The Uptones – Live!! 924 Gilman – Reviewed for All Music Guide by Jo-Ann Greene

uptoneslivecrop108In California’s Bay Area, the Uptones were the leading light of the mid-’80s ska eruption. Formed while the members were still at high school, Continue reading “The Uptones – Live!! 924 Gilman – Reviewed for All Music Guide by Jo-Ann Greene”

Skankin’ Foolz Unite!

uptones-sfu108Fun Fun Fun Recordings has outdone themselves this time.

The label is proud to announce the release of  The Uptones 1st studio CD, “Skankin’ Foolz Unite!” The Uptones, “Best of the East Bay” Ska band, has been together for over twenty years. These Berkeley Ska pioneers have created a sensational CD of 15 great songs.

Read Rob O’Connor’s review for Yahoo Music:

Upbeat without forcing the party, Berkeley, California’s ska-veterans The Uptones return with their first studio album in decades, nailing down a bottom end that cements the groove with horns that reach for the stratosphere. The years have betrayed them none. Four original members augmented by an additional fantastic four, the eight-piece cruise with neither nostalgia nor a rusted gear. Initially, the studio might not seem the place to capture a definitive live act – their most noted release being the concert album The Uptones Live!! 924 Gilman – but one spin of “Ridiculous” and its spirited bleeps and yelps and it’s obvious this band will produce for a party of one if it must. (“Too Much Pressure” is credited as “Recorded Live at iMusicast” in 2005.) The added fidelity a genuine recording studio provides means bassist Bennie Wood and drummer Tim Carter aren’t left in the sonic dust. With three horn players – trombone, trumpet and tenor sax, for those at home keeping score – the blare is most obviously attention getting, but Eric Din’s vocals lead the troops with the same spirited play that made the Clash sound like revolutionaries.

Virtuostic without enslaving itself to technique and incorporating elements of punk, jazz, ska and reggae, it’s obvious how and why the Uptones became a major influence on the ‘90s ska-punk scene that followed them out of the Berkeley ghetto. But while Operation Ivy, Rancid, Sublime, Green Day and countless others sport the group’s influences and inspirations, nothing replicates The Uptones melodic heart. These aren’t just festive jams but terse, tough shards of song. Whether it’s the suspected tenderness of “Not From Here,” the charmed pop life of “I Don’t Know Emilie,” or the instrumentation breakdown of “Radiation Boy” where the band appear to be playing sideways, the Uptones now exist as seasoned pros who never lost their mojo in the grinding machinations of the music business. If anything, the years have made them stronger, more determined to wring life from every rhythm, to deny defeat at every chorus. Long may they skank.

The Uptones

Skankin’ Foolz Unite!

(Fun Fun Fun)

–Rob O’Connor

Hear it!

Own it!

MP3 Jackpot Winners CD Vol. 1 – Compiled by Matthew King Kaufman

mp3jackpotcd-108More than three decades after putting out the seminal Berserkley Chartbusters Vol. 1 compilation – the album that introduced the world at large to power pop heroes like the Rubinoos, Jonathan Richman and Greg Kihn – the label’s founder Matthew King Kaufman is at it again. Continue reading “MP3 Jackpot Winners CD Vol. 1 – Compiled by Matthew King Kaufman”

Ridiculous – The Uptones

What a monster song! Moose hits the nail on the head. This is the simplest message song I’ve ever heard. It’s soo right on. Scott Tee and his muted trumpet really set up Moose’s vocals, and Scott’s solo is centerfold material in Trumpet Magazine. The entire band plays their asses off. I predict big things for this song.

18. Ridiculous by The Uptones

Here’s a live video

Radiation Boy – The Uptones

Here’s an insightful rumination on the state of our backyards by one powerhouse of a ska band. This song is the BOMB!! The lyrics are scary but true, and will aid in your character development. I’ve also heard that the singer is very cute.

Check out a live video

4. Radiation Boy by The Uptones
Read the lyrics

Piñata – Critical Mass feat. The Lazy American

An instant classic, this ebullient party track has all that a bunch of kids or grown up kids could ask for. West Coast ska fans are familiar with Critical Mass’ amazing live show, but few are prepared for this brilliant slab of casiotone-inspired latin ska candy.

8. Piñata by Critical Mass & The Lazy American