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Album Review

Famously, Two Tone took the ska/rocksteady/reggae past and fired it up with punk's present, an innovation in musical styling that swept around the globe. The third wave added new ingredients to this basic recipe, each band creating their own unique mix. Chicago's Hot Stove Jimmy's recipe falls into the ska-core section of the cookbook. It's high octane base is equal parts driving Two Tone and frenetic punk. However, the band don't cook it up with '70s British punk, but its American new-school offspring, lashed with melody and far more furious than its predecessor. Nor do they take their Two Tone straight up either, beefing up the original style with lashings of brass, Jamaican style. And while the carnival keyboards are reminiscent of Madness, Jimmy eschews the music hall stylings the Nutty Boys also so adored.

Peppering up this sizzling mix are jazzy horn solos, heaps of hard rock splaying into metal, and bouncing off the walls intros à la Mr. Bungle. And not content with that, on "Sam's Satan Disco" Jimmy tosses ironic techno on to the stove. However, for all its good-time atmospheres, headbanging rhythms, and fast and furious delivery, the lyrics are as alienated and angry as any respectable hardcore band's. But just like the Specials made depression sound jubilant, this tight, ten-piece group makes angst exhilarating. Quite a debut, and self-produced to boot, Salute the new generation of skankers.


Genre: Ska

Years Active: '90s

Chicago ska-revival band Hot Stove Jimmy formed in early 1994; roster changes regularly plagued the group, although the nine-piece line-up of frontman Matt Irie, guitarists Keith Danek and Brett Meingasner, bassist Rob Willy, keyboardist Sam Ambrosini, saxophonists Jeff Vidmont and Matt Thullen, trumpeter Mark Beening and drummer Anthony Spila enjoyed some longevity during the latter part of the decade. Hot Stove Jimmy's demo Take Your Time was officially released on the Strike Out Reckhords label...
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Salute, Hot Stove Jimmy
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