Stream Jeff Rosenstock’s Surprise Album Ska Dream, The Ska Version Of No Dream
The great pop-punk auteur Jeff Rosenstock first came to prominence as the frontman of the Arrogant Sons Of Bitches, a ska-punk band from Long Island, and ska has always been near and dear to his heart. Rosenstock’s solo albums often include little bits and piece of ska-punk, and Rosenstock also plays in the Bruce Lee Band, a longtime ska-punk project from Asian Man Records founder Mike Park. If you’re one of the people who insists that no, fuck you guys, ska is the shit, then Jeff Rosenstock is your ally. But it’s still a little surprising that Rosenstock just fucked around and released an entire ska version of his excellent 2020 album No Dream.
Like most Rosenstock albums, No Dream also arrived as an out-of-nowhere surprise. Rosenstock dropped the LP a little bit less than a year ago. Now he and his bandmates have re-recorded every song on No Dream, transforming them into full-on ska-punk with horns and dubby snare-tap breakdowns and pickitups. Rosenstock has also renamed every song on the album to fit the theme. “Ohio Tpke,” for instance, is now “Ohio Porkpie.” Different tracks also feature tributes to the Specials and the Suicide Machines.
For Ska Dream, Rosenstock enlisted a lot of collaborators. Longtime co-conspirators like Chris Farren and Laura Stevenson appear on the album, but the album also features emissaries from the ska world, including the Bruce Lee Band’s Mike Park and Fishbone’s Angelo Moore, as well as members of bands like Mustard Plug, the Slackers, and JER. All of the members of PUP are on the album, and so are the Hold Steady’s Franz Nicolay and Katie Ellen’s Anika Pyle. Also, Deafheaven frontman George Clarke is in there somewhere? You can stream Ska Dream below.
Here’s what Rosenstock writes about the album on the Ska Dream Bandcamp page:
SKA DREAM is a complete re-recording of Jeff Rosenstock’s critically-acclaimed 2020 record NO DREAM however this time around all the songs are ska songs you’re welcome. The very good idea to make this record came together when, like many other bands throughout this pandemic that refused to participate in super spreading events, we were trying to find a fun way to make some music together to share with people. Otherwise we were just spending our evenings texting the group chat in dread about the collapsing world around us. Not the most fun band activity.
As with most things ska in my life, what started out as a fun goof with friends eventually morphed into “Hey, what if we tried to make it good though?” All of us have a pretty deep history playing and touring the country in punk/ska bands. We all understand the stigma that comes along with ska, we’ve all dealt with the pitfalls of it, and we’ve all kept on truckin’ regardless. If you are one of those people who loves music as long as it isn’t ska, that’s cool, we see you. This record isn’t for you and you don’t have to listen to it. Byeeee.
Okay, everyone else, we see you too, we love you and check it out, SKA DREAM is real.
We live in different cities and don’t see each other a lot. This record was arranged through file-sharing, as SKA DREAM is the obvious 2021 analogue to The Postal Service’s Give Up. Drums were recorded by Matt Embree (Rx Bandits) in his practice space in Long Beach, CA. Mike Huguenor’s guitar was recorded at District Recorders in San Jose, CA. All other instruments were recorded in our respective homes.
SKA DREAM was mixed and mastered by Jack Shirley.
“NO TIME TO SKANK” contains a very short tribute to “Our Time” by The Suicide Machines. “Leave It In The Ska” contains a snippet of “Nite Klub” by The Specials.
This record includes contributions from Jer Hunter (JER, Skatune Network, We Are The Union,), Rick Johnson (Mustard Plug), Laura Stevenson, Ara Babajian (The Slackers, Leftover Crack), Boboso, Sean Bonnette (AJJ), George Clarke (Deafheaven), David Combs (Bad Moves), Chris Farren, Augusta Koch (Gladie, Cayetana), Angelo Moore (Fishbone), Franz Nicolay, nonregla, Elise Okusami (Oceanator), Mike Park (Bruce Lee Band, Skankin Pickle, Asian Man Records), PUP, Anika Pyle (Katie Ellen, Chumped) & Shannon Toombes.