In order to fully explain why this band made it into Label Alert, I need to confess something terrible about myself: I have an awful memory. I usually have to hear or read someone's name several times to remember it. I often don't even recognize people's faces the first couple of times I see them. I've had entire conversations with people that I will have no memory of days later - and no, there were no mind-altering substances involved. My memory just plain sucks. So what does it say about a band when someone like me hears their single "Modern Science" one time and finds herself singing the whole thing, word for word, for days and weeks afterwards? It says that this band has mastered the art of the unforgettable melody. It says that this band is so full of hooks and harmonies that they blast a crystal clear atomic shadow on even the foggiest of minds. It says that if ever a band was deserving of a decent shot at success in this bloated and chaotic world of indie music, this Canadian rock quartet is definitely that band.
- Emily Strong
Start with: Modern Science
Label Alert: Capitol, Island/Universal, Matador, Merge
Los Angeles' Dream Kids are lost in a wonderful world of infantile fantasy. Their sweetly infectious electro-pop follows singer/creator David McCary's daydreams wherever they may take him, whether it be inside of his Nintendo in search of a Pixelated Face, on a stage playing with A Space Band, or trying to understand the mysteries of the Summertime Snowman. These songs have the charm of the Unicorns (when they were behaving) and the innocuous sense of fun of The Flaming Lips (when they aren't on acid), but Dream Kids are onto something here that is all their own. McCary's childlike vocals delight with their clever wordplay and often-ironic wit, while subtly skirting the edge of something that feels darker, and, at times, almost menacing. And given the recent success of childhood-evoking electro-pop acts like Hot Chip and the Junior Boys, I get the impression that the time is right for Dream Kids to bring their feel-good energy and boundless creativity to the attention of the music community on an international scale.
- Ryan Ffrench
Start With: A Space Band
Label Alert: Astralwerks, Paw Tracks, Mush, Ninja Tune, Sub Pop, Stones Throw, DFA
Combining Tara Rice's sensual vocals with Sködt D. McNalty's atmospheric guitar, 5th Projekt's experimental arrangements will keep you transfixed as their lyrics explore the heady themes of cycles, balance, and biological rhythms. Teetering between the realms of alt/space rock, goth and prog, their songs invoke dreamy idylls one moment and beefy anthems the next. The solid bass and drums of Peter Broadley and Scott Honsberger pack a powerful punch. Though they profess to be Pioneers of Neo-Classical Romanticism, don't be fooled into thinking that 5th Projekt always takes itself too seriously: the extremes of comedy and tragedy, light and dark, are found at every turn. CiRCADiAN, the band's self-produced and released CD, comes in ultra-cool packaging reminiscent of your grandparents' old Kodak film canisters. This is entirely appropriate, given 5th Projekt's sweeping, cinematic style. The radiant "Broken Like This", with its delightfully retro-themed video, stands ready to be the soundtrack to your summer. They've been on the Toronto scene since 2003, and have garnered invites to appear at NXNE, among other festivals. They've also been nominated Best Alternative Artist in their hometown. It's definitely time to bring 5th Projekt's music stateside.
- E. Galand
Label Alert: Maple Music, Matador, Interscope, Dinosaur Fight
Although the Bohemian era of the late 19th century is ancient history, Southern Drama keeps its spirit very much alive and well. The music, dominated by Miss Clarissa Ysel's sultry vocals and Miss Naomi Cherie's mischievous and brazen violin, manages to circumvent the stigma of kitsch by being blatantly honest about its artifice. Heck, it's right there in the band name: these ladies and gentlemen are in it for the theatrics. What happens, though, when you can embrace the masquerade is that you will discover an emotional core that rings as true for the listeners and performers as it did for the denizens of past to whom the band pays homage. That music this refined comes from a band so young is noteworthy; that it comes without any adherence to social subcultures or caricaturization is what sets them apart as a group worthy of respect and a much, much wider following.
- Emily Strong
Start with: Lightswitch
Label Alert: Drag City, Roadrunner Records, Projekt Records, Kill Rock Stars