Monday, March 31, 2008

I Didn't Let the Cat Out

Liz Phair has signed a new deal. Do you really care? Perhaps. Now that her relationship with Capitol is over, she may feel quite a bit less pressure to produce hits. Her pop leanings have been evident since day one, but the overall production aesthetic of her early work kept her raw and edgy. Her last two albums, though, have been slickly produced and mostly criticized by former fans. Truth be told, I thought her self-titled album (the one with Why Can't I? and Extraordinary) was quite good and a perfect summer album. Somebody's Miracle, though, was less than miraculous.

The best news in all of this for the hard core fans is that ATO, her new home, will be reissuing her full-length debut Exile in Guyville on June 24 complete with a bonus DVD and unreleased tracks.

Fans will be most jazzed for the "Guyville" documentary "Guyville Redux" on the bonus DVD, which finds Phair interviewing Chicago music scene vets like producers Steve Albini and Brad Wood, her former Matador compadres Gerard Cosloy and Chris Lombardi, National Public Radio host Ira Glass and actor John Cusack.
A new album will follow this fall.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

And Oh...Are You a Boy or a Girl

In other ex-Jellyfish news, Eric Dover's first solo album, Sextus is now available from none other than Not Lame. Based on the song samples, it sounds great.

In Your Head, In Your Head, In Your Headset Set in Your Head

Frisbie is touring in the Midwest and I'm seriously considering the 90-minute drive to Iowa City.

April 03 Indianapolis, IN Spin Nightclub
April 04 St. Louis, MO Cruisin' Rte 66
April 12 Iowa City, IA The Picador
April 16 Milwaukee, WI Shank Hall (w/ Poi Dog Pondering)
Reminder: their sophomore effort is no slump. Download here.

History Will Set Me Free

I'll admit it. I watch CBS Sunday Morning. And I'm not in my 70s, or 60s, or 50s, or 40s. I find it a nice way to start my Sunday. Today I was rewarded with a nice feature on R.E.M. featuring Micheal Stipe looking every bit like the elder indie statesman.

The new album Accelerate comes out Tuesday, though you've been able to preview the whole thing on iLike this past week if you're into the whole social networking thing. Reviews are positive and the album has inspired Spin to claim the band "R.E.BORN," and Rolling Stone calls it one of their best. Can't wait to spend quality iPod time with it come Tuesday.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Quickening

Roger Joseph Manning Jr. - Catnip DynamiteHow terribly rude - such inessential matters such as work, children with pneumonia, and family visits over just the past few weeks forced me to neglect the Japan-only release of Roger Joseph Manning Jr.'s new album Catnip Dynamite.

It is neglected no more.

Yes, disappointingly it is only available in Japan or through this fancy new thing called the Interwebs. The price surely ain't right (Amazon, seriously, $50+?!?), but the good people on ManningSpace, Inc. told us a little secret - you can find it relatively cheap (for an import) at (2300 yen = $20-something). To save on shipping, it's going to take something like 2 years to get to me, but I'll let you know how it is.

UpdateIt is also available through Not Lame for pre-order for $36. Better than $50. It is due at Not Lame by the first week in April so it will ship faster than the Japan site. Too bad I already ordered mine from Japan. I should have known Not Lame would come through.

Please Let Me Go With You

Crowded House visit their Americans fans this spring:

April 28 - New York, NY - NY Fillmore at Irving Plaza
General onsale 28 March, 10am

April 29 - New York, NY - NY Fillmore at Irving Plaza
General onsale 28 March, 10am

April 30 - New York, NY - NY Fillmore at Irving Plaza
General onsale 28 March, 10am

May 2 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
General onsale 3 April, 10am *Please note new onsale date*

May 5 - Boston, MA - Somerville Theatre
Presale 2 April 08, 10am. General onsale 4 April.

May 6 - Boston, MA - Somerville Theatre
Presale 2 April 08, 10am. General onsale 4 April.

May 7 - Toronto, ONT - Danforth Music Hall
Presale 2 April 08, 10am. General onsale 5 April.

May 8 - Toronto, ONT - Danforth Music Hall
Presale 2 April 08, 10am. General onsale 5 April.

May 10 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theater
General onsale 29 March, 10am

May 11 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theater
General onsale 29 March, 10am

May 14 - San Francisco, CA- Fillmore
Presale 2 April 08, 10am. General onsale 6 April.

May 15 - San Francisco, CA- Fillmore
Presale 2 April 08, 10am. General onsale 6 April.

May 16 - Los Angeles, CA - Orpheum Theatre
Presale 2 April 08, 10am. General onsale 5 April.

May 17 - Los Angeles, CA - Orpheum Theatre
Presale 2 April 08, 10am. General onsale 5 April.
Saw them in Chicago during their Woodface tour and they're as great as you'd expect. Time on Earth is their latest and, well, it's as great as you'd expect.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wouldn't You Like To Be A Pepper Too

In what I could only describe as bizarre, the Dr. Pepper soft drink company today announced that they would give everyone in America a free soft drink if Guns N' Roses' "Chinese Democracy" album is released sometime this year.

In case you didn't know (or more likely didn't care), Chinese Democracy is the long-awaited (really?) album since 1991's Use Your Illusion II. Axl Rose, the only remaining original member, has purportedly spent over $13 million and years working on the album. It was most recently scheduled for a March 2007 release.

I'll take the free drink, but seriously doubt I'll purchase the album. Unless it has an updated version of Welcome To The Jungle. That song rocks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Green Is the Envy I Can't Hide

WiselyI'm not one of those vinyl snobs. My first albums were vinyl, but I really came of age with CDs. With that said, I will admit there's something special about vinyl, which makes this announcement from Wisely intriguing:

For the first time ever, a Wisely album is released on vinyl. The latest self-titled on 180 gram, 12" vinyl, redesigned jacket art, resequenced for optimum fidelity and specially mastered for LP by audiophile gurus Kevin Gray & Steve Hoffman at AcousTech Mastering, Camarillo, CA. This is a VERY limited run. FREE SHIPPING for orders placed before midnight, this Wednesday, March 26th!!! (domestic only - $4 off international shipping).
Of all the albums that would sound fantastic on vinyl, this would be one of them. You can order it here. If you're the digital type and still haven't picked this one up, download here immediately.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This Is Still New To Me

Wilco - Sky Blue SkyHelp! Ever since they came to Des Moines a week and a half ago, I can't stop listening to Wilco's Sky Blue Sky!

How perfect is Impossible Germany?!

How perfect is the album cover?!

Much love.

Well Here We Go Again

Brendan Benson, Jack White, Patrick Keeler, and Jack Lawrence, collectively known as The Raconteurs, are releasing their new album next week. Why are you just hearing about this? Well, the kicker ... they just finished it a couple weeks ago!

"The purpose: to get the album to the fans as soon as possible and as we promised," the Jack White-featuring band says. "We wanted to get this record to fans, the press, radio, etc., all at the EXACT SAME TIME so that no one has an upper hand on anyone else regarding it's availability, reception or perception."
If only all our favorite bands took this approach. Consolers will be available at your favorite retailers, including iTunes and The Raconteurs official site will also offer a download of the full album as well.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I think I'd like to play guitar and be a Beatle

This would be so unbelievably freakin' cool. The Beatles Guitar Hero. Holy crap - I'd never leave the house. I'd play songs until my hand fell off. If they added the ability to sing along as part of the game my life as I know it would be over. Hello Beatles Guitar Hero; Goodbye work, goodbye family, goodbye personal hygiene.

(via Arstechnica, via Laurie Gray)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

It's a Carnival

Bryan Scary - The Shredding TearsBryan Scary ... Bryan Scary ... Bryan Scary. I kept seeing the name pop up in my world of too pop, most notably at new Cool Popper (see blogroll to the right) Powerpopaholic (he had me at "...Jellyfish fans will flip over.") Scary (and his band The Shredding Tears, which seems to mostly consist of him), has a new album coming out 4/1 called Flight of the Knife. In preparation of this Too Poppy-worthy event, I thought it necessary to develop historical perspective. In other words, I bought his first album The Shredding Tears.

Wow, Jellyfish indeed, and McCartney, and Wilson, and Bowie, and Pink Floyd, and Queen, and did I mention Jellyfish? I instantly loved the sound and had high expectations. This was going to be a fun listen. Though after 15 tracks, honestly, I was a little relieved it was over. It consisted of everything I loved about music so I can only conclude I was overwhelmed.

Scary swings for the fences - not with every song, but with every note! I felt a longing for an off-note or an abrupt ending to a song - anything to shake up the meticulous production. It was like listening to Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite over and over and over and over and over again - great on the first few plays, but by the 15th, it's time for a change.

That's not to say everything was a miss. Quite the contrary, this album is so rich and heady that it's going to take many listens to absorb it all. It's saying something that I had this reaction after only one listen. This is not disposable pop and I expect it will have a lasting impact on me, but I was hoping to have a little more fun than I did.

Download The Shredding Tears here
Visit here
Stream here at HisSpace

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Can't Go For That

I didn't need Y! Music to tell me that Daryl Hall was cool. It's a given.

I remember sitting in W2P's room when we were kids listening to H&O. Note I didn't say I remember it fondly, just that I remember it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tomorrow I Start in a New Direction

Guster is reproductive.

Guster is recording.
But we're also well into the gestation process of another album, as we spent the winter working up songs on a slightly out of tune upright piano in Brooklyn. And believe you me it's not shaping up to be the mellow dad-rock album you might expect from a band of expecting band members. We're keeping it up. We're rollicking if not rocking. There's still time to write a bunch of sappy lyrics about daddyhood.
Me gusta Guster.

Remember Better Days

X Levitation Cult, the new band from Dada's Joie Calio is touring:

Mar 8 2008 10:45P

Mar 9 2008 9:00P

Mar 11 2008 8:30P
SHANK HALL MIlwaukee, Wisconsin

Mar 13 2008 9:30P

Mar 14 2008 8:30P

Mar 15 2008 10:30P

Mar 16 2008 8:30P

Mar 18 2008 8:45P

Mar 19 2008 9:45P

Mar 20 2008 9:30P

Mar 21 2008 10:30P

Mar 22 2008 10:30P

Mar 24 2008 8:00P

Mar 27 2008 9:30P
If you like Dada, I suspect you'll like XLC. Preview tunes at TheirSpace.

They're Gonna Throw It Back to You

It's not often you get to hear an artist cover their own song as significantly reworked by another artist. Got that? Who's on first? I dunno.

Oasis covers Ryan Adam's version of Oasis' Wonderwall at TheirSpace. Does that make more sense? Download the original (quite spectacular) version of Oasis' signature tune Wonderwall via iTunes.

Took You Up and Away from this Place and Shared

Finally, the iTunes/Facebook music application iLike is meeting some of its potential thanks to R.E.M. Their new album Accelerate will be "released" on iLike one week prior (3/24) to its official street date (4/1), which means iLike users will be able to listen to and share the album with their online buddies.

If the first single Super-something Super-or-other is any indication, Accelerate is poised to be their best and most popular album in years, if not well over a decade! Supernatural Superserious is now available via iTunes here.

You Only Give Me Your Funny Paper

Apple says,

Unsubstantiated speculation.

This is not news nor is it a scoop.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

You Never Give Me Your Money

It seems the only thing holding up the release of the Beatles catalogue on iTunes is that one-legged bitch Heather Mills, according to the UK's Evening Standard. According to sources close to McCartney the release will increase his worth by up to 200 million pounds. This would likely inflate the amount awarded to Mills so the wait continues. The judge is set to rule on 17 March so hopefully sometime shortly after that the catalogue will finally be available.

Not sure if I've gone on the rant before, but here goes anyway. Why is the Beatles on iTunes a big deal? Doesn't everybody already own their albums on CD? Everyone, no. This will open up their music to new generations of the digitally connected. For fans such as myself, it will off their music in a quality not heard since the original vinyl pressings. If you don't believe me, listen to the songs on "1" and then on the original albums on CD. The original CDs sound hollow and tinny.

UPDATE: As with all rumors, there are a handful of differing versions out on the interwebs. Here's one from Gizmodo saying that a deal has already been signed and it's for paying off the divorce debt. We'll eventually see.

Friday, March 07, 2008

I Have Become Comfortably Numb

Norman Smith, the Beatles' first engineer and more famously signed and produced Pink Floyd's early albums has passed away at the ripe age of 85.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Maybe You Think I'm Lucky

Our favorite pop-centric online record store is giving away music today! Over at the Not Lame blog, you can freely download the aptly-named NOT LAME BLOG Soundtrack, Vol. One, complete with 15 nuggets of power-pop goodness. Bleu, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Myracle Brah, need I say more? No, I don't. Those three are good enough for me, but I'm sure I'll enjoy at least another ten of them.

For the full tracklist, head on over.

I've made it a bit more convenient for you Not Lame lovers by zipping all the files. I hope they don't mind.

MP3s: NOT LAME BLOG Soundtrack, Vol. One (zip file, tracks via Not Lame Blog)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I'm Bigger Than Jesus Now

John Faye has quite a power pop history. He's fronted the hard-to-find Caulfields (if you're reading Too Poppy, surely you remember the Jellyfishy greatness of Devil's Diary) and John Faye Power Trip. His latest act Ike has a new album out today (which is not their first, btw) and although I haven't heard it yet, knowing Faye's past work, this one will be chock-full of the hooks and harmonies that inspire this blog.

Listen, learn, and download.

Good Things for You and I

BoDeans - StillThe BoDeans' new album Still is out today. Download it via iTunes or order it from Here's the official spin:

With everything from laid-back grooves to upbeat hooks, “Still” rediscovers the group’s essence while simultaneously showcasing their renowned talent, arguably resulting in their best work yet.
Iowans, don't forget they'll be here in Des Moines April 18 at People's Court. Order tix here. Click here for full tour itinerary.


I Am the Sum of Everything

Charlatans - You Cross My PathAs we mentioned way back in October, the Charlatans new album You Cross My Path is now available as a free-Free-FREE!!! download thanks to XFM. Download it here.

And if you're moved by celebrity endorsements, here is what Leaf Joaquin Phoenix had to say about the album:

"Holy fucking shit, The Charlatans record is mega,” he declared. “A real beauty. I can't wait to see it live."
Reportedly, the album will be released in more traditional versions as well, but it doesn't get better than free! We don't even have to fake it this time!

MP3 ALBUM: The Charlatans - You Cross My Path (zip via XFM)

Monday, March 03, 2008

All you fellows, you can look all you like

Canadian blind rock artist Jeff Healey passed away of a rare form of cancer which he has battled since birth. He was 41.

I'll admit that I haven't really heard of him before. His big hit was the 1988 album "See The Light" with the hit single being Angel Eyes. Upon listen you'll recognize it.

His first album in 8 years, Mess of Blues, is set to be released this month in North America.

What was truly interesting about Jeff Healey was the way he played guitar - across his lap. See his rendition of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps":