I'm a sucker for rich baritones, and like Gary Olson of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor, Murder Mystery's Jeremy Coleman's got a rich, velvety baritone that's just about perfect. He's from New York too. On the band's debut album, Are You Ready for the Heartache Cause Here it Comes, they bridge the gap between The Kinks and modern indie pop, touching on influences as diverse as Tom Petty and The Cars along the way. Their most modern-sounding (and flat-out fun) track is "Love Astronaut," which is, well, about an astronaut looking for love--the lyrics are direct, the synths glittering, the melody pretty, the vocals gorgeous. Note to my fellow Wisconsinites: they're playing the Annex in Madison this Friday, January 25.
MP3: Murder Mystery - Love Astronaut
Murder Mystery MySpace
Also from New York is Brooklyn's Boy Genius, who have just released an EP that has grown on me like Tribbles, Eureka. Like Murder Mystery, this band has an affinity for simple, direct song craftsmanship, and yes, that's what I love, but they rock a bit harder, and lead vocalist Jason K's got a more rugged voice. Oh, and he has a female vocalist backing him up, and she shares his last name ("K"), much like Murder Mystery's backing vocalist Laura Coleman who is obviously of some relationship to Jeremy Coleman....hey, can you tell that I wrote lots of compare/contrast essays in college? This is one of those CDs where you think, upon first listen, "These guys are pretty good." And you spin it again and think, "God, this is a really great band." The most immediately singalongable--and representative--track is the terrific "Radio Silence," though I'm particularly drawn to their moving EP closer, "Great Lakes," which has a surprising grandeur. You will hear more from them, I hope.
MP3: Boy Genius - Radio Silence
Boy Genius MySpace