Rock 'n' Rumble: Handclaps vs. Handshakes

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DC-9 can’t resist pondering rumbles between bands or even classical music gangs. In fact, instigating them might even be more fun, but possible lawsuits just didn’t sound like something we wanted to deal with. Thus, in no way do we intend our fantasy fights to cross the line into actual melee of bands and their MySpace acolytes. But if someone has their video camera/phone handy, send that shit stat!

This week’s contenders are painfully obvious due to their way too similar monikers. We’re pitting nostalgic pop-tarts Handclaps and Harmonies against schizophrenic softcore rockers Handshakes and High Fives.

The Breakdown

Handclaps and Harmonies hail from Fort Worth and describe their music as “a well-crafted version of pop rock, reminiscent of your favorite golden oldies of yesteryear. However we still maintain a fresh, new sound that competes with today's top artists." They maintain visual unity as all four band members don blue button-up dress shirts, white ties and suspenders, finishing off with white shoes and moose-knuckle bearing tight, no make that tiiiiight, white pants. One might be easily reminded of The Monkees or even The Beatles who Handclaps cite as an influence along with Neil Diamond, Weezer, The Beach Boys and Ozma. As a live show, they have simple flair with endearing charm.

Hear the band: Via MySpace or the band's Web site. Next gig: According to their Web sites, they have no upcoming performances.

Handshakes and High Fives come by way of Granbury as they “fuse screamo and electronica perfectly to create catchy tracks.” They guarantee their songs “are 100 percent worthy of repeated listens.” Now, that’s a bold statement. The trio play more casually in jeans and tees and refer to more personal influences such as girlfriends, video games and high school. Handshakes' songs veer to the pop rock stance, or as they put it, happy hardcore. Think +44 but don’t stop there. Their magic trick is how they start all electronica on you, and then rock out with the radio-ready voice of singer Brent Johnson only to have Satan enter as backing vocals. Oops, that would actually be the guttural vocal injection of Zach Filler.

Hear the band: You can listen to them ‘rawrk’ on their MySpace page. Next gig: Check them out in the Sticks and Stones Fall Festival at Fat Daddy’s Sound Shack, November 18.

So there you have it. Who’s going to take DC-9’s first Rock 'n' Rumble? Well, I guess that would be up to you, now wouldn't it?

May the best band win. -- Rich Lopez

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