Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005: Twas Quite The Year

I don't usually post on the weekends, but I figured I needed to say a little thank you to all of you dedicated readers for a great 2005. Plus, I'm sure you are just itching to find out about the Spin Doctors show last night.

I hadn't been to Hammerstein in a long time (we're talking years) and despite the absurdly priced drinks, it's a good venue. My friend Joe interviewed Chris Barron (lead singer) a couple weeks ago for the publication he writes for, so he hooked us up with spots on the guest list. Turns out the Spin Doctors were opening for The Disco Biscuits, a stoner friendly dance band. It had been a while since I'd been at a concert surrounded by that nostalgic smell.

So The Spin Doctors put on a fun set, very reminiscent of their early tunes. The lead singer had some interesting dance moves -- everything from sidekicking, pointing fingers, and punching the microphones. And yes, they played "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong," "Pocket Full of Kryptonite" and ended it all off with "Two Princes." The Spin Doctors Pocket Full of Kryptonite was one of the first albums I ever purchased. Who would have thought that over 10 years later I'd be seeing them perform those songs live.

We stuck around to check out the Disco Biscuits as the young stoners piled in, joints and dancing shoes intact. The music started and the crowd went nuts. Spastic dance moves and clouds of smoke filled up Hammerstein. I couldn't help but smile (either from inhaling what was around me or watching the crowd). Before I left for the holiday break, I was so sick of the crowds in New York. They are just far too pretentious. But last night at the Disco show you had the nicest, least pretentious people all there to have a good time with their favorite band. And they danced, my god, did they dance.

After the show, I debated heading downtown to meet up with some friends at Orchard Bar, but instead decided I should just call it a night. I had the Time Out New York that I picked up earlier in my apartment with our always talk-worthy Brooklynites Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on the cover.

I must say it was a very well-written article that reminded me why I really liked this band in the first place. I can remember reading on Nora's blog (who got a nice mention in the article as well) about the band and downloaded the tracks. It was something I really hadn't heard before. Sure, it was reminiscent of 80's bands like the Talking Heads, but there was something new about it. And when I went to their album release party and saw them live, there was something there. I just didn't know how big it was going to be, at the time.

With all the hype and buzz surrounding the band, it's easy to write them off and it's easy to not remember what a remarkable year they have had. I'm happy I read that article, because this band is making history. Like the music or not, a few years from now you'll remember that 2005 was the year Clap Your Hands Say Yeah took on the world, without a record label. And that, my friends, is something to be extremely proud of.

2005 was the year I decided that I really love what I do. I can't leave New York (unless I go to London), I can't stop going to see bands play, or meeting them, or writing about them. The first half of this year I had decided that I would shoot for 8 or 10 issues of the magazine and start a real life. But I got myself into this mess, so I might as well just stay there. I'll make it work somehow.

Thank you to all the bands, friends, bloggers, readers, and bartenders that made 2005 the best year thus far in my young life. I couldn't have stumbled home with a song in my head and a grin on my face without you.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Good Weekend

I wish I had more exciting things to report, but my life this week has been quite uneventful. Everything I do, I keep telling myself this will be the last time I will be doing it. I think I've become sentimental. Every time I get into a car to drive I tell myself it will be the last time I will be driving for at least five years. That makes me sad. I happen to love driving.

If there's one artist I've been blasting from my mom's car this week (she likes it too), it's Art Brut. I missed their show when they were in NYC, but you can guarantee I'll be there next time. And still with no official New Years plans, I may just buy myself a bottle of champagne, a pack of cigs and dance around to Art Brut. That would be awesome, actually.

  • Art Brut - Good Weekend
  • Art Brut - My Little Brother
  • Art Brut - Fight

    Hey but I am seeing Spin Doctors tonight at Hammerstein. Remember them? Yep, that's right. A little Two Princes action. But they apparently have a new album, and it's not bad. I'll let you know.

    Anywho, see you next year!

  • Wednesday, December 28, 2005

    Is This As Good As It Gets

    I'm still home in the Jersey, so there won't be very exciting news to report. I'm packing up all my memories into boxes to be put in storage or thrown away, while my parents are getting ready for their big move back to London. I put together a holiday party for all my hometown folk last night where we rented out our local bar. It was quite the shitshow, to say the least.

    The Teenage Prayers sent out a belated Xmas card, but for good measure. Terrence and Tim took a little time off the figgy pudding over the holiday break to hit the studios of WOXY in Cincinnati for an exclusive acoustic Lounge Act performance featuring the first-ever recorded version of "Is This As Good As It Gets" and not one but two original Christmas songs. Take a listen here.

    And there's a great article on "The Hottest Night of Winter" show at Pianos where we featured the band. Check it out in the Long Island paper Good Times here. Thanks to Joe for the kind words about Underrated and Liberated Matter.

    Teenage Prayers play with The Undisputed Heavyweights on January 5 at Fat Baby, marking my return to NYC. Check out the snazzy poster that Wes whipped up.

    Tuesday, December 27, 2005

    Human Technology Will Render You Obsolete

    We Are Scientists @ Scenic

    We Are Scientists performed on Late Night with David Letterman last week. They rocked my socks off, with a little (okay a lot) of swooning on the side. This band is super fantastic and I wish I had known of them earlier on because they are about to erupt and take over the world. Just wait and see.

    Watch their performance here.

    Some old-school WAS:

  • We Are Scientists - The Bomb Inside The Bomb
  • We Are Scientists - What Gives
  • We Are Scientists - The Trickster

    You Aint No Picasso includes Keith (swoon) Murray's Mix in his "12 Days of Mixmas." and gives us a live Ronnettes cover by the band. Read the post here.

  • We Are Scientists - Be My Baby

    Still no sign of the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah performance on Conan. I wonder why...

  • Let Your Good Heart Lead You Home

    There's a lot of good shows coming up in the 2006, with January off to a big start. While I'm lounging around Jersey, bored out of my mind, it helps knowing I have something to look forward to in the new year. Here's where you'll find me in month numero uno, doing my usual thing of drinking, yelling, and rocking out.

  • January 5: The Undisputed Heavyweights @ Fat Baby
  • January 7: Maximo Park DJs @ Misshapes
  • January 8: Tapes N Tapes @ Pianos
  • January 9: The Diggs @ Northsix
  • January 11: We Are Scientists @ Bowery Ballroom
  • January 14: Scott Harris Project @ Mercury Lounge
  • January 14: Tom Vek DJs @ Misshapes
  • January 15: The Wrens @ Knitting Factory
  • January 17: Hard-Fi @ Bowery
  • January 19: Aberdeen City @ Mercury Lounge
  • January 20: Editors @ Mercury Lounge
  • January 21: Editors @ The (Dark Room) Annex
  • January 25: Kinetic @ Pianos
  • January 27: Five O'Clock Heroes @ Crash Mansion
  • January 28: Bishop Allen @ Pianos

    What else am I missing?

  • Saturday, December 24, 2005

    Happy Holidays from Underrated

    Some classics, some new indies...all destined to put you into the holiday spirit, whatever that may be.

  • The Walkmen - Christmas Party
  • Coldplay - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  • Queen - Thank God It's Christmas
  • Sufjan Stevens - Come On! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!
  • The Ronnettes - Frosty The Snowman
  • The Dandy Warhols - Little Drummer Boy
  • Ron Sexsmith - Maybe This Christmas
  • Death Cab For Cutie - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
  • Snowden - Christmas Time Is Here
  • Bright Eyes - Blue Christmas
  • Low - Silent Night
  • The Eels - Christmas is Going To The Dogs
  • The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping
  • John Lennon - Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
  • Mew - She Came Home For Christmas
  • Mark Kozelek - White Christmas
  • BaiindAid - Do They Know It's Christmas
  • Ryan Adams - Hey Parker, It's Christmas
  • Hawksley Workman - Merry Christmas (I Love You)
  • Bruce Springsteen - Santa Clause Is Coming To Town
  • The Raveonettes - The Christmas Song

  • Friday, December 23, 2005

    The Buzz on Blogs (Part 4 of 4)

    Bloggers and readers are quick to label a band buzz worthy, but will be quicker to move on. Either a new band will come along, or the industry will jump on the bandwagon and it won’t worthy of talk anymore. Case in point: New York band The Bravery. The blogosphere buzzed about the band early on, but when the band went to the UK and blew up, bloggers were quick to judge. But from the band’s continued success, blogs do not have the last word. “Bloggers abandoned The Bravery a long time ago,” said Glenn "Coolfer", a blogger who also works within the music industry. “They’ve kept going through touring, radio, and the normal marketing a major label does.”

    But for the smaller bands that are seeking an accessible outlet to get their name out there, blogs are becoming a very useful marketing strategy. Many bands will contact a blogger directly and send them mp3s or offer up guest list spots for their next show.

    Like Sendrowitz, it’s helped generate enough to stand out in the oversaturated New York music scene. A Brief Smile, a young band based in New York would embrace the “buzz band” label, as long as the music is what is driving the talk. Jared O’Connell, the band’s keyboard player, plans to reach out to the blogging community when their new EP is finished. “I wouldn’t really want to ‘target’ them, that word makes it sound evil” he said. “But I hope they notice us, maybe through a friendly email I would send them.”

    Other bands, like the Brooklyn based The Upwelling have received blog love without any direct approach from the band. Enough shows have generated enough talk, but its hard to pinpoint whether the band’s recent success are a direct result of the blogosphere. Josh Ingber, drummer of The Upwelling, certainly loves reading encouraging posts, but has yet to specifically reach out to the community. “I’ve heard a lot of bands have built their attendance that way. Although I wouldn’t want to take advantage of a blogger’s credibility to build my own,” he explains. “So we haven’t. I just haven’t figured out a way to do it that feels honest.”

    And while music can speak for itself, specific genres and tastes can be left unknown. Up-and-coming singer/songwriter Seth Kallen finds that most blogs he’s come across are mainly focused on the flavor of the month “it” bands. He has considered reaching out to the blogging community, but is fearful of the result. “Any musician who pretends to not want any buzz surrounding their band is simply lying,” he said. “But I’m scared. Singer songwriters aren’t cool unless they have names like Sufjan. I just don’t know how you get that damn buzz, other than if you live in Brooklyn and are really skinny.”

    While some artists struggle to make a name for themselves on the blogosphere, others just fall into it. There’s no formula or guarantee, and definitely no longevity. If one blogger posts about a band he or she is listening to, if no one else catches on, there is nothing more they can do. As much of an outlet as it is for musicians, A&R representatives of major and indie record labels are using the blogs as a prominent research tool. With the absence of unsigned artists on the radio or on TV, the blogs are the only place they can turn to find out who is capable of becoming the next big thing. Buzz can equal sales, if the timing is right.

    “Blogs are beneficial to everyone because blogs are on the street level and do the leg work for them,” Jay Belin, blogger and creator of Loose Record, an online music site, said. “All music blogs should get a percentage on record deals, it’s only fair.”


  • The Buzz on Blogs (Part 3)
  • The Buzz on Blogs (Part 2)
  • The Buzz on Blogs (Part 1)

  • Thursday, December 22, 2005

    Run To Her

    Good news! The strike is over (thank god). I can finally go home for the holidays (woohoo). But even better news...

    So I mentioned before that I will be doing monthly shows at Crash Mansion in the new year. We had so much fun doing the last one that we wanted to have it on a regular basis. Same deal as last time - free admission before 11, open bar from 9-10 and yet another chance to pick up free copies of Underrated Magazine.

    So we wanted to kick it off with a bang. Who better than our last issue's cover story The Five O'Clock Heroes. That's right, people. Get ready to love this band on January 27. More bands to be announced very very soon.

    Did I mention this is Underrated Magazine's Two-Year Anniversary bash? Oh boy.

    Until then, enjoy the Heroes singles "White Girls" and "Head Games" with the accompanying videos.

  • Five O'Clock Heroes - White Girls
    Watch the video here

  • Five O'Clock Heroes - Head Games
    Watch the video here

  • The Buzz on Blogs (Part 3 of 4)

    But is the power of making or breaking a band all in the blogs? For Indie-Rock, in particular, fans no longer look to their once beloved and popular mainstream music magazines. Blogs can now provide them with immediate access to bands that may be particular to an area or scene. Some blogs will review a show, or just inform its readers on a certain band, more often than not providing a free mp3 to listen to. Readers generate a certain trust to that faceless blogger behind the computer screen that when they mention a band they like, the readers will have confidence in the their opinion and check it out themselves. Jessica Shelton, a 26-year-old New York resident reads music blogs on a regular basis to find out music news or discover a new band.

    “I absolutely feel like there are bands out there that I ‘should’ be listening to after having seen them all over the blogosphere,” she said. “I am more likely to give them more of a chance than a band I’ve only seen once. The blogs I read generally suggest musicians that I end up liking, so I figure if they’re all talking about the same performers then there must be a good reason.”

    But for Katherine Bernard, an 18-year-old student at NYU, when there’s too much talk, she turns away. “Blogs take away that romantic period in between recording and gaining popularity,” she said. “I’ll look for some other protégé once I hear that a band I like is buzzing. I’ll still like the music but I won’t necessary feel obliged to talk about them unless it’s to say ‘oh yeah, they were so cool 43 minutes ago before that buzz blog was posted.’”

    In 2004, the talk was all about Arcade Fire. Many believe that they would have received the popularity and credibility without the blogs, but it’s undeniable the process was sped up do to the blogosphere’s constant praise. This year, there were two bands that took on the “buzz band” name, and yet in two very different ways. If you mention “buzz” to any blogger, they’ll immediately mention the Brooklyn based band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

    “Clap Your Hands is the biggest buzzed band this year in the indie circles,” said Audrey Levy, one of the original NYC music bloggers who goes under the name of Melody Nelson. “Each year, people look for a new ‘so and so’. This year, everyone wanted to find a new Arcade Fire, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was the closest thing to come.”

    Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s self-released album yielded them praise from the blogs first, and then the industry followed soon after. They have since signed a unique distribution deal in the US and landed a UK recording contract.

    “As long as buzz is backed by solid talent and people don’t let their egos get in the way, they can have a lot of success and reap the benefits of being a “buzz band,” said blogger Nora K. “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah did this the right way. They come off as normal cool guys who aren’t trying to do whatever they have to do to be famous and chase after the limelight.”

    And yet even though bloggers were singing their praises at first, the backlash soon followed. Many were irritated by lead singer Alec Ounsworth’s voice and it became a hipster cliché to like the band. “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s hype was only partly deserved, so when people figure that out they got the backlash,” said blogger and musician Wes . “The blogs that blew them up surely did love them that much, it’s just that not everyone has to feel the same. A buzz band is when everyone is talking about them in a viral way. It starts with a few people and it grows exponentially. You don’t want to start a backlash before your buzz can generate actual fans.”

    During all this talk, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is anywhere but in the middle of it. When asked if he reads blogs, singer Ousworth replied: “I don’t read blogs so I’m not sure what folks are talking about. Maybe they have an influence, I’m not the one to ask.”

    And yet the debate still continues, mostly through comments posted on blogs or through posts themselves. Blogger Nikki of "Indie Don't Dance" believes that being a buzz band can go both ways, but in the case of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, it was beneficial. “When you look at a band like them, the label benefited the band. I don’t think it is necessarily detrimental unless the band spent many years being primarily unknown and then suddenly blow up” she said. “The underlying message of the buzz is: ‘Hurry and see this band before they become really big.’ In my opinion, the indie music scene suffers a bit from the I-heard-them-back-when disease.”


  • The Buzz on Blogs (Part 2)
  • The Buzz on Blogs (Part 1)

  • Wednesday, December 21, 2005

    The Buzz on Blogs (Part 2 of 4)

    The word “buzz” first appeared in Vogue in 1995 and is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as “excited interest or attention.” And yet with the accessibility of the internet and the popularity of music blogs, the word pops up often, perhaps too often. Bloggers race to be the first to say “I knew them when” and readers want to stay in the loop of who will be the next big thing. It’s a tricky game when it comes to what band will generate buzz. Most bands from the UK that have gained popularity will automatically receive buzz on the US music blogs, the latest example to be Arctic Monkeys. Even without a label or a full-length album, the band is the talk of the town.

    “There are so many small-ish bands getting loads of attention early on,” said Karen Ruttner, a New York City based blogger and publicist at Magnum PR. “A band can seem more credible if their cheers are coming from a blogger. But a buzz band is a band that has enough following on the ground level to get the attention of the higher ups.”

    And sometimes it works. Ruttner and her DJ partner Sarah Lewitinn (also known as her blogger alter-ego Ultragrrrl) met Las Vegas band The Killers before they had a record deal, but were impressed by the strength of their demos and “fun nature” won them over.

    “We blogged about them constantly, and as soon as people heard the music (as it leaked out over the internet), the buzz grew and grew and now…well, they’re the biggest band in the world,” Ruttner explained, adding that A&R people still thank her and Lewitinn for them getting the talk started. “I think it is just ridiculous, but I’ll take the compliment!”

    Ruttner can only hope the same will follow for other unsigned bands, such as the transatlantic band, The Five O’Clock Heroes. While the band has gained significant buzz in the UK thanks to NME, they have yet to break ground on this side of the pond. “Buzz is organic, it mainly comes from word of mouth and perhaps hearing your music in a bar or something,” said Antony Ellis, frontman of the band. “Every piece of press we get, good or bad, is a blessing. It means that one more person knows of your band.”

  • Previously: The Buzz on Blogs (Part 1)

  • Someone Get Me Out of Here

    This strike has got to end. It's only been a day, but already I feel like I'm ready to pull my hair out. I considered walking to Bowery Ballroom last night for Nightmare of You. But then I pictured myself walking home. And it's very cold outside. So instead I paced around my apartment hour after hour, cleaned for the fifth time, and literally twiddled my thumbs. This is not something I'm used to. I don't like having this much time on my hands. Please, let it end soon.

    One of the things I did yesterday was to make a new mix. I'd call it the "Strike Mix" but none of the songs have anything to do with a strike. So maybe "What happens when you live in a remote part of Brooklyn and there are no subways or buses to get you anywhere and as a result you are incredibly bored." That may be too long. We'll see.

  • Aqualung - Brighter Than Sunshine
  • Jose Gonzalez - Heartbeats
  • Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor
  • The Subways - I Want To Hear What You Have Got To Say
  • Something For Rockets - Might As Well
  • Voxtrot - Raised By Wolves
  • Stellastarr* - Sweet Troubled Soul (James Iha Remix)
  • Five O'Clock Heroes - White Girls
  • The Strokes - You Only Live Once
  • Cordalene - Counterfeit
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Date With A Night
  • Feist - Mushaboom
  • Imogen Heap - Hide ad Seek
  • Metric - Poster of a Girl
  • The Upwelling - Am I In Here?
  • Nine Black Alps - Behind Your Eyes
  • Diamond Nights - The Girl's Attractive
  • Jenny Lewis - Handle With Care
  • Nightmare of You - Heaven Runs On Oil
  • Aberdeen City - Sixty Lives (Live on WOXY)
  • The Michelles - Sober Rain
  • The Long Winters - Ultimatum

    Related: Cracker's United offers up the Pros & Cons of the NYC Transit Strike.

  • Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    The Buzz on Blogs (Part 1 of 4)

    As some of you may know I recently wrote a paper for my "Writing About Popular Music" class at NYU. It turned out to be pretty interesting, and I thank everyone who contributed. I'll post it in parts throughout the rest of the week. Enjoy.

    Brian Sendrowitz has a goal in mind: to become the next buzz band. His band, Beat Radio, has only been in formation for less than six months and played less than a half dozen shows. But already they have been mentioned on over 15 New York City based music blogs, so Sendrowitz may be on his way.

    “I can’t afford to hire a PR company,” Sendrowitz explained. “There’s such instant gratification [from blogs]. It’s part of this media revolution we are in the midst of. I can write a song and post an mp3 and have sometimes hundreds or even thousands of people around the world listening to it in a few days. It’s very gratifying as an artist.”

    But how does a band break it on the blogosphere? For Sendrowitz, it happened almost by accident. Jerry Yeti, a Brooklyn based blogger, was attending a residency by another young band, The Diggs, and asked the band about their future openers. They mentioned friend Brian Sendrowitz and his band Beat Radio. Jerry found their website, downloaded the free tracks provided, and checked out their next show.

    “Their songs were very demo-ish, even by demo standards and yet they were still really good,” Jerry said. “I kept posting about them because their live show really came through.”

    Others caught on, as Sendrowitz reached out the blogs he liked and read on a regular basis. After a few posts, the draw at their live shows increased, although it hasn’t been entirely consistent. And now, record labels have contacted Sendrowitz as a direct result of mp3’s getting posted. “Jerry Yeti” is still impressed by the band’s live show, however he thinks they have a long way to go to become a household, or blogosphere, name.

    “All the bands I really cared about and discovered at the time, no one was talking about them,” he said. “Since then, some of those bands have indeed blown up, but there are always more that haven’t. I keep vigil for them at an altar in my attic.”

    The word “buzz” has become a staple on music “blogs”, or what are known as weblogs, for the less computer savvy. It’s a fairly new concept on the internet’s latest form of online journalism. Anyone can create their own free blog, and can post about anything they want. If they are lucky, another blog will link to them and their popularity and readership will grow. Music blogs seem to be the most popular, as many are posting free music from up-and-coming bands that normally wouldn’t have this kind of immediate exposure. But with exposure, comes buzz, and buzz can lead to hype, which eventually can lead to a backlash.

    In the end, is the buzz worth it?

    Strike strike strike strike

    I was totally kidding when I said last night that I hoped this strike would happen. Part of me wanted to see what it would be like, but I didn't really want to see. Now I'm stuck in Brooklyn, working from home because my company wouldn't provide any transportation. And I was supposed to see Nightmare of You tonight at Bowery, but it looks like that can't happen either. Boo.

    Lucky for you there will probably be a bunch of posts today because I have nothing else to do. There have been two recent late night talk show appearances by two of NYC's most popular indie rock bands, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and We Are Scientists. CLHSY performed on Conan on Saturday and I watched their performance last night. I'd heard a little chatter and apparently it wasn't that great. I thought I'd watch for myself, and everyone was right. Awful. Just awful. I'm not one to start any backlash but I can't help being honest. Song choice was dumb. Alec's voice was at an all time high, with the cracks and the screeching a bit too forced. They all looked like they were going to pass out. That probably would made for better TV if they did.

    On the contrary, We Are Scientists performed on David Letterman last night and totally killed. Perhaps this band just has more energy but no matter how many times I've listened to "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt" it sounded brand new last night. They looked calm, cool and collected, and happy (gasp!) to be there. Imagine that? Keith's hair has never been so floppy and you know I have a certain affinity for hair. I only need to see one eye, people. Totally okay with me.

    Anyone else catch either performances?

    Coming up today: Part 1 of "The Buzz on Blogs"

    Monday, December 19, 2005

    Let's Get Ready To Rumble

    32 bands. Five weeks. One Band of the Year's Band of the Year voting begins January 4. As aforementioned, The Upwelling are up, as well as a bunch of other bands I really like.

    Round One Matchups:

    BRIT ROCK - Round 1
    Bloc Party vs. Nine Black Alps
    Tom Vek vs. The Magic Numbers
    Art Brut vs. The Go! Team
    Hard-Fi vs. The Cribs

    INDIE - Round 1
    Clap Your Hands Say Yeah vs. The Greenhornes
    Blood on the Wall vs. Imogen Heap
    Be Your Own Pet vs. Shout Out Louds
    Wolf Parade vs. Feist

    UNDERGROUND - Round 1
    The Oranges Band vs. The Upwelling
    Matson Jones vs. Smoosh
    Mobius Band vs. Goblin Cock
    MC Chris vs. Demander

    ALL-AGES - Round 1
    Panic! at the Disco vs. The Fall of Troy
    Alexisonfire vs. Nightmare of You
    Motion City Soundtrack vs. Boys Night Out
    The Academy Is… vs. Valencia

    It's a toughie, I mean my secret lover Tom Vek is up there, as well as Nightmare of You and you know I love Bloc Party, The Cribs, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

    I'm always one for the underdog, and no one deserves it more than Brooklyn's own and Underrated favorites The Upwelling. So January 4, get ready to vote. There's my endorsement. Let's blow this ship out of the water.

    Issue 7 cover story the Five O'Clock Heroes were's Band of The Day yesterday. They are playing at Spin's Music of the Year party tonight at Rothko with We Are Scientists and The Spinto Band. Apparently it is invite only, and my invite must have gotten lost in the mail. C'est la vie.

    Apple of My Eye

    Anyone who knows me knows I'm a bit of a Macintosh geek. I've never used anything but a Mac and years ago when all my friends were making fun of me (pre-iPods) I convinced them that getting a Mac is the way to go. Now they all have one. I try and refrain from my "I told you so" antics.

    So with every new fun program or update, it somehow just makes my life that much better. Like widgets. So unnecessary, and yet so amazing. But the latest update that Steve Jobs has thrown our way is particularly fun for any music fan. I don't think this is anything new, but basically here's the jist: When you use iChat (their version of Instant Messager), you can see what song is playing from anyone's iTunes, as long as they are using iChat and have opted to let the world see it. Then you can click on the little arrow and it takes you to the iTunes store if you want to purchase it. Genius.

    So naturally I find joy in watching other people's playlists, it's my new favorite pasttime. And now everyone can see just how obsessively I listen to one song, or artist. Now if only Steve Jobs would let us stream the music from one person's playlist (a sort of click and see what someone is listening to, type of deal) that would be awesome. Maybe I should work for Apple, it was always a dream of mine as a kid. I'm a bit of a computer nerd.

    So anyone who's been looking at my iChat playlist, chances are you've noticed how often I've played this song. It's probably one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard and on cold nights when you wish you were sitting on a beach somewhere without a care in the world, this song just hits the spot. No wonder I've been listening to it so much...

  • Imogen Heap - Hide And Seek (from Said The Gramophone's 2005 Best Music)

  • Eight Days A Week

    It happens every couple months, sometimes more often, but it'll hit you in the face like one of those whipped cream pies they used on all those Nickelodeon shows: you need a break. If I look back on 2005, or granted the second half the year after coming back from London, my life has been out of control. It's consists of running from work to school to Brooklyn to shows, and after awhile you just get a little bit tired of this city and all the wonders it has to offer. Needless to say, that shine gets a little bit dull after doing it week after week.

    Saturday was one of those nights that I was running from east to west, meeting people here, seeing show there. It started out over at Puck Fair where I met with Jeremy from Crash Mansion to discuss some ideas for the future. Things went well, and it looks like you just may have an Underrated Magazine show every month! Bring on the stress! The first one will be January 27, more details to come soon.

    From there I hopped into a cab over to the west village, where I have not frolicked for a good two years. I lived there for the first two years at NYU and my very first shows that I went to all were at the Lions Den. It's one of the few venues that it's 18+ to get in as well. So when I arrived at Lions Den, it was a little bit of a trip down memory lane. I remembered the venue to be bigger, but perhaps it was just because my favorite freshman Seth Kallen had packed the place. All the bands I went to see had maybe 10 people in audience. I wasn't very good at picking bands to see in my early days.

    The beer tasted funky and I felt really old for the first time, but I was excited to see Seth play. Don't let his age fool you; this guy is well beyond his years. It's almost bittersweet seeing people like Seth Kallen play, because you are amazed at their talent, but also jealous that they are so good at that age. Seth rocked the Lions Den to its core on Saturday night. Even if you aren't the biggest fan of his genre or style, there's no denying the pitch perfect voice or happy-go-lucky tunes to dance along to. But no fear - Seth promises me that his new album will sound less Jason Mraz and more Wilco. So stay tuned.

    Seth Kallen + The Shambles @ Lions Den

    Seth played a cover of The Beatles (you may have heard of them) tune, "Eight Days A Week." He has a live version of the track from his show at Tribeca Rock club up on his site.

  • Seth Kallen + The Shambles - Eight Days A Week

    So from The Lions Den, I jetsetted over to Mercury Lounge in hopes that I could catch some of The Changes set. I usually hate Mercury Lounge on a Saturday night, but after feeling old at Lions Den, it was nice to tread back on familiar ground. I did the usual push and slide through the crowd and the bar and made it to the back in time for just a couple tunes by the Chicago band. After Thursday's show, I was convinced these guys could do better. And they did. Even though I only caught a short set, it seemed much more energized and together. Watching this band is always fun because you just know they are having a lot of fun up on stage. But my favorite has got to be drummer Jonny Basofin. He looks like he is going to hit himself in the face at the speed he is drumming but has the biggest grin the whole time.

    The Changes @ Mercury Lounge

    And then that's when it all caught up on me. I hovered around Mercury for a bit with Nora and Jerry before a friend called me wanting to meet up for a drink. I told him to meet me at The Skinny where Nora was DJing later. On the short walk over there I realized just how many beers I had been downing from place to place and just how little I had eaten for dinner that night. Okay, I was drunk. What ensued thereafter was too much for this girl to handle - getting beer spit in my face by a certain guitarist, falling into the DJ booth, yelling outside to no one and saying I'm moving to Kentucky, and taking a cab back to my apartment in Brooklyn and yet getting lost and stumbling around for a good half hour before finding my way.

    Needless to say, I am never excited to go home for the holidays, but I think I'm ready for a little bit of a break. Give me one day in Jersey, and I'll be itching to come back. I guess that's just how it works.

  • Saturday, December 17, 2005

    To Call For Hands of Above

    As much as I loved writing growing up, I always had an affinity for math. So for the record, a breakdown of my top songs of the year:

  • Percentage of acts based in USA: 70.2%
  • Percentage of acts based in the UK: 26.2%
  • Percentage of acts based in Canada: 3.6%
  • Percentage of acts based elsewhere: 1.2%
  • Percentage of acts based in NYC: 34.5%
  • Percentage of male musicians: 85.6%
  • Percentage of female musicians: 6.1%
  • Percentage of mixed gendered bands: 8.3%
  • Percentage of acts that have been featured in Underrated: 59.1%
  • Percentage of acts that have been on the cover: 2.3%
  • Percentage of acts that I have seen live: 48.1%
  • Percentage of acts that have played an Underrated show: 7.1%
  • Percentage of acts that have been blogged about previously on this blog: 100%

    Video: "I have no idea what you guys are singing about. I think it's math."

    Plus, Jerry posted the Sony commercial that features Jose Gonzalez's cover of "Heartbeats" by The Knife. He told me my life wouldn't be the same. He may be right. It's the most beautiful thing you will see/hear all year. Watch it here.

    And Seth Kallen is playing at The Lion's Den tonight. See you there!

  • Friday, December 16, 2005

    Underrated's Best of The Rest (Part II)

    This post is dedicated to Matt who told me last night it was a toss up as to what was better: winning a Grammy or getting on my top songs of the year. And just so you, and he knows, they were on my list before he told me that.

    Okay, here's some more terrible explanations and fantastic songs that I have enjoyed in the 2005. Remember to support these artists, because I love them, and you can love them too.

  • The GoStation - C'Mon
    They graced the cover of Issue 6, they sang me Happy Birthday when I turned 21, and they have provided me with countless memorable shows this year. The GoStation is bound to be back and better than ever next year, but the Quiet Zone EP and being the talk of the town made this year a big one. "C'Mon" is hands down my favorite track from the EP, a britpop fused ditty that is meant to be played in larger venues. Sorry Liz, I know you love "Wandering Away" (and granted, we will always drunken dance/singalong to that one) but "C'Mon" is where The GoStation is going. Watch out.

  • The Bravery - Honest Mistake
    Love them or hate them, you can't really steer clear of The Bravery. No one in NYC ever imagined that they would amount to the success they have, but that's the UK for you. Regardless, "Honest Mistake" is a pretty catchy tune. I'm not one to voluntarily play it on a regular occurrence but if I'm out, and I'm drunk, and it plays...I'm thankful. That's right. I said it.

  • Devin Davis - Iron Woman
    I kept putting this song on every mix I made for this year. It's funny, it recalls “Summer of 69” by Bryan Adams, but without all the cheese that has formulated on that song since it's debut. It's super fun to sing along to on a hot summers day when you are driving your car with the windows down. Too bad I don't have a car. And too bad it's not summer anymore. But I can listen to this song and pretend.

  • Surefire - Love's On The Inside
    I will listen to every band in NYC, without a doubt. Some are good; others are interesting to say the least. Surefire is good. This song has a great opening and keeps you swaying throughout the song with the pounding drum line. Another young NYC with nowhere to go but up. I'll be keeping my eyes on them.

  • Shout Out Louds - The Comeback
    There was a huge fight inside my head: "The Comeback" or "Please Please Please." Both superb tracks from a great band. Hours were spent debating. Did I just have to choose one? Yes. But how? So it came down to two pieces of paper and me closing my eyes. I swear. This is how sad I am. But this song rocks. I love the off-beat singing and the guitar lines in the chorus. It's giddy wrapped in a song.

  • Teenage Prayers - Center of the World
    I've talked about this band before, and for good reason. Their album was a complete left-field favorite for me. I even passed on a copy to my parents and they dig it too, and trust me, my parents are pretty musically savvy. "Center of the World" is the second track off of Ten Songs and was the one that really convinced me. The gin-house reeking, gospel church rebelling track will get you up on your feet and do-do-doing along with the band.

  • Saints + Lovers - Kiss It Goodbye
    Saints + Lovers is one of the most thrilling bands to see live. It's an experience. We were blessed with some new tracks this year, but something kept me returning back to "Kiss it Goodbye" a sweet, heartbreaking, but rocking track that showcases what a three-person band can accomplish. It's a big sound, from a small band. Get them into an arena already.

  • Youth Group - Skeleton Jar
    I can specifically pinpoint the time and place when I heard this song, and thought it was the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. This band should be in someone’s dream, but it doesn't seem quite real. Play this song just as you are about to go to sleep. It'll put you in the right mood.

  • Beck - Girl
    I told myself if there was ever a TV show on my life (please God, don't think I want one) but this would be my theme song. Couldn't you just see an opening with some nutty girl tripping and falling on the sidewalks of Manhattan with headphones on singing too loudly? Okay, maybe it's just me. But I think it would work.

  • The Late Greats - Hours
    When someone told me to listen to this song, they told me it sounded like The Kinks. I am a huge Kinks fan, and when I listened I decided it sounded nothing like The Kinks but it was pretty damn good. Another Brit band (aren't they all these days) that is bound to hit it big there first, then here. I caught them live during CMJ and was completely wowed. This song was meant to be loud. It's rough and scratchy in all the best ways. And as a result, I just want to hear more.

  • Oasis - Lyla
    We all held our breath for the new Oasis album, which they claimed was going to be their best. I didn't believe them, basically because you can't believe anything either of those Gallaghers say. But then we found a rough cut bootleg download of "Lyla" before the album was released. I listened to it about 100 times and still wasn't sure. It seemed too simple. This sounded like the Oasis I remembered. And then I realized, yes, this is it. This is the Oasis I remembered and loved. Kudos.

  • White Stripes - My Doorbell
    If I were doing top videos of the year, this would win. The White Stripes never cease to surprise. It's inevitable that this band is bound to be remembered generations down the line. Their music is timeless, innovative, and creative. "My Doorbell" is not their most clever of songs to dates, but it's still a favorite. That piano. Even Meg's drumming. It's just great.

  • Magic Numbers - The Mule
    My summer was spent in London. It's not the most sunny of places. But The Magic Numbers brought that summer to be. They were heralded as the happiest music of the year. But if you listen to the lyrics, they are a little bit dark. No matter, it's on the same vein as Kings of Leon, but just the British version. Great album, great song.

  • Hard-Fi - Gotta Reason
    I was bombarded by signs all over the tubes in London saying that Hard-Fi is the next big UK band. Some even said the greatest band ever, I think. It was a bit extreme. So naturally I had to buy the album and see for myself. It's a good album, but I don't know if I'd say the greatest ever. There’s some catchy stuff on here that doesn't seem to be exactly like every other UK indie rock dance band out there. At least they tried for something different, even if it's put in the same category. There's lots of stand-out tracks on this album, but "Gotta Reason" is kinda like a rollercoaster. A really fun one.

  • Bravo Silva - I Can't Say Goodbye
    I caught this band at the Gothamist's Moveable Hype and when I heard this, I knew that they were familiar. This song is one of those that comes on unsuspectingly and then you are humming it the next day and trying to figure it out. Don't let it go under the radar, just listen. We can hum together.

  • Voxtrot - The Start Of Something
    Voxtrot. Buzz band. Blogger's band. But a good band. Listen. Love. That's all I have to say, or else I'll get hate comments, apparently.

  • Death From Above 1979 - Blood On Our Hands
    If you can stand still during this song, I'll give you $20. If I ever try my hand at DJing this will become my staple. It's rock people, so let's rock out.

  • Arcade Fire - Crown Of Love
    I know, I know. This album came out last year. But I was still listening to it this year. And after the initial fascination with songs like "Neighborhood #3" and "Rebellion" I found myself drawn to "Crown of Love." Endlessly. Obsessively. It's a little bit crazy, because that's Arcade Fire for you, but in the end utterly beautiful. You end the song in a completely different place that you started off at, and that kind of movement is lost in music of today. Let's take listeners on journeys, to places that haven't existed before. Arcade Fire does that to you. And it's impossible to deny.

  • Dirty on Purpose - Girls & Sunshine
    Brooklyn's Dirty On Purpose just released their debut EP and I can't get enough. In "Girls & Sunshine" they say that you're living in a dream that you can't get out of." I feel like I'm having a sunny dream running through the fields when I listen to this band. It's lovely.

  • Wolf Parade - Shine a Light
    I didn't really understand the complete separation between lovers and haters of Wolf Parade. I think they are eclectic and yet incredibly accessible. It take me some time to get into it, but once I did I was hooked. "Shine a Light" may be the best for new listeners to try out first. Don't worry, it's not like a drug or anything. You can give it a chance. But I won't deny that it's possible you may get addicted too.

  • Sam Champion - Now Look At Me
    I wrote in this blog after seeing this band during CMJ that Sam Champion sounds like Ben Kweller, with a whole band, and more balls. I stand by my description.

  • Coldplay - Twisted Logic
    Do you hate me now that I have put a Coldplay song on my mix? Have I lost all my indie-cred? Blah. I could care less. I actually liked the new Coldplay album, although it got tired very quickly. The stand out track was definitely "Twisted Logic." Finally, they attempted at some edge. Let's see more of this in future albums, because you can't claim you are going to be the biggest band in the world without a dark side.

  • Maximo Park - Graffitti
    (*Smack*)Rachael(*Smack*)How could you forget Maximo Park?(Smack)You only talk about them all the time.(*Smack*)You love this band.(*Smack*)You love this album.(*Smack*)You love this song.(*Smack*)God dammit Rachael.(*Smack*)Now my head hurts, but I'm really surprised. I'm shocked I forgot Maximo Park. They are easily in my top 5 favorite bands of the year, but please. No more lists for this girl.

  • Cloud Cult - Outside of Your Skin
    Cloud Cult sort of just whisked into my playlists without me really understanding how or why. But once I started listening I didn't question it anymore. It's a mad and futuristic version of a mixture of Radiohead and Modest Mouse at their best. I don't think I really get it, musically, to be honest. But I can respect it.

  • Brendan Benson - Cold Hands (Warm Heart)
    You know that warm feeling you get inside, like during the holidays or during a cheesy chick flick. That's kinda like Brendan Benson, to me. He's that warm feeling. Don't you want to just give him a hug? Oh. That's just me? Ok. But you like him right? Yeah, who doesn't.

  • Bright Eyes - At The Bottom of Everything
    With two albums this year, there was a lot of tracks to chose from Mr. Overachiever, aka Bright Eyes, aka Conor Oberst. I personally preferred I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, but that's just me. But "At The Bottom of Everything" is just pure genius. (Yes, I said it.) The beginning story is eerily sweet in the way that Oberst executes it. No one, and I mean it, no one could pull this off as well he does. I don't know how, but he does.

  • The Undisputed Heavyweights - Money
    The Undisputed Heavyweights claim they are better than Elvis. It's quite a claim. We're going to go with it, though, because we believe in their vision. They are hands down the most intriguing act in NYC right now, a live show that breathes fresh air into the already innovative tracks. "Money" is a sweet, laidback, jazz infused ditty that I can't get enough of. The wails are perfect. The guitar is top-notch. This song just screams cool.

  • The Darkness - One Way Ticket
    Oh boy. The Darkness are back. Again, they have successfully released a guilty pleasure single, but have yet to give us an album that lives up to their self-inflicted hype. I'll keep listening for singles like this though. "One Way Ticket" is too fun not to.

  • Underrated's Best of the Rest Part I
  • Underrated Top 25 (er 28) Songs of 2005

  • Minimum Safe Distance

    We're running a little behind schedule today due to a pounding headache and the disappointment in that the MTA chickened out and did not strike. Sure it would have caused a lot of problems in Manhattan and the surrounding entities, but it would have meant I could have worked from home today and not have to leave my apartment. And after a Tinselfrenzy, it's just what I need.

    Beat Radio @ RothkoI started out at Schillers for dinner with Liz and Blaire and a carafe of wine. We made it over to Rothko just as Morning Theft was finishing their set. I keep meaning to see these guys. Next time, I guess. The regular slew of people was in Rothko and I exposed my friend Blaire to my lifestyle. She wasn't too impressed, and I don't really blame her. Cranberry and vodka after cranberry and vodka, Beat Radio took the stage. It's been a good amount of time since I last saw this band, but they were was good as I remembered them. They unfortunately were without drummer, but I enjoyed it regardless. They started off with "Ancient" (still love it) and ended with a new ditty. Twas a short set, but a good one at that.

    The Changes @ RothkoChi-town natives,The Changes, were up next and I was tipsy enough to sing and dance from the back of the room. After seeing these guys at Pianos during CMJ and thoroughly enjoying their EP, the expectations were at an all-time high. The guys couldn't be nicer, either. The set was impressive, with favorites "When I Wake" and "Not Too Serious" but seemed to be lacking the electricity I recalled. But that's ok, because they are playing tonight at Tonic and tomorrow night at Mercury and I think they'll get that back for the remaining shows. But when I say they weren't at their best, it's because they are that good. It's still a trip to watch lead singer Darren. He puts a smile on everyone's face.

    The Diggs @ Rothko

    When I say I love a band, it's not an exaggeration by any means. I'm a bit obsessive when it comes to music, and dammit I play favorites. I loved The Diggs the first time I saw them. I've been listening to Commute endlessly since I got it last month, but somehow forgot how ridiculous (in the best sense of the world) their live show is. There isn't another band that I am wide-eyed watching (while singing along at the top of my lungs). They opened with "Massachusetts" (my favorite track from the new album) and ended with "Trouble Everyday" into a Stone Roses cover of "Waterfall". Need I say more?

    I can't even begin to explain to you how good this band is, you just have to see them. Do me a favor, will you? Buy their album. Go see them January 13 at NorthSix. Then you can join me by professing your love to the band after the show. It's now part of my routine after I see them play.

    The rest of the night was a drunken mess, as Georgia and I stayed at Rothko too long and had the most zen-like conversation of what determines happiness. I didn't realize it last night but music makes me happy. So get ready for the Best of The Rest (Part II) a little later today.

    Thursday, December 15, 2005

    The Start Of Something

    I persuaded my professor to give me an extension on my final paper, explaining how much extensive research I had been conducting and needed the extra time to sort through it. Research last night was going to see Voxtrot at Magnetic Field in Brooklyn. I missed their show at Mercury and wasn't originally planning on going last night. But Jerry insisted I go, for research purposes, this was perfect example of the latest "buzz band."

    Yes, everyone seems to be buzzing about this band from Austin, Texas. Everyone is talking about how they aren't signed to a label. And then everyone was talking about their tour van breaking down and thus canceling the rest of their tour. (Read the explanation from the band here). But lucky for us New Yorkers, this meant we got to see another show. So I bundled up and made my way through Brooklyn, and went to see what all the talk was about.

    Voxtrot @ Magnetic Field

    Magnetic Field was quite cozy to say the least, and yet had an impressive beer selection that made this little Magic Hat satisfied. Everyone was there early enough to get their fill before the band took the stage to a packed corner. Although the setup of the venue was a bit awkward the sound was absolutely impeccable. It took the band a couple songs to really get into it, but once they did, the spark was there, literally. You could see the fire in the lead singer's eyes as he played the tunes. I had listened to Voxtrot's EP a good number of times and liked it. But hearing it live last night was a completely new experience. They through in some new stuff too, but ended the night off with "Missing Pieces." By the time their set was over, the crowd was sweaty and satisfied.

    Voxtrot @ Magnetic Field

    Mission Find Out If Voxtrot Lives Up To The Hype: Complete

  • Voxtrot - The Start Of Something

    And don't forget! Tinselfrenzy! is tonight at Rothko, doors opening at 7:30 PM. Nora promises home baked cookies and rock music, so clearly it is not an occasion to be missed. She also gives us a track from each performer, so check them out here. Get into the holiday spirit, now, dammit!

  • Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    The hitting of one body against another

    From Nora:

    everybody loves a glockenspiel!

    Hey people -- anyone have a glockenspiel? Or know where I can get one for The Changes?

    Please let me know asap -- IM me or email me or comment here

    Thank you!

    Heard About Your Band

    Besides a snazzy new logo, the boys of A Brief Smile have landed a coveted gig at my favorite venue, Bowery Ballroom. They will open up for The Fray on February 22 alongside Cary Brothers and The Damnwells.

    Tickets are on sale TODAY here. Buy. Them. Now.

    And listen to A Brief Smile on MySpace.

    Well since all my New Years plans just fell through yesterday (don't they always), there's a chance I may head down to see The Upweling play at The Delancey. You can preorder your tickets here. The band is also up for "Band of the Year" (read article here) so get ready to vote come January.

    Speaking of Band of the Day, Miss Nellie McKay was up there yesterday in support of her new album Pretty Little Head out January 3. Miss McKay graced the cover of Issue 3 of Underrated and will always be one of my favorite interviews. I can't wait to hear the new album, the single is good, but you know there's going to be some nuttiness on the rest of the tracks. You can't keep this girl down.

  • Nellie McKay - Real Life

    Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to my new favorite band.

    I've posted about Something for Rockets before, but I feel as though that last post may have passed you by. "The Line" was included in my Top 28 but I now have become completely obsessed with their album, to the point where I really can’t listen to anything else. I hate to make comparisons, but if you like The Postal Service, you are going to like this. It's a bit darker and dare I say it, more innovative. Mixing elements of electronica and indie dance pop, SFR (as the cool kids call them) are an LA band that needs to get to NYC right now. Start listening, because I'll go there and drag them myself if I have to.

  • Something For Rockets - Dancefloor
  • Something For Rockets - Take it Slow
  • Something For Rockets - Neighbors
  • Something For Rockets - Red In The Face

    I love this band. Find more here, and buy their album on InSound here.
    #34 Seller of 2005! On their self-titled debut, Something For Rockets infuse hypnotic dance-floor beats with lush melody and poignant lyrics. Evocative, intelligent, and stylish, the result is a sound that is both vintage and future, dark and playful, and all anchored by the romantic sentiment of young and hopeless-self-destruction.

  • Tuesday, December 13, 2005

    Drawn In The Sand

    From The GoStation


    In the spirit of the holiday season, The GoStation has a gift for every one of you. While we gear up for 2006, we're offering fans a previously unavailable track for free download.

    Just head over to the audio page at to download a demo version of "Battle Lines," one of the songs in the running for our next recording sessions — currently planned for early next year. This track is only available on our site, and goes hand in hand with the other exclusive demo ("Next in Line') up on our MySpace page: Grab them both today!


    Meanwhile, The GoStation has been nominated in week 1 of the Synthesis Network Band Showdown at The competition is going on right now, and one of the winners will be selected based on the number of votes received at the end of this week! Voting ends next Monday, Dec. 19, so please take a couple of minutes to head over to the site, sign up (it's fast and free), and vote for us to advance to the next round. While you're there, you can also enter contests to win CDs, video games, and even an iPod.

    Here's a direct link to the competition to get you going:

    Just think of your vote as your holiday gift to us. What more could we ask for?


    Speaking of presents, don't forget that the Quiet Zone EP makes the perfect gift for friends, loved ones, and casual acquaintances alike. You can pick up as many copies of the CD as your heart desires at any of the links below:
    GoStation official site

    Thanks again for all your support!
    The GoStation

  • The GoStation - Battle Lines (demo)

  • Fa la la la blah

    Oh this time of year just gets crazy. Writing plays? Writing papers? Writing my top songs of 2005? I realize now that I said "beautiful melodies" or "you can dance to" about 9218 times. Expect more of that when I post Part II. I've developed a twitch now, which usually happens around this time of year. It can be the cause of one of two things: stress, or the fact that it's been five days since I last attended a show. I'm going to go with the latter. But no fear, we've got a good one coming up this week.

    The ladies of on the pull are throwing quite the holiday bash this week with some Underrated approved bands. Let's all drink and be merry, because on Thursday I'm officially one semester away from finishing my college career and will have received a hefty (and probably last) paycheck from work. I can't think of a better reason to celebrate.

    More details at i rock i roll.

    And to get you in the holiday mood, here's some holiday covers + one original by the fabulous snowden. I didn't think the holidays could get any more depressing, but they just did. I love it.

  • snowden - white christmas
  • snowden - happy christmas (war is over)
  • snowden - chsitmas time is here
  • snowden - china light

  • Monday, December 12, 2005

    Research Research Research

    It's finals week and of course I leave everything to the last minute. It's part of my charm. If you've read the blog you know I'm in this bogus class "Writing about Popular Music." Well our final paper can be on anything and so I took the easy route and am writing about music blogs and the concept of a buzz band. If you are a blogger, in a band, or if you read music blogs on a regular basis and wouldn't mind answering some questions please email me at Thanks!!

    Get to know THIS blogger

    Ryan over at Muzzle of Bees has been featuring some of my favorite bloggers on his new feature "Get to Know Your Blogger." He was nice enough to ask me to be part of it and although it was a little strange being on the other side of the interview, it was super fun. Go check out the interview and make fun of my stupid answers. It's America's new favorite past time.

    Rachael Darmanin, editor and creator of Underrated Magazine, answers some questions for Muzzle of Bees. It was really nice to get her perspective on a few things, and her blog is currently featuring some (more) favorite songs from the year 2005. I’d like to thank Rachael for taking the time to answer my questions. Check out her site, and read her interview!

    Thanks again Ryan!

    Underrated's Best of The Rest (Part I)

    I had this enormous amount of guilt this weekend, knowing I couldn't include all the songs I've loved this past year. Different songs kept popping up, and I couldn't go on knowing I didn't acknowledge them. Perhaps I have too much of a personal relationship with songs, but I can't help it. So here's the first part of the best of the rest, I'll get the other part up by the end of the week. I forgot too many to let it pass me by.

    Again, in no particular order:

  • Weezer - Beverly Hills
    Ok, I've always liked Weezer but was never the obsessed fan like many people I know. Apparently this album wasn't their finest effort, I thought it was ok. Apparently this song wasn't loved by the Weezer fanatics. I think it's great. It's supposed to be ironic, right? Well whatever. It's fun.

  • Army Of Me - Going Through Changes
    Army of Me is a DC band that I have only recently discovered. It's nothing immediately special, but there's something about the emotions portrayed in each of their songs that just twist at your heart. I love "Come Down to DC" but this song has the intensity that I hope will be more prevalent in future songs to come.

  • Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor
    Quite the newbie, quite the buzz. If this doesn't get you going, I don't know what will. 2006 may be these young boys’s year. Let's just hope the hype doesn't bring them down. An album would help that.

  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Shuffle Your Feet
    I remember hearing the beginning of this song and being blown away. I just love this opening line, the harmonies are fantastic. Luckily it then shifts into an even more fantastic beat that will most definitely keep your feet, er, shuffling.

  • Doves - Black and White Town
    I feel like The Doves are forgotten too often. This band is doing some remarkable things with their music. Ok, perhaps you can't exactly dance to it, but it's melodic in only the most epic ways. I've heard they are incredible live, and if they can do what they do on their albums in a concert setting, I'm done. "Black and White Town" makes me want to go on a long car ride.

  • Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot
    I am shocked and disgusted with myself for forgetting to include Kaiser Chiefs. Of all the buzz bands that came over to our side of the pond, Kaiser Chiefs are probably my favorite. I saw them this summer in Dublin and the amount of people singing along to this song and going nuts was a sight to be seen. This song is a gem of a single, and thank god the album is equally as strong. Can't wait to see what their follow-up will be.

  • Bishop Allen - Little Black Ache
    Bishop Allen is one of the many bands here in NYC that I am shocked haven't been more widely recognized. They are in the self-created "quirky rock" category that is inventing some truly memorable songs, just like this one. It makes me happy.

  • James Blunt - You're Beautiful
    Mr. Blunt is blowing up in the UK and I assume it's only a matter of time before all the 13 year olds start swooning. I guess I'm a 13 year old at heart because I've already swooned. The first time I heard this song I was waiting for the tube in London and a "tube performer" was singing this song. I thought it was beautiful and was ready to take him back to NYC with me if he could write a song like this. But then I was informed that it's all over the radio. Shucks. Still a great song.

  • Louis XIV - God Killed The Queen
    I really like this band, but I must say I'm skeeved out just a tad by the lead singer. When I saw them at Bowery earlier in the year I thought it was a great song, but I felt dirty leaving it. The sex-crazed lyrics and antics will make you feel pretty bad-ass, especially this fantastic tune that reinvents the idea of a call and answer.

  • The Head Set - Last Call Doll
    There are many things that will win me over, but having a unique voice is definitely up there. The Head Set know how to wail in all the right ways, and when you back that with a song that is reminiscent of 50's doo wap, it's impossible not to love. This band has an incredible live show that breathes new life in to each song. Watch out for this band if there is any right in the world.

  • Kevin Devine - No Time Flat
    It's hard not to have a crush on Kevin Devine. Okay, so I do. And it's not just because it's a cute guy with a guitar that can sing sweet love songs so well that you think he is standing next to you. No. Because he also has cleverly invented a way to bring politics into music, like in "No Time Flat." Lyrically dark and incredibly curious, Kevin Devine comes across as the boy next door that actually has something to say.

  • Death Cab For Cutie - Different Names For The Same Thing
    I was worried about the latest effort from Death Cab, but not just because it was their major label debut. The albums had never been that strong to me, it was always songs that stuck out. I am almost pleased that it's happened again. Regardless, there are some real gems on there, including "Different Names for the Same Thing" that brings you on a journy from beginning to end, combining everything you love about Death Cab - great melodies with beautiful melancholy.

  • The Teeth - I Love You
    When I saw this band at Pianos about a month ago, I was totally blown away. The recordings do no justice, go see them live. Now. Run. What are you waiting for? Ok, listen to this while you wait for them to come around. But seriously, it's quite a show.

  • The National - Murder Me Rachael
    Not only does this song have my name in it, but they actually spelled it right. Thanks National! But no, I know this song didn't "come out" this year, but I listened to it this year, so that's just how it's going to count. When they aren't fighting with Clap Your Hands (just kidding), they are tapping into whatever genius they hold and writing songs like this. They know how to create the best kind of moody.

  • Sia - Breathe Me
    This song was played during my final goodbye to one of my all-time favorite TV series, Six Feet Under. It couldn't have worked better in that odd montage, so thank you music supervisor Gary Calamar for bringing this song to me. I must have listened to it at least 42340 times following the show, and it still brings an eerie comfort to me. Other than that, Sia's voice is just stunning.

  • Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
    I heard this song an insane amount of times this summer in London. But you know what? I'm not sick of it. I don't know why, because part of me feels like I should but I still love making a fool out of myself dancing along to it. The Gorillaz are perhaps the coolest concept band of the year and just shows you that genres and influences can mesh together to create something that all people can enjoy.

  • Stars - Romantic Comedy
    I was late to jump on the Stars bandwagon. But once I heard this song, I was hooked. Who would have thought that Canada could create some of the best music of the past two years? Not me. But if you have to move up north to understand what dreamy pop should sound like it, I will. And then I'll call Stars and they can be the gurus.

  • Autolux - Here Comes Everybody
    Yes I know this album was released last year, but I purchased it in January so I still count it for 2005. I missed them when they opened up for The Secret Machines but I made up for it by listening to the album obsessively for months afterwards. And this song, I don't know what it is but it makes you feel cool. I would put this song on every morning on my walk to school and somehow I had a better day because of it. Mixing electronics and fuzzy guitars with the simplest of melodies is what you'll get with Autolux, but once you listen, you'll never be the same.

  • The New Pornographers - Sing Me Spanish Techno
    I kept hearing backlash of the new album because of this song. What's your beef people? Do you not like songs that you can easily sing along to? Do you not like songs a little bit crazy? You've got an array of instruments, unclear song meaning, and my mantra: listening to one song for too long. And you still don't like it? What's wrong with you?

  • Matt Pond PA - Brooklyn Stars
    You know what I love? Flashbacks. I use them in every play or short story I write. I love cheesy montages in movies that remind you why character A really loves character B and I love a show that is entirely based off of flashbacks (ahem, Lost. So what does this have to do with "Brooklyn Stars?" Somehow, when I listen to this song I have my own flashback to every song I've ever listened to. It just makes me incredibly nostalgic.

  • M.I.A. - Sunshowers
    I didn't initally like M.I.A. When everyone was buzzing about her, I didn't really get it and I wasn't inclined to voluntarily listen to her. But somehow, I decided she deserved another listen. Perhaps my tastes have changed or have just become more sophisticated, but I think I get it. I know nothing at all about matching beats, using clever rhymes, or incorporating word music into contemporary sounds, but M.I.A must be on to something if I pretend like I know what I'm talking about.

  • Spoon - I Turn My Camera On
    We couldn't forget about Spoon right? And of course not this song! Curses on me for letting it slip by. I've loved Spoon since I first heard "The Way We Get By." Nothing will ever live up to that song for me, but this one comes pretty damn close. And the rest of the album is equally as fantastic.

  • Marjorie Fair - Waves
    Sometimes I have to acknowledge that bands can exist in the US in places other than New York. And sometimes that place has to be LA. And sometimes bands like Marjorie Fair come along and I am glad. And sometimes I listen to a song like "Waves" and wish I was sitting on a beach contemplating the meaning of life. Sometimes.

  • Tegan and Sara - Walking With A Ghost
    Forget the White Stripes cover, Tegan and Sara owned this song. I wish I could write songs like this.

  • The Boy Least Likely To - Be Gentle With Me
    My Jessica Simpson loving boss adores this song. Why? Because it's impossible not to. One of the bands of this year that is completely worthy of acclaim is The Boy Least Likely To. They are the underdogs of all underdogs. Buy Best Party Ever now and find out why.

  • Beat Radio - Ancient
    Beat Radio is taking on NYC quickly but not quietly but it's songs like "Ancient" that let me slow it all down. Incredibly personal and beautiful, the lyrics first caught my attention. But when there's that ever so slight voice crack in the chorus of this song, I think my heart breaks a little bit. Every time.

  • Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone
    You know you love this song, don't be afraid to admit it. The guilty pop song is guilty no longer. It was embraced by pretentious indie kids all over because we all have to admit there is a certain genius to a catchy pop tune. So come out of your hiding and don't pretend you like it just because Ted Leo covered it. There's no shame, no shame.

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