RAVE'S FAVES (on the air since May 1)
Muse, Art Brut (various), Raconteurs (various), Boy Kills Boy, Shiny Toy Guns, The Gossip, Gomez.
All faves are the artists' current singles unless otherwise noted. Muse have the hottest new song on U.S. alternative radio with "Knights of Cydonia," and it's my current fave as well. The tune's a hard blend of Seventies influences, merged with the sound of their "Absolution" CD. Several days after first being aired, it became #1 requested at L.A.'s KROQ and it has stayed there over a week. The band's July release world premiered on MySpace. It sounded good on one listen. Based on how things have started, their new release should easily be their most successful in the U.S. Art Brut's disc finally saw the light of day in the U.S. with a domestic release, and it's good to hear various tracks getting played. The Raconteurs' disc has nice depth.Boy Kills Boy, from England, have a promising album and "killer" upcoming single called "Suzie." The vocals may remind you of The Killers singer Brandon Flowers, and the album even contains a tune called "KIller." Shiny Toy Guns are a girl-fronted L.A. indie band that quickly got signed after KROQ jumped on their "Le Disko" tune. This electro/dance track is getting strong local requests. The Gossip from Arkansas have a hard, raw sound with a dance beat. I've got to admit that the first time I saw a pic of them, I didn't think they were a band even though the snap was in NME. Gomez have one of those tasty mellower songs that sound nice on the air but probably won't sell them many CD's. Keane get an honorable mention. Their camp must be ecstatic over the #4 debut of their new full-length. Buckcherry also get an honorable for their hot "Crazy Bitch." It has been #1 requested for months on Sirius' Octane Channel.This is probably the first case of satellite radio breaking a rock song that has been picked up by mainstream alternative stations.
No, friends, this term has nothing to do with my column. Watch for this latest British trend. It's actually the name of a new U.K. movement that mashes-up punk with dance since some feel that too many current indie English bands are beginning to sound alike. Current leaders are all under the radar but if you're into The Rapture from New York, they feel they invented the genre with their 2003 release. Expect something new from them in the near future.
THE "GO DEEP" WEBCAST
People continue to respond positively to my "Go Deep" webcast, which plays less familiar songs from new albums that listeners have probably heard of. The strongest feedback has been for UK band Elbow.Their fine album has gotten little reaction outside of their fanbase. Another winning band has been The Subways, who just did a fine job on Conan. In their case, I feel the wrong second single was released. These are two bands that people should spend more time on. I solicit positive and negative reactions, which in turn influence decisions on bands I continue to play. Surprisingly, one of the most successful new bands of 2006 has gotten the most negatives: She Wants Revenge. Regular readers know I'm a supporter of this band, but some listeners feel their sound is too dark. Check out the shows and weigh in. You can find the programs and other info at my Rave's Raves website.
After attending both SXSW and Coachella, I've found that I've recently caught most touring bands that I want to see. The Futureheads were a band I was sorry I missed first time around. Their Henry Fonda Musicbox gig in Hollywood mostly featured songs from their well-reviewed second full-length. These guys are solid and play with great energy. My complaint about the first album was that much of it sounded the same. The second album is a progression and is more diverse, although I feel it's somewhat less compelling. Many of the newer tunes still come off similarly when played live. The crowd's reaction was positive but not overwhelming.
Congrats to L.A.'s Indie 103.1 for being one of four stations featured by Rolling Stone magazine in an article about rock stations "beating the odds" in the face of declining ratings for the format... Not that we want to rush through Summer, but Capitol Records alums like me are eagerly anticipating the Fall album and tour by Bob Seger. When I return in two months, I'll tell a story about just how amazing a guy he is. Have a nice Winter if you're south of the equator, and for the rest of you, have a great Summer! Until the end of August...