If the kids in suburban Detroit are talking about an obscure indie band from Tennessee, it means: a) Imaginary Baseball League is going to be the Next Big Thing, b) someone here has a cousin in Murfreesboro whose best friend is dating IBL’s drummer, or c) the Internet really does work as a way for people with like interests to connect, thus overcoming the boundaries of distance, culture, etc. Whichever answer works for you, go with it, you know? And if you like what you hear of Imaginary Baseball League, first thank Megan and then check out their website for a bunch more downloadable tracks.
Brilliant and hilarious speech mash-ups of George W. Bush set to classic melodies. These are gonna make your day. Six more tracks are available on The Party Party site. I have DJ Longbeard to thank for turning me onto this stuff. I’m privileged to be on the air at KUCI right before his show Synchronicity. It’s chock full o’ fun like this…dig in.
I like to look at local bands for 3hive, and usually that means Detroit acts. The Same Fate are even more local than that; guitar player Joe used to sleep in the back of my Creative Writing class a few years ago. He’s spent his time since wisely, skipping classes at the University of Michigan, playing gigs for ten people, and crafting gems like “The Last Flight of the Fireflies,” the most frequently played track on the family iPod.
Some bands blend well with their surroundings. The bright melodies emanating from Let’s Go Sailing make the perfect soundtrack to their perpetually sunny Los Angeles. Their laid-back, surf pop songs makes you want to say, “Sure! Let’s Go Sailing.”
I discovered Sweet Billy Pilgrim from their remix work on David Sylvian‘s new remix album, The Only Daughter. Both artists share lush vocal treatments and an ethereal quality about their music. On tracks like “Ain’t No Jesus in Here” Sweet Billy Pilgrim go the pop route not unlike Grandaddy or Sparklehorse, and “God in the Details” sounds as if Nick Cave chilled out and toned it down a bit. Comparisons aside, Sweet Billy Pilgrim hold their own and are definitely newcomers to keep your eye on.
My red Rickenbacker 620, the poor thing, doesn’t get picked up much these days. Job, age, fatherhood, soccer, home ownership, the price of 9-volt batteries…they’ve all conspired to keep me from my guitar and my Maestro Fuzztain pedal (which, by the way, is the size of two calculus textbooks; I bought it cause Kurt Heasley of the Lilys used one). A couple of bands over the few last years have inspired me to pick my guitar up, like the late great Henry’s Dress (whenever I miss them) and more recently The High Water Marks and Louis XIV. But now I think I’ve found the perfect inspiration: We Are Scientists. Anybody want to join my We Are Scientists cover band? If I may quote the We Are Scientists website, “Bring yourself and your dignity; only one of you will leave.”
First, a quick comparison. Tortoise meets The Cure (at least on this track). Now, the instructions. Step one: listen to “Connie.” Step two: stream a few more tracks off their myspace page. Step three: see them live. Finally, step four: be amazed that El Ten Eleven consists of two musicians, and they pull this stuff off live.
Vaguely detached, vaguely nostalgic, vaguely wonderful space pop. It’s really hard to believe these guys are unsigned…maybe they’re not in it for the money, just on a personal crusade to promote use of the accent aigu (á). Either way, I’m in.
Another from the suggestion box… Soft play majestic pop, driven by crisp drumming and plethora of effects pedals. Though we won’t name them here, the influences are many, but not blatant. However, any fleeting resemblences to Tim Burgess are coincidental, but appropriate. “Monkey Monkey” is excellent; it’s not first in the download list, but start there.
Continuing in my tour of OPLs (Other People’s Lists), I found this gem — amidst Blockhead, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and Comets on Fire — on Scissorkick‘s eclectic hit parade of 2004. (Convenient comparison alert!) The Changes are modern-day Chicago’s answer to Haircut 100: bouncy, dreamy pop that makes you want to smile at complete strangers or maybe, just maybe, swing from a vine in a Hawaiian shirt. However, unlike Haircut 100, these guys appear to have a longer career in them.