News:: Fox Japan! + Maritime record leaks + Here's to me

Just a few quick things you might care to read about:

Fox Japan! :: myspace
Quirky, political/thought provoking indie rock from West Virginia - RIYL the Pixies, Pavement, Ted Leo. After reading the one-sheet and sounds-likes from Fox Japan!, it should have been easy to throw the record into the Malkmus-lite realm (aka - the discard bin). Crunchy, angular guitars. Spoken word vocal breaks; the formula is similar to a lot of bands trying the same thing, but the difference is Fox Japan! does a much better job with the effort.

The guitar work is the immediate highlight. It's lo-fi with the rough edges, but the hooks show the years this quartet has spent playing together. The band seems to stumble onto hooks without trying, or more accurately, despite trying not too. Case in point - An Investigative Sentence exposes a grinding guitar riff that appears out of nowhere. The bass / drum line makes you listen closely to the muffled vocals, but two minutes the band changes pace. Frantic transitions and vocal lines make the songs fragmented, and the arrangements move so quickly you almost can't settle in to any comfort level. The don't simply find a groove and let it ride. In fact, I think they stop short on a few just to prove a point. What Follows? starts as a string and piano ballad but over the course of the four-minutes it moves back and forth into a theatrical, vibrato vocal track and evolves (or maybe unevolves) into a screamed guitar monster. Nursing Home (or a Parking Lot) is as straight-ahead as the band gets, with a stomping, sing along chorus and consistent guitars and a nice spoken word breakdown, but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.

Say what you want, but this band isn't looking for a killer hook. They challenge you on every song, with chaotic (although thoroughly) enjoyable riffs. Songs like A Doctor Might Help You and Psh showcase the energy the band delivers, but the lyrics never really fit into the standard rocker mold. They pride themselves on the fact they have something to say. I mean, who really writes an song about the evils of TV and blending reality and fantasy (anti-Phillip Seymour Hoffman song) or throws in some anti-Bill O'Reilly commentary in the middle of the jam. These guys are an enigma, trapped in a riddle, trapped in a vest but unlike so many unsigned bands you hear these days, you aren't left saying, "they'd be fantastic if they could put some time in the studio." Their sound is one of those timeless lo-fi drones that you never want to change.

Apparently, after Charlie's Chinatown mugging, the love for our fair city is low, so hopefully this review puts us back in the Vancouver good books.
MP3:: A Doctor Might Help You

Maritime new singles::
Davey and the boys are back to tear up our atmosphere again. The new songs have a bit different vibe, but that is to be expected with the big lineup switches. The sounds are still guitar / drum pop goodness and I don't know if any band out there can make such compact, effortless ear candy as these guys.
MP3:: Guns of Navarone
MP3:: Science Fiction

In true Stingray / Mad Foxes fashion - here's to me, the best there is. Actually, here's to Streethawk, a Vancouver based mag I'm doing some writing for on the side. The ran my review of the fantastic new Mohawk Lodge record today.


@ 2:34 PM, Anonymous Mike kicked the following game:

Wow, the mp3 sounds terriffic. Checking these guys out as we speak. Great review.

 

@ 9:36 AM, Blogger Frank kicked the following game:

This is the first Indie Rock album I have ever bought and man I am hooked is every band like this?

 

@ 9:44 AM, Blogger naedoo kicked the following game:

haha, this is perhaps my favorite comment of 2007.

Frank, I can't speak for every indie rock album in the universe, but you can rest assured that anything we post on the hill will rock just as much ass as this one.

 

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