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Meet Your New Favorite Band

Roman Mars

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Just a few CDs.
(frumbert)

As we look ahead at what 2009 might be like, we think of a new president, lots of economic uncertainty, but how about simpler things? What kind of music might we be hearing? Turns out that's not so easy to predict either, but reporter Roman Mars took a crack at it.

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I love radio and radio listeners, but the way you're going to be exposed to new music in 2009 is the way you probably heard it last year, on a TV show or a commercial. TV is the new radio. And TV's new DJs are people like Alexandra Patsavas, who has a company in Los Angeles called Chop Shop Music Supervision.

Patsavas is a music supervisor for TV shows like "Gossip Girl" and "Grey's Anatomy," as well as huge blockbuster films like "Twilight." Music supervisors know how to pick a catchy song and know which ones will be thrust into the national consciousness way before anyone else does.

In the last few days, Patsavas has heard new music from the band Glass Pear, and she says, "I think will have a big impact in the future. [They write] beautiful, melodic, well-crafted pop songs."

So to whom does Patsavas turn in order to stay on top of what bands are worth listening to? Her favorite web source is Brooklyn Vegan. Patsavas says, "They have a healthy respect for new music but also are not afraid to give their opinion."

I contacted Brooklyn Vegan staff writer Bill Pearis to get that valued opinion myself. Pearis writes a weekly column called "This Week in Indie" which highlights some of the bands that may otherwise fall through the cracks.

Pearis' choice for band to watch in 2009 is Ida Maria. Maria's debut album is finally getting an American release, and she's playing shows in the U.S. in January. Pearis describes her this way: "Her voice is a little like Bjork's, but she's more of a PJ Harvey type. She gets on stage and she just becomes this spitfire. She usually ends up writhing on the floor of the stage, and anybody who goes to see her live will become an instant convert. I think she will do fairly well over here, and she certainly does deserve it."

Bill Pearis says he relies heavily on record store clerks to find out about new bands. "As much as we bloggers like to think we're in the know, I think that record store clerks still know more than we do because they work somewhere where they listen to music 12 hours a day," say Pearis.

I decided to call Electric Fetus in Minneapolis and ask them for a new music recommendation. I reached Dillon at the record counter, and after some cajoling, he recommended the Menahan Street Band. Dillon says, "It's an instrumental, soul, little R&B, (with a) kind of jazzy feel to it…it's a really solid album."

Finally, I talked with someone who has spent a fair share of time at Electric Fetus, radio DJ Mark Wheat. When asked about the future of music in 2009, his response was an emphatically anti-predictive. He said, "I think if anybody tries to predict anything this year at the turn of the year they're slightly insane."

Wheat is excited about a new local band from the Twin Cities called UltraChorus. "It's one of the guys who used to have a band called Sukpatch, which actually in the Twin Cities were doing a similar style of music in the mid-90's/late-90's to bands like MGMT. Thinking back Sukpatch were kind of ahead of the curve there, so [UltraChorus] sent me a five-song EP, and it was like every song we could play on the radio," says Wheat.

UltraChorus are a proudly unsigned and plan on self-releasing all their tracks digitally as well as on 7" vinyl. In 2009, that is both forward- thinking and a little old-fashioned.

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