Behind the Wagon, Helen Earth Band, Steam Powered Giraffe

Artist: Behind the Wagon
Song: “Have Some Fun Tonight” (from the CD 11 Songs by…)
Heard by: Beth Borwell, Austin, TX
I thought it was a little cheesy. They sound like a random 1990s band that made it into a movie. I wouldn’t really equate them to another artist specifically, but it sounds like it would be on the Empire Records soundtrack…maybe in the background while Liv Tyler is crying in the bathroom. The song was layered nicely and had a lot going on. It was kind of predictable but good. The lyrics are basically, like, “Fuck it, I’m going to have a good time tonight because I’m leaving tomorrow,” but they’re kind of depressing, too. I could see that song being played on the radio a couple of times. I think my mom would really like that song.

Artist: The Helen Earth Band
Song: “Shakencutt” (from the CD Our Own Ghost City)
Heard by: Clarke Wilson, Austin, TX
I didn’t like it. It reminded me of something I’d be forced to listen to at a bar while the sound guy is playing his music. If it were to have come out in 1993, they would have been a popular band but not, like, “radio” popular. It was like an emo band, but they’re kind of edgier than that. From the CD artwork, I thought it was going to be emotional coffee-shop music like Lilith Fair. There was one part where he was talking about walking underwater, and I just thought, Man, that would be terrible. They’re probably really nice guys. The ideal activity to go along with that song would be taking off the headphones.

Artist: Steam Powered Giraffe
Song: “Sound of Tomorrow” (from the CD Album One)
Heard by: Mike Bova, Austin, TX
Honestly, I really liked it. I would give them an A+ for production, which was second only to a band like U2. The harmonies kind of reminded me of the Beach Boys. They were singing about “who am I tomorrow,” and I don’t know what that means. The bridge was kind of crappy, but they had a great piano part. They seem really earnest in their packaging. In the CD booklet they describe what their band used to be called, and they refer to their listeners as “audio adventurers.” I don’t listen to much radio, but they could be on there.

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