I tell ya, this blogging caper sure can be surprising at times.
Not only was I emailed out of the blue by Couple, a Malaysian power pop band I’d never heard of before (see yesterday’s adventure), but I also received an email by another band I’d never heard of before. They’re an American band called Research Turtles, and they emailed me to ask if I could have a listen to their music on the band’s MySpace page. Yep, no problem.
However, as with yesterday’s encounter my initial surge of enthusiasm (yay! new music!) was suddenly replaced by trepidation. Was the Research Turtles’ music going to be good (yes, please), bad (I hope not), or maybe boring (please no, anything but that)?
Nowadays, you can sometimes tell the kind of band you’re going to listen to by their photos (standard music industry equation: Image = Terribly Important), and my heart sank a little when I saw a few photos of them on their MySpace page. They were all wearing shirts and skinny ties, like so:
My first thought was: “Oh-oh, it looks like they’re one of those bands.” In other words, I had a horrible feeling that they were going to sound like any number of bands that have, over the past five or so years, tried to sound exactly like The Strokes or Franz Ferdinand.
But then, because of the combination of skinny ties and youthfulness, they got me thinking that instead of a Strokes/Franz Ferdinand clone, they might be another Jonas Brothers. “No, not another Jonas Brothers!” I inwardly cried.
If you’re not familiar with any of those bands (it’s possible if you don’t follow the charts, listen to the radio, read newspapers, or watch television), The Strokes sound is über-cool garage rock, the Franz Ferdinand sound is all staccato Fender Telecasters and 2/4 drum beats à la early 80’s British art rockers, and the Jonas Brothers are a teenage rock band fostered by Disney. You can lump The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand together because there are hundreds of bands who sound just like them (or a combination thereof) – bands such as The Killers, The Hives, Bloc Party, Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, The Wombats, The Libertines, The Kooks, The Panics, and many many more ad infinitum. Unfortunately, none of them are terribly inspiring in the melody department. The Jonas Brothers, on the other hand, are different to The Strokes or Franz Ferdinand in that they have moderately catchy tunes. However, they’re straight off the teen pop production line which means that the tunes, although moderately catchy, are instantly forgettable.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. I was at the Research Turtles MySpace page trying to ignore the photos as I repeated to myself “Open mind, open mind, open mind…”. I held my breath, pressed “play” and…
I was relieved. It wasn’t bad or boring. Yay!
So, what do the Research Turtles sound like? Well, I was originally going to coin a phrase and say that they were The Strokes, But With Tunes©, or maybe Franz Ferdinand, But With Tunes©, but the more I listened to them the more I realised that they don’t really sound like The Strokes or Franz Ferdinand. They actually sound like themselves. (Hooray! A band that doesn’t emulate what’s currently fashionable.) If you’re looking for a point of reference, I’d say that the RTs* sound like they’re influenced more by the British Invasion bands than anything else. Which is fine by me.
Rather than twisting my brain into a knot trying to describe their sound (see above), I thought I’d just play you some of their songs. Here are the first three tracks of their debut album. Hopefully, they’ll give you an idea of where they’re coming from:
Research Turtles – “Let’s Get Carried Away” (2009)
Research Turtles – “Damn” (2009)
Research Turtles – “Mission” (2009)
(Mild warning: this song contains some cussin’)
By the way, I have a huge apology to make to the Turtlers. I was actually contacted by them a few weeks ago. I blithely told them at the time that I’d mention them on the blog – and then promptly forgot about it. Sorry about that, chaps.
But back to this overlong anecdote. After I had acquainted myself with their songs, I let the band know that I liked their non-Strokes, non-Franz Ferdinand music, and they told me that they’d send me their album. I thought, “You beauty!” (That’s Australian for “Top show, old bean!”). I also thought that was exceedingly generous of them, giving someone they don’t know at all (i.e., me) an album they could have sold to someone willing to pay for it (i.e., me).
Now, I don’t know if the band insists on going broke, but when a certain package from a band called the Research Turtles arrived in the post I discovered that they had sent me four copies of their album.
Because I’m keeping one of ’em (‘cos I like it), I have three that I’d like to give away.
I’m happy to send you a copy, but on one condition: you must actually like the music. I don’t want you to have a CD that sits on your shelf not being listened to. (Having a CD and not playing it is simply unacceptable.)
So, email me and I’ll post it to you. Bargain!
Research Turtles on MySpace
Buy Research Turtles – Research Turtles at CD Baby
(*When I typed “the RTs” I noticed the initials and thought about nicknaming them “The Arties.” The only trouble with that is that they don’t sound like a seriously arty band – so that idea went out the window.)