Sound Team, Cold War Kids and Midlake ride it out. - Oh My Rockness

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Sound Team, Cold War Kids and Midlake ride it out.

July 26, 2006
Buzz, Buzz, Buzz. That's what this line-up represents. Sound Team are vouched by The Arcade Fire, Cold War Kids are vouched by the industry execs, and Midlake are vouched by actor Jason Lee (hey, it's something). All three of these bands have the ever-mythical buzz (Sound Team represent the grizzled veterans of buzz and their album just came out a few weeks ago) for a variety of reasons.

But how many of these three will remain standing a year from now (or even six months from now) is hard to say. Any? All? None? Buzz can be kind, but it can also be very, very cruel. There's always the temptation when seeking and touting the "next" big thing to forget about those bands you loved ever so dearly five minutes ago. Not only is it better for a band to be "next" than "five minutes ago," it now even seems better to be "next" than "it." If you're currently huge, it's already too late for you. Your buzz is spent. What a crazy world we live in.

Austin's Sound Team got their buzz rolling when they were hand picked by The Arcade Fire to open for them at their sold-out Central Park Summerstage show last year. (One year in buzz-life is like thirty years in human life.) Their upbeat, retro psych-folk-alt-country with a heavy synth kick has been likened to everyone from Modest Mouse, Blonde Redhead, and old tour mates The Walkmen, to Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd and Krafwerk. There's something kind of spooky about their sound (maybe throw in an Interpol reference just for good measure), as they often use creepy chimes and ominous feedback-induced walls of sound as a foundation for their songs. However, they just as often incorporate four-part vocal harmonies and snappy percussion to lift the spirits of us listeners.

Buzz sure is a swift moving beast. Just like that, California's Cold War Kids are suddenly everywhere and poised to take over the world. It was SXSW, a couple tours here and there, and BOOM, world domination. Their music, like their recent touring partners Two Gallants, has some serious soul power. The band's swooning songs seek influence from the eras of Dylan, Billie Holiday and the Velvet Underground. They've released three under-the-radar EPs, and now TONS of labels, large and small, are vying to release their proper full-length debut.

The newbies to the buzz scene, Texas' Midlake, play super melodic electro-folk that sounds like Fleetwood Mac meets Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, meets Cass McCombs. Singer Tim Smith also gets a lot of Wayne Coyne comparisons, although he's not as warbled as that guy. But whoever you compare them to, this is a band that definitely sounds like they are from Texas. Think of pick-up trucks, dusty roads and Robert Duvall. A very optimistic band. But don't take my word that this band is fine, take the word of actor extraordinaire Jason Lee who apparently loves these guys. I mean, I guess he was good in Mumford...

Here's the thing about buzz; ultimately it's fluff. Sure, it's great to ride it when you got it, but buzz fades. It's a given. And all that remains are your songs, your vision, and how many bridges you have left unburned.

Sound Team, Cold War Kids, and Midlake play July 28th and 29th at Mercury Lounge, July 30th at Southpaw, and July 31st at Maxwell's.


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