Wednesday, December 5, 2012

2012: The Year in Ska - Kevin Flowerdew (Do the Dog Music and Skazine)

Editor's Note: As the end of the calendar year sneaks up on me--as it always does, since the fall is always so damn busy!--I always scramble around to put together my "best of" lists of the ska singles, albums, reissues, books, etc. that I really enjoyed over the past year and want to highlight for all the ska fans out there. But I also thought it might be interesting to feature some other opinions, so I approached a diverse group of ska musicians, bloggers, DJs, and label heads to find out what their favorite ska things were in 2012. And thus the "2012: The Year in Ska" series was born! Thanks to everyone who is taking the time to participate--I really appreciate it!

I first became aware of Kevin Flowerdew (big brother to Sean Flowerdew of The Loafers, Pama Intl, London International Ska Festival, and Phoenix City Records) back in 1989, when he first started publishing his terrifically comprehensive and informative skazine, "Rude." Kevin then formed the great 2 Tone-influenced ska band The Bakesys in 1990 and then the dynamic Do the Dog Music record label in 1996 (which is when "Rude" morphed into "Do the Dog Skazine"). Kevin was kind enough to contribute a UK perspective to our 2012 ska retrospective...

2012: The Year in Ska - Kevin Flowerdew/Do the Dog Music and Skazine

Top 5 Favorite Ska Releases

1) Buster Shuffle - Do Nothing (Superb piano-driven 2 Tone ska/pop from London Town - think Madness, Chas and Dave, and Blur all chucked into a blender.)

2) The Phoenix City All Stars - Two Tone Gone Ska (Wonderful old school ska re-inventions of 2 Tone Records classics.)

3) The Skints - Part and Parcel (Fab second album from the UK's finest reggae talent.)

4) Captain Black No Stars - Slapstick and Tragedy (The long-awaited debut full length by Norfolk's dirty reggae kings - awesome organ driven rhythms underpinning fiercely anti-establishment lyrics.)

5) Jaya The Cat - The New International Sound Of Hedonism (Barnstorming party of anthemic punky reggae and ska.)

Top 5 Favorite Live Ska Shows

(All at the incredible London International Ska Festival in Islington back in May!)

1) Buster Shuffle
2) Chris Murray
3) The Skints
4) Rebelation
5) Capone and The Bullets

Top 5 Favorite Ska Merch

I really enjoyed Gaz Mayall's book on the first 30 years of Gaz's Rockin' Blues club night in London. A great read--and loads of cool photos and flyers from the club, too!

The London International Ska Festival book was a fab read too, although I didn't buy that one. I stole it from my little brother.

Top 5 Ska Regrets

My main regret is that I haven't picked up more ska zines in 2012. There seem to be fewer and fewer printed zines every year. I suppose the internet has lots of webzines and blogs to check out, but I've always been old school in this respect. I prefer to have an actual zine/magazine in my hands.

Top 5 Ska Wishes for 2013

My top wish is undoubtedly to hear the brand new albums by my two favourite bands at the moment: Cartoon Violence from Wales and Razika from Norway! If you haven't heard either of these yet, then check them out pronto, you won't be disappointed!

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