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A Special 
by Keavin Wiggins

Return to Part I of the Special

The White Stripes -  With three albums under their belt, this Detroit rock duo were waiting for a major break which came earlier this year with the release of an innovative video for their single, “Fell In Love With A Girl”. The video’s use of animation mimicking lego’s helped catch the attention of programmers at MTV and MTV2 who quickly added the clip to their playlist. 

The White Stripes take a minimalist approach to songwriting and performing. Taking the Blues as an foundation and drawing heavily from early punk and pioneering band The Stooges, they have a much rawer vibe than The Strokes and B.R.M.C.  Listening to The White Stripes you get the feeling that you have been transplanted back to the early 70’s when The New York Dolls and Iggy Pop were all the rage. 

The Vines – Perhaps the best musicians of the genre, The Vines actually offer the most diversity of all the groups mentioned here. As this is being written their US debut is a couple of weeks away from release but the group has already won over fans in the UK. 

Unlike the other bands of the “raw rock” revival, The Vines, don’t limit themselves to one set sound and style instead they draw from a wide range of influences  which gives us an album with many musical faces ranging from The Stooges to Nirvana, The Beatles and Even Pink Floyd. If any band can break through the hype and make this musical movement a real dominant force on the American music scene The Vines seem best suited to the task. While the albums of some of the other artists mentioned here can get redundant after a few listens, The Vines eclectic mix of styles offers fans a compelling and diverse mix of songs that are anything but boring. 

I am not much for prophesizing a band’s success but if any group is going to take “raw rock” revival to the next level it is The Vines.

The Hives – We now come full circle. At the moment the band my drunken friend proclaimed would be the ”next big thing” are starting to see some success in America. With the power and promotional muscle of Warner Brothers behind them The Hives are currently making a slash in the US and turning heads with the major label re-release of their 2000 album, “Veni Vidi Vicious”.

Like the White Stripes, The Hives borrow liberally from “The Stooges” making their music more “punk” than any of the other “raw rock” revival bands and easily the heaviest in the bunch. 

So there you have it a look at the “raw rock” revival that at the moment is teetering on the edge of major mainstream success. Will it happen? Will these bands take over the music scene signally a new age for rock music in popular culture? Or will all the hype end up being a repeat of the punk movement in the 70’s, where the genre got plenty of press and attention but in the end didn’t wind up selling that many records. Anything can happen, we will just have to wait and see how it all pans out but at the very least we have a really nice diversion from the stale pop and rap-rock that have been such a dominant force in popular music over the past few years. 

Other Bands to Keep An Eye On

  • The Black Halos - Another favorite of the underground. First considered part of the 90's "punk revival" The Black Halos actually leaned more towards the Stooges and New York Dolls than bands like the Clash and Sex Pistols who the other "punk revival" bands drew their influence from. If anything The Black Halos were early adopters of the "raw rock" revival sound who just might get some more mainstream attention now that the genre has become more widely known. 
  • The Doves - Some have grouped The Doves in with the "raw rock" revival, which is strange because if anything their music is much more polished than other emerging "retro" rockers. They seem more content "reviving" the early sound of U2 rather than Iggy Pop. If anything they could give the genre a more polished poppier side. 
  • The Hellacopters - Hardly a new band, The Hellacopters have been champions of the underground music scene for years. A popular group in Europe and Australia, now with the success of The Hives in the US it seems that it's only a matter of time before American fans (and music press) take a closer look The Hellacopters.
  • The Dirtbombs - This band offers a nice middle ground between the raw rock sound and gut level R&B and soul. Having released two independent albums and several 7" singles, it's only a matter of time before a major label comes calling to help propel the group into the mainstream. 
  • Clinic - More or less a rawer take on the styling of Radiohead, they are being lumped in with this "raw rock" revival but they actually walk a fine line that may or may not qualify them for the title.  Maybe if they changed their name to "The Clinic" they would be a better fit? None the less, Universal Records seem to really be behind this band so expect a major publicity push for them in the coming months.

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