January 26, 2008

Today's Hotness: Johnny Foreigner, Varsity Drag, Frightened Rabbit

Johnny Foreigner>> Superlative Birmingham, England indie rock trio Johnny Foreigner is now streaming its explosive forthcoming single at the band's MySpace dojo here. As we've noted previously, "Our Bipolar Friends" b/w "The Houseparty Scene Is Killing You" will be released by Best Before Records March 10. You can already pre-order the single from HMV.com right here, which we did the other day despite the abysmal exchange rate and air mail charges. Careful reading of the recent flurry of MySpace bulletins come from the band and label yields other tidbits of information. The forthcoming full-length is as-yet untitled, although the most recent message from the label suggests the set might be self-titled -- or maybe the author just likes to put single quotes around the band name for some reason. We could certainly come up with several title suggestions (One More Failed Suicide Attempt, or Tape The Letterbox Shut, and so on). More importantly, the band reports just finishing the recording and mixing this week, which would certainly seem an important step in getting the thing released and into our stereo. The very good news is the band is coming back to America; the bad news for us is that the "several" dates are at South By Southwest, which is decidedly not driving distance from Boston. Maybe they can squeeze a Boston or New York date in on their way back from SXSW? Check out all the band's tour dates with Los Campesinos! and Young Knives here. Lastly, we love this ad slick at left that the band is using right now that is a variation of sorts on the art for the single. The disgruntled ghost in the foreground is our favorite.

>> We question whether we'll have the energy after a late night last night, but Ben Deily's Varsity Drag performs at Midway Cafe in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston tonight. Deily, readers may recall, co-fronted the early, punker iteration of The Lemonheads with Evan Dando, and in our opinion contributed some of the strongest material to the classic sets Hate Your Friends, Lick and Creator. Varsity Drag performs a lot of this early Lemonheads material [YouTube clip from a recent European date here], and we are determined to see the act live at some point. Varsity Drag released For Crying Out Loud in 2006. Based on the absurdly high prices for used copies we've found online ($17-$50), it would seem the record is out of print, which explains why we can never find it at Newbury Comics. Damn it. Fortunately you can stream a lot of the tunes at Varsity Drag's MySpace wigwam here.

>> Not sure if we've reported this before: Glaswegian powerfolk trio Frightened Rabbit's sophomore set The Midnight Organ Fight will be released on Fat Cat April 1. The title comes from a line in the dramatic number "Fast Blood," which fans may recall was first released digitally via EMusic as part of a stellar, powerful live collection of recordings made at last year's SXSW. Angry Ape has a full run-down here on the run-up to the release, which includes the release March 3 of a single for the fantastic number "Heads Roll Off." The surprisingly danceable number will be backed with a tune we've yet to hear, "Set You Free." The Ape also has a track listing, and we're pleased to see "The Twist" and "My Backwards Walk" making the cut. The cataclysmic shouter "The Modern Leper" leads off the record, and the good people of IODA PromoNet are hosting an MP3 of the track that we link to below.

The Midnight Organ FightFrightened Rabbit
"The Modern Leper" (mp3)
from "The Midnight Organ Fight"
(Fat Cat Records)

More On This Album

>> Shape-shifting pop genius Kurt Heasley makes another rare appearance with his band Lilys tonight in Joshua Tree, California. We'll be scouring YouTube for clips tomorrow.

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