Thursday, February 8, 2007

Pop Nostalgia: The Mayflies USA and The Situation

Back in the days where I spent hours combing through the third, fourth, fifth tiers of allmusic's Power Pop category for the next Big Star, I "discovered" the Mayflies USA, Chapel Hill's answer to Teenage Fanclub. As you may have guessed, I found them a couple years too late. It's not surprising that bands that emulate Big Star -- the archetype for perfect guitar pop that sounds perfect but ain't so popular -- would themselves be overlooked. So while Big Star's relative anonymity (outside our personal social circle) is actually somewhat tragic, watching bands like the Mayflies USA vanish without a trace is really just a little unfortunate and even kind of expected. But either way, they did put together one damn fine album, Walking in a Straight Line, full of bright harmonies and ringing chords. Plus, they were the kind of band that would steer an interview towards "their influences" (including all the usual suspects), which is an undeniably Rockist move.

The Mayflies USA - "Florida on the Radio"
The Mayflies USA - "123"(streaming)
*the Mayflies recently announced a few reunion dates opening for the dB's. Check their myspace for details.

The Situation, another great band to come out of Philly in the past few years, got my attention via a song review of "Pine Street" on Pitchfork last year. I managed to purchase online both their Reece Nasty EP and their self-titled for under 10 bucks total. Quite the coup, really. While "Pine Street" is a standout on the full-length, the real gem is "Best Prescription Pill Available" (off the EP), which jangles like even the drummer's got a Rickenbacker. Unfortunately, all great things must come to a premature end -- and apparently especially when it comes to gifted anglophile jangle-pop outfits -- but the band's myspace page is particularly cryptic and even kinda sad: "The band just split up. The album came out i don't [know] when. Not long ago. A few months. We worked on it for several years." And that's all it says. Hopefully lead singer and songwriter Christopher Tucker will surface somewhere soon.

The Situation - "Best Prescription Pill Available"

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