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Breaking: The Big Pink

December 9, 2009 12:00 AM ET

Who: A fuzzy, scuzzy electro-indie duo made up of Londoners Milo Cordell and Robbie Furze. Their enormous sound is currently sweeping the indie underground, but you may know them from the countless reviews that joke about how they don't exactly sound like Music From Big Pink creators the Band — a journalistic trend than rankles the two Brits. "What we set out to be is pretty much a Band cover band," jokes Furze. "When you choose a band name, you just dont want it to suck too hard," says Cordell. "We thought it was quite phallic and fun."

Sounds Like: A mix of suffocating shoegaze textures, arena-ready pop hooks and the occasional breakbeat, their debut album, A History Of Love, recalls classic 4AD labelmates like the Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance with an abrasive, violent grit.

Vital Stats:

• The band recorded their debut at New York's legendary Electric Lady Studios, the spot built for Hendrix and birthplace of dozens of classic rock records, from AC/DCs Back In Black to Bowie's Young Americans. "You go in this room and you would just get this sense of calm and this air of being so special," says Furze. "You can joke and say Jimi was there or a ghost feeling, but there was definitely something spooky going on." Adds Cordell, "You think of that lineation, that history, its like almost being offered the knighthood. Every day we'd walk down and there was this picture of Jimi. Everyone would touch it when they got to the studio."

• The Big Pink love to have a lot of volume onstage — Cordell knows it's loud enough "when my ear starts popping." Their sound guy, Evil Eddie, is a veteran knob-twiddler who's worked with Public Image Ltd. and Primal Scream. "He doesn't talk to us at all anymore," says Cordell. "He just literally sits in silence. He might be a serial murderer and there might be dead people wherever we go and he just leaves them behind."

• Despite being one of the loudest bands in the land, no one in the band uses hearing protection. "That's kind of a band rule: no earplugs," says Cordell. "Shit, dude, I went to the hearing thing, I have the hearing of a 57-year-old man. And that was before this tour. It takes the velocity and ferociousness out of it. If I was wearing earplugs it would dilute myself and therefore dilute what were doing." When asked what the band is going to do when they lose their hearing, Cordell suggested their love of pickling vegetables and making chutney. "We made a great one with absinthe and fig," says Furze. "I thought the labels could be skulls. Evil chutneys."

Get It Now: Catch live footage of the Big Pink rocking "Dominos" in the video above.

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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