Random Indie Music Tournament – Round 2 Preview

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

Best Coast, NXNE, June 17, 2010, The Great Hall

So this random dude posted a tournament bracket on instagram and well let’s just say it sounds like a good idea to evaluate it and see who should win this! Yes, I’m that bored. I have no idea how he seeded Belle and Sebastian against The Strokes or Bloc Party vs Arcade Fire, but whatever – he did something and I appreciated that. However, it now looks like Round 2 is on the horizon, so let’s takes a look at the matchups because I have already cleaned my apartment twice, repotted my plants and done my taxes.

You can vote here

Yeah Yeah Yeahs vs Arcade Fire

This is a HUGE matchup, I think this is happening too early, but you know – Houston vs Golden State also happened in round 2 so life’s not fair. Both bands had an abundance of success in the 2000s, but I feel that a lot of people’s feelings for Arcade Fire have waned since they seemed a bit excessive with their last release. This feels weird to me because the collective public just decided to completely forget Yeah Yeah Yeah’s last album. Can you name one song off Mosquito?

Ultimately this matchup is about whether you prefer Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ outrageous list of amazing singles – “Maps”, “Y-Control”, “Date with the Night”, “Cheated Hearts”, “Zero” and “Heads Will Roll” or Arcade Fire’s amazing output for their first four albums. I mean, I still remember exactly where I was when I heard Funeral for the first time.

Both bands have amazing live sets and managed to break into the mainstream, with Arcade Fire surprisingly winning the Grammys a few years back and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Glee thing. It’s a toss-up but I feel people generally love Karen-O more then anyone on Arcade Fire.

The White Stripes vs The National

The White Stripes’ candle didn’t burn very long, but certainly burned the brightest. With their stripped down rock and roll, unique aesthetics and curious back story, they were one of the front runners that help kicked off the early 2000s indie rock movement (whatever you want to call it). “Seven Nation Army” may have the most famous riff of the past 30 years and Jack White is among today’s most well known musicians. However, they might be a band where the star is more well known then their music these days (aside from that one song)

The National are the complete opposite. Here’s a low key band that has steadily grown over the past twenty years to become festival headliners. They’ve done it by releasing solid album after solid album (until the last one) and frankly, you wouldn’t even know if you were standing besides Matt Berninger at a Walmart, unless he had an open bottle of wine in his hand.

In reality, I can’t name fifteen songs from either band, but I listen to the National much more then the White Stripes these days, so they’ve got my vote.

Interpol vs The Shins

Interpol alienate a lot of people, who mock their aesthetic in a way that they don’t mock other band’s aesthetics from that time period. Of course, if you read Meet Me in the Bathroom, then you would know they were a bit nuts.

Still, their self titled album was absolutely unique and amazing. Their sophomore effort Antics also gave us two of their best singles – “Slow Hands” and “Evil”, which gave me one of my favorite things to scream into a microphone during karaoke: “ROSEMARY!!! – Heaven restores you in life”

Interpol’s “Specialist” was also part of a pivotal moment in The OC Season 1, which also featured Nada Surf’s incredible cover of OMD’s “If You Leave.” Clearly, a top 10 music-TV episode of all time.

Anyways, they are matched up against The Shins who should have never made it past round one or been in this tournament.


Arctic Monkeys vs Beirut/Yo La Tengo (doesn’t matter)

It’s amazing that the incredible, incredible hype that came with Arctic Monkeys from the UK media machine did not crush the band on arrival.

Arctic Monkeys came into my life via either music forum or blogs. At the time, I was obsessed with The Libertines and really, it was a weird period where you were just getting all these bootlegs and demos of songs for some reason. Probably because I was young and didn’t have to manage 35 people and attend seven straight meetings in a row. Anyway, when the Libertines self destructed, the Arctic Monkeys were there to take over and boy, did they ever. I still remember the hype at Lee’s Palace for their first ever North America show and they didn’t even fuckin’ sing “Mardy Bum,” their biggest song at the time. This was a band that knew what they wanted, and they actually became quite popular. I think they actually just skipped past the indie rock crowd into just plain rock.

Either way, they definitely will be advancing to the next round.

The Strokes vs Wilco

The leather vs the jean jacket.

People easily dismiss the Strokes these days, but don’t tell me they don’t know the lyrics to all the songs off Is This It?. You can’t get a greater contrast in style then this one.

Franz Ferdinand vs Spoon

This one should be closer then you think – Franz Ferdinand will be forever beloved for their debut album and what might be one of the greatest debut singles of all time. You STILL lose your shit to “Take Me Out” when it hits the dance floor. I think most people expected them to somehow move on and expand their sound drastically or something but when they released more albums that were equally danceable pop, they were disappointed. Yet, if you listen to their latter work, it’s still good.

Someone once described Spoon’s music as “I don’t know how to put it, but when you hear a song from Spoon – you know it’s Spoon because they sound like everyone but no one sounds like them” They are the embodiment of being consistently solid. They are like Jerk King, one of my favorite places to eat, it’s not the best place to eat, but when you are eating it – you are happy. I dunno if that makes sense.

M83 vs LCD Soundsystem

M83 has had a strange career – in the early 2000s they were one of those bands everyone loved to introduce other people to. “Oh have you heard M83? They are this cool new French electronic band, you should check them out. They are gonna be big I think” and then all of a sudden, “Midnight City” dropped and they became huge that year. And then everyone forgot about them. Very strange. Remember how great French Electronic music was from 2007-2010? I think it inspired the movie Drive. That dude was like, “I fucking love this moody French electronic music, so good to drive to in the middle of the night. Let’s make movie about that and also have someone stomp a guy to death in an elevator.”

Anyways, LCD Soundsystem is the best. Their concerts are cathartic and if you haven’t been to a LCD Soundsystem show with your arms around all your friends singing and dancing to “ALL MY FRIENDS” then what were you doing during the past twenty years?

The Flaming Lips vs TV on the Radio

Because of the stories that have plagued the Flaming Lips in recent times, people forget just how absolutely bonkers and amazing seeing the Flaming Lips for the first really is. Let’s be real, your first Flaming Lips show (if they are still together) will be one of your most memorable shows ever – the hamster ball thing, the confetti, the dancing mascots, the way the show is put together so that everyone builds up to “Do You Realize?” Good memories.

TV on the Radio will be forever one of those super cool bands from that time period that people know about, but don’t know about. My only lasting memory of TV on the Radio was during SXSW when they were staying in the same hotel as me, and I got on the same elevator with them but half of them were wearing animal onesies for some reason. Still, Return to Cookie Mountain was a great album, not sure it measures up to an appearance on Beverly Hills 90210 though.

Okay, go vote.


Song Of The Day: Tim Burgess – The Mall

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day | Leave a comment

Photo credit: Nik Void

The mall. It’s not likely a place any of us will be heading to anytime too soon. But we can still listen to “The Mall,” the latest track off of Tim Burgess‘ upcoming album I Love The New Sky, out May 22 via Bella Union.

And while Burgess is obviously unable to go out and tour behind the album for the immediate future, the Charlatans’ frontman is doing something else in the meantime to help bring people together and take our minds off things for awhile by holding Twitter listening parties for various albums both classic and contemporary. Listening parties have already been held for notables such as Oasis and Doves and there are many more in the works for the coming days and weeks.

You can check out the full list of upcoming listening parties at timstwitterlisteningparty.com and you can check out the video for “The Mall” below.

Song Of The Day: Yawners – La Escalera

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day | Leave a comment


We continue through our rundown of acts that were meant to play this year’s SXSW but couldn’t for, well, obvious reasons. And today, that act is Madrid-based band Yawners, who grabbed my attention with their fun, energetic indie rock sounds.

While most of the songs on the band’s debut LP Just Calm Down are sung in English, “La Escalera” stands out as the lone Spanish language track on the album. It also stands out for being catchy as hell. Check out the video below.

Yawners’ Just Calm Down is out now on La Castanya.

Song Of The Day: Kills Birds – Jesus Did

Posted on by Paul in Song of the Day | Leave a comment

Photo credit: Michelle Laine

Normally around this time of the year, Panic Manual would have just wrapped up our coverage of SXSW and all the great music we saw (and food that we ate) over the course of a week in Austin. But of course these are not normal times, and the spread of COVID-19 led to the cancellation of this year’s edition of SXSW as well as every other live music event in the coming months that’s not being streamed from someone’s bedroom.

However, while the festival didn’t happen, I did still spend an inordinate amount of time scouring the lineup beforehand looking for new bands to check out so I may as well continue to shine a spotlight on some of the acts that I may very well have seen in some alternate universe where the festival did indeed go ahead as planned.

And of all the bands initially scheduled to play, one of the most exciting discoveries for me personally was Kills Birds. While the band’s name didn’t grab me at first glance, I was immediately taken with the band once I heard the visceral, driving sound of “Jesus Did” taken off the L. A. band’s self-titled debut album. Check out the video for “Jesus Did,” starring the band and a whole bunch of goats, below.

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