Mash It Up 2000
In these post-trend times that find ska bands having a hard time scraping together enough money to stay alive, and great bands like Spring Heeled Jack and Edna’s Goldfish calling it quits left and right, it’s refreshing to see that Boston remains the thriving oasis for ska that it’s been for the last 15 years. A great deal of the credit for Boston’s continued support and love for ska music has to do with the hard work of the two men that produced Mash It Up 2000, the latest in the series spotlighting the area’s many great bands. Dan Vitale is the lead singer for Boston’s flagship band, Bim Skala Bim, as well as the seminal Steady Earnest, and he heads up DVS Media, while Grant Thayer is the scene’s most relentless cheerleader, maintaining http://www.bostonska.com, the weekly Boston Ska e-mail update (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to join), and countless other activities that help keep ska alive and well in Beantown. Together, Grant and Dan have assembled 16 fine tracks from 16 great bands that define today’s Boston ska.
While longtime favorites like Bim, the Allstonians, Big D and the Kids Table, Steady Earnest, Thumper, and Skavoovie & the Epitones are all represented with exemplary (and mostly brand new!) tracks, it’s almost more interesting to see the sheer volume of new faces that continue to sprout from the fertile Boston soil. I enjoyed freshly-grown sounds from the likes of the fiercely traditional Pressure Cooker and Green Island, the swingy, jumpy Brass Monkeys, the punk-flavored Jumpsuit Jerry, and the “reggae got soul” of Take 5, but pretty much every track on the record has something interesting to offer. With Mash It Up 2000, Boston once and for all claims the title of America’s ska Mecca from the other, formerly worthy contenders (and what the hell has happened to NYC, LA, and DC anyway – not to mention Florida? Not that there aren’t still great, active bands from those areas, but the scenes don’t seem as though they’ve continued to thrive the way Boston’s has). It’s great to know that at least one town can keep the fire burning.