July 30, 2008

Today's Hotness: Up Up Down Down, The New Year

>> We haven't paid much attention to the awkwardly monikered but absurdly talented indie rock act Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start since naming their Worst Band Name Ever record one of our favorites of 2007 [list here, review here]. So we were shocked to see the sad news at the band's MySpace dojo that Up Up Down Down will break up Aug. 16 after playing two final shows that day and the day before. The Jersey-based quintet (whose lineup has changed often over its 10 years of existence) has since canceled what was to have been an acoustic show Aug. 15, leaving only the "rock show" at The Auction House in Audubon, NJ on the 16th as the band's swan song. We've never seen the band -- which is fronted by guitarist, singer, and recording studio owner Steve Poponi -- so we are seriously considering... well, with the price of gas... and the fact that day is a certain blogger's wedding anniversary... anyway, we're thinking about it. The band is that good. Here's how we summed them up last year:
"...small anthems -- songs that wave their flag vigorously but refuse to show off with extraneous verses and choruses when one of each, at most two, will do. Earlier Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start tunes such as the 86-second masterpiece "Please Come To Me" [above] from Perris, CA have crescendoes that explode like a tray of wine glasses striking the floor; the fist-pumping 2001 cover of Straight To The Point's "Straight To The Point" borders on screamo. In contrast, the exquisitely produced and hilariously titled collection Worst Band Name Ever features ten tracks that further the band's trend toward a gentler sound."
Up Up Down Down touring compadres Tie These Hands are flying in from Lincoln, Nebraska to open the show. The set list for the night is being concocted already, and a draft is posted at the aforementioned MySpace page. Yet another reason why this show is so tempting. Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start maintains a web site here where there are scads of free MP3s to download. We recommend the band's catalogue across the board, but here are a few amazing cuts to get you started.

Up Up Down Down -- "Melanie Flury" -- Girls Names EP
Up Up Down Down -- "Out To Get Me" -- The Internet EP
Up Up Down Down -- "The Red Loop" -- Worst Band Name Ever
[right click and save as]
[buy Up Up Down Down records from the band right here]

>> Slow-core survivors The New Year have issued a third and final video trailer for their forthcoming third album. It's short and sweet and it's right here. The song in the soundtrack plots a familiar waltzing course while a dense, hoary fog blows in front of and among a stand of trees. The band's self-titled set will be released by Touch + Go Sept. 9. We reviewed The Kadane Brothers' recent Boston show right here a couple weeks ago (the brothers comprise the core of The New Year, as they previously comprised the core of the late, lamented Bedhead). The New Year will promote The New Year with a strand of live performances in mid-October, and we've posted the dates below for your reference.

10.10 -- Music Hall of Williamsburg -- Brooklyn, NY
10.11 -- The Middle East -- Boston, MA
10.12 -- The Livingroom -- Providence, RI
10.13 -- Club Metronome -- Burlington, VT
10.14 -- Le Divan Orange -- Montreal, QC
10.15 -- Lee's Palace -- Toronto, ON
10.16 -- The Pike Room -- Pontiac, MI
10.17 -- Empty Bottle -- Chicago, IL
10.18 -- Maintenance Shop -- Ames, IA
10.19 -- High Dive -- Champaign, IL
10.20 -- Grog Shop -- Cleveland, OH
10.21 -- DC9 -- Washington, DC

>> Believe it or not, there is still a little more Johnny Foreigner news in the can. Well, despite what all the start-ups thought during the dot-com boom, a web site launch is not news. Even so, we think it is notable that the Birmingham, England-based indie rock trio finally has an official web site separate from its trusty MySpace hacienda. That said, the new JohnnyForeignerMusic.com is not the band's first attempt at a stand-alone site; we recall short-lived incarnations with URLs like johnnyforeigner.tk and johnnyforeigner.moonfruit.something, one of which was the place to snatch the zesty demos collection I Like You Mostly Late At Never. The new site appears to be the product of the band's recently announced North American deal with Nettwerk, as it seems solely aimed at promoting the domestic release of Waited Up Til It Was Light (available digitally from last week, in stores in October). Right now it features a stream of the forthcoming single "Salt, Peppa and Spinderella," buy links, and links to the band's various outposts in the social networking world. But here's hoping there will be much more in the future.

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