Other reads: THE BIG TAKEOVER, MELT

A little bit of shameless self-promotion – besides AtomicNed.com, you can read some of my stuff in the current issues of THE BIG TAKEOVER and MELT.

Big Takeover My stuff in this issue includes: Half-page features on Great Northern and Sea Wolf and reviews of CDs by Murder Your Darlings, Megan Palmer, Paper Airplane, Southeast Engine, Tigers Can Bite You, Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer, and Sensory Lullabies: The Ultimate Tribute to Jellyfish.

Also in this issue of THE BIG TAKEOVER, interviews with: The New Pornographers, The Shins, Maximo Park, Emma Pollock, The Cribs, Little Steven, The Pipettes, Fields, Pointed Sticks, Don McGlashan, Rogue Waves. There are a dozen or so half-page features and hundreds and hundreds of CD reviews. Look for THE BIG TAKEOVER on newsstands now (I know that both Borders and Barnes & Noble carry the magazine).

MELT Magazine I tried to set up a phone interview with somebody from the EDITORS for the January issue of MELT but they were squirrelled away in the studio doing some recording in December and, unfortunately, the interview never happened. But, the band is coming to Columbus in January – along with Hot Hot Heat and Louis XIV – so I wrote up a 2-page feature. Because the magazine is limited to distribution in Columbus, I’ll go ahead and publish the story after the jump.

MELT Magazine - Editors feature

If the 2007 UK Flavor of the Year winds up being the EDITORS (and it may very well), then what a great year it will have been for music fans all around the world. With only two albums under their belts, the EDITORS haven’t yet been spitshined and gussied up for success the way some of their peers (Snow Patrol, Muse, Coldplay) have, which means they haven’t graduated to larger theaters in the States. But their danceable suicide-pop sound, which is easiest to compare to NYC fashionistas Interpol, has struck enough of a nerve that the young lads who formed the band in 2003 will be bringing their tour to the States during the cold winter months with the full intent on heating things up and burning down a few houses (figuratively, of course) along the way.

It was not quite 2 years ago that the EDITORS explosion crossed the pond and, as usual, we were about a year behind discovering what magazines like NME were already well aware of. That magazine, as well as other UK publications, were already heralding the next-in-line though barely a review of The Back Room went by without mention of the EDITORS dark-and-deep lyrical subject matter. At best, the words Tom Smith writes and sings can be called morose, not in a Rob Zombie/Slasher-film sort of way, but in the “Ian Curtis may have had it right; anybody got a noose I can hang myself with” sort of way. In the breakthrough hit, “Munich”, Smith sings “People are fragile things / You should know by now / Be careful what you put them through”. But, at the forefront of songs about death and disease, the EDITORS manage to fill their sound with frenzied and cathartic guitar work by Smith and Chris Urbanowicz who undoubtedly spent their formative teen years studying the work of the Edge and Will Sergeant (Echo and the Bunnymen) with an earnest intensity.

It’s entirely fair to say that what the EDITORS are doing has been done many times over (once again, one could point to Interpol and make some pretty convincing comparisons), but can you really go wrong when you borrow from the same influences (The Smiths, U2, Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen) as your peers and bring your own twist to the sound? The band’s brooding sound and reputation (as well as record sales) earned the EDITORS invites to play at Coachella and Lollapalooza in 2006 after which they returned to the studio to record An End to a Start with producer Jacknife Lee (U2, Snow Patrol, Bloc Party).

Released in July of 2007, An End Has a Start’s two kickoff singles, “Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors” and “An End Has a Start”, quickly set aside any notion that the EDITORS had simply taken The Back Room formula and written 10 more songs in the same vein. Obviously, it’s still the same band and the sound hasn’t completely deviated from what earned the band fans in the first place, but the guitar work is more ambitious and exploratory and Smith’s vocals more pronounced and confident. The comparisons to Interpol may dissipate a bit though the vocals still are close enough that on first listen you wouldn’t be scolded for confusing the two acts. The one comparison I have yet to see in print (and I haven’t done a diligent Googling job to see if it’s been made) is to the now defunct Boston band, The Sheila Divine, who were big Anglophiles back in their heyday. In my book, there were very few … VERY FEW … singles as instantly striking as “An End to the Start” which I heard on the radio on CD101 as well as at Old Navy while shopping for the season’s latest fashions! And, damn it if every time I heard it, I didn’t stop and just enjoy the sonic goodness (which, incidentally, sounds even better as the volume is increased).

After blowing away the Glastonbury crowd this past summer, the EDITORS were invited to play the BBC Electric Prom, a televised concert in which hand-selected artists (ranging from Maps to The Chemical Brothers to Siouxie) perform a live set with special bells and whistles. For their performance in October, the EDITORS brought along a string section to help add a new dimension to their songs and the result was stunning (view for yourself by searching “Editors, BBC, Electric” on YouTube.com).

There is little doubt that the band will bring the same intensity they displayed at the Electric Prom to the Newport this month when they hit the stage with support from Hot Hot Heat and Louis XIV (What is it about this band and good bills? Last time they were in town – in early 2006 – they were on a bill with South, The Mobius Band, and Stellastar.)

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