BRENDAN BENSON is into A WHOLE LOT of things, but we’d BETTER focus on his new album


i fell in love with you, and out of love with you and back in love with you all in the same day

♫ Brendan Benson – A Whole Lot Better

You either know Brendan Benson as the least weird-looking dude in The Raconteurs, or from his previous solo work, but you know him. Or at least you thought you did, as his oddly titled new album, My Old Familiar Friend, doesn’t sound like either really. Benson’s first solo album since 2005 sees him taking a cue from his big-sound Jack White project and adding a bit more noise to his solo tunes. His recent LP is a much bigger and fuller sound than 2002’s Lapalco or 2005’s The Alternative To Love (Lapalco being the much better of the two, if you are interested). It took me a moment to digest this new Brendan as I was initially turned off by lead single “A Whole Lot Better.” It was other tracks, like the dark and driving “Feel Like Taking You Home” and the bouncy “Poised and Ready,” that kept me coming back to the album. It’s great that “A Whole Lot Better” has grown on me since then, but unfortunately most of the album still leaves me a bit cold. There a few mellow jams thet remind me of his older stuff but since they are mixed in with the noisier new stuff it just doesn’t gel for me. I am not drawn to it. But then again, as much as I enjoy The Raconteurs and Benson’s solo work, I rarely return to those albums as well. Weird how that works.

♫ Brendan Benson – Feel Like Taking You Home

BONUS BACKSTORY: Benson released his forst abum at 26 (in 1996) on major label Virgin Records. It got good reviews but bad sales and they dropped him. He fell off the radar for years until he surfaced in 2001 by mailing Lapalco to Isaac Green (owner of Startime International records) with a note saying “This record needs home.” Since Green is no dummy, the rest is history.

Bonus Benson:

♫ Brendan Benson – Tiny Spark <–♡ / 2002 (album)

♫ Brendan Benson – What I’m Looking For / 2005 (album)

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PANCE PARTY have beats so BIG I’m dancing with my MOUTH

Pance Party

i don’t believe a word you say, you’re just a big mouth anyway

♫ Pance Party – Big Mouth

My “cooler” friends tend to tell me that TBE leans too electro and/or dance, to which I reply that they lean too dumb and/or lame. Why they gotta have such a big mouth? …speaking of big mouths (see what I did there?), San Fransisco trio Pance Party have a big jam for your weekend pleasure. Their stuff can get a bit hectic for my tastes, but this one is right on point. Just try not to bob/sing along by the 3rd minute.

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Double Dance BONUS! ♫ Fake Blood – I Think I Like It

Fake Blood, the UK team behind my favorite “Animal” remix (and others!) may be hesitant with their approval, but I’m not! Their Fix Your Accent EP is out now at eMusic with two more bumpin tracks, including the weirdly funny title track.

BRAND NEW’s new album made my heart SINK. AT least it wasn’t to THE BOTTOM…


how darkly the dark hand met his end

♫ Brand New – Sink

I have been sitting on Brand New’s latest, Daisy, for 5 weeks now and that fact that it has taken me this long to post is not a good sign. I mean it’s not a terrible sign, I am still posting, but this album is not for everyone. Or I don’t know, maybe it is for everyone. It’s a bit angry but what do I know, I am like doctor trying treat a relative, I’m just too close. Brand New is traditionally one of my favorite bands and I have seen them live more times then I can remember. Their first album defined catchy guitar-pop and their second album (a growth of Jack Peñate-rivaling proportions) further cemented their brilliance. After waiting 3 years for LP3 (the ridiculously titled The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me), we were treated to some definite jams, but the album as a whole was lacking. After semi-disappointment of The Devil And God, Brand New popped up in late 2007 with the one-off single release “(Fork and Knife)” (below), a piano and drums churner that didn’t mesh with their recent sound but quickly became one of my favorte sogs of that year. Now, 2 more years later, we have Daisy. Read more

TEDDYBEARS GET pretty angry when you say their MAMA is as fat as A HOUSE


mama haven’t you heard, we sold out all over the world

♫ Teddybears – Get Mama a House

After yesterday’s magic music from Sweden’s The Sweet Serenades, I figured I might as well made it a Swedish combo and check in with Teddybears. You know them from their ubiquitous “Cobrastyle,” if nothing else. Earlier this summer they dropped this new track to tie us over until a supposed fall release of their next LP, Devils Music. “Get Mama A House” is all kinds of goofiness, with tongue in cheek lyrics about organized crime cartels and selling-out. It’s definitely a fun listen, but doesn’t really touch “Cobrastyle” (especially not Robyn’s cover), or my Teddybears favorite, “Yours To Keep” with Neneh Cherry (brother of Eagle Eye!). Devils Music supposedly a party album and contains contributions from Slick Rick, Wayne Coyne, and Sting’s daughter Coco Summer. Sweeeeet.

♫ Teddybears – Yours To Keep (Feat. Neneh Cherry)

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THE SWEET SERENADES debut has been ON MY stereo all week. No WAY I’m taking it off soon.

Sweet Serenades

have a drink, put that red dress on, i’m on my way

♫ The Sweet Serenades – On My Way

“On My Way,” from Sweden’s The Sweet Serenades, landed in my inbox a week ago and before I had heard a note I saw this promo photo. Needless to say that when I finally pressed play I was surprised. And excited (not about the photo, although kinda. It’s pretty cool). After tracking down their previous single, Mona Lee, and being thoroughly floored, I was sold. Balcony Cigarettes is only out in Sweden, Germany, and Benelux (??) but because I’m no dummy I have an eMusic subscription and got it there no problem. And then, And THEN, AND THEN! I listened to it and it was great. Then I listened to it again and it was fantastic. This is the kind of album that I can’t wait to see performed live. I have no doubt that these guys murder it onstage and that the crowd is equally pumped. I super-duper recommend this album so get it. You know how. In the meantime play “On My Way” everytime you get in your car and I guarantee you will shave 2 minutes off your commute.

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THE AGITATOR GET us READY for action! Or maybe just drinking…

The Agitatorrip up the rule book, tear it to shreds

♫ The Agitator – Get Ready

The Agitator is made up of two dudes. One wails on drums and the other just wails. If their duo status and that old-timey photo didn’t properly prepare you for the sonic assault that is “Get Ready” then you are a dummy. They warned you right in the title! Ex-Maccabee Robert Dylan Thomas is adequately impressive on drums, but it’s singer Derek Meins that fills in their sound with his epic voice. They have one other huge track on their MySpace but otherwise I am just going to have to drink whiskey and start revolutions until they release more jams. [Thanks to The Recommender!]

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PEARL JAM have apparently got THE FIX(ER) for a lackluster decade? I know, JUST BREATHE.

backspacerwhen somethings bored i wanna put a little exciting on it

♫ Pearl Jam – The Fixer

I don’t care if Pearl jam were never really “your thing,” try and tell me that “The Fixer” is not a freaking jam. Edder and co. are back and they mean business with the recently released Backspacer, a solid listen that kicks down your door and then gets it’s angsty mosh on all up in your living room. Now lets be clear, Pearl Jam have never really been my guys, either. 1993’s Vs. is one of my all time favorites (possibly best opening 40 seconds of an album) and Yield was my pre-Y2K jam, but that’s the last I really listened to them. Various post-millennial singles floated through my ears but never laid roots. Then they go flip the script on me and nailed this one. Sure it’s front loaded with the real shredders but after 12 straight minutes of headbanging you will need a breath. (Cue fantastic slow jam)

♫ Pearl Jam – Just Breathe

It picks back up, don’t worry. Just buy it. Album art is by by brilliant editorial cartoonist Tom Tomorrow, and there is a pretty cool backstory at Wikipedia.

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CALVIN HARRIS and I are READY FOR THE WEEKEND full of ghostriding under the STARS. You going to COME OUT?

Calvin-Harris-Ready-for-the-Weekendcome and get the dream, ghostride* through the cemetery

♫ Calvin Harris – Stars Come Out

Calvin Harris’ sophomore album drops today in the US and it is definitely worth your time and money. A lot of people have been poo-pooing it as a falling off for the guy who Created Disco but after sitting on it for the past few weeks, I am on board. It’s not genre-changing or trendily lo-fi-buzzcore, but it is catchy, dancey, and fun. What else do you want from a dance CD? I think a major misstep for Calvin was pushing “I Am Not Alone” as the albums lead single. It isn’t the albums best by far and I think it sent peoples expectations down the wrong path. 2nd single, “Ready For The Weekend,” is much more Calvin, if you know what I mean. But it’s really “Stars Come Out” (above) that gets my goose. A funked-out bounce-fest about ghostriding* through a cemetery? Hell yeah. All I am saying is that if you ever enjoyed Calvin’s debut, then you should at least give this one a few listens. Hey, you might end up not liking it, but I would hate for you to miss out just cause you heard it was bad.

♫ Calvin Harris – Ready For The Weekend

*Lyric websites disagree. Whatever.

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