Closer Than You, Vol. 1: Florida Ska

Closer Than You, Vol. 1: Florida Ska


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By the mid-'90s, ska was flowering across the States, with bands popping up in every region of the country. Already well established in the Big Apple, Bean Town, California, and the Midwest, ska scenes were now flourishing ever further afield from the nation's urban areas. The first hints that things were hotting up in Florida came courtesy of Gainesville group Less Than Jake, who formed in 1993 and swiftly began appearing regularly on ska/punk compilations. In total contrast to that band's superb skacore sound was Magadog, whose eclectic mix of styles encompass trad, 2 Tone, and modern pop. Their singer, Ed Lowery, was the driving force behind this compilation, and set about showcasing the breadth of sounds emanating from the Florida ska scene. His band and Less Than Jake both contribute two standout numbers to this set. Another quartet of acts also get double shots, presumably because they're too eclectic to be epitomized with just one. Pork Pie Tribe are an international affair, offering up a goofy Spanish-flavored track on one hand, and whirling through a Scottish fling on the other. The Usuals are equally dichotomous, their first number upbeat, jazz-inflected ska, their second storming skacore that initially pays tribute to of all things Gang of Four. The Blue City Kings, meanwhile, deliver a trad ska homage to "Kojak," then return with "It's Time," a pure pop-punk number filled with flashy brass. Unlike the purer trad West Coast bands, the Floridians appear to prefer using older styles sparingly. The exception is the Rug Cutters, who do just that with their swing-styled, bebopping skanker of a number. Bacone Dolce sprinkle their track with flashes of jazz and an infectious brass chorus that makes their entry a real standout. Equally good is Skif Dank, who offer up moody R&B, coupled with brash ska guitar and sultry brass solos. Hopscotch, in contrast, effectively combine surf and ska for an equally delectable dish. The rest of the bands fall straight into the third wave, with enthusiasm making up for the occasional lack of musical proficiency. Jive Step Bunch, however, put their trombonist to excellent use, while Lame are anything but, with their perky ska and twangy country-fied female singer. The New Yorkers may be more polished, the Californian trad-sters boasting higher-quality players and arrangements, the Midwesterners harder rockers, but the Floridians can hold their heads high, proud of their eclectic scene that obviously knows how to please a spring break crowd. A holiday that doesn't have to end.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/23/1996
UPC: 0743748007220
catalogNumber: 72


  1. So Much
  2. Growing up on a Couch
  3. Looking Up
  4. Besame Mucho
  5. Kojack
  6. My Dog Pedro
  7. Smoke in My Horn
  8. Picture
  9. Senator
  10. Knocked Out
  11. Stressed Out
  12. The Bone
  13. Mohammed Ali
  14. Less Baltimore
  15. Peanuts and Radishes
  16. A Few Too Many
  17. Don't Tell Me
  18. My Very Own Flag
  19. It's Time
  20. Skanking in Scotland

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