There's nothing I like more than introducing a brand-new band to my music-snob friends who think they know everything there is to know about every band that ever existed. Okay, I might like kittens a little bit more. Meow. Still, a lot of satisfaction comes from being able to talk up an unknown act while my friends sit there blankly. That's part of the reason I spend so much time in The Stranger's Music Directory (well, that, and uh... it's my job). But since new bands are being added every week (check out www.thestranger.com/bands), it gives me a chance to jump on what's cool before anyone else—or in some cases, catch up on something I missed the first time around.
For example, while perusing the listings last week, I was glad to come across Joy Wants Eternity's name. Even though they've been playing Seattle for some time now (about three years, their bio says), I had absolutely no idea who they were until I caught a set of theirs at Neumo's recently. Joy Wants Eternity's name sounds pop-punk to me (so maybe that's why I've been ignoring them for so long), but fans of My Bloody Valentine or even the more melodic side of Mogwai may be pleasantly surprised by their complex soundscapes. Live, the carefully crafted instrumentals are even more explosive than the MP3s suggest, and while it wasn't present at the Neumo's performance, I hear they often play to a projection of silent movies to liven up the experience.
In comparison to Joy Wants Eternity's aural experiments, the Terrordactyls' sound is charming and wee, quite possibly created in a bedroom littered with Christmas lights and funny art posters. Their song "Facelift" showcases the duo's electro-pop side, but "Sabina" is a cute acoustic duet with the happy and slight chiming of a toy xylophone. "Decoration Daniel," though, takes the prize. In this track, they rock the kazoo while comparing an artist's music to art supplies—"You're the finest colored pencil, you're a Day-Glo plastic stencil." There are no sonic explosions here, but the music is super-cute nonetheless.
Lastly, Shorthand for Epic are brand-new on the scene, having been together for only a couple of months. While most bands just cite a few influences, they've listed the entire frickin' record store—Elvis Costello, the Epoxies, the Cure, Gang of Four, Mission of Burma, the Cripples, the Dresden Dolls—and that's only about half. Check out the two songs Shorthand for Epic have posted if you're into upbeat and enthusiastic rock and roll à la Arcade Fire. With a few more months under their belts, SFE just might shape up to be one of the more exciting rock acts this city's seen in a while.