Like just about everyone, I often think of bands in terms of the other bands of which they remind me. For Pinback, I picture them as a West Coast Sebadoh. Even though it’s meant in the most admiring way, such a classification is not fair because it may make it sound like they’re somehow aping the discordant yet melodic Bostonians who like their Splatter Technique lyrics with healthy doses of punk guitar and punker feedback. Plus, there’s the whole repetition thing that Pinback takes much further than Lou and the gang: chords, chorus, repeat. You can hear it all the way through Pinback’s discography and right up to their most recent, Autumn of the Seraphs. And contrary to every track sounding the same, each one finds a new way to make the same old thing sound totally original. No wonder Pinback’s following is so loyal. Check out a new track and some older ones, then check out Pinback guy Rob Crow, whose recent solo release kinda-sorta sounds like Pinback but kinda-sorta covers even more new territory.

ORIGINAL POST (9/17/04):
For those who consider “indie” a genre rather than just a classification, it’s probably such lo-fi, wounded-guy sounds as Sebadoh, Built to Spill, and Modest Mouse that come to mind when you hear the “I” word. But don’t forget about Pinback, who return to rock your world — well, that may be a bit overstated — with some loopy, melancholic, melodic pop. What’s new is “indie” again on the splendid single “Fortress.” The others are just for nostalgia’s sake.

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We’ve had so many requests to post CocoRosie that I don’t even know who to thank for the suggestion. What do these fans dig so much about CocoRosie? How about: cool beats & fractured rhythms, sonorous atonality & coherent dissonance, pageantry & experimentation, mythology & realism. Sierra and Bianca Casady — Rosie and Coco — do their own thing (that is, that thing that good artists do). This can be heard on their latest album, The Adventures of Ghosthorse & Stillborn, out now on Touch and Go Records.

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Ted Leo/Pharmacists

Last year, on March 8th, Ted Leo was playing in Ann Arbor, at a show I really wanted to see. There was something more important to do, however, and instead of catching Ted live, I saw my son enter life, a little early but more than ready. Not long before the delivery, my wife asked to hear her favorite TL song, “Me and Mia,” and the lyrics were just right: “Do you believe in something beautiful? Then get out and be it.” Maybe this is a good message for today, too, considering Blacksburg. It seems to me that the families of the victims, the students, those in grief and mourning need all of us to be more beautiful, to be better. I haven’t heard the new Ted Leo/RX album Living with the Living yet, but I’m hoping its filled with the powerful songwriting found on “Me and Mia” or “Ghosts” or “Biomusicology” — honest, straightforward and necessary examples of compassion, anger, hope, righteousness.

The Sons of Cain [MP3, 4.5MB, 160kbps]
Bomb.Repeat.Bomb.(1954) [MP3, 4.3MB, 192kbps]

Shan’s original post: 04/22/05
This one’s unabashedly from the “New to Me” file. When I first heard of Ted Leo/Pharmacists about a year ago during a two-month stay in Washington D.C., I stayed away because the name sounded too much like some yokel cover band. But everyone around me seemed so pumped that the band was headlining the free concert at our humble film festival that I wandered by to check them out…and was duly impressed. Ted Leo serves D.C. well even if he doesn’t live there anymore, calling on a falsetto’d agit-prop style that may remind you of D.C. indie godfather Ian MacKaye, yet the Pharmacists wrap Leo’s personal-to-political vocals in a pop-inflected shell that’s closer in sound to Capital City vets Unrest and Velocity Girl. The songs aren’t coming to 3hive from straight out of the proverbial wrapper, but there’s plenty of it for the taking (and more on their website), and if it’s new to you too then all the better.

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I was listening to my iPod last night on the way home and had a distinct sense of déjà vu. This sound, this Uzeda, may be from Sicily but that pummeling rhythm, freeform guitar and piercing vocals could have been coming directly from Chicago in the mid-‘90s. And for good reason: Not only are they on Touch and Go and have been since the mid-‘90s, but Steve Albini is their recording engineer. So not only do Uzeda shake the paint off the walls, but they do it in a supersonic way that only Albini can conjure. Oh, to be young and insatiable once more…

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Supersystem belt out saturated pop experiments that explode in a cacophony of colorful sound like homemade fireworks on the Third of July – y’know, because you’re too excited to wait for the Fourth. Any of these earnestly analytical numbers (“White light, white light!/what butterflies are made of!”) is perfect music for kids in the gifted/talented program (is there still such a thing?) who just can’t stomach what Disney Radio is feeding them. Then there’s “Everybody Sings,” which, apart from being the most emphatic social outcast song this writer’s heard in a good spell, with its mega-dubbed chorus, vaguely surf-rock guitar and amped afro-beats takes current Top 40 sensibilities to a gleeful extreme. It’s like something that Justin Timberlake might record…if he was freakin’ awesome!

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The Black Heart Procession

It might be strange to think of The Black Heart Procession as offering up a summer song, but “Not Just Words” feels like that kind of anthem, one that will bring a little light to the breezy summer nights. But if you’re not going for that and you just want to listen to them in your bedroom with nobody else around, just be sure to put on your headphones—BHP songs are still meant to feel bigger than their surroundings, and they still do.

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Unfortunately for us, John Peel’s favorite song, “Teenage Kicks” by the Undertones, is not available for 3hive to post. And my favorite Peel Session, Wire’s on January 18, 1978, is also not available. So, as I perused the list of bands and artists who had Peel Sessions, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs just jumped out at me. So listen, and think of John Peel.

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The New Year

Even when The New Year keep themselves from cathartic explosions of guitar and drums, they still seem very close to losing it. Here’s hoping you woke up on the wrong side of the bed today and have been looking for the proper soundtrack to fit your mood.

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