Skip to content

25 to Watch

Bleeding Through
WHO Frontman Brandan Schieppati screams as if his insideswere being sucked out by a high-powered vacuum cleaner, but hisband’s death-metal barrage is given a haunting ambience bythe keyboards of female member Marta. WHAT The Californiasextet’s third album, 2003’s This Is Love This Is Murderous(Trustkill), impressed AFI singer Davey Havok, who wore the band’sT-shirt on MTV and invited them on tour.

Everytime I Die
WHO Poll almost any member of any band whose sound is defined by the suffix-core, ask them to name their favorite new group, and most will quickly declare: Every Time I Die. The Buffalo, New York, thrash-metal provocateurs, led by brothers Keith Buckley (vocals) and Jordan Buckley (guitar) are revered for their roiling breakdowns, pummeling, punky guitars, and poetically sarcastic lyrics. WHAT Second album, 2003’s Hot Damn! (Ferret), recalls Glassjaw and the Dillinger Escape Plan, with its hurtling emotion and intricate musicianship.PEEK-A-BOO Upon removing the cardboard cover on Hot Damn!, you’ll find a revealing photo of a pair of SuicideGirls types going at it Britney-Madonna style.

The Bled
WHO Tucson, Arizona, metalcore wiseasses whose heart-quaking thrash stirs up a volcanic mosh pit. When the band’s singer quit after the recording of some early demos, they turned to guitarist Jeremy Talley’s roommate James Munoz to fill in as lead vocalist; he’s now full-time. WHAT Sounding like a more accessible Converge, the Bled’s debut, Pass the Flask (Fiddler Records), hints at a melodic heart, especially when Munoz eases up on the shrieking. BANG-UP JOBDuring a California show last year, Conor Oberst look-alike Mike Celi swung his bass guitar a little too enthusiastically and smacked Munoz flush in the face. The singer kept performing — even when he found a puddle of blood at his feet. he needed 13 stitches.

Boston’s Give Up the Ghost had to change their name from American Nightmare after a Philadelphia band of the same name threatened a lawsuit. Their 2003 album, We’re Down Til We’re Underground, has a hardcore fury that any of their peers would envy.

Emo drama queens and folk-punk anarchists
By Sarah Lewitinn and Charles Aaron

Against Me!
The exclamation point in their name is not false advertising — singer/songwriter Tom Gabel delivers every line like he’s trying to save the planet from imminent ruin. WHAT On As the Eternal Cowboy (Fat Wreck Chords), the follow-up to 2002’s anthemic gut-churner Reinventing Axl Rose, Gabel’s revolving backup cast give his anarchic folk-punk broadsides an almost new-wave/power-pop sparkle — imagine Phil Ochs fronting the early Jam. GAINESVILLE CONFESSIONAL Like fellow Floridian Chris Carrabba, Gabel inspires fans to desperately shriek along with every word of his songs.

The Walkmen
New Yorkers who formed in 2000 after organist Walter Martin got an agitated call from cousin Hamilton Leithauser. “I didn’t like the singer of his new band and told him so,” Leithauser admits. After his cousin’s harangue, Martin agreed, and the Walkmen were born. People have said they sound like U2 meets Neil Diamond. We are those people. WHAT A self-produced second album, Bows and Arrows, will be released in February on the Warner Bros.-affiliated Record Collection label; the unforgettably fiery call to arms “The Rat” is the first single. PAST LIFE Drummer Matt Barrick, guitarist Paul Maroon, and Martin were members of perhaps the most-publicized major-label bust of the ’90s — Jonathan Fire*eater.

Electrifying Czech trio Sunshine have signed to Pink producer Linda Perry’s Elektra-distributed label, Custard. Straylight Run is a new ballad-oriented group from ex-Taking Back Sunday guitarist John Nolan (with sis Michelle on piano), Atlanta garage rockers the Hiss boast a U.K. buzz.

British Rock
The new Coldplay, the new Scottish rock gentry, and a touch of social unrest
By Sarah Lewitinn and Imran Ahmed

A post-punk, pan-European coalition — its four members hail from Scotland, England, and Germany — that now lives and practices in Glasgow’s answer to Andy Warhol’s Factory: “The Chateau,” an old courtroom and jail converted to a communal art space. WHAT Their swaggering, erudite, and noisy five-track EP Darts of Pleasure (Domino) recalls the Kinks and Sparks at their most shamelessly tuneful. AMBIGUOUSLY AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN POP STARS Dandies of the Brit-rock scene, Franz Ferdinand dress like self-proclaimed “gay superheroes,” have formed their own book club, and are named after the Austro-Hungarian archduke whose assassination sparked World War I.

Hope of the States
This eight-headed (six musicians, two projectionists) prog-rock collective wear matching military jackets onstage and were inspired by the spacey noisescapes of Mercury Rev and Sigur Ros (yes, they have a violinist). “We’re not a ‘the’ band, and we aren’t a garage-rock band,” says frontman Sam Herlihy. “We’re total outsiders.” WHAT Currently in Ireland recording their debut album for Sony, the band finally tour the U.S. this year. MORE DEPRESSED ABOUT THE WAR THAN THOM YORKE? Hope’s video for their debut single, “Black Dollar Bills,” was banned by MTV2 U.K. for its images of “war, soldiers, warplanes, bombs, missiles, and social unrest.”

Sounding like Television after being rolled by a posse of Camden hookers, Razorlight are led by the current poster boy of London’s rockerati: scrawny, urchinesque Johnny Borrell — who was briefly a member of the Libertines. WHAT Their first single, 2003’s “Rock’N’Roll Lies,” hit No. 56 on the U.K. charts, and the band’s debut album will be released later this year, possibly with distribution from Universal. Their U.S. tour in March will include a gig at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. HONESTLY, THAT’S HIS NAME Razorlight’s Swedish lead guitarist is Bjorn Agren.

Echoing the Bunnymen, British Sea Power were the band du jour at New York’s 2003 CMJ Music Marathon; the 22-20s, a manic garage-blues trio, released a live EP, 05/03, last fall on Astralwerks.

Emo refugees, kooky Germans, and reborn rave blokes
By Adrienne Day and Charles Aaron

Head Automatica
Side project from vocalist Daryl Palumbo of emo-metal crew Glassjaw and eclectic hip-hop producer Dan “the Automator” Nakamura (Gorillaz, Dr. Octagon). While the Automator churns out dance floor-ready, industrial-strength modern rock, Palumbo’s Chris Cornell-inspired wail and garage-punk guitar ensure this as party fodder for hard-drinking, softhearted white boys. WHAT Debut album, Tokyo Decadence, was recorded at the Automator’s studio in San Francisco (with guest vocals from Rancid’s Tim Armstrong) and will be released in March by Warner Bros. Live, the band’s lineup expands to seven members, including drummer Larry Gorman (Glassjaw) and guitarist Vinnie Caruana (the Movielife). CALLING MR. SELF-DESTRUCT The spirit of Trent Reznor definitely stalks Head Automatica, especially on “Young Hollywood,” where Palumbo implores: “You get on your knees / And tear open your heart / so I can love you and your disease.”

Chicken Lips
London dance producers Andy Meecham and Dean Meredith started making tracks under the Lips tag in 1999, gradually getting high-profile DJ play from Josh Wink and Fatboy Slim. Their singles and remixes, with live drums and bass guitar, are like high-spirited disco dubs of early-’80s New York funk (or, more specifically, ESG’s “Moody” and “UFO”). DJ Steve “Fella” Kotey was added last year as a third member to handle the group’s heavy DJ calendar. WHAT Recently released a DJ-Kicks mix CD (!K7) that blends their own songs with a crate-diggin’ array of geeky gems from Nina Hagen, Jimmy Spicer, the Congos (via Carl Craig remix), and the Raincoats. BUG-EYED SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET Meecham and Meredith were formerly Bizarre Inc., the early-’90s breakbeat rave pros whose U.K. hits “Playing With Knives” and “Raise Me” were club/radio staples.

Montreal duolook like a DJ version of Tenacious D, and their DFA-remixed electro single “Destination: Overdrive” is a serious hoot; their debut album, She’s in Control (Vice), out in February, bubbles with addictive goofiness. Detroit DJ/producer Matthew Dear crafts meticulously minimal, delicately funky tech house on his second album, Leave Luck to Heaven (Spectral Sound/Ghostly).