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Thursday, November 30, 2006
  Toaster Does Santa, Day 29: matt pond PA

and now for the next day in our mp3 advent calendar series...

only when i'm quiet, when i've lost the capacity for words or explanation or grand detail, great sweeping descriptions which always distract but maybe not inform - that's when you know it's big. it's very rare, and it's sure to spark possessive and perhaps unhealthy obsession, but it does happen periodically, and it happened with matt pond PA. i have been married to this band. it's hard to say more.

so it's only appropriate that i share with you one of their Winter-themed songs. while the whole Winter Songs EP is quite beautiful and works its magic as a complete piece, i'll give you this song as a sign of good will and with hopes that you'll be inspired to love and be loved by this music (and that you'll buy the album).

just before they cover Neutral Milk Hotel's "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea" (oh now you're interested) is the second-to-last track "Holiday Road." i'm told it's from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and even though i know that's a movie with Chevy Chase, i have to admit i don't know much else. if this makes me a failure at pop culture, i apologize. all i know is the mesmerizing quality of his voice, the lulling and the sweet darkness he always exudes in his song writing and style. it's a great alternative addition to your christmas collection.

::::and such beautiful strings:
mpPA - Holiday Road

ah, love it. wait, what's that? you're a fan? you want more mpPA, in the spirit of everything important (and their show here in Boston on Saturday)?

wish granted: mpPA - Snow Day

loveliness overwhelms.
head to the hype to find out who else wants to sell you one of my very favorite bands of all time (the claims! oh, the claims! but true).

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006
  Loney, Dear: now on Sub Pop and my headphones.

i was loyally and passionately sold by Loney, Dear the very first time i heard them ("The City The Airport"). this happens so rarely in my life that i can sit here and list the bands for you (The Flaming Lips, Band of Horses, Annuals - just to name three that span very different time periods). so you can imagine that the post to follow will be over-the-top and full of exaggerative praise. while that might be the truth, my ultimate goal is to get you to trust me -- unlike the rest of the blogworld, i don't jump on any big name, and i don't rush to give you the ticking bombs first. i am in earnest.

they have impossibly perfect representation. one look at their website (linked above) and you will realize an aesthetic philosophy of mine exemplified to a T. they are artistic not only by means of layout and photography (and font choice, even), but by their music as well. creatively, carefully, craftily they compose their works with a wide range of instruments and influences, sending my eardrums into euphoria. they are emotional without being "emo" (not in any sense, at all) and clever without being corny. i'm not surprised to know they're (or "he's," as it's mainly one guy, Emil Svanängen) from Sweden, because the music shows the same understanding for pop -- and yet it goes infinitely deeper than that, bringing the listener out of him- or herself and changing something, irrevocably. it's quietly moving. say what you will, this new Sub Pop signing has me (trulymadlydeeply).

::::care to fall as well?
Loney, Dear - I Am John
Loney, Dear - Hard Days

both tracks are from their upcoming Loney, Noir, available on Sub Pop.
head to the hype to find more tracks, especially from the amazing Sologne.

also! the beautiful, beautiful website has a bunch of thirty-second song clips you can download, right here. highly recommended.


  Toaster Does Santa, Day 30: The Polyphonic Spree

as the holidays draw near i've decided to create a sort of advent calendar of mp3s. so each weekday you can pop over here while we count 'em down and grab a holiday tune that we've found or heard forever, from a bunch of different styles and ages. i'll tell you straight off that holiday music is terribly lacking in the nondenominational department, so the vast majority of songs are geared for the Christmas audience. it's also as a result of my upbringing, i suppose. i'm not religious in any sense, but every year we had a tree and santa showed up and all. so now, over the years, i've twisted the meaning of the holidays into my own bright celebration of new england's cold weather, shameless commercialism, family parties, and hot 'n frothy beverages.

so here it is, NfT's newest feature, Toaster does Santa.

so! with all of that said, i'm going to start you off with a lovely little jaunt from The Polyphonic Spree covering Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." i don't quite do word shortenings - for instance, you'll never read "dunno" or the classic "lol" or "omg." but it's truly "Xmas," as Lennon and Yoko intended, so it's Xmas here damn it.

The Spree makes one of the most depressing Christmas songs ever made into still one of the most depressing Christmas songs ever made. it's a switch for them, however, highlighting vocals like they never quite do, sounding just the slightest bit like Wayne Coyne (Lips) on, say, "Do You Realize??." it works perfectly, with the chorus of children in the background singing exactly the part you would have them sing - "waaaarrrr iiiiiiss ooooooo-ver.."

::::so this is Christmas, and what have you done? (sob.) :
The Polyphonic Spree - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

this track appears on the compilation Maybe This Christmas Tree, released in 2004, featuring a few other great artists that we might be throwing in for the rest of this mp3 advent calendar.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006
  Robbers On High Street - cut them some slack.

i've been reading around the block lately about these disgruntled bloggers and music fans looking to condemn Robbers On High Street for their "indie rock by numbers" feel. at this point, you probably know that their latest EP The Fatalist And Friends has gotten quite a bit of attention for its single, "The Fatalist" (go to the hype to locate a copy). it's still the second most popular track on, and for a long long time, it was the first.

so what does this say about the argument of its mediocrity? if it follows a supposed formula of "indie rock" (a particularly hazy term in the first place), is it possible that music listeners just like that formula? i ask you: what's wrong with producing the perfect single? it's true, i consider myself an album person. the majority of the time here on NfT, i'm trying to sell you an entire project of a new band, never mind a single you could possibly dig. but every once in a while, something comes along and just knocks on the sides of your brain until you can't help but listen to it over and over and over - and for me, that's what ROHS accomplished.

meanwhile, as you might suspect, the rest of their material is just as worthy as the single. take, for instance -

::::Robbers on High Street - Major Minor

this track is also on the new EP. it very much follows the same "formula," but it works impossibly well. the song is catchy, the vocals rock, and the whole thing makes you stop and wonder what all the fuss is about. relax, kids! it's a song! find your grand and heartstopping innovation somewhere else. this is just damn good music, and that's damn good enough.

ROHS' myspace. hype linked above. to read a gajillion posts on them, i direct you to, where they aren't entirely mp3-driven.


Monday, November 27, 2006
  Imogen Heap - House Remixes

remember the first time you heard Imogen Heap? it was Frou Frou, i'm going to suppose, and you were surprised by the depth and emotive quality, and you were hooked. well - i was. distortion or bare, Imogen Heap does something amazing to music, making everything in the background pause, shifting light and time and undoubtedly throwing you into a moviescript.

these remixes do that in a mesmorizing, dizzying way, seductive and perfect. it's House, and it's good. if you've never been dancing, i warn you that her beautiful voice beckons you from the Hide and Seek track line you know so well, and a come hither pulse drags your legs into motion.

::::try it out:
Imogen Heap - Hide And Seek (Frequent Flyers Mix)
Imogen Heap - Hide And Seek (Spencer Collective Mix)

head on over to the hype for plenty more from Imogen Heap.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
  we love this time of year.
sigh. we all disappeared this weekend, huh? i love thanksgiving, because it's essentially useless, but it gives us a break. plus there's Black Friday, in case you haven't gotten your fill of Lemming activities. there's family (i am a rare bird, and i actually enjoy mine), more food than an entire month combined, it's really quite a wonderful thing.

again guys, i'm sorry, the mp3s aren't quite how they should be, but they should be fixed... really soon. i don't know. i just don't know. i can't even begin to express my discontent with EZArchive. also on the agenda is fixing the blog to suit every browser - but give us time, give us time. for now i'm perfecting my pumpkin spice oatmeal cookies. Toaster's a big fan.

otherwise, the rush of emails and posts and mp3s and hits and great discoveries will begin again tomorrow morning, starting around 5 am, picking up around 6 and 7, and riding steadily until midnight. tonight, no one wants to go back to work. school makes us reel. in the morning we'll have to fight the alarm and put on the coffee, boil water for tea, trek to the barista, lick rainpuddles - whatever - and then go on our "merry" ways, braving the immediate onslaught of everything Christmahanakwanza. best of all is the mood music in every retail location with a sound system, making a pass through your local shops a compare/contrast session of every Here Comes Santa Claus rendition ever made.

for now, though, we're all escalating along with the commercialist cheer, buying into the XM Satellite Holiday playlists and sipping peppermint mochas instead of monday's Bold. but it's okay. it's getting to be that time of year, you know? forgiveness (our mp3 isues), peace (EZArchive), plans (browsers), love (cookies) - and breaks. giving into ourselves and sifting through the routine. why not let ourselves get carried away with man-made cheer? why not trick our senses into festivity, beat the bores with gingerbread lattes instead of dragging our faces along the sidewalk? it's a good time to let go. it's just a good time.

my forseeable christmas playlist (yes, already) only includes Sufjan Stevens, Songs For Christmas and Vince Guaraldi, A Charlie Brown Christmas. what's on your playlist? let me know, kids. recommend me to something (a role reversal for once).

i hope you all had a very happy thanksgiving.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
  CSS remixed - Alala

mmmm, thanksgiving. i have so much for which i can say thank you - and i will, in a later post - but for now i'd like to thank all of you readers in a non-sentimental fashion (for the time being, anyway, i'll start your tear ducts later) with a remix of a song i love. chances are, you love it too.

::::eat turkey, fall asleep, and wake yourself up with this:
CSS - Alala (Bonde Do Role Remix)
lush, complicated, and ripped apart.
BONUS:CSS - Alala (A Cappella) just to totally contradict the above, here's a stripped version of only vocals - interesting, especially if you have your own mixing powers and you wanted to take a shot.

hey, will you guys let me know how the mp3s are working? are they tagged correctly? i know we keep demanding your input, but everyone loves a little say. speeeeak.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
  new music: SoftLightes

SoftLightes - Heart Made Of Sound

this post was originally intended for yesterday morning but blogger was having none of it, so we tore out our hair and waited for this morning to give you this lovely bit. expect more later concerning turkey day.
gobble gobble.

i once met someone from San Diego. we sat on a porch by ourselves during a large party, five o'clock summer heat, expensive wicker rustling with cheap outdoor cushions. he loved The Doors, but in a way that a kid loves seventies punk bands, "they're the only thing that matters, their word is god." and he told me in the most personal of ways that all he did at home was to get in his car and start driving, any direction, drive to Nowhere, and end up Somewhere. he said getting lost was the only way to find anything. shift, rustle, paper plate pizza, loud guffaw from inside. he said, i just go alone.

i thought about driving. i thought about driving away. i thought about the same sun slanting in through the porch screen, a hazy yellow, a world of perfect weather and a city to which i'd never been. i thought about twisting, winding roads, cliffs overhanging the sea, a view to take breath. i thought about reflections on water and the same sun wrapping everything in white. i thought, there is beauty in all of that.

today, years later, all at once i'm rushed back to that time when i sat, unmoving, and was thrown through boundaries of space and time to find Somewhere and still keep going, drive on drive on. it's this song. it's this song, and i can't tear myself away. and i am rushed back...

::::SoftLightes - Heart Made Of Sound

Modular's latest signing has undergone some major changes (they're essentially a new band) and their introductory EP, title track Heart Made Of Sound, is positively enchanting. it's some of the best music i've heard in months - and i've had the EP on repeat since i got it. it's not quite like the americana of Band Of Horses or My Morning Jacket, but something similar with a twist of those "indie rock" sensibilities that are so hard to explain - barely audible background voice-overs, punches of noise, synths, useful electronic elements, etc. they've looped together one of those indescribable and constantly shifting masterpieces like Annuals pulled off with their Be He Me, succeeding with everything they try. if you know your NfT blogger well enough, you know that's a very high compliment.

::::Bonus: SoftLightes - Noah And The Electric Cholos

so kids. get ready for the full release in 2007. you know i'll let you know.
in the meantime, check their myspace to hear two songs i didn't give you (the microwave song! they love kitchen appliances, too). they also have a video, a picture of george harrison, and a LINK (which is now right there) to their digital-only EP on iTunes, from which i am giving you these songs, and i highly recommend it. so much so, it's in bold.
Monday, November 20, 2006
  The Slip - Eisenhower

though i'd like to be able to tell you i legitimately don't like this band, there are a number of things holding me back. the first is the instrumental part. some of what they have going is very good. it's tragically good, really, because by itself, the music is really quite something. the opening moments of "Even Rats" feature the same guitar that makes me like bands like Minus The Bear and becomes half of the appeal of The Whitest Boy Alive, while "Paper Birds" (though long) has a wonderful patchwork of elements, from the strumming guitar to touches of piano, a few keyboard/electronic instances (i assume), and a few really good bass lines. and every song has something redeeming. my favorite is "The Soft Machine Intro," clocking in at 2:20 in the dead middle of the album, a veritable jungle soundtrack that launches into a beautifully composed instrumental ditty. then "The Soft Machine" itself comes on, and i'm disappointed.

all of a sudden the real problem becomes clear. it's everything to do with human voices. the lyrics are halfway to hilarious but stop just short and wind up sounding a little like they used a team of fifth graders and a lot of weed. and i'm not just talking about "Children of December," either, which is just about the lamest idea for a song i've come across all year, making it at least laughable. i'm talking about all the tracks, where i can understand the lyrics too well for them to be so pointless. even if you're not one of those music listeners that needs to be halfway interested in what's being said, there's always how it's being sung, which for The Slip is just as much of a problem. all of the vocals smack of hardcore mediocrity, reminiscent of the other Goo Goo Dolls vocalist (you: "who?" me: "exactly") and last about as long as the third track before the eyes start to roll and you think, alright, were they serious about this gig or what? not to mention: it's a bad band name, the album title doesn't make sense, and it looks like they took a profile shot of a clay extra from Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and decided it would make good cover art.

this review will never wind up quoted on anyone's website and there will probably be a lot of dissenters, but good. because if you like The Slip, you like The Slip! and you keep on likin 'em, because if you go to see them live, chances are you'll see My Morning Jacket too (check their myspace for tour dates).

::::but the point is to let you hear the strong points, and those are here:
The Slip - The Soft Machine (Intro)
The Slip - Paper Birds

don't forget that the hype can get you the two single tracks ("Children of December" - which, of course, is very good musically, just awful lyrically - and "Even Rats").
Sunday, November 19, 2006
  the on-going fixin' uppin'
people, people, people. you've let me down!

why didn't anyone tell me NfT works like crap on Firefox? looks good on Safari and IE, yeah, but looks like the self-absorbed little writers here couldn't look past their own noses and think to look at any other browsers. speak up, my people! what browser do you have? how's it looking? and i apologize to those of you that have been grinning and bearing the Firefox experience. we'll have this fixed (along with mp3 tagging) before you can say turkey-and-stuffing-and-jellied-cranberry-sauce-and-mashed-potatoes-and-

and if you live outside the US, before you can say that-silly-dinner-holiday-with-american-football-and-tryptophan. actually, let's all just say that.

...and this should be cool within the next week. and then the entire internet world can hold hands and sing around the campfire that is noise for toaster goodness. you know i'll bring the marshmallows (i always do).

quick sunday post... see you all tomorrow.
Friday, November 17, 2006
  Sean Lennon's "Friendly Fire"

to anyone obsessed with getting the timing right on these posts, i know you'll immediately think, "wow, she's a little late on this guy." but i'm not. and that's because this is still rising in the amount of attention it's getting - you can decide how much it deserves.

the musical artistry behind Friendly Fire does not come on slowly. it's a slow album, yes. it creeps into your ear canals on all fours, laughing quietly. it takes its time to permeate all the little gray noodles of your brain. but it is instantly apparent how talented and serious of a musician Sean has turned out to be. he's dropped the strictly 60's pop act to branch out into his own style, a soothing, Clapton-y, sometimes ballad/sometimes sunshine pop record. i have spent the morning listening to it again, and it's put me under a spell, a city sidewalk hazy daze. it has calmed me. more importantly than anything, Fire stands on its own, glows without fade and does not wear thin. what more can any music listener ask for?

ah. sigh.

i wish we could drop Sean's last name, but we can't. he has a last name. i have a last name, you have one, my neighbors have one, each, respectively. my mom has one, my dad, your mom and dad, maybe the same as yours and maybe not - yep. it's a last name world. but your last name isn't Lennon - and Sean's is. (not to mention that Sean rhymes with "John" - maybe you see where this is going.) and with a last name like that, anyone gets expectations. a hundred things flood into the brain. i ask you, how couldn't they? where would they hide? you'd be denying the basic reflexes of the gray stuff in-between your ears.

but it's important to remember that, presumably, just as you intend not to become your parents, so we can't expect Sean to genuinely channel his father. it annoys me that reviewers expect a prodigy and an undying legacy. can we ever have another John Lennon? i'm diehard, so i'll say absolutely not. but let's especially not apply that pressure to his son who happened to take his career in the same direction as both of his parents. this is a beautiful album, and that should not be denied the artist just because he's the spawn of (maybe) the most famous name in rock 'n roll history. just listen to the end of "Would I Be The One." fall into the title track. let "Headlights" wash over you, and cry over "Falling Out Of Love." all of these songs deserve their due - and not out of criticism, and not out of the other end of all this, which would be unnecessary reverence. Sean has a different, separate heartbeat than his father did. he has different hands to play guitar. and he'll work with whomever he pleases, thank you.

::::after all that defense, here's the proof:
Sean Lennon - Friendly Fire
Sean Lennon - Would I Be The One
Note: we're having some trouble with tagging our mp3s at the moment, so they don't show up correctly on any blog aggregators, but you can still grab them just fine. the problem should be fixed after this weekend. let me know if there are any other problems.

i highly recommend you purchase this record and make up your own mind.
looking for his myspace? don't worry, it's here.
and, as always, the hype will help render useless the "purchase" link i have up there, unless you're a respectable citizen and you actually support artists. although, i mean, this kid is so fucking wealthy. my god.

....he does look like him though, doesn't he? the beatles tend to reincarnate themselves in their children before they even die. well, at least George did with Dhani, didn't he? have you seen that kid?
Thursday, November 16, 2006
  not your typical swede: Kristoffer Ragnstam

there is a genre of independent music that i will predictably love. it's everything rolled up into a jangly rock-pop burrito: folk, alt-country, sunshine pop, a little piano here, a few strings there, a little electronic play, unusual vocalists (Isaac Brock, i love you. Colin Hay, we'll talk)... eggs? if i ate them, i'd have them scrambled, thank you.

but sometimes an artist comes catapulting through this predictable pattern, knocking everything all over the place and straightening up, settling down, only to make my jaw drop and say - hang on, kids, i like this album. the force can vary from a rubber chicken to a cannon-ball, but neverthless, lying snugly somewhere in this category comes Kristoffer Ragnstam.

Do You Want A Piece Of Me poses a question that can be answered only after a few listens. do we want a piece of him WELL yes we do - but it takes a minute. the EP comes in trailing influences too varied to mention all of them, but some of my favorite are older. on "Breakfast By The Mattress," deservedly the most popular track, they have an updated seventies disco flair, a little like Under The Influence of Giants - those giants being the bee-gees. more importantly, though, is the extremely successful range of songs produced on this simple 5-track. anything he tries, he gets right. 60's garage, delicate harmonies, piano, POP. the guy knows his pop.

speaking of the guy, the name is Swedish. he's got a great history, hailing from Sweden but veering off the Swede-pop bandwagon to do his own, slightly more involved (sometimes i think i could write a Swede-pop song, and yet i love it still) genre of rock and pop and disco and 60's dance and psychedelia and... i'm telling you, this cat does everything. he loves his craft, and he's honed it well - not to mention getting in the studio with producer Chris Brown (think: Radiohead, Beatles, and big Brit stars like Blur). it's all very impressive... and hopefully i can impress upon you to keep him in mind for his debut LP Sweet Bills, out in March sometime.

::::you'll need the whole EP, though:
Kristoffer Ragnstam - Breakfast By The Mattress
Bonus.... Kristoffer Ragnstam - Woke Up Left Handed
- also quite good. give it time.

you know the drill! i suggest his myspace, which apparently every music artist on the planet has, except Jay-Z of course.

allllllso, go for the hype machine to collect the tracks you may have missed here. he'll just get bigger and bigger until PF calls him a blogger artist and gives him a 3.6. sigh.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
  Tiny Dancers - "20 to 9" mp3

Tiny Dancers

hey, whaddyaknow, Wednesday afternoon pickmeups.

::::as catchy but 20 times more brilliant than mmbop, i'm telling you:
Tiny Dancers - 20 To 9

this is quite a lovely medley of 60's pop combined with today's answer to "indie rock," whatever that catch phrase truly means these days. this is the single best track i've heard all week (i'll let you know if that's true Sunday). its staying power is questionable, but it's a lot of fun and perfect to swing your mood. it's for the moment. let it be ephemeral, you know? everything's okay.

the brit band is pretty lovely, too, coming straight-outta West Yorkshire (watch out) with awesome accents and an impressive line-up of inspiration - namely worldly music, from every corner of the globe and back again (refreshing that they weren't catering to any acronymed western country). i suggest you check their playful myspace.

buy Lions, Tigers, and Lions
catch the hype, or what will be.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
  a must read [your blogger speaks]
alright. this morning marks my official return and, though this morning's AIH post was really meant for yesterday, we won't talk about that and pretend like i never quite went away... (i left my heart, SF, yeah yeah)

first order of business: LAYOUT INQUIRIES! YAY! NfT is all about pleasing its readers (ooobviously) and so we're super interested in whether your viewing experience is as good as your reading experience (oh, we know). how's the layout, guys? more importantly, does it work for you? how's it doing with your browser? RSS feed? mac/pc? spinach pie? let us know if there are any kinks, anywhere at all, and short of sending you frozen baked goods, we'll do what we can.

next up. have you heard the new Robbers On High St mp3? there are a number of good reviews on it (and, moreover, they have it for you to download) so i will award them the free hits by sending you directly to the hype machine, where they will hook you up by your discretion (i'm not really into playing favorites). absolutely addictive, mate. this tune sits in your head and rattles the little noodles of your brain until you.are.the.fatalist.and.robbers.on.high.street.are.all.that.matter -
more on this when the EP rolls out.

soooo, Jay-Z's new album comes out today... (yes, i'm actually talking about this). it leaked over the weekend and so all o' you little buggers already know what it sounds like. i suggest Idolator, who has two pretty good tracks (not playing favorites - you try and sift through the hype if you want, but it's terrifying). i don't really listen to Jay-Z, but i did once upon a time (who didn't in 1999?) and he still interests me in that overseer-of-a-really-big-and-influential-label kind of way.

that's actually it. that's all i have for notes. silly, huh? must be done, must be done.
  Architecture in Helsinki: 'this is the remix'
fall is my very favorite season. i live in new england, you see - if i lived in san francisco (still here, sort of) i might be singing a different tune. but the fall in that precious little lump of states on the upper right-hand corner of your US map... it's better than just "fall." it earns the word autumn. the foliage, the squash, pumpkins, apple-picking, thanksgiving tradition (massachusetts, plymouth - we started it yo!), schizophrenic weather, that whole indian summer thing... pumpkin spice ice cream... the proper climate for hot cider... yeah. everything feels very hallmark, and yet we're so damn proud of it, and we very well should be. the pilgrims broke their bread here, after all. and pilgrims are pretty sweet.

HENCE why i so appreciated Architecture In Helsinki's website the first time i visited in the last few weeks. i don't pretend to know when they updated their site; i haven't had too much reason to check it, since we haven't seen much of AIH lately -- even if we've heard quite a bit about them, what with their ever-increasing popularity and gradual climb to pop status. nevertheless, the layout is quite wonderful; it's not new england, but it's sure as hell like it, what with the falling leaves and the blustering wind (thanks flash) and the snow, the gray, the clouds and swinging old-fashioned logo. it's happy, damn it. and it's so appropriate.

thanks to their interludish remix album We Died, They Remixed, we get to relive all of that innate happiness of AIH in a slightly different way. they have some wonderful talent handling their songs - among which Hot Chip, Safety Scissors, Squeak E Clean, and others to whom i'm just now being introduced. some go off in directions i could do without, but others work really well, and still capture that effervescent affect of the Australian team. the whole thing is pretty damn good. the best part about it, of course, is that it's a lovely little teaser until they get together their follow-up to 2005's In Case We Die (which is soon).

::::bask in its teasing glory:
AIH - It'5! (Poutine Dream Mix - 33hz & Ming)
- this playful tune gets a non-stop electronic heartbeat and a lovely twang that will have you bouncing in your computer chair (which i highly recommend. both the song AND the bouncing).

Bonus: AIH - Tiny Paintings (Squeak E Clean and Koool G) - the original song is completely different from this update - a little eerie, definitely different. the remix, however, is tantalizingly poppy, boppy, beep and blippy in the coolest damn way. my favorite.

enjoy! check the hype for a littering of other tracks, but mostly the highly-hyped (obviously) Hot Chip remix, which is terrific.
aaaand go to their myspace which is, though bare, the best way to keep up with their tour schedule (also kind of empty, at the moment).
Thursday, November 09, 2006
  vicarious posting - Brett Dennen
there's this thing about college and life and people and involvement that i'm not a huge fan of - the commitments. time commitments, specifically. apparently i'm not up to par with managing mine yet. and so while i continue to not post myself for over a month, shan continues to work away, quite possibly doing more than i am and still posting. take this for example, today's email-prepared excerpt sent off on the way to the airport. that almost makes me feel bad about myself, like i'm inadequate or something.

alex: "you're getting ready to board a plane and you still prepared a post?"
shan: "yeah, what's your excuse?"
alex: "i, uh... i have vertigo. really."



Brett Dennen
- So Much More

yes yes, hello.

i didn't mean to break my promise already, yesterday. if you don't know what i'm talking about, forget i said anything, but for all of you that are deeply offended, toaster kisses for everyone. and stuff. - - - i have good news, though. i'm putting aside a hundred other things i should be doing to bring you words, pixels and media, this addictive bloggish stuff that some scorn and most just devour, lick their lips, check for crumbs. ohhh you know who you arrre.

have you seen this guy? i'd like his age. he's baby-faced, red-headed, freckled, mop-haired. he sounds jaw-droppingly like...someone... i can't think of who, too little sleep probably, but something about the way he treats his inflections, syllables, drawing out words, dropping them off, etc etc - something about tonality, range - i don't know. poor brett dennen is getting less time of actual listening and more vocal scrutiny. am i speaking english today?

- he's adorable, but in that dangerous way, like he knows about it - and he should, considering he's opened up for John Mayer and Dave Matthews Band. it's that confidence, however, which is half of his appeal. a dozen reviewers (including John Mayer himself?) have described it very similarly - that the instant you put in the album, you're blown away. pop, rock, folk rock, alt country, really good things. he has a voice so entirely comfortable with its natural surroundings (i.e. guitar and drum accompaniments) that it becomes fluid. it's nearly like a conversation -- one-way, enrapturing, and worthy of foot-tapping, but a comfortable discourse nonetheless.

::::i know you'd like a listen. because he's going to explode.
Brett Dennen - Ain't No Reason
- assuming this is the single. very impressive.
Brett Dennen - Darlin' Do Not Fear - highly recommended, but a hard choice. there are too many good picks, really.

i have a pet hobby of scoping out individual male voices and putting them through the "does this come even remotely close to making me feel like i did the first time i heard john mayer" test. ah, i'm giving myself away! lack of sleep, lack of sleep. but it's true, and you may as well know. and Brett Dennen? Brett's doing pretty well. he's doing pretty damn well.

his myspace, loved and caressed by fourteen year olds and twentysomethings that know music. i mean it, go look. the hype, although i'm pretty shocked at the lack of posts on this dude. don't worry, Brett dear, you'll get there. you just tell 'em it was NfT.

so, i know you're all jealous, tonight i'm heading off to San Francisco (and thereabouts) for the weekend, where i should still be posting, so don't fret. frets totally unnecessary. anyone know the weather out there....? (which i almost spelled like "whether." i'm telling you, guys, it's the sleep.)


yep. she's good, she is. really, do listen to her. and i really do have vertigo right now. weirdest thing ever. not that it's an excuse for why i haven't posted in a month, but who's keeping track? shan can just keep posting vicariously through me and it'll look like i did the work, right?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006
a few quick things:

- apparently Rainer Maria is finished. they'll play two shows, December 15th and 16th in Philly and at the Bowery (good place to leave it, i'd say). as usual, that's Pitchfork. i'm surprised and i'm not -- they've been around for quite a long time, and they've done some great stuff. i see future projects though, from separate band members. you know, you'll one day check PF and find an article on a new release with "guitarist from Rainer Maria..."

- is CMJ over yet, guys? sigh. it was bad enough that we couldn't go, but it was plastered all over our emails and everywhere we checked for the last month. in any case, for some of the best coverage, check these usual suspects: stereogum, definitely Brooklyn Vegan, and a no-comparison composition by fluxblog.

- rbally, one of our favorite Boston bloggers, has decided to call it quits. this is such a crime, but to tell you the truth, we get it. life+blog=something messy. he'll be missed around here.

- in a spectacularly short snippet with a little jolt to bloggers everywhere, i'm willing to take the hit for NY Times's review of my beloved Annuals. i won't get all sappy on you here, but this is sort of my pet band. by FAR their debut Be He Me is in my "top-three-most-listened" since September. constantly stuck in my head. anyway, check out the article and catch another little snippet of Frida Hyvonen. her stuff is so good. [Largehearted Boy]

alright. most of that was news of quitting or endings, but i stuck in a little positive at the end there (rock on Annuals, Ace Fu). now get on with your lives.
  (you should know about..) +/- (plus/minus)

+/- (plus/minus) - Let's Start A Fire

i am fried. i am gone to the world, sick of words, sick of composing and typing and thinking and breathing. lucky for you all, i am not yet sick of whining - no no, not yet. but just as lucky, i am passionate in my promises, and i promised you postage, so posts, push on. pfft. comma comma.

in the spirit of whatever, i bring you plus/minus, known to everyone but google and amazon as +/-. over the last few weeks, their latest album Let's Start A Fire has been getting some of the most play-time on my ipiddd and by far the most repeat-cycles in the last few days. the story with this "new" album is that it's actually not new at all. like a lot of really good albums this year (SSLY Boris Yeltsin, What Made Milwaukee Famous), this release was just recently picked up by a slightly bigger label, Absolutely Kosher, and was re-released October 24th. admittedly, i hadn't heard it before now, though i had heard some of their much earlier stuff (explain that one). well, actually, i can explain. the old +/- reminded me a little too much of Air - that floaty, dreamy, trippy electronica that waivers in and out of ambience and pop and makes my eyelids droopy. they were good, i gave them that, but they didn't stand on their own, even with the band name (which has always fit snugly at the very top of my itunes, right under a bit of !!! and more recently ¡Forward Russia!). so i missed out on this release. and let me reiterate: i missed out.

ah, the wonders of electronic noise pop! they're at their best when they channel Psapp, ever so slightly, and make it their own. they pick the electric like Minus The Bear and sometimes drag the vocals like Thom Yorke, but both work so well, and even together. tracks like "Steal The Blueprints," possibly their single, make me roll my eyes and say - hey guys, if i had wanted to listen to Death Cab, i would have put on We Have The Facts. but even those times they win me over in no time, my head bopping and foot tapping (such a happy combination). tracks like "Profession" show a certain depth (even if he's going for Radiohead) that is both impressive and addicting. this is probably my favorite song on the whole album. there are moments that stick in my head, make my spine tingle and leave me raw for more. powerful? yes. exaggerated? always. but only slightly. the entire album gets my approval, certainly; if i've had it on replay, it means every song is redeeming, if not effing awesome.

::::check out my super-approved picks for yourself:
+/- (plus/minus) - Profession
(hiiiighly recommended)
+/- (plus/minus) - Summer Dress 2 (Iodine) (lovely little pop number)

let me remind you that this whole album is highly recommended. picking tracks was difficult because every song is so different. this same versatility is one of the most attractive things about the band, though; if they try something you don't like, surely they're onto something else in just a few minutes.

go hype!
"Steal The Blueprints" is available for download on their myspace. don't be a user-loser, say hello while you're there.
buyyyyy and be so happy that you did.
Monday, November 06, 2006
  Damien Rice - 9 LP

if you ask me how i know you'd like to hear a little more from D to the A to the Mien and all of the Rice - i'll tell you, i know because i know. because i wanted to hear it too.

i was more interested to hear what happened after the gorgeous blow up that is "Me, My Yoke And I" (if you're not up to date, check our sampler post). and i have good news. it's okay, everyone. it's all going to be okay. we have a Blower's Daughter Part II (it's actually called "Grey Room," and it has nothing to do with the B-side). we have all the melancholy drippiness of O with sampler song "9 Crimes", but we have Volcano (Radio Edit) Part II (again, actually called "Accidental Babies" ...yeah, it really is) - and voila! we have Woman Like A Man Part II as well! and, you guessed it, it's really called "Rootless Tree," and it's deliciously profane.

i have to admit that i'm increasingly more impressed with the album as time goes on. i've explained before that i had quite a bit of trouble with O - it dragged me down. it drugged me. but 9? 9 is better. 9 i can handle. there are upbeats in almost every song, whether it's the acoustic strumming, or the actual drumset they decided to start employing - and upbeats i can handle. it's still raw, it's still emotional, it's still folk. it's just firming up a bit, getting a little disillusioned with the moody sappy blah (ah, my bias is shining through).

::::"the fav," as highschool cheerleaders and boppy twentysomethings say:
Damien Rice - Dogs

this song is different. it waivers somewhere in-between the heaviness of some songs - unbearable to me in their painfully emotional tone - and the ripping anger of others, which i actually tend to like a lot (let's not psychoanalyze that). it's very classically Damien Rice, and yet something about the addition of the snare - it's... it's really good.

PRE-ORDER THIS ALBUM. it is so absolutely gorgeous that all of you Damien Rice freaks will be ecstatic with it, and so happy with the outcome. i promise. i feel like he's really expanding on his repertoire, and the flow - the artwork - his voice - the LYRICS, always my favorite part - oh you'll love it. if you want to tell me, like some of those amazon reviewers, that you aren't ecstatic, and that you wish he'd stick to "his endearing debut," let me know. that's what the comments section is for.
  new Animal Collective - People (EP)
Animal Collective appear to be actively dabbling right now. they're re-releasing extremely old albums (Holinndagain, yay - courtesy of Harmonium), they're going about very specialized live sets, they released a CD/DVD sweetie in July (Grass, yay) and they're all-around doing very well to live up to their weirdness.

even more weird, though, is the slated release date for this People EP, November 16th, which has virtually no press involved with it. to tell you the truth, i can't even figure out if it'll be on Fat-Cat or Paw Tracks. i do, however, have my hands on it, and i'd like to share it with you by virtue of the Animal Collective Good Of Mankind.

::::i think the track name makes it: Animal Collective - Tikwid

it's good. this track is my favorite - being the most... accessible, you could say. it's a refreshing turn from the rare live release (Hollllinnnndagainnnnn) which has everyone (except, as promised, Pitchfork) reeling a bit from confusion and headache. but it's still them, and it's still insane, and it's still the best music i could think of to have on while you're doing drugs. just ask your favorite stoner. try this at home, kids. try this at home.

-do the myspace bit.
-also, check the hype, if you're smart.
-pre-order, yo, especially if you're one of our UK readers. let me know what the return address is, will you? or if animal collective themselves show up at your door? i'd say it would be worth that $16.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
  family photos, my whereabouts, free drinks. alright, maybe not the free drinks.
i usually try very hard not to let my personal life meander into my posts. i mean, when it's appropriate, i'll give you little anecdotes - my history with a band, my opinions (Shins?), my experiences listening to an album or something or other. but it's always music related. i can't remember a time that it hasn't been.

WELL. i've been slacking lately, guys, and i think it's high time you find out why your favorite blog NfT (cough) isn't as religious with its posts as it has been in the past. i'd like to keep it to a minimum, though, so i'm going to pack it in like i'm giving you a healthy dose of one-a-day advice:

- forget EZArchive, yo. after a while, i completely stopped reading the emails coming our way and let the other half of NfT do the dirty work, but there was something about revamping their site, switching all of our files over, having all new file addresses or something... hell if i really know what i'm talking about. technical questions? ask alex. he really does have the advice and the know-how to help you, and i think he's in the know about some alternative sites. moral inquiries? look no further than yours truly. i say: it sucks. my sympathies go out to you and yours.

- don't go to art school, and forget majoring in english. you will find you have three times the amount of free time than you did before, and you may be a happier soul for it. if you've already got this covered and have a real paycheck coming in the mail, congratulations! let me know how it's going. make me jealous.

- back up your entire hard drive in sixty-five different ways. burn cds, print documents, fill up twelve little flash drive dealies, invest in one of those external hard drives (New Egg is where i got mine) - do everything possible to make sure what you hold near and dear will stay near and dear to you - right snugly within your access. everyone has a horror story about losing everything they've ever done, tearing their hair out, throwing their bits of technology off of the roofs of skyscrapers. but i lost all of my music, guys. can i have a chorus of "oos" and "ouches" and "aws"? it might soften the blow. nah, nope. i'm still TOTALLY DEVASTATED, GASP.

- beware the curse of comfort. a great song by The Thrills expresses this phenomenon both accurately and hilariously (lyrics). basically, you get used to a good life, and your creativity goes to shit. it isn't so much my creativity that i mourn in my case, but i do miss the energy it can sometimes take to stay a whole leap ahead of the game, as is the expectation of bloggers now. but i never stop searching - my passion never wanes - so it's just that step from finding to writing that needs a little pepping. don't worry, i'm still here.

in any case. you'll find that, starting tomorrow, i should have exactly one post a day, excepting most weekends. no longer should updates be sporadic! i miss you all too much. i love your comments and your emails. keep 'em coming. keep 'em alllllways coming.

by the way, you catch that beautiful boy up there? toaster says hello to all the ladies. but he's a little pissed i've been so irresponsible... always on my back, i'm telling you...

NOTE: as much as toaster loves free music, he'd like to encourage you to buy the cds of the artists you enjoy. he'd also like to remind you that any music hosted by or linked to from this page is property of its respective owners, so if that's you and you'd like it to not be here, just let us know.

READ ME: if files are not working properly upon opening or saving [ex: unknown file type], make sure that there is a .mp3 at the end of the filename, and all will be well.

also: all files posted will only remain available for two to three weeks. if you find something in an old post that you'd really like to hear, tell us.

be our god damn myspace friend. damn it.