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Skaters
new york dolls
by: Dean Van Nguyen - August 7, 2013

 



With only a handful of compositions to their name, Skaters have very quickly taken a giant leap beyond the usual blog space race, garnering attention from The Guardian and The New York Times, among others, who have joined the legions captivated by their refreshingly undiluted take on classic melody-driven punk rock. The band's music is raw, rickety and exhilarating a fun delineation of SoHo’s scuzzy seventies youth cultures through to their early noughties revivals - all leather jackets, skinny jeans, dark sunglasses and macho bluster.

Picking through their five track EP "Schemers"and seven-inch single 'I Wanna Dance (But I Don't Know)' for clues, the band displays an affinity for massive hooks on top of jangly instrumentation, all soaked in unrefined swagger. To my ears, The Ramones are a key touching point, as are The Strokes, but like any band that pulls major influence from the past, Skaters rack up comparisons with groups from all over the map.

"The best description I've ever heard is someone called us pre-Giuliani post-punk," laughs frontman Michael Ian Cummings, who describes his group as "New York-centric" and exhibits surprise at some of the band names thrown at him. "I've been told that we sounded like Big Audio Dynamite and that both shocked and pleased me," he adds. "I love that band, but I don't really hear it. I guess it's a cooler way of saying you sound like The Clash."

But despite that prototypical Manhattan feel to their music, none of the trio is actually native of the city. Cummings, the band's guitarist, singer and primary songwriter (when asked if Skaters is a democracy, he jokingly calls the band "a kleptocracy - whoever has the most money on them at any given time rules all"), is originally from Boston, butmet drummer Noah Rubin in LA,where the duo began making music together as part of The Dead Trees, a breezy four-piece indie-rock band that cut two albums between 2008 and 2011. Londoner Josh Hubbard, formerly of The Paddingtons and Carl Barat's post-Libertines break-up project Dirty Pretty Things, came into the fold when, as Cummings puts it, the trio went to a house party, and "got really fucked up. We were like 'let's start a band' - we had one of those conversations, and then [Hubbard] actually came through."

A few months later, with all three's various projects winding down, Josh showed up in NYC on 12 hours notice, andequipped with just five songs, Skatersbooked their first show the next day. They went on to drop their debut EP "Schemers" in early 2012. A DIY effort, the free release achieved over 10,000 downloads from the band's website, scoring them first place on The Deli Writer's Best of 2012 Poll for Emerging NYC Artists, not to mention a record deal with major label Warner Brothers, which was announced last February.

They've since followed "Schemers" up with 'I Wanna Dance (But I Don't Know),' an outrageously catchy, "don't bore us get to the chorus" marquee jam, while B-side 'Armed' offered an unexpected stab at more politically-charged songwriting. Released earlier this year at the height of the gun control debate, it was a rare departure for Cummings. "It was out of character because it was somewhat political, and I try to stay away from that stuff to be honest. I much rather keep things personal," he says. "I'm definitely not for guns, but I wrote it more about America flexing its power, y'know? It's less to do with the weapon itself than it is about having world power. I'm definitely against guns. I think it's ludicrous that anyone would need a semi-automatic weapon in their homes."

The band has been touring relentlessly since the single's release, including a lengthy stint in the UK where they found a ready-made audience for their sound. "Man I love those Brits! They have been super receptive over there," says Cummings. "I think people there -[Skaters musical style is] their bread and butter. That's the hometown shit." Maintaining their momentum,Cummings and co.are currently working on their debut full-length in Jimi Hendrix's famed Electric Lady Studios with producer John Hill, who boasts credits with artists as wide-ranging as Waaves and Kings of Leon to Snoop Lion and Shakira. In addition, the band ismixing the record in the UK with accomplished engineer Cenzo Townshend, setting up an equally eventful second half of what has been a breakthrough year.

"Tour, tour, tour," exclaims Cummings when asked what the rest of 2013 year holds. "We're going out with Palma Violets in the fall for a full US tour. Also playing a mess of shows in the UK and Europe. Then hopefully, the record will come out in the fall."

 
 

" The best description I’ve ever heard is someone called us pre-Giuliani post-punk, "




Skaters
"I Wanna Dance (but I don't know how)"




what it is

Indie Pop with a Rock edge.



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