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

Yo Gabba Gabba!

Posted on August 17th, 2007 by JJ Loy

Oh my goodness! This is one of the strangest/most exciting new shows to come down the development pipe in quite some time:

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It’s called Yo Gabba Gabba! and it premieres on NickJr. on Aug 20. It’s a kids show, naturally, but it seems to have enough musical and psychedelic elements to keep the grown-ups paying attention. Guests like Elijah Wood and Biz Markie, along with the design styles of such artists as Kid Robot and Paul Frank, should lend Yo Gabba Gabba a high degree of production value. Here’s an official description:

Yo Gabba Gabba! is a fun live-action program for young children ages 1 and up. Join our host DJ Lance Rock as he introduces us to friendly toy monsters in a magical land full of music, dance, colorful cartoons and simple life lessons that will get you and your children up off the floor to learn and dance along.


So, why am I posting about this on a Ska Blah Blah? Well, not only is the show created and run by the Jacobs Bros (Christian and Parker of The Aquabats and GoGo13 fame) but scheduled musical guests include The Aggrolites, Mark Mothersbaugh, The Aquabats, GoGo13 and Alex Desert. Other (non-scene musicians) include Smoosh, Sean Kingston, Rahzel, and The Shins.

YGG song, Party in my Tummy, feat.
a very Don Hertzfeldt style of animation,
though I doubt that it his actual work:

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Links of Interest:-Offical Yo Gabba Gabba! site
-YGG MySpace
-YGG Music MySpace (lots of songs)
-Nick Jr.’s official Yo Gabba Gabba page (you know? for kids. Iron-ons, masks, and activiteis)
-Yo Blogga Blogga (the shows production blog)
-YGG at IMDb
-YGG on YouTube

Comments (0) Aug 17 2007

Ska Online: Swift River Jamaica

Posted on June 14th, 2007 by JJ Loy

Swift River, Jamaica, located at the foot of the Blue Mountains has had a string of bad luck stretching as far back as the late 1930′s. Massive floods and hurricanes brought the once busseling village to the brink of extinction several times since 1937. But things have been looking up for Swift River lately, according to Greenstar, a US non-profit that helps rebuild poverty stricken towns around the world.

Greenstar is very cool, as far as I can tell. They have a very keen take on promoting culture, as well as commerce, education and agriculture. They find towns that are down on their luck and bring in Portable Community Centers:

“Using solar power generated by large photovoltaic panels, the center can drive a water purifier, a small clinic, a vaccine cooler, a classroom, a digital studio and a satellite or wireless link to the Internet. We work with the people of each village to develop an ecommerce website, employing local musicians, teachers and art professionals to record the voice of the community. Greenstar packages the materials for various markets, both direct to the consumer, and through licensing to businesses.”

This helps bring in money for the town, and gives them a way to show their cultural distinctiveness to the whole world.Greenstar has photos, art and music posted on their site. In fact the main reason I’m posting this is to point a few of you to the great collection of mp3′s. The people of Swift River have passed on the musical traditions of Mento and Nyahbinghi music through the generations. Here are a few from the Greenstar mp3 page:

- Mento tune, Banana
- Nyahbinghi version of Nobody’s Business
- Swift River child gives some solid advice, No Drugs
- A capella toasting from a local man, Skatel

Check out these and others at the Swift River, Greenstar site.

If you want to support this town, bring your business to it. Not far from Swift River is the Rio Vista Resort. An alternative to the sheltering Club Med style resort, Rio Vista is locally run, with authentic cooking and proximity to rural Jamaican life.

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Comments (0) Jun 14 2007

Tim Armstrong: A Step in the Right Direction

Posted on June 7th, 2007 by JJ Loy

Tim Armstrong has always given nods to Jamaican Music, from Operation Ivy, thru Dance Hall Crashers, and all the way up to Rancid and the Transplants. But he’s always kept his sound on the Punk side of things, relegating the Ska and Reggae to a mere influential role.

It took a band like The Aggrolites to help Armstrong realize his Reggae dreams. This Hellcat team-up has just released, A Poet’s Life, evidence that Armstrong is capable of making the big leap from Ska influenced Punk to Punk influenced Reggae. The Aggro’s hard rhythms and grease bubbling organ are a nice compliment to Tim’s, mouth-full-of-marbles vocals.

The CD itself comes with a ton of music videos, they made one for every track.
- Buy A Poet’s Life from Amazon

I found a few of the above mentioned videos on YouTube:
- Hold On
- Translator
- Take This City
- Inner City Violence
- Among the Dead
- Oh No
- Cold Blooded

And while I’m on a recommendation roll, don’t forget to check out The Aggrolites new (Armstrong Free) album, Reggae Hit LA.
- Buy Reggae Hit LA from Amazon

Links of Interest:
- A collection of officially recorded Rancid Live Sets – dead link
- A video of The Aggrolites Live in the Studio

Comments (0) Jun 07 2007

Ska Oddity: Original Mexican Ska

Posted on June 5th, 2007 by JJ Loy

Here’s something you might not know about. I found this 60′s era Mexican Ska record on SoulSeek a couple years ago, and it definitely falls into the category of Ska Oddities.


The album was from Tono Quirazco, who’s fan-run-MySpace page, touts as “El Byron Lee Mexicano.” An apt comparison for sure. There isn’t much information online that is in English, but from what I gather Quirazco was a very popular guitarist in 1960′s Mexico. Not only was he a fan and contemporary of the Skatalites, but his guitar style is clearly Hawaiian influenced.



Links:
- Merida Ska.mp3
- La Mucura.mp3
- Pepe el Navaja.mp3
- The above mentioned MySpace page has more songs for download.

Comments (1) Jun 05 2007