Arguably the most socially- and politically-aware band featured in the cross-country Ska Against Racism trek is the Toasters. In fact, it's a perfect fit for the cause.
Credited with reviving 2-Tone ska in America around 1982, the New York group's latest release, "D.L.T.B.G.Y.D. (Don't Let the Bastards Get You Down)" continues its trademark blend of infectious rhythms and uplifting themes of unity and empowerment, with songs such as "Fire in My Soul" and "Devil and a .45" packing a solid punch.
The Toasters are led by singer-songwriter-guitarist Robert "Bucket" Hingley, who founded Moon Ska Records in the early-'80s. The all-ska, indie label has grown from a one-man operation into a company with a full-time staff, warehouse and retail store. The Toasters, Let's Go Bowling, Bad Manners, Skavoovie and the Epitones head its 30-act roster.
How does modern ska holds up against the music's first and second waves?
"Definitely, the unity vibe needs to be worked on," Hingley said. "With such a rapid expansion [of ska], a lot of the kids have no clue where this music came from and, ultimately, what it meant back in the days when blood was definitely thicker than money.