Articles for the Month of August 2016


Who knew there was a town in Pennsylvania named California?  Well did you also know that California PA is the home to the 7- piece ska outfit Soulios?   Formed just last year, this band has already dropped an EP entitled ‘Jamisun.’  Let’s check it out…


  1. “Hoser Love”- Not to be confused with ‘Hoosier Love’ from MU330,Soulios starts things off with an extremely upbeat, danceable number. Smooth vocals pair nicely with the heavy brass presence.  Grade: B+


  1. “Build It Up”- Another horn driven number with more of Latin and funk presence than a ska feeling. Excellent solos cap things off near the end.  I love this song! Grade: A


  1. “Pop Punk & Metalcore (feat. Shane Turner)”- Pop Punk & Metalcore will have you clapping along and tapping your feet. It is impossible to get this perfect sing-along song out of your head, which laments the struggles of being in a band.  Fun little ditty! Grade: A-


  1. “Poor Man’s Reality”- Mixing ska with smooth grooves, what a great way to end this mini album. Grade B+


Yet another “unknown to me band” has made it to my review list and I am glad I had a chance to give this one a listen.  Not to sound like a broken record (for those that have read my other reviews) but in general I am a big fan of reviewing EPs.  They give the listener a chance to find out what the band is all about over the course of a few tracks.  Most bands bring their best stuff with no filler material that sometimes finds their way to full lengths.  ‘Jamisun’ from Soulios is no exception.   With only 4 tracks, Soulios does an excellent job at showcasing their unique sound, making each song sound different than the one before.  While the traditional ska guitar is not a main player, the horn section is the driving force behind this band.   This barrage of brass gets you on your feet during every tune.  Other standouts for me were the incorporation of other genres, such as Latin and funk as well as the use of additional percussion.  It is great when bands bring new ideas to the table to put their own spin on the ska sound.  Rounding things off are the smooth vocals which mesh well with the instrumentation, creating a cohesive package.  While Soulios certainly has their own sound, if I had to compare, I heard glimpses of ‘Regatta 69’ and older ‘Something to Do.’  Nice work!


Overall Grade: A-



Check them out:



Skappleton 2016- A Review



After taking a 3 year hiatus, 2016 marked the return and 20th anniversary of Skappleton, Appleton, WI’s annual ska fest.  Previously hosted by Laurence University, the venue this time around was Tanner’s Bar & Grill in Kimberly.  Here are my thoughts on this event which occurred one week ago today.


[Disclaimer-Unfortunately I missed the first three bands on the ticket: Fairhaven, Beat the Smart Kids and The Holophonics, as I had another event to attend that day.  They are not covered in the review.


The BishopsWhen I first saw the lineup for Skappleton I was disappointed that there was only one traditional band on the list.  I was not disappointed however that the band they chose to represent this sub-genre was The Bishops.  I became and instant fan of these guys after seeing them play at last year’s Fistful of Ska in Iowa.  Whether its instrumentals that you prefer or the smooth stylings of lead vocalist Mike Bechtel, the Bishops get your feet moving during every song.  Great set guys!


4 Aspirin MorningAfter reviewing their last album some time ago, I was excited to see what these guys could do during a live performance.  While ska in general is a dying breed in Wisconsin, 4AM represented in a big way with their booming horns and crunchy guitars.  The lead vocalist’s voice falls in line with others in the genre, however the songs that featured more mellow vocals were more of a standout with this listener.  Keep an eye out for these up and comers.


Run & PunchKnowing them only in name, I was not familiar with Run & Punch’s music.  After hitting the stage I was instantly hooked by their punk influenced numbers.  I’ve always preferred female fronted bands to their male counterparts and this band was no exception. I very much look forward to seeing these guys again in the near future.


Keep Flying– If ever there was a band that that embodied the pop punk sound more than any on the bill is New Jersey’s Keep Flying.  Keep Flying rose from the ashes of the band Survey Says! which I gave a favorable review of their last album.  Having a great album is one thing, but pulling it off live is another story.  Despite time delays due to equipment malfunctions (broken kick drum and guitar string), Keep Flying delivered in a big way.  Featuring a lone trombone as the horn “section” this guy packed more punch than bands with 3 horns.  Great show!  If you haven’t heard of these guys, keep them on your watch list!


Dan Potthast- There are a few MU330 songs that I enjoy, but it never prompted me to purchase any of the band’s albums. I did however, have the priveledge of seeing MU330 on two different occasions.  Both of these shows were some of the highest energy shows that I’ve seen, with the band stringing together several songs, with little talk in between.  I expected the same attention to details during a Dan P. solo show but this was not the case.  I really enjoyed the stripped down versions of old MU330 tunes along with the wittiness of his acoustic work.  The problem was that Dan likes to hear himself talk, and used his time to tell everyone about his “adventures” that day vs. actually playing songs.  Too bad.


Hub City Stompers- The reason why I either love or hate a band usually depends on my opinion of the lead singer’s voice.  Keeping this in mind, after listening to Hub City Stompers last album (Life After Death) I had pigeon-holed this band as being “just okay.”  In what I consider the biggest surprise of the night, this band’s live show was one of the, if not the best performance of the entire festival (of the bands that I saw).  Leadman Travis Nelson, AKA Rev Sinister came out swinging with powerful pipes that trump the sometimes subdued nature on the recording.  The same goes for the in your face styling of the saxophone and trombone.  Both musicians also harmonize extremely well which is not heard on the album.  This is a group that has truly honed their craft and I am proud to say that I am indeed a fan.  I’m looking forward to their next trip to the great state of WiSKAnsin!



4 Aspirin Mornings “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” slow jam.  This guy can really sing!

-The Women of Ska.  Jenny Whiskey of The Hub City Stompers is an amazing talent.  She can wail just as much on the sax as she can vocally.  Run and Punch’s Anne is a vocal power house as well, not to mention the sweet trombone work from Katie



Keep Flying’s impromptu version of Less Than Jake’s “Boring Town”

-The smaller than I expected crowd.


Check Out the Bands!


The Holophonics

Beat the Smart Kids

The Bishops

4 Aspirin Morning

Run and Punch

Keep Flying

Dan Potthast

Hub City Stompers

So what did you think? Share it my friend!

Follow by Email
Visit Us