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Crisis intervention info to go along with Psych Revolution podcast

An explanation of ska waves

There’s a lot of discussion and questions concerning what is ska kids mean when we talk about waves in ska music. This isn’t meant to be THE answer on all that as there is much disagreement, th following is just my answer.

To start, ska has been existing and evolving since its inception in early 1960’s or late 1950’s Jamaica. The wave simply represents a period of time when the genre enjoyed extreme popularity and seeped into mainstream culture.

The first wave was from the early 60’s until around 66 came along. In 66 there was an extraordinarily hot summer in which the rudies couldn’t dance at the standard pace. So the music got slowed down and reggae came out of this. Reggae is also where to social change politics made their way into ska.

2nd wave was roughly 3 years in the UK when 2Tone happened. This was the first blending of punk and ska. Also you had The Clash who were thoroughly blurring those lines.

In the early 1980’s ska was building in America at a slow pace, but gaining popularity. The genre wasn’t dead as Dick Lucas (prior to Subhumans) had Culture Shock who were blending the Anarcho punk of the time with ska music. I mark the 3rd wave as starting in 87 with Operation Ivy. Though the mass popularity didn’t fully hit until around 95 when ska bands from all over the country started getting signed to Epitaph or major labels. They were gaining radio and MTV rotation. This was the Skaboom. Most of these bands were ska punk, basically the children of what Op Ivy did. This lasted until about 2000.

From 2000 till about 2018 we’d been in post wave. There’s been many amazing bands and evolutions in ska such as crack rock steady and some solid soul ska acts.

2018 through now is presently weird as we’re not sure if it’s a slight crest of the post wave, or if we’re coming into a true 4th wave. This is being led by Skatune Network and Bad Times Records. I know some people point to The Interrupters for this. Gonna say no there. They’re a great band, but what sounds like female fronted Rancid is neither innovative nor particularly interesting from a musical standpoint. Jer did a better cover of Bad Guy. Also, Aimee is not our ska queen. That’s Reade Wolcott from We Are The Union.

– C Fish

A Defense Of Ska

So those of us who were into ska in the early to mid 2000’s (I got into it in 1998 off of Bosstones Let’s Face It) have had to suffer through countless hipsters and supposed punks telling us we’re not cool. First off, who the fuck is cool in the underground scene? We’re all the weirdos, nerds and freaks to begin with, so spike your hair and check yourself. Next, fuck everyone one of those magazines. People who clearly can’t songwrite (why else are they music critics?) Have absolutely no business telling anyone what is or isn’t cool since they’re not creators. Ska is honestly the most interesting thing to happen to a guitar since Robert Johnson. Fuck old rock, that’s a bunch of white boys ripping off black artists. Ska started as the outlet for disparate people in Jamaica putting their on spin of mixing American R&B with Mento. In the UK it was the ultimate for black and white working class to come together. In America it’s an outlet for weird kids of all orientations to come together and have fun while thinking about more. Ska is the revolution we can dance to! And if you think ska is a goofy joke, you’re fuckin wrong. So pick up your head out of your ass and get over yourself. None of us are cool kids, or we wouldn’t be living those underground life.

– C Fish

Anarcho Punk Albums book review

The first publishing from long time punk site punkonline.co.uk came across my desk. It was a great read packed with a large amount of info from the pioneers of anarcho punk. This book consists of interviews with the bands covering their founding andbthe road to these seminal debut albums such as Crass’s Feeding of the 5000 and Subhumans day the country died. It was freaking great. 20 years ago when I got into punk those were 2 of my first albums. It also covers Zounds and Icons of Filth. The book is fairly cheap or free to read on Kindle unlimited. So get a fucking copy already and read it. Also do be kind enough to review it on Amazon. It means a lot to the author and bands who put this time capsule together for us.

-C Fish

Welcome to the American Fall

The new Anti-Flag album dropped today. It’s the most stoked I’ve been on a new punk album in years. I saw them live a couple weeks back. The new one is a call to action against the neo-liberal order of the previous 8 years and this alt-right status quo the rose of Trump has given us. Stand out track on this is When The Wall Falls. Anti-Flag wrote a kick ass ska track. This is the album we need now. From us old dogs who may feel a bit jaded to the scared kid that may be gay, trans or simply not about the shit happening in these times. This is a battle cry to hold the line and remain human. As always we’ve got this. I’ll see ya when the wall falls.

– C Fish

Writer’s note: stay tuned for a full Punx In Solidarity style Anti Flag article late fall/ early winter. 

Skate Life

Vehicles and oblivious pedestrians are a potential enemy.

Texting and riding is treason.

When you’re out you scan for new spots.

It’s not some toy, it can be how you get around as much as an outlet.

It leads to injury and adventure.

You’ve learned some creative first aid.

You may by about tech and trick and I may be speed in style, but we’re in it together.

Security guards who don’t get it are a drag.

Those who do are our enablers.

You don’t “grow out of it” if you’re real.

If you ever age out you’ll still smile when you see your old setup.

You know surgery is an eventuality.

You take the injuries willingly for the sake of getting gnarly.

Rainy days turn into a risk assessment.

You have a love/ hate relationship with summer.

This was probably the basis for learning how to use tools.

You have a keen insight on packing for day trips.

THIS is skateboarding.

It’s the ride of your life if you just start pushing.

– C Fish

Punk Rock Guru Maty Almost

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Maty Almost

Fish Tank #34 Close But No Cigar: Millencolin

Fish Tank #34

Close But No Cigar:

Millencolin

Starting in 1992 out of Orebro, Sweden was the flag ship band for Burning Heart records and one of the first skate punk bands I went crazy over, Millencolin. Their name is taken from a skate trick named Melancholy. These guys are an amazing blend of some heart wrenching lyrics and straight shredding. Well, for those of ya who don’t know these guys, let’s solve that problem.

1994 saw the debut album Tiny Tunes. This was initially released in Europe on Epitaph’s sub label Burning Heart. When it was released in the U.S. the band was forced to rename it Same Old Tunes and change the cover art due to a lawsuit from Warner Brothers. This album was primarily straight ahead skate punk with a few ska punk songs. Stand outs on this include Mr. Clean and Da Strike.

1995 dropped Life On A Plate. This continued their blend of skate and ska punk songs. Their playing continued to tighten up. Stand out tracks on this include Bullion and Vulcan Ears. This was another solid effort from Millencolin.

1997 gave us For Monkeys. This had a break out single for this band with Lozin’ Must. An honestly great song. Their sound was getting harder on some songs in this album. The other stand out on this was Twenty Two.

2000 was Millencolin’s break out release Pennybridge Pioneers. This was their jump from Burning Heart to Epitaph. They had dropped the ska sound and every track on this is solid punk rock. Stand outs on this are Fox, Penguins and Polar Bears and No Cigar. The album title is the English translation of the band’s home town. No Cigar was featured in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.

2002 was Home From Home. The Millencolin sound plowed right along in this album. In some was the sound hardened up more on singles like Man or Mouse and Kemp. The true stand out on this album though was Punk Rock Rebel. This is a tribute song for that old dog that got ya into punk to begin with, we all have one.

2005 gave us Kingwood. There are number of notably harder tracks on this one. Some are at more of a break neck pace than anything this band had done prior. The stand out is a dark and sad song known as Shut You Out though. It’s not a slow song by any means though, it’s a punk rock ballad you can thrash a ramp to.

2008 was Millencolin’s most current release Machine 15. Through all the years and albums this band hasn’t slowed up one bit. Aside from these releases the singe Nikola has released 4 solo albums. The band continues to tour and are said to be working on a new album. They even had a Vans shoe which I’d like to see come back. So lube up your bearings and play some of the Pennybridge Pioneers at your next skate session.

-C Fish

Maty’s Corner #9 Punk Rock Changed Our Lives: Minutemen

Maty’s Corner #9

Punk Rock Changed Our Lives:

Minutemen

 

            Starting in 1980 outta San Pedro, CA was one of punk’s most musically interesting and intense bands, the Minutemen. Consisting of Mike Watt’s bass genius, D Boon’s lyrical prowess and George Hurley’s above and beyond rhythm. They were a blend of punk, hard core and funk. They put out 10 recordings in 5 years. All of which were collected on Post-Mersh 1-3.

            1981-83 was The Punch Line and What Makes a Man Start Fires? These make up Post-Mersh Volume 1. These recordings give an immediate sense of what this band was about. Every song had a point and urgency about it. Some of it sounds like half psychotic Bukowski ramblings, but there was still something that felt important about it.

            1983-85 was Post-Mersh volume 2 which covered Buzz and Project Mersh. The vast majority of there songs go by rapidly, typically under 2 minutes. This gave us I Felt Like a Gringo, great song. Their amazing sound evolved through these recordings.

            1981-85 was Post-Mersh Volume 3. This covers the famous and important Paranoid Time EP, Joy, Bean Spill, Politics of Time and Tour Spiel eps as well. The first stand out from this is Definitions. Much of their best work is from the songs encompassed here. One of their biggest songs was Corona off of Double Nickels On The Dime. It was the Theme song for the show Jackass. Now that you know this amazing band, hear the music and let it marinade your brain!

 

 

-Maty Almost

Maty’s Corner #33 I Was Wasted and Became Damaged! Black Flag

Maty’s Corner #33

I Was Wasted and Became Damaged!

Black Flag

 

            Starting in 1976 Hermosa Beach, CA was Black Flag. That’s right; the most influential hard core band predates most punk. Though from 76 to late 78 they were known as Panic. This amazing unit has burned through more people than an urban wild fire and their influence on both punk rock and skate boarding has had the same effect and intensity. Their ranks have included some of the South Bay scene’s heaviest hitters, including the Descendent’s Bill Stevenson on drums for five years. So drop in and learn or review a thing or two about these guys.

            Black Flag’s first releases are best summed up by The First 4 Years comp. This came out in 1983 and collects all the tracks for Nervous Breakdown, Jealous Again, and Six Pack) arguably the best EPs by any band ever). This covers the first three vocalists. That was Keith Morris who would go on to front Circle Jerks and OFF! Chavo who would return and professionally wound this band a few decades later. And Dez Cadena who would move to guitar for some of the band’s best material.

            1981 gave us Black Flag’s first full album. This was the beginning of the Rollins era. One of the most power house front men in punk and most of rock. This is opens with Rise Above which is a song that has a life of its own. Off of this we also got Six Pack and T.V. Party. This is one of the most influential albums in music itself.

            1984 gave us My War. Instead of trying to re-create Damaged, they chose to evolve creatively. This was much to the chagrin of many punks. It’s part hard core album, part doom metal. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s fucking amazing. This album was influential for many sludge artists, such as Long Beach’s Dystopia, check ‘em out if you want some heavy sounding shit.

            1984 gave us the strangest album, Family Man. It’s part amazing spoken word by Rollins and part weird instrumental stuff. It has one of the creepiest Ray Pettibon (Black Flag’s artist, Ginn’s younger brother and founding bassist) artwork. I’ll admit he Greg Ginn instrumentals on this album seemed a bit self indulgent, but it’s still a pretty cool album.

            1984 (yes they managed to record and release 3 albums in a year) brought us Slip It In. It opens with the gnarly sex song title track. The other stand out is an all time favorite of mine, Black Coffee. This went back to what Black Flag was doing on My War. Which was a good thing after the avante whatever on Family Man.

            1985 brought out Loose Nut. The best track off of this was Annihilate This Week. This album saw further experimentation of the Black Flag sound and Rollins continuing to deliver everything the only way he can, amazing. There are a couple other great tracks off of this. Despite all the complaints, I give the band props for never trying to re-create an older album.

            1985 also busted out with what would be their final album for 28 years, In My Head. Notable tracks off of this are Drinking and Driving and Retired at 21. This had a few more straight up songs than some of the previous albums. Still as good as anything Black Flag had been putting out.

            2013 Black Flag had returned with a new album that I have no kind words for. Chavo was back on vocals and the delivery was an absolute abortion. What The.. is an apt title for this thing. Chavo was so bad that then manager Mike Vallely shit canned him mid show on the tour and took the mic to finish the tour out. So now skate boarding’s bad ass of Mike V is the voice of Black Flag. I am hopeful for the next album and subsequent tour. So Check out those other Black Flag releases if you’ve not given them a chance before. And don’t let Greg Ginn’s legal drama cloud how awesome this band is.

-Maty Almost