Results for ska

interviews

Lily Allen

British import Lily Allen is Jim and Greg's guest this week. The hosts have been fans of the 21-year-old for over a year, however her album Alright, Still, was just released in the U.S. While Lily is now launching a full-blown American invasion with major label backing and major press and appearances, she started with more humble means. The singer/songwriter initially drew buzz after posting some songs on her MySpace.com page.

While her career is grassroots, Lily's upbringing still has star power. Her father is British comedian and personality Keith Allen, and she spent many of her family vacations with Uncle Joe. (That's Joe Strummer to you and me). In fact, the singer can boast that she has performed at Wembley with The Clash before she was old enough to buy herself a pint.

Jim and Greg are drawn to Lily's sound, which is a pastiche of pop, reggae, ska and even a bit of '60s“space-age bachelor pad”music. But, it's her lyrics that really“slay”them. Lily writes about everything from an average life in London to a failed relationship with a great deal of honesty, humor, and most of all, attitude. Listen to her performances of hits "LDN" and "Smile," and check out these exclusive bonus tracks.

Go to episode 65
classic album dissections
London CallingLondon Calling available on iTunes

The Clash London Calling

Next up is a patented Sound Opinions Classic Album Dissection-this time of one of the greatest double albums of rock history: London Calling by The Clash. London Calling recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, and it was a huge leap forward for the English band. All four members seemed to be at their peak during writing and recording: Joe Strummer on rhythm guitar and vocals, Mick Jones on lead guitar and vocals, Paul Simonon on bass and Nicky“Topper”Headon on drums. They were paired with the unconventional Guy Stevens and engineer Bill Price and were able to draw from a ton of new influences-reggae, ska, rockabilly, jazz and rock. Also, the songwriting team of Strummer and Jones was at a high point. Jim and Greg are both moved by Strummer's lyrics, which demonstrate a sophisticated worldview, and play two standout tracks: "Spanish Bombs" and "The Clampdown."

Go to episode 228
London CallingLondon Calling available on iTunes

The Clash London Calling

Next up is a patented Sound Opinions Classic Album Dissection – this time of one of the greatest double albums of rock history: London Calling by The Clash, which recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of its US release. London Calling represented a huge leap forward for the English band. All four members seemed to be at their peak during writing and recording: Joe Strummer on rhythm guitar and vocals, Mick Jones on lead guitar and vocals, Paul Simonon on bass and Nicky“Topper”Headon on drums. They were paired with the unconventional Guy Stevens and engineer Bill Price and were able to draw from a variety of influences – reggae, ska, rockabilly, and jazz – all layered on their particular brand of punk rock. The songwriting partnership of Strummer and Jones was at its high point. Jim and Greg are both moved by Strummer's lyrics, which demonstrate a very sophisticated worldview. To demonstrate the greatness of London Calling, they play two standout tracks: "Spanish Bombs" and "Clampdown."

Go to episode 514
genre dissections

Ska

Ska is an often misunderstood music genre. Isn‘t it the same as reggae? Didn’t it die out in the '90s? Jim and Greg dig into ska in a Sound Opinions genre dissection with pioneering ska musician Charley Organaire and Jump Up records founder and ska scholar Chuck Wren. Charley was present at the creation in 1950s Jamaica for what is now known as the 1st Wave of Ska. He tells us where the name came from and how the sound originated by mixing folk music known as mento with American R&B, giving rise to artists like The Skatalites, Prince Buster and Laurel Aiken. Then Chuck leads us through the 2nd Wave, or Two-Tone, movement in the late '70s England with bands like The Specials, Madness and The English Beat. And finally the 3rd Wave breaks in the United States in the 1990s with an aggressive strain of punk-infused ska that looked to be reaching the mainstream, only to fade away as quickly as it grew. But Chuck tells us that ska can still be found all over the world.

Go to episode 558
reviews
The River In Reverse (Digital Version)The River in Reverse available on iTunes

Elvis Costello The River in Reverse

Elvis Costello, the singer/songwriter who has taken on New Wave, punk, ska, country and pop, is tackling R&B on his latest release, The River in Reverse. The album is a collaboration between Costello and Allen Toussaint, the multi-talented New Orleans musician. Toussaint is responsible for hits like "Working in a Coal Mine," "I Like It Like That," and "Lady Marmalade," and has worked with The Band, Paul Simon and The Meters. The two collaborated after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, but neither Jim nor Greg think Costello's voice is up to the task of handling Toussaint's songs. Costello is a name that can garner attention for Toussaint, and Greg knows that his heart is in the right place, but it is only a Burn It record for both critics.

JimGreg
Go to episode 27
dijs

Greg

“Emma”Hot Chocolate

Maxwell got Greg in the mood for some of that great soul music from the late '70s era. For him the British group Hot Chocolate stands out from the rest. They had a big hit with "You Sexy Thing," but that track doesn't do them justice. Hot Chocolate came out of the ska and reggae tradition that emphasized great storytelling. You can hear this on the song "Emma," Greg's Desert Island Jukebox addition for this week.

Go to episode 189

Greg

“Mala Vida”Mano Negra

With France in the air this episode, Greg thinks back to one of his favorite French rock acts: Mano Negra. Co-founded by musician Manu Chao, the band deftly combined rock, reggae, afropop, punk and ska. Their track "Mala Vida," from their 1989 release Puta's Fever truly gives new meaning to the term“world music,”and it's a song Greg wants to groove to on the desert island.

Go to episode 235
news

Music News

A story out of the British press tickled Jim and Greg's fancy this week. England's Essex FM decided to launch a boycott of recent pop phenomenon James Blunt. Blunt, apparently peeved by critics bashing him, instructed the haters to just stop playing his music. Essex FM gladly took the challenge and banned both of his hit singles from their airwaves. Sound Opinions would like to encourage all radio programmers to take Blunt up on his challenge. And while we are at it, there are a few other overplayed radio hits we'd like to discuss…

Finland loves its masked death metal bands. Finnish band Lordi, who recently won the Eurovision prize, became the source of a recent uproar when the lead singer was“unmasked”by two tabloid newspapers. Fans of the masked rockers were so upset by this disrespectful move that over 200,000 of them have signed a petition forcing one of the tabloids to apologize. Sound Opinions fans need not fear however: The true identities of Jim and Greg will never be revealed.

In some sad news, Desmond Dekker died this week at the age of 63. Dekker is credited with bringing the ska and reggae sounds of Jamaica to the West, most notably with the hit "Israelites." Dekker influenced fellow countryman Bob Marley, but his impact in the U.S. and England was most notable in the ska scene. You can still hear Dekker's sound in the music of bands like The Clash, the Sex Pistols and more recently, No Doubt and Less than Jake.

Go to episode 27
world tours

Mexico

Fresh from stops in Japan andSweden, the Sound Opinions World Tour continues south of the border. Public radio's "The Latin Alternative" co-host Josh Norek is our guide to Mexico's music scene. As Vice President of the Latin alternative music label Nacional Records, Norek's had a chance to work with many of Mexico's pioneering rock acts, from Saul Hernandez's Jaguares, to pop-rock arena act Mana. He's seen the audience for Mexican music in the U.S. grow (as second and third generation Mexican-Americans get in touch with their musical roots), and he's seen it get more experimental. Norek argues that Mexico's musical renaissance really kicked into gear with Café Tacvba in the nineties. Tacvba fused genres like ska, metal, and punk with traditional Mexican regional music. Cafe Tacvba sounded Mexican and were proud of it. More recently, DJ outfits like Nortec Collective and Mexican Institute of Sound have adapted the same approach to techno, merging beats and norte~no samples, for example. Norek says Mexico's music scene continues to develop in spite of formidable challenges; drug-related violence has forced artists in cities like Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Tijuana to relocate to Mexico City and L.A.

Jim and Greg round out their Mexican tour stop with a call-in to Sesiones TV host and music journalist Alejandro Franco in Mexico City. Their mission? To find out what Mexican music fans are listening to right now. Franco says that while rockers Zoe are topping the charts, it's Carla Morrisson and Juan Cirerol who are packing Mexico City's hipster clubs. And check out our Mexico playlist on Spotify.

Here are the Mexican artists featured in this episode

  • Café Tacvba
  • Jaguares
  • Maldita Vecindad
  • Mana
  • Nortec Collective
  • El Gran Silencio
  • Control Machete
  • Kinky
  • Mexican Institute of Sound
  • Zoe
  • Carla Morrison
  • Juan Cirerol
Go to episode 396