ANR ‘Stay Kids’ video

By | May 18th, 2011 | No Comments

ANR duo Michael-John Hancock and Brian Robertson are Miami synth rockers with limey alter egos. The pair are signed to London-based record label Something In Construction, are currently on a 12-date U.K. tour, and have the British daily newspaper The Guardian thoroughly charmed.

Back in October, ANR (formerly Awesome New Republic) was the Guardian’s Band of the Day. Writer Paul Lester called “Stay Kids”, the title track of the band’s latest album (officially released in March), “amazing … a marvel of melodic majesty and cosmic funk, like some weird hybrid of Red Hot Chili Peppers and MGMT.”

Today, Hancock and Robertson showed their appreciation by debuting the “Stay Kids” video on the Guardian’s music blog (called, with classic dryness, “Music Blog”). Made by Miami filmmaker Jorge Rubiera, the video features ANR surrounded by instrument-armed kids and fan-blown balloons. It begins with Hancock sticking his drumsticks in his mouth walrus-style, and quickly moves on to him pulling off one tight t-shirt only to reveal another one underneath. It’s a funny gag and a reminder that the chorus — “Stay young!” — is a directive to himself as much as to the rug rats around him.

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Plains leak ‘Black Feeling’

By | April 9th, 2011 | No Comments
'Innovator' b/w 'Stuck In The Night' 7"

Cover of Plains 'Innovator' b/w 'Stuck In The Night' 7"

Despite a 7” release on Discosoma Records and a smattering of impressive singles, Miami-based foursome Plains is a little known quantity in the Magic City. It’s not all that surprising since their last show was six months ago (at Beings’ 7” Discosoma release party at the Vagabond). Thankfully, that’s about to change as Plains is plotting a string of local shows in May and June to coincide with the release of their self-titled, 14-track debut on 10K Island Records.

To whet our appetites, the band — fronted by Michael McGinnis and joined by ANR’s John Hancock, Discosoma’s Jared McKay, and Jorge Gonzalez Gaupera — leaked us “Black Feeling”, a track off the upcoming album and another shining example of their ability to craft moving punk-guided rock.

While their previous single, “Innovator” (#10 on our Top 15 South Florida Songs of 2010 list) is all distortion and drone, “Black Feeling” is built on a jagged, squealing guitar. Both songs, however, incorporate rotating jazzy basslines to emit a sweetly handsome sound. The overall effect is what normally gets termed early indie rock, a learned creature of punk, rock, and funk with all annoying subgenre terminology in between. In a word, good.

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ANR Remix Goodrich’s ‘Light Bulb’

By | April 8th, 2011 | 1 Comment

In their remix, Michael-John Hancock and Brian Robertson of ANR give Rachel Goodrich's 'Light Bulb' yet another turn.

Who thought Rachel Goodrich’s twice-released track “Light Bulb” could get catchier? And who needs LCD Soundsystem anyway?* The two questions came to mind when I first heard ANR’s remix of “Light Bulb” on All Things Go. The collabo between two of Miami’s finest takes the track — which originally appeared on Goodrich’s Tinker Toys (2008), then in a Crayola commercial, then again on Rachel Goodrich (2011) — in a very different direction than the infectious, kazoo-and-ukulele’d original. In the direction, that is, of the closing credits of an 80s movie. (The image of a teen in too much denim celebrating a small victory over a petty-tyrannical authority figure should hit your mind’s eye at approximately 0:51.)

The remix’s LCDness — most apparent in the “All My Friends”ish opening and the “Sounds Of Silver”esque closing — comes as no surprise considering ANR’s gestures in that direction in their own music. I also get a Journey “Don’t Stop Believing” vibe that I can’t quite justify. In any event, the remix proves what Crayola and Lucas Levya already had: “Light Bulb” may indeed go out some day, but for now it keeps turning and turning and . . .

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ANR ‘Big Problem’ Slasher Vid

By | April 2nd, 2011 | No Comments

In the video for “Big Problem”, a track off of ANR’s recently released Stay Kids, the female lead does indeed have a big problem in the imposing form of Jimmy Winger, a harpoon-wielding runaway state senator with oil coursing through his veins and a murderous vendetta against Carl Sagan readers. Made by Lucas Levya and the Borscht Film Festival crew, the video is part of a larger slasher film and stars (abuses?) Miami Favs blogger Megan Harmon as its heroine, choreographer Rosie Herrera as its ill-fated seductress, and Baby Hairs’ vaudevillianess Shira Abergel as its pineapple-plied wound-licker. Enjoy.

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ANR ‘Stay Kids’ Release Party Photos, Recap

By | March 6th, 2011 | 13 Comments

ANR's Michael-John Hancock in Mad Man mode.

When I first got to Eve after 11 Saturday night, the place was surprisingly uncrowded even for a Miami show. I had a brief chat with ANR frontman and northern transplant Michael-John Hancock about how in no other city do the shows start at midnight. I felt for Hancock and bandmate Brian Robertson, who were celebrating the release of their latest album, Stay Kids. Driven by Hancock’s unabashed crooning and dance-or-die drumming and Robertson’s feverish synthery, the 10-track effort places ANR firmly at the head of Miami’s indie rock scene (and in hefty debt to TV On The Radio, among others).

But while the duo is getting props from as far away as London and scoring opening spots for Animal Collective (another obvious influence), they can’t even pack a medium-sized venue in their adopted hometown for the release of a really good album. What’s worse, ANR has the funk, energy, and hooks to give Miami the party it endlessly craves, but at this point in the band’s career the effort seems wasted on a paltry turnout.

I could indict Miami for its lassitude and stingy support of local music and call it a day, but I don’t think it’s as simple as that. After last night — and the many other nights when a local band played a capacity-crowd-worthy show to a half-empty room — I’ve decided that the issue is actually pretty complicated, variables including the venues, the bands, the people, the public transportation system, the layout of the city, on and on and on. In another town, say, Chicago, ANR’s local equivalent would have drawn a standing-room crowd to Eve’s local equivalent. And not only because the fans in Chicago are more passionate or supportive, but also because taking a train to a show is a helluva lot easier than driving, parking, paying the Master Meter in the middle of nofuckingwhere, and hoping no one shatters your windshield for your D&Gs. In Chicago, three inches of snow might have thinned the crowd a bit. Last night in Miami, ten minutes of rain seems to have cut the turnout in half.

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Ride by day, Rock by night

By | March 5th, 2011 | 1 Comment

If you woke up this morning and said, “I don’t know why, but I have a feeling today is going to be a great day”, then you are either a vaguely optimistic person OR you are joining us this afternoon on the first Miami Bike Hunt (organized by us and Emerge Miami), heading downtown to Eve (formerly White Room) tonight for ANR’s CD Release party, and you say “I don’t know why” when in fact you do know why for no good reason. In either case, today promises to be a great day for local cyclists and music lovers alike, and I hope to see you and yours out at both events. On the ride, I’ll be the guy in the Beached Miami-pink spandex onesie. At the show: same outfit, only my helmet swapped out for a fedora. Kidding! I don’t own a helmet.

Click on the flyers below for more details.

ANR CD Release Party Flyer

ANR ‘Stay Kids’ Release Party at Eve on March 5

By | February 18th, 2011 | No Comments
ANR CD Release Party

We can't promise a galloping, galactic steed, but ANR's Stay Kids release party at Eve should rock nonetheless.

March 5 is shaping up to be a good day. Not only is it the scheduled date of the Beached Miami/Emerge Miami Scavenger Hunt Bike Ride (expect the details next week), but it is also when Miami dance-punk duo ANR drop their new album, Stay Kids, at Eve downtown. This one’s been in the works for a while, so expect Michael John Hancock (vocals) and Brian Robertson (keyboards, drum machines) to take the stage with a healthy dose of pent-up energy — a promising ingredient in any live show, particularly when the band’s stock-in-trade is synthy, sensual, neo-disco dance tracks.

Now if you caught ANR’s opener for Washed Out at Eve in January, you’ll still want to cough up the $10 for the Stay Kids release party ($15 if you’re under 21). It’s going to be an all-Miami affair with Sweat Records, 10K Islands, and Something In Construction presenting, Little Beard opening, WVUM’s Laura of Miami spinning, Coral Morphologic projecting, RAAGA CART feeding, and Beached Miami wielding the official pen and camera. If there was ever an opportunity to get all your local support out of the way in one fell swoop, this is it.

Seriously, it should be a damn good show by one of Miami’s best bands in a pretty soothing venue. If you need further convincing, here are three tracks off of Stay Kids, including an expanded version of “Endless Field of Mercury”, which was #1 on our Top 15 South Florida Songs of 2010.

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Photos from ANR and Washed Out at Eve

By | January 22nd, 2011 | 7 Comments
Washed Out Keys

Ernest Greene (aka Washed Out) bringing the synth at Eve

Last night, Awesome New Republic and Washed Out played an all-ages show at Eve (formerly White Room) downtown. ANR brought the heat for the length of their ≈45-minute set, but for me the Miami dance-punk duo’s sound really came together about midway through with “Endless Field of Mercury” (#1 on our Top 15 SoFla Songs of 2010) and hit its peak with “The Get Out” near the end. The latter contains a killer catchy chord progression that I’ve heard before but will always want to hear again, including right now — but, alas, I can’t find the tune online. (Its sister song, “Don’t Fear the Get Out”, a track off of ANR’s twice-postponed upcoming release, is online.)

Washed Out is the project of Georgia-based multi-instrumentalist Ernest Greene. The music is chill, danceable, breezy — like a wave hooked up to electrodes. And I know that sounds awesome and perfect for Miami, but Washed Out’s set didn’t do much for me. As I mentioned in the previous post, I wasn’t familiar with Greene’s music before last night and I don’t usually fall in love on first listen sans spliff, so I may well come ’round. In fact, if I’d had the chutzpah to crash any one of the several campfires burning at White Room last night, I might still be dancing.

Here are some photos from the show.

The Wall

ANR Drums
ANR singer/drummer John Hancock

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ANR B Tapes Videos

By | January 9th, 2011 | 1 Comment

Thanks to the B Tapes for giving us the heads up on these new Awesome New Republic videos, filmed in Coral Morphologic Studios. An online video showcase, the B Tapes films independent musicians and bands “performing in low-key, intimate settings,” says B Tapes creator Andrea Franco. The crew is based in Los Angeles but also films in New York, Miami, and Peru. The three ANR videos are the B Tapes’ latest effort, and follow two Rachel Goodrich videos put out in November.

An acoustic version of “Endless Field of Mercury”, which we listed as the top South Florida song of 2010.

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Top 15 Songs of the Year by South Florida

By | December 13th, 2010 | 8 Comments

This has been a very important year for South Florida music, with no shortage of spectacular acts, songs, and albums coming out of the scene. Yes, South Florida has a scene now, and finally one with some damn good homegrown music as its foundation (thanks in large part to the crop of stellar West Palm Beach talent). Besides the Jameses’ Pitchfork debut and the Dewars release of Songs from the Neverglades — one of my favorite albums of the year — we also saw the emergence of Jared McKay and Colin Foord’s Discosoma Records, the continued forward thinking of Lolo Reskin’s Sweat Records (which is bringing No Age back to Miami again in January), and Surfer Blood’s “Swim” getting re-released on Rough Trade Records. All in all, as Frank would say, it was a good year. To celebrate it, and South Florida’s evolving music culture, here are my favorite 15 SoFla tracks of 2010.

15. “Vampire” by Axe and the Oak – While every song from their Record Store Day 2010 EP is dripping with greatness, “Vampire” attains the heights of Franz Ferdinand cum Bauhaus. It isn’t the best track on the 6-song EP (see below), but it is most representative of what makes this trio tick.

14. “Greenpoint” by BFGF – Like most of Chris Video’s music, this song dares you not to shake, wiggle, and bob. With “Greenpoint”, BFGF takes sinister aim at EDM, plucking and placing goth rock elements within their usual synthetic landscape.

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