Thankfully, Streetlight Manifesto has been providing a fresh take on the genre since the band's inception in the early 2000s, following the dissolution of songwriter Tomas Kalnoky's previous group, Catch 22. Streetlight follows the genre's conventions, combining a brass section with punchy upstroked guitars, but mixes in eclectic nods toward mariachi and jazz. As upbeat as the hooks may be, Kalnoky's lyrics convey a dark edge, covering topics like death, religion, and classic literature.
The band expands the ska-punk tradition of covering classic songs, too, with careful selections by varied artists like Paul Simon, Mason Jennings, The Postal Service, and The Dead Milkmen, all featured on the band's collaborative covers album, 99 Songs of Revolution, and with side project Bandits of Acoustic Revolution. As a fad, third-wave ska may be as dead as the protagonist of Streetlight's "Point/Counterpoint," but the band's distinctive sound doesn't need a trend to endure.--Melissa Fossum