Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Onion's AV Club Does Ska

As part of their "Gateways to Geekery," the AV Club takes on the three waves of ska with mixed results:
Geek obsession: Ska

Why it’s daunting: Ska isn’t daunting so much as it’s something most sane and so-called cool people wouldn’t care to be associated with. Even during the ’90s, the height of the genre’s popularity in the U.S., ska carried associations of dorks in suspenders, ridiculous dancing (that would be skanking, which might be effectively translated as “spazzercise,” or “slam-dancing for pussies”), and bands made up of repressed high-school band geeks trying too hard to rock out. Move those stereotypes out of the way, though, and you’re left with a rich, vibrant, and fun-as-fuck style of music that’s inherently inclusive and unpretentious—and one populated by some of the finest songwriters and instrumentalists in pop history.
The article goes on to recommend This Are Two Tone, Dance Craze, and the Trojan Ska Box Set as good introductions to the genre (fine choices, you certainly could do much worse). But then they have to dis the third wave (and include some inaccuracies...The Toasters formed in the early 80s and are still kickin', guys):
Where not to start: While the late ’80s and ’90s birthed some of the best ska bands of all time—including The Toasters, The Pietasters, Let’s Go Bowling, and Rancid precursor Operation Ivy—the era’s so-called Third Wave is also the main reason many people can’t stand the genre. And understandably so: Everything from ska-funk to Christian ska to the stoner abomination known as Sublime sprang from the Third Wave. Granted, bands like The Slackers and the reggae-leaning Hepcat survived the ’90s and still thrive—and the relatively new outfit The Aggrolites is as good as the genre has ever produced. But considering the high signal-to-shit ratio, fishing for good ska made during the last 20 years should be the last concern of the budding ska geek. Now: Get ready to head to the dance floor and throw those knees and elbows around like you’re an epileptic marionette.
Okay, the ska scene did kind of get out of hand at the end of the 90s, but there were a lot of great acts/releases that are getting the shaft here. Go on over to the AV Club site and vent your righteous rage...


Kames Jelly said...

i read this earlier today, and the mile long list of comments made me wanna punch myself in the face.

Steve from Moon said...

Yeah, the comments section was pretty terrible--lots of innacuracies and plain dopey things.