Monday, February 27, 2006

No Hits 2.27.06

X's & O's, Laura Leiden
X's & O's, Laura Leiden

Exs and Ohs - Matson Jones

Punk cello. There are precedents for replacing the traditional twin guitars and bass combo with hard-sawing classical strings. But most, like Rasputina and Apocalyptica, have a slight novelty air about them. Matson Jones is a real band that simply employs the tools at hand--two cellos, an upright bass and drums--to create tuneful, frequently menacing art rock.

"Exes and Ohs" appears on their new EP (take a breath) Albatross Mates for Life, But Only After a Lengthy Courtship That Can Take Up to Four Years (US, UK). It's an anxious, jittery number that doesn't lose any of its bite for lack of electric guitars. Almost a dance song, "Exes" throbs and pulses, though you pay less attention to its murky, jerky rhythm than its disturbing, wailing-infant-in-a-closet vocals. Cellists Martina Gbrac and Anna Mascorella share the band's vocal duties and I don't know who takes the lead here, but her voice conveys both juvenile petulance and adult despair.

If this is your cup of tea, visit Matson Jones' Web site for several downloads from their first, self-titled LP (US, UK).

Matson Jones is one of the bands that appears on their label Sympathy For the Record Industry's compilation, Alright, This Time Just the Girls, Vol. 2 (US, UK), that predictably, given its origin, features a lot of pop-punk acts. But I was taken by a couple off-the-beaten tracks. The first from The Lisa Marr Experiment, project of former Cub vocalist Lisa Marr, now based in L.A. It's a simple alt-countryish song that I'm having a hard time pushing out of my head.

Little Red Bird - The Lisa Marr Experiment

The other...well, with a band named Candypants and song called "Nerdy Boys," I think you know what to expect: new-wavy SoCal ironi-pop (a la "Johnny Are You Queer?") I think most cool girls can relate to an occasional infatuation with a sweet, kinda clueless geek. (Not, I should clarify, the creepy, lurking kind. I think you ladies know exactly what I'm talking about.)

Nerdy Boys - Candypants


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