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Music Review: Mad Caddies – Keep It Going

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After a long, tiring day of dissing bands and books, I like to settle in my crib, crank up the stereo, and listen to bands which mix reggae, punk, Dixieland, country and ska to relax. Of course, Mad Caddies is the only band in the world sporting such a blend, which means my collection of Mad Caddies discs are scratched, dented, and otherwise abused.

Fortunately, the Cad’s are about to release a new album, Keep It Going. I’ve only had this disc a week, and I’ve played it so many times, it’s practically mangled beyond recognition.

The Mad Caddies hit the DIY scene back in 1997 with their debut album Quality Soft Core. That record needed a little work but I could tell right then if the Cad’s played their cards right, they’d be hard to beat in a few years. And I was right. They faltered a bit on Rock the Plank, but on Duck and Cover and Just One More the Cad’s demonstrated brilliance, creating high energy mixes balanced with marvelous crooning by lead vocalist/guitarist Chuck Robertson. They hit a new high on the EP This Holiday Has Been Cancelled. The brilliance from those previous releases continues on Keep It Going, each track containing flawless performances sure to make the heartiest punk rocker dance barefoot around his or her hovel.

No doubt Robertson is an amazing vocalist and electric guitarist, but the Cad’s are so much more than just the sum of their parts. Sascha Lazor bangs out rhythm on acoustic/electric guitars, bass, banjo, piano, and a variety of percussion instruments, Keith Douglas pumps 10,000 watts of energy into his horn work, Ed Hernandez slips in some cool grooves on slide trombone, and Brian Flenniken manhandles his drum kit to punch out an explosive back beat.

Every song is tremendous, but those leaking over to genius include the opener “The Dirge”, “Pyramid Scheme”, “Souls for Sale”, and the instrumental cover “Riding for a Fall”. On these tracks, the Cad’s fusion of styles reach frenzy, compared only to the funk-rock-rap mix on the first two Red Hot Chili Pepper’s albums Self Titled and Freaky-Styley.

Okay, maybe I’m a little over-enthused with this album. But with so much genuine schlock taking up room in record stores anymore, it’s a pleasure knowing The Mad Caddies slavishly adheres to their beautifully weird musical vision, refusing to sell out for major label stardom. If you need your music to be raw, fresh, and original, definitely pick up Keep It Going. If you aren’t familiar with the Mad Caddies, this album is a great place to start. And believe me, once you hear them you’ll be haunting record stores for their new releases just like I do, and mangling them with joy.

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