Music Mondays: Streetlight Manifesto
I decided instead of blogging about a genre this week, I thought I would blog about a band that I liked: Streetlight Manifesto. I hadn’t heard of these guys until within the last few months or so. My Boyfriend had linked me a youtube video of one of their songs and I was hooked since then. Streetlight Manifesto is a skapunk band from New Brunswick, New Jersey. Their sound is influenced by a mix of genres: ska, jazz, latin, punk, and traditional Eastern European music (among a few others).
Their first album, Everything goes Numb, was released August 26, 2003. They headlined and sold out on their first concert in New Jersey months later. Some of the band members were already famous and well known in the New Jersey ska community due to their roles in previous years…namely Catch 22, One Cool Guy, Reel Big Fish tour, and some others. As of October 4, 2009, the lineup consists of songwriter Tomas Kalnoky on guitar and lead vocals, Mike Brown on alto and baritone sax, Jim Conti on alto and tenor sax, Pete McCullough on bass guitar, Matt Stewart on trumpet, Nadav Nirenberg on trombone, and Chris Thatcher on drums. I think that is what I like best about this band. They go beyond the typical instrumental makeup of bands; incorporating various instruments not typically used.
Streetlight Manifesto’s first recording consisted of a four-track demo EP, featuring the songs “Everything Went Numb”, “Point/Counterpoint”, “The Saddest Song” and “We Are the Few”, all of which were re-recorded for their debut album. The line-up that recorded the demo consisted almost entirely of musicians from Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution: Josh Ansley (bass guitar), Jamie Egan (trombone & trumpet), Tomas Kalnoky (guitar & vocals), Stuart Karmatz (drums), Dan Ross (alto & baritone saxophone) and Pete Sibilia (tenor saxophone). The band was signed to Victory Records, the same label as Catch 22.
After the demo was recorded Karmatz left and was replaced by Paul Lowndes and Jim Conti took the place of Pete Sibilia. This line-up then recorded Everything goes Numb, but changed again before the band could perform any live shows, Jamie Egan played both trumpet and trombone, but as he would not be able to do this live Mike Soprano joined on trombone. Paul Lowndes had no intention to tour and was replaced later by Chris Thatcher.
Streetlight Manifesto’s second album, Somewhere in the Between, was released in November 2007. It is my favorite album, side note, that they released. Their next album, 99 Songs of Revolution, is a collaborative project that consists of two full-length CDs by Streetlight Manifesto, two full-length CDs by the Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution; as well as four other albums, two each by two other Streetlight-related artists. The project consists entirely of cover songs. Volume No. 1 of the project was released by Streetlight Manifesto on March 16, 2010.
Kalnoky writes the band’s songs on an acoustic guitar and then fleshes out the song structure on the computer and hums basic hornlines, after which the rest of the band comes in and adds their parts (and it shows in the perfection of some of their songs). He has cited the soundtrack of the film Stand by Me as his biggest musical influence, and stated that he looks to the 1950s and 1960s for inspiration when writing. He has specifically cited Louis Jordan, Nirvana, The Drifters, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and The Martino Latino Experience as influences.For Somewhere in the Between he sought to “branch out in different directions”, adding “eastern European and gypsy sounds” to give the album “a world experience”. I think he successfully managed to do so.
So, on for some samples!
Everything goes Numb
Would You Be Impressed (the video and lyrics are very meaningful…)
Me and Julio Down
Side note: Streetlight is going to be at Warped tour this year…and of COURSE I’ll be out of town when Warped Tour hits Chicago…July 7th, I believe. So pissed. Grrrr. Maybe another time I’ll see them live. Hope you guys enjoyed this 🙂 Happy Listening.