The Sound of Sirens


Can’t wait another week for The Village Voice‘s Siren Music Festival? Download these music files for a sneak preview of some of the show’s headliners . . .

Mission of Burma consoled any fears of a mediocre reunion after some 20 or so years with a string of successful shows and their new album ONoffON. Some opinions suggest Burma aren’t quite as raw as they used to be. Don’t let misjudgments fool you, Burma are back. Bassist Clint Conley, also a middle-aged TV producer with wife and kids, seethes more than ever, as evidenced by the album’s leadoff single, “Dirt” (MP3), about how the powers that be will drag your name through the mud. This new version of a track by the same name from the Peking Spring compilation moves forward with Burma’s signature jagged guitars and Conley’s protests of “It’s not fair!/The only intention’s to hurt.”

“Wounded World” (MP3), another standout from ONoffON, this one led by guitarist Roger Miller on vocals, sounds like classic Burma with layered guitars, echoey tape loops, and eerie murmurs heralding Miller’s ironic words, “Thanks for all your help and perfection/Oh yeah.” “Wounded World” is a bitter anthem for the disenchanted and disenfranchised.

(One track we wish we could provide for MP3 enjoyment is “The Enthusiast” with lead vocals by drummer Peter Prescott. Another great rally call, it’s lyrics—”Are you psyched?/Are you high?/I’m high as a kite/On a windless night”—refer to questions about Burma’s reunion which Prescott endured while keeping shop at Smash City Records in Boston.)

More MP3s From Siren Acts

Blonde Redhead return with another album of pretty melancholic indie art-rock laced with mellow romance and psychedelic fuzziness. There may be less agressive noise by way of guitar throughout Misery Is a Butterfly, but Kazu Makino’s vocals cut through the heavy air on “Equus” (Real Audio). Plus: the title track, “Misery Is a Butterfly” (MP3).

• “Title and Registration” (MP3) by Death Cab for Cutie: Doe-eyed Ben Gibbard sings another dreamy, lovesick song, this one provoked by searching the glove compartment of his car.

• “How We Know” (MP3) by the Thermals: The Portland, Oregon, trio’s latest album, Fuckin A, rabidly rocks on with catchy, frenzied garage gems like this one. And from their first album, More Parts Per Million, “No Culture Icons” (MP3).

• “Staring at the Sun” by TV on the Radio (Quicktime movie, download may take a while): The buzz on TV on the Radio isn’t dying and that’s because their mix of post-punk and new wave with soul gets any lead foot bouncing.

• Even though they’re known for their howling songs, And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead absolutely shimmer (but in a painfully pretty way) on “Crowning of a Heart” (MP3) from their EP The Secret of Elena’s Tomb.

• Believe it or not, Har Mar Superstar is for real (at least Karen O and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Pete Thomas of the Attractions and Imposters—as in Elvis Costello’s bands—think so). Judge his Stevie Wonder and Prince antics on “Brothers & Sisters” (MP3).