Still one of my all-time favorite songs. Stunningly gorgeous, the kind of track you just get lost in.
It's nearly the end of December, which means my inbox is starting to explode with lots of "so what were your favorite albums of the year?" messages from friends and colleagues. So far I've ignored all of these messages (sorry, pals!) because my mind completely goes blank when I'm asked that question. Why? Because my music ADD is at an all-time high, and I actually rarely listen to full albums.
This is mostly due to the fact that I've been the sole curator of Band of the Day app for the past couple of years, which requires listening to an obscene amount of music in order to effectively choose the best bands to feature. To put it into perspective, that's over 1000 bands I've had to choose, which is drilled down from at least 5-10 times that amount of music listening! But hey, if "I have to listen to TOO much new music" is the worst part of the job, it's not a bad one to be in ;)
Right, back to the matter at hand - my personal list of stand-out tracks released in 2014. I'm too indecisive to rank them, so I've taken the lazy way out by posting them in alphabetical order. Hope you discover some gems from this list, and I'd love to hear feedback on what your favorites were (the YouTube playlist up there has every track).
1. Benjamin Booker, "Violent Shiver" - This is a song that had me going, "Whoa. Who IS this guy?" the first time I heard it. Bluesy, gritty, with just a hint of punk.
2. Dillon Francis feat. DJ Snake, "Get Low" - Oh hey, you didn't realize I also like mainstream music? It's dirty, ridiculous, and any song that causes such a mass dance floor frenzy every single time is a-OK in my book.
3. Fink, "Looking Too Closely" - Gorgeous vocals, heartbreaking melody, utterly captivating.
4. Hamilton Leithauser, "Alexandra" - Dude from The Walkmen. He's still got it!
5. Johnny Stimson, "So.Good." - For a panty-dropping good time, call Johnny Stimson.
6. Kishi Bashi, "Philosphize It! Chemicalize With It!" - I wish I wasn't scared of trying 'shrooms. Because otherwise I'd eat a whole bunch, listen to this song, and run around a psychedelic forest wonderland.
7. Michael Jackson, "Love Never Felt So Good" - there's a 1 in 7 chance that if your song title has the words 'so' and 'good' in it, it'll make my playlist (see: number 5).
8. Milky Chance, "Stolen Dance" - I can't read their band name without thinking of the scene in This Is England when Milky gets beaten up ("Wake up, Milky! Milky, wake up!" cries the little kid). But I digress. Again. Anyway, it's a song that's gotten a ton of airplay this year, but one that I'm always happy to hear and never skip over.
9. ODESZA, "Say My Name (feat. Zyra)" - ODESZA is the perfect intersection between glitchy electronic pop and indie pop, and Zyra's vocals are hypnotic as she sings, "I wanna dance, I wanna dance, I wanna dance with you/So take a chance, take a chance"
10. Porter Robinson, "Sad Machine" - I still get chills from the opening melody of this song. Stunning!
11. Rich Aucoin, "Are You Experiencing?" - Hands down, one of my favorite live acts EVER (please watch the video to see what I mean!). And this song is pretty much the epitome of sonic serotonin: uplifting, makes you feel alive. <3 <3 <3
12. Terror Pigeon, "Girl!" - Another one of those 'makes you feel so alive' tracks. Starts out a little slow, but then builds up into an explosion of awesomeness. I can only imagine how much fun they must be in concert, and I'm hoping to catch them in 2015!
13. White Arrows, "We Can't Ever Die" - One time a dude hit on me by asking, "do you #YOLO?" I wanted to say, "No sir, because that's not grammatically correct!" But I didn't. And now I'm guessing by the title of this song that White Arrows also don't YOLO. #TeamImmortality #FTW
14. Yellerkin, "Solar Laws" - Love at first listen. Seriously, how could you not fall in love with those melodies and vocals?
This was first posted for Band of the Day app on 9/30/14 over at: http://bit.ly/mvsfbands
It’s hard to believe we’re about to begin the tenth month of the year — that’s nearly 300 new bands we’ve featured just in this year alone! Fueled by one too many cups of coffee, and sheer curiosity/music geekery, we decided to take a look at the data of all of the bands we’ve featured in the app this year to see if we could determine any trends on what types of bands are defining the 2014 emerging music scene. We looked at three key data points from the app (number of song plays, number of social media shares, and number of buy button taps), to find the top ten bands in each category. Here are the results (click on the band names to listen to their music):
Most Song Plays
- The OK Social Club
- The Fratellis
- Quiet Company
- Megan Bonnell
- Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
- Kayleigh Goldsworthy
- Deaf Havana
- Lily & Madeleine
Most Music Buys
- The OK Social Club
- Megan Bonnell
- Lily & Madeline
- Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
- Kayleigh Goldsworthy
- The Fratellis
- Quiet Company
- Western Lows
Most Social Media Shares
- The OK Social Club
- Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas
- Quiet Company
- Cherri Fosphate
- The Fratellis
- The Sounds
- Chicks Who Love Guns
Breaking it down by category, we noticed a few trends that popped up. Just based on song plays alone, female singer-songwriters are dominating the results, followed closely behind by British guitar-heavy rock bands. The ladies are also dominating the Most Music Buys category, followed by rock and folk bands. We theorized that the results for Most Social Media Shares would also follow a similar pattern but, after looking at the data, we noticed that it was actually completely different. Rock bands are most likely to be shared publicly on user’s social media networks, followed by electronic and folk bands.
So how can this variance possibly be explained? Digging one layer deeper, we know that 61% of our Band of the Day users are male, while 39% are female. Given this statistic, could this mean that, while the majority of users (both genders) spend more time listening to female singer-songwriters, males are less inclined to publicly share their love of female singer-songwriters, opting to publicly portray a more “masculine” taste in music with heavier guitar rock? While we can’t conclude definitively, and just have a small sampling of the 2014 emerging music landscape, the numbers seem to suggest that this might be the case. Have a different theory on why this might be? Feel free to share your insights by leaving a comment at facebook.com/bandoftheday or tweeting @bandoftheday. </endmusicgeekmode>.
Note: this was first published in Band of the Day app on June 6, 2014
It’s hard to believe that today we’re featuring our 1000th Band of the Day. Instead of exposing you to an unknown band today, we’ve decided to mark this special occasion by taking it back to one of the bands responsible for sparking our own obsession with music discovery: The Strokes. Thirteen years ago, the five New Yorkers -- Julian Casablancas (lead vocals), Nick Valensi (guitar, vocals), Albert Hammond, Jr. (guitar, vocals), Nikolai Fraiture (bass), and Fabrizio Moretti (drums) -- released their debut album Is This It (2001). Almost immediately it received critical acclaim across mainstream and independent music publications, being cited as one of the greatest rock albums of the 2000s and selling millions of copies worldwide. Since then, the band has kept the momentum going with the release of four additional albums: Room On Fire (2003), First Impressions of Earth (2006), Angles (2011), and most recently 2013’s Comedown Machine.
But going back to the Is This It era, it was a time when smartphones and music discovery apps didn’t exist. Most of us discovered new bands the old-fashioned way: radio, television, music magazines, snarky record store clerks...or in my case, snooping through my older brother’s Winamp files on our family’s shared computer. Instead of finding some type of incriminating evidence against him, I double-clicked a song at random, and turned the speakers up. The song was “Hard To Explain” (from Is This It), and I remember this visceral, overwhelming sensation of feeling completely captivated by the music. It sounded nothing like the top 40 radio hits and MTV chart-toppers I normally listened to as a teenage girl coming of age in the early 2000s. Immediately I queued up the rest of the songs on the album, and listened on repeat until I was kicked off the computer.
Needless to say, it didn’t take long for The Strokes to oust 'N Sync as my new favorite band -- lead singer Julian Casablancas was now the top JC in my life (sorry JC Chasez). I bought every magazine with The Strokes on the cover, joined their online forum to meet like-minded fans, and went to all of their concerts when they came through town. One of the most important effects of this teenage devotion was that their music opened up an entirely different world of music to what I had always known. I learned about iconic bands who The Strokes cited as influences, like the Velvet Underground, Television, and New York Dolls; and their contemporaries, like The White Stripes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Libertines, and Interpol. Music discovery became an essential part of life, a part that I’m now honored to share with all of you on a daily basis.
So today, instead of exposing your ears to the next best unknown band, I hope you enjoy taking a journey through the musical history of The Strokes with our selection of featured songs from each of their five albums. - Amanda Van West (@amandabomb)
To say that I used to be completely, utterly obsessed with The Strokes is a bit of an understatement. As a 16 year-old high school girl in 2002, once I heard "Hard To Explain" and "Last Nite", I never looked back.
I joined their official fan club. I went to as many of their concerts as I could. I posted on their music forum. I bought every single music magazine that featured articles on them. I devoted nearly every single blog post to them. I proudly wore their t-shirts. They were even the muses for my high school art assignments:
But, like many young bands on the scene, nothing is permanent. As I grew out of my teeny bopper Strokes-obsessed phase, the band produced two more albums, before pretty much disappearing over the last 5 years.
They never officially split up, but most of the band members were busy with side projects, and it seemed like The Strokes might not ever produce music together again.
Undercover Of Darkness
That is, until today. For the first time in 5 years, The Strokes have released a new song: "Undercover Of Darkness."
This is the first single off of their forthcoming album, Angles, which will be released on March 22nd.
While I was waiting for the song to download (it's available for free for the next 48 hours on their official website), all of those giddy, 16 year-old teeny bopper feelings came bubbling to the surface again.
Even upon listening to the first few notes of the song, and to Julian's distinct, yearning-yet-gritty voice, crooning away ambiguous lyrics, little goosebumps actually formed on my arms.
"Undercover Of Darkness" has the classic, Is This It?-era Strokes sound: upbeat, jangly guitars and a feeling that is simultaneously nostalgic and melancholic.
You know that feeling that you get when you meet someone new, but you feel like you've known them forever? Yet, you're still excited about what they're going to bring to your life, so you want to hang out with them as much as possible to soak up their awesomeness.
"Undercover Of Darkness" is like that new person, and my iTunes is getting a very hefty dose of it--repeatedly!
Hopefully the rest of Angles will live up to the expectations set by "Undercover Of Darkness." In the meantime, "I'll wait for you!"
I distinctly remember the first time I had ever heard The White Stripes. It was over 7 years ago, when I was 17 years old, and it was the summer before starting my senior year of high school. At this point in my life, I wasn't the music geek that I am today. I listened to whatever was on the radio, or whatever my friends listened to.
It was one of those hot and sticky summer days in Santa Clara, the kind that makes you feel like a Kirkland Signature ham, glistening with sweat instead of a sweet honey glaze. The kind where your ghetto air conditioning (aka spraying a cold water bottle into a fan) just doesn't cut it. On those types of days, my mom and I would escape to the air conditioned confines of Valley Fair Mall.
I remember walking into Macy's Men & Home, looking up at the television screen, and seeing this music video:
At the time, I had no idea who the band or what the song was. But I had to find out. It was so different from everything else that I listened to, but something about it resonated with me.
Later that evening, after probably Googling something like "what's that lego video?", I discovered that the band was called The White Stripes, and that the song was "Fell In Love With A Girl."
A subsequent trip to Rasputin Records, and I was officially the proud owner of "White Blood Cells." I don't know how many times I listened to that album that summer, or since then, but it remains one of my all-time favorite albums.
Candy Cane Children
Come September, I had the chance to see The White Stripes at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. And it was only my second concert ever.
To this day, after going to hundreds of concerts, this is still one of the all-time best live performances that I have ever seen. The chemistry between Jack and Meg was electric, the songs sounded so raw and explosive, and the audience--a sea of red and white-clad people--was hanging onto every note.
I'll never forget how The White Stripes helped set me on the path to a fantastic music scene, or how their music makes me feel.
Like many other 'Candy Cane Children' out there, I'm devastated to hear that they've split up.
But, as they say, the music lives on. Even though I'll never see them live again, I know that I can pop in "De Stijl" or "Get Behind Me Satan" and relive those memories.
RIP, The White Stripes!
“My name is Daniel, and I'm here for the Gang Bang!” It's less than ten minutes into my interview with The Postelles' Daniel Balk (vocals, guitar) and John Speyer (Bass), and somehow we've stumbled onto the topic of the little-known McDonald's secret menu. We're sitting backstage at The Independent, the location of this New York City band's first-ever concert in San Francisco, and the band seems eager to show the Bay Area hipsters what they have to offer.
And what they have to offer are succinct, endorphin-inducing songs that sound like the brainchild of The Strokes and Phil Spector after drinking dozens of Tom Collins and playing vigorous rounds of canasta.
After being in San Francisco for just a few hours, I ask the guys what excites them most about the city, and what they've had a chance to see so far.
Daniel: We've heard it's a great city, so I think everything excites me right now. John: I think it's also like a really rich city, in terms of musical history. D: And rich people. J: That's what's really exciting, we're hoping to meet some rich people! (laughs) What have you guys seen so far? D: We got here an hour ago, so not much. J: We saw this Jordanian kebab place (laughs). D: We saw you! J: We got some great coffee. It was really good coffee! (Note: It was at Bean Bag Coffee House on Divisadero) J: Yeah, at the bean place. It was really good. I got the Sumatra blend. Ooh, fancy. Was it like Fair Trade, and organic? J: I hope so, because I only drink that. 'Cause that's really easy on tour. I guess so. J: No, it's not at all! (laughs) Organic food is the hardest thing to buy on tour. D: McDonald's is easy! Did you know that McDonald's has a secret menu? J: No, like In-N-Out? I dunno, I was reading this article and I saw that they have one called 'The Gang Bang.' D: The 'Gang Bang'?
J: "Hi, welcome to McDonald's, I'm here for the gang bang!" (laughs) D: Are you sure they were talking about McDonald's?! Yeah, apparently it's like a Big Mac with a chicken sandwich stuck in the middle. J: Can you order it animal-style? "Can I get the Gang Bang, animal-style?" I dunno! D: "I'm here for the Gang Bang...animal-style!" It sounds better in my voice. J: Yeah, you are the singer. It's more natural. Your vocal quality is higher. I think you guys should sing that tonight. You should make a song about the Gang Bang. D: When I walk on stage I'll say, “My name is Daniel, and I'm here for the Gang Bang!”
Getting Poked By Chuck Berry
Feel like getting gang banged by The Postelles? You can try your luck on Twitter. Like many up-and-coming bands these days, The Postelles are no strangers to the power of social networking. So how has new media has affected their interaction with fans?
D: It makes it more personal. Because immediately after a show you're already getting a few responses like, “Great show!” J: Or, “Terrible show!” D: Yeah, “Terrible show!” And then we say, you know, “Fuck you!” back (laughs). No, it definitely makes it more intimate. J: I think the coolest thing is we went on Facebook and asked where should we go. And people actually told us. D: We literally went on and said, “Where do you want us to play?” J: And half of them were St. Louis for some reason. D: Probably because of the Kings Of Leon. J: Oh yeah. So we were like, “Ok, we're going!” And we went! D: It was funny because there were like 70 responses and we were like, “I dunno. Should we go to St. Louis?” And the next response was from Chuck Berry. And he was like, “Yeah you guys should come to St. Louis!” (Jon laughs) And then he poked me! Wait, Chuck Berry poked you on Facebook? J: That should be your headline! This is breaking news! D: And then I poked him back. (laughs) J: He's totally lying. I actually have a friend who works at Twitter who's coming tonight, so there you go, social networking! D: Nice change of subject! Jon's actually a pathological liar. J: You're a pathological liar. Twitter's actually gonna be here! I'm gonna tweet my friend from Twitter, here, from the stage. So how was Chuck Berry? D: It was awesome! Supposedly he “dug” us. He dug you? J: According to the keyboardist. We're telling everybody that! Are you gonna put that all over Twitter? J: Chuck Berry says, “I dig you!”
D: I actually tattooed it to my chest. That is a good tattoo to have. J: You don't wanna know where it is. D: I said chest! J: Yeah, but that's not true. (laughs)
Their Milkshake Brings All The Boys To The Yard
True or not, it's hard to imagine Chuck Berry not digging The Postelles. Because what other band would play my ridiculous photo game?
What is the photo game? Let's start with a brief background story:
I found a used roll of film in a camera at a charity shop in London. A small donation later, and the mysterious roll was mine!
Last week, I finally made the trip to CVS to get it developed.
The following photographs were the only pictures on the entire roll of film. Let me just reiterate that I have no idea who these people are, where these pictures were taken, or even when they were taken.
So I've asked Daniel and John to look through the photos and decide what music these people might be listening to in each one.
D: I would say “YMCA” by The Village People. J: Yep!
J: The second Girl Talk album! D: I would say “YMCA” again!
D: Ooh, “My Milkshake Brings All The Boys To The Yard”! J: Yep! Yep, definitely.
D: Uhh...”Thong Song”! J: “Thong Song”! (laughs)
(Both are momentarily consumed with laughter on this one.) D: I would say “Smells Like Teen Spirit”! J: That was sweet! D: That was a fun game, can we keep playing that game?
The Postelles: Coming To An Underwater Venue Near You! (Maybe)
The photo game may be over, but it's never too late for the money game.
Ok, so if you had all the money in the world... J: Which we do. D: Yeah, because we're robbing a bank tomorrow, like we said before. What would be your dream gig? I'm talking location, line-up, everything. J: We would probably play underwater. Like, accessible only by submarine. And, uh, you know that John Lennon is still alive? He would probably headline the festival. John Lennon would headline the festival? D: Huge, breaking news! J: Dude, he's been living in Argentina all this time! D: Juan Lennon? J: Yeah, and Elvis is still around. He's old. D: And where does he live? J: In Argentina! Yeah dude, and Tupac! So John Lennon, Elvis, and Tupac would headline the festival under the sea, accessible only by submarine. And Roy Orbison would probably open for us. D: You did not answer that question, at all! You know what? You're a pathological liar! J: You're an avoider! D: We're breaking up! So much breaking news in one interview! D: This will be the first night we're not sleeping together in one bed. J: That's true. Aww, separation anxiety? D: We both have girlfriends, and when we get back to New York we have to tell them that we won't be sharing a bed with them. J: For two nights! And then we'll do a four-person bed. D: And so the girls will have to stand on the side of the room and just watch while we hold hands and cuddle. I guess that kind of answers my next question... D: Do we have girlfriends? Yes, we have girlfriends. No, how do you unwind on tour? J: Cuddle! D: Well, I like to preserve water in the shower. Let's put it that way... J: Billy (Cadden, drummer) and I do crossword puzzles. Or I try to do Ab Ripper X. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERR5Sdm7mA8&w=480&h=390] P90X? J: Yes! Well, this is more hypothetical. Billy's like, “You know what? I'm gonna drink a lot tonight and then go home and do Ab Ripper!” D: But we have gone to the gym. J: Yup, we have been going to the gym. What, the YMCA? J: No, we've actually gone to the gym! It's hard on the road to stay in shape, but we try to do it. Brian, our tour manager, is actually our life coach. D: Our life manager! He's like the Tony Robbins of the tour? J: Yeah, and he's also an amazing driver.
Breaking News (again!)
Ok, so you guys have probably heard that Coachella has sold out. D: No, breaking news! Yes, breaking news again! How would you go about sneaking into Coachella? D: It'd be nice to actually play Coachella. J: We'd dress up as a band, probably. Just walk right in. D: People always say I look like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, so I'd probably just walk in and say I'm Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
J: Billy looks like everybody. Billy's one of those people that people always say he looks like someone, every attractive person. So what's been your proudest band moment so far? D: Wow, good question. I would say playing in Iceland was really cool. J: Yeah, Iceland was cool! And finally, what's next for The Postelles? D: We have a show in like, twenty or forty minutes. That's literally what's next for us! Well, we're gonna be touring a lot. Our debut album comes out in April.
Thanks, guys! To hear the full, unedited (but shitty audio quality) interview, click here.
The Postelles are Daniel Balk (Vocals, Guitar), Billy Cadden (Drums), David Dargahi (Lead Guitar), and John Speyer (Bass). Be sure to check out their website here to stay up-to-date on the latest news, and to listen to some sweet tunes!
Wordpress has a fancy new feature where you can use your cell phone to directly post audio content to your blog. I interviewed The Postelles last night at their debut San Francisco show. The following is the full, unedited (albeit questionable audio quality) interview: [audio http://amandavanwest.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/audio-post-2011-01-28-04-32-12.mp3|titles=Audio Post]
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiAxiGZKpGQ&fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b] Remember this tune? For anyone who grew up in the 90s, hearing the familiar, bleepy "doo doo dooos" can instantly transport you back to the days of playing Nintendo, watching Saturday morning cartoons, and swilling hefty portions of sugary, crack-like Kool-Aid through crazy straws.
For up-and-coming act, MidiMidis, mixing nostalgia with crazy electro rock is their name of the game. Their music is entirely composed of 8-bit and midi melodies. Imagine a British version of Julian Casablancas stroking himself with a Duck Hunt gun while watching "Tron", and you'll have some sense of what MidiMidis sound like. Or, y'know, you can just listen on their Myspace page.
The band were opening for Delays at the intimate Relentless Garage in London. An odd combination of bands, but they seemed ready to take on the challenge by performing with raw enthusiasm and fervor.
But despite giving an energetic performance, complete with brilliantly garish stage lights, the crowd was only mildly receptive. Perhaps they'd be more suited to opening for a band like Klaxons or Late of the Pier, rather than Delays.
Although, oddly enough, their performance seemed to have a Viagra-like effect on an older couple standing next to me, inspiring the man to gratuitously squeeze the bottom of his partner while she listened on to the bleepy, shouty spectacle going on in front of her.
Bottom line? MidiMidis are the perfect soundtrack for either your next crazy electro-rock warehouse party, or for people in their 'frisky fifties.'
Delays: Still Rockin' After All These Years
Six years is a long time to wait to see one of your favorite bands in concert again. The last time I saw Delays, I was just starting my first semester at USF. So naive, so innocent (but still with a kick-ass taste in music).
They've released three albums since then, including the recently released "Star Tiger Star Ariel." And judging by the crowd at the Relentless Garage, they've managed to maintain a strong fan base of hardcore followers.
The venue was packed with their most dedicated fans; the fans that can sing along to every single word whilst fist-pumping and pogoing up and down to every song.
Musically, they've come a long way since releasing "Faded Seaside Glamour," but they've retained the same freshness and exuberance in their live performance. And, somehow, they don't seem to have aged at all in the last six years. I'd like to know their secret!
Perhaps it's the same source of magic that gives lead singer Greg Gilbert his androgynously siren-like vocals, as he wails along to the lush, ethereal melodies and beats of the rest of the band.
Like the veelas had the power to hypnotize unsuspecting men in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" with their song, Greg managed to get even the toughest-looking men in the venue to jump around like hooligans at a football match.
The band played a good mixture of songs from all of their albums, including "Long Time Coming", "Cavalry", and "Valentine." As the songs continued, hands shot up into the air like some type of religious spectacle at one of those weird churches in a tent, where people speak in tongues and pass out from the power of Christ.
Luckily, no one passed out here. The band expertly knew how to command the stage and get the audience going. It's obvious that Delays are a band that have been doing this for awhile, without the awkward or nervous onstage moments. Greg, Aaron, Colin, and Rowly all play with a noticeable confident attitude, somehow managing to simultaneously engage the crowd and blow them away at the same time.
And the crowd wouldn't let them get away without an encore, enticing the band to come back onstage by clapping in time and continuing the melodic "Oooohs" that Greg left off with.
Bottom line? Like Super Mario Bros, Delays are still just as amazing (if not better) after all these years!
"Ok, this next song is going to sound very Russian, and when we start it will become very clear why," explains Barry Hyde, with the same mischievous grin as The Grinch when he's slinking around Whoville, stealing all of the Christmas decorations. The lead singer of The Futureheads has successfully captured the attention of the crowd packed into the tiny Pure Groove Records shop and cafe. It's a quiet Thursday afternoon in London, and a mixture of students and young, suited professionals on their lunch breaks are gathered to catch a rare, free acoustic performance of the normally raucous Sunderland-based indie rock quartet.
As the group launches into "Struck Dumb" from their newest album, The Chaos, which was released in the UK on April 26th, the Russian reference becomes very clear indeed. Without the aid of electric guitars, band members Ross Millard and David 'Jaff' Craig harmonise "ra da-da!" sounds--making sure to heavily roll the R's--and occasionally display Russian-inspired dance moves, alternately squatting and popping back up with flailing leg kicks and arm thrusts. The only thing missing from the scene is black, furry hats and shiny, red voluminous trousers.
Hyde joins in by singing, "Misery, is a little line, of a little dash, it's a subtraction sign." Meanwhile, drummer Dave Hyde sits off to the side, providing a rhythmic beat without the aid of a drum kit.
With influences ranging from new wave and post-punk greats like Fugazi, XTC, Devo, and Gang Of Four, The Futureheads normally perform upbeat-yet-aggressive sets that often result in moshing, crowd-surfing, and pogo dancing. But despite not having the usual array of electric instruments, amplifiers, smoke machines, and brilliantly-coloured stage lights, their performance doesn't feel any less exciting.
The Chaos Here, the excitement comes from admiring the power of their voices and poetic lyrics, like "Every time I listen to my heart/It's like a cartwheel in my head but my legs are made of lead" from "Heartbeat Song." This is The Futureheads stripped down to their rawest elements.
And, today, those elements consist of one part concert, one part variety show--the band members seem to be in a jovial mood, joking around with each other and encouraging crowd interaction. It's not every day that a band turns one of their songs ("Hounds Of Love", from 2004's self-titled debut album, in this case) into an audience participation game. Millard's side of the crowd has been instructed to sing the "OH oh-oh"s, while Craig's side of the crowd has the dueling "oh-OH!" melody.
It's here where it becomes clear that this isn't your ordinary British indie rock band, with generic melodies and a pretentious attitude--the band's vocals alone intertwine in perfect harmony, almost like a throwback to a-Capella barbershop quartets from the turn of the 20th century.
Although the audience members may not possess the same level of vocal talent as the band, hearing the entire shop singing along to "Hounds Of Love" is a testament to the band's showmanship. Moments like this make you remember why you bother going to shows in the first place. It's easy to sit back and listen to an album on the bus, while working, or at a club, but without the smoke and mirrors of studio productions, some bands just can't cut it live.
But whether they're playing an intimate acoustic set, or performing at Europe's largest festivals, The Futureheads have consistently proven that they can do more than cut it live--especially with the occasional, impromptu kalinka dance moves.