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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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…

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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

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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.

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