Hey, hey! Listen up ... pay attention ... take notes if you have to. Although the furthest thing from my mind right now is snow, I'm going to tell you about what I feel is one of the best unsigned bands to date ... and, oddly enough, they are all transplants from the snowy arctic that is Anchorage, Alaska.
The Lives Of Famous Men were brought to my attention when they toured with friends in National Product in mid 2007. Singer, Dan Hall's breathy yet passionate vocals caught my concentration as they have a flair that is driven away from the generic pop rock cut-out that everyone seems to be falling into these days. The lyrics are clever and - although typically very short - seem to tell a story without being obvious. I admire bands that are throwing their own twists into stubborn genres these days and it's clear that The Lives Of Famous Men get an A+ for effort in this category. This band not only shakes up its pop and indie rock base, but it adds sharp loungy keys, jazz twists and flamenco undertones for a powerful final product that is hard not to dance to.
I recently had the pleasure of catching The Lives Of Famous Men at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles. Despite equipment issues, the team was amazing! The five guys (Dan Hall - Vocals, Ari Katcher - Guitar, Dylan Mandel - Percussion, Andrew Totemoff - Bass, and Jason Wahto - Keys, Vocals, Guitar) played like they were born for the stage. They have all been playing for quite some time ... it seems they all have backgrounds playing in heavier bands at the start in Alaska. Slowly, they ventured down to Portland, Oregon (which is where they currently all call home) and came together after their respective 'metal' bands broke up.
I encourage you to take a listen to my favorite The Lives Of Famous Men tunes "You're Everyone I Know Right Now" and "Annie Taylor". Take a peek at their tour dates as well ... they are currently making extensive touring rounds and have picked up a couple of shows with Motion City Soundtrack in Alaska! (side note: drummer Dylan Mandel could pass for Justin Pierre's little brother) mtvU has also requested a brief appearance from The Lives Of Famous Men on the Campus Invasion tour (in Philadelphia). Lastly, the Cornerstone Music Festival will be welcoming these guys at the beginning of July for a few performances!
*By Jen Panczenko, who is giddy for the new Weezer album!