Ska-Line A Round Up Of The Global Ska News 21st March 2021
Alright fellow humans! Let's GO!
So we've been living with this pandemic thing for a year now and it sucks. However, a tiny silver lining in an otherwise very big, black cloud is that we are back and skanking - broadcasting to the UK, NETHERLANDS, MEXICO, GERMANY, SWEDEN, AUSTRALIA, AUSTRIA, JAMAICA, GREECE, NEW ZEALAND, BELGIUM, HONG KONG, FINLAND, POLAND, ITALY & MALAYSIA 24/7. Can't hear us where you are? Get in touch and we will see what we can do.
As of yesterday, we have now included ARGENTINA, DENMARK, PERU and PANAMA.
To the music!
First up we have the new single from BDR regulars Half Past Two. Well known for their upbeat ska / pop / punky sounds and fantastic covers of pop standards - this is a return to their original ska/punk sound and it it's fantastic! Horns saturated, crunchy guitars and Tara's characteristic voice. As always with HP2, there's a really feel good aura to their music and it's a proper get you up in the morning and pep you up tune.
available from distrokid.com/hyperfollow/halfpasttwo/mean-green
New to us this week is Rude City Riot - a Vancouver based power-ska crew. They release their debut album 'Shady Schemes and Molotov Dreams' April 9th on the superb Stomp Records and we have chose Molotov Dreams to play you. A fairly assertive sound with a full sounding horn section (pretty sure it's one guy) the 2-Tone spirit is strong with the blend of ska guitars and brass over a hard rocking drumbeat - nice use of the floor tom throughout to give the song it's full power. These guys show real promise
Pre-order from https://stomprecords.com/shop/shady-schemes/
The fantastic people at Happy People Records keep churning out the good stuff. This week two new singles we have picked up (did that sound a bit Yoda like?)
A while back Phoenix City All-Stars produced an album full of Rolling Stones covers which was very cool but from the vaults will be releasing (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction featuring Freddie Notes (of Montego Bay fame) on vocals detail. Authentic, driven trad skanking music makes this Stones standard an instant classic with a version of Play With Fire on the flip side. As with all Happy People releases this is available on heavy duty 7 inch vinyl as well as digital download.
The second release is a beautiful solo piece by Roger Rivas (The Aggrolites / Long Beach Dub Allstars) what a sublime instrumental rocksteady infused track this is. If you are familiar with that Aggrolites keyboard sound, Heading West will feel familiar to you - great to hear it over a slightly cleaner sound than the usual dirty reggae that we love. The B-side is a slower, more rocksteady based affair but so well executed. At time of writing their are only 11 coloured vinyl copies left and the black vinyl has a limited run of only 200
Both available for pre-order dropping around August 1st from https://happypeoplerecords1.bandcamp.com/music
Two collaborations next...
First Andrés Cotter and Mark Foggo with Bad Bad Skanking Man. We last heard from Andrés back in August with his splendidly catchy My Room. He has now teamed up with Dutch legend of the ska scene Mark Foggo (Mark Foggo's Skasters) The song has a lightly latin off-beat feel with a driving drum beat, layers of drums and supplemented by a vibraphone (if my ear is attuned correctly) that gives it a super cool feel. This is juxtaposed by Mark's instantly recognisable part spoken / part sung style. Absolutely love his voice on this and it contrasts really well on this piece.
Our second collab comes from two of our favourite fellas of the modern ska scene Lolo (Mr Speaker) Guns and Brad (The Manor) Turner. Seriously... I don't think Brad is human - the man can't sleep! Always making music (and breaking chairs :D )
Their single 'The Great Ska Collaboration' is a whole heap of fun and you can hear they enjoyed making it. Half in English and half in French - a laid back easy skanker that is so easy to listen to. Guaranteed to have you nodding from the first upstroke of the guitar strings. Great stuff lads.
Skabara are a relatively new band based in Sweden (I really must do a feature on Swedish ska - some sensational scandinavian ska around). The Stockholm based six piece have 3 singles currently out from their debut album 'Rat Casino' or Råttkasino in their native tongue. A darkly 2-Tone infused 11 track bomb of an album - the digital version drops this Friday whilst physical copies of gold vinyl have already been half snapped up so there are only 50 left! Check out their Bandcamp page at https://skabara.bandcamp.com/
From Florida hails the sublime soul and rocksteady sounds of The Freecoasters. A gentle album of female vocal fronted oozing soul / reggae / rocksteady. There are some familiar names in the production of this lovely tome. Produced by Jesse Wagner (The Aggrolites), Mixed by Roger Rivas (see above), Label - Jump Up Records, extra tracks by Agent Jay (The Slackers). A Different Kind Of Heat is a hat-full of happy. It's not an upright skanker but these tunes will get you moving. A variety of rhythms keeps you focused and the musicality is on point. The album is out now at https://thefreecoasters.bandcamp.com/album/a-different-kind-of-heat and available as CD, digital and beautiful blue vinyl.
Next up has got to be our single of the week. The Mighty Maroon Town have teamed up with Neil Anderson of Original Gravity and released the beast that is Bullit. Now the eagle eared amongst you are probably sitting their going 'Hang on a minute - Maroon Town released this in 2017 and you played it!' and you are right BUT! Neil Anderson got those magical production fingers on it and have lifted a great track into a masterpiece
Contrast the two versions below
The 2017 original:
The 2021 version:
Just SO DAMN GOOD! Go get it from https://maroontown.bandcamp.com/track/bullit-proof-mix
Gigs keep rolling in and a bunch of them for the fantastic Specialized Project for later this year
21st August - King Hammond, The Skapones and The Decatonics - 100 Club London
25th September - Gold Steppers, The Inflatables, Corsairs and The High Wasters - The Face Bar Reading
9th October - Cartoon Violence, Skacasm and Evil Turkeys - Jacs music Venue Aberdare
and of course
5th - 7th November The Big One 10 - Parkdean Sandford Dorset - the jewel in the crown and we can't wait.
We have tickets for three of these events - hope to see you there!
That seems to be about it for this week - do tune in to Button Down Radio at www.buttondownradio.com to hear all these tunes in our Featured This Week session and throughout the rest of the week.
Check out our Bandcamp collection at https://bandcamp.com/buttondownradio
Check out the best of this year's ska vids at - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmpaxFQpPPFyuFitZ2sjNGhGiYooA-Pen
And whatever you do... KEEP SKANKING and listening to Button Down Radio
Half Past Two, The Freecoasters, Maroon Town, Mark Foggo, Andres Cotter, Lolo Gns, Brad Turner, The Manor, Mr Speaker ska, Roger Rivas, Rude City Riot, Phoenix City All Stars, Neil from Original Gravity, Skabara, King Hammond, The Skapones ,The Decatonics, Gold Steppers, The Inflatables, Corsairs, The High Wasters, Cartoon Violence, Skacasm, Evil Turkeys, The Specialized Project