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Pumped Up Kicks

 

The Kicks

One normally doesn’t think of Lowe’s as an arbiter of music, but you gotta hand it to them—they nailed it when they placed The Kicks’ “Good Morning” in their “Fresh Cut Grass” spot. The sailing power ballad is catchy to the extreme, burrowing down into your brain and setting up camp. As great as that track is, it isn’t the only ace up the Nashville band’s sleeve. The Kicks straddle pop and Southern rock spheres, taking big hooks and roughing them up with a little grit. “Hawk Eyes” is a ballsy little rocker that slips into a garage rock groove, deft as Jet. But unlike the erstwhile Aussie band, The Kicks take their rock all over the place. The soulful “This Feeling” reads like vintage R&B, while “Sore Thumb” has an almost ‘80s attitude. Like Lowe’s, these guys never stop improving.

Jet Bows Out

Australian rock and rollers Jet, who broke big internationally in 2003, have called it a day.

Comprised of brothers Nic (vocals/guitar) and Chris Cester (drums), along with lead guitarist Cameron Muncey and bassist Mark Wilson, Jet came up through the Melbourne music scene, influenced by both British Invasion classic rock and Australian indie rock stalwarts like You Am I. In the wake of the garage rock revival, which saw bands like The Hives, The Datsuns, and fellow Aussies The Vines rise to prominence, Jet signed with Elektra Records, which released Get Born in 2003. That album spawned the smash single “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” a song that synthesized the band’s major influences like The Stooges and AC/DC.

That the band wore their influences on their sleeve diminished their standing with some critics, but Jet continued to find success, having built a large and enthusiastic fan base. While they did not again reach the heights of “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” they released Shine On (Atlantic) in 2006 and Shaka Rock (EMI) in 2009. The former album went platinum in Australia and Gold in the UK, while their final record went gold in Australia.

On their website, the band posted a simple farewell to fans:

After many successful years of writing, recording and touring we wish to announce our discontinuation as a group. From the many pubs, theatres, stadiums and festivals all across the world it was the fans that made our amazing story possible and we wish to thank them all. Thank you, and goodnight.

Waking Up The Windsors

Slydigs

With the exception of Pete Doherty, the English are generally considered to be a proper, buttoned-up folk. Fair or not, that’s the pigeonhole. But, if we’re going to categorize Northern England’s Slydigs, we’ll need to move them closer to Doherty than the Windsors, if only for their shared love of the raw and rambunctious side of Britpop. Put on “Electric Love” and it’s there in full force: the feral yawp of guitars, the thrashing drums, the low-throttle growl of the bass. It’s music that walks the line between jubilation and hysteria—the same line that bands like Jet, The Strokes and Mooney Suzuki have walked with success in the past. On “If You Only Live Once,” singer Dean Fairhurst suggests, “If you only live once / let’s get on with living” against a bopping beat and the scribble of guitars. Our favorite track is “The World Waits (For No One)”, a driving melody with a triumphant chorus that tugs at the heart strings. Put it on the stereo on your next road trip and get on with living.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Call: Floor Thirteen

Is it possible for an indie rock band to outsell major label pop stars? If you’re Canadian rockers Floor Thirteen —who outsold Miley Cyrus, Coldplay and Kid Rock in their hometown of Winnipeg when they released their debut album, Mmmm!, in June of 2008— the answer is “Hell, yes.”

With the aid of Grammy-nominated producer Brandon Friesen, Mmmm! spawned the hit “Blame It On Me,” which has since been featured in the video games Need for Speed:Undercover and The Sims 3 and on The Strombo Show. These opportunities has exposed “Blame It On Me” to millions of people in over 30 countries.

Mixing the sounds of Jet and Led Zeppelin, Floor Thirteen include both retro and contemporary influences in their music. There is certainly a classic rock feel to “Blame It On Me,” but the gang vocal-heavy anthem “Shut ‘Em Out” sounds more like an Aerosmith B-side from the ’80s. This versatility works to the band’s advantage, as their album contains something for rock fans of several genres.

In addition to having impressive placement deals, Floor Thirteen has also proven their ability as a live band, opening for the likes of Our Lady Peace, Buckcherry and 3 Doors Down. They’ve also played at MUSEXPO Europe in London and have been a featured artist on the internationally syndicated radio show Passport Approved.

As you eagerly anticipate the next installment from Floor Thirteen, check out their music in the player below!

 


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