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Handily enough, Modern Subject’s approach to marketing themselves is in their band name. There are millions of bands on MySpace, and more show up every day on Twitter, but few incorporate these sites into their personal philosophy the way these guys do.
“We’re working on expanding our Internet fan base with heavy use of social networking,” guitarist Nick Parsons writes in an e-mail. “It seems like most bands these days don’t put as much effort into taking care of their extended (and virtual) fan base as they should, so we’re trying to change that.”
Though Modern Subject may be using the latest trends for promotional pushes, the music from the Orange County sextet is decidedly old-fashioned. Their latest release, the six-song Fairweather Friend EP (available for free download on their MySpace—gosh, they really are web-savvy), is full of timeless pop songs that resemble a cross between folky singer/songwriter material (“Little Bird”) and Fray-esque gentle piano rock (“Right Here”). The band rock the hardest—well, by their standards—on “The Masquerade,” on which lead singer Paul Stewart channels the arena rock of some of their inspirations (Travis, U2).
Modern Subject sound most at home, though, on the quieter moments, such as the (very quiet) acoustic number “The Roots.” Some might dismiss it as middle-of-the-road easy listening, but there’s a thoughtfulness and honesty to lyrics such as “It’s not the leaves that give you strength; it’s the roots that lie beneath.” A little cheesy? Sure. But it’s an honest cheesy.
Online fads come and go—who knows what we’ll move on to when we’re all sick of Tweeting?—but the decades-old songwriting traditions embraced on Fairweather Friend are an inelastic commodity. Modern Subject’s well-crafted tunes seem more concerned with telling a story than impressing anyone, no matter how many virtual friends they accumulate.
Modern Subject can be found at www.myspace.com/modernsubject.
Hey, Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, contact info, high-res photos and upcoming show dates for possible review to: Locals Only,OC Weekly, 2975 Red Hill Ave., Ste 150, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Or e-mail your link firstname.lastname@example.org.