Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Is That All That You've Got?

I love this. How original:

"The Beautiful South have split up due to musical similarities. The band would like to thank everyone for their 19 wonderful years in music."
Bad news for Way2Poppy, the biggest Beautiful South fan I know. I have a couple albums and really enjoyed We Are Each Other, Woman in the Wall, and 36D. So what. has more details about their celebrated career, particularly over there.

Gyrru Gyrru Gyrru has more information about the new release from Gruff Rhys:

Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys is to release a download-only single to coincide with his forthcoming UK and Irish solo tour.

'Gyrru Gyrru Gyrru', taken from his recently released second solo LP 'Candylion', is released as a download only single on March 12. It's backed by a brand new song, 'Y Cradur'.

No word yet whether this single will be available domestically.


Everywhere Was a Song and a Celebration

iConcertCalStereogum recently featured a nifty little app for iTunes. iConcertCal (terrible name) scans your iTunes library and creates a calendar of all the bands coming soon to your city. Great idea.

You can download it for Mac or Windows. Stereogum readers seem to like it.

Everyone is Hiding Something Ugly

KennaI can't believe it was four years ago that Kenna released New Sacred Cow. I think everyone expected a much better commercial response to it, but I think it was a bit ahead of its time. It's very beat heavy but grounded in melody (Hey Ya! could have easily been a Kenna tune, but his version would've been much less annoying). The best tunes were easily the new-wavish single Freetime and my favorite, Vexed and Glorious. He toured with Depeche Mode and then just seemed to disappear.

I was watching TV the other night and heard music that suspiciously sounded like Kenna. Then I saw a logo that looked suspiciously like Kenna's. Then I saw a guy on stage that looked suspiciously like Kenna. Then I realized, not surprisingly, that this was Kenna .... in a PSP commercial.

The new single (released in December online) is called Out of Control and it's not bad. It certainly grows on you after a few listens but it's not as instant as some of the tunes on New Sacred Cow. You can download from iTunes or listen to it at hisspace, which unfortunately seems to be the only place that has current Kenna info. You can also watch the PSP commercial on hisspace. This guy's worth a little time. I'm anxious to hear a new full-length album, but I can't find anything on that.

I Never Meant To Do You Wrong

All 14 of Coldplay's singles are being released in a 7" vinyl-only box set on March 26.

Please note that this collection will only be released as a 7-inch vinyl box set, there will not be a CD release. For full track details, please go to
I've lost interest.

I'm Gonna Cuss on the Mic Tonight

Ben Folds Live at My SpaceBack in October, Ben Folds played a live show for hisspace. It was a live-by-request webcast that has been captured on DVD.

During the show, and captured on this DVD, Ben performed fan favorites such as "Bitches Ain't Shit," "Rockin' The Suburbs," "Kate," and his cover of Postal Service's "Such Great Heights," among others.
I've heard Such Great Heights. It's entertaining, but pretty straightforward. Live at My Space will be available February 20, but you can pre-order it here.

MP3 and VIDEO: Ben Folds - Such Great Heights (via)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Waiting for a Knock on the Door

Mike Ruekberg Acrimony and CheeseCrap! Not Lame has another spot-on recommendation. Mike Ruekberg, formerly of Rex Daisy, has released a compilation album of sorts called Acrimony and Cheese.

Via arrangements that employ seductive rhythms,keys, strings, tasty guitar lines and subtle rhythms abetted by classic-pop styled vocal harmonies, Ruekberg creates an immediate, striking and seriously awesome treasure steeped in introspection and obsession with perfection. The results speak for themselves. Truly kaleidoscopic pop experience that refreshes the pure pop soul.
From what I've heard so far, I'd have to agree. I hear a lot of Crowded House, Michael Penn, and Jon Brion in this. Very cool. Buy it from Not Lame and get plenty of cool extras. Listen to the album here.

Ruekberg is also involved in The Red Button, a band that hits the British Invasion sound hot and heavy. This has plenty of potential too! Buy it at iTunes.

With My Colors Upon Me One Soldier Stands Tall

Apple StoreApple's iPod Shuffle now comes in 4 new spiffy colors like its older sibling the nano. Spiffy indeed.

But wait? No black or red? Bummer.

Nonetheless, I've always been interested. And with purty colors and the same low price of $79, perhaps it's time.

Original source

No One's Jamming Their Transmission

It's official. Cheese it. The Police are reuniting for the Grammys on February 11. It's expected a full year's worth of touring will follow. This will be one not to miss. I'm hoping the Iowa Events Center will actually get a decent show this year -- this! I just hope they perform the original version of Don't Stand So Close to Me, not the '86 version. That would just ruin this all now wouldn't it?


Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Amonamen is a new track by up & coming producer Sven Hauck. Not only is Sven a very talented artist and all around great guy; he also happens to work for me at good ol' IHG. Well, at least he did until recently when he decided to go back to Europe and further pursue his passion for making music. He'll still be with IHG, but working from Amsterdam. And yes, he better have a sofa to crash on for me after a long night in the red light district.

I particularly like a statement Sven made in the announcement of the track: "Some kind of spiritual energy lives in music. We artists only channel it, and when we think too hard, we get in the way of it. It heals, it inspires, it loves. To embrace it is to accept all those things."

I'm not a regular listener of the House genre. But this track has a great beat and hook. Plus some of my favorites have great remixes like Sarah McLachlan, Lightning Seeds or even Live and Modern English (the remixes of Melt With You are awesome). And yes, remixes aren't exactly house. Let's not get caught up in semantics.

Check out Amonamen now. Be on the lookout for 6 more tracks coming soon.

Update:Check out for more info and more tracks. If you want an ultra rare and collectible t-shirt, let way2poppy know...

Monday, January 22, 2007

You See It Could Have Been Me Instead of You

One bright day following the Oasis boom in the states and prior to the dawn of Yellow, a then and still underrated band pondered Why Does It Always Rain on Me and was named the next big Brit band to break the states. Travis didn't really break the states beyond that stellar album The Man Who, although The Invisible Band certainly was a worthy follow-up (although I've only listened to their most recent release 12 Memories just a few times - my bad). Word is there's a new album on the way and it's being produced by Nigel Godrich. Sounds great so far:

Coldplay and Keane lovers take note; they would not be where they are without Travis laying the groundwork. Can't wait to hear more. Thanks, stereogum.

You Know They Bring Me Back

Dada announced a few tour dates, including some shows in the Midwest.

1/23/07 - West Hollywood, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
2/20/07 - West Hollywood, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
3/31/07 - West Hollywood, CA @ Whisky A Go Go
4/5/07 - Milwaukee, WI @ Shank Hall
4/6/07 - Chicago, IL @ Park West
4/7/07 - Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Cafe
I saw them over a decade ago at Park West and it was an incredible show. Go see them if you have the chance. Road trip?!

I Was Happier Then With No Mindset

The Shins Wincing the Night AwayChicago Sun-Times' legendary Jim DeRogatis reviews The Shins:

On their last two albums, the Shins were too anemic, wispy, wistful and -- let's face it -- downright wimpy to hold their own in such company. Yet while there's no evidence of massive ingestions of testosterone on their new album "Wincing the Night Away" -- the title alone will tell you that -- their sound has evolved in an intriguing enough way to overcome their previous shortcomings.
New album Wincing the Night Away comes out tomorrow.

Roots That Spread So Deep Bring Life To Frozen Ground

Despite bidding farewell to the world, Crowded House is reuniting two years after Paul Hester's suicide! It's official. They'll be performing at Coachella and will be releasing a new studio album.

"It's a pretty emotional record, I think," Finn said of the new disc, which was produced by Ethan Johns. "It's hard for me to evaluate, 'cause I'm so close to it now. But I think it's fairly simple, which I'm really happy about. There's a lot of heart in the record, which I'm happy about, too."
Stunning news. No word yet on a release date or other tour dates.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Stars on 45 Keep on Turning in Your Mind

From iPod & Mac Mania:

45 iPod CasesThese are by far the coolest iPod cases I've ever seen! 45 iPod Cases sells iPod cases made of ... 45s -- vinyl 45s that is. I'm bummed that Mind Games is sold out, but there are still some other wicked cool ones! $45 is a bit harsh, but I suppose it makes sense.

via DoCopenhagen

If You Ain't No Punk Holla We Want Pre-nup

Kanye "George Bush hates black people" West is again working with too poppy stud producer Jon Brion for West's new album Graduation that is expected to be released late this year. West about Brion:

"Jon wasn't just a producer -- he was such a good friend and a great person to bounce ideas off of in the studio. It was the whole experience."
Chris Martin of Coldplay is playing the role of ubiquitous Brit-pop-star-rap-album-guest on Graduation just as he did for Jay-Z's "comeback" album. Man, he's just become insufferable since marrying his likewise insufferable soul-mate Gwyneth. What a waste. Coldplay's debut was awesome and so full of promise (Yellow!). Now Martin writes horrific mixed bags of crap like Fix You (despite the stellar last third of the song). Que lastima.

I Told a Girl That My Prospects Were Good

Could there be any more rabid fan bases than Apple's and Apple's? The rumors are getting hot! Steve Jobs hinted at an imminent Beatles deal this month when they popped up on his iPhone during his Macworld keynote. Despite no "oh, and just one more thing" Beatles-on-iTunes announcement, many are speculating that it's going to happen soon, maybe as early as Valentine's Day (a handy holiday given the Beatles' most recent release).

Stereogum sums it up.

This would also be an excellent time to release all new remastered versions of the albums, plus maybe individually sell the American releases as well. Ahh, the potential!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I'm Not Above Singing Overdone Love Songs

BleuBleu has pretty much finished his new album A Watched Pot, but I don't think he has any distribution deals at the moment so who knows when it'll hit. Sounds somewhat ballad-heavy, which isn't a bad thing. You can listen to many tracks here.

Also, in L.E.O. style, Bleu and friends have formed a new band, Loud Lion. It is "a loving homage to the king of arena-rock: producer Mutt Lange." Uh, ok. Good luck with that. Could be fun though.

And speaking of L.E.O., Alpacas Orgling is being released in Japan with bonus tracks. What the hell? You can pre-order at Amazon.

I Just Can't Find the Time to Write My Mind the Way I Want It to Read

Wilco will release their new album Sky Blue Sky on May 15 according to Jeff Tweedy's stage banter last night.

"I think people may have an idea in their head about what it will sound like, but it's going to be different than that," Wilco bassist John Stirratt told in November.
How does he know?

Don't It Make You Want to Get Some Sun has more details about the new Fountains of Wayne album. The first single Someone to Love hits radio at the end of February.

"It's a little bit 'Elanor [sic] Rigby'-esque, in that it's about these two lonely people living in New York," group member Adam Schlesinger tells of the single. "It has a disco-y beat, which is something we don't do a lot of. Melissa Auf Der Maur sings backing vocals, and that's the first female vocal we've had since Dominique Durand from Ivy on the first album."

I Usually Notice All the Little Things

AV Club's review of Sloan's new album Never Hear the End of It:

It'll take a strong constitution to weather power chord after power chord, and soaring harmony after soaring harmony, but for those who can hack it, Never Hear The End Of It is a rare thrill: an album brimming with inspiration and energy.


Make Some Noise For Me

News on a retrospective release on March 27 from the Michael Penn email group:

The retrospective is 20 tracks (8 previously unreleased tracks). I
know Macy's Day Parade is on it. There are 3 re-recorded versions of
songs (sorry I'm not sure which ones). A couple instrumentals.
His most recent studio album Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947 will also see a re-release with an additional disc of extras including performances from KCRW. No date on that.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pretty Boys With Their Sunshine Faces Carrying Their Heads Down

Stereogum is a big tease! With a headline like Kevin Shields Promises One More Great MBV Record, we shoegazer fans tend to get our hopes up. Reading the post, though, we find out that Shields merely mentioned his desire to make another My Bloody Valentine record before he dies. In other words, nothing is imminent. Well, thanks for nothing.

Loveless is a phenomenal album. No other group comes close to that mix of noise and melody that makes MBV so genius (although Chapterhouse has always been criminally underrated).

It's Hard to Let Go of All That We Know

Crowded House Farewell DVDOh the drama! Back in 1996, Crowded House played their final concert at the Sydney Opera House to a near record crowd of over 100,000. To commemorate the show, they have released the performance on CD and DVD in stores today (although released last November everywhere else). Farewell to the World includes many of my favorite Crowded House tunes like Four Seasons in One Day, Fall at Your Feet, Sister Madly, Weather With You, and of course, Don't Dream It's Over. I'm not a huge fan of live CDs, but c'mon, it's their farewell!

Now, don't cry. Crowded House mastermind Neil Finn and his brother Tim are still making music as The Finn Brothers and they still got it. Everyone Is Here was released a few years ago and it's their best output since their Crowded House days (Tim was an occasional House member). In fact, Anything Can Happen is one of my favorite tunes from the past few years. I've heard murmurs of a potential new release sometime, but I haven't seen anything firm on that.Tim Finn Imaginary Kingdom

Finally, Tim Finn recently released a new solo album everywhere but here called Imaginary Kingdom. And never forget about where they both got started: Split Enz. Considering their output over the past few decades, the Finns easily rise to the top as two of the best too popsters of our generation.

I've Just Got to Find a Way to Let You Know I'm Not Like Them

Meet the Smithereens!In stores today is the track-by-track, note-by-frickin'-note tribute to Meet the Beatles! by the Smithereens. It's appropriately titled Meet the Smithereens! Now you can preview a few tracks here. Look, I love both bands and it's a cool idea (particularly from the Beatle-lovin' musicians' points of view), but I can't help scratch my head and say, "really?" By calling it Meet the Smithereens!, aren't they implying that this is a good introduction to the band that has been around over 20 years? I haven't heard the whole album, but honestly, the best introduction to the Smithereens would be Especially For You, their outstanding full-length debut, or one of their biggest commercial successes 11. I appreciate the nostalgia and the novelty of one of my favorite bands covering a full album of another of my favorite bands, but in the end, it just seems completely unnecessary. Allmusic does an excellent job of summing up my feelings. I would've preferred a new album of original material, which hopefully is in the works.

Meet the Smithereens! @ iTunes
Meet the Smithereens! @ Amazon

Previously... and ...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

You're Doing That Thing

Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne, Ivy, That Thing You Do!) wrote several new songs for the new movie starring Hurl Grant and Spew Barrymore called Music and Lyrics opening Feb. 14 (aww, must be a romantic comedy). The plot:

A washed up singer (Grant) is given a couple days to compose a chart-topping hit for an admiring teen sensation. Though he's never written lyrics in his life, he sparks with an offbeat younger woman (Barrymore) with a flair for words.
You can see the trailer here. It doesn't look terrible, but there seems to be a recurring joke about Grant's tight pants, which I'm particularly not interested in, even in a comedic way. With Adam's talent somehow involved, I'm curious. I just wonder if the new songs are pseudo hits for Grant's fictional 80s band like That Thing You Do, or if it's just soundtrack fodder.

In Fountains of Wayne news, the new album Traffic and Weather is finished and will be released on April 3. Can't wait. Hopefully they weren't pressured into writing clones of Stacy's Mom despite it being a good tune. USA Today previewed the disc. Sounds like another thematic masterpiece.

And finally, Adam and fellow FoW Brian Young are involved in the reunited America, which also features guest appearances from Ryan Adams, Ben Kweller, Nada Surf, My Morning Jacket and others. I like America in a cheesy 70s AM radio kinda way (Sister Golden Hair rocks), and with some of those guests, this will be a must listen. Here & Now is co-produced by Adam and will hit stores next week (evidently it's already available via iTunes if you just can't wait). Watch the video for Chasing the Rainbow here ... and now.

Stop Stalling, Make a Name for Yourself

Band names are getting so bad. When did full sentences become appropriate for a band name (i.e. ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah)? And what about the overused exclamation point (i.e. Panic! at the Disco)? AV Club has a hilarious list of 2006's worst offenders. My favorite? Here Comes Old Vodka Tits.

The World Is Full of Energy

Well, one thing is for sure. They may sound like them, but the Apples in Stereo look nothing like the Beatles. Catchy tune, though, but lame video. Frodo should stick to tending to his furry feet.

Thanks, stereogum.

Friday, January 12, 2007

This Ain't a Scene

I gotta tell you, I do not consider myself a fan of Fall Out Boy. In fact, honestly, I don't think I've ever heard any of their music. And if I have, I obviously don't remember it. And with their haircuts, I refuse to go out of my way. Emo hair, soul patch piercing, and trucker hats make me feel violent. What I do appreciate, though, is when Des Moines and/or Iowa make an impact on a band that has done well nationally. Kyle Munson's blog has a post on how there's a bit of an homage to Des Moines in FOB's new video. So, that's all I have to say about that.

Actually, I felt that it was irresponsible to not at least listen to the song. Ten seconds in and that wave of violence is surging. I'm better off just turning it off.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

This Nightmare Is Supposed to End

NeverEnding StoryOne unsung great thing about being a parent is inflicting sharing your favorite childhood pop culture moments on with your kids. Tonight I introduced my kids to The NeverEnding Story. And they liked it, they really really liked it. My son made the same mistake I did though. Literally an hour into the movie, he called Atreyu a girl. Luckily, he had me to correct him. It took seeing the movie another three times before I figured it out.

So, the music connection? C'mon, like you need to ask. You'll be singing "The NeverEnding Stoooooreeeee" for the next 48 hours. Did you know that song was by Limahl, who has also recorded under, get ready for it, Kajagoogoo. YES! Too Shy anyone? That's a twofer. And of course there was the stellar disco mofo Giorgio Moroder soundtrack that reeked of pure 80s fantasy movie cheese. Moroder was also responsible for some music in another favorite childhood guilty pleasure, Electric Dreams (Together in Electric Dreams!! Come on, you know it! Sing along!). It'll be a few years before I subject treat my kids to that one.

Ok, so the legit too poppy reason for this post? I had Rooney's I'm Shakin' in my head through the whole movie. "This was so because I watched all day the NeverEnding Story with Atreyu." What a great pop album. What the hell happened to them? Looks like they've squandered away some good will by showing up on soundtracks. At least they toured with Ben Lee last year, but a new album might be a good thing.

Back to the movie: so how long before a remake? And I don't mean some shitty sequel that should've never been made.

You Launched the Assault with the First Cannonball

Yes, even I'm getting bored of all the Beatle related posts lately, but geez, this band keeps making news 367 (happy new year) years after breaking up! Somehow I don't think we'll be saying the same thing about, oh, I don't know, 30 Seconds to Mars.

It seems Yoko's son (I'm starting to think he doesn't deserve to be John's son) Sean called his pop "a wife beating asshole." Ok, now everybody look at Sean. Evidently he's starved for attention after the lukewarm reception to his latest album. Of course, the source of this story is Yoko's nutty driver, but any chance to beat down the lesser son is a chance I can't pass up.

Thanks, goldenfiddle.

It's Such a Shame

CandylionBonjipop shared this cute & spiffy video from Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals. Candylion is Rhys' second solo album and the name of this delicate and pleasant tune. The album hit stores overseas on Monday and unfortunately it hasn't popped up yet on iTunes, which sometimes happens for imports. The official word from Rough Trade: CURRENTLY NOT LICENSED FOR SALE IN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Boo on you.

Listen to more Candylion at MySpace.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Oh Yeah, I'll Tell You Something

The Chicago Sun-Times has a great interview with Smithereens leader Pat DiNizio about their upcoming album Meet the Smithereens, a song-by-song tribute to Meet the Beatles. The album is due out a week from today.


If There's a Plan Then Tell Me

Joseph Arthur has evidently taken a page out of Robert Pollard's new release strategy because mere months after his latest release Nuclear Daydream, he's announced TWO new releases for 2007. On April 17 he releases Let's Just Be, and later in the year Abwoon. has the details. One song clocks in at over 20 minutes! Should be a treat. Anything from Arthur is a treat.

Official site

And Feel What It's Like To Be New

Death Cab for CutieAttention Barsuk fans! The cool record label has announced an extension on their awesome holiday deals. The two that are very attractive to me are the Death Cab For Cutie catalog (I have none of them so it'd be a good deal - 5 full-lengths, 3 EPs, and a bonus promo CD for $64) and the Long Winters catalog (3 full-lengths and 1 EP for $35). They have some other excellent deals including a package of all their 2006 releases. Great idea. It's a limited offer so get it now.

Or download DCFC and LW from iTunes.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I Dreamt About a Tranquil Sunday Drive, a Sensory Lullaby

Jellyfish Tribute Sensory LullabiesLove to share Jellyfish-related news!

First, I finally received my TV Eyes Japanese self-titled release. You may or may not remember that 2/3 of TV Eyes consists of former Jellyfishers Roger Joseph Manning Jr. and Jason Falkner. I'm only about halfway through and I already knew three of the songs I've listened to, but it's awesome. It's total 80s new wave synthy stylings, but it's much truer to that sound than newer bands like The Killers and Interpol. Very cool. Can't wait to listen to the rest.

Speaking of Jason Falkner, his new album is finished (as of October) and he's currently shopping it around in hopes of an early 2007 release. It's been a long time since his last one so this is definitely welcome news.

Finally, this summer we'll see a full-blown Jellyfish tribute album featuring Bellybutton and Spilt Milk in their entirety. No word yet on who and exactly when, and I wouldn't expect big names, but there is a special page on that MySpace everyone is talking about. Evidently, this will be one of the artists on the release. Sounds great! Might be an awesome way to discover new Jellyfish-loving talent!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

You're a New and Better Man

Boing Boing and Preshrunk are featuring a stellar new t-shirt that any Beatles fan who happens to be a Darwinist can wear with pride. This is awesome.

Friday, January 05, 2007

There's A Lot Inside of You

Apples in Stereo don't like The Beatles. It's so obvious. There music sounds absolutely nothing like The Beatles. Listen to their new tune Energy at stereogum and you'll hear it sounds nothing like The Beatles. Their new non-Beatley album New Magnetic Wonder will be released February 6. Download many songs that don't sound like ... well, you know ... right here. Also, you can stream many a tune at their website if you click on the second smallest UFO.

A Pretty Nurse Is Selling Poppies From a Tray

Paul McCartney is on drugs. That should come as no shock, even to the casual Macca fan. 10 Zen Monkeys impressively chronicles Macca's long, strange trip from the very beginning. This is an excellent read and provides an interesting insight into the chemically-enhanced mind of a pop genius.

Related: A recent post discussed the new Beatles tunes featured in the Anthology series. I ran across this fun rundown of Beatley references in the video for Free As a Bird.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

You Don't Care If It's Wrong or If It's Right

Rumor is Sting and the other two in The Police (Andy and Stewart) are reuniting and it feels so good. This year is the 30th (!!!) anniversary of Roxanne. Cripes. They would do some live shows in the US and England, but no mention of any new music. Sting, after all, is too busy playing the lute and scoring Imax movies (The Living Sea is actually quite stunning and Sting's new agey nautically themed music suit it perfectly - and it's actually over 10 years old itself). Seeing The Police live would definitely be a lifelong concert highlight.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

It's the Next Best Thing To Be

When The Beatles released the exhaustive Anthology project in the mid-90s, they reworked two John Lennon demos into official Beatles tunes. I remember watching the first installment of the Anthology series on TV with boyish excitement at the promise of a new Beatles song at the end. While Free As a Bird didn't rival the classic Beatles tunes, it was thrilling nonetheless. With the second installment of the Anthology came Real Love. Both "new" songs are truly excellent, but they could never ever come close to expectations. Impossible. With Anthology 3, I was disappointed that there wasn't a new one on there. It didn't make much sense after releasing one for each previous installment. I was hoping for Lennon's excellent Grow Old With Me, which was rumored at the time. Instead, nothing.

Paul McCartney has recently revealed that a third tune was in the works, but they could never quite get it right. Now and Then, aka I Don't Want to Lose You, evidently had too much tape hiss despite having a "beautiful verse" sung by Lennon. Macca told Q Magazine that he regrets they never finished it. Allegedly, there was also work on a McCartney-Harrison song called All For Love. It is highly unlikely either one will ever get a legitimate release, particularly with Harrison out of the picture. But a Beatles nut can dream, yes?

Everything I'll Ever Be I've Been

Matthew Sweet Altered BeastAny new Matthew Sweet album is reason enough to elicit squeals of excitement from yours truly, which is why Rock Bottom is easily my most anticipated release of 2007. Nonetheless, no news yet on it, but it is scheduled to be released "Fall 2006, Spring 2007" (thanks for narrowing that down). You can still preview the album at hisspace. And still no update to the official site despite the promise that it would be updated "Spring 2006," which makes me think maybe we'll get a new album from Sweet "Spring 2008." Whatever.

I do write about Sweet for a reason, though. The Onion's AV Club has honored his fourth studio album and first post-Girlfriend album Altered Beast in it's Hall of Fame feature. It could never live up to expectations being released after such a masterpiece, but it is incredible and deserves its own recognition. I've always found it to be darker and louder than anything else he's released, which always makes for a nice cathartic listen. I mean, Someone to Pull the Trigger is ridiculously depressing yet effective nonetheless. I remember hearing it in concert before the album came out and just smiling because it is quintessential Sweet pathos. Also on Altered Beast is one of my top five Sweet favorites of all time, Devil With the Green Eyes.

Also, Blogcritics Magazine designated Girlfriend as last year's third best reissue. Still haven't picked up the remastered album, but I definitely should as it's easily one of my go-to-at-anytime records.

I've also seen a few lists that included the Sweet and Susanna Hoffs covers project as one of the best of the year. You'll notice it didn't make my list. I found it extremely pleasant but a bit boring and too reverent. I suppose that's the danger in doing covers of your heroes.

Who Taught You To Live Like That?

Sloan Never Hear The End of ItCanadian power-poppers Sloan are releasing yet another album next week. These guys seem awfully prolific, or maybe that's my excuse for not keeping up. The last album I have is Pretty Together, which was and still is in fact fantastic. Sloan has always had a great too poppy-esque sound, but their availability in the states has been limited. Never Hear the End of It will be available on, though, and it sounds very interesting:

Never before has a Sloan record generated such extreme reviews by critics and fans. The band's eighth studio recording, Never Hear the End of It, contains a whopping 30 songs on one disc, ranging from 50 seconds to just over five minutes in length. The bulk of those tracks average roughly two-and-a-half minutes and bleed into each other--at times rather abruptly.
Lots of Sloan on iTunes so I wouldn't be surprised to find the new one there next week. Time to bulk up my collection.

MP3: Sloan - Who Taught You To Live Like That? (via)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Don't Recognize the Times That It Says Are Mine

I'm a bit depressed looking over country feedback's best of 2006 list along with all the others because I realize how much I've really missed this year. I resolve to stay much more current in 2007. With that said, I did actually pick up a few new albums this year and here are my favorites of 2006:

Jon Auer Songs From The Year of Our Demise1. Jon Auer - Songs From The Year of Our Demise
My reaction to this album transcends any year actually. It is easily one of my favorite albums in the last 5 years, if not 10. The material is dark and introspective with a definite recurring theme of mortality, whether pertaining to life or relationships. Nonetheless, you can definitely hear that one of the Posies was responsible for this because it is well grounded in hooks and melody. I think it came to me at the right time in my life because I had quite a personal response to it. Now it will forever remind me of the huge life changes my family and I have seen this year. A true masterpiece.
MP3: Six Feet Under
MP3: Four Letter Word

2. Pernice Brothers - Live a Little
I didn't even own this one a month ago and now it's easily no. 2 on my year-ender. What an incredible pop album. I've heard about him for many years, but now I know first-hand that Joe Pernice is a popcraft genius. The tunes and the lyrics make for a nearly perfect album. What makes me so happy is that now I can travel back in time and discover each release that I've missed. That will make my new year!
MP3: Somerville

3. L.E.O. - Alpacas Orgling
This one is extremely fun and quite well done. A power pop supergroup led by Bleu set out to create an album that essentially was an homage to ELO. I never thought this would actually ever be released, but thankfully it was and they succeeded in their goal and then some. Jeff Lynne has to be beaming with pride wherever he is. And it was so good to hear Andy Sturmer singing lead vocals for part of a song. Very awesome all around.
Stream at theirspace

4. Roger Joseph Manning Jr. - The Land of Pure Imagination / Solid State Warrior
As great as it was to hear one of the two principal Jellyfishers back with a solo album, it just wasn't instant for me. At first, I thought it lacked a certain edge that only Sturmer's sarcasm and wit could bring. But then the more I listened, the more submerged I became in the syrupy and goopy pop goodness I expect from Manning.
Stream here

5. Wisely - Parador
I never even heard of this guy until Not Lame sent me a special email telling me it's the best album of the decade. Well, I'm used to this type of hyperbole from Not Lame so I didn't think much of it, but then I listened to the album and they were nearly right. It's a grown-up album as odd as that sounds. It's just so well crafted and musically diverse that it's the type of album (I keep saying album because it is a nice complete work) that you can stop listening to it for a few months until a tune pops up on shuffle and you wonder why you stopped listening in the first place. The best part? The cover is an artistic rendering of a poppy. Very nice.
Video: Parador

With the top five out of the way, here are a few more:

Nice to hear from you again:
The Beatles - Love
The Charlatans UK - Simpatico
Gin Blossoms - Major Lodge Victory
Guster - Ganging Up On The Sun
Keane - Under the Iron Sea
Mates of State - Bring It Back
Snow Patrol - Eyes Open
World Party - Dumbing Up
Pete Yorn - Nightcrawler

Not so much:
Glen Phillips - Mr. Lemons
A cover of I Want a New Drug?! Man, talk about jumping the shark!

Still waiting for my copy from Japan:
TV Eyes

Local guys done good:
The Envy Corps

Top Ten Most Played Tunes between December 1, 2005 and December 31, 2006:
1. Jon Auer - Sundown
2. Nada Surf - Always Love
3. Guster - One Man Wrecking Machine
4. Jon Auer - Six Feet Under
5. Jon Auer - Bottom of the Bottle
6. The Charlatans UK - When the Lights Go Out in London
7. Dixie Chicks - Not Ready to Make Nice (my Since U Been Gone of 2006)
8. Jon Auer - Song Noir
9. Wisely - Parador
10. Snow Patrol - Open Your Eyes

I told you I liked Jon Auer!

Happy New Year!

We drank a toast to innocence we drank a toast to time

Comeback Album:
Gin Blossoms: Major Lodge Victory

Most Disappointing Release:
Live: Songs From Black Mountain

Best New Discovery:
Blue October: Foiled

Best Beatles-Related Album:
The Beatles: Love

Most Annoying Song:
James Blunt: You're Beautiful

Most Amazing Rediscovery:
Josh Clayton-Felt: Spirt Touches Ground (lead singer of School of Fish)

Most Amazing Tribute Album
L.E.O.: Alpacas Orgling

Can't Stopping Listening Release:
Modern Skirts: Catalogue of Generous Men

Stupidest Song:
Neil Diamond: Oh Mary

Best Jellyfish-Related Release:
Roger Joseph Manning: Solid State Warrior/The Land of Pure Imagination

Best Power-Pop Release:
Wisely: Parador

Best Podcast:
The Onion

Best & Most Surprising Duet:
Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoff: Under The Covers Volume 1

Most Boring Album:
Keane: Under the Iron Sea

Album with the most potential not listened to yet:
The Charlatans U.K.: Simpatico

Prettiest Voice:
Hayley Westenra: Odyssey

Top 10 Most Played Songs:
Modern Skirts: Seventeen Dirty Magazines
L.E.O.: Goodbye Innocence
Gin Blossoms: Jet Black Sunrise
Gin Blossoms: The End of the World
Modern Skirts: City Lights
Guster: Satellite
The Muppets: Rainbow Connections
Roger Joseph Manning Jr.: Too Late For Us Now
Guster: Lightning Rod
Wisely: This Is Everything

Best Recommendation by TooPoppy:
Jon Auer: Songs from the Year of Our Demise

Most Emotional Moment:
Andy Sturmer's Voice: L.E.O.: Goodbye Innocence

Most Promising of 2007 sor far:
Pernice Brothers: Live A Little