See Spot Previews New Songs

Posted on December 29th, 2007 by JJ Loy

LA’s soulful Trad Ska/Latin/Reggae outfit, See Spot, have been steady rockin their original tunes since 1990, and are among the first American pioneers of True Ska Revivalism. They never really quit, but they also never really broke thru to a national audience. I think a lack of output is to blame.

Here in St. Louis, it was always tough to find a See Spot album at the record shop, and I imagine it was the same story in many parts of the country. However, See Spot seemed to pop up on every compilation I bought, and I became a fan despite everything else. The first disc I was ever able to find, was their best of, Who Got It? back in 2004, which proved their strength and ability through various studio and live tracks.

See Spot has been dropping gossip of a new album, this past year, and the rumors have just now started to solidify into truth. The record, entitled The Robbery, will be out in the next few months, but samples are available at See Spot’s MySpace page. It seems silly to not put up the full songs, but it certainly whetted my appetite for their upcoming release. Maybe you’ll like it too.

Comments (2) Dec 29 2007

Ska News To Me

Posted on December 13th, 2007 by JJ Loy

Here’s a quick rundown of a very busy week in the world of Ska:

After months without any new Slackers bootlegs, a new set hit the internet hit the internet like a cannonball. Recorded in Syracuse, NY on 11.15.07, the set has been dubbed Funk n’ Waffles, after the venue of the same name. I can attest to the live set’s quality, so feel safe clicking here for the .zip file, or here for the original post at Stubborn Records Forum.

Speaking of The Slackers, Dave Hillyard recently posted a very optomistic, State of the Scene-type blog post. What does he say? Ska is making a comeback. But you knew that. Link

This isn’t breaking news, but in light of Hillyard’s positive post, it serves proof of the scene’s recent strength. The popular series of Ska compilations, United Colors of Ska has just released their fourth installment, or 4.0. Much like my recent selections, the UCS folks have been using MySpace as the catalyst for finding new Ska music from around the world. Link

The Holidays are upon us (is Hanukkah really over, already?) and DC Ska is making it easy for you to find the perfect gifts for all the Ska Geeks on your list, with their handy Gift Guide. Link

Go Jimmy Go has gotten into the X-Mas mode, as well, giving us all the gift of a Holiday themed album, Holiday Hell Yeah. Link

Victor Rice is still bustin ass and maintaining his rep as the go to guy for all things Ska. Look for new recordings by Stingers ATX, Buford O’Sullivan, Chris Murray Combo, and Crazy Balhead (feat. Alex Desert, King Django, Steve Jackson, Bucket, and Vic Ruggiero) with Mr. Rice at the mixing board, next year. He’s also involved (to some degree) with a new Skatalites Live DVD.

It would seem that the rumors are sadly true, Lynette Knackstedt, founder and guitarist for Skankin’ Pickle died at the young age of 37. Here is the post where I found out. Here is Mike Parks personal blog post on the subject. And here is an odd turn of events effecting Lynette’s estate.

The other night, my roommate and all around cool guy, Jameson played about 6 Skankin Pickle songs for me and Dira at the 521A. We remarked at how long it had been since we played them. Jameson translated a few Korean lyrics for us. I commented at what a bad-ass guitarist the Pickle’s had. I would later learn that Lynette died sometime that evening. It was an eerie coincidence that my friends and I were missing Skankin Pickle while Knackstedt’s family was missing her.

Sources: DC Ska, Dancin Mood, Stubborn Forums, Asian Man Records, and Do the Dog Skazine

Comments (2) Dec 13 2007

Ska Online: DJ Sleeper Spins the Real Rare Reggae

Posted on December 11th, 2007 by JJ Loy

I’m not one for competition. I’ve let everyone beat me in almost every game I’ve played, save bowling and Boggle. As far as my “competition” in the Ska and Reggae Podcast game- I’m not too proud to recognize their achievements. Podcasters like Gabe Pressure and the fellas at Music is Our Occupation, are some of my most vocal listeners, after all.

It’s with this supportive spirit that I rcomend to anyone reading this, Sleeper’s Record Shack. Host/producer Mick Sleeper has a massive Reggae wax collections, and uses that as the foundation for his show. Episodes tend to follow a theme, be it a musical style or a single artist. Some of my favorite episodes have been, Far East Sound, Cuban Missle Crisis, and Motown Meets Trenchtown.

These episodes will have familiar artists but the tracks are fairly rare, and unless you have a hefty collection yourself, you are sure to be impressed with Sleeper’s selection. However, the element that completely sells this show, in my opinion, is Sleeper’s delivery. If you thought I sounded square on the air, you’ve got to hear this classic Kingston DJ style chat, read in a Ward Cleaver-type diction. I’m telling you, Sleepers Record Shack is worth a listen just to hear the intros, but the music will keep you until the progress bar hits zero.

Comments (1) Dec 11 2007

Secret Victor Rice DVD

Posted on December 10th, 2007 by JJ Loy

If you would be so kind as to remember the second episode of Conversations on a Revivalist Movement, you’d recall Victor Rice describing the mechanics of bringing studio Dub into a live venue. He also mentioned that a DVD was being produced to feature his live performance.

This has generated more inquiries than almost any other topic. Kids from all over the world have written me, trying to track down this DVD for themselves. Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. The Good: The DVD is done. The Bad: it’s not for sale, Victor uses it for promotion not profit. More Good: I have a copy, and it’s rad.

I understand Mr. Rice’s decision to not give the live show an official release; the camera is static for half of the show, and Victor’s face is obscured by shadows, almost completely. This is not the type of DVD to make a big splash at Tower Records- there’s no interviews or guest appearences, no clever editing or new release tie-ins. This is what it is: Victor Rice at the sound board, running reel-to-reels of his production work and Dubifying every beat.

And who wants marketability anyways. This is the mysterious Guru of Jamaican Revivalism giving us a glimpse of his process. Lee Perry and Mad Professor would do everything they could to keep their signature Dub techniques a secret, but Rice allows us behind the mixer to see how Dub gets done. And it is absolutely amazing.

I predict that this DVD will become what so many Ska and Reggae videos have already, a hard to find cult masterpiece. All of the ingredients are there.

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PS Do not ask me for a copy, it’s not mine to give.

Comments (0) Dec 10 2007

STL SKA Strikes Back

Posted on December 6th, 2007 by JJ Loy

I try to keep this site Global in it’s scope, with new Ska, Reggae and Dub artists with a traditional bent at the center of it’s subject matter. But I am from St. Louis, where the scene is currently on the back burner, and offers me little to cover on Ska Blah Blah.

But don’t count us out! DJ Paul Stark is organizing yet another charity All-Ska event- this time the money goes to one of my favorite organizations, KDHX St. Louis Community Radio. Dan from MU 330 will reform the band at Off-Broadway, with guests Murder City Players, The Kickbacks and a Special Guest.


Comments (2) Dec 06 2007