Sorting through the PR e-mail to shake out the MP3s and links to band MySpace pages often feels like being forced to listen to only the opening bands while we wait for a headliner that will never take the stage.
Because of that, The Typing Monkey staff has developed a simple classification system for those bands that we will revisit after a cursory listen, even if we eventually decide they're not for us. This shorthand is a perfectly reasonable way to talk about the bands, much in the way you'd fill in a friend who has arrived late to the show and wants to know if the warm-up acts were any good.
We won't waste any space explaining the classification system because we respect you too much. Just grab your coat, get your wrist stamped and if you don't like any of the acts below, understand this is less than 10 percent of what we had to sift through.
A man from Montreal who makes soft-focus disco and pre-house instrumentals that could soundtrack a Golan-Globus movie. Add to that his remixes of hits he obviously wasn't old enough to remix the first time around (OMC's "How Bizarre"; The Jets' "Crush On You") and we have ourselves a winner.
Dark Dark Dark
Banjo, accordion, cello, drums and lopping sea-chanty rhythms pile into a gypsy caravan to do a Southern Gothic drive-by. That is to say, Dark Dark Dark will put a red scarf over the lamp and make next Friday night's $7 wine-drunk temporarily exotic.
Flowers of Doom
One-third of FoD is singer Simon Lord (ex-Simian, current The Black Ghosts), whose worried vocals help nail the information-overloaded mood. This music wedges in right between The Black Ghosts' club-friendly sound and The Good, The Bad & The Queen's bleak dub-tinted tunes.
More top-shelf electro from an underrated gentleman who makes music that sounds like the 1980s we want to remember. Thank you once more, Tacoma.
The Rollo Treadway
It's been a while since there was a worthwhile British Invasion reenactment band, and this quartet's awfully good at it. Cherry-picking from The Kinks, Zombies and Hollies (and likely others) they're doing it well by not over-doing it.
NODS OF APPROVAL
Remember the wealth of solid, co-ed guitar bands that walked in both the shadows of the indie/college-radio ghetto and the glare of mainstream acceptance? Friendly Foes do, and they wear it well, Apples in Stereo vocals and all. Look, sugar's not good for you, but you still eat it, right?
Sparkling samba-soul from an authentic Brazilian with a thing for mid-'60s Quincy Jones. Even your mom will do Charlie Brown dances to this, so get it before she finds it at a large-chain coffee shop in a year or so.
Diverse, weird sounds that seem a genuine emulation and repurposing of early electronic experimental junk -- especially late '60s and early '70s obscurities that, if mentioned here will make us sound like elitist trash.
Busy, Tokyo train-station electronic instrumentals from Deastro's solo side project. Like his Ghostly Swim contribution "Light Powered," every song title involves the word "Powered" -- we recommend "Space Powered" and "AGE POWERED." Deastro's good, and now he can be his own opening act.
Boys with guitars give us too many reasons to ask them to please just stop. Yet here's some jerk from Seattle, with glasses and a natty sweater and he's doing fine. He knows his way around a radio-ready pop tune, his voice doesn't make us want to punch him in the face, and the lyrics don't try so damned hard.
Here We Go Magic
Oh, bearded Brooklyn, when will it end? "Tunnelvision" is a pleasant bit of acoustic psychedelia, but this is nothing spectacular.
"Voodoo Things" proves that meaningless but cool-sounding words delivered through a vocoder makes one-half of a good bit-crunched freak out. Larytta brought the other half as well and that cut could be the Swiss duo's one wonderful hit. The remainder of the music on their page stutters through too many stylistic ticks to hold our attention.
We shook our Magic 8 Ball and asked if The Whip will be the Klaxons of 2009. "It is decidedly so."
WHAT DID WE MISS?
Leapin' lizards! She's a Dutch expatriate living in New Orleans, and has already performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Here's a link to a video of Ms. Andersson showing laptop IDM geeks -- and plenty of singer/songwriters -- how to make solo performance interesting. (And the tunes are good too.)
These fellows passed legal drinking age some time ago, but still play with teenage enthusiasm. You can guess what you're in for based on the band name. The quartet has been putting in hours since 2001 but only came to our attention recently. We sincerely regret the error.
Let's do this again real soon.