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Lizz Ross
Lizz Ross of
Sun of Mercury
Chuck Gonzalez
Chuck Gonzalez of
Sun of Mercury

From the ashes of the San Francisco band Lessick comes Sun of Mercury. The band has been playing shows with none other than Jonathan Richman (of Modern Lovers, and of course There’s Something About Mary) on drums. It’s too early to tell exactly what to expect from this band, but it looks like Chuck Gonzalez and Liz Ross will once again be sharing vocal duties. The early samples seem to be a more of a refinement of Lessick’s sound rather than a radical departure, which is good news. Lessick seemed like a band that hadn’t quite found their sound, despite some brilliant singles and a generally promising debut album. Hopefully, Sun of Mercury will pick up where they left off and take Ross and Gonzalez to greater heights. Decide for yourself by helping yourself to “Background of a Void” which features Liz Ross’s vocals over some tight, crunchy guitars with just enough effects to lend a subtle bit of atmospheric flavor.

Does it really need saying? Powerpop=criminally overlooked. Seattle (by way of Los Angeles) band The Capillaries are treating you to a free preview of the title track from their upcoming album Love Conquers Some. The album is being co-produced by Jon Auer of The Posies, so you know you’re in for some classic powerpop. Check out “Love Conquers Some” and keep an eye out for an official release date. This CD will definitely be on my “must purchase” list when it comes out.

Visqueen
Visqueen

I saw Visqueen open for The Muffs this year and walked away somewhat impressed. When you first hear the cranked-up guitars you’ll be expecting something in the fun-but-a-bit-screamy vein like well, The Muffs. But singer Rachel Flotard has a melodic, pure pop voice that will surprise you and the band is more rock than punk. Visqueen’s got almost a throwback sound that makes you remember when guitar rock was still cranked out of FM radios. Not surprising considering bassist Kim Warnick put in twenty years with Seattle legends The Fastbacks.




If The Muffs and The Fastbacks are too old for you to remember, think of them as a more rocking version of The Reputation. Or just sample “Blue” from the band’s new album Sunset on Dateland and hear for yourself. This is arena-style powerpop you can play in front of your non-cool friends without them blinking an eye.

What is it about Swedish bands that they can take any style or period of American music and spit it back in a way that is both comfortingly familiar yet fresh-sounding? Not to mention always, always catchy. The Hives, Moonbabies, The Concretes, and now The Legends. I thought I was going to be all cool and spring this band on everyone, but it turns out they have a song (“When the Day is Done”) on the Wicker Park soundtrack.

The Legends
The Legends

Maybe I can salvage some indie-points here by telling you that “When the Day is Done” is not representative of the bands sound, which consists of happily fuzzed-out vocals over happily fuzzed-out guitar. Think of them as The Raveonettes without that annoying bit of pretentiousness. And yes I know the Raveonettes are Danish, not Swedish so keep your hands off my indie cred.

Three songs from Up Against the Legends are available at Labrador. All of them are good, but go with “Make It All Right” first for the simple fact that it’s .mp3 and downloadable. If you like it, make sure to check out the other tracks.

I don’t have a download here, but I thought I would mention that Ivy has completed their new album, and it’s now being mastered for a February 1, 2005 release. If you know who Ivy (the American Ivy, not the old Sarah Records band) are, you’ve been waiting for this a long time. If not I’ll fill you in. Ivy is certified pop genius Adam Schlesinger’s band when he’s not busy with “side project” Fountains of Wayne. The other members of the group are husband and wife Dominque Durand and Andy Chase. The sound consists of well-crafted pop hooks blended with electronica elements behind Dominque Durand’s vocals. Think Stereolab, Luna or Tahita 80 (whose cd Chase produced).

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