Here’s an interesting little slice of audio for ya. State of Repair, a forthcoming EP by Bristol based folk-ska-punk act “And The Wasters”. Five tracks of music spanning several decades of influence.
I’m immediately struck by how much it reminds me of many of my favorite late 70s / early 80s UK favorites: The Specials and Fun Boy Three, Madness, Pogues, Clash, then throw in a bit of more modern influence of Flogging Molly and Gogol Bordello. Blend it up even more with some dub ska instrumental jams ala Skatalites and I think you’ll get a sense of what I’m picking up.
The opening track, Lion’s Share sets the tone of disenchantment. Without picking apart each track, I get a strong sense of anarcho/pirate punk and a bit of an anti-establishment bent, certainly helpful for any sort of protest music. The tracks are up-tempo and catchy and at only five songs, I’m left with wanting more.
I feel like maybe the tracks I’ve been given to listen to are a bit out of order, what with “Intro Dub” occurring last, but hey, who am I to judge? At any rate, I’ve listened to the EP about 10x through now and I am totally into it. If you haven’t heard And The Wasters, I demand you check them out!
“After many years touring Festivals, Squats and far-flung venues, And the Wasters have evolved from their Folk-Punk-Ska roots through elements of Hip-hop, Balkan & Latin. They weld this explosive musical concoction with an empowering political message to create a relentless live energy!” ~And The Wasters
1. Lion’s Share
2. Small Victories
3. Reduce, Reuse, Rebel
4. Bound as One
5. Intro Dub
Welcome to the debut release by Wichita, KS based folk/rock/garage/americana/tejano/cowpunk act, Americana-Na. The self-titled debut brings about an intriguing blend of musical genres. The songs are uptempo and of short duration in the vein of punk rock, but with less vitriol and intensity that is often associated with the aforementioned genre. The prior has been replaced with tongue-in-cheek (I assume) storytelling about American flag t-shirts ala the opener, “American” and what seems to be the Spanglish, or maybe it’s Gringlish stylings of “Eclipse”. Musically, the songs are simple chord driven 4/4 numbers with a “kick/snare, kick/snare, kick/snare, fill” cowboy/country rhythm.
The overall vibe comes across as slightly less than serious. This isn’t a bad thing mind you, so much as something to note. Vocally, the tunes sound a bit tortured, as though someone was trying to wring a note out of a old worn boot. I think that, in significant part, helps with the less-than-serious overtone. The songs are raw and rough around the edges. I think the mutli-colored duct tape cover provides a nice visual compliment to the tracks being haphazardly held together, perhaps by the very mystical properties of duct tape itself.
I’d be hard pressed to list all of the influences that are melded into the sound, but there’s a little band that I’m reminded of continually as I listen to this: Awesome and the Ass-kickers. … If you haven’t heard them, look them up.
At the end of it, the debut release by Americana-Na is 8 short, fun tracks and one track that is about double the length of the others. … that’s like getting ten tracks I’d say. Good deal!
If you’re in the Midwest and/or upper-ish Midwest, word on the street is the the boys are doing a mini-tour coming up soon. Have some fun. Check them out.
(c) 2008 Fat Wreck Chords
Welcome to the B-side. What have we here but no less than 32 tracks of B-side, demos, 4-track takes and BS schlock from none other than Swingin’ Utters. It is generally easy to dismiss B-side compilations as strictly for the die hard fan. Generally they consist of crap to lackluster to otherwise distribute. That is only partially true for Hatest Grits. Instead of the usual 90% garbage 10% diamond, the Utters give you a sketchbook chronology of one of the best bands of the hybrid folk punk genre. Of course you also get some crap to lackluster to otherwise distribute, meant only for the die hard fan. But thanks to the good graces of the band, the ratio is more like 75% kick ass takes and 25% filler. You slice it how you like it though. I for one am down with their brand of rock and roll. Highly recommended from your friends at !upstarter.
Rizorkestra – American Guitar (c) 2007 Unstrictly Roots A while back, on a walk through the local art museum, I encountered an exhibit that grabbed my attention. As I looked the content over, it began to seem over-processed and almost sterile. Nested on the wall next to each piece, were statements from the artist typed out on little scraps of matting board. I can't recall specific quotes but I remember one that read something to the effect of… “If Picasso were here in the 21st century, he would use a computer for his work too.” I was astonished. It seemed almost like a betrayal of human expression to me. I always believed the formula should be:Human thought process>Medium>Art – NOT – Human>Processor>Product.American Guitar is a nice break from the over-processed, over-produced shit we hear everyday. It is true, bluesy, folksie and unpretentious. While it provides no angst or punkiness, I would recommend taking a listen. You may be surprised to learn that somewhere out there, people are still “paying respect to the roots”.–Krystal Tolle