Thursday, September 23

The CDP's Top 50 3rd Wave Ska Albums (20-11).

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Welcome back. In 1999, I was in a punk cover band named Representative Watlet (don't ask). After a few months of practicing, we got down about four original songs that we played at shows the best we could, but the arguments were already starting to pile up, mainly concerning the direction of the sound. A couple of the guys were hooked on guitar-fueled punk like Face To Face and MxPx, while I was bound and determined to turn Rep. Watlet into a Ska band. In the end, we broke into two separate entities and both got our wishes.

My ex-girlfriend at the time had been a trumpet player in the High School band, and I remember her loaning the instrument out to me and my friends in the hopes that one of us would discover themselves to be a secret brass savant. This didn't happen, but it didn't stop us from incorporating it into nearly everything we wrote. I still have old cassette tapes of our practice sessions, and the horrific sound of my friend Ben blowing into that woefully out-of-tune trumpet is still equal parts embarrassing and heartwarming.

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20. The Toasters – Skaboom (1987)

The Toasters and the Bosstones essentially gave birth to the 3rd Wave, and Skaboom holds up surprisingly well, over two decades later.

Give Them A Listen!

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19. Rx Bandits – Halfway Between Here & There (1999)

Most Ska shows would be pretty cut and dry, but every now and again a band would come along that would make you pause and say, "Wow, these guys are really talented." Every time I saw the Rx Bandits perform, I had that same refreshing feeling that the genre I dug so much was still evolving. This, their first proper full-length, is a worthy introduction to a transcendent group.

Give Them A Listen!

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18. Voodoo Glow Skulls – The Band Geek Mafia (1998)

Everyone has their particular favorite VGS album, but this one is mine. To me, they sounded no angrier, no sharper, no more determined and no more amazing than on The Band Geek Mafia. Their brass section absolutely destroys, and frontman Frank Casillas runs the show like a Mexican bull in a china shop.

Give Them A Listen (Or DIE)!

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17. Aquabats – The Fury Of The Aquabats! (1997)

See the dude on (our) left of the Bat Commander? That's Travis Barker (aka Baron Von Tito), and The Aquabats was his last band before joining Blink 182. The Aquabats took the silly side of Ska and made it stupendous, fighing supervillians on stage and writing the most hook-drenched, tongue-in-cheek tunes I've ever heard. While the Aquabats don't get around as much as they used to, the Bat Commander has busied himself by creating the wonderful television show Yo Gabba Gabba!

(Put On Your Cape And) Give Them A Listen!

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16. Goldfinger – Hang-Ups (1997)

Goldfinger had experimented with Ska on their self-titled debut, but no more so than on Hang Ups, a journey through failed relationships, existentialism, nostalgia and love. For my money, I can't think of a better embassador to the 3rd Wave than 'Superman,' the picture-perfect opening track.

Give The Best 3rd Wave Song EVER A Listen!

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15. Link 80 – 17 Reasons… (1997)

Nick Traina, the frontman for Link 80, suffered from all sorts of psychological issues and drug problems, eventually taking his own life at the tragic age of nineteen. His legacy is 17 Reasons..., an angry, lightning-fast call to arms from a band (and a kid) that left us way too soon.

Give Them A Listen!

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14. Spring Heeled Jack – Songs From Suburbia (1998)

Solid. Great musicians. Masterfully-crafted pop hooks. A fantastic lead singer. Spring Heeled Jack was so good, that after they broke up, nearly every member of the band went on to join other well known Ska bands.

Give Them A Listen!

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13. Against All Authority – Destroy What Destroys You (1995)

One of the 'Punk vs. Ska' arguments of the day was that Ska was too silly. Too sunny and unwilling to adress the political and social issues typically covered by Punk. First of all, bullshit. Second of all, Against All Authority. Apart from being about as Punk as you can get, Destroy What Destroys You is a non-stop, fun as hell mission statement from guys that practice what they preach.

Give Them A Listen, Or Go To Hell, Pig!

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12. Reel Big Fish – Why Do They Rock So Hard? (1998)

Being a huge fan of Turn The Radio Off, I had waited impatiently for RBF's follow up. I remember listening to it from beginning-to-end on the night it came out, realizing that I had just listened to the most cynical, sarcastic, funny and downright awesome album since Jawbreaker's Dear You. This was the album that made Reel Big Fish one of the most popular 3rd Wave bands ever.

Give Them A Listen!

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11. Streetlight Manifesto – Everything Goes Numb (2003)

When Catch 22 broke up, frontman and perfectionist mastermind Thomas Kalnoky formed Streetlight Manifesto. The result, Everything Goes Numb, was as predicted: a masterful shot in the arm, proving that not only was Ska not dead in the 21st Century, but that it might be better than it ever was before.

For The Love Of God, Give Them A Listen!

The countdown ends tomorrow; come on back.

Comments:
Fun Fact: Upon listening to Why Do They Rock So Hard? for the first time, I was convinced that Aaron Barrett was going to kill himself.
 
I know I'm a whiny bitch, but seriously, Everything Goes Numb at 11? I know most people regard it as the pinnacle of the genre, but each to their own. Still, pretty good list.
 

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