Dresden Dolls, Sky Larkin, Chin Up, Chin Up, Why?, Fade To Sepia - MySpace Monthly:September

GodisintheTV 30/09/2006

Possibly the most lax feature GIITTV runs (surf MySpace, find bands, tie it up once a month?), MySpace Monthly is back for September! Still in its infancy, the format of this has changed slightly but fear not, as a wide range of exciting bands have been snared in our shrimp net we used to swish through Murdoch's murky waters, selflessly helping bands surface for some well deserved air.

It is worth pointing out that not only has MySpace Music offered immediate and widespread promotion to new bands, but rekindled fading bands' profiles and provided new opportunities for established bands to reach out to untapped resources. Thus, it is with thanks to Murdoch that I came across The Dresden Dolls .
Boston-based (USA) Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione complete the Dresden Dolls, who simply ooze sin, sex and love in equal measures, lusted after by their fans worldwide. With this slutty, sexy twosome, you can't help but feel you've stepped into a peepshow: shamelessly ogling the duo in their smeared make-up and laddered tights, with their quirky piano-driven pop soundtrack accompanying the onstage antics, delivers a highly entertaining - and inescapably arousing - experience. Try the chirpy, slapstick 'Lonesome Organist' or toy shop revelry of 'Coin-Operated Boy' for a fix of pleasingly innuendo-filled pop.

New York's Daylight's For The Birds's uplifting sound is a welcome addition to the shoegazing scene. They here present four tracks from their mini-album 'Trouble Everywhere'. Their two vocalists, Amanda and P, are their finest aspect, their adorable boy-girl harmonising on 'Worlds Away' elevating the already gorgeous track to levels of understated beauty occupied by Sigur Ros and The Arcade Fire. Not bad for a band yet to celebrate their first birthday.

Back in England, London isn't the only happening place musically at the moment. So it goes on in New Yorkshire, who seem to be throwing up post-Monkeys indie rock contenders by the bucket load at present. Sure the Long Blondes are destined for big things very soon, but none has passed these ears like Sky Larkin before. Their demo's indie pop sound highlights Sky Larkin's refreshing lightness of touch their willingness to experiment and in Katie Harkin they have a vocalist with a beautiful tone. 'Sommersault Notes' is fresh, clean and unpretentious, the suave tones, playfully dunking keyboards add up to something quite delightful. 'Traits and Traitors' is perhaps even more impressive in a new band, five minutes of slightly arty rock, coming on like Sonic Youth's baby sister: cascading drum rolls, a deliciously heartbroken melody, cosy up to guitars that shimmer into the middle distance. Sky Larkin are indeed ones to watch: keep those eyes on the skies.

Snotty, lite rockers Fade To Sepia aren't the most original thing to come out of Stratford upon Avon (up against a certain Bill Shakespeare), but their frantic, fuzzy guitars and bitter lyrics snarled out by vocalist David Duell - I remember when we first met, you were off your head on smack! mean they have an urgency about them, and a personal, sour mood to be inflicted upon all who cross their path. 'Word Association' is the best track here, though the hazy, off-kilter 'Solvent Jitterbug' is worth repeated listens just to comprehend its faintly psychedelic fog.

As well as giving expert chin-positioning advice, Chin Up Chin Up perfect the swirly, confusing but wonderful type of indie-rock last seen going global with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Their Myspace profile offers an impressive taster of their new album plus the classic 'Virginia Don't Drown', a beautifully crafted collage of jerky guitar riffs which morphs into a glorious pop song in its final minute. Their sound is blurry and confusing but their vision is crystal clear.

Finally, here's one for all of you who wish to parade a genre-crossing music taste. Indie fans looking for a comforting path into hip-hop should appreciate Why?, signed to the consistently excellent Anticon. They weld great indie-pop songs to train-of-thought, often rapped vocals to tremendous and original effect. Plus their video collection includes the truly bizarre promo for 'Rubber Traits', its canine craziness significantly more entertaining than any of the formulaic fare on MTV's screens.

And that's it for another month of MySpace Monthly. Get your teeth into some of this lot if you know what's good for you, commit the names to memory, and grin smugly when that cute girl at alt nights gasps as you reel off facts about her favourite new band's lead vocalist.

This month MySpace Music surrendered its soft underbelly to the sensual probing of Bill Cummings, Mike Mantin and Tim Miller.