While it undoubtedly sucks worse than a two dollar Mexican love lady as a social network, MySpace is still an excellent place to find and share new music. As one of the first social networks to create dedicated musician profiles, the simplicity of creating an account, together with the option to allow songs to be streamed rather than downloaded, and the social norm of musical availability, have meant that for many artists, MySpace is the one place online they feel comfortable making their music available for free. From enormous acts to tiny one man garage bands, you’ll find everyone who’s anyone on the network. I’ve thrown together a sampler of some interesting acts I’ve come across recently, via the magxical ugly streaming corporate browser crasher that is Rupert Murdock’s MySpace Music.
1. Ronald Jenkees – My first pick is a cheat, as he’s actually much better known as a star of Youtube. A shy piano virtuoso with a love of hip hop and a face like Sling Blade in a rainstorm, Jenkee’s improvised ‘beats’ and quirky persona – whether sincere or humorous – have made him the latest unlikely internet music phenomenon. More than that, he’s a genuinely talented songwriter, whose fresh approach to composition and mixing should in a just world inspire the Klaxons to apologetically toss themselves arse first onto their Mercury Music prizes from a very great height. Check out Jenkee’s live videos for his better material, like this Timberland inspired synth freakout.
2. I missed Norwegian ‘Glam / Psychedelic / Gothic’ rockers Serena Maneesh at the Electric Picnic. They sound kind of like Sigur Ros crossed with ‘My Bloody Valentine’, which is of course no bad thing. Check out the track ‘Don’t come down here’, for tragi-luxurious opium den ambience. Question, are there any bad Scandanavian bands?
3. Kissaway Trail, possibly the nearest thing to Funeral For a Friend I’ve ever liked, blew away a crowd of A&R fuckheads at the Nokia trends stage in Stradbelly. Imagine an adolescent bipolar Polyphonic Spree, covering early Cure at a drunken high school graduation. I counted at least thirty five guitarists on stage, and they all were needed to hold down front man Søren Corneliussen, foiling his attempt to rent a hole in the fabric of space big enough for Emo Jesus to enter our world. Fantastic.
4. Strip Squad are officially the best little known band out there right now. It’s a weeping shite shame that one hit whistle headache Peter Bjorn and John are the pall bearers of Swedish rock, whilst happy clappy sex fiends Strip Squad linger in obscurity. Currently promising a world tour, we can only hope that songs like ‘Pervert / Expert‘ and ‘If you don’t take me right away you might as well fuck off‘, convert a scandalously unimpressed music press. Like now.
5.’Haunting’ and ‘Melodic’ are the kind of wankerish adjectives that get applied all too often to Aussie trio Little Aida. There are few enough groups trying to do something interesting with acousticishy music, without having to contend with such clichés, poor dears. Despite having one of the worst websites ever belched out of the stinky end of macromedia flash, Little Aida are funky monkeys, trailering endlessly from desert town to desert town, skinning their feet in the dust clouds thrown up by their dirt bikes, stopping by roadside bars to sing of lost loves and broken dams. Gotta go change my pants.
6. Back in Nordic territory, mysterious multi-instrumentalists Olivia Merilahti, and Dan Levy, otherwise known as thedø, seem doomed for Poly Harvey like underground hyper-popularity. With beautifully fragile-messy vocals, Coco Rosie like simulated samples, catchy alt-pop melodies, and corset tight lyrics, thedø are quite simply brilliant. Their debut album “A Mouthful” is due out next January on Get Down Records. Thanks to the magic of MySpace, you can check them out right now. Discovered via the utterly savage Punk 77 MySpace Round Up.
7. Youthful folksy supergroup Emmy the Great are very much a work in progress. Poor production values on their MySpace material can’t hide excellent lyrics and the nasily cute voice of Emmy Lee. Perhaps they’re forty years too late, but there’s something wonderful hinted at in pared back tracks like ‘the woods’. At the very least, you’ve got to appreciate a band that list ‘Flight of the Conchords‘ among their influences.
8. Much more literally special, are vetran American experimentalists ‘Bill‘. Bill are named after rawkus frontman Bill Gage, who happens to have down syndrome. Despite sounding a little like Portland nutters ‘Old Time Religion‘, Bill’s highly distorted prog-grunge works unsettlingly well, in a Crispin Glover meets Axl Rose kind of way. One to scare your flatmates with at four AM. When they complain, bark and tell them to fuck off back to Enya.
9. We definitely don’t have a ten, hell I’m not even sure we should have had a seven, but the least we can do is give you an interesting nine. Simone White, whose biography reads like something out of Dickens, fits the bill. You remember at the end of Before Sunset, when Julie Delpy takes Ethan Hawke up to her bedroom, sings him a ditty, and finally it looks like two of the most deliberately unhappy neurotics in cinema history are gonna get some? Well in this parallel universe Celine became a singer songwriter, changed her name to Simone and released ‘I am the man’. Think Jewel Kilcher, by way of Nouvelle Vague. ‘It’s such fun to be beautiful and young’. Indeed.