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Listening

New Histories for New Bands

Anyone can sit you down and tell you what they know about popular, highly influential musicians. It’s easy, just sitting there, telling. Which is what makes our occasional forays into strident disinformation about little-known, up-and-coming musicians so special. Obfuscation like this takes serious effort. Once again, let’s have a listen to bands I haven’t heard of, and then freely conjecture about who they maybe could be and how they perhaps could have gotten to where they are now. To the mp3 blogosphere!


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While everyone knows Christopher Columbus was knighted by the Spanish crown for his “discovery” of the “New World,” it wasn’t until just last year that the full extent of conquest reached the western shores of San Francisco, where Salvatore de Musica Independiente d’Iberia was knighted for bringing indie pop to the heathen masses. Which is not to say that Sir Salvatore’s pains are to be taken lightly, for it was an arduous journey imperiled not only by the adversities of maritime endeavor, but that the captain’s faith in himself and his relation to the divine will of Providence was tested nightly in hours of anguished prayer. Nonetheless, he achieved his “causa santa,” much to the amusement of the residents of California, who have been enjoying indie pop for years. I guess they’re just looking to knight anyone these days.

» Listen to “Hooray This Projector” at Under the Rotunda

If Sir Salvatore were a student of history, he would have realized that indie pop has been alive and well on this continent at least since the days following the settlement of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Yes, it used to be a puritan could kick up his buckled shoes (provided that his fields were sown and his scriptures read) and opine unfettered about the angry God in whose hands we are all sinners. In those days when your brothers were named Increase and Cotton, and theocracy was a given, one couldn’t find much to complain about except These New Puritans. While not “shewing” enough “spectral evidence” to convict on charges of witchcraft, These New Puritans had a way of plucking of the strings with their hands and beating of the drums with their sticks that just didn’t sit right with ye olde timers.

» Listen to “Elvis” at 5 Acts

Many people don’t know that the plot of the 1988 Schwarzenegger/DeVito vehicle Twins was based on a true story. Indescribably, the true story didn’t take place until last year, when separated-at-birth twins M.I.A. and Santogold were psychologically reunited in the production of globally conscious, reggae-heavy dance hip-hop. The similarity to the film ends there, as Santogold proves herself no less capable than soul sister M.I.A., and unlike the played-for-laughs body type differences between DeVito and Schwarzenegger, the singers even look like they could be sisters. Which they totally are. They just aren’t delivering a secret fuel-injector prototype to evil industrialists (seriously, go rent Twins). They are delivering beats.

» Listen to “Creator” at The Syndicate Blog

Here’s a fun game: Take the number of Norwegian bands currently on your iTunes and multiply it by the number of times you and your friends in high school said you were going to form a band. Now take the product and add to it every year you’ve said the same thing since high school, but be sure to subtract any bands you’ve actually been in. Now take that difference, and let it stand as the y-intercept (b) as you plot the line y=mx+b, where y equals the year you were born and x equals the number of people you’ve wanted to sleep with in the past 24 hours. Now use the slope of that line as the limit of the derivative of function f as h (here, the extent of your patience with this game, expressed in minutes) approaches zero. Anyway, after a few differentiations, it should come out to around 120 Days. Somebody check my math.

» Listen to “Sleepwalking” at Dale’s MOG

His name is Gary Swierka, and he lives in Wabash, Ind. For the last 22 years he’s run a hardware store in historic downtown Wabash with his wife Mary Jo, and claims to have once sold a socket wrench to former Indiana Governor Frank L. O’Bannon, even though, as a lifelong Republican, he disagrees with the governor’s politics. In his free time, Gary composes traditional folk-styled “ditties” on his acoustic guitar. When questioned about his reigning status as the Tallest Man On Earth, Gary just shrugs his shoulders and says, “Well, I heard people’ve been sayin’ as much. I don’t know. I’m about six-foot-three, which I suppose is pretty tall. There’s gotta be someone taller than me, though. I mean, what about them basketball players? They all look pretty tall, right? Well, you’ll have to excuse me. These ditties aren’t going to write themselves.”

» Listen to “Walk the Line” at Sucka Pants

Not so much a band as an acquisition, the Billie Burke Estate was willed to William Jones Burke III following the death of his father, Jr., who’d in turn inherited the estate from his father. Looking to avail himself of such a powerfully sentimental group of holdings, he immediately merged the Estate with his unfortunately named realty properties holding company, Land Ho! Subprime Equity Group. After years of doing little but yielding average returns via hedge funds and occasionally contributing to a campaign or political action committee, the Estate and its few remaining board members decided to requisition all further holdings from the Blackstone Group, liquidate, and put all remaining funds toward producing an album, which, while insanely expensive, has got some pretty sweet tunes on it.

» Listen to “Everybody’s Gonna Die” at Quick Before It Melts

Precocious children: Where would we be without them? Granted our movies would be less walk-out-on-able, but without potty-training performers like Baby Dee, how else would we find such insightful and rousing piano bar stylings? My generation’s certainly not equal to the task. The ball’s in your court, pre-tweens!

» Listen to “Safe Inside the Day” at Said the Gramophone

biopic

TMN Editor Erik Bryan is living the dream. He grew up in Florida, but he’s from all over. He likes playing chess, making cocktails, smarting off, and not freezing to death in Brooklyn, where he currently resides. More by Erik Bryan

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