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Saturday, December 30, 2006
  happy new year (from We Are Scientists)
well it's almost that time folks. the calendar's about to flip again, and you're going to have to spend the next three months remembering to write 2007 instead of 2006. i know it'll take me until about may, but maybe you guys will have better luck.

i guess you could say this is NfT's first new year online, and it's even cooler for us because we're still pumped for our new domain. you know, [i'm turning into jennings here, pimping the blog every time i write the name]. speaking of jennings, we'd like to thank him and rbally for the kind words and the link, which i'd like to thank for the influx of subscribers in the past week.

to celebrate, i'm going to give you a few tracks from one of my favorite bands of this year, We Are Scientists.

these guys will never get old to me. they're hilarious on stage and on their website [which i linked you to up there] and i'm personally pretty psyched for their new album. the fresh material we heard on the 7th at the middle east downstairs was awesome so it's got me looking forward to it even more.

anyway, in the spirit of the new year and parties and getting drunk [a topic that seems to grace their songs more frequently than you'd expect], here you are.

::::OMG IT'S ALMOST 2007!!1!
We Are Scientists - Can't Lose
We Are Scientists - The Great Escape

::::BONUS: hilariousness off Crap Attack [b-sides and rarities]
We Are Scientists - The Great Escape Under The Sea

enjoy yourselves, kids, as responsibly as you deem necessary.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006
  Toaster's Year-End Top Five: Albums

photo cred.

ah, the Top 5. seeing as i grew up with High Fidelity ringing in my ears, i've decided to cut through the norm and shed the extras of the "Top 10," or the "Top 25," for that matter, and in their places i'm paying homage to Nick Hornby (and in some respects, John Cusack) by turning up the pressure and reducing all choices to just one: The Top Five. only, if you know hornby, he's much more unassuming about it. it's just the top five.

the decision-making process was much different than you may expect. all works were chosen almost entirely based on the resounding impact they had on me, and not by play count or overall blog popularity or anything else. music tends to pick at my emotions and cozy into the corners of my everyday, and if they manage to define a period of time and act as an umbrella over everything else i was listening to -- i essentially consider it for my top five. i'll have a sprinkling of different categories for you, but most applicable to this process are the albums and tracks, and that's what i'm starting with. might as well get right down to business, eh?

so here we are, "desert-island, all-time, top five":
[quick reference guide]

5. Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies
4. Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
3. Annuals - Be He Me
2. Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope

1. The Long Winters - Putting The Days To Bed

the release of this album marks a turning point in my ability to listen to music i didn't know. i knew all about Destroyer and from whence he came, but i hadn't given him a chance -- staying true to old favorites, being a general bore. but this album wrecked all of that hesitation. it's absolutely brilliant and complex, and it deserves the top five everywhere.

5. Destroyer
Destroyer's Rubies

this band instantly found itself on my list of all-time favorites during the opening notes of the first song that i ever heard. i'm not joking. and Ben Bridwell's voice? nothing short of hypnotizing. they single-handedly defined a time period of my life and irrevocably influenced my taste in music. all in 2006. incredible.

4. Band Of Horses
Everything All The Time

this new act came later in the year and still deserves -- yes -- the number three spot on my list. i am in love with their sound, with their unique arrangements and most of all the refreshing range they can pull off from track to track. there isn't a song i skip on this entire album. most impressive is their age and fresh-faced efforts, so that i cannot wait until their next release.

3. Annuals
Be He Me

this woman amazes me. besides being completely in love with her, she is so fucking talented. those lyrics, sung by that voice, make her an absolute powerhouse. and this album, though maybe not my favorite up against Soviet Kitsch (yes, really!) still makes it to the number two spot on my list, and certainly sent her through the indie roof on everyone else's. man, she deserves it all.

2. Regina Spektor
Begin To Hope

no one is more surprised than i am that this is my album of the year. kind of like The Decemberist's Picaresque (didn't like it at all) versus The Crane Wife (adore it), i was just never an enthusiast about Roderick's When I Pretend To Fall. i say Roderick because he was the variable between the albums which had that make-or-break effect, just as Meloy was -- his lyrics were always impressive, interesting, and mostly a riot, but his voice could be jarringly prominent, mixed too far forward for me to really get into. but Putting The Days To Bed floored me, and slowly. over time i was drawn to it, drawn back again, sucked in irreversibly and made to learn every word, and now it's important to me; legitimately important to me. it has managed not to define a few months or a single event, but the feeling of an entire year, and there was absolutely no question in my mind when i set out to do this top five which album would be number one.

1. The Long Winters
Putting The Days To Bed

stay tuned over the next week for several kinds of top fives, from the best to the worst to the silliest, and all very fun. let us know what you think and most importantly, share your top fives if you'd like.

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Monday, December 25, 2006
  welcome home
while you're all home for the holidays, Toaster's little music getaway on the interwebs [hint: that's us] has found a brand new home! welcome to:

that's right, folks. due to hosting service issues like exceeded bandwidth, limited storage space, and mangled filenames, we've made the move to our very own domain and hosting. from now on, the NfT you know and love will be coming to you straight from the new coolest address on the Timmy - we're thinking about making buttons to commemorate this momentous occasion, so if you ever run into two people at a show who you might think resemble what you think we look like, ask for one. if you're right, you'll obviously be rewarded with a button. if not, you'll probably get a very very confused look.

in terms of mp3s from old posts, we'll be spending a few days making sure that at least everything from december, and especially the Toaster Does Santa advent series, is in perfect working order. for now, you can have the day 2 EXTRAVAGANZA in full force, seeing as that's what tipped us over the edge to get our own domain.

so pass it around, kids, is where it's at. the new layout will be up soon to accompany the move, as well as a little christmas gift from our home to yours. [not to spoil the surprise, but if you like Cold War Kids and live videos, this gift is for you.]

this year, while you're making small talk with your family and your significant other's family at some awkward party this holiday season, just casually bring up what you read while you're sitting alone in your room, compulsively checking all your "friends'" AIM away messages - we won't do you wrong, guys, and we hope you'll return the favor.


Saturday, December 23, 2006
  'tis the season for a redesign
if you're stopping by today [as you very well should be], you will not only be getting a hefty dosage of christmas music, but a hefty dosage of seasonal spirit as well. as part of shan's seasonal rampage [christmas music, christmas cookies, christmas lattes, and a santa hat for Toaster], we're toning the blog down to fit the season. she's requested a sleeker, more minimalist, more wintery feeling to accompany the weather in these parts.

it's only in its first stages right now, but until i get a chance to make a new logo and some sidebar titles and the whole shebang, you wonderful folks will be seeing a cool blue background and muted orange borders. there will be much more noticeable changes in the coming days [weeks? ...we'll say days until i actually fail to come through] and as usual, your comments and suggestions are welcome. say your goodbyes and make amends with the bulbous mass that is Toaster at the top of the page [one reader thought it was a raspberry at first], because soon enough the logo you know and love will be gone [forever?!] and a new one that will hopefully live up to shan's expectations will have taken its place.

just stay tuned folks, keep commenting and listening, and enjoy your families this holiday season. when you play your new christmas mix and everyone compliments you on your taste, just tell them that Toaster sends his warmest regards.

and then he'll do it again in five seconds, because he will have forgotten about the first time entirely.


  Toaster Does Santa, Day 2: EXTRAVAGANZA. Rilo Kiley, Grandaddy, The Walkmen, The Lips -- and too much more.
dear lovely readers. this post comes to you wrapped in Please, Please Open This Before Christmas. Please Rejoice, Dance, Sing, Frolic even. Please Break It Down. because your insane blogger here at NfT let the insanity level rise a little too high over the last week and a half (almost two weeks, oh, my god!) and found it beyond impossible to sit down and shed a little self-importance and write for the good of other people. sigh, sigh. but now - here i am, just a few days before the holidays - and i'm getting into the spirit. i'm learning... like... ha! you know who i'm like?

::::Alfie! The Elf! John Denver & The Muppets - Medley: Alfie & The Christmas Tree

it makes sense that i would slip that in, because it's essentially everything to do with my childhood wrapped into one sentimental mush-ball of a classic. it's pretty wonderful.

so are you getting the apology thing, yet?

let's not pretend this whole thing didn't happen, but learn from a mushy little tale and pretend i'm just learning about the joys of christmas. and then reap the freakin' benefits, yo, because i'm about to go Christmas-Day-Scrooge on all of you.

read on for an explosion of worthy Christmas tracks, and a rushed finishing of all that is the Noise For Toaster advent series.


Day 11
i just love the name - and you love this guy, and things are happy.
::::Badly Drawn Boy - Donna & Blitzen

Day 10
::::Nsync - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

Day 9
you know, a little sad, a little sweet, a little sappy, a lot of David Bazan and the old moniker.
::::Pedro The Lion - I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

Day 8
i found this track on the B-Sides a few years ago and i never forgot it - in that beautifully, mystically haunting kind of way.
::::Damien Rice (with Lisa Hannigan) - Silent Night

Day 7
Jenny Lewis at her sad, sappy best. follow this up with a sugar spike, and you'll get the best of both worlds.
::::Rilo Kiley - Xmas Cake

Day 6
here, Weezer was worthwhile. and that's all i need to say.
::::Weezer - The Christmas Song

Day 5
i was waiting to post this until sometime toward the end, and technically Day 5 would've been a good day. this track is so damn good.
::::Guster - Donde Esta Santa Claus?

Day 4
clever, rockin', Grandaddy. they're so awesome.
::::Grandaddy - Alan Parsons in Wonderland

Day 3
i had to pay tribute to this "original indie man" with this almost-depressing tune which is absolutely beautiful.
::::Neil Finn - Sweet Secret Peace

you didn't know they had two Christmas tunes, did you? that's what i'm here for.
::::The Flaming Lips - A Change At Christmas (Say It Isn't So)

BONUS! (oh, obviously.)
::::The Walkmen - No Christmas While I'm Talking
you wouldn't expect this, right? no kidding. it's really the same band. they have another track called Christmas Party up on their myspace.
Save Ferris - Christmas Wrapping
one of my favorite songs of all time is their cover of Cyndi Lauper's Dexy's Midnight Runners' Come On Eileen. and this is one of the best renditions of this song, ever. so. there you go.
Destroyer - Every Christmas
instrumental, and very short, but a nice finisher to this long, explosive post. take a deep breath! it's Destroyer.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006
  Jackie Period: rare Sunset Rubdown

okay, let's face it. we're all pretty much going to have Shut Up I Am Dreaming on our best-of's (mm, have to get on that soon). so why not prep ourselves ahead of time and get tuned with a few rare EP tracks? it's the kind of thing Jackie does. shan lets the unknowns have their day in the sun, but not Jackie. Jackie is frigging cheap like that.

::::they're good tracks, though, i mean, come on.
Sunset Rubdown - Jason Believes Me, You Can't Trust Your Dreams

Sunset Rubdown - Three Colours II

the first is my favorite.

i remember when this came out, and NfT was just starting up. i'm a little too embarrassed to go back and look at the post about it. oh, Spencer Krug, weirdest looking ladies' man i know.

Edit: heyo! you anonymous commenters are ruthless. the pic was indeed Frog Eyes - sorry for the confusion - but lay off on the rarity of the tracks, maybe? if you're a veritable SR connoisseur then i suppose they aren't rare to you, but they're not from Shut Up I Am Dreaming. don't want 'em, don't take 'em, yo.

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  Toaster Does Santa, Day 12: Ryan Adams, Boy Least Likely To!!

don't worry guys, i know this is really turning into the countdown for the last time that you have to see that picture. but i know you won't get sick of the jackie period! why? because it's amazing. those ducks get me every time.

today is day TWELVE. day TWELVE is a special day, because it's the day that my true love (and yours) will send me (us) a whole TWELVE drummers drumming. [if you're just tuning in, let these lyrics get you up to speed.] now, we're not going to do some uber-corny advent-meets-the-twelve-days-of-christmas campaign - don't worry. it's not like i have chocolate peppermint soy milk in my coffee this morning. (wow, that sounds gross. but it's actually true.)

anyway, what does the TWELVE mean? twelve, 12, 1-2, 1 defers to 2, so you get TWO tracks this morning, and you'll be really happy.

::::because Ryan Adams at your house means a fucking good party:
Ryan Adams - Hey Parker, It's Christmas

this is just a great song. it has a special quality to it that makes me wish it weren't about Christmas so I could play it over and over, all the time, all year long. you know, maybe i might anyway! who cares! he wouldn't. this is off of the Christmas 7" and it even has some awesome cracke-pop in it.

::::and because i don't know what we would do with Boy Least Likely To.
Boy Least Likely To - Little Donkey

exclamation point exclamation point!! oh, how i do love this band, and this little tune proves it even more. you know, i always feel like they are my good friends. (we hang out.)

twelve drummers drumming. oddly appropriate, huh? pipers piping, ladies dancing... lords a-leaping... swans a-swimming... swan lake? god, i could make the cheesiest series ever and have every song i post be relevant to those lyrics. i wouldn't be able to live with myself, don't worry. what would i do for five gold rings? record myself singing it. oh yes. yes i would.

Edit: okay kids, i'm not on top of things today. it's Jackie period for a reason, you know. apparently the twelve days of christmas don't start until the eve of the twenty-fifth -- thank you nice anonymous commenter -- and i was totally unawares, although the preposition "of" begins to ring in my ear [twelve days of christmas, therefore starting on christmas...] but in any case, if you love/pity me, just let it be the representative twelve, and enjoy the two tracks.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006
  Toaster Does Santa, Day 13: Of Montreal

and it occurs to me, wait - it's Christmas - shouldn't we be spreading the love everywhere? shouldn't we be caring about all life, all vegetation, birds and bees and road signs -

but Of Montreal knows.
::::Of Montreal - Christmas Isn't Safe For Animals

we all need to watch our Red-Nosed Reindeer clay people special a bit more often, wouldn't you say? and then we'd all understand.

oh, my god, is it really under two weeks already?

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  Jackie Period: Rock Kills Kid, Rogue Wave... discrimination is bad.

look. i'm the first person to see the words "The O.C." and run groaning with frustration into the other room. in fact, it happens frequently. so when i saw that the mainstream-indie goldminers at "The O.C. Soundtrack" offices made an album of all covers by "independent" artists... i more than groaned. i was pissed off, and i discriminated. i judged.

but, what do you know! there are a few gems. here are two of them, one from Rogue Wave -- one of my Top 5 Favorite Bands Ever And Ever Probably, in which they completely transform the Pixies' song "Debaser." i mean, completely. the other is from Rock Kills Kid, who is more of Alex's favorite than mine, but continues to impress both on the stage and in every recording they pull off. by the way, this one is the better out of the two (i heart Spoon), so what do i know?

::::oh, O.C.... why'd you kill off Mischa... (so the girlie mags/People tell me. sigh.)
Rock Kills Kid - I Turn My Camera On (Spoon cover)
Rogue Wave - Debaser (Pixies cover)

just to let you know, the album isn't half bad. there are a few almost unbearably emo-poppy-punky things on it (Goldspot covering "Float On" was a bad, bad idea) - but there's one track on there, Tally Hall covering "Smile Like You Mean It," which is better than the original song. move over, Flowers. far, far over.

p.s. anyone who came here for the first time from the Best Week Ever post yesterday must have been scratching their heads - "who the fuck is Jackie?"

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Monday, December 11, 2006
  Toaster Does Santa, Day 14: The Killers, John Denver & The Muppets

Day 15
seeing as it's deeply engrained into the very quick of my childhood holiday memories, there's no way i can go without posting a few of these classics along the way. this is a cover of another classic, so it's doubly cool.
::::John Denver & The Muppets - Little Saint Nick (Beach Boys cover) [1979]

Day 14
but -- mondays are for experiments. mondays are for rebellions. not tuesdays (you know better), not sundays (too tired) -- monday. nothing else will do but to rebel against monday. so today must be the perfect day for me to post this track.
::::The Killers - A Great Big Sled (feat. Toni Halliday) [right now]

merry christmas, kids! nothing like a wailing Brandon Flowers to get you in that holiday spirit.
but go on, listen... he wants to wish you a merry christmas.

er, for when the track gets pulled, here's the video (we're realistic here at NfT)

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  Jackie Period: Postal Service - rare tracks

i wasn't kidding.

here we are with the first installment of the jackie period. that is a picture of an oxford university experiment, and it's made me laugh harder than anything else recently. look at those ducks! they're all saying, what the hell is going on? in case you haven't been keeping score at home, i have the weirdest sense of humor. but anyway, on with what jackie has to say.

ah, tea. ah, burning hot tea bag. ah, morning duties, responsibility, 8 am doldrums -- the mail, i have to check the mail -- damn postal service and their sketchy unreliability... yes... that postal service, indeed... [humming]

aha! the postal service! that reminds me. [how'd you like that, kids, hmmm?]

::::i wanted to make sure you had these.
Postal Service - Suddenly Everything Has Changed
(Flaming Lips cover)
Postal Service - Be Still My Heart (single release track -- not found on Give Up)
Postal Service - Against All Odds (Phil Collins cover. god, it's good.)

nice to have one version of the postal service to rely on, you know?
[yeah, yeah. merry whatever.]

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Saturday, December 09, 2006
  Toaster Does Santa, Day 16: Smashing Pumpkins, The Knife, Yo La Tengo

a lil' catchin' up. and on and on.

Day 18
::::Smashing Pumpkins - Christmastime
by the end of this advent series, this just might be your favorite track that i give you. it's probably one of my Top 5, which i'll pick out at the end of all of this. Corgan makes this a melodic, easygoing ride but makes it unmistakably Pumpkins - and what with their recording right now, you might just remember how good it all used to be...

Day 17
::::The Knife - Christmas Reindeer
the holidays just got a little brighter, didn't they? tell me this isn't amazing. do it. i dare you.

Day 16
::::Yo La Tengo - It's Christmas Time
there is officially no reason why i shouldn't give you two Christmas songs with the same title in the same post. this is a wonderful little tune. it's soft, mellow, and something i could listen to all year if they didn't repeat "It's Christmas Time" over and over.

more! more! more!
and more will come.

you greedy kids.

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  the most important post ever in the next week, ever, always, forever, in the next week.
alright kids. i'm going to be totally honest with you. the shan you know and love -- the one that says goofy stuff, tries to be at least a little creative, and always comes sprinting in from really (really) far left-field -- mhmm, that one -- is basically going to disappear for the next seven days. in her place will be robot shan, the one that says goofy stuff, tries to be a little creative, but quickly ducks in with about two sentences and a single track that you'll obviously like and will need very little introduction. in other words, i can't read up on my artists this week, guys. you'll still get the advent series Toaster Does Santa, but it'll have to come in bulk. we'll call this period

[img cred]

because i've decided that robot shan's real name is Jackie.

[just believe.]

all in all, i want you to drink lots of pumpkin spice lattes (or steamers, if you're like me and think the espresso ruins it), get sleep, eat warm dinners, and other things you're taking for granted. and if you live where it's still hot (remember, i'm in New England saying all of this), turn on the AC until frost accumulates in your windows and make some hot chocolate. do itttt.

i'll miss you,
(the one you know and love)

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006
  Toaster Does Santa, Day 19: No Doubt, The Flaming Lips

bet yer really likin' this pic about now. mm, only 19 more of it to go. best save it to your picture folder now.
go on. i'll wait.

hey there, lovers. ahem - holiday lovers. i have some music fresh out of the oven, no fire extinguisher this time, and i put some water in the kettle. you wanted coffee? hm. the instant's in the freezer, you can make that yourself.

::::from yesterday, Day 20:
No Doubt - Oi To The World

- - - hey, remember when Gwen had a band to back her up? no doubt you do (huh-ho!). this is an awesome track from way back when - well, from way back when they were really, really good, and everyone owned Tragic Kingdom, and they were this reggae ska Bostonesy party. yes, a party.

::::and from today, Day 19:
The Flaming Lips - White Christmas

- - - you know, Wayne Coyne sounds a little cracked out, and all of the instruments are warped a little (a lot), and the whole traditional Christmas tune is taken a little over to left field, dropped there and left to skitter through the blades of grass on its own... but you don't listen to the Lips to hear traditional, and you don't read this blog for everything to make sense. go paint something beautiful. something... white.

merry merry in nineteen more days. but you know you only have about fifteen more to buy presents. here's my recommendation: take all of my tracks, buy one big thing of blank cds, and burn all of your favorites into a mix. then pass them out with holly drawn on the jewel cases (it's okay if they look like gummi bears, i can't draw them either) and say you spent hours and hours collecting all the most cutting-edge and vintage-savvy Christmas tunes you could find. and smile a lot, that helps.

stay tuned for more "shan makes your life easier by 12%, guaranteed."

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006
  technical report - i am stupid
guys, wow, i am sorry.

this is really embarrassing. if you use firefox as your primary browser, you have my sincerist apologies. this page looked like the work of a distractable kindergarten student until about five minutes ago, when i noticed the eleven-character flaw in my page layout, resulting in a sprawling sea of white nothingness below the most recent post for anybody who tried to load this blog in firefox.

but let me try to defend myself. where i defined the height of a certain part of this layout to be 100% of the page, and then later changed my mind on how it would work, firefox was the only browser to take me so literally and extend the content box all the way down to the bowels of this very page.

well, no more. in a moment of clarity or clairvoyance or something or other, i scrolled to the far right of the template in firefox, deleted those fateful eleven characters, clicked preview, and voila! everything was fixed.

and now here i am, kicking myself for both not having checked earlier, and not having realized it until about five months later.

so for all of you who are seeing this page as it was intended for the first time, i encourage your input and/or grievances. reprimand me for my laziness or what have you, and please, do come back again. our mp3s work now, and we promise you'll be seeing more of them. Toaster really did miss you, and he's only the happiest fish now that you're back to see what he has to offer.


  Jenny Owen Youngs: "Fuck Was I" and Batten The Hatches

like a good friend or a close cousin, i have to come to terms with the fact that i can't really write about Jenny. reading her is a little (way) too much like reading myself. looking at her is a little (yeah) too much like going back through old highschool pictures. but her music? her music is different, probably because i don't make any. but if i couldn't listen to her voice, i wouldn't be fumbling over this prose in the first place.

Jenny Owen Youngs. she will not launch into anything brilliant, we apologize for the inconvenience, but she will say this: Jenny has succeeded in rapidly getting herself the fuck out there. citing a tender 1981 (let's be honest, she looks and sounds younger), she's honed the whole guitar thing since about the time i was getting my braces off and stumbling over driving lessons, and she's done really well for herself. she's no Backstreet Boys, as in she's not five males and she actually took to an instrument before a music career. she's got it all going for her. right?

mmm -- not yet. Batten The Hatches, her debut LP, is temporarily unavailable due to the fact that it'll be released on Nettwerk soon, catapulting her from whereverNewJersey to holy shit, this is a real career. the highly addictive and repetitiously explicit "Fuck Was I" (as in, what the) is getting itself on TV (just ask Jenny), running amok on the internets and tapping on your desktop right this very second, as it's below these words in bold orange with four annoying colons next to it (why does she do that?) --

::::as promised (quip to go along):
Jenny Owen Youngs - Fuck Was I
BONUS. Jenny Owen Youngs - From Here

with a barrage of witticisms and shark weirdness (i don't know kids, i don't know), by far the most surprising thing about her is the depth and seriousness of her voice. it's her sense of humor wrapped up with an earnest message (love, life, growing up, wild animals) and good intention. comparisons to KT Tunstall (guitar work, folky feel) and Erin Mckeown (vocals) aren't far off, but it's still unfair to say. she's distinctly Jenny -- and yet, somehow reminds me of myself, officially crossing boundaries of time and space and defying our earthly understanding of physics to be inherently individual and yet also me at the same time. um, yes.

so ends a smackingly self-indulgent review of someone decidedly not myself -
and you should go to her myspace, where she will take care of you from here.
also, you can bet anything there'll be a crazy growing hype, during which time we'll make a repost or something (just to say, just to say). she's already been covered by Matt, clearly a myspace peruser, quite some time ago. kudos, yo.


Monday, December 04, 2006
  Toaster Does Santa, Day 21: Phantom Planet

i never, ever thought that at the top of my own post i would read the words "Phantom Planet" - let alone that i would ever give you one of their songs. nevermind the O.C. stigma and mostly cringe-worthy vocals, but they're Phantom Planet - they need no independent music source telling their story. they've pretty much got it covered.

but this morning around 7 o'clock, i started to look through this Christmas playlist i've been compiling over the years, sifting through tracks and bands and compilations, a little restless and a little unsatisfied. nothing would do for my readers this morning, nothing at all, nothing good enough. suddenly i glance over my shoulder out the window as the next song comes on, and what? what was that? a shock of white, great fluffy cotton balls hurling down from space, stark against the dingy buildings across the street. and what was playing? it was Phantom Planet's "Winter Wonderland," a song that just this weekend i was recommended (with more than a skeptical eyebrow-raise from me). ah, the irony. ah, my susperstition. ah, another decent poppy addition to the advent - and surely, mixed in with the rest, you'll be all about it.

::::Phantom Planet - Winter Wonderland

another excuse is that this is the antitype to the California song that makes you want to scratch your ears off, because it's about snow. go for it, i know you want it, even if it is the sketchy white chocolate of the advent sampler.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006
  Toaster Does Santa, Day 22: McCartney, McRae and Orbison

i'm pretty sure i've been counting the days wrong. but it's okay! and on we go a' adventing...

ah, sundays. the perfect day for catching up with the advent calendar. i always forget on the weekends, anyway - the anticipation of what's beneath the flap on Fridays and Saturdays just isn't as cool as on weekdays, when you're procrastinating by every means possible. so, to make up for it, i'm going to give you three whole mp3s today.

the first is one you'll hear twenty-five hundred times this season on oldies radio and college stations alike. here you are with Paul McCartney's bright-'n-cheery-to-the-point-of-maybe-cringing 1979 hit, "Wonderful Christmastime." there's a very convenient little write-up of it here (yes, i linked you to bbc, who called him Macca. oh, my god).

::::Paul "Macca" McCartney - Wonderful Christmastime

just in case that song makes you want to kick something (i know a few people who have that knee-jerk reaction), here's an alternative version that i think you'll quite enjoy. it's a cover by Tom McRae, and my god, he takes the song and makes it this eery, melancholy, and simply gorgeous song, dark and with strings. this is the literal antithesis of McCartney's original song.

::::Tom McRae - Wonderful Christmastime

a little like sunday drivers, we're going to take it down a notch and throw you this holiday curveball. can you believe me? it's Roy Orbison's "Pretty Paper," written and also sung by Willie Nelson. very slow, but pretty great, and the lyrics make it for me.

::::Roy Orbison - Pretty Paper

edit: this link no longer leads to McCartney's song, but rather to the intended treat from Roy Orbison. thanks to the anonymous commenter for pointing it out.

ah, the advent overwhelm! don't worry, more tomorrow, back to one-a-day. sheesh, now the advent is like a vitamin... how many themes can we come up with, here...

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Saturday, December 02, 2006
  Field Music: Tones Of Town

there is an album that has gotten so much play in my headphones over the last week that i wake up, go to sleep, walk the sidewalks, brush my teeth to the beat of the songs. i mean it, i mean it. i'm completely and utterly obsessed with it right now, and it's about to get a rave review here on NfT. if you're sick of my raving lately, i don't know what to tell you. it's called good luck.

lovely, jangly, poppy, happy and British, but not the Kooks (by any means). your ears perk, yes? and they should. they are Field Music, and they're back with a new full-length LP (UK readers: "you have it?" US readers: "who?"), called Tones Of Town. this thing is amazing. i'm going to go ahead and tell you it's the best pop i've heard from overseas all year, just to make a point. they take their cue from old giants (Beatles) and the mediocrity of today's Kooks and mix it with a new depth to take much more seriously. they're talented as hell, expertly employing a wide range of sounds (strings!) and producing a complete work of art, often stringing songs together, flowing one into the next almost undetectably (until you try to pick mp3s to share). Tones Of Town has been the perfect remedy to pick me up in the face of this ever-colder city, snapping my steps to a new beat that just won't leave my head. oh, i promise you a good time. you'll be so glad you believed me.

::::and would you believe it, these mp3s will actually work now:
Field Music - Give It Lose It Take It

-- this is the first track of the album. i hadn't heard anything from the album, and i was walking out of my building as this started, and i paid particular attention to the opening. i was so surprised when the music started up after the bells, and was instantly hooked. watch out at 40 seconds in... and just let the beatles influence floor you. a minute:thirty in and you'll see just why they're so fucking good.
Field Music - Working To Work
-- seventh track presents a catchy-as-hell breakdown, a slightly more simplified arrangement, and quite simply a great song. the Brits in them shine through here, and a little Paul McCartney...
BONUS:Field Music - She Can Do What She Wants
-- it was so impossibly hard not to give you this entire album, i'm telling you. instead, i closed off this line-up with their intended closer, which is just such a great song. oh, man. fantastic lead-in, irresistable harmonies, tambourine, strings (keyboard-produced or no) - oh, luscious. and it will be stuck in your head for the next five years.

i mean, this whole album is so incredible it almost makes me angry. it's this frustration that i know not every reader will pick up these tracks, that not everyone will believe me, that i'll fail in conveying my honest passion for the music i've found. but that's the gig here, i guess.

the hype will only grow and grow, so check there often for more and more tracks (so you can believe me, really).
also, tell them hi on their myspace, and listen to good songs.


Friday, December 01, 2006
  technical report - we've made progress
okay guys, so i know that things on the technical spectrum of NfT haven't quite been in top shape as of late. apparently the page doesn't load properly in FireFox, which i have only recently installed on my own laptop in an attempt to fix the problem over this upcoming vacation. and sometimes the Hype Machine doesn't like the mp3s we post for some reason or another. but we'd like to blame all of this (only half of it is really plausible) on the culprit behind your music sharing and enjoying woes -


those bastards went and changed their system over, claiming it was for the benefit of their users, that the interface was more friendly and efficient and that everything else would be better to use. well you know what? they basically just instituted measures to make the sharing of music with you guys nearly impossible. their uploader strips the artist and track names (ID3 tags) from the files, and reencodes them so that they're crappy quality. nobody wants that, right?

well, we here at NfT won't stand for nonsense of this sort, and so upon kind recommendation, we've obtained an account over at FileDen. so now all of you amazingly faithful readers can obtain your mp3s in proper form and documentation, at 192kbps or higher, the way it was intended.

we'll be considering going back to update the recent posts with updated mp3s, but for now, everything since november 20th has been fixed and uploaded to FileDen, so for those of you who had been posting that certain tracks weren't working, i would recommend that you go back and obtain them all now while they're hot. also, if there is anything older that we haven't gotten to yet that you're dying for, now is the perfect time to put in your requests. think of it as our holiday gift to you. and speaking of holiday gifts, let me just remind you of our ongoing feature, Toaster Does Santa. since all the tracks are up and functioning, here's a reminder of what you've gotten so far:

::::Day 30 - The Polyphonic Spree
The Polyphonic Spree - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

::::Day 29 - matt pond PA
matt pond PA - Holiday Road
matt pond PA - Snow Day

and there it is. the layout of the page will be in testing and redesign shortly, but for now, happy first day of december. take some time to relax with a mug of tea or hot cocoa and enjoy the music.



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.