Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Saw a Film Today, Oh Boy

Making the YouTube rounds these days is a video of Neil Young joined onstage by Paul McCartney this past weekend to do A Day in the Life. Wow.

Winding Up Inside Your Head

Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs - Under the Covers Vol. 2Nice to see some mainstream coverage for Vol. 2 of Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs' Under the Covers series. This time they're doing the 70s. I've had a listen and it's awesome - even better than the very well received Vol. 1 of 60s covers.

Out July 21.

Pre-order here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Where You're Meant To Be

World Party is touring!

9/5/09 Sat Seattle, WA Bumbershoot Festival
9/6/09 Sun Portland, OR Doug Fir Lounge
9/9/09 Wed Aspen, CO Belly Up
9/10/09 Thu Denver, CO Bluebird Theatre
9/12/09 Sat Minneapolis, MN Varsity Theatre
9/13/09 Sun Chicago, IL Schubas Tavern
9/14/09 Mon Chicago, IL Schubas Tavern
9/16/09 Wed Alexandria, VA Birchmere
9/17/09 Thu Annapolis, MD Rams Head Tavern
9/18/09 Fri Amagansett, NY Stephen's Talkhouse
9/19/09 Sat Philadelphia, PA World Café
9/22/09 Tue New York, NY City Winery
9/23/09 Wed New York, NY City Winery

10/1/09 Thu San Diego, CA Anthology
10/2/09 Fri Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theatre
10/3/09 Sat San Francisco, CA Hardly Strictly Bluegrass or
10/4/09 Sun OR San Francisco Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
Joe Pernice is touring!
Wednesday, August 5, 7 and 9:30 p.m. (two shows)
Brattle Theatre, Cambridge, MA
Tickets: www.WorldMusic.org, (617) 876-4275

Friday, August 7, 9 p.m.
Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY
Tickets: www.boweryballroom.com

Saturday August 8, 7:30 p.m.
Tin Angel, Philadelphia, PA
Tickets: www.comcasttix.com, (215) 928-0978

Sunday, August 9, time TBA
Iota Club, Arlington, VA
Info: (703) 522-8340 (they don’t do advance tickets)

Tuesday, August 25, 9 p.m.
Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA
Tickets: www.tractortavern.com, (206) 789-3599

Wednesday, August 26, 9 p.m.
Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR
Tickets: www.dougfirlounge.com

Friday, August 28, 7:30 p.m.
Café du Nord, San Francisco, CA
Tickets: www.cafedunord.com

Saturday, August 29, 8 p.m.
McCabe’s, Los Angeles, CA
Tickets: www.mccabes.com

Friday, September 11, 7 p.m.
Schuba’s, Chicago, IL
Tickets: www.schubas.com

Saturday, September 12, 9 p.m.
400 Bar, Minneapolis, MN
Tickets: www.400bar.com
Midwesterners, notice a common denominator? Schubas! Might as well just camp out there in September (FYI, David Mead and Bryan Scary are also playing there that month). I'd love not to miss World Party again.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Then Every Head Turned

Too Poppy is a Michael Jackson-free zone on every single day... except today. He was a creep who likely did very bad things with his celebrity and I am far from being a fan of most of his music, but NPR picked the one moment of his career that captured a transcendent moment in the history of pop culture that forever changed pop music. Sure it was a contemporary redux of the showmanship of Elvis and Little Richard and it opened the door for much lesser talent that still won't go away, but like it or not it was iconic for my generation. That is worth some reflection.

Have To Try To Keep My Mind Out Of This

Our friends at NPR have an exclusive first listen to Wilco's upcoming album - Wilco (The Album) - on Tuesday June 30, 2009. I haven't had a chance to listen yet, but looking forward to it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We'll Be There . . . . . . Oo Yeah . . . . . . .

Paul McCartney announced today he's playing Piedmont Park in Atlanta on August 15th!! I'm so there. General admission, standing room only and will cost a screw-the-recession $79-$400 (!).

Tickets go on sale for American Express cardholders (like me!) 25 June 2009 through Monday 29 June 2009 when the general public (peons) can buy the tickets.

Yeah, the tickets are a bit pricey, but hey, this is McCartney!

2Poppy - want to come down? Mrs. Way2Poppy probably isn't interested since she'll have to stand (the horrors) during the show. And she'd probably want to leave during the encore. Let me know before 10am tomorrow morning. :-)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's Been a Long Year

Bleu - A Watched PotNew Bleu for you, dear Too Poppers.

A Watched Pot - an appropriate name for an album a long time coming - will finally be released July 14. The album was recorded back in 2005 as a follow-up to his excellent Redhead, but Bleu was a victim of terrible times for the music industry, which resulted in the record being tied up by his former label. They will never learn.

Bleu is a special talent. He has a knack for sincere melody and lyrics without sap, a delicate line to travel but one with incredible payoff. No doubt he's one of the best popsters in the game today, and the company he keeps is second to none. Can't wait to spend more time with the album - I can't imagine it won't be one of my top pop picks this year. In the meantime, below you'll find two new MP3s for you! Enjoy and salivate.

Official Site

MP3: Bleu - Save Me
MP3: Bleu - No Such Thing As Love

They Should Try To Hold On Best They Can

From Billboard.com:

Fans who use the Internet to purchase concert tickets to the Flaming Lips' forthcoming U.S. summer tour will receive a sneak peek of the alternative-psychedelic band's new double-album, "Embryonic," scheduled for release later this year on Warner Bros.

Concertgoers who buy Flaming Lips tickets online will receive a digital EP with new songs "Convinced of the Hex," "The Impulse" and "Silver Trembling Hands." Those ticket-buyers will also be given three digital B-side tracks that the band members will handpick from its vault of rare material. Additionally, fans will be sent a digital download bootleg of the concert they attended.
Not coming to Iowa (they came last year) so I guess I'll wait. I can handle that. Check the tour dates here.

Get To Be The Generous One

Björk has a new album, sort of...

Well, just before Bjork's performance at the Glastonbury Festival in 2007, and before beginning what would be a two-year Volta tour, she and her band went into Olympic Studios in London. There, the group recorded live to tape selections from Medulla, Homogenic, Post, Vespertine and her latest. These performances are what make up Voltaic.
Sounds like a björky thing to do. You can listen to it now thanks to the magic of NPR. Or you can own it legally by downloading from Amazon MP3. Many deluxe versions will be out next week.

I'm Giving It All Away Tonight

Matt Pond PACheap music is great. Cheap music that happens to be great is frickin' awesome. Enter Matt Pond PA.

In a special limited-time deal for the uninitiated, MPPA is offering their last two albums, Last Light and Emblems, along with the If You Want Blood EP and a groovy poster for less than 15 bucks. No idea if the poster is actually groovy, but they usually are. And you won't be disappointed with the three discs of music. It's a Too Poppy Guarantee that guarantees I like it and provides you with absolutely zero legal rights.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Blown Right Out Of My Senses

I am the first to admit that I cannot emotionally detach myself from anything that Matthew Sweet does. His music has been a part of so many of the quintessential moments in my life that it has exceeded just being a good listen.

That said, last night in Des Moines Matthew Sweet put on a great show - not excellent mind you, great. Others less emotionally attached may be less kind, but that's not for me to say. His voice was rusty, particularly in the beginning. This was the first show on this mini summer tour and he just couldn't quite hit the right notes in the first song, the challenging and usually excellent Divine Intervention. I won't lie and say it wasn't a disappointment, mostly because the last time I saw him too many years ago Divine Intervention absolutely blew us all away. But only a couple songs in you could tell his voice was warming up nicely and only faced a couple more challenges it couldn't quite meet, most notably with We're the Same.

Also in the debit column, the show was woefully short. He finished his set right around the hour mark. I'm happy to attribute that to the nature of the venue (outdoor family setting next to the river downtown), but I've also read his shows last year were pretty short too. The man has no shortage of great material to play so another half hour would've been great.


...here comes the emotion...

...the show was AWESOME! He played plenty of the "greatest hits" from his biggest albums for those of us who have been fans for nearly two decades, but he also played a nice albeit small selection from Sunshine Lies for those of us who have stuck with him throughout. This places him on the verge of becoming somewhat of a nostalgia act and for many of the fans in attendance last night I have no doubt that's why they were there. When a blistering Room To Rock followed Divine Intervention, you could almost hear the crowd wimper. Their loss.

As a huge fan of Altered Beast, which on most days would be considered my second favorite in his catalog, I was thrilled when he ripped into Ugly Truth five songs in, which is really when everything started clicking. Within the next three songs, he would perform Someone to Pull the Trigger and Time Capsule while sandwiching the new Byrdgirl. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the old and new mixed, reminding me what a successful throwback Sunshine Lies is in many ways.

Then ... wow.

Girlfriend naturally got people on their feet and many of them stayed there until the very end. My friend Tim recorded the video above with just a regular camera so forgive the terrible audio, but at least it gives you a sense that Matthew can still really deliver on the big ones. Awesome.

I've lost count on how many times I've seen Matthew Sweet live and each time there is one song that really transcends everything else. Surprisingly, this time it was You Don't Love Me. It's always been a favorite from the Girlfriend album, but going into the evening I would have never guessed this maudlin tune would be the performance of the night. It kept going and going and kept hitting me deeper and deeper with every note. It was amazing.

Predictably he went with two of his biggest songs to round out the set: I've Been Waiting and Sick of Myself, both well done of course. I hadn't really expected an encore but was thrilled when it became clear that he did. Cinnamon Girl! Superdeformed! Surely he chose both for his biggest fans and for that I'm appreciative. During the encore I couldn't resist bringing my six-year-old son down to the stage for the first moments of his rock 'n' roll hearing loss. He was thrilled to be there so close and I couldn't imagine anywhere else I'd rather be.

Divine Intervention
Room to Rock
We're the Same
Time Machine
The Ugly Truth
Someone to Pull the Trigger
Time Capsule
You Don't Love Me
I've Been Waiting
Sick of Myself
Cinnamon Girl


  • Local opening band North of Grand ... well, let's just move on...
  • Safetysuit was the other opening band. They were new to me and were about as interesting as their name. Not bad, but overall pretty bland. As my wife said with each new song, "they're playing the same song!" When the tween girls went up to the stage for autographs, it became abundantly clear who their target audience is.
  • Matthew Sweet's band was as always fantastic: Ric Menck playing drums, Paul Chastain on bass, and Pete Phillips playing an incredible guitar.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Where You Get Love

Matthew Sweet - Sunshine LiesGearing up for Matthew Sweet in Des Moines TONIGHT!

Read all about it!

Be there!

Come back for the review in the near future.

Believers Have the Lead

Guster tours:

6/19/09 – Jackson, MS @ Jubilee Jam Festival...TIX
6/20/09 – Atlanta, GA @ MidSummer Music Fest...FREE SHOW
6/21/09 – Birmingham, AL @ City Stages...TIX
7/02/09 – Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest...TIX
7/04/09 – Chicago, IL @ Taste of Chicago @ Grant Park...FREE SHOW
7/05/09 – Rothbury, MI @ Rothbury Festival...TIX
7/19/09 – Denver, CO @ Mile High Fest...TIX
7/25/09 – Bridgeport, CT @ Gathering of the Vibes...TIX
7/26/09 – Camden, NJ @ XPoNential Music Festival...TIX
7/31/09 – St. Louis, MO @ St. Louis Riverfront...FREE SHOW
8/07/09 – Newport, RI @ Newport Yachting Center...TIX
8/08/09 – Portland, ME @ Baystock Music Festival...TIX
Me gusta Guster.

Kill the Guy With the Ball

The latest word from Mike Viola...

I'm in pre-production/writing mode for my next solo record. Working title Kill The Guy With The Ball AND lastly- For those of you that love THAT band as much as we love ourselves (impossible) the Major Labels are slated to record this fall....name of the new album Abbey...oh yeah......TML4eva.
Excellent! In the meantime, enjoy the very good Viola-produced Amanda Leigh by Mandy Moore.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Brandon Schott - Homegrown Recordings Vol. 5

Brandon Schott - Homegrown Recordings
Vol. 5 - Dear Someone

Alright, Too Poppiers. Now is the time to tell your friends, families, colleagues, children, and pets about Mr. Brandon Schott. Go on. Give them this link. Give them all the freebies we've been delivering all year while they're still free. Download the albums. C'mon. Go to Facebook, Twitter, Usenet, Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr. I don't care. Just tell somebody. I never ask anything of you. That's your one job today. Thank you. Now enjoy the latest Homegrown Recording - a beautiful cover and a preview of one of the fine tunes from his upcoming album...
First of all, sorry for the delay in this month's delivery - the homegrown stork got crazy buzzed on pixie sticks and flew circles around it's targeted release date. He's passed out in the bathtub with a bad bad headache, clutching a thermos of chamomile tea and is now sleeping it off (he'll be fine). Speaking of storks, it seems that this is the month for many friends and family of mine to be reproducing and having them babies (YAY!), so I thought it would be appropriate to offer up another quiet piece from my un-finished lullaby project. I hereby present to you, faithful downloaders, my version of the amazing Gillian Welch song "DEAR SOMEONE". The guitar and vocal were recorded live in my friend Jake SImpson's bathroom, with a few dreamy overdubs added later for good measure. Much love to you and yours, and yay again for them babies! Until next month, all my love and pleasant dreams...

MP3: Brandon Schott - Dear Someone
Video: Brandon Schott - All Will Be Well


BMI Showcase
Wednesday, July 1, 2009 @ 8PM!
Genghis Cohen
740 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA

All of Brandon Schott's singles and albums via iTunes
Brandon Schott - RELEASE (2003) via iTunes, Not Lame, CD Baby
Brandon Schott - Golden State (2007) via iTunes, Not Lame

Brandon Schott MySpace
Brandon Schott Official Site


Look How They Shine For You

There's something about Chris Martin that makes me want to ruffle up his hair and say, "it's alright, buddy, don't let the anemia get you down." It's an urge, what can I say. Regardless...

Coldplay hit Des Moines Friday night for a packed performance and they delivered. Decked out in their thrift-store Sgt. Pepper's garb, the band surpassed my modest expectations. When I've seen Apple's dad and his band perform on TV I've been quite underwhelmed, particularly with Viva La Vida. On TV, Martin could never quite deliver as he did in the studio. He did quite a bit better Friday night in person but still didn't nail it. What's with bands being unable to perform their biggest songs live?

No matter - virtually everything else worked, particularly if you were rating it on crowd reaction alone. As someone who first noticed the band with their debut Parachutes, you might not be surprised to hear that Yellow was by far the highlight for me. Even dropping cheesy yellow balloons on the crowd with bright yellow lights accentuating the band's summerless complexions couldn't ruin it. I was even able to stomach the always dreadful first two-thirds of Fix You knowing the last third would be worth it - and so it was. The band's mid-set interlude into the backseats near me was much appreciated, which included their little ditty to Iowa and of course the crowd-favorite cover of I'm a Believer. An absolutely stellar Death and All His Friends finished things off before a surprisingly short two-song encore. I was sincerely disappointed when the lights came up.

I like to kid about Coldplay mostly because they're asking for it! There's no doubt of their aspirations to be the next best-rock-and-roll-band-in-the-world ala U2 (Magnificent was an obvious pre-show setup tune), but they don't quite yet have the sense of grandeur to pull it off. The stage and lighting were disappointingly underwhelming. I wasn't expecting a giant lemon, but they could've done much better than giant lighted balls that reminded me a bit too much of Christmas decorations and not enough of rock 'n' roll. Martin is no Bono, but do we really need another Bono? He fed the crowd with plenty of energy, spastic running-around, and pained expressions to obviously highlight his emoting without resorting to fly sunglasses and meaningful lyrics. Kudos - just keep the aspirations grounded and get the guy some spinach.

Coldplay's Complete Setlist

I was nearly as excited that Snow Patrol was the second opener (Howling Bells was the first, which I missed and hardly deserves a mention considering TheirSpace indicated they were playing in Des Moines, IDAHO Friday night - c'mon) and they did exactly what I wanted them to do. No surprises - just faithful and loud renditions of their best tunes. Run made it all worthwhile, yet for me they sealed it when they played TV-soundtrack-favorite Open Your Eyes, which for some reason I did not expect. Killer tune in a great set. Their songs all reek of sameness, but why complain when they're good songs? I expected a bit more personality from a band with more albums than their headliner, but perhaps it's just a matter of time before they live up to the near-spectacle that is Moses' pop.

Finally, two completely irrelevant complaints that I have to include here so I can put them to rest:
1 - What's up with the terrible t-shirt selection from both bands?
2 - What's up with closing down of every beer vendor on the upper floors after Coldplay started?
Sheesh. Thank you - I am vented.

I Set Out Searching

Fountains of Wayne are summer touring...

6.26.09 Hoboken, NJ Maxwell's
18+ | Full-band acoustic show | Tickets on sale April 20th

6.29.09 Hoboken, NJ Maxwell's
18+ | Full-band acoustic show | Tickets on sale May 8th

7.01.09 Bay Shore, NY Boulton Center
All-ages | Full-band acoustic show | Tickets on sale April 1st

7.02.09 Tarrytown, NY Tarrytown Music Hall
All-ages | Full-band acoustic show | Tickets on sale April 3rd

7.03.09 Sellersville, PA Sellersville Theater
All-ages | Full-band acoustic show | Tickets on sale March 31st

7.05.09 Woodstock, NY Bearsville Theater
All-ages | Full-band acoustic show | Tickets on sale May 4th

7.07.09 Minneapolis, MN Cedar Cultural Center
All-ages | Full-band acoustic show | Tickets on sale April 24th

7.08.09 Madison, WI High Noon Saloon
18+ | Full-band acoustic show | Tickets on sale April 9th

7.10.09 Chicago, IL Park West
All-ages | Full-band acoustic show | Tickets on sale April 18th

7.11.09 Milwaukee, WI Turner Hall
All-ages | Full-band acoustic show

7.12.09 Munster, IN Centennial Park
All-ages | Full-band acoustic show
Go to their official site for all the details.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Revolution Diminished Right in Front of Us

Dark Night of the SoulBack in May we told you about the interesting Danger Mouse / Sparklehorse / David Lynch CD / photobook collaboration. The limited edition book + CD CD-R is available now. CD-R? The New York Times has the bizarre tale.

Still streaming at NPR.org.

Official site.

Buy the book and CD-R at Amazon.com.

We Would Be Warm Below The Storm

The Beatles have posted footage from The Beatles Rockband launch with Olivia Harrison, Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. It's a little awkward to say the least, but it's got some good footage of the game, people's impressions of it, etc. One interesting nugget is that the game has never-before-heard studio chatter from The Beatles. Have I mentioned I can't wait for this game?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Wait My Turn

The Raveonettes are working on their new album and they're exposing the results along the way - the first of which you can download below. Sigh, unfortunately the best way to keep up is to follow them on Twitter, a forum that is growing increasingly annoying to me. You can also sign up here to get in on the goodness.

MP3: The Raveonettes - Last Dance

Time Is a Luxury

We're entering the hazy, lazy days of summer.

This is our excuse for not delivering on a new Homegrown Recording from Brandon Schott yesterday. This also keeps you coming back within the next few days - we'll get caught up.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Music Plays

The Lightning Seeds - Four WindsI'll have someone's head for this!

The Lightning Seeds have a new album and it's already been released! Now, I am an American fan and it appears there is not a domestic release, but seriously, you should've told me.

Four Winds is out now and is available to us in America via Amazon.com as an import. Not sure I can download MP3s from the Amazon.co.uk MP3 store but I'll be trying later!

Here is the track list:

1. Things Just Happened
2. Ghosts
3. Said And Done
4. Don't Walk On By
5. The Story Goes
6. On A Day Like This
7. I'll Be Around
8. All I Do
9. I Still Feel The Same
10. 4 Winds
Man, talk about under the radar. Can't wait to get my grubby paws on this one. More on this when that day comes!

Official Site

Way2Poppy Update: No dice on the Amazon.co.uk site: "Important Message - We're sorry. We could not process your order because of geographical restrictions on the product which you were attempting to purchase. Please refer to the terms of use for this product to determine the geographical restrictions. We apologize for the inconvenience. ".

Well I don't accept your apology! So there! But enjoy the title track below. It's so good to hear Ian's voice again! Can you believe it's been 10 years?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Now Let's Have Some Fun

Paul McCartney has elaborated on a potential collaboration with Bob Dylan:

Basically, Macca said Dylan hasn’t contacted him but Dylan should. (Macca is inviting Bob Dylan to join his party)
via Zoe Griffin via The Quietus via The Daily Swarm

Way to take the initiative there, Paul. Evidently, he's also willing to hang with the hip and collaborate with MGMT. Sure sure, I can hear that.


I Won't Go Hollywood

...but I should. Just look at who Bleu is playing with in the coming weeks...

Jun 30 - 9:00P - Hotel Cafe - Record Release w special acoustic set from Rooney, Hollywood, CA
Jul 07 - 9:00P - Hotel Cafe - Record Release w Drake Bell, Hollywood, CA
Jul 09 - 8:00P - Knitting Factory w Ace Enders, Hollywood, CA
Jul 14 - 8:00P - Hotel Cafe - Record Release w Mike Viola and special guest Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Hollywood, CA
Jul 22 - 6:00P - In Store at Newbury Comics, Faneuil Hall Location
Jul 24 - 8:00P - TT The Bear's - Record Release w Hooray For Earth, Air Traffic Controller & Count Zero, Cambridge, MA
Jul 25 - 8:00P - Joe's Pub - Record Release w Jim Boggia, NYC - EARLY SHOW!
Jul 31 - 8:00P - Puck Live - Record Release w Jim Boggia, Doylestown, PA
Aug 01 - 9:00P - The Listening Room - Record Release w Sandra McCracken, Nashville, TN
Bleu, Mike Viola, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Rooney? Mind-blowing.

In the Music We Rise Above

Trashcan Sinatras - In the MusicHow freakin' sweet would it be to see Trashcan Sinatras in concert? Very freakin' sweet. Here are your chances:

july 16, 2009 san juan capistrano, ca - coach house
july 28, 2009 san diego, ca - casbah
july 29, 2009 los angeles, ca - troubadour
july 31, 2009 san francisco, ca - cafe du nord
aug 2, 2009 portland, or - aladdin theater
aug 3, 2009 seattle, wa - triple door
aug 5, 2009 salt lake city, ut - club vegas
aug 6, 2009 denver, co - larimer lounge
aug 9, 2009 chicago, il - schuba's
aug 10, 2009 milwaukee, wi - shank hall
aug 11, 2009 cleveland, oh - grog shop
aug 13, 2009 washington, dc - rock & roll hotel
aug 14, 2009 philadelphia, pa - tin angel
aug 15, 2009 new york, ny - bowery ballroom
aug 16, 2009 boston, ma - t.t. the bear's
Chi-town friends, get out your air mattress! I'll need a place to crash.

Their new album (!!!) In the Music - already out in Japan - will be officially released in July. You can pre-order it now, though, and get an instant download of it! Go here for all the details.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Present Perfect Tense

I’ve always had a little faith in Mandy Moore. Sure, her youthful foray into teen pop produced a fair amount of dreck, but by the time her self-titled album was released, you could just sense she had more to give. Her official second album, Mandy Moore, served as her last gasp in the hyper-controlled and overproduced teen pop universe, for which she always seemed a bit too self-assured for anyway. It truly had some highlights for the genre (Crush, Cry, When I Talk to You), but it simply had too many high-fructose throwaways for my taste.

Enter Coverage, which thankfully started to reveal the real Mandy Moore. Coverage was essentially a kind of mix-tape that a good vocalist with a smart producer (John Fields) can use to reinvent herself, which she accomplished artfully. Moore joyfully surprised me with some excellent covers of XTC, Elton John, Cat Stevens, and The Waterboys. Coverage was the dazzling emergence of Amanda Leigh.

After Coverage, my expectations for Wild Hope were high, too high. It’s likable enough with some good moments, but in the end it was simply too birkenstocky and boring to sustain my interest for long – a near miss.

Mandy Moore - Amanda LeighI tempered my expectations for any follow-up until I heard she was working with Mike Viola. First Fields, now Viola? Nice – this woman has great taste. Mike Viola is one of the best pop artists working today and I was immensely curious with how this collaboration would end up. Amanda Leigh is quite an accomplishment. Viola is all over this one, but so is what I sense to be the real Mandy Moore – the Amanda Leigh who first peeked her pretty little head out for Coverage.

This second self-titled effort is the perfect companion to her first. Mandy Moore (the album) documents a girl discovering she was a woman with real talent beyond a pretty voice. Amanda Leigh (the album) documents that woman’s full self-actualization. That may sound like an overstatement, but after spending a couple weeks with the album, it is undoubtedly her best work to date and is, so far, one of the best pop releases of the year.

Like Wild Hope, Amanda Leigh bleeds a 70s singer-songwriter vibe. Most of the songs would fit in seamlessly with her inspirations were they to meet on AM radio someday, yet they come across as decidedly fresh and contemporary. Perhaps that is Viola’s touch, but it’s a skill she’s shown since Coverage. I recommend the whole album, but if you have only 15 minutes you’ll be best served by listening to track 3, the peppy-pop-done-right single I Could Break Your Heart Any Day of the Week, through track 6, the only Viola-less tune on the whole album – the irresistibly moody Everblue. By doing so, you’ll also be treated to Pocket Philospher, the Too Poppiest tune here. It’s so good, it sounds like an outtake from one of Roger Joseph Manning Jr.’s solo albums.

Amanda Leigh is a revelation. Perhaps finally I’ll be able to say I’m a Mandy Moore fan without the usual snicker that accompanies such an admission.

The Song I Sing For You

No One Sleeps When I'm Awake by The Sounds is killer. Get it free below! The new album Crossing the Rubicon is available now.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Tall People Can't Be Trusted

Hilarious. You can download Paul Steel's 15-second classic Tall People Can't Be Trusted at HisSpace. Yes, it really is only 15 seconds long but it's juicy, whatever that means. Of course, because MySpace sucks so so much, I can't figure out how to download it. 'Spose it could be user error. Sigh.

His much-buzzed-about ("second coming of Brian Wilson") second-album Moon Rock is now out on iTunes. A Japanese version has been available since last year and has been widely praised. Can't wait to finally download this one.

via iTunes

Sad Sad Story Indeed

Love Bang - The Rule of 72'sIf you ever need a reminder of how freakin' cool Not Lame is, get a load of their latest find: Love Bang!

Love Bang is the unreleased project that Eric Dover of Jellyfish finished before joining J-fish.
Not Lame goes on to describe it as a ballsier Crowded House full of Beatles and Jellyfish. Judging from the clips they posted, that description seems spot on. And what a great back story:
Recorded at Ardent Studios at great expense, major labels made offers `substantial ones` but, for whatever reasons, they were not accepted. In fact, one offer to Charisma Records, soon to be the home of Jellyfish, was rejected because their A&R man said they had just signed a band with a very similar sound.
Man, just imagine how many other 'almosts' are out there waiting for Not Lame to discover them. This seems to be a required purchase for any self-respecting Jellyfish fanatic, and we know because we are.

Buy now from Not Lame!

How Can You Laugh?

Paul McCartney is going to play Shea Shitty Citi Field this summer. This comes a few days after announcing he's playing Halifax. Lucky for all of them.

Reporters Baffled

Of interest to us former radio broadcasters:

Radio & Records


An excellent resource in my past life.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Twenty Plus Twenty Is Better Than Dead

Bleu has created his very own social networking site on the Ning platform and he really really wants us to join it. In one of the coolest promotions ever, joining his community will automatically make you eligible to win a very special prize, a custom birthday song written and performed by Bleu himself!

1. Make a personal profile at Bleu's new online community, the site is free!
2. Upload a picture of yourself

3. Add your birthday to your profile and make it viewable (you don't have to add the year!)

4. Do all of this before August 25, 2009 and you'll be entered!
Evidently he has a history of performing special birthday songs for friends. You can download an EP of those songs via iTunes. Here's hoping for inclusion of "A Too Poppy Birthday" on the next EP.

Just Repeat This Again and Again and Again

Blur is releasing a 25-track "career-spanning collection" called Midlife: A Beginner's Guide to Blur on July 28. Don't let anyone tell you it's a greatest hits compilation. No sir, it's much more than that.

Disc 1
1. Beetlebum
2. Girls & Boys
3. For Tomorrow
4. Coffee & TV
5. Out of Time
6. Blue Jeans
7. Song 2
8. Bugman
9. He Thought of Cars
10. Death of a Party
11. The Universal
12. Sing
13. This Is A Low

Disc 2
1. Tender
2. She's So High
3. Chemical World
4. Good Song
5. Parklife
6. Advert
7. Popscene
8. Stereotypes
9. Trimm Trabb
10. Badhead
11. Strange News From Another Star
12. Battery In Your Leg
Way2Poppy will be thrilled. He's the biggest Blur fan I know.

The band will be hitting the European festival circuit this summer. Might as well make a few extra bucks selling another compilation. Blur has always been hit or miss for me. I liked their first three albums - the brit-poppiest of the bunch - but they never captured my interest much after that.

via Paste

I'm Stealing Your Songs Right Now

NapsterNapster turns 10.

Nappy, I miss the real you.

Let's Live the Cliché

Broken Promise Keeper - Ice Cold PopUpon first listen of Broken Promise Keeper's Ice Cold Pop, it hit me instantly - this guy, dubbed Rob Stuart at birth, is a fan. His love for powerpop radiates from every hook, harmony, and guitar jangle giving the album a sense a pureness rarely found elsewhere.

BPK's ultimate goal is to write that sublimely perfect powerpop song, a candy-coated sonic grenade that will make you turn it up and sing along.
His heart is in it and you feel every beat.

What kept me listening, though, was his wit. I couldn't help but smile all through Once, a song ripe in over-the-top clichés yet self-aware enough to recognize their power (never mind that it eerily reminds me of the never-to-be-recorded-or-released Too Poppy classic Summer Cliché - kindred spirits). And the requisite song-about-girls Kristine taps into the universal reason why so many guys like Stuart get into pop music in the first place - chicks, man.

And the music is just right - tight enough to be professional yet loose enough to be fun. To think this was just recorded in February. Impressive. This is required listening in the powerpop universe.

Official Site
Not Lame

Monday, June 01, 2009

I Don't Care Where You Live

The Charlatans tour North America - sadly, not Iowa (click the image to actually be able to read it without a microscope):
The Charlatans Tour North America

Number 9, Number 9

Whoa - the screenshots and trailer for The Beatles Rockband were released today and they're better than I'd ever hope. The gameplay looks phenomenal. Play The Cavern, Shea Stadium, The Ed Sullivan Show and so much more. Wow. I can't wait to pick this up. Mine is pre-ordered - how about yours?

Update: It will include 45 songs on the disc. It will feature the ability to do 3-part harmonies. The first downloadable album is Abbey Road. If you're buying the Xbox version, you'll be able to download an exclusive "All You Need Is Love" with all proceeds going to Doctors Without Borders. You'll be able to experience The Beatles'
musical career from the early days to the final performance on the Apple Corps rooftop. Freakin' awesome.