Sunday, April 30
I originally wrote about L.A.'s Division Day back in March. Well, their debut album, Beartrap Island, is now out and available for purchase on their website.
The band's been busy as well - touring the Pacific Northwest the last couple weeks with fellow blog darlings Birdmonster. Check out Division Day's MySpace page [here] for more touring info and sound samples.
[MP3] [SaveFile] "Colorguard"
[MP3] [SaveFile] "Hurricane"
Saturday, April 29
The Boston collective the Televangelist and the Architect has made its second record, Diaries of the Intelligentsia, available for download [here] for a limited time. They accuse themselves of ripping off Blonde Redhead, Cursive, and Sonic Youth. At times, I hear a bit of Okkervil River in the mix. And maybe some Grandaddy.
Regardless, I'm finding myself vaguely enraptured by a handful of the tracks. You'll find two of them below. You'll find the rest of them by clicking the link above.
[MP3] "The Unconscious Collective (A Tale from Williamsburg)"
[MP3] "The Artificial Intelligentsia"
Friday, April 28
We're feeling especially festive this SaveFile Friday, seeing as it's also Arbor Day here in the Mitten-Shaped State. Therefore, today's offerings are meant as an affectionate ode to whatever's left of the planet's arboreal splendor.
(BTW, the Mitten-Shaped State's official state tree is the Eastern White Pine. I'm sharing that with you because, secretly, I think you wanted to know.)
[MP3] Pulp/"The Trees"
[MP3] The Rosebuds/"Leaves Do Fall"
[MP3] Bright Eyes/"Loose Leaves"
[MP3] The Cure/"A Forest"
[MP3] Say Hi To Your Mom/"The Forest Scares the Hell Out of Me"
[MP3] Radiohead/"Fake Plastic Trees"
[MP3] Sleeping At Last/"Trees (Hallway of Leaves)"
[MP3] Gordy Boy/"A Hidden Forest" [Bjork/Cure mash-up]
Thursday, April 27
Seems like only yesterday (February, actually) that I was highlighting the shiny-happy pop of Matthew Sweet. That post included the song "Magnet and Steel," which featured backing vocals from Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham and the Bangles' Susanna Hoffs.
Well, Matthew and Susanna must have enjoyed working together, because they just released Under the Covers, Vol. 1 - an LP of '60s cover tunes. Not exactly earth-shaking or anything, but some good, clean fun for summer. Clambake!
[MP3] "Alone Again Or" [Love cover]
[MP3] "Different Drum" [Stone Poneys/Linda Rondstadt cover]
[MP3] "Daylight" [Matthew Sweet w/Delerium]
[MP3] "We Close Our Eyes" [Susanna Hoffs]
Wednesday, April 26
[This post was originally intended to run on April 12th, but a combination of accumulating health issues and booze-infused blackouts resulted in an unexpected, two-week shut-down for your humble host. Said health issues still linger; said blackouts are sure to resurface. In the meantime, though, I'll do my best to maintain at least semi-regular updates.]
This week's sweet, single-malt-whiskey-soaked sojourn in Scotland comes to a close with the very-American-sounding Texas. Fortunately, this is not some chewin'-tobacco, country-western collective from Texarkana; it's a semi-sleek/semi-soulful pop band from Glasgow. They've never seemed to get a hell of a lot of love from anywhere but the UK, and not even there so much anymore.
So let's go ahead and throw them a pity party....
From the LP Careful What You Wish For, 2003 >>>
[MP3] "Careful What You Wish For"
From the LP The Hush, 1999 >>>
[MP3] "Summer Son"
From the LP White on Blonde, 1997 >>>
[MP3] "Black Eyed Boy"
Tuesday, April 25
New York City's (by way of Dallas) Secret Machines release their second album, Ten Silver Drops, today. I like them; don't love them. But here, per usual, are my favorites from them thus far....
From the LP Ten Silver Drops, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "All At Once (It's Not Important)"
[MP3] "Lightning Blue Eyes"
From the LP Now Here is Nowhere, 2004 >>>
[MP3] "Light's On"
Monday, April 24
Tuesday, April 11
Well, we had such fun visiting Camera Obscura yesterday that we decided to stick around Scotland for an extra day or two. Today, we're going to hang out a bit with the lads of Arab Strap. Their new album, The Last Romance, came out in February. Alas, I only liked a few of the songs on it, two of which I'm offering up to you...
[MP3] "Don't Ask Me to Dance"
Monday, April 10
I liked but didn't love Belle and Sebastian's last album, The Life Pursuit. Perhaps, in my old age, I'm just becoming more and more difficult to please. Hell, what am I going to be like when I'm 90, cranky, constipated, yet gamely gumming my tapioca? The horror, the horror.
Whatever the case, looks like I'm going to have another chance to be delighted/disappointed by some Scottish pop when Camera Obscura release their latest CD, Let's Get Out of This Country, on June 6th. If this first song is any indication, I should be leaning toward "delight."
From the LP Let's Get Out of This Country, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken"
From the LP Underachievers Please Try Harder, 2003 >>>
[MP3] "Keep It Clean"
From the LP Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi, 2001 >>>
[MP3] "Eighties Fan"
[MP3] "I Love My Jean" 
Friday, April 7
I had planned on posting about April March right on the cusp of March 31/April 1, as would seem appropriate for fairly straightforward reasons. Alas, other posts prevailed, and the little lady from California has been relegated to a relatively random SaveFile Friday. Which is all the better, really - as I will feel no guilt in offering up an extra song or two for this weekend's conspicuous consumption.
April March - born "Elinore Blake" - is a bit of a mystery. She's been releasing music for about 15 years now, but she can't be bothered to operate her own website, and she obviously has significant interests beyond music. Painting, apparently, is one. And she was a writer and animator for cult fave Ren & Stimpy back in the '90s.
As for her music, much of it is French in character and, more often than not, language. She seems especially drawn to '60s-styled Europop and clearly has an appreciation for Serge Gainsbourg. But non-French-speakers (or understanders) should not shy away from sampling these not-so-delicate confections. "Charm" knows no language barrier. And "cute" is as timeless as the tides.
[Left-click, per SaveFile usual...]
[MP3] "Chick Habit"
[MP3] "Cet Air-La"
[MP3] "Mon Petit Ami"
[MP3] "La Chanson de Prevert"
[MP3] "Tu Mens"
[MP3] "While We're Young"
Thursday, April 6
Agent Sparks are a Los Angeles-based indie pop-rock quartet. I heard them first with the song "Choke," which, to my ears, has a bit of a Mass Appeal-era New Pornographers vibe to it. Could be that infernally infectious male/female vocal thing.
"Choke" appears on Agent Sparks' debut EP, Not So Merry, which can be purchased at Immortal Records or at their website. While you're there, you can also pre-order their upcoming full-length CD, Red Rover.
The band will be playing shows in California, Arizona, and Texas throughout April. You can check their tour dates and listen to some more tunes on their MySpace page.
[MP3] "Polly Anne"
The Finals are a young band from New Jersey that plays unapologetic power-pop songs - big, fat, catchy choruses and all. They released an EP, Long Story Short, in 2004, and have a full-length, Plan Your Getaway, upcoming on Immortal Records.
You can hear more of their stuff on their MySpace page.
[MP3] "They'll Never Know"
[MP3] "It's Always Something"
Wednesday, April 5
San Diego's the Black Heart Procession will release their new LP, The Spell, May 9th on Touch & Go Records. I've only been able to give it a cursory listen thus far, but I seem to be liking it less than their "breakthrough" 2002 effort, Amore del Tropico. Gone, for now, are the salsa accents that lightened the mood (slightly) on that disc. In place, as always, are the BHP's dark, moody soundscapes and Pall A. Jenkins' distinctive, through-a-glass-darkly crooning - wedged in some desolate neverland between Lambchop's Kurt Wagner and the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne.
From the LP The Spell, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "The Fix"
[MP3] "The Letter"
From the LP Amore del Tropico, 2002 >>>
[MP3] "Tropics of Love"
From the LP 1, 1998 >>>
[MP3] "Release My Heart"
Tuesday, April 4
[I swear, between the semi-regular Blogger and EZArchive glitches, as well as two days last week where my broadband went out, as well as half a day today without electricity, it's really become a bitch-and-a-half trying to keep this blog updated on a timely basis. Fuck the world.]
So I'm going to keep this short and sweet, since the wind is still whippin', my specific inch on the power grid is forever temperamental, and I have to go see what the big whoop is about a couple of cowpokes pokin' each other where the sun don't shine.
Today's band is the Sounds. They're from Sweden. They're slick. Super-slick. Not lo-fi in the least. They obviously grew up listening to Blondie, Joan Jett, and the Go-Go's. They can be rather seductive in small doses. Here's a small dose....
From the LP Dying to Say This to You, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "Painted By Numbers"
[MP3] "Night After Night" [uptempo version]
From the LP Living in America, 2003 >>>
[MP3] "Living in America"
[MP3] "Rock 'n Roll"
Monday, April 3
I've been able to track down most of the songs from Gomez's new album, How We Operate, via various Internet sources. (Of course, if you were of a mind to, you've probably done the same.). The record is being released May 2nd on Dave Matthews' ATO Records. (Perhaps not coincidentally, the Gomez title track sounds like it could be a Dave Matthews Band song, at least on the verses.)
The following tunes are proving the most promising (for me), thus far....
[MP3] "All Too Much"
[MP3] "Tear Your Love Apart"
I missed the big Zutons-mania-thing that (apparently) accompanied the release of their 2004 album Who Killed the Zutons?. I seem to remember hearing *of* them, but I'm almost certain that I never heard any of their music. Or, if I did, it certainly didn't make much of an impression. Later, when Scissor Sisters experienced *their* relatively big mania-thing, I think it's entirely possible that I mistook them for the Zutons. Oops.
Regardless, the Zutons' new record, Tired of Hanging Around, comes out April 17th on Deltasonic Records. As it happens, it's not exactly my cup of tea (maybe a wee bit too hippy-dippy/white-boy funky for me).
Here are a couple of the songs that I liked more than the rest of the songs. (Lead single "Why Won't You Give Me Your Love?" is one of the better ones as well.)
[MP3] "You've Got a Friend in Me"