Friday, March 30

BEST OF MARCH

We've let lots of ladies in this month. And be damned if they don't brighten the place right up....

Left-click [HERE] for the ladies (and gents).

BEST OF FEBRUARY is still [
HERE].
BEST OF JANUARY is still [
HERE].

TRACKLIST >>>

01) YEAH YEAH YEAHS/Turn Into
02) ARCADE FIRE/Intervention
03) BLONDE REDHEAD/Silently
04) KINGS OF LEON/Ragoo
05) THE DOLLYROTS/This Crush
06) ILLINOIS/What Can I Do for You
07) LAND OF TALK/Summer Special
08) AIR TRAFFIC/Charlotte
09) CALLA/Rise
10) BRANDI CARLILE/The Story
11) THE ROSEBUDS/Cemetary Lawns
12) THE POEMS/No Sign of Life
13) MAXIMO PARK/Books From Boxes
14) LAURA VEIRS/Wandering Kind
15) KRISTOFFER RAGNSTAM/No One Told Me

16) MARIA TAYLOR/My Own Fault
17) FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE/Fire in the Canyon
18) PAPAS FRITAS/I'll Be Gone
19) PELLE CARLBERG/I Love You, You Imbecile
20) NICOLE ATKINS/The Way It Is

Thursday, March 29

LUCY


This particular post is all about LUCY. But not Lawless, and not Liu. Not the one in the sky with diamonds. Not that mettlesome redhead that's always got some 'splainin' to do. And not the infamous Ms. Van Pelt, whose fickle-pigskin shenanigans eventually led Charlie Brown to buy a TEC-9 and shoot up a Salt Lake City Hooters (sad, but true).
No, this LUCY is an all-female trio based in Toronto. If only they knew their way around a gimmick, they would have all changed their first names to "Lucy" (like some bastard collective child of THE RAMONES and GEORGE FOREMAN) and been tres famous by now. (Poor, misguided Canadians. Always so honest and above-board... always selling themselves short....)
Well, whatever. LUCY actually breaks downs like this:

CJ COSTELLO - guitar, percussion, bass
TRACEY DEY - guitar, percussion
JENN SUNSET - bass, clarinet, guitar

Theirs is clearly a casual collaboration at the moment, though one assumes they wouldn't be opposed to being "tres famous" somewhere down the road. In the meantime, they write and perform across any number of musical genres -- everything from folk to ska to jazz.
LUCY songs can be purchased at ridiculously reasonable prices at CD BABY, BLAST MY MUSIC, and iTUNES.

[MP3] "Everyday"

[MP3] "Swoon"

MAXIMO PARK

It seems only appropriate that ARCTIC MONKEYS are getting a new burst of blog-buzz at the moment. Young upstarts THE FRATELLIS and THE VIEW can't be happy about having to share the cyberspace spotlight.

Similarly,
MAXIMO PARK must have been somewhat non-plussed when those aforementioned Monkeys came clambering/clamoring along, making every blogger and his brother go utterly ape-shit/bananas.

So, maybe some poetic justice will be done if the MAXIMO PARK boys can succeed in stealing back a bit of that buzz and a sliver of that spotlight when they release their new record, OUR EARTHLY PLEASURES, on April 3.


What goes around comes around. And pop will eat itself.
MAXIMO PARK on MySPACE.

MAXIMO PARK in Europe >>>

Apr 9 2007 8:00/Zeche/Bochum
Apr 10 2007 8:00//Lido/Berlin
Apr 11 2007 8:00/Atomic Cafe/Munich
Apr 13 2007 8:00/Wuk/Vienna
Apr 14 2007 8:00/Mascotte/Zurich
Apr 16 2007 8:00/Rolling Stone/Milan
Apr 19 2007 8:00/Melkweg/Amsterdam
Apr 20 2007 8:00/La Botanique/Brussels

[MP3] "Unshockable"

[MP3] "Nosebleed"

Wednesday, March 28

DOLORES O'RIORDAN

For those of you who have been waiting with bated breath for THE CRANBERRIES frontwoman DOLORES O'RIORDAN to release a solo album, your wait is nearly over.

ARE YOU LISTENING? will be released in the U.S. on May 15 on SANCTUARY/SEQUEL. You can pre-order it [HERE].

What does the record sound like? Well... um... sort of EXACTLY like THE CRANBERRIES, actually. Which should come as no surprise, if you think about it. Despite some fairly solid melodies, that band was always dominated by O'Riordan's keening, yodeling, often-pretty/often-exasperating soprano. SINEAD O'CONNOR-lite, one might say -- but without the Pope issues and with only one or two shades of color as palette.

Except for the somewhat BJORK-like "Black Widow," the songs on ARE YOU LISTENING? could have appeared on any previous CRANBERRIES album. Even the layered, by-the-numbers vocal overdubs remain stubbornly in place.

Bottom line: This is no artistic reinvention for Ms. O'Riordan. But maybe she wanted it that way. Her former band, after all, sold tens of millions of records. Still, something tells me that Bjork and Sinead will be remembered for a much longer time, and far more fondly.

DOLORES O'RIORDAN on MySPACE.

DOLORES O'RIORDAN's future touring >>>

May 29 2007 8:00P/Razzmatazz/Barcelona
May 31 2007 8:00P/Alcatraz/Milan
Jun 1 2007 8:00P/Kaufleuten/Zurich
Jun 3 2007 8:00P/Paradiso/Amsterdam
Jun 5 2007 8:00P/Ancienne Belgique/Brussels
Jun 6 2007 8:00P/Bataclan/Paris
Jun 9 2007 8:00P/Columbia Club/Berlin
Jun 10 2007 8:00P/Berns/Stockholm

[MP3] "Ordinary Day"

[MP3] "Black Widow"

TED LEO AND THE PHARMACISTS

Like most of the music blogosphere, I'd been aware that TED LEO AND THE PHARMACISTS had a new CD coming out, yet I still managed to be an oblivious bunny when it finally dropped on March 20.

Today, then, was spent playing a bit of catch-up with said CD -- LIVING WITH THE LIVING -- and bestowing "Best Tracks" status on the two tunes below. Disagree with me if you must....
TED LEO AND THE PHARMACISTS on MySPACE.

TED LEO AND THE PHARMACISTS here, there & everywhere >>>

Mar 28 2007 8:00P/Theatre of Living Arts/Philadelphia
Mar 29 2007 8:00P/930 Club/Washington
Mar 30 2007 8:00P/Cats Cradle/Carrboro
Mar 31 2007 8:00P/Variety Playhouse/Atlanta
Apr 1 2007 8:00P/The Social/Orlando
Apr 2 2007 8:00P/Studio A/Miami
Apr 4 2007 8:00P/Chelsea's Cafe/Baton Rouge
Apr 5 2007 8:00P/Numbers/Houston
Apr 6 2007 9:00P/Granada Theatre/Dallas

[MP3] "Who Do You Love?" [REMOVED]

[MP3] "C.I.A." [REMOVED]

Tuesday, March 27

BRANDI CARLILE


Singer-songwriter BRANDI CARLILE, at all of about 25 years old, possesses one of THOSE VOICES that just plain jumps out of the speakers and earbuds. Maybe there's some K.D. LANG in there. MELISSA ETHERIDGE? LINDA RONSTADT? LINDA PERRY? Hell, I've even heard her compared to JEFF BUCKLEY.
Whatever the case, this Washington State native will release her second LP, THE STORY, on April 3. Once again, her particular brand of folk-pop straddles the line between graceful and growling, and she knows her way around a lyric as well.
So... a pretty impressive package, all in all. But it's the voice that'll hit you first. And it might just leave a dent.
BRANDI CARLILE on MySPACE.
BRANDI CARLILE on the road >>>

Mar 30 2007 6:00P/Triple Door/Seattle, Washington
Mar 30 2007 10:00P/Triple Door/Seattle, Washington
Mar 31 2007 7:00P/Mississippi Studios/Portland, Oregon
Mar 31 2007 10:00P/Mississippi Studios/Portland, Oregon
Apr 2 2007 7:30P/Great American Music Hall/San Francisco, California
Apr 3 2007 8:00P/Troubadour/West Hollywood, California
Apr 4 2007 10:30P/Tonight Show with Jay Leno/Los Angeles, California
Apr 6 2007 8:30P/The Casbah/San Diego, California

From the LP THE STORY, 2007 >>>
[MP3] "My Song"
[MP3] "Downpour"

From her self-titled LP, 2005 >>>
[MP3] [VID] "Fall Apart Again"
[MP3] [VID] "What Can I Say"

PAPAS FRITAS


"PAPAS FRITAS was formed in 1992 with the simple mission of creating catchy, honest pop music that creates a feeling of euphoria in humans."

So goes the opening line from this Massachusetts band's bio page. It's been a good three or four years since they've released anything, so I have no idea if they're still a going concern or not. But I was in the mood for some boy/girl vocal interplay today, and these folks fit that bill.

You want fries with that? Damn straight.

PAPAS FRITAS on MySPACE.

From the LP BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS, 2000 >>>
[MP3] "I Believe in Fate"
[MP3] "Another Day"

From the LP HELIOSELF, 1997 >>>
[MP3] "We've Got All Night"
[MP3] "Sing About Me"

From their self-titled LP, 1995 >>>
[MP3] "Afterall"

BONUS TRACK >>>

[MP3] "Let's Go Down to the Town Oasis"

Monday, March 26

CALLA



When I wrote about CALLA back in August of 2005, I said the following:
"Calla is a New York City-by-way-of-Texas trio that specializes in dark, cinematic soundscapes. In truth, though, they gradually seem to be shifting toward more traditional songwriting - verse/chorus/verse, etc. But, thankfully, their dark edges remain evident and decadent, so I don't think there's much danger of these guys ever going full-on, shiny-happy 'pop.''"
With the February release of their latest album, STRENGTH IN NUMBERS, I'd say that I was right about that last point. If anything, the tracks here may be something of a return their deep, dark cinematic past. I'm not complaining...
CALLA on MySPACE.
CALLA on the Left Coast >>>

Mar 27 2007 8:00P/Spaceland/Los Angeles, California
Mar 28 2007 8:00P/Rickshaw Stop San Francisco, California
Mar 29 2007 8:00P/Pop Scene/San Francisco, California
Mar 31 2007 8:00P/Doug Fir Lounge/Portland, Oregon
Apr 1 2007 8:00P/Crocodile Café/Seattle, Washington
Apr 2 2007 8:00P/Media Club/Vancouver, British Columbia


From the LP STRENGTH IN NUMBERS, 2007 >>>
[MP3] "Rise"
[MP3] "Bronson"

From the LP COLLISIONS, 2005 >>>
[MP3] "It Dawned on Me"

From the LP SCAVENGERS, 2001 >>>
[MP3] "Fear of Fireflies"

Wednesday, March 21

LET'S GO SAILING

Be forewarned: This post will be just DRIPPING with name-dropping and starfucking. I'm just telling you right now....

LET'S GO SAILING is essentially the SHANA LEVY Show. She's already made something of a name for herself playing keyboards for RILO KILEY, IRVING, LISA GERMANO, OF MONTREAL, DEERHOOF, OH NO! OH MY!, and others. On April 27, though, Ms. Levy will stake a claim for her own spotlight with the release of her debut solo effort -- the LP CHAOS IN ORDER.

Of course, it's not ENTIRELY a solo effort; she has received musical assistance from members of SILVERSUN PICKUPS, IRVING, and the currently much-buzzed-about ELVIS PERKINS. She also has made quick fans of the likes of COURTNEY LOVE (who jumped on stage to perform with her) and THE FLAMING LIPS (who play her music over the PA before their shows). Finally, she's cultivating word-of-mouth through TV tie-ins -- with songs appearing on THE REAL WORLD: PHILADELPHIA, ONE TREE HILL, and (tomorrow) GREY'S ANATOMY.

Levy is quite up-front about the immense influence ELLIOTT SMITH has had on her music. And you can hear it -- in her beautifully forlorn lyrics and voice. But CHAOS IN ORDER is no soundtrack to a suicide; more like the bittersweet backing to all things nostalgic -- lost innocence, love, hope, etc. But also an overriding faith in positive change -- new discoveries, new opportunities, new beginnings.


In this way, it really doesn't matter if LET'S GO SAILING's songs are built on jangly guitar ("Heart Condition:) or a bed of piano and strings ("Sideways"). Through it all, Shana Levy's music serves to simultaneously sadden and comfort us -- as many of our best, most meaningful memories tend to do.

LET'S GO SAILING on MySPACE.
LET'S GO SAILING tacking this way 'n' that >>>

Mar 22 2007 11:00A/KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic/89.9 FM/California
Mar 23 2007 8:30P/Echo/ALL AGES/Los Angeles, California
Mar 24 2007 9:30P/Largo/Los Angeles
Mar 25 2007 8:00P/Cafe Du Nord/San Francisco, California
Mar 26 2007 7:00P/The Attic/Santa Cruz
Mar 29 2007 8:00P/Doug Fir Lounge/Portland, Oregon
Mar 30 2007 8:00P/The Tractor Tavern/Seattle, Washington
Apr 3 2007 8:00P/Soiled Dove/Denver, Colorado
Apr 4 2007 8:00P/Sokol Underground/Omaha, Nebraska
[MP3] "Heart Condition"

[MP3] "Sideways"

THE ELECTRIC SOFT PARADE


After performing at SXSW over the weekend, brothers TOM and ALEX WHITE of THE ELECTRIC SOFT PARADE will be playing in L.A. tonight before jetting back home for more shows in the UK.
All of this is in preparation for the April 24 release of their new LP, NO NEED TO BE DOWNHEARTED, on BETTER LOOKING RECORDS. Seems the chameleonic lads (who also make up one-half of BRAKES) are pushing their sound in the direction of "futuristic psychedelia" this time around. Cue the groovy robots....
THE ELECTRIC SOFT PARADE on MySPACE.
THE ELECTRIC SOFT PARADE, pan-American-style >>>

Mar 21 2007 8:00/Spaceland (w/Goldrush)/Los Angeles, CA
Mar 28 2007 8:00/Shepherd's Bush/Empire London, UK
Mar 29 2007 8:00/The Fly/London, UK
Apr 18 2007 8:00/The Sugarmill/Stoke, UK
Apr 19 2007 8:00/Stonelove @ Digital/Newcastle, UK
Apr 20 2007 8:00/The Westport Bar/Dundee, UK
Apr 21 2007 8:00/The Lemon Tree/Aberdeen, UK
Apr 23 2007 8:00/Oran Mor Glasgow, UK

From the LP NO NEED TO BE DOWNHEARTED, 2007 >>>
[MP3] "Life in the Backseat"
[MP3] "Misunderstanding"

From the EP THE HUMAN BODY, 2005 >>>
[MP3] "Cold World"

From the LP HOLES IN THE WALL, 2002 >>>
[MP3] "There's a Silence"

Tuesday, March 20

LAND OF TALK

Pop quiz.

What do ARCADE FIRE, THE DEARS, THE STILLS, STARS, MALAJUBE, and THE HIGH DIALS all have in common?

Yeah, yeah, I know... the smarty-pantsed amongst you won't be challenged by that one at all. But for the dunce-capped amongst you: The groups above all hail from that Paris of North America -- Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Mais naturellement, vous peuplez avec dez chapeaux de mutisme!

Next question (en anglais, svp, vous fromage-mangeant singes de reddition): Does still-wet-behind-the-ears trio
LAND OF TALK deserve to be mentioned with the rest of that rather estimable list?

According to any number of influential, in-the-know bloggers, the answer is already a decided "Oui!" But I'm reserving judgment, at least for the moment. After all, singer/guitarist ELIZABETH POWELL, bassist CHRIS McCARRON and drummer BUCKY WHEATON have only released one 7-song EP, APPLAUSE CHEER BOO HISS, thus far -- and one 7-song EP does not a legacy make.

That said, the fact that these folks have been drawing comparisons to such unimpeachable underground overlords as SONIC YOUTH, PJ HARVEY, and DINOSAUR JR. certainly bodes well for their eventual entry into the upper rooms of kewldom. And yes, you can ALMOST hear KIM GORDON crawling around the first couple songs below (though I hear more of an EDIE BRICKELL-meets-CAT POWER thing going on there).


You are, as always, free to decide for yourself. Viva la democratie! And: Viva Montreal!

LAND OF TALK on MySPACE.

LAND OF TALK talking to the land >>>

Mar 21 2007 8:00P/Beachland Ballroom/Cleveland, Ohio
Mar 22 2007 8:00P/Lawrenceville Moose/Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mar 23 2007 8:00P/El Mocambo/Toronto, Ontario
Mar 24 2007 8:00P/Zaphod Beeblbrox/Ottawa, Ontario
Mar 25 2007 8:00P/Main Hall/Montreal, Quebec
Mar 27 2007 8:00P/Great Scott/Boston, Massachusetts
Mar 28 2007 8:00P/Bowery Ballroom/*SOLD OUT*/New York, New York
Mar 29 2007 8:00P/Princeton University/*STUDENTS ONLY*/Princeton, New Jersey

[MP3] "Summer Special"

[MP3] "Sea Foam"

BONUS TRACK >>>

[MP3] "Monsoon" [w/THE DEARS]

I'M FROM BARCELONA

No, they're not. From Barcelona, that is. They're from Jonkoping. In Sweden. On Lake Vattern. Which is not really close to Barcelona at all. Barcelona is in Spain. Which is between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Different bodies of water altogether than Lake Vattern. So, you see, this is all very confusing....

Oh, and did I mention that there are 29 people in this "band"? No? Well, there are. So then there's THAT to factor in....

Place the blame on EMANUEL LUNDGREN. He's the rather shady-looking character in the picture above that started all this nonsense. I mean, honestly, look at the guy. If he was an American, I would just naturally assume that he has prostitutes of various genders decomposing in his crawlspace. But nooooooo. Because he's Swedish we must give the guy the benefit of the doubt. After all, Swedes don't kill other Swedes: just themselves.

(Also: Swedes don't have crawlspaces. They live in trees. To protect themselves from dragons.)

(Which, come to think of it, makes no sense. But neither does having 29 people in your band and calling yourselves
I'M FROM BARCELONA when, in fact, you're from Jonkoping.)

Regardless, these strange, dragon-fearing tree-dwellers released their debut LP, LET ME INTRODUCE MY FRIENDS, last year to most of the world. Not surprisingly, they chose to ignore America -- no doubt because they knew we would peg them (in ascending order of outrageousness) "eccentrics," "serial killers," and "socialists."

Well, it would appear that they don't give a damn WHAT we think of them anymore, seeing as LET ME INTRODUCE MY FRIENDS will be available today in the States for your perusal and purchase. What should you expect? For starters, think THE POLYPHONIC SPREE. (Hey, wait a minute... those kooks have got a ton of people in THEIR band, too. What the hell is going on? Is this that Rapture thing all the Jesus Freaks have been going on about?)

Truth be told, though, I'M FROM BARCELONA isn't nearly as creepy as the Spree. They don't dress like they're in a cult that worships the Wicker Man, for one thing.

(In fact, there ARE no cults in Sweden. Only hockey leagues.)

So expect all things happy, sunny, and go-lucky. Songs about stamp collections and treehouses and chicken poxes. Also, one about "oversleeping," which one wouldn't think would be a problem in Sweden, seeing as they only work three weeks out of the year.

Yes, this music is twee -- with SUFJAN-goes-to-the-carnival instrumentation, handclaps, and "[We'd] Like to Teach the World to Sing" vocal explosions. But if you can keep your gag-reflex in-check after experiencing the sheer EXUBERANCE of it all, then you just might find yourself thoroughly cheered and charmed.

So, my fellow Americans, I beseech you: Put that carpet-knife down. Crawl out from that crawlspace. The sun is shining, the dragons are banished, and the Swedes are here to infuse you with their inimitable mish-mash of stoic hopefulness and Absolut-fueled tomfoolery.

But better get it from them quick.

Before they kill themselves.

I'M FROM BARCELONA on MySPACE.

I'M FROM BARCELONA & where you can see them live & in-person >>>

Mar 24 2007 8:00P/Botanique/Bruxells
Mar 25 2007 8:00P/Melkweg Max/Amsterdam
Mar 26 2007 8:00P/La Cigale/Paris
Mar 27 2007 8:00P/Koko/London
Apr 28 2007 8:00P/Bergenfest/Bergen

[MP3] [VID] "We're from Barcelona"

[MP3] "Rec & Play"

Monday, March 19

THE DOLLYROTS

Golden-State-by-way-of-Sunshine-State trio THE DOLLYROTS released their second long-player, BECAUSE I'M AWESOME, on Blackheart Records last week. (And yes, that would be JOAN JETT's joint.)

As their name might suggest, these two boys and one girl (LUIS CABEZAS, CHRIS BLACK, and sex-kitten (in a good way!) frontwoman KELLY OGDEN) straddle the line between pop and punk. They cite influences from BIKINI KILL to THE PIXIES; THE RAMONES to THE RONETTES (see: "This Crush" below, which also evokes THE GO GO's and late-period LUSH).

This is straightforward, infectious stuff, and one can understand why Ms. Jett would be a mark for their mojo. (You also have to appreciate a group that found the cajones to make a go of it after watching George W.'s victory in Florida in November 2000. Their reasoning? "If the world's going to end anyway, why not start a band?" Indeed.)

THE DOLLYROTS on MySPACE.
THE DOLLYROTS on parade >>>
Mar 24 2007 9:00P/CD RELEASE-THE AIRLINER-W/GOBETTYGO & Special Guest DJs THE DONNAS!/Los Angeles, California
Apr 26 2007 8:00P/BURTS TIKI LOUNGE/Salt Lake City, Utah
Apr 27 2007 8:00P/BLUEBIRD THEATER/Denver, Colorado
Apr 28 2007 8:00P/THE WAITING ROOM/Omaha, Nebraska
May 3 2007 8:00P/TRIPLE ROCK/MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota
May 5 2007 8:00P/OTTOS/DEKALB, Illinois
May 6 2007 8:00P/THE NOTE/CHICAGO, Illinois
May 9 2007 8:00P/GARFIELD ARTWORKS/Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
May 11 2007 8:00P/KNITTING FACTORY/New York, New York

[MP3] "Brand New Key" [MELANIE cover]

[MP3] "This Crush"

MODEST MOUSE


When it comes to MODEST MOUSE, I will readily admit to possessing no street-cred whatsoever. Till now, the only song of theirs that interested me in the least was "Float On."

"Blasphemy!" cry the diehards.


"Lick me!" cry I. "Go listen to your vinyl copy of 'Broke' for the 889th time, why dont'cha?"

(That'll tell 'em.)

As pretty much everybody already knows, the eclectic collective from Washington state has roped the guitarist that is MARR into their sad-clowns-on-crystal-meth rodeo show for the upcoming WE WERE DEAD BEFORE THE SHIP EVEN SANK. Tomorrow, the normal among you can pick up the CD. The diehards, their vinyl.

MODEST MOUSE on MySPACE.

MODEST MOUSE from Fargo [d. Joel & Ethan Cohen, 1996] to Barcelona [d. Whit Stillman, 1994] >>>

Mar 19 2007 8:00P/Play Maker's Pavilion/Fargo, North Dakota
May 20 2007 8:00P/ATP vs the Fans/Somerset
May 23 2007 8:00P/Royal Albert Hall/London
Jun 1 2007 8:00P/Primavera Sound/Barcelona

[MP3] "People as Places as People"

[MP3] "Missed the Boat"

Sunday, March 18

THE ROSEBUDS


What in the world's come over THE ROSEBUDS? Just two years ago I was praising the boy/girl vocal interplay and "charmingly chimey" ways of BIRDS MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS (an album that ultimately landed itself in my Top 10 album list for 2005).
But with their upcoming third record, NIGHT OF THE FURIES (April 10; Merge Records), IVAN HOWARD and KELLY CRISP want to take us dancing -- '80s and early-'90s style. Thus, if you've been jonesing for a bit of vintage NEW ORDER or EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL, you're in luck. If you're pining for a return to the more lo-fi, charming chiminess of their debut, you're shit out of it.
Me... I'm going along for the ride. But that lopsided smile on my face can't decide if it wants to be quiescently content or quizzically concerned. To paraphrase LEONARD COHEN, I sure hope the Rosebuds aren't on the verge of dancing me to the end of love.
THE ROSEBUDS on MySPACE.

[MP3] "Get Up Get Out"
"Cemetary Lawns" [REMOVED AT ARTISTS' REQUEST]

"Hold on to This Coat" [REMOVED AT ARTISTS' REQUEST]

Saturday, March 17

FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE


[Didn't mean to, but ended up giving myself a little vacation from the blog last week. Binges are fun... till the inevitable crash and comedown. So... next week should be relatively stable around here....]

What with my great love for THE CARS back in the '80s, it's probably no wonder that I find myself fond of FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE. These guys (centrally: ADAM SCHLESINGER and CHRIS COLLINGWOOD) have been crafting impeccable pop songs for over ten years now, and they'll be entering their second decade with the April 3 release of TRAFFIC AND WEATHER.

There might not be any "Stacy's Mom"-styled breakout here (first single "Someone to Love" probably comes closest), but, as always, there are at least a handful of hyper-hooky pop tunes here just waiting to burrow into your brain and stay lodged there. And just in time for summer, too. How thoughtful of the boys.



FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE on MySPACE.

FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE out-and-about >>>

Apr 20 2007 7:30P/Apple Store - SoHo/New York, New York
Apr 21 2007 8:00P/Pearl Street/Northampton, Massachusetts
Apr 22 2007 8:00P/Paradise Rock Club/Boston, Massachusetts
Apr 24 2007 8:00P/Webster Hall/New York, New York
Apr 25 2007 8:00P/Trocadero/Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Apr 28 2007 8:00P/Coachella Music and Arts Festival/Indio, California
Apr 30 2007 8:00P/Great American Music Hall/San Francisco, California
Jun 17 2007 8:00P/Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival/Manchester, Tennessee
Jul 27 2007 8:00P/Fuji Rock Festival/Naeba

[MP3] "Hotel Majestic"

[MP3] "Fire in the Canyon"

Friday, March 9

LEIGH NASH



Imagine my horror. Here I was inspired... (uh, no... bad choice of words...) Here I was COMPELLED BY DEMONIC FORCES to post on former SIXPENCE NONE THE RICHER lead singer LEIGH NASH, when I suddenly became reacquainted with the fact that said band and said singer are self-professed "Christian" artists. Good God. (Uh, no... yet another bad choice of words.)
Now, it's one thing to be an artist and a Christian; that probably describes most artists in the Western world. But to wear it on your sleeve... to pronounce it so proudly... to make it such an integral part of your persona.... Argh! Shiver me timbers! It just plain gives me the heebie jeebies. That is, when it's not giving me the screaming meemies.
But... I'd already committed to this post, and Ms. Nash's voice is so goshdarned pleasant and innocent.... Just chalk it up to this: The devil made me do it.

LEIGH NASH on MySPACE.

LEIGH NASH preaching to the choir, in church and elsewhere (though mainly in church) >>>

Mar 16 2007 8:00P/SXSW/Austin, Texas
Mar 30 2007 8:00P/Central Gospel Temple/St. Catherines, Ontario
Mar 31 2007 8:00P/Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship/Toronto, Ontario
Apr 2 2007 8:00P/Dominion Chalmers Church/Ottawa, Ontario
Apr 3 2007 8:00P/Reedemer University/Hamilton, Ontario
Apr 4 2007 8:00P/Forward Baptist Church/Cambridge, Ontario

From the LEIGH NASH LP BLUE ON BLUE, 2006 >>>
[MP3] [VID] "My Idea of Heaven"
[MP3] "Ocean Size Love"

With SIXPENCE NONE THE RICHER >>>

From the LP DIVINE DISCONTENT, 2002 >>>
[MP3] "Tonight"
[MP3] "Melody of You"

From their self-titled LP, 1997 >>>
[MP3] [VID] "Kiss Me"
[MP3] [VID] "There She Goes" [THE LA'S cover]

[MP3] "I Need Love" [SAM PHILLIPS cover]

WITH DELERIUM >>>

From the LP POEM, 2001 >>>
[MP3] "Innocente"

Thursday, March 8

KAISER CHIEFS


KAISER CHIEFS' new album, YOURS TRULY, ANGRY MOB, will be out March 14
KAISER CHIEFS on MySPACE.

KAISER CHIEFS continent-hopping >>>
Mar 9 2007 8:00P/Cardiff University Great Hall/Cardiff
Mar 10 2007 8:00P/Cardiff University Great Hall/Cardiff
Mar 15 2007 8:00P/Quattro Club/Tokyo
Mar 21 2007 8:00P/The Forum/Sydney
Mar 23 2007 8:00A/Prince of Wales/Melbourne
Mar 30 2007 8:00A/Royal Albert Hall/London
Apr 6 2007 8:00P/Electric Factory/Philadelphia
Apr 7 2007 8:00P/9:30 Club/Washington DC

[MP3] "Heat Dies Down"

[MP3] "I Can Do It Without You"

Wednesday, March 7

LAVENDER DIAMOND



LAVENDER DIAMOND. The very name reeks of richness. Sweetness. Decadence. Sweet decadence. Decadent sweetness. And so forth.
I'm not sure I entirely trust a band that does the bumper-sticker "Peace!" and "Find Your Center!" thing on their MySPACE page. Or that describes their sound as "the sound of love!".
But maybe REBECCA STARK's sweet, rich, decadent voice (along with my first taste of cheap, thin, decadent vodka this week) will help lift me out of today's gloomy, piss-poor mood.
LAVENDER DIAMOND's debut LP, IMAGINE OUR LOVE, will be released by Matador on May 8.
The band will be playing Joe's Pub in New York City tonight at 11:30 PM.

From the LP IMAGINE OUR LOVE, 2007 >>>
[MP3] "Open Your Heart"
[MP3] "Side of the Lord"

From the EP THE CAVALRY OF LIGHT, 2005 >>>
[MP3] "You Broke My Heart"
[MP3] "Rise in the Springtime"

DEW


Staying in Sweden...
The duo that is DEW hails from Halleforsnas, which is located about halfway between Eskilstuna and Flen. Can you picture that on a map? Excellent.
I should mention that I was beaten to the punch on these guys by the ever-nettlesome HITS IN THE CAR. At least he didn't inspire the post this time; we seemed to discover the group at about the same time. He's just a faster writer than I am. The bastard.
So... one of the reasons I bothered to mention Halleforsnas earlier is that it's one of the only bits of information that HITS neglected to insert into his original post. Thanks for the scraps there, fella. Sloppy seconds, anyone? Excellent.
DEW consists of friends TOMMY ERIKSSON and DAN OSTBERG. They started performing under that name in 2000, but didn't release their first album -- SOMEWHERE ELSE -- until 2005. As near as I can tell, the record isn't available for purchase at this point.
By the sound of it, this is a very casual collaboration, with the two musicians writing and recording whenever they can get a break from work and family obligations. Doesn't seem like they get many of those breaks, though their MySpace page does mention the possibility of a new band member joining the party.
As for their sound, it's highly evocative of '80s British indie-pop -- all jingle-jangle and bouncy basslines on parade. I can't quite peg it exactly, but artists along the lines of THE HOUSEMARTINS, AZTEC CAMERA, PREFAB SPROUT, and/or BILLY BRAGG might put you in the ballpark.
(HITS IN THE CAR was impudent enough to compare them to a group I'd never even heard of -- THE RIVER DETECTIVES. As if writing faster than me weren't already enough, now he's got to go all obscure on my ass. The nerve of the guy! At this point, I'm seriously thinking about hiring TOBY KEITH to stick a boot up his ass. It is, after all, the American way.)
DEW on MySPACE.

[MP3] "All That I'm Leaving Behind"

[MP3] "Still Looking"

Tuesday, March 6

DAVID & THE CITIZENS


I'm tired of using the same words -- over and over and over again -- when I write about Swedish music and songcraft. I'm sure you're tired of reading them. "Catchy." "Melodic." "Simple" yet "Sophisticated." On and on and on.

Of course, these labels don't apply to every song or artist under the Swedish sun; the country's ample enough to produce sticky-sweet bubblegum dance-pop, post-punk noise-rock, and everything in between. Still, there can be little question that the Swedes -- as a people -- have a way with a tune. The world was aware of this at least as long ago as ABBA and -- a decade later -- ROXETTE were making a lot of musical moralists and arbiters of high taste uncomfortable at their inability to resist such seemingly empty and ephemeral pop songs.

(But don't go getting too cool for school, Sweden. REDNEX's "Cotton Eye Joe" was an abomination worthy of a suitcase-nuke strike on Stockholm. And ACE OF BASE? Well... it was nice knowin' ya, Malmo.)

On second thought, let's throw Malmo a bone and steer the anti-Ace of Base jihad to... um... Helsingborg! (Hell, it's practically in Denmark anyway.) Why the shift? Because DAVID & THE CITIZENS are based in Malmo, and we can't have THEM getting anthraxed or dirty-bombed, now can we?

DAVID & THE CITIZENS are led by sometime-solo artist DAVID FRIDLUND and have been putting out consistently catchy, melodic, simple-yet-sophisticated indie-pop for a good seven years now. It wasn't until last year that they finally got an American release, and, as near as I can tell, they've yet to tour the States. They will, however, be playing SXSW in Austin on March 15 as part of Nordic Nights at Uncle Flirty's [see below for more details].

DAVID & THE CITIZENS on MySPACE.

DAVID & THE CITIZENS (and other Scandinavians) at Nordic Nights >>>

Thursday March 15 >
08PM: Marit Bergman (Sweden)
09PM: Funky Nashville (Denmark)
10PM: Mammut (Iceland)
11PM: moi Caprice (Denmark)
12AM: Rubik (Finland)
01AM: David and The Citizens (Sweden)

Friday March 16 >
08PM: IrinaBjorklund & Peter Fox (Finland)
09PM: Marit Larsen (Norway)
10PM: Vincent Van Go Go (Denmark)
11PM: Johnossi (Sweden)
12AM: Grand Island (Norway)
01AM: Reykjavik! (Iceland)

From the LP STOP THE TAPE! STOP THE TAPE!, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "48h"
[MP3] "Sad Song 2"

From the EP ARE YOU IN MY BLOOD?, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "Absent Mind"

From the EP BIG CHILL, 2004 >>>
[MP3] "Big Chill" [w/MATTIAS ALKBERG]

From the GRAYCOATED MORNING single, 2004 >>>
[MP3] "Christmas Eve"

From the LET ME PUT IT THIS WAY single, 2004 >>>
[MP3] "Let Me Put It This Way"

From the LP UNTIL THE SADNESS IS GONE, 2003 >>>
[MP3] "Let's Not Fall Apart"
[MP3] "New Direction"

From the THE END single, 2003 >>>
[MP3] "The End"

From the LP FOR ALL HAPPY ENDINGS, 2002 >>>
[MP3] "Pink Evening"

Monday, March 5

MISFIT MONDAY

A bit of an odds-n-sods starter for the week...

First, my beloved THE INDELICATES have finally put a new song up on their website. When I first wrote about them just about a year ago exactly, it went something like this:

"The Indelicates hail from Brighton and have only been in existence since September 2005. They are led by Simon and Julia Indelicate - whose married-in-name-and-novelty-only vocal interplay brings to mind the Shane MacGowan/Kirsty MacColl dynamic of "Fairytale of New York." Or maybe they're what would happen if you jammed Jarvis Cocker, Black Box Recorder, and Billy Bragg in a blender. You'd get something thick. A bit bitter. Dark. Delightful. Delicious. Ah, leave it to the Brits...."

The new song has more of a driving, "rock" posture to it. If "Fairytale of New York" was the vibe with some of their earlier stuff, then maybe MORRISSEY's "Jack the Ripper" can serve as a point of comparison here.

If you visit the Indelicates' site, by all means consider shelling out a little scratch for their great single "We Hate the Kids." You can get it at iTUNES or -- for the old-schoolers amongst you -- buy it on vinyl [HERE].

As for the rest of today's tunes... chalk them up to the "One-and-Done Syndrome." These would be the sole songs that I enjoyed off some current (and upcoming) buzzworthy wonders. As always, I never post anything on this site that I don't think is pretty damn swell from one angle or another, and one winner on an album is certainly better than none. For me, these were the ones...

[MP3] The Indelicates/"Fun is for the Feeble Minded"

[MP3] The Postmarks/"Let Go"

[MP3] Ruby Isle/"Atom Bombs"

[MP3] David Vandervelde/"Can't See Your Face No More"

Friday, March 2

BEST OF FEBRUARY


Short month; full mix. Hope you find some items to your liking.

Left-click [HERE] for the tracks.


(Best of January still available [HERE].)

TRACKLIST >>>

01) The Cinematics/Race to the City
02) Starflyer 59/I Win
03) Cold War Kids/Hang Me Up to Dry
04) The Poems/So Soon
05) The Hours/Ali in the Jungle
06) Malcolm Middleton/A Brighter Beat
07) Papas Fritas/Vertical Lives
08) Eastern Conference Champions/Nice Clean Shirt
09) Soft Complex/Barcelona
10) Sahara Hotnights/Cheek to Cheek
11) Klaxons/Totem on the Timeline
12) Abernathy/Astronaut
13) Telograph/Eye for an Eye
14) Pernice Brothers/One Foot in the Grave
15) The Cinematics/Keep Forgetting
16) The Broken West/Down in the Valley
17) Elvis Presley/Suspicious Minds
18) Bad Cash Quartet/Too Bored to Die
19) Secretrary Bird/Tio
20) The Hellacopters/Make It Tonight
21) Blanka/Here Comes That Sound Again

Thursday, March 1

BOB DYLAN


This was never intended to be a '60s-themed week, especially as I have a number of posts waiting in the wings that I owe to some decidedly contemporary artists (I haven't forgotten about you, folks... honest).

A few days ago, I finally got around to listening to
BOB DYLAN's last album, MODERN TIMES. I didn't expect I'd like it much, and I didn't. This whole "blues" thing he's been getting so much praise for these past five years or so tends to leave me cold. (And yes, I realize that Dylan has always done the "blues" thing; I just much the prefer the man when he's in "folk" or "electric-folk" mode.)
Still, there were two songs on the new record that broke through for me, and there are at least a handful from his more recent canon that I'd rate as some of his very best. Well... the very best of his past 20 years or so, anyway.
[FYI: The Best of February mix will be up tomorrow. I hope you'll stop by and pick it up.]
From the LP MODERN TIMES, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "Workingman's Blues #2"
[MP3] "Ain't Talkin'"
From the LP TIME OUT OF MIND, 1997 >>>
[MP3] "Not Dark Yet"
[MP3] "Tryin' to Get to Heaven"
From the LP OH MERCY, 1989 >>>
[MP3] "Most of the Time"
BONUS TRACK >>>
[MP3] "Things Have Changed"
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