Nov 21st

#TheSultanofSKA !!! featured in The Observer

By #TheSultanofSKA !!!

 

                               SULTAN IN THE OBSERVER !

 

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/The-Sultan-of-ska_53276

Sep 24th

SKAspot's Complete 2016 Warped Report

By Andymanj

Last month (July 2016), I had the opportunity to meet up with some of the ska (and a couple of non-ska) acts on the 2016 Warped Tour at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, Florida. Joining me to help interview and photograph the bands was Tampa Bay's favorite uke fronted ska band's bassist, Nic Giordano of UNRB. I split the SKAspot Review into three parts due to length the blog would have been if I didn't. To make it easier for you to find the bands you'd like to read about, I decided to post this entry. In addition, I've included a video of some of the footage I captured. Enjoy!

SKAspot’s 2016 Warped Report Part 1

  • Review of New Found Glory's Set
  • Review of Less Than Jake's Set
  • Interview with JR (LTJ Saxophonist)

SKAspot’s 2016 Warped Report Part 2

  • Interview with Kevin and Justin of The Interrupters
  • Review of The Interrupters Set

SKAspot’s 2016 Warped Report Part 3

  • Review of Reel Big Fish's Set
  • Interview with Michelle Beebs and B-Lay
  • Review of Beebs' Set
  • Interview with Dan and Cody of Set It Off

 

Photos from SKAspot's Coverage of the Warped Tour

 

Sep 24th

SKAspot’s 2016 Warped Report Part 3

By Andymanj

Originally posted on July 14th, 2016.

Unfortunately, I had to pass up my interview slot with Reel Big Fish in order to check out The Interrupters’ set. It was a difficult sacrifice however I did still get to catch their set. As is to be expected, Reel Big Fish drew a huge crowd to the left foot stage and getting to spend the first three songs in the photo pit was a blast. Since the last time I saw them (and interviewed Aaron and Ryland), Aaron’s trademark “chop-burns” welcomed a “soul-patch sister” to the family. Also, trombonist Billy Kottage, who at my previous RBF experience was a recent addition to fill the slot left behind by Dan Regan, now seems like he’s always been part of the family. Another noticeable difference was Ryland Steen wasn’t there. Filling his spot on drums is Suburban Legends’ Ed Larsen. I later found out that Ryland is currently on tour with America (the band).

Aside from the couple of “staff changes,” Reel Big Fish sounded as great as ever, playing through some of their more popular tunes including “Beer,” “Sell Out,” and “Another F.U. Song.” Joining RBF on stage for “She Has a Girlfriend Now” was Michelle Beebs who I had the opportunity to interview. Of course they also demonstrated their mastery of all musical styles by playing about 6 versions of “Suburban Rhythm” ranging from disco to country and even some death metal. It’s amazing to see, even after 25 years, Reel Big Fish has not slowed down.

Earlier in the day I interviewed Michelle Beebs who I had previously met while her band, Beebs and Her Money Makers, was on tour with Reel Big Fish and Goldfinger. Beebs has been an important member of the Warped family for the last few years, performing with her band and starring on Fuse TV’s “Warped Roadies.” For this year’s Warped Tour, she’s playing her music from her solo project along with rapper “B-Lay” (who joined us for the interview).


Andy: The first time I met you was when you were touring with Reel Big Fish after spending the Summer on the 2013 Warped Tour. You also were featured on Warped Roadies. Needless to say, Warped has been a big driving force in your success as Beebs and Her Money Makers. Besides Warped what are some of the other factors and/or key players that have help you achieve success both with the band and in your solo work?

Beebs: Kevin Lyman obviously. Reel Big Fish have been a huge cornerstone for Beebs and Her Money Makers. But also I have some really great friends who are music business people who have been great mentors to me: Ana Reina, Maggie Sumner, my band, and pretty much all my friends who encourage me. I came from doing music business and being a booking agent and a tour manager and band manager and being inspired by those bands and the ones I was working for and the music scene. I started singing with some of the bands I was working for and they were like “What? You sing?! What’s going on?!” I was like “Yeah.” “What are you doing here?” I’m like “I don’t know…” So I’d say I find inspiration in all the people I meet. There are definitely a few key players but I do find inspiration from everything. Oh, and Brett Hestla! He produced my new album. I can’t forget that guy! He crushed it and made the whole album happen.

Andy: And B-Lay, who were some of the key players and inspirations for you?

B-Lay: I’d say Deuce from Hollywood Undead first. I toured with him. Ronnie Radke of Falling In Reverse. Actually I learned a lot from Mr. Porter, Eminem’s hype man. I knew him back in L.A. He helped me write. I learned a lot from a lot of people I hang around a lot. Beebs – I watch here record and stuff, how she writes her music. I just take a lot of inspiration from the people I’ve hung around with for the last six years. Brett Hestla is also on my new project as well.

Andy: From the moment I saw BAHMM hit the stage I knew there was something different/off the wall about you guys. Seeing the costumes alone were worth the price of the ticket that I didn’t pay for because I had a press pass (laughs). Nevertheless I would have paid just for the stage show (laughs). The stage show with the robot guy and the confetti canons were like icing on the cake. Then of course is the music which includes use of a kazoo. What is the inspiration behind the look of BAHMM and the stage show?

Beebs: Okay – I’ll tell you the real story of how it all started. I’m a longboard skater. I was bombing garages with a friend in downtown Orlando. I had just started the band. I had a show coming up -It was a benefit. I hit an oil slick going down the parking garage and “raspberried” the whole right side of my body. My friend, at the time, was making my dresses and stuff for shows. I went to her and said “You have to make me something that covers my entire body because I have road rash everywhere!!” Hence- it started with stockings and arm warmers to cover all the terrible bruises and road rash I had gotten and then that evolved over time. At first it was like “we’re all bank robbers” and then I said “No! We’re superheroes. Yeah – We’re bank robbing superheroes! We take from the rich and give to the poor!” And then I was like “Wait – I don’t know if we should be robbing people. I don’t care how you put that, it’s not right. How about we’re just superheroes who spread love and positivity and also hang out with hot dogs and robots and unicorns!?” Then everyone agreed “Allright – that sounds good.” So that was the evolution of Beebs and Her Money Makers but it all started on a skateboard!

Andy: With BAHMM, the ska connection is obvious but there are definitely hints of other styles like funk and soul. Who are your ska and non-ska musical influences?

Beebs: OK – Well obviously Reel Big Fish. I’ve been listening to them forever! The Specials, Skankin’ Pickle, The Skatalites… Also I grew up on punk rock. I’m definitely a punk rock kid. I came to Warped Tour all the time. Rancid’s one of my favorite bands, Bouncing Souls, NOFX, Pennywise, The Descendents… And also, before I rebelled and said “Eff you Mom and Dad! I’m listening to punk rock!” I grew up on old country western like Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, George Jones and then was really into 50s music, on my mom’s end, with Chuck Berry, Little Richard. And… definitely George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic and Earth, Wind and Fire are huge musical influences to me as well as 90s hip hop.

Andy: B-Lay, Who are your musical influences?

B-Lay: I grew up on a lot of rap music. My first tape was Bone Thugs n Harmony… Tupac, Biggie, Eminem. I got into the rock side in my late teens. I love Nirvana, Aerosmith, Prince, Michael Jackson, David Bowie. David Bowie didn’t care what you thought of him. He was a showman. “I’m gonna put on a show and entertain you! I’m gonna look good. I’m gonna put on girls’ clothes, be fresh, I’m gonna kill it!” I love Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. I love a lot of different genres now because I feel I appreciate that it takes a lot of passion and honesty in your lyrics and your melodies to make people want to listen to it. I love melodies and patterns.

Andy: In your solo work, you seem to transform from a comic book superhero back into someone more human and “real.” It reflects the “multi-faceted” nature of you. Do you find it challenging to switch between the more theatrical Beebs and the raw Michelle?

Beebs: I’m not even going to lie – yes! I feel like the solo project has been really near and dear to my heart because it’s a lot of the songs that I’ve been writing that I feel just didn’t fit with Beebs and Her Money Makers but I really wanted to put out. I made them with a lot of passion and thought. I feel that everyone just thinks I’m a cartoon character then they’re like “Oh- she’s a real person.” When you’re used to being in one energy when you play- now I feel like I’m exposed and have to be myself and it’s terrifying. If someone’s like “Beebs and Her Money Makers sucks!” I’m like “Whatever! That someone I created. I don’t care!” But if someone says “Michelle Beebs sucks!” that hurts. It’s different. I mean – I don’t let it affect my day too much but it’s just different. I feel more exposed. Also I play guitar in my solo work. I’ve played guitar for years by myself, in my living room writing songs, but to play in front of people, and also getting used to the fact that I’m used to doing choreographed dance moves and jumping around… now I’ve got this guitar and I’m very limited to where I can go unless I get a “Bobby Brown” microphone which I can’t do because I’m not Bobby Brown. Is it hard? I think it’s good to show a more genuine side of myself. It’s like Clark Kent and Superman. Superman was bad ass. Clark Kent was also bad ass but on the “low key.” I feel like I’m just taking pointers from Superman at this point.

Nic: Not a bad person to take pointers from! (laughs)

Beebs: He’s my current spirit animal.

Andy: Any last words?

Beebs: Yes- half of the Money Makers – Lovelady (guitar), Bruno (drums) and Levon (bass) were kind enough to learn the songs for my single album and back me on the Warped Tour. Shout out to the Money Makers and Bunky also played on the album. Everyone’s been very involved. Also - Everyone’s like “Are Beebs and Her Money Makers breaking up? Are you Gwen Stefani-ing us?” No – I just have other music I wanna play. That’s all!

During her performance at the Poseidon Stage later that day, Beeb’s played some of her new music including my favorites from her new album “Ride Around the Sun.” With some of the Money Makers and B-Lay backing her, Beebs performed with no costume: just her, her guitar and her incredible voice, meandering through rock, funk, pop, and hip hop. B-Lay also got to show the crowd what he’s made of, performing one of his songs and showing off his free-style abilities. While most of Beebs’ set was a departure from the ska of the Money Makers, she did bring Aaron Barrett and the Reel Big Fish horns to perform “I’m Not Crazy.”

Be sure to check out Beebs on her new album “Eye Shine” available on iTunes. She also has a GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/BeebsEyeShine where you can donate to help cover the costs of recording and releasing the album. In return there are some awesome perks including a physical copy of the album and even a personal acoustic show and pizza party. B-Lay also recently crowd-funded a release of his new EP. To learn more about B-Lay, visit http://www.blaymusic.com/.

One of the perks of experiencing Warped with Nic Giordano is that he seemed to know a lot of the musicians. Whether it was from UNRB playing shows with them or his natural charm, Nic could spot someone and strike up a conversation. He came to Warped with several copies of UNRB CDs to give out and was on a mission to give a CD to anyone he spotted wearing a UNRB t-shirt. I’m not sure what the count was by the end of the day but I know he spotted a few. Being from the Tarpon Springs area, Nic had a connection with some musicians in the band Set It Off, a self-described “orchestral pop punk” band from the Tampa area. Though Nic had to leave a little early, he did me the favor of introducing me to Set it Off’s guitarist Dan Clermont and singer Cody Carson and setting up an interview with them. Though they don’t play ska, we did discuss their connections to ska music.

Andy: Having been on the road for over a week now, how would you describe this year’s Warped experience from a musician’s perspective?

Cody: Surprisingly very smooth. There’s been nothing wrong, no drama, friendship is off the charts… it’s been a blast so far. I have no complaints.

Dan: The best qualities of Warped over the years have all been bound together this Summer and it just works.

Andy: Which bands are on Warped this year that you feel people should be on the lookout for?

Cody: Waterparks is one for sure. They’re friends of ours that are on the same label as us, Equal Vision Records. They’re a really talented band and a lot of people like them. Cane Hill.

Dan: Cane Hill’s a great band.

Cody: They’re really, really heavy. They bring back the best stuff from the new metal age that I missed.

Dan: We’ve been huge fans of this band but never toured with them – New Found Glory. A few of their guys started coming up and talking to us.

Cody: A few years ago I came to Warped and got a backstage pass for donating blood and the only person I wanted to meet was Cyrus Bolooki. He was my favorite drummer when I played the drums in a ska band. I loved his drumming and his nuance and I got to meet him here at Vinoy and he was just the kindest person in the world to me. Now he just watches our set sometimes and is really into what we’re doing so it’s really surreal.

Andy: You mentioned having played in a ska band. You don’t currently play ska. What are your ska connections?

Cody: A lot actually. My first band ever was a band in the area called Exodus 2017. I played drums and did backup vocals. I was a huge fan of Reel Big Fish and Five Iron Frenzy. Five Iron Frenzy was the first band I ever got into that wasn’t like R&B or pop music. I was in love with them. I heard “Pre Ex Girlfriend” and that was it for me. That eventually led to a friendship with Five Iron – Buddy and Leanor started coming to our shows. They let me come see them at Plaza Live, a theater in Orlando (after they reunited). It was my first time seeing them because they had originally broken up before I could. It was so sad. One of the coolest things was the sax player for Reel Big Fish, Matt Appleton, we got connected with him on Warped Tour. We just became friends through our mutual love of beer and just how nice of a guy he is. He ended up being involved on our record “Duality.” He wrote a lot of the horn lines and he played horns. We (Dan and Cody) always played a lot of horns. We met in marching band in the Tarpon Springs High School marching band. Dan played trumpet and I played clarinet. I also know how to play tenor sax and stuff but he’s (Matt Appleton) beast on horns. We’re actually trying to organize getting Reel Big Fish to come on stage during our song “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing,” the horn players. So we have lots of ties to ska music, lots of respect, and we’re glad to be back in touch with it.

Andy: What has been your strangest touring experience?

Dan: I’d say – we toured 5 years ago with this band called the Millionaires. It was our first professional touring experience, performing in front of a few hundred people at big venues and it was the first time we saw a tour where people partied so hard too.

Cody: Yeah – That was definitely eye opening. And also what’s cool about it is our tour manager, Riley, was managing them at the time. Headliners can kind of determine whether or not you have a good time. We got along with the headliner so well and Riley and stuff that they’d invite us on their bus and make us hotdogs and we’re like these kids in a van and don’t know what a bus is like.

Andy: Where is the strangest place you’ve woken up?

Cody: In a sandwich! (laughs) We were staying at someone’s house. I drank too much Yaeger…Walked to Jimmy John’s somehow. Walked back, opened my sandwich to eat it and I guess I woke up on top of my bread and under my bread. I guess I was the sandwich. I don’t even know how that happened. I woke up to a “domestic disturbance” where we had to immediately evacuate so they had to drag my drunk ass out of there but… yeah – I woke up in a sandwich on an air matress!

Dan: I can actually attest. Mine was probably the same night because after that we all soon blacked out and soon woke up in a van in a different state for the next show. Somebody drove us to the next place.

Cody: I have another one. It was “Sink or Swim” night at the Orpheum in Tampa and I drank beer intentionally so I wouldn’t get too drunk and I guess I got “Roofied.” I didn’t know that could happen. I started talking to dogs. I peed on our van and I woke up naked on a couch at this apartment we were staying at and Dan was playing a South Park game on a Nintendo 64 in front of me. It was quite an eventful night.

Andy: Favorite TV show?

Dan: Game of Thrones.

Cody: South Park.

Andy: What’s your favorite reading material?

Dan: Shel Silverstein.

Cody: Bleacher Report.

Andy: Phobias?

Dan: Spiders.

Cody: Snakes.

Andy: Favorite academic subject in school?

Cody: Math was actually my favorite because I feel like I got a grasp on math somehow. Science – I was terrible at.

Dan: I loved science.

Andy: What’s your spirit animal?

Cody: I don’t know if you can name your own spirit animal.

Dan: How about we name one for each other.

Cody: OK – what’s a lively and acrobatic animal?

Dan: I was gonna give you a shark.

Cody: Shark? Why shark?

Dan: Because you’re very quick, aggressive and focused.

Cody: I’m gonna say “you’re a dog” because you’re so friendly, everyone loves you and you’re loyal.

Dan: 16 year lifespan!? What’s the fun in that?

Cody: How long do shark’s live?

Dan: I don’t know but crocodiles have a 43 year lifespan.

Andy: Facts brought to you by Set it Off. Meat or potatoes?

Both Dan and Cody (in unison): Meat!

Cody: Easy – steak. I love steak!

Andy: Stage or studio?

Dan: That’s ever changing.

Cody: I’d say, at the moment, stage. I want everyone to hear our music.

Be sure to check out Set It Off’s website at http://setitoffband.com/ to learn more about them and hear some of their music. Their newest album, “Upside Down,” drops on October 7th.

To wrap up SKAspot’s review of this Summer’s Warped Tour, I’d like to thank everyone who helped make it happen: the bands, their crews and managers, Nic Giordano of UNRB for joining me on this adventure, Danielle Mardahl and Warped Press, Mike Cubillos and Earshot Media, the security at the photo pits,  the Cool Gear folks for keeping me hydrated with their free water, and, of course, skanking Jesus. I’d also like to thank (and apologize to) the guys from Less Than Jake who put up with my incessant requests for an interview and even got some text messages from some of their family members. I found that SKAspot was the only “typed in” name on the list for an interview with Less Than Jake. Also, thank you to Kevin Lyman for keeping Warped going for the past 2 decades and keeping ska bands in the lineup. 

 

Check out more photos from the Warped Tour in St. Pete in the SKAspot Warped Gallery.

Read SKAspot's 2016 Warped Report Part 1

Read SKAspot's 2016 Warped Report Part 2

Sep 24th

SKAspot’s 2016 Warped Report Part 2

By Andymanj

Originally posted July 8th, 2016.

After we meandered through the city of band merch tents and booths supporting various causes, Nic and I ended up in the photo pit at the Poseidon stage where we got up close for The Interrupters’ set. For those of you who aren’t yet familiar with The Interrupters, you’ve missed out. Of course you’ve probably heard the band whether you know it or not. Their hit “Take Back the Power” from their self-titled album was used in a T-Mobile commercial. It probably says enough about the band that Tim Armstrong has been involved with them both through his own Tim Timebomb and Friends project as well as producing their last two albums. His influence is definitely noticeable in their sound. Nonetheless they are distinguishable. Fronted by Aimee Interrupter with three brother backing her, Jesse, Kevin and Justin Bivona, the quartet plays upbeat ska punk with a bit of a 2 tone feel and look. Arguably one of the most danceable acts on this Summer’s Warped Tour, The Interrupters’ set exceeded expectations as their sound was as tight as their recordings and the energy was certainly contagious as they had most of the crowd skanking as soon as they hit the stage.

The Interrupters kicked off their set with “Haven’t Heard the Last of Me,” a song, like many of theirs, that is conducive to crowd participation. As the audience sang along “Na na na na na… you haven’t seen the last of me!” Aimee crisscrossed the stage, engaging the crowd in every direction. The set continued with an awesome selection of tracks from their first album such as “Liberty,” “White Noise” and “Take Back the Power” as well as some covers including Marley’s “Judge Not” and Op Ivy’s “Sound System.” Every song had the crowd dancing, even Jesus Christ, himself. You read correctly, a man dressed as Jesus joined the pit for some circle skanking. If SKAspot’s endorsement of The Interrupters isn’t enough for you, hopefully the “divine” endorsement is! Aimee got up close and personal with the crowd, leaving the stage and coming up to the front barricades of the pit as the band wrapped up with “Family.” Aimee summoned the audience to come in close as we were all “inducted” into The Interrupters’ family. Beyond the “warm fuzzies” of belonging, The Interrupters left the crowd energized despite the sore feet and sweltering heat.   

I met up a little later with Kevin and Justin Bivona for an interview where we discussed their influences, work with Tim Armstrong and their new album “Say It Out Loud” which was released June 24th on Hellcat Records.

Andy: Tim Armstrong and Rancid/Op Ivy are clearly influences on your music. What are some other of the ska and non-ska musicians/bands that have influenced/inspired you?

Kevin: We’ll start with ska. Just before our set yesterday we were watching Dance Craze on our bus before we went out to play so The Beat, Bad Manners, Madness, The Specials, Bodysnatchers, The Selecter obviously… But then we’ve been lucky enough to tour with Less Than Jake and the Bosstones and those were bands that we grew up going to see. We “happened” a little later than the whole 2tone thing but I did actually see The Specials in 99 but it was without Terry Hall but most of them where there. Ska-wide… pretty much all the good ones. (Turning to Justin) What do you think non-ska?

Justin: Punk Rock bands oviously, we originally toured with Rancid. The Beach Boys… Cock Sparrer…

Kevin: That’s a good one! We rip a lot of them off.

Andy: Over the last few years Tim has worked with Jimmy Cliff on Rebirth, collaborated with tons of musicians with his Tim Timebomb and Friends project and has had a lot of involvement with the Interrupters in both producing and collaboration. What is it like working with him and how does the experience compare with working with other musicians?

Kevin: As a band, he’s the only producer we’ve ever worked with. It’s such a good fit because he’s a “band” guy and he comes up from playing in bands. He sees the bigger picture for us. He’s not as “in the tornado” as we are, so to speak. He’s really good at steering us in the direction we want to go in. As a producer he’s really involved in helping us with range and making sure our song-writing is on-point, but also making sure we don’t get too “in our heads,” overthink stuff, ruin something perfectly good because we’re thinking too much about it.

Andy: The Interrupters have lots of lyrical content that reflects an attitude of general government distrust and the need to overcome oppression. The political climate of the past decade has no doubt inspired these lyrics as I’m sure the current election will have an impact on new songs. Beyond pure reaction to today’s society/politics/etc., what message do you want to communicate to your listeners? What do you feel is your responsibility with affecting change?

Kevin: Well, I think the most important thing to us, first and foremost as a band, is just to put out a “fun” vibe and just have a place where people can have fun because we do address a lot of issues because there’s a lot of stuff going on in the world, a lot of division, a lot of pushing and pulling but at the end of the day, we all have to share this planet. I think having a fun vibe, not taking it too seriously, but being aware is important. And yeah, like you said, in the last 10 years and even right now, there’s a lot of stuff that… we’ve made jokes that if Donald Trump becomes president, our third album is pretty much done and we’ll be the biggest band in the world. We’d have plenty to write about, you know! I don’t think we’re reinventing the wheel punk rock-wise as far as distrusting the government. I think a bigger part of our message is community, family, unity, diversity, loyalty. All the stuff that makes punk rock what it is.

Andy: I can definitely see that. Beyond the brotherhood in the band, you sing about family. I also see that a lot of what you guys do is not “put yourselves in a box..”

Kevin: It’s hard not to put yourself in a box when you’re dressed like this. (laughs). But at the end of the day we want everyone to be able to enjoy the music not just a certain type of political thinker. That’s the beautiful think about music. It’s for everyone. You can interpret it however you want. If you like it, you can turn it up. If you don’t like it, you can turn it off.

Andy: Your newest full length album “Say it Out Loud” just dropped on June 24th. I actually have it in my backpack…

Kevin: (pointing to Justin) He’s the guy on the cover, look! (Justin poses like he does on the cover)

Andy: How would you describe this new album? What can listeners expect?

Kevin: I think if you liked the first record you’ll like this one. We’ve grown as a band, spending more time together on the road, and playing shows, meeting other bands. We touch upon many of the same topics from the first album but I think this one’s a little more broad. Maybe we touch upon a few more topics than the last one but still our vibe is fun, “dance-y,” punky ska. I think you’ll dig it.

Andy: What are some of your favorite tracks from this album?

Justin: Well my favorite track is “She Got Arrested.” It seems to be more of a universal favorite among some of the fans as well.

Kevin: Yeah – We’ve been playing that one out a bunch and it seems to be getting a really good response. It’s a fun one. My favorite track, and I might be a bit biased, is called “The Valley” and it’s about where we live and where we’re from which is the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. It was fun because all of my favorite bands name-dropped their neighborhoods so I said ‘we need a song where we can name drop streets in our neighborhood’ so we finally got to do that. And we got our dad to play trombone on it and he’s from the Valley too so… cool, yeah – check that one out!

Andy: What’s your favorite movie?

Justin: Godfather Part II

Andy: What’s your favorite reading material.

Kevin: Whatever is on my iPhone. I guess social media.

Andy: What’s your most awkward moment on-stage?

Justin: Silence.

Kevin: I’m going to take that one too – lots and lots of feedback.

Andy: Phobia?

Kevin: Heights.

Justin: I don’t know! I guess I don’t really think about phobias.

Andy: Favorite academic subject in school?

Kevin: My favorite was English because you got to do creative writing stuff.

Justin: Mine was government because you got to learn how it all worked so you could see through all the bullshit.

Kevin: From the perspective of the school district! (laughs)

Justin: Well yeah but then you go out and research and figure it out for yourself.

Kevin: Yeah – at least they give you the tools to figure it out for yourself.

Andy: Meat or Potatoes?

Kevin: Meat!

Justin: Potatoes!

Andy: Beatles or Stones?

Kevin and Justin (simultaneously): Beatles!

Andy: Cats or Dogs?

Justin: Oh – definitely dogs! Can I re-answer the ‘Beatles or Stones’ question?

Andy: Sure.

Justin: Beach Boys! (Laughs)

Andy: Stage or Studio?

Justin: Stage. I spend a lot of time in the studio but the stage it where it happens!

As a follow-up to the interview, I have listened to “Say It Out Loud” all the way through a few times and concur with Kevin that “She Got Arrested” is one of the best on the album. Besides “She Got Arrested,” some of my other favorites include “Babylon,” “Phantom City,” “By My Side,” and “You’re Gonna Find a Way Out.” That said, the new album from The Interrupters is an excellent followup to their freshman record and no song should be skipped (on either album)! If you haven’t already gotten your hands on a copy of the album, click here to order yours!

Stay tuned for Part 3 of SKAspot’s Warped Report where we catch Reel Big Fish’s and Beebs’ sets, check in with Beebs and B-Lay for an interview and meet up with Cody and Dan from Set it Off.

Check out The Interrupters' Website.

Check out The Warped Tour Website.

Check out more photos from the Warped Tour in St. Pete in the SKAspot Warped Gallery.

Read SKAspot's 2016 Warped Report Part 1

Read SKAspot's 2016 Warped Report Part 3

Sep 20th

SKAspot’s 2016 Warped Report Part 1

By SKAspot

Originally published July 5th, 2016.

On July 1st, I got on the road and drove 2 hours north to sunny St. Petersburg to check out this Summer’s Warped Tour. Tampa Bay area local and UNRB bassist, Nic Giordano joined me on the day’s adventure as we strolled from stage to stage to check out some of Warped 2016’s ska and non-ska acts as well as meet up with a few of the musicians for some interviews. After picking up our press credentials and making our way to the back of a very long line, we enjoyed some people watching and conversations with others waiting in line. Some of the bands walked alongside the line to get in to let attendees know when they were playing and to attempt to sell their music and merch. The word’s “pop punk” were so common we decided to make a water “drinking” game to help us stay hydrated in the sweltering heat where whenever we heard fans or a band describe their music as “pop punk” we’d take a swig.


Finally, it was time to cross through security and scope out the set times to find out who we were going to see and when. Early on the list was New Found Glory so we made our way to the left foot stage to catch the long beloved “pop punk” band we’ve been listening to since the late 90s. The band opened with their hit from the early 2000’s “Understatement” however nothing about the set was understated. Jordan and Ian both crisscrossed the stage as they played through some highlights of their discography. Jordan perched at the front of the stage while Ian’s trademark grimaces conjured images of gargoyles, it was clear that NFG has found the fountain of youth. As the set was coming to a close with “My Friend’s Over You,” you couldn’t help but be nostalgic and think about what you were doing when you heard that song almost 20 years ago. Of course, New Found Glory wasn’t the main reason we were there, they were just the warm up for Nic and Me.

We were there for the ska. For those of you who didn’t witness Warped in the 90s, there was a time when ska music was around every corner. Bands like Rancid, Save Ferris, Hepcat, The Specials, Bosstones, Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake were the pulse of the tour. With the new millennium, the 3rd wave subsided a little and Warped seemed to zero in more on the pop-punk and hardcore bands with a trickle of ska here and there. A few of the “bands of old” remained on the lineup each Summer until 2016. In what I’m hoping is the beginning of a resurgence, two of the more popular 3rd wave bands, Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish both ended up on the lineup along with Warped newcomers, The Interrupters. Meanwhile, Michelle Beebs of ska fusion band Beebs and Her Money Makers took to this Summer as a solo act with a few of her Money Makers backing her as well as rapper B-Lay.

Less Than Jake was the next to take the “Left Foot Stage.” While waiting for the set to start LTJ drummer, Vinnie, sat at his drums with his 5 year old daughter, Lilly, as she tapped out some rhythms. Moments later “Hail to the Chief” cranks up with a “Presidential” prologue for the set. The band took to the stage with guitarist Chris Demakes at center suited up as “Uncle Sam.” Less Than Jake’s campaign to “Make Warped Great Again” didn’t fall short as the band played through some of their greatest hits from the last 25 years including Pezcore’s “Johnny Quest,” Losing Streak’s “Automatic,” “The Science of Selling Yourself Short” from Anthem and See the Light’s “Overrated.” Meanwhile, their stage (and pit) antics didn’t disappoint. At one point the band brought out it’s TP blasters and painted the pit in toilet paper. Later, in an LTJ twist on crowd surfing, their mascot, “Evo Boy” went rafting across the crowd armed with a super soaker and fishing pole. Less than Jake was certainly a highlight for us nostalgic 30 somethings and teens alike.

Later, Nic and I caught up with LTJ saxophonist JR Wasilewski for an interview where we discussed the evolution of the LTJ fan demographic, Pez Collection, Children, …

Andy: Having grown up in Gainesville and followed you since high school, I’ve noticed that LTJ has always appealed to a younger audience. Back then all ages shows included tweens through college students. How has your audience changed in the last couple of decades?

JR: All of those teens and college students are now middle-aged with teens and college students as children (some of them). It’s only changed due to the fact that as we’ve gotten older, the fans have gotten older.  So we have some young fans, some old fans. We don’t really discriminate. To still have younger fans, to me, is kind of mind-blowing but I don’t question it, I just go with it.

Andy: I can’t help but think of Pez when I think of LTJ. Pezcore, of course, was named because of the band’s Pez obsession. Is that Pez obsession still there?

JR: With Roger and Vinnie more so than the other three of us. We all have Pez collections by proxy but Roger and Vinnie definitely have the most complete and expensive collections. If you’re going to break into someone’s house from our band, break into their house not mine. But now they both have kids so they can’t really have them out and displayed. I think Roger still has his displayed but his son’s not allowed to touch them. “Those are daddy’s toys. Can’t touch’em.”

Andy: Speaking of kids there are lots of kids entering the picture and Chris is expecting…

JR: Yes. Well he’s actually done nothing in the situation except, you know, not wear a condom I guess. Sure, he’s pregnant I guess! If you wanna say that.


Andy: Any names being tossed around? Is he considering “Nic” or “Andy?”

JR: I said it should be “Ruggerio” but I don’t think that’s gonna fly. I’ve heard some name’s going around but nothing that stuck. We’ll see.

Andy: You guys all have side projects. There’s Roger with GreenhornRehasher and Moathouse. There’s Paper and PlastickWunderland War, Vinnie’s Tattoo Parlor - Wunderland Tattoo

JR: If you’re testing me I can tell you all this stuff… Buddy has a project called the Coffee Project he plays in. Chris is a real estate agent in the Punta Gorda area. He will sell you a house and it’s probably shitty! And then I started a podcast called “Everyone Has a Podcast.” It’s on Tumblr. Yeah – we just do stuff to keep us from getting bored.

Andy: I’d find it hard to get bored with all of that plus everything with Less Than Jake. How do you manage the time between all the side projects and touring and studio time?

JR: You just get used to it. When we were all offered the opportunity to let this be our career, we didn’t want to fuck it up. We worked really hard to make sure that continues to happen. Everything we do on the side fills in the gaps of the other things we do. It all feeds on itself so we try to support each other both in our band and our side projects too. It’s important. That’s what keeps us happy to see each other, is to be able to have those other outlets.

Andy: Many LTJ fans are also Reel Big Fish fans. You guys have toured together and both have had a big presence on the Warped Tour. Have you ever considered doing some sort of collaboration? Perhaps a split where you cover each other’s songs?

JR: We talked about that before we toured with each other. It’s just timing. You know what I’m saying? We’ve definitely talked about it, just nothing’s happened. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen just not in the distant future. I don’t see it happening but maybe, one day. That would be interesting.

Andy: What’s your strangest tour experience?

JR: Warped Tour.

Andy: Where’s the strangest place you’ve woken up?

JR: My own bed because I’m never there.

Andy: Who are your biggest ska and non-ska influences?

JR: My biggest ska influences are, in no particular order, the Skatalites, Fishbone, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Specials, Madness, Toots and the Maytals, Roland Alphonso but he’s part of the Skatalites. Non-ska would be Elvis Costello, The Beatles, Descendents, Iron Maiden, NOFX.

Andy: If you weren’t a musician, what other career would you want to have?

JR: I’d be a teacher. Or a rocket pilot. It doesn’t seem like much work – you just sit at the top of the rocket and someone else does the work. You may have to count down from 10 or something…

Andy: Any words of wisdom?

JR: If you start a band, stop! And sell me all your gear. I buy it cheap!

 

On another note, unrelated to Warped, Less Than Jake guitarist Chris Demakes recently lost his grandmother. Chris wrote a song in honor of his grandmother who lost her vision due to Temporal Arteritis and to help raise funds for Tidewell Hospice who cared for her at the end of her life. Please check out the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSwhur7T5Oc and check out the description to find out how you can donate to Tidewell Hospice.

 

After checking out Less Than Jake, Nic and I made our way towards the stage where The Interrupters were scheduled to play. Read Part 2 of SKAspot's 2016 Warped Report where we cover their set and talk with Kevin and Justin Bivona of The Interrupters. 

 

Check out Less Than Jake's Website.

Check out the Warped Tour Website.

Check out more photos from the Warped Tour in St. Pete in the SKAspot Warped Gallery.

Read Part 2 of SKAspot's 2016 Warped Report.

Read Part 3 of SKAspot's 2016 Warped Report.

 

Sep 9th

Stubborn Records Releases Benefit T-Shirt for Legendary Reggae Producer Lee Perry in the Wake of 2015 Studio Fire

By SKAspot


New Brunswick, NJ – Stubborn Records 
has launched an “Upsetter Fire Rescue Squad” fundraising benefit T-Shirt and embroidered patch for the assistance of 80-year old reggae music living legend Lee “Scratch” Perry aka “The Upsetter.”  Perry’s home studio was destroyed in a blaze in December, 2015, after which Perry’s wife said, “he didn’t even have a pair of shoes to wear.”    100% of the profits from sale of the T-Shirt will go directly to Lee Perry.  The shirts are available now for only $15 at www.stubbornrecords.com

Stubborn founder King Django, a long-time Perry devotee, conceived the project and worked with Steve Kitchen of Vancouver, Canada’s combination13.com to develop the brand-new four-color design.  Kitchen was kind enough to donate his artwork to the cause, while Jeremy Myers of Jumpstart Screenprinting in Southampton, PA came on board offering a generous manufacturing subsidy.

According to Django, “I met Lee and his wife by chance in the Zurich airport just as I had wrapped up a European tour.  They were both so kind and warm, I will never forget it. When I heard about the fire, I was heartbroken and speechless, and I had to think of some way to help.”

Perry is widely known as an innovator and pioneer in Jamaican music from the ska and rocksteady of the 1960’s through the development of reggae and dub in the later 1960s and 70’s.  His production and even singing style were huge factors in the development of reggae superstar Bob Marley, and his talents have been called upon by a wide range of performers including the Clash, Paul McCartney and the Beastie Boys.  Stubborn Records is America’s longest-standing ska and reggae label, founded by King Django in New York City in 1992, and has been located in New Brunswick, NJ since 2000.

Sep 9th

The Freecoasters "Show Up" Thanks to a Hugely Successful Crowdfunding Campaign!

By Andymanj

(Originally posted April 11th, 2016)

I may be biased but my current favorite female fronted ska, reggae and soul band just happens to be local. Over the past two or so years I've been fortunate enough to get to know John, Claire, Saul, Scott and David, a magical configuration of five talented musicians from Southwest Florida born from the ashes of the late Fort Myers ska band Brentford Sound. I first got to know the band through my involvement with the Citrus Records compilation, "Florida Ska: Closer Than You Volume 3." At that time, the Freecoasters were just getting started but it was clear during their performance at the CD release party that this quintet was special. Fast forward a couple of years and the long-anticipated "Show Up" is finally here!

The first word that came to mind after first hearing the album from beginning to end was "solid." From the get-go "Keep Moving" sets the tone for a collection of recordings that showcase the talents, incredible chemistry, stamina and soul in this band. No detail is spared when it comes to the meandering melodies entangled in booming b-lines and incessant beats. Each track is a symbiosis of sound, a multi-layered wilderness of toil and emotion that refuses to subside.

Though I'm impressed with the album as a whole and it's difficult to single out specific tracks,"Bring It On Back" and "I Can Sleep When I'm Dead" are two of my favorites on "Show Up." There's a certain attitude about these two tracks that makes is difficult to resist bobbing my head. That said, every song on the album has a physiological effect. You can't not dance! But on a deeper level, I feel that "Show Up" is an amalgam of passion and experiences, struggles, hope and determination. 

Their first full length album was produced by Jesse Wagner of the Aggrolites who subjected the band to what they describe as "reggae boot camp." To launch the album, the band embarked on a Kickstarter campaign last Summer and a mid-summer tour with no breaks. Their campaign was a big success with over a hundred donors helping the band achieve a stretch goal of releasing the album on vinyl. Of course, after hearing the album or, even better, seeing the band live, their success is no surprise! Check out "Show Up" at https://thefreecoasters.bandcamp.com/.

 

Sep 9th

SKAspot Reviews: General Tso's Fury's "Where Has The Music Gone?"

By Andymanj

(Originally Posted August 25th, 2015)

Do you like to give a new album a listening to in the order in which it was produced while resisting the temptation to skip to the track that made you pick up the album in the first place? If so, General Tso’s Fury has a sweet reward for you in it’s newish album, “Where Has the Music Gone.” I say “newish” for the fact that a fan favorite, “Cereal Time,” the catalyst track that might drive people unlike the aforementioned to buy the album and jump to track 5, is already a couple of years old. Of course, in General Tso years, their tracks never grow old and neither will this album!

So let’s do this in order. Track 1: “Hypertension.” The obligatory “Set the tone” tune for the album does just that. High energy. Fury, if you will. From the get go. Ama-zingy guitar on this one and some insane drum action certainly helps the song live up to its name. Of course hypertension is a condition which may lead to a heart attack and, along with the fiery brass on the second track, “I Look Better When I’m Naked,” your heart is already pounding and there are still 11 more tracks to go. We are in trouble!

GTF continues to deliver on the promise that we’re in for an ass-kicking both musically and lyrically in its declaration of hate for our friends, pets and home appliances in the third equally heavy hitting track. They just don’t let up! 

Or do they?! “Fist Bump” lightens the mood a little and provides a moment of release from the headlock GTF has on us in the first 3 tracks. I love the “saucy” horns on this one and the guitar solo that happens around a minute and 45. This brings us to the song that most have heard prior to this album, “Cereal Time,” another light-hearted catchy ska jingly tune that reminds me Suburban Rhythm for some reason. You can’t help but smile at the promise of heaven if you bring Jesus a box of cereal when you arrive at the pearly gates. Thanks for the heads up GTF!

The momentary lift is soon over as hell-fire ensues for “Spoiler Alert.” This one seems to follow a similar blueprint to “These Shoes” from GTF’s first EP. An overall quick tempo throughout that intuitively transitions to a slower syncopation overlaid with “tell it like it is” vocals and heavy trumpet about three quarters through the song.

“Q & A” showcases the vocals more than other tracks on the album. Meanwhile the tightness of the horns and the alternation between a quicker ska beat and a slower groove make this one of my favorites. Suddenly a soundbite from one of my favorite movies, “Office Space,” welcomes track number 8, “Joel Sux,” a snarky celebration of the irresponsibility of GTF’s lead guitarist. Starting with some quick paced punk fanfare and building into some light, fluffy ska about midway through, this song is both bad-ass and fun, lyrically and instrumentally.

“Rock, Paper, Scissors” is a bit of an excursion on this album that transports you back to third-wave land with and then they get all hardcore with an insane guitar solo. This one is great showcase of the eclectic talent and diverse styles that characterize General Tso’s Fury.

“Where Has the Music Gone” is full of surprises and the tenth and eleventh tracks are no exception. “Suck It Up” rolls out with some Ben Folds-esque ivory banging and some reinforcing lyrical cadence that progresses into some faster paced rock. Just when you’re scratching your head thinking “Where did that come from?,” they jump in with another twist in “Cougars.” This song is a hodgepodge of styles that provokes alternation between head nods and swaying. It feels a bit schizophrenic.

“U-turn” puts the album back on track while giving the horns a bit of a break. General Tso’s Fury burns it up with a nice quickie of a punk song just before closing out with a ska-core anthem, their title track. “Where has the Music Gone” is an incredible finale that encapsulates much of what I love about this band: melody, lyrics, power. General Tso’s Fury has certainly “turned homicide into art” with this release which , from beginning to end, is one hell of a tantrum with ample twists and turns to keep you guessing “what’s next?”

Check out General Tso’s Fury on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GeneralTsosFury

Give the album a listen (and buy it) at https://generaltsosfury.bandcamp.com/album/where-has-the-music-gone

 

 

Sep 9th

The English Beat: Right On Time With Dance, Love, and Unity

By Andymanj

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015
By Jim Bolt
SKAspot Contributor and Founder of KSSU (Sacramento State University)

 

Friday night, 1980s college radio darlings, and ska legends, the English Beat played to a crowd of nearly 1,000 fans at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood, Colorado.  The show was a non-stop dance party that kept everyone moving and grooving (some were even skanking).  

The English Beat works the crowd into a dance frenzy at the Gothic Theatre, May 22, 2015.

The new English Beat line up is incredibly tight and never (you see it coming, don’t you?) misses a beat. From Dave Wakeling’s soulful storytelling and King Schascha’s high energy toasting, to the wailing sax, precision drumming, bouncy keys, and first rate bass and guitar work, there is just no standing still.

The band played classic Beat songs, opening with “Rough Rider” and skillfully working through other favorites like “Tears of a Clown,” “Twist and Crawl,” “Save It For Later,” and “Whine and Grind.” General Public tunes like “I’ll Take You There” and “Tenderness” were also included, along with a few songs from the forthcoming album Here We Go Love

The new songs were fresh and lively numbers that fit nicely into the English Beat tradition. The sound was clearly identifiable as the band’s trademark brand of ska, yet Wakeling’s pop sensibilities gave the tunes a modern and contemporary sound. The Beat’s music is as relevant today as it was back in 2 Tone era, ska revival days. College radio and commercial, “alternative” stations would do well to reintroduce the band and incorporate the new material into the rotation. Legions of new fans would inevitably follow.

A non-stop King Schascha and Dave Wakeling keep the crowd jumping.

Before the show, I had the chance to sit down with Dave Wakeling and discuss the band, the new album, college radio, and a few other topics.

Dave, thank you so much for being here.

My pleasure...

I first heard your music in 1983 and fell in love with it. It was discovering the likes of the Beat, and other punk, ska, and new wave music that eventually led me to book bands and even help start a student-run radio station while in college. The station, KSSU (Sacramento State), will be 25 years old next year.

Fantastic...and a lot of college radio stations wound up carrying the flag, didn’t they? ‘Til the ‘80s became like a golden oldies option.

I.R.S. (the now defunct record label) didn’t play the top 40 marketing game, so college radio was very important to us. We were number one in the college charts, but we were jealous as hell of all the other bands roaring up and down the top 40.

A number of the ‘80s bands have been deemed one hit wonders and some people have focused on how much hair dye they used. The result was that many of these bands became marginalized as goofy, golden oldies types. I think the English Beat wound up retaining its legitimacy by not being over exposed.

Congratulations on the forthcoming album. It’s great that it was crowd-funded through Pledge Music. Previous English Beat themes have been both political and social. What topics can we expect from the new album?

Thank you...you can expect similar themes, but with a newer sound. The goal is to make a record that doesn’t sound like an English Beat record would have sounded then. The new album is called Here We Go Love. It’s about love as a theme, maybe something tangible and it’s also about how life goes on. New songs include The Love You Give...lasts forever even when you’re gone and How Can You Stand There?...when all around you is a lie or how can you stand there and not dance to this irresistible beat of life? Dance and war are conflicted...perfect. We’ve also tried to be a little scurrilous!

What do you want the new and prospective Beat fans to know about you and the band? What would you say the English Beat stands for? And, don’t tell me love and unity.

Basically...at the end of the day, it’s a dance band. We have always been a dance band. It’s about fun and having a good “knees up.” But, we’ve always been about love and unity.

Late night show appearances can be powerful for new and reemerging bands. Any plans?

“Yes, let’s do it! We’ll do them all!” [laughs]

He then asked me to call Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel to get him an appearance. I suggested Saturday Night Live and he agreed to all of them. Jimmy, Lorne, Jimmy, are you guys in?

You’ve had songs included in soundtracks in the past and many of your contemporaries from that era have been featured in recent ads (Pogues, Clash, Depeche Mode, etc.). Any plans to pursue the licensing realm?

I’ve always thought Save It For Later would be great for a pension or a retirement fund. [laughs]

Feelings on Spotify, Pandora, other streaming services?

NONE! [laughs] No...really, I do think they are great from a music discovery perspective. It’s amazing to me how young people find music these days. They can really drill down into music on the internet. It’s very different from the days of going to the record store to find out what the cool kids were listening to.

On cancer charity events:

Dave talked about the recent An Evening Celebrating the Who event with Pete Townshend, Eddie Vedder and others. The event was a charity benefit for the Teen Cancer America Organization.

The English Beat has supported a similar charity in the U.K. called Teenage Cancer Trust by contributing music to special compilations and releases.

Dave expressed his interest in doing a combined, online benefit for both charities, where he, Townshend, and Vedder could conceivably perform songs from each other’s catalogs (including Save It For Later). “Maybe we each perform three songs...Pete can do four [laughs]. We could do it as a half hour online thing and we could back each other.”

Pete? Eddie? Sounds like a great idea.

On the state of ska:

“One of the things with advancing years is that you forget the things that don’t fit in with your own, employed legacy. I thought I would be more optimistic. I thought that the hippie, punk, tech revolution would have advanced the cause...I thought ska was the stairway to heaven...a platform for social consciousness. I don’t know...I’ve become a bit more fatalist.”

Dave certainly doesn’t come across as a fatalist on stage. In fact, he does a fantastic job of still being an optimist through his shows, where he keeps dance, love, and unity in the spotlight.

Final thoughts:

Dave’s life-saving advice for young ska bands: 1) Don’t fly in small planes, 2) Don’t hot tub alone, and 3) Don’t do heroin (or any drugs) alone.

He would also like a portable hot tub for touring. This could be a great sponsorship opportunity!

________

Visit The English Beat's website for information about their music, upcoming tour dates and more - http://englishbeat.net/

 

SKAspot Contributor Jim Bolt helped launch KSSU, Sacramento State University's student-run radio station, over 20 years ago. Here's an article about the 20 year reunion of the station in 2011 -http://sacstatealumni.com/SacStateConnection/0611KSSUReunion.html

 

Sep 9th

Pilfers

By Andymanj

(Originally posted April 24th, 2015)

“From Far,” the newest release from Pilfers, is appropriately titled. Fans of the band have waited 16 years, “far” too long. For those of you, like me, who loved the band that captured the spirit of the third wave through its fusion of ska, reggae, hardcore and metal, the new release does not disappoint! The original lineup, minus their original trombonist, Vinny Nobile, still manages to weave varied tempos, bouncy b-lines, toasty vocals and innovative melodies into a sound unlike anything you’ve heard. For the uninitiated, Pilfers pack a punch. Expect the unexpected!

Right off the bat, the first track sets the tone. “Nothing’s Ever Good Enough” kicks off the album with driving rhythmic riffs interrupted by a punchy “raggacore” chorus. The “surprise element” is a big part of the Pilfers trademark and continues to be a theme throughout “From Far.” This brings me to the second song, the title track of the album. “From Far” is an aural autobiography that takes the listener on a journey from 97 underground NYC to “across the country” and beyond. Coolie Ranx tells their story through a steady toast in each verse. Meanwhile, the accelerating tempo and crescendo of the instrumental build up to an explosion in the chorus and some “Big Ups” to the OPC (Original Pilfers Crew) and bands worldwide.

Tracks three and four provide a showcase of Pilfers’ strings. “Done Nothing Wrong” features some great guitar work from Nick Bacon while Anna Milat-Meyer’s climbing bass arpeggios and the cameo by Bosstones’ trombonist Chris Rhodes make “Easy Man” one of my favorites of the album. Track five, “Follow You Blind,” is a slight excursion and almost seems to serve as an intermission for the album. The slowed steady beat brings your heartrate down but not for long. As soon as the eye of the storm passes, “Drowning in You” resuscitates the familiar surge that is Pilfers with an added surprise of guest female vocals from Patricia Verdolino from Metro Stylee.

As if caught by surprise in the first half of “From Far,” “Sound the Alarm” is the delayed reaction announcement that “Pilfers are back!” At first listen this song seems out of place and that it should come early in the album. However, considering the story of the Pilfers, track seven is where it should be, as if we didn’t see them coming.

What I love about “Conscience Never Bother Them” are the accents of Kevin Batchelor on trumpet crowning the guitar and heavy bass encapsulated within the syncopated beats of James Blanck on drums. Like “Follow You Blind”, tracks nine and ten, “Lately” and “History of Love” provide another respite from the high energy of the preceding songs. The steady slower beats of these tracks are short lived, however, as “Let it Rain” brings back the heavy, fast paced storm of sound fading out with “Jack’s Ashes.”

“From Far,” as expected, defies expectations. While the same blood that pumped through the veins of “Chawalaleng” continues to flow through “From Far,” the new Pilfers release is a unique experience. With no loss in momentum from the band’s youth, Pilfers has come far and I look forward to seeing where they go next.

 

Visit http://pilfers.storenvy.com/ to purchase “From Far” and tune in to SKAspot Radio at http://skaspot.com/radio to hear music from Pilfers and more!

Reggae Steady Ska

  • Spicy graphic pop: an interview with CHema

    27 Jun 2017, 3:55 pm
    Thick, black outlines, bold colors, quirky characters and stray ink spots. CHema’s style is instantly recognizable. If you like your ska old-school, originator style, you probably have a few of his 7” sleeves, album covers or gig posters in your ...
  • “That’s the beautiful thing about ska”: an interview with Adam Birch.

    16 Jun 2017, 8:05 am
    At music festivals, it’s all about sharing, and that often includes musicians. Sometimes it’s to fill a spot caused by a missed flight or a broken wrist, sometimes it’s just to add a little more oomph to the sound. At Supernova Ska Fest in ...
  • Alive and dancing: An interview with Death of Guitar Pop

    3 Jun 2017, 1:06 pm
    A good hunk of my spare time is spent to listening to debut releases from just-getting-started ska bands. These formative tracks tend to capture the shared spirit and raw energy that brought the band together in the first place, and I’ll overlook a ...
  • Take Two: In the studio with The Skamanians

    3 Jun 2017, 9:01 am
    You can hear hints of mento, jazz, blues, and/or R&B in just about any ska song, and if that song is by The Skamanians, those roots will be hard to miss. We first profiled this Perpignan, France-based band soon after they released Ride Again, one of ...
  • Review: Keith & Tex – Same Old Story (Liquidator Music)

    18 Apr 2017, 10:49 am
    Keith & Tex – Same Old Story Artists who want to revive the spirit of the Jamaican rocksteady era of the 1960s have two top options today. Either you call Brian Dixon (producer of Western Standard Time, formerly of The Aggrolites) or you go to ...

Nude Beach Ska Podcast

  • Nude Beach Ska Podcast - Episode 25

    26 Jun 2017, 5:20 am
    The twenty fifth episode! I (Jack Brew) am here to play you some of my favourite ska, reggae and ska punk tunes from around the globe! This episode is a little look at a few of my recent purchases that haven't had the listening time i would like! so ...
  • Nude Beach Ska Podcast - Episode 24

    11 Jun 2017, 9:08 pm
    The twenty fourth episode! I (Jack Brew) am here to play you some of my favourite ska, reggae and ska punk tunes from around the globe! This episode is a few songs i discovered in an automated playlist of music i've not listened to in a while ...
  • Nude Beach Ska Podcast - Episode 23

    29 May 2017, 9:53 pm
    The twenty third episode! I (Jack Brew) am here to play you some of my favourite ska, reggae and ska punk tunes from around the globe! This episode is all about the bands that payed at Supernova Ska Festival last weekend (may 2017) Big shout out to the ...
  • Nude Beach Ska Podcast - Episode 22

    15 May 2017, 4:15 pm
    The twenty second episode! I (Jack Brew) am here to play you some of my favourite ska, reggae and ska punk tunes from around the globe! This episode is all about new music discovered whilst binging on Skannibal Party compilations!   Ska War - Best of ...
  • Nude Beach Ska Podcast - Episode 21

    2 May 2017, 8:45 pm
    The twenty first episode! I (Jack Brew) am here to play you some of my favourite ska, reggae and ska punk tunes from around the globe! This episode is all about new music discovered whilst binging on Skannibal Party compilations!   B-Soul Allstars - ...

Duff Guide to Ska

  • Duff Guide to Ska Fast Takes: King Kong 4 "There's Not Much That You or I Can Do About It," Jackie Mittoo "Striker Showcase"

    7 Jun 2017, 11:38 am
    (Reviews by Steve Shafer)King Kong 4 There's Not Much That You or I Can Do About It (Five-track digital EP, Winterbeard Records, 2017): I saw the harrowing movie version of Nevil Shute's post-World War III/doomsday novel "On the Beach" (where the last ...
  • The Duff Guide to Ska NYC Summer/Fall 2017 Ska Calendar #48

    5 Jun 2017, 1:12 am
    Photo by Janette BeckmanFriday, June 9, 2017 @ 7:00 pmThe Specials, The Far EastBrooklyn Steel319 Frost StreetBrooklyn, NY$50/16++ + + +Saturday, June 10, 2017 @ 9:00 pm (2 sets!)Larry McDonald's 80th Birthday Party w/Dave Hillyard and the Rocksteady 7, ...
  • Duff Guide to Ska Fast Takes: Hopeton Lewis "There She Goes" b/w Vin Gordon and The Supersonics "Reggay Trombone," Johnny Clarke and the Flying Vipers "Highest Region" b/w "Highest Version," Mungo's Hi Fi featuring Johnny Clarke "Rain Keeps Falling" b/w "Spring Shower Dub"

    2 Jun 2017, 2:05 am
    (Reviews by Steve Shafer)Hopeton Lewis "There She Goes" b/w Vin Gordon and The Supersonics "Reggay Trombone" (heavyweight 7" vinyl single, Trojan Records, 2017): This limited edition Record Store Day 2017 release boasts two unreleased Duke Reid ...
  • Memorial Day Weekend: Supernova International Ska Festival!

    22 May 2017, 4:30 am
    As many of you are already aware, there is a big, two-day ska fest coming up over the Memorial Day weekend--the Supernova International Ska Festival in Fredericksburg, VA (which is about an hour or so south of Washington, DC). There are many top acts ...
  • The Duff Guide to Ska NYC Summer 2017 Ska Calendar #47

    21 May 2017, 4:43 pm
    The great Laurel Aitken!Tuesday, May 23, 2017 @ 7:00 pmJ. Navarro and The Traitors, Fuck It I Quit, Public SerpentsCape House2 Knickerbocker AvenueBrooklyn, NY$12/21++ + + +Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 8:00 pmSister Nancy and Friends, Rice and Peas, Queen ...

DThrog Ska Review

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