|Beat Brigade circa 1987!|
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...