Indies And The Underground

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Artist Profile: Umbrella Bed

Inspired by the likes of English, Madness and Specials, Minnesota-based “2tone monsters” Umbrella Bed formed in the summer of ’95, blending both the short lived, pop-oriented subgenre 2tone and the then-new grunge/punk influenced third wave to create sound that referenced ska’s past and present. Beyond ska, the band also incorporated reggae, swing and new wave into the mix, a genre-busting combination first heard on 1996′s King Size.Monkeys and Rivets followed in 1998, along with hundreds of manic live shows in Europe and their Midwestern homebase. Signing with the socially-conscious Mad Butcher Records in 2003 produced that year’s Last Band Standing, 2005′s One Small Skank and 2008′s GO, all of which showcased the group’s penchant for musical exploration and lyrics dripping with dry, sarcastic humor.

Umbrella Bed’s new EP Refill has these familiar motifs in place, as “Wish That It Would Stop,” with its sardonic musings on love and “blah blah blah” chorus proves. “Gone Away,” pairs fat, mournful blasts of brass with a shifting bassline similar to old-school Cure, and punk aggression and 2tone pop come together on the energetic “Got It Wrong Now.” Closer “Dubb Away,” with its vintage sci-fi movie-sounding organ and jazz fusion-esque horns, gives the impression the band may also have a soft spot for the B-52′s and Miles Davis.

Refill is out now. Listen to the EP here, and visit Umbrella Bed’s official website to learn more.

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