welcome back to the Skaject folks! continuing the chain of new bands, this week we’re taking a look at the debut casette from Michigan ska band Mustard Plug, Skapocalypse Now! – this was released originally in 1992, before being re-released on CD later in 1998. i’ve listened to quite a bit of Mustard Plug, but never a full record or large chunks of their discography, so this was one i was particularly excited for. an odd note going into this record – three of the tracks here on the original release and one of the CD bonus tracks were included on their next record, Big Daddy Multitude. a lot of the thoughts i have on these apply to their other versions, but in general i don’t think this release has the tightest versions of these songs.

Brain on Ska is a phenomenal song, and an excellent way to kick off a discography, not gonna lie. i adore this song. tight hooks and an excellent chorus, and a lot of the parts of this track mesh extremely well together. this version feels slightly slower than i’m used to, but i adjust pretty quick. Alone has a killer bass line to it, the horns leading into the verses are really pleasant, and the sax loops on the verses are quite fun, but i’m not into the chorus at all. Summertime ends the run of tracks that’ll get repeated – this one’s really fun. i dig a good summer song. Sweet Potato is a very sweet silly song, with a nice lil pun as the conceit. We Want the Mustard is a bit of a thesis statement for the band, as much as they can have one. To Be’s nice – i really enjoy it musically, and like that it’s leaning a little punkier for this record, but i’m not super solid on the lyrics. Kill the Governor is uh, a lot heavier than i’d expect, even if it feels like it’s supposed to be a bit of a joke. talk about a song that lands differently in the modern era. they got the spirit tho. Simon Says is a cover of a track i’ve never heard before from The 1910 Fruitgum Company. neat song, giving a bit of Time Warp vibes. Butcher’s Mop is mostly instrumental, with real bare-bones lyrics. got a solid groove to it but not outstanding. 7-11 closed out the original tape, and it’s a real “im just doing retail” track, which i always find fun.

Thigh High Nylons is the repeat from the CD bonus tracks – i dig this one, though i’m pretty sure it’s the rap bridge that’s different in this take. i think it feels a bit less integrated into the song, but i’d have to listen to the other version to be sure. Escape was a track not originally included from this recording session – i actually really like when artists let the fans peer behind the curtain like this, and see what else came out of an album cycle. this one’s particularly interesting, as it’s a lot heavier than the rest of the record (Kill the Governor is the closest they get to it), and is a bit of a window into an alternate, far more punk heavy version of the band. i think they coulda pulled it off.

faves – Brain on Ska, Summertime, Thigh High Nylons
dislikes –

p good tape! this is charming in really fun ways, even if the back half is weaker in ways that make the return of some but not all of these songs on the next record make a lot of sense, haha. i think it’s a pretty clean package, and the CD bonus tracks are fun with the context of some of their other music. fun, but i expect i’m gonna dig the next record a bit more. def give this one a listen if you’re a Mustard Plug fan and haven’t heard it before.

Skapocalypse Now! – 6/10

next week, we’ll catch up with the Toasters on New York Fever!

previous: Rancid (EP) | next: New York Fever

this is the first Mustard Plug record | next: Big Daddy Multitude

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