QUICK NOTE: This is not the last Mixmas theme. Due to my miscounting, someone turning in an extra one, and ‘Mixmas’ not being a real holiday – we have 13 days instead of 12. However, I’m leaving it as day 13 of 12 just because I’m stubborn. But we have a great theme today and a wonderful one tomorrow. Enjoy!
Keith has always been the most accomodating of all the musicians I’ve interviewed through YANP. He was eager to be interviewed back when they were unsigned, and he’s still willing to let me pester him with lame questions just as much now that they’re big shots. I guess that’s why he was one of the first to turn his theme back in to me.
We Are Scientists will always hold a special place in my heart. Not only are they a spectacular band both in the studio and on the stage (especially on the stage), but they’re the nicest bunch of guys you could ever hope to meet. This is evidenced by the fact that Keith took this opportunity to reach out to literally dozens of people to promote some of the band that befriended them in England. Cheers!
Mix 12: ‘Five Bands That Have Opened For Mine In The United Kingdom, Prompting Me To Wonder If Maybe We Here In The United States Weren’t Perhaps Being A Bit O’er-hasty When We Rebelled Against The Monarchy, Because, Holy Crap, Clearly The Royal Family Is Doing Something Right – These Bands Are Their F*cking Opening Acts!’ by Keith Murray of We Are Scientists
MP3: Roland Shanks – August
These kids are our best friends in the UK, apart from Editors, who are disqualified from this little roundup by virtue of the fact that they’re huge in England, enjoying the sort of ubiquity that makes a guy like me (read: a totally envious curmudgeon) begrudge them – a group of super-sweet, insanely talented hot-asses – their success, and allows me to relish snubbing them by excluding them from my list, even if I can’t avoid talking about them in digressive rants. But yes – Roland Shanks! Funky as hell, funny as sh*t, possessing of a belt designed to look like a keyboard. They are our go-to band when we need a great opener, as we will never grow tired of their weird, spectacular little show.
MP3: Test-Icicles – Boa vs. Python
Every highly-competitive university in America produces a band that’s essentially a lesser version this: a group of snotty, too-cool-to-give-a-f*ck 19-year-old geniuses who devote their constantly whirring brains to coming up with ridiculous, pun-heavy portmanteau names (my school’s version of this phenomena was “Puff the Magic Daddy,” some friends of mine were in “The Pissed Officers” – you get the idea) and blasting out super-fun, near-retarded punk songs about sex with cows, or whatever. Test-Icicles, though, take that sh*t to the next level. Mix early-90’s metal with early Liars and some bizarre hip hop action and you’re nearing the edge of the overgrown, carnivorous-animal-infested woods in which Test-Icicles reside. These kids are highly divisive – half the shows we played with them ended with the audience booing away like a crew of deranged philistines. They never practice, they use an iPod as their rhythm section, and they ended one show by delivering ear-splitting feedback for three minutes over R. Kelly’s “Out of the Closet.” They’re currently my favorite band.
MP3: The Cinematics – Only Human
Total, total pros, these guys. Amazing songs, delivered infallibly every night. They’d almost be too perfect, save for the fact that they know a good party when they see one, and they will take that party one step too far. One night in Leeds, at about four am, Scott (lead vocals, superstar-in-waiting), his mind a-whirl with alcohol, gazed upon me and reported matter-of-factly that he saw evil in my eyes. Need I say more?
MP3: The Holloways – Generator
If you know me, then you know that I hate ska. HATE it! How then, is it that I can even abide The Holloways, much less love them with an ever-inflating heart, as I do. Just listen, fools.
MP3: The Editors – Munich
F*ck me. I was going to write about ¡Forward Russia!, an amazing band from Leeds who are more than worthy of being at the head of this list, and who put on intensely kinetic shows that usually involve the lead vocalist throttling himself with his mic cord. But, damn it, I just can’t talk about England without gushing over Editors again, despite the fact that we open for them. Best record of 2005? Probably. Best live show? Seems likely. Best singer, guitarist, bass man, drummer? They have my vote. Sweetest four guys in all of England? This is known. If I didn’t love them so intensely, I’d hate Editors’ guts for making me want so badly to be in their band.
12 Days of Mixmas: Day 1 – Dean from the SUF
12 Days of Mixmas: Day 2 – Tapes ‘n Tapes
12 Days of Mixmas: Day 3 – John Vanderslice
12 Days of Mixmas: Day 4 – Ryan Allen of Thunderbirds Are Now!
12 Days of Mixmas: Day 5 – Dodge from MOKB
12 Days of Mixmas: Day 6 – Chris from GvB
12 Days of Mixmas: Day 7 – The Rinse
12 Days of Mixmas: Day 8 – CO from Bishop Allen
12 Days of Mixmas: Day 9 – Jay from The Light Footwork
12 Days of Mixmas: Day 10 – Becca from The Light Footwork
12 Days of Mixmas: Day 11 – Justin Rice of Bishop Allen