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The Grates to bring some Aussie joy to Silver Lake

March 27, 2009 |  9:23 pm
The Grates at SXSW

Can a group just be be too fun?

It may be a problem that plagues Brisbane, Australia-based trio the Grates. Playing a pair of shows over the next three days in Los Angeles, the Grates will hit the Southland without an U.S. label. The band's 2008 release, "Teeth Lost, Hearts Won," can be had only on import, and will run fans upward of $30 on Amazon.com. It followed the act's 2006 debut "Gravity Won't Get You High," which was distributed in America via Cherrytree/Interscope.

Their lack of a label isn't due to a lack of fans. USA Today's Whitney Matheson witnessed the Grates at South by Southwest, and called one of their shows one of her faves. As joyful as The Go! Team, possessing the dynamics of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and expressing the youthful freshness of the Ting Tings, the Grates own an upbeat sound that wouldn't be out of place in a commercial for an MP3 player.

"I didn't know much about this Australian group until I caught Saturday's set, but lead singer Patience Hodgson blew me away with her enthusiasm," Matheson wrote. "At one point, she jumped off the stage and onto the floor, told everyone to clear a space and began twirling a ribbon, gymnastics-style. A hardcore fan suddenly appeared, dressed in a leotard, and joined her for a spontaneous dance. These are the SXSW moments you dream of."

Marketers and labels should appreciate the fact that singer Patience Hodgson, guitarist John Patterson and drummer Alana Skyring update their tour blog regularly, are Twitter fiends and take advantage of YouTube (The Grates documented the recording of their latest effort "Teeth Lost, Hearts Won" with behind-the-scene videos whenever they could).

Read more and watch the Grates talking about SXSW and their quest to find a U.S. label in the video interview after the jump.

Perhaps American labels flinch at the Grates' language. Sprinkled among the frivolity and freedom of the Grates are tiny landmines of "dirty" words. So the Jonas Brothers they're not, but take a listen to "Burn Bridges" for a colorful explosion of melodies, and a song full of hand-claps, shout-out choruses and twisted guitars.

The Grates, who just flew in from New York , play beneath the Salvation sign of the Silverlake Lounge (2906 Sunset Blvd.) Saturday night. The band is scheduled to go on at 8 p.m., and tickets are $8. Monday night they return to Spaceland (1717 Silver Lake Blvd.) for a free show as part of Nico Stai's residency.

-- Tony Pierce

Related: SXSW: Quickie live reviews -- Valient Thorr, the Grates, the Von Bondies

Photo and video by Tony Pierce