Monday, September 30, 2013

The Girl Singer

More like this, please. I have a daughter and you do too. Or you have a mother. Grandmother. Niece. Sister. Mother-in-law. Friend. Neighbor. Colleague.

This message has been approved by the Too Poppy Committee for Human Decency.

Now go buy her band's debut album The Bones of What You Believe.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Breathe New Life Into My Tired Songs

Brilliant. Mike Viola is releasing trading cards! The very limited set is only available in packs of five for only five bucks. Do you best to get all 24 because each one contains a download code for an unreleased song. You may even get an autographed box! Beats the hell out of buying a boring ol' rarities CD.

Go here.

Oh, and happy birthday, Mr. Candy Butcher!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

It's A Souvenir For When You Go

Chvrches is one of those buzz bands you've been reading about on all the hip blogs for about a year or so. Clearly they're really about to make it now that they're getting some ink on the less-than-hip blogs!

The Scottish band is made up of smart people making smart music with the finest electronic equipment and production sensibility. Lauren Mayberry's vocals are infectious and flirtatious without being too cutesy. Think of a poppier Garbage or Depeche Mode with heavier synths and beats, or as NPR noted, "Chvrches opts for sprightly melancholy over the dour seriousness of its heroes." For those of you familiar with Sister Soleil you'll understand Chvrches. It is pure 80s electronic pop with a decidedly 21st century indie vibe punctuated by the goofily-spelled moniker (a deliberate attempt to bypass the ubiquitousness of the search term). I've been pleased so far that even with a name like Chvrches there is nary a monk chant to be heard. Dodged one there.

The Mother We Share is the smash on The Bones of What You Believe, the debut full-length. It transcends genre and should've been the big summer hit on Top 40 as well as alternative radio. Of course we don't live in a Too Poppy world ... yet. I dare you to spin Mother two times and shake the melody and hooks. Talk about an earworm. The album is full of them, although I still consider Mother the high point. I was concerned the sound would get repetitive or boring spread out across a full album, but Chvrches has a story to tell and the tenacity to keep you engaged. This is more than just an 80s electro-pop retread.

NPR is streaming The Bones of What You Believe in its entirety in the days leading up to its official release on September 24.

NPR | Official Site | iTunes | Amazon

Monday, September 16, 2013

Give Me A Moment

The Killers announced a new greatest hits package called Direct Hits. Two new tunes will be featured including a collaboration with M83 called Shot At The Night, which musically sounds exactly like what you'd expect from these two neo-New Wavers.

As retro and anthemic both artists are, I'd say they played it safe here. Bonus new tunes on greatest hits compilations tend to be rehashed demos that never found a home on a previous release so I'm underwhelmed but not surprised. It certainly sounds like a nearly unfinished outtake from their most recent album Battle Born, which has been one of my guilty pleasures for most of the year.

Direct Hits is out November 11 just in time for the holidays. More info here.

Official Site | iTunes

Friday, September 13, 2013

Want To Change The World?

Chipotle - yes, the burrito fast-food joint - has released a video featuring Fiona Apple covering Willy Wonka's Pure Imagination. Chipotle wants the take-home to be that industrial meat is bad and scarecrow cooking is good.  However, the "film" is animated gold and more on point the song is a beauty. Apple's rendition is cinematically haunting and gorgeously produced.

Chipotle has also released an iOS game too. They must be pretty serious about this meat thing.

iTunes (song) | iTunes (app)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Her Baby Buys Her Things

Attention completists! The Beatles On Air - Live at the BBC Vol 2 has been announced for release in November! The set is all new with 60 tracks, 37 previously unreleased performances, and plenty of signature Beatle on-air banter.

The trailer has it all ...

... but if you want more here you go. Pre-order here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

You Can Only Take So Much

Music soothes grief. Music heals pain. Music strengthens the weak. Music gives us resolve to carry on.

On an anniversary I wish didn't exist, it's hard not to revisit my soundtrack to the aftermath that helped me carry on in the days, weeks, months, and now years that would come. U2 released All That You Can't Leave Behind in 2000, but the album was eerily prescient. Beautiful Day. Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Of. Walk On. Peace On Earth. New York. Grace. Thematically and contextually spot on. Weird. Really. Just weird.

The Irish band was an American fixture in the many months that would follow as we tried to come to terms with the new world. Super Bowl XXXVI was in many ways the focal point of the anxiety, fear, patriotism, and hope that so many of us were feeling at the time. The clouds of war were building and the very real threat inherent in a huge public gathering scared us out of our wits.  In an isolated society we share so few common experiences, but what is more American than the grandiose spectacle of the big game and its typically bloated halftime show? The bombastic U2 was a perfect pick and nailed it. It's hard to get through MLK and Where The Streets Have No Name with a dry eye while victim names were cascaded peacefully and respectfully behind the band. Stunning.

Beautiful Day was the iconic hit from the album and indeed September 11, 2011, was ironically a beautiful day is most of the country. But Walk On is the one that sticks for me.

"And I know it aches | And your heart, it breaks | You can only take so much ... Leave it behind | You've got to leave it behind ... All that you hate."

Walk on.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Have To Have You

Bleu has been pimping his 5th full-length on PledgeMusic for a while now with plenty of extra special bonuses for contributors. I strongly encourage you to support this Too Poppy-approved artist! Pledge now and you'll get the album very soon along with those extras (which includes becoming a member of the Redhead Record Club celebrating Bleu's stellar second album). If you're looking for a free preview, NoiseTrade is offering the full download of To Hell With You for free or for a generous tip! R U KIDDING ME? This offer is for only two weeks so get on it now.

To Hell With You gets a world-wide release On Jan 28, 2014. Bleu is currently on tour. Get the details here.

Official Site | PledgeMusic | NoiseTrade | iTunes | Amazon

Monday, September 09, 2013

Now We're Staring At A Screen

After way too much breathless, net-driven hype, Arcade Fire has finally debuted Reflektor, the first single from the upcoming album Reflektor. The tune has a great vibe and sounds best on headphones, particularly to appreciate David Bowie's contribution. Yep.

The video is long, interesting, and a bit nightmarish. Watch it here or below. There's also an interactive experience here, which I could not experience because I don't use Chrome. WTF-ever. The whole effort pushes Arcade Fire to their natural pretentious boundaries and many may not have the patience. It's definitely "gotta-be-in-the-right-mood" music and it's not quite as instant as The Suburbs' Sprawl II, but I dig it on first impression.

Pre-order Reflektor here, to be released October 29. Paste was all over it today, btw.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

It's A Beautiful Thing When Pigs Fly

I've lost my kids to the Top 40. We should start a support group. I tried. I sung The Beatles at bedtime. Their first concerts were Guster and Matthew Sweet. They were raised on Justin Roberts. Ah well. Perhaps this is inevitable for all teens and pre-teens. I do recall a few moments of Top 40 radio obsession when I was their age.

Regardless, I still believe it's our duty to start their appreciation of the good stuff at a young age. NoiseTrade is doing their part with a free download of Sandra Boynton's Frog Trouble. It may be country, but it features contributions by Too Poppy favorites Ben Folds, Fountains of Wayne, and Ryan Adams. Get that Barney tape out of your car and start educating the new generation!

Download free at NoiseTrade

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Feel This Way Every Day

My all-time favorite radio station, Chicago's WXRT, is offering a free download of Brendan Benson's Diamond here!

Benson has been releasing singles all year, which he'll compile on an album called You Were Right, which will be released on November 22: Black Friday. Merry Christmas!

WXRT | iTunes | Amazon

The Feelings Swim To The Surface

Arcade Fire returns.

Reflektor 9/9/9. Tease much?

Update via Rolling Stone

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Memories Will Always Linger On

This is getting around fast. Fred Stobaugh is evidently the next big thing and he's only 96 years old. Fred has become the oldest artist to hit the Billboard Hot 100 with a simple yet touching love song to his late wife of 72 years. Watch and listen to the story of Sweet Lorraine below and here.

This is why we listen to music.


Oh, That Magic Feeling

Evidently The Beatles didn't really need instruments. Abbey Road's medley a cappella...

Stunning. Thanks, Way2Poppy!