"Red light" (By C. Charlesworth)
N.Y.'s Brooklyn bums, The
Slackers are back, and though their name might denote laziness, there is
no hint of that in this album. This album IS New York City. Somehow the
Slackers have managed to turn the crowded streets, colorful neighborhoods,
and diverse population, into a musical composition, and it's brilliant.
Vic Ruggerio has yet again surpassed most current lyricists with his clever
story telling, each song has a message, and every song moves
you. "Fried Chicken/ Mary Mary" brings back the 60's Boogaloo sound and
at the same time cries its demise. "Soldier" makes a statement on the current
movement from policing to paramilitary response that is occurring around
the United States right now, You know what I'm talking about, when did
the police stop wearing polished shoes and turn to jackboots? Overall the
album mixes many different types of music, from R&B, to Latin, to Jazz
and creates a very desirable album.
Magadog "Dui-n-i" (By C. Charlesworth)
Dui-n-i is the sophomore release from Magadog, a Florida
Ska band out of Tampa, I believe, and I am sad to say the release is a
little bit sophomoric in itself. Bad reviews rarely appear on this page,
basically because we don't get free CD's to review, so our purchases are
understandably careful. The reason I am reviewing this is because I managed
to get my hands on a taped copy to listen to. It is not that the band is
untalented, this is not true, in all the band shows deftness with it's
instruments. The fact is that the sound of this album is just plain boring.
NOTHING makes this group distinct from your average third wave Ska band.
The album sounds weakly recorded, and the music itself seems quite shallow
and without any real feeling. To sum it up, I believe that the band has
the ability to produce a great album, and perhaps their next attempt will
result in one, but for now I would recommend that those of you without
money to spare spend it on something more worthwhile, this one belongs
in the taped copy from a friend section.
The Scofflaws "Live, Vol. 1"
(By C. Charlesworth)
Perhaps one of my favorite things to hear is someone
newly initiated to a live Scofflaws show RAVE about how incredible they
were, because it's true, The Scofflaws put on an incredible show. But unfortunately
there are still fans who have never gotten the chance to see their act
up close and personal. Well for these unlucky souls The Scofflaws have
put out an album with all live songs. Usually, saying that a recording
is "live" is a joke, because the end result makes it seem less like you
are actually there than a studio album would. Somehow though, the sound
techs who recorded the songs on this product managed to make it seem as
if you actually ARE at a show. The sound is incredible, all the crowd chanting,
sing alongs, and Scofflaws intro's actually sound live, you could actually
be standing next to the Skins yelling at the beginning of, "William Shatner".
And of course, for the true Scofflaws fan or the first time listener, this
album contains all the old favorites, the tunes that make a Scofflaws set.
If you've heard and seen The Scofflaws show a hundred times, or if you've
never even heard of them, this is a great CD to own, throw
your own private show in your room, go get this release.
Isaac Green and the Skalars
"Skoolin' with the Skalars" (By C. Charlesworth)
Finally, a third wave band with a good understanding
of their Jamaican roots. So many current third wave bands have no appreciation
for the origins that they come from, and the result is a bland and boring
type of Ska that seems to be running wild lately. On the other hand the
Skalars have produced a funny, poppy, and most importantly, GOOD album
that brings back the hay day of third wave, when that genre of Ska was
new and fresh. Songs like, "High School", and the cover, "Bloodshot Eyes"
make this one a keeper, funny lyrics backed by a strong instrument section
ensure that this relatively young band will only get better and better,
hopefully playing for years to come. I can't wait till I get another chance
to see them live, the last time was at the El'N'Gee in New London CT, and
the fact that they sounded good despite playing in a room not well know
for it's acoustics says lots for their future. Third wave at its most exciting
and energetic, too bad it can't be tapped and given to some of the other
bands that compose this Ska genre.