With this year’s Indie Ear Madness beginning on the same week as SXSW, how would bands–some performing both major events–hold up? Find out now:
1 The Killers vs. 16 Julie Doiron
No upsets here, but if you get a chance listen to Doiron’s just-released, I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day.
8 N.A.S.A. vs. 9 Cursive
Never underestimate the power of a live band. Cursive win, the two DJ’s lose.
5 The Ting Tings vs. 12 The Bird and The Bee
Duo against duo brings our first upset of the day. The Bird and The Bee were crisper than the Ting and the Ting.
(above: With an out-of-this-world performance, Cursive defeat N.A.S.A. in the first round of Indie Ear Madness ’09.)
4 Franz Ferdinand vs. 13 Glasvegas
The battle of Scotland reminds us that Franz Ferdinand is still king of the country.
6 M. Ward vs. 11 The Morning Benders
The Morning Benders played an inspired set of indie-pop, upsetting M. Ward.
3 Morrissey vs. 14 Murs
In the battle of Moz against Murs (sounds like a monster movie), the indie vet just squeaks by the outspoken MC.
7 Andrew Bird vs. 10 P.O.S.
Never doubt the power of underground hip-hop. P.O.S. busts the bracket of the Birdman’s fans.
2 The Cure vs. 15 Cut Off Your Hands
Cut Off Your Hands may sound like The Cure at times (and their band name even sounds like it could be a Cure song), but they were no match for the #2 seed, led by frontman Robert Smith.
1 U2 vs. 16 MC Lars
Only Bono and The Edge showed up, just played songs off Zooropa, and still managed to win convincingly.
8 MSTRKRFT vs. 9 Sebastien Grainger
Former bandmates from Death From Above 1979 going at it–maybe the most intriguing match-up of the first round. Would Jesse Keeler’s deep grooves outdo the songwriting of Grainger? Having trouble booking some of the artists that appeared on their new album, Fist Of God, MSTRKRFT could not pull it together in time, as Sebastien Grainger–who’s been touring strong for the last several months–won in a thriller.
5 The Black Keys vs. 12 The Hush Sound
Even with Dan Auerbach doing his solo thing, The Black Keys put together an impressive set to take out The Hush Sound–whose fans made just that.
4 Lily Allen vs. 13 Dan Auerbach
Not a surprise here–Lily Allen thought she was too good to compete in Indie Ear Madness and didn’t even bother showing up. Auerbach advances to the second round.
6 The Pains Of Being Pure Of Heart vs. 11 New Found Glory
One of indie-pop’s favorite new acts against a band that many indie purists don’t even think belong in this tournament. New Found Glory, playing their brand of pop-polished-punk–with the same line-up that’s been tearing up small clubs for years–showed that there is no pain in being pure of heart, advancing to the second round.
3 Animal Collective vs. 14 King Kahn
By the looks of him, you’d never think King Kahn would be able to front a band capable of taking out indie fav, Animal Collective. Well, when he opened his mouth, that was another story. King Kahn, backed by The Shrines, channeled his inner James Brown and knocked Animal Collective right out of the tournament.
7 Late Of The Pier vs. 10 The Thermals
Late Of The Pier had some problems with the logistics of their SXSW schedule, and by the time they showed up, The Thermals had already won.
2 Coldplay vs. 15 Thunderheist
Maybe too busy counting their Grammy Awards or sewing colorful stripes on their band uniforms, Coldplay underestimated the power of Thunderheist. Led by the electro-thrash MC, Isis, Thunderheist shocked the world with the biggest upset of Indie Ear Madness ’09 so far.
(above: Isis of Thunderheist helps to upset Coldplay in the first round.)