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Breaking Artist: Midnight Juggernauts

October 31, 2007 7:17 PM ET

Who: Aussie new-rave trio Midnight Juggernauts, who just wrapped up their first U.S. tour supporting Summer '07 "It" band Justice. After tours of Europe and China, the group -- guitarist-singer Andy Streetcrimes, singer-keyboardist Vin Vendetta and drummer Daniel Stricker -- started accruing some major word of mouth thanks to MySpace. The dance-rockers ultimately scored their Justice gig the old-fashioned way: by cooking the French duo dinner.

Sounds Like: David Bowie if his Berlin Trilogy was a collaboration with Kraftwerk and Faust. Their debut album Dystopia takes uplifting Numan synths, Daft Punk beats and Pink Floyd's affinity for all things astronomical and Orwellian, then melts them all together with the help of some good psychedelics.

Three Things You Should Know:
1. The band played fake Michael Jackson benefit shows to lure in unsuspecting fans. "He was having some some legal troubles and the idea was to give money to the show to fund legal expenses," says Vincent. "It was just a joke, but I think some papers caught up on it and did some stories. They even got some child-abuse spokesperson to comment on it." Some attending the event didn't find the joke funny, as they complained when no actual Jacko covers were played.
2. The group's rejected monikers include Dragon Lord and Warlords. "We had revolving names in the beginning and then there were other bands on the other side of the world who contacted us saying "We already had the title. We'll sue you if you continue with that,' " Vincent explains. "So we just tried to come up with the most ridiculous thing. I guess Midnight Juggernauts is just literally an unstoppable force in the middle of the night, so we thought that may suit our music."
3. The trio's influences are wide-ranging -- from Bowie and Floyd to Pixies and Slayer to old-school melancholy surf music -- and their overall goal is lofty. "It's not all about beats or dance floor moods and styles. It's about taking the person to another place," says Vincent. "It's fun creating these different soundscapes where it's just another kind of universe."

Get It: Dystopia hit Australia in August, and its North American release date is still TBD (though music is always available on iTunes or their MySpace).

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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