Ska, I got your back!

I have been reading a book for the last month. It’s a good book. It’s well researched and thorough.It’s not just good. It is a great book.

My initial plan was to tell you about that book. I changed my mind.

I woke up this morning and realized that I don’t want to tell you about the book. I do want you to read the book though, so here’s a little story about how I stumbled into a love of Ska.

I grew up in the midwest in the late 70s and early 80s. Life was easy. We loved Night Ranger and Loverboy. It’s what you loved if you didn’t pledge allegiance to Conway Twitty each and every night. We turned the radio on. We turned the radio up.

Maybe I had it easy on my path to Ska, but I grew up in a reasonably diverse household, musically speaking. My dad loved a wide blend of hippy music and acid rock, and my mom was way into Motown. I started to climb a mountain. That mountain’s name was  Rock and Roll.  

I will do you a favor and fast forward you a bit through the horrors of later 80s rock radio. It was a lot more bad than good. Let’s leave it at that.

Radio rock aside, I wasn’t really much into music. My older brother was. He was my gateway into other music. It was hit or miss for a while, but when he played Appetite for Destruction for me, I started to come around. When a friend of his was over and played the new Suicidal (How Will I Laugh Tomorrow) I was hooked. I can still feel my hair growing. That’s how metal I was.

New forms of music became my thing. I liked to be on the forward front, all “Have you heard this?” This continued when I went away to college. New Pantera, cool, but “Have you heard the new Voivod?” “Hey what if we listen to Ween?” In that  quest for “new”, I found new. New to me anyway. In 1993 I heard “Don’t Know How To Party” for the first time. The Bosstones had me hooked on a new thing. 

Later that year I was in a music store (Big Don’s Music City) in Joplin, MO. There was a message board near the front. (For the post-internet crowd, physical message boards were a place to connect with like-minded individuals to sell used appliances and find bass players.) That message board had a “take-a-number” sheet on it looking for members to start a Ska band. Influences including: Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Let’s Go Bowling, Toasters. Welp, I had heard the one, Let’s hear more. 

I liked this Ska stuff. It had horns. (was a trombone player once) It was opinionated, but at the same time, friendly. 

About a year later, MU330 rolled through the college town I was living in. I don’t even think they had an opening act. Just them doing a solid hour set. Afterward the sat down to chill and talk to the fans. I remember sitting with Dan and Jason (who was on lead vocals at the time). Jason shook my hand with the kind of handshake where you cover the entire handshake with your other hand, and don’t let go until you know the other person’s hand is fully shook. … if you know what I mean. It’s the handshake of long lost friends; the hug of handshakes. We chatted a bit, Jason, Dan and myself. I asked Dan, “how do you get those guitar sounds? I like it, but everything I try comes out sounding like Black Sabbath.” Dan said, “There’s nothing wrong with that. Keep Trying.” Better words were never said. 

I was in love with Ska. I tried to tell my brother, to share a bit of what he had given to me. He wasn’t into it. I think maybe the first stuff I played for him wasn’t quite aggressive enough. He was still pretty much a metalhead then. … but things change. Something stuck and he was asking me if I knew of more Ska bands, and where I could get more CDs.

I was living in Portland at the time and my brother came to visit. I took him to Ozone Records and he bought every Ska CD they had in the store. If I have my chronology right, later that year, maybe early the next, I went back home to visit. My brother picked me up in Kansas City and we went to Lawrence for a show at The Grenada. Less Than Jake, Skavoovie and the Epitones, and Chris Murray. IT WAS AMAZING. 

Special shout out to Chris. Skavoovie’s keyboard player had decided mid-tour to go back to college (I think that’s the story) So Chris played his opening “Campfire Ska” set, then went backstage, jumped into a suit, and proceeded to rock the full Skavoovie set on the keys. (Many years later Chris played my 20th wedding anniversary party.)

I bought my first Asian Man Records shirt at that show. It was magic. Later that night we went to the record store next to The Grenada. My brother bought me Mepheskapheles “God Bless Satan”, and Spring Heeled Jack (usa) “Static World View”. 

Life was a whirlwind back then. I was young, living in a city. Bands were playing all the time. So many. It was hard to keep up. I saw the Pietasters for the first time then. I was enamoured. Cool jazz guys almost, in wrinkled suits, with a couple of drinks in them. Good times. I bought a CD copy of OoLooLoo. I was blasting it in the apartment and one of my neighbors was all “Pietasters? Fuck Yeah!” She was from DC and totally on board with hometown music hitting the West Coast

A little anecdote here, but while I was living in Portland, my rather concervative grandmother came to visit. She wasn’t happy about a lot of the music I listened to, but she loved The Pietasters. She said it reminded her of big bands from back in the day. 

Nothing ever changed for me after that, as it pertains to Ska. I mean, one time I couldn’t get tickets to Less Than Jack and Reel Big Fish because the show was sold out. Life goes on though. I didn’t turn my back because of that. I just found new stuff. I’m like, “Up yours Reel Big Fish! I’ll listen to Thumper instead.”

I suppose I could ramble on more about the bands that bent my ear (Suicide Machines) and all the great shows I saw, but it would all be driving to the same destination. Ska is awesome. There is, not now, never once, a reason to be ashamed. 

I stand In Defense of Ska. But, as they say, the best defense is a good offense. (I think people say that) So to that end, I say, “GO OUT THERE AND BUY THIS MUTHAFUCKING BOOK AND LISTEN TO SKA!”

Cheers!

-Jerry Actually

Skism – 2021

Got a CD in the post box the other day. It’s been on deck in the CD player for a week or so now. Finally enough of a lull in the day job to throw a few words at it. A paucity of words leaves them hanging though, right?

Here’s some quick thoughts about Skism and their new release “2021”. A blast of old school (which I realize is a term I use a lot) street punk from NYC. 

Loud, gritty, in-your-face Punk / Hardcore / Oi

The lyric run a course from the murderous lament of “Eyes”, into the markedly anti-Nazi “U.S. Nazis Fuck Off and Die”, to the questioning retorts of “Agent Orange” and “Trioxin”. 

Things delve into the personal with “Knocked Down With A 40”, a song, as it turns out, about being knocked down with a 40. The final track, something we all can relate to, “Outside the Club” brings how the feeling of being shut out in the cold. 

You know what street punk sounds like? The drums pound. The guitar chugs. The bass rumbles. The vocals are somewhere between a sing and a shout. You know what you like. So check out Skism on all the streaming platforms. (but especially Bandcamp)

Tracks:
1. Pain and Pain 02:12
2. Eyes 02:24
3. U.S. Nazies Fuck Off and Die 01:32
4. Agent Orange 01:46
5. Trioxin 01:52
6. Knocked Down With A 40 01:26
7. Nomad 02:08
8. In Control (Eyes Reprise) 02:00
9. Outside the Club 01:29

Bio:
Skism is an anti-social, angst ridden, hyperactive punks who pound out driving music with screaming vocals, fast guitars and pounding drums, with old school punk, hardcore and oi influences, featuring players who played in The Krays, American Eagle, WRENCH and Mad Mulligans. 

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Quicksand Share New Single – Inversion

QUICKSAND
SHARE NEW SINGLE
“INVERSION”

WATCH | LISTEN

QUICKSAND BY ANNETTE RODRIGUEZ

New York City post-hardcore band Quicksand have made their long-awaited return with the new single “Inversion.” The track follows the band’s successful album from 2017, ‘Interiors.’ Thoughtful, driving, and powerful, like the long-lived band itself, the song has an emotional resonance that is only amplified by the events of the past stressed-out, locked-down year.

“The music to ‘Inversion’ was very squatter punk at first,” says frontman Walter Schreifels. “To get something going vocally I started singing in an English Niel Nausea kind of vibe (Nausea are a peace/squatter punk band from the Lower East Side of Manhattan). The lyrics reflect the push and pull of being very connected through technology while at the same time being the most emotionally isolated group of humans to ever walk the planet and fun stuff like that.” 

Today, the band have launched a colorful video with artwork by Japanese artist Tetsunori Tawaraya animated by Los Angeles-based artist Rob Fidel. Check it out here.

CHECK OUT “INVERSION”
WATCH | LISTEN

Formed in 1990, Quicksand made their full-length debut with Slip—a 1993 release praised by The A.V. Club as “a nearly flawless record that combines the irony and heaviness of Helmet with Fugazi’s penchant to dismantle sound in the most energetic ways.” Arriving in 1995, their sophomore album Manic Compression appeared at #1 on the Top Five Best Post-Hardcore Records list from LA Weekly (who noted that “if there were any justice in the world, Quicksand would have been the biggest underground band of the ’90s”).

Throughout the early ’90s, Quicksand toured with bands like Helmet, Fugazi, Rage Against the Machine, and Anthrax. After disbanding in late 1995, they reunited for a one-night performance in June 2012. They’ve since appeared at festivals like FYF Fest and Pukkelpop, and in 2013 embarked on their first North American tour in 15 years. In 2017, the band released their long-awaited third-studio album Interiors which saw Consequence of Sound praise the band for their sound “that nobody else has been able to replicate in all the time they’ve been gone.”

Quicksand is frontman/guitarist Walter Schreifels, bassist Sergio Vega, and drummer Alan Cage.

ARTWORK

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON QUICKSAND, VISIT:
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER

THE METEORS Celebrate The Release Of Their Newest Album SKULL N BONES

Psychobilly Legends THE METEORS Celebrate The Release Of Their Newest Album SKULL N BONES With A Killer Video For “A NIGHT IN THE TOMBS!”     Los Angeles, CA – Meteors fans have been hotly anticipating the release of the band’s newest full-length album, Skull N Bones, for awhile now, but they’ve been even more eagerly awaiting an opportunity to see the band perform live. After all, The Meteors have built their reputation as one of the most outrageously raucous bands on the planet by putting together a high energy performance at every show, blending their punk rock sensibility and attitude with the swagger and style of rockabilly. Well, today The Meteors are proud to announce that the wait for their new album is finally over as Skull N Bones officially hits the street today, and accompanying the album is a fantastic new video that will at least gives fans a taste of what’s in store for them when the band is able to launch an official, full-scale world tour behind the album. The video for “A Night In The Tombs” consists of brand new footage shot while the members are in quarantine and mixed with excellent live footage of the band from older shows. It’s a genuinely thrilling way to launch the new album and is sure to get the fans clamoring for more!


Watch the video for “A Night In The Tombs”:


Purchase Skull N Bones:https://orcd.co/the_meteors_skull_n_bones


Skull N Bones is part 1 of a planned double album with part 2, entitled The Curse Of Blood N Bones, coming later this year!
 
Track List
SIDE A
1. Chasing Evil
2. A Night In The Tombs
3. Skull N Bones
4. Get Back In The Swamp (And Jump)
5. Changeling
6. Dateless Nights

SIDE B
1. Gary Gilmore’s Eyes
2. We Will Rise
3. The Night Comes With Me
4. Zombie Noise
5. More Demons Than Most
6. Twisted

Sacri-Political – Shove It Up Your Ass!

Sacri-Political sent me a copy of their new single, Shove It Up Your Ass!, and well, fuck yeah. It rocks in an old school way that reminds me of the snottiness of Wasted Youth’s “Fuck Authority”. 

There’s, of course a very compelling reason there’s such an “old school” sound. They’ve been around for a couple minutes. According to the band’s bio:

‘Sacripolitical (1982 – 1993, 2019 – present) is a punk rock band from Marin County, CA. The name Sacripolitical refers to the band members’ attitude toward politics. Just as a person who is sacrilegious is irreverent toward the sacred, Sacripolitical plays songs, like “Peace: Under our Supervision,” “The Nihilist Void,” and “Napalm Baby,” that are politically and philosophically irreverent.’

The track is both irreverent and finger wagging, opening a view into what I think a lot of people have felt during the pandemic. It is kind of the idea that everything is pretty fucked, because everybody (politicians, corporations, racists, zealots) keep fucking everything up. Everything is fucked. It’s your fault, and you can, well, shove it up your ass. 

The music itself is a mid-tempo 3-chord banger. Very straight forward 4-piece punk rock with a little bit of a shuffle to it. It’s not out to pave new roads, but fits nicely in the well worn grooves in the asphalt. 

The B-side, “Gogol’s Nose” is in a little more of a DK vein, but with some horn parts dropped in. At any rate, I dig it. Check it out. Support local music any way you can. 

Stay safe!

Jerry Actually

MANNEQUIN PUSSY ANNOUNCE NEW EP PERFECT OUT MAY 21

MANNEQUIN PUSSY
ANNOUNCE NEW EP

PERFECT OUT MAY 21

SHARE NEW SINGLE
“CONTROL”

WATCH | LISTEN

PHOTO CREDIT: PHOBYMO

Philadelphia indie punk band Mannequin Pussy will release their new EP Perfecton May 21. The EP is the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2019 album Patience which landed the band on End of Year lists for Flood, NPR, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Spin, Vogue, and more.

Today, the band share the first look at Perfect with “Control,” with the cathartic music video directed by the band’s vocalist/guitarist Missy.

CHECK OUT “CONTROL”
WATCH | LISTEN

At the start of 2020, everything was looking up for Mannequin Pussy. The band had released their third album, Patience, and was touring steadily behind it. After nearly a decade of playing, the band finally had gotten the chance to turn music into a full-time occupation. And then, COVID-19 reached the United States, rescinding life as many people knew it. For a while, it seemed like maybe the lull would be temporary, a brief pause before things could resume as they were. And then the numbers ballooned, and the months stretched on, and memories of rooms packed with strangers started to feel alien, dangerous even in imagination. Mannequin Pussy’s new Perfect EP bursts forth from those sprawling months of social isolation and internet-fueled anxiety.

After spending most of the year apart from each other and everyone else in 2020, Mannequin Pussy decided to book studio time and work together in person again. They brought two pre-written songs into the session, but opted to write new material together on the fly from the excitement of reunion. “We just figured if we forced ourselves into this situation where someone could hit ‘record,’ something might come out,” Missy says. “We’d never written that way before.” What came out of that compressed session time with Grammy Nominated producer Will Yip, are some of Mannequin Pussy’s most furious, incandescent songs yet.

PERFECT TRACK LISTING
1. Control
2. Perfect
3. To Lose You
4. Pigs is Pigs
5. Darling

Mannequin Pussy is Missy (vocals/guitar/keys), Colins “Bear” Regisford (bass), and Kaleen Reading (drums).

ARTWORK

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON MANNEQUIN PUSSY, VISIT:
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER

THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM

THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES
ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM

WHEN GOD WAS GREAT
OUT MAY 7

SHARE “I DON’T BELIEVE IN ANYTHING”

Ska-punk pioneers The Mighty Mighty BossToneS will release their 11th studio record When God Was Great on May 7 via Hellcat Records.

Co-produced by longtime collaborator Ted Hutt (The Gaslight Anthem, Dropkick Murphys) and Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong (Transplants, Jimmy Cliff), When God Was Great is the culmination of their extensive and all-embracing career and sees the band bringing back friends, tourmates, and bandmates from the past for a sonic celebration that stresses the power of perseverance and human connection during tumultuous times. The album features 15-tracks that initially arose out of a collective sense of loss.

“We were lightly writing songs before the insanity without any sort of timeline in mind. All of a sudden, the world changed and benchmark events in a very long career that we were looking forward to, such as playing with the Madness at the Greek Theatre, were taken away from us,” explains frontman Dicky Barrett. “With all of this time on our hands, we started writing at a quickened pace and we were really inspired. As grim as everything around us was in the outside world, this was the most fun we ever had making a record.

Today, the band shares their new single “I DON’T BELIEVE IN ANYTHING”.

CHECK OUT “I DON’T BELIEVE IN ANYTHING NOW

WHEN GOD WAS GREAT TRACK LISTING
1.     DECIDE
2.     M O V E
3.     I DON’T BELIEVE IN ANYTHING
4.     CERTAIN THINGS
5.     BRUISED
6.     LONELY BOY
7.     THE KILLING OF GEORGIE (PART III)
8.     YOU HAD TO BE THERE
9.     WHEN GOD WAS GREAT
10.  WHAT IT TAKES
11.  LONG AS I CAN SEE THE LIGHT
12.  THE TRUTH HURTS
13.  IT WENT WELL
14.  I DON’T WANT TO BE YOU
15.  THE FINAL PARADE

Since their formation in 1983, the BossToneS have been credited as one of the forefathers of ska punk and the creators of its subgenre, ska-core. With a career spanning over 30-years Boston’s best dressed band has built and continued to build a devoted following with their unique brass-infused brand of punk rock. To date they have released ten studio records; Devil’s Night Out (1989), More Noise and Other Disturbances (1992), Don’t Know How to Party (1993), Question the Answers (1994), Let’s Face It (1997), Pay Attention (2000), A Jackknife to a Swan (2002), Pin Points and Gin Joints (2009), The Magic of Youth (2011), and While We’re at It (2018).

CREDIT: YOYO YOSEF

NOFX RELEASE NEW FULL-LENGTH SINGLE ALBUM

NOFX RELEASE NEW FULL-LENGTH
SINGLE ALBUM
TODAY, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, VIA FAT WRECK CHORDS

“NOFX Los Angeles punk veterans’ latest record tackles everything from drug addiction to mortality.” COS

If you think you’ve heard it all before from the veteran punks, this record begs to differ.” – Kerrang!

“NOFX’s Fat Mike on His Sobriety, Sexuality: ‘I Think I Came Out of the Closet Even More’”SPIN
STREAM: SINGLE ALBUM
(IN FULL ON ALL PLATFORMS  HERE)  

                                                                                               Photo credit: Jonathan Weiner


Fat Wreck Chords and longstanding California punk band NOFX are thrilled to present Single Album, the band’s 14th full-length studio album, out now. As frontman Fat Mike explains, “Single Album was initially supposed to be twice as long, as I wanted to make a perfect double album, and I didn’t accomplish that, so I decided to just make a single album, hence the title.” Alternative Press interviewed Fat Mike in this extensive interview, tackling everything from drug addiction to newfound sobriety. Recently, Consequence of Sound caught up with Fatty to stream their latest opus, as well as post a lengthly track-by-track where Fat Mike breaks down his lyrics, musical arrangements, and more. 

Single Album is available to stream on all platforms, with the physical product on hand via FAT’s Web Store


Check out the music video for “Fuck Euphemism” on YouTube.
Read an extensive Interview with Fat Mike & Spin about the video HERE.
View the music video for “Linewleum” on YouTube .
Watch the music video for “I Love You More Than I Hate Me” on YouTube.

Nearly 40 years in, what else is there to say about NOFX?

And aside from the occasional negative headline, how can one of the pioneers of SoCal punk—a style hardly known for experimentation—surprise anyone these days?

The answers lie on Single Album (Fat Wreck Chords, Feb. 26), NOFX’s 14th full-length studio album. There’s the nearly six-minute post-hardcore opener (“The Big Drag”). The meta sendoff for the band’s best-known song (“Linewleum”). The reggae-inflected song about a mass shooting (“Fish in a Gun Barrel”). Even a piano ballad (“Your Last Resort”).

It is, as frontman and bassist Fat Mike repeatedly describes, “a dark album.” That wasn’t the original intent. By early 2020, NOFX—which includes guitarist El Hefe, guitarist Eric Melvin, and drummer Smelly—had written and recorded enough songs for a planned double album to be released that fall. Like so much about 2020, those plans changed.

“When you write a double album, you write differently,” Mike says. “I was writing really different songs, and some fun songs, but you have to make a double album interesting enough to listen to the whole way. I wanted to make a perfect double album, and I didn’t accomplish that. So I decided to just make a single album, hence the title.”

Recorded at Motor Studios in San Francisco with Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore (Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, Teenage Bottlerocket), Single Album pares down the roughly 23 songs NOFX tracked. “I just kept adding songs,” Mike says. “I was maybe a little out of my mind.”

How so? “I was pretty high on drugs that year,” he adds. While fans may wonder what else is new, Single Album casts the frontman’s habits in a surprisingly harsh light. While “Grieve Soto” eulogizes beloved Adolescents founder Steve Soto, it takes a meta turn when Eric Melvin warns Mike to be “cautious, more respectful, less obnoxious.”“Birmingham” has what people in recovery call “a moment of clarity,” when he realized he was an addict.

“That was a clarity moment in my life when I was by myself, and the sun’s coming up, and I’m scraping cocaine off the floor, like, ‘Eww, gross. I shouldn’t be doing this,’” Mike says. “So what did I do? I ordered more.” After being hospitalized with a bleeding ulcer—a terrifying experience that caused him to vomit blood—Mike entered rehab in fall 2020. He promptly wrote another new album while there and has been sober since.

Unsurprisingly, Single Album represents his most personal work to date. Heartbreak permeates “I Love You More Than I Hate Me” and “Your Last Resort.” “Fuck Euphemism” dives into Mike’s sexuality for a “pronoun bar fight.” “Doors and Fours” is a grim look into the early ’80s LA punk scene, when dozens of people—many of them Mike’s friends—overdosed on a prescription drug combo. “The Big Drag” is a personal vow to make the most of life, even when it undeniably sucks. “It’s one of my favorite NOFX songs ever. I don’t get sick of listening to that song,” Mike says of “The Big Drag.” “No measure is the same length. Every time a new chord change happens, there’s a different rhythm to the guitar. The bass never stays on one note. You’re not sure when the chords are going to change because they always change at a different point.”

In other words, it’s unpredictable—just like NOFX. Turns out there is a lot to say about them, even after all this time.

Fat Wreck Chords will release Single Album on Feb. 26, 2021.
Single Album track-listing

1. The Big Drag

2. I Love You More Than I Hate Me

3. Fuck Euphemism

4. Fish in a Gun Barrel

5. Birmingham

6. Linewleum

7. My Bro Cancervive Cancer

8. Grieve Soto

9. Doors and Fours

10. Your Last Resort