Monkeys, Bromheads, Stoney
Pretty much the worst way to prove you're indifferent to something is to keep talking about it. So yeah, a self-defeating little follow-up to Jon's post of Friday.
Perhaps part of my problem with the Arctic Monkeys phenomenon (if you want to call it that--I also believe this is a smaller story than the mainstream and alternative media would have you believe) is that my interest in post-punk has reached critical mass. Now you can define that any way you want, but when most people toss 'post-punk" around, they mean guitar bands playing loud, fast, short songs influenced by late-70s, early-80s bands from Britain like The Buzzcocks, Wire and Gang of Four. I love The Buzzcocks and Wire--Pink Flag is easily one of my favorite albums--and I like Gang of Four just fine. But most of the retreads don't interest me at all. Oh, perhaps I just hear too much new music on a daily basis to be impressed. But I also think it's the same story over and over. Around this time last year, the usual suspects were huffing and puffing over Bloc Party, a year before that, Franz Ferdinand, bands that, like Arctic Monkeys, acquit themselves respectably within the limits of a genre, but groundbreaking? Engineers of a new rock movement? Um, not to these ears...
But since I'm all about the positive (ha), I at least want to point out that in my travels I occasionally come across musicians doing the post-punk thing in a highly entertaining way. As I mentioned in December, I'm really impressed by another Sheffield band, the snotty, sarcastic and above all, unpretentious, Bromheads Jacket. I recommend you head over to their Web site for several brilliant downloads. Their singles appear to be sold out, but Bromheads are currently touring Europe and will appear at South By Southwest in March. So check local dates, show up and buy a t-shirt or something.
Sharing the Sheffield scene with Bromheads is Stoney, the project of multi-instrumentalist Mark Stoney (who adds a few band members for live performances). Live performances that have included supporting the Arctic Monkeys (aha!), the Futureheads, Athlete and the Magic Numbers. I've read comparisons to David Bowie, solo Paul McCartney and Beck--all of which make as much sense as anything. Because Stoney is primarily a good songwriter, with strong melodic instincts and a tendency to spike his tunes with electronic riffs and the occasional sound effect (see "Jailbird").
Until You Leave - Stoney
Jailbird - Stoney
Best Laid Plans - Stoney
Be sure to visit Stoney's Web site for an additional download and live date information.