As we talked about in our list of all-time essential ska albums, '80s-era Bay Area band The Uptones played a massive yet often-overlooked role in the development of US ska-punk, directly paving the way for Operation Ivy and Rancid, who helped bring what The Uptones started to the masses. Rancid covered their signature song "Get Out of My Way" on their debut album, and The Uptones' Eric Din co-wrote "The 11th Hour" from Rancid's breakthrough album ...And Out Come the Wolves. The Uptones have reunited over the years, but more recently, Eric Din has been focusing on his solo career, and his new album Street Party comes out this Saturday (4/9). A full stream premieres in this post.

The Uptones not only helped inspire ska-punk, they also had a new wave and jangle pop vibe (and were briefly associated with R.E.M.), and that side of them comes through most strongly on Eric's new solo album. There's some twitchy, Devo/Talking Heads-style new wave ("Push the Better Button"), glam rock ("Always For A Moment," "Sweet Lacy Anne"), and an array of folksy psych-pop songs that at various points recall The Kinks, Bowie, The Band, The Byrds, and more. And if you are looking for some ska, "People I May Know" has you covered.

"One of the challenges in making this record was the long-distance collaborations made necessary by COVID," Eric tells us. "The Uptones always recorded together in the studio or live, so it took some getting used to for me, sending tracks back and forth online as we did with most of these songs. Once I got the hang of it, that turned out to be a fun process, and it gave me a much-needed activity with some good old musical friends, including some of my fellow Uptones. Each song here is like a sort of journal entry, mostly from these last few crazy years. Making this album helped me cope with all the madness and find some humor and light amid the darkness. Also, I learned that working in physical isolation doesn't necessarily mean working alone. And we did get together and play live in the studio on a couple of these, once folks were vaccinated! It was fun to create, and I'm excited to share it."

Listen to the full album right here:

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