The Upgrades
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The Upgrades

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"Bukkake Review"

The Upgrades have firmly established themselves as a Ska band at heart, and the depth of their commitment to the genre is very evident in this latest offering "Bukakke"

Most people unfamiliar with the genre will immediately make an association with the band "Madness", who made their mark during the second wave of Ska, however with a little digging the roots of the genre go somewhat deeper. This track is less Madness and more roots in parts.

Like many predecessors before them The Upgrades demonstrate a clear Jamaican Reggae under belly that is immediately engaging to the listener. "Bukakke" is a blend of warm textured bass melody, off beat guitar strokes, sprightly snapped out rim shots before punching into a more mainstream catchy rocker. The meandering horn, is ever present throughout and draws you into a tale that is softly expressed through some great vocals and clever lyrics. The backing stuff isn’t bad either and they resisted the temptation to over do it, demonstrating a band with a sense of...well...good sense.

As the characteristic ska guitar snaps to double time and the beat picks up, we start to hear the hint of modern American pop punk with some vocals reminiscient of many "anthem-esque" type , straight four, driven rock songs with a traditionally catchy chorus. This chorus, "Live life for yourself, Live your life the way you want to", with accompanying backing vox, clearly points to a targetted audience more in touch with mainstream commercial music than a niche market of Ska enthusiasts. This is by no means a demeaning statement as The Upgrades have successfully fused modern day influences with reggae rhythm and punchy beats to stir up the most stoic listener, and thats what ska has been about throughout its evolution. It gets ya movin!

"Bukkake" is catchy, infectious and is an indication of a band with a lot of potential. Performances on the recording are good, vocals are particularly appealing and the horn is super!

All in all a thumbs up, guaranteed to peak your interest and will have you downloading some more!

Trev Mooney.
- GigSmart


"Band of the Week"

Probably the best known unknown band in Dublin, The Upgrades have been playing gigs for what seems like an age. It’ll come as a surprise to some, therefore, that their first album will be released this May. The 5-piece ska-punk band recorded ‘Take a Risk’ with Neal Calderwood in Manor Park Studios. Couple that with the fact it’s taken so long to complete and you can easily see why so many people are eagerly anticipating the May 4th release.

Despite not having a debut album, The Upgrades have already played Electric Picnic as well as Ska Festival MIGHTY SOUNDS 2008 in Prague. Their track ‘Nothing’ (which you can hear on their MySpace) was also selected to represent Ireland on the “United Colours Of Ska Volume 4? compilation, featuring 40 of the best ska bands from around the world.

For people who have memories of these being a ‘Blast Band’ I urge you to go see them again. Their live performances can only be described as energetic (at one gig even climaxing into a ‘Wiggle Pit’, involving about 20 people lying down on the ground wiggling like they were at some sort of epileptic disco.)

In the meantime, check out their MySpace for 3 great tracks. I’m sure you’ll be hearing plenty about them in the months to come. - GoldenPlec.com


Discography

Take A Risk (Album) May 2009,
SYWP recs.

30 Seconds To Impact (Compilation) 2008, Punktastic.

United Colours Of Ska Vol. 4 (Compilation) 2007, Pork Pie.

The Upgrades (EP) 2006, Self Published.

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Bio

THE UPGRADES are an up-beat alternative punk rock band.

Mixing modern day rock influences with reggae rhythms and punchy beats, their music clearly points to a targeted audience more in touch with mainstream commercial music than just a niche market of ska or punk enthusiasts. The hints of modern pop punk, and vocals reminiscent of many "anthem-esque" type rock songs with traditionally catchy chorus's have been said to “stir up even the most stoic listener“.

The Upgrades have covered a lot of tracks on the scene in the past few years, playing numerous high profile shows across the country with bands of many different genres.

During the summer The Upgrades were selected to open the main stage at Europe’s biggest ska-punk festival - MIGHTY SOUNDS 2008 in Prague, and upon their return played a slot at one of Irelands biggest music festivals, Electric Picnic. They were also picked as the opening act on the Irish date of the 2006 International TASTE OF CHAOS tour, in the Olympia. Sharing the stage with such acts as Taking Back Sunday, Alexisonfire, Saosin, Anti-Flag, Senses Fail and Underoath.

Other high profile shows include the Staatsforsten Open Air Festival in Germany, the Cula Outdoor Music Festival, and support slots with Canadian reggae superstars Bedouin Sound Clash, American rock/reggae band State Radio, ska legend Neville Staple (ex-The Specials), The Beat, Set Your Goals, and a successful tour of the UK.

The bands song "Nothing" was selected to represent Ireland on the "United Colours Of Ska Volume 4" compilation, featuring 40 of the best ska bands from around the world, selected through extensive online research by popular German ska label Pork Pie Records.

Despite having all this under their belt, The Upgrades are only just getting started!!
Having recently finished recording their Debut Album with Neal Calderwood in Manor Park Studios, the album, entitled "Take A Risk" is due to be released on 4th May 2009.