I know I wrote about Slow Club back in June but that was before their LP Yeah So was released and became one of my favorite albums of the year. I have been revisiting it a lot lately and it seemed like a good time to emphasize it’s greatness. People seriously need to get on these two Sheffield kids. Their tunes range from rollicking foot-stompers (“Giving Up On Love,” above) to subdued downer-beauty (“No Good Way,” below) but are always brimming with honesty and emotion. Their back and forth guy-girl vocals give all their songs a real-life-scenario feeling that I love. It’s kind of like a not-shitty romance movie. Only as music. And with less happy endings. Although often dealing with the darker side of life and love, their lyrics are one of the best things in the songs: always insightful, poetic, and beautifully delivered. If it seems like their darker tendencies would make for a depressing listen then you clearly did not press play on “Giving Up On Love” above. The title is self explanatory, yet it’s the kind of tune that makes you want to swing-dance with your sweetheart as you sing the lyrics out loud. The album acknowledges that relationships are tough but doesn’t wallow in misery and, appropriately titled Yeah So, it turns those complications into something to celebrate. Just remember the title of the track in our June post, “It Doesn’t Always Have To Beautiful Unless It’s Beautiful.” Amen.
â™« Rancid – Ruby Soho / 1995
Looking at that artwork, 14 years after the fact, it’s kinda funny to think ow how important this alum was to me. The truth is that it’s one of the first to pop in my head when I think of albums to be stranded on a desert island with. But then again, I am pragmatic as hell and 19 tracks is nothing to scoff at. I’ve never been remotely “punk” in my life (let alone at 13) but something about this collection of raspy guitar anthems just got me. It’s no surprise that …And Out Come The Wolves is Rancid’s most successful album to date (finally going platinum after 9 years), as it perfectly straddled that punk angst with upbeat ska-tinged fun. “Ruby Soho” and “Time Bomb” (along with “Roots Radical”) were the albums three singles but the truth is that all 19 tracks are solid.
â™« Rancid – Time Bomb / 1995
â€¢ Miike Snow is a band, not a man. They are made up of American Andrew Wyatt and Swedish producers/multi-instrumentalists Christian Karlsson & Pontus Winnberg (Bloodshy & Avant).
Dragonette’s 2007 debut, Galore, was one of those albums that I was fully ready to like but just never hooked me. It felt like they were trying to hard at the electro-pop game but were missing something. Whatever was missing, we had a taste of back in May when their “comeback single” Fixin To Thrill” dropped. Had little Dragonette finally grown up? The song was a huge, hook-laden rock-fest with big claims, but was it all bombast? Would the other tracks match up? 2nd single, “Pick Up The Phone,” (video here) kicks some big cracks in that worry, even topping “Fixin” in my book, getting stuck in my head in a great way. Yesterday Australia and Canada got the full Fixin To Thrill LP and it’s high time to take a look at the goods. I just finished my second spin through it and this stuff is no joke. It’s that mix of bounce, synth, big riffs, and perfect vocals that just get my goose. If the first 2 singles haven’t got you hyped then peep this late-album favorite of mine.
“Okay Delore” is like “Hey Mickey” only without the overplayed baggage and Wayne’s World connotations. Dragonette has truly outdone themselves with Fixin To Thrill. This is looking to be a favorite album of the year. Or at least October.
I struggle with finding music to accompany my mellower times. Whitest Boy Alive is one of my top artists on Last.fm, not because they are one of my all-time favorites, but as a band with 2 solid chill-out albums, they are my frequent go-to for those moods. Freelance Whales ave just stepped into the ring with their debut, Weathervanes, and it sounds like the perfect soundtrack for fall. “Generator ^ 2nd Floor” is one of the bouncier tracks on their debut (so it’s not a surprise it would appeal the most to me) but it’s also the best track about accepting death since Jack PeÃ±ate’s “Let’s All Die.” Their softer fare is equally appealing and the whole album is like ice cream melting on hot pie: sweet and satisfying, with just a bit of a sugar high. Where does this magical music come from? Freelance Whales hail from Brooklyn, where they are known to play in subway stations and use instruments like the harmonium, banjo, glockenspiel, and waterphone. With tools like that it’s no surprise that they channel a bit of Sufjan Stevens, especially on the breathily-sung “Broken Horse.”
I recommend Sufjan get’s his next state-themed album rolling ASAP because Freelance Whales have already took his place this fall. Or not, Suffy. Stay lazy with your years-old King Of Indie crown. It’s time for a regime change anyway. If you like what you hear then buy Weathervanes at eMusic or iTunes. Seriously. Oh, and check out the fantastic live perfomance of “Generator ^ 2nd Floor.” Singing about death at midnight in the abandoned farm was never so fun and cuddly.
Electric Tickle Machine may not be sporting the years’ best new-band name but they have nailed the album art brilliantly. It’s almost good that record stores are no longer relevant because nobody has money for double-take-induced-whiplash treatment these days. Angelic nipple-slips aside, ETM has got a great tune on their hands here. “Part Of Me” has a solid foot-stomping sing-a-long vibe that belies it’s refreshingly honest take on the love song. Repeat listens are encouraged. Their live shows have a reputation of confetti and nudity (surprise!) and their upcoming US tour may be bringing both to your town! For those offended by confetti, Blew It Again, is out next month.
Bury your face in MySpace
“Signs” is one of those songs that I can rock out to every time it’s played. Weird though, I never go to it. I never crave it, if you know what I mean. Does that make it less of a song? Some songs pull us in so hard they can burn out fast, leaving a bad taste in the mouth like eating too many Doritos. It seems that LoveLikeFire have crafted the “pretzel” of rock songs, maybe not the first snack that pops into your head but always a solid choice, and will never bore a chemical hole in your tongue. Their debut LP, Tear Ourselves Away, came out in August but I haven’t heard it yet. Hmmm, I really do like pretzels…
Bury your face in MySpace