Various Artists

Spawn of Skarmageddon

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What's a supportive record company to do? There's so many good bands out there, even the fast-growing Moon Ska can't sign them all. They could provide a showcase of the best of the batch, however, which was precisely the point behind Skarmageddon, a two-CD roundup of 31 bands from across the States. So popular did the compilation prove, the following year Moon bundled up another 43 bands for a sequel, Spawn of Skarmageddon. As with its predecessor, this two-CD set trawls the country far and wide, from Washington state to Florida, and this time even ventures off-shore to haul on board the Hawaii-based Tantra Monsters. By now, even the mainstream was beginning to get wind that something big was building out there, and this set really drove the point home. Moon themselves may have declined to sign any of these bands, although they subsequently would pick up a clutch, but many would put out full-lengths on other indies, others would release their own albums, while Less Than Jake would eventually sign to a major. All of this reflects the quality of the acts found within, and when you consider there's 43 of them (plus the 31 on the previous set), well, that tells you everything you need to know about the growth of the ska scene. Although the Moon label had a penchant for 2 Tone-fired bands, they knew a great group when they heard them, and made a point of including a wide spectrum of styles within. From Latin-flavored ska to straight-out hardcore, jazz-laced ensembles to rocksteady traditionalists, pop-flecked, rock-flavored, or swing-styled, from goofy to po-faced, upbeat on to downright moody, Spawn showcases it all and then some. So many bands, so much talent, so few outlets, the tragedy is that more of these bands didn't get a shot at the big time, but the glory is, thankfully this set captured them all for posterity.

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