Saturday, September 3, 2022

Alaska - Alaska (demo tape 1994)

 There are at least three ska bands called Alaska. There is the French-Canadian band and the more popular Swiss band. Then there is this band from Helsinki Finland.

They released this demo tape in 1994. Four tracks of early 90s 2Tone inspired instrumental ska. 

1 Sherwood Ska

2 Ta-Ta

3 Get Into...

4 The Bold and the Ska


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va On Your Mark...Get Set...GO! (1998)

 1 The Allentons - Suppie

2 Checkmate - Prodigal Son

3 Mobtown - The Rhythm of Ska

4 Yeska - Dance Cleopatra

5 Irie Beats - Irie Blues

6 The Allentons - Fallen

7 The Adjustments - Cautious

8 Melting Pot - Time to Change

9 Red Session - Tale of the Toothless One

10 The Derringers - Yeah Yeah Yeah

11 The 11th Hour Band - It Could Be

12 The Adjustments - Spinning My Wheels

13 Melting Pot - Buddhafro

14 Jeffries Fan Club - Something Good

15 Bank of Brian - Highest Jungle Gym

16 The Iron-Ons - Ted

17 My Superhero - Coley & Steve

18 Action League - If You Were Me

19 The Alcoskalics - The Bus Never Comes

20 4-Gazm - She's My

 

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Mentone Tones - Are We There Yet? (1998)

 This should be a great rare ska album - every song is third-wave ska with the exception of that one reggae song and that one jazzy tune with the fake Louis Armstrong vocals; overall the vocals are not the snotty/bratty vocals that contaminated the scene in those days - they're actually good vocals; the horn section is awesome; the band doesn't sound like amateurs at all. Great performance on every song. Great song writing...

...but...

 This is one of those "Christian" ska releases that have very little to do with Christianity aside from Jesus idolatry. This release has more Jesus per second than most other Christian ska albums. Jesus, Jesus, I-Love-Jesus. Not Biblical Jesus, but 90s pop culture Jesus. But it is quite rare. And it's a great 3rd wave ska album if you play it in the background and don't focus too much on the lyrics.

1 My Heart Beats to Serve You

2 Everyday Praise Song

3 Lukewarm Java Juice

4 Are We There Yet?

5 Unchanging

6 Re-Knew

7 Don't Mess with Mentone

8 Death, Poison, Snake, Riot!

9 Stressing

10 Matt's Been Zapped!


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Monday, August 29, 2022

Midnight Sun - Midnight Sun (1994)

 Midnight Sun is a reggae/ska/calypso band that formed in the late 80s near San Francisco California. They are still playing live to this day (check their Facebook page for their latest shows) but they are now using the name Midnight Sun Massive.

They released an EP in 1994 called "Touch" that you can hear on their ReverbNation page along with lots of other songs including my favorite "Life as We Know It".

"Life as we Know It" made it on their 2008 album "Sunrise" that's available on Amazon.  All of their previous releases were under the name Midnight Sun but they used the name Midnight Sun Massive for their 2015 album "Who's Feeling Irie?" that you can listen to on Youtube

 

You can also hear them play live on their own YouTube channel

This tape here is a collection of songs recorded between 1989 and 1996. 

1 Morning Light

2 Thanks & Praises

3 Trinity

4 Ooo La La


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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Apollo 7 - Apollo 7 demo (1992)


 Rare British ska. This is my own rip and scans from my own tape. The quality isn't great but it's the best I can do. Lots of hiss and just bad sound quality altogether. The tape wasn't made very well. 

1 Apollo

2 Espionage

3 Mr. Policeman

4 Concrete Jungle


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Thursday, August 11, 2022

The Trespassers - The Adventures of Los Bandeleros (1999)

 These are the guys who did that great song "Gonna Get It, Nazi Punks" that was on Skarmageddon 3 and a few other compilations in the mid 90s. That version was from their demo tape which I do not have and I have never heard. The song is on this album but it's a re-recording. I prefer the original.


1 Riot at the Dancehall

2 Man Eater

3 Lonely Boy

4 Is There One?

5 The Disrupter

6 Come Correct

7 Gonna Get It!

8 La Casa Blanca

9 What Happened to You?

10 Anarchy in America

11 Roots Style

12 The End of Time

13 Come Correct (Edit)


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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Friday, July 29, 2022

The Sages

 The Sages was a band from Connecticut. I assume they are from Hartford but I don't know for sure. As far as I know they only released one album but they had a demo tape before they recorded the album and even though the album is full of ska/reggae influences the tape is almost strictly ska/reggae. 

There's a noticeable Police vibe but when I first heard the beginning of the song "Follow the Money" it reminded me of the Stewart Copeland/Stan Ridgway song "Don't Box Me In". Stewart Copeland was (is?) the drummer for the Police and Stan Ridgway was the singer for Wall of Voodoo (Mexican Radio - not to be confused with Gruppo Sportivo's impeccable cover). They collaborated on a song for the soundtrack to Rumblefish.  


The Sages - The Sages demo tape (1990)

1 Follow the Money

2 More the Things You do

3 Please be Near

4 What do You got to Prove?

5 Down by Law

6 Tomorrow Begins Today

7 College Radio


The Sages - Back from Nowhere (1992)

1 Back from Nowhere

2 Follow the Money

3 Felt & Heard

4 42b

5 Cold Silence

6 The Hunter

7 The Angels

8 Sounds of a City

9 Elvis (You did the Right Thing)

10 Whatever Gets You Through Your Day

11 Bustin' Deep

12 Down by Law

13 Hostile Heart

14 College Radio

 



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Speaking of Wall of Voodoo, if you don't have that first EP and the first two albums you're really missing out. But Stan Ridgway was more than Wall of Voodoo. He has done a million solo albums. After a time he drifted into what most would call 'country' but he has some amazing tunes from his early years as a solo artist. After working with Stewart Copeland he didn't do anything ska/reggae but there is one song with that influence. 


As you know when Stan Ridgway left Wall of Voodoo they continued on without him and his weird voice but it just didn't work and they broke up not long after they fulfilled their record contract but they did release a couple albums in that time with their new singer Andy Prieboy and, although I really prefer their stuff with Stan, they did release one of my all-time favorite songs "Far Side of Crazy". The lyrics of this song are based on a poem written by John Hinckley Jr. -  the guy who shot Ronald Reagan. Hinckley has since been released from prison and he fancies himself as a sort of rock star.


Here are my top five Stan Ridgway moments I think everybody must know:

Wall of Voodoo - Lake of Fire (...and I'm your host Ramsey Lewis. Thank you...)

Wall of Voodoo - Call Box 123

Wall of Voodoo - Tomorrow (live at the Us Festival) In fact their entire performance at the Us Festival is solid gold.

Stan Ridgway - The Big Heat

Stan Ridgway - Camoflauge

...and then there's "Lost Weekend". Aside from the fact that my wife has never smoked a cigarette in her life every second of this song tells our story. We got married at the Drive Through Chapel of Love in Las Vegas when we were evacuated from our home during a historically bad fire. On the drive from Vegas in my 1987 primer grey Dodge Diplomat we didn't really know where we were going so we did nothing but listen to music and talk about our plans about how we could make money. It was sad times. It was great times. This song hits so close to home.  She sat in the back seat reading a book. When I heard that in this song I was blown away. This song is about us but it was recorded 20 years before we met.