Friday, June 27, 2008

Yeah, It's Over Now

Every time I hear Dave Dill, I'm constantly reminded of the command he has on that 70s AM radio, power rock vibe. As part of his ongoing Basement Tracks series, he has released Over Now, previously unreleased from his Follow the Summer sessions. Listen to it and try not to get a taste of Big Star, Cheap Trick, or even Wings. Cool tune ... and free!

First, though, download Follow the Summer, a perfect beach soundtrack for the Summer of 08 (previously reviewed here.)

MP3: Dave Dill - Over Now (via Basement Tracks)

Have a great weekend!

When It Started We Had High Hopes

Ok, so now I'm done with the second half of the new Coldplay album (it's been a busy week sadly) and I have to say, it was somewhat exhilarating. Truly stunning was Yes, which features two seemingly different songs in one. The first tune was a dead ringer for The House of Love (one of my faves) while the last three minutes gave way to shoegazey bliss. You already know the singles Viva la Vida and Violet Hill and how effective they really are - both anthemic and quite memorable. Strawberry Swing was refreshingly catchy.

Kudos, Apple's dad - or better yet, kudos, Brian Eno. You've perhaps helped deliver Coldplay's most fully realized album to date - quite an accomplishment after the frustratingly uneven X&Y. I have to say, I'm quite satisfied.

Friday I'm In Love

Happy Friday.

As you can probably tell, I'm partial to iTunes. I find most everything about iTunes quite comparable to the joy of perusing every single rack in a record store during my youth. But I have to admit that is kicking some ass with great deals, especially their Friday 5 - 5 albums each priced at $5. Remember, these are DRM-free MP3s and the deal is good through the weekend. Full-length Raconteurs, Fleetwood Mac, 5 bucks?! Nice.

I Was Lost, Insecure

No doubt about it, Glastonbury headliner The Verve is back. When we last left them, they were enjoying the bittersweet success of Bittersweet Symphony, which was ultimately credited to Jagger and Richards of the Stones because of sampling issues. That was more than 10 years ago.

Not only are they headlining the massive Glastonbury Festival this weekend, they are back with new music you can check out now. The new single is Love is Noise, which you can stream on TheirSpace. It's from their new album Forth due in stores August 19. Tracklist:

1. Sit and Wonder
2. Love Is Noise
3. Rather Be
4. Judas
5. Numbness
6. I See Houses
7. Noise Epic
8. Valium Skies
9. Columbo
10. Appalachian Springs
On 6/30, surely to celebrate their gig at the festival, The Verve will release another new tune called Mover that can be downloaded free on their official site.

Plenty to get excited about, 90s Britrock fans!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Is This Everything You Wanted to Be?

The Charlatans (UK) continue their resurgence with the release of The Best of BBC Session 1999-2006 on 7/14. It's probably a safe bet we US fans won't see a domestic release, but it's easy enough to get our hands on imports these days.


Disc 1
Mark Radcliffe - 15/10/99

A Man Needs To Be Told
Jo Whiley 19/11/2001

I Don’t Care Where You Live
My Beautiful Friend
The Blind Stagger
A House Is Not A Home
Shepherds Bush Empire 24/4/00

Love is the Key
I Just Can’t Get Over Losing You
A Man Needs to Be Told
Wake Up
You’re So Pretty, We’re So Pretty
Birmingham Academy 29/10/01

Disc 2
Feel The Pressure
Dead Love
High Up Your Tree
Mark Radcliffe 15/06/2004

Blackened Blue Eyes
City of the Dead
Janice Long: 19/04/2006

Blackened Blue Eyes
Jo Whiley 19/11/2001

NYC (There’s No Need To Stop)
For Your Entertainment
Tellin’ Stories
Feelin’ Holy
North Country Boy
Can’t Get Out Of Bed
One To Another
The Only One I Know
How High
Sproston Green
BBC Radio Wales In Concer 29/07/2006
That last half of Disc 2 looks particularly inviting for a fan like me who's been around since Some Friendly. Sweet.

By the way, the new album You Cross My Path is killer - a return to an earlier sound but decidedly modern.

Every Moment Was So Precious

Coldplay - Viva La VidaNot surprisingly, Coldplay's Viva La Vida is #1 in its first week of release on virtually every chart in every corner of the world - most notably the US and UK. Saviors of the music industry? Hardly, as reported by the NY Times:

Analysts and industry executives say that the sales spike these last few weeks has been badly needed, but that two albums alone cannot offset broader losses, and that no clear blockbuster is likely in the near future.
No clear blockbuster? The reporter clearly must have forgotten about Matthew Sweet's new album. I kid, sadly.

So congratulations to Coldplay, although despite supposedly growing musically, their audience has dwindled a bit based on first-week sales. I blame pirates. Arrr.

It hasn't been a priority, but I finally downloaded Viva La Vida today and got through the first third of it (damn work gets in the way of my aural enjoyments.) I sure do like the sound of it, but then again, I've always liked their sound. The U2 comparisons are definitely fair, but Coldplay doesn't quite reach the bombast of the boys from Ireland - not yet anyway. What I don't like is how Coldplay has a tendency to bore me. Can't say I'm bored yet, but I'm just a few songs in and I just yawned.

Could just be tired, though.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some Day I'll Pay The Bills With This Guitar

It looks like the Beatles on Guitar Hero is even closer to reality according to this Artist Direct article. If one of the console makers got an exclusive on this it would cause their box to fly off the shelves. And yes, even I would buy an Xbox if that was the only console it was available on. But it would really hurt. Really bad.


How Many Special People Change?

Oasis has announced details of a new single and album. The Shock of the Lightning single is due out Sept 29 while the full-length Dig Out Your Soul is due in stores Oct 6. Those are probably UK dates - the day after is when the US version would likely be released.

“I wanted to write music that had a groove; not songs that followed that traditional pattern of verse, chorus and middle eight. I wanted a sound that was more hypnotic; more driving. Songs that would draw you in, in a different way. Songs that you would maybe have to connect to - to feel.”

The lead single is still unmistakably Oasis, a Noel penned song with Liam’s immediately familiar voice to the fore underlining their distinctive brand of finger in the socket rock ’n’ roll.
I think they say something like that with every new release. Somehow, this is only their 7th album. Sure feels like they've been around much longer. Nonetheless, I'll always look forward to a new Oasis album. You never know ... they may properly follow up (What's the Story) Morning Glory with a worthy album.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

So Much Cooler Than the Stupid Bands That Sing Their Stupid Songs About Love

X Levitation Cult - Happiness in HellDada's Joie Calio's new side-project X Levitation Cult has just released its debut album Happiness in Hell. Those of us who have been following Joie's solo music for awhile won't be surprised to hear - yet again - new versions of Habit Forming, Morning Sickness (the original demo was absolute killer!), and Stupid Songs About Love. Those three alone will make Happiness in Hell worth it, but I'm sure there are other gems on there as well.

More soon! Preview here. Download now!

I Think It's Time We Covered Up Our Deaf Spots Now

80/35 Music FestivalDes Moines' big-time outdoor music festival 80/35 is only weeks away (7/4-5) and now they're giving you an offer you can't shouldn't refuse: no fees on tickets!

So, starting today (ed: yesterday) you can get your passes to 80/35 with NO TICKET FEES. This special offer is only good until June 25. Get tickets at $50 two-day/$30 one-day.
Flaming Lips, Andrew Bird, Cracker, Dirty Little Rabbits, Jakob Dylan, Black Francis, Brother Trucker, The Envy Corps... You have no excuses left. Buy your tix here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Take a Sad Song and Make It Better

Jason Falkner's Bedtime With the Beatles Part Two is out and is a must for those who want to introduce their tots to the music of the Beatles gently and skillfully performed by Mr. Falkner. Makes a great baby gift, too!

Now, if he'd just release his latest studio album in the states, that would make us all happy.

Once You Go There Was Never, Never an Honest Word

Coldplay's new album Viva La Vida is now out and reviews have been fairly positive. Brian Eno must have been a good influence. Download it here. Despite my musings in the past on the divisive nature of some of Coldplay's music, I'm actually looking quite forward to hearing this.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Settle Down Now

Sloan - Parallel PlaySome bands are so good and so prolific that it's easy to take for granted. Sloan is a perfect example. It's been years since I've spent quality time with this power pop mainstay out of Canada, eh, but every time I do it's time well spent. One Chord to Another was a favorite in my mid- to late-90s period when I was generally concerned about the overall state of good music.

Parallel Play, their ninth (!!) full-length studio album, was released just last week. Omaha's (and Lincoln's and Des Moines') Homer's Records is offering an MP3 of Not a Kid Anymore here. You can buy the album through Homer's online here. Or you can always take the lazy way out via iTunes here. Not ready yet? Read a review here.

MP3: Sloan - Not a Kid Anymore (via Homer's)

Take This Moment to Decide

LollapaloozaLollapalooza has released its requisite grid schedule that allows you to make the most of your August 1-3 in My Kind of Town. If I had tickets, here would be my highlights:

Rogue Wave
Mates of State
The Raconteurs

Dr. Dog
Okkervil River
Broken Social Scene

The Weakerthans
Iron & Wine
Love & Rockets

Friday, by far, looks to be the strongest. Hmm, single-day pass?

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Other Side of Maybe

Download the absolutely lovely tune from/called Big Blue Ball featuring Karl Wallinger of World Party fame and Peter Gabriel of early Genesis fame at World Party Live's MySpace.




I Can't Figure Out

The promo says it all:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fly Away from the Pain

It figures. I go out of town and that's when Matthew Sweet decides to put three new tunes from Sunshine Lies up on HisSpace. Check out Flying, Room to Rock, and Byrd Girl - the latter's retro sound I particularly enjoy. Thanks for the tip, Dan.

The album is out August 26, a nice way to wrap up the summer.

Official Site (now updated with new graphic!!! neato!!!)


Friday, June 06, 2008

I Saw a Film Today, Oh Boy

Paul McCartney has performed some Lennon-penned tunes on past tours, but evidently he's never touched A Day in the Life ... until NOW (dun dun dah!) Rolling Stone has the pathetically short video to prove it. I think Macca is sounding great!

Time to Have Your Story Heard

Justin Roberts - Bright Becomes BlueJustin Roberts has been a family favorite since my kids' pre-school years. The great thing about him, though, is that despite the lyrical content, his music is far beyond pre-school nursery rhymes. Back in 1999, he gave the grown-up thing a go with an album for adults. It has since been out of print and very hard to find (I paid handsomely for my copy.)

Justin’s “grown-up” singer-songwriter cd from 1999, repackaged here in a digipak and re-mastered with a previously unreleased bonus track. This is a moving collection of late-night ballads framed by standup bass, organ, steel guitar, and horns.
He has re-released Bright Becomes Blue for your adult aural pleasure.

A Love Back Home Unfolds

Coldplay - Viva La VidaColdplay's new album La Vida Loca or whatever the hell is streaming free and legally at Thanks, 'gum.

I'm actually pretty interested in spending time with this one.

Viva La Vida comes out June 17.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Consider Memories

Riverside - OnePopdose is making a case to be a daily must read. After an excellent feature on the Judybats, today they're featuring another long lost favorite, Riverside. Sure, sure, we've featured Riverside before, but it's especially rewarding to see others out there remembering their sound. I emailed back and forth with Glenn back when they self-released their sophomore album Taste (which unfortunately was rejected by their label for a reason,) and he was an especially friendly fellow. I wish nothing but the best for them and hope to someday hear new music.

Official Site

In the meantime, enjoy their best tune, a 5-star tune all around...

MP3: Riverside - Waterfall (scroll down via Popdose)

The Jam I Was in When Things Weren't Working Out

Shirley Manson of Garbage fame has been working on a solo album for a number of years, but evidently her label didn't like it so there are no plans for release. This is buried in a article about her landing a role on "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," which I watched once and mildly enjoyed. She will evidently play a CEO of a "cutting-edge high-tech company" while her music career gets held up by her label. Work is work.

Official Site

Every One of Us Was Generous in Front of You

Modern SkirtsAthens' Modern Skirts delivered a stellar debut album back in 2005 called Catalogue of Generous Men. The Skirts were certainly quite generous in catchy charm throughout this gem.

They have finally finished their sophomore album - yet to be titled - yet to have a release date. Nonetheless, continuing with their precedent of generosity, they've made two new tunes available for streaming on TheirSpace. So far so good, especially Radio Brakes.

Official Site


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Another Footnote to this Town

Judybats '00Popdose has a very interesting interview with Jeff Heiskell, former leader of the great 90s band the Judybats. It is full of fascinating nuggets of information detailing the demise of this band, such as:

So the breaking up of the band was due, I suppose, to a certain existential crisis on my part, one fueled by the influences of shitty people.
There were four guys in the line up, so there was enough dick as it was.
My rectum draws up tight like a little antique button.
Yep, Jeff is quite the poet, even in email interviews. The impetus of the interview was a a desire to learn more about the incredibly under-appreciated and virtually ignored 2000 release '00, which is not available anywhere.

Bravo to Popdose for getting the story and reminding me to dig out this surprisingly good album. And thanks for the heads up, Not Lame.

Official Site

And yes, he's still recording...

MP3: Heiskell - Love Like a Vampire Army of Robots Remix (via)

It's All Mixed Up

Looking for something to groan about? How about Yahoo's "25 Best Alternative Rock Bands of the 1990s?" As mellowy cool a sound as Mark Kozelek generated through Red House Painters (Cars' cover All Mixed Up rocks rolls,) I can hardly see him at #2! And doesn't Tom Waits at #1 completely defy the author's own rule to only include artists that started in the early 90s?! And no Jellyfish?!?!?! Bah!

I'm done with this.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Maybe We've Only Got Today

The radio crackles on, rousing me from an uncomfortable sleep. I smell the cool summer breeze rolling in through the open windows of the van as an early morning light glows on the horizon. Stretching and rubbing the tired out of my eyes, I lift my head to see farmland zoom by. I feel an overwhelming excitement as I realize my summer vacation is merely a few hours old.

The tunes sound soothingly familiar. Whether I've heard them before or not is irrelevant. It's a soundtrack to a childhood memory from one of many long road trips between Chicago and Atlanta in the late 70s and early 80s. I don't know the names of the songs or the artists, or whether the songs are 10 years old or brand new. I just know that they complete these moments of my youth that will unknowingly shape my music tastes for decades to come.

Dave Dill - Follow the SummerLooking back, I know that it wasn't Dave Dill on the radio. He's probably my age, if not younger. But listening to his fifth solo album Follow the Summer brought this unexpected rush of nostalgia and a peaceful reminder of these seemingly innocent and unimportant pieces of life that have a much more significant impact than we realize at the time. I'm mostly a product of a digital age, but if there was ever an album that must sound better on vinyl or AM radio, Follow the Summer would be it.

Summer is here. Do yourself a favor and soundtrack it.

Official Site
Download Follow the Summer