«Flashback« They Might Be Giants – Dr. Worm

i think i’m getting good, but i can handle criticism

♫ They Might Be Giants – Dr. Worm / 1998

It was They Might Be Giants recent appearance on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me that reminded me about this 1998 jam that tells the tale of a real worm who is a fake doctor but trying to be a better drummer. Doesn’t get much better that this. Rabbi Vole straight murders that bass solo! TMBG have like a zillion albums under their belt and I am one of the least qualified people to wax historical on them. I tried getting into them around this time but found their library both intimidating and a bit hit-or-miss. Severe Tire Damage, their mostly-live album, was always a solid collection of tracks and is my uninformed recommendation as an introduction to the band. Unless you are small child, in which case I would point you towards one of their recent “for-kids” albums that I have heard about. They are on the road now and playing both kids and adult shows. Fun for the whole family.

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THE SOUNDMEN want EVERYBODY to MOVE

if you got a friend then that makes three

♫ The Soundmen – Everybody Move ft. Jdown Valmont

It’s Saturday night and what better way to kick it off than with a fresh original track from one of 2009’s best remixers! The Soundmen have teamed up with Atlanta’s JDown Valmont on this party-starter that wears it’s bass-filled heart on it’s sleeve. Stop reading. Start moving.

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THEOPHILUS LONDON is no HUMDRUM artist. These are some of the best jams in TOWN.

i ain’t doin this for check or fame

♫ Theophilus London – Humdrum Town

Coming off their release of Chromeo’s fantastic “Night By NightGreen label Sound has another super-jam for us. “Humdrum Town” has also been given a beautiful and infectious video treatment that I highly recommend watching. Brooklyn’s Theophilus London has been on the scene for a bit now but is now making his way to my ears. His last mixtape, This Charming Mixtape, dropped about a year ago and is filled with an eclectic mix of samples all of which are deftly woven with Theo’s electronic production and smooth lyrics (see below). I’ve got no word yet on a full album release but in the meantime I’ll be chillin’ to This Charming Mixtape and throwing on “Humdrum Town” when I want big dose of beauty.

♫ Theophilus London – Ain’t No Sunshine

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SKYBOX make music IN the vein of A DREAM I once had

you fucked with the sunshine… i think i’m gonna die

♫ Skybox – In a Dream

This Chicago foursome just released their second album but have only recently got some much deserved attention. Their latest album art is unfortunate because it sells them as a poorly-funded 90s-era college band as opposed to the pep-powerhouse that they are. To me Skybox are a mellowed-out middle-ground of ELO’s “Mr. Blue” and recent TBE faves Fred. “In A Dream” is not a jam for spazzing out too, but rather for enthused head bobbing in a stationary position. But that is not to say that a live show could not be thoroughly enjoyed. Having been around for longer than most of today’s blog darlings, I imagine these dudes know how to bring it. I haven’t heard the rest of Morning After Cuts yet but you can bet I’ll be tracking it down soon.

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SLANG CHICKENS may not be native to the TROPICS but they are right at home in my speakers

don’t wanna hear ’bout any other one, like how they knew ya, what they did to ya

♫ Slang Chickens – Tropics

It was about a month ago that Buddyhead turned me onto Slang Chickens and “Tropics” began slowly weaving it’s way into my brain. When I finally got ahold of the full album I was pleasantly surprised to find that these guys mean business. Their self-titled debut is not only filled with fantastically dirty, blues-tinged, doo-woppy, guitar rock but it is pressed on blue vinyl, encased in a hand-screened burlap sack, and mailed to you by the band. Order that freshness. Don’t worry, digital is also an option (eMusic has it). This kind of rough n’ tumble music is not usually my steez but something about this LA based crew is so on point. How can you not get hyped to “Let’s Microwave?” Anyway, these two tracks show their range and the album is filled with even broader jams that are sure you rock your boots (“Club Love,” “Parasited Out,” “Black Don’t Turn Blue,” etc…). Get on it.

♫ Slang Chickens – Let’s Microwave

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The Best Albums of 2009 / The Top 15

This is it. The best of the best. As determined by me and in alphabetical-by-artist order. This list has been a labor of love and it is an honor to pay tribute to so many fantastic albums. With that said, don’t hesitate to lift your leg and leave your own mark in the comments. Or just track down the albums here that you don’t know and get down with a good set of headphone. I know these lists are self indulgent and often pointless but they are fun nonetheless. A big thank you to all the TBE readers who stick with me day after day and trudge through my ramblings. Ok, I’m out. Carry on! Read more

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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«Flashback« Eels – Novocaine For The Soul / In My Dreams + Little Bird

this paint by numbers life is fucking with my head

♫ Eels – Novocaine For The Soul / 1996

Oh E, you great bearded weirdo. Your ’96 classic is still your best in my book but that hasn’t stopped you from cranking out music since then. 2 albums in the past year alone! Whatever your knowledge base of Eels, E, his beard, or his music, here are a couple jams for you. Although his music is always pleasant, if not beautiful, it’s a bit to snoooze inducing for my general tastes. However, I did fall for “In My Dreams” from last years wherewolf (via his beard) inspired Hombre Lobo. “Little Bird” is the first single from the recently released End Times which sees E recording and producing every sound in his own basement. And yes, that solitude does come across in the music. Let’s leave it at that and just let you just listen.

♫ Eels – In My Dreams / From Hombre Lobo, 2009

♫ Eels – Little Bird / From End Times, 2010

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