A Brief History of Ska Music in California

ska musicSka music is an awesome genre that has become quite popular worldwide. In the United States and within California in specific there are many people who get carried away by the spectacular uniqueness of the specific music genre. Having its roots in Jamaica and combining the sounds of the Caribbean along with American jazz and even punk elements, ska music is unique and one of a kind. In California, there are legendary ska bands that have helped towards establishing the music genre as a wonderful alternative form of expression.

First of all, we cannot help but mention some of the most inspirational ska bands that have shaped the history of this type of music in North America. The Uptones have been the first band with active contribution in the Bay Area and this is quite impressive to consider. Ever since they were first introduced to the public in 1981, they have been going from strength to strength. Some of their best songs include “Burning Sky”, “Get out of My Way” and “Laws and Sausage”, although apparently the list is not limited to these few examples as they have a find line of great hits.

Another popular ska band that has been ranked among the most popular ones globally and has originated from California is Reel Big Fish. They have successfully made ska known to the wider public internationally. Their history dates back in 1992, when they released their first demo. Among their best moments professionally, we can highlight the stunning success of “Sell Out” and “Skatanic”, “Take on Me” and “Where Have You Been?”, even though there are innumerable songs that can also be added in the list.

Finally, Sublime has made quite an impact in the field of ska and punk music. They have also originated from the region of California and they have been hitting the charts for many years! Even though their career ended suddenly with the death of their main singers, Bradley Nowell, their legacy is regarded as anything but insignificant. Two out of their three CDs have become multi-platinum, with the last one even becoming five times platinum. If we had to choose among the songs that have stood out among the rest, we would definitely include “Caress Me Down” and “Wrong Way”, Doin’ Time” and “Santeria”. However, there is an endless plethora of ska songs for us to enjoy from this Californian band.

Ska music in California is quite distinctive when compared to the rest of the other places where ska has become popular, due to the fusion of different types of music and given the polymorphic details that the most successful artists have been adding over time. Ska has had a history of more than fifty years, but it was not till the 1980s when it started making its baby steps in California. Of course, such baby steps have been the spark that lit the fire for the United States as a whole to enjoy ska and appreciate what this genre has got to offer. With so rich past and so intriguing present, it is exciting to think of what the future holds for ska music in California!

How to Use TV & Visual Media to Enhance Music

Every single day that we step out into our daily activities, we get bombarded with a barrage of information and stimuli right through the day. Each seeks to get our attention, but we eventually don’t really get in all that comes at us through the day. Most of it is usually filtered out as unimportant or excess information. For any effective communication to take place, an impression has to be created in order to induce a change in behavior. It usually involves a process of communicating without explicit notice. In the same way, for you to be able to get music to communicate to your audience, it is important to add that extra effect that will quickly capture their attention.

use TV and lights to enhance musicOne of the most useful ways of enhancing music is the use of television screens. This is a vital tool in music enhancement, not only because of the audio but also the visual effect. While radio allows a person to imagine the sounds they are listening to and try to understand what is going on through interpretation of what they hear, television helps them cross that bridge much faster by providing the pictures to explain what is going on. In fact, research has indicated that most people will learn much faster and grasp new concepts more easily when presented with both audio and visual forms. We all know that famous quote that a picture speaks a thousand words. Imagine how much more communication can take place as one visualizes what they are being taught. You will also agree that it is easier and much faster for a person to remember more after watching something on TV than after reading it in a book. This is mainly because what we see on TV greatly involves more senses in our bodies thus we get more wholly involved in what is being communicated. Our favorite songs usually get ‘stuck’ in our heads and this is mainly because music has been known to tickle or stimulate our memory in a variety of ways that makes it easy to recall familiar tunes. Picking the right televisions goes beyond the scope of this article, but we recommend checking out an authority review site to help you pick the best TV products.

Use of lighting, for example the use of colored energy-efficient LED lights, brightens up and pulsates to beats of any sound being made. These LED lights deliver brightness, reactivity and high responsiveness. So when music is being played, the lights go on and the pleasure in listening to and singing along to the music is enhanced. Listening to music and playing music video games can now become much more involving and much more fun than before. When these and other visual aids are used to enhance music, you will also realize that the attention on what is going on will be maintained for longer and it will be harder for the person to lose concentration. Watching music allows a person to participate and connect with the message being passed across. It will also be beneficial for anyone listening to music while watching what is happening on television to hone their analytical skills and experience a new world beyond that which they are currently at.

The Uncommon Instruments That Give Ska its Cool Sound

The popular Jamaican originated music genre that spans at least four distinct waves (five, if you include reggae, which developed after ska) and is one of the most easily identifiable of all rock-based musical movements. Not only can you instantly determine when a song is being performed in the style of ska…you also can’t help but move. Ska is arguably the most infectious music you’ll ever hear, taking instruments commonly heard in other genres and using them in an uncommon way. The centerpiece of the “ska sound” is, for instance, the upstroke on the guitar. The bass line in many ska songs is also a defining element. For many who love ska and just can’t get enough, however, it is the less common instruments that have been added during the evolution of ska that is the greatest attraction.


The trombone is perhaps the signature uncommon instrument most often found in a ska band. Even within the genre, the trombone is uncommon: you can very easily listen to some great ska bands without ever hearing a trombone. What makes the trombone’s prevalence in ska so unique is that outside of jazz, ska is basically the only pop music genre in which the trombone is anything more than a novelty. Very often the trombone actually takes center stage in ska in an opening solo that introduces a song. Reel Big Fish is a great example of a ska band who achieved great commercial success who used brass, particularly trombones in most of their popular songs:


The blaring brass horns are responsible for much of the infectious and joyous quality of ska songs. Compared to the trombone, trumpets are almost a standard instrument in popular music. The reality, of course, is that while trumpets have been occasionally featured in rock songs from the Beatles to U2, it has has never even come close to toppling the saxophone from its position as rock’s preferred instrument made of brass. A ska band without a sax seems perfectly acceptable. On the other hand, a ska band without a trumpet just doesn’t feel right.


Organs qualify as perhaps the most uncommon of the uncommon instruments to be heard with any regularity in ska. The Hammond organ, which produces an electronic sound often viewed a precursor to the synthesizer, seems to be the preferred type of this instrument. The organ was more common in the first wave of ska and eventually became a signature sound in reggae songs. While more common in first wave of ska, one of the most famous ska songs of all time is heavily dependent on the sound of a Hammond organ to develop its sinister sense of foreboding. Perhaps that creepy organ is why the Specials’ “Ghost Town” treads the line between ska and reggae.


Finally, there is the use of the voice as an instrument in ska. Not to be confused with singing the lyrics, the voice is actually incorporated into some songs as instrumentation in the form of what is called “toasting.” Toasting is usually performed in live performances of instrumental ska songs and features rhythmic punctuation of social commentary, chants and rhymed storytelling.

A Brief History of Punk Music in California

When one thinks of punk music, usually the first bands that come to mind is The Ramones, who brought punk into the mainstream while playing in New York City, and the Sex Pistols, who got things going in the United Kingdom. But while The Ramones and Sex Pistols might have been the first to break punk rock into the mainstream, bands from the state of California have done a lot since to grow the genre and even break it out into different subgenres. Of course one can never forget just how hard the old school Ramones can rock!

The main contribution California made was inventing the subgenre of hardcore punk and ska punk. Hardcore punk took the garage band roots of The Ramones and expanded on it, adding an edge and a bite to both the lyrics and the dancing that accompanied it. Black Flag is considered the innovator of hardcore in Los Angeles, as it was founded in 1976 in Hermosa Beach by Greg Ginn. Another famous member of Black Flag, which spent a decade expressing its hardcore sentiments, was Henry Rollins, who brought a serious, anti-establishment vibe to the band. Bad Religion was also a hardcore pioneer, producing 16 albums (many of which have an anti-establishment tinge to them) and still remain active to this day.

While Black Flag was tearing it up near LA, the Dead Kennedys were doing the same in San Francisco. The Dead Kennedys, like a lot of hardcore punk acts in the day, were known for their leftist leanings and made their political views known in their lyrics, taking a heavily anti-Ronald Reagan stance in many of their songs. The band wasn’t afraid to push the envelope, as the artwork for 1985′s Frankenchrist, which featured several explicit images, got the band charged with “distribution of harmful material to minors.” The band was not convicted on the charges.

Another side effect of the California hardcore evolution was the emergence of slamdancing. Slamdancing echoes the harder edge that hardcore punk brought, as it was dancing based on “slamming” into other people and destroying surrounding property. Slam dancing has evolved, as mosh pits are now popular at many concerts inside and outside the punk genre.

California punk bands also helped with the formulation of alternative music in the late 1980s and early-to-mid 1990s, providing an alternative to the “hair bands” and grunge rock that was popular at the time. One of the earliest to do this was the Red Hot Chili Peppers. While not necessarily considered a punk band, the Los Angeles-based band combined punk, funk and psychedelic sounds with a jam band-feel to appeal to a broader audience. San Francisco band Green Day also made it big on a global scale starting in the 1990s, integrating the classic punk rock sound and lyrical angst with a pop music feel, as it has been one of the headliner “pop punk” bands.

Ska punk, or a combination of punk rock and the reggae-like calypso beats of ska music, also has California roots. Fishbone, which was founded in Los Angeles in the late 1970s, was the first to integrate the two sounds, but the genre really got mainstream love when The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and No Doubt emerged in the 1990s.

Influential Punk Songs

Nervous Breakdown by Black Flag: Released as an EP in 1978, this was the first real big hardcore punk hit and changed the punk genre forever. The praise it received in its limited release allowed Black Flag to receive more live gigs in Los Angeles, spreading its popularity and the popularity of hardcore punk.

Holiday by Green Day: This song showed the maturation of Green Day from more of a fun time, pop punk band to one with a political voice. Holiday, released on 2005′s American Idiot, delved into criticism of the United States’ role in the Gulf War and was an anthem against political conformity, as the successful pop punk group dipped into the anti-establishment vibe that punk music has historically centered around.

Just A Girl by No Doubt: This is the song that vaulted ska punk into the commercial forefront. Located on Tragic Kingdom, this ode to female empowerment was a seismic shift in focus for No Doubt and paved the way for the ska punk sound that continued to grow with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Reel Big Fish.<

Ball and Chain by Social Distortion: Social Distortion, a punk band formed in the late 1970s in Fullerton, successfully navigated the punk sound with a folk/blues sound with Ball and Chain. The hit off its 1990 self-titled album, Ball and Chain helped lead to folk-type punk, including Social Distortion’s hit cover of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, and is still popular to this day.

Tips for Buying a Good Set of Speakers

Before making any decision to purchase speakers, it is highly advisable to do some window shopping and listen to a few models of speakers, since they will determine what the overall sound quality of the system you are using will be. Three of the most important factors to consider when making this choice are the speaker type, the stereo components that shall be used to power the speakers and your personal preference. You will be happy in the long run for making the right choice and your ears will definitely thank you. Remember that however good your audio components are, if you have bad speakers, then your home theater will still sound bad. The following are some of the helpful tips you can consider before making that choice for speakers.

Look for what performs

You may have a wide variety of speakers to choose from, but prioritize functionality. Look at baseline specs that matter:

Think About Design

If you are looking for something new and modern, you may consider the cross-breed between the freestanding and the wall-in speakers, that is, the on-wall speakers. These are thin units which hang on walls, complementing the flat-panel video monitor. They are available in a variety of finishes to match your LCD or plasma screen. The small, bookshelf speakers function effectively when placed on top of cabinets, shelves or when concealed. Modern bookshelf speakers can produce great sound as any freestanding speakers and they are an amazing way to save space and enjoy good quality sound at the same time. In-ceiling and in-wall speakers are a good choice to make when you are saving on space and when you want them to remain out of sight. Freestanding speakers can be used anywhere – they are housed within their own cabinets or can be standalone units. These usually provide you with the best sound, whether for home theater use or for music. When buying freestanding speakers, the availability of space should be considered. Check out this great video for more information: