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Eastern Conference Champions

By: Peter Gaston

Attention, major-label act castaways currently bartending, landscaping, waiting tables, working in record stores, and giving guitar lessons: All is not lost. Just ask the lads of Eastern Conference Champions. Yes, frontman Josh Ostrander and drummer Greg Lyons lapped up some gleeful moments of budding stardom and national tours with their old band, Laguardia. But when Laguardia’s debut record sputtered out, it was back to the want-ads. Instead of languishing in what went wrong, the duo spent summer nights in 2004 crafting new material, eventually roping in fellow wandering soul Vern Zaborowski on bass, he of CKY fame.

The resulting collaboration, The Southampton Collection, is a twitchy, moody five-song escapade that has its moments of contemporary, Wolf Parade-style, tweaked out rock (“Nice Clean Shirt”) and romanticized late-’90s Brit rock grandeur (“Power Hungry Mega Heart” sounds ripped from The Bends). Ostrander’s warbling wail also seems culled from across the pond; it’s a less convoluted Thom Yorke, or a less yelpy Eamon Hamilton (Brakes, British Sea Power), and it sounds best when counterbalanced by Maura Davis’ backing vocals on the winsome “Hollywood.”

Eastern Conference Champions will play at SXSW in Austin before a string of dates supporting dEUS:

3/16, Austin, TX (Cedar Street Courtyard — SXSW) 3/16, Austin, TX (Tambaleo — SXSW) 3/25, Montreal, QC (Cabaret Music Hall) * 3/26, Toronto, ON (Lee’s Palace) * 3/27, Detroit, MI (Shelter) * 3/28, Chicago, IL (Double Door) * 3/30, New York, NY (Bowery Ballroom) * 4/1, Boston, MA (TT the Bear’s) * (* – with dEUS)

Eastern Conference Champions on MySpace

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