By Steve Brennan
By Ashley Zimmerman
By Michele Eve Sandberg
By Abel Folgar
By Ashley Zimmerman
By New Times Staff
By Abel Folgar
By Laurie Charles
Thematically, Hancock injects ANR´s slinky funk with kaleidoscopic, far-flung imagery, some pseudo-political, some deeply personal, some both at once. ¨Going 2 Bed with N Korea¨ follows up the line ¨We fucked the sheets right off of the bed¨ with ¨By now, the water´s gone/By now, the wind has blown in/These ill beats drop the bomb/Jong-Il´s beat drop the bomb in.¨ Bicycles are a metaphor for relationships, Kylie Minogue becomes a warrior queen, bedroom come-ons elevate into poetry, post-millennium tension looms, self-reference is rife. If this is what the New Republic looks like, then you better believe it´s awesome.
¨Everything is just a mishmash of nothing being excluded,¨ Hancock says of his lyrics. ¨We´re definitely not like, OK, our band sings about booze, chicks, and motorcycles. Go!´ And were also not like, We sing about important sociopolitical issues and we only play fundraising events for third-party politics.´ I think it´s more characteristic of growing up in this generation, being inundated with everything all at once video games, your president, porn, artwork, movies, music, your neighborhood. It all becomes your whole experience.¨
And maybe there´s no place more saturated with that experience than the superconsumptive, pop-culture crucible of South Florida. Maybe there´s no other locale from which ANR could bike-ride into a cool-hand coup.
¨If they weren´t taking in all of those things, they would just be another generic band from Miami,¨ says Lauren Reskin, owner of Sweat Records, Miami´s premiere indie record shop, and of Sutro Records, the label that´s released both ANR albums. ¨I knew from opening the store that there was this untapped group of people that was greater than anyone recognized. Because of the geography of South Florida, a lot of music lovers don´t come into contact with one another unless it´s at a show. That´s why we thought Miami would be a great place to do what we´re doing, because of the vast amount of room to do it. Just by virtue of being down here, it´s something special.¨
Believe it: South Florida needs ANR far more than any overhyped celebrity cameo or soulless awards show. Though that´s exactly what everyone´s come to expect from the Magic City.
¨Everyone who actually makes the music here is used to being the last person in line at the cafeteria who gets to eat lunch,¨ Hancock says. ¨And that´s good. That´s what keeps you going. Everybody else can get greedy. Regardless of what people say, Miami still doesn´t have anything going for it yet. There´s still a lot that needs to happen for it to have its own unique youth culture. Kids have to start incorporating all these elements of the city into what they´re doing. There´s all these other kinds of music that I don´t see anyone incorporating into their bands Latin, hip-hop, reggaeton. No city in America has that, and this city could. But as of now, it´s trying to imitate something that´s already happened somewhere else. Hopefully as a stepping-off point to the next level.
¨U2 made that album Pop at South Beach Studios a few years ago,¨ he continues. ¨You listen to that and it´s more reflective of Miami in its lyrics and sound than most local records that have come out over the past decade. And it´s fucking U2. Surely we can do better than that, people.¨