Today marks the debut of a new occasional column, the not-so-creatively titled, Local Band Watch. Its intent is to provide mini-snapshots of the myriad unsigned bands currently floating around the Los Angeles basin, in an effort to provide more fleshed out-coverage of the vibrant local scene. If you’re looking for more in-depth analysis of other LA up-and-comers, You Set the Scene, Radio Free Silverlake and Kevin Bronson’s LA Times Buzz Bands Blog are also highly recommended.

Radars to the Sky are some literate dudes. They list T.S. Eliot and Chopin as two of their main influences on their Myspace page, and one of their songs directly references “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” The same Myspace page also quotes Flaubert. But while you’d expect a band so unabashedly intellectual to write songs bloated with self-indulgent wankery, their style is closer to nervous twitchy guitar pop in the vein of Modest Mouse, Pavement or Tapes N’ Tapes.

Last Friday night at their EP release party at El Cid, the five-piece delivered a passionate and energetic performance to an approving crowd. Despite having just been together for approximately one year, Radars displayed a strong interplay together, delivering some fierce guitar riffs and rubbery propulsive bass lines that got the hipsters up and moving. Perhaps the highlight of the set came on “Long Walk Home” as Radars’ lead singer and female keyboardist delivered some beautiful harmonies fitting of the high praise that local bloggers, Inflight at Night and Floating Away have already lavished on the track. With funky jammy guitar solos a major into their live show, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Radars soon develop a devoted local following.

MP3: Radars to the Sky-“Long Walk Home”

Radars to the Sky on Myspace

Thailand: Because America’s Already Been Taken

As far as I can tell, none of the four members of Thailand are actually of Thai descent. Of course, I didn’t take a survey, but hey, I’m going to go out on a limb here after seeing them play and examining the picture above. Oh you wacky hipsters and your hipster irony. Either way, Thailand are another local outfit that’s been making some noise of late. Joe at Radio Free Silverlake has already declared himself a major fan of the band (read his interview with them here).

Playing the 10:00 slot before Radars, the band also turned in a taut and kinetic 45 minute set, full of shiny New Wave keyboards, booming drum hits and lead singer Marc Linquist’s rich baritone. Seemingly aware that the neo-New Wave sound is already wearing thin, Thailand balance their polished 80s sound with bursts of Punk Rock energy, at times reminiscent of the Buzzcocks or The Thermals. The set was short, sweet and incredibly catchy. With their debut LP, Motorcade recently completed, it probably won’t be long before the labels come hunting.

Thailand on Myspace

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