White Rabbits: It’s Frightening

It is increasingly difficult to stand out in the overcrowded pop scene these days, but leave it to Missouri transplants White Rabbits (they’ve since relocated to Brooklyn, much like fellow Midesterners Locksley) to take a trick from .38 Special’s playbook and turn it on its ear: two drummers! The similarities end there, though; It’s Frightening, the second long-player from the White Rabbits, takes those two drummers – think Adam and the Ants, not the Doobie Brothers – and frames them with singer Stephen Patterson’s barroom piano and some sparse guitar work to create the kind of angular pop that you’d expect from the bands on the other side of the pond. Britt Daniel’s presence here as producer is no surprise, as the band’s “They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong” sounds like a lost Spoon track, and Single of the Year candidate “Percussion Gun,” armed to the teeth with handclaps and double-decker harmonies, is delightfully quirky and insanely catchy. That unusual approach to their drum tracks could prove to be an albatross – ask Guster about that one – but for the moment, all is quite well with the White Rabbits. (TBD 2009)

White Rabbits MySpace page

  

Anya Marina: Slow & Steady Seduction Phase II

Anya Marina is an entertainment triple threat—she’s been a radio DJ, an actress, and is now fortifying her music career with a second album release, Slow & Steady Seduction: Phase II, released on Alexandra Patsavas’ Chop Shop Music label. Patsavas, one of the best-known film/TV music supervisors, placed one of Marina’s songs on the “Grey’s Anatomy” soundtrack and then signed her to the label. Marina’s unique, sultry vocal is a more alternative version of Gwen Stefani, and her playful songs on Slow & Steady are accented by the hipster production crew of Brian Karscig (Louis XIV) and Britt Daniel (Spoon). Daniel’s drum loops helped give Marina a creative spark and as a result the album is a leap from Marina’s earlier singer/songwriter fare. There are some great moments, especially on the opener “Move You,” the ultra-bouncy “Cut It Out,” and on “Vertigo,” which has an ‘80s, “Pretty in Pink” undertone. But on “Not a Through Street,” which starts out with just an acoustic guitar and Marina’s pure vocal, her appeal jumps through the roof. It doesn’t matter if the flavor-of-the-month artist is your thing or not, there will be something most everyone can like about Anya Marina. (Chop Shop/Atlantic)

Anya Marina ySpace Page

  

Get to Know: Spoon

Spoon is the brainchild of frontman/guitarist Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno. Hailing from Austin – the home of the University of Texas – the band’s sound feels as if it were shaped in a college town, benefiting from all the creativity and calculation in the air. With help from co-producer Mike McCarthy, Daniel pays great attention to detail and each of the band’s tracks is pleasurable to the ear in one way or another. Over the past decade, the band has released five albums, and while their early punk stuff drew comparisons to the Pixies, the band has been able to refine its sound over its last four releases, developing a kind of rock that is both melodious and thoughtful. Spoon is working on a sixth album, tentatively titled Trouble Minx, for release sometime in 2007. But for now, listen to these 11 songs, and pay special attention to what’s going on in the lower frequencies. Daniel’s ability to create interesting, repeating bass lines and piano riffs is almost unparalleled. When possible, I included links to the songs at iTunes and Amazon and also included either a proper video or live performance for each song (from YouTube). Spoon is a terrific live band, so if you get the opportunity, be sure to see them perform.
Spoon MySpace Page | Official Site
BE Reviews: Girls Can Tell | Kill The Moonlight | Gimme Fiction

“The Way We Get By”Kill the Moonlight
This is the first song I play for people when I’m trying to get them into the band. Daniel called this track “one of the most immediate” of his tunes, going on to say, “Once I sang that chorus the first time and got it on tape, I kind of knew it was going to be a good one.” It’s catchy from the start – he sings over an infectious yet delightful piano riff. It was also a breakthrough of sorts; the song ended up on the first Music from the O.C. mix. You can watch a decent live version here or watch an “O.C.” video below, which has the song as its soundtrack.
iTunes | Amazon

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