Saturday, October 5, 2013

Preview the New Beat Brigade Album!

Beat Brigade circa 1987!
One of the albums slated to be released soon that I'm dying to get my dirty hands on is the debut long-player from NYC's own Beat Brigade. While they were really big on the NYC ska scene in the mid-to-late 80s, they didn't lay down many tracks in the studio for posterity (to date, their only two released recordings are the boss ska-calypso-rock of "Armageddon Beat" on the NY Beat! Hit and Run compilation in 1986 and the raucous ska of "Try and Try Again" on a split double A single with The Toasters' "Talk is Cheap" in 1987), which is a shame, since Beat Brigade were one of the top bands in the city at that time.

Beat Brigade were a great example--along with The Toasters, Urban Blight, NY Citizens, Second Step, The Boilers, AKings, and City Beat--of the gritty, aggressive, and adventurous NYC ska sound that had developed in the wake of 2 Tone (and helped bring about the rise of the so-called Third Wave of ska in the 1990s)! Yet, these were no Specials/Madness/Beat/Selecter wannabes--though they clearly loved those bands and built upon/expanded the 2 Tone sound to incorporate all sorts of diverse musical elements from funk to punk to New Wave and beyond. Indeed, Beat Brigade's sound can best be characterized as the modern, punky ska of The Specials crossed with the New Wave bite and verbosity of Elvis Costello, and the musical exploration of The Beat, all topped off with the political awareness/attitude of The Clash.

Fortunately for ska fans in the 21st century, Beat Brigade reunited a few years ago (with original members Carmelo Dibartolo, Jack Hoppenstand, Frank Usamanont, Erick Storkman, and Dave Barry, along with Ramsey Jones and Michael Kammers) and have been putting on some amazing shows ever since. Plus, they've finally been able to record many of their excellent, socio-politically aware songs from the 80s, along with some equally fantastic new tracks. You can whet your appetite on previews of several of their new tunes--including my faves "Keep Still Dark," "401 Kill," and "Another Cause," which are linked below--on Beat Brigade's new SoundCloud page!

We'll pass along details regarding Beat Brigade's album release when they become available...


Jason Lawless said...

WOW I'm just now seeing this post and getting to hear new sounds from BB.It sounds great and something I'd pick up. Wonder if they'll sign my Toasters split single? Cool sounds.

Steve from Moon said...

Yep! Great stuff from Beat Brigade. I'm going to their record release party tonight!