New Music Monday: Friends, "Mind Control"

It has been pointed out that Friends -- the hot new band (with less Schwimmer pratfalls than its televised counterpart) -- could grow to fill the void of progressive and danceable music that was left when James Murphy ended LCD Soundsystem. And you can certainly hear the resemblance in this song.

Samantha Urbani and her gang from Brooklyn dropped their debut album Manifest! on June 4th. But they've been on "to watch" lists for over a year in Europe, where NME praised their pop-funk-disco sound and labeled them a top-50 artist of 2011.

There's a lot to like here. Songs like "Friend Crush" and "I'm His Girl" center around groovy baselines and enough sprinkled shimmer and shake to appeal to a wide variety of music fans. There are dreamy keys, peppy percussive beats and, if you hate music and just want to put sticks in your ears and watch -- girls.

They also make some pretty interesting videos. (I dunno if interesting is the word, but it's A word.)

The Friends folk also apparently Skype random fans and invite them to their shows for free.

The next LCD Soundsystem? I'm not entirely sold yet. But a talented band making fun tunes? Yes. Friends is that.

When it comes to electro or keyboard-centric bands, one important thing for me -- a guitarist by passion, but a drummer at heart -- is for a band to know how cool it sounds to add a shaker, tambourine, agogo bell or claves in lieu of the mere thumping drum machine. Guys like Hot Chip and LCD get that. Friends seems to be on that tip, as well.

And who knows -- James Murphy's musical genius trajectory angled ever up during his band's entire active career. That's hard to replicate, but somebody's gotta do it.

Happy Monday, rockers.

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    Dan Bradley

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