Thursday, December 18, 2008

Flashback Thursday: Sonic Youth "Dirty Boots"

The amount of bands I was exposed to by 120 Minutes is a fairly long list, but the most enduring has been Sonic Youth. It was worth it to stay up late on a school night when I knew I'd be seeing almost two hours of videos I would not see anywhere else.

It was in '91 when I first caught "Dirty Boots," and over the years I would see many videos from the band, but it was this track that will always stick with me. Off of the band's major label debut, when signing to a major label was taboo for an indie group, this track was an underground hit at the height of grunge. While commercial radio may have missed the boat with it, college radio was all over it, and to this day, they still treat Sonic Youth pretty well.

Seventeen years later, the band is still making an impact. Look no further than last year's video for "Lazy Eye," by Los Angeles band Silversun Pickups. It's an excellent homage to a classic video.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pony the Pirate

[Photo Credit: Britt Merete Aase]

Myspace // "Walk the Shame" [Audio]

One of the problems with writing about bands from other countries is the lack of biographical information in English. Listening to bands sing in another language may be a different story -- good music is good music, but if I can't educate my readers about a band, then I have a little problem.

There are a few things that I can tell you about Oslo's Pony the Pirate. The Norwegian group has just recently relocated to Oslo and they feature a total of eight members, which may seem like quite a mess onstage, but they manage to make it work quite well. The band's soaring indie rock brings to mind bands like the Arcade Fire, and they are already grabbing a lot of fans, including the folks at NRK P3, which is Norway's largest radio station.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Portrait Painters

Myspace // "Forgive/Forget" [Audio]

Swedish group Portrait Panters are like a folk group without a home, wandering aimlessly through genres, making a home at one sound before exploring something else. That's not to say that they are all over the place, it's just that they know how to incorporate disparate sounds without it being clumsy. The band's latest single, "Forgive/Forget" is out now, while they should be starting work on their debut album sometime this month.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Flashback Thursday: Elastica "Stutter"

Elastica had it made with this album and it's too bad that they followed it up several years after the fact with a total letdown. I can't really complain because that first album was brilliant and a decade and a half on, "Stutter" is still one of my favorite songs.

The band broke up in 2001 and Justine Frischmann stayed active in music, collaborating with then flatmate of early demos of Arular. She also produced demos for White Rose Movement. She moved to Boulder, CO in '05 to study at a small liberal arts college and in July of this year married a college professor.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Twisted Charm

Photo Credit: Gregory Nolan

Myspace // "London Scene?" [Audio] // "London Scene? [Video]

London's Twisted Charm subscribe to absolutely no rules, they just do whatever they feel is right. They're a Britpop band that draws influence from the likes of the Jam, the Specials, and even James Chance, and that's to say they're a best friend with some very dark secrets. They've been knocking about for quite some time as their debut album, Real Fictional, came out last year on Because. While some may just call them art schools kids making a racket, they obviously have their eyes set on something much bigger than any one scene.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008


[Photo Credit: Matthew Williams]

Myspace // "Comatose" [Audio]

I discovered Fleet-based band Arthur in a roundabout way. While nosing around on Elle Milano's message board, I saw that Adam Crisp's new project, Entrepreneurs, had remixed a track from Hannah Shark who also plays in Arthur. The five-piece is about to drop their debut EP, Cinderella Story, which firmly places the band in a quickly-growing crowd of quirky/dark pop bands coming from the south of England. While tunes like "Comatose" may be raw, they signal this band isn't just screwing around -- they have ideas that show excellent potential.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

The Brothers Movement "Blind"

Myspace // "Nothing Means Anything" [Audio]

After the Verve and Oasis released letdowns this year, it's nice to know that the Brothers Movement are out there. This six-piece crank out truly inspired big rock songs with honest lyrics, all the while awash in psychedelia and shoegaze. The band's debut single (CD/download) "Blind" is out now. The band is playing a few gigs this month, including spots in Dublin and London -- check their Myspace for full details.

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Girls Aloud "The Loving Kind"


After spending some time with Girls Aloud's new album, I've decided that it's not as good as Tangled Up, but it definitely has its moments, of which this is one of them. On a trivial note, this is their 20th single.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Flashback Thursday: The Stone Roses "She Bangs the Drums"

There are a few songs where the time and place that I first heard them are permanently ingrained in my brain. With the Stone Roses' "She Bangs the Drums," it was early on a Monday morning on 120 Minutes, I was perhaps 13 or 14, and I had to wake up for school in a few hours. Each Monday was a struggle to stay awake for me, but it was worth it -- I always had a playlist of new songs stuck in my head.

Although I was a few years late to the band, I was the nonetheless sold on the Roses' modern take on psychedelia, and they opened the doors for me to discover so many more modern British bands like two of my all time favorites, Saint Etienne and Manic Street Preachers.

Uniquely, this song brings back the memories of two times and places with the other being Big City, a pool hall in Boston. Whenever I went there to shoot a few games, I'd also put on this song, as it was one of the few redeemable albums they had available on their jukebox.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Muscle Club

Myspace // "Hail Joe Hale" [Audio]

For a young group, Welsh outfit The Muscle Club play surprisingly impressive tunes. While the guitar work may be reminiscent of a certain band called The Smiths, this isn't a band that revels in its own misery. They are energetic with a certain assurance that wouldn't sound out of place at a Cribs gig. The band has played with Johnny Foreigner, Slow Club, Danananaykroyd, Hot Club De Paris, and Casio Kids and recorded a BBC Introducing session with Bethan Elfyn. Although they just have a self-released 7" available, they'll be spending some time in the studio this month to work on more material.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Myspace // "Another Girl" [Audio]

To most Westerners, thoughts of Russia may involve Putin entering Alaskan airspace or sitting down to tea and moose burgers with Sarah Palin, but in reality, it's much more than that and it has quite a vibrant indie rock scene. Take Moscow's Manicure, for example, who play memorable dancey post punk. They band has just released a three song EP called Another Girl, and according to their Myspace, there should be a debut album available sometime very soon.

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Monday, December 01, 2008


Myspace // "Essay Essay Essay" [Audio]

Things are back in working order here since the holiday is over. I am thoroughly stuffed, but I did have some time to scour the internet for new music. Despite all of that, there are still plenty of bands that have been sitting on the backburner that I have not had time to get to.

Hailing from Leicester, Minnaars are purveyors of intricate dance math pop, making music that is technical without being boring. Their tunes are the sort that will cause you to air guitar while dancing. The band was to have released an EP last month, but it seems that they were fucked over by their label (read more about it on Myspace!), but you can get the tunes directly from the band -- read here for more info.

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