Another year, another victory for Bim Skala Bim, who are not only the reigning kings of local ska, but one of the few bands that can regularly command a packed house after a decade together. Last year at this time, local ska looked like a thriving trend; now it's more of an institution -- pick any weekend night and at least one club will be featuring three or four ska outfits. Bim have done their best to nurture this scene -- the Mighty Mighty Bosstones are among the many bands who first appeared on the Bim-sponsored Mash It Up! compilations -- but they've never been strictly a ska band either. They've done funk, they've done reggae, they've done goofy covers (but outgrew them), and their last album, Eyes & Ears (BiB), was built more on songwriting than on rhythm. But there's no lack of the big beat in their live shows, which remain some of the sweatiest in town.
-- Brett Milano