So far, 2010 is looking like a great year for indie and alternative rock.
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best indie albums 2008
It sucks when good bands break up. In the past year, we've seen a number of bands split, and the band members go their separate ways, including Page France, the awesome indie duo The Format, the sensational band, The Sun, and a relatively unknown (in comparison to their talent), but fantastically promising, New Faces.
Seattle's New Faces split in November of last year, sending mini-shock waves through the Puget Sound music community. In a post on their MySpace page on Nov. 16th, the following statement was issued: "Due to irreconcilable conflicts, we have decided to break up. We want to thank everyone that supported us...Sorry there wasn't a second album."
The New Faces received a flood of critical praise, especially in the Seattle area, with the release of their debut EP in 2007, and their debut LP, Two Years, in 2008. They had an undeniable gift for enthralling music, a sound refined beyond their time as a band, and a potential that could have made them international rock stars (if they wanted it) - those are not usually characteristics of a fresh, unsigned, totally DIY band.
"My Alarm" - New Faces from Two Faces (2008)
"She's Like The Snow" - New Faces from s/t EP (2007)
"Ms Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" - New Faces from Two Years (2008)
But with as much promise as New Faces had, and the praise of music critics throughout the Northwest and beyond, it's a blow to all music fans when a spectacular band ends before they hardly got started. In 2008, the Seattle blog, Sound on the Sound, proclaimed: "I'm often asked what are the best new things I’ve been hearing...In the New Faces, I finally feel without reservation that I have an easy (and good) answer to that question."
Artists and bands that influenced New Faces: David Bowie, The Smiths, The Libertines, Interpol, The Strokes, The Clash, Franz Ferdinand, The Rakes, The Beatles, The Velvet Underground, Arctic Monkeys, New Order, Violent Femmes, Joy Division, NWA, The Cure and XTC.
When the punk pop band The Fake Fictions announced in January on their official website, "The Fake Fictions are done. It has been a wild ride. We played our last show on Nov. 20, 2009..." fans of the band were understandably disappointed. The band had delivered a steady stream of edgy, engaging albums and EPs since their formation early last decade.
Thankfully, however, the band has been good enough to offer much of their music as free MP3s, spanning a total of seven releases.
"Parallel World" - The Fake Fictions from Magic Infinity EP (2010)
"Laugh Track Loser" - The Fake Fictions from Les Faux Fictions (2008)
"TV Snow" - The Fake Fictions from Krakatoa (2009)
The Catholic Comb, only months after announcing work on a new album, Halloween Street, suddenly broke up last summer. In a non-explanatory post on their MySpace blog, dated August 4, 2009, and titled, 'Comb Over', the band wrote: "We are no longer a band. Sincere thanks to anyone who ever supported us in any way." The Catholic Comb were Adam Dishart, Daniel Awand, Ryan Rene Wansley and Andy Rice, all from the San Francisco Bay Area.
The band first rose to national, and in some cases, international, recognition with their 2005 single, "Sixteen to Twenty-One," which was later used as the soundtrack to a Corey Duffel skateboarding video.
"Sixteen to Twenty-One" - The Catholic Comb
The band described their music as "a morbid bicycle ride." But that doesn't begin to explain the far-reaching, intoxicating sound they had cultivated, and which was being gobbled up within the circuitry of the underworld alternative rock network.
The past year has seen plenty of evidence of culture's long-standing obsession with vampires, whether in film or music, but somehow most people missed out on The Catholic Comb's splendid track, "Vampire Life."
Not surprisingly, the song is all about the dreaded existence of life as a vampire, but with a musical twist that infuses acoustic pop, prog rock and goth to create a song that is hard to pin down, and even harder to ignore. Despite it's subject matter, the song is intriguingly bright and melodic.
The lyrics of "Vampire Life" fit perfectly with the tempo of the song, while being slightly ironic and direct: "I go out at night/I eat what I like/I sleep where I might/the vampire life..." Hmmm, is this The Smiths slowed down to a ballad pace or The Cure with folksy abandonment?
"Vampire Life" - The Catholic Comb from s/t 7"
The Catholic Comb on MySpace
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