Ra Ra Riot ‘Can You Tell’ on Letterman

Even though I sadly missed the Ra Ra Riot show in Williamsburg this weekend (I’m resting for CMJ), the band appeared on the Late Show earlier last week to perform ‘Can You Tell.’ Ra Ra Riot is by far one of the most interesting new bands the indie world has to offer. They are kind of like the Arcade Fire but with a little less ‘dreary’ sounding.  There has been a good amount of print about Ra Ra Riot lately, and I was surprised that their original drummer actually died before the record was released. The band have just finished up a few national dates and are on their way to Europe in a matter of a weeks. Don’t worry, they’ll be doing more U.S. dates by the end of the year.

Listen to Ra Ra Riot and Check out Tourdates on their Myspace

Check out Ra Ra Riot ‘Can You Tell’ on Letterman

Forgive me in advance if Modern Mystery is lacking in writing early this week. With CMJ in town, I don’t know if i’m even going to have time to sleep. I hope to cover some great bands, so stay tuned for some stuff on The Morning Benders, Middle Distance Runner, Miniature Tigers, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, Chairlift, Oxford Collapse and more from CMJ.

The Mae Shi ‘Run To Your Grave’


A couple of months ago I discovered this noisy indie band from Los Angeles called The Mae Shi. I had seen their video on a local NYC channel, how I still don’t know, and they immediatly captured my attention. “Run To Your Grave’ is one of my favorite songs of 2008.  Just reading their bio on the website makes them seem like the most accomplished band in the world and they only started 6 years ago. The Mae Shi has a load of tour dates coming up, and a few shows at CMJ next week. I can’t wait to check that out.

Check out The Mae Shi on Myspace

The Mae Shi ‘Run To Your Grave’

Of Montreal “Id Engager” Video

With only less than a week until ‘Skeletal Lamping’ officially hits stores, Of Montreal has finally released the video for ‘Id Engager.’ I must admit the first few seconds of the video reminded me a bit of ‘Suffer for Fashion’, in terms of the ‘hands-on-crafting’ portion. The animation in ‘Id Engager’ is pretty witty. The characters blend into each other perfectly. Leave it to Of Montreal to give us another great video.

Watch ‘Id Engager’

Playing 20 Questions with The Morning Benders

The Morning Benders are currently my ‘Autumn Obsession’ band. Last fall it was all about Caribou, but this year The Morning Benders have won my heart. I have been listening to ‘Talking Through Tin Cans’ daily since it came out and it actually gets better with every listen. I’m not sure I’ve ever fallen in love with a band this fast as I have The Morning Benders. Every note, every melody, every little harmony on their record is literally flawless. The Morning Benders had agreed to do an e-mail interview for Modern Mystery from the road which I have been very excited about. My favorite part is how hillarious they are…and how they got the ‘Almost Famous’ reference. Enjoy the interview. I know I am!
How did the Morning Benders come together as a band?
We all grew up together in the same house in Berkeley. We aren’t all full brothers, but most of us are.
Who are your influences?
We watch a lot of Seinfeld and Stella. Truffaut. We listen to a lot of NPR. Ray Charles, Grizzly Bear, Kate Bush.
At what age did you start to love music?
Age 5 3/4
What was the first instrument that you learned to play?
Chris: Piano
Tim: Bassoon
Julian: Tambourine
Joe: Guitar
Who does most of the songwriting in th band?
Chris usually writes the chords and words, then we all take it out back and add the special sauce.
What inspires you to write a song?
This crazy world we live in.
Is a song better if it comes from a real personal experience?
Where else would it come from?
Who is ‘Damnit Anna’ about?
Not someone named Anna.
Was there a lot of pressure on making ‘The Bedroom Covers’, in terms of hoping it lived up to the original band’s recording?
Well we were giving it away for free on the internet, so we didn’t feel too much pressure. We love the songs we covered and don’t think our versions even came close, we just had fun doing them…
Were you nervous about going into the studio to record ‘Talking Through Tin Cans’?
Not really. Those songs had a long enough incubation period, and they were ready to be put on tape. It was a cathartic experience.
At what point in your life did you think that being a musician was something you would love to do for a living?
Well, we’re all broke as hell, so I wouldn’t exactly call it making a living. I just love music, it’s what I need to do.
What was the first band that you ever played in?
the morning benders
If you weren’t in the Morning Benders, what would you be doing?
Playing in a band that sounded a hell of a lot like the Morning Benders.
How is the tour with Ra Ra Riot going?
ra ra awesome
What are your favorite and least favorite parts about being on tour?
favorite: playing shows every night
worst: eating crap food every night
Besides being all acoustic, how does the Puma instores different from a regular Morning Benders show?
We play a lot of songs we don’t like playing as a full band, or don’t work as well in the band setting. A lot of the time we just take requests. It’s generally just a more intimate thing…
What album do you wish you had written?
Ready to Die
Where do you see the Morning Benders 5 years from now?
Rocking the free world
What do you love about music in general?
Well to start… everything
What board game can you kick anyone’s ass at?
ping pong
Check out the Morning Benders and Tourdates over at their Myspace

Middle Distance Runner ‘The Sun and Earth’

I had come across Middle Distance Runner a couple of years ago on another blog, and since then I’ve been hooked. The Washington DC band will release their new record in 2009, but for now they’ve kindly released to us the first single titled ‘The Sun and Earth,’  which is also on their most recent EP. I feel a hint of a more mature Middle Distance Runner emerging from all of this. Stephen Kilroy’s voice is increasingly infectious as the song goes on.  The whole band in general seems so much tighter to me. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the new album has to offer. Is it 2009 yet?

Middle Distance Runner are doing a ton of shows at CMJ so be sure to check that out!

Download The Sun and Earth
Check out Middle Distance Runner on Myspace

Ryan Adams ‘Cobwebs’

This morning I was complaining (to myself) about the fact that I haven’t come across any leaked Ryan Adams’ songs for the upcoming record ‘Cardinalogy’ that is due out in two weeks. This will actually be his last record for the label Lost Highway and no one really knows what he has in store after that.

I’m not sure what to make of the new album that I previewed almost all of this afternoon. It seems to me, it some parts, it is like ‘Rock N Roll’ meets ‘Easy Tiger’ and everything in between. I’m already prepared for the Adams bashing that usually takes place whenever he releases a record, but to me, everything he touches is gold.

‘Cobwebs’ is so far my favorite, and can just be described as a beautiful song. I think that Ryan Adams is one of the most poetic songwriters of our generation. His voice the past couple of records has been incredibly smooth. He has really been in full form.

Download Cobwebs
Check out Ryan Adams tourdates at his Myspace