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Music

Rare is the band that can say they are still recording half a century after they began, but that is the case for the pioneers of ska music, The Skatalites. Formed in Jamaica in 1964, the band’s music has influenced the likes of The Police, No Doubt and Sublime, and early on they backed notable bands like Toots and the Maytals and Prince Buster and “The Wailing Wailers,” featuring Bob Marley.

Today’s electronic generation is lowering the music production learning curve so rapidly that many producers can’t even legally get into venues where their music is played. Take Disclosure, the UK-born-and-bred house duo consisting of brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, who are only 21 and 18 respectively.

If you want to make Jeffry-Wynne Prince smile, call him Jeffry-Wynne. Not Jeff or Jeffry or Wynne or Prince, although that might make him smile for a different reason. The hyphenated first name (it’s Welsh) of The Kimberly Trip guitarist throws some people for a loop.

Musicians have been touring for years — it’s just part of the profession. Incidentally, touring musicians have had us up, out of our houses and walking to various venues for most of our lives. But mellow-shimmer genius Will Johnson found a way to turn this practice on its head.

The ’90s are back. Tribute nights to the decade of the Gap are popping up everywhere; Matchbox 20 is touring with the Goo Goo Dolls, and Boston-based Little War Twins kick off their album Marvelous Mischief with “One Bottle”— recalling the coiled-up intensity of fellow Bostonians and ’90s icons The Pixies.

Mountain Song at Sea’s maiden cruise in February left the typically landlocked bluegrass stomping grounds far behind to bring together acts from across the nation like the Grammy-winning Steep Canyon Rangers and local favorites Betty and the Boy, who will be reunited again April 7 at WOW Hall.

From Austin, Texas, to Eugene to Bear Valley, Calif., Phoebe Hunt is on her way to camp. Not some Salute Your Shorts summer getaway, but The Big Sur Fiddle Camp. Hunt is going to rule that camp.

It’s surprising someone hasn’t done it sooner. On April 16, Ghostface Killah is releasing Twelve Reasons to Die — a companion album to a comic book of the same name. 

In 2010, the eccentric Mangum reemerged, performing what was supposed to be a one-off benefit for a friend. Since then he’s toured and recorded, playing a mixture of Neutral Milk Hotel songs and new material, usually alone, just voice and guitar.

Once upon a time there was fuzz, and it was accidental. Then there came distortion. Then there came cleanliness, godliness and indie-pop. And then, quite inexplicably, there was fuzz again.

In five years, when zombies overrun us, Alfred Darlington is going to look back on these days as the golden age of electronic music. Darlington, better known by the production moniker Daedelus, tells EW that he would prefer the zombies to be of the slow, mindless variety.

Musical institutions too often destroy the very music they prize by refusing to look forward, relying instead on constant rehashing of the greatest hits of earlier decades and centuries. This month brings to town some progressive musicians who are keeping their traditions alive and growing.

Christopher Owens’ former group Girls set the indie world on fire with their 2009 underground hit Album. Owens’ singing voice drew comparisons to Elvis Costello; the songs evoked ’60s power-pop, ’70s punk and contemporary indie rock.

Blissful blues. Sounds like an oxymoron, but that phrase hits at the essence of The California Honeydrops, who take the catharsis of singing the blues to a devil-may-care, happy-go-lucky level.

LA-based Foxygen takes your dad’s classic rock LP collection, consumes it and filters it through their ADHD brains, regurgitating 2012’s Take the Kids Off Broadway or 2013’s We are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic — big, sloppy, messy records referencing everything from the Rolling Stones to the Kinks to the Mysterions.

There’s a sweetness inherent in the name Bent Knee ... a marriage proposal on bent knee, an apology on bent knee, Prince Charming holding the glass slipper on bent knee. But all that sweetness goes out the window when Courtney Swain starts singing “I Don’t Love You Anymore.”

If you want to get creative, sometimes you have to isolate yourself. At least that’s what the Seattle-based indie rock band Ivan & Alyosha did when creating their full-length debut, All the Times We Had.

When EW caught up with The Horde & the Harem (THATH)’s Ryan Barber, he was in heaven. Well, at least music heaven for the hip-and-up-and-coming as well as the hip-established: South by Southwest.

Fishtank Ensemble’s lead singer Ursula Knudson likes to play music at the edge of the world, whether that’s breaking out her violin in the rural pockets of Maine or twangin’ on her hand saw at the tip of the heel of the boot of Italy.

The emotional barometer of bluegrass registers somewhere between hilarity and sorrow, like a hee-haw hiccup after an epic night of breakup drinking. Bluegrass laughs at funerals and cries at birthdays.

A few years ago, the Eugene Opera seemed moribund — a “dead man walking,” to use the phrase applied in prison to an inmate condemned to death. But in the past couple of years, it’s gotten a reprieve — or rather engineered a resurrection.

If your band has been around for 15 years and you have released almost 20 albums and live DVDs combined, then you are definitely doing something right. Andy Farag — the percussionist for the popular progressive rock band Umphrey’s McGee — understands the secret to the band’s longevity.

Does the band name Glitter Dick mean a penis covered with glitter? Or a jerk who likes to be sparkly? Does it matter? No, nothing matters but the music, having good stage names and perfecting your delivery of “Whoa yeah.” 

Channeling traditional, African vocal styles such as isicathamiya and mbube, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a male choral group that will not only challenge your preconceptions about world music, but will also have you grooving to something new.