Thursday, April 26, 2007


Song: Closer
Artist: Travis
Album: The Boy With No Name

Earlier this year Chris Martin of Coldplay introduced “Big Chair” a new song by the Scottish band Travis on Radio 1 noting; “We're gonna finish with an incredible exclusive, we're very privileged to play it. It's a new song by the band Travis, the band that invented my band and lots of others." Truly, Travis was first known as “the quiet Radiohead,” which Coldplay was then referred to as, and then Keane was the next Coldplay… on and on.

Travis debuted their first album in 1997 called “Good Feeling” which was produced by Steve Lillywhite whom has worked with U2, The Cranberries, The Dave Matthew’s Band, and Morrissey. But it was 1999’s “The Man Who” (produced by Nigel Godrich who made a pretty good name for himself by producing a little record called “OK Computer”) that really catapulted Travis to fame. The single “Why Does it Always Rain on Me?” was a smash, and follow up singles made it one of the most popular records in Europe, and turned the band into international superstars.

While I suppose I could start an argument with Travis fans… I think the follow up album, 2001’s “The Invisible Band” (also produced by Godrich) is even better. First single “Sing” was the most played song in Britain that summer and “Side” is my hands down favorite Travis song ever. It’s a great album, and continued their world domination (well… outside the states.) The next record “12 Memories” was a spotty affair, and I must admit it disappointed me quite a bit. There were many songs I did really dig off the record but after the one-two punch of “Man” and “Band,” “Memories” just didn’t stand up. They produced the record themselves, and even changed the look of their cover, while both of the previous had similar looks and fonts.

Travis return with “The Boy With No Name” this May and in many ways it’s a return to form. Once again Nigel Godrich is behind the decks, and they returned the font! (Actually I quite like the look of the cover art.) As I listened I first thought it was just more of the same Travis, and it many ways it is… but what surprised me was after listening and thinking it was just okay, I went back to “12 Memories” and gave it another listen. I was (as many fans were) too hard on that record as it contains some really great stuff, as does the new record. It’s just another great Travis album!

First single “Closer” has a nice breezy hook in the typical Travis vein, better still is the upbeat “Selfish Jean,” the soaring “Colder,” and the ode to New York City “New Amsterdam.” The video for “Closer” features a cameo from Ben Stiller, whom I am just about fed up with… ugh, he used to be so funny. Oh well. Get the new Travis record when it comes out, and if you have no idea who Travis is order their singles collection entitle (duh) “” and then get the new record when it comes out in May!


The video for “Closer”

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Song: Lipgloss
Artist: lil Mama
Album: Lip Gloss Single

Seemingly coming out of nowhere, the next "Hollaback/London Bridge" comes from seventeen-year-old Brooklynite Lil Mama with her debut single, "Lipgloss." It's about as ridiculous as it sounds and insanely catchy.

I recenly saw a piece on the news that said tweens and teens are acting and dressing too sexual. They obviously have not gotten the latest word on the street as they failed to mention anything about the teenage sexual lure that is lipgloss. Like a "Love Potion #9" for the hip-hop teen set, as reinforced by the energetic video below.

"It's poppin', it's poppin', it's poppin', It's poppin'..."

Enjoy... you're going to like it more than you expect.

The "Lipgloss" video

I love the self-esteem lesson at the end. Cute.

Monday, April 23, 2007

What Light

Song: What Light
Artist: Wilco
Album: Sky Blue Sky

Wilco have been critical darlings for years now, finding their peak with “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” a troubled project that ended up being the bands biggest critical and commercial success. I preferred the album that came before, “Summer Teeth” which was released in 1999. Their follow up to “Foxtrot,” the downbeat “A Ghost is Born” lost me, losing any of the joy and fun that could be found on the early records. Though… it did win a Grammy for best Alternative Album, and best Packaging.

May 15th will see the release of their latest, “Sky Blue Sky.” Upon first listen is sounds much like “A Ghost is Born” to me, though the song “What Light” has really stood out for me, a little bit country, a little bit folk, it’s a great song and one of my current favorites.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Kiss You Off

Song: Kiss You Off
Artist: Scissor Sisters
Album: Ta-Dah

Now this is a video.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer

Song: I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer
Artist: The Cardigans
Album: Super Extra Gravity

You probably know Sweden’s The Cardigans best from their international hit “Lovefool” from 1996. Here in America, the song became huge after being in “William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet” starring Leo DiCaprio and Claire Daines. I remember getting the album “Lovefool” was on, “First Band on the Moon” after it was getting a lot of buzz on the alternative circuit and when I first heard it I though… “this is going to be a hit.” I was right!

I really liked the entire “First Band” album, it had a crazy 60’s vibe and I subsequently got the prior album “Life,” which was actually a mix of their debut “Emmerdale” and the European version of “Life.” If felt like more of the same, but I actually liked it better, with single “Carnival” being a favorite. (Honestly, since the records are so similar I don’t really listen to “First Band” much, “Life” gets all the play.

Their follow up, 1996’s “Gran Turismo” (yes named after the game) went into a completely different direction of upbeat electroni-rock and it stands as my favorite of all their records. There was no hit the size of “Lovefool” on the record and it came and went quietly. Because of this, their next record, 2003’s “Long Gone Before Daylight” wasn’t released here in the U.S. and I must admit… I never got it. I do have a song on the record, “And Then You Kissed Me” which is a quiet lilting ballad, which apparently is a good representation of the whole record. I actually love that song… and should probably get the whole record.

But I DID get the follow up, “Super Extra Gravity” that once again sees the band go in a new more rock direction. While I never really connected with it, and initially thought first single “I Need Some Fine Wine,and You, You Need to Be Nicer” was just so-so, with an annoying title. But it has grown on me, and as I write this I’m listening to the record and enjoying. It needs a second chance from me!

Lead single Nina Persson has an amazing angelic voice that I have always liked and it seems to fit whatever style they decide to be writing in. While I repeatedly stated that they “went in a new direction” for each record I think that is the incorrect thing to say. The Cardigans simply write ALBUMS, like the best artists and bands that make a collection of songs a complete artistic statement, versus just another collection of songs. Go out and buy some, you won’t regret it.


Here are a few different videos from different albums, you’ll see what I mean:

“Carnival,” from “Life”

“My Favorite Game” from “Gran Turismo” (This one was banned from MTV because it contained “reckless driving.” Please.)

“You’re the Storm” from “Long Gone Before Daylight”

“I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer”

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Love Story

Song: Love Story
Artist: Katharine McPhee
Album: Katharine McPhee

Despite the fact that everyone seems to agree this crop of future pop stars are the least talented they’ve had yet, it remains a media blockbuster. It’s all over the T.V., newspapers, blogs, you name it… “American Idol” is now a full-on entertainment hurricane and only seems to get bigger each year. Are you embarrassed about how much you know about Senjaya? There’s a good reason you know so much… he’s everywhere. Even a little girl who cried on air when he came out to perform has had features on “Extra.” I can’t seem to escape it.

But the fact is… I love “American Idol.” I get to care about these kids as we meet them from their first audition, and despite the level of talent, I feel like I become part of their lives. Isn’t that what the best TV does? Is it just odd that these “characters” are like… real? But the facts are… I think most of the music that comes out of “American Idol” is pretty awful, with a few exceptions.

cross-over smash…The best of what has come of the “American Idols” has to be the “Since You Been Gone.” Have you heard this song done karaoke? It IS the new “I Will Survive.” That song is the best of what’s come from “Idol,” and Kelly is probably the most likable of anyone that’s been on the show. (Though Carrie Underwood comes close.) She happened to get some of the best songs of the current pop-rock genre for her sophomore album, and her sales matched it. Her upcoming third album is one of the more anticipated of this year.

Though I think she was a plant. (But more on Kelly another day.)

I recently got to take a listen to a couple new albums from “American Idol” alums a few months ago. And have found one good song. I listened to the Daughtry record, the new Fantasia, Katharine McPhee, Taylor Hicks, and that guy that was on the “Idol” for a while; Mario Vasquez. He quit, bucked the “Idol” system and possibly looked a gift horse in the mouth. But was he smart? Did he just find a way to use the exposure and do things his way? Maybe.

I’m not sure why exactly I spent so much time with this music, I just wanted to have honestly listened to it… before I trashed it.

So among all of this music I found one song I really really dug. The opening track on Katharine McPhee’s self-titled debut album, “Love Story,” is a fun, soulful jam that while slickly produced, does try to retain some of the classic instrumentation of Motown. It’s a great opener, but the rest of the album goes nowhere. And I somehow wanted something different than urban pop from Katharine. It would have been cool if she went in an Amy Winehouse direction, she’s got the voice for it, and on the strength of “Love Story,” I say she could still do something interesting, but this record isn’t it.

Unfortunately, the actual winner from last season, the strangely gray Taylor Hicks, released a pretty boring record of uninspired “soul.” I must admit I didn’t even listen to the entire thing, assuming that he didn’t hide any gems later in the disc. It’s not offensive really, just unbelievably bland… though it’s still not as bad as the Mario Vasquez record.

I very pleasant surprise was the Fantasia record, that felt sufficiently “street,” was pretty catchy, and just had… like genuine personality. Something that even Katharine is missing. And I watched that girl’s entire season! I cried when she cried.

Fantasia’s first album did surprisingly mediocre, so she had much to prove with the sophomore record which is much more current, and not trying as hard to please ever single “Idol” watcher that might buy the record. She’s played herself in a Lifetime movie, and now that “Fantasia,” the second album has quickly come and gone, she’s on Broadway starring in “The Color Purple.” At least she’s working.

But honestly, the music is secondary… “Idol” is all about the show, the product tie-ins, Randy’s makeup, Paula’s state, Simon’s brutal honestly, and the Seacrest gay jokes. It’s watched by millions, and millions vote, It has become something that people talk about… like “Dallas,” “Twin Peaks,” and Anna Nicole Smith.

On average, the music out of “Idol” is pretty week, but there are exceptions. I like the show, and have been a faithful watcher since the first season but have zero urge to go out and buy any of the music that is generated from it. I think it has a serious place in history as a cultural phenomenon, but don't look for a lot of music history from its "stars."


Videos from the “Idol’s” gang:

Katharine’s tepid first single “Over It”

Fantasia’s “Hood Boy” (officially dope)

My current favorite of this season, Blake Lewis

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Need More Time

Song: Need More Time
Artist: The Epoxies
Album: Epoxies

My cousin Kyle sent me this song and I have not been able to stop listening to it. are a Portland, Oregon band that fuses new wave with post punk and a mix of just plain fun. This is all I’ve got from the band, but really have been digging it.

“Need More Time” was the first single off their self-titled debut from 2002. It got more recognition, as well as the band, when the song was featured on the 2004 “Rock Against Bush” compilation. The band has since released a follow up in 2005 called “Stop the Future.”

They do a fun cover of Adam Ants “Beat My Guest” which you can hear on their MySpace page. The band is a fun mix of Blondie, The Cars, and Gary Newman. You might just love them.

Here are some videos from the band…

Need More Time

Stop Looking At Me


Monday, April 16, 2007

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

Song: Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Artist: Patti Smith
Album: Twelve

Patti Smith is a rock legend. 1975 saw the release of “Horses,” her debut masterpiece and what some consider the first “art-punk” album. Smith was at the forefront of the New York CBGB’s punk scene and was one of the first to score a record deal, even beating The Ramones.

I won’t bother trying to write a synopsis if her career as I won’t do her justice, but the interested might start with the two-disc retrospective “Land (1975-2002)” which will give you the key tracks in her career. Rock purest will differ though, and I will say that I am thankful I was given “The Patti Smith Masters: The Collective Works,” a box set that includes re-mastered versions of her first five complete albums, the recently released “Gone Again,” as well as a single disc of “hits” that is comprised of about half of the first disc of “Land.” What is important about these albums as wholes are Smith’s fusion of punk and poetry and the more “arty” side of her music, which is not represented in any collection.

The box set came only after Smith’s full on return to the rock world with the release of 1996’s “Gone Again” (included) after the death of her husband, Fred “Sonic” Smith. (Prior album “Dream of Life” in 1988 was a one-off, making the true gap in her career from 1979’s “Wave” to 1996.) After getting the box set, I was a bit obsessed with Patti and was excited when she released another new album in 1997, “Peace and Noise.” I never connected with that album, but absolutely LOVED the follow up, 2000’s “Gung Ho.”

This year will see the release of “Twelve” a collection of (yes!) twelve covers from all over the musical map. It contains touchstones from Smith’s influences like Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and Jimmi Hendrix, as well as odd choices from Nirvana and Tears for Fears. The inclusion of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” makes sense as Smith found some connection with Kurt Cobain and even wrote a song about him following his death called “About a Boy” which was on “Gone Again.” I am stuck by her take on “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” as it does seem to be such an odd choice for her, though it has quickly become my favorite from the collection which is a bit to flaccid all around in my opinion.

With Patti Smith you will never get something straight forward, she is an artist through and through and I was very pleased to hear that this year she was finally being inducted in to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (Along with friends R.E.M. whom she guested with on “E-Bow the Letter,” from “New Adventures in Hi-Fi” which may go down as the strangest first single from a popular rock band ever. Remember it? Probably not.) “Twelve” is definitely a hold-over as we wait for the next true piece of the Patti Smith legacy.


A performance of one of my favorite songs of Patti’s “Ask the Angels”

Friday, April 13, 2007

Song 4 Mutya (Out of Control)

Song: Song 4 Mutya (Out of Control)
Artist: Groove Armada
Album: Soundboy Rock

Like any true self marketer, Groove Armada are calling their latest album “Soundboy Rock” which will be released on May 7th as “their best.” Well good!

You probably know Groove Armada best as the guys that brought us “I See You Baby” which featured the memorable chorus “I see you baby… shakin’ that ass” which became an international hit after Fatboy Slim remixed the track in his big beat sound. I was a big fan of their diverse 2002 album “Lovebox” which featured some great deep house and disco tracks. Like Basement Jaxx, the duo in Groove Armada like to try many things and work with a variety of vocalists and styles. “Easy,” from “Lovebox” went to number 5 on the US dance charts and had a way cool disco-for-the-future vibe. It was one of my favorite songs from that record and despite the chart position, I never heard it anywhere.

“Soundboy Rock” seems to continue in the vein of “Lovebox” showcasing a wide range of vocalists and styles. “Get Down” is the first single, but the song I immediately grabbed onto was the unfortunately titled “Song 4 Mutya (Out of Control)” which recalls, (and name-checks) Prince. It’s a really hot song and one that will get you rocking into your weekend.

After an initial listen I think “Soundboy” is going to be a great record, and one that may stand up along with “Lovebox.” We’ll see… I’ll keep you posted.


The video for first single “Get Down”

To hear “Easy”

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Makes Me Wonder

Song: Makes Me Wonder
Artist: Maroon 5
Album: It Won’t Be Soon Before Long

Like Fergie’s “London Bridge,” Ace of Base’s “The Sign,” and Taco’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz” before it, Maroon 5’s breakthrough first single “This Love” was a huge guilty pleasure for me. Sure it was a huge hit, but I try to steer clear of stuff the Celine Dion set would also dig, I have a rep to uphold after all. The problem was, as bouncy blue-eyed soul-lite goes, “This Love” was just about… well, perfect. Lead singer Adam Levine’s vocals were admittedly pretty beautiful and the chorus had super-catchy written all over it. I went as far as even doing the song karaoke one night at a bar… ugh, what a goofy hook will do to me.

Fortunately, follow up single “She Will Be Loved” proved to be just what I thought Maroon 5 were, boring candy-asses. It’s one of those cringe-inducing songs that will play from now until eternity on Lite FM stations, truly awful.

In May, the band will be releasing its eagerly awaited sophomore set entitled “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long.” (Haha boys.) It’s been over five years in the making and I am sure the band feels the need to live up to expectations. Obstacle number one is to follow up “This Love” with another fun first single, and so we have “Makes Me Wonder,” a bouncy blue-eyed-soul-lite ditty that seems to basically re-write “This Love.” On one hand, this is what a band does when they don’t have any more tricks up their sleeve but need to deliver on the promise of their biggest hit by making the same song, just a little bit BIGGER, and on the other, “Makes Me Wonder” is actually a pretty fun tune. Not sure if it’s “good” but it seems like it’ll make Maroon 5 fans happy, and do nothing to change the minds of those that loathe them.

What do you think?


Here is the video:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I Could Fall in Love With You

Song: I Could Fall in Love With You
Artist: Erasure
Album: Light At The End of The World

For my 80’s English-homo-dance-duo money, I always went with the Pet Shop Boys, I felt that their sound was more diverse, they wrote great ALBUMS, and I just wrote better songs… but Erasure are still in the game and still doing their thing. May 21st will see the release of their thirteenth album, “Light At The End of The World” and “I Could Fall in Love With You” is the first single. It pretty much sounds… well, like Erasure.

Thanks to Wikipedia, (like the best site ever right?) I just learned that Vince Clark (“the straight guy in Erasure”) was not only in Yazoo (also known as Yaz,) but was in Depeche Mode as well. I didn’t know that. I suppose that there were probably one to many egos there.

I was actually a big fan of the first single from their 2005 album, “Nightbird” called “Breathe.” The rest of the album bored me, which is honestly my biggest problem with their music… too same-sounding. But “Breathe” was great, and as good as some of their better-known material from the 80’s.

“I Could Fall in Love With You” doesn’t really come close to “Breathe,” but it’s another good Erasure song, and if nothing else I like the fact that when you hear an Erasure song, you KNOW it’s them. They are that distinct musically. Well… I suppose I could mistake solo Andy Bell (“the queer in Erasure”) as Erasure, but his solo record just sounded, well… like Erasure.


Here's the video for "Breathe"

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Earth Intruders

Song: Earth Intruders
Artist: Bjork
Album: Volta

Bjork’s “Volta” is one of the more anticipated releases of 2007. After the introverted “Vespertine” (2001) and the voice-only “Medulla” (2004,) Bjork seems to be courting the mainstream again with collaborations with hip-hop heavyweight Timbaland. First single “Earth Intruders” is a rowdy song, at least compared with her more recent work. Timbaland’s beats are put in the back… this is Bjork’s show, but it has an urgency that I really dig, once again… it sounds like she’s transmitting from another planet.

Personally, I have found Bjork’s work to not only be the most interesting of the last several years, but also rather melodic and catchy. Sure, her stuff is “out there” but yet she’s written some of the most beautiful and interesting love songs in the past decade. I’m glad she’s moving into a more upbeat direction… as she did on “Homogenic” (1997.) While the strange lush “Vespertine” lost a lot of her fans, I continue to go back to it now and again, it’s a great mood record.

“Volta” will be released in early May and will no doubt be one of the more important releases of the year.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Just a Little

Song: Just a Little
Artist: The Beau Brummels
Album: Introducing The Beau Brummels

Influenced by the British Invasion, The Beatles, and the folk-rock scene, San Francisco’s The Beau Brummels made a name for themselves as they pre-dated the Byrds, arguably the most popular (and influential) on the folk-rock scene in the 60’s. The band took their name from a 19th Century Englishman whose name conveniently came JUST after The Beatles alphabetically, and therefore would be next in the record bins.

The band only had three top forty hits, the biggest being “Just a Little” which was produced, along with the rest of their debut, “Introducing The Beau Brummels” by a young Sly Stone. Their small record label Autumn Records, owned by local DJ Tom Donahue who discovered the band, couldn’t compete with the majors as far as getting the band additional exposure while they were having mild top 40 success. Autumn was sold to Warners, who had the band record an album of top 40’s covers. In 1967 they released the critically acclaimed experimental album “Triangle,” and then their swan song, 1968’s “Bradley’s Barn.”

A few years ago, in my initial stage of discovering the Pixies’ Frank Black’s solo work, I became hooked on his cover of “Just a Little” which was on his B-sides album “Oddballs.” I didn’t realize it was cover at first, but did seem a bit too poppy for what Frank was doing at the time so I did some research and found out about the band. He does a very faithful cover, which does not stray very far from the original. The Beau Brummels only other chart hits were “Laugh Laugh” (Featured in the John Candy comedy “Uncle Buck”) and “You Tell Me Why.”


Friday, April 06, 2007

How Much More

Song: How Much More
Artist: The Go Go's
Album: Beauty and the Beat

It was when I was a pre-teen that I became halfway obsessed with buying music. I remember my (very patient) Mother taking me from store to store to find the “Hungry Like a Wolf” 45, which was sold out everywhere. (I don’t know where we ended up finding it, but we did, and she didn’t stop until we did. Thanks Mom!) I also remember being about eleven or so and having “We Got The Beat” on record and listening to it over and over, like kids do, and yet… I was young enough not to realize that this tune was over five years old! (Forgive me for not being on the pulse of New Wave at five.)

But back in 1981 the Go Go’s released their debut album, and New Wave cornerstone, “Beauty and the Beat.” At the time, this was pretty cutting edge stuff and it should be noted that the Go Go’s made history as the first all-female band that wrote their own material to go number one on the album charts. They were part of the California punk scene in their early days, and some of this more rock material surfaced on 1994’s collection “Return to the Valley of the Go Go’s” Drugs and personal turmoil broke up the band after just three albums, but they returned in 2001 for their first set of new material on “God Bless the Go Go’s.”

“Beauty and the Beat” is the landmark, and essential in any collection of serious New Wave afficianadoes, but a casual fan would do well with 1990’s hits collection “Greatest.” It has all the major hits and is a good start if you don’t have anything. At this point, “Our Lips Our Sealed,” “Vacation,” and “We Got the Beat” are known simply via cultural osmosis, and have lost their edge over time, and most likely can be heard on Adult Contemporary radio. “How Much More,” from “Beauty” has always been a favorite of mine, just as catchy as the super hits but a bit less known. You can also find it on the “Greatest” collection.


A video from each album:

"Our Lips Are Sealed" from "Beauty and the Beat"

"Vacation" from "Vacation"

"Head Over Heals" from "Talk Show"

This one is maybe the most "80's" and features Belinda's signature back-up singer moves. Hot.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Minding My Own Business

Song: Minding My Own Business
Artist: Coconut Records
Album: Nighttiming

Jason Schwartzman is the actor you’ll recognize from “Rushmore,” I (heart) Huckabees,” “Shopgirl,” and “Marie-Antoinette.” He is the son of actress Talia Shire and producer Jack Schwartzman. What you may not know is that he is also a musician and was in the original lineup of Phantom Planet and co-wrote their biggest track, the theme song to “The O.C.” “California.” Jason has a new project called “Coconut Records” which has been released on iTunes and will get a formal release this summer.

I have been really digging this record, love lead single (and final track) “West Coast” which has a laid back vibe, as well as the disco-tinged title-track “Nighttiming.” “Minding My Own Business” sounds like the Scissor Sisters re-writing Genesis’ “That’s All” and the entire record has a generally pleasant, fun, indie-rock vibe. It’s a bit all over the place but I have really been enjoying it and highly recommend it.

You can find more information and hear more music on their MySpace page, but if you are an MP3 lover, let me take the time to introduce to you a new website. The Hype Machine ( is a blog aggregator that works as a search engine to find blogs highlighting bands and artists you dig by conveniently listing them with links to boot. So, you can simply type “Coconut Records” in to the search field and see a list of blogs that mention the band and links to MP3 downloads. You could probably find all the tracks I just mentioned.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Four Winds

Song: Four Winds
Artist: Bright Eyes
Album: Cassadaga

I’ll be honest… I don’t know much about Bright Eyes early material, only recently getting into the group after 2005’s critically herald album “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning.” I really liked that record, loved Conor Oberst’s voice and REALLY flipped for the single “First Day of My Life” which is one of the sweetest, most honest love songs to come out in a while. And did so without being goofy!

Oberst is a bit of a Ryan Adams, constantly writing and releasing music at a pace that I really can’t keep up with. “Cassadaga” is his latest, which will be released on April 10th. The album hasn’t grabbed me like “Wide Awake” did, but first single “Four Winds” is an excellent song whose melody, while not at first very catchy, really does get under your skin. Oberst is definitely an artist not from his time, having more in common with a Neil Young and other 60’s and 70’s songwriters. But he is not without his experimentation, as “Digital Ash in a Digital Urn,” which was released the same day as “Wide Awake” was a mostly electronic affair, though was critically and commercially eclipsed by the latter album.

I also dig Oberst for his integrity, releasing the brave anti-Bush administration song “When the President Talks to God” or his consistent boycott of the Clear Channel corporation, refusing to perform in any of its affiliated venues. (Which is NOT easy.)

Another key track off the new record that I really have gravitated toward is “Make a Plan to Love Me” another sweet, straight ahead ballad that wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve and yet never dips into cheesy schlock. Not an easy task.


The AMAZING (and GLADD recognized) video for "First Day of My Life"

The video for "Four Winds"

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Infected Girls

Song: Infected Girls
Artist: Electric Six
Album: Switzerland

While I’ve written about them before, and this record before… I wanted to re-highlight the very fun third album from Detroit’s Electric Six, “Switzerland.” First single “I Buy The Drugs” was fun and bouncy, and by looks of the video, they were squarely aiming for the college crowd for this single. Lead singer Dick Valentine’s distinct vocals are there, and despite the subject matter (umm… drugs) it lacked the goofy darkness that I like best from the band. Fortunately, there were several other cuts, more in the same vein of what I really dug from their debut “Fire” and the pretty decent follow-up “Senor Smoke.”

My absolute favorite cut off the record would have to be “Infected Girls” which has my favorite lyric from the record in it’s chorus. “Calling all protected girls, infected girls do it better.” Not to mention that it starts with the memorable “I rode a sex wave, and washed upon your shore.” How do you write this stuff? Other choice cuts include “Night Vision” and “Pulling the Plug on the Party.”

Oddly, it seems the band has decided to follow up “Drugs” with “Rubber Rocket” another just-okay track. While I do really dig the album, I must admit that it’s my least favorite of the three, but fans of the first two will still really like it, with some songs a fan-must. While goofy in a lot of ways lyrically, which is the band’s calling card, what isn’t talked about much is how great some of these rocks songs are. “Infected Girls” has a great new wave rock vibe that could be a lost classic from the 80’s.

I just really love Electric Six, and think you should too!


The video for “I Buy the Drugs”

The video for “Rubber Rocket”

Monday, April 02, 2007

Alanis Does "My Humps"

By far one of the oddest things I've seen...

Ordinary Day

Song: Ordinary Day
Artist Delores O’Riordan
Album: Are You Listening?

Remember the Cranberries? Back in the early 90’s I really dug their Smiths-ish jangle-pop that was punctuated by lead singer Dolores O’Riordan’s powerful, distinctive voice. Sure “Linger” got played out a bit, and I couldn’t listen to “Dreams” with my cat in the room because Dolores’ high notes on the chorus made him crazy, like howling running around crazy. But both their debut “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?” from 1993 and the more rocking follow up “No Need to Argue” (1994) were solid albums that remain an important piece in the history of 90’s alt-rock.

1996’s “To The Faithfully Departed” was the beginning of the end. It’s a strange record filled with some good tracks (“Salvation,” “Free to Decide”) and then some truly awful (“I Just Shot John Lennon”) Actually, I remember around the release of this album there was a review that stated that “Lennon” was “the worst song written about anything ever.” Ouch. Since the album did so poorly, I consider single (but far from hit) “When You’re Gone” to be a kind of hidden treasure. And odd mid-tempo doo-wop track, it’s a song that really showcases how powerful O’Riordan’s voice is, and it’s just a sweet pretty song. (And I usually hate those.)

Despite rumors that started as early as before the release of their sophomore album that the group was breaking up so Dolores could start a solo career, the band stayed together for another two albums that did not do well commercially. So after a four-year break, it is with much surprise that there is an ACTUAL Dolores O’Riordan solo album coming in May. I’ve been listening to it for a couple days and immediately I greeted Delores’ immediately recognizable voice like an old friend. I may have even smiled to myself.

“Are You Listening?” in a way probably just sounds like another Cranberries record due to that voice. Opener, and first single, “Ordinary Day” could have easily been on “No Need to Argue,” yet I feel like there is something missing. The album is pleasant, but with nothing new to make it truly noteworthy. But regardless, rest assured that if you were a Cranberries fan you will welcome this album with open arms. It’s a rock record, but there are a few subtle electronic elements that fit right in. Dolores is probably a rock chick at heart, though I think it would have been interesting if she went a little further with the dance elements, and do something truly different than that which she did with her band.


As mentioned, the a-touch odd, but wecastmusic favorite, When You’re Gone: