Arts » Pop Music & Jazz

The Boxer Rebellion emerges victorious

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If you didn’t catch the brainy Drew Barrymore/Justin Long comedy “Going The Distance” in theaters, no worries — it just hit the streets on DVD. Allowing viewers to really focus on the band that chews up a lot of nightclub-set scenery — Britain’s dreamy The Boxer Rebellion, whom (spoiler alert!) Long’s character ends up managing. And their real-life story isn’t too far from that depicted in the film.

Vocalist Nathan Nicholson hails from Tennessee, guitarist Todd Howe from Australia, but it was in London where the two met British bassist Adam Harrison and drummer Piers Hewitt. But just as their “Exits” debut was released five years ago on Alan McGee’s Poptones imprint, everything collapsed for the group when the label went belly up.

“Funnily enough, you’d think getting dropped from a record deal would be the last nail on the coffin, but it was actually a relief,” says Howe.

The Rebellion went underground, re-imagined their sound, and finally resurfaced last year with the Modern English-ethereal “Union,” which they financed/issued themselves via iTunes, where it sold 10,000 copies in the first week alone.

“It was really that quick — from absolutely nothing to a complete vindication for us,” Howe says, excited about their new Ethan Johns-produced third set, “The Cold Still” — and stomping anthems like “Doubt,” “No Harm’ and “Step Out Of The Car” — which hits stores Feb. 8 on their own Absentee Recordings.

Working at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studio, Johns (the son of legendary production whiz Glyn Johns) has taken his proteges to the next panoramic level.

No input from Justin Long required.