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 V.18 No.41 | October 8 - 14, 2009 

Rock Reads

Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label That Got Big and Stayed Small

Everything anyone ever wanted to know about Merge Records and more lies inside this nearly 300-page congratulatory volume. Twenty years after its creation by Superchunk's Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan, the North Carolina label celebrates its triumph over recording industry standards—and rightly so—with photos, first-person accounts and a compilation CD (which, strangely, neglects the early days).

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Justin Sullivan, second from right, leads the charge in old-school British punk outfit New Model Army.
Aimee Candelaria

Music Interview

New Model Army

Punk rock and poetry in motion

These days, a real punk band can almost never find its way onto the pop charts. But back in the day (see: mid-’80s), England’s New Model Army released political punk that didn’t merely sell to left-wing extremists. Almost 30 years ago, frontman/mastermind Justin Sullivan, who has been compared to punk legends like Joe Strummer and Dick Lucas, named NMA after Oliver Cromwell’s successful (at least for a while) 17th-century British anti-royalist forces. Sullivan’s intelligent, informed and captivating songwriting helped the group get signed by EMI—who the Sex Pistols swindled in the ’70s—and embark on a dozen British Top 30 singles before descending (or ascending, depending your worldview) to the worldwide cult status NMA holds today. The Alibi caught up with Sullivan just before the start of New Model Army’s North American tour, which hits the Launchpad this weekend.

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Flyer on the Wall

Icky Reunion

Icky and the Yuks thrashes again with SuperGiant, Wormhole and Violenta. Saturday, Oct. 10, at the Launchpad (618 Central SW). $6, 21+.

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Franks and Deans
Courtesy of the Artist

EVENT HORIZON (Thursday, Feb 23)

Franks & Deans • punk rock, rock 'n' roll • Shrewd • Punctured Muffler • Silent Crush • metal

At some point during the progression of meta-ultra-postmodernism, it was only natural that a band covering Rat Pack Tunes revisioned as rambling ska paeans or blisteringly buoyant punk anthems based on the imbibing and love-making habits of dudes like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin would rise from the rocanrol cauldron. We'll it's 2017 and such has indeed come to pass. The name of the band is Franks and Deans. They've succeeded by inflecting the sweepingly romantic, sometimes melancholy and nearly always self-referential ditties of these post-war, pre-rock vocal heroes with with good-natured rhythms and danceable guitar leads—as well as an updated fashion sense that seems to borrow more from ZZ Top's summer style guide than from Robin and the Seven Hoods—that adds affable nuance to legendary, mid-century American popular music. Band members Rob DeTie, Pip Ullemeyer, Hoss and Arpee Sampson III await your indulgence at Low Spirits on Thursday, Feb. 23, and the admission price of $5 sure as heck beats dropping “Three Coins in the Fountain.”
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