ska? what’s that?
If you go to the SXSW site, they have a search engine that allows you to search for artists by the genre of music they play. Even though “ska/punk” is one of the categories listed in the search criteria, there are no ska bands playing this year! We’re SOOOOO over!! Even searching through the reggae categories doesn’t result in any bands that attempt to play ska… the closest we get to ska this year is a reunion show from Gal’s Panic. Uhg.
houston, there’s a fucking problem
The search engine allows you to search by city, too. Not suprisingly, there are only 18 artists from Houston playing showcases this year and Dallas doesn’t have more than 30. The number that made me laugh was how many Austin bands made the cut: 284. 284! My question is this: how bad do you have to SUCK to be from Austin and not qualify for a SXSW showcase?
The Dead Kennedys (sans Jello) are playing SXSW. It could rock, but then it could suck… who knows?
Let’s go over some random mp3s from some Houston bands and see if we can get in trouble…
Skamakozi – “Hate You Now”
This is the first song on their mp3.com page, so it’s probably their best, right? Wow… I hope not! Not only does this song commit the expected ska sins of 1) big unison horn part and 2) upbeats in the verses/metal in the chorus, but they also a general lack of musicianship when it comes to the drummer maintaining a steady beat and the guitarist being able to play upbeats. Bad enough that even though I listened to the song four times through, I was unable to retain a single hint of what the song is about.
WD40oz – “Why I Drink”
I’ve always loved their name, so I thought I should have a listen…
Reminds me of the Didjits, and we need more bands like the Didjits these days. Straight-ahead, turned-to-10, loud punk rock. I can’t really find anything wrong with this song!
Guilla-Teens – “H-Town Punks” & “We’ll Miss You Joey Ramone”
I’d like to state that the Guilla-Teens are the only band thats opened up for us at JavaJazz Coffeehouse that we ever liked. Ok? Ok…
These guys have a serious Misfits obsession, and it borders on becoming a handicap. H-Town Punks is a great song and it’s well recorded, but it’s nothing that you can’t hear on another record. Joey Ramone is a really bad song, mostly due to the hokey lyrics and bad vocal delivery (Glen Danzig’s Elvis style). It’s been a while since I’ve seen these guys, so I’m sure they’ve matured a bit as far as the music goes… I bet they’re very good by now.
the suspects, as a band, are pretty sad…
my pal rude pete (see below) has an interview with Will from secret agent 8 on his site. SA8 could easily be considered the suspects arch-enemy (if you wanted to boil the scene down to a contest of audience share and stylistic differnces), so i was eager to read what he had to say. i dont know if its a matter of age or if they’re just more dedicated than us, but they’re just as interested in what they’re doing as when they started. it would take an act of god to get the suspects working that hard again, and that fact is starting to wear down my resolve.
what resolve is that, you ask?
my resolve to be the last suspect standing. not that i’d be the lone member trying to keep on playing after everybody else quit, but rather the last man who would come forth and say, “it’s over, let’s go home”.
i may be thinking this due to boredom. it might be a sense of my pride escaping as other bands rush past us in a whirl of activity. who knows?
give me a few good weeks with cubase and i may have a different story to tell.
i swear to god, he must be the last real ska fan standing. when i read his emails, posts, and web page it’s like stepping back into 1997. he seems to have a true, authentic interest in ska music and it doesn’t appear that he cares too much for the latest trend thats come down the pipe.
pretty cool, huh?
what is also cool, is that he doesn’t seem to like the suspects too much. in eight years of playing, we’ve not had anyone really throw us a critical view while at the same time maintaining a friendly relationship. he likes us, but he won’t blow sunshine up our ass… thats good.
i wonder how old he is.