Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What Goes Around

I've always been a big fan of my parents' music: classic, real rock. Ever since I was a baby I've heard The Stones, The Beatles, The Who, and acoustic artists like Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. (I think I could sing the whole of "Dixie Chicken" by Little Feat around the time I started putting sentences together.) There's been a wave-- long time coming-- of people my age trying to recreate the Summer of Love and get some of that good stuff circulating again. Most of these bands have been around for a bit now, but I can fully appreciate them when they are listed thusly:

The Redwalls, a band from the northern Chicago suburbs, first caught my attention last year. The lead singer gets a little screechy and atonal (in a wonderful, wonderful way), kinda like Dylan. My favorite song, "Love Her", is so British Invasion with modern drums and a digital soundsystem. Their new CD is really good, too.

Drug Rug is another band that sounds hippydippy and straight out of Woodstock: the chorus of people singing each lyric, the jangly guitars, and dreamy lyrics are so perfect to play on the road.

I found The Love Bandits the other day, linked from another band's MySpace. Listen to "The Party is Over." They definitely sound more early '60s than the other two bands. It's probably the scratchy recordings that mess with my hearing, though. The drumming is tight and fast, guitars stay in the background, and there's something wailing, like a harmonica, on some of the tracks. It reminds me of early Stones. I can't quite figure them out: their MySpace is in French and they play mostly in Paris, but they sing in perfect English. They wouldn't be the first French band to sing all in English, though.*

Alex Turner, from one of my all-time favorite bands, Arctic Monkeys, released an album early this summer with a friend of his under the name The Last Shadow Puppets. Much to-do was made about "Age of the Understatement". Rightfully so. From the album artwork-- a beautiful woman in a mini-dress shot in B/W-- to the expressive string section, it feels like an old James Bond movie soundtrack. I can't figure out what makes it seem so slick and 007-- I think it's the coolly strummed guitar, aforementioned string section, and the echo-y vocals. I also love the strong northern accent coming through every once and awhile. It's such a great album and I can't recommend it enough.

Today, I found two more bands that warrented stalking MySpaces like a geek-- Jay Reatard, newly solo, and King Khan and the Shrines. Jay Reatard's "Oh It's Such a Shame" sounds like the Ramones with a softer edge. And King Khan is all about good old guitar-dominated stuff with some psychadelic keyboard thrown in for good measure. Almost Hendrix, but with more top-of-the-range screeching.

They're both playing at Pitchfork, thankfully.

* Check out these guys, of whom the amazing cute boys make me nervous blog wrote:

"[It's a] band that only plays on toy instruments and their show was in a little hidden forest only accessible through an anarchist bookstore. But the best of all is that they write their lyrics in French then google translate them into English (with hilarious results!)"

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