By launching the careers of tranquil rockers such as Belle & Sebastian and Yo La Tengo, Matador Records could take blame for the trend of niceness in underground music. However, the label has spent the better part of the new millennium signing decidedly non-Garden State-friendly acts such as Jay Reatard, Fucked Up and Chicago quartet the Ponys. Like a belligerent Jarvis Cocker booting Robert Smith offstage, the Chicago band specializes in goth-leaning new-wave cuts, which eschew lyrics of love and loss in favor of shock-rock diatribes such as "Let's Kill Ourselves." On the Ponys' 2010 EP, Deathbed + 4,Jered Gummere's Joy Division deadpan provides ideal iPod fodder for cross-continental flights between O'Hare and Heathrow.
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