Draco and the Malfoys
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‘Potter’ rock

By Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Draco and the Malfoys

Sample song titles: “My Dad Is Rich,” “Tom Felton’s Kinda Hot” and “Disembodied Head”

Sound: On their second album, “Party Like You’re Evil,” Draco and the Malfoys dip into folksy-pop (“Hermione”), smoky rock ballads (“They Say I’m a Bad Boy”) and straight-ahead power pop (“Disembodied Head”), all of it from the viewpoint of Harry Potter’s foil Draco Malfoy.

Gimmick factor: Rock ‘n’ roll has a history of being anti-establishment, and hopes were high for Draco and the Malfoys, as the band has dedicated itself to attacking the cool kids at Hogwarts. A shame, then, that the band is sticking too closely to the text. There’s nothing like the words “Lord Voldemort” to kill the chorus of an outsider anthem.

Listen: http://www.myspace.com/dracoandthemalfoysusa (CD illustration by Ashley Brockschmidt)
Harry and the Potters

Sample song titles: “This Books Is So Awesome,” “The Wrath of Hermione” and “Wizard Chess”

Sound: Over the course of its three full-length albums (yes, three), the Harry & the Potters have evolved into a peppy, keyboard-drenched pop duo, with charmingly off-kilter harmonies and warbling vocals that would make Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst proud.

Gimmick factor: Nary a verse goes by without a reference to a character from one of the novels, but one doesn’t have to be a book or film devote to appreciate tunes about the radness of invisibility cloaks. Or do they?

Listen: http://www.myspace.com/harryandthepotters (Myspace.com)
The Whomping Willows

Sample song titles: “Wizard Rock Heart Throb,” “House of Awesome.”

Sound: The Whomping Willows is the moniker for acoustic guitarist Matt Maggiacomo, and he’s compiled two albums of largely kid-friendly, upbeat tunes -- perfect for toe tapping at a library singalong. Despite the band’s name, Maggiacomo brings some timeless tales of peace and love to wizard rock. As he sings on “House of Awesome,” “We accept whites / we accept blacks / we accept rebel freedom fighters on horseback.”

Gimmick factor: Maggiacomo succeeds by bringing some self-awareness to wizard rock, and takes a shot at himself on “Wizard Rock Heart Throb.” Possessing an expert knowledge of all things “Harry Potter” isn’t always a blessing, as Maggiacomo laments: “If you’re gonna score with groupies, you gotta be a hunk.”

Listen: http://www.myspace.com/thewhompingwillows (www.myspace.com)
The Parselmouths

Sample song titles: “Voldemort Fangirl,” “I’ve Been Dead for Fifty Years” and “What Kind of Name is Hermione?”

Sound: Put down that book and get on the dance floor. If the “Harry Potter” series takes the reader to a different world, the Parselmouths are bringing the listener to a different era, lacing their acoustic guitars with some ‘80s-inspired techno (see “Voldemort Fangirl” and “Snape vs. Snape”).

Gimmick factor: The synth effects may be all cheese, but when Brittany Vahlberg and Kristina Horner strike up a playful give-and-take verse about the joy of wearing green on “It’s Not Half Bad,” most -- most -- is forgiven.

Listen: http://www.myspace.com/theparselmouths (The Parselmouths)
The Remus Lupins

Sample song titles: “Teenage Werewolf,” “Remember Cedric”

Sound: The brainchild of Alex Carpenter, the Remus Lupins represent the modern rock tip of wizard rock. Check “Loosen Your Tie,” with its dance-ready rhythms, Killers-like keyboards and timely hand claps. Or “Looking for Trouble,” with its background vocalists irresistibly cooing a string of “ba-bas.”

Gimmick factor: The Remus Lupins have some of the more subtle “Harry Potter” references around. Indeed, a cut like “By the Fire” gets to about the 60-second mark before the narrator pleads for his wannabe love to put down a Hogwarts history book.

Listen: http://theremuslupins.com/ (www.myspace.com)
Bella’s Love

Sample song titles: “Angsty Wizard Summer,” “Love Is a Picnic”

Sound: Splitting up wizard and non-wizard rock influences on its MySpace page, Bella’s Love is attempting to bridge the gap between the Whomping Willows and Ryan Adams, finding drama in the book’s relationships rather than its magic.

Gimmick factor: The mission works best on “Love Is a Picnic,” with passionate, cracked vocals driving the spurned-lover account. Never mind “Harry Potter,” it’s the kind of dramatic teen song with lyrics fit to be sprawled across folders at junior highs everywhere.

Listen: http://www.myspace.com/bellaslove (www.myspace.com)
The Hermione Crookshanks Experience

Sample song titles: “Pick Me! In the Classroom,” “Trains, Doubts and Dreams”

Sound: Like most wizard rockers, the Hermione Crookshanks Experience builds from an acoustic guitar (it works best in a library), but this Orange County-based act specializes in spacey keyboard effects.

Gimmick factor: It’s a long way from the Postal Service, but the delicately earnest vocals capture the experience of a teenager at Hogwarts.

Listen: http://www.myspace.com/hermionecrookshanks (www.myspace.com)
Marked as His Equal

Sample song titles: “Face the Dragon,” “No Master at the Helm”

Sound: This is coffee shop balladry built for breaking up a book reading.

Gimmick factor: Rather than go to the school dance, Marked as His Equal opts to “Face the Dragon.” And no, it’s not a metaphor, as he sings, “Sure, they’re big and mean … and burn things up and smash them apart, but at least they don’t go playing with my heart.”

Listen: http://www.myspace.com/markedashisequal (www.myspace.com)