2-Tone ska icons The Specials released Encore, their first album in nearly 40 years, back in 2019, and they're not waiting as long to make another one. Protest Songs 1924 - 2012 will be out September 24 via Island Records. The album features "twelve singular takes on specially chosen protest songs across an almost 100-year span and shows The Specials still care, are still protesting and are still pissed off!" It seems like a perfect fit for a group who have never shied away from cover songs or letting people know what they think.

“The beginning of 2020 saw us all together making a reggae record before we each fell ill with Covid-19 and had to put the album on ice,” the band wrote on social media. “During the first lockdown, the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis radiated shockwaves of protest and debate around the world. So when we were able to meet again over the summer, Terry suggested that we make a different kind of record as a response to recent events. When we finally got back together in May 2021, we hadn’t played for a year and a half so to all be playing in a room together at the same time was an absolute joy. It was a big deal. The urge to rail against what is wrong with the world and suggest how it could be better is as old as song, and The Specials have a history of protesting and fighting for justice and equality.”

The album includes their versions of Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows," Bob Marley's "Get Up Stand Up," Malvina Reynolds' "I Don't Mind Failing In This World" and "I Live in a City," Frank Zappa's "Trouble Every Day," Talking Heads "Listening Wind," Chip Taylor & The New Ukrainians' "Fuck All The Perfect People," and more. You can listen to their cover of The Staple Singers' "Freedom Highway," which opens the album, and check out the tracklist below.

The new album is available in a variety of editions, including autographed copies, deluxe versions with a bonus live 7", and more. No music has been shared yet but pre-orders are available.

The Specials start their UK tour next week. All dates are listed below.

The band's classic 1979 debut album made our list of 64 Essential Ska Albums from 1964 to Present.

The Specials - Protest Songs 1924-2012
1. Freedom Highway (The Staple Singers)
2. Everybody Knows (Leonard Cohen)
3. I Don't Mind Failing In This World (Malvina Reynolds)
4. Black, Brown And White (Big Bill Broonzy)
5. Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Us Around (traditional)
6. Fuck All The Perfect People (Chip Taylor & The New Ukrainians)
7. My Next Door Neighbour (Jerry McCain)
8. Trouble Every Day (Frank Zappa & Mothers of Invention)
9. Listening Wind (Talking Heads)
10. Soldiers Who Want To Be Heroes (Rod McKuen)
11. I Live In A City (Malvina Reynolds)
12. Get Up, Stand Up (Bob Marley)

THE SPECIALS - 2021 TOUR DATES
AUGUST 28TH - DREAMLAND - MARGATE, UK
AUGUST 29TH - THE PIECE HALL - HALIFAX, UK
AUGUST 31ST - O2 ACADEMY - BRISTOL, UK
SEPTEMBER 2ND - PAVILIONS - PLYMOUTH, UK
SEPTEMBER 3RD - WINDSOR HALL - BOURNEMOUTH, UK
SEPTEMBER 4TH - BRIGHTON CENTRE - BRIGHTON, UK
SEPTEMBER 6TH - BARROWLAND - GLASGOW, UK
SEPTEMBER 7TH - USHER HALL - EDINBURGH, UK
SEPTEMBER 9TH - O2 VICTORIA WAREHOUSE - MANCHESTER, UK
SEPTEMBER 10TH - MOTORPOINT ARENA - CARDIFF, UK
SEPTEMBER 11TH - RICOH ARENA - COVENTRY, UK
SEPTEMBER 13TH - BONUS ARENA - HULL, UK
SEPTEMBER 14TH - EMPRESS BALLROOM - BLACKPOOL, UK
SEPTEMBER 16TH - O2 ACADEMY - BIRMINGHAM, UK
SEPTEMBER 17TH - MOTORPOINT ARENA - NOTTINGHAM, UK
SEPTEMBER 18TH - DONCASTER DOME - DONCASTER, UK
SEPTEMBER 20TH - O2 CITY HALL - NEWCASTLE, UK
SEPTEMBER 21ST - RIVERMEAD - READING, UK
SEPTEMBER 23RD - ROUNDHOUSE - LONDON, UK
SEPTEMBER 24TH - ROUNDHOUSE - LONDON, UK
SEPTEMBER 25TH - TROXY - LONDON, UK