Ska

Highceratops

Artist: 
Shrub
Label: 
Rastafari

From Columbus, Ohio, Shrub is a seven piece ska/reggae/rap/rock fusion band. In September 2010 the band was named High Time's Unsigned Band of the Month. This is the band's debut album, and it was featured in the top ten on Itunes Reggae. The album features work from C-Money of Slightly Stoopid, One-Eyed Doll, and Tropidelic. The band has surely put in work to earn a name for themselves, and I look forward to future projects by them.

Sounds Like: 
Pepper
Sounds Like: 
Slightly Stoopid
Name: 
Michael Heslinga
Date Reviewed: 
04/08/2014

Chet's Last Call

Artist: 
Bim Skala Bim
Label: 
Bimska Music

BIM SKALA BIM! Keep skankin'  all you moonstompin' rude boys and rude girls, because ska is still alive! Bim Skala Bim is an 8-piece ska band from Boston, MA. Their instrumentation consists of trombone, guitar, bass, B3 organ, piano, percussion, drums, saxophone, and funky vocals. While each of the musicians execute the songs greatly, their strongest elements are their vocals and drums/percussion. "Chet's Last Call" is the first release by the band in over a decade, and is full of musical gems.

Sounds Like: 
The Pietasters
Sounds Like: 
Streetlight Manifesto
Name: 
Michael Heslinga
Date Reviewed: 
02/09/2014

The Hip Abduction

Artist: 
The Hip Abduction
Label: 
none

Give me a minute. I am sorry. I just listened to easily the greatest mix of genres on one CD in all 19 years of my existence. These guys combine African, funk, reggae, roots, rock, and caribe into a mix that leaves you craving more and really thirsty for a pina colada. These guys pull out the bongos and sax for songs that have you banging your head like crazy. I can't wait till these guys put out their next album because I have already listened to this one 300 times. 5/5.

Sounds Like: 
State Radio
Sounds Like: 
John Brown's Body
Name: 
Robert Cerasa
Date Reviewed: 
12/11/2013

Engine Of A Million Plots

Artist: 
Five Iron Frenzy
Label: 
Five Minute Walk

Five Iron Frenzy comes back strong after 10 years of not releasing a studio album. The songs are catchy, with awesome riffs and drumbeats. The melody moves along swimmingly through each song. You can hear what they're saying and the vocals aren't overpowered by the music. The music is fast paced and keeps you locked in and interested. They're lyrics are relatable, dealing with aspects of life. Their incorporation of brass instruments, such as the trombone and trumpet make the sound fuller, adding an extra kick. The added tenor sax makes each song livelier.

Sounds Like: 
Reel Big Fish
Sounds Like: 
The Supertones
Sounds Like: 
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Name: 
Dalal Kaddoura
Date Reviewed: 
12/10/2013

Truth, Love and Liberty

Artist: 
FM359
Label: 
Pirates Blend

I would not really say that this is ska, but it is almost kind of ska. It does have a slight country twag to it, and I am usually not one for that kind of stuff but I really did enjoy this album. The entire album is pretty mellow and it does not really have a super upbeat song on this album. Most of the songs are pretty slow. When I listen to any of these songs I imagine marching through tall grass, so if you enjoy marching through tall grass go and listen and play this CD. And even if you would rather not march through tall grass check it out anyways. 

Sounds Like: 
Dropkick Murphys
Sounds Like: 
Dead Kennedys
Name: 
Caitlin Brenton
Date Reviewed: 
12/09/2013

Una Y Otra Vez

Artist: 
Sergent Garcia
Label: 
Cumbancha

This is the eight studio release from Sergent García who is , quite surprisingly, a French national. Nonetheless, he successfully pulls from a variety of Latin styles and fuses them with low key hip hop elements to create an interesting an unique blend of genres which he variably dubs Cumbia-muffin, Salsa-muffin, and Whatever-Else-Muffin strikes his fancy. His greatest successes come when he fully embraces the overflowingly high energy his music has the potential to induce.

Sounds Like: 
Manu Chao, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Novalima, Mikki Gonzalez, Santana, The Latin Project
Name: 
Christopher Stern
Date Reviewed: 
09/14/2011

Cactuses

Artist: 
James Rabbit
Label: 
James Rabbit World Strength

Cactuses has an interesting circus like sound that weirdly mixes electronic effects with an occasional Aquabats kind of silly ska feel. James Rabbit has a great energy at their live show, and after listening to this album, it probably has a lot to do with the fact that the singer is singing at a higher volume to match the wild music. The base of the music sounds pretty good, but the album sounds a bit over-produced. It would be awesome with more punk-style yelling/non-lyrical singing and less "pretty" vocal harmonies in general.

Sounds Like: 
Aquabats
Sounds Like: 
Vampire Weekend
Name: 
Ashley Gander
Date Reviewed: 
03/19/2011

the Great Rocksteady Swindle

Artist: 
the Slackers
Label: 
Hellcat

It's alway amazing when the Slackers record an album. Usually, bands that are well into thier 10th year and beyond of existence lose their footing, but once again the Slackers prove they are one of the best bands around. Their return to Hellcat Records is quite a comeback, sounding consistently amazing as previous Slackers albums. The emphasis on this album however, is the rocksteady subgenre. Regardless, this band puts on their signature touch to this genre, and do it quite will, with bittersweet lyrics, chill instrumentation, and the saddeded voice of the great Vic Ruggiero.

Sounds Like: 
the Aggrolites
Sounds Like: 
Hepcat
Name: 
Adam Guerrero
Date Reviewed: 
04/28/2010

One Good To Be Told

Artist: 
Baylock