The Jolly Llamas

The Jolly Llamas

BandRockReggae

This is heavy reggae. It is Joe Strummer's record collection. It is Burning Spear jamming with Joel Plaskett. It is Lee Perry drunk on Ontario home-brew. It is Don Drummond before he went crazy and Gordie Johnson after he discovered the one drop. It's reggae like you've never heard it before.

Biography

Did you ever hear of the Ruts? Shortly after the Clash experimented with reggae in 1977 the Ruts released a couple of earth shattering rock-reggae songs (“Give Youth a Chance,” and “Jah War”). Those records are touchstones for the Llamas: heavy Jamaican dubby rhythms with all the spit and guts of rock and roll thrown on top. Pure joy if you ask me.

The band has a pretty boring and standard back story—four guys struggling to get gigs playing the kind of music they like and paying out way more cash than they bring in just to be able to get up on stage and rock after the punch clock shuts up for the day. Never really content to simply ape reggae’s back catalogue the band always make it a point to write new material that keeps one foot in the reggae/dub/rocksteady or ska groove but make sure the other foot landed in…sometimes punk, sometimes rock, sometimes lounge and, once, even country.

The Llamas have defined the sound of “heavy reggae” by turning out epic riff based reggae-rockers (“Burnt House Hill,” “Dub City,” “Toast Coloured Girl”) next to rocksteady and ska time capsules (“Ruder Than You,” “Jenna’s Vegan Docs”, “Montreal”), Costello style popsters (“Domestic Disturbance,” “Information Cage”), dancehall grooves (“Dread Rockers”), Massive Attack-influenced dubs (“Diplomatic Immunity”) and classic ’70s Kingston reggae (“Ease Up,” “People Don’t Help People,” “Bongs not Bombs”).

The Llamas have recently finished their second album, Dread City Rockers, with producer and honourary fifth member Brian Alexanian. A renowned sound engineer who has toured the world with chart topping acts such as Tea Party and Jacksoul, Alexanian spent seven years on the road mixing live sound for the legendary kings of reggae, The Wailers. He has also worked with countless other reggae acts such as Barrington Levy, Rita Marley, Yellowman and Canada’s own Messenjah. His experience behind the mixing board and as producer has guided the Llamas through the making of what is surely to be one of Canada’s most interesting releases of 2007.

PLAYLIST WITH:
the Ruts, the Clash (at least the reggae-ish stuff), the Police, the Wailers, Steel Pulse, Sublime, Lee Perry, Slackers, U-Roy, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Burning Spear, Big Sugar (again, the reggae-ish stuff), Culture, the Specials, Yellowman, Buju Banton, King Tubby and Mad Professor.

Discography

Not Yet Bigger Than God (1999): limited release EP

Shangri-Llama (2000): debut full length. Three songs from this album (Burnt House Hill, Jenna's Vegan Docs, Upsetter) are downloadable from www.jollyllamas.ca.

Dread City Rockers
March 2007
Many tracks are streamable from www.jollyllamas.ca.