New band of the day – No 551: The Hundred In the Hands

This fine dance-rock duo create a mesmeric, monolithic noise and beat by mixing chanson with angular punk-funk

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York.

The lineup: Eleanore Everdell (vocals, synths), Jason Friedman (guitar).

The background: The Hundred In the Hands are named after a bloody 19th-century confrontation between Red Indians and American soldiers, but they sound more like a gentle 21st-century caress between Jane Birkin and James Murphy. They are the point where the old French chanson tradition meets the relatively new Anglo tradition, popular among young guitar bands, of creating a rhythmic clamour inspired by late-70s New York, London, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield punk-funk. They formed out of the ashes – or rather, gashes and slashes – of semi-legendary (less legendary than, say, New Band of the Day) NYC angular racket types the Boggs. They've been around for a few months, earning rapturous praise and comments like, "Wow! They're really good!" But we deliberately held off from telling you about them until now because we wanted to see them live, and as you know, until you've seen a band in concert you really are in no position to accurately assess their value either as musicians or as human beings.

And so it was that, last Friday, we trekked down to see The Hundred In the Hands – THITH to you and us although probably not to DM Stith or, indeed, readers with a lisp – perform a set at a friendly family tavern in north London, and you know what? They tore the place apart. Well, maybe not tore it apart, but a couple of people in the audience appeared to be transported by the mesmeric, monolithic noise and beat, even if they did stop short of full levitation. No wonder. From the stage, Friedman and Everdell replaced studio immaculacy with a rougher, more ragged but danceable din that made us think Kevin Shields would have been better off with New Order than Primal Scream. And we liked Everdell's airy cooing over the top. But Friedman's baseball cap has got to go. Perhaps she should wear the cap and he should do the cooing? Or not.

Now all we've got are memories of a fine night out being entertained by a fine new dance-rock duo. Luckily, we've got their debut CD single to remind us. Dressed In Dresden is driven by choppy Gang of Four guitar chords, the vocals add a poppy Nous Ne Savons Quoi, and then after a couple of minutes it goes all dubby and PiL-y, which is nice. Undressed In Dresden is a reworking by DFA boy wonder Jacques Renault, far slower, with brass, even more dub spaciousness and a Psycho Killer bassline. Other tracks we've heard by them, such as the early New Order-esque Ghosts and Lovesick (Once Again), which sounds like the Shangri La's with Keith Levene on guitar, suggest they're no two-trick ponies, although if they were a horse we'd definitely bet on them. Is THITH it? It is now.

The buzz: "Carefully composed polyrhythms, jagged guitar lines, and layered, breathy vocals that combine the raw energy of post-punk with Studio One beats."

The truth: Is Brooklyn still cool? It is when you listen to this, sorry, THITH.

Most likely to: Inspire LCD Soundsystem to do a version of Je T'Aime.

Least likely to: Kill a psycho.

What to buy: Dressed In Dresden is out now.

File next to: Gang Of Four, Talking Heads, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin.

Links: and

Tomorrow's new band: Everything Everything.


Paul Lester

The GuardianTramp

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