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Hope the hype will help: a music preview

By Leor Galil

Section: Arts

January 20, 2006

In the 1996 film The Great White Hype, the faux boxing world in the Hollywood tale was thrown into a whirlwind of popular public interest in the sport due to one promoters ideal to pit the world-boxing champion against an unknown, white boxer. Among a number of the themes the film built upon, it is the pure exploitation of the unknown boxers race that builds up the hype needed to promote interest in a sport thats losing its accessibility to the public. It is the films smart observation of the ever-present presence of hype in sports, and life, that makes the rather weighty comedy redeemable;

the ability for hype to create, popularize, and even kill entire careers, movies, and (in the case of the movie) boxers is an incredibly important aspect of modern society. It is the aspect of hype that plays such a strong role in the world of music;

it creates some bands' entire careers while diminishing other groups careers into nothing. At the very core of it, hype is something that keeps the modern publics interest afloat;

with that in mind, here are a number of bands that hopefully will be in the good graces of hype in the coming year.

Eagles of Death Metal Death by Sexy. Queens of the Stone Ages Josh Homme and his bombastic garage rock side project, Eagles of Death Metal, are slated to return with brand new, hip shaking material. The forthcoming album has garnered quite a bit of hype with Jack Black and Dave Grohl making appearances on the video for the first single, I Want You Soo Hard. If Death by Sexy is anything like the groups first album, it will be chock full of the best pop-infuriated rock songs of the year;

2004s Peace Love and Death Metal contained some of the hardest, sweetest, and even sexiest rock melodies in years. Frontman Jesse Hughes odd vocal work blends perfectly with songs soaked in fuzzy guitar licks and spastic drumming, complete with the average set of hand clapping and cowbell. Hopefully, Death by Sexy will offer all of the same results, and maybe some more cowbell.

Say Anything Say Anything Is/Was a Real Boy. Anyone who missed Say Anythings breathtaking 2004 release, Say Anything Is a Real Boy now has the ability to experience the musical experience that has driven frontman Max Bemis to many an asylum. After signing to major label J-Records, known more for their mainstream pop musicians than thoughtful emo artists, Say Anything is slated to re-release their 2004 rock opera as a double album. For new fans, the album offers a whimsical musical view into the life of Bemis;

complete with humorous and heartbreaking lyrics so personal they drove the young musician to insanity. For old fans, the second disc is complete with older, unreleased material, new renditions of songs, and a few new songs to match. Although not entirely a new album by definition, Say Anythings welcome into the mainstream music scene should prove to be one of the most important releases of the year.

P.O.S. Audition. While Atmosphere and Sage Francis have ascended to the head of a pack of new, lyrically taught, and emotionally fraught rappers, P.O.S. should join them soon enough with the release of Audition. Displaying a punk rap hybrid work ethic along the lines of the aforementioned artists, P.O.S. offers a unique spin of the increasingly popular emo-rap style of hip-hop. Combining a mix of grime (British rap along the lines of Dizzee Rascal) and brooding, dark instrumentation, P.O.S. cuts through shady beats with fast-paced rapping infused with a Midwestern drawl. Audition looks to be a gigantic leap for P.O.S. to join Atmosphere for some semblance of success in the mainstream music world;

packed with guest artists, from Atmospheres Slug to the Hold Steadys Craig Finn, Audition may be the most musically enchanting rap release of the year.

Head Automatica Untitled Release. One of the more interesting collaborations of the past half-decade, Head Automatica paired Daryl Palumbo of hardcore act Glassjaw with one of the most innovative hip-hop producers, Dan the Automator. The result was one of the most enjoyable albums of 2004, Decadence;

packed with punk-paced percussion, dance infecting instrumentation, and Palumbos enthralling vocal swagger, Decadence showed a band that could be loved by hardcore punks and teeny-boppers alike. Now, Palumbo has decided to head back to the studio, with a full band in-toe, to record a yet to be titled album;

with Warner Brothers Records throwing their full support behind the upcoming records, the band may finally be getting its dues.

The Format Dog Problems. As many bands form to achieve monumental fame, its fitting to see a couple of guys who wrote music to simply enjoy music succeed. Elektra picked up the Format, comprised of Sam Means and Nate Ruess, for a number of excellent reasons;

2003s Interventions and Lullabies provides the best reason as it melded perfect pop rock with sounds from todays indie and punk scenes into a dozen irresistible ditties. Three years later, the Format heads back to the studio for their sophomore effort;

although the group hasnt recorded much in the past few years, their 2005 single Snails shows the same melodious pop as integral to the music writing as before. As the mainstream music market is continuously packed with more and more shallow Nickelback knockoffs, itll be nice to see the musicians in the Format succeed on simple, sweet, and thoughtful guitar driven pop songs.
As with almost anything, it is next to impossible to predict how any of these albums will actually turn out. Yet, with a solid background in musical thoughtfulness, hopefully these acts wont fall prey to the dreaded sophomore slump or whatever sense of hype is placed on them. Thankfully, the future of music isnt solely placed on these five acts, as a number of diverse musicians are slated to release (in some form) new material this year: TV on the Radio, Andrew W.K., and the Polyphonic Spree have albums due to be released, while smaller acts such as Letting Up Despite Great Faults and Oh No! Oh My! plan to take the music world by storm. All in all, the hype for music in 2006 will certainly make for an interesting year in music.

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