Friday, March 26, 2010


Brooklyn’s Fan-Tan formed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2006 when Indonesian expatriates Kuki and Sandee Kooks joined forces with Ryan Lee Dunlap. Intent on diverging from the college rock scene of the area, the band drew on influence of the Manchester, England music scene circa 1983. After adding Mike Walter on synthesizers, the group decided on the name Fan-Tan, an ancient Chinese gambling game that was repeatedly mentioned in much of the history of the American west due to the many Chinese immigrant laborers in area during that time, creating an “east meets west” connection similar to the band’s lineup.

Although Fan-Tan is an “east meets west” band on the surface, the true connection is an affinity for British post-punk and new wave. Haunting synth-pop hooks and soothing undertones underscore the emotional connection attributed to that sound, a sense of void filled musically within the soul’s cavity.

Their newest EP, The Age of Discovery (set for release in April), represents Fan-Tan’s self discovery as a band and the spirit of adventure and exploration that keeps the excitement within making music. Exhibiting a somewhat vague overtone in order to allow fans to create their own interpretation, the album does address devastating emotions and circumstances of life. The song “Earrings” contemplates the romantic side of being driven insane by the tick-tock of everyday life and “Good Men” is a meditation on the difficulty of settling into a romantic relationship. No matter what the future holds for Fan-Tan, their unique and morose melodies allow the group to reach fans on emotional level that most bands just can’t match. Recommended!

Fan-Tan - On Your Wall
Fan-Tan @ MySpace


SONG OF THE DAY: The Tallest Man On Earth - Burden Of Tomorrow
(from The Wild Hunt, out April 13th at Dead Oceans)


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Friday, March 19, 2010

Fang Island

Fang Island began, oddly enough, as an art school project while the band members were attending the prodigious Rhode Island School of Design (also the foundation for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Les Savvy Fav, Six Finger Satellite, Lightning Bolt and some band called the Talking Heads.) According to guitarist Jason Bartell, the goal was to "make music for people who like music." That is, music without irony that harnesses its uplifting qualities. Just like a classic rock song or classical symphony can stir us emotionally, Fang Island exists to unlock that spirit.

Fang Island is guitarist Jason Bartell, bassist Michael Jacober, guitarist Chris Georges, guitarist Nicholas Andrew Sadler, and drummer Marc St. Sauveur. They all share collective group vocal harmonies and the occasional hand claps. While Sadler is also known for his role in the debauched rock band Daughters, it is only his fretboard skill that translates between the two groups.

Fang Island's self-titled debut album hit shelves on February 23rd via Sargent House amid a wealth of praise from press, with many writers declaring it one of the Best of 2010, just two months into the new year. A digital EP featuring the popular album track "Daisy" backed with Chris Keating of Yeasayer's remix of "Absolute Place" off their Sky Gardens EP preceded the full length in January. Highly recommended!

Fang Island - Daisy
Fang Island - Life Coach
Fang Island @ MySpace


SONG OF THE DAY: Son Lux - Weapons V
(from Weapons EP, out February 2010 on Anticon)


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Friday, March 12, 2010

New Roman Times

New Roman Times are Daniel Owens (guitars, vocals), Josie Fluri (bass, vocals), Mike Allen (drums) and Harris Thurmond (guitars, synths).

It’s said that much can be drawn by observing the company someone keeps. So what does being consistently hand-picked to perform with artists like Death Cab for Cutie, The Bravery, Cursive, The Rapture and Ted Leo & the Pharmacists say about New Roman Times? It shows that they’re the next generation in the great American indie rock tradition.

Drawn from an emotional plane where pain and liberation are interchangeable, their nocturnal music moves from crashing towers to elegant whispers, often in the same song. Ringing and urgent, this is the sound of carving your way to catharsis. The husband-wife combination of Owens and Fluri provide the band’s vocal dynamics, allowing them to stroke vulnerability from all angles. Between the tortured wail of Owens and the intimate coo of Fluri, their smart indie rock soars as much as it digs.

Following up their nationally distributed and critically lauded album "International Affairs", New Roman Times emerge with the Lp "On the Sleeve". Other artists they’ve performed with are The Raveonettes, Autolux, Enon, The Good Life, Rainer Maria, , VHS or Beta, Har Mar Superstar, Scissor Sisters and Elefant. Recommended!

New Roman Times - Smoke In Your Disguise

New Roman Times @ MySpace


SONG OF THE DAY: Gin Wigmore - Too Late For Lovers
(from Holy Smoke, out March 16th on Motown Records)


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