Tag Archives: The Specials

Artist of the Week – Buster Shuffle

Doing a cover of Madness’ ‘One Step Beyond’ at my school’s version of Stars In Their Eyes was enough to reaffirm my love of classic 80’s ska. Bands like the Specials and Madness influenced not only me, but countless of UK ska bands around today, such as Sonic Boom Six, The King Blues and The Skints.
So when I saw an advert that described Buster Shuffle’s ‘Our Night Out’ as like ‘Madness’ early days,’ my favourite Madness period, I knew I had to check them out! The album has been out since 2009, and since then they seem to have developed quite a fan base, and have been touring with the likes of The Holloways and The Wombats
The first thing to hit you is lead vocalist Jethro Baker’s punchy and original cockney accent. The band have even been described as ‘more English than the Queen,’ which embodies itself in the cheeky, carefree lyrics of songs like ‘Maneater’ and ‘You’re Alright’ His lyrics are simple, yet still funny, clever and infectiously catchy. Baker’s voice adds a touch of fun and a ‘cheeky chappy’ tone to every song. He is also the pianist of the group, and it is the piano which really helps the band stand out from some of today’s other ska and rock bands.
Baker took advantage of his piano skills with an impromptu busking session with him and his band mates, utilising the ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ scheme set up in 2008 with the aim of bringing people together through music in cities across the globe. The band played mini-gigs at 10 different pianos in London, before being rudely cut short and moved on by the police??!! Personally, when the piano actually has ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ written all over it, it seems like an opportunity not to be wasted?
Anyway, you can see the video from their street performances below:

The album itself is incredibly short, at only 28 minutes, yet every song is packed full of fun and energy, making every minute worthwhile! Whilst the album ventures little further than the title suggests lyrically – Our Night Out – it is not music designed to be listened to for its deep lyrical content, it was made to have fun to, however Baker’s lyrics are far from bad – they are really clever and witty, and I can guarantee you’ll walk away in a much better mood with a smile on your face – what more could you want?
Check out the unique cover of the Jerry Lee Lewis Classic here. It really shows off what the band are capable of, even on such a tiny stage! (You might want to skip to about 1:30!)

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

The King Blues – Punk and Poetry

Well, seemingly lightyears since the news of a new album from The King Blues was first released, Punk and Poetry is finally here! And thank god it is, because it is yet another stunning album from the UK’s best up-and-coming punk band!
Whilst the band were originally intending on writing more of a love and relationship based album, the current political climate led them to have a change of heart. So from the onset, there is no doubt that The King Blues are as angry as they have always been!
The opening track features a dramatic and theatrical instrumental section backing Jonny Fox’s poem for the ‘Last of the Dreamers.’
See an a capella version of the opener below:

As if they didn’t need to certify that they were angry any more than was already clear, this is followed by the aural assault of ‘We Are F**cking Angry.’ Commenting on the political turmoil around the globe, as well as at home in the UK, this couldn’t be any more hard hitting if they tried, with a pounding mix of Dubstep-style synths, heavy guitar, and Itch’s grating vocals.
Next up is the band’s new single – Set The World On Fire. This adds a lighter, poppier sound into the mix, whilst always managing to retain great lyrics. The song draws parallels between Itch and a stereotypical MP – highlighting how, as a country, we have a tendency to just skip over what is in the news, as we have all become so numbed to what is going on, after years and years of it, such as in the line: ‘The war wages is on and it’s only eight o’clock!’ This is only one of many issues that this song addresses, others including plastic surgery and asylum seekers.
With a new lineup comes a new sound, and it is instantly obvious that whilst Itch’s lyrics remain as they used to be, there is a very different tune driving them forwards. Additional guitarists and new bassists and keyboardists have brought a much fuller sound to the band. It is very noticeable that the ukelele takes much less prominence, and instead there is more room for electric guitar, rather than Jamie Jazz’s trusty acoustic!

This new style includes other songs, such as I Want You, another of my personal favourites, which likens his love to how ‘the fat boys want Chubby Checker!’ The older single Headbutt, and Everything Happens For A Reason are two more of the poppier tracks, yet still stand out for me as some of the best, the latter being a vivid account of Itch’s buildup to becoming a father.
However, one song which really stands out to me is one which sticks more within the boundaries of the traditional ska-punk style – The future’s not what it used to be – My favourite track on the album. The song kicks off with a good old ska beat, accompanying a slow horn section, where Itch claims to have drawn inspiration from the Specials’ ‘Ghost Town.’ Whilst the song may seem a little slow at first, it picks up towards the end into a breakneck, almost incomprehendable fury, before dying back down into the chilled out chorus.
This is yet another unmissable release from the King Blues, so DON’T miss it! With a running time of 30 minutes exactly, the pace remains quick throughout, but the King Blues manage to cram in everything that needs saying, and much, much more within this time, thanks to skill of the band themselves combined with Itch’s one-of-a-kind lyrical talent! This album is a real credit to what this band are capable of, and is yet another example which goes to show that just because a punk band changes their style, THEY HAVE NOT SOLD OUT!

Tagged , , , , , , ,