MONEYBROTHER is a BORN rocker who is UNDER appreciated. That’s A BAD thing. Someone needs to SIGN him in America..

what i gots gonna help me get what’s mine

♫ Moneybrother – Born Under A Bad Sign

Moneybrother is the solo project of Swede (surprise!) Anders Wendin and 2009’s Real Control is his 5th solo album. I haven’t dove into his back catalog yet but that’s only cause I have been too busy listening to Real Control. The bouncy piano-rock sing-along “Born Under A Bad Sign” turned me on to the album and luckily for us the whole thing is a great collection of jams. Moneybrother’s music is so immediately catchy and, for lack of a better word, big, that it’s hard to believe he hasn’t caught on outside of Europe. Mixing some of the better parts of rock legends like Elvis, The Clash, and Bruce Springsteen he seems tailor made for American classics like jukeboxes, convertibles, and optimism. If you like rock n’ roll and good times then I strongly recommend this albums because the fun doesn’t stop with these two gems. I also hear his live gigs are legendary so anyone in NYC on the 20th should catch him with Rhett Miller. Any Moneybrother fans wanna comment on his awesomeness and a favorite album of his?

♫ Money Brother – Here Comes The Vain Again

Bury your face in MySpace /// eMusic too

ERIK HASSLE’s jams are way more pleasureable than HURTFUL

it’s a fool’s fate counting mistakes i made

♫ Erik Hassle – Hurtful

Apologies in advance to any Swedish readers ’cause Erik Hassle is full blown over there and they have been listening to “Hurtful” for 15 months now. Dude even won “Newcomer of the Year 2009” at a recent event called the P3 Guld Gala. Anwway, the point is that “Hurtful” is about as excellent and infectious as sugary slick pop can get and it is currently my jam of choice for getting in touch with my inner romantic. The jam comes from a 2009 album our ginger-haired newcomer named after his daily hairstyling routine (see cover at right). However, things just got more tangled because Erik just dropped a UK version of that album with a few tracks re-produced/changed. That album is called Pieces and came out today. I only have last year’s version, Hassle, but have been listening to it a bunch this past weekend and digging it quite a bit. If you can get down with some Top 40 level production and catchy-as-shit soulful pop then this is your album. Every track is impeccably crafted and packs just enough sing-in-the-shower power to keep my inner teenage girl very happy. That is very much a compliment. (She doesn’t get much attention.) “Hurtful” too much of a love ballad for you? Get on “Don’t Bring Flowers” (below) and ride that little funk train straight to jams-ville. I’l be there. We can read more about Mr. Hassle and check out come sweet covers he did recently. Or we can talk about which one of these tracks would go best on a mix-tape for a girlfriend. I’ll vote for “Feels Like The First Time” but you’ll say “Isn’t It Obvious.” We’ll laugh. Good times.

♫ Erik Hassle – Don’t Bring Flowers After I’m Dead

If you are down with these jams then grab Pieces. Or Hassle. Whatever. They seem nearly identical so whatever you can get your mitts on should have you singing along through the week.

Bury your face in MySpace

BIFFY CLYRO are blowing my mind like BUBBLES THAT pop over GOLDEN jams. This album RULEs.

he came back and claimed the change, i know his life’s the same again

♫ Biffy Clyro – Bubbles

If you live outside the United Kingdom then Biffy Clyro might be the best band that you have never heard of. Putting out records since 2002, last years Only Revolutions is their 5th and I just got a hold of it, or rather it just got a hold of me. I can’t stop listening to this album. It was not easy picking which jams to put in this post. “Bubbles,” with it’s dancing guitars and churning rhythm section, is my favorite right now but each of the 12 tracks is an absolute winner. These guys nail everything from hard charging rock (“The Golden Rule,” below) to fist-pumping anthems (“The Captain”) to tender and catchy love songs (“Know Your Quarry”). I could go on. I haven’t heard any other Biffy Clyro albums but Only Revolutions is stadium sized rock without all the over-blown baloney that has grown to be associated with the term. I have only been listening to it for 6 days but I know this would have definitely made the Top Albums of 2009 list. If you like what you hear here I guarantee you will like this album. I just have to make sure I don’t burn out on it.

♫ Biffy Clyro – That Golden Rule

Bury your face in MySpace /// eMusic too

GOSSIP are receiving my LOVE from a LONG DISTANCE away but I’m just one of the MEN IN LOVE with their music for me

i can’t remember having so much fun

♫ Gossip – Love Long Distance

Heavy Cross,” the frst single from Gossip’s 4th LP came through TBE almost 10 months ago, around the same time that Gossip-fever was peaking as the whole world seemed to be stoked on the track and looking forward to the Rick Rubin-produced Music For Men. And then…nothing. Maybe my head was shoved too deep in the assess of the wrong blogs but I don’t remember anyone talking about the album itself, let alone talking about how fucking epic it is. I finally got around to the listening to the thing and as I was expecting the good-enough “Heavy Cross” to be the album’s best track I was sufficiently blown away by Music For Men‘s instant appeal and grin-inducing grooves. “Love Long Distance” ended up being the album’s second single back in September and it’s no wonder why. The real question is how “Men In Love” stayed off anyone’s radar during 2009. Fantastic subject matter aside, this “na na, na na” fueled party anthem is an instant classic in my book and… is that cowbell I hear thrown in among Beth Ditto’s impeccable vocals? This song, no, this whole album, makes me wish I was a prominent DJ at a local club so that I could blindly spin any track and have guaranteed success with flailing limbs on the dance-floor. I mean, the empirical evidence of awesomeness just keeps on going. “8th Wonder”? “Vertical Rhythm”? “2012”? “Four Letter Word”? Guity! Sentenced to rocking my ass for the next 2-5 years.

♫ Gossip – Men In Love

Bury your face in MySpace /// eMusic too

MAYER HAWTHORNE knows YOUR tastes aren’t EASY to satisfy and that LOVIN’ any ol’ album AIN’T your style, but for PLEASIN’ your lover, NOTHIN’ is better

it’s as natural as the birds and the bees

♫ Mayer Hawthorne – Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin’ Nothin’

If you are anywhere nearly as cold as where I am then you know the importance of bringing your lover close and keeping eachother warm in these cold times. And while it might seem unlikely that a round faced white dude from Michigan is gonna heat up those sheets then just wait until you hear his voice. He’s nailed that bygone era of smokey jazz and R&B and his debut album just drips with romance. 12 impeccably composed jams about the various states of love, lust, and relationships. I completely missed the boat on A Strange Arrangement when it came out last year but I’ve gotten on board now. “Your Easy Lovin'” and it’s infectious bounce is the albums most ass-shakingly upbeat and perhaps the nicest way to tell your lady to stop being a cock-tease. Mayebe keep this one off your Valentines day mixtape. For those purposes I’m gonna reccomend “Make Her Mine.“  I’m also gonna reccomend you check out the video for “Maybe So, Maybe No” which besides being a fresh lo-budget take on a great song, also features some of my favorite spots in Venice/West L.A. Holler! Mayer get’s all up in the Venice Boardwalk, kicks it with some local skaters, drives on Venice Blvd, and even takes a lunch break at Howard’s Famous Bacon And Avocado Burger! (at o:20). My lady voted Howards number 1 burger in L.A. during our extensive taste-test last summer. Soooo gooood… Anyway, go get this album if you haven’t yet. There is nothing else like it coming out these days. And when Mayer has something as important as burgers in common with my lady and I then his jams can definitely join team steamy-windows.

Bury your face in MySpace /// eMusic too

LETTING UP DESPITE GREAT FAULTS have jams for FOLDING laundry UNDER dim lighting while STORIES are TOLD

i want the better you waiting for me to be better too

♫ Letting Up Despite Great Faults – Folding Under Stories Told

January is a busy time. Not only am I working on TBE’s “Best Of” lists, but I’m reading other people’s and having to go back and catch up on albums I missed. I heard of these guys a couple times last year but always discounted them cause they seemed to be lumped into all that chill-wave bullshit that I am not big on. Well then I got over myself and gave this Cali based band’s second album a listen. Wow. This is music. The first three jamsare near-perfect album opener and while the rest of the 9 track disc calms a bit it is not for lack of awesomeness. Everything so fuzzed out and deceptively simple that it takes multiple listens with good headphones to pick apart all the magic. It was not easy picking only one track to post here but since it’s a 9 song disc I am gonna leave you with just one taste (although more can be found elsewhere…). “Folding Under Stories Told” is the albums most swingin’ and perhaps most accessible, so no surprise I latched onto it first.  Just crank it up, close your eyes, spin circles around your room, and tell me this isn’t a great song.

Side note for those who know the album: When “Sun Drips” comes on does anyone else think for the first 3 seconds that their iPod has smuggled in Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris”? Seriously though, it freaks me out every time. Luckily the similarites end after second 4. Although that jam is a classic…

Bury your face in MySpace

THE SWEET SERENADES have an album called BALCONY CIGARETTES. Get it. Now.


those bedroom eyes don’t come for free

♫ The Sweet Serenades – Mona Lee

Are you paying attention!? Do you need a personal invitation? Even more naked photos of these Swedes? What!? I already told you last month that The Sweet Serenades are the shit and you need to get up in their album like nobody’s business. Did you do it yet? Balcony Cigarettes is one of the tightest collections of jams I have heard all year and will be on my albums of the year list for sure. On their album, much like in their photo, The Sweet Serenades manage to brilliantly blend serious, rustic, and goofy. “Mona Lee” is all hand-claps, ooh-ooh-oooohs, and killer guitar work, while “Die Young” is the bongo-driven breakup song of new lovers destined to fail. When you get the album you will also get “I Can Never Die,” the kazoo-backed bring-it-on anthem that features a risqué masturbation practice. Yup, these dudes basically have it all. You can too. Don’t sleep.

♫ The Sweet Serenades – Die Young

Bury your face in MySpace /// eMusic too

THE XX’s track ISLANDS has CRYSTALISED my love for them

the xx

spent my nights and days before searching the world for what’s right here

♫ The xx – Islands

I can’t say it any better than Andrew Gaerig‘s over at Pitchfork, so I wont. Here is the first line of his review, a bit of background on the band.

The xx are four 20-year-olds from South London who make predominantly slow, furtive pop music, mostly about sex.

If you didn’t know, now you know. His brilliance, however, is in his closing line where, alluding to their youth and relative inexperience, he really nails it on the head.

The xx didn’t need a gestation period, though xx is nuanced, quiet, and surprising enough that you might.

Amen, Andy. I might, and I definitely did. The xx is a band I have been resisting for 6 months now, having initially felt their music too boring and uninspired. When after hearing their relative ‘hit’ “Crystalised” (below), my cousin asked me what I thought of them. I quickly dismissed them as another talentless bore-band with an accidental good song.

♫ The xx – Crystalised

After months of being quite self-satisfied with my assumption, it was PMA’s reevaluation of their album reviw that made me think twice as well. Damn was I wrong. I think a lot of us were. The xx definitely know what they are doing here, I had just never slowed down to their pace so I could appreciate it. Now that winter is here and I’m in much more of a mellow-music study mode, xx is the perfect soundtrack. The music is never aggressive but always has a perfect little beat running through it. Intimate and sexy with just a hint of dance in it. “Islands” (above) has become my favorite track but others standout with each listen. “Basic Space” is gaining on it quick and that guitar that closes out the song is just perfect. OK, enough rambling from me, I have a cousin to email an apology to.

BONUS: Because The xx are such mood music it’s best to have quite a few tracks on hand to keep that mood going. Here are 2 songs not featured on xx that I am into. (Anyone know where exactly these came from? B-Sides? EP?)

♫ The xx – Do You Mind

♫ The xx – Blood Red Moon

There, now you have 4 great tracks. If you are still a cheap bastard and don’t want to buy the album yet then go find their Aliyah cover and another one of Womack & Womack (whoever they are). And then just get the album.

Bury your face in MySpace /// eMusic too



it’s been so long since you said ‘well i know what i want and what i want’s right here with you’

♫ Tegan & Sara – The Ocean

It’s been 2 weeks since I dropped “Hell” on you to celebrate the release of Tegan & Sara’s Sainthood. That day I started listening to the album and it’s been on steady rotation since. The sisters have definitely stepped up their game on this one and have brought a faster, tighter, more in-your-face album with over 6o% of the tracks clocking in under 3 minutes. “Northshore” is the most punk, all ripping guitars and punched up vocals, while still retaining a very T&S sound. “Alligator” (below) and it’s sauntering beat might be the most traditional track and “The Ocean” (above) might be my favorite, but that’s a super tough choice. I wish I had some zippy remarks to make here but this is just going to be a boring endorsement of a great album. Every track is a jam and if you have ever appreciated Tegan and Sara you just can’t go wrong with Sainthood.

♫ Tegan & Sara – Alligator

Bury your face in MySpace

NINELIVES THE CAT is CRASHing around my speakers like some TESTy little KITTEN

NineLives The Cat

you know that three is a crowd but two is an act

♫ NineLives The Cat – Crash Test Kitten (feat. Kitten)

I kinda dig the album art but it makes it seem like the music is going to be super lo-fi and unlisteable which really couldn’t be farther from the truth. Australian-bred NineLives The Cat covers a whole gamut of vibes on his debut LP Are We Dead Yet? Crash Test Kitten is all super-bleepy synths and a perfect head bobbing rhythm that you can’t hep but grooving with. It was all I needed to track down the rest of the album which is filled a handful of other gems. “Sick” has an infectiously smooth beat, over which NineLives lays his distorted wail, giving the track a fantastic complexity that I can’t stop listening to. “Twirl My Hair” is almost bubbly pop, if it wasn’t for the growly voice and naughty words.

♫ NineLives The Cat – What’s My Name?

“What’s My Name” has a reggae bounce and hip hop flavor that would be perfect for a cruise-up-the-coastline montage. Are We Dead Yet?‘s last third falls off a bit as the tracks loose their pop, but there is plenty else to keep me coming back to this album for sure.

On a side note, NineLives The Cat is also in the Baltimore based The Death Set, who play a much harder brand of rock. They recently lost one of their founding members, Beau Velasco, so I am sure NineLives is going through hard times these days. Our hearts go out to you and yours. Thank you for the great music.

Bury your face in MySpace

DEAD MAN’S BONES is music for when MY BODY’S tired, feeling like A ZOMBIE, or FOR YOU to enjoy at Halloween!


i can’t fit in this skin
it’s worn and used and thin

♫ Dead Man’s Bones – My Body’s a Zombie for You

In April I saw this video. It was a new band performing their only song in a cemetery. It was fantastic. Considering that the only mp3 available was a rip off the video (below) I figured I would a wait a bit so I could share a proper recording with you all. Well now their debut LP has finally come out and the damn song isn’t even on it! I don’t think Dead Man’s Bones ever recorded a studio version. I would be pissed, except that what they did record is a fantastic album. The collaboration between Ryan Gosling (yes, the actor) and Zach Shields began as a”theatrical monster ghost love story for the stage” but quickly evolved into an album. Keeping those themes, they learned a bunch of instruments, brought in a children’s choir (brilliant), and recorded the perfect Halloween album. (Read the pretty interesting full story here). Considering it’s origins (monster-theater, Hollywood actor) the album is surprisingly not-corny, and considering it’s themes (ghosts, death, cemeteries) it’s surprisingly not-scary. The music is at times haunting (“Dead Hearts”), dancey (“In The Room Where You Sleep”), and catchy (“Pa Pa Power”), but always solid and has a surprisingly universal appeal for such a niche concept. I know you don’t have your shit together for Halloween so get this album and get to work! Just don’t let the rhythm take control of your pumpkin carving hand or you could end partying with real ghouls! AAHHAahaaa… Oh boy, that may have actually had some weight if the guy in their awesome promo video had said it.

♫ Dead Man’s Bones – Name In Stone (Live Version)

Bury your face in MySpace

KINGS OF CONVENIENCE make music for a quiet BOAT ride. I can get BEHIND that.


through the air there’s a fluffy cloud falling down as rain

♫ Kings of Convenience – Boat Behind

Kings Of Convenience’s new album, Declaration Of Dependence, is the perfect album for chilly Sundays. It’s light, tender, and intimate; perfect for nursing your body back to reality after a Saturday’s worth of BAC-alteration. I first fell in love with Kings’ 2002 groovy remix album, Versus, which set me up for some disappointment when I discovered how sparse and mellow their music really is. Except for “I’d Rather Dance With You,” I never got into 2004’s Riot On An Empty Street, and sort of wrote Kings off as too downer for my tastes. In recent years I have fallen much harder for Erlend Øye’s dancey, full-band, side project, The Whitest Boy Alive, and that pleased me just fine. Then I heard the Declaration and got down with it. Sure, it was the bouncy “Boat Behind” (above) that sucked me in, but the rest of the super sparse (two voices, two guitars, and the occasional string instrument) album has found a home in my ears. Pitchfork has some more to say on the album’s themes and genesis, etc, but if you are like me you just want to sit back with some hot tea and soak in the music.

♫ Kings of Convenience – Peacetime Resistance

Bury your face in MySpace

FUN. know ALL too well that THE PRETTY GIRLS are often less-so without BARLIGHTS

fun aim Ignite

i just hate the band ’cause they remind me of you

♫ fun. – All The Pretty Girls

Anyone who has ever read Pitchfork knows that haters are no fun (except when they are), but the truth is that even a sunshine-blinded optimists like myself struggles with hateration. It’s this struggle that has taken me so damn long to post about the charming, silly, upbeat, and pretty darn good debut album by fun. (yes, lowercase and yes, with the period). fun. front-man Nate Ruess was one half of The Format, a mid-00’s power duo with 2 fantastic LPs and a legion of fans who were bummed to hear that they broke up in early 2008. When I heard the first few tracks from Nate’s new project, fun., I just couldn’t get into it. I mean, first of all that’s just a stupid name. Just go ahead and name yourself Good Music and let me forget about making my own opinions (Oh wait, Kanye already did that…). But after months returning to the album in search of a spark I finally found two songs I liked enough to write about.

fun pretty girls

Then the really funny thing happened. As I listen to the album right now, writing this, I am enjoying it more than I ever have. It’s like the instant I got over myself and my nostalgia for The Format I was able to really get into the music and enjoy it for what it is. It’s not The Format but that’s OK, it’s great even. Because somehow I feel like Aim And Ignite might even end up on my best albums of 2009 list and that is really weird, considering. So if you are feeling these two jams, or were ever into The Format, I recommend you get over yourself too and give your time (and yes, money) to these 10 tracks. I refuse to fall into the easy pun here so let me just say that fun. really is… entertaining, amusing, diverting, pleasurable, pleasing, agreeable, and interesting.

♫ fun. – Barlights

p.s. I just had to include the art for the “All The Pretty Girls” single because it’s fresh.

Bury your face in MySpace /// eMusic too

JAMIE T presents CHAKA DEMUS. It’s just the name of THE MAN’S latest single, a MACHINE of a jam.


if your gonna learn a song you gotta sing along

♫ Jamie T – Chaka Demus

After becoming mildly obsessed with Stick N’ Stones, the first single off of Jamie T’s sophomore album, I was a little scared to be let down by the rest of Kings and Queens. Luckily for the whole damned world Jamie T did not disappoint, delivering such a fantastically varied and solid album that I still grin while listening to it. It doesn’t hurt that Jamie is one of the sharpest lyricists out there, slicing words over beats as a perfect double whammy. I don’t really know what else to say except that you should get this album. If you dig the punked-up Stick N’ Stones, the bouncy “Chaka Demus” (above) or the arm-over-shoulder bro-jam “The Man’s Machine” then you will love Kings & Queens right off the bat. If those songs haven’t spoken to you then you need to buy it anyway and just listen to it until you come to your senses.

♫ Jamie T – The Man’s Machine

Bury your face in MySpace

CASSETTES WON’T LISTEN is QUICKLY APPROACHING my top albums of the year list


♫ Cassettes Won’t Listen – Quickly Approaching

Yes, you have seen that album art before. It was attached to my ramblings on the title track. Since getting the full album it has basically been on all the time which is really weird because it’s instrumental. Definitely not my usual steez. I figure it was fitting to quickly revisit it (and bait you into getting it with one more track) since the album is inspired by Jason Drake’s move to Los Angeles, a city I will be departing today. Yup, back to Warsaw to continue the adventure. Good thing I have this collection of jams to keep me company on the plane and there are no lyrics to tempt me to sing along! The dude sitting next to me won’t even know how lucky he is. Seriously though, this album is great. I had a really hard time picking the song for this post. So many good ones. And that cover!

Bury your face in MySpace /// eMusic too