Tuesday, February 24, 2015

NYC Winter/Spring 2015 Ska Calendar #3

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

The Scofflaws (opening for Drumming for Love Benefit featuring Eric Bolivar, George Porter, Jr., Ivan Neville, Brian Stoltz, and Adam Dietch)

Marlin Room at Webster Hall
125 East 11th Street
New York, NY
Tickets: $35

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Friday, February 27, 2015 @ 9:00 pm

Reggae in the Slope w/NY Ska Jazz Ensemble, Deejay Spinach

Port Royal
837 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY
$10

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Saturday, February 28, 2015 (2 Sets: 8:00 pm and 9:30 pm)

Brown Rice Family Band

Friends and Lovers
641 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
No cover!

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Saturday, March 7, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

Vic Ruggiero, The Snails, Reggay Lords (Record Release!), DJ Grace of Spades

Grand Victory
245 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY
$10/21+

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Saturday, March 14, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

The Pilfers Record Release Party w/Leaving Lifted, Fear Nuttin Band, The Rudie Crew, Sweet Lucy, Rude Boy George, The Native Alien Tribe, plus special guests and DJs!

The Wick
260 Meserole Street
Brooklyn, NY
$15 in advance/$25 at door
18+

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015 @ 6:00 pm

St. Patrick's Day Bash w/Straight to Hell, Bonus Pump, Badfish

BB King Blues Club
237 West 42nd Street
New York, NY
$20/All ages

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Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 9:30 pm

Rude Boy George

Seaside Tavern
981 Cove Road
Stamford, CT

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Friday, April 17, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

Skarroneros, The Beatdown, The Pandemics, Beat Brigade, King Django

Grand Victory
245 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY
$10/21+

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Saturday, April 25, 2015 @ 7:30 pm

Roddy Radiation (of The Specials) w/The Scotch Bonnets, Rude Boy George

Fontana's Bar
105 Eldridge Street
New York, NY
$10/21+

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

The English Beat, The Skints

The Gramercy Theater
127 East 23rd Street
New York, NY
$25/16+

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Rude Boy George

Toshi's Living Room
1141 Broadway
New York, NY

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Saturday, May 2, 2015 @ 8:00 pm

Fishbone, Easy Star Allstars, The Skints

Brooklyn Bowl
61 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
$22/21+

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Saturday, May 9, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

The Skatalites

Brooklyn Bowl
61 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, NY

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Saturday, May 30, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

Rude Boy George

State Theatre of Boyertown
61 North Reading Avenue
Boyertown, PA

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Trojan Records to Release Record Store Day 2015 Compilation: "Rude Boy Rumble"

At the moment details are few, but it appears that Trojan Records will be releasing a 60s ska/reggae compilation with cuts from Desmond Dekker and The Aces, The Upsetters, and the like for Record Store Day 2015. Titled Rude Boy Rumble, this 12-track LP will feature cuts chosen by Tom "Papa" Ray AKA The Soul Selector (he's also the owner of Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis, MO).

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Duff Interview: Tsuyoshi Kawakami of Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra


Japanese ska legends Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra just released their 19th album Ska Me Forever earlier this month on Nacional Records in the US (as a nine-track LP and 18-track digital download). While The Duff Guide to Ska will have a review of Ska Me Forever up in the near future, we're thrilled to post a recent interview we were able to conduct (via email) with TSPO bass player Tsuyoshi Kawakami, who has been with the band since its founding in 1988. 

The Duff Guide to Ska: Ska Me Forever is being released as the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra celebrates its 25th year as a band--did you all think that it would still be going strong this many years later? Are you all planning to just keep on going like The Skatalites and play even when you are old (and distinguished) men?

Tsuyoshi Kawakami: I had no idea we would last 25 years. It is an extraordinary case in the Japanese music scene that a band as big as we are can continue, specialized in a genre of ska. In that sense, we respect The Skatalites a lot. It would be fun to keep on doing this like they do.

DGTS: Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra's musical influences seem to be omnivorous--traditional ska, jazz, big band, 60s movie soundtracks, surf rock, and much more. What influenced and inspired the band as it was writing and recording the songs that are on Ska Me Forever?

TK: This album turned out to be the concentration of all elements that TSPO have, that we have been influenced by--not just ska and authentic elements but also others such as rock and dub-oriented sounds. We turn a variety of music into ska and advocate our own genre “Tokyo Ska.” And this album shows the true value of Tokyo ska.

DGTS: I've read that Gaz's Mayall's cassettes that were sold in a local record shop had an impact on Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra and the late 80s ska scene in Japan. Were his tapes all ska or a mix of styles? Were you ever in touch with him directly--and in the early days of the band was there ever the possibility that you'd release some music on Gaz's Rockin' Records?

TK: Gaz’s cassette tape included a lot of ska. At that time, ska was not so much known to the general public, so the tape was really shocking to us. We listened to it many times and learned about ska. We have certainly met him in person. He has been a big supporter for us. We saw him at Glastonbury when we performed there in 2003 and, for the first time in a long while, in 2013 at a festival in Japan. He was dancing while watching us perform!


DGTS: I've read in other interviews with the band that even though Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra has toured all of the world, you've never performed in Jamaica. Is that still true? Of the places you have toured, what are your favorite countries/venues to play? Where have you received the best, worst, and most memorable reactions from an audience?

TK: We have never been to Jamaica yet, but we definitely want to in the near future. We were amazed how many people support us in Mexico. It was electrifying to see the Mexican fans know our music so much that they can sing to all songs and instrumental tunes. We realized that even in places we had never been before, TSPO are loved so much and there are enthusiastic fans, which made us wish to perform in more different places in the world. We are very grateful.

DGTS: You've toured the USA several times. What are your impressions of the American fans and US bands that have opened up for TSPO? (And since I live in NYC--and saw your incredible show at Stage 48 two years ago--I'm interested to know when TSPO is next planning on playing in NYC...)

TK: We performed in NYC for the first time in a while in 2013. Last year, we performed at the Irving Plaza and had a blast! It made us want to have more people come to our show and know us. At this time, we do not have dates for our next NYC shows, but we wish to perform there again in the near future.

DGTS: In the late 90s, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra started its own label through AVEX--Justa Record--which released several TSPO albums and singles, as well as a few ska compilations, and even published a magazine. What happened to it?

TK: Justa Record is still around. TSPO’s albums have been released from this label. With Justa Record we can do approaches different from TSPO as well, and we’re thinking of releasing even more interesting things from this label.

DGTS: What are some of your all-time favorite ska records released by other artists--the ones you would save if your home were on fire?

TK: If my home’s on fire? I cannot choose a record to be honest. I would like you to save a copy of our debut vinyl album Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. :)

DGTS: It's sometimes difficult for ska fans outside of Japan to find out about what's going on in the Japanese ska scene. Can you recommend any newer Japanese ska bands that we should try to track down?

TK: It’s actually ska punk, but the band Kemuri is wonderful. Their singer Fumio Ito sang in our song named “Pride Of Lions.” Kemuri is going to tour America this year so check it out!

DGTS: What led Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra to releasing Ska Me Forever on Nacional Records, which is more known for Latin rock? (Ska Me Forever is being released on vinyl by Nacional in the US--is vinyl as popular in Japan as it is becoming here?)

TK: It all started when we met Tomas, the big boss of Nacional. He helped us out when we wanted to record a track with Manu Chao back in 2011. Just like in the US, vinyl is becoming more popular among youth, who have never listened to vinyl before.

DGTS: In addition to releasing Ska Me Forever, what other plans does Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra have for celebrating your 25th anniversary?

TK: We will culminate our 25th anniversary at a historical venue called Budokan on March 28. Our collaborator bands on Ska Me Forever, namely 10-FEET, Mongol800, and Asian Kung-Fu Generation will be there as well.

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Thanks to Tsuyoshi Kawakami for taking the time to do this interview with us!

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Madness To Release Single for Record Store Day 2015: "Lovestruck" b/w "Le Grand Pantalon"

For this year's Record Store Day (Saturday, April 18, 2015), there will be another notable ska offering--coming on the heel's of last year's unexpected Specials RSD release and the inclusion of The Untouchables' "(I Spy for The) FBI" and Desmond Dekker "Israelites" vinyl singles in the Ten Big Stiffs box set issued on the 201 Black Friday Record Store Day.

Madness will be releasing two songs on vinyl: "Lovestruck" (from 1999's Wonderful) b/w "Le Grand Pantalon" (a fantastic, reflective version of "Baggy Trousers" that was used in a 2011 Kronenbourg 1664 beer ad and was included on the 2013 A Guided Tour of Madness box set). Neither track has been available on vinyl before.

This release also boasts a 3D Punch and Judy-type "Lovestruck" Toy Theatre that includes Madness-related items and characters, including pith-helmeted British soldiers from "Night Boat to Cairo," bottles of Madness Brewing Company beer (yes, there is Madness beer available in Europe; one of the varieties--in a nice bit of brand synergy--is an amber ale called "Lovestruck"), and a roller coaster (a reference to "House of Fun," of course).

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Duff Guide to Ska Winter/Spring 2015 Ska Calendar #2

Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

Valentine's Day Bash w/Inspecter 7, The Mugs, The Ladrones, HARM, plus DJ Agent J

The Grand Victory
245 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY
$15/21+

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Saturday, February 21, 2015 @ 8:00 pm

Rude Boy George and Wasted Days

Two Boots of Bridgeport
281 Fairfield Avenue
Bridgeport, CT
No cover!

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Saturday, February 21, 2015 @ 9:00 pm

Brooklyn Attractors

Dirck the Norseman (Brew Pub)
7 North 15th Street
Brooklyn, NY
No cover!

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Friday, February 27, 2015 @ 9:00 pm

Reggae in the Slope w/NY Ska Jazz Ensemble, Deejay Spinach

Port Royal
837 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY
$10

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Saturday, February 28, 2015 (2 Sets: 8:00 pm and 9:30 pm)

Brown Rice Family Band

Friends and Lovers
641 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
No cover!

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Saturday, March 7, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

Vic Ruggiero, The Snails, Reggay Lords (Record Release!), DJ Grace of Spades

Grand Victory
245 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY
$10/21+

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Saturday, March 14, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

The Pilfers Record Release Party w/Leaving Lifted, Fear Nuttin Band, The Rudie Crew, Sweet Lucy, Rude Boy George, The Native Alien Tribe, plus special guests and DJs!

The Wick
260 Meserole Street
Brooklyn, NY
$15 in advance/$25 at door
18+

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015 @ 6:00 pm

St. Patrick's Day Bash w/Straight to Hell, Bonus Pump, Badfish

BB King Blues Club
237 West 42nd Street
New York, NY
$20/All ages

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Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 9:30 pm

Rude Boy George

Seaside Tavern
981 Cove Road
Stamford, CT

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Friday, April 17, 2015 @ 7:00 pm

Skarroneros, The Beatdown, The Pandemics, Beat Brigade, King Django

Grand Victory
245 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY
$10/21+

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rude Boy George

Fontana's Bar
105 Eldridge Street
New York, NY

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Rude Boy George

Toshi's Living Room
1141 Broadway
New York, NY

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Lions New Album "Soul Riot!"


There are a crazy number of really promising ska and reggae records dropping in the near future (The Skints, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Phoenix City All-stars, Bionic Rats, and The Selecter), making my list of albums to review longer and longer (particularly since I have a backlog of releases to review from the Reggay Lords, Hub City Stompers, The Bishops, The Copacetics, The New Limits, and others)!

My "burden" grows heavier with the new double-LP (at 45 RPMs!) from LA ska/reggae supergroup The Lions, who are releasing Soul Riot tomorrow on Stones Throw (check out samples of the album here).

Ska fans will be interested to know that members of The Lions include Deston Berry and Alex D├ęsert of Hepcat, Malik Moore of The Bullets and Ocean 11, and Black Shakespeare (cousin of Robbie Shakespeare of Sly and Robbie).

Can't wait to review this--and all the other releases from bands listed above--in the near future. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Duff Review: Mento Buru's "A Bailar con Mento Buru" Single

Steady Beat Recordings
2014
Vinyl single w/picture sleeve

(Review by Steve Shafer)

If I hadn't spotted and ordered it from Ernie B's Reggae very recently, I would have completely missed the fantastic, relatively new-ish single from Bakersfield, CA's Mento Buru, A Bailar con Mento Buru. (In the interests of full disclosure, I worked a bit with the band back in the 1990s when I was at Moon Records and had a hand in the release and promotion of Mento Buru's excellent 1997 debut album No Dancing Please--which is packed with crisp, vintage ska sounds combined with elements of Latin, jazz, and reggae music.)

A Bailar con Mento Buru (translation: A Dance with Mento Buru) features two nicely re-worked covers of classic tracks from different cultures and times: Mexican composer/singer Alvaro Carillo's 1959 bolero smash hit "Sabor a mi" (which has been covered dozens of times by such artists as Eydie Gorme and Trio Los Panchos,  EXO-K, and Los Lobos) and Dandy Livingstone's beloved 1967 rocksteady tune "Rudy, Un Mensaje Para Vos" ("A Message to You, Rudy," which, of course, was revived by The Specials in 1979 for the 2 Tone era and beyond).

I have to cop to being completely unfamiliar with Carillo's "Sabor a mi" ("A Taste of Me"), but after checking out several versions of it by a host of different artists, I completely get why this is a perennial favorite--it's a fantastic, evocative, and bittersweet pop love song. Mento Buru's version winning and sublime (see the video of them performing this song live below). On the flip side, "Rudy, Un Mensaje Para Vos" becomes something of a rocksteady/cumbia hybrid, sung with all-out glee in both Spanish and English (it's less of a warning to mend one's ways and more of an anthemic celebration of rude boy/girl culture), and Mento Buru do this song proud.




Wednesday, February 4, 2015

New Phoenix City All-stars Album--Plus the 2015 London International Ska Festival Line-Up!

This year's annual London International Ska Festival is fast approaching (it's shaping up to be one of the best--see the incredible band list below), which means there's a new album forthcoming from the Phoenix City All-stars. For their third release--Searching for the Young Ska Rebels (a nice play on a certain band's 1980 debut record)--they're covering the Stax/Motown-influenced soul music of Dexy's Midnight Runners, and the album is timed to be released at the LISF in April (you can pre-order the limited-edition LP or CD now). Dexy's ska-related factiod: Jerry Dammers tried to sign them to 2 Tone.

If you don't know the band, the Phoenix City All-stars are led by Sean Flowerdew (of Pama Int'l and the organizer of the London International Ska Festival) and Lenny Bignell (The Sidwalk Doctors)--and their two previous albums are stellar Studio One takes on 2 Tone classics and Rolling Stones hits. Read The Duff Guide to Ska reviews of the Phoenix City All-stars' Two Tone Gone Ska and Skatisfaction here and here.

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The 2015 London International Ska Festival is taking place from April 2 through the 5th and will feature some of the best ska and reggae acts from the 60s, the 2 Tone era, the Third Wave 80s/90s, and today: Lee Scratch Perry, Steel Pulse (performing Handsworth Revolution), Derrick Harriott, Gentleman's Dub Club, Rico Rodriguez, Freddie Notes, Sir Horace Uptown Collective, Rhoda Dakar (Sings the Bodysnatchers), Vin Gordon and His Real Rock Band, Beat Goes Band (featuring Everett Morton), Dennis Bovell Dub Band, AJ Franklin, Dreadzone, Zion Train, Babylon Circus, Buster Shuffle, The Toasters, Two Tone Club (France), The Talks, Miserable Man (Italy), The Riffs (Malta), Beat Bahnhof (Japan), Paperboy, and Dojo. And don't forget all of the DJs lined up: Don Letts, Gladdy Wax, Ras Digby, Eddie Regal, Tighten Up Crew, Phil Nush Sounds and Pressure Lofi, Axis Sound System, Oxman, David Katz, Natty Bo, Fenomeno Show, Time Tunnel, Kuryakin - Apex Hi-Fi, and Skankin' Steve (sadly, that's not me!).

Wow! Anyone have free airplane tix to London and a place for me to stay?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Preview "This Town" Off The Skints New Album "FM"!

If you're like me and have come across many people online raving about The Skints, but haven't really checked them out--well, now's the time to pay them proper attention! The Skints' new album FM (their third) was produced by the incredibly gifted Prince Fatty and is slated to be released in the USA on March 9, 2015 from Easy Star Records on vinyl, CD, and digital download.

"This Town," featuring Tippa Irie and Horseman, is the first previewed track off FM and is a fantastic 80s Saxon-style dancehall tribute to their hometown of London.

Word from The Skints' camp is that the band's first tour of America is scheduled for this coming May! Watch this space for details!



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Update (2/7/15): The video for "This Town" has just been released and can be watched at New Noise Magazine.

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Update (2/9/15): The Skints' video is now available to embed, so here ya go...

Saturday, January 31, 2015

New Selecter Album "Subculture" To Be Released on March 30, 2015

The latest incarnation of The Selecter (with original members Pauline Black and Arthur "Gaps" Hendrickson) will be releasing its third album since reforming five years ago. Subculture is slated to be issued on March 30, 2015 from Vocaphone Records and the band will be touring the UK in February and March, finishing things off with a big show at Koko in London on March 28. I happened to catch The Selecter's concert at the Gramercy Theater when they last played New York City in 2013 and they were in excellent form (I had a blast!). Here's hoping they return here soon.

Preview one of the new tracks--"Breakdown"--from Subculture below, introduced by Ms. Black herself...