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Surf’s up, summer’s here

When Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment unexpectedly dropped their long-anticipated mixtape, “Surf,” on Thursday night, the seasons changed in a wave of summer jams and good vibrations. Weary spirits across the country were lifted by the gift of new music, and suddenly summer didn’t seem so far away. After the unannounced release hit iTunes…

Snarky Puppy at the symphony

They’re called Snarky Puppy (I don’t know why), and depending on the day they have anywhere from eight to 18 members. It’s hard to say what genre they fall under, if any. They won a Grammy for best R&B single of 2014, regularly play international jazz festivals and their compositions bear the fingerprints of a world…

Punch Brothers move forward, and away from tradition

Like everything from Punch Brothers, their new album, “The Phosphorescent Blues,” is ambitious. The string ensemble’s fourth full-length studio effort showcases a wide range of styles and emotions. At first glance, the quintet looks like a traditional bluegrass group, designed to play the genre’s unique steel-string blend of American country, folk and jazz: MacArthur genius Chris…

José González explores the human experience in his new album

González, acclaimed for his acoustic folk cover of The Knife’s electro-pop song “Heartbeats,” is a man of contradictions. His sound is sparse, but his ideas are ambitious. A classical guitarist who grew up listening to latin folk, pop and bossa nova, González played guitar in multiple hardcore punk bands before becoming the indie-folk singer-songwriter we now know him to be.