New faces in rock, hip-hop
A band with ‘romance’ in the title that is actually good – who would have thought it?
This Austin-based four piece plays straight power pop that is a refreshing change from all the other bands in Austin trying to be the next indie-hype flavor-of the-month.
Plastic Romance has that snotty-1970s snarl learned from the members playing in previous Houston punk bands Arm in Arm and The Ballistics. Don’t be mistaken – Plastic Romance leans more towards Johnny Thunders than Johnny Rotten with mid-tempo songs featuring strong, sugary choruses.
With just a handful of shows under its leather jackets, Plastic Romance has secured a few daytime shows at the coming South by Southwest music festival in Austin. Plastic Romance will be playing one of the dates with fellow power pop rock’n’roll revivalists, The Cute Lepers.
You can hear the demos for ‘ This Time’ and ‘Whatcha Wanna Do?’ at www.myspace.com/plasticromanceband.
Broadway Calls is a long way from the bright lights of the city, being from Rainer, Ore., but has big aspirations to see its name on top of the marquee.
The band is fresh off signing with popular indie label SideOneDummy Records and a European tour opening for Alkaline Trio.
The band resembles an early version of Green Day or The Ataris, with wide-eyed enthusiasm and post-teenage tales that serve as an ideal backdrop to traveling the country in a van with your best friends.
The three members who make up Broadway Calls can easily be your friend’s local band.
– Mike Damante
Charles Hamilton has probably released more songs than some of your favorite hip-hop artists. The strangest thing is he’s yet to release a proper studio album. He’s managed to have quite the mouth though, getting himself into odd beefs with Soulja Boy and Rhymefest.
Hamilton has released more than 11 mix tapes, many of which have taken on their own concepts. For example, The L Word is Hamilton’s take on women.
Through releasing ample amounts of free music, Hamilton was named one of Spin Magazines ‘Big in 09′ and XXL’s top 10 freshman.’ Not too shabby for a 21-year-old. Make sure to head over to www.iamnotcharleshamilton.com to grab all of his mix tapes for free.
By no means is this another Soulja Boy, Lil Bow Wow or Lil Romeo. Nero is an incredibly soulful 17-year-old phenomenon who will be turning the hip-hop world upside down in no time.
He released his mixtape, Alive and Vibrant, in early January to favorable reviews. If you were ever a fan of hip-hop in the mid-’90s era, particularly the It Was Written-era Nas and A Tribe Called Quest, then Nero should definitely have some megabytes reserved on your iPod. The beats scream ’90s, and lyrically, he’s reminiscent of Mos Def and Q-Tip.
On one hand, hip-hop could use a smart, young kid with the potential to make life-changing albums, but on the other, he is arguably a bit late and out of place. It seems there’s little to no room in the mainstream for conscious rappers, but that’s just the way it goes.’ Whatever it is, don’t sleep on him. Be sure to download his mixtape, Alive and Vibrant, at www.illroots.com.
– Roshan Bhatt