I feel like this week’s featured band is sort of cheating in a way. Most of the bands that I’ll be featuring are probably not very well known outside of their hometowns and are using Bandcamp.com as a way to reach an audience that they normally wouldn’t be able to. But, when I heard that J. Robbins of Jawbox, Burning Airlines, etc. fame had a new band and that he was making that band’s first 7″ single available digitally on Bandcamp, well, I had to toss my rules aside.
I don’t think J. Robbins fans are going to be at all surprised when they hear Office of Future Plans – the angular post-punk riffage and Robbins’ unmistakable vocals are right in line with what he’s been doing for the last 20 years.
For $2, you can grab “Harden Your Heart” and the b-side, a cover of The Stranglers’ “Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead”.
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’s “Round and Round” was one of 2010’s standout indie-rock singles with it’s ’80s new wave influence. Though there never was an official video for the song, some enterprising person matched the music up with film clips from the Jamie Lee Curtis movie “Perfect”. Meanwhile, some hip music teacher gets all Glee with his 5th grade choir and teaches them songs that are way better than any songs my kids are taught in elementary school.
Not sure how this happened but Dirty Looks and Kingdom Come take up the most room in my iTunes library. I wouldn’t consider either of them among my favorites, but both found a certain borrowed sound early on in their careers and continued to put out album after album of songs that, for the most part, sounded pretty much the same. While Kingdom Come sounded like a modern day Led Zeppelin, Dirty Looks were more in the dirty rock vein and with Henrik Ostergaard’s scratchy vocals, were like the Pennsylvania cousins of Australia’s AC/DC.
I’m pretty sure my first exposure to Dirty Looks was via the old metal radio station, Z-Rock, which undoubtedly spun “Oh, Ruby” and “Cool from the Wire”. I remember buying the Cool from the Wire LP at a used record store in a strip mall of a Cleveland suburb. Being a high school student with an interest in girls and pretty much having a crush on any girl that knew my name, I was drawn to the song “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” which I’m sure probably ended up on a mix tape or two for some classmate. Pretty coy, huh?
While I never got to see Dirty Looks live (did they tour regularly?), I’ve kept up with the band and in this digital era, where music can be bought with the click of a button rather than having to go from CD store to CD store to find an independently released hard rock album, it wasn’t hard to consume all of Dirty Looks’ output. Between ’96 and ’07, Henrik Ostergaard took a break from releasing albums but came back strong the last 4 years with new releases Gasoline (2007), Superdeluxe (2008), California Free Ride (2009) and I.C.U. (2010).
Apparently Henrik hasn’t been doing so well the past few years though he’s not a big enough star (cough cough Bret Michaels cough cough) to warrant much press coverage regarding any illnesses. Sadly, Henrik passed away today, at the age of 47, while in hospice care. The cause of death is being ruled as natural causes but obviously a healthy person doesn’t end up in hospice.