The Slackers

Given its members' myriad side projects, it's a wonder we still get to see the Slackers perform live anymore. It seems like each bandmate has his own rocksteady, dub, jazz, punk rock, garage, or soul iron in the fire, so when the Slackers tour as a whole, it's rightfully an event of massive proportions. Since 1996's Better Late Than Never, the NYC-based band has led the pack in giving the ska scene an injection of soul. As other acts fled for more commercial pastures, the Slackers have never wavered, delivering a continuous rocksteady sound. Their subsequent signing to Tim Armstrong's HellCat Records in 1997 broke the band in exponential ways, exposing the core group of Rancid fans to things such as Django Reinhardt-style guitars and dub sounds. Singer Vic Ruggiero has always channeled the best of the early ska vocalists — most prominently Prince Buster — and saxophonist Dave Hillyard is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to modern ska brass. Ever the long-lasting ska warriors, the Slackers will release a new album on Epitaph next year.


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