Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Name Game Vol. 4: Friendly Foes vs. Friendly Fires

Photo by bobster 855 from here.

Has every possible band name based on the English language been used already? Probably not yet, but the tipping point may be coming soon. This series of posts is being created to ensure you can tell the which from the what when that catastrophe finally occurs.

Friendly Foes are a trio who call home "just outside of Detroit", according to their bio. And I believe the bio. Know why? The rest of the bio nails down their sound as well as could be done - it speaks the truth. Band members are "Inspired as equally by 70s punk-songwriters like Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello as they are the glory days of 90s indie rock (Superchunk, Guided By Voices, Chisel) — with a healthy dose of Husker Du and Replacements-style bash 'n pop thrown in for good measure — Friendly Foes craft rag-tag, rough around the edges rock songs that do away with pretense". Yeah. That's about right. Add a reference to power-pop's Pleasure Island, and I'm just going to stand back and let you listen. Comment below if you think the writer got it right or wrong, here's Get Yr Shit Together.

The above track is available as a free download from here, or you could simply hit the arrow pointing down in the embedded songplayer above.

Here's another, Couch Surfing.

Another thing I like about this band is that a sense of humour is in evidence. Check out the live acoustic cover of the mighty Danzig's Mother.

You can listen to the whole album here by using the name-brand electronic device at the right side o' the page.

Friendly Fires are a UK band that were just recently nominated for a Mercury Award, and they've previously shown up on Best-of lists for NME, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork. The band is an earnest bunch of guys who create big beats, sharp pop hooks, and danceable grooves. Smoothly-produced singles have ensued, but in an live, stripped-down setting, the group's songcraft is evident - check out this version of On Board from Sterogum.

Friendly Fires make me think of bands like Coldplay and Keane (the aforementioned earnestness) but with less restraint, less adoration of mid-period U2, and more desire to hit listeners on a physical level - whatever makes a human shake his or her rump.

If that didn't appeal to your discoball, get a load of this finely-tuned concoction of non-stop funkified slap bass, twitchy guitar, desperate vocals, and tasty percussion (more cowbell, anyone? tambourine? hand-claps?). It's my favourite new tune, download here.

Here's a version of Paris without the production trickery.

If you wanna see Paris on Jools Holland featuring crazy dancing and ecstatic singing, go here.

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