It's been a while... 2022 is skanking again!
Updated: Mar 26
Sorry folks, I have been a bit remiss with the blog - here's a round up of what's happened over the past few weeks. These are the Featured This Week sessions from the past few weeks.
Starting with this week...
Alright people it’s that time again…. The new FEATURED THIS WEEK SESSION on www.buttondownradio.com where we showcase the hottest new and pre-release ska.
In no particular order…
Only last week, London based crew Chainska Brassika dropped a new single and now they have dropped another! Eye Scratcher comes from the forthcoming album “Tales of a Londoner" out 25th March 2022. This is a bigger track than Down The Barge and is an easy skanker. This is going to be a great album.
Pop punky ska merchants Cynimatics dropped a 2 track EP at the end of February which is their first release since 2020’s Insane Today. Off beat skapunk with an easy stepping chorus.
Mike Park’s troupe The Bruce Lee Band has released a track – Did You Find The Money Farm? Usually TBLB has a hard edged sound and are hard stompers. Money Farm takes a more rhythmic approach with staccato horns and a quite Skatalites feel to it. Liking this new direction and the addition of Dr Mad Vibe / Angelo Moore is a pure delight.
Introducing some accessible dub to your lives via The Flying Vipers! In 2018 they released two tapes ‘Green’ and ‘Copper’. Now, thanks to Destroy Babylon’ they get their vinyl release on… well… Green and Copper vinyl of course! 12 blissed out dub tunes that would fit well on our dub sessions running 22:00 – 23:00 Thursdays and Sundays.
Over to Spain to discover Greskand who mix rock, ska and rap to make an interesting blend. Singles, we assume, is a collection of their singles. Probably wrong but three rocking, horn accentuated tracks kept us well entertained. Their 2018 album The Law of Silence is available for free from https://greskand.com/ worth checking out risk free!
Last week, we let you know about the New Buster Shuffle album ‘Go Steady’ (and reviewed it for Sentinel Daily - https://sentineldaily.com.au/buster-shuffle-go-steady-do-nothing-records/ ) well ahead of the 18th March release date they have released the cheeky chappy title track. A fast paced affair and ultimately danceable. Check the #skalendar for tour dates.
Stubborn Records have gone and done it again! Hot on the heels of Still Stubborn Vol 1 comes… Still Stubborn Vol 2! Of course it does! Loved Vol 1 but Volume 2 is even better… Celebrating 30 years of Stubborn Records this one features the likes of Catbite, Vic Ruggiero, The One Droppers, The Fuss, Tommy Tornado… it’s like looking at a who’s who of Button Down Radio favourites! We have chosen Catbite covering The Silencers and Monkey covering a Skinnerbox track from Give Em The Boot 1 whilst Stubborn Allstars are given the One Droppers treatment as part of our Featured This Week sessions tracks.
Finally – Madheads may I have your attention! G-Men from Sweden are putting out the best Madness influenced music in the world right now. If you like the first couple of Madness albums, then you will love what they are doing. Last Friday they released Mommy’s Girl. The arrangement could have been done by Monsieur Barso himself. Perhaps a response to One Step Beyond’s Mummy’s Boy? This would sit nicely on Absolutely. Great tune.
Yeeeeessss that’s right! It’s time for this week’s foray into new ska releases on www.buttondownradio.com (well from 11:30)
Lobster reached out to us with their new unreleased album and we have picked their new single to play you. A great fusion of reggae, ska and punk from this Birmingham outfit. Still giving a few more listens before we tell you about the album but all good so far.
Rather excitingly Chainska Brassika dropped their new single Down the Barge on Friday and it does not disappoint. The London crew have produced a bouncing crowd pleaser ahead of their UK tour starting May 6th in Southampton (see https://www.buttondownradio.com/what-goes-on for full info)
Skatune Network keeps knocking out some top skanking tunes and they have a cracking album ‘Honeyrude’ out now.
Last Reel Hero reached out to us last week with a couple of tracks from their new album ‘Back To The Sun’ all the way from Colorado. A raw, authentic sound that we are currently enjoying.
As well as doing BDR, I also review ska stuff for Sentinel Daily and they sent me the new Buster Shuffle album and it’s GREAT! Go Steady is a good step up from Take What I Want and we bring you New Badge which was released as a single in December. You’re going to have to wait until March when it’s released to hear the rest – it’s worth the wait.
Brad ‘The Manor’ Turner has dropped a couple of cool tracks from CAF studios and we have chosen Working Class for you to enjoy.
Australia’s Seven of Ska released another track ‘K-Town’ about their home town.
Frome’s Common Sense Kid has released a unique cover of Bloodhound Gang’s Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss (ft. Celine Piquette (Checkered Past: The Ska'd Cast)). Yet again, it’s great to see people take ska in new directions. Great fun.
Peg & the Rejected continue to develop their catalogue with a cool new 2 track single (well 2 and an eighth anyway) 2 Stoned.
Skapunkers Staflos have 2 track EP (also one and a bit!) which will fit right in with our #skalternative sessions (Tues and Thurs from 21:00) and features Jasper Pattison from Citizen Fish/Culture Shock on bass, & lead guitars by George Fraska of FOUR/the Smiley Kids.
Finally – great to hear from The Piseogs on Friday with news of a forthcoming EP which features Disco Envy which appeared on the Still Stubborn compilation. You’ll never guess who mixed the track! Why it’s Agent Jay of course…
Okay people – not only is it Dave Wakeling’s birthday but it’s also time for this week’s delve into the new and pre-releases from the ska world on www.buttondownradio.com
In no particular order…
Third wave heroes The Rough Kutz have donated their track Man In the Mirror to the Specialized Project to raise money for essential charities including #BDR favourite charity Teenage Cancer Trust. Not only is it a great tune influenced by Hazza’s own brush with cancer – it’s only a quid and can transfer the lives of sick kids. Just buy it from https://thespecializedproject.bandcamp.com/album/man-in-the-mirror
Sticking with the Specialized Project theme… The Skapones have teamed up with The Specials legend Roddy ‘Radiation’ Byers to re-record a skabilly version of JB’s Body. If you have ever caught Roddy live, either with the Specials or with the Skabilly Rebels you will have heard his characteristic rockabilly guitar sound. Ace reworking!
Jade Tremba has worked with us a lot over the past couple of years and she has teamed up with Gain Stages to produce something a little different. Sour Candy is part rocksteady / part dance / part dancehall track and again pushes the boundaries of the ska limits to encompass a wider audience. Fans of The Skints and Ranking Jr will dig it.
Skapunk stalwarts Pinstripe Melee have a split EP with Cook Bag. It’s All In My Head appeals to my mid 90s US Fat Wreck punk sensibilities and skapunk horn sections. It’s cool!
Neil Anderson continues to fill out the outrageously good Original Gravity repertoire with a slab of Boss Reggae under the guise of Max Iss and the Minions. Both Lord Cumiana and High Roller or superb examples of the boss reggae style and I can’t wait to play these live.
Florida punky ska crew Fat Timmy have a new 10 track album out - their second full release – Full Blown Ska. 10 raucous tracks of fast paced punk tinged ska that has a feel good err… feel!
A bit of Spanish roots reggae to chill things down a touch from Tacumah & Roberto Sánchez with the release of Fear Culture on Lone Ark records and a fantastic dub version on the flip.
Too Good Allstars are new to us and they have a cracking 4 track EP out entitled Carbonara Funk. And it is damn funky! It consists of two versions of each of Carbonara Funk and Dorca. Two instrumental tracks with an early 70s funk ska vibe. Dorca has a slightly more reggae vibe with its walking bass. But both tracks are belters.
Returning to the Specialized Project link again… the third (I think) track lifted from Viva! Is Scottish culture clash’s Chango Munks version of Bella Ciao (Goodbye Beautiful) - an Italian protest folk song from the late 19th century, originally sung by the mondina workers in protest against the harsh working conditions in the paddy fields of northern Italy. As you would expect from Chango Munks this is a punked up, ska horn laced affair and great live.
P45 Band hail from London and describe their music as Cockney Opera and have shared stages with The Dualers, The Selecter, Madness and… erm… Simply Red. In fact the Cockney Opers monicker was coined by the late Chas Hodges of Chas n Dave fame! They play a blend of ska and soul with many original numbers penned. Rush Green Road is a gentle song in a storytelling style. Great vocals over an early reggae beat with a chorus that will undoubtedly have everyone singing along live. Looking forward to playing you more form these boys.
It's been a bit of a bumper week and our half hour session is already overflowing! We could have also included the new album Honeyrude by Skatune Network, two new tracks by Last Reel Hero, Reissued album by Usual Players, the reissued back catalogue of The Israelites and Sidewinders Ska Club… but I guess they’ll have to wait until next week!
"Come with uncle," I said, "and hear all proper. Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited."
February 2nd 1972 (quote https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/clockwork_orange) Stanley Kubrick’s realisation of Anthony Burgess’ novel A Clockwork Orange was released and influenced a generation. Heaven 17 and Durango 95 got their names from it and it influenced skinhead culture indefinitely. But after reports of copycat Ultra Violence, Kubrick had it pulled from the cinema and cult status
50 years later, the subject is still taboo and continues to influence subcultures. To celebrate this, we have chosen Clockwork Stomp by Hub City Stompers to kick off this week’s Featured This Week sessions.
The Bakesys are celebrating the US vinyl release courtesy of Chuck Wren’s Jump Up records of their 3rd long player ‘Sentences I’d Like To Hear The End Of’ and we have chosen a different tune from it that we have only played rarely.
Filthy Militia’s new release ‘Coping Mechanism’ saw its launch party on Friday on Pookout Records and is a superb mix of ska, dub, gypsy sounds and shows a great maturation from their debut release.
Mighty Massa, Fred Locks, Tony Tuff have combined to release a 4 track EP on Berlin’s Lion’s Den label and produced two ska’d up versions of Black Redemption classics recut in the ‘Far East’ by none other than Mighty Massa - Fred Lock’s ‘Jah Is The Father’ and Tony Tuff’s ‘Military’. Released Friday.
The Slackers announced the date of their new album Don’t Let The Sunshine Fool Ya as April 15th on Pirates Press records. It’s been 6 years since their last release and the tile track has an ace trad / rocksteady vibe.
Some Ska Band have followed up 2018’s It’s Going Down with a new EP Better Together. 7 great skanking tracks including two dub tracks remixed by the busiest dub producer … none other than Agent Jay / Crazy Baldhead / Jason Nugent. Not only that, but the iconic artwork of Derek Yaniger.
A second track from the fantastic Detroit Riddim Crew meets Crazy Baldhead album Instru-Mental. All the Agent Jay / Crazy Baldhead / Jason Nugent dub tracks have been uploaded for our dub sessions on Thursday and Sunday nights. We have chosen one of their classic sounding trad tracks – what a sound!
And Aidan Sterling’s Riff Raff Ska Band, featuring members of The Riffs are giving away two of their tracks ‘Ska Fever’ and ‘You’re My Rude Girl’ on their Bandcamp page (the CD is only a fiver) and we have chosen one to whet your skappetite!
BossToneS a eulogy? Nah – it’s a skalabration!
This week’s Featured This Week session is tinged both with sadness and happiness. Were we all a bit shocked about this week’s news that the godfathers of #skacore were to split? Or not really… it’s been 30+ years! A band can’t keep going with that energy required forever. Just look at Madness and the Specials over the last couple of tours. Still producing the magic but a little more jaded than when they were younger. And neither play with the franticness required by our BossToneS.
I discovered the MMBs by chance whilst trawling a record shop in the bourgeoise town of Beaconsfield. The best thing about this shop was they bought shedloads of vinyl, having more money than sense, and a slightly elitist community which meant you could get great stuff for dirt cheap when it was marked down cos it wasn’t chart or classical. Anyway… I was DJing at The Roundabout in High Wycombe, so this was 93 and had been playing a lot of 2Tone, trad ska and stuff like Op Ivy was surfacing alongside a healthy dose of punk from Fat Wreck et al. So out looking for hardcore punk and ska… What do I espy? Skacore, The Devil and More EP for 99p. Ska? Hardcore? Flipside had covers of Minor Threat, SSD, Angry Samoans and Bob Marley… worth a punt for under a quid. From the first brass intrusion – bah buh, buh bah – buh BAH I knew this was going to be special. Trialled it on the next Friday at The Roundabout and an instant floor filler.
30ish Years later – 11 albums, lotta gigs and some great memories later they called it a day. Fair play to them. Not a duff album released and so much fun had.
We honour the Boston crew with 3 tracks in our Featured This Week session this week….
New release a week or so back on Happy People records by Crazy Baldhead aka Agent Jay from The Slackers – fast becoming my favourite dub producer. HPR45 Drummin’ for Dan is an exercise in Skatalites style trad ska with a belter of a dub version on the flip.
NEW ALBUM ALERT – Eric Abbey’s Detroit Riddim Crew have a new 10 track album coming real soon entitled Instru-mental. Super dope drawling trad tunes all with accompanying dub versions courtesy of… CRAZY BALDHEAD. You can’t keep a good man down. Album releases soon on Jump Up Records.
Pinnacle Sound from France sent us their album ‘Soul Medicine’ last week and it is a beautiful collation of early reggae sounds. It’s due for release on Bat Records 25th February.
A few months we played you Let Me Stay by Le Birrette and it finally gets its vinyl release on Guerrero records. Out now.
Sweden’s G-Men continue to impress us with their Madness influenced sound and their latest track Rude Boy, Rude Girl released last Friday. Their debut album is awaiting delivery and once we have it, you know you are gonna be bombarded by it!
Over to Argentina for yet another outstanding South American crew - El Quinteto de los Muertos (y la Banda Hipotética) who have released a few Eps now on Bandcamp with their latest just last Friday. If all the music in SA is this good I may have to emigrate!
Highball Holiday are a new female fronted crew operating out of Wisconsin and releases their debut album entitled ‘Highball Holiday’ last Friday. Some cool early reggae vibes with hints of ska.
Finally, punky ska stalwarts The Taj Motel Trio have done a bit of soul searching – gone through their back catalogue and picked some old favourites, dusted em off and given them a good old remix. Fossil Record is out now!
YES! It is time for a Brand New Featured This Week session on www.buttondownradio.com featuring this week’s new and pre-releases.
First up we have The Manor’s title track for their latest album entitled Take a Chance. It has a distinctive London sound with hints of Judge Dread.
Jade Tremba of Scotch Bonnets and Rude Girl Revue has next single out now – Love The Way You Dub is a fusion of Skints style early reggae, rocksteady and Lover’s Rock. It’s a souled out blissful affair for sure.
Last week we played you The New Soul Chance single and this week we bring you the flip. It’s that good! An awesome slab of modern rocksteady.
Two singles up next from the land of Down Under:
The Seven of ska with a nice nice jazz infused instrumental and – new to us – In2natioN with a groovy ska influenced, heavy beat tune. Pretty damn catchy.
Next is the new release from Neil Anderson’s Original Gravity Label – a soul / funk Hammond driven groover under the guise of Curtis Baker and the Bravehearts.
Finally – three re-releases – or technically one re-release and two getting their vinyl debuts.
Inspecter 7 – have released the digital copy of their classic ‘The Infamous’ on Bandcamp for those of whom it has eluded. Great, classic 3rd wave sound that sums up the era perfectly.
Guerrero Records operating outta Los Angeles is putting out two absolute bangers of modern ska releases:
Aggro Reggae Boss by Los Aggrotones which we heard on Do The Dog Ska-A-Go-Go Vol 2
Reggae Fever b/w Baby Baby Baby by The Upsessions from The New Heavyweight Champion
Both singles will be released on black vinyl in the coming weeks.
A quick update on a new session which will run Thursday and Sunday evenings – The Button Dub Radio sessions which will chill us out with an hour of dub. Could be fun!
Keep tuned in to www.buttondownradio.com to keep in the know on the global ska scene.
Check out our Bandcamp collection at https://bandcamp.com/buttondownradio
New feature – the SKAlendar. Your one stop point for UK live gigs / festivals / DJ sets / record release dates - https://www.buttondownradio.com/what-goes-on
Check out the best of this year's ska vids at - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmpaxFQpPPFyOq93QV6_3TqCLARTErKTl which has new vids by Chainska Brassika, Buster Shuffle and Bruce Lee Band
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And whatever you do... KEEP SKANKING and listening to Button Down Radio