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Tuesday, February 27, 2007
  Field Music repost - bonus video
with just five minutes to post today, i want to repost on a band that really stood out from almost everything i found last year and has made it to at least six spots on my crazy iTunes "Top 25 Most Played" playlist. whoopee, i know. they're really quite something, these guys, and i hope they make it very big (but not big enough to ruin it, like, oh, The Shins).
[original post]

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.

::::take 'em for a spin:
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.
edit: this is now probably my very favorite song by them.

::::for all of you lovely Field Music fans! i have bonus material, here - a great video of the band playing this very song live, which is a great way to see the band without leaving your chair. i just love videos, don't you?
Field Music - She Can Do What She Wants.mpg

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.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
  new Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob

to be perfectly honest, i wasn't a very big fan of Kaiser Chiefs until very recently. their lyrics often made me laugh -- as, yes, they're supposed to -- but i was never quite into their songs. i found nothing more to latch onto than a nudging sense of "aw, aren't these Brits cute," and nothing grabbed me. i had no reason to play Employment over and over until i fell on the floor with it.

but now? i'm pretty sure they've taken lessons in catchiness, grabby tunes, and most of all -- voice. it might be me, but this seems to be the strongest change from their first album to now, what i'm happy to present to you: Yours Truly, Angry Mob.

::::they've really caught on to the addictive tune-making.
Kaiser Chiefs - Heat Dies Down
Kaiser Chiefs - Love Is Not A Competition (But I'm Winning)

Bonus: Kaiser Chiefs - Boxing Champ
- a real treat. a little piano ditty that breaks up the speed of the rest of the album.

[removed by DMCA request.]

check out the rest, including the single "Ruby," at the hype

honestly, the more i heard of this album, the more impressed i was with who this band has become. they really know their stuff this time, and they've produced just a terrific record. it's definitely still the same post-punk, Brit-rock style with all of their little art-rock influences jammed in there. but, like all bands that have the spotlight, they've insisted on maturing slightly -- turning up the quality, revising old beats that worked so well for them. this is an extremely successful release, including their demandingly catchy single, "Ruby," which hopefully you snagged from us a couple months ago. all in all, really looking forward to this album and the super-status they'll continue to get, both across the pond and "in the states."

kaiser chiefs on myspace
now - this album comes out next week in the UK and the US and is available for pre-order at this very minute! go get your copy now.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
  new Kings Of Leon - mp3 tripleblast

let me first just remind you that, pretty much as always, my Number One Goal is to stress the importance and the significance of the album. that means the whole thing, Track Uno to 10 or 12 or 15 or whatever. this is how, in my opinion, real bands get to prove themselves -- by showing an understanding of a range of styles, a coherent sense of composition and arrangement, and most of all, a commitment. an album is a commitment to a musician's artwork and should uphold whatever expectations they set out for themselves and for their listeners. granted, this is all very subjective, and i should really write up an essay or something sometime, just so i don't have to bore you mid-post.

that said! in relation to the upcoming Kings Of Leon, i can't do anything but rave about "the whole album" until my voice is hoarse (or moreso than it is already) and just continue to make myself out to be That Blogger Who Really, Really Likes Everything She Posts. so, instead of go over just how impressed i am by all of Because Of The Times, i'd rather just give you the first three songs, which i've been playing on repeat.

::::Kings Of Leon - Knocked Up
- - boy, just when i thought maybe my obsession with opening tracks was dying down a little. i'm so impressed with this song that i played it over three times before i even got to the rest of the album, first time around. first off, it's seven minutes long, and it stays good the entire time. i haven't seen anything like that since, i suppose, Destroyer's "Rubies." this song gently climbs in, rolls along like A Dusty Plain, and in sweeps The Songbird with a lonely, desperate, core-grabbing call (translation: low repetitive guitar, insert stanzas of - well, i think flute - for a real southern-rock thing). not to mention the lyrics - woo.

::::Kings Of Leon - Charmer
after 7:10 of the above preparation, we get old Kings flair (suggestive of their live performances) with this addictive tear into the rock scenery. man, the sex and swagger in Caleb's voice when he comes reeling in with "she's such a charmer - oh no." the old-time rock riffs mixed with that impending sense of urgency and Trouble Ahead make for one of the very best songs on the whole album.

::::Kings Of Leon - On Call
ah. the single. you know what i have to say about this song? it's the dog's bollocks. (is that correct? is this something people still say? Eddie, my man, have you made me corny?) i honestly have a tendency to dismiss singles as the band's way of selling themselves, and not necessarily appropriately reflecting their preferences, capabilities, etc. (Modest Mouse - Dashboard? i think yes!) but "On Call" is not just a properly catchy rock tune -- it's so, so well done, and it fits in so seemlessly with its surroundings that i didn't jump up and say "aha! i spotted the single!" the moment i heard it. if you haven't already, this is at least the track to get your hands on.

[removed by DMCA request.]

i will never apologize for being long-winded. at least, not too much. get ready for linkage...
- KOL on wiki, in case you haven't had the pleasure.
- their myspace, with fancy words and noises 'n stuff.
- this awesome fansite, called happy alone, which is awesome mainly because i haven't stumbled on anything like this for bands i deal with in a LONG time. check this out, yo.

lastly, PRE-ORDER. this album will rock your world. yes, just as cheesily as i make it sound.

p.s. those kinds of titles amuse me. i tried it on for size for today, just to see how it looked. i should have used italics somewhere.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
  limited time offer - NIN leak three
some of you may think this is just getting out of hand now, and i can understand that. if you have any complaints, you may file them here and i'll take them into consideration before posting about it again, but for now i feel like i'm almost obligated to keep you updated.

for the most comprehensive summary of the web sites, stories, conspiracies, and whatever else is part of this supposed viral marketing campaign, i'd like to direct you to this link: echoing the sound.

if you want the just the basics, another flash drive was found in a bathroom at a Nine Inch Nails show. this time it was Barcelona. it contained two mp3s; one was another track off Year Zero, the other part of this increasingly weirder story. the non-album mp3, simply labeled 2432.mp3, contains only what sounds like a bunch of noise. when viewed in a program that can produce a spectral analysis, this is the result:

[click for full screen view]

it's a very clear phone number. strange? call it and be prepared to be at least a little freaked out: 216.333.1810

::::get it while it's hot
NIN - Me, I'm Not
[NIN] 2432

[album track removed upon RIAA request. the static track will stay up in case you're curious. 2432 has been removed upon DMCA request.]

i'm very serious when i say that these will not be up for very long; you probably have about two days to get here and grab them. we were requested to remove My Violent Heart and we don't want it to get to that point.
  new The Sea And Cake for 2007
so far, 2007 is an insane year for music, and especially already-established bands. albums are leaking every which way (Modest Mouse, Arcade Fire, Kings Of Leon, Frog Eyes....), "indie" acts are overturning "pop" acts to debut at 12 on the Billboard album charts (Bloc Party, anyone?), and even random bands that i found way back in the day are trying out their careers all over again. look at this! The Sea And Cake. no, no, i'm not even remotely kidding. i guarantee not one person knows this, but i blogged on this band as the fourthish post ever on NfT [, cough.] and now here they are, totally unexpected, with a new album for 2007.

even the artists themselves recognize how very instrumentally straight-forward they've become, and i think we're all pretty happy with the result. my favorite release of theirs, Oui (2000), was a very mellow, jazzy endeavor which brought up their Broken Social Scene comparison (especially vocally, think "Looks Just Like The Sun") and started the reputation they have for being an alternative and electronic-elemented shoegaze act. well now, with 2007's efforts, they've come back with all of that same flair, now tightened and peppy, poppy like the sunshine variety and yet still delectably jazzy. i'm so excited about this record, as it's really quite good, and it completely breaks up my wintery day with a brightening little jaunt of melody, but my Chicago-native friends here are just like I am: their pleaded case is for "the album," not for "the single," and therefore they are a band after my own heart/philosophy. i highly recommend you give the whole thing ago -- they've really got something good with Everybody.

::::get down, get groovy, lighten up.
The Sea And Cake - Crossing Line
The Sea And Cake - Middlenight

Bonus: The Sea And Cake - Lightning
catch up with the hype (as it will rise) on none other than the hype itself.

if you're a little unfamiliar with the band (they've been around since 1994), there's an extremely helpful wiki article. their label has a great bio as well. hang on to your hats, though, because the album drops a long ways away, on May 8th - i'm just giving you a taste now, to get you all riled up. remember, it's the album you're waiting for! and this is its tracklist, and you all take a gander, now, and take care.

"Up on Crutches"
"Too Strong"
"Crossing Line"
"Exact to Me"
"Left On"
Monday, February 19, 2007
for those of you who have no idea what i'm talking about, you can completely ignore this post.

for those of you involved with the WESH forums, we'd like to thank you for your time and ask that you move on. cleverness and obstinacy are clearly your strong points, and there's nothing wrong with that, but know when to stop.

i would actually be glad to join regular discussion on your forum if you'd like to let this whole thing go, but we can make that call later on.

thanks for your time and referral links, it's been fun.

p.s. this one was me:

p.p.s. noisefartboaster is probably the funniest thing that came out of this. you should all be ashamed of yourselves for letting a fart joke beat your own humor.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
  more NIN; not the radio rip
i posted a few days ago [happy valentine's day] when the first song off of Year Zero leaked. it seems to have gotten a lot of people [including myself] excited, so i figured i'd continue the saga here and help you guys out.

if you search the web [and maybe the hype], you might be able to find another song floating around. Survivalism is supposedly the first single off the upcoming album [which drops april 17th, for your information], and somebody ripped it off of a KROQ broadcast. it sounds fine, it gets the point across, but to the discerning ear [and a program that can perform spectral analysis] it can sound flat and compressed because radio signals aren't of the highest quality.

well, we here at NfT only want to give you the best, so we have this to offer:

::::a high quality, 320kbps leak
Nine Inch Nails - Survivalism

[removed upon RIAA request.]

please do enjoy, and keep the comments coming. this whole thing is still fascinating to me, and i'd love to hear some more input or any updates you guys find out.
Friday, February 16, 2007
  Low - Drums and Guns

i'm way too capable of overdosing. i guess i have that addictive personality thing going, and i'm pretty predictable in that once i find an album i love, i play it non-stop for the next 72 hours and then i'm kind of done with it, unless it's completely epic (Field Music, Annuals, Sondre Lerche, The Bird & The Bee, SoftLightes - still going strong). so it's good to also switch up the genre i'm so prone to obsessing over... and Low, one of Sub Pop's most established, is able to do just that.

Low concentrates heavily on the minimalistic, percussive aspects of their instruments. their great highlight is the beautiful and often moving blend of vocals, sung by Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. these two have created this very different sound (although often comparable to TV On The Radio, to tell you the truth) since 1993 - all throughout the era when bands were supposed to be going grunge. these guys held strong, and have mastered this eerily melodic style to the point when all of us mere "fans" must look up, shake our heads and say - oh, i defer to you, i have no idea what's going on. play, play more.

my favorite moments come out of songs like "Hatchet," when the vocals and music have a specific relationship that's naturally in accord -- or "Dragonfly," when the tension they build is so strong and promising and yet, it drops off to nothing. they're good at leaving you a little shaken, these guys. maybe my favorite is the easiest to compare to TVOTR, "Breaker," which is the most accessible, perhaps, and drags the electric with perfect consideration of the vocals. i mean, it's really interesting stuff. i'm a minimalist everywhere else in my life, and i really appreciate this kind of attention in music.

::::try it out! maybe you'll start moving all the furniture out of your house, too, and whitewash the walls. go minimalism.
Low - Breaker
Low - Hatchet
your best search bet on the hype

if you're not entirely familiar with the Duluth, Minnesota band, there's a great wiki article here. they also don't have a myspace! so don't bother looking for them there (how refreshing, god). lastly, this album here drops in March, and you can pre-order it now.
want more? there's a great review at Harmonium from a bit ago. worth the trip. go to it.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
  Feist - the latest.
yeah, okay.

you haven't long to wait. and here's the first bit of it:

::::Feist - My Man, My Moon

it's glam and, admittedly, more accessible than anything she's ever done. irresistable. she plays up that charming swing, the lilt of her voice which is so can't-you-just-stand-it amazing. oh, you know i'm stoked. you know.
  Let's Go Sailing - The Chaos In Order
opening my mail today, i very nearly fell over when, as i ripped open the cushy manila envelope, out tumbled the adorably animated cover of Let's Go Sailing. man, had i completely forgotten about this band! way back in the beginning of NfT, i took a liking to the mp3s that were stumbling 'round the blogosphere, and i never let go of them in my music collection (meaning: they never got archived). that was all the way back in June. [original post here... we've come a long way, kids.]

now i'm very excited to present you their full, final album, The Chaos In Order. while last June i was addicted to the slow, sunshiney, girlish-twee, piano/violin/acoustic folk pop - - now i'm addicted... well, to the exact same thing. i'm such a sucker.

Chaos starts off with a gorgeous and (perhaps deceivingly) moody piano/cello/violin melody, which breaks off into the doubled vocals which sound so twee, but stop short with the serious and contemplative undertones that both the instruments and the lyrics supply. in this way, the whole album is layered with the ebb and flow of sunshine-without-a-care and a very real pensiveness, which gives it a balance between catchy and deep that immediately sparks your interest. they have succeeded in continuing my addictive listening past just "All I Want From You Is Love" (a slower, darker, deeper song made lighter by her wispy, airy vocals, which never quite leave a quiet falsetto, much like the Acid House Kings - listen here) to a full-range, mature, beautiful album which i will keep hooked in my arm for the weeks to come. i highly, highly recommend this album, for both it's wonderful range of pop but also its surprising attention to complex arrangements, instrumentals, and often ironically upbeat vocals. 60's bubblegum? oh yes, yes.

::::what a treat, i'm telling you:
Let's Go Sailing - Sideways
- the first track, and as usual, probably my favorite of all.
Let's Go Sailing - Better Off - very happy, maybe the poppiest endeavor on the album. i figured it was a good pick-me-up for anyone in a bad February way. oh you know.
nothing on the hype yet, but maybe by the time you read this...

catch up with LGS at their myspace, and get their album! i love to hear it when you buy what i recommend you. it makes everyone involved very, very happy.
they'll also be playing SXSW, which is the best place ever for independent bands, so be psyched for them, and just wait for the results. the peeps will love them -- as will you! (awwww)
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
  a real Valentine's Day gift - NIN [take 2]
okay. okay. i told you earlier today that the new layout was going to be a sort of gift for today.

but i think i have better.

i don't know who of you out there are following this thing, but apparently Trent Reznor [you know, the guy that is Nine Inch Nails] has been laying out a huge viral marketing campaign for his upcoming concept album, Year Zero. basically it revolves around a strange future world where everything is ruled by paranoia and biological weaponry and so on and so forth... there's some good information on it all here: i won't even pretend i understand.

seriously, it's crazy. if you have time, you should definitely go through some of those sites and do some reading. the planning behind this thing is incredible. but what i'm trying to say is this:

the first track leaked.

the rumor [i believe] is that it was found on a flash drive in a bathroom in Lisbon during a recent show. brilliant? or crazy? i don't care. fans of Trent and NIN will appreciate this.

[let me note that when i say "leaked" most people believe at this point that Trent released it himself]

::::happy morbid v-day
Nine Inch Nails - My Violent Heart
[taken down by DMCA request]

give it a listen, put it on repeat, figure out the lyrics, whatever. there are some crazy fans out there who have gone through a lot to get this for you, and i can't claim to have done the work or to even know what the hell is going on.
  this is really, really important.

now for an important message from our sponsors (Toaster, obviously):

hip-happy valentine's day, yo. Toaster hearts you, and we do too.
  an unconventional Valentine's Day gift
we here at NfT clearly love all of our adoring readers, and probably far more than you even know. i mean, you're definitely the reason we do this [or at least the reason shan does this, you'll notice i'm not visible on here unless there's some sort of technical issue]. and speaking of such things! take a look around, get settled in, and enjoy: the new layout has finally been tweaked and posted.

yes, that's right, the layout that shan and i spoke about almost a month and a half ago is finally here. sure, it was pretty much completed in under a week after we moved to this domain [remember we're now, right?], but school and travel and blah blah blah it took me until yesterday to make the adjustments necessary and do the testing required to officially put it into use. there were sizing issues and some coloring disagreements here and there, and then firefox and internet explorer decided that they wouldn't interpret the code in the same manner so more adjustments were made and then finally, voila, here we are.

Toaster thinks it's pretty spiffy right now, so it might last us until the summer months. you know goldfish and their attention spans; by summer he'll want a full flash layout. demanding little bugger he is...

anyway, check it out, scroll up and down, get some coffee, change a diaper, do whatever you need to, and then come back here and tell us what you think. let us know if your browser is having problems [according to my testing, firefox and internet explorer both work pretty cleanly], let us know if it's too big for your screen [optimal resolution is 1024x768 or higher], or even if you just don't like it. maybe you miss the giant raspberry-shaped blob at the top of the page, or maybe you miss the orange borders. whatever your question, comment, or complaint, just post it right here. we're open to all forms of inquiry, so take advantage while you have the chance.

and regular posting should resume tomorrow, after the sky in boston stops raining glass shards.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
  a totally and completely unofficial and unorganized look at the 2007 Grammys.
i never, ever, ever remember to tune into award shows. actually, i never really remember to tune into any shows, ever. good thing there are ways to illegally obtain ripped tv copies, or i'd never follow a series in my life. i probably would have missed the final episode of M*A*S*H, to be honest.

that said, i was nicely reminded this past sunday that the grammys were on. there are a few moments i witnessed that i'd just like to unofficially review and provide clips of, for anyone that - like me - always misses them the first time.
[full list of winners]

  • Dixie Chicks.

  • really? in case you didn't know, they won five. yeah, no kidding. again: really? well, okay. (poor James Blunt, huh?)

  • The Police

  • the group reunited for a performance [YouTube] to kick off the night. it was "Roxanne," chosen out of three possible tunes they declared they'd choose from. i hoped for "Message In A Bottle," personally, but i have to admit i got a little girlishly excited when i saw them performing together. if only their egos could contain themselves to actually record a little sumpin' together again, eh? sigh.

  • Justin Timberlake

  • possibly my favorite performance of the whole night was this one of Justin performing "What Goes Around (Comes Back Around)." in fact, i loved it so much that i decided to give you the clip, right here on the page. if you missed it, i suggest you see this, and get over your fear of pop (if you still have one by now.)
    everyone knows pop is the new indie.:

  • The Flaming Lips

  • now to win back my indie cred (cough), we can all rejoice in the recognition of the Lips, who won a whole two grammys. Gnarls won best Alternative Artist, out of the Lips as well as Arctic Monkeys, Thom Yorke, and Yeah Yeah Yeah's. whatever.

  • my personal awards of the night:
    Best hair (by FAR):

    Rudest awakening:
    Imogen Heap

    Sweetest thing since Welch's grape juice commercials:
    Corinne Bailey Rae

    Vocal performance that made me catch flies with my dropped jaw:
    Christina Aguilera

    Best effort that will surely eventually get them somewhere very big:
    Ok Go

    Saddest, yet possibly the most hilarious, thing i have ever seen:
    Death Cab

    (don't look so pissed, Ben, or you'll be the next Rivers Cuomo.)

    there are a lot more goodies at the actual Grammy site, and the full list of winners is all right here, linked to again for your convenience. YouTube also has just about every breathing moment of the ceremony in bits and pieces, so go put 'em together if you're into that sort of thing. good luck.
  •   The One AM Radio - This Too Will Pass

    it's one thing to write an album that cuts really deeply into your own psyche and come out with a reeling portrait of yourself. i think it's quite another, however, to come out with one that transcends your own private experiences -- and make that portrait shudderingly universal. this is the feat of the one AM radio, made up primarily of Hrishikesh Hirway from Peabody, Massachusetts (you have no idea how close to my hometown that is).

    his accomplishment runs in the form of intricately mixed sounds, a washing and tinkering blend of electronic and organic elements which hold together delicately and yet naturally. i can't help but be impressed by this album on a purely compositional level. violin, cello, upright bass, trumpet -- all hold the hands of a soft voice and sensitive lyrics to bring in a true blend of old and new, of fresh and traditional "indie," of slow but infinitely intriguing. there are moments in almost every song when i look up and say, "wow." something i never thought of. something painstakingly creative. something that just saves me from losing my attention. you can get hopelessly lost in this stuff. it's like nothing i've ever quite heard before, or at least nothing as successful.

    two years in the making, This Too Shall Pass bitterly, humorously, submissively holds out its open palms and displays its raw emotion, the scary stuff that makes people people. every note seems to eerily cling to that aspect of human characteristic we're not always willing to give away -- our most hidden attributes, the paths least traveled by our own brains. this is all the great submerged stuff you let flow when you plop on your bed with headphones after One Of Those Days. The One AM Radio is right there.

    ::::it never quite leaves you.
    The One AM Radio - In The Time We've Got
    The One AM Radio - Cast Away - the end of this song is absolutely chills-worthy, gorgeous. the whole thing.
    look them up on the hype machine, as well.
    Monday, February 12, 2007
      Eleni Mandell - Miracle Of Five
    one of the most important things to remember about finding new music is that almost every single album i ever run across defies my expectations in some fashion. as humans, we make judgments upon first contact, no matter who we are or how hard we try not to -- and when we look at album art, hear a name, or hear just a few chords of one song, we automatically make assumptions and write a story for something we know nothing about. i did this with Eleni Mandell, along with probably every other artist ever, and want to give you as candid a picture of the singer/songwriter as she would give you -- which is photographically truthful.

    eleni mandell has terrific press photos. it's really quite hard to choose just one of them. her official website, linked above, has incredible flash artwork and fun facts (read her bio, find out her first record, the first time she met her band guys, etc. etc.). and even though her "genre" is filled with intense competition, she's already well-established, just like the rest of them -- Feist, Emily Haines, Amy Millan, even Inara George -- and besides, she doesn't really care. her voice is gorgeous, filled with attitude, confidence, and all the know-how of someone much older and wiser than herself. a fifth record, however, calls up comparisons to older material. a fifth record?!, you say. yes, yes, a fifth. she is seductive as all hell, aware of her voice's power, molding the shapes of her musical understanding until a parade of fashioned fancies has danced smokily in and out of your ears, and you are high from the delicious haze. "Miss Me" saunters in, 12th of 12 tracks, soothing your pounding brain with bluesy swagger and brass, sax and horns. nothin' wrong here, my friends. eleni has you just right.

    the best part about Miracle Of Five is its upfront marvel at making music. a salute to old, old influences, americana in Roger & Hammerstein, and still the low-lit walk through the bar, bouncy curls, more questions asked than answered -- eleni has no trouble divulging both the details of her second boyfriend ever and just exactly what makes her tick, what makes the beat ring out so quietly and confidently from the (possibly misrepresentative) paper cut-out of her album cover artwork. she's all set. don't you worry about this one.

    ::::let the jazzy songbird sing you into the stupor:
    Eleni Mandell - My Twin
    - all of her best influences rolled into one catchy tune - jazz, folk, alt country, and sunsets. mmhmmm.
    Eleni Mandell - Miss Me - the last track, and possibly the best. piano, blues, "just the birds singin'..."
    more available through the hype machine.

    more of the delightful press photos are stocked at her myspace, where you can also listen to the songs i had a hard time choosing between. i highly recommend you get your hands on this album, which you can do here, since it came out last week. oh, and she won't let you down. no no.
    Friday, February 09, 2007
      new music: Five Foot Nine

    not feeling so hot again this morning. so what am i going to give you guys? a nice, heavy dose of folky-power-pop-rock, brought to you by a lovely debut artist five foot nine. their representation and image are pretty different from how they end up sounding, so this isn't a case of being able to look at The Little Ones's Sing Song EP and know immediately that they have to sound at least a little like The Shins. as for their band name, i don't know if they know it, but there's an Urban Dictionary entry on it. apparently it's the ideal male height.

    the best comparisons i can make to their music are The New Pornographers and, occasionally, this sort of Lennon-wrote-this-one Beatles feel. certainly their best moments are when they stick to this sound, making the first half of the album infinitely better than the second, where they become a little experimental with keyboards ("Jardin Du Luxembourg") and heavy country ("Sugar"). best of all, by far, is when they keep rock their central concern, playing with power-pop tempos (heavy Pornographers) or highlighting boy/girl vocals in a flawlessly-integrated folky feel, like on their single, "Back To The Tunnels." they manage to weave a feeling of importance and earnestness into a compostition which clearly demonstrates, above all, how much frickin' fun they're having. Five Foot Nine works so well because they work so well with each other, showing off a kind of family-ish aspect which comes clear in every track. always willing to try something new -- be it sitar, cowbell, heavy steel, trumpets, synths -- their debut has a little something for everyone.

    ::::today was such a good day for alt-country folky pop stuff.
    five foot nine - Back To The Tunnels
    five foot nine - Where Am I?

    please, go say hello to them at their myspace, dance around your home singing, and be really, really cheery today. it's friday.
    Thursday, February 08, 2007
      Matt Wertz - Everything In Between

    i'm always excited to find anything in the way of guilty pleasure music, and though that usually comes in the form of a pop single or Justin Timberlake, every once in a while i get something decently crafted and still independent enough to be considered guilt-free guilty pleasure. ahem! let me introduce you to, or perhaps re-aquaint you with, Matt Wertz.

    Matt falls into a category from the very first second you put on his latest album, Everything In Between. he has a gorgeous voice, much in the way of those he's toured with -- we're talking Jamie Cullum, Matt Nathanson, Jason Mraz (guy has a voice, that you can say), Gavin Degraw, and even Ben Folds. Matt takes his cue from pop the way alt-country bands take from country; he has a delicious pop voice, and certainly steals the typical tempo, but his guitar work is something else. i cannot listen to this album without at least comparing it to John Mayer, whom Matt follows in such a way that every Guy And His Guitar does -- modest love lyrics, musings of heartbreak, and baring-soul honesty. the movement of the album reflects the time in which he wrote it, touring out on the road, where every song must go perfectly with the endless passing of dashed white lines... and must also be really fun to sing to in the car. when it comes down to it, this is why Matt Wertz is worth your time. he's fun, every single song is catchy as hell, and his gorgeous voice lends itself as an answer to the endless search for Good Music To Drive To. i highly recommend this as a pop getaway.

    ::::but see for yourself! my first reaction was a big smile and a tapping foot. let me know what you do.

    Matt Wertz - The Way I Feel
    - i think this is my favorite. first song on Everything In-Between, and a perfect little jamboree of guitar, organ, and hand claps. and the voice.
    Matt Wertz - Heartbreaker
    - by far the catchiest fucking song i've heard in months and months and months. good luck getting this one out of your head -- after you're stopped playing it on repeat, of course.
    more on the hype machine.
    listen to the whole album here.

    his best moments are at the beginning of the album, certainly. get your hands on it! buy it!
    also, visit him on myspace for access to his tour blog. not really a blog darling (yet) but certainly has a huge fanbase.
    Wednesday, February 07, 2007
      buy Sondre Lerche's new album.
    i don't know what kind of what and vinegar i'm full of today, but here's your third post, making you savvy on the thing that makes February so good this year:

    as you all should know, Sondre Lerche's new album Phantom Punch hit stores YESTERDAY, and so you officially have no excuse not to go straight out there and buy a copy. not fully motivated? let Amp Camp help you out!

    as it's their record of the week (apt choice, might i add), those who order Phantom Punch will get a free, signed CD booklet while supplies last. i imagine those will go very quickly, so if i were you, i would scram on over to the coolest place to buy albums on the web and get my mouse clicking on every button that says "purchase" on anything to do with Sondre Lerche's new album. and if you want to click "purchase" on things to do with other albums, that's totally your call, and it'll probably be a good experience too. a few words from the Camp:

    "Mr. Lerche, ah, you press our Prefab Sprout button, and apparently more than that, according to some of our randier interns. And the guitar rock? We approve. The rockist cape fits him quite well, better than to be expected following his more intimate, folkist releases of late. ...And girls could not resist his stare, to quote Monsignor Richman."

    don't you just want to be best friends with them?

    cozy up to Sondre in the following ways:
    - my previous post, which rocks more than anything on this list, obviously. plus the tracks are still up.
    - myspace
    - wiki, in case you aren't sufficiently Sondre savvy (woo-hoo!)
    - the hype machine, because they give you cool stuff, like the dentist. sometimes.
      MFA's March schedule looks hotter than the weather.
    hey kiddos. here's a little Boston-based news for you. i just got a nifty little email telling me about the acts coming up at the MFA (Museum of Fine Arts, for those of you who are acronym-challenged). it's a great venue and they've had some great independent artists run through there, including blog darlings like Psapp and Jose Gonzalez and, if i remember correctly, Seu Jorge. so here's the schedule coming up, for those of you in and around my lovely lovely city:

  • Under Byen with Frida Hyvonen and El Perro del Mar
    Fri, March 2 at 7:30 pm
    Tickets: $12 MFA members, students, and seniors; $15 general admission.

  • - you guys know Frida and El Perro, i'm sure, but Under Byen is probably the biggest band in Denmark and fast rising all over the world from great critical acclaim.
    - - Frida's spiffy myspace as well as the dog of the sea's myspace. and i do mean El Perro del Mar (i'm so bilingual and cultured, i know).

  • Jorge Drexler
    Saturday, March 3 at 7:30 pm
    Tickets: $20 MFA members, students, and seniors; $25 general admission.

  • -"Jorge Drexler's 'Al Otro Lado del Rio' was the first song in Spanish to be nominated for an Academy Award. It won, making Drexler a hero in his native Uruguay. And the attention he got -- has prompted another first. After releasing six previous albums abroad, his next effort, Eco, makes its debut in the United States. –"
    - - wiki on Jorge

  • Dean & Britta
    Fri, March 9, 7:30 pm
    Tickets: $14 MFA members, students, and seniors; $18 general admission.

  • -"Last year Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips, formerly of indie favorites Luna, garnered critical praise for their score to the indie film hit "The Squid and the Whale.'"
    - - Dean & Britta's myspace

  • Amiina
    Saturday, March 31, 7:30 pm
    Tickets: $12 MFA members, students, and seniors; $15 general admission.

  • -"This Icelandic quartet, who are also Sigur Ros' string section, wrap ambient-electronic textures around their classical-based arrangements to create an intimate sound that is gauzy and gorgeously melodic. Their new single Seoul is now out on line, and a full-length album will be released spring 2007."
    - - Amiina's myspace

    now go out there and enjoy! i demand you have fun in the month of March.
      track review: Andrew Bird's "Imitosis"

    i think this album art may have achieved perfection.

    alright. now that i'm out of bed and trying to live like a normal human being, i'd say it's high time to share with you the song that has recently held my fascination. besides "Oh, MJ!" which i play just about every other minute, when not lying prostrate. half kidding.

    it's a habit that every time i mention Andrew's name, the opening notes of "A Nervous Tic Motion Of The Head" (from The Mysterious Production) come crowding into my head as i try to push them out, unwilling to have the track spinning in my brain for the next week and a half. but here comes "Imitosis," a song so good that it gets the rare "track spotlight" here on NfT (you know i like me my album reviews). this song is so catchy, so swanky, so bluesy violinsy poppy perfect, that it is absolutely irresistable after the first listen. i was already excited for Armchair Apocrypha, but when i heard track 2 come beating into my speakers -- lo-fi organic drum rap -- followed by the sexy smooth electric plucking, i knew i was in love. ah, but not yet! then comes himself, crooning, highlighted, backed by only his plucking and a rising acoustic, which then shifts out into the same lo-fi drums and oh, that violin. the treat here, besides the happy genius of the instrumentation, is his voice. Andrew fashions his usually lagging vocals, that stringing of syllables (an acquired listen), into a seductive, beautiful display of range and understanding of the movement in this song. it's gorgeous. it's addictive. and you will listen to it on repeat.

    must i say a few words on the album? my dear readers, it is a treat that you cannot miss. my fair opinion is that it sweeps The Mysterious Production of Eggs in every aspect, but especially in the dynamic from song to song. nothing stays the same, and it never gets boring, ever -- an experience i didn't have so much with the former album. i am otherwise no Andrew Bird expert, so let me know if there is anything i overlooked in the albums' comparison.

    ::::oh, my god, welcome back to the magic of Andrew Bird!
    Andrew Bird - Imitosis

    taken down by request.

    please head to the hype machine for the single, "Heretics," which borders on Jack Johnson-esque vocals at least twice (as the gunman shows up at my door). but, just because i love you..

    Bonus: Andrew Bird - Plasticities
    also taken down by request.
    -- rising, exploding, receding, tinkering, blasting back -- a wave of pure string understanding. this man knows his string instruments like we know our own hands.

    enjoy, lovelies, and absolutely PRE-ORDER this here album. the cover-art, by the way, is the back of a Budgie, or Budgerigar, often confused with parakeets, and of which i have had about three in my lifetime. can't go wrong with budgies. great pets, those little rascals. mine was named Twink.
    Monday, February 05, 2007
      repost: The Little Ones
    hey there, dear readers. i'll just tell you you're lucky this blogger even made it out of bed long enough to type these words. i ain't feelin' so hot. and by that i mean, i'm half way to dying. yeah. so that's why, today, you're getting a re-post on a band i've been listening to on loop lately.

    The Little Ones
    [original post]
    no matter how long ago i wrote on this band, i've never stopped loving them. in fact, my love has only grown. they've come a long way since my original post. the LA band is now signed to Astralwerks in the US, Heavenly in the UK, and touring with the likes of Boy Least Likely To, Magic Numbers, Kaiser Chiefs, The Walkmen... and all on one single EP.
    ::::one of the most frustrating things about 2006 was that i came away from it with only 7 songs by The Little Ones.
    The Little Ones - Oh, MJ!
    -- i'm completely serious when i attest to the genius i think was put into making this song. it just grabs me like very little else can. it has the power to turn this band into one of my very favorites, ever. if their record ends up being thirteen takes of just this track, i don't think they could do better.

    The Little Ones on myspace, on the hype, and by highly recommended purchase.
    Thursday, February 01, 2007
      new music: The Go Find
    recently i've been in a rather pensive state of mind. routine clocks me at a pace it's hard to get out of, and i don't often want to -- so my music follows, and i start to choose things that literally drive every step, timing the beat of my stride to the beat of the songs. it becomes very personal, and important. the music i listen to when i'm most robotic tends to be the ice breaker and the life saver i need.

    Dieter Sermeus is a native of Antwerp, Belgium and the mastermind behind my most recent discovery in the above category. his band, The Go Find, is really just a project with his own electronic compositions mixed with a live band. on his upcoming 2007 release, Stars On The Wall, it doesn't sound like the home project that it could be. it's keyboard and synth-heavy, occasionally playing with acoustics that show great promise. i, like a lot of other reviewers, don't prefer their first album Miami, but on Stars Dieter washes off the stain and comes out with something really worthwhile. it integrates his live band with his signature keyboard elements quite beautifully, and produces an album with an undying beat, layered with vocals and lyrics that are a little "Do You Realize...?" but mostly, i must say, like Ben Gibbard, grabbing from his Death Cab efforts but leaning heavily on the vocal performance of All-Time Quarterback (minus the Playskool instruments). everything is slowed by the pace of the lyrics, creating a moody, but not serious, pervading mood. played in loop, this album will literally keep your step in time. and often that is the best thing.

    ::::electronic meets live and makes sweet, sweet pop.
    The Go Find - Dictionary
    (highly recommended)
    The Go Find - Ice Cold Ice (taking the mood down a notch, and how lovely.)
    grab more from the hype machine.

    "myspace is your space," he says.
    Dieter's most recent undertaking is a blog, an obviously rough work in progress.
    you'll have to wait until April for Stars On The Wall, but keep up-to-date with his label, Morr Music in Berlin.
    and mellow to 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.