Here at the Mercury, we get a lot of letters from people asking why we don't write about their bands. Well, we've decided to do something about it, so shut up.
Welcome to our new monthly column, Why Don't You Write About My Band?, in which we review new bands that may not play with the big boys, but ones you should definitely keep an eye on. As for YOUR new band, if it isn't listed here, you should still shut up, because we'll get to it eventually.
(Side note: None of the following bands sent us letters asking us why we haven't written about their band. We picked their shows at random. But if you want to tell us you have a new band, it's okay to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Just remember: Good manners are always in style.)
CALL THE POLICE
It's a sure sign that a band is good when it can pack a giant crowd at Billy Ray's because, due to its meager size and lack of ventilation, Billy's is one of the most uncomfortable venues in the world. Demonstrating their punk rock core last Saturday, Call the Police played to a crowded room of fans who were so enthralled in the music that they were obliviously--even gleefully--sweating and elbowing each other in the crotch. Call the Police are two guitars, bass, drums, and one vocalist. My listening partner described this vocalist as "the female reincarnation of D. Boon," which was a pretty accurate description, due to her delightfully raw, not-too-high, not-too-barky voice. The band plays pretty traditional punk rock, which is permissible only because their songs are tighter than one of Pam Anderson's T-shirts. Word. KATIA DUNN
QUARRY TO THE WAR
Emotion comes up hard for this three-piece, whose raunchy instrumentalism sets the backdrop for wailing vocals. In fact, Quarry To The War's bottom-heavy rock-outs are so infectious that they could easily succeed as an entirely instrumental venture. The vocals add a dimension of striking earnestness that takes a bit of the edge off of the bite-your-lip and bang-your-head riffs that drive their sound. Although unabashedly emotive, the singing is mad and real, never tearful or ridiculous. The soulful intensity of the vocals juxtapose nicely with an instrumental assault that leaves your head reeling. The combination is striking and distinguishes them from their contemporaries. Although Quarry doesn't take many risks musically (hey, they're new!), they exhibit a polished comprehension of what it takes to snap an audience to attention. MARJORIE SKINNER
Two-Ply is the kind of band who aren't virtuosos on the instruments, but it doesn't matter 'cause they are so energetic, uninhibited, and clearly doing exactly what they want without giving a fuck or being self-conscious at all, which always makes for something interesting. Consisting of this totally badass bassist/singer whose stare is like a vice grip, and an enthusiastic, scrappy drummer, Two-Ply are definitely one of my favorite bands I've seen lately. The melodies and rhythms are pretty basic basement punk riffs, turned up high in the amps, and the vocals are the screamy, breathy sorts. They seem to have a sense of humor; in one song, the vocalist sings, "Elliott, Ellioootttt" in the style of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, over chunks of bass, which comes off as funny, but not ironic. Also, there was a super-fun sing-along, in which Two-Ply had the audience repeatedly scream, "Who the hell is Chuck [I can't remember the last name of the Chuck we were screaming]?" Chuck was apparently the singer's gynecologist. Two-Ply has a great charisma and stage presence, and their singer is soooo tuff. JULIANNE SHEPHERD
THE CHARM PARTICLES
A hallmark of new bands is shakiness on stage and a lack of confidence in delivering a set that will do justice to their hard work. Not so with the Charm Particles. Rather than let everyone give them allowances for being new, they rehearsed and polished their performance before even stepping up, and boy does it show. Pack up your pitying snickers and go, because these four performers are ready to roll with a sound that's part space cadet and part no-bull rock. Their energetic set is the stuff that keeps its audience working a steady beat, but eschews the rut of mindless homogeneity. They play with pedals and tinkering guitars, before plunging back into the rollicking surge that forms the backbone of their music. And they're already tight enough for this to be an effectively cohesive base for tweaking. Looks like someone's found their sea legs. MARJORIE SKINNER