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Melbourne Ska Orchestra

Here’s 5 tracks as chosen by Melbourne Ska Orchestra trombone player, tour manager and songwriter Wally Maloney, ahead of their Byron Bay Bluesfest performances next weekend.

Melbourne Ska Orchestra is a big group of people, there are usually 25 of us on stage for every gig,” Wally says. “When it comes to what influences the musicians in the band and what everyone is listening to, it’s a pretty varied collection of music. We’ve got experts on rare jazz and blues, lovers of reggae and rocksteady, not to mention some of the most respected funk, Latin and afrobeat players in the country. It’s the genre of ska that binds us all together, but the eclectic variety (is what) keeps it exciting and has kept the band together for over 15 years. Last year we recorded and released 52 tracks, one per week for the entire year. We got to bring all of these different influences together and turn them into what we like to call International Ska.”

“There are people who love getting deep into the history of a genre and learning it intimately. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been down that path before, but at the moment I’m interested in discovering new music rather than hanging out at the museum.”

[powerkit_row cols_nr=”2″][powerkit_col size=”7″]MEUTE – You & Me
These guys are a street band from Europe who’ve been posting some amazing videos on YouTube of their performances and I must have watched this clip a hundred times. The version on Spotify isn’t as good as what’s on YouTube but you can still get the sense that this band is doing amazing arrangements of current producers. This is a Flume cover and if you look in the comments on the videos you’ll see that Flume has given it the thumbs up. I’m a trombone player, so it’s got the thumbs up from me too.

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Mista Savona, Solis, Randy Valentine – Carnival
One of the members of the Melbourne Ska Orchestra is a world-class producer with vision. A few years ago he set off to Havana, Cuba to make an album bringing together the greats of Cuban and Jamaican music for the first time. The result is a great mixture to modern reggae and dancehall with classic Cuban swagger.
Well worth a listen.

Big Freedia feat. Lizzo – Karaoke
I’ve been a fan of New Orleans Bounce for a long time and while I admit it is a hard sell trying to convince my fellow bandmates to get on the Bounce wagon I can say I’ve made a few converts. Bounce is an underground sub-genre of hip hop originating in New Orleans and ruled over by Big Freedia the Queen Diva. There’s something about this that causes a physical reaction and I can’t help moving my ass. Which is what bounce music is made to do.

Run The Jewels – Talk To Me
I first heard Killer Mike and El-P come together on Killer Mike’s 2012 album R.A.P. Music. I was immediately attracted to the dirty off-kilter El-P production mixed with the drive and force of Killer Mike’s voice. As Run The Jewels, the pair have come together to create some great heavy, funny, angry and considered rap music. This tune in particular has some of the heaviest driving 808s I’ve ever heard, which coincidently seem to be timed to the speed which I run on a treadmill. It’s also three minutes long which is about as long as I can run on a treadmill. Win win.

LSD – Thunderclouds
I’m a sucker for a bit of well-crafted pop and when it comes to crafting pop music it’s hard to go past this pop “supergroup”. LSD, comprising the intimidating combination of Labrinth, Sia and Diplo are in top pop form with this candy-striped dreampop number while keeping it left of centre and interesting.