Tag Archives: ska


Feel-Good Friday: The Shifters

Normally when I introduce a post, I’ll mention how I found the band. A lot of times, it’s as simple as randomly searching for something on Bandcamp and coming across something good. I found The Shifters in the bathroom of The Slidebar in Fullerton last night. No, not literally. When I was there to see Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, I made a trip to the restroom, which is decorated with band stickers. One of the stickers bore the name The Shifters and I remember the word reggae being somewhere on the sticker. That was fortuitous because reggae and ska are always good for Feel-Good Friday. This song in particular is a good one for the occasion. After all, the weekend is right around the corner, and it’s as good a time as any to dance like no one is watching. Enjoy your Feel-Good Friday, everyone.


Take ‘Er Easy Thursday: Skavenjah

The more you can relax...

The more you can relax…

Greetings again, loyal reader. It’s Thursday once again and you know what that means. That means it’s our weekly celebration of the ethos of Jeff Lebowski aka The Dude, Duder, His Dudeness, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing. Sure The Dude might be someone the square community doesn’t care about, but he’s got it pretty well figured out as far as takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners.

It seems that Skavenjah, a ska band from Regina, Saskatchewan, also has it pretty well figured out with just the first line of “Relax.” (Click the link to hear the tune.

Relax by Skavenjah

Dig these lyrics: “The more you can relax, the easier your life gets.” Tell me that doesn’t sum up The Dude. He takes it easy enough for all of us and let’s face it, he has it pretty easy. He bowls, he drinks, he drives around, and more than all of that, he doesn’t ever sit in a cubicle. I mean, it’s a pretty good life. To take it even one step further, the only time The Dude doesn’t take it easy is when he gets uptight about the whole Bunnie case. Ultimately, The Dude finds his center again and realizes that indeed the more he relaxes, the easier his life gets.

Frankly, it’s a lesson we can all take to heart. Sure, there’s the job where it seems like you spend most of your time and all the other things that threaten your happiness on a daily basis. But when you feel yourself getting uptight, just remember the words of Skavenjah and relax. Your life will probably improve once you can master that. Well, that about wraps ‘er up, don’tcha think. Until next time, you take ‘er easy. I know that you will.

Ska Saturday: Soul Radics

Soulful ska from Nashville

Soulful ska from Nashville

I came across this band while randomly browsing music (as I frequently do) on ReverbNation. I was immediately smitten not only by the catchy melodies, but the soulful feel in “Pressin’ On,” the first song I heard from this band. Dani Casler sings with soul to go along with some excellent horns and a really cool bass line. Let’s face it. There is just something about a woman who sings with soul. Sure, there have been a lot of great male soul vocalists, but for me there’s just a little something extra when that soul comes from a woman. If I had to compare her to anyone, I’d put her somewhere between Elyse Rogers of Dance Hall Crashers and Ruby Velle.

Quick, loyal reader. What’s one of the best things about ska? That it gets you moving. I’ll tell you one thing. If “Down to the Hall” doesn’t get you moving your two-tone wingtips, I’m not sure what will. This is an upbeat treat with a great sax solo. Some of the lyrics in this song are “Everybody gonna skank til they fall.” This song alone might get you to skank until you fall.

Now, if you don’t have enough reason to love this band, consider this. This band has an anti-love song that is not just great for Valentine’s Day. Instead of lauding love, this song calls love the worst thing to happen to anyone and blames love for ruining everything on the radio. Let’s face it. There is never any shortage of sappy love songs on the radio. Do I wish this band had more songs available on ReverbNation? Of course. This band has left me wanting more. Do I really like the songs they do have available? Absolutely. And if you like rocksteady, you’ll like what you hear on ReverbNation too.

Take ‘Er Easy Thursday: The Dualers

Well loyal reader, here we are again. It’s our weekly Dudesday celebrating the ethos of one Jeffery Lebowski (at least that’s the handle his lovin’ parents gave him). Yes, I know I didn’t do a Take ‘Er Easy Thursday post last week, but that was only because I was working on publishing the May issue of the magazine. But enough of that. Let’s get on with takin’ ‘er easy.

Will you just take it easy, man?

Will you just take it easy, man?

The Dualers is a band I featured once upon a Ska Saturday, but this band has a song that fits right in there for our theme. Before writing about the song, I should say that this post is largely inspired by my four-year-old son who discovered The Dualers in my iTunes and really grooved to this song. “Take It Easy” (no, it is most certainly not a cover of The Eagles, man!) has the perfect combination of melody and message. The melody is a real easygoing one that is perfect for just relaxing. Then you get the message and it’s just one great line after another. The chorus states, “Take your time, no need to hurry. Take it easy, there’s no need to worry.” Is that Dudely or what? After a brief freakout in which The Dude and Walter don’t make the exchange for Bunny, The Dude realizes that the whole thing is out of his control and he just needs to take it easy.

Then chew on these lyrics:

If you fall from the race

there’s no disgrace

just pick yourself from off the ground.

Sure, those are words we should all live by. When you look at The Dude, he gets knocked out, drugged, and hit in the head with a coffee mug. But he just keeps abiding. And really, isn’t that how the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuating itself? You fall, you pick yourself up, and ultimately you abide. I take comfort in that. That about wraps ‘er up, don’tcha think? Until next time, you take ‘er easy. I know that you will.

Ska Saturday: The Screw-Ups

Ska that is catchy and easy to sing along with

Ska that is catchy and easy to sing along with

I’m the first to admit that I don’t always get social media. I use them, but I’m not someone who spends a lot of time camping out on social media sites. That being said, I definitely find some use in social media. Earlier this week, The Screw-Ups followed me on Twitter and voila! now the band is the featured artist for Ska Saturday.

The band’s Bandcamp page states that this is a reggae/ska/punk band. It certainly is a reggae-ska band although I’d say this leans more toward Madness than a ska-punk band. That’s certainly not a bad thing. Madness after all, wrote a lot of catchy songs with just the right amount of pop. This band is pretty similar. It has ridiculously catchy melodies that are not only easygoing, but also easy to sing along with. If you’re looking for a real good Madness comparison, just check out “New Song.”

One of the great things about ska is that it is super-catchy. Well, if it’s catchy you want, The Screw-Ups have that in spades. Get out those two-tone wingtips and dance along to the cool sounds of The Screw-Ups.

Twitter: screwupsband

ReverbNation: screwups

Facebook: The-Screw-Ups


Ska Saturday: The Duppies

Get ready to rocksteady

Get ready to rocksteady

If you’ve read even one Ska Saturday entry, you know that while I like the ska-punk stuff, I really like the old-time ska sound. The Duppies (from Gainesville, Florida) definitely have that old-time rocksteady feel. The first song I heard from this band is “What a Shame.” This is an infectious tune that has me swaying in my chair as I write. It’s the total package: a catchy melody, some excellent horns, and a bass line that will get you swinging your hips. And if it’s good horns you’re looking for, check out “Girl Why Don’t You Answer.” This is an excellent song for getting your horns fix.

While all the band’s songs have that rocksteady feel, perhaps the song that has the most “vintage” sound is “The Ghost of San Juan Hill.” This is a catchy tune that tells a good story.

This band’s songs are upbeat and ultra-catchy. Oh, and this isn’t a band that has just four songs on its ReverbNation page. This band has 21 songs you can listen to…and they’re all good. This is real simple. If you like bands like Toots and The Maytals, you’ll like The Duppies.

Ska Saturday: Bombskare

If this music doesn't move you, you are a zombie

If this music doesn’t move you, you are a zombie

It’s not every band that I like immediately. It’s safe to say that after a few bars of “Do All Dogs Go To Heaven?” I was hooked on Bombskare. Of course there are the horns and the rhythm section that will get you moving. This song also has some amazing organ work. But wait! There’s more! This band has nine members and it sure sounds like all of them sing at some point in this song. Oh, and the best part, after slowing the song down in the middle, the band picks up the tempo at the end and you’d better get those dancing shoes ready to keep up.

How do you follow that up? Why, with a song that sounds like what would happen if a ska band did the soundtrack for a spaghetti western. (Just try to wrap your coconut around that one.)

Like any good ska band worth its salt, Bombskare wants to get you moving. And I will tell you, loyal reader; if this doesn’t get you moving, you’re probably clinically dead. Or maybe you’re one of those zombies I’ve been hearing so much about. Regardless, if this music doesn’t get you moving, it’s not the fault of the band.


Ska Saturday: The Ska Vengers

Infectious melodies that will get you moving

Infectious melodies that will get you moving

I don’t know about you, loyal reader, but I find it interesting how certain kinds of music end up in certain places. For instance, I would never have imagined a ska band from India. But then while searching on Bandcamp, that is exactly what I found in The Ska Vengers. And I’ll tell you something. This band is good.

Right off the bat this band gets you moving with “(Why Don’t You) Do Right?” This isn’t punk-ska. This is more like old-time Jamaican ska with horns and organ that will get you skanking and a bass line that gives the sound a solid backbone.

Frankly, the catchy melodies were enough to win me over, but there is more than that too. Samara’s vocals are amazing. She sings with a soulful voice and sounds like she has some background singing jazz. She is the perfect vocalist for this band’s infectious melodies.

If you want some cool and catchy rocksteady (not to mention the novelty of having an Indian ska band in your collection), check out this band. Just make sure you have your dancing shoes ready.

Ska Saturday: The Killer Tomato

Infectious ska from Guatemala

Infectious ska from Guatemala

I searched the keyword ska on Bandcamp and The Killer Tomato caught my attention for a few reasons. First, the cover art certainly does catch the eye. Second, the band name is pretty cool and unforgettable. And finally, this is a ska band from Guatemala. I don’t know about you, but I can’t name any other bands from Guatemala. So yeah, I’d say this band fits the Incognito profile pretty well.

Then there is the music. Specifically those horns. Do yourself a favor and listen to “Confundido.” All I can say about the horns in that song (especially at the end) is “Wow!” There are some pretty impressive bass lines on Las Dias Como Hoy also. If bass is your thing, check out “Una Vez Mas.” And don’t think I’m going to leave out the guitar either. There is some excellent surf guitar in “El Viaje.”

I don’t understand most of the lyrics, but I don’t feel like I have to. That isn’t going to keep me from moving to this music. This is infectious ska with a healthy amount of punk. The album is incredibly well done and is available now on Bandcamp for the low price of only $2. What else can you get for $2? Not a lot. So fork over your two bucks and get this album. Just know that when you listen to it, it will be impossible to sit still.

Ska Saturday: Brunt of It

Hardcore punk-ska

Hardcore punk-ska

When you think of ska-punk bands, your mind might go toward pop-punk. Not that there is anything wrong with that. There are a lot of catchy bands that play that style. Brunt of It is not pop-punk. This is a hardcore punk-ska band. Aside from the hardcore background of the band, at least one other thing is immediately apparent about this band: these guys like catching a buzz. Just look at that cover art. But that’s not all. The band’s newest album also includes a song about getting buzzed on Listerine as well as a song called “THC.”

Like another Boston band (Dropkick Murphys), Brunt of It is not afraid to speak its mind about political issues. The song “Soilty” includes the lyrics “Support your country all of the time, your government only when it deserves it.” Seems to me some independent political candidate could latch onto that as a campaign theme song.

Does this band sound a touch more angry than other punk-ska bands? Angry probably isn’t the word for it. This band certainly has a more aggressive sound than other ska bands. Even so, these songs are incredibly catchy. They make you want to skank and get in the pit at the same time.