Feelin' Skavoovie

After quitting college, the experimental ska-sters graduate to a higher musical level.

The result of the band's effort is its latest offer, The Growler, released in June. The music itself progresses far beyond anything Skavoovie has previously recorded, a point that's not lost on the band ("We're all, uh, pretty embarrassed about the first record now," Farber concedes). Instead, it ventures far beyond traditional ska, incorporating elements of jazz and big band. The Growler follows an arc that mirrors the band's own progress, from the opener, "Boyo," which boasts classic horn lines and sly vocals, to jazzy, big-band numbers like "Foster's Ghost" and "Any Which Way," which shed any semblance of ska in favor of pure improvisational jazz.

"There's some pretty different stuff on there," Farber notes. "I think we've gotten a little more comfortable with breaking out of the conventions. We don't need to assume that there's going to be standard ska beats and standard off-beats in every bar of each song. But in terms of working within a genre and also trying to stretch that genre, I think we're doing all right."

Farber explains all of this with a slight twinge of regret. The Boston ska scene, along with the ska scene nationwide, has declined slightly in the last two years, which leads one to wonder what the reaction to The Growler would have been if it had hit in the middle of ska's popularity. While it's selling well enough to please the band's new label, Shanachie, Farber jokes that "theoretically, if we had done this a year earlier, we probably could have been, like, mega-stars."

But after a pause, he changes his mind. "It's much better to do it now, because this is when we needed to do it if we were going to keep going," he decides. "Besides, now that we've gotten past that popularity thing, with all the little kids in their outfits gone, we get an audience who are really interested in the music."

Skavoovie and the Epitones, the Dingees and the Ducky Boys. 8 p.m. Friday, August 13, Aztlan Theatre, 972 Santa Fe Drive, $8-$10, 303-573-0188.

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