Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I watched Dance Party U.S.A. with my older sister and pretended not to like it. The series was sort of an American Bandstand for the New Kids on the Block generation so street-cred wise, I'd lose everything with any admission. See, the show was a chick magnet in the ratings arguably because of a dancer named Bobby (Catalano) who rarely took his sunglasses off, and I couldn't admit to deep down wanting to be able to break out some fresh dance moves. Now in my 30s, I can honestly say I still can't dance, but can say with full confidence that I'll shamelessly break out some of my own moves any time I hear the featured guest on "A-Sides" today.
Fitz and the Tantrums evoke the era of Dance Party U.S.A. in that their sound throwsback to those cheesy decades as well as 1960s pop and 1970s Motown. The nature of this business is all about comparing artists to the past, but while they're retro cool, FATT sound utterly original and contemporary. Perhaps it's best to just say their music make me want to dance (even though I can't) because it's catchy, fun, and everything that's good about music these days.
With the release of their sophomore album More Than Just a Dream this Tuesday (May 7), the Los Angeles-based sextet (Fitz, Noelle Scaggs, James King, Jeremy Ruzumna, John Wicks and Joseph Karnes) have further established themselves as music masters. Like the tracks off 2010's Pickin' Up the Pieces, which spent 73 weeks on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and spawned the mega-hit "Moneygrabber," the new stuff is infectious. Their new single "Out Of My League" is being played on pop and alt-rock stations already, and makes terrible dancers like me cut a rug (not literally... who cuts a rug?) The band, whose chemistry on stage is just as infectious as the songs they churn out, are currently on the road headlining some shows before jumping on Bruno Mars and Dave Matthews Band respective tours this summer.
Moments before his band headlined a special birthday show for Westchester radio stationThe Peak Life The Place To Be in Ardsley, NY, front man Fitz (Michael Fitzpatrick) and his Pepe Le Pew took time out to discuss touring and how they approached their new album. Interspersed in the interview are clips from the band's soundcheck that night, which I should mention, took just about one-and-a-half run throughs. They're crafty. They don't need no stinkin' soundchecks. Anyway....
Watch. Listen. Love.
A-Sides "Delve Into Twelve" Countdown
Each week A-Sides unleashes its Top 12 tracks of the week AKA the "Delve Into Twelve"based on the following contributing factors: songs I'm playing out that particular week NO MATTER WHEN THEY WERE RELEASED (think overlooked songs, unreleased tracks, and old favorites), songs various publicists are trying to get me to listen to that I did and listened to and liked (phew), posts and trends I've noticed on my friends' Facebook walls, and - most importantly - the songs my 16-month-old son gravitates toward. Yeah, you read that right. This weeks follows below (LW= last week's rank):
12. Take My Hand - Dido
11. "Bleeding Out" (LW-10) - Imagine Dragons
10. Hey Jupiter - Tori Amos
9. "You Ha Ha Ha" (LW 8) - Charli XCX
8. "Heartbeat" (LW 4)- The Kopecky Family Band (Watch A-Sides Performance Here)
7. "Waves" (LW 6) - Blondfire
6. "Believer" - American Authors (Watch A-Sides Performance Here.)
5. "Trying to Be Cool" - Phoenix
4. "Recover" (LW 3) - CHVRCHES
3. "She's On It" - The Beastie Boys
2. "San Francisco"(LW-2) - The Mowgli's (Watch A-Sides Performance Here)
1. "Out of My League" (LW-1) - Fitz and the Tantrums
Jon Chattman's "A-Sides Music" series usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles -- just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I'm hoping this is refreshing. Support A-Sides' Kickstarter campaign here!