Just a couple of weeks before SKATERS’ ‘Miss Teen Massachusetts’ video was released I had watched a silly scary movie about a mental hospital and a dude with a multiple personality disorder. More silly than scary, to be honest. And then ‘Miss Teen’ was released – the most beautiful and touchy video seen in ages. It gives you a feel of 1990s when videos were worth watching. It makes you smile and think about nice things. But I’ll say only one of them out loud. If you watched the video, this is exactly what SKATERS do: they take you out of your bubble. Out of the bubble of media hype. Out of the bubble of indie ethics.
When they appeared first with their ‘Schemers’ EP available for free download online, it was music we were missing for enough time and attitude that we wish every band would bring to their gigs. They built their current core audience through live shows and following DIY ethics truly deserved their deal with a major label after a decade of Michael Ian Cummings (vocals) and Noah Rubin (drums) doing everything on their own with The Dead Trees.
Comparisons to the most important bands in punk and indie cultivated by journalists may be pleasant for the band members but completely unnecessary. If someone wants to compare them to others, I’d say, think about ‘people’s bands’ like The Libertines or The Cribs. It’s not about sound but about attitude that we are lacking on modern stage, mixture of being fans’ band and still keeping some kind of mystery around the band’s image. Fairly enough, they didn’t show their faces much at the beginning promoting their music in the first place instead of their personalities. Of course, indie kids could recall who Josh Hubbard (guitar) was from his times in The Paddingtons and Dirty Pretty Things. But SKATERS themselves are not kids at all. They seem to know life, they know industry and they definitely know what they are doing and especially what they don’t want to do. Band members have been through a lot to figure out the best way. And now they make music that gets you for sure.
If you have ever been to their gig or at least searched for them on YouTube (yes, ‘Skaters’ is not the most Google friendly name for the band but there is some old school romance in putting some effort into getting information about new music or favourite band) you heard much more than they have already released and, of course, heard recent singles ‘Deadbolt’ and ‘Miss Teen Massachusetts’ in their live versions. When ‘Deadbolt’ was released as a single, the song that was always a queen of SKATERS’ sets sounded shockingly different to the way it could be heard live. And still fantastic!
‘Miss Teen Massachusetts’ is the opposite case. It sounds exactly the same with any time you heard it live. Just vocals are slightly touched with sound effect. And this song brings Cummings and his superior music team to a status of one of the best songwriters currently. They sound epic and cosy at the same time, effortless and insanely intense, ambitious and humble. Lyrics stick to your mind and hardly let you go. The brilliant riff that in a recent tour with Deap Vally was brought to life by a former Ludes and Rum Shebeen guitarist Matt Allchin is simply addictive.
Following them all the way from ‘Schemers’ EP and first of their brilliant videos to their yet the most powerful single and album ’Manhattan’ ready to be released on February 24th in the UK, it’s hard to imagine them becoming so big that they will stop being a down-to-earth band hanging out with fans after gigs. But it’s even harder not to imagine them becoming a huge cult band for our generation.
Upcoming UK dates:
FEB 27 – THE EXCHANGE – BRISTOL, UK FEB 28 – HARE & HOUNDS – BIRMINGHAM, UK MAR 1 – COCKPIT 2 – LEEDS, UK MAR 2 – THE BODEGA – NOTTINGHAM, UK MAR 3 – KING TUT’S – GLASGOW, UK MAR 4 – THE DEAF INSTITUTE – MANCHESTER, UK MAR 5 – DINGWALLS – LONDON, UK MAR 6 – JOINERS – SOUTHAMPTON, UK