Thursday, February 28, 2013


Song: Sacrilege
Artist: Yeah Yeah Yeah's
Album: Mosquito

Amazing new music from the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, "Sacrilege" serves as the first single from the highly anticipated 4th album "Mosquito," which is set to be released in April.

The new album features production by past collaborators Dave Sitek and Nick Launey (It's Blitz), as well as James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem.  Very interesting.

"Sacrilege" has a quiet, psychedelic vibe before turning to straight-up rock gospel.  Sounds amazing.

Very excited about this record.  That cover!



Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Song: Illusions
Artist: Shout Out Louds
Album: Optica

Fourth album from Swedish indie-rock act.

Guitar-meets-electronic power-pop group, with killer melodies and sublime male/female harmonizing.  I like this.  Haven't been familiar with the band before this, but "Optica" is a winner.

I'm hearing shades of everyone from Roxy Music to The Flaming Lips; Shy Child, INXS... and more, many many more.

Never doubt the Swedes.


Blue Ice
Walking in Your Footsteps

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Song: Starman (feat. Electric Youth)
Artist: Sally Shapiro
Album: Somewhere Else

Third album of sublime italo disco from Swedish duo Sally Shapiro (singer Sally Shapiro & producer Johan AgeBjorn.)  Four years after '09 "My Guilty Pleasure," Shapiro returns with possibly their best album to date, the recently released "Somewhere Else."

The album continues the sound carved out on "Disco Romance" and "My Guilty Pleasure," but adds elements of jazz, 80s nostalgia, and Saint Etienne-esque dreampop.  I love single "Starman" with Electric Youth, as well as the gorgeous sax fueled electo-ballad "Sundown" and the nearly funky "This City's Italo Disco DJ Has a Crush on Me."

"Lives Together" is rather epic as well.  Wow.

This might be the best of the three albums, check it out.


This City's Italo Disco DJ Has a Crush on Me

Monday, February 25, 2013

On The...

Song: On The...
Artist: Mickey Avalon
Album: Loaded

Getting his start on MySpace and being signed on Interscope/MySpace Records, I'd almost forgotten about (former?) Hustler/Junkie Mickey Avalon; Hollywood, CA sleaze-rapper who made a minor splash with his self-titled debut album from 2006.  At the time, my friends and I flipped for his insane singles "Jane Fonda" and "Mr. Right," as well as the immediately side-splitting and shocking "My Dick," which was highlighted nicely in the film and on the soundtrack of "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay."

There was enough of a delay from his follow up that I'd forgot all about him, which turned out to be due to years of back and forth with Interscope.  In 2011 he was apparently released from his contract, signed to Suburban Noize Records, and released his long-awaited sophomore album "Loaded" on March 12th 2012.  How did I miss this?  Must be awful right?


Actually, I've spent two weeks rocking out to "Loaded" and while it may not contain anything as catchy as "Jane Fonda," or as instant as "My Dick" it's still got a lot of gold on it, and despite losing it's way toward the end and being a touch too long, it's actually more consistant than the debut.  This is required listening... well, if this kind of thing is your thing.

And if your thing is rock-infused catchy hip-hop that's mostly about scoring and doing drugs, tales of hookers, and a general life on the edge, you are in luck.  Things start with a Mickey Avalon manifesto of sorts... the rockin' groove-tastic "Rock Bottom," which really sums up everything you can expect from the man.  Sample lyric; "Imma get high 'til I hit rock bottom."

It's filled with one catchy but not same-sounding gem after another, the lazy beat of "Girlfriend," the electro throb of "Dance," and the country-tinged NYC hustler/hooker anthem "Mickey's Girl."  Then of course there are all the glorifying of substance songs, "Drugs," "Mr. Brownstone," and my album highlight; "On The... " great stuff.

Certainly not for everyone, but if you're tickled by any of this, you'll enjoy this album.  I put together a playlist of both albums and a few one-off singles.  You won't be disappointed:

Or just listen to the new record here.


On The...
Rock Bottom
Mickey's Girl

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hold This Moment

Song: Hold This Moment
Artist: Vanbot
Album: Hold This Moment

Friend and reader Luis clues us into the new single from Sweden's Vanbot (Ester Ideskog.)  "Universally compared" to Robyn, Vanbot up the game  a bit with this first single from the as-yet titled forthcoming sophomore album.  I liked the debut okay... it certainly didn't grab me as much as Robyn, but "Hold This Moment" is quite special.

I'm listening to the debut again now, worth checking out:


Hold This Moment

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Song: Entertainment
Artist: Phoenix
Album: Bankrupt!

First single off their fifth album and April release "Bankrupt!"  Quite fun, love the Asian-esque vibe to it.

Looking forward to hearing what the rest of the album has in store.  It's apparently going to be less-pop than "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix," (uh-oh) more experimental, and partially inspired by the Sophia Coppola film "Somewhere."

Love the album cover.



Monday, February 18, 2013


Song: Latch (feat. Sam Smith)
Artist: Disclosure
Album: Latch (single)

2012 single from UK-based electronic duo Guy and Howard Lawrence.  They have a new one, "White Noise" that was released this year, their as-yet untitled debut album is set for release next month.

They have been on tour with SBTRKT, Hot Chip, and Jessie Ware in 2012.

"Latch" has a slinky-sexy feel to it, very Sam Sparro... yet vocals come from a Sam Smith, who I can't find much info about.

This band seems one to watch in 2013.


White Noise
What's in Your Head

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mr. Disco

From the 100 Influential Album List

Song: Mr. Disco
Artist: New Order
Album: Technique

I don't know New Order like I should.  Sure I've got "Substance," which is great... there's some of the best singles from the 80's there.  I had "Republic" back in the day, and also really liked their last proper album, "Waiting for the Siren's Call," though haven't taken a listen to their latest latest... the "Siren's Call" leftovers, "Lost Siren's," which was just released last month.  I did get "Power, Corruption, and Lies," ages ago, which is a classic... my first dive into their back catalogue that wasn't on "Substance," and I think there in lies the issue... aside from "Age of Consent," I didn't get much out of it, so didn't explore further.

So blah, blah, blah I take a look at the 100 Influential Albums list and see "Technique," their 1989 release and figure, like XTC... it's time to get to know more of these guys.  And thank goodness...

"Technique" is amazing and truly a how-the-fuck-have-I-been-living-without-this music moment for me dear reader.  It's pure New Order, and filled with one great song after another that just doesn't happen to be "Blue Monday" or "Bizarre Love Triangle."  And I call myself a music fan.  Jeez.

Of course the three main singles from "Technique," "Fine Time," "Run," and "Round & Round" made another compilation, the post-"Technique" "(best of) New Order."  Which might be a better representation of their catalogue.  Of course, a Greatest Hits comp is never the full story, so check out the great album track "Mr. Disco," which is as good as it's title below.

If you're on Spotify, you can listen to the album here: Technique.

Well this week was just five albums from this expansive 100 Influential Albums list which is, of course, pretty flawed.  You could argue all that isn't on there, a couple that are... but honestly, there are some great great records on this list and this week proves there is always new music to discover for yourself, both new and old.

I've gone and made a playlist of the list... or at least what was on Spotify from it, which you can take a listen to below.  It's 3 days worth of classic tunes, and yet is just almost complete.


Mr. Disco
Fine Time
All the Way

Thursday, February 14, 2013


From the 100 Influential Albums List

Song: Helicopter
Artist: XTC
Album: Drums and Wires

Admittedly, of the five records I got that I wasn't familiar with from the 100 Influential Albums list, this one... XTC's third album from 1979; "Drums and Wires," I've listened to the least.  I knew the stone-cold 80's classic and first track "Making Plans for Nigel" very very well, and maybe that's why I was always listening to this one last as it wasn't that new to me.  But the truth is, I'm very very unfamiliar with "Drums and Wires,"  and I realized with XTC in general.  (Part of the reason I picked it in the first place.)

Anyhow... not surprising is that the album is pretty great.  A rollicking, off-kilter, new wave testament that's very English and yes, very ahead of it's time.  I was three when the album came out, and I can't imagine what it must have been like as a music fan during this time.  It was the end of the 70's and all of these new types of music were emerging... a new decade was about to start... Possibilities.

My XTC experience is almost exclusively reduced to, aside from their most popular singles, their 1986 opus "Skylarking," which I've read was their big commercial grab, hooking up with American producer Todd Rundgren.  It turned out to be a great album (it was their ninth) and is considered one of their best along with this one here.

"Skylarking" in retrospect is much more precious and pointedly "odd" vs. just being "odd."  "Drums and Wires" in contrast comes off as odd without trying, it just is... which makes it seem not odd at all.  (?!?!)  Stop listening to me... just listen to the record.

"Nigel" is a classic of course and it's nice to hear it in the context of its time.  It might be the obvious standout to me right now, but listening this AM with full attention, I do hear the "classic-ness" of "Drums and Wires."  There's the manic, propulsive "Helicopter," the groovy slink of "Day In Day Out," and the very "Skylarking"-sounding first American single "Ten Feet Tall."  Great stuff.

I can't speak of XTC with much knowledge... they're just another great band I've always been more intrigued with, and always plan to get into more at some point.  If you're curious I'd say start here, it is rather good.


Ten Feet Tall
Making Plans for Nigel

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Tulpa

From the 100 Influential Albums List

Song: My Tulpa
Artist: Magazine
Album: Real Life

I wanted to blindly pick an album/band from the 100 Most Influential Albums list that I had absolutely never heard of... just for the fun of it.  That album/band ended up being Magazine's "Real Life."  I'm happy to say it's pretty amazing and I'm happy to have happened upon it.

Magazine are an English post-punk outfit that had their main output from 1977 to 1981.  (They re-formed in 2009 for a tour, and an album followed in 2011.)  Formed by Howard Devoto, an ex-Buzzcock with the objective to go in a more experimental direction vs. punk.  Hence the influential-ness.

"Real Life" can best be described as" Springsteen-influenced psychedelic post-punk."  I hear a lot of the dramatic bells and driving, euphoric melodies of The Boss, the airy-freak-outs of 60's guitar psychedelia, and the dirty/sludgy sound of straight up post-punk a-la Television and Gang of Four.  But it's also a wildly melodic record... I see why it's thought of as influential.

The most well-known of "Real LIfe's" track's is "Shot on Both Sides," which has been covered by Radiohead in concert, who also used it's ascending chord progression structure on The Bends "Just."  I personally love the start of the record, the one-two punch of "Definitive Gaze" and "My Tulipa," but it's a solid listen from start to finish.  Oh, and towards the end "The Light Pours Out of Me" is pretty epic.

Dated?  Well... I suppose.  But it's still pretty immediate and vivrant.  A recommended listen.   

They released four albums in the '77 to '81 span which I'll have to take a listen to.  As an experimental band, they apparently delved into synthesizers pretty early on as well.

The members of Magazine would end up in a variety of noteworthy bands, from Visage to Ludus, the Birthday Party to The Mekons.  They are currently still together after the 2011 reunion record.


My Tulpa (live)
Shot on Both Sides
The Light Pours Out of Me

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Iceblink Luck

From the 100 Influential Albums List

Song: Iceblink Luck
Artist: Cocteau Twins
Album: Heaven or Las Vegas

Shortly upon dipping your toe into "alternative" music or "modern rock" you learn about the Cocteau Twins.  Oddly, I never paid much attention.  They were always "on my list" to check out... it just never happened... but now they're on the 100 Influential Albums List.

Scottish rock band formed in 1979, Cocteau Twins became most known for lead singer Elizabeth Fraser's soprano vocals and "lyrics" that often veered into glossolalia or what is known as "Puirt a beul or "mouth music."  You'll often be thinking; "What did she just say?"  And there's a good chance there aren't real words.

"Heaven or Las Vegas," the album from the above referenced list was their sixth, and most successful  and ironically, contained the most intelligible lyrics Fraser had committed to tape.

Despite the commercial success they enjoyed with this album, it was the beginning of the end as they recorded only two more albums afterward, surviving another seven years.

This is good cleaning house music.


Iceblink Luck
Heaven or Las Vegas
Wolf in the Breast

Monday, February 11, 2013

This is the Day

From the 100 Influential Albums List

Song: This is the Day
Artist: The The
Album: Soul Mining

Just last week I saw a friend fill out one of those silly Facebook App things that read; "How many of the 100 most Influential Albums do you own?"  I was intrigued...

Well, I scored a 37/100, not bad... though I honestly thought I'd do better.  But it made me realize that there were several records from bands/artist I really loved that I've never got around to getting or even really listening to.  Why?  Well this list gave me the kick in the ass and I got five unfamiliar ones off the list that I'll share with you this week.

My first straight-off was The The's 1983 debut album "Soul Mining."  Back in the 90s during the 'Alternative Nation' era of music (the golden age when I realized how important music was to me) I flipped for The The's 1994 album "Dusk," which was lead by the red-hot sexy single "Dogs of Lust," which in retrospect had it's own tiny moment in my homosexual awakening.  (Why I am I so drawn to this... to him?)

I only went as far back as '86's "Infected," which was alright, though didn't pack the same punch as "Dusk."  Upon listening to "Soul Mining," I hear the semi-dated synths and drum machines... but it is fantastic.  I did know key singles "Uncertain Smile" and (increasingly) monumental "This is the Day," but "Mining" is great from start to finish.  And while it may sound a touch dated now, that doesn't mean it wasn't super influential in its time.

It was my intention to find a killer album cut to highlight from this album but my last week has been almost solely compromised of being blown away over and over with just HOW great a sing "This is the Day" is.  Like... this is one of the best songs of the 80s for sure.  You should own it.

Next up on my list is to check out 1989's "Mind Bomb," another possible lost masterpiece (to me.)

More quote-on-quote "most influential" albums during the week, but if you'd like to take the quiz and see the full list you can do so here:  100 Influential Albums on Facebook. For extra fun, leave your score as a comment on this post.

This is the Day
Uncertain Smile

Friday, February 08, 2013

Ashes of My Paradise

Song: Ashes of My Paradise
Artist: Kelly Sweet
Album: Ashes of My Paradise/Sirens EP

Kelly Sweet is returning with a new album and a new sound six years after her debut album, "We Are One."  I highlighted that title track way back in '06, and largely forgot about Kelly.  Remixes of that song pointed a different direction she should have possibly taken from the start, as the Adult Contemporary sleepiness never quite fit someone so young. (IMHO)

Things have changed.

Cut to "Ashes of My Paradise," and electro-pop album she quietly released last year in Japan which is actually quite good.  I always thought she sounded like Sarah McLachlan, and while Sarah never did an electronic album, she did many remixes of her tracks, and also co-wrote and sang on Canadian electronic duo Delirium's 1999 single "Silence," which I immediately was reminded of when hearing "Ashes of My Paradise." (helped, most likely, by the repeated use of the word "silence.")

I'm not 100% sure, but it seems that portions of "Ashes" the album are being released as an EP here in the States this year under the album track name "Sirens," with a full album out later I would assume.  Not sure if more recording is in the works or not.  Her new website seems pretty active, and you can download the single there for free.

The new sound is a little Ellie Goulding, and thankfully more straight-up pop than her earlier work.  It's a great direction that fits her voice and again, age much better.  I hope this expands her audience.


Ashes of My Paradise
My Amazing Grace

Sirens (Emvy Remix)

Thursday, February 07, 2013

While I'm Alive

Song: While I'm Alive
Artist: STRFKR
Album: Miracle Mile

Single from last year, new album (their third) coming later this month.

STRFKR, or Starfucker as they used to be called, are a Portland, Oregon-based indie-electronica act I can't believe I'm only now just discovering.  They're really amazing.

With the one-two punch of getting 2011's "Reptilians" and now "Miracle Mile," I've got a lot to digest. (And that's with currently ignoring their debut, '08's "Starfucker.")

I hear everyone from Beck to Cut Copy, Yeasayer to Pavement... The Strokes, Shy Child, The Flaming Lips...

Actually quite a bit Flaming Lips.

If any of those are "your band," you should check these guys out.

Currently my two immediate favorite songs have "alive" in the title... "While I'm Alive" below, and "Bury Us Alive" from "Reptilians."  But I must say I'm loving both records simultaneously.  Take a listen to both here:

While I'm Alive
Fortune's Fool

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

The Night

Song: The Night
Artist: School of Seven Bells
Album: Ghostory

Missed this album last year but have been digging recently, worth checking out.

NYC-based indie-rock/electronic duo (formally three) named after a pick-pocket training academy in South America, "Ghostory" is the bands third album and first without now lead singer Alejandra Deheza's twin sister Claudia.

More rock than electronic, and a bit psychedelic.  "Ghostory" is filled with airy, ethereal vocals, dramatic beats and reverb.


The Night

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Another Love

Song: Another Love
Artist: Tom Odell
Album: Song From Another Love

Friend and reader Chris introduces us to British singer-songwriter Tom Odell who studied at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music, was signed to Columbia Records, and will be releasing his debut album, "Long Way Down" this April.

The haunting, Coldplay-esque "Another Love" comes from his debut EP entitled "Songs from Another Love," which was released last October.  Filled with soaring, emotional, piano ballads, Odell establishes himself as a songwriter to watch, and one we may hear much more about this coming year.

"Another Love" is a must hear, took a couple listens, but this will get under your skin.


Another Love
Can't Pretend
Hold Me

Friday, February 01, 2013

Reinvented Me

Song: Reinvented Me
Artist: Lemongrass
Album: Gloriette (EP)

Stirring, organic, mood-shifting House.

Discovered on a lark, only to realize that Lemongrass (aka Roland Voss) has been in the game for quite some time.

This EP is from 2012, I am only now just discovering that a full-length, "Papillon," was also released last year which I have not heard yet.

I basically know nothing except these six tracks, which I quite like.  Great mood.


Reinvented Me
Night is Here
It's Easy