TEGAN AND SARA have one HELL of a lead single here

TS Hell

when you get up and over it and over them

♫ Tegan and Sara – Hell

1998 was a big year for twins. Ahhnuld and DeVito taught us about the fraternal kind, and Tegan and Sara started their musical legacy in Calgary, Alberta (that’s in Canada). I’m gonna go with Tegan and Sara for the “Ongoing Relevance Award” on this one. Doubly so, since their new album, Sainthood, drops today and lead single, “Hell,” is better than anything Arnold has done this decade. This jam shows a bit of hardening for the Quin sisters. Their tradition of melodic indie-pop is stomped on with “Hell”s crunching guitars and bouncing lyrics that are perfect for the mosh pit. You might already know I’m a big Tegan & Sara fan, you may not know this is their sixth (!) album AND is being co-released with their photo-book triptych IN/ON/AT. The books document their last American tour (ON), recording in New Orleans (IN), and general band photos/journals/etc (AT). Watch The sisters introduce it here. Anyway, Tegan and Sara are such a band that I just don’t see “Hell” being a fluke-jam on Sainthood. The album is gonna rock for real. Anyway, Sainthood is out today so I won’t have to wait too long to find out, and I bet you wont have to wait too long to get another positive post on it. Don’t wait for it, though. Just get the album. And get So Jealous and The Con if you don’t have them. Your ears (and Canada) will thank you. (Canada most likely in person. They’re cool like that.)

BONUS: Just came out of a cave/coma and don’t know Tegan and Sara? Here is a recap.

♫ Tegan and Sara – Where Does The Good Go? (So Jealous)

♫ Tegan and Sara – Back In Your Head (The Con)

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STRICKEN CITY PULL my hips as I leave THE HOUSE and head DOWN the street


get yourself up, pull the house down that surrounds you

♫ Stricken City – Pull The House Down

Feel that bassline! Hell yeah. This song is sidewalk swagger for the indie set. Stricken City hail from London and “Pull The House Down” is from their debut LP, Songs About People I Know. The album is out now as a combo CD/DVD, packaged with experimental films the band shot on VHS/Super 8. The album art, however, is not an archival photo of Native Americans from an alternate universe but is, in fact, lead singer Rebekah Raa. Yes, that mobile hair party is owned by the band. If it shows up at their live gigs then they have got themselves a show.

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«Flashback« NOFX – Whatever Didi Wants

nofx_heavy_petting_zootell me what you need, i’ll try not to forget it

♫ NOFX – Whatever Didi Wants / 1996

This song will never cease to be epic. Although I discovered this jam on the same Punk-O-Rama 2 compilation that turned me on to Millencolin I just never got into NOFX at the time. Years later I got this album, and a few others, but NOFX just never lived up to my love for “Didi” (brilliant lyrics here). It is a pretty fantastic album cover and the alternately titled vinyl version is not to be ignored either. Yikes. In other news, NOFX’s frontman, Fat Mike, runs the label Fat Wreck Chords, who just promised that all their albums will sell for under $10, and most under $8. NOFX’s 2009 LP, Coaster, was the first under the very cool and smart new pricing policy (which you can read more about here).

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KINGS OF CONVENIENCE make music for a quiet BOAT ride. I can get BEHIND that.


through the air there’s a fluffy cloud falling down as rain

♫ Kings of Convenience – Boat Behind

Kings Of Convenience’s new album, Declaration Of Dependence, is the perfect album for chilly Sundays. It’s light, tender, and intimate; perfect for nursing your body back to reality after a Saturday’s worth of BAC-alteration. I first fell in love with Kings’ 2002 groovy remix album, Versus, which set me up for some disappointment when I discovered how sparse and mellow their music really is. Except for “I’d Rather Dance With You,” I never got into 2004’s Riot On An Empty Street, and sort of wrote Kings off as too downer for my tastes. In recent years I have fallen much harder for Erlend Øye’s dancey, full-band, side project, The Whitest Boy Alive, and that pleased me just fine. Then I heard the Declaration and got down with it. Sure, it was the bouncy “Boat Behind” (above) that sucked me in, but the rest of the super sparse (two voices, two guitars, and the occasional string instrument) album has found a home in my ears. Pitchfork has some more to say on the album’s themes and genesis, etc, but if you are like me you just want to sit back with some hot tea and soak in the music.

♫ Kings of Convenience – Peacetime Resistance

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THE PRAIRIE CARTEL don’t want to party alone in CRACKTOWN

Prairie Cartel

where did all my people go?

♫ The Prairie Cartel – Cracktown

The lyric above is also the name of The Prairie Cartel’s debut LP. It’s also a question I have been asking myself as I settle back into Warsaw. Anyway, you guys can appreciate the industrial-pop jam and I’ll appreciate the deeper meanings, cool? It’s Saturday night and this is just the kind of step-popper that gets me bouncing out the door and into the evening. Although The Prairie Cartel hail from Chicago, I’m not sure if that is the specific “Cracktown” of this song. If so, then Chi-Town is having more than it’s fair share of problems this year. Although, I am hearing references to places in LA and NYC so maybe this track need to be filed in one of those mixtapes. I’ll tell you what I do know, The Prairie Cartel aren’t trying to skimp on their product. Where Did All My People Go, which dropped last week, runs 15 tracks and clocks in at a CD-R-saturating 78:30. I don’t know if the whole album is solid but I am digging the other jam I have heard. Grab album closer “The Glow Is Gone” – along with some apt NIN, The Faint, and LCD Soundsystem comparisons – over at RCRD•LBL.

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FUN. know ALL too well that THE PRETTY GIRLS are often less-so without BARLIGHTS

fun aim Ignite

i just hate the band ’cause they remind me of you

♫ fun. – All The Pretty Girls

Anyone who has ever read Pitchfork knows that haters are no fun (except when they are), but the truth is that even a sunshine-blinded optimists like myself struggles with hateration. It’s this struggle that has taken me so damn long to post about the charming, silly, upbeat, and pretty darn good debut album by fun. (yes, lowercase and yes, with the period). fun. front-man Nate Ruess was one half of The Format, a mid-00’s power duo with 2 fantastic LPs and a legion of fans who were bummed to hear that they broke up in early 2008. When I heard the first few tracks from Nate’s new project, fun., I just couldn’t get into it. I mean, first of all that’s just a stupid name. Just go ahead and name yourself Good Music and let me forget about making my own opinions (Oh wait, Kanye already did that…). But after months returning to the album in search of a spark I finally found two songs I liked enough to write about.

fun pretty girls

Then the really funny thing happened. As I listen to the album right now, writing this, I am enjoying it more than I ever have. It’s like the instant I got over myself and my nostalgia for The Format I was able to really get into the music and enjoy it for what it is. It’s not The Format but that’s OK, it’s great even. Because somehow I feel like Aim And Ignite might even end up on my best albums of 2009 list and that is really weird, considering. So if you are feeling these two jams, or were ever into The Format, I recommend you get over yourself too and give your time (and yes, money) to these 10 tracks. I refuse to fall into the easy pun here so let me just say that fun. really is… entertaining, amusing, diverting, pleasurable, pleasing, agreeable, and interesting.

♫ fun. – Barlights

p.s. I just had to include the art for the “All The Pretty Girls” single because it’s fresh.

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SEAN BONES and I just got back from the DANCEHALL


it’s a weapon, it’s a mixed blessing

♫ Sean Bones – Dancehall

Some of you might remember Sean Bones from his April appearance on TBE with “Easy Street.” Well his debut LP, RINGS, dropped in July and I have been chilling with it ever since. I guess it is most easily categorized as reggae music but the minimal spliff references and lack of Jah Rastafari shout-outs threw me off. For me, RINGS is simply the perfect album for when you want to chill but you don’t want to be put to sleep. Each track has enough bounce to keep your attention, but not so much as to demand it. I am a big sucker for instantly addictive songs, so it took a while for RINGS to wrap around me. Now, each time I listen I find a new favorite track. I am fully sold on its awesomeness and am able to simply bask in it’s reggae/two-tone simplicity. I feel like my stereotypical views towards Reggae have probably kept me from a lot of gems out there. Anyone want to enlighten a dude?

♫ Sean Bones – Sugar In My Spoon

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JAMIE T presents CHAKA DEMUS. It’s just the name of THE MAN’S latest single, a MACHINE of a jam.


if your gonna learn a song you gotta sing along

♫ Jamie T – Chaka Demus

After becoming mildly obsessed with Stick N’ Stones, the first single off of Jamie T’s sophomore album, I was a little scared to be let down by the rest of Kings and Queens. Luckily for the whole damned world Jamie T did not disappoint, delivering such a fantastically varied and solid album that I still grin while listening to it. It doesn’t hurt that Jamie is one of the sharpest lyricists out there, slicing words over beats as a perfect double whammy. I don’t really know what else to say except that you should get this album. If you dig the punked-up Stick N’ Stones, the bouncy “Chaka Demus” (above) or the arm-over-shoulder bro-jam “The Man’s Machine” then you will love Kings & Queens right off the bat. If those songs haven’t spoken to you then you need to buy it anyway and just listen to it until you come to your senses.

♫ Jamie T – The Man’s Machine

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