I’m old and still have a bunch of CDs, mostly from back in the day (which, for me, is probably 1996-2012 or so). This is the first installment of what might be a semi-regular thing where I open my CD briefcase and take a look at what’s on a given page.
Nostalgia. It’s a powerful thing. There’s been a lot of that this week. And now, this morning when I opened up the Facebook, what do I see but a post from one of the members of the reggae-thumping Soul Radics about a dated review of one of their songs “Mash Dem All” by 31TV’s Punk Rock Dad.
It turns out that the trombonist for the Soul Radics (2011-2017, or so, and 2022-present, I think) also plays in Stuck Lucky (2006-present), a connection I never made to the long-running Nashville skacore band even though I’ve seen both bands play several times back in the day. It’s not too surprising I guess. They’re both from roughly the same time and place and similar genres.
Just making that connection brought back a flood of memories from a time when I was fresh out of journalism school, post 2010, working as an editor for Creative Loafing, a once-robust alt-weekly in Atlanta that has since been largely gutted (RIP print journalism). I used to photograph a lot of concerts for them, which wasn’t exactly in my job description as “Digital Editor” but I was on salary and it didn’t cost them any extra so they never stopped me.
I got some snaps of the Soul Radics in 2012 at the Mass Ska Raid at the venue the Masquerade (Get it? Mass-Ska-Raid Mas-quer-ade? Yeah.), and also saw Stuck Lucky play in the basement at WonderRoot that same summer. WonderRoot was a very cool DIY community art space on a then- mostly derelict Memorial Drive on the east side of the city, which has since been largely gentrified, but that’s probably a story for another time. (There’s a great write up in ArtsATL about WonderRoot’s eventual demise.)
All that is a long winded way of saying that, this morning after reading Facebook and watching Punk Rock Dad’s Soul Radic review, I walked to the closet and dusted off my briefcase of old CDs. And here we are.
Without further ado, here’s a quick look at Page 25 of my aging CD book:
Stuck Lucky Hate the Light of Day (2006):
Nashville’s own Stuck Lucky (2006-present) has been a staple in the southeast ska scene for decades at this point. Their blend of skacore sticks to the in-your-face bluntness of punk rock, especially on this album, but also developed a haunting, off-kilter allure that separates them from pretty much any other band in the genre past and present, and that’s a good thing. You can buy the band’s entire 8-record discography for just $17 on Bandcamp right now, a move I’m about to make since the only CD player I still own is in my old truck and I don’t have many of their more recent albums.
Detonate Television (2006) and Undead (2008):
The short-lived skacore band Detonate (2006-08) used to be my jam for pedaling my BMX bike furiously around the streets of downtown Atlanta during my college days. By the time I discovered the Dallas/Fort Worth-based five piece, they had already broken up following their summer 2008 tour. The lead singer Duck later moved to New Orleans and fronted another ska band called Joystick, which is still active. Both of these albums are available online for free download thru the Angry Ska blog website. My favorite track is “Bunnies” off their Undead album, which if you couldn’t have guessed is kind of about bunnies.
Fatter Than Albert The Last Minute (2008):
These guys are so much fun. Fatter Than Albert (2004-2010) members Danny and Greg also founded Community Records, a New Orleans-based label that helped release a ton of titles for ska-infused punk bands over the past 15 years. I’m still friends with Greg on Facebook. Both of those guys now play in Bad Operation, bringing the same energy and positive spirits that has hallmarked their music careers. (And Bad Operation actually has a few upcoming shows with Joystick, one of the bands I mentioned above )
Gogol Bordello Gypsy Punk (2005) and Super Taranta (2007):
Gogol Bordello (1999-present) has blown up over the past 15 years. They’re energy is infectious and their sound is eclectic, rooted in the pop pop traditional Baltic and punk rock fervor. The band is based out of NYC but their members hail from all over the place (and has changed a lot over the decades). The Gypsy Punk album was my introduction to the off-beat styling and lyrics. I even played “American Wedding” at my wedding in 2011, but it’s wasn’t exactly a hit with the fam. The first time I ever saw them play with at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta with Lucero, for some reason. They played a 1 hour set and then a 2.5 hour encore, which is just case in point for their infectious energy and love for what they do.
Lil Troy Sittin Fat Down South (1999) and Alex Jones The Obama Deception Play in Realplayer (2009):
I’m a pretty big fan of gangsta rap and a lot of different hip hop, but honestly Lil Troy has never been on my Top 10 play list. He’s a big name and earned his own no doubt, but I honestly have no idea where I got this CD from. I think someone left it in my car if I’m being honest. But here we are 20 years later, and here it is still hanging out in my CD wallet. I definitely do remember cranking “Wanna Be A Baller” cruising around in my beat up Chevy Cavalier on more than a few occasions. I ran that car into a boat and dented the hood, then it started to rust so I sanded the hood and painted it with grey primer. Great times.
As for Alex Jones, well, if you need an introduction you can go down that Google rabbit hole on your own if you so choose. The world has changed a lot since 2009. I am all for being a critical thinker and skeptical about taking facts at face value, just make sure you’re using common sense and your own prefrontal cortex when trying to make sense of the world around you. I have no idea what the Obama Deception is exactly, nor do I have Realplayer on my Mac if that’s still a thing, but there is a review for the movie on IMDb.