Foreign Islands rock the punk, spazz, dance, and handclaps. - Oh My Rockness

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Foreign Islands rock the punk, spazz, dance, and handclaps.

February 8, 2006
It's definitely not easy being an unsigned band in NYC. You mange to record a few songs and scrap together the shows as they come, but mostly you just stress about the inevitable day when the money will run out and the van will break down. Sometimes being in an under-the-radar band is about as glamorous as temping at Pfizer; no one notices you, yet you always feel as if you're someone's bitch.

This is why many bands often, and understandably, go to great lengths to separate themselves from the pack of their unnoticed musical peers. They'll do most anything, short of steroids, to push their careers to that next level and leave this hand-to-mouth business behind. "Are my pants awesome enough?" they'll ask. "How's this part in my hair?" "Should I buy that blogger a beer?" Sometimes such superficialities take over and rip focus away from the real stuff, like practicing and, you know, getting better. Some bands will spam you on MySpace and make appointments for hair highlights before they'll work an extra hour at their practice space.

Often lost to those entering the buzz-band sweepstakes is that it's patently easier to make your mark as an unsigned band if you are, you know, good. If you truly destroy at your shows, even if there is nary a camera in the crowd, the word will get out. Press is great, but it will never usurp a powerful stage presence. Foreign Islands are one of those under-the-radar bands that are doing everything right. They have the talent and the hooks, with riffs as uplifting as they are addicting. And none of these guys have particularly good hair, or even good pants for that matter. In fact, I don't really remember how they dress. I just remember how they sound.

If we ever were to bust out of our jaded shells and dance (which is about as likely as our passing up a roadside Hardees), but not like all out dance (see M.I.A. or Lady Sovereign), just kind of like, you know, dance dance (see Juan Maclean or that Rapture band), these guys would be near the top of our DJ request list. Foreign Islands are an excitable and ex-spazzable band that rock a punk-with-synths staccato sound. Think of them as Nation of Ulysses meets Les Savy Fav and Thunderbirds are Now!. We've never kept it secret that we're a sucker for songs with handclaps, and, boy, do these guys ever bring out some powerful palms on stage. Go see them now, buy them a few beers, and in a few years you can say to those you want to impress, "No big deal, but I totally got wasted with Foreign Islands once."

These guys are on their way...

Foreign Islands play Mercury Lounge, Wednesday, February 15th.


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