ska

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…)

That Time I Interviewed Big D and the Kids Table

Jacob Wake Up! And Big D and the Kids Table

New York was pretty good to me. I played some really great shows with some really great bands to include some of my heroes and influences. But, Boston is giving NYC a run for its money. This past weekend I got to interview Boston ska/punk legends Big D and the Kids Table. This was a band I used to open for on a fairly regular basis between ’03 and ’06 while playing in my CT-based ska/punk band Tap Out.

This past Saturday was a reunion of sorts. They played their 1999 record “Good Luck” start to finish and welcomed back to the stage quite a few past members. I ran into new and old friends which just added to the reunion vibe. I had the good luck (pun way intended) of talking to them before their set. They were just the nicest guys and we had a really great chat about the band, their history, the story behind the reunion, and what was next for the band. (more…)

Crazy Things Happen in Boston Music

One of the many reasons I continue to see live music as often as I can is the possibility that something out of the ordinary will happen at the particular show I attend. While there will always be the bands that perform a song exactly as it was recorded, I love seeing how bands put new spins on their music live, how new musicians in bands perform, or how a particular audience will react on a particular night. (more…)

I was never much of a Marley guy

I’m almost embarrassed that I didn’t really start listening to him until I was almost 30. I have to confess, I was never much of a Marley fan. I think at the times in my life that I was discovering my own taste in music, I had him too closely associated with pop music and those who listened to it. These were things I avoided at all costs in high school. As I started listening to punk and ska-punk, I wasn’t yet interested in anything “slow,” and I ignorantly dumped most of reggae and traditional ska into that bucket. As I branched out and gained a love for two-tone, traditional ska, early reggae, and rocksteady, it was only natural I be exposed to songs like “Simmer Down” and “Soul Shakedown Party.” I dug those tunes but never went any further, assuming they were the exceptions.

More on Bob Marley, my stubbornness, and where to celebrate his birthday in Boston at Boston Ska (dot) net.

Album Review: Sammy Kay and the East Los 3 – “Love Letters”

This post originally appeared on Boston Ska (dot) net.

Sammy Kay Love Letters Cover Art

The title “Love Letters” conjures  up images and ideas of a romantic time and space. When was the last time you put pen to paper to express your love, going through through six drafts before you got the words just right? Sure those moments being lovestruck were exhausting in their own right, but they were inherently fun. There’s a special kind of perseverant energy that goes into that kind of love. The kind we need because we’re all so jaded. That’s the aesthetic of this record, the first full length from solo artist Sammy Kay released October 29, 2013.

Continue reading this review at Boston Ska (dot) net. This is my first attempt at an album review.

Winter/Spring New England Gigs with The New Limits

It’s been quite a while since I had so many gigs lined up at once! But, it’s been fortuitous that my band The New Limits has made a lot of friends very quickly and we’ve set up a few gigs throughout New England in the next few months. While it may not seem like a lot (most touring bands would do this in a week) but these days it’s what I’ve got time for: one rehearsal per week and a gig or two per month. This is perfect.

4 out of 5 of the upcoming dates are also at venues where I’ve never played. I’ve only ever been to Anna Liffey’s in New Haven, but never as a performer, just as a customer. It’s always a treat to play in New Haven. I grew up one town over in Hamden which means seeing old friends, family, and grabbing pizza.

The gigs will also be fun because we’re playing with some great bands. Coincidentally, The Screw-Ups from Newtown, CT (and now half in Boston) are on 3 of the gigs. We played with them in November and besides being nice guys, they play a real nice blend of laid back ska and reggae.

Here are links to all the Facebook events.

new limits winter spring tour dates