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Manda and the Marbles
In This Issue:
NY Rock is proud to present an extra-radical pop-punk edition of NY Rock Confidential. From the glitter and skate-punk of the '80s to the Hot-Topic-tailored 21st century, pop-punk is a musical style that comes back again and again... and again. If it weren't for this music, memories of roller-skating and the arcade would've faded like a pair of Jordache jeans.
Manda and the Marbles at Northsix, February 21, 2003
New York City's hot-rod hooligans, the Rumblers Car Club, presented a night of rock 'n' roll at Northsix in Brooklyn featuring I Farm, Bantam, the Star Spangles, and Manda and the Marbles. It was tattoos, leather jackets, and burly hugs as far as the eye could see.
Many grown-up children of the '80s have a special place in their hearts for ladies such as the Go-Go's, Bananarama, and Kim "Kids in America" Wilde. Their music was pouty, awash in lip gloss and hairspray, and absolutely irresistible. Their songs made pining and heartache sound like so much friggin' fun. Finally, the valley girl woes have a new poster girl: Manda Marble.
Manda and the Marbles are a Columbus, Ohio trio whose songs mirror those of sassy female-fronted pop bands sunny surf rhythms and rather forlorn subject matter. The music could be a soundtrack for that sad California girl in Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" video. You know, the good girl who loves her mama, loves Jesus, and America, too.
The band opened with a cover of Holly and the Italians' bored, lost suburban-kid anthem "Wanna Go Home." "Sex Object" and "Seduction" rocked sly sexiness as did the lead singer. Ms. Marble's gangly arms and long blonde hair framed her bass as she sang her "Whoa-oh-oh"s. Guitarist Joe Dama'ge splayed his legs really wide like Johnny Ramone, placing the guitar directly over his manhood. Drummer Mark Slak sported a skinny tie, and p-p-pounded like a New-Wave neanderthal (that's a compliment). People were gleefully doing the Molly Ringwald Breakfast Club dance. (This is Ms. Ringwald's second consecutive mention in NY Rock Confidential. Far out!)
Next time Time Life Music does an '80s compilation, they'd be smart to ring up the Marbles and ask if they'd be willing to contribute a track. So what if the band is not technically from the '80s? Manda's fans would keep it a secret. Our lips are sealed.
Count the Stars and American Hi-Fi at CBGB, February 26, 2003
Avril Lavigne look-alikes and sk8r bois headed to CBGB on a frigid Wednesday night to revel in the rambunctious music that makes them glow. Girls in tank tops and scarves (um, that's, like, totally not going to warm you up) stood beside boys in knit beanie hats and hooded sweatshirts (um, you're, like, totally going to have heat stroke). It was a living, breathing Quicksilver ad. There was one television star in attendance, Michelle Monaghan from "Boston Public" (the chick who looks like Liv Tyler). She was also in the movie Unfaithful. Sad how I know these things.
The main attraction of the evening was Boston band American Hi-Fi, but openers Count the Stars warmed up the pretty young things in the house. Count the Stars began in 1995 in Albany, New York, when singer/guitarist Chris Kasarjian and drummer Dave Shapiro were 12 years old. With a fully formed band complete in 2001, they rocked it d.i.y. style and pimped themselves to "potential fans in malls and colleges." Add Internet marketing, a self-booked six-month national tour, and blamo! Victory Records home of heavyweights like Snapcase and Voodoo Glow Skulls scooped them up.
"We had an album come out yesterday. Does anyone have it already?" asked Kasarjian. Someone said yes, they own Never Be Taken Alive. "Do you like it?" Indeed, said the young man. "This kid is a critic and he said it fucking ruled!" So went the nature of the entire evening of hard-pop-punk everyone was so happy they could've shat their Unionbay jeans.
The young, strapping gentlemen of Count the Stars jumped around the stage with more fervor than fleas on speed. The audience followed suit, rocking a rowdy vibe. Stuttering riffs led to hook-laden choruses that you could sing along to by the second verse. Kasarjian sounded like a less-snide Billie Joe Armstrong; the band is ready for an MTV slot next to New Found Glory and A Simple Plan. While their song titles like "Better Off Alone" and "Saving Myself" are more apropos to Beck's last album, the band's hyper music made friends in the crowd really easily.
By the time American Hi-Fi crawled onstage, CB's was so packed, all I could see was the backs of people's heads. Singer/guitarist Stacy Jones used to drum for Letters to Cleo, Aimee Mann, and Veruca Salt before forming Hi-Fi in 2001. The band recently returned with their second album The Art of Losing. Their live sound is a hell of a lot harder than most of the pop-punk bands corralled in said genre. Jones whined and wailed like Johnny Rotten with duct-taped nuts. And when his voice really got going, it sounded like someone was peeling off that duct tape verrrry slowly. But drummer Brian Nolan was the one who made this set stand out. His heavy-handed throw-down was as exuberant and consistent as the kids jumping up and down in the audience. There was a medley of songs from both albums, including "Beautiful Disaster, "Rise" and a sing-along version of their hit song "Flavor of the Weak."
The girls were shrieking; the boys were rowdy, and the air of good time-y fun was probably the most squeaky-clean display CBGB has seen in some time.
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by Jeanne Fury:
Feb. '03: Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, Tiger Mountain, Blood Brothers
Jan. '03: Enon, Penny Arcade
Dec. '02: Lost City Angels, McLusky, Black Keys, World/Inferno Friendship Society
Nov. '02: CMJ, Diamanda Galas, Longwave, Division of Laura Lee
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Jul. '02: Bantam, Girls Against Boys, the Makers, the Bangs
Jun. '02: Slut Em Go, Darediablo, the Liars, the Chromatics, Lovelife
May '02: Hellacopters, Gaza Strippers, Lunachicks
Apr. '02: Distillers, Nekromantix
Feb. '02: Metropolis Fest, Bianca Butthole Benefit, Le Tigre
Jan. '02: Sam Bisbee
Dec. '01: El Vez and Tammy Faye Starlite
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Oct. '01: Reid Paley
Sept. '01: Ladyfest East
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Jul. '01: Porcupine Tree
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Mar. '01: Babe the Blue Ox, the Gossip, Knoxville Girls, White Stripes
Feb. '01: Sarah Dougher, Glen Phillips and John Mayer
Jan. '01: Melissa Ferrick
Dec. '00: Joy Askew
Nov. '00: Natasha and the MGB
Oct. '00: Heather Eatman
Aug. '00: Miracle of '86, Ultimate Fakebook, Sit n' Spin
July '00: Chickfest 2000
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Apr '00: Joan Jett and Reverend Horton Heat
Feb '00: Elvis tribute at the Continental featuring Mr. Monster, Needlehead, X-Possibles
Dec '99: The Serpenteens
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Aug '99: Cabaret
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