Wednesday, September 22

The CDP's Top 50 3rd Wave Ska Albums (30-21).

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Welcome back. One of the major dynamics of Ska's 3rd Wave was the Punk Rock influence. From the two-tone era came violent, distorted upstrokes, blasting horns and pogo-worthy choruses. Therein lies a bit of an argument when it comes to determining what is 'Ska' and what is merely just 'Punk?' The 'Punk' argument is an unwinnable waste of time, but I did think this through when it came to my countdown.

Take Goldfinger for example. Goldfinger is a punk band, however I'd say that Hang Ups was a ska-influenced album, enough so to be lumped into this countdown. Limp and Animal Chin wrote songs with upstrokes from time to time, but I don't think anyone would consider either of them to be a Ska band, so Guitarded and The Ins And Outs Of Terrorism didn't make the list (despite the awesome titles). Same goes for Rancid, Leftover Crack and many others. The amount of time I spent discussing these merits as a teenager would do nothing more than bum you out, so don't think about that stuff too much as the countdown rolls on.

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30. Assorted Jelly Beans – Assorted Jelly Beans (1996)

Operation Ivy + The Vandals = Awesome.

Give Them A Listen!

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29. Dance Hall Crashers – Honey, I’m Homely (1997)

The dual-female vocalist gimmick paid deep dividends, not to mention their solid songwriting and Southern California style.

Give Them A Look (and listen)!

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28. Mu330 – Chumps On Parade (1997)

Influential and still touring if I recall correctly, my band was fortunate enough to share a stage with them in late 2001. They've been described as 'Weezer meets the Specials,' and that should either whet your appetite or tune you out completely.

Give Them A Listen!

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27. Edna’s Goldfish – Before You Knew Better (1998)

Some bands, some shows and some tracks function as Nostalgia Express Lanes, transporting you directly to some of the best points of your life. For whatever reason, it always seemed like Edna's Goldfish was always there to serve as the soundtrack, despite only releasing two albums in their career.

Give Them A Listen!

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26. The Gadjits – At Ease (1998)

Mediocre At Best played two shows with the prolific Phillips Brothers, who now play and tour as the Architects. Their ska days now far behind them, these are musicians who do nothing but improve exponentially each time they release an album.

Give Them A Listen!

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25. Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Don’t Know How To Party (1993)

If we're talking influential albums, then Don't Know How To Party would be a lot closer to #1, but I'll admit that the Bosstones weren't on the center of my radar in the mid-to-late 90's. Regardless, this album kills and the 3rd Wave owes a permanent debt of gratitude to the Cambridge pioneers.

Give Them A Listen!

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24. Mad Caddies – Duck & Cover (1998)

With a great singer, a constant willingness to reinvent the genre, and two of the best brass players I've ever heard, Duck & Cover was the album that showed everyone just what the Caddies were capable of doing, and considering they're still as popular as ever in 2010, I'd say they made their point.

Give Them A Listen!

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23. Mustard Plug – Pray For Mojo (1999)

If you know Ska, then you know Mustard Plug. The night we opened for them at a sold out Concert Cafe in Green Bay was sincerely one of the greatest nights of my life, and they brought the pain the same way they continue to this very day. One of the longest-standing and most consistent bands in the genre, Pray For Mojo was fun, solid and exciting from beginning to end.

Give Them A Listen!

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22. Less Than Jake – Losing Streak (1996)

Losing Streak is one of three LTJ albums on this list, so I'll have time to talk more about them later. The below link is to their video for 'Automatic,' a video I watched religiously in my teen years, spinning this album hundreds of times and waiting patiently for LTJ to show up in Wisconsin. Sure enough, once I got the chance to see them (and I've seen them over a dozen times now) they delivered in a way that only they could. Check it out.

(Please) Give Them A Listen!

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21. Telegraph – 10 Songs & Then Some/Quit Your Band (1996/1998)

Telegraph was the ska band that most of the other local ska bands wanted to be. A band's band, or something like that. Whatever the case, their influence and prowess is still listenable and energetic to this day.

Give Them A Listen!

More countdown tomorrow; come on back.

Comments:
I was pretty late to the Bosstones party as well. Don't Know How To Party was my first foray into their impressive catalog, and if I was forced to pick my favorite all-time songs I've got to believe that "Someday I Suppose" would be in the top grouping.

Losing Streak was basically the soundtrack to my last two years of high school. I unconditionally loved that album (except for "Dopeman" - no one really liked that one). I even loved that you could "rewind" the first track and listen to an extended talk with The Old Dude, Howard J. Reynolds. That was bad ass.

I never heard of Telegraph during their run, but I did just pick up a copy of Switched On the other day. I haven't had time to really listen to it but from the little I've heard it certainly sounds like I missed out.
 
As I get older, it's good to know how much Losing Streak meant to so many people other than myself. Even at age 28, when I hear Chris say "I think, I think I know it all" in the pre-chorus at the end of Automatic, I have this weird feeling like I instantly understand everything that's right and wrong with me at the same time.
 
Assorted Jelly Beans. Another hometown band - holla! I wasn't too impressed when I saw them. It was just loud. And one horn does not a ska band make (I'll likely be proven wrong by one of youse...). I'm a huge 2 Tone ska fan. Huge. So, I guess this sub-genre of Ska Punk isn't for me.

That being said, I do appreciate the introduction to some of these other groups.
 
Reese - Yeah, I totally get that; the Punk influence of the 3rd Wave isn't for everyone. There were always purists out there that insisted that Ska Punk was neither nor. It's really apples and oranges, in my opinion. Much like Punk, I feel that Ska is more a personality or way of life than a musical genre. I also understand that by saying that, I'm dropping my hipster facade for a second and looking a bit lame in my emoting, but that bothers me none right now.
 
dopeman was ltj's best song ever!quality softcore KILLS duck and cover too.
 

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