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Wednesday, January 31, 2007
  Menomena. my turn.

the first comment on this photo on myspace says, "This photo turned me straight, so it could turn me gay." and the kid's name was Eric Frog Llama Grapefruit.

see, the truth is, i actually really do like Menomena quite a bit. listening to their album, for me, is like the first time i get my hands on a Lips album -- i'm shy. i take time to nestle myself into the flow of it, the often brash and rejective qualities of the record as a whole. it's not dependable from song to song. there's a lot going on. it's clashy, weird, throw-around, fantastic stuff, and i take my sweet time.

so now that i've had sufficient enough time to hear it out, i want to give you a few tracks that i particularly held on to as i got into the groove that is Friend And Foe. i figure that, if you're like me, you had to wait (and are maybe still waiting) for the Menomena bug to wiggle its way into your ear and make the magic that Barsuk knew it had to pick up.

::::Menomena - The Pelican
i'm going to be perfectly honest here. i connected to this song like i connected to Tapes 'n Tapes. oo, wow, remember them? (little ironic twitch there.) the vocals are awfully loud, bordering on piercing, but stops just before frantic and melts into what you might call "excitement." nah, we'll go with emphatic. it's quite effective, for those of you that actually enjoyed TnT for their actual music, actually. it also plods like a TnT song, banging drums, building the characteristic Menomena clashing.

::::Menomena - Wet and Rusting
don't try and download that file, there, because it brings you to the hype machine. basically, every blog and their entire contacts list has this song up, so i'm not going to continue the trend. but here we are with the single, and it was instantly apparent to me (without doing research) that this was to represent the band. it really works for them. the fake-out beginning, the sing-song vocals and easy rhymes -- they all go so well with the almost twee-like instrumentation, then spills out into the clashing, psych-rock tidbits (alternatively performed - electronic elements and the like). yes, that. that's what i'm talking about. whatever you do! don't miss this track.

::::Menomena - My My
man, is this song pretty! it fits so well into its surroundings. i was tempted to write an entire post on this track alone. between hard, weird, delightful banging-about "indie rock" songs, comes this soaring little number with gentle vocals, tinkering piano, and an addictive sunshine-pop feel.

this is another album you don't want to miss. you have to trust me on this one.
if you haven't already, i demand you go check out their official site (linked to at the top of the page), where they display their apparent sense of humor (you can just really tell from the music) in random, extra pages which are fun and mostly confusing. also available is their myspace, which is a fun and unpredictable place. lastly, keep up with the Barsuk business and they will surely keep you up to date as to buying, downloading, seeing, and loving this band.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
  Mezzanine Owls - Slingshot Echoes
well, you know, i'd say you and i have been together long enough now that i can share with you a few pieces of personal information. one, i use soy milk instead of regular. two, i often wander aimlessly around CVS in my free time. three, i have a major and sometimes embarrassing penchant for birds. yes, birds. i am not a birder, but a bird appreciator, and most of the time involves my finding their every move the funniest thing i've ever seen. pigeons in city parks? forget it. i'm all over that.

and so, owls! i am immediately attracted to this upandcoming band Mezzanine Owls. it's undeniably true that band names can attract or repel you (or it better be, because that's what i have going for me) and these guys drew me in -- to at least giving their music a chance. and let me tell you, i'm really into it.

Owls give you what you've been looking for. heavy on the instrumentation, vocals come in like echoey shoegaze, drawing from late eighties and early nineties alternative, channeling a little Bono in places (in the best way possible, i mean that), especially in their single "Lightbulb." repetitive, layered guitar work mesmorizes like an Interpol song, but keeps somehow lighter and more ethereal, more intricately composed. they sound breathtakingly similar to the Aussie art rock band, The Church. often i hear influences from alt country, little twangs and pings, but the vast majority of their sound-alikes aren't from this era. they're art rock, alternative, shoegaze, and essentially really frickin' cool. the last thing i should reveal to you? i have a major weakness for late eighties alternative.

::::judging a band by its name is often quite a good idea.
Mezzanine Owls - Moving Ground

- i highly recommend this tune. its the first track off of Slingshot Echoes and it's the perfect introduction to the band. vocals are uncharacteristically...excited...compared to other tracks, but the instrumentation is topshelf and really quite catchy. lovely, lovely stuff.
Mezzanine Owls - Coyote
- this track comes in like a Wilco song. it's slow, and positively smashing with its influences right out there (you can go back to the Beatles, appropriately this time, maybe say "George Harrison" if you want to) and yet complete as its own beautiful piece. i love this song.

trek to the hype for their single, "Lightbulb," which is pretty great, and certainly addictive. don't believe me? go to their myspace, which has everything you'd ever want, like tracks and pictures and most importantly, a listen to their single. tell them hello. then, top priority, if you like it all, buy the album and see them in shows. this step-by-step process will lead you to indpendent music harmony. hooray!

and remember, kids. pigeons have feelings too. don't kick them.
Monday, January 29, 2007
  Sondre Lerche is February's man.
i am very lucky that my daily routine generously affords me the opportunity to listen to astronomical amounts of music. my obsessive compulsive habit of putting one album on loop until i exhaust it is sped up considerably, making the average time for an album's survival much shorter (unless i control myself and rotate it with other music, as i'm often forced to do). but recently i started the long journey called "learning Sondre Lerche's new album," and i can tell this time that it is my new obsession. i anticipate Phantom Punch more than any other album in winter '07.

"Sondre Lerche" is a name i see everywhere right now, and it always follows the same two other names: Bloc Party and The Shins. check Flaunt, check Nylon, check z!nk, check... other alternative style magazines who land a pretty decent music review section. these people are priming the "mainstream alternative" culture for the "newest biggest," and Sondre looks like he's in line. but have you seen his mug in these pictures? the babyfaced skinny boy stands there, looking as timid as Beck, and yet similarly busts out with some of the most incredible and versatile music i've ever heard. Sondre, where's the voice in that head? and he steps half into shadow.

his latest effort, the third of those that i've known well, the fourth for the rest of the world -- puts this native Norwegian boy in a category somewhere close to pop genius, pushing his band (The Faces Down) to new levels. it's obvious how he understands the music, getting it to naturally work for him, integrating every part with planning and precision that makes the songs compositionally tight yet confidently natural and fluid. the pop itself has no immediate connections to flow, however. "punch" turns out to be the perfect word to describe it, as guitar sets itself in your face while skinnyboy (sorry Sondre) jumps in with his vocals, landing over instrumentation that blares and subsides like hormones, like twentysomething angst, like the rhythm of this city living. it's addictive in a personal way, a pop masterpiece that forces me to give it up for the "next alternative sensation."

::::ah, seems like only yesterday this was "Two Way Monologue," huh?
Sondre Lerche - Airport Taxi Reception
- - this is the perfect way to start the album. i couldn't have been more excited after hearing this 2:28 track. it instantly confirmed how much i'd love the album.
Sondre Lerche - John, Let Me Go - - classic Sondre, but so mature. so worth it.

i wish i could give you them all, but here's the
Sondre Lerche - Happy Birthday Girl

- - frankly, this song shocked me. he slows down the pace to bring up the intensity, slowly climbing with a high-reverb, beautiful composition which soars as it breaks at about five minutes, extending out to 7:28 with your attention on every move. he's so impressive, kids.
collect more at the hype

here. go to his media page to hear the two singles (highly addictive), and be sure to read his punchlines. then pop over to myspace, where you'll get a fix of everything Sondre, as well as past singles of his (last two albums). fall madly in love, in case you haven't caught that bug yet, and then pre-order, because it all drops February 6th. and believe me, this is not an album to miss.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
  The Western States Motel, good guy Carl, and sunshine pop
for this blogger to mention any band with some kind of positive relation to matt pond PA is to give it a very high ranking indeed. this is precisely what i'd like to do this morning for my newest listen-in-loop-six-hundred-times album (last was Softlightes, to this degree anyway):

ah. enter The Western States Motel. besides having just about the best moniker i've heard in a long time, Carl Jordan manages to finely weave a brand of sunshine pop that could literally define everything i love about the ability of music. it is acoustic, sometimes electric, always a little folk, little alternative country, and that mark of pop which makes it unbeatable. the hardworking California native spent his jobless days wandering and writing, and so made an album of movement and questions that is punctuated by moments of upbeat revelation. without noticing, the listener takes a ride, cruising through countryside, stopping in cities, staring into shop windows (wanting) and out over vast ocean (waiting). Carl strings along bits and pieces of his life, passing outdoor cafes, stealing sips of others' coffee, skipping, turning, picking up pennies and ticket stubs, holding out his hands to say, this music? this is all i have.

and so it is quietly, unassumingly emotional. it is like the very best of mmPA's delicate moments -- mellowed, expressive. i have always heard elements of fear and life in those songs, and that's what i find here; without commitments to label heads, deadlines, or even other band members, i get a raw portrait of a fine artist, full of the same fear and loneliness and yet self-made happiness, an individual highly responsible for their own pick-me-ups. and i am willing to step alongside the artist, read the same book, point to the same pictures and say, yes! this is your music, this is you. thank you.

::::please, have a listen, too:
The Western States Motel - Cheap Speakers
-- upbeat and encouraging. a personal hit.
TWSM - Row of Homes
-- no one can tell me this doesn't sound like mpPA. one of the best. and tell me, why do all songwriters talk about satellites?

Bonus because Toaster thinks you smell nice:
TWSM - If Your Life Is Just A Dream
-- the album opener. probably my very favorite (who's surprised?). it represents him and the entire album so perfectly, i had to share it with you.

his single, "Powerlines," is on the hype and on his myspace. please go tell him how much you love him, listen to other stuff, buy this album from the wonderful people at CDBaby or from the cold, hard, impersonal yet convenient iTunes. sigh.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
  Rosie Thomas, with friends Sufjan Stevens and Denison Witmer

if you aren't already aquainted, and there's a good chance you are not -- please let me introduce you to Rosie Thomas, a songbird that can't be passed by. this woman pours out some of the most beautiful music i've heard in ages, quietly and soulfully composing song after song that tugs on my clothing, bidding me hear more, hear more.

the album was made in the way we dream most creative processes should be -- slowly, in the comfort of our own home, and with good friends eager to do the same. recorded with Sufjan Stevens and Denison Witmer over a period of two years, the album shines in that home=project kind of way, cradled and cherished and carefully made. i can't help comparing it to one of 2006's favorites, The Weepies, especially in the style of Rosie's addictively strong falsetto. the instrumental work is gentle and pillows that strength, rendering an acoustic backdrop which is often accompanied by strings, piano, and soft percussion. it's really quite enchanting, and worth the break in your day to understand just what i mean.

::::ladies and gentlemen.
Rosie Thomas - Much Farther To Go
Rosie Thomas - If This City Never Sleeps (highly recommended)

more on the hype.

go check out the lovely representation and artwork on Rosie's myspace. you can actually listen to the whole album there, and when you're done, go get it from iTunes. wonderful, wonderful purchase.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007
  new music: Dearborn

it's a rare case when i decide it's important enough to post just one mp3 from a band. but that's how much i believe in the representative single from Chicago's Dearborn, an actual rock group that's been kicking (smashing) some dust around on their local scene. this is rock like you missed it, rock like you've got a burning desire to stand up really fast and take a swinging wreck to your desk and all its contents, exploding your life as you know it. and that's just to kick it off, yo [rebellion]. when i tell you this song instills a passionate vibe, a ripping, shredding, guitar-soloing, smashing vibe -- my computer's on the floor. i'm typing this among the looseleaf papers and scattered electronics that used to line my desk.

truly, though, it's obvious this group has something going for them. their fans rave about their live performance, and as i'm always stressing, that's the most important part of this whole music gig. the people want to see you. the tables are turning on record sales and groups are getting big from their representation on the stage, their antics, their passion. Dearborn has it, just liked we raved over Cold War Kids and Birdmonster. and those groups are nationally touring, getting radio play, with the buzz buzzing like a storm. well, here comes the thunder, let me tell you. Dearborn will blow heads. (was that a good twist? i thought it was. did you like that?)

and, if you nevermind all that, i'll admit i never really thought i'd be calling a rock song catchy. but it is, dammit. the vocals are so good, and they staple themselves to your brain.

::::try it out, see for yourself: Dearborn - Already Down

visit their 'space to say hello (they take good care of their page).
also visit the hype machine as they garner spots on all of your favorite blogs. don't miss out on this song, either. do it.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007
  Camera Obscura - new mp3s
i have a friend whose main concern with music is its aspect of "removing" people from their actual surroundings. he feels like, and he says he hears it all the time, the ipod is just a continuation of this possibility -- that now, anytime and anywhere, people can disassociate, merely by sticking little white things in their ears. he quotes a woman as having said, "i love listening to my ipod while i'm with you guys. this music makes me feel like i'm in a movie." and this scares my friend.

my friend would positively hate Camera Obscura. every song they release does something to my senses -- they dissipate, soar off to higher places of intangibility, make pictures and slideshows of sixties photographs, quick reels, dusty and yellowing dresses, people i don't know at their fifteenth birthday parties. and when the song ends, it's so hard to come back down. i have been in a story, alive and elsewhere. why return? ah! this is what scares my friend.

from the "If Looks Could Kill" single:

::::Camera Obscura - Hands Up Baby

this track is the best example i could hope for. slow, surreal, almost ethereal. amazing. it lilts slowly, building, lifting, lighter and lighter until you have found yourself entwined in every note. incredible.

::::Camera Obscura - Alaska

thankfully poppier than the last, this finishes up at a hopeful stride, running along like a brook, bubbly but pensive. the depth that this band is capable of... i'll tell you. it always surprises me.

lift yourself out of the "movie stupor" and we'll bring you to the hype, where you're sure to find the single and other great songs for your listening pleasure. and if this is your first time at disassociation, welcome! we here at NfT like to totally tune everyone out in the name of music all the time. sorry, buddy. (this scares him.)

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Monday, January 22, 2007
  The Broken West, out tomorrow

as a seemingly appropriate backlash to recently dominating sub-genres of indie pop (i love to get technical), i seem to be running into quite a bit of alt-folk and alt-country, or at least a lot of "indie rock" with those undertones. this is how it came to be that now it is my turn to write about The Broken West, who sold me with one song.

these happy-poppy-jangly go-getters are a product of 60's pop, tambourine lovers, sing-along vocals and the very best of Beatles-to-Wilco guitar work. it's lovely stuff, really -- song after song is classically arranged, delivered confidently and maturedly, leaving an aftertaste a little like the better side of Jacob Dylan. this old-time aspect runs them with a crowd that's refreshing, where they can stand up alone out of the sea of electronic beeps and blips. i highly recommend taking a bite out of their organic sound and newcomer originality. they've followed the greats and they've successfully got something to show for it.

since I Can't Go On, I'll Go On comes out tomorrow, i'll whet your appetite to persuade you that this is a worthy purchase.
::::the word spread fast.
The Broken West - So It Goes
- this is the song that sold me.
The Broken West - Shiftee - a great example of their influences, and how they pull it off.

- head to the hype for a generous helping to their bigger tracks, especially "Down In The Valley," which is the song everyone's listening to.

- their myspace is their only working site at the moment (another band made them change their name - they were originally The Brokedown. i like their new one better) - - look them up to hear songs without downloading. good tactic. then BUY. their new indie label will help you (heart Merge records).

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Friday, January 19, 2007
  PBJ: an acronym for two wonderful things.

i know what's in that bag. sandwich makings.

having produced one of the catchiest songs i have ever heard, Sweden's Peter Bjorn and John are now finding their way to the US for a few lucky shows and finally, finally, a US release of their album Writer's Block. i know, i can't wait either. that'll be showing up February 6th (scarily not too far off) on "Almost Gold Recordings." the release will also include an awesome bonus disk.

for anyone not up on the loveliness that is this Swede sensation, please! i invite you to take a listen, at any of the following locations:

- their cute myspace
- the hype, because they give you tracks.

now, peanut butter jelly time.
yes, i said that.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007
  single craze: New Young Pony Club's "Ice Cream"

i almost never use one-sheets to write reviews, except to educate myself briefly about the origin of the band. but listen to this line:

"...a sound reminiscent of a hybrid version of Kelis meeting Blondie mashed up with Talking Heads and LCD Soundsystem."

no kidding! but, seriously? no kidding. it's one of the most accurate descriptions of influences and sound-alikes that i've ever come across. meet New Young Pony Club. meet the newest UK dance pop sensation.

two preliminary band members and one catchy tune lead this moniker to grow to a decent five-member band and release a non-stop dance party EP, teasing us with only three separate songs and two remixes of the track that made it all happen, "Ice Cream." apparently, the Brit kids just gobbled this one up, and they went soaring in popularity as copies of the song flew off the shelves. if you don't already know this song, i think you'll be surprised -- pay good attention to that description up there, however, and you literally already know what it sounds like. reciting monotone lyrics, a speaking voice like Shirley Manson's (how could i possibly mention her two days in a row?) projects out of the speakers, sits next to you and stares into your eyes while the rest of the night moves on around it, people writhing like angular snakes, fitting their body parts to the beat in the rainbow-flashing club. everyone has to move, and yet she's entrancing. it's easy to see why they chose a sexed-up Alice In Wonderland meets Charlie and the Chocolate Facory theme for their female-predominent band. they're young, hot, and obviously excited about the whirlwind of recognition. (just look at their faces.)

it's all over the internet, but considering the video made me want to run out to Sugar Heaven and gorge on treats (i'm a gummi lady myself), here's an extra little treat off their EP so you know what else they do with their musical profession.

::::lick your lips and get ready.
NYPC - Ice Cream
the treat (bonus):
NYPC - Get Dancey

- - we do! we have! and we will.

pleeeease do all of the below:
- visit the fun little myspace
- ask the hype for all of the very good remixes floating around.
- BUY this EP, especially if you DJ.

-watch the video! they're adorable, although a little robotic. cute outfits?

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007
  Review: The Last Kiss Soundtrack

though i will not be persuaded to see the film, i was neverthless tipped off to what Zach Braff managed on his "second film" soundtrack. "how silly of me to have forgotten," i thought, while i prepared myself to check it out. "he knows some great artists. he'll have picked some great tunes. Garden State? hello? The Last Kiss Soundtrack? has a ring to it, right? how dumb was i, to have forgotten..."

and then came the opening notes of Snow Patrol's "Chocolate."

as i skipped to number two, i was confronted by Joshua Radin, a song in the exact same vein as Bright Eye's "Lua" topped with Iron & Wine sprinkles (complete with female accompaniment). it was cliche. it was expected. it was damn disappointing.

onwards i went and my hopes were shot. as i passed by each decent choice, rolling my eyes at Coldplay (no no, i'm actually a fan, but you do remember Garden State's opener, i assume? "Don't Panic," my favorite Coldplay song ever), nodding at Cary Brothers, raising an eyebrow at Imogen Heap, quietly (and ineffectually) singing along to Ray Lamontagne... and, you know, finding a few random good tracks that will last me two weeks, like Athlete's "El Salvador" (a little to the tune of that Sublime song), and Remy Zero's "Prophecy," which (although it opens with the same vocal notes as Guster's "Satellite") sounds SO MUCH like Garbage that i literally googled it to see if they covered Shirley Manson or something. i was actually impressed with the Fiona Apple pick..

    oh, hell. it dawned on me somewhere towards the middle of Rachel Yamagata's "Reason Why." Zachary, oh Zachary. if that is indeed your full name, hear me now! you failed in making another Garden State. but i can tell you why. that soundtrack was an accidental masterpiece. it marked a shift in the music industry, shined a dusty yellow spotlight onto the independent music industry and offered to let everyone take a better look, old and young alike. and it's named after New Jersey.

me? i know what he was going for. but i guess i can't take it this time. i'll plug the tracks i don't know into a playlist, loop them a few times, get used to their catchiness and potential (they're good songs, don't get me wrong) -- but i've been had. Garden State ruined ol' Braffy for me. give me the Snatch Soundtrack anyday. even the Hercules Soundtrack, give me that! but run-over acoustics, musicians that are friends, and "hip" and "trendy" sounding music is a thing of the past for the Scrubs dude. i'm disillusioned.

::::i never said i didn't like the songs themselves! it's the compilation. you know me. check these out, as a reward for sitting through my rant:
Joshua Radin - Star Mile
- - explained above, this track is mellow and acoustic in the vein of Iron & Wine and some Bright Eyes.
Remy Zero - Prophecy - - again, starts off like Guster's "Satellite," throughout sounds exactly like Garbage. it's good.

Bonus. because i like you a lot.
Rufus Wainwright - Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk (Reprise) - - i was happy with this addition. you can either win well or fail miserably with Rufus. this was a win.

i don't want to dissuade you from buying the album. i am merciless, especially when something should succeed another thing i've loved for a long time. you'll probably love it. check out the full tracklist and buy it here. the film? i don't know. ask someone else i guess.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007
seeing as we're officially a Boston blog (check the sidebar for the alliance, we're quite the blogging fam') i feel it is my official duty to tell you all to mark your calendars for some really exciting turn-outs.
    TONIGHT TONIGHT TONIGHT NfT favorite Annuals will be playing at the Paradise with the lovely band The Dears. doors at 7 pm, 18+, all that good stuff.

    March 29 -- lookin' that far ahead, you betchya -- is NfT's #1 Album Of The Year pick, The Long Winters. i cannot even tell you how fucking ecstatic i am. i am so happy i had to swear. it's at Great Scott, and doors are 9 pm, and it's nice and cheap. so you have no excuse not to go. (i'm ticketmastering.)

    total cuties Headlights at the Middle East, April 22nd (thinking ahead!

OTHER great picks can be found at our tourfilter user page, or in the little box we have going on in the left-hand column of your screen right this very minute. these are shows we like, recommend, or are going to. if you have any questions about a band you see on the list at any time, let me know and i'll help you out with some tracks and info and other goodies. we of course love hearing from you and all of that, but moreover we believe in seeing bands live, and i personally believe it's the future of money-making in the music industry. oh, you mean bands have to be able to perform? hell yes.

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  new music: Abernethy

Abernethy - College Grove

this stretch before us -- January to April -- is one of the worst. nothing really to look forward to. a lot of introverted exploration, a lot of confusion, a lot of... depression. it seems appropriate, of course. we are mammals, and many hibernate in the wintertime. we put on weight, watch as the clouds of precipitation roll in, and we sit in our caves and boohoo.

i have no remedy for this period. instead, i have some good, solid, creepy music, full of the stuff that will help you sit these mopey feelings down and cathartically tune them into sound.

meet canadian Abernethy. what appears to be a family affair for one headlining musician takes on a rich level of closeness with music and a relationship with sound that runs with the best of Gregorian chants. his trademark is a low, penetrating harmony, a beautiful vocal symphony like you would hear in Moody Blues -- eery and wonderful. it is an other-worldly look into music now, a study of the underlying quiet that pervades when the dance party is done. even in his lightest moments (which i've given you), you can hear this suspicion, a feeling that something lies more importantly beneath. they often pay homage to past artists by borrowing one-liners: "she don't make time anymore," "something in the way she moves me," and others. you might have fun going through the album and picking them out. i recommend this album to you, but be of good constitution -- and be able to accept what this winter time is for. you're supposed to mope. wring it out with Abernethy.

::::it's very, very good.
Abernethy - Astronaut
: piano-heavy opener -- bright, commanding.
Abernethy - Unforgettably Young : possibly my favorite. it sounds old, seasoned, and tells a story. lyrics, vocals and instruments come together so nicely here. highly recommended.

visit their myspace and tell them i said hello.
check the hype, chart their progress, READ this lovely write-up of their past album's "Everyone Who Knows You" here, right here, at Said The Gramophone. and tell them i said hello, too.

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Monday, January 15, 2007
  Of Montreal: "No Conclusion"

believe it or not, Of Montreal's Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer doesn't come out until the exact same day as yesterday's artist, The Bird And The Bee -- January 23rd. to be released separately to the LP is a lovely little EP called Icons, Abstract Thee, and it's a slightly stripped-down effort that both gets your foot tapping, but doesn't leave you sunburnt, like only they can sometimes manage. it appropriately smells like album rejects, but what wonderful throw-aways! from typical band efforts in "Du Og Meg" to simple, one-chord progressions in "Derailments In A Place Of Our Own," the release is well worth your time.

by far, however, the best damn song on this EP is the 9 minute, 42 second "No Conclusion." lately i've begun to appreciate these longer compositions, finally able to tolerate length (as long as the song is worth the extra time). this one progresses and morphs masterfully. each song tends to loop into eachother with crying, urgent violins, and this rises with the same ebb and flow of emotion, wringing out an extremely mature and thoughtful song while still maintaining their addictively poppy and electronic standpoint. they're probably one of the only bands that could ever launch into a song with "Tonight I feel like I should just destroy myself," and still sound like they're having the time of their lives. a lot like Hissing Fauna's "The Past Is A Grotesque Animal" (11:53), this takes their normal pop masterpiece onto a whole higher level.

::::i'll give up the goods: Of Montreal - No Conclusion
starts to get really, really good around 5 minutes. just you wait.

the release date on the EP isn't set in stone, so i can't give you a link for preorder, but i know you're loyal to your favorite bands and you'll all grab it when it comes out. the lyrics end like "i never ever wanted to write this song, i always thought things would change somehow, and we would all start getting along.." so maybe i can start a huge, awful rumor that they're considering breaking up, and if you don't buy the EP they'll blame their fans and split. gasp! now you have to buy.
check them out on the hype. it will serve you well.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007
  Review: The Bird And The Bee. finally.

one of my very favorite discoveries of '06 was the collaboration of Greg Kurstin and Inara George. now that the release date for their album draws near upon us, i'm excited to give you a little preview of the goods. because, my god, is it good.

The Bird And The Bee is no accidental moniker. this music is rich with seduction, playful teasing, and sexual energy. from pop-along to swaggering blues, every note is soaked and dripping with coquettish swoon. it all begins on an addictively catchy turn with "Again & Again," slowly playing out from a tease to an all-out pop song. "Birds & The Bees" reminds me fantastically of Psapp, as does much of the album. they often combine a folky pace with pop notes, keyboard tricks and appropriate electronic elements. it's all so well-done, and best of all, you can tell how much they had fun making it.

they're already garnering a lot of attention, so watch out for this duo -- they'll make your 2007 headlines, i'm here to tell you. it's all so delicious.

::::just like they do, here's a teaser of the whole pie.
The Bird And The Bee - Again & Again
The Bird And The Bee - La La La

The Bird And The Bee - I Hate Camera
- really lovely pop.

their album comes out January 23rd, and i HIGHLY suggest you all go out and buy it. every single song on the album is worth it -- and will be completely stuck in your head. this will be playing in my headphones non-stop for the next month, i'm telling you right now.
also, tell them hi on their myspace, and listen up on the hype.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007
  i want to be in your living room. (with these mp3s.)
i don't know. all i can say, kids, is that when you burn out, you burn out. nothing does it for you until something does it for you, and that's just it. that's how it goes.

what did it for me happened just a few days ago. i was standing in my dad's living room, having just given him Annuals's Be He Me for the first time. he sat at his desk and decided right there that he liked what he heard -- "oh i like this shan, i definitely like this" -- and it was the feeling i got at that moment that made me remember. accomplishment, auditory goodwill. that's what did it for me. and it's always what continues to do it for me, even when mp3s don't work and i sleep three hours a night and it's more work just to scrimp out reviews than it is to sit there, like my dad, and declare my approval of a sound. the thing is, i feel great knowing i can give you guys that sound. i feel good that my work isn't wasted, that it's read, that someone somewhere is looking up and telling me, even just in their heads, "oh i like this shan, i definitely like this."

what's always the drawback for me is the pixelated coldness, the unfeeling and lonely environment of cyberspace. it's a void that we turn to desperately for contact, and somehow it makes us float farther away. my issue with the blog is that i'm the woman in the big black space reading her proud little ditties into the microphone, spotlight on, papers rustling on a cold hard podium -- but i want to be in your living room. i want to make you a mixtape, come to your house and plop on your floor while i change discs for you and put on that album from that new band that's going to make your day, month, year-end list (sigh). those of you who've seen me and you and everyone we know will remember the cringe-worthy yet touching "WARM: 3-D and TOUCH in the DIGITAL AGE." it's an odd story, and mostly irrelevant here, but the script did its best to say, Hey. We don't know each other anymore. What do we do.

and for now, there's nothing i can do except pull together and remember that there are those of you out there who are really reading, and that's as damn close to your living room as i can ever get.

::::imagine me on the floor in front of your cd player (if it's perched, work with me here). this is my 3-song mixtape -- new material from artists you know or don't.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Yankee Go Home
- i'm really excited about the new material trickling out from CYHSY, because they weren't my favorite band in the entire world, and i did feel like they had a lot of room to grow. it's nice to see evidence of that growth and more of a concentration on subtleties, and other such notes. important: this track is from the February issue of UNCUT, before anyone gets uppity about my posting it. just let me know if any toes are stepped on and we'll immediately take it down.

Kaiser Chiefs - Ruby
this Brit rock sensation (about as big to them as Franz Ferdinand is to us, though FF are gods over there) is taking away that stripped-down, repetitive Strokes feel and replacing it with a little more maturity, a little more... oh, hell. they're going more pop. and i like it. i like it a lot.

Softlightes - Heart Made Of Sound
this is a repost, but it's very much on purpose, because this is a band that i'll be pushing at you from all angles. this single is amazing -- sometimes the piano is just literally breathtaking. original post here.

in the meantime, have you all heard any of Bloc Party's Weekend In The City? we can't post any of it here (yet) but hot damn! you're going to love it. look for some stuff through the hype, i'd say. remember, i'm Miss Advocator of The Whole Album, so just wait until you can hear all of it consecutively, as you were meant to. this is one of those bands that really deserves to get big big big.

hey, you know i love you all, don't you? it wasn't you. it was all me. i needed to catch up on a year and half's worth of movies, or something. but i'm back.

allllllllso. let us know if there are server issues, any problems with getting the mp3s, etc.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007
hello, hello, jell-o hello. notice no banners, no cheeky christmas obligatory posts, no incomplete year-end business. it's 2007, we rock the new year with a clean slate and now WAY more time to do STUFF. and that includes finding, listening, and posting new music for your benefit. hoo-ray hoo-rah, yeah?

lately, the buzz is focused on a lot of bands i only care about halfway, and it's always funny to admit. for instance, The Arcade Fire and their latest, Intervention? this is an opinion that actually both halves of the NfT team share: boo on Arcade Fire. years ago i sat behind the computer of my old job, waiting for my boss to yell at me as i scanned websites and forums and happened upon this indie wonder, listened to the album, and decided pretty finally that they weren't for me. there are other bands like this and there will be more. so you probably shouldn't turn to me to find any huge review with multiple tracks in the next coming weeks - not that anyone actually has the full Neon Bible. do they?

other bands you won't get a ton of writing on: !!! (chk chk chk) (a little too four years ago, for me), Lily Allen (OH. MY. HEAD. we're so sick of her face. and "Smile" sucks after the 1200th time, you know?), The Knife (i like them enough, but can we wait until they follow-up Silent Shout, guys? this is how we kill music for ourselves), and a few others that you'd be able to figure out by a lack of posting. like Joanna Newsom. did i say that?

we've been seeing trends in the blogs to post anything those constant emails say, to throw up some mp3s and a blurb, to half-heartedly go about it all. well, not around here! wait until you see you the spiffy new layout. alex is the spiffster, and he's got a great new look coming that's sure to show you we're all in.

also big right now: proclamatory posts saying, hey we're back. it's a new year. we get to start all of this over again, and stop playing You Know, In Retrospect...

we like this trend! and this is that post!

i missed you,
shan with the plan

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.