Indie labels, colliding worlds and Brooklyn speed rock.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Afriend of a friend told me that he spent hours and hours staring at the cold light of his computer screen trying to find any new music worth a damn. It was a depressing tale of someone in search of a life. Here at the Monterey County Weekly’s World Headquarters we spend hours and hours sifting through over-hyped bands and reading overwrought music blogs to provide a few new tips about music, on and off the Internet. Here’s what we found:“Fake Plastic Trees,” 7 Worlds Collide
Back in 2001, Neil Finn of Crowded House formed a supergroup called 7 Worlds Collide that included Eddie Vedder, guitarist Johnny Marr of The Smiths, singer/songwriter Lisa Germano, Radiohead guitarist Ed O’ Brien and Radiohead drummer Phil Selway for a series of performances at Auckland’s St James Theatre.
This year, another group of fantastic musicians from all over the world convened in New Zealand to cut an album under the 7 Worlds Collide moniker. Scottish singer/songwriter KT Tunstall and members of Wilco including Jeff Tweedy join returning 7 Worlds Collide players Finn, Marr, Germano, O’Brien and Selway.
A YouTube clip shows the band burning off some steam by performing a cover of Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” at Auckland’s The Powerstation. While the video includes amateur camerawork and has a strange orange tint during part of the performance, it’s a treat to hear Tweedy’s voice and the ad hoc band builds up to the song’s climax beautifully.www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aBgJrtfyQs Homepage, Sub Pop Records
Back in the late ’80s, Sub Pop Records basically midwifed the whole grunge thing by signing Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney. The label has since diversified from grunge to indie genres.
Sample Sub Pop’s current home page, which features a collection of free MP3s and music videos. MP3s posted include the one-man band Chad VanGaalen’s “City of Electric Light,” which features sunny acoustic guitar and xylophone and Le Loup’s pulsating pop electronica on “We Are Gods! We Are Wolves!” Pick hit: The garage-folk duo The Dutchess and The Duke’s “Reservoir Park,” a ragged acoustic number with handclaps that recalls Aftermath-era Rolling Stones.www.subpop.com “Oh You Horny Monster,” Fiasco
This holiday season while visiting Virginia, I caught the Brooklyn trio Fiasco. After a well-received show by Richmond locals Microjoy, the crowd stared apprehensively at three eyeliner-thin teenagers setting up. Some people joked about the band’s hot pink drum set.
But then everyone started to notice drummer Julian Bennett Holmes’ cymbals on his drum kit, which looked like it had been run over by a Mack truck from his insistent walloping.
Fiasco plays math rock, a rhythmically complex, guitar-based experimental music. Check out the band’s “Oh You Horny Monster” on their Myspace site. The number has moments that are almost jazz-like punctured by outbursts of ridiculously aggressive thrash. One standout element is Lucian Buscemi’s bass playing, which sounds like Les Claypool of Primus on speed. This is complicated music that would make an accountant’s head spin at all the furious twists and turns.www.myspace.com/fiasconewyork