the Pier. I look forward to more regional samplers, because I know it is bound to have some standout bands that are waiting to be discovered.
Album Rating: 7.5/10
The Green – Love and Affection
House of Shem – The Party
The Black Seeds – Slingshot
1814- Jah Rastafari
Rootikal Riddim – Rastafari is the Truth
The Alliez – Right Time
Listen to The Black Seed's- "Love is a Radiation"