K-Man and The 45s – Stand With The Youth (Album Review)
I want to introduce you to K-Man & the 45’s. A very solid Ska band from the ever musically inclined Montreal. K-Man & the 45’s reminds me of why I like Ska so damn much.
First a bit of history. K-Man & the 45’s released their first, self-titled, album in 2016 on Stomp Records. The band has played shows across North America and Europe and generally prefer being on the road to staying in one place. Pretty standard intriguing rock-musician stuff so far.
K-Man & the 45’s musically is pretty damn great – they’ve got a high-energy alt-rock-ska sound going-on. If life was still simple and it was 1998 these guys would have all kinds of radio action going on.
The band is gearing up for the next tour right now actually – tour dates down below – right after the upcoming release of their new record “Stand with the Youth”.
“Stand with the Youth” features 12 tracks – see below – and was inspired by everyone under 30, because you my young friends, have your work cut out for you. I’m 35 so I’ve resolved that I’m no longer among our “youth” and my general MTV generation indifference probably didn’t help you any.
While I make light of the state of world on the Internet, K-Man saw a chance to support and reconnect with a new generation of could-be ska-punks and general hooligans dealing with their own extreme ideations of problems like mental health, addiction, homelessness, abuse and violence.
His message overall is pretty simple and pretty important and that is – you’re being seen. We all see you, and we’re all fucking blown away by not only what you’re accomplishing, but also what you’re up against.
So what does this have to do with liking Ska so much? Ska music originated in the late 50’s and has evolved and lingered on as a favourite for working-class subcultures all over the world from all different backgrounds. It evolved from a mix of calypso with American Jazz and became synonymous with modern countercultures – alongside the modern punk movement – in the west in the late 70’s and 80’s. It’s not only fitting to dedicate an album inspired by the challenges of today’s youth, to the youth themselves – it’s fitting for the music.
K-Man & the 45’s are that special kind of modern rock/ska that anyone who loved Sublime will be able to get behind. The lyrics reflect the worst parts of life, while the high-energy melody lets in only the light – the cheer and the fun. This is the juxtaposition that makes Ska music so awesome to me. Could have something to do with the MTV cynicism… but at least that cynicism is in good fun.
On to the Album…
Stand with the Youth
The album’s title track gets moving pretty fast with some great drums and horn hooks. Stand with the Youth pretty much vibes for the whole album – and touches on what we can only can consider the national conversation of gun-control; and the president being a whore. While K-Man doesn’t present any direct (or “chargeable”) evidence of the President of the United States prostituting himself for money – I’m still comfortable with getting behind the sentiment. Also, guns are bad.
Hero With a Death Ray
Is your hero constantly losing final battles or getting captured by space pirates? Get your hero a Death Ray today!
Hero With a Death Ray is a GREAT track – my favorite on the album overall. It’s so random and wonderful and with no obvious agenda other than to be awesome. I honestly wish there was a bit more of this style of writing on the album as a whole. Lot’s of fun and makes me think of Death Rays. Also, this track recommends a homemade death-ray, so ignore the commercial death-ray plug at the top of this track review… Sorry about that.
I’d certainly like to hear a track about the making-of the homemade death-ray, if possible.
Whatcha Doing to Me?
This track starts off like a fancy old-movie and quickly moves into a full ska-orchestra-fest. Good stuff. Clinical obsession can a terrible thing and I can only think that personal obsession and the resulting self-destructive behaviour is the underlying theme here. Also, probably a girl – or boy – or drug-dealer. Did you ever have your childhood dealer move away? It was fucking heartbreaking.
Get Outta My Head
Lyrically that’s pretty much it, but in persistent Ska 2 minutes time-frame. Musically this song is fan-fucking-tastic. I won’t tell you which part makes me think that I can do this – but I’m reasonably sure I could have a detailed conversation about Sex and The City with whomever is responsible for writing the horns on this track.
So now we’re getting a little more direct with the politics, and I like it. This track also feels way better with weed. That is to say this track has a very heavy island influence in the way it’s presented – these guys know just the right time to slow it down.
This is the track you want to take to the gym with you – if you’re a gym person. It’s totally friendly aggressive. You know that feeling when you’re in a hurry, but you’re not actually late so it’s ok – and you’re kind of having fun just living your life? That’s how this track feels.
Don’t Want to Wait
I’ve been listening to K-Man & the 45’s for about week now on and off and once and a while I’ll notice the K-Man’s voice. This song is a great representation of the unique style of K-Man when he delivers lyrics. It compliments the horns and the up-beat music so well. It’s like the gritty soul behind the musics energetic face. This one is also super catchy.
Don’t Touch It
This one gets my inner punk moving and should have been included on the new Trainspotting soundtrack – a serious oversight. This song makes me want to actually get in a mosh and fuck shit up. Professionally i’d recommend this song for fucking shit up, then for catching your breath after shit is sufficiently fucked up. Then run.
I Got A Minute
Everytime I think I’ve got these guys down they throw in a track like this that totally throws me off. I Got A Minute is a totally catchy little ska-pop track. K-Man delivers lyrics with the same voice and an entirely different tone. The horn gets a bit more of a stand-alone feature which is nice – these guys have some sweet, sweet horn action – that sounds gross. I want to see a stupid love movie use this track, just as everything goes hilariously wrong.
Never Can Tell
Let me start by saying this is a great cover of a song by the man I would consider the father of what we consider rock music. Chuck Berry was the first musician to ever do significantly rock n’ roll… things! – he was the first to include (and play) his own electric guitar on stage in his performances, moreover the first to move around the stage while performing, let alone moving around the stage while performing with an instrument in hand. Chuck Berry was a fucking hero! How does K-Man measure up? Damn fine, damn fine. And I’m sure Chuck would approve.
Free to Go
This song is a great example of the juxtaposition that I was talking about – lyrically this song is great, lots of deliciously viceral words to sink your ears into. This song is about freedom from domestic violence. In some ways it’s about being cast out into freedom, and letting go for the sake of gaining something back; and DESERVING freedom and joy. It’s probably an important sentiment right now. Also, don’t let your dogs out. They don’t need freedom – just pets.
Cooking Out On the Pans
I get a sneaking suspicion that this song was written on a beach, probably at night after some shenanigans. I will listen to this track on repeat the next time I’m heading to, hanging out at, or leaving a beach.
Stand with the Youth will be available on iTunes, Apple Music and Spotify Monday April 15, 2019 – I highly recommend giving it a listen.
The band is also currently on tour, dates below:
10 MayNewmarketThe Grey Goat w/ Faintest Idea
11 MayTorontoBovine w/ Faintest Idea
12 MayHamiltonCasbah w/ Faintest Idea
15 MayQuebecL’Anti w/ Faintest Idea
16 MaySherbrookeLe Murdoch w/ Faintest Idea
18 MayMontrealPouzza Fest
18 MayOttawaDominion Tavern w/ Faintest Idea
22 MayWinnipegWindsor Hotel
24 MayCalgaryDickens w/ Planet Smashers
25 MayEdmontonJasper Stationw/ Planet Smashers
26 MayGoldenRockwater w/ Planet Smashers
27 MayBanffWild Billsw/ Planet Smashers
28 MayRosslandFlying Steamshovel w/ Planet Smashers
30 MayWhistlerDubh Linn Gate w/ Planet Smashers
31 MayVancouverImperial Theatre w/ Planet Smashers
1 JuneVictoriaCapital Ballroom w/ Planet Smashers
3 JuneSaskatoonBlack Cat Tavern
5 JuneThunder BayBlack Pirate Pub
6 JuneSault Ste. MarieRock Star Bar