Blue Island Tribe

Don’t freak out now—the title of Blue Island Tribe’s latest EP The 5 Hits of Ecstasy may be a clever double entendre, but it’s not about drugs. Well, not really, unless you consider the powerful, hypnotic sway the Iowa based reggae-rock band holds over its thousands of fans across the Midwest. Driven by their mantra “You can’t argue with crazy,” these six ambitious musicians launched the band while attending the University of Northern Iowa in the early 2000s after deciding that the world simply needed more fun. They have since spread the fun on four previous discs and anywhere from 100-200 annual gigs. And the EP name? Purely exciting and innocent. It developed after drummer Mike Schminke couldn’t remember how several of the new songs—all in their primitive stages—started. The title track “Ecstasy,” whose laid back romantic and soulful exuberance reflects the band’s new sonic vibe after a spell of growth and transition, launches with five hits in unison, so bassist Brandon Clark would always tell him “5 hits of ecstasy.” They added “The” because, well, they can and the other guys—lead singer Frey, lead guitarist John Schminke, rhythm guitarist Kelly Powers and saxophonist Garrett Thielking—couldn’t argue with it. The 5 Hits of Ecstasy was recorded at Sonic Factory Studios in Des Moines and features key contributions by members of the popular Midwestern based college rock band The Nadas. The EP was mastered by John Mailoux of Bongo B...

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