The Skashank Redemption – To Victory!

© 2013
Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

SkashankCoverI miss the days of 3rd wave ska. I’m pretty sure that any other fun lovin’, skankin’, also liken punk sorta folks feel the same. Well I’ll be damned if life doesn’t sometimes provide it’s own time machine, ‘cause ska (in a decidedly 3rd wave variety) is making its rounds again.

I’m listening to “To Victory!” the new E.P. by The Skashank Redemption (not to be confused with The Skaskank Redemption … I know, confusing, right?) but I digress. These boys, Skashank, not Skaskank are from the bustling, 14th largest city in the USA, Columbus, OH. Maybe there’s something about the midwest? The beer, the weather, the sassy ladies? There’s something that brings out the pep in the horns, the plink of the strings and the silly antics of high number of member bands.

Enough of that though, To Victory! makes good with six tracks of solid ska. Among other influences, The Skashank Redemption sound reminds me so much of Spring Heeled Jack (USA) yet without coming off as derivative or posing. They’ve got plenty of their own spin in the mix. The songs are peppy and danceable and well polished. There’s an effort being put forth by the musicians that shines through in the recording. It takes a lot of talent to coordinate a seven member band with the level of precision that To Victory! provides. To that I say cheers and keep on skankin’

The only detractor for me are a bit too much of the joke banter. Some folks may like it. I’m not a fan. That aside, a solid release.

Bottom line is that if you’ve not been getting your fill of fresh ska, head on over and check out The Skashank Redemption over on their page here: https://www.facebook.com/theskashankredemption

Cheers,
Jerry Actually

Heads Held High – Dogs and Cats, Living Together

© 2010 Failsafe Records
Rating: ★★★½☆

Because I’m so disorganized as of late, I’m not only running behind on reviews, but losing bios and other materials. At least I didn’t lose the CD, right? At whatever rate, I present to you Heads Held High, a melodic hardcore band hailing from Cincinnati, OH. Turns out they are actually from Cleveland. My apologies. (at least the interwebs indicate as such) Dogs and Cats, Living Together is their new release, out now on Failsafe Records (not that I could find them on the Failsafe site)

Dogs and Cats, Living Together is 10 tracks of melodic yet rhythmic hardcore punk with a mid-fast tempo and angsty growling, yet articulate vocals. It isn’t quite hardcore in the sense of SOIA or Blood for Blood. As opposed to the initial punch in the face, it is more the linger pain as the bruises heal. At the time of recording, the band’s lineup consisted of Elliot, Jack, David, Kevin and Rob. The album related feats of these mono-named entities shall remain unknown.

The tracks tend towards guitar riff oriented with overlayed talk/sing vocals in a manner that reminds me of a more aggressive Bouncing Souls meets Hogan’s Heros, with the exception of track 9, Van on Fire, Head Hurt which has more of a jangly sing-a-long road track sound. Track length is quick with all 10 clocking in at just under 23 minutes. There are pithy movie sound clips on many tracks including personal favorite, track 5, Groundhog Day. (I’ll just bet you guess what movie gets referenced.) The lyrics are philosophical and searching. While I rarely comment on lyrics, I appreciate the thought and emotion that goes into work that seeks deeper meaning. That said, open your ears when you listen to Dogs and Cats, Living Together

Overall, a decent release. I generally prefer things more anthemic. (see track 9) I’d like a few more tunes in that flavor, but maybe I’m not singing along, ’cause I just haven’t read the words enough. I would absolutely see these guys live.

–Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Refurbished Kids
2. I’m Probably Wasting My Breath, But?
3. Ex Machina
4. Waiting for the Barbarians
5. Groundhog Day
6. Dear Kilgore Trout
7. Live Average, Die Average
8. Stay Mad, Stay Outrage, Stay Puft!
9. Van on Fire, Head Hurt
10. This Too Shall Pass