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April 29, 2011

Album Review
Jonny (self-titled)

If you have loved the band Ween, as yours truly has, get yourself Jonny's "You Was Me", "Wich is Wich", "Candyfloss", "Bread", and "I Want to be Around You."    Make an iTunes folder with all your Ween albums and then place these five tracks from Jonny inside of it.    Set it to random and enjoy.    Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake and Euros Child of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci have built a childlike masterpiece.

Jonny - You Was Me

Jonny - Wich is Wich

Jonny - Candy Floss

Jonny - Bread

Jonny - I Want to be Around You

April 28, 2011

Album Review
Lanu - Her 12 Faces

Australian funk band The Bamboos' frontman Lance Ferguson released a tidy little chill-out album away from all the brass that typically surrounds him.    There are some interesting moments on a fairly typical journey from vocal tracks to instrumentals, yet thankfully with only one vocalist, Megan Washington.    For fans of the mellow vibes inherent in this musical realm, it's nothing that can be considered breakthrough, but "Beautiful Trash", "Fall", "Jean Paul", and a clever French rendition of Roxy Music's "More Than This" are worthy treats.

Lanu - Beautiful Trash

Lanu - Jean Paul

April 27, 2011

Album Review -   The Generationals   -  Actor-Caster

We're hearing some enormous creativity within modern music and Actor Caster by New Orleans' The Generationals is spellbinding pop by two guys, a girl drummer and then another dude helps out occasionally.    It starts out in a rather early Love & Rockets vibe, moves to New Order, and then by the fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth track, you'll know that I've got it all wrong.    What I do know is these folks that call themselves The Generationals are developing some extra freshness with their quirky songbook.    Delicious.

FREE Download of the new Rarities EP by The Generationals
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The Generationals - Ten Twenty Ten

The Generationals - Tell Me Now

The Generationals - Please Be It

Album Review
Gangpol Und Mit - 1000 Softcore Tourist People Club

On French duo Gangpol Und Mit's newest full length album "The 1000 Softcore Tourist People Club", one should expect the unexpected due to the band's inclusion onto Mike Patton's Ipecac record label.    This is the third oddball release of the year that we've witnessed alongside The Go! Team's "Rolling Blackouts" and Fujiya & Miyagi's "Ventriloquizzing".    However, there is little consistency in Gangpol Und Mit's 2011 entry and it occasionally elicits a surprising sense of terror amongst the goofy melodies,  as can be witnessed on "From Your House to the Universe," which is typical of the artistic licence for which Ipecac is infamous.

April 26, 2011

Album Review Grails - Deep Politics

Portland natives Grails have assembled a dark and stormy album entitled "Deep Politics" that seems a worthy soundtrack to conflicted character studies indicative of a Darren Aronofsky film.    Unlike fellow instrumentalists Mogwai, Grails have built a compelling argument with more patient and organic growth inside their songs, employing unexpected flourishes and occasionally bursting into symphonic episodes that make for exciting repeat enjoyment.

Grails - Deep Politics

Album Review Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

On Mogwai's newest album "Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will", you'll find everything you'd expect from Mogwai, but with their instrumental dial twisting itself to sinister a little more frequently.    These gentlemen of Scotland now have seven proper albums, not including their live and soundtrack work, yet each song on the album seems to progress in much the same way with either a dramatic speeding up, slowing down of the subject matter, or a hearty bashing of their respective instruments.    Mogwai bring in some vocals this time out, laying it on with effects much like Trans Am have continued practicing on their past 3 albums, which became a little tiring for TA, but is a fresh idea for Mogwai.    Check out the new album "Deep Politics" by Grails, which takes a fresh direction in this same musical realm.

Mogwai - Rano Pano

April 24, 2011

Album Review Glasvegas - Euphoric Heartbreak

Scotland's Glasvegas have created another Bono friendly release with their newest LP Euphoric Heartbreak, showing that they are prepared for the same massive venues to which U2 has become accustomed.    The vocalist tells a variety of stories within the songs, two regarding homosexuality, and frequently explodes from his heavy Glaswegian accent into stadium sized warbled vocals.    A similar vocal affectation is shared by their namesake group Your Vegas, who were mentored by global superstars Duran Duran during their 2005 tour.    After repeated listens, it seems that "You" and "Shine Like Stars" are the only truly mesmerizing tracks on this long player.

Glasvegas - You

Glasvegas - Shine Like Stars

April 23, 2011

Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood is the Controller: Review

Apart from his crucial role as guitarist, songwriter, and collaborator for one of the most successful bands in rock history, Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood reveals that he also has a soft spot for dub and reggae.    In 2008, Jonny compiled some timeless tracks in this genre from the Trojan record label that began in the late 60s and was home to likes of Desmond Dekker [iTunes] and The Jahlights.    The female back-up singers responding with "Doop Doobity Doo" on Lee 'Scratch' Perry's "Bionic Rats [iTunes]" are brilliantly effective.    Marcia Aitken's 12' mix on "I'm Still in Love [iTunes]" are prime examples of Mr. Greenwood's exceptional ability to sort through the finest dub and give us a reason to still love the reggae establishment for its continued vitality.    Yah mon.

Jonny Greenwood is the Controller - Marcia Atkin "I'm still in love" 12' mix

Jonny Greenwood is the Controller - Lee 'Scratch' Perry "Bionic Rats"

April 22, 2011

Album Review Pentagram - Last Rites

After at least 4 years of picking the charred bits from their blackened hearts, Pentagram return with a bloody terrific apology to Satan on their newly released Last Rites album.    Filled with heavy guitar à la Monster Magnet, Kyuss, and the doomed Alice in Chains, it will be ringing in the ears of its target market for many months to come.

Pentagram - Call the Man

Pentagram - Death in the First Person

Pentagram - Nothing Left

Album Review Federico Aubele - Berlin 13

Argentina's Federico Aubele released his newest album "Berlin 13" one month ago on Thievery Corporation's ESL Music label.    Federico's 3rd album is a finely tuned mix of smooth Latin guitar, Spanish/English vocals that bear similarities to Yello's German vocalist then pressed through Thievery Corps' more dubby global influences.    The first time I heard it, my son had put iTunes on repeat single track mode, but it wasn't until the fourth time through Berlin that we noticed that the song couldn't possibly be over 15 minutes long.    This is a testament to how smooth the album flows, which may be a detriment to its poignancy in your music collection in the future.    The definite keepers are Berlin, No One, Bohemian Rhapsody in Blue, Efemara, and 13.

Federico Aubele - Berlin

Federico Aubele - No One

Federico Aubele - Bohemian Rhapsody in Blue

April 21, 2011

Exposed breasts on album covers cannot save The Luyas, Cut Copy or Young Prisms

Sometimes albums that truly disappoint do so because of a serious flaw or misjudgement of their audience that absolutely destroys the enjoyment. Canada's The Luyas disrespect the crucial song #2 position on their newest LP "Too Beautiful to Work" by selecting the song "Worth Mentioning" that sounds like a drummer and his full kit falling down a seemingly infinite staircase along with a Salvation Army volunteer and their Christmas kettle with bells.    On Cut Copy's newest album Zonoscope, the Aussies barely break a standing pulse rate in an organic garden, which bodes for an absolutely boring listen.    Or, in the case of San Francisco's Young Prisms' latest "Friends For Now", they doggedly lose focus toward feedback rather than melody and songsmanship.    Topless models on any of their artsy album covers cannot save them.

The Luyas - Worth Mentioning

Young Prisms - Feel Fine

Cut Copy - Need You Now

April 20, 2011

Album Review Chemical Brothers - Hanna Soundtrack

When reading that the Chemical Brothers had made the soundtrack for an icy action thriller called Hanna that begins in northern Scandinavia, the viewer/listener will wonder how the pair would immmerse their block rockin' beats into a proper film.    For those who haven't been watching Chemical Brothers' growth, their sound has been becoming more filmic with their last album "Further" that was rumoured to be a framework for several short films.    How the Chemical Bros' material has supported the film is to accentuate the confusion and excitement that Hanna feels encountering religion, technology, fear, and love with their frigid, and at times, paranoid aural backdrop.    You'll even hear the actors whistling soundtrack segments to grow the relationship of the actors to the film's score.    Best soundtrack that I've heard since David Holmes' Oceans 12 soundtrack, which was magic for the film and, now, as collection of timeless tracks hand-picked by a production wizard.    Hopefully, Hanna does the same for the Chemical Brothers.

FREE Download of Remixed Chemical Brothers Hanna Soundtrack - Click down arrow below Info at right of Soundcloud object
Chemical Brothers - Hanna (Movie Soundtrack Remixed) by listothis

FREE Download of Swoon by Chemical Brothers (Bassworm Remix) - Click down arrow below Info at right of Soundcloud object
Chemical Brothers - Swoon (Bassworm Remix) by Bassworm

Chemical Brothers - Container Park (Hanna Soundtrack)

Chemical Brothers - The Devil is in the Beats (Hanna Soundtrack)

Chemical Brothers - Hanna's Theme (Hanna Soundtrack)

April 19, 2011

Album Review Peter, Bjorn And John - Gimme Some

Sweden's Peter, Bjorn and John continue to move their sound forward with only 2 guitars, drums and a few human voices on their latest LP Gimme Some that was just released a couple of weeks ago.    Like America's Marcy Playground or Canada's Sloan, they deliver their action-packed album with clever touches along the way.    PB and J make the whole album appear effortless for them and you can tell that the boys are also having a great time playing.

Peter, Bjorn and John - Breaker Breaker

Peter, Bjorn and John - Second Chance

Peter, Bjorn and John - Lies

Peter, Bjorn and John - Tomorrow Has To Wait

FREE Download of Peter Bjorn John - Second Chance (RAC Mix)
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Peter Bjorn John - Second Chance (RAC Mix) by DingoBar

Peter, Bjorn And John - Gimme Some Tracklist:

1. Tomorrow Has To Wait (Peter, Bjorn And John - Gimme Some)
2. Dig A Little Deeper (Peter, Bjorn And John - Gimme Some)
3. Second Chance (Peter, Bjorn And John - Gimme Some)
4. Eyes (Peter, Bjorn And John - Gimme Some)
5. Breaker Breaker (Peter, Bjorn And John - Gimme Some)
6. May Seem Macabre (Peter, Bjorn And John - Gimme Some)
7. Cool Off (Peter, Bjorn And John - Gimme Some)
8. Black Book (Peter, Bjorn And John - Gimme Some)
9. Down Like Me (Peter, Bjorn And John - Gimme Some)
10. Lies (Peter, Bjorn And John - Gimme Some)
11. I Know You Don’t Love Me (Peter, Bjorn And John - Gimme Some)

April 18, 2011

Album Review Rainbow Arabia - Boys and Diamonds

Sometimes a band's name should be enough warning to potential listeners to heed the warning like broken electrical equipment that you should refer servicing to qualified service personnel.    Rainbow Arabia is that LA hipster band gone wrong.    With its allusion to northern Africa and, good heavens, a rainbow, there are enough disparate concepts also within each song that eventually break this record.    The odd goth act CocoRosie bears some resemblance in terms of unorthodox vocals, lyrics and arrangements, but Rainbow Arabia add far too many components to their mix and it is rendered unlistenable.

Rainbow Arabia - Without You

Rainbow Arabia - Boys and Diamonds

Album Review Britney Spears - Femme Fatale

It is difficult for Britney Spears to be taken seriously.    We've seen her consistently undulating for the camera, rubbed her backside onto the laps of other dancers, and be kissed and licked by multiple partners throughout the years, while also enjoying regular tabloid rotation.    Professionally, Britney seems to have got things under control, as over half of these new tracks on her newest Femme Fatale are a refreshing refresher for Spears.    The last proper album that BS released was Circus and she was working with multiple mega-producers, but the only catchy bits were the sexy liner photos.    If you want to save some money, you will not need Drop Dead Beautiful, Seal It With A Kiss, Big Fat Bass, Trouble For Me, Criminal, Up N' Down, Selfish or Don't Keep Me Waiting, as these tracks quickly lose the momentum of an otherwise clever release from one of our regular tabloid queens.

Britney Spears - I Wanna Go.

April 17, 2011

Album Review:
Malachai - Return to the Ugly Side

As the story goes, a fella from Portishead discovered Malachai and it's easy to notice the many reasons why he loved them.    The two (and sometimes three) piece Malachai released an intriguing piece of work entitled Return to the Ugly Side earlier in February and it begins with symphonic sampling, moves towards a Strawberry Fields Forever intro, then heads back through hip-hop beats and samples a la Jel and continues weaving in and out of late 60s psychedelia.    Tack on some vocals that sound a bit like the Flaming Lips and you've got yourself an intriguing listen.

Malachai - Let 'em Fall

Malachai - Rainbows

Malachai - Mid-Antarctica

Malachai - Let 'em Fall (live in studio)

April 16, 2011

Album Review The Liberators - The Liberators

The Liberators self-titled debut brings us a proper instrumental funk album from Australia with, seemingly, more horns than you have fingers.    You can file this alongside other similar modern groups such as Quantic Soul Orchestra, The Bamboos and Poets of Rhythm, all of whom bring their funk from surprisingly fresh angles on their respective albums.    The Liberators' release is a refreshing, unhurried piece of afro-soul with the occasional vocal track to spice up the flavour, most importantly on the mesmerizing funk of Let It Go.    And the first single Rags to Riches is delivered as a mock promo for a Blaxploitation film, which is proving to be a clever marketing tool.

The Liberators - Rags to Riches

THE LIBERATORS - Let It Go feat. Roxie Ray by The Liberators - Afrofunk

The Liberators - Let It Go w/Roxie Ray

The Liberators -Multiculture

April 15, 2011

Album Review:
Oh Land - Oh Land

This album has everything going for it: a cute Danish filly with an even cuter voice with an SUV full of global super-producers and a tight little eleven track album of simple, effective pop songs.    However, I think that one of these English speaking producers should have been honest about some of the English expressions Ms. Oh Land uses or, better yet, suggest that she have kept it in the Danish language.    There are some great lyrics in the hit song Sun of a Gun such as "You could make the blue sky blush" that are quickly overshadowed by hearing about "That voodoo you do" on the next song.    My mother had her own cute Swedish/English expressions, but I would have recommended that she avoid naming her hit song "Ding-a-ling Dum Dum", which she used as an admonishment when I would get too silly as a child.

Oh Land - Perfection

Oh Land - Break the Chain

Oh Land - Sun of a Gun

Oh Land - Voodoo

Album Review:
The Raveonettes-Raven in the Grave

The Raveonettes have grown into their sound since first hearing their first EP Whip It On in 2002 while working in a CD shop.   For newcomers, expect The Raveonettes' newest Raven in the Grave to come fully equipped with overproduced guitar, drums and anything else that the Danish duo find in the studio and play the hell out of it or drive it to distortion.   For returning enthusiasts, you'll find ringing guitars bleeding into echoing percussion to be replaced by absolute sweetness afterward.   Tremendous stuff when you're ready for this kind of experience.

The Raveonettes - Recharge & Revolt

The Raveonettes - War in Heaven

The Raveonettes - Forget That You're Young

The Raveonettes - Apparitions

Album Review:
Holy Ghost-Holy Ghost

New York's Holy Ghost! released their self-titled full-length last week and provide some evidence that they know the electro-pop formula well.    Apart from the snappy beats and synth work hearkening back to OMD and others of their ilk, the HG boys don't add any distinctively fresh flavours.   Holy Ghost! have been remixing many substantive artists, like Moby and their label's headmaster LCD Soundsystem, during the past few years, which has aided their ability to afford the very expensive rent in New York city and perhaps understand the nuts and bolts of song construction.    However, with all the great music being released these days, the album is quite remarkably unremarkable, aside from Hold On, which they released as a single 4 years ago and finally appears on this long player.     The only other oddly interesting moment is Michael McDonald showing up in the closing track Some Children.    Apart from those two moments, the only other excitement would be the one, presumably, found at the exclamation point at the end of the band's name.

April 12, 2011

Album Review:
The Kills-Blood Pressures

Like this year's Wye Oak album, it is clear that there is considerable creative energy harnessed within the power of musical equivalents and the two piece combo behind The Kills' newest Blood Pressures is another compelling argument.    The album swings between restrained White Stripes jams and the tension revealed through the smoky PJ Harvey-esque vocal interplay along with her male partner in crime.    These cats know what they're doing.

The Kills - Future Starts Slow

The Kills - Satellite

The Kills - DNA

April 10, 2011

Album Review:
Timber Timbre-Creep On Creepin' On

Thank you once again to the year 2011 for producing such clever albums, in this case Timber Timbre's Creep On Creepin' On.    COCO starts with a percussive piano beat in "Bad Ritual" that sets the stage for an album that treads an unusual path between Tom Waits' patient, moody song construction, The The's vocal intensity and then through the occasional late 1960s psychedelia.    Spindrift, a band on The Dandy Warhols' label Beat the World, tried a similar sound a few years ago, but those cats seemed more concerned about novelty than quality songs.    This one's a keeper.

Timber Timbre-Bad Ritual

Timber Timbre-Black Water

Timber Timbre-Woman

Album Review:
Yelle-Safari Disco Club

If you're looking for some international flair in your electronic, make it Francophonic with Yelle's newest LP Safari Disco Club.    I had first heard her, and her two electronic muses, on the incorrigibly innovative Cooler Couleur on the otherwise ordinary Crookers' Tons of Friends album.    Think Goldfrapp's penchant for fun with that slinky French exchange student from Dieppe that you once met.    C'est bon?    Non, c'est très bien.    So très bien in fact that she's currently joined Katy Perry on her UK tour in her spring 2011 tour.    Having witnessed the spectacle of their live show, it's no wonder that they can continually tour the earth and still fill the seats and dance-floors.

FREE Download of Kitsuné presents the Happy 2011 EP

FREE Download of Yelle – “Comme Un Enfant” (Second Date Remix)
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Comme un enfant (Second Date remix) by YELLE

FREE Download of Yelle - Safari Disco Club (HLM Remix)
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Yelle - Safari Disco Club (HLM Remix) by HLM

FREE Download of Yelle - Safari Disco Club (GoSpaceship Remix)
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Yelle - Safari Disco Club (GoSpaceship Remix) by GoSpaceship

FREE Download of Yelle - Que Veux Tu (The Lost Boys Remix)
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Yelle - Que Veux Tu (The Lost Boys Remix) by lostboysmusic

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Yelle - Safari Disco Club (The whole album [Not Free, but fantastic])

Yelle-Safari Disco Club & Que Veux-Tu

Yelle-C'est Pas Une Vie

Yelle-Le Grand Saut

Yelle-Comme Un Enfant

Yelle-Safari Disco Club tracklist

01. Safari Disco Club
02. Que Veux-Tu?
03. C'Est Pas Une Vie
04. Comme Un Enfant
05. Chimie Physique
06. La Musique
07. Mon Pays
08. J'ai Bu
09. Le Grand Saut
10. Unillusion
11. S'Eteint Le Soleil

April 9, 2011

Album Review:
Liquid Stranger-Mechanoid Meltdown

Every once in a while there arrives an album that's touted to be the cat's night-shirt, which sadly ends up sounding much like that painfully hilarious scene from the film It's All Gone Pete Tong where one of the band members turns to our hero producer/remixer to confide that, "It sounds like ze cakkah!"    Liquid Stranger's Mechanoid Meltdown is that album.    However, as a comedy album filled with tedious beats, curse words, and unfortunate samples from science movies and 1980s arcade games, this is top notch stuff.    If it's clever electronic music that you're after, don't settle for cakkah.    Check the list at right for some ideas.

Liquid Stranger-Bully

Liquid Stranger-Shake My Ass

Liquid Stranger-Destroy Him My Robots

April 7, 2011

Album Review:
Cold Cave-Cherish the Light Years

One of my favourite albums of 2009 was Cold Cave's Love Comes Close, which was a confident journey through modern electro-pop containing many hints of Gary Numan, Human League, and Thomas Dolby.    Unlike their former album, Cold Cave's latest LP "Cherish the Light" has a darker, more tangible urgency throughout and lacks female lead vocals, which tend to detract from the clever bits.    The solution to keep Cold Cave in your musical vernacular?    Make this album into a fantastic affordably priced EP with The Great Pan is Dead, Pacing Around the Church, Catacombs, and Villains of the Moon.

Cold Cave-The Great Pan is Dead

Cold Cave-Pacing Around the Church

Cold Cave-Catacombs

Cold Cave-Villains of the Moon

April 5, 2011

Album Review:
The Strokes-Angles

When The Strokes' first album "Is This It" was released with its promotional tsunami, I intentionally avoided it for several months.    After the daily flow of attention the album received had comfortably settled into the horizon, I patiently listened and realized that this album would soon become my essential tool to bring about the warmer days of summer.    On The Stroke's latest "Angles", the reverberating guitars on the opener Machu Picchu honour 10CC's "Dreadlock Holiday" and pay respect for Strange Advance on "Games" and The Strokes' "Gratisfaction" would have sounded fantazmic snuggled anywhere inside the Billy Joel album "Glass Houses".    On closer inspection of The Strokes' latest platter, these gentlemen of leisure have condensed a complete understanding of many decades of pop music and deftly manipulated the elements toward another refreshing evolution for modern pop music.    I think that I might buy the vinyl.

The Strokes-Machu Picchu

The Strokes-Taken for a Fool

The Strokes-Games

The Strokes-Gratisfaction

April 2, 2011

Album Review:
Noah and the Whale-Last Night on Earth

In the opening 27 seconds of the first track Life is Life on Noah and the Whale's latest album Last Night on Earth, it reminds me how much I miss The Postal Service.    However, it all rapidly falls apart into a tiresome deluge of optimism and feel-goodism like Bruce Hornsby trying to emulate Belle and Sebastian.    If you need further proof, get a load of L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.    And, you guessed it: They spell out the chorus.

April 1, 2011

Album Review:
Rival Schools-Pedals

New York's Rival Schools new album Pedals is a fresh piece of rock n' roll that straddles a few decades of inspiration.    Rival Schools move from the effects laden guitar work of 1993's Swervedriver and 1999's Built to Spill and hold it all together with some introspective lyrics and occasional piano of 2004's John Vanderslice.    Exhibit A is 69 Guns.    A good back to front album.