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By Mary Chang
on Sunday, 23rd August 2009 at 6:00 pm
Girl in a Coma is made up of three girls from Texas. As their name suggests, they are Smiths fans (but then again, who isn’t?) and the first time I saw them was as the support act for Morrissey’s American tour in late 2007. It must be intimidating for a band to do a support slot, and even more so if you’re opening for El Moz, but they held their own, rocking Constitution Hall satisfyingly with their brand of girl punk.
Their new video for the not-so-punk song ‘El Monte’ feels like a nod to the film version of ‘Grease’ – watch it below and see if you agree. If you’re a girl, I’m sure you can relate to the song’s sentiment.The band’s singer Nina Diaz, with her big brown eyes, will mesmerize you. Check out their new album, ‘Trio B.C.’, now out on Blackheart Records.
By Mary Chang
on Sunday, 23rd August 2009 at 11:19 am
Washington venues have suffered in the last 2 decades – a bunch of clubs have closed or changed for the worse, and there really aren’t that many great, small places bands can play. I can however vouch for the great DC9, which sports a small but cozy gigging space on its second floor. This is the venue that played host to the Phenomenal Handclap Band, Daniel Collas and Sean Marquand‘s musical vision put in a live setting.
Besides South by Southwest in Austin and lots of shows in their hometown of New York City, the band haven’t played much stateside; they’ve played music festivals in Europe and Australia this summer, but so far us Americans haven’t been properly exposed to them…yet. But I feel like they’re destined for something big, because dance feels like it’s coming back big-time, with bands like Bloc Party and Friendly Fires leading the charge. (Incidentally, the PHB are opening for Friendly Fires in the next couple of days out in California, which is a great live combination judging by the fab listening experience I had at le poisson rouge less than a fortnight ago.)
The PHB make sultry, sexy dance music, which makes a lot of sense given that Collas and Marquand used to spin dance records regularly at some of the hottest clubs in NYC. Collas’s fondness for ’60s and ’70s psychedelia and Marquand’s love of Brazilian beat music can be heard in their songs, conjuring up a dance party like no other. Given the current credit crisis, I think everyone everywhere could do with some joy in their life. And the PHB sound epitomizes the word ‘joyous’, with their brand of bouncy, happy, life-affirming music.
If I had to choose, ‘You’ll Disappear’, ‘The Martyr’, and ‘Testimony’ were standouts, but frankly, I loved their entire set. I wasn’t around for the ’70s, but I feel like we’re in a special time right now that was similar to way back then – when bands like the PHB can come out and do what they do best – rock out and get people back on the dance floor.
Their debut album is available now through Friendly Fire Recordings. Zane Lowe of Radio1 and Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie of Radio2 have already gotten on the PHB bus of bliss – why haven’t you?
Here’s a video from their YouTube account so can get a feel for what they’re like live.
Stay tuned for my interview with Daniel Collas and Sean Marquand coming soon!
Continue reading Live Review: Phenomenal Handclap Band at DC9, Washington DC – 21 August 2009
The Noisettes – Never Forget You
The Noisettes’ latest album, Wild Young Hearts, has been a real slow burner for me, slowly creeping into my conscience with its great tunes that just take you back in time and feel all summery. This is their latest single, Never Forget You, along with a live version they did for Sirius Radio in the USA.
The Noisettes – Never Forget You (live)
Somehow I’ve managed to miss this great Los Angeles band for a while. HEALTH have toured with the likes of Crystal Castles, Nine Inch Nails, and Of Montreal, and their sound is truly indescribable. Whilst browsing Pitchfork I found news of a brilliant (and hilarious) album giveaway that they’re doing (details after the jump).
Whilst you wait for your version of their album to turn up (and hopefully your special golden ticket) on your doorstep, download, listen and enjoy to their previous single, “Die Slow”, and an amazing remix of said song.
MP3: HEALTH – Die Slow
MP3: HEALTH – Die Slow (Tobacco Remix)
Continue reading MP3 of the Day #92: HEALTH
By Phil Singer
on Thursday, 20th August 2009 at 6:00 pm
The Horrors – Mirror’s Image
The Horrors have managed to re-invent themselves of late, becoming so well liked that they’ve even been nominated for this year’s mercury music prize. Watch their new shiny video, a strange mix of The Cure and MGMT. Watch and enjoy.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 20th August 2009 at 12:00 pm
I first heard of Portland new wave band Hockey through their single ‘Too Fake’ that got a lot of play on BBC 6music, back when the Mid-Atlantic air was still cold and snow was on the ground. (Admittedly, my ears perked up further when I heard they were the support act for a Friendly Fires UK headlining tour.) It’s only now, in the middle of the sweltering summer, that they’ve started to make waves in America – oddly enough, in a television advert for J.C. Penney (an American department store), in which the Shoes remix of ‘Too Fake’ plays while high school students turn the school cafeteria into their own fashion catwalk dressed in supposedly ‘school hip’ duds from the store. I’m too old and cynical to buy into this but to young, impressionable teens of America, good tunes usually translate to thoughts of, ‘oh yeah? This song is cool! I need those clothes!’ Leading to the sounds of ringing cash registers all over the nation. (Isn’t capitalism grand?)
I’m really excited that an indie band I only knew about from a radio station across the pond is finally getting some love in our own country. Whether mainstream exposure and association with a middle America department store will help or hurt the band’s profile is unclear. But one thing’s for sure: the adverts are certainly getting the band noticed stateside, and for an indie band, that is always a good thing. And hopefully it won’t take too long for the next single to show up on American radio.
‘Song Away’ is the third single from their forthcoming debut album ‘Mind Chaos’. It’s bouncy and bright upon the first listen, just as fresh as ‘Too Fake’ was to my Hockey-virgin ears back in the winter. Listen to a couple more times, and the lyrics are humourous as they are memorable: “this is believe me music / this is forget me music / this is who can love me you know / this ain’t no Roxy Music“. I give props to any band who can crowbar the name of Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno’s old band into a song, because you know if the song gets popular, kids will inevitably investigate who that Roxy Music is (which I think you will agree is better than kids not ever hearing ‘Love is the Drug’ or ‘Virginia Plain’.) If the official video can be believed (see it below), this song should be tearing up homecoming dances this autumn.
Hockey’s debut album ‘Mind Chaos’ will be released on 24 August in the UK. Hockey’s ‘Song Away’ single drops on 14 September.