How to Program a VCR

Dime Store Heist is a relatively new alternative ska band hailing from Winfield, WV. I usually don’t listen to ska, but I thought that I would take a stab at reviewing this album. I Don’t dislike ska; I just didn’t grow up listening to it. Why? I don’t know. Let’s move off my childhood misfortunes and on to why you’re actually reading this review: you want to know more about this super cool band called Dime Store Heist and their superb album How to Program a VCR :).

First, I have to give them props for choosing such a retro album name and cover design. It really makes me think of the ’90s and ’80s. The album cover alone made me quickly take note of this band when I first heard about them. Some people are saying that album covers are dead–pfffff.

Their style immediately reminded me of The O.C. Supertones and other ska acts of yesteryear. One thing that shocked me was that they were able to incorporate an alternative rock sound similar to The Classic Crime along with that classic ska eloquence. What I mean about having a The Classic Crime influence is that DSH’s lead vocalist Michael Stidham’s voice reminded me of TCC’s Matt MacDonald. The whole brass section (Lucy Sharp and Aaron Payne) of Dime Store Heist just screams Five Iron Frenzy. Bang! Again the alternative grunginess pops up to make the horn parts pack a hard punch. I think adding in that alt rock sound really makes this album stand out from the rest of the ska crowd. Just judging this album from the music alone, I was hooked immediately.

Since I don’t have a copy of the lyrics, I’ll take my best shot at trying to relate what the lyrics are about. In their Facebook page bio the band members say that they like making music to the glory of God.”How to Program a VCR follows this philosophy almost to the letter. As far as what the lyrics are like I would say expect a ska worship session. They even go all the way and do a cool funky rendition of “Nothing But the Blood ” which will make anyone smile.

While I never have been and probably never will be a huge ska fan I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this album. I think Dime Store Heist has made me more interested in ska than I ever have been before. Before I listened to this album I could really care less about this genre. Now I quite like it. It seems like ska is making a comeback by the rise of this and other aspiring bands in this genre. Like any band that plays a genre of music that has been around for a while I can’t say that this sound hasn’t been done before. What I can say is that it hasn’t been done this well in a long time. Also at the end of this album there is also a really fun surprise ending (I thought I would mention it).

4/5 Stars: I would recommend this album to anyone whether a ska fan or not–an excellent LP.

Brian Morrissette