A.R.E. Weapons at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Wednesday (June 4). $13. 416-532-1598.
Now that the UK press is all but burned out on the Strokes and White Stripes, they're determined to find a new American saviour of rock 'n' roll to worship. It looks like raunchy New York electro-rock thugs A.R.E. Weapons, whose goofy Hey World jam just took single-of-the-week honours in the NME (New Musical Express), could be in line for "your new favourite band" hype.
A closer look at the machinations behind their coronation - this is the second time the NME has given A.R.E. Weapons the coveted single-of-the-week nod in as many singles - reveals a lot about the mysterious star-making process.
Hey World, with it's tongue-in-cheeky "Can't we all just get along?" sentiment and faux children's choir backing, is neither a particularly stunning tune nor especially representative of the band's snarling attack.
"It wasn't our first choice," admits guitarist Matt McAuley before a sound check in Cardiff, Wales. "Actually, we weren't going to put out a single at all, but the NME and our PR company lobbied our label to release Hey World as a single."
So the NME had Rough Trade put out the song as a single and then gave it the prize. Just as neat and tidy as that. Amazing.
"Uh-huh. That's just the way it works."
It's a bit surprising to hear McAuley speaking so candidly about the behind-the-scenes string-pulling. The people at his Rough Trade label probably won't be pleased to be seen bending to the whims of the music media - certainly not label boss Geoff Travis, who once had the reputation of being sort of a maverick.
But for a hardcore player like McAuley the music biz is just another hustle, and all that matters is keeping one step ahead of the marks. Evidently, A.R.E. Weapons have already gotten what they needed from Rough Trade. Their self-titled disc will likely be the last for the label.
"Our relationship is very strained at the moment. We've got very different ideas about what we should be doing. We're going into the studio again in December and we'll be looking for another label to put out our next record."