Now, Now Every Children

How many of us were in a band in 10th grade? And for those who answered yes, how many are still in that band? Cacie Dalager and Brad Hale started playing together in 10th grade, and, having finished school, last year added two other members to round out their lineup and begin doing this band thing for real. Cacie’s innocently earnest voice steals the show, while the music swirls around her, managing to push her higher still. That’s the danger with their formula; can the music match the level of the singing? Now, Now Every Children make it sound simple, by keeping it…well…simple. Now after listening, for those who answered no, how many of us wish we had been in a band in 10th grade?

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Haley Bonar

Haley Bonar first appeared on these pages almost four years. I’m not so into acoustic guitars, but seeing her live almost four years, I was completely blown away by the power of her voice. Her albums, a thoughtful mixture of folk and delicate tunes, don’t seem to be able to fully capture that voice; they give just a little picture of what she’s got. The new album, Big Star, no doubt named after one of her influences, is out June 10.

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Poison Control Center

Ian, who just signed the Poison Control Center to his label Afternoon Records, refers to this Ames, Iowa, band as “spastic pop wonders.” And that’s all you really need to know before downloading!

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Mouthful of Bees

A band called Mouthful of Bees will get at least one listen from me due to its connection, real or imagined, to Brian Evenson‘s wonderfully disturbing short story “Stung,” in which a boy kills his stepfather by…well, you don’t me want to give it away, do you? Mouthful of Bees got second, third, and fourth listens from me with a fresh take on that slurred (sm)art pop CYHSY and Tapes ‘n’ Tapes get so much credit for. While the genre is known for its frenzied pacing, their 2006 EP The End proves that Mouthful of Bees can speed it up and slow it down with equal dexterity (check “I Saw a Golden Light” on their MySpace page). “The Now” falls in the uptempo category. And, for all I know, their name may be the only connection to Evenson’s work, but singer Chris Farstad opens the song by crooning “In the time it took for me to write my novel/I did nothing in particular at all.” Hmm, fellow fiction buff or mere coincidence? Read the book.

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The God Damn Doo Wop Band

I did a workshop at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum about ten years ago — how to be a rock & roll teacher, hell yeah! — and there was this guy who just kept asking questions about doo wop bands. He was one of those guys who feels the need to comment at every single meeting, and so it was all like, “What about The Marcels?” and ” What about Vito and the Salutations?” or whatever. Most of my classmates had enough of him by the end of our first session together. Anyway, I have a feeling he would not appreciate The God Damn Doo Wop Band. Though tapping in to the grand tradition of the venerable genre, these Midwest girls (on the voices) and guys (on everything else) are clearly doo-wopping their own way. Straight out of the Twin Cities, their 2006 album Broken Hearts received a bunch of critical acclaim that, in true 3hive tradition, we totally missed last year.

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The Battle Royale

Now this is refreshing. A band that cops to copping. “We copy everyone.” Now that that’s cleared up and out of the way get ready for some dance action. The Battle Royale are a toothsome young foursome from Minnesota that began as a folk ensemble but then discovered the little “techno” settings on a garage sale keyboard. They never looked back. They won their one album deal with Afternoon records by dominating a local venue’s “Battle of the Underage Underground” competition (three of the members were still in high school a year ago). They’ve got the groove-itude of CSS and the playfulness of Atari Teenage Riot if Atari Teenage Riot were playful like their name suggests. Here’s hoping The Battle Royale never take themselves seriously.

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