Tag Archives: Ska

Slam Dunk

Well, everyone’s been waiting. I say everyone, it’s not exactly a major festival, but ho-hum. It’s out. As you can probably tell, I’m not exactly thrilled by the first announcements of this year’s Slam Dunk Festival. The line-up includes Architects, Cancer Bats, and Forever The Sickest Kids, and, aside from the King Blues, who are just fantastic, and I cannot wait to see again, it’s all sounding like a bit of a headache! Maybe I’m just being negative, and I’ll wait and see, with some updates on the new announcements, but I’m hoping for more ska, as last year’s festival was probably the most fun I’ve ever had at a show, with bands like The Skints, who I’m sure will be making a return this year, Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake.

Slam Dunk to me, means punk, reggae, and ska, but it all seems to be getting a little bit screamo for my liking. We’ll have to wait and see!

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NEW GUITAR!

So, a lot has happened in these few months of neglect. One example being the addition of a job into my life. Having been working at Waitrose for a couple of months now, I figured I could afford to ‘splash some cash’ on an acoustic guitar of my own, after having used my dad’s for a couple of years now. So, after spending hours in the infamous Denmark St, I did, in fact leave with no guitar. Instead, a melodica. My love for ska has been edging me towards buying one for ages, so I bit the bullet, and what fun! It’s a great little portable thing, and it can make quite a racket when it needs to. I love the tone of it too. The bass notes sound just like a accordion, my favourite sounding instrument of all time, and it could come in useful for acoustic band sessions in future!

Anyway, back to the guitar. We then progressed to GigGear in Harlow. A great warehouse store, with a whole downstairs section devoted to drums, with the upstairs showing off some electric pianos, and guitars both electric and acoustic. They also offer a wide range of lessons, from guitar to ukelele, which run throughout the week!

So in the end, and after much deliberation I settled on the beautiful electro-acoustic Yamaha APX 500II, which I’m very happy with!! Its got a lovely tone, and great treble, and it’s lovely to finally own your own guitar!

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Tell The Skints I’m Getting Impatient.

So, the Skints have finally closed their PledgeMusic account, after recieving far more donations than they ever could have hoped for. Which means their album MUST be on the way. I’ve been listening to their first album ‘Live, Breathe, Build, Believe’ for years now, and it has to be one of my favourite debut albums of all time. So my expectations built up by the variety of different acoustic covers released over the past few months on their facebook page have made the wait almost unbearable. Their covers have opened my eyes up to a whole variety of old reggae artists, whether it be Desmond Dekker, with their cover of ‘It Mek’ or Dennis Brown and his ‘Lips of Wine.’ The most recent release, which is set to be their most popular with almost 30,000 views already, is a cover of Katy B’s ‘On a Mission.’ I can’t say I’m a big fan of the original, but this ‘dub-ified’ version is sure to get reggae lover’s pulses racing. Check it out below. I’ll let you know when the new album’s out, it’s sure to be one of the highlights of 2012!!

Oh. Also, Marcia, musician extraordinaire from the Skints, is a bit of a blogger herself. Check out her Tumblr which features everything from Skints news to recipes and random information about her life, if you’re into stalking talented people.

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R.I.P Mouthwash!

It was a shame to hear about the split of long-standing British ska-punk group Mouthwash this month, just days after the release of the video for new single, ‘Nine To Five.’ The video, as seen below, was released on 20th June, whilst the split was announced on the 21st:

The band have been going since 1995 and have made a name for themselves as one of the most underrated British groups out there within the genre.

Despite being christened as an official ‘Erbert only last year, after seeing them support the King Blues with the Dirty Revolution in May, it was still sad news, as their music has made a big impact on me, especially their last album, ‘True Stories.”

Many bands have been paying homage to the group since the split, and it’s clear to see that this band have made a huge impact upon the scene, so they will be sorely missed. One such group are Sonic Boom Six, so Barney Boom decided to publish his first videoblog as a tribute to the band and their successes! R.I.P Mouthwash!

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Sonic Boom Six – Rude Awakening

Sonic Boom Six, the ska/punk band from Manchester, UK have recently released Rude Awakening, a compilation of the band’s greatest hits to celebrate ‘their story so far.’

The album is ideal for those who have never heard of the band before, as the tracklisting contains a good mix of almost every genre which they have tried to incorporate into their overall sound, such as reggae, dub, ska, rap, rock and punk.

If you have never really had a proper listen to SB6, I highly recommend Rude Awakening as the best album to listen, so go ahead! You may be pleasantly surprised!

The band are fronted by Laila Khan, who’s incredibly high pitched voice adds something very unique to SB6 and really makes them stand out from the other ska-punk bands out there.

The album also features one of the live favourites – a cover of Puretone’s ‘Addicted To Bass.’ They have tried to incorporate the energy and crazy bassline that had sent the crowd wild both times I have been to see them! This is definitely a unique gem of the album that is really worth listening to.

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Artist Of The Week – Chewing On Tinfoil

Now for something completely different! Yet another discovery from Mike Davies’ Radio 1 Show, Chewing on Tinfoil, formed in 2003 are a ska-punk band from Dublin, Ireland.

Still relatively unknown, the band have been playing anywhere they will be accepted for the last seven years, describing their plan for the band as being – ‘trying to get as much stuff done as we possibly can until one of us has a kid or dies or whatever, which would mean that we’d have to stop.’ Very DIY.

Personally, I love them. They have fantastic lyrics and are completely unique. They posted their first full-length album online to try and raise their profile, which can be found either via their myspace page, (http://www.myspace.com/tinfoilabusemyspace) or from the Quote Unquote Records website.

Listen to Forty ‘Shades of Grey’  for a brief idea of what Chewing On Tinfoil are capable of, or the acoustic clip of ‘Shaving’ below:

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Radio 1 Punk Show – Mike Davies

Those of you rock and punk fans familiar with British radio stations will know that there isn’t often a lot on offer for us, especially when it comes to Radio 1. However, for any of you who don’t already listen to it, Radio 1 have their own show dedicated to Punk, Ska and Hardcore, presented from Los Angeles by Mike Davies.

The show features loads of great music and interviews, from Rise Against, Frank Turner and The Gaslight Anthem, to Trash Talk, Hot Water Music and The Skints.

The show also features in depth interview’s all different manner of bands, providing an interesting insight into the lives of some of your favourite musicians.

Since Mike has been surrounded by LA’s punk rock scene since he was a child, he also has extensive knowledge of many of the bands played on the show – it adds a very interesting dynamic to the show.

With the time difference of over 5 hours between the UK and US, if you are a Brit, and you want to listen to the show live, you will have to tune in at around 2:00 in the morning! However, if you have a decent internet connection that won’t drive you crazy, you can listen to it on BBC iPlayer, at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wq52

P.S:  Check out Mike’s interview of Tom Gabel, from Against Me! – I’m sure you’ll find it very interesting!

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Artist Of The Week – Rancid

Well, seeing as I’m not going to be at any more gigs until Muse in September, I thought I may as well add a new feature. So every week, I’ll put up an artist that I think is worth listening to. There’ll be plenty of variety, so let me know what you think!

So, this week – Rancid. This ska-punk band from The East Bay Area in California are still going strong, after the release of ‘Let The Dominoes Fall’ last year.

Rancid was founded by two ex-members of the short lived, yet legendary Operation Ivy – Tim Armstrong, who is on lead vocals and guitar, and Matt Freeman on bass. (In my opinion, Rancid have some of the best bass in punk – Check out the amazing bass solo in the last 30 seconds of Maxwell Murder, on ‘…And Out Come the Wolves’

On drums, Tim and Matt chose Brett Reed, however he left in 2006, to be replaced by ex member of The Used – Branden Steineckert.

The band then searched for a second guitarist – their first choice was Billie Joe Armstrong, a good friend of Tim Armstrong – however he turned down the offer. This proved to be a good decision, as Billie now fronts one of the worlds biggest rock acts – Green Day, of course! Instead, Lars Frederiksen was chosen in 1993 – who also fronts his own solo band- Lars Frederiksen and The Bastards.

Rancid have had seven studio albums out since their formation in 1991 – Their most successful being ‘And Out Come the Wolves.’ This album has since gone platinum. Other successful albums included ‘Life Won’t Wait’, and ‘Let’s Go.’

I recommend Rancid due to the fact that they are just an amazing punk band. They produce a great mix of upbeat ska-punk tunes that will leave you feeling much better than you did before you began listening. They also have a knack of producing songs that stick in your head for weeks on end!

I’ve also heard that they are fantastic live, so if they are playing near you, don’t waste the opportunity – get saving for those tickets!

I would recommend listening to: Radio, Roots Radical, Black Lung, Disconnected, Last One To Die, Life Won’t Wait and Time Bomb.

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Slam Dunk South 2010 – Great Bands, Not Such Great Organization

This year was the first year of Slam Dunk Festival South. The pop-punk festival, which has previously only taken place in Leeds, this year has expanded to the South – To the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield.

It worked in a similar way to that of the Reading and Leeds Festivals. The bands perform for one day, then travel overnight to reach the next venue and play the next day.

We arrived in Hatfield to be greeted with rain – a must have for any British festival. I had come mainly to see Against Me!, I will be posting a review of their new album, White Crosses soon. I was also interested to see Alkaline Trio, I discovered both of these bands due to the wonders of Spotify! However  I was keen to have a listen to Capdown and Sonic Boom Six aswell.

I arrived hoping to discover some new bands, and this I definitely did. For such a small festival, there were a huge number of bands performing. There were over 35 bands on from 3pm to 11pm, on around 7 different stages. There were two main stages, the first, the Jagermeister stage featured the headliners Alkaline Trio, whilst the other featured the second headliners, New Found Glory.

Our first stop was the Vans Acoustic Stage, to see The Skints, a London-based Ska/Reggae group. I was a bit disappointed with the sound setup, as the bass drowned out everything else, we couldn’t even hear the vocals. However, I was pretty impressed by band member Marcia Richards. She started off on the keyboard, then switched to flute, then to sax, then melodica, as well as singing backing vocals! I have since had a listen to them properly, and have fallen in love! Check out ‘Bright Girl’ from their debut album ‘Live. Breathe. Build. Believe.’

We then switched over to the acoustic stage, sponsored by Macbeth, to see Portia Conn. She had a really great voice, and clever lyrics – check out her new single on iTunes. Also on the acoustic stage was Sam Little playing very cheesy, feelgood acoustic pop. He too had a great voice, and continued to play unplugged after technical problems stopped his mic from working.

Next on the list was Me Vs Hero, at the Off the Wall Stage, where I experienced my very first Wall Of Death!! It wasn’t really my thing, with a combination of pop-punk and screamo, but I have to admit that they really got the crowd going, with Human Pyramids, Walls of Death and Mosh Pits!

Also at the Off the Wall were Sonic Boom Six – one of my new favourite bands! They worked their way through all the hits, including Piggy In the Middle, Sound of a Revolution, Strange Transformations and Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang. I love their mix of Punk, Rap, Reggae and Ska, and their trombone player was awesome!

This was where it all went wrong… There had been a heavy downpour of rain, and everyone who had been outside, was trying to shelter inside. At the same time, two bands from the indoor stages had just finished, so everybody was either trying to get in, or get out. I found myself squashed against a window for 2o minutes, while the security tried to get everyone out.

After about 30 minutes, after I had finally got outside, Security realised they couldn’t deal with it, and had no idea what to do, so they simply locked the door, leaving hundreds stranded outside in the rain, with only a few people remaining inside to see the bands. This left some people missing the bands that they had travelled miles to come and see, eventually including part of the New Found Glory set. You can see the mess this made below..

I still have too much left to write about Slam Dunk, so I will continue this in my next post.

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