Sunday, January 22, 2017

The best ska of 2016

I don't know how we will remember 2016 in the future...was it a good year?...was it a bad year? I had a lot of really bad things happen in 2016 but I also had a lot of really good things happen.
I don't know how we will remember it, but we definitely will remember 2016.

The underground music scene in general was amazing but the worldwide ska scene was better than I've seen it in all the years of doing this blog.

I'll start with the older bands who have made an impact on the year:

I really like the Norwegian band The Monroes who released Sunday People in 1983 and were obviously inspired by Madness. They are not really a ska band but they did a lot of ska-influenced music in their early days (early-eighties). In 2016 they released a CD of their live performance from London from 1984. The sound quality isn't great but the performance is.




......................................................................................................


I have featured the U.K. band the Skanxters previously and I lamented that I had their rare cassettes "Spark in the Dark" and "Knights on the Run" but I could not find a copy of their only CD release "Call it a Crime". Thankfully for all of us, bandleader Erin Bardwell has released all three releases for purchase on Bandcamp.
You can buy all three rare recordings for the price of one marked-down modern pop CD HERE.

(Incidentally, Erin Bardwell has a new release slated for 2017!)
......................................................................................................


One of the earliest posts I have ever done on this blog was for the British/California band The Hoovers. They released one album in the eighties called "Skin and Blisters" but, seriously, one of my favorite ska records ever released is their EP from 1981 called "Smut and Class".
In 2016 they released a new album called Moonstomper that diverged so much from their original sound that I can't say I really care for it much but, then, they  released a collection of  five songs that they recorded in 1981 that were never previously released. It's one of my favorite releases of 2016:

The Hoovers - The Lost Tapes:
$5 for 5 songs. Buy it.

......................................................................................................

 Do you remember when you bought the CD "Skankin' 'Round the World volume 3" and you recognized all of the featured bands except for the one called M.S.Q.? Well I did and I did extensive research to find out who they were and what else they released but that went nowhere. I drew the conclusion that they were a live band that didn't record much in the studio - like the French band Verska Vis.
I was happy to find that they are still performing and have actually recorded music in the studio in 2016. I have included their newest song "The Blame Game" - released in 2016 in this download.
......................................................................................................

I have posted some of the Suicide Machines' earlier releases on this blog but in 2016 the band made those releases available for download so I will not be re-upping any of the links. You can buy all of their early stuff in this one download  HERE.

......................................................................................................

The Chicago band Rude Guest released 4 cassettes in the 80s with 4 songs on each release. These tapes are nearly impossible to find but, luckily for us, the band worked with Jump Up Records to release all 16 songs that they released on one cassette called Rude Guest: Lost Chicago Ska 1982-1993.

I bought this tape as well as the Crombies cassette that was released in 2016 from Jump Up Records but they were lost in the mail. I wanted to do a review on both of them but the postal service didn't want me to (here's the tracking number 9500111247136350071619 ). Jump Up records did their part but the USPS failed me. "Lost" Chicago ska indeed.

......................................................................................................

As you know Madness put out a great album this year and I was going to include a song on this download but I removed it to make room for an up-and-coming band instead. It's Madness. You'll own it some day anyway. The Beat - The English Beat - the Rankin' Roger version of the band put out the album "Bounce" and, just like the Madness song, I didn't include it because you will have it some day anyway regardless of my input.

......................................................................................................

If you ask me what the greatest album of the year 2016 I will have to say "Peg and the Rejected - 4th Wave". I know Marco made the same comment a few weeks back and I disagreed with him but now I agree. This is not to say that any song on this album was my favorite song of the year but it was the album with the most consistently good songs throughout.
I did not include any of their music on this download because you will be buying this release anyway. It would just be redundant.


(Speaking of Marco...another old thing that came back in 2016 was Marco on the Bass that was dormant for a couple years is now being refreshed with new posts. Marco's current band Rude Boy George released a fantastic EP this year which includes one of my favorite songs of the year - a cover of Howard Jones' "Things Can Only Get Better")


......................................................................................................
My favorite song of the year is The Beat From Palookaville's "It's You Voodoo Working". This one is on the download.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here are my top 50 songs from 2016:

Part 1

1 Skasouls - Disco Ska Bar

2 Transmitters - Jumpstart
3 Susan Cadogan - Take Me Back
4 Bazzookas - Torn
5 Cherry Reds - What Did You Say?
6 Barefoot Sojourns - Daydreamer
7 Zipheads - Earwig in My Brain
8 E.J. Moran - Dancin' to the Radio
9 Silencerz - Having a Laugh
10 1Eye - Mr. Baliff

11 D M Street - Lifeline
12 Begona Bang-Matu - My Mate
13 Dropsetters - Wanted
14 The Fuss - Trouble (To Trouble)
15 El Grande - Bygones
16 Defekters - Come Around
17 Screw Ups - Oh No
18 The Beat From Palookaville - It's You Voodoo Working
19 MSQ - The Blame Game
20 Rude Boy George - Things Can Only Get Better
21 Ska 'N' Ska - A Team

22 Yellow Umbrella - Two Lovers
23 Oldians - Same Old Song

24 Freecoasters - I Don't Even Know
25 AKC (Andy Keys Clark) - Wake Me Up When the Puppets are Gone

Part 2

1 Sea Bass Kid - Skaturday Night
2 Sentries - Funeral (of the Horseman)
3 Analog Bombs - Chinese Lucky Number
4 Culture Shock - Doesn't Work for Me
5 Soundabout - Dubbele Tong

 The Soundabout's second EP Nooit Genoeg is streaming HERE and they have a Facebook page.

6 Bartenders - Dead Man's Zone
7 The Big Ska Band - Big Mouth
8 Sean Arawjo - Games People Play
9 Urang Matang - Big Bobby's Back
10 Flowerdews - Fish Face
11 Big Fat Panda - Nobody There
12 Junior Bill - Respectable Man

13 Chancers - Without You
14 Mean Threes - Frying Pan
15 Defuser - Sitcom
16 Downtown Fiasco - What I'm Fighting For
17 Lynval Golding and Contra Coup - The Same
18 Jackie Mendez - Thought You Should Know
19 Heavy City - I'll be Around
20 Rude Guest - Spooked
21 Boss Riot - Hearts and Hands
22 Ricky Cool & the In Crowd - My Kind of Party
23 The Bionic Rats - New Day Rudie
24 Jam Iconz - Hurts so Much
25 Spawn - Stench of Misfortune

DOWNLOAD PART 1

DOWNLOAD PART 2
  



3 comments:

2tone is all in my mind said...

Excellent!

Cheers.

Skajamz said...

I have a radio show about ska music and I started looking (on the internet) at ska music by musicians in countries away from Jamaica. I was amazed at the many countries I found where the local musicians not only played ska, but brought their own flavor to the music. As a Jamaican this excited me. I found an Italian band that played a song called "Spaghetti Ska". I found an artist in Indonesia with a smooth lover's rock approach that was really nice. I found ska in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Spain and the list goes on and on. Ska is BIG. Thanks you for writing about ska, makes me feel loved. One Love. fred@skajamz.com

MSQ alive and kicking still :) said...

Spotted a mention on this blog of a North London based 9-piece wonder that was the band MSQ. Yes we were a mainly focussed on live performance to a large and very loyal fan base in the late 1980's early 1990's. We had a brief flirtation with BlueBeat Records but the promised cash to record never materialised. Shortly after we split up the drummer joined Sleeper. We have lost touch with the brass section we had then but the rest of us are all still in touch with each other. This link will take you to some of our old stuff on SoundCloud as well as more recent tracks, enjoy :) https://soundcloud.com/msq-the-band