RAVE'S FAVES (on the air since August)
Lykke Li, Japanese Motors, Keane, Fleet Foxes (various), The Offspring (various), Of Montreal, The Pretenders, Snow Patrol.
Songs are the singles unless otherwise noted.Lykke Li is Swedish and has a nice retro sound to her.Japanese Motors are from Southern California and have a garage vibe that is receiving play on stations like XMU and Indie 103.1. Keane have hardened up in more of a new wave direction that works really well for them.>Fleet Foxes took awhile to grow on me but I'm now liking those Baroque-style harmonies. Having always been a fan of The Offspring, it's good to have them back and sounding fresh as ever.Of Montreal can do little wrong in my book.The Pretenders single is up-tempo, fresh, and modern while Snow Patrol are always consistent.
The Fratellis headlined at a quiet Wiltern Theatre. They were powerful as usual, but I don't think singer John will ever engage the crowd if he isn't doing it by now. The fans in front undoubtedly know both albums but it's interesting that outside of second album single "Mistress Mabel", they reacted far more strongly to lesser known cuts from the first album. Their second album did show musical growth, but once again we see that if the music isn't as much fun, people don't respond as well live or in terms of CD sales. I'm getting word that they are no longer as relevant in the U.K. either, and this band deserves better.The Airborne Toxic Event also played. This fine band are more effective in smaller settings from what I've seen. Their "Sometime Around Midnight" single is a highlight although not many of their songs are on that level. Liam Finn did a nice job of duplicating his album at the Echoplex, especially considering that he plays most of the music himself. His down to earth persona comes through nicely. Does It Offend You Yeah play well and are extremely intense. They rocked a sold-out Troubadour. CSS continue to put on a fun show, although the weaker material from their second album brought their Mayan Theatre gig down just a bit.Tilly and the Wall played as well and are a fun band that shows promise. Speaking of intense, The Hives and Eagles of Death Metal shared a bill at the Mayan. The Hives continue to upgrade, and are another band that deserve to be bigger than they are. The Eagles play great but their best material so far was on their initial release. One of the U.K.'s most promising emerging bands is The Rumble Strips.I saw them at Spaceland and also at Der Rathskeller at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Their ska-flavored horn parts invite comparisons to bands like The Specials and Dexy's Midnight Runners. Singer Charlie Waller has a fine voice and this band has a very natural, musical feel to them.Mark Ronson will be producing their next album. We interviewed Charlie following the Madison show, and it's on my site (Go Deep) both as a stand-alone feature and in my co-hosted Britrock show on WSUM.Fujiya and Miyagi are definitely the unassuming electro guys next door. They put on a likable, competent show at the Troubadour that fans of the band loved. I'm not sure their live show is on a scale yet, where they can add new fans.
Thanks to Matt Hunziker of WSUM for the opportunity to co-host his "Parklife" Britrock show on WSUM. Matt's show runs at 1PM Eastern time Sundays and 6PM GMT for Anglophiles who enjoy a fine blend of the old and new. The station can now be found on iTunes as well... Spring Awakening is a nationally-touring musical that won a number of Tony Awards on Broadway. It's a well-done teen coming of age story with a a modern rock soundtrack. I recommend it if it comes to your city. I'll be back at the December with the year's final edition, which will include my fave lists for the year. What are some of yours? I'd love to hear from you and I answer all emails. Enjoy the holiday season, and until next time...