ska

easy livin' riddim soundcloud cover header

Riddims To Go: Putting Old Demos To Good Use

I have a mountain of song demos on my computer. Actually, I take that back. I have a mountain of idea demos on my computer. Rarely do I actually finish a demo for a complete song. More often then not, I get an idea, and I record it using Garage Band just to get it out of my head. Just as my notebook (the paper kind) is filled with lyric ideas–some song’s complete, most are not–my recorded ideas are not complete. Some of them could stand alone, many of them really require having the rest of a song built around it. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. If I have an idea that fits whatever band I’m playing with, I might present it to the band and we might jam on it, and it could turn into a song.

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Reinventing the In-store Appearance

Once upon a time, it was fairly standard for a band to appear at a record store while on tour. They might perform in some capacity, they might just sign records. They were typically seen as great opportunities to connect with local fans and obviosuly boost sales for both the artist and the record store. As physical music sales took a dive, so did the frequency of these once common in-store appearances*.

This past April, my band The New Limits was involved in a promotion between Boston Scene Party, a collective of music web sites, and Sound Lion, a high-end audio store in Harvard Square. (more…)

Commence “I’m on a Boat” Jokes

Every summer, New York City ska band The Slackers plays on a boat cruise around the Boston Harbor. I’ve been to two of these since I moved to Boston. I went to 2 or 3 of them when I lived in NYC. They’re a ton of fun. This summer, I have the honor of opening the show with my band The New Limits. We made this short video to make the announcement: (more…)

New Release: The New Limits’ “Pressure Up”

I am excited to announce that after almost a year of hard work, my band Boston ska band The New Limits has released our debut four-song EP entitled “Pressure Up.” The bulk of the credit goes to our keyboard player and engineer Matt MacLeod. He handled this recording from start to finish, from painstakingly positioning microphones to mixing. That is to say, he’s the guy who had to listen to these tracks over and over again. Mastering detail was handled by the skilled and talented King Django. Given how busy we all are with jobs, I am particularly proud of how great this EP came out. The horns shine, the rhythm makes me want to move, and I can’t ask for too much more. (more…)

do the pacman with less than jake

Get Out of My Head: #DoThePacMan

Every now and again a song gets so stuck in your head you have no choice but to exorcise it. Also, misery loves company, so now it’s stuck in your head, too. Sorry not sorry.

Thursday night I saw Less Than Jake at the House of Blues in Boston. Halfway into their set, they played a string of songs all sorter than a minute. One of them was their cover of a 1980s commercial for Pac Man cereal. This song appeared on their 2010 “TV/EP” release, composed entirely of covers of commercials and TV theme songs. It’s great. I really never gave it a listen and forgot what was on it. I mistakenly thought the Pac Man cereal ad was a new cover, as they announced it was going to be used as part of a new advertising campaign. As it was so short, they played it twice in a row. That was enough to get it thoroughly lodged in my head, occupying every inch of brain space in my skull. To further cement it’s location, they teased it during their last song of their set. (more…)

Discussing Music and Social Movements with Pilfers Vocalist Coolie Ranx

The song “Next Generation” first appeared on the 1998 self-titled self-released Pilfers album, listed simply as “Generation.” The chorus is a call to action: “Time to awake, get up and fight, fight for mankind, life for the cause.” The first verse recounts humanity’s attacks on itself. Verse two reminds us of our rights and responsibilities while holding us accountable for that which happens around us:

But if you turn a blind eye, You’re just as guilty as the culprits.
The innocent are sure to die, so rise up against injustice.

17 years later, the band produces a music video for the song. The video juxtaposes footage of America during segregation with footage from recent Black Lives Matter protests; it contains footage of the 1991 beating of Rodney King as well as the 2014 murder of Eric Garner. It’s both powerful and heartbreaking. This was the first time I’d really paid attention to the lyrics of the song, guilty as usual of blindly singing along with the chorus until now. (more…)