2018 was an incredible year for music in general but, by far, the greatest year for ska releases since I've been doing this blog.
A lot of the old bands we used to listen to (by "we" I probably mean "I") released new music in 2018 like Reverend Horton Heat, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Southern Culture on the Skids, They Might be Giants (they released three albums in 2018), Mudhoney, Suicidal Tendencies, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Belly, Gin Blossoms, Pennywise, Suede, Nine Inch Nails, and a lot more.
The pre-Let's Go Bowling California band Khyber Rifles finally released their treasure trove of recordings from 1984
and Napoleon Solo has some new material that I will say is one of my top five albums of 2018.
Whenever I make a "Top Five" or "Top Ten" list I almost always go back and wonder what I was thinking so I try not to do that. I'll put it like this: "These are the five albums that I listened to the most in 2018:"
5. 2 Tone Lizard Kings - Robert Faceplant
4. Hub City Stompers - Hater's Dozen
3. The Sporadics - Hear It Is
2. Napoleon Solo - Open Channel D
1. The Skapones - Cradle to Grave
And of course the Interrupters "Fight the Good Fight" is a landmark album that I played a million times. They put ska back in pop culture when they played "Kerosene" on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
As you can imagine with all this wonderful new ska music I can make one hell of a playlist but I'm going to take a different approach. I'll try to not use any of these records on the list. These are established bands that you already know and love. I'd like to introduce you to some new bands. There will be a few of the aforementioned bands on the playlist but the focus will be on the up-and-coming bands. Let's give these artists some attention. They are the future of ska:
Only after I was done with everything did I realize I have one song repeated and there are at least three songs that were released prior to 2018 (but they were also re-released in 2018 on comps and albums so they're fair game), but the biggest mistake is that one song is mis-titled. Oh well. I'll try harder next year.
Rolly Joker was a German comedian/musician who recorded records in the old American style of "blue records" where the comedians told profane jokes that were not usually well-received in a polite society so they would record their stand-up acts in a small room (their own living room for example) filled with friends and family who agreed ahead of time to have exaggerated reactions to the jokes that they likely heard before.
The jokes on Rolly Jokers' records weren't so 'blue' that they couldn't be performed in clubs but he did a good job of adhering to the classic 'blue record' sound.
He did different styles of music but this is probably his only "ska" one (even though it's not really ska in the strictest sense).
A - Yakety Gag
B - Yakety Gag (Instrumental)
He tells eight jokes throughout the song. They are in German but they translate well to English:
*It's a company party at a big company and the boss is telling a joke. Everybody laughs heartily out of politeness. Except colleague Meyer. Boss asks why aren't you laughing? Meyer: I don't need to, I'm leaving on the first.
*Two women meet at the health insurance institution.
"What are you doing here?"
"I am getting a sick note for my husband."
"Well, I get my husband's extended."
"What they do that here too?"
(Wordplay on husbands and things that get extended).
*A man stands in front of the mirror during his morning ablutions and admires his athletic body: 100kg dynamite. A slight turn to the left: 100kg dynamite. Yells his wife from the kitchen: But a really short fuse!
(A penis joke)
*The fortune teller says to her client: Young man, I got some good news and some bad news for you. Let's start with the good one: You were a good guy, you will get to heaven, in heaven you will become a great soccer player and will achieve lots of goals. Now the bad news: Your first game is tomorrow.
*During the wedding night the couple happily lays next to each other. Only the bride has a terrible flaw: really bad odour from her mouth. The groom has a terrible flaw too, really bad stinky feet.
The bride: "Darling, I got to tell you something..."
Groom: Yes, I already know, you ate one of my socks.
*Little Fritz comes home from school, crying. "Mommy, mommy, the other pupils are so mean to me. They always bully me and say I got gigantic feet."
Mother: "Oh darling, that is not true. Now put your shoes into the garage and come upstairs."
*"Oh Erwin, say why don't you have teeth since birth?"
"Well, my mother stumbled when she was pregnant with me and since then I am missing my teeth." "Oh. See, when my mother was pregnant with me, a turntable fell on her leg. Didn't hurt me at all. Crrgh. Didn't hurt me at all. Crrgh. Didn't hurt me at all."
*Male driving instructor asks the female driving student:
"Miss Mueller, do you have the rules in your head?"
"Why, am I bleeding from my nose?"
(Word play: 'rules' is Regel, but Regel is also used as a word for menstruation.)
Just like the last post, this is strictly mod music. Not a second of ska anywhere on this tape. But don't worry - I am not moving in that direction. I am running out of quality ska music but there is still lots that I haven't posted yet. I have posted some mod stuff in the past. It's allowed.
As I'm sure you know Belly Button and the Knockwells' first actual release was for their ska song "I Left the Army". The B-side of that single is "When She's Around" which appears on this tape but it's a much different version. There are six songs on this demo and "When She's Around" is the only one that was released later.
1 You're a Liar
2 When She's Around
4 I Want Up
5 How Much I Love You
6 My Babe
Surprise Surprise was a mod band from Australia that released three singles that I know of. This is not ska but I am posting it because I used to have the other two which also were not ska but, for some reason, any time I saw this one for sale anywhere it always labeled it as ska. It was (and still is) relatively common for a mod/power pop band to do an occasional ska song so I was intrigued. Even though I no longer have the other two I broke down and bought this one expecting a ska song. Half of me was disappointed because there is no ska to be found from this band, but the other half of me was okay with it because the A-side is a good mod song.
Let's Go Crime demo tape (1995)
1 Cloud City
2 Let's Go Crime
3 Rusty Gate
4 Brown Lifeguard
6 Well Said
America's Favorite T.V. Family (1996)
1 Long Vacation
3 Bus Pass
4 No Women
6 Push Me (non-album track)
Nigel Six was a punk band with a heavy ska influence from Connecticut. They released a demo tape and then these two recordings. The tape is more ska than the later offering.
Thanks to the Punk Guy YouTube channel who submitted the cassette for our approval. He has tons more punk and ska rarities on his channel.
If you have anything to do today I highly recommend that you DO NOT GO to his YouTube channel. It will hold you captive for a long time. The rest of your day's plans will become secondary.
In February 2016 I posted Real to Real's 7" "White Man Reggae" single. I mentioned that Real To Real was a band that included Alan Wilder from Depeche Mode. I said that they only released three singles, but I was wrong. They also released this lone LP. It included every song from their singles except for the B-side from the "White Man Reggae" single "One of These Days". I have included that 7" with this download so everything they ever recorded is in this one file.
1 Mr. and Mrs.
2 Wind Up Man
3 The Blue
4 No One Was There
5 White Man Reggae
6 Don't Let Go
7 Not the One
8 The Closer You Get
9 Can't Forget You
10 Tightrope Walkers
White Man Reggae 7"
A - White Man Reggae
B - One of These Days
Jason Conrad was a musician/actor in Britain in the early 70s who witnessed a child being killed by a car. He became an advocate for safety and toured Britain warning children about the dangers of automobiles. He did this through a live stage show and through music.
At one point Frankie Laine (He sang the theme to Rawhide and had a hit with Jezebel but, on an unrelated personal note, one of my favorite songs is his version of "The Cry of the Wild Goose") invited him to America to do his safety lectures leading to him moving to Florida where he founded the Children's Safety Foundation inc.
Read more about Jason Conrad and the Safety campaign HERE.
The reason I think this is a notable post is because the B-Side sounds like it was an effort to pass this safety message through the ska pop-culture sound that was happening at the time except that it was five years ahead of the time. Listen to "The New Revolution Think". Doesn't it sound like it was pandering to kids who liked Madness? But this was from 4 years before 2Tone.
Like I said, ahead of its time.
A - Little Danny Jones
B - The New Revolution Think
I try to get to these re-posts when I receive them - if I have time. But I never have time. My life now isn't what it was when I started the blog. But I'm not making excuses. I like sharing this incredible music and you actually want to hear it. It's not like back in the days when I used to make actual mix-tapes for friends and they never listened to them.
Most of you I got back to personally, but I ran out of steam. Here are the ones I didn't message personally.
I believe this is the only release that 004 ("Double-O-Four") put out when they were active. They later released a CD full of studio and live recordings (which was posted on Tone and Wave in 2012 HERE) but neither of the songs on this record were on the compilation.
These guys put out two albums and released a few tracks on compilations. If you ever heard their name it's probably because you have the Ska Parade's first compilation CD which featured Sparker's covers of The Vapors' "Turning Japanese" and 7 Seconds' "New Wind".
I really think they did good with those two covers but their original songs are even better.
I was at a record convention in Orange County, California many years ago and one of the vendors pushed one of theses records on me and said that it was his nephew's band. The record sounded terrible, like it was cut badly. Very raw and hard to listen to. But that's how these guys did it.They released two 12"s in a plain sleeve with a long-form 14" 'legal' paper copies glued folded around the record sleeve. Very DIY. Very 'punk'. And, yet, the music is not really punk at all. Just guitar, bass, and drums, and some light keyboard playing ska. Every song is ska. No distorted guitars. No punk songs. No funny novelty songs. Just ska.
They recorded three songs for a compilation called "Reality Control" which were as good, if not better, than the songs on the records.
This band was from Burlington, Vermont. The band was an outlet for artist Dug Nap.
The band's sound should appeal to fans of Talking Heads and they have just a tiny splash of Boingo.
There are two or three ska-influenced tracks on this record. One of which "Where are You?" was re-recorded for an EP of the same name that was released a year later. That record also included a re-recording of the song "Citizen" but was titled "Be a good Citizen" on the second release.
Pinhead - You Don't Like Me, Do Ya? (1982)
1 Almost Human
2 Back to the Womb
3 Where are You?
4 Little Rocker
6 You Don't Like Me, Do Ya?
7 Stealing Your Wife.
I'm not certain but I think these guys were from Massachusetts. They recorded lots of songs that they used to dub to blank tapes so it's hard to say how many songs they actually recorded. They played different styles of music and put on a great live show.
This might be their only "official" release but it's really more of a compilation of songs recorded between 1989 and 1992. There's even a track from 1988 from a previous incarnation of the band when they were called The Toast'Em Boys.
Ska purists will probably not like most of the CD but it is extremely rare and fans who saw them live back in the days will love this post.
3 She's Got the Knife Again
5 Armies of the Duck
9 Is a Duck a Duck?
10 There's a Big Giant Thing in My Yard
11 Toast 'Em Bride DOWNLOAD from MEGA