Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ghost Trains

Song: Ghost Trains
Artist: Erlend Oye
Album: Unrest

Possibly best known from the soft rock duo Kings of Convenience, Norway's Erlend Oye has also released a downtempo electronica solo album entitled "Unrest" in 2003, done vocals for Royksopp, and most recently formed The Whitest Boy Alive, whom I highlighted earlier this year.  I've always LOVED the track "Ghost Trains" from "Unrest," and after getting into The Whitest Boy Alive I finally got the whole album... which I actually liked better than TWBA.

Erlend's got a great soothing voice that married to the cool mid-tempo electronica, really just works.  "Unrest" is a great disco chill out record, not only for the production... but Erlend also writes actual songs... versus just soundscapes.

Erlend also did a DK Kicks compilation back in 2004 which I have not yet listened to, but am interested.  He certainly has a through line that runs through all of his work that I really connect with.  He's got a dorky charm to his vocals, but his production work is really spectacular.

Currently Erlend is back in Bergan Norway (where he grew up) not touring with The Whitest Boy Alive or Kings of Convenience.  He's deeply involved in the music scene, promoting new artists and organizing the Traena Festival there.


Ghost Trains

Sudden Rush

The Talk

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Let's Do it Together

Song: Lets Do it Together
Artist: Blue Six
Album: Beautiful Tomorrow

I don't even know how I got this song, but Blue Six's "Lets Do it Together" has made just about every "Chill Out" or "Late Night Sexy" playlist I've ever put together.  It's got everything that I think of as the perfect Chill Out/Lounge song.  The mid-tempo vibe strikes the perfect mood, the music is on this side of trendy ambients (despite being from 2002) and contains some cooly-detached female vocals.  It's what I like to think of as the perfect high-style Manhattan rooftop party tune... sipping expensive drinks and making yourself sound more interesting than you are.  (?!?!?!)

Anyhow... I know absolutely NOTHING about Blue Six.  I do not know the rest of the album from which "Together" comes from; "Beautiful Tomorrow."  Oh well... here comes the research...

Blue Six are on the label "Naked Music," a dance record label based out of NYC and San Francisco, specializing in "deep house" and downtempo-style music.  The label was founded by Dave Boonshoft and Jay Denes.  The former, a producer, happens to also be... Blue Six.  There are a handful of other artist on the label (I only had heard of Lisa Shaw before) as the company really specialized in... you guessed it, compilations!  Of which the "Nude Dimensions," "Midnight Snack," "Carte Blanche," and "Bare Essentials" all come.

It turns out that Blue Six actually released a new album, "Noesis," this past June.  I'll have to give it a spin and see if it holds up to "Lets Do it Together."


Lets Do it Together

Sweeter Love

Music & Wine

Monday, September 27, 2010


Song: Amerimacka
Artist: Thievery Corporation
Album: It Takes a Thief

I'd been thinking of doing a "Chill Out" week for a while, and with the release of "It Takes a Thief: The Very Best of Thievery Corporation," a collection from a band known for it's loungified downtempo music, it seems time.  The term "Chill Out" in regards to a broad catch-all mix of genres that mix trip-hop, downtempo, etc. together is probably way dated... if used at all.  Back in the late 90's and through the new millennium, the term was slapped onto many a compilation (complete with an illustration of a lava lamp) to basically note that what you were picking up was the new trippy stoner electronica.  I bought a six (six!) disc set myself back in the day that contained one Moby track and a LOT of filler.  Which was par for the course.

Thievery Corporation are a Washington, DC-based DJ duo consisting of Rob Garza & Eric Hilton.  They use a mix of downtempo beats, world influences, and a variety of guest vocalists on a pretty consistent, if one-note, lounge aesthetic.  The band formed in 2005, and "It Takes a Thief" compiles tracks from their six studio albums.  While I am a fan of their sound and over-all vibe, what strikes me about "Thief," and the reason I call them one-note, is that there isn't much differentiation from track-to-track, despite them spanning more than a ten year period.  This can be looked at two ways... they're a band with little range not worthy of a "Best Of" or the perfect band for a retrospective as it still manages to create a through-line within itself despite being a collection of hand-picked tracks from a long stretch of output.

In my opinion, if you like their vibe a little and don't know them at all, this is where to start.  Many might recognize "Lebanese Blonde" from their sophomore album "The Mirror Conspiracy," as being off the "Garden State" soundtrack.  It's a killer song, and is of note because while you can put on a T.C. album and dig the vibe as a whole instead of each song track for track, there are still stand-outs.  Again making this compilation valid.

Having a bit of trouble picking a song to highlight (Every time I heard one that got my attention, I realized it was from "Radio Retaliation" and I just knew it) so I'm going with the first track, "Amerimacka" taken from 2005's "The Cosmic Game."  It's a good primer.



Lebanese Blonde

Sweet Tides

Friday, September 24, 2010

Young Blood

Song: Young Blood
Artist: The Naked and Famous
Album: Passive Me, Aggressive You

Here's a great pop-rock record I've been really getting into over the last couple weeks.  The Naked and Famous are a five-piece from New Zealand who mix Alternative Rock with Electro-pop.  They debuted their first single and lead song off the album, "All of This" in 2009, after releasing two extended play releases in 2008.  It unfortunately did not chart.  Then in 2010, they released the song "Young Blood" which debuted at number one in New Zealand, being the first band from that country to do so in three years.

The band employs a bit of U2's bombast, some serious female wailing from band member Alisa Xayalith, fuzzed out guitars, bouncing beats, and some serious hooks.  Best exemplified by current single, "Punching in a Dream" and of course "Young Blood."  I hear a little MGMT in there as well... especially in "Young Blood."  The album does contain a little filler, but I feel the good bits still keep the whole thing afloat.

The band is on Universal Music Group, and I'm a bit surprised that marketing budget hasn't gotten them a bit more play and/or recognition yet.  They are associated with fellow Kiwi band Kids of 88, whom I also highlighted earlier this month and have been digging quite a bit.  Though The Naked and Famous certainly lean much more rock than dancy.


Young Blood

Punching in a Dream

All of This

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Song: Tiger
Artist: Maximum Balloon
Album: Maximum Balloon

Dave Sitek, guitarist and producer, is best known as part of the Brooklyn-based indie rock band TV on the Radio, a perennial critic darling that I have mostly been unable to love.  (Aside from their 2006 album "Return to Cookie Mountain," which contained the EXCELLENT single "Wolf Like Me.")  Sitek's production work is also most impressive; with all three Yeah Yeah Yeah's albums as well as the odd (and some say disastrous) Scarlett Johansson solo debut of Tom Waits covers; "Anywhere I Lay My Head."

While his band may not have been interested in taking a complete dance/rock approach to an album the way the Yeah's did with their last (and excellent) album "It's Blitz," Sitek decided to do his own side project with an electronic/dance bent... "Maximum Balloon."  The album contains collaborations with Holly Miranda, Theophilus London, Little Dragon, David Byrne, and (of course) Karen O.  Calling it a dance album may be misleading... as it's really a semi-strange indie rock record that happens to have a lot of electronics on it.

I really like "If You Return" featuring Little Dragon, "Apartment Wrestling" with Byrne, "Tiger" with Aku Orraca-Tetteh, and "Communion" with Karen O.  Again... it's an odd record, which really is par for the course with Sitek, but it does have an off-kilter charm and undeniable musicianship to it that grows with repeated listens.

There aren't any cross-over hits on here, at least to my ears, but if you like your experimental pop on the more experimental side... or your indie-rock with a alterna-dance bent, you should check this out.



If You Return

Groove Me

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We No Speak Americano

Song: We No Speak Americano
Artist: Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP
Album: We No Speak Americano

European smash hit alert... while we were treated with "California Gurls" all summer, Europe (and most of the rest of the world) was grooving to this bouncy pop jam by Australian group Yolanda Be Cool and producer DCUP.  The song samples an old Italian track from the 50's; "Tu vuo' fà l'americano" by Renato Carosone.

Like "Destination Calabria," "Americano" leans heavily on an upbeat sample that is pretty infectious.  I have only recently heard a couple remixes out here in NYC, but the song has gone to number one in no less than twenty countries around the world.  

The track was only released as a single, so the band doesn't have an album, yet they had worked with producer DCUP prior, on a remix of their song "Afro Nuts" from 2009.  My European readers may roll their eyes at what has probably been a completely overplayed song to them, but like most things "big in Europe," us Americano's may never had heard it.


We No Speak Americano

Afro Nuts (DCUP Remix)

Tu vuo' fà l'americano

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

White Knuckles

Song: White Knuckles
Artist: Ok Go
Album: Of the Blue Colour of the Sky

It's hard not to think, once you have a music video that blows up like "Here it Goes Again" (and to a lesser degree "A Million Ways") that a "band" is a bit gimmicky and the music has become secondary.  So, it was with that silly self-created notion that I listened initially to Ok Go's third album, "Of the Blue Colour of the Sky," the follow up to their hit sophomore album "Oh No."  But what I forgot, was that despite when I heard "Here it Goes Again," and thinking of treadmills, what you also hear is a killer pop song.  So after one casual listen to "Of the Blue," I shrugged my shoulders and put it away.  Well, I thought to myself... they better come up with some killer videos.

But even then I only half paid attention... as the video for second single "This Too Shall Pass" was... ok. Again... usually you compare singles to singles before... not the videos.  Was the music secondary?  But my friend Cicely was digging the album (as well as their videos) and I gave the album a better listen only to find it pretty bloody awesome.  It's a Prince throwback by a bunch of white guys that none-he-less exude such a winning charm... it's hard not to resist.  Consider me officially won-over by their latest video "White Knuckles" (see below) but also because I LOVE this song... a killer chorus, white boy funk with silly pep-rally hooks.  Charm to spare.

But the album on a whole is also really pretty great, and I think overshadowed by their (yes gimmicky) but again totally charming music videos.  Producer Dave Fridmann, who also produced MGMT's "Oracular Spectacular," and The Flaming Lips "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," helps the band fully realize a more upbeat dance vibe that also happens to be mixed with a lot of melancholy, lovelorn lyrics about love lost and emotional yearning.  From the great singles to the album tracks... give this one a chance.

But I also need to mention these music videos, the three most notable are below in reverse-release order.  "White Knuckles" is another one-shot wonder... I just can't imagine that some of it is not special effects but regardless, it is so cute and charming ad keeps upping the ante in terms of "WTF are they gunna do next?!?!" Do yourself a favor and check it out.

The video for "End Love" is another technical wonder, which by end you're sort of exhausted with the thought of how long the whole thing took.  It becomes clear, with a look at ANY of their videos, that these guys are nothing but dedicated to what they're doing.  This is also evident in the second video version for "This Too Shall Pass" (not sure why they did a second) which uses a jaw-dropping Rube Goldberg setup that really can't be explained.  Just go watch below.  And you might want to go to the YouTube page for each individual video and watch in HD... they're gorgeous.

And if you haven't picked up this album yet... you better go, ok?


White Knuckles

End Love

This Too Shall Pass

Monday, September 20, 2010

History of Modern (Part I)

Song: History of Modern (Part I)
Artist: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
Album: History of Modern

Best known for their 1986 mega-hit "If You Leave," also included on the soundtrack to the John Hughes film "Pretty in Pink," Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark" (or O.M.D.) are releasing their eleventh studio album today and their first since 1996's "Universal."  But more of note, the current lineup for album 11 - "History of Modern" is the original four-man lineup who haven't worked together since 1986's "The Pacific Age."

First single "If You Want It" might try a bit too hard to re-create the "If You Leave" magic, but third and title track, "History of Modern (Part I)" has an upbeat throwback charm to it that I connected to right away.  It is of course followed by "Part II," which slows things down in a very 80's synthpop way, until the chorus explodes with a soaring melody.  Actually, I've noted how much new indie-eletronica has been biting the 80's, so it's actually refreshing to hear some ACTUAL 80's heavy-hitters write a batch of new tracks in that style.

Not all of "History of Modern" is gold, but it certainly isn't embarrassing in any way.  If you're an old fan I highly recommend you check it out... it's worth a listen.


History of Modern (Part I)

If You Want It

If You Leave

Friday, September 17, 2010

Very Busy People

Song: Very Busy People
Artist: The Limousines
Album: Get Sharp

The Limousines hail from the Bay Area in California comprised of duo Eric Victorino (songwriter, vocalist) and Giovani Guisti (Producer, multi-instumentalist.)  Victorino was in the rock band Strata before forming the Limousines, who received attention based on their single "Very Busy People" back in 2009.  Their debut album "Get Sharp" was released back in July this Summer.  A mix of electronic beats and alternative rock, the band has garnered some much deserved comparisons to MGMT.  With that band still pushing a very... let's say different sounding sophomore record, maybe The Limousines can fill your MGMT needs.

I've been listening to this record for a couple months here and there and it's really grown on me.  I really got into the track "Dancing At Her Funeral" as well as recent single "Internet Killed the Video Star."  But check out "Very Busy People," which exemplifies their sound pretty completely.  Very anthemic and sing-along-y, this almost seems like it should be bigger than it is.  Check it out.


Very Busy People

Internet Killed the Video Star

Dancing at Her Funeral

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dressed in Dresden

Song: Dressed in Dresden
Artist: The Hundred in the Hands
Album: The Hundred in the Hands

The Hundred in the Hands are a a New York City-based duo comprised of boy/girl team Eleanore Everdell and Jason Friedman.  They formed based on a love for Old School Hip-Hop, French House and Disco, as well as Punk, British Mod, and Girl Groups ranging from the 60's to the 80's.  They recorded a single in a couple days, "Dressed in Dresden," released it online, and quickly got it released on a UK label, where they soon were playing shows.  They began putting together their self-titled debut, working out what their sounds was going to be, got a deal at Warp Records, which is releasing their debut later this month.

"The Hundred in the Hands" bursts with a myriad of influences... it's an indie-rock record with electro influences, or a dance record with punk undertones, or maybe simply a pop record... at times they even sound like an updated Siouxsie and the Banshees.  The album is immediate, catchy, and bares an 80's influence that is less wink-wink ironic and more classic New Wave Rock.  I've been really really digging this over the past week, finding more and more songs that I really like.  It's a varied record that bursts with influences from the past, yet sounds very modern.

That initial single, "Dressed in Dresden," sounds a bit like a female-fronted Franz Ferdinand, while opener "Young Aren't Young" gives me a bit of a more-lush VHS or Beta.  "Pigeons" reminds me of Ladyhawke, and "Commotion" has a bit of U2 and Siouxie.  Really good stuff.

I am HIGHLY recommending this record, and think we might be hearing a lot about this band heading into the new year.  Very exciting stuff.  You can check out more about the band at their MySpace Page.


Dressed in Dresden


Young Aren't Young

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ice Cream Truck

Song: Ice Cream Truck
Artist: Cazwell
Album: Ice Cream Truck (single)

I've been a fan of Cazwell's singles for some time, and really had a blast with his previous track "I Seen Beyonce" from 2008.  I somehow missed that he came out with a full album called "Watch My Mouth" last year just after the Beyonce track.  Though half of it was comprised of songs already released in his "Get Into It" album which I already had.  But I just went to iTunes and picked up some of the new tracks, including single "Tonight," which I again missed... and they are pretty great, and impeccably produced, just like his other work.

Cazwell has described his sound as "if Biggie Smalls ate Donna Summer for breakfast."  Which is actually pretty accurate.  Old School Hip-Hop mixed with contemporary dance music, the thing with Cazwell is his humor, which comes across in his music just as it does when he hosts a party.  (He's actually quite a hoot running contests like "Go-Go Idol," where he likes his boys drunk and dancing.)

Initially I didn't connect with his latest single "Ice Cream Truck" as much as "I Seen Beyonce," but I've realized that I can't really get enough of it... it's pretty infectious, if simple.  And again, his charm just seeps through, elevating the entire thing.  And that video!!! Yikes.  Possibly NSFW.  ;)


Ice Cream Truck

I Seen Beyonce


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Suffragette Suffragette

Song: Suffragette Suffragette
Artist: Everything Everything
Album: Man Alive

Currently the toast of the U.K.'s indie rock scene, Manchester's Everything Everything are enjoying an almost embarrassing amount of praise and falling over from the scene's rock press.  From the BBC to NME, this is THE band right now that some are calling the first post-indie band. (??)  I mean... they're on Geffen, which isn't "indie" at all.  I was immediately reminded of Yeasayer, whom the BBC name-checks in their write-up of the band, Vampire Weekend as well, which I hear too.

A mix of rock, experimental sounds, and some electronics... Everything Everything might also garner some Radiohead comparisons, not via sound, but more for lyrical obtuseness meets intellectual experimentation.  Shit... am I starting to fall all over them?

Ha, well to be honest I'm not totally connecting to this band or their sound 100% (unlike I did with Yeasayer earlier this year) but do realize they have something interesting going on here... and dear readers, I wanna keep you up on your shit.  I am digging the track "Photoshop Handsome," which gives me a little Talking Heads at their most "punk."  And actually... that's a band, and seemingly strong influence, that some haven't pieced together.  There is also some 60's psychedelia going on here too, most noticeable in "Two for Nero."  Also dig the guitar crunch and vocal layering of their very first single (from 2008) "Suffragette Suffragette."

Check this band out.  You're hipper-than-thou friend is probably about to, or already has, begun to wet themselves over them.


Suffragette Suffragette

Photoshop Handsome


Monday, September 13, 2010

Only Girl (in the World)

Song: Only Girl (in the World)
Artist: Rihanna
Album: Loud

You can partly blame watching the MTV VMA's last night (which continued my feeling of being OLD) for this Rihanna post... or that I've actually just been really digging this new song of hers.  I'm not really a fan, but you can't really deny a song like "Umbrella," and that album, "Good Girl Gone Bad" was a really great mix of catchy club-ish urban dance that I really liked, despite being bored by the girl's persona.  And then the Chris Brown thing happened, and then she released last year's "Rated R" which was dark, not particularly "pop," and flat out hard to listen to.  Despite my thoughts on the record though, the album got amazing reviews and spawned five singles, most of which went top 10, with "Rockstar 101" going to #2 and "Rude Boy" going to the top spot.  I guess I'm just totally out of step.

But, obviously miss Rihanna also had an inclination that she needed to reclaim her pop queen status, and despite commenting that she didn't want to "go back and remake Good Girl Gone Bad," first single "Only Girl (in the World)" is an urban-electro rave-up that sounds a lot like the pop from that third album.  And coming so soon after the last record... but I'm not complaining... this is what I dig from her.

It really does sound as if "Loud" will be her big pop comeback (despite not really having anything to come back from) as she's publicly said it's "sassy and flirty," "big" and mentioned that follow up single "Cheers" is "even bigger than "Only Girl." and "upbeat, happy, party music."  Noting that "listeners liked the dark stuff (of "Rated R") but didn't love it."

Regardless, the girl is getting attention no matter what she puts out.  And she's currently shooting a big role in the movie "Battleship" which is based on the board game... which sounds like it could either make her career blast-off or grind it to a halt.   But honestly, beyond all of that... I think "Only Girl" has some good pop legs to it.


Only Girl (in the World)

Friday, September 10, 2010

You Put a Smell on Me

Song: You Put a Smell on Me
Artist: Matthew Dear
Album: Black City

I got this album about a month ago, listened once and didn't really think it was my bag.  But my friend Jorge urged me to give it a better listen, specifically the sixth track, "You Put a Smell On Me."  And wow... that song is so dark, creepy, and yet totally sexy, it will take you over.  The album itself is a swirling mix of minimal beats, his deep dark voice, and a lot of weirdness.  But I must say... it's kind of undeniably... something.  I'm listening to it more and more, if for nothing else... it can score your next nasty dungeon sex party. ;)

Matthew Dear is a Texas-born composer and producer who relocated to Michigan and got much inspiration from Detroit house music.  He's released a handful of albums since 2003 with "Black City" being his fifth.

He's also done a handful of remixes, mostly for underground dance stuff.  I see he's reworked The Juan Maclean's "Happy House" which I'll have to check out.  He's also used many different monikers,  Audion, Jaberjaw, and False... which I know nothing about.

Actually, despite only just now hearing of him, his been pretty prolific for almost a decade now... "Black City" is certainly an accomplishment, I'll be checking out more of his work.


Black City Teaser

You Put a Smell on Me

Little People (Black City)

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Song: Firework
Artist: Katy Perry
Album: Teenage Dream

Unquestionably, pop sensation Katy Perry had the song of the summer as "California Gurls" spent six solid weeks at number one on the Billboard charts and sold three million copies.  Currently, the second single, and title-track from the album has just become Perry's third number one. ("I Kissed a Girl" was the only one from her debut.)  So the girl has connected with a large audience... is that why I find her such a guilty pleasure?

Maybe it's because of the flat-out pop, cotton-candy esque-ness of the whole package, the kind of dumb lyrics... I dunno.  But I also find the girl totally charming, and her songs about as resistible as a bowl of skittles.  Now, she does have every top hit maker in her corner on this album (Max Martin, Dr. Luke, Greg Wells, Stargate, etc.) but it's also very important to point out... the girl writes EVERY song she does.  (She also co-wrote Kelly Clarkson's hit "I Do No Hook Up")  So I do credit her with being a lead in who she actually is.

The album is actually a pretty great collection of pop tracks, from party anthems to mid-tempo ballads, that I must say, despite my aversion to such, are pretty good and not cringe-inducing. (Like when Britney gets serious y'all.)  "Teenage Dream" isn't super upbeat yet it's chorus is so bloody infectious, fun, summery... it's inescapable.  I certainly like it better than "Gurls" and when this happens... what can you say, you've hit upon something.

Speaking of killer choruses, confirmed third single "Firework" certainly has a winner... soaring, with Perry's trademark "HOW ABOUT I SHOUT THE CHORUS" thing that still really works.  I haven't been able to get enough of the track and see another hit for her in the fall. (It officially gets released in October.)

I don't love all of the record for sure, but don't think I'm completely the target audience.  "Peacock" is a "Mickey-esque" pep-rally type that is juvenile even for her, and I don't find "Circle the Drain" to be totally convincing. (It's about a famous ex-boyfriends drug problem.)  Surprises for me include the mid-tempo ballad "The One That Got Away," another soaring straight-forward chorus that seems totally genuine, and I really dig the strange future-pop of "E.T."

In the it's-all-been-done pop landscape, I really feel that Katy Perry has carved an interesting niche for herself.  I can totally get when people say they hate her... but she's won me over.  I really liked this quote about her approach to the album.

"The second record is really important to me because I think it shows whether I'm meant to do this, or I got lucky."

I think she was meant for this.  And millions of fans are backing that up.



Teenage Dream


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Doing the Dirty

Song: Doing the Dirty
Artist: Ali Love
Album: Love Harder

Here's another 80's synthy-throwback.  Ali Love (who was actually BORN in the 80's) is a London based artist whom released two singles back in 2006 independently and was then subsequently signed to Columbia Records.  His initial breakthrough came for providing vocals to the Chemical Brothers hit "Do it Again" from their album "We Own the Night."  His two subsequent singles, "Secret Sunday Lover" and "Late Night Session" failed to do very well, despite Columbia's promoting and the label dropped him in late 2007, never releasing his debut "Love Music," despite distributing promotional copies of it.

In 2009 Love signed a new deal with Back Yard Recordings released "Love Harder" this year.  It's almost completely a throwback, but has a lot of catchy melodies.  I like singles "Love Harder" and "Diminishing Returns" but really got into second track "Doing the Dirty."

I'm honestly not sure how well Love could do because the music sounds so dated. Despite the 80's sound being back in a big way, most acts biting that sound are updating things a bit for the time.  That said... if you like the sound of this, you'll like the whole thing.  There is a joy (and innocence)  that's really charming, and he's got a great artist for this genre.

Check him out.


Love Harder

Diminishing Returns

Smoke & Mirrors

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Big Wave

Song: Big Wave
Artist: Jenny & Johnny
Album: I'm Having Fun Now

I'd become a pretty big Jenny Lewis fan, first for her first solo album "Rabbit Fur Coat" and then the last Rilo Kiley album "Under the Blacklight." (which many fans f the bands earlier work don't like as much.)  But I was a bit disappointed with her last release, her sophomore solo album "Acid Tongue."  It lacked the charm of those aforementioned records, as well as the melodies.

I didn't realize that she was involved with singer-songwriter Johnathan Rice (whom produced "Acid Tongue") but they have evolved their "collaboration" with an another type of collaboration... an album.  Thus we have "I'm Having Fun Now," a bit of a Alt-rock throwback that mixes her love of country, melodies, and dreamy pop.  I found it immediately charming, though don't know if it can stand with her best work.  (I am not familiar much with his.)  I'm reminded of Throwing Muses, Blake Babies, and a little Kim Deal here... it's like the 90's all over again!

Lead single "Big Wave" is a good indication on what to expect from the album.  It borrows a bit from surf with Beach Boys-like melodies, very punchy.  I also liked album opener "Scissor Runner," and the slow burn of "Switchblade."

I guess I'm reminded that "Rabbit Fur Coat" took me a little to get into, so I'm going to give this one some more spins.


Big Wave

Scissor Runner

Switchblade (live)

Friday, September 03, 2010


Song: Crossfire
Album: Flamingo
Artist: Brandon Flowers

While Stuart Price produced two of my favorite albums of the summer (The Scissor Sisters "Night Work" and Kylie's "Aphrodite,") I thought the man (with equal blame on the band) dropped the ball when he produced The Killers third album "Day & Age."  As much as I loved both the New Wave-tinged debut "Hot Fuss" and the Springsteen obsessed sophomore set "Sam's Town," "Day & Age" left me cold, save for the amazing first single, "Human."  While "Human" was exactly what I'd expect from a collaboration from the arena-rock ready Killers and the dance-minded Stuart, the rest of the album was sort of ho-hum to me.

But lead Killer Brandon Flowers certainly found fruit in the collaboration, as Price is one of the main collaborators he has worked with on his first solo album, "Flamingo" due later this month.  Along with Price, super-producers Brendan O'Brien and Daniel Lanois share the songwriting and production credit on "Flamingo," some pretty heavy-hitters for a release that I feel hasn't gotten much hype.  Lead single "Crossfire" was quietly released in June (I somehow missed it) and I certainly haven't heard much more about the album, which comes out in less than two weeks.

So does this signal a problem with "Flamingo?" Well, no... it's just not The Killers style of arena-ish sing-along choruses despite sounding SO much like The Killers given Flowers voice.  Despite the minor use of electronics, it's even more country... sorry, "Americana" than "Sam's Town."  It actually can be described as "Sam's Town" with less overt hookiness... which certainly isn't a bad thing.

I'm going to give it a couple more listens before I form my full opinion, but I'm certainly digging "Crossfire"  (though I might even like the Chew Fu remix better) and also like the Jenny Lewis assisted "Hard Enough."  Check it out.



Hard Enough KROQ Sessions

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Bed Intruder Song

Song: Bed Intruder Song (feat. Kelly Dodson)
Artist: Antoine Dodson & The Gregory Brothers
Album: Bed Intruder Song

The internet is blamed for the decline of the record industry, and while it has unquestionably been responsible for the bottoming out of record sales, what it's also done is made people that never would have come close to releasing a record a new voice.  All you got to do is make a song that catches on, get people to listen, and you could be a sensation.  Lily Allen, despite her complaints that you can't make money with the record business as it is now, got her start on MySpace... the same internet was instrumental to her success.

And then there are the unwitting internet sensations, mostly from YouTube that become part of the collective consciousness because they get shared via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  If it makes you chuckle... you can easily have all your friends see it instantly.  Local news stories that wouldn't have normally been seen by anyone outside there area have now become a goldmine on YouTube.  What may have tickled someone based on their humor wouldn't have been able to be seen multiple times, to the point of making it funnier than it is without YouTube.  And because of this, we've seen the "I like turtles" kid, the queeny weatherman with the cockroach problem, Bubb Rubb and Lil' Sis, and the list goes on.  But the case of Antoine Dodson, even given all of them, is quite remarkable.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, check this out:

Almost instantly, this sort of minor story became a sensation thanks to Antoine and his enthusiastic on-camera interview.

Now enter  the Gregory Brothers, a musical group based in Brooklyn, NY whom have made a name for themselves with their Auto-tune the news series.  I'd watched several of them before and they are quite hilarious.  They recently auto-tuned the famous "Double Rainbow" guy, making what was some sort of hallucinogenic fueled freak out into an actual song.  Check it out here.

So when the Dodson clip went viral, they nabbed it, re-worked it with auto-tune... and the results are nothing short of unbelievable:

Now, it's helped that Antoine has a sing-song way of speaking that has lent itself, with a little of that auto-tune, to make it sound like this was made specifically for the song.  It's crazy... and crazy listenable. And this is strictly from a NEWS BROADCAST.

Antoine now has a website, a t-shirt line, and is getting, like the Double Rainbow guy, 50% of the proceeds thanks to the Gregory Brothers... very very cool.  AND this song is currently #40 on iTunes top 100.  40!!!!  And with that, someone whom probably never thought they'd ever achieve any notoriety at all is suddenly making money.  It could be exploitation, it could be the end of privacy, but it also could be fantastic.


Here's a couple of the Gregory Brothers Auto-Tune the News clips.  Check them all out if you haven't already.  Gold.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Song: Holidays
Artist: Miami Horror
Album: Illumination

From New Zealand's Kids of 88 to Australia's Miami Horror, some of the best electronic music is coming from the other side of the world.  A bit more of a disco-house throw-back, the "band" is really producer Benjamin Plant, who plays with a full band live.

Plant built a name for himself using the Miami Horror moniker for a slew of remixes including the early millennium house classic "Music Sounds Better With You" by Stardust, and a notable mix of Tegan & Sara's "Walking With the Ghost."  After a few singles starting with the release of "Don't Be On Her" from 2008, and then "Sometimes" in 2009... Plant released his first full-length as Miami Horror last week.  "Illumination" is a 70's and 80's throwback with some updated sunny house beats.

The album is another straight winner, with singles "I Look to You," and "Moon Theory" as immediate standouts.  The yet to be released "Holidays" is a winner, fun, light, with a great upbeat vibe.  If you're already mourning the loss of August, and the summer.... this one will bring you back.



I Look to You

Moon Theory