In Defense of Ska – Pre-order

IN DEFENSE OF SKA

By AARON CARNES

OFFICIAL RELEASE MAY 4

Print ISBN: 978-1-944866-78-5

Price: $18.95

Page Count: 330

Pre-Order the book at: Clash Books

“I DECLARE THIS THE BOOK OF THE YEAR”
-Josh Fernandez (Hard Times)

“Aaron Carnes knows that ska needs defending, and he’s highly equipped to defend it. Aaron wanted to set out to change the public’s perception of this unfairly-maligned genre.”
-Andrew Sacher (Brooklyn Vegan)

“Honestly, I wasn’t a giant fan of ska. But the stories he gives snippets, I’m definitely getting this book. It’s fucking great.”
-Mike Doyle (This Was The Scene podcast)

“I love In Defense of Ska and I can’t wait until it’s officially released.”
-Cam Brio (Cam Brio Music)

Photo by Cam Evans

Why doesn’t ska get its due as a rich, diverse genre the way punk, metal, hip-hop and electronic music does? Or more to the point, why are ska fans so embarrassed of this music they love? The era of ska shame is officially over. In Defense of Ska is the much-needed response to years of ska-mockery. No longer do ska fans need to hide in the basement, skanking alone in their sharp suits, slim ties and porkpie hats. Now the time to take to the streets and fight music snobbery, or at least crank up the ska without being teased ruthlessly.

In a mix of interviews, essays, personal stories, historical snapshots, obscure anecdotes, and think pieces, In Defense of Ska dissects, analyzes and celebrates ska in exactly the way fans have been craving for decades. This book will enlist ska-lovers as soldiers in the ska army, and challenge ska-haters’ prejudices to the core.

Author Aaron Carnes. Photo by Amy Bee

Since hardly anyone takes ska seriously, author Aaron Carnes, has uncovered a bunch of untold stories. Geoffrey Hales, the “music and surf consultant” for the film Back To The Beach speaks on why he chose Fishbone to appear in the film. His decision was in part because Walt Disney was a racist and pro-Nazi; having his darling Annette Funicello backed by a black band would make him “roll in his grave.”

There’s also the story of Fresno ska band Let’s Go Bowling who, in 1998, had their touring van shot up on the freeway as they were heading home after a show. The only injury was a bullet fragment the keyboardist found in his hand. And how about Riverside skacore legends Voodoo Glow Skulls, who abandoned their first “Fat Randy” video shoot. They cast the real-life Fat Randy—a weird Polish kid they went to school with—and a bunch of old high school friends. These old buddies got drunk and dogpiled on Randy, hurting him, shutting down the video, wasting 10,000 dollars of Epitaph’s money in production costs.

Since ska is a global phenomenon, Aaron flew to Mexico to report on biggest, and most political, ska scene in the world. Many of these bands rose from the most impoverished neighborhoods in Mexico City. Few musicians in Mexico speak on political and social issues, but the ska bands do, and they’re incredibly popular with the kids from these same poor neighborhoods. Today these bands play all-ska festivals that draw 25,000 people and more.

After the ’90s, when ska was considered dead, the music continued to have a cult audience. Current-day Pitchfork darling Jeff Rosenstock used to fronted ska-core band Arrogant Sons of Bitches in the early 2000s. They traversed the country vehemently and defiantly defending ska amidst the ska-hating early 2000s musical landscape. They played to small but devoted crowds that loved that they didn’t abandon ska in the name of “rock with horn” like so many of the 90s ska bands did. It was such an arduous task, defending ska, they ended many shows injured, usually self-inflicted.

In Defense of Ska takes readers on a journey through the last several decades of music to illustrate how important ska has always been, and highlights hundreds of great, underrated bands, completely destroying the popular narrative that ska was just a zany trend in the ’90s. It’s a way of life. It’ll never die.

Flat Planet – Somewhere in TX, 1996. Photo courtesy of Aaron Carnes

THE DIRTY NIL DROP NEW SINGLE – “ONE MORE AND THE BILL”

THE DIRTY NIL DROP NEW SINGLE ONE MORE AND THE BILL
WATCH LIVE PERFORMANCE ON YOUTUBE   LINKS: FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / TWITTER / WEBSITE / MORE INFO   Today, JUNO Award-winning power trio The Dirty Nil share “One More and the Bill,” the emotional centrepiece of their forthcoming album, Fuck Art, out January 1, 2021 via Dine Alone Records and available for pre-order now.   Speaking on “One More and the Bill,” frontman Luke Bentham says:
Let’s be clear: social media hates you. One More And The Bill is an ode to the primitive, casting off the shackles and enjoying life while you’ve got it. This is one of my favourite songs we’ve ever made and we hope you enjoy!   Along with the previous releases of pop-punk gem “Done With Drugs,” the hardcore basement rock ode to young love “Doom Boy,” and “Blunt Force Concussion,” a slice of ’90’s power-pop, “One More and the Bill” is a grungy drinking song that climaxes with a vow to smash my TV, smash my phone, leave politics alone, go outside for a while.
Watch The Dirty Nil perform “One More and the Bill” live via YouTube and hear their frustration towards the toxicity of social media bubble up and boil over.
Fuck Art The Dirty Nil January 1, 2021 Dine Alone Records   1. Doom Boy 2. Blunt Force Concussion 3. Elvis ’77 4. Done With Drugs 5. Ride or Die 6. Hang Yer Moon 7. Damage Control 8. Hello Jealousy 9. Possession 10. To The Guy Who Stole My Bike 11. One More and The Bill   Fuck Art is a statement of confidence and defiance from a group that’s now three albums into the game—i.e., the point where ambitious rock bands are supposed to call in the orchestra, experiment with electronics, and try to make their Ok Computer. The Dirty Nil, by contrast, have opted to perfect the formula that, over the past decade, has landed them on stages with everyone from Against Me! to The Who. Fuck Art melts down all of their favourite ingredients—classic-rock heroism, pop-punk horsepower, ’80s indie scrappiness, ’90s alterna-crunch, speed-metal adrenaline—into a radiant, chromatic solution they can then mould and harden into unpredictable shapes.

Subliminal Landmines – Gibberish

Listening to Gibberish, the recently released album from Lafayette, Louisiana punk band, Subliminal Landmines. 12 tracks of bouncy, mid-tempo, rock and roll songs, with enough grit and sneer to take the more poppy edges off, and keep it just dangerous enough to not drift into pure rock territory. The sound is defiantly out of garageland, and totally suits the band. Three piece, three chords, 1. 2. 3. Go!

Everything reminds me of everything these days, but Subliminal Landmines has a vocal style that is similar to something, but I can’t put my finger on it. It’s good and it’s cool, so there’s that at any rate. Maybe I’m wrong, but as I’ve continued listening, the vocals kind of strike me as being like psychobilly/rockabilly act The Blackjakits. I dunno maybe I’m nuts. 

I’ve half listened to the Gibberish a couple times now and it is growing on me with each successive run. The album as a whole sounds great and is entirely listenable, however standout Track six, Crutch, comes out of the gate like a Cheap Trick number. The intro really hooks in, and it’s totally a song about lost friendship, and about the things that you do to get by. Great stuff musically and lyrically. 

The songs speak of loss, lament, drugs illicit or otherwise, and the type of soul searching that comes along with life on an isolated and often bleak planet. The effect is cathartic though. It helps to diffuse the pain of living.  

From Crutch:
“Staring at the ceiling while thinking bout way too much
Having trouble standing without you as my crutch”

Bonus Green Day cover at the end, which I suppose puts a finer point on the sound and spirit Subliminal Landmines are trying to capture. 

There’s a bunch of links below if you’d like to check them out. I think that perhaps you should.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Criticized 02:13
2. Where’s My Coke? 03:54
3. Room for 3 02:36
4. She May Be 03:01
5. I’m Okay 02:53
6. Crutch 03:17
7. Suit Up 05:09
8. Target (Twenty-20) 02:59
9. I Love You a Camel 02:45
10. Ungrateful 01:48
11. Losing Heartbeats 03:16
12. Brain Stew / Jaded 04:30

Bio:
Taking form in 2017, Subliminal Landmines exploded onto the South Louisiana Music scene with their energetic punk. Influenced by the grimey dive bars, garages, and smoke stained lungs of their youth, Subliminal Landmines released their debut EP “Captivity” which was received with open arms. Currently writing their first full length album to be called “Gibberish” which is set to release in the fall of 2020

Members:
Grant Duhon: Vocals and Guitar
Chris Hayes: Vocals and Bass
Lee Gauthreaux: Drums

Social Media links:
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/subliminallandmines
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SubLandmines
Instagram : http://www.instagram.com/subliminallandmines
Bandcamp : https://subliminallandmines.bandcamp.com/
Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPVJVEVYTV9GpYgVwoNA0hg?
Spotify : https://open.spotify.com/artist/1NQS1qtyBDeT3po1O8ck9k?si=KxjWGnv7QVqL1cR-JIigVA  

Grade 2 Share New Track “Only Ones I Trust”

GRADE 2
SHARE “ONLY ONES I TRUST”

ARTWORK BY TIM ARMSTRONG

UK punk band Grade 2 have just released “Only Ones I Trust,” an outtake from the band’s 2019 album Graveyard Island. Co-written and produced by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, the band hopes this feel good track with stomping choruses will “unify those who have seen struggles this year, because together in this game we are damned and we are all the same. We aim to have you singing your heart out, for now just in your living room but hopefully at a show soon!”

LISTEN TO “ONLY ONES I TRUST” NOW

Grade 2 is Sid Ryan (vocals/bass), Jack Chatfield (vocals/guitar), and Jacob Hull (drums). Formed in 2013, the band met at school where they would spend their lunch break playing covers of classic punk tunes together in the music room. Since their formation, the band has released several EPs and three studio albums; Mainstream View (2016) and Break The Routine (2017), and Graveyard Island (2019). The bands’ Hellcat debut Graveyard Island was recorded and produced by Rancid’s Tim Armstrong at Armstrong’s Shiprec Studios and mixed by The Interrupters’ Kevin Bivona.

Grade 2 by Bill Chatfield 

For More Information on Grade 2, visit:
WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK

Get Dead – Dancing With The Curse

I’ve been pretty uninspired for a few months now. At the beginning of the pandemic, I was pretty upbeat. Working from home, being creative, and generally enjoying things to the fullest extent possible with the obvious restrictions. As spring drifted, summer languished, somehow we careened straight into fall. With that passage of time I have become a bit despondent. Colors have dulled. Highlights and lows have all reached their eventual entropy. Sometimes though, every now and again, you get a little bit of a boost.

Today’s boost arrived in the form of a brand new album from San Francisco’s Get Dead. “Dancing With The Curse” is out on October 9th, on the now venerable Fat Wreck Chords. What can I say, it’s a cathartic delight.

We were given a teaser of the album at the end of summer, via video for the intro track Disruption, a syncopated punk/rap number. The lead track segues into the remaining 11 tracks in a seamless fashion. The tracks move in and out of tempos from the fast-slow-fast-faster-slow-slower-fast-faster-slow keeping the sound swirling around in your gray matter.

Elements of folk, rap, ska, and reggae flavor the tracks and the band’s punk rock DNA. It makes  for a lively album, one which repaves well worn ground with fresh new layers. It’s good stuff. It’s dynamic. You know what I’m saying?

Things, of course, are delivered in a patently dark fashion, tonally, but especially lyrically. That’s what keeps us coming back, right? Take some lines from track 4: Stickup

Did you really think
You could start again
This place is collapsing
Hordes of incontrollable bastards
They are coming for you
It feels like this place is cursed
So do your worst
We are all going down

It’s not the sort of thing that engenders a lot of hope, not in a traditional way at least. There’s a certain comfort in knowing that you’re doomed, and it’s always nice to have a soundtrack to that feeling.

But, you know, there is hope. From track 7: Hard Times

Trouble breathing?
Feel like something’s wrong?
Have you felt like
It’s been like this for too long?
Is your heart beating?
Can you hear this song?
Then everything is okay

Maybe there will be better days? I know it made my day better. 

Here’s the deal, there’s a new album by Get Dead and it’s the shit, as the kids used to say. 

Cheers!
Jerry Actually   

Tracks:

  1. Disruption
  2. Nickel Plated
  3. Fire Sale
  4. Stickup
  5. Glitch
  6. Confrontation
  7. Hard Times
  8. 8 Track
  9. Green’s Girl
  10. Pepperspray
  11. Confidence Game
  12. Take It

Bio:

There aren’t a lot of bands like Get Dead around these days. Instead of worrying about gimmicks and trends, this fivesome from San Francisco, California have always focused on the music and that’s evident with every passion-filled note they play. Get Dead started out performing together in 2007 after their respective bands called it quits and eventually attracted the attention of NOFX frontman Fat Mike who produced the band’s first full-length, “Bad News”, as well as their new full-length, “Honesty Lives Elsewhere”, and released both records on his label Fat Wreck Chords.

Quaker Weddings – In Transit

We are living in a fucked up world, engulfed in chaos. Everything is fucking broken. Occasionally though, a small burst of joy breaks through. One such joy is unsolicited albums arriving at my door. 

The new album, In Transit by New York trio, Quaker Wedding landed on my doorstep, predicated on the assumption that “Upstarter” generally digs The Lawrence Arms. That assumption has shown to be true, because “Upstarter” digs the hell out of Quaker Wedding.

Anyone that’s been here for a few know that I am a bit partial to the punk trio format. I like the rawness it often creates. It has more guts; seems more real. In Transit is no exception. 

Gruff, exasperated, and emotive vocals are draped over chunky 4:4 punk rock riffs. The tracks, though clearly forged in punk rock, are delivered in an ethereal, dreamlike manner. Flitting and drifting from one angsty bit to the next. In another world, this album would be emo, and I’m totally alright with that. 

Quaker Wedding’s In Transit has got it where it counts, right in the guts. A fine recording, for your listening pleasure. My only lament, I suppose, is that this album needs to be longer. 

For fans of: The Lawrence Arms, American Steel, Hot Water Music, Soul Asylum, Things that are filled with angst.  

Cheers!

Jerry Actually

Tracks:

1. Sinking Ship 01:19
2. Dark Thoughts II 02:56
3. Jilted Lover 03:56
4. Wrecking Ball 03:50
5. Vermont 03:56
6. Sleep 01:48
7. Aching 00:53
8. Knowing Smile 03:12
9. Searching 03:32
10. On An Island 07:29

The Lawrence Arms – Skeleton Coast – Out now

SKELETON COAST
THE NEW ALBUM FROM
THE LAWRENCE ARMS
OUT NOW

The Lawrence Arms’ seventh studio album, Skeleton Coast is out now. Recorded in Tornillo, TX, a border town of Mexico, at Sonic Ranch Studios with longtime producer Matt Allison, the album marks the band’s first release in six years.

LISTEN TO SKELETON COAST NOW

The album contains the elements of the band’s sound that fans have come to love for the past two decades but recontextualizes them in a way that somehow sounds perfectly aligned with this strange time in our collective history. Although it was written and recorded before the Coronavirus upended the world, the band’s seventh studio album sounds eerily prescient as it imagines an apocalyptic future where coyotes croon and wolf packs roam free. “For a band who has been around as long as us, this is about as urgent of a record as we could make,” vocalist and bassist Brendan Kelly explains. “It may be kind of dark but it’s really about searching for light in the darkness and finding it, as small as those moments may seem. That’s sort of where we’re at: Collecting the scraps of things that could make for a bearable existence in dark times.”

SKELETON COAST TRACK LISTING
1. Quiet Storm
2. PTA
3. Belly Of The Whale
4. Dead Man’s Coat
5. Pigeons and Spies
6. Last Last Words
7. Demon
8. Ghostwriter
9. How To Rot
10. Under Paris
11. Goblin Fox Hunt
12. Lose Control
13. Don’t Look At Me
14. Coyote Crown

The Lawrence Arms have never had any agenda apart from just having fun and making good music. Since forming in Chicago in 1999—the trio of bassist/vocalist Brendan Kelly, guitarist/vocalist Chris McCaughan and drummer Neil Hennessy—have made albums that continually challenge the boundaries of their sound. In the process they’ve carved out a distinctive identity in the punk community that’s simultaneously gritty, beautiful, melodic and mutinous.

The Lawrence Arms by Ben Pier

For more information on The Lawrence Arms, visit:
INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

THE LAWRENCE ARMS SHARE NEW TRACK “LAST LAST WORDS”

THE LAWRENCE ARMS
SHARE NEW TRACK

“LAST LAST WORDS”

SKELETON COAST OUT JULY 17

Today, Chicago bred trio The Lawrence Arms share “Last Last Words” off their forthcoming record Skeleton Coast out July 17 via Epitaph.

The track “is about coming to terms with your own obscurity – but like, in a pretty upbeat way,” says vocalist and guitarist Chris McCaughan. “It’s an escape dream to an edge of the world while being strangely content with some undergrown adulthood. It’s part undercover love song to the sometimes beautiful randomness of the universe and part offbeat, comical reminder to keep rewriting your unknown future. Like so much of the record, the song chases tiny flashes of light in the darkness.”

LISTEN TO “LAST LAST WORDS” NOW

Skeleton Coast was recorded 30 miles east of El Paso, TX at Sonic Ranch Studios with longtime producer Matt Allison. The album contains the elements of the band’s sound that fans have come to love for the past two decades but recontextualizes them in a way that somehow sounds perfectly aligned with this strange time in our collective history. Although it was written and recorded before the Coronavirus upended the world, the band’s seventh studio album sounds eerily prescient as it imagines an apocalyptic future where coyotes croon and wolf packs roam free. “For a band who has been around as long as us, this is about as urgent of a record as we could make,” vocalist and bassist Brendan Kelly explains. “It may be kind of dark but it’s really about searching for light in the darkness and finding it, as small as those moments may seem. That’s sort of where we’re at: Collecting the scraps of things that could make for a bearable existence in dark times.”

SKELETON COAST TRACK LISTING
1. Quiet Storm
2. PTA
3. Belly Of The Whale
4. Dead Man’s Coat
5. Pigeons and Spies
6. Last Last Words
7. Demon
8. Ghostwriter
9. How To Rot
10. Under Paris
11. Goblin Fox Hunt
12. Lose Control
13. Don’t Look At Me
14. Coyote Crown

The Lawrence Arms have never had any agenda apart from just having fun and making good music. Since forming in Chicago in 1999—the trio of bassist/vocalist Brendan Kelly, guitarist/vocalist Chris McCaughan and drummer Neil Hennessy—have made albums that continually challenge the boundaries of their sound. In the process they’ve carved out a distinctive identity in the punk community that’s simultaneously gritty, beautiful, melodic and mutinous

For more information on The Lawrence Arms, visit:
INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER