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Buzz Bands

May 01, 2003|Kevin Bronson; Craig Rosen

Getting its labels in order

Don't envy the Jealous Sound. Sure, the future looks bright for the L.A. foursome -- its debut album, "Kill Them With Kindness," a crackling collection of resonant rock, is due June 3. And the band moves into the spotlight Monday at the Palace opening for indie darling the Postal Service. How the Jealous Sound arrived, however, is a test of mettle. Signed to Mojo Records after releasing a promising EP three years ago, the band ended up in limbo after Mojo was bought by Jive Records, which did not share the original label's enthusiasm for the group. "We'd been sort of treading water for a long time," singer-songwriter-guitarist Blair Shehan says. During that period the group wrote new material and toured with the likes of the Get-Up Kids, Death Cab for Cutie and At the Drive-In. "The time off was not necessarily a bad thing.... We figured out how we wanted to approach things." After negotiating its release from Mojo/Jive, the Jealous Sound returned to Better Looking Records, which put out the EP, and last fall recorded the album. "This record is the most honest thing I've done," says Shehan, ex-frontman of emo rock group Knapsack. "It's big, anthemic rock 'n' roll, but with dark, sometimes moody, subject matter."

The card, the deal

Rock quartet Buchanan may not have taken home any trophies after performing at the Orange County Music Awards last year, but the group took home a business card that led to a record deal with Ultimatum Music. One of the current crop of O.C. bands that favors straight-ahead rock over the punk and ska that made the Offspring and No Doubt stars, the band has a sound built around the delicate, explosive approach of singer-guitarist Jay Buchanan. More than a year later, Buchanan's debut, "All Understood," produced by Don Gehman (R.E.M., John Mellencamp), is ready for a fall release. Meanwhile, the band that first gained a following by playing guerrilla shows they describe as "Violent Femmes-style" is staying on the road, with one more Southland show (May 16 at the Viper Room) before a tour supporting Cowboy Mouth. Buchanan's emotionally charged live set has earned the foursome comparisons to Jeff Buckley, and that's fine with front man Jay Buchanan. "It's a compliment," he says. "That guy definitely had passion."

Fast forward

Songwriter JoshClayton-Felt's presence continues to resonate more than three years after he died of cancer at age 32. The Memorial Earth Day Concert that carries his name runs from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the House of Blues, featuring such artists as Alexi Murdoch, Wes Cunningham and Leslie King. Proceeds benefit environmental advocates Descendants of the Earth. A new recording, "Center of Six," featuring previously unreleased songs by Clayton-Felt, will be available at the event.... Promoter Steve Zepeda will end his Zepeda's Mondays series at Alex's Bar in Long Beach after May 19's Cowboy Nation show.

-- Kevin Bronson with Craig Rosen

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