STEEL TRAIN have music for hitting the TURNPIKE and leaving that GHOST behind

my friends are gonna leave me if they don’t believe that they can save me

♫ Steel Train – Turnpike Ghost

Steel Train’s last album, 2007’s Trampoline, is feisty soundtrack to sunshine and optimism with pounding piano and endless guitar hooks. “Turnpike Ghost” is the the latest jam from Steel Train and it seems not much has changed. The guys are still having a blast as they careen through this bouncy anthem, instrument barely keeping up with their energy. It’s the kind of meticulous mayhem that I love. Singing music. Dancing music. Driving music. “Turnpike Ghost” apparently comes from a tour-only EP and sadly I’ve got no word on a forthcoming album. In the meantime I’ll let you soak in these previous favorites of mine. The latter dates back to their first EP and that fantastic other voice is Scott Irby-Ranniar who is no longer in the band. I can’t say that their recent stuff makes me miss him though.

♫ Steel Train – Firecracker / Trampoline, 2007

♫ Steel Train – Blown Away / For You My Dear, 2003

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PORTUGAL. THE MAN are better than THE DEAD, DOG.

yeah, we had ourselves a time

♫ Portugal. The Man – The Dead Dog

Portugal. The Man are from Alaska, based in Portland, serious about that punctuation, and are releasing their fifth album in as many years. They also play some of the best guitar based psych/indie/freak rock you can wrap your ears around. I have to admit up front that I haven’t heard all their albums, nor listened to the ones I have as much as I should, but since my buddy Ted is one of their biggest fans I decided to give their latest LP some real attention. I have been spinning American Ghetto (what a great cover) for a while now and was struggling with my take-it-or-leave-it feelings and trying to figure out what I want to say about the album. I kept waiting for some bright light to go off and signal something loud and clear. However, something else has happened in this process, I have grown really fond of the album. “The Dead Dog” (named after a local bar in their Alaska hometown) kicks things off on such a deep groove of drums and guitar noodling that the ensuing left-of-center jams were a bit off-putting to my more pop oriented ears. Repeated listens have made me realize that each pass through revealed a new favorite track. Like this one, American Ghetto‘s space-funk closer.

♫ Portugal. The Man – When The War Ends

The goodness doesn’t stop there. I could easily have included “1000 Years,” “The Pushers Party,” or any other track. But don’t listen to me, stream the whole album after the jump. Dim the lights, close your eyes, and start your love affair with these guys. I’d love to hear your thoughts, old and new fans alike. Ted?

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DOMINIQUE YOUNG UNIQUE has a SHOW for you and I bet MY ASS you like it

keep hatin’, i’mma gon show ya

♫ Dominique Young Unique – Show My Ass

It doesn’t get much better than this. A 17 year old Florida chick drops a sick banger dripping with swagger and spitfire rapping just in time for warmer weather and outdoor boomboxes. The video is definitely worth a watch to see this girl in action, owning this jam like nobodies business. I can’t tell what I love more: Dominique’s grin inducing flow or the songs incessant beat change-ups. At less than 3 minutes it’s pretty fantastc how much energy, fun, and different beats are packed in here. I just hope nobody slips a disk trying to dance in time with this freshness. Be safe, people. Dominique’s Blaster Ep will be out soon through Art Jam.

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OH NO ONO have me HELPLESSLY dancing as I think of being YOUNG

i don’t know what to sing, she reminds me of the future

♫ Oh No Ono – Helplessly Young

The song’s title pretty much nails it as this jam by Copenhagen’s Oh No Ono is tailor made for teenage drives in your parents car: windows down, volume up, and the speedometer getting no attention as you sing your heart out. Did I mention drumming on the steering wheel? That’s essential. This bass-line is impossible not to physically react to. Oh No Ono’s debut album, Eggs, is out now and although I haven’t heard the whole thing, I can recommend the eerie narrative video for the decidedly more melancholy track “Swim.”

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LO-FI FNK have been MARCHIN’ IN and out of my ears all month

trying to beat it you never win, trying to shake up everything

♫ Lo-Fi-Fnk – Marchin’ In

Lo-Fi-Fnk are another Swedish gem that has just landed in my iTunes. “Marchin’ In” has been taking me on a tropical canoe ride through rainbow colored hot springs and I can’t help but dream that the title refers to Spring which is taking it’s bloody time. This song is the first taste off of the duo’s follow up to their 2006 success Boylife. Yet another album from a recently discovered Swedish group that I haven’t heard. If I don’t stop doing so much research I am going to be spending more time playing catch-up then listening to new stuff. Although, that’s hardly a complaint when I’ve got music of this caliber to keep me company.

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MOCK & TOOF are speechless about the DAY KEN DIED

♫ Mock & Toof – Day Ken Died

2 hours ago I walked outside to meet a buddy at a bar and was instantly met the eeriest feeling on the street. The street was empty, the streetlight swayed a bit in the wind, a plastic takeaway container scratched a noise across he pavement,  and my senses braced themselves for something out of the ordinary. In situations like that it’s hard not to laugh a little at the absurdity of the moment. Mock & Toof’s “Day Ken Died” captures a bit of that walk-down-an-eerie-street vibe but also maintains a level of playfulness that let’s you know it’s not going to pull anything crazy on you.  OK, at this point I am officially talking complete bullshit but I think you might get the picture. You also might recognize Mock & Toof’s names from numerous remixes they have done for the likes of Hot Chip, Friendly Fires, Ladyhawke, Sia and others. Solo work is a more recent endeavor but judging by the quality of the mood set here I am going to have to track down some of those remixes.

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MONTAUK invite you on their H.O.L.I.D.A.Y.

♫ Montauk – Holiday

It’s Saturday and time to take a much needed holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday,holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday, holiday from the stresses of the week. This moonlight-soaked piano number should do the trick.

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THE BANG BANG CLUB are working with some pretty volatile CHEMISTRY here

we were fighting for the sake of it, i really think we might be killing it

♫ The Bang Bang Club – Chemistry

Leave your anti-goodtimes baggage at the door ’cause this party is strictly for those with an official “Sing Along And Dance Out Loud” pass. I can’t write too much about them ’cause I’m kinda busy pulling the sweetest dance moves you will never see so I’ll let their press release take over:

The Bang Bang Club are a male synth-pop due who genuinely don’t sound like any of their much-hyped contemporaries. John and David were in the now-defunct band Protocol, until a few years ago they finally resisted repeated attempts to be aligned with The Killers and started to write the pop music they’d always wanted to.

Information is for suckers! Who cares what two biblically named dudes used to do, I care that they are sending me into this Friday night on one of the most severe sugar-pop highs I have had in a while!

WTF!? They only have a website!!!