Friday, June 30, 2006

I'd Ask My Friends To Come and See

Love opens today in Vegas. Man, I have mixed feelings about this. I suppose exposing the Beatles' great catalog of music to new audiences is always a good thing, although really, who has yet to be exposed? Cirque du Soleil just seems so cheesy and to act out Beatle "characters" from their songs seems to oversimplify what they really mean to people. Well, it's not like I'm going to Vegas to see it anyway. There is word, though, that the music George Martin and his son worked on (mash-ups, remixes, etc.) will see a formal CD release later this year. While I'm sure it won't be as inventive as The Grey Album, it's still cool to hear different takes on the many things the Beatles have done.

It Might Change My Memory

Jon Brion is currently working with Dido on her third studio album. I'm anxious to hear what he can add to her sound. I found her first album intriguing yet disappointing. I found her second album, of what I've heard of it, just disappointing. She has a great voice. The potential is there. Hopefully, Brion will be able to reveal her edge, that spark she showed as a vocalist for Faithless. She's a looker too.

Watch the video for Here With Me here with me.

Now It's Time To Say Good Night

ICE MagazineAfter publishing for 19 years, one of the most reliable and respected music publications is no more. ICE Magazine announced it would no longer provide the best resource around for new music releases. I was a subscriber for several years and when I wasn't, I would consistently seek out the magazine when I'd hit the bookstore. Every issue had surprise news about one of my favorite artists and their upcoming release. Usually, ICE had amazing details long before anybody else. It was an interesting transition a few years ago when they converted to a glossy format. It may have added costs that ultimately led to this, who knows. Eventually, the publisher will provide more details about what happened on the website. Tough business.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

It's Better for the City

Modern SkirtsI truly appreciate when my friends turn me on to things I'd never heard of before (Dirty Pop, still looking forward to hearing more of tapes 'n tapes). Thanks, country feedback, for sharing with me The Modern Skirts.

The Modern Skirts is yet another potential success story out of Athens. They're rubbing shoulders with an icon of modern rock (who put Athens on the pop music map) and his wannabe puppy-dog sidekick. As for the music, think Ben Folds Five with more guitar and less jokiness. The singer is a great vocalist with a voice that reminded me so much of the Farm's lead singer that I had to look it up to make sure it wasn't him (it's not). He also crosses into the stylistic sound of Roland Orzabal of Tears for Fears and, at a few minor points on the album, the quirkiness of They Might Be Giants. Speaking of the album, it's called Catalogue of Generous Men and it is a worthy find.

Preview tunes at theirspace, iTunes, and Not Lame. September Days is a standout for me.

I Never Needed to Shine

LongshadowsNot unlike the Kevin Bacon game or living in Des Moines, the world of pop music is fascinating for its interconnectedness. I recently discovered that Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms is good friends with Steve French, who was in an obscure early nineties britpop band called Starclub that had a very minor hit with Hard to Get. I was one of six other people who actually bought the album because I enjoyed the tune, although I couldn't even think of another song from that album without looking it up. Evidently French and Wilson became friends when their two bands toured together way back when. Starclub

French has become a producer who worked with Wilson in some of his solo projects after the Gin Blossoms initially broke up. Now, they've formed their own band called the Longshadows that has a pretty good sound. It's hard to hear Wilson's voice in anything not identified with the Gin Blossoms, but these soundbites have - for lack of any better term - a more adult sound. Perhaps what I mean is that it tends to be a bit mellower and less immediately hooky than Wilson's more successful band.

I'm intrigued though not quite sold. Perhaps if the Gin Blossoms' new tune ever hits me, I may just dig a little deeper and spend more time with the Longshadows. In the meantime, I may just have to dig out that ol' Starclub CD, blow off the dust, and get that sucker on the iPod.

Check out previews of the Longshadows on theirspace, iTunes, and Not Lame.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

You Know It's Bringing Me Down

Material Issue International Pop OverthrowI've been way into Material Issue lately for some reason. Looking up Pat DiNizio info reminded me that maybe it's because it was ten years ago yesterday that Jim Ellison, lead singer and songwriter for Material Issue, killed himself. I was working in radio at the time and I remember hearing the news and being pretty distraught. I played a few classic tunes in the hopes that they'd earn a few new listeners through the news of the tragedy. I hope it did.

Do yourself a favor and pick up International Pop Overthrow. This is the epitome of a too poppy album and it's the most appropriate way to remember Ellison. It was truly a coming-of-age album for me, and it makes for a superb summer soundtrack.

She Was Tall and Cool and Pretty and She Dressed as Black as Coal

This is Pat DiNizioI've always been a big Smithereens fan and I have veejay-turned-podcast pioneer Adam Curry to thank for it. Back when 11 was released and A Girl Like You was rightfully hitting big, Curry introduced it as AC/DC meets Beatles. While no big fan of AC/DC, anything that was remotely compared to the Beatles back then was a must for me. I was not disappointed. Seeing them at the annual free Fourth of July concert at the Taste of Chicago in 1990 is to this day one of my favorite live music experiences. What a blast. Few bands put on such a jovial, party of a show like the Smithereens.

Well I'm thrilled to share the news that Pat DiNizio, the distinctive voice of the Smithereens, has a new solo album out called This is Pat DiNizio (very creative). It's an album covering mostly classic 60s tunes (could you tell he was a fan of the 60s?) done jazzy and minimalist. I was very skeptical considering I don't particularly get enthused about covers and I've never gone out of my way for some jazz. But, man, listening to just a couple of the soundbites courtesy of Not Lame has me very excited to hear the rest. I'm convinced only DiNizio with such a cool, unique voice could pull this off. Listen to the previews yourself:

Pat DiNizio - For No One
Pat DiNizio - California Dreaming
Pat DiNizio - Behind the Wall of Sleep (one of my all time favorite Smithereens tunes)

Very cool. As always, thank you very much Not Lame.

Lines Evermore Unclear

Keane Under the Iron SeaKeane's new album came out this week too. So far so good. I'm still not a huge fan of the single, but it has grown on me a bit. Under the Iron Sea is being called "darker," "sounding a bit too much like U2" (which I've determined to be the laziest critical comparison next to 'Beatlesque'), and "interminable." I think the latter is a bit harsh, particularly because they're talking about one of the tunes that stood out to me on first listen (Crystal Ball).

For "bittersweet" and "dramatic" music, Keane holds its own quite well with others that have come before, like Coldplay and Travis. In fact, I think Keane lasts a bit longer, for me anyway. In the battle of falsettos, Keane's Tom Chaplin beats the others quite handily. Radiohead and U2 comparisons are way off. They are both in their own leagues so just stop with that.

I Want to Relive All My Adolescent Dreams

Guster Ganging Up On the SunGuster released its fifth full-length studio album this week - Ganging Up On the Sun. Guster is always a recommended purchase in the world of too poppy. Guster should be happy about this review. Guster must like hearing its new CD is "the work of a band who matters." Guster should be slightly irritated by this mostly positive review. Guster must think the AV Club only listened to the two songs it made available long before the full-length was released.

Guster expects you to download Ganging Up On the Sun at iTunes or purchase it at your favorite local independent music store. Guster would also like to remind you, speaking of indie music stores, to purchase the exclusive One Man Wrecking Machine EP that is only available at the cool places (despite ZZZ Records being the coolest in Des Moines, it's not available there).

Guster has its video for One Man Wrecking Machine and its other tunes here. Guster has given the world an excellent, slow-burning, likable lovable new CD, one to savor all summer long. Guster should be proud. Me gusta Guster.

Friday, June 16, 2006


According to Spacelab Chad Van Gaalen's next Sub Pop album is titled Skelliconnection and will be released August 22nd. Sub Pop reports these songs were culled from hundreds of songs Chad has recorded over the last year or so. This is a follow up to his excellent Sub Pop debut Infiniheart. Tracklist is below.

  1. Sing me to Sleep
  2. Flower Gardens
  3. Graveyard
  4. Systemic Heart
  5. Mini TV's
  6. Gubbish
  7. Rolling Thunder
  8. Dead Ends
  9. Red Hot Drops
  10. Wind Driving Dog
  11. Dandruff
  12. See Thru Skin
  13. Burn To Ash
  14. Viking Rainbows
  15. Wing Finger

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Past Is Gone But Something Might Be Found To Take Its Place

Gin Blossoms Major Lodge VictoryGin Blossoms are back - again! This time, they're not only touring, but also releasing a new studio album. Major Lodge Victory comes out August 8. You can listen to the new single Learning the Hard Way here or here. Sounds ok. A bit tame and mellow for a comeback tune. I prefer Gin Blossoms in their Hey Jealousy mode, not their As Long As It Matters mode. But, I suppose most of their hits were of the mellow variety so that's what they're going with.

It seems that Gin Blossoms are often bunched up with Toad the Wet Sprocket when the cool kids talk about bands they think are lame. I suppose it goes back to when the two toured together. They also hit big around the same time and probably shared a lot of fans. I think the comparison is wrong, though. I consider Gin Blossoms to be a great, simple bar band that had one terrific album (the awesome, booze-soaked New Miserable Experience) and a mediocre second album. I'll concede that to some they're a power pop band, but I think that's a bit off too. From the sound of their new single, I don't think they'll earn any new fans. Toad, on the other end, has quite a bit more depth and timelessness and is definitely not a power pop band. I would argue much stronger for Toad's lack of lameness than I would for Gin Blossoms'. I'll get around to buying the new Gin Blossoms, but if Toad ever releases another studio album, I'll buy the deluxe version two months in advance.

This all comes to mind because stereogum had a recent post that debated Toad. Looks like the cool kids still think Toad is cool. Ok, so I'm not one of the cool kids, but I thought I'd throw my opinion in the mix anyway.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

There's No Second Chance

MonkeemanNot Lame recommends Monkeeman. 2poppy considered their recommendation and enjoyed the soundbites put up by Not Lame. 2poppy checked out even more on theirspace. Now, 2poppy recommends Monkeeman.

Monkeeman is from Germany so it's not likely you'll find it on an endcap at Best Buy. Not Lame has a limited amount of copies of their latest Burn To Shine if you want the shiny disc. If you're the digital type, iTunes suprisingly has it as well. But you should give some love to Not Lame for digging this one up for you.

MP3: Monkeeman - Life is Wonderful (via)
MP3: Monkeeman - The Last Ones (Preview via)

Monday, June 12, 2006

You Make It Easy

Barenaked LadiesThere was a short time before and after Stunt was released that I enjoyed listening to the Barenaked Ladies. The emphasis is on short. I enjoyed the quirky melodies that bordered on novelty in songs like Be My Yoko Ono and If I Had a Million Dollars (the latter of which was played incessantly by the band made up of my roommates in college -- along with If I Run by the band formerly known as Pleasure -- mere inches away from my basement bedroom until 3 o'clock in the morning - good times). But then a song that could hardly be listened to for longer than one minute was everywhere for much longer than One Week and I was done. I haven't even been able to listen to the songs I enjoyed before that song killed BNL for me. Way2Poppy still digs them, and that's cool. I just can't get past it.

Well, I may have to give them one more shot because I admire what they're doing right now. They are defiantly anti-DRM and to prove it, they have released their new single Easy in a free download four-track version. They encourage you to remix it and submit your version, which may be given a formal download release if it's one of their five favorites. Let me know how it is. I still can't make the leap to listen.

MP3s: Barenaked Ladies - Easy


This is a test of the Music Lover's Hearing Loss System. This is only a test.

It's Got Me Out of My Head

It's been three years since Pete Yorn released his second album, Day I Forgot. While I thought it was a bit of a disappointment compared to his debut musicforthemorningafter, it still makes for a good listen now and then. His third album, Nightcrawler, is scheduled to be released August 15. It completes his diurnal trilogy, which didn't even make sense until I noticed the "morning," "day," and "night" references in the album titles. A nice little concept, if not a bit pretentious. "Nightcrawler is most definitely the rock record." That's a good sign.

He's hitting the road this month and next for his acoustic "You & Me" tour. See him in Council Bluffs on July 21 (dammit, three days before the bar exam!)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Do You Think You Could Deliver My Soul?

Matthew SweetI simply cannot believe that it was 15 years ago that Matthew Sweet released the classic Girlfriend. 15 YEARS!!! To celebrate, he's re-releasing it Tuesday in a double-disc remastered version, which will include the b-sides to the original Girlfriend single and the rare promo-only Goodfriend disc. In typical Matthew Sweet fashion, it's not getting nearly enough attention (although it was pleasantly surprising to see it listed in EW's Must List this week). You'd think they'd get his official site live again for this occasion! This is one of the best power pop CDs to ever be released (although it truly transcends any genre labels), and to think it was only a minor hit. Now is the time to get yourself a spiffy new copy. You can already order from Amazon naturally.

It's difficult to narrow down my favorites on the album: Divine Intervention (unbelievable live), Girlfriend, Evangeline, Holy War, Nothing Lasts, I Wanted to Tell You, I've Been Waiting, Winona, You Don't Love Me, Looking at the Sun ... it's almost embarassing how many great songs are on this one album! If you're reading Too Poppy and you don't own this album -- shame. It's a prerequisite for the enjoyment of any modern pop (and to be my friend of course). But you're forgiven because here's your chance to own the remastered special edition.


Friday, June 09, 2006

So Don't Stay Too Long

I can't remember the last time I've seen and heard a music video that actually captured my attention for more than the first 30 seconds. Thanks to the new (relatively new to me anyway) music video program 360 that airs in Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota, Extra Blue Kind is now a band I must learn more about. You can learn more about this Indianapolis band on their official website and you can hear a few tunes on theirspace. I'm really digging Pinch, Blink, Stay Alive. In fact, you can watch the same video that caught my attention below.

Watching 360 on a Friday night brings me way back to my teenage days of living in Chicago and watching JBTV (which is still on!). Always great when you couple nostalgia with a new discovery.

Oh, and by the way fellow Iowans, Extra Blue Kind is gracing us with their presence at the Vaudeville Mews (as if there'd be any place else) on August 24. I'm going!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

You Used to Know But Now You've Forgotten

Lightning Seeds Very BestThe Lightning Seeds have reformed! Their web presence sucks right now so the details aren't clear, except that they're playing some live shows and releasing a new compilation next week with two new songs (import only, naturally). I was a bit worried because their last full studio release was in 1999 (the underrated Tilt that I don't believe ever saw a domestic release) and Mr. Lightning Seed himself Ian Broudie released a solo CD last year.

This is splendid news indeed and I hope a proper full-length release follows soon!

For old time's sake, watch the perfect video for the perfect Lightning Seeds tune, Pure:

Ah, brings me back to the halcyon years of classic 120 Minutes!

Get Back to Where You Once Belonged

RIP Billy Preston, one of the Fifth Beatles.

Smiling Eyes Ripping Out of His Sockets

Beck's new album comes out this fall and will be produced by Nigel Godrich, who has produced Beck in the past and helped reinvigorate Paul McCartney's songwriting prowess on his last effort.

Time to dig out Odelay and Sea Change, my two personal favorites.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Eraser

Thom Yorke's solo album has leaked a bit. Radiohead fans, get it while you can.
Thom Yorke's mouth has leaked a bit. Radiohead fans, get it while you can.

On Peeples

Peeples Music (no website, even) in Des Moines is finally shuttering on June 3rd. While owner Mike Enloe can moan and screek about digital-this and thievery-that as the undoers of his shop, nothing can sweeten the fact that Peeples Music sucked as a record store. As my good friend Dirty asked: "How many Dave Matthews Band compilations, posters, bootlegs do I fucking need?". Peeples never had what I wanted to buy...the prices were way, way too high for things I maybe-possibly would have bought...and it took twenty minutes to check out whenever I did buy. I tried. And I do support good local, independent music retail. Check out ZZZ Records.