HEART AND SOUL: Since annihilating their show at SOhO last September, L.A.’s Fitz & The Tantrums have had no shortage of successes. For starters, the group has conquered nearly every late-night television program worth mentioning, from Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon to Conan and this week’s stop at The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The band has also moved more than 20,000 copies of its debut full-length, the insanely infectious Pickin’ Up the Pieces, and been dubbed VH1’s “You Oughta Know” artist for the month of April.
At the heart of the hype are frontman Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick and his female vocal counterpart, Noelle Scaggs, who together create one of the best male-female dynamics I’ve heard in years. Drawing heavily from the Motown and Stax-era recordings, the band is perhaps best lumped into the history-drenched genre that lays claim to Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Jamie Lidell. But at the heart of Fitz’s shtick is something far greater than “throwback rock.”
“There are always movements that are bound to happen,” Fitz said recently via phone from his home in Los Angeles. “I know that we pull heavily from soul music, but there are a lot of elements. We pull heavily from ’80s stuff, like [English new-wavers] ABC, Haircut One Hundred; our beats have a lot of hip-hop influence. It’s the hybrid, a mixture of things.”
Genre specifications aside, it’s The Tantrums’ live show that has helped boost this once-obscure little outfit to new heights. Together with a four-piece band, Fitz and Scaggs are able to summon an almost unimaginable amount of onstage energy—something that Fitz partly relates to seeing the Red Hot Chili Peppers in concert as a youngster.
As he explained it, the live show “has definitely been such a big part of our story. I feel like we’re giving people a reason to get up and have some fun. People are hungry for emotion, for something that has a soul. There’s no Auto-Tune, no deejays, no backing tracks; it’s just a raw, live experience. Each show is unique to itself, and I think it’s that uniqueness of experience that people are thirsty for.”
Looking to quench your thirst? New Noise presents Fitz & The Tantrums at Velvet Jones (423 State St.) on Friday, April 1, at 8 p.m. Call 965-8676 or visit newnoisesb.com for info.
EURO THRASH: It’s news to no one that Swedes have been tearing up the music world of late. (See Lykke Li’s latest, Little Dragon’s ongoing electro-rock takeover, and Peter, Bjorn & John’s long awaited—and stellar—sixth full-length.) It stands to reason, then, that Swedish new-wavers The Sounds will be busting out the big guns on record number four, which is slated for official release this week. For Something to Die For, the quintet is up to some of its old tricks (grinding, blown-out guitar work, punching beats, and a whole lot of synth), and incorporating some new ones (symphonic breakdowns, Afro-beat–inspired percussion work). At the center of it all, though, is still frontwoman/vocal powerhouse/all-around sex kitten Maja Ivarsson, whose onstage persona channels rockin’ femme fatales of yore. (Think Debbie Harry meets Joan Jett.) In short, it’s a live show well worth checking out in person. The Sounds play Velvet Jones on Tuesday, April 5, at 8 p.m. with opener K. Flay. For tickets and show info, call 965-5656 or visit newnoisesb.com.
AND THERE’S MORE: Additionally, this week is boasting live performances from our neighbors-to-the-south She Wants Revenge at SOhO (1221 State St.) this Friday, April 1. The San Fernando Valley post-punk duo is touring in support of its soon-to-be-released third album, Valleyheart, which hits shelves May 24. Also in the queue is Howlin’ Woods’ show on Wednesday, April 6, at SOhO. The Santa Barbara rockers will share the night with River City. For tickets and info for both shows, call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.