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2012 - A year in Skankin' Review

I have had few more emotionally and physically complicated years than this one in my life. It was a steady road of giant potholes and speed bumps taking me from emergency rooms to specialists and tests while putting my mental well being and my very nerves through paper shredders. Somewhere between a broken heart and a major health scare, I found my voice again in the embrace of the welcoming arms of an old friend.

The ska scene. And the many devoted people in it.

This was the year my radio show moved to a new home. My format swap was finally complete. No longer was I commuting to a studio in the next state...but simply my kitchen. The control was mine, and my intentions were finally realized and completed...while I am still ironing out the kinks (and learning all the software). My blog gained it's major following with a lot of help and support from the very artists who inspired it in the first place. It's one thing to be able to freely write about the people that move you so m…

The Bandulus - The Times We Had and an interview with Jeremy Pena

I will admit it. My only knowledge of Texas was what I learned from Urban Cowboy (...I'm slightly obsessed with it) and that the Houston airport smelled like popcorn last time I went through there on my way to San Antonio. I'm not proud. But it seems in Texas, there was also the Bandulus. I was a late Bandulus bloomer.

My partner in ska crimes and documentary filming, Randy from Ska Crazy, did an interview with me on his show after we started working on our filming plans. He opened that particular show with the song Ska, Reggae, and Soul by the Bandulus, and that was the first time I had ever heard it. I don't know what it was that hit me the hardest. I am a sucker for vocals, so that was a major factor...but the song itself is just a perfect descriptive of exactly what it talks about. I immediately told Randy I wanted this to be my theme song. I needed some guy to follow me around with a boombox playing this song for the rest of my life. That was it. I was hooked.

I freakin…

The Version City Tour hits the road!

I am so excited about this, I could just spit.



The amazing, highly influential, and always delightful King Django will be taking to the road with The Heavy Beat's Matt MacLeod and The Snails for The Version City Tour! It's a total mind-blowing mash-up of talent and from the snippets I hear around about the rehearsals, we are all in for a good damn time. A Perfect Mess is freaking ELATED to be a sponsor of the tour, and I can't wait to get out to see it all go down. The tour is gearing up to kick off in less than two weeks, officially on December 15th in New London, CT. It will run through the balance of 2012 and then through most of January before finishing up in Harrisburg, PA on January 20th. I plan to be there. With bells on. Here is the official press release with a listing of dates and cities...if you don't get out to see this, I don't know what to do with you:


Version City Tour to Bring New York Ska to the Rest of the East Coast
New Brunswick, NJ -- November 13…

The Rocksteady Seven: A sneak peak of Friends and Enemies, and an interview with David Hillyard

Earlier in the year, I sent a message to someone in booking/managing/wrangling at the Slackers camp to conduct an interview with all or part of the band. I'm a fan. That's no secret to any of you folks who read my ramblings and listen to my show, and getting to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) in regards to this music I love is gift enough, but getting to involve the band that started it all for me and continues to keep me hooked? Amazing. I was told yes, sure. Send over some questions.
Unfortunately, I had no idea who would be answering these questions. Being that there are such diverse talents and personalities in this band, there was no way I could do anything but send several generic questions over and pray I would not be judged for how boring they probably were. It was David Hillyard, Slackers saxophonist and scene legend that got back to me. He did the best anyone could with my impersonal, generic, and probably boring inquiries, and I am forever thankful to him for t…

The Dropsteppers - Get Up In It

Living in the shadow of New York City my whole life has been a blessing. Culture, art, energy, great music, legendary venues, amazing food, and better people watching than you can find almost anywhere else. This became especially true when my ears found ska music in the mid-90's. So much comes out of New York in every genre, and I think it's really made it's name in ska music very well known and well defined. However, it's bright light of awesomeness has blocked my view of what's going on in the Midwest in this glorious music scene...and I feel ashamed! BAD SKA GIRL, Amanda. BAD. There is this whole buzzing beautiful world of dancing just beyond our tri-state area, and every time I stumble into another great band, it's like Christmas for me. This happened again a few months ago.

For years, I never really knew that anything but Brenda and Brandon Walsh came out of Minnesota. (you can slap me for that comment) Boy, was I fucking wrong. But I didn't know there…

The Pinstripes - I

My Sunday mornings, unless coupled with a hangover, are my favorites. I wake up whenever my body stirs from slumber (or the cat steps on my face), stumble downstairs in my robe and pajamas, and start my coffee.  Once a cup or so is consumed and that sweet, sweet blood of life also known as caffeine is streaming through my veins, I like to crank up something good and loud and full of soul and dance to wake my ass up and fill me with life while I do my mundane New Jersey suburb Sunday morning chores. It has to be good. It has to move me. It has to remind me that the world is alive and buzzing around me and I woke up this morning...I should be doing nothing less than dancing,

So this is when I usually like to test out new music. My mind is rested and clear, and craving something that will make me move. I waited until a Sunday morning to pop in The Pinstripes for the first time. I don't think I even needed the caffeine. WOW. This album exploded all over me, and I have been nothing sho…

Obi Fernandez - Confessions, Waves and the Garden State

Its no mystery that I am a Jersey girl, through and through. Listen to my radio show or my podcast, and you can hear it. It's not just in what I talk about...my endless stories of show travels over bridges and tunnels to New York and Philadelphia...its also that I have the WORST North Jersey accent, and I can't hide it if I try. It gets worse if I have been drinking too. Hand me a copy of Weird NJ to read while I eat my taylor ham sandwich in an all night diner, and I couldn't be happier. I am fiercely defensive of my home state, and when someone does something great from our grounds, it's pride I can't even hope to properly describe.

Obi Fernandez, man, you done good.

My dear friend and fellow ska podcaster Randy from Ska Crazy got me into Westbound Train not that long ago. An amazing band from top to bottom, but my favorite aspect of the band was always the vocals. There was just so much soul in the way Obi Fernandez sings, and it set them apart from other ska b…

The Pandemics - Brain on Tap

New York City is a veritable cornucopia of music and culture. The music, the art, the people...it all radiates with an aura of gritty determination that won't wash off. It's unique energy permeates everything that bleeds from between it's concrete structures and dark clubs and bars. I am in love with New York City. I always will be. It's been a mecca of ska and punk music over the last bunch of decades, and my favorite place to escape New Jersey and run to for a recharge of my soul.

Bands in New York have an energy that is almost tangible, and nearly impossible to describe. It varies band to band, scene to scene...but it's constant. Every time I get into a new one, I can detect it almost immediately. It's what gets me dancing immediately...be it sitting at my desk, driving in my car, doing my dishes, putting my radio show and podcast together, everything where the music is filling my ears. Thank fucking goodness for New York City.

This is everything that fills …

The Prizefighters - Follow My Sound

Last week, this album was dropped into my inbox. There is always that moment before I hit play on a new record when I wonder what it's going to do to me when it starts. Where the music is going to take me. Am I going to cringe? Am I going to smile? Music is a lot like other beautiful things in the world...it's appeal lies in the ears, the mind, and the soul of the person listening. It's a gleeful anticipation for me...that moment before the music starts. It's complete silence that I know will be broken by something that could be anything. Amazing or dreadful. Soothing or piercing. It's a delicious kind of anxiety...

I put in Follow My Sound by The Prizefighters, and I hit play. I let the music begin. Soulful. Soothing. But I am dancing where I sit. From the moment the second track kicked in, it's been on an almost constant rotation. Who the heck are these guys?! (and gal!)



They are the Prizefighters, from way out Minneapolis, MN. Started in 2006, they have been…

...Summer ends, Fall begins...SHOWS! REVIEWS! DANCING! Oh my!

The summer has finally come to an end...and in some respects, I am not complaining. I gleefully put away the few pairs of shorts I own, and slide those bins of sweaters and hoodies out from under the bed. I look to the wall and say "see you in the spring" the the *cool* setting on my central air. My night jogging seems a little easier. I delight in pumpkin coffee, pumpkin beer, windows open, long walks at night in cool air, sitting on the porch, and not having to mop sweat from my cleavage every time I step outside the door.

But it means an end to summer ska show going. Not that these bands hibernate or anything, but there is something deliciously summery about this wonderful genre and those nights spent dripping with sweat and cooling off with beer after hours of dancing. The music scene in general seems to slow down a little as the leaves turn pretty colors in the North East. My e-mail is filling with show announcements from my usual venue haunts of metal bands and Hallowe…