• Ben Kweller Lays Down the Rules at SPINhouse Live

    Ben Kweller burst into the Spin offices all dewy-faced and glowing on a Thursday night in September. "I'm sorry I'm late," he told us, looking down at his perfectly worn urban cowboy boots, "I was stuck on the F train." But all was forgiven as the singer/songwriter picked up his guitar and launched into an acoustic version of the modern classic "Ice Ice Baby," changing lyrics when necessary to intensify his bordering-on-emo appeal. Kweller finished his set in a smooth thirty minutes, managing to cover all the highlights from his short career ("Tylenol" and "Commerce, TX," were especially well-received). An audible sigh of disappointment could be heard when one of his lyrics from the title track of his new album On My Way, made reference to his marital status.

  • Burning Down the (SPIN)House with the Fever

    "Welcome to the board meeting," Fever frontman Geremy Jasper offered to a packed house in the SPIN offices one recent night. "We have a PowerPoint presentation coming up." He was joking, thankfully, opting instead for a raucous installment of the SPINHouse Live series, one that rattled our humble edifice and undoubtedly enraged many late-night workers. With a brutal sound that relied on Jasper's bratty, provocative rants, Sanchez Esquire's fidgety guitar licks, Doors-like melodies from organist J, and the relentless rhythm section of bassist Pony and drummer Achilles, the Fever were an ace attraction for the rocking-ist of happy hours...

  • Louis XIV

    Hometown: San Diego, CA Sounds Like: More attacks from T. Rex than in Jurassic Park, but it's not just a flair for glam rock that sews the sequins on this ten-song sequence. Singer Jason Hill totally said "neato" and checked his libido on lead single "Finding Out True Love Is Blind," making a breathy, throbbing come-on to ladies like "Chocolate Girl" and "Carrot Juice," a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet of lascivious delights. "Illegal Tender" and "Hey Teacher" mine dumptruck loads of Stonesian riffs that leave Louis XIV just an iPod commercial away from superstardom. Jerk it out, baby. Fun Facts: The band's tunes made their way into the offices of influential UK rock rag NME after Spin's Ultragrrrl put out a three-song Louis XIV single last fall on her Stolen Transmission label; the 500-copy pressing sold out in just two months.

  • Tracy + the Plastics

    Hometown: Olympia, Washington Discography: 2001 - Muscler's Guide to Videonics (Chainsaw)2004 - Culture for Pigeon (Troubleman Unlimited)2005 - Real Damage EP (with the Gossip) (Dim Mak) Fun Facts: Tracy + the Plastics are actually all one person. On stage Wynne Greenwood is Tracy, while recorded images of Greenwood are projected as her back-up singers, the Plastics ("Nikki Romano" and "Cola"). Kind of like the Supremes on acid. Sounds Like: Throaty, distorted, electro-dance avant-garde. Singer Wynne Greenwood sounds like Kathleen Hanna mixed in a lo-fi psycho blender. Buy Buy From Amazon

  • Mando Diao

    Hometown: Borlange, SwedenDiscography: 2003 - Bring 'Em In (Mute)2005 - Hurricane Bar (Mute) Fun Facts: Though Mando Diao sings exclusively in English, they have a huge following in Japan. Nor�n says that the band's Japanese fans are so fervent they have written fan mail translating Mando Diao's songs into Swedish. "We didn't even know our songs in Swedish!" Says Gustaf, "They're so crazy over there, which is why we love them." Mando Diao's second full-length, Hurricane Bar, is slated for release on March 8th. Sounds Like: Catchier than, but somewhat Strokes-like, Mando Diao is exuberant garage-punk with a mod twist; they revive the irrepressible spirit of '60 Brit-pop.

  • An Interview with Ben Grimes of the Golden Republic

    By: Jessica Grose Listening to some of the consciously glam songs off the Golden Republic's self-titled debut, one might picture a group of well-coiffed Brits wearing sparkly spandex jumpsuits. Despite their glam rock influences, the Golden Republic are actually a bunch of sweet, corn-fed Midwestern boys in old t-shirts who can't wait to get back to Kansas City, Missouri, for the holidays. Spin caught up with lead singer Ben Grimes at the tail end of the Golden Republic's nationwide tour to talk about young love, T.Rex, and kissing cousins. SPIN: How's the tour going? Ben Grimes: It's going very well. It's two in the afternoon here, but it's morning for me, and I'm having one of the nicest mornings of the tour. SPIN: Are you still going to be touring with Sondre Lerche? Grimes: I think the next couple of tours we do will probably be with somebody else.

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  • Pit Er Pat

    Drummer Butchy Fuego played with critical darlings Neutral Milk Hotel in the late '90s. Vocalist Fay Davis-Jeffers is a classically trained pianist and bassist Rob Doran was a founding member of the punk outfit the Alkaline Trio. Pit Er Pat's debut full-length, Shakey, is due out March 8th. For more on Pit Er Pat, visit: piterpat.com

  • NME Awards, Day Two: Soulwax and LCD Soundsystem

    Valentine's Day reminded me that people here in England still heart their dance music, and they buy it too, pushing songs as awesome as the Chemical Brothers' "Galvanize" and as wretched as Uniting Nations' horrid house rehashing of Hall & Oates' "Out of Touch" into the upper echelons of the UK singles chart. So it wasn't a surprise to find the Astoria crowd going absolutely mental as I arrived during the opening moments of Soulwax's devastatingly good set. The band's core contributors, Belgian brothers Stephen and David Dewaele, became better known in recent years as 2manydjs, a DJ duo that pushed "bastard pop" (a.k.a. mash-ups) into the strobe lights and spun sets all around the world.

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