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Streetlight Manifesto, with Dan Potthast and Zox

Everybody indulges in a guilty pleasure or two. For some, it's eating mayonnaise with a spoon; for others, made-for-TV movies fit the bill. For my wife it's the emotional trash of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Some noble souls choose to brave the judgment of their peers, wearing their scorned passions proudly on their sleeves. Such is the case with the adoring fans of ska-punk outfit Streetlight Manifesto. Formed in the days after ska's effective late-'90s disappearance from the American musical consciousness, Streetlight Manifesto is part of a growing underground of ska torch-­bearers whose fans believe in the power of off-beat guitars and sharp horn sections. That underground is gaining momentum again, no doubt aided in part by the culling of commercial bandwagoneers who diluted the genre into mere caricature. Since then, the American ska scene has been reborn in a leaner, tighter incarnation. What's more, today's ska sports more of an experimental flair — those who don't care about getting on the radio are free to play fast and loose with genre strictures. Streetlight, for example, dabbles with tribal percussion and sounds from the former Soviet Bloc.


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