Kill Lincoln
Courtesy of Union Stage

It’s incredible the sort of art you can create once you escape the gravity well of Planet Pitchfork, boldly embracing styles and genres discarded decades ago by the critically enlightened. The creative arts are, like many aspects of modern life, vulnerable to groupthink, and sometimes talented musicians find themselves relegated to the ash heap of history for being in a given genre at the wrong time. Anyway, ska is back, again, and we should all skank our lucky stars that this type of music came out of the pandemic stronger (along with study beats and synthwave, obviously). At the bleeding edge of this latest revival, hailed by some true believers as ska’s “fourth wave,” is Kill Lincoln, a band that has been infusing the hardcore grime of the D.C. scene into the lush hornscapes of ska since 2009. Sometimes their hardcore edge is especially edgy, as in the cases of 2013’s That’s Cool​.​.​.​in a totally negative and destructive way’s “Dad Fight” and 2018 track “Firestarter,” but ska is all about that transition from snarling garage-rock guitar to triumphant horns, and Kill Lincoln always execute that transition beautifully. In what at first looked like an unlucky twist of fate, they started recording again at the start of lockdown. As COVID-19 swept across the world, Kill Lincoln became a quarantine bubble in a recording studio. When they came out, they had some of their best work yet in the form of Can’t Complain, an album about putting things into context and taking action. But ska is more than albums. Ska is the live performances—the dancing, the horns, the oceans of sweat, and the trombonist (Yasutake Umemoto in Kill Lincoln’s case) crowd-surfing while playing wicked solos. Kill Lincoln might not be the sort of band you read about in trendy blogs, but they are the sort of band you want to see live, again and again, as Planet Pitchfork shrinks to a pink pinprick in the distance. Kill Lincoln play at 8 p.on on June 28 at Union Stage. $20–$40.