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September 19, 2017


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The Toasters
Don't Let The Bastards Grind You Down (Moon Ska Records)

By: Alex Steininger

The kings of third wave ska are back! Yes, the band responsible for Ska in America, The Toasters, are back with an all new album. With fifty eight minutes of music spread out through seventeen tracks, these guys know how to get you dancing from start to finish, all the while your having fun! The CD starts out with the title track. A very upbeat ska track that will get you dancing. The upbeat is played swiftly with melody, causing severe pain in your feet if you don't jump up and skank. The vocals are crisp and clear, singing lyrics that are well written and carry a deep meaning. To me it's about a group of people who are outcasts, and society is trying to knock them down, but they just keep their heads up high and do what they want, but to you it could be about something totally different. That's how well this song is written, each person can derive a totally different meaning, each relating to them in their own ways. Combining great lyrics with upbeat melodies, this song will lift your spirit, and give you hours of fun skankin' and laughing aloud. "Underground Town" is a heavy spirited song that draws heavily on traditional ska, as it creates its own tempo and melody in its third wave style. As the horns drive through the heart of the music, the bass and drums keep the rhythm clean and tight. The guitar keeps you dancing, while the keyboard adds a soothing touch to the music. "Devil and a .45" starts out with guitar riffs that combine 50's rock with 70's rock. Then when the vocals enter, the guitar quickly slides over to some meaty upbeats. Combining reggae touches to the backing vocals, the song displays many of their influences. The horns play in a stabbing motion, quickly entering and leaving, and then coming back again. The keyboards fly through the music like a bird in motion, while the drums beat tirelessly, keeping a pounding sensation in your head. "Daddy Cry" is a soft song that is flavorful, granting a rest from the energetic beats that make you sweat with love. This song have tones of melody, a strong backing in two-tone as well as traditional ska, and fierce playing on all band members parts. This song will either make you cry, laugh, or smile. It's full of emotion, and you'll feel something after hearing this song. Sit back, close your eyes, and listen to the music. Feel it warm your heart, as it fills your head with thoughts. Feel your body shake with feeling. This song is so powerful, it will do all that and more to you. "Jackie Chan" is an instrumental song, with brief clips from Chan's movie career. The horns carry the song, giving Jackie Chan the tribute he deserves. Move and groove to this song, and then practice martial arts on the family dog (just kidding!) "Big Red" is an instrumental as well, except for a few words said spoken. Once again The Toasters display their captive energy and power, proving that they don't need lyrics to keep your attention. I'm a very big fan of lyrics myself, but The Toasters are so versatile, they can go anyway they want and still make good music. "Weekend In L.A." is another fast paced ska song that will get you dancing and shaking your body along to this song. The upbeat is played to perfection, while the rest of the band compliments it perfectly. The horns run and dance through the song with joy, while the drummer has the time of his life being the backbone for the music. Sweat and move, don't look back, because this song will take you by your hand and keep you moving. "Rhythm and Pain" is a quick instrumental that comes in, sets you up for a good time, and then slowly fades out. Not a bad ending, but just too short. But considering the other sixteen tracks are fair length, this ending closes out the CD nicely. Everything done well, on ever level. The Toasters are the leaders when it comes to American third wave ska. These guys have been doing ska for fifteen years, and they keep on putting out excellent ska albums. Taking their own advice, they never let bastards grind them down, and they keep putting out great music for the fans to enjoy! Get their latest release, and see why with age things only get better! A definite A+.
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