Five Songs, 7/18/2017
Been a little while since we've hit any ska. Fixed that today! PICK IT UP, PICK IT UP, PICK IT UP!
Scofflaws, "Spider On My Bed"
Another New York third-wave band, the Scofflaws were distinguished by...well, let's be honest, nothing. But, they had solid chops, were amusing without being too smug, and wrote some good songs, so they're worth a go. This is from Ska In Hi-Fi, their best album, featuring as it does odes to nude beaches and William Shatner.
Swingin' Utters, "Unpopular Again"
You can sometimes trace exactly which punk band inspired any given band to pick up their guitars. Often it's the Ramones, or if not them, maybe Minor Threat, or Black Flag, or whoever. With the Swingin' Utters, it seems pretty clear that The Clash was their inspiration. And like The Clash ("Rudie Can't Fail", for instance), the Swingin' Utters dabble occasionally into stuff like ska. This is from Five Lessons Learned, probably their best album.
The Allstonians, "Fear & Loathing"
I swear to you, when I wrote that intro, I had only heard the first of these tracks. I didn't know we were going to get three ska tracks in a row. Anyway, through three albums, The Allstonians played a super cool, jazzy take on ska that really threw back to the Skatalites more than anybody. The first album in particular, Go You!, ranks with the absolute best of the third wave. This, from their third album, finds the band not at the total top of their form, but still making super breezy music that is perfect for the weather we're having here right now.
Voodoo Glow Skulls, "Stranded in the Jungle"
WHAT IS GOING ON? I think the frantic piano during this song is pretty entertaining.
Phew. Dis, an underground rock band from the early 90s who used the same kind of dynamics as bands like Slint, hold a special place for me because I used to correspond with their bassist a bunch, trading recommendations and occasionally tapes. One time, on their way through Pittsburgh on tour, he even crashed at my place. So yeah, listen to Dis! (it's almost impossible to listen to Dis these days, I'm guessing)