I have a special place in my heart for third-wave ska music, as you will undoubtedly see during my upcoming Recommended Listening posts. I like the rhythms, I like the instruments, and I like the feel, among other things. More than any other ska band, Streetlight Manifesto truly captures my attention and adoration.
I’m going to start talking about Streetlight Manifesto by first mentioning Catch 22, another ska band. Catch 22 started off strong with a debut album, Keasebey Nights, that blew people away. Shortly after the release of their debut, however, founding member/lead guitarist/singer/songwriter Tomas Kalnoky, along with bassist Josh Ansley and trombonist Jamie Egan, left Catch 22. After experimenting with an eclectic mix of ska, classical, acoustic, and more with their band Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution for a while, they formed Streetlight Manifesto. After losing the musical influence of Tomas, Catch 22 changed into a poppier style of ska, and I have never looked back.
Streetlight Manifesto debuted with Everything Goes Numb in 2003, an even more powerful album than Kalnoky’s acclaimed Keasbey Nights. The speed, power, and skill with which they all perform is exhilarating to hear. Everything Goes Numb is the second in a musical trilogy by Kalnoky called the Keasbey Nights Trilogy, also referred to as The Keasbey Diaries. There are musical similarities between key songs on the Keasbey Nights and Everything Goes Numb records, and certain songs are mixed together during live performances.
In 2004, prompted by the record label’s plan to re-release the original recordings of Keasbey Nights under the Streetlight Manifesto name, Tomas Kalnoky and co. decided to completely re-record the album, making musical and lyrical changes throughout in an attempt to improve the quality of the record, which was released in 2006. It was incredibly successful, producing an album with more depth of sound than the original, and more. While this is the second Streetlight Manifesto album, it is the first part of the Keasbey Nights Trilogy .
Somewhere in the Between is their third album, released in 2007, and while the sound of the album seems to have grown into something more than the previous two, it is still unmistakably a Streetlight Manifesto album. While it is not my favorite overall album, it has some of my favorite songs on it.
Their most recent release, 99 Songs of Revolution, is a project that includes Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution, and two as yet un-named “Streetlight Manifesto related” artists. Each of these four bands will release two albums which, together, will contain 99 cover songs. In 2010, Streetlight Manifesto released their first entry into the 99 Songs of Revolution project. Seeing as it’s a cover record, the sound diverges slightly from what usually defines a Streetlight Manifesto album, but in my opinion they did a great job of melding their sound with the sounds of the original artists and creating great covers .
I wait with great anticipation for the next effort from one of my favorite bands of all time.
-[insert KALNOKY IS A FUNNY NAME here]
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