Hockey frightens me, but maybe I just need to Learn To Lose(en) up

mindchaos

don’t know which came first the promise or it’s reverse

Hockey – Learn to Lose

Hockey the band, dummy! Yeah it’s a weird name for a band but after you listen to their jams you wont mind. I certainly don’t. Heck, for the first time ever I have been able to utter the phrase “I like Hockey.” The rollicking quartet hail from the unlikely city of Portland but fortunately left the Northwestern tradition of gloomy-skied navel-gazing at the door and bring the heat on their debut Mind Chaos. Swinging drum beats, screeching guitars, rock-solid hooks, well placed female back up vocals, and even some horns roll together to create an album that is as diverse as it is rocking. Second single “Learn To Lose” may be my favorite track but it’s a damn tough call. First single “Too Fake” (below) is solid too, but took longer to grow on me. Browsing their MySpace and noting their .co.uk domain address and mostly UK tour dates it seems that these dudes are getting more love across the pond, which is no surprise considering their sound. It almost seems like the US can’t handle upbeat music unless it’s straight vamped up Top 40. How do you explain the lack of stateside love for bands like The Maccabees, Jamie T, and fellow Americans Iglu & Hartly? Your loss America, your loss…

Hockey – Too Fake

Mind Chaos comes out August 24th. Did I mention it’s a killer album? Oh, and stay tuned for a great “Learn To Lose” remix in the next roundup. Hells yeah.

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The Checks can rock my Ballroom anytime, Baby

The Checks

whatchoo want from me baby?

The Checks – Ballroom Baby

After yesterday’s artwork fiasco I felt I had to hit you all with some mind bending awesomeness. Well, here it is, the cover for the new album by New Zealand’s The Checks and how about some mind bendingly awesome music to go along with it? Hmmm? How’s that treat you? The Checks were introduced to me by TBE reader Jared and after finally getting around to tracking down their sophomore album (not easy) I was pretty blown away by Alice By The Moon. This thing is solid rock and roll with just enough swampy dirt to suck you in and just enough hooks to pull you back out again. Crunching guitars and creeping beats that have look to put Alice By The Moon on my year’s best albums list so far.For reals. It was no easy task picking 1 or 2 songs to share here. Jared recommended Alice‘s opening three, “Bagheera,” “You And Me,” and “Crows,” and while they are great it was “Ballroom Baby” sitting at track 4 that really gave me pause. Holy smokes. Then it’s just wham bam through the rest of the 13 tracks. Some more dancey, some more dirty, some sounding like what The Dead Weather should sound like (as opposed to just being bad), and some with epic guitar solos.

The Checks – Isabella

Don’t make me beg, go buy this album. If you have your own music blog and dig this magic then pass on the love. These guys are being screwed by geography but it is really us non-New Zealanders that are the victims. A damn shame. OK, enough from me, I have their debut LP Hunting Whales to track down…

Bury your face in MySpace /// Buy Alice By The Moon from the band

La Roux’s debut is like some combination of ferocious feline and beautiful flower. Like a Tigerliliy, or something.

laroux

in the crush of the dark i’ll be your light in the mist

La Roux – Tigerlily

Things I know about La Roux:

– La Roux is actually two people, not just young singer Elly Jackson. This is misleading because “la roux” means “red one” in French and well, Elly fits that description. Although maybe so does producer Ben Langmaid but nobody has every seen him. Ever.

– They came to my attention with the video for “Quicksand“. Lot’s of beautiful sunsets and crazy hair. Oh, and a good song.

– After “Quicksand” and second single “In For The Kill” got La Roux hyped out the wazoo, we were treated to two more tracks: “I’m Not Your Toy” and “Bulletproof.” The former was my favorite of the 4.

– As we wait for the album, the videos continue. “In For The Kill” features an awesome car and a lot of fruitless suspense. “Bulletproof” is borderline unwatchable as the video has no point and Elly looks terrible (and really British, if you know what I mean).

– Their self titled debut finally comes out. The songs we know hold up in context and there are even more good ones! What!? What is this Tigerlily song? It’s fantastic. Over super funky bleep and bloops Elly sounds feistier than ever and her energy covers the track.

– The only bad part about “Tigerlily” is the Haunted Mansion voice that comes in towards the end. Why? If that’s Ben then no wonder he stays hidden. Weirdo.

– “Bulletproof” is at number 1 on the UK charts and Elly hits the headlines with some racy comments about slutty women and her status as a “boy-looking girl.”

– Silly comments or not, I really like this album and only wish Little Boots had pulled out an equally impressive debut. I was really rooting for her…

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Jack Peñate’s advises Let’s All Die, but read this first

Jack-Penate-Everything-Is-New

out of the womb and into the tomb

Jack Peñate – Let’s All Die

Jack Peñate’s sophomore album dropped recently and although I had heard lead single “Tonight’s Today” (and seen the crazo video) I was not that psyched for it. For me his debut LP Matinee was fun but forgettable. I guess it’s not a big surprise that on an album titled Everything Is New he flipped the script on us. Gone was the perky and snarky ska pop of songs like “Have I Been A Fool?” (below) and in it’s place was a real maturity, both lyrically and musically. Within the context of the album, “Tonight’s Today” suddenly made a lot more sense. Other great tracks like “Pull My Heat Away”, the title track, and second single “Be The One,” combine to form a great album that reveals more and more with each listen. “Let’s All Die” is the 8th of the albums 9 tracks and despite it’s title is possibly the most fun one. Apparently it’s not an actual recommendation but a recollection of a New Orleans funeral Jack saw as a youngster where all the celebration and partying at such an affair made an impact on him. For those of you new to Jacky P. here is the pretty great “Have I Been A Fool?” for proper chronological listening.

Jack Pe̱ate РHave I Been A Fool

Bury your face in MySpace /// eMusic too

Fanfarlo are cheaper/better than a Luna bar, can also be enjoyed by men

reservoir

and if we’re kicking up a fuss, it’s only cause we must

Fanfarlo – Luna

Don’t look at the album cover (or think of Luna Bars) when you start listening to “Luna” because your expectations will explode. This is not music for downer teens in 1800s, nor music I would describe as “sepia tinted.” Not really sure what Fanfarlo were thinking with this album cover but then again who really cares ’cause it’s the music what we are here for. And that, my friends, requires no wondering, just wonderment (If that is a word). So Fanfarlo is one of those bands that has been all up in my inbox for months now and I somehow managed to avoid falling in love with them. Luckily, I kept being reminded of them and kept revisiting their tunes until then started to grow on me more. Then, BAM, one day I find out they are selling their debut Reservoir for $1! After briefly wondering why the London based outfit was dealing in weak-ass dollars I just bought the damn thing and that’s when we really clicked, Fanfarlo and I. Don’t worry, I’m not a jealous lover. You can get in on the love too. Its still only $1 until July 4th (again with the USA stuff?)

Bury your face in MySpace /// eMusic too /// Buy Reservoir for $1!!

The Rural Alberta Advantage: Interview/live show at The Bell House, Brooklyn, 5/29/09

raa1

This is a post where I recap a lot of exciting things so prepare yourself accordingly.

The Rural Alberta Advantage is Nils, Paul, and Amy. They self-released a record called Hometowns which was one of my favorites of 2008. Having just signed to Saddle Creek they will be re-releasing that record on July 7th. This is exciting for many reasons, not the least of which is that it makes Hometowns can be on my favorite albums of 2009 list (which it most certainly will).

Before the show the band was gracious enough to sit down with me for a bit and talk about their album, touring, music videos, Subway sandwiches, self-googling, the origin of their name, eMusic, NYC audiences, and a bunch of other fun stuff. They were funny, gracious, open, and generally fantastic. I apologize for my over-use of “like” – I was a bit nervous – but otherwise it is an interesting interview. I learned a lot about the band. Before I get into that I want to talk about their live show. It’s amazing. Go see them. Seriously, I am not gonna freak out on you again like I did with Lykke Li but that’s only because The RAA’s awesomeness was not such a surprise. Look at photos of their live shows here or watch videos here but actually don’t bother because you should just go see them. Oh, but buy Hometowns first! Deal? Good.

Interview and a few other goodies after the jump…

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Miike Snow has the best Cult, Logic(ally)

miikesnowcover

i wanna rewrite my heart and let the future in

Miike Snow – Cult Logic

I love Miike Snow. I love them for their weird spelling and for their antlered-rabbit. I love them for their beautiful, epic, danceable music and it’s fantastic lyrics. I love them for the way their music has snuck so deftly and solidly into my life. There was a time when nobody knew much about Miike Snow. Over time we learned that the band was made up of Swedish production duo Bloodshy & Avant with the addition of American vocalist Andrew Wyatt. Bloodshy & Avant are the Grammy winners behind such pop mega-hits as Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and Wyatt most recently co-wrote and produced Daniel Merriweather‘s debut album (along with Mark Ronson). These dudes are no newbies when it comes to the music scene and it’s a treat to see them (kinda) stepping out from behind the scenes. They still remain elusive and are prone to obscuring their faces in photos but that only makes me like them more. Miike Snow is about the music and that makes me about Miike Snow.

If you grabbed DJ be’s Slow Burn Summer mix yesterday then you know Miike Snow’s remix of Vampire Weekend as well as Treasure Fingers’ remix of “Animal.” Their debut album comes out on June 9th but you can be smart like me and buy it on iTunes now (comes with a fresh digital booklet with lyrics!). I could attempt to describe the awesomeness of it all to you but luckily for both of us Miike Snow are streaming the whole jam on MySpace so if you don’t believe me then go believe the music. “Animal” (and it’s myriad brilliant remixes) was the first track to catch my attention, followed by “Burial” and now “Cult Logic,” an anthem of sorts for me these days. Did I mention they are touring? Yeah, I’ll be at Spaceland in L.A. on June 16th if anyone wants to join the party.

Bury your face in MySpace /// Buy on iTunes /// RCRD•LBL freebies

The Maccabees are about to Love You Better

the-maccabees-wall-of-arms-2009

that thought will cost you more than just a sweet smile

The Maccabees – Love You Better

When The Maccabees blew onto the scene in 2007 I was caught in their storm. Their debut LP Colour It In was what The Futureheads’ second album should have been and I loved them for it. Orlando Weeks voice has a specific vulnerable urgency that when coupled with their propulsive guitar rock works magic on me. It seems that most people know them for their single “Toothpaste Kisses” which is unfortunate because it always seemed like the token mellow filler among an LP packed with rock. Anyway, enough praise for their debut, its time to give some love to their recently released follow-up, Wall Of Arms. I have had Wall it on repeat all day and haven’t skipped one track. It is smart, sharp, fast, tight, and most importantly, it is out now. The fantastic lead single “Love You Better” (above) and my fave (not easy to choose) “Can You Give It” (below) will give you a good idea of what you are in for when you make the smart decision to pick this one up.

The Maccabees – Can You Give It

Here is my favorite from their debut Colour It In.

The Maccabees – All In Your Rows

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