Manic Street Preachers

Unfortunately, for every Coldplay or Radiohead, there is a Manic Street Preachers--a band that enjoys commercial success and recognition in the U.K., but can't seem to translate in the U.S. And few bands have illustrated how many miles the Atlantic actually spans than the Manics, who have scored eight top-10 albums and 15 top-10 singles over the course of their 23-year career in the U.K., but are lucky to get their albums filed under their own name at U.S. record stores. The band's increasingly mannered pop following 1999's proggy This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours suggested that the Manics had given up on courting a Stateside audience altogether, which makes the just-released Journal for Plague Lovers especially confounding. More than any album since 1994's The Holy Bible, Journalseems, if not exactly American, then awfully interested in sounding like it could be. The band recorded the entire record in Chicago with famed engineer Steve Albini, who has applied his distinctive non-gloss to American Gen X classics like Nirvana's In Utero and the Jesus Lizard's Liar, and are touring the U.S. for the first time in a decade. Who knows how long any of this renewed commitment will last, but best catch them before they have another change of heart. With Nico Vega. 18+. (Photo by Markus Unger)
Wed., Sept. 30, 8 p.m., 2009

 
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