Owl and Bear writers’ favorite albums of 2008. Continue reading
It is often said that you donâ€™t know what you have until itâ€™s gone. But sometimes it goes the other way, and you donâ€™t know what youâ€™ve been missing until you finally get it. Certain bands strike a chord because they fill a void that the fan hadnâ€™t even realized was there. Whether it be in the form of Fleet Foxes’ ethereal harmonies, Cut Copy’s intense synth-pop, or the Adam-Duritz-on-spin-cycle vocals of Frightened Rabbit, sometimes a band will just feel immediately, intimately familiar. The same sensation can be felt when hearing San Francisco band The New Up — the scratching of an itch you didnâ€™t even know you had.
On their new five song EP, Broken Machine — the first in a series of three EPs by the band set for release over the next year — The New Up bring their moody dance-rock to a boil and keep it there. From the first moments of lead track â€œGinger Teaâ€, the EP oozes smoky atmosphere, as if Metric and My Bloody Valentine had collaborated on the soundtrack to a David Lynch film.
Frightened Rabbit is one of the best bands out there that you can still see in a small club. They’re comprised of two brothers and two multi-instrumentalists: singer/songwriter/guitarist/whisky sipper Scott Hutchison, his brother Grant (who destroys drumsticks and provides vocal harmonies), and Billy Kennedy and Andy “Medusa” Monaghan who both alternate on keys, guitar, and bass.
Legend has it that as a kid, Scott was compared to a Frightened Rabbit for his lack of social skills, but you wouldn’t know it from this show. Hutchison’s between-song banter was often hilarious and he showed no shortage of the fabled Scottish charm; he even exuded silliness as he discussed a “plectrum” (pick) that someone had given him.