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July 23, 2024

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New York Beat: Breaking and Entering (Moon Ska Records)

By: Alex Steininger

In 1985 Moon Ska records released the first ever U.S. ska compilation, NY BEAT: HIT AND RUN (which will be released on CD later this year). Now they're bringing us the sequel, NEW YORK BEAT: BREAKING AND ENTERING. Showcasing what is going on in New York, this compilation includes new comers to the ska scene like Edna's Goldfish, Metro Stylee, Radiation Kings, and the Pilfers, along with well-known (and well respected) bands like Stubborn All-Stars, Toasters, Skinnerbox NYC, and the Scofflaws.

The CD starts off with The Moon Ska Stompers on "2Tone Army (Special Forces Version)." The song is an instrumental, and a very intense one at that. It starts off this CD with a BANG! The horns are as powerful as they come, and the guitar brings in no-holds-barred dancing moves to the music. The organ sends a cool breeze through the hot melody, giving it nice contrast and flavors. The Scofflaws' "Man With The Golden Arm (Live)" follows it. This song shows how tremendous they are live. While you hear this you won't be able to do anything but dance. The horns will burn at your soul, while the guitar is so hot it burns your feet until you're dancing with the music. Skinnerbox's "A Fine Romance" brings a bit of love to the air. Django's talent is unquestionable. A ska-soul masterpiece, this song will get you dancing the first time you hear it, and singing along each additional time. Metro Stylee's "Corner Boy" keeps the energy alive with their up tempo third wave number led by female vocals. The female vocals add a nice touch to the song, giving it a lot of strength. The music itself is highly infectious, as you jump and dance around with it. The horns blast through the air, giving the song a warm feeling. The guitar keeps the upbeat there for your enjoyment, as you keep dancing. And the drums, wow, they tap in the back with nice rhythm and pace. They keep everything in line, with the help of the base, of course! Edna's Goldfish, who just released their debut album on Ska Satellite Records, contribute "Better Days" to this compilation. Some nice third wave ska that adds in some pop and a wee bit of soul for your enjoyment. The hooks are tremendous, making this song a definite stand out. It starts out like a pop song might, but then the horns burst in with a touch of the tropics. You're taken away to a nice island for a minute, and as you sit there with the wind blowing you can hear Edna's Goldfish sing this song. The upbeat immediately gets you dancing, coming in at the same time as the vocals. Then the chorus hits you, and the whole song picks up and jumps into some faster ska that will get you singing along. These guys are going to be big, listen to me now! Keep your eyes out for them. The Pilfers, another new New York band, are also a band with a bright future. Combining soulful ska, a punk upbringing, a hint of metal thrown in here and there with some reggae and a nice tropical sensation, these guys know how to party. The horns are tremendous, and the guitar carries itself nicely from ska to metal slashes. The vocals are also a strong factor in the music, with their very strong Jamaican feeling. Another track that shines through on this compilation. Orange Street, now defunct, contributed "Believe." It's a damn shame they were only around for a short bit. The female vocals are beautiful, and the music exceptional. Traditional ska with a reggae touch to it. These guys could have been one of the next big bands out of New York. The Moon Ska Stompers close out the disc with "2Tone Army (Blues Reprise)."

Don't buy this compilation, it will make you want to move to New York! I'm just kidding, rush and buy this today! But yes, after listening to this you'll want to move to New York. An exceptional compilation courtesy of Moon Ska Records. It showcases a lot of up-and-coming bands, and has a lot of already established bands. How can you go wrong? I'll give this CD an A.

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