We Are Standard

Before you download “On the Floor” from this group of Spain-bred English-speakers that have already invaded Europe and, if their wishes come true, will invade the United States next, you might want to hop into your Mini Cooper and drive back to 2002. We Are Standard’s brand of art-school-post-punk-cool-geek music—they cover “Waiting for the Man” for crying out loud—reached its high water mark around that time, with all of the “The” bands (Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Moldy Peaches, Hives) selling records and getting airplay on terrestrial radio (remember terrestrial radio? You didn’t even have to pay for it!). That’s not to say that they don’t sound good today. On the contrary, lead singer Deu Chacartequi almost makes me believe he really is both a sex symbol and a rock star. The thing that keeps such hubris from being too nostalgic and goofy is that you get the sense that he doesn’t quite believe it himself. But he does a little.

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Astrid Swan

At the risk of sounding like one of the tools in an Astrid Swan song, there’s nothing more alluring than a complex female musician. Of course, the Finnish singer/songwriter is all too aware of this, as the title alone of “They Need You If They Think You Love Them” makes clear. So, perhaps I think she loves me, or perhaps I just like the sharp wit of her lyrics and the tender knowing of her vocals. Think Tori Amos in moments of levity or Aimee Mann at the piano. It’s something lovely, if heartbreaking, if totally intoxicating.

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All India Radio

The suggestion box here at 3hive gets worked overtime. We have blessed suggestions coming in from our kind readers, we have emails from bands and labels that we are also grateful for, and we get a whole lot of spam, as is expected with a published email address on the world wide web. There’s one spam email that we regularly get for an Indian television site (no, I’m not going to share the url, we don’t want to encourage them), so I was so close to passing over an email for All India Radio when it arrived. Not the one that’s the only Indian radio station broadcast in the real time over the internet. I’m talking about the one that’s the Australian downtempo electronica group inspired by the sounds of Indian street life and the KLF. And for a reference point for A.I.R., think no further than that other “AIR” band…yes…that’s the one…Air French Band.

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Depending on where you stand on the infamous World Cup headbutt, you could dedicate this punchy little number to Zinedine Zidane because, unless my French is nonexistent (which, actually, it is), the title translates to something like “I don’t know you,” which seemed to be the clarion call of commentators and journalists around the globe. (Did anyone else get tired of the ABC TV commentator repeatedly call the hit “vicious”? Overly aggressive? Yes. Ill-timed? Absolutely. But it seemed clear that Marco Materazzi A) took a dive, and B) said something pretty, ahem, unsportsmanlike…but I digress.) Luckily the Prototypes, who apparently are huge in France and have recently joined Minty Fresh stateside, don’t specialize in downtrodden numbers—there’s a “yeah yeah yeah” callout in English on this track—so we can look at Zizou’s antics with a little levity and maybe practice some fancy footwork, and headwork, of our own.

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The Living Blue

Every summer, we here at 3hive look for a song for summer, you know, be it summer anthem or road trip soundtrack, etc. While the Living Blue do not offer such a song, they do offer the feel for a great summer song. They’re rockin’, stingin’, full of energy and buzz, they just sing about other topics. “Serrated Friend” is sure to keep you awake on that long drive to beach.

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Bettie Serveert

My brother-in-law Pete has been wanting to suggest something for 3hive for awhile now, I think, and although he’s pretty much committed to the music of his glory days in the mid- to late-80s — think U2’s Boy or Rum, Sodomy and the Lash by The Pogues — he pulled through with Bettie Serveert. “Attagirl,” off the Dutch band’s recent album of the same name, kind of has a new wave groove going, maybe. Anyway, Pete’s a hero of mine, along with my sister-in-law Cindy, because they actually hired a babysitter(!) for my favorite niece and nephew and went to see Bettie Serveert live(!!) not too long ago. They even got her autograph(!!!). I can hardly remember those days…

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Viva Voce

They say you should never go into business with your spouse, but — Jim and Tammy Faye, Sonny and Cher, Siegfried and Roy notwithstanding — here’s another reason why “they” aren’t always right. Viva Voce, Mr. and Mrs. Robinson to their neighbors, play woozy, psychedelic pop as though the ’60s were just a warmup. “Alive With Pleasure” takes their sound to even higher heights with a searing intro, which then swoops down into the lily-spotted valley that is Anita Robinson’s voice, then soars back up to the sky leaving behind a vapor trail of handclaps. Hmm, sounds like a treatment for a music video…everyone here is under non-disclosure, capice?

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