May 31, 2007

Today's Hotness: Answering Machine, Frightened Rabbit, Jesus Lizard

The Answering Machine>> Turns out we're back already. Check us out.

>> You know, Pitchfork is right: this tune "Silent Hotels" from UK-based indie popsters The Answering Machine is awesome. Great melodies, delicious guitar tone, snappy production. Pure gold, particularly when the call and response lyrics "And I drink till I'm sick / you're sick!" kick in. The track is the A side of a single that will be released June 18 on High Voltage. We've re-posted Pitchfork's stream of the tune in one of those Imeem doo-hickeys below. Pfork ventures that this track sounds akin to the music of Los Campesinos, who we wrote about previously here, but we'd argue that Mancunian trio The Answering Machine has a tougher sound more reminiscent of our favorite Birmingham, UK-based noise pop trio. Anyway, if you live in the UK make certain to hit the link to High Voltage, where you will see the band is playing out darn near every single night in June. There are also three more tracks at the band's MySpace dojo, including the B side to the "Silent Hotels" single. Here's a question: does this band really have no drummer? A better question: where can we buy this single digitally when it is released?

>> There was all manner of interesting industry news in the last couple days. Perhaps the trad music industry types feel the need to make a splash before their fiscal second quarter ends and takes another chunk of its business model down the toilet with it. Anyway, most interesting of all was news that the new DRM-free files sold through Apple's unimaginately monikered ITunes Plus have your name hidden in the metadata, meaning The Man can totally take you to task if you decided to put the files into the P2P hive. There's coverage of that little bit of happiness here, here and here. To Apple's credit, they also announced a deal by which you will be able to access YouTube content such as this The Answering Machine video for "Silent Hotels" via the Apple TV non-set-top home-networking and content-holding lightbox apparatus. The newest Apple TV box is outfitted with a 160GB hard drive that allegedly holds some 200 hours of video or 36,000 songs or 25,000 photos. This new model costs $400, but we don't know why we would ever buy one.

>>The courtship is over and music-oriented social networking service Last.FM has finally been snapped up, as we first speculated here in February. The successful suitor was CBS Corp., who paid $280 million for the UK-based company. This is significantly less than the $450M figure we mentioned here a while back. Last.FM has 15 million users, meaning CBS Corp. paid a little less than $20 per user. We like Last.FM, although we don't hardly take advantage of all of its features, which apparently includes calendaring and show listings and the like in addition to your run-of-the-mill "scrobbling." Here's our Last.FM profile, and here is a link to a Reuters piece about the deal.

>> The other CBS says here that Glaswegian indie pop savants Frightened Rabbit were considering deals with Domino and Fat Cat. Interesting.

>> These candles remind us of the cover of The Sundays' excellent sophomore set Blind.

>> And a final local note: we've been far too busy to crack open our promo copy yet (perhaps Sunday), but for folks less lazy than us, get out and see a screening of the new Jesus Lizard DVD "The Jesus Lizard -- Live" next week at The Middle East (Downstairs) in Central Square, Cambridge. The screening starts at 7PM and is followed by a set from by legendary punkers Gang Green. Do you think they'll put chairs down there? We'll definitely just watch it at home. Look for a review by the end of June.

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