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Page last updated at 10:07 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009
Introducing...Hockey

By Greg Cochrane
Newsbeat music reporter

Pucker up - Portland's philosophical crew aren't just recycling their favourite artists they're promoting sustainable living. Hockey are out to save the planet. No, really they are...

Hockey
Hockey: Touring the UK in February 2009

Whichever way you spin it, ultimately rock 'n' roll isn't great for this planet.

A spectacle it may be but there's nothing particularly helpful about a rapper being ferried about 10 yards around a festival backstage in a car (as Jay-Z did at last year's Hove Festival in Norway) or globe-straddling mega bands flying to gigs on separate petrol puffing private jets.

Rock stars! The world is overheating.

Radiohead might be asking fans to car-share to their gigs but the thought of offsetting carbon emissions generally comes somewhere between fresh towels and getting egg mayo on the rider in terms of most bands' priority lists.

Not for lively newcomers Hockey though.

"We toured in a vegetable oil bus last summer until it broke down," recalls the Portland quartet's bassist Jerm. "We spent almost five weeks on the road in the west of the United States and didn't use a drop of gas. We're trying to do our part."

And their efforts to stop the deserts of Sudan baking themselves or Greenland becoming a perma-puddle don't halt there.

Hockey, the facts

WHAT: Misty-minded pop from North America

FOR FANS OF: The Killers, MGMT, Kings Of Leon, LCD Soundsystem

DOWNLOAD: Too Fake


LIVE: Full UK tour in February 2009 with Bear Hands and Passion Pit

"Anything we can do to be a band that's involved with 'going green' - that's really important to us.

"You know, trying to make an album that's printed on recycled cardboard, cut down on the things which we do and the way we travel around.

"We're fighting for a better world, however we can."

Thankfully their willingness to put plastic and glass in two different wheelie bins doesn't make them any less exciting musically.

'Rogue Professors'

Back in 2002 singer Ben and bassist Jerm met - in what has to be said - not entirely conventional circumstances while studying in Southern California before settling on their "interesting associative-experiment name" Hockey.

"We were part of a university programme which was started in the late 1960s by a group of rogue professors who were interested in applying a lot of the ideas of the hippy movement to education," says Jerm.

An experience he describes as "very community orientated, very progressive" the pair began making music informed by their new adventures in ethics.

Jerm: "I ended up developing a programme called The Great Remembering which is essentially a critical look at the pathological behaviour of the modern world.

"So why human beings persist in destroying the earth even though we know full well that there are natural laws at play.

"It gave me a positive look at going forward and the future of the human experiment."

Big ideas then. Fortunately the foursome's output is every inch as grand as their philosophical contemplations.

Early recordings metamorphasised as the duo recruited permanent guitarist Brian and drummer Anthony and relocated to Portland to envelop themselves in a scene which has produced The Shins, Modest Mouse and The Gossip.

Hockey
Hockey: Cite artists like MIA, and Santogold as influences

Debut album

Indeed, apart from expendable resources another thing the band aren't wasting much of is time.

Their debut record Mind Chaos is already complete.

Initially released last year as "basement recordings" - now with five or six newly added tracks - it will be available this coming summer.

"Mind Chaos is about the infinity of the way people understand things about the world," explains Jerm.

A bold mix of primary pop like LCD Soundsystem, Paul Simon and, not off-puttingly, The Feeling.

"It speaks to a lot of things going on in pop culture - its anti-pop music but it comes in a pop form."

It is also undeniably, unapologetically American. Not unlike The Killers or The Gaslight Anthem.

"To any thinking person the government actually made you mad - it was horrible," he says recounting the country's flux a few shorts months ago. "It's moving forward and it's about being proud to be American for the first time in my adult life."

Like new America and the impending meltdown of our planet we'll be sure to hear much more about Hockey.



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