DUTCH UNCLES are poised TAKEOVER more than just Netherlands-themed slang

you need this truth to over-think, i hate myself ’cause you over-drink

♫ Dutch Uncles – Takeover

Ok, so there is a dutch oven and “going dutch” but these young Brits with that fantastic artwork over there are Dutch Uncles and until recently I’d never heard the term nor the band. They are young, talented, enthusiastic, and come from the same area as TBE up-n-comers Airship. Manchester is clearly cooking these days and Dutch Uncles are definitely fueling that fire. They recently toured with other TBE faves, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Drums, and word is that they slayed it. No surprise there as “Takeover” is a rollicking good time with all it’s pieces bouncing at just the right pace and Duncan Wallis’ vocals jabbing through his myriad thoughts. And then there are the “ooh ooh ooh”s. I like the “ooh ooh ooh”s. So far so good and if I can get my paws on their debut album it looks like these guys are just the right band to rock my ass until the next Jukebox The Ghost album. Now that would be a line-up.

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SHOUT OUT LOUDS’ new album won’t FALL out of rotation soon. It’s not HARD to like.

gimmie a secret and i’ll tell you i need memories to keep

♫ Shout Out Louds – Fall Hard

Two of last years most disappointing albums for me were Throw Me The Statue’s Creaturesque and The Dodos’ Time To Die and both were produced by Phil Ek. There are many reasons that I like to blame Mr. Ek for these underwhelming follow-ups but mostly ’cause it’s easier than believing that bands I love have done fell off. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous to hear that Ek was producing Shout Out Louds’ follow up to 2007’s fantastic Our Ill Wills. First single, “Walls”, assuaged that fear a bit but it’s decided shift in sound (no more strings or bells) — coupled with that “we hate fun” album cover — left me a little nervous. Well, the verdict is in and Work is solid solid stuff. Yeah, it’s different that Our Ill Wills but by the end of the album you don’t even think about those differences any more. It’s the same band we know and love and their signature earnestness and energy is firmly in place. Take second single “Fall Hard” for example, that opening guitar brings me right into the song and before I know it those tight drums and Adam Olenius’ unique voice have me flying right with the music. It’s a hard song not to enjoy, and the video (below) is pretty great too. The rest of the album ranges in intensity but always packs enough hooks to keep me jamming along and Olenius’ lyrics always tell an interesting story as he bares his soul over tales of love, relationships, and his own stubborn personal baggage.

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SAFE’s new single may be TWENTY YEARS late ON it’s format choice but it’s still a sweet jam

if this is what it was like, i’ll dream

♫ SAFE – Twenty Years On

“Twenty Years On” is one of those tracks that is easy to brush over in the hustle and bustle of everyday music listening but luckily I gave it a few spins before dismissing it and it wasted no time is digging itself right into my pleasure center. As SAFE, Chris Edley crafts some beautifully minimal mood-pop that is hard not to drift along with. Good music alone not enough to get you on board? Luckily Edley has your unnecessarily retro bases covered and has teamed up with the Das Racist managed Greenhead Records to release his debut on cassette. Yes, that’s Edley holding the tape with a photo of him holding a headless chicken. Are you loving “Twenty Years On” but lacking a cassette player? No sweat, it’s also available on VHS. Don’t know what VHS is? There is also digital download available. As well as having better photo of Edley and that chicken, RCRD-LBL has a bit of back-story on the guy (art for MGMT, financial crisis, etc) and a remix of “Twenty Years On.” And there ya go.

UPDATE: Watch the video. Perfect.

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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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PHANTOGRAM spill a MOUTHFUL OF break-up lyrics that cut like DIAMONDS

the world is not around because of you, you know i’m not around because of you

♫ Phantogram – Mouthful Of Diamonds

TBE reader Jeff turned me on to Phantogram when he dropped his Top 10 list in the comments of my Top Songs post. “Mouthful Of Diamonds” immediately began noodling it’s way into my brain with it’s spacey trip-pop vibe and soothing female vocals. Eager to see what the rest of this Saratoga Springs, NY, duo had to offer I bought Eyelid Movies and was a bit disappointed. “Mouthful of Diamonds” opens the album with such beauty that it’s hard for me to not feel like I’m coasting downhill after this kind high. I always feel weird writing about an album when I only like 1 or 2 songs and when I saw Pitchfork give the album a 7.5 I thought maybe Jeff also had stronger feelings for the album and would want to rave about it for you. Only confirming my appreciation for the guy, he replied that he felt the same way as I did about the album (except for his love for “When I’m Small,” as well). Anyway, the point is that Jeff and I love “Mothful Of Diamonds,” Pitchfork loves the whole album, and who knows what you will think. I’d recommend poking around Phantogram’s MySpace before you drop coin.

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«Flashback« The Offspring – Come Out And Play / Bad Habit

one guy’s wasted and the other’s a waste

♫ The Offspring – Come Out And Play / 1994

I’ll never forget the day I bought Smash. It was a the Warehouse Music that used to be on Westwood Blvd. in L.A. It was the first CD I ever bought and I’d like to pat myself on the back for kicking things off with such impeccable taste but the full truth is that I also bought Jerky Boys 2 that day. Oh well. Anyway, the point is that that Biffy Clyro album got me hankering for some good ol’ fashioned guitar rock and stumbling on Smash in my iTunes led me to crank it up as I made a big batch of granola yesterday. Holy shit. The surf-rock hook of “Come Out And Play” instantly brought me right back that summer of ’94 and before I knew it I was singing along to epic songs I hadn’t heard in at least 10 years. There is nothing quite like belting out “Something’s odd, feel like I’m God, you stupid dumb shit goddamn mother-fucker!” while chopping raw almonds (“Bad Habit,” below). But then again, there is nothing quite like this album, either. “Nitro”? “Self Esteem”? “Killboy Powerhead”? “What Happened To You”? Classic jams for miiiiiiles! I stayed with them through Americana but have lost touch since then. Let’s face it, “Pretty Fly For A White Guy,” is not their proudest moment and the single I heard a few years ago was kinda disappointing, too. If you have ever been a fan of these guys then their Wikipedia history is an interesting read. I’d also like to remind people that front-man Dexter Holland‘s hair looked like this when Smash came out. The 90s were different times, man. But seriously, moral of the story is that this is one of my favorite, and most formative, albums of my youth.

♫ The Offspring – Bad Habit / 1994

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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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in the end you’ll be fine

♫ Solid Gold – Matter Of Time

Minneapolis’ Solid Gold first graced the pages of TBE back in June with the fantastic “Bible Thumper” and now they are back with another jam through Green label Sound. “Matter Of Time” actually came out in October but recent gems from Green Label (Chromeo, Theo Ldn) inspired me to go digging through their archives and voila! If you thought you about to enter the weekend without a tight little jam to take with you then think again. And turn up those speakers while you are at it. “Matter Of Time” is more after-party than pre-party, with it’s medium tempo beat and breathy vocals leaning more towards post-party activities. Solid Gold recently released their Synchronize EP (which I have yet to hear) and are going to be all up in SXSW. I will not be surprised if we hear a lot more great things from these guys this year.

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