Music: A Barrel of Monkeys

A new British band comes to the U.S. on a wave of hype--and deserves every ounce of it

For all their stiff-upper-lip stoicism, the British go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs over any native band that can gin up three chords and an attitude. The latest kings of England are the Arctic Monkeys, four lads who got guitars for Christmas in 2001, mastered them quickly, toured the country and handed out home-burned CDs of songs that were then uploaded to the unsigned-band portal MySpace.com Their following metastasized to the point that the band sold out the famed London Astoria last year on word of mouth. When a record-company bidding war ensued, the Arctic Monkeys signed with independent label...

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