Sunday, September 11, 2005

Under the radar

With so many good, under-the-radar independent bands out there I'm kind of astonished by the number of mp3 bloggers who write post after post on Sufjan Stevens, The New Pornographers and the like. I mean, they're great--we can all agree on that--but they're also way overexposed and I don't think anyone's adding new information at this point. Not to mention the fact that if between a few blogs you post every track from an album, nobody's gonna go out and actually buy it.

Scissors For Lefty

Meanwhile, exciting little bands like Scissors For Lefty get less buzz than they deserve. Hailing from San Francisco, they're an eclectic pop outfit with crisp, catchy sounds. "Marsha" transports you to retro pop heaven with ultra-cool keyboards and "aww-aww" backing vocals (just try to resist signing along). This song--with its frequent tempo shifts and loud-soft dynamics--reminds me just how rare and even complex really good pop songs can be. "Softly The Sea Swallows The Sun" is a different animal altogether. The brief bass intro recalls Roxy Music's "Love Is The Drug," before singer Bryan Garza's sexy vocals and a swaggering piano kick in. Can't you just hear this on an O.C. episode? Alexandra Patsavas, are you listening?

Marsha (mp3) - Scissors For Lefty

Softly The Sea Swallows The Sun (mp3) - Scissors For Lefty

The Safes

Then there's Chicago's The Safes. Manned by a bunch of Irish-American brothers, they sound like your typical bar band, if your typical bar band played tight, punky, high-energy rock n' roll a la The Replacements. Not that the O'Malleys can't take the noise down a notch with a mid-tempo rollick like "Hole," or "Mystery," a moody tribute to 60s garage bands. The band's latest is the full-length, Family Jewels.

Not To Keep (mp3) - The Safes

Hole (mp3) - The Safes

Mystery (mp3) - The Safes

Dead & Gone (mp3) - The Safes

Old Time Relijun I don't expect there's much of an audience for Old Time Relijun. (Then again, a lot of people seem to like Deerhoof, so what do I know?) A bastion of toxic noise and screeching vocals, the band's not what I usually associate with K Records. Nevertheless, Old Time Relijun's an interesting listen, with hilarious, stream-of-consciousness lyrics, challenging experiments in guitar atonality and, oh yeah, a driving dance beat. I like these sounds for their purgative effects--they'll clear all those cute pop songs out of your head . . . and pretty much everything else. Fun fact: At one point, Phil Elvrun of The Microphones was Old Time Relijun's drummer.

The band just released the LP 2012

Your Mama Used to Dance (mp3) - Old Time Relijun

Vampire Sushi (mp3) - Old Time Relijun

Earthquake (mp3) - Old Time Relijun


Anonymous Anonymous said...

what do you mean? Dude, Old Time Relijun totally has an audience- I have seen them play in Eugene, Los Angeles and San Francisco, each time it was totally packed to venue capacity! The records are great, but live in concert they are totally on fire like nothing you've ever seen. I see a lot of bands- NOBODY puts on a show like Old Time Relijun!

7:34 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Chill, dude. I said I liked em. I just think they're, ya know, difficult.

10:40 PM  
Blogger No Frontin' said...

I missed their (SFL) show last night, i'll have to check 'em out the next time they play...couldn't agree more about the overexposure sentiments

3:45 PM  

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