As the the 90's gave way to the year 2000 the curtain had lowered on mainstream exposure of ska and it went back to the dedicated scenes from which it had emerged. Following its loss in popularity some of the most popular ska bands during its period of success chose to just change there sound and give up ska (Gold Finger, No Doubt, etc.) while others continued to play just without the benefit of radio airplay and television exposure. Though mainstream interest had passed the scenes from which ska had burst forth in the US remained strong having grown during the mainstream period. Regardless some people refer to this as the the time when third wave ska died, much like the way punk rock was said to have died.
This song by Reel Big Fish sums it all up pretty well
The following excerpt is found on the site for the download for the album which is made up of punk and ska music:
Head Above Water: A Response to the BP Drilling Disaster
On Wed. April 20th, 2011 (one year after the gulf coast oil spill), Community Records has released a benefit compilation to help create awareness and progress in the wake of the BP drilling disaster. For the compilation, Community Records has aligned with three different independent record labels from across the United States who will be submitting songs: Asian Man Records in CA, Plan-It-X Records in IN, and Quote Unquote Records in NY. The compilation will have over 60 songs and will include literature, movies, and other media about the spill. The compilation will be available is 100% FREE download on CommunityRecords.org with the option of donating money to the Gulf Restoration Network. The GRN has played an active role in keeping the ecosystem of the gulf coast in tact for over 15 years. Head Above Water will only be released as a digital download to avoid the use of new plastics as well as gasoline to ship them across the country. Community Records is a 100% D.I.Y. Independent record label based out of New Orleans representing over 20 artists all over the world. The label is strongly based on free digital downloads as well as uniquely packaged vinyl and other merchandise. Community Records artists tour the U.S. constantly and many have toured Europe, the United Kingdom, and the Dominican Republic. Every year since 2008, they have put on an all day, 2 stage punk and ska music festival in the streets of New Orleans called Block Party.
So download and enjoy and don't forget to donate to help restore the gulf!
The band of the day today is Mustard Plug. These guys have been around since 1991 and are still out recording and touring. They formed in 1991 in Grand Rapids, Michigan and released they're first album in 1993 they released they're first album Big Daddy Multitude. They're latest album, In Black and White was released in 2007. Yuo can find tourdates (only 3 so far this year, all in september and in the midwest) on they're site
Instead of a band of the day today, here is a list of all the ska band (admittedly few) on the Vans Warped Tour this year:
Less Than Jake
Big D And The Kids Table
Black Square (Joins the tour on July 29th, playing Southeast, South West, and west coast)
The Planet Smashers (Only playing one show though in Montreal you lucky Canadians)
The Sheds (Playing the West coast and the South West only)
Kind of a disappointing line up this year, but I'm looking forward to seeing LTJ and Big D and there's a few good punk and Reggae bands playing as well
Find out when the warped tour comes to a town near you (Sorry international buddies, but they only tour the US and Canada) http://vanswarpedtour.com
Well I wasn't able to get online over the weekend because of some personal reasons that I won't bore you with, so on to the ska!
We're going back to my home, Long Island for a look at one of the most influential bands in third wave ska, the Scofflaws. The Scofflaws formed in Huntington, Long Island, New York 1988. Known for their live shows, technically proficient horn solos and tight arrangements, The Scofflaws were one of the top third wave ska acts of the '90s and one of the most beloved bands on the now-defunct Moon Ska label, as well as the epicenter and focal point of the Long Island ska scene. They had toured the country with fellow big name ska bands such as the Toasters. The Scofflaws have not released a studio recording since 1998, but they continue to perform live gigs in the New York area so make sure you catch a show if your ever around here =)
During the 1990s third wave ska finally broke into the mainstream in the US with bands like Sublime, No Doubt, Gold Finger, The mighty Mighty Boss Tones, Less Than Jake, and Reel Big Fish topping charts and receiving mainstream radio play and punk bands like Rancid and NOFX adopted ska sounds. Ska scenes were by this point spread through out the US though were most prominent in the North Eastern US, Southern California, Florida, and Urban pockets of the mid west. During this time period ska bands were for the first time producing large budget music videos that ran on such stations a MTV (back when it still played music =P). This could possibly be seen as the golden age of the US ska scene as never before and not since has it been as widespread. Below are some videos of the more prominent bands at the time,
Well it's late enough here now that I can't really call this the band of the day now, so Instead this post is for the band of the day for today and tomorrow (June2/3 for me in New York, timezones are confusing so do the math yourself) and tomorrow I'll put up the next part of ska history instead of a band of the day.
So anyway the band of the day today is Big D and the Kids Table. These guys are great and their live shows are amazing =). These guys are from Massachusetts and have a very nice mix in their music ranging from a high energy punk driven sound to a more laid back classic two tone ska sound, and at times a reggae sound. They came together in 1995 and released their first large scale release album in 1999. Since then they've been putting out albums and touring pretty regularly. They often play on the Van's Warped Tour and are playing it this year along with a number of other ska bands (I'm going to post a full list sometime over the weekend) so if you have the chance to check out the tour this year! =)
You can find out more about Big D at their site: http://www.bigdandthekidstable.com/
Punk influenced Big D
A more laid back style
The band of the day today Eli Whitney and the Sound Machine. These guys are another ska band from Long Island(Strong Island represent =P) and they're awesome! Why are they so awesome? Well unlike most ska bands they have 3, that's right 3 saxophones in their band! They put on a really good show altough they do usualy play here in the North East US, but if your ever in New York and want to catch some great ska (pretty easy to do here) you can dates to their shows on their site http://eliwhitney.tumblr.com/
Oh and their albums are up there for to download for free so enjoy the free music =D