NJ ska-core band The Best of the Worst were one of the many great bands on last year's Ska Against Racism compilation, and when we spoke to them for our feature on the current ska scene, they mentioned they'd be releasing their second-ever full-length album in 2021 (their first was in 2013). Now that album has been officially announced. It's called Better Medicine, and it comes out February 19 via Bad Time Records and TBOTW drummer Joe Scala's own Choke Artist label.

Mike Sosinksi from Bad Time Records/Kill Lincoln had this to say about the album:

I grew up in the New Jersey punk scene of the early 2000's. From my first few local shows one thing became very clear; genre boundaries didn't mean shit. You could play ska, but could also throw in some speedy skate punk or saccharine emo. You could play metalcore, but could also have a ripping horn section. Bands like Catch 22 made ska kids realize that they also loved and needed the raw energy of hardcore. Bands like Folly made hardcore kids realize ska could be fun as hell and somehow make the hardcore parts seem EVEN HEAVIER. As a young musician in the scene, it seemed imperative to combine styles, smear your heart on your sleeve, embrace the music you love without fear of reproach, and to keep pushing the limits of genre. I don't think any band more fully embodies this idea than The Best of the Worst.

First single "Counterfeit Smiles" is out now, and if Mike's description piqued your interest, this song delivers and then some. The "core" in The Best of the Worst's ska-core is often closer to metalcore than to hardcore, and this song is no exception, with half-stack-shaking chugs and throat-shredding screams that give the '90s Victory Records roster a run for its money. "Counterfeit Smiles" blend that stuff seamlessly with lighter, poppier ska and bright, punchy horns, and the song's uncompromising approach to genre is matched by its unflinching lyricism. It's a very promising first taste of this new LP, as you can hear for yourself by streaming it below.

1. Short Change
2. Wishing Well
3. Counterfeit Smiles
4. This Morbid Life
5. Out Of Mind
6. Sour Spot
7. Catch My Breath
8. Learn to Die Another Day
9. Rotten Dichotomy
10. Glass Hands
11. Fine Print
12. Better Medicine

photo: Shuttercrust / Lorien Lamarr
photo: Shuttercrust / Lorien Lamarr


The Year In Ska: Albums Not to Miss From 2020