Lately, thanks to the internet, a significant portion of my listening is dedicated to filling out holes in my musical memory. I can while away hours on sites like Pandora.com, which utilizes music genome research to create customizable stations based around an artist's output or even one song. I enjoy trying to stump Pandora's archive by entering in forgotten bands and songs, like Silver's satisfyingly cheesy 1976 single "Musician (It's Not An Easy Life)" and seeing what is offered up for me to listen to. Blogs and iTunes Music Store's increasingly comprehensive catalog of music are as great for audio archaeology as for discovering new music.
"What was that song I remember from when I was a kid that had lyrics about love being the answer?"
"Ohhhh, it was England Dan and John Ford Coley!"
One is just as apt to find me happily bopping my head to "Time Passages" by Al Stewart as to locals Scissors For Lefty's new single "Ghetto Ways," just released on seminal UK label, Rough Trade, also responsible for introducing the world to The Smiths and The Strokes. I like to think that this fact alone sets me apart from almost all other Al Stewart fans as well as most Scissors For Lefty fans. And depending on your perspective, it could make me seem interestingly eclectic or alternately like some kind of musical weirdo.
By the way, "Ghetto Ways" is a good single that pleases after a The Killers and Hot Hot Heat fashion -- meaning it's heavy on the synth with proto-disco drums and slinky vocals that reinforce the catchy chorus riff. I prefer the two b-sides included on the CD single, available on import I'm sure at Amoeba, "Save It Cory" and "Marsha." They're both playful takes on dance rock with accordion-like keyboard lines, bouncing rhythms and cloying but clever vocals, all adding up to something that sounds like Pulp's Jarvis Cocker sitting in with The Style Council, the Paul Weller band formed after mod punk heroes The Jam broke up.
Made up of two sets of brothers, one Garza and the other Krimmel, Scissors For Lefty formed in San Luis Obispo, CA before relocating to San Francisco where currently they work their "asses off, and burn the candle from all angles, in order to afford living in this contagious city," according to the band's official biography. This month SFL head out on the road in the US with ex-Libertines Carl Barat's new band, Dirty Pretty Things. Then they're off to England for an extensive tour that covers a number of festivals including summer bank holiday weekend favorites Reading and Leeds, notable launching points for new bands hoping to capture fans.
Who knows if Scissors For Lefty will catch on in the UK, but the fact that they're signed to an important label like Rough Trade is another merit badge earned by San Francisco's current pack of up and coming groups. They're all doing their part to justify the city's emerging spot on the music map alongside Seattle and more recently New York.