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Five O’Clock Heroes, Crystal Stilts, Magic Christian, Neckbeard Telecaster & more in This Week in indie

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Five O’Clock Heroes – NY Chinese Laundry (MP3)

5 O Clock Heroes

I know the Five O’Clock Heroes, who play tonight (9/9) at Mercury Lounge, are deeply uncool in many circles. I’m not exactly sure why their brand of jaunty, Brit-influenced guitar pop inspires such derision — apart from blind hatred of anything that was ever Ultragrrl-related. (They released a single through her Stolen Transmission label.) Risking my credibility and a deluge of angry comments I’m going to admit something. I think their new album, Speak Your Language, is really good. (A lot of you are probably unaware there was a new Five O’Clock Heroes album. Apart from iTunes, it’s not available to buy in the U.S.) It may be out-of-step with the indie zeitgeist but, as I often say, the hooks are undeniable.

Most of the reviews I’ve read tend to compare them (unfavorably) to Elvis Costello and the Police, but the band Five O’Clock Heroes remind me of, this album at least, are a Swedish band from the ’90s, Eggstone, who had a similar style of upbeat pop. You can really hear that in the horn-driven “NY Chinese Laundry,” which is posted above and is probably the poppiest thing on the record and sticks in your head whether you want it to or not. The most notable song, however, is the single, “Who,” a duet with British model Agyness Deyn. (The video is below.) All of Speak Your Language is in a similar vein, and if these two songs pique your interest, give Five O’Clock Heroes another chance.

Crystal Stilts @ EVR Fest Sunday (more by Chris La Putt)
Crystal Stilts

Crystal Stilts gave one of the best performances at this past Sunday’s East Village Radio Festival at South Street Seaport. Definitely the most packed at the small art gallery space that was the second stage, they were turning people away. I’ve written a bit about them before, but they really are one of my favorite local bands. Mixing twangy ’50s rock n’ roll, post punk and C-86 influences, they’ve come up with a very distinctive sound and style. And between singer JB Townsend’s aloof stage presence and stand-up drummer (and former Vivian Girl) Frankie Rose, they’ve got the look too. Their full-length debut, Alight of Night, is due out on Slumberland on October 28 but until then, as mentioned before, there are no shortage of chances to see them in the NY, including this Thursday (9/11) at Le Poisson Rouge for a Emusic-currated bill that includes High Places, Detroit’s one-man-synth-band, Deastro, and folky Michigan duo Breathe Owl Breathe. This is a pretty hard-to-pass-up show. All upcoming Crystal Stilts shows are listed below.

Neckbeard Telecaster, Magic Christian, tour dates and more below…

Neckbeard Telecaster

Astroland may be no more, but there are still good times to be had in Coney Island. You might want to make the trek out there this Saturday to see Neckbeard Telecaster who will be bringing their unshaven, dude-centric party to the Dreamland Roller Rink. If you’ve never seen Neckbeard before, it’s Joe from Dirty on Purpose and, depending on the night, anywhere from 10-20 more guys (mostly from Williamsburg bands), playing a mix of originals and covers all of which you could place in the “country rock” format. There is usually copius amounts of whiskey involved. Despite the drunken vibe and fluctuating nature of the line-up, Neckbeard are surprisingly tight. It’s a good time… this time on skates.

Magic Christian
Magic Christian

One last notable show. Rock n’ Roll fans will want to hit Union Hall on Friday for the one-two-punch of Magic Christian, and The Fleshtones. Magic Christian (you may have caught them at Maxwell’s Sunday night) is the new group from former Flamin’ Groovies guitarist and songwriter Cyril Jordan and also features Blondie’s Clem Burke on drums. The Fleshtones hopefully require no introduction, as they’re NYC royalty of 30 years, pioneered their patented “super rock” sound, and are consistently one of the most fun live bands ever. If you’ve never seen them, you should really remedy that soon.

Magic Christian

Who – Five O’Clock Heroes feat. Agyness Deyn

Five O’clock Heroes – 2008 dates
Sep 9 Mercury Lounge New York City, New York
Sep 12 QUATTROZ Harlow, London and South East
Sep 13 PUSH at the Astoria 2 London, London and South East
Sep 14 Shoreditch Shuffle at 333 LONDON

Crystal Stilts 2008 dates
Sep 11 Le Poisson Rouge Manhattan, New York
Sep 12 Haverford college philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sep 20 Glasslands W/ Blank Dogs and Intelligence Brooklyn, New York
Sep 28 TBA/ w Pissed Jeans Brooklyn, New York
Oct 4 TBA Ithaca, New York

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