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December 12, 2017


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Hot Stove Jimmy
Salute (Jump Up! Records)

By: Alex Steininger

Hot Stove Jimmy are a power ska band in every sense. They combine fast ska riffs with a punk feeling, rough vocals, a pounding rhythm section, and a very tight and bright horn section. You can call them third wave ska, or whatever you want, but really they just play ska music fast and powerful, but for the most part they don't make the punk influences that evident. But they are there, believe me.

The CD starts off with "Two Times Second." It starts out slow and soft, with the drums leading everything. Soon everything gets louder, and the guitar starts playing faster and faster. Then it gets softer again and the vocals come in and add a rough feeling to the music, giving it a lot more power. Then the chorus hits, and pulls you in with both legs. The song doesn't really have any punk in it per say, but it has a punk undertone to it. The song itself would best be described as a up beat ska licks, or power ska. "School Clothes" is definitely a ska meets ska track. The horns blow their way to your heart, while the vocals come right out of a punk band. The guitar serves up some very powerful and thick riffs that will either get you moshing or dancing around. When the chorus hits all the power is thrusted in your face, and slams you back. The horns add a nice, light feeling to the song, but still the guitar and the rest of the band gives it a harder feeling which adds nice contrast to the song. "Utah" is a medium paced ska song, but very heavy in feeling, which gives you the option to either skank or mosh. "When I Go" picks everything up, and the beats become faster. The ska guitar is fast enough and strong enough to get you on your feet to skank along with the music, while the horns are light enough (with a hard edge to them) to add definite color to the song. The bass thumps right along, while the drums go from powerful bangs to light taps. The guitar does the same. It goes from fast, skankable riffs to softer, more melodic riffs routed in rock and punk music. "Take Your Time" starts out with the light tapping of the cymbals, a quick blare of horns that are hard as rock, and then the song busts into some clean, up beat ska. The horns are light and fluffy, and add some depth to the song. The vocals are the only thing in the song that will give you any thoughts of punk rock. And the piano in the song is quite nice too. It strengthens the mood and feelings the song projects towards you. This song happens to be my favorite song on the CD. After eight tracks you need an intermission. What better way to have an intermission than with this goofy track nine. Listen and enjoy. It's funny the first few times you hear it, and after that it's just slightly amusing. But it never loses it's amusing appeal. You have to hear it to believe it. Remember the song "My Girl" from the movies, as well as the 70's? Well here it is, up-to-date with some ska-punk attached to it. The chorus is pretty punk, while the verses are fast and up tempo ska beats that will get you dancing in no time. This is another one of my favorites on the album. Definitely a classic cover. The CD ends with the title track. "Salute" is ends the CD on a high note. Go out skankin' I always say, and they provide the beats for you to do this. But wait, never leave the crowd wanting more! And they don't with their hidden tracks. But you'll have to experience these for yourselves.

Chicago is one of the midwest's hottest ska beds, and we can see why with bands like Hot Stove Jimmy. If your into fast ska that is danceable as well as moshable at times, these guys serve it to you hot and spicy. And they never let you down, even at the end of the CD they leave room for more. So bring an appetite and enjoy! I give this CD an A-.

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