Wednesday, May 31


Well, they just keep on coming... these groups (usually British, or at least trying to be) with their vaguely '80s, neo-New Wave sounds. The latest appears to be the London-based four-piece Boy Kill Boy, whose new album, Civilian, has been out in the UK for about a week now and will be available to U.S. audiences on June 6th (albeit as an import, I do believe).

These guys are generating that infamous NME/"Next Big Thing" buzz across the pond, though I'd rate their current quality closer to the Killers and the Bravery than, say, Franz Ferdinand. Still, there are at least five songs on the record that rate solidly, and they're certainly worthy of a cursory glimpse/listen.

(My favorite track from the album, "On and On," will appear on my upcoming "Best of May" mix, which I should have up here sometime on Friday.)

[MP3] "Back Again"

[MP3] "Ivy Parker"

Tuesday, May 30


And so it begins... the leak of the week....

Thom Yorke's solo album isn't due out till early July, but here's a taste...

[MP3] "Analyse"

[MP3] "Harrowdown Hill"

Monday, May 29


I've been awaiting the new Mojave 3 album, Puzzles Like You, with great anticipation. For about a decade now, Neil Halstead, Rachel Goswell & Co. have been putting out solidly melodic records that inspire quiet contemplation and peaceful, easy feelings. At times, some of the slower stuff has come to sound a little "same-y" to me, but perhaps that's just the band's unconscious ode - or intended tribute - to their Slowdive shoegaze roots.

Whatever the case, I tend to like it when they up the tempos a bit. Hard rockers they'll never be, but a little extra kick of giddy-up in the mix helps to keep this attention span-challenged listener from slipping into siesta. Fortunately, the new record seems to feature at least a few tunes that fit me and my attention span to a T. Feel free to try them on for size yourself...

From the LP Puzzles Like You, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "Breaking the Ice"
[MP3] "Puzzles Like You"

From the LP Excuses for Travellers, 2000 >>>
[MP3] "In Love With a View"
[MP3] "Krazy Koz"

From the LP Out of Tune, 1998 >>>
[MP3] "Give What You Take"

Sunday, May 28


I've been a closet (ahem!) Pet Shop Boys fan for ages now - perhaps beginning with "West End Girls," but truly gaining traction with "Opportunities" and "It's a Sin."

The Boys' new album, Fundamental, will "come out" (oh dear) in the U.S. on June 27th. I've been a bit underwhelmed by some of the slower tracks I've heard thus far (as well as by lead single "I'm with Stupid"), but the "dancier" tracks below work pretty decently for me. (I'm also including a favorite "dance-y" track from their last effort.) So... disco!

From the LP Fundamental, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "Integral"
[MP3] "Minimal"

From the LP PopArt, 2003 >>>
[MP3] "Flamboyant"


You know, every now and again I get to feeling sorry for Art Garfunkel. Poor, pathetic fella... always trapped in Paul Simon's little-big-man shadow, both in the S&G days and the subsequent solo ones (though Simon's star has decidedly dimmed these past 20 years; so take heart, Art!).

Plus, another thing: ol' Art's constantly got the cops on his ass. I mean, come on... can't a 64-year-old dude smoke a little reefer in peace?

On the positive side, Mr. Garfunkel's still got that amazing, white-man-Bozo 'fro. And he still has that sweet, helium-high voice that reminds me, somehow, of childhood.

You're the man, Art. (And everybody knows your old partner's a prick.)

These should do nicely for a Sunday morning...

[MP3] "Bright Eyes"

[MP3] "All I Know"

[MP3] "99 Miles from L.A."

Friday, May 26

JAMES (1982-2001)

[Oops. Fell off the wagon and down a rabbit-hole the past few days. Back now, slightly the worse for wear. Withdrawal is fun. Vivid, vivid dreams. Slightly scary.]

I haven't made an entry in my "dead" bands series for a while, so maybe the time has come to take a look at the blandly-named UK group James. They started out way-the-hell back in the '80s and were seen by some (possibly even Morrissey himself) as the second coming of the Smiths. I didn't really discover them until their 1993, Brian Eno-produced album Laid, which spawned the semi-hit title track (and is still their best album, IMO).

I always thought of lead singer Tim Booth as being sort of Bono-lite. Certainly, he has an affection for falsetto, which is fine by me. But one also gets the impression that the band saw themselves as risk-taking innovators throughout their career, which I can't quite buy. True, their sound did change over time, but they remained - for the most part - a pleasant folk-pop outfit whose ultimate demise was noticed by few, and mourned by still fewer. Certainly worth a look (and a listen) on this "dry" Friday eve...

From the LP Laid, 1993 >>>
[MP3] [SaveFile] "Laid"

From the LP Whiplash, 1997 >>>
[MP3] [SaveFile] "She's a Star"

From the LP Millionaires, 1999 >>>
[MP3] [SaveFile] "We're Going to Miss You"

From the LP Seven, 1991 >>>
[MP3] [SaveFile] "Seven"

From the LP Pleased to Meet You, 2001 >>>
[MP3] [SaveFile] "Alaskan Pipeline"

From the compilation Alternative NRG, 1993 >>>
[MP3] [SaveFile] "Ring the Bells" [live]

Tuesday, May 23


Last night, Pearl Jam played the Palace of Auburn Hills - about 35 minutes from here. Tomorrow night, the Detroit Pistons will be playing the Miami Heat in that same building. (And, as I see that Dallas beat San Antonio last night, Chris over at Gorilla vs. Bear still has his potential Detroit-Dallas dream match-up going on.)

As for Pearl Jam, I don't like a single song off their new album, so I'm having to take a trip in the way-back machine to come up with today's tunes. Remember these oldies but goodies?

[MP3] "Last Kiss"

From the LP Yield, 1998 >>>
[MP3] "Wishlist"

From the LP No Code, 1996 >>>
[MP3] "Off He Goes"

From the LP Vs., 1993 >>>
[MP3] "Rearviewmirror"

From the LP Ten, 1991 >>>
[MP3] "Black" [Brendan O'Brien mix]

Sunday, May 21

THE '80s - VOL. 2

Well, I certainly don't want to go to this well too often (and I won't), but after last Sunday's '80s nostalgia-fest here at a Plague of A., it seemed at least reasonably appropriate to offer a second serving of said nostalgia-fest. In part, this is because the '80s were such a significant part of my now not-so-glorious life (not that it was all that glorious back then, either, but still...). Beyond that, though, with so many bands aping the '80s in one way or another to gain fortune and fame here in the '00s... well... perhaps that's rationalization enough for another 80 minutes of '80s pop poofery.

Please left-click [here] for said pop poofery.


01) The Buggles/Video Killed the Radio Star
02) Blondie/Call Me
03) Dead or Alive/You Spin Me 'Round (Like a Record)
04) The Go-Go's/We Got the Beat
05) A Flock of Seagulls/I Ran (So Far Away)
06) Greg Kihn Band/The Break-Up Song
07) ABC/The Look of Love
08) Billy Idol/Dancing with Myself
09) Toni Basil/Hey Mickey

10) Gary Numan/Cars'
11) Yaz/Only You
12) Duran Duran/The Reflex
13) Katrina & the Waves/Walking on Sunshine
14) The Fixx/One Thing Leads to Another
15) Sparks & Jane Wiedlin/Cool Places
16) Modern English/I Melt with You
17) Men at Work/Who Can It Be Now?
18) The Romantics/What I Like About You
19) Talk Talk/It's My Life
20) Tommy Tutone/867-5309/Jenny
21) Alphaville/Forever Young [extended version]

Friday, May 19


As was the case with the Divine Comedy, Say Hi To Your Mom is essentially a one-man band. In this case, it's Brooklynite Eric Elbogen, and he would like to invite you into his basement bedroom and play his Casio for you. (Okay, maybe it's a bit more complicated than that... but not too terribly much.)

Mr. Elbogen's range may not be all that great, but he hits upon some catchy stuff every now and again, and I can't help looking forward to his upcoming album (supposedly set for release in July). In the meantime...

From the LP Numbers & Mumbles, 2004 >>>
[MP3] "Super"
[MP3] "Hooplas Involving Circus Tricks"

From the LP Ferocious Mopes, 2005 >>>
[MP3] "Recurring Motifs in Historical Flirtings"
[MP3] "Poor Pete is a Bit Self-Conscious"

From the LP Discosadness, 2002 >>>
[MP3] "The Fritz"

Wednesday, May 17


The Divine Comedy is the "nom de pop" of Neil Hannon, an Irishman who deserves a place alongside Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey, and Neil Tennant in the mordant-wit pantheon of songwriters. Like those gentlemen, he is more than capable of joining a cute-yet-cutting couplet with a killer riff or a can't-get-it-out-of-my-head melody.

His latest album, Victory for the Comic Muse, comes out on June 19th. To put it mildly, I have rather high expectations for this one, despite not loving the first song I heard from the record ("To Die a Virgin"). Here are two tracks that I find a bit more promising, as well as my two favorites from his previous effort.

From the LP Victory for the Comic Muse, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "Diva Lady"
[MP3] "The Light of Day"

From the LP Absent Friends, 2004 >>>
[MP3] "Absent Friends"
[MP3] "Our Mutual Friend"

Tuesday, May 16



I can only tolerate three of the songs on the Walkmen's upcoming CD A Hundred Miles Off [May 23rd]. You can download one of them at Stereogum. You can download another one of them at Badminton Stamps. You can download the last one of them right here.

[MP3] "Good for You's Good for Me"


I'm liking what I'm hearing so far from Regina Spektor's new record Begin to Hope [June 13th]. Especially on the first half, she seems to have toned down some of her more "eccentric" mannerisms and locked in to at least a handful of memorable melodies. Still, she remains a unique artist - and not for all tastes.

[MP3] "On the Radio"


This is the only song on Primal Scream's upcoming album Riot City Blues [June 5th/UK] for which I'm willing to punch the REPEAT button.

[MP3] "When the Bomb Drops"


I already included Tilly and the Wall's "Bad Education" on my recent "Best of April" mix. Now here comes my second favorite track from the band's latest release [Bottoms of Barrels/May 23rd].

[MP3] "Sing Songs Along"


Editors' solid, if unexceptional, cover of R.E.M.'s "Orange Crush" sent me running back to 1988's Green to partake of the original. These days, it's easy to forget what a great, dynamic band R.E.M. was back then (and before then) (and even for quite a while after then).

Of course, Stipe's typically oblique lyrics don't have anything to do with the soda pop; they allude to the United States' use of Agent Orange in Vietnam (Stipe's father was a pilot during the war, though I have no idea if he ever dropped that particular chemical).

What with American deaths in Iraq nearing 2,500, it seems reasonable to blast a few more R.E.M. songs that are more than a little bit apt, considering the current circumstances...

[MP3] [SaveFile] Editors/"Orange Crush"

From the LP Green, 1988 >>>
[MP3] [SaveFile] R.E.M./"Orange Crush"

From the LP Document, 1987 >>>
[MP3] [SaveFile] R.E.M./"Welcome to the Occupation"

From the LP Around the Sun, 2004 >>>
[MP3] [SaveFile] R.E.M./"Final Straw"

Monday, May 15


A lot of bloggers have been posting songs from Nouvelle Vague's second covers record, Bande a Part [out June 12th], but I haven't seen my two favorites showing up much. So here they be...

[MP3] "Don't Go" [Yaz]

[MP3] "Ever Fallen in Love" [Buzzcocks]


I've recently been trolling back through my mix CDs from the summer of 2002, just to see what still holds up, what doesn't, etc. One song that jumped out at me in a very positive way was "Falling," by Mcalmont & Butler. "McAlmont" is David McAlmont - a guy who sings so high he can easily be mistaken for a woman (or, at least, Antony from Antony & the Johnsons). "Butler" is Bernard Butler, the once-celebrated guitarist from Suede. I've been on a '60s kick of late, so it's probably no wonder that "Falling" sounds so damn great to me right about now.

[One warning: You'll have to crank the volume a bit on the first two songs here, but it'll be well worth the effort.]

From the LP Bring It Back, 2002 >>>
[MP3] "Falling"

From the LP The Sound of McAlmont & Butler, 1995 >>>
[MP3] "Yes"

[MP3] "Diamonds Are Forever"/David McAlmont [w/David Arnold]

Sunday, May 14

THE '80s - VOL. 1

Back in April, a number of MP3 blogs went on a '80s nostalgia kick. One of my favorites - Hits in the Car - was one of them. Seeing as the years 10-19 of my life occurred during that particular decade, I have a certain undeniable fondness/weakness for that period of time, as well as for the music that accompanied it.

So here's an 80-minute '80s mix for you. It's a bit on the obvious side - nothing under-the-radar, no hidden gems. But whether they're just cheesy one-hit wonders or songs that actually hold up to the passage of time, I love each and every one of them.

Left-click [here] for the download.


01. INXS/Don't Change
02. Berlin/The Metro
03. Erasure/Oh L'Amour
04. Kim Wilde/Kids in America
05. The Vapors/Turning Japanese
06. Depeche Mode/People Are People
07. Pet Shop Boys/Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)
08. Eurythmics/Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
09. Frankie Goes to Hollywood/Relax
10. Animotion/Obsession
11. New Order/Bizarre Love Triangle
12. Total Coelo/I Eat Cannibals
13. Real Life/Send Me an Angel
14. Scandal/The Warrior
15. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark/If You Leave
16. Human League/Don't You Want Me
17. Soft Cell/Tainted Love
18. Naked Eyes/Always Something There to Remind Me
19. The B-52's/Private Idaho
20. Tears for Fears/Shout

Friday, May 12


Okay, once more into the Swedish breach (or something like that). Hello Saferide is the official alias for indie popstress Annika Norlin. She has a sound somewhere between Azure Ray and Nina Persson. If the idea of that is in any way appealing to you, by all means give a listen to the following...

From the LP Introducing: Hello Saferide >>>
[MP3] "Long Lost Penpal"

From the single My Best Friend >>>
[MP3] "Valentine's Day"


Union of Knives is a Scottish trio whose sound has been likened to that of Massive Attack and Death in Vegas. Be that as it may, I just find it dark and catchy and, therefore, irresistible. (And just perfect for this cold, damp Friday night.)

[MP3] "Evil Has Never"

[MP3] "Operated On"

Thursday, May 11


The Whitlams are an Australian pop group that took almost a decade (as well as the death of one of its members) to gain some sense of recognition and momentum in their home country. Little surprise, then, that they're essentially unknown in North America.

I happened upon these guys with the song "No Aphrodisiac," whose whiskey-soaked sense of desperation and loneliness I find more than a bit beguiling. Many of the band's songs are piano-driven, so I suppose Keane might be a viable comparison. And certain singer-songwriters mine a similar vibe. Josh Rouse, for one. And I swear that lead singer Tim Freedman has a lot of '70s-era, "Laughter in the Rain" Neil Sedaka in his voice. Those of you old enough to remember '70s-era, "Laughter in the Rain" Neil Sedaka can judge for yourselves...

From the LP Eternal Nightcap, 1997 >>>
[MP3] "No Aphrodisiac"
[MP3] "Band on Every Corner"

From the LP Torch the Moon, 2003 >>>
[MP3] "Royal in the Afternoon"
[MP3] "Don't Believe Anymore"

From the LP Little Cloud, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "Keep the Light On"

Wednesday, May 10


Let me assure you: this post was in no way pre-planned. Yes, I have a substantial soft spot for Mr. Andy Williams, as he got quite a lot of AM radio play back in the early '70s when I was 1, 2, 3, and 4 years old. Of course, I don't spend a lot of time listening to the man these days, and I have no intention of traveling to whatever-the-hell that scary city in Missouri is where all the old-time crooners go to croak.

What got me on this sudden nostalgia kick was a post over at Diddy Wah that offers up a few of Andy's countless cover songs. I'd like to add a few of my faves to the dapper, hep-cat pot. Trust me, these babies positively swing 'n' sway with giddy goodness.

[This post also gives me an opportunity to try out a new file sharer - This should work as a left-click here and then a right-click/"save as" on the first page that comes up. Will see if the uploading is a bit more seamless than SaveFile's. Rest assured, though: I'm still going to be using EZArchive as my regular, direct-download provider; having a secondary source just allows me to post more songs, more often.]

[MP3] [YourFile] "The Sweetest Sounds"

[MP3] [YourFile] "Music to Watch Girls By"

[MP3] [YourFile] "More"

[MP3] [YourFile] "Happy Heart"


A quick break in our recent Swedish fixation to throw a bone to Chris Isaak, whose compilation, Best Of Chris Isaak, came out yesterday. I've always thought this guy was a bit underrated (or, perhaps overly celebrated for just a single song and its still-steamy, sand-in-the-butt-crack video).

Clearly, he isn't the most versatile or visionary of music makers, but within his specific niche (and with that great, Orbison-lite croon), he shines just fine.

From the LP Always Got Tonight, 2002 >>>
[MP3] [RapidShare] "One Day"

From the LP Speak of the Devil, 1998 >>>
[MP3] [RapidShare] "Please"
[MP3] [RapidShare] "Black Flowers"

From the LP Forever Blue, 1995 >>>
[MP3] [RapidShare] "Somebody's Crying"
[MP3] [RapidShare] "Go Walking Down There"

From the LP San Francisco Days, 1993 >>>
[MP3] [RapidShare] "Solitary Man"

Tuesday, May 9


Our Swedish smorgasbord continues today with the Legends. Supposedly, these folks were a nine-person collective just a couple years ago. Now, they're down to one primary member (Johan Angergard, who's also connected with Acid House Kings and Club 8). Come to think of it, new single "Play It for Today" (March '06) does sound a bit more like Club 8 than previous Legends material...

[MP3] "Play It for Today" [single]

From the LP Public Radio, 2005 >>>
[MP3] "These Old Hearts of Ours"

From the LP Up Against the Legends, 2004 >>>
[MP3] "There and Back Again"
[MP3] "The Kids Just Wanna Have Fun"

Monday, May 8


With summer upcoming, we might as well stay in Sweden for a spell, what with the more abundant sunshine, fewer suicides, etc.

So let's take the four-and-a-half hour drive from Gothenburg to Stockholm to drop in on '60s-styled popsters the Charade. Their new album, A Real Life Drama, will be out June 20th. In the meantime...

From the LP A Real Life Drama, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "A Tough Decision"

From the LP The Best is Yet to Come, 2005 >>>
[MP3] "Monday Morning"

[Hear more from the Charade on their MySpace page.]


Seems we haven't set sail for Sweden in a long, long while. Time to rectify that...

The Gothenburg quartet Sambassadeur released their new, four-song EP, Coastal Affairs, on May 3rd. The song "Kate" can be extracted at Hits in the Car and/or Indie Don't Dance. Kate's pretty little sister "Claudine" is a nice cover of a song by New Zealand's the Bats. You can find it below, along with what still ranks as my favorite Sambassadeur song.

From the EP Coastal Affairs, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "Claudine"

From their self-titled LP, 2005 >>>
[MP3] "New Moon"

Sunday, May 7


Again, recording quality with these is decidedly dodgy. But it's Radiohead, bitches. So deal with it.

<<< All files updated with better quality MP3s on May 10th >>>

[MP3] [YourFile] "Open Pick"

[MP3] [YourFile] "Bangers 'n' Mash"

[MP3] [YourFile] "Bodysnatchers"

[MP3] [YourFile] "15 Step"

[MP3] [YourFile] "Nude"

[MP3] [YourFile] "4 Minute Warning"

[MP3] [YourFile] "House of Cards"

[MP3] [YourFile] "Spooks"

Friday, May 5


Per usual, I present my favorite tunes from the month just concluded. And, per usual, I hope you'll find a few you can groove to.

Left-click [here] to grab the tracks.


01) Johnny Cash/Ring of Fire
02) The Go-Betweens/Love Goes On! [single]
03) Camera Obscura/Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken

04) The Kooks/Ooh La
05) The Owls/Air
06) Dirty Pretty Things/Bang Bang You're Dead
07) The Dresden Dolls/The Jeep Song
08) Agent Sparks/Choke
09) Smile Smile/Sad Song
10) The Essex Green/Rue de Lis
11) The Glass Family/Swimming in Fiction
12) Tilly and the Wall/Bad Education
13) Matt Costa/Cold December
14) Arab Strap/Don't Ask Me to Dance
15) Silver Jews/Smith & Jones Forever
16) Irving/Heading North
17) The Perishers/Pills
18) The Bears/How to Live
19) The Black Heart Procession/The Letter
20) I'm From Barcelona/Rec & Play
21) Bruce Springsteen/Eyes on the Prize

Thursday, May 4


The NYC quartet Asobi Seksu ["Playful Sex" in Japanese] will release their second album, Citrus, on May 30th. The band describes it as "eleven slices of guitar-swirling, sweet-and-sour, bilingual dream pop." Okay, sure, I can go with that. I especially like these ones right here...

[MP3] "Thursday"

[MP3] "Goodbye"


The Futureheads' new LP, News and Tributes, doesn't drop till June 13th, but the song "Skip to the End" has been making the rounds for a while now. I have to say that it rather easily qualifies as the best song on the record. Pretty much by default, then, the following tracks occupy the #2 and #3 slots for me...

[MP3] "Back to the Sea"

[MP3] "Favours for Favours"

Wednesday, May 3


I first wrote about London's Lucky Soul back in December. Shane over at the Torture Garden just posted on them recently and requested that I make the following links come alive like magic again. My pleasure, actually, as I can't get enough of their neo-'60s sound. Enjoy (again)...

[MP3] "My Brittle Heart"

[MP3] "Baby I'm Broke"


I went all ga-ga over the Robert Post song "Got None" way-the-hell-back in July of '05. I'd stumbled upon it while combing Beat the Indie Drum's excellent archives [recently updated!] and then subsequently discovered another solid Post song there just sort of squatting in the shadows. So, here they are - the first by request, the second courtesy of my own immense sense of generosity. (Ha.)

[MP3] "Got None"

[MP3] "More and More"

Tuesday, May 2


The bad news: Radiohead won't be releasing an album in 2006. The good news: They're about to embark on their tour, and boots of their new tunes will soon be flooding the Net. In the meantime, Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood played a set on behalf of Friends of the Earth at the Koko in London yesterday. The quality of these resultant recordings is less than perfect, I'm afraid, but Radiohead fans starved for a taste of the new tunes will likely forgive this.

[Had to use SaveFile because EZArchive's been an absolute bitch lately.]

[MP3] [SaveFile] "Arpeggi" [live]/Thom Yorke & Jonny Greenwood

[MP3] [SaveFile] "Bodysnatchers" [live]/Thom Yorke & Jonny Greenwood

[MP3] [SaveFile] "Cymbal Rush" [live]/Thom Yorke & Jonny Greenwood


It can be tough to get a body going on a Monday, so I thought we'd crank the volume on a bit of semi-punky dance-pop today to get the juices flowing.

Ghostland Observatory is an Austin, Texas duo with a sound somewhere between Daft Punk and the Clash. And if you can't groove to that, then you can't groove at all.

From the LP Paparazzi Lightning, 2006 >>>
[MP3] "Piano Man"

From the LP Delete.Delete.I.Eat.Meat, 2005 >>>
[MP3] "Shoot 'Em Down"

Monday, May 1


Dragonette is a London-based quartet that opened for Duran Duran during their last tour. They're supposedly working on their first full-length LP even as we speak. And they traffic in exactly the sort of infectious, silly-ass-superficial dance-pop that I feel like blasting from the rooftops today. Thus...

[MP3] "I Get Around"

[MP3] "Shock Box"