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Battle Of The “& The Bands”

The New Now

Some of you may recall our blog about the Dear/Deer bands last month. If you don't, feel free to click on this link and take a look. In that same spirit I bring you the Battle Of The "& the" Bands. As was the case with the Dear/Deer bands, I've noticed a lot of acts with the words "& the" in their names. This usually means the band is fronted by a guy or gal who has a little more star power than the rest of the bunch, like classic rockers Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. But don't let that rule of thumb fool you. The "Echo" in the name of veteran modern rockers Echo & the Bunnymen referred to a drum machine that was replaced by a real live human, and I won't even get started with Hootie & the Blowfish. Instead, let's take a look at the relatively new crop "& the" bands.

Elizabeth & the Catapult -- A groovy retro-pop combo whose debut album, Taller Children, was recently released on the Verve Forecast label. The band sells out New York club dates, is adored by the NPR set, and was produced by Bright Eyes, M. Ward, and Rilo Kiley collaborator Mike Mogis. Catch them on tour with Greg Laswell in July and August. Check out the video for the title track of their debut album below.

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Phil & the Osophers -- You may have never heard of them before, but Phil & the Osophers are hardly newbies. The Brooklyn, New York trio will release Parallelo, its sixth full-length album, on August 4 via Phil's own Factual Fabrications label. Besides releasing a heck of a lot of music, the members of this band write and publish their own books of non-fiction writing and poetry through their own ILOANBooks publishing house, although all of this may be a factual fabrication. What's next, movies and TV? Check out this video clip for "We Have All Summer," one of the tracks from the forthcoming album from the new kings of all media.

Big D & the Kids Table -- Yet another band that's apparently been around for years, only you probably didn't know it. Big D presumably stands for the band's frontman David McWayne, although it could stand for "big defense," or something completely different. Whatever the case, the band's sixth album, Fluent In Stroll, is out on July 7 on SideOneDummy Records. In the meantime, check out this video for "Shinning On" from 2007.

Dusty Rhodes & the River Band -- Another "& the" band signed to SideOneDummy Records, this combo recently released its latest effort, Palace And Stage. The Anaheim, California-based sextet has already garnered some critical acclaim in its hometown from the Orange County Register, which called the band's First You Live the best O.C. album of 2007. Here's the band's video for "Dear Honey," a track from that album.

Maxim Ludwig & the Santa Fe Seven -- This Los Angeles-based combo apparently blew the roof off the Stagecoach Music Festival, which was kind of weird, because it was held outdoors. All jokes aside, Ludwig & the SF7, too, have received critical raves comparing the band to such greats as Gram Parsons/Flying Burrito Brothers, the Band, and Ryan Adams. Check 'em out for yourself with this clip of "Dead Ringer" from the band's recent self-released eponymous debut.

Florence & the Machine -- Hot Brit buzz band I wrote about a few months ago. Lungs, the band's full-length debut is out on July 6 in the U.K. with a U.S. date soon to follow. Check out the clip for "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)," a track from the album.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros -- Are they just a bunch of weird hippies on a school bus or the new saviors of rock? When I first wrote about this bunch, one commenter wrote, "You either drink the Kool-Aid or you don't." I tend to disagree. Might be best to take a sip of Kool-Aid and see if it's to your liking before you start guzzling. Check out the band's performance of "40 Day Dream" live from the Regent Theatre in Los Angeles and look for the band's full-length debut, Up From Below, on July 14.

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