Best Band to Break Up in the Past Year Miami 2007 - Awesome New Republic
When Michael John Hancock and Brian Robertson took off their shirts, put on their sweatpants, and covered their faces in a rainbow of grease paint, Miami's small cadre of indie rockers would gather and dance. The duo was a mainstay at Poplife and the anchor of the label Sutro Music. They were also really good musicians. Hancock played drums and sang (at the same time, with arms, legs, and vocal cords all performing flawlessly at once). Robertson accompanied him on the synthesizer and sang back-up vocals. It was an unlikely combination, and it worked. Performed in the parking lot behind the old location of Sweat Records, on the stage at I/O, and before a smattering of strangers at Titanic Brewery, ANR's songs were about bicycles, love, and "killing South Beach dead." When their own extensive repertoire ran out during a performance, they would launch into cover songs by the Band or Michael Jackson. They once devoted an entire show to Prince. But then we heard they were going to New York, and then that they had fallen in love with other people, and then, there was only silence. Their only album, ANR So Far, preserves them for posterity's sake. But this was one band that was truly better heard live, for it was a spectacle: Robertson playing the keys, and Hancock pounding out a dance beat while hitting a falsetto that was nothing short of perfection for a room full of people that seemed genuinely moved by the music. It was fun.