Monday, March 28, 2005


Human Television


by Wayne Robins

I was looking through the March 2005 issue of Alternative Press (AP), issue 200. That's quite a run for a spunky magazine that so prolifically examines acts under the radar that the magazine itself is under the radar. Its editorial headquarters is Cleveland, which explains some of the refreshing avoidance of NY/LA next big things, and its insatiable appetite for squeezing one more bit of information that might turn their reader on to one more band.

My daughter and I would fight over copies of AP, except our schedules are so upside down that we rarely face the conflict of wanting to thumb through it at the same time. And it's a great thumb-through. The March issue features "100 Bands You Need To Know in 2005" and their survey is much more interesting and to the point than Blender or Spin or Revolver would be. I'm familiar with some of these acts:
Action Action, VHS or Beta, Gatsby's American Dream (one of Liz'z new favorites), Mando Diao (one of my new favorites). Not familiar with many others, but their recommendations have some value.

Obviously, I'm grateful to this magazine for taking me to places I wouldn't know about. One band I thought was on their 100 list was Human Television. There has been a copy of Human Television's 7-song mini-album, "All Songs Written By" around my desk for a few weeks, so this motivated me to listen to it. I imagine this is the sound of every (original) bar band in Williamsburg and other esoteric pockets of Brooklyn, or Manhattan's lower east side. And that's not a band thing. Lots of guitars, sometimes artsy, sometimes squalling, the sound sometimes concise, sometimes sprawling. Nice, and unpretentious. I don't know quite how seriously to take them, and I can't tell how seriously they take themselves. Speaking of Television, they should cover "Little Johnny Jewel," the single that sent the CBGBs revolution going. If they were a television, they wouldn't be HDTV or LCD or plasma: They'd be like my 27-inch Toshiba, the picture tube starting to wear down after 10 years of yeoman duty. I'm in the market for a 30-inch or 32-inch HDTV-ready set, though I have yet to come to terms with having to spend a thousand dollars, give or take a few hundred, for a TV set. Oh, and Human Television wasn't in the 100 Bands to watch section, I don't think: The cover was displayed with other bands in an advertisement for Caroline Distribution.

(c) 2005 Wayne Robins. All rights reserved.

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