Freebie Friday: “WEST to EAST”

All right, so we can always use new music and isn’t it better when its free? We at The Ska Mission agree which is why, once a week, we’d like to provide you with linkage to free music! Keep in mind, some of these albums may have a “name your price,” setup, so we’d encourage you to at least throw a few bucks at em, but regardless, come one, come all and download some free tunes!

 

WEST TO EAST

Well, if you’ve followed the activities of the Ska Mission since Mayish, then you may have heard about the sampler we put together that consisted of 13 groups based west of the Mississippi River with then intent to send as many copies to Supernova Ska Fest in order to get awesome music from the west into the hands of those in the east. Ultimately, 180 copies of this 100% DIY sampler (I have the cardboard scraps, super glue stains and recurring rubber cement headaches to prove it 😉 ) made it to the festival and were distributed by the Finkster. However, we have since made another batch that are being completed and sent to some of the bands (currently, The Big News may have some copies on hand, while I am finishing up a package to be received by Fun Abuse and then there should be a good amount available at Pocket Entertainment’s SkaMicCon event in July). I think I will discontinue physical copies at about 350-400. Then, I will decide the direction of the next sampler (Open to ideas/submissions), as I think as much of a novelty as it maybe, its still pretty cool to get free music at shows and festivals.

Anyway, for those not able to get physical copies, I am providing a share link to our dropbox that will allow you to get free copies of songs by Half Past Two, Day Labor, Mister Blank, Matamoska, Rundown Kreeps, The Georgetown Orbits, The Seattleites, The Big News, Simple Minded Symphony, Casa De Calacas, Ragtag Romantics, Fun Abuse and Skablins! I hope y’all enjoy and maybe get inspired to pick up an album or EP from one of these most triumphant bands!

DOWNLOAD WEST TO EAST HERE

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Freebie Friday: “Pacific Sound System: Volume Two”

All right, so we can always use new music and isn’t it better when its free? We at The Ska Mission agree which is why, once a week, we’d like to provide you with linkage to free music! Keep in mind, some of these albums may have a “name your price,” setup, so we’d encourage you to at least throw a few bucks at em, but regardless, come one, come all and download some free tunes!

Pacific Sound System: Volume Two

Yea, after posting the first one, ’twas only a matter of time until I brought along Volume Two and for good reason, as this edition is just as legit as the first! It’s also several years newer, so some more of the groups on here are still active. Its 24 tracks long, so warning for all you burners like myself, I couldn’t get the entirety of this collection on one disc, but man it’s worth the burning of two. Here are some of my favorites 🙂

This was a great way to introduce the world to Ballard’s finest Ska act, The Kings! Is there a such thing as Greaser Ska? Is now 🙂

Curtis Irie is a renaissance man in his own regard when it comes to his versatility in the Ska/Reggae scene, as in addition Irie Idea, the dude plays in the Bandulus, has backed up and tour with Sammy Kay, and also is a master engineer. This also proves his prowess as a songwriter and if you get a chance, he’s awesome as a solo artist too!

Seattle’s longest running and consistent Ska Band, Natalie Wouldn’t, throws you a curve ball and makes even Lou Reed feel the Ska with some horns and skanking rhythms.

So, Anyway head over to: https://pacificsoundsystem.bandcamp.com/album/pacific-sound-system-volume-ii for your free copy and enjoy! More Free stuff next week amigos!

Freebie Friday: “Project Dub Anthology” by Cale Wilcox

All right, so we can always use new music and isn’t it better when its free? We at The Ska Mission agree which is why, once a week, we’d like to provide you with linkage to free music! Keep in mind, some of these albums may have a “name your price,” setup, so we’d encourage you to at least throw a few bucks at em, but regardless, come one, come all and download some free tunes!

“Project Dub Anthology” Cale Wilcox

So Last Week, Cale Wilcox, bassist for the Georgetown Orbits and sound engineer extraordinaire, released his latest dub project on bandcamp, “Smoke & Fire,” last week through band camp, but this week’s freebie, is his previous album, “Project Dub Anthology,” which spans a much wider time range (1998-2016) for the source of the material and was released last summer.

On this killer release, you’ll find all sorts of dubs from Cale’s past, including from his time in Get Down Moses, to older Orbits’ releases, as He’s been the dude behind the dials for all of their albums. Being Dub, this is mostly instrumentals with Cale doing the bulk of the playing, but damn is it solid, smooth and worth many lessons, especially for appreciators of excellent Dub Reggae. Here are a few of my favorites, with the last one being, “Caught Up (Buzzard Dub)”, which is easily one of my favorite tracks from last year:

Now, you can get this album at: http://calewilcox.com/album/project-dub-anthology and there is no set price, but since this one is a Name your price, throw the man a few bones for this masterpiece. At the very least, get your copy today and settle into summer nice and easy, my friends.

 

What’s Goin’ Down with Curtis Meacham (Monkey)

As we get more and more excited for next week’s showcase, we thought we toss out some questions to Curtis Meacham, the guy who’s been heading up Monkey for over two decades now, with 5 studio albums to their credit, lots of excellent live shows in their past and plenty, plenty more to come!

What’s your favorite show that you’ve played in the last year?

That’s hard to say, as we had a really great year of touring with the Skatalites, and doing shows with The Slackers, The Toasters, The English Beat and The Phenomenauts… However, our 21st anniversary show was packed and super fun. We saw people that we have not seen for years. People were flying into SJ to party with us. What a great night!

If you could have any musician play/sing on one of your songs, who would it be?

Living or dead? If we could pick a living legend, it would probably be Roddy Radiation or Toots Hibbert. If it were someone who has passed, I may go way back to Louis Armstrong. He will always be THE BEST!

What’s the current handful of albums you have in heavy rotation?

All time Classic: Johnny Socko – Full Trucker Effect Besides that, we have lots of favs. I just picked up a super rare Oingo Boingo record called “Marching in Time,” that is blowing my mind! Also, anything by The Peacocks, or Cake is in constant rotation.

Your favorite pre-show drink?

Special Brew… Hahaha, that goes out to the Brits! The Monkey guys are really into micro breweries and small batch beers. Anything with flavor and heart.

What’s next for Monkey?

Survive this tour, and write a new record!

Coming up, Curtis will be rocking with Monkey at the High Dive next Friday (July 14th) with Easy Big Fella, The Georgetown Orbits, Fairhaven and Franks’N’Deans with DJ Brynn Danger handling the selecting! Click here for more info!

What’s Goin’ Down with Orion Anderson (The Georgetown Orbits)

Leading up to the excellent time we shall all have next Friday, July 14th, I caught up with Orion Anderson, Guitarist and leader of The Georgetown Orbits, to get some quick insight into the man the myth the legend and see what was going down. Check it Out!

What handful of albums do you currently have in heavy rotation?

Beware by Jr. Thomas & The Volcanos
Joy In My Soul: The Complete SAR Recordings by The Soul Stirrers
The Sensational Extra Classics by Gregory Isaacs
At Studio Mochilero by 2000 Tons of TNT

What show has been you’re favorite that you’ve played in the last year?

The show we played at the High Dive with Easy Big Fella and Skablins earlier this year was pretty memorable. The place was packed and everyone had a great set.

If you could have any musician play/sing on one of your songs, who would it be?

That’s a tough one. So many great musicians. I’d love to do any of our songs with one of the Jamaican greats like Bunny Wailer, Ken Boothe, or Marcia Griffiths. I also think it would be killer to do a classic tune like “No, No, No”, “Son of a Preacher Man”, or “Give and Take” with a pop singer like Katy Perry, Rihanna, or Bruno Mars. That would have the potential to bring this style of music to a bunch of new ears.

What’s your favorite pre-show drink?

Ice water. Just kidding. Beer!

What’s next for The Georgetown Orbits?

GTO is in the studio currently working on a new full-length album. The plan is to first release a single on 7″ vinyl. Then, release the LP later this year. Stay tuned!

Don’t forget, Orion and the rest of The GTOs will be playing at the High Dive next Friday (July 14th) with Easy Big Fella, Monkey, Fairhaven and Franks’N’Deans with DJ Brynn Danger handling the selecting! Click here for more info!

And get yourself some tickets here, before they sell out!

Folklife Ska & Reggae

Hey, let’s see if I can keep y’all in the loop on a weekly basis! Here’s some quick updates on what shows we have this week, and any other news I see fit:

Seattle Shows

May 26th (Friday)
Mural Amphiteatre (Seattle Center) All Ages FREE
FolkLife Ska Showcase featuring
The Georgetown Orbits (Set starts at 5:25 PM)
The Skablins (Set starts at 4:40 PM)

May 29th (Monday)
Mural Amphiteatre (Seattle Center) All Ages FREE
FolkLife Reggae Rising Party featuring
Clinton Fearon & Boogie Brown Band (Set starts at 8:15 PM)
Kore Ionz (Set starts at 7:30 PM)
Two Story Zori (Set starts at 6:45 PM)
Playerz of Instruments (Set starts at 6:00 PM)

Okay folks, so the big happenings this weekend in the Emerald City is going to be at Folklife, the free, extremely local semi-Bumbershoot/Sasquatch alternative*. Friday, you have the Skablins kicking it off at 4:40 playing their blend of Ska, and for the uninitiated, I’d call them Second and a Half Wave Ska. Definitely some Two-Tone, definitely some Ska/Punk and honestly, Gordy’s approach to vocals reminds a bit of Danny Elfman at times. Fun group that definitely fills out a stage and a great opportunity to check them out if you have ever wondered about the kind of Skank Inducing Shenanigans that go down at their headquarters at Mirkwood.

Then, The Georgetown Orbits hit the stage with their blend of Ska/Reggae/Rocksteady with a bit of Soul/Jazz/Funk to boot! I hear they are working on their fourth album and as usual, if you want to see the group with the longest tenure of rockin the sounds of Jamaica’s Golden Era in Seattle, this is your chance. As a side note, The Ska Mission is totally stoked to have them on bill for the “Ska Reggae Etc Showcase” on July 14th with Easy Big Fella, Monkey, Fairhaven, Franks’N’Deans and DJ SoulShot at the High Dive in Fremont

Moving on to Monday, its Reggae Reggae Reggae with Playerz of Instruments kicking it off. Admittedly, I’m not familiar and not able to find any recordings, so it’s a chance for me to hear something completely new.

I love Two Story Zori, having seen them open for a king of guitar, Ernest Ranglin, and last year, when they played a free show at St. Edwards Park. Good flowing, 808 Island influenced Reggae that mixes catchy originals with some creative takes on Top 40 hits. They have a full time Uke player and excellent vocal harmonies.

Next, you have Kore Ionz, whose single “First Avenue,” gets stuck in my head from time to time with the perfect vocals and sweet horn blends. Very chill, has something of a Big Mountain feel to it.

This leads up to the hardest working man in Seattle Reggae, Mr. Clinton Fearon. Since playing in his first band, The Brothers, when he was 16, to his time in the Gladiators and then relocating to Seattle in the late 80s, Mr. Fearon has been singing, playing, writing and rocking for 50 years now. He’s put out 12 albums since 1994, with the latest, “Good Morning,” coming out last fall and he’s continually playing with his group, Boogie Brown Band, or finding places around town to play his acoustic and usually, he’s doing it for free. This Man is a treasure to our great music community and if you do nothing else this weekend, go see him Monday Night!

*At least for people that wish those shows had more Ska/Reggae ;P

Whats the Happs?

So, it’s been a while since I’ve run things down on what’s happening in the PNW Ska/Reggae Scene. Here’s some news and tidbits:

-The Sentiments had a highly successful mini-tour with The Slackers and wowed audiences in Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria and of course their hometown, Portland. Don’t forget, they dropped their album, “Hi-Fi”, on December 1st and you can get yourself a copy HERE.

-Speaking of tours, It Gets Worse completed their jaunt down the west coast, hitting up venues in Medford, Orange County, Los Angeles, Tempe, Tucson, Flagstaff and Oakland. Sounds like they did the PNW proud with some great crowds and now they have returned home to get this album out that they keep teasing me with, hopefully ;). They have a pre New Years Eve show next Friday (30th) at Barboza with Gully and Tacoma Reggae Dudes, Echoshot. Then, they will be supporting the Devil’s Three Way Tour that features Voodoo Glow Skulls, Buck-O-Nine and The Porkers at El Corazon on January 10th and IGW has tickets, so if you need them still, hit those dudes up. Also, a side note on that Corazon gig: the show is being opened by a young Ska group known as Simple Minded Symphony, I recommend you check em out.

-Oh and dare I say more your news? The Bandulus, those glorious rockers of Bridge City, are hitting the road with the LA homies, The Steady 45s, for a trip through California, Arizona and all the way to the Dulu birthplace, Austin, TX. This journey ends up in Portland at the Fixin’ To on March 4th and also has a date in Eugene at Old Nick’s Pub on March 3rd, for my PNW contingent, but keep an eye for my postings and repostings of the full itinerary. Also, i hear Dulu Record #3 and #4 are in different stages of completion, so someday hopefully not too far from now, we get ourselves some new tunes to drink and dance to my friends 🙂

-But the tour news ain’t over yet. Our Eastern WA/Spokaner buddies, Ragtag Romantics, are going on some insane quest of 120 gigs that starts in March and ends in July, I believe. They are going along with Deschamp, an awesome solo artist with a new album for y’all to check out. We are working on a Seattle date, stay tuned for that.

-The Georgetown Orbits have some big 2017 plans and they start with the first Ska Mission supported show of the year: The GTOs alongside Easy Big Fella and Skablins will be hitting the High Dive in Fremont on the 13th of January. Then, I’m hearing rumblings of recordings from the Orbs and maybe some out of area shows. One can only hope 🙂

-As for my glorious self, (This is the part where most of y’all can click out of the window), I survived another online semester of second bachelor degree quest and am trying to figure out the next steps along with RC and Justin. I want the Mission to keep growing and for Ska/Reggae music to seem ubiquitous in the region, especially with all the talent from here and all the talent that wants to come here.

We are currently working on the lineup for the next Ska Fest installment and should have some groups to announce soon. Honestly, this may be the biggest one yet, depending on how the machinations in place turn out. I would love for this to become an even bigger event on a cultural and artistic standpoint, so we will be looking into some potential extra events and yea, I’m  using a lot of vague speak in this post, but I promise all will be revealed when ALL is confirmed.

Finally, I will have my albums of 2016 list up before the New Year, so check back for that if you like and some show updates on the show lists as well. Cheers and love to you and yours!

-Stuck