Everything Off Beat is a sampler of the ska bands recording on the Jump Up! label and, if this is an indication of the quality of bands that they are recording, then ska is alive and well in the Windy City. The record presents a wide range of ska bands that show a variety of influences (besides their ska roots): bluesy barroom (Deals Gone Bad); Mitch Ryder-style instrumentals (Four on the Floor); reggae (Danny Dan and the Revelation Rockers and Blue Meanies); dance beat (Skapone and Situation Normal); punk (Dolemites, Cibaphones, Executives, and Nobody Home); and hardcore (New Jacks).
There are 23 songs on this amazing collection and I would recommend most of these bands. For my money the standout tracks are Run For Yer Life’s “Te Ve” with its seductive female vocals and hopping horns; Four on the Floor’s “Mach 5,” which definitely lives up to its title; the Adjuster’s “Our Town ‘98” that combine male vocals (sounding like a deeper Elvis Costello) with female backups and politically charged lyrics that condemn xenophobic tendencies; the Dolemites’ “He’s Alive,” a punkish ode to the late rap singer 2Pac; Situation Normal’s danceable “A-OH”; and Nobody Home’s “Boner For A Day.” The best of the bunch though is the Executives’ “Ruder Than Me,” a punk-ska song that combines hard-edged guitars, hypnotic horns, wild tempo changes, and great vocals. Any of these bands would probably would provide an energetic and danceable concert experience. Best of all, this disc is only five bucks! No excuses folks this is a deal.