Thursday, July 31


And now, apropos of absolutely nothing, a couple of 12-year-old tracks from defunct twee-poppers HEAVENLY. (This is what happens when you start digging around in the archives....)

[MP3] "Nous Ne Somes Pas Des Anges"

MP3] "Space Manatee"


THE LURIOS hail from the North of England and feature two (yes, two) sets of brothers. I would call their brand of music "Britpop" (but then, I call just about every brand of music out of England "Britpop"). Their debut album is called A WAY OUT FROM THE BOREDOM.

[MP3] "Digit's Dance"

MP3] "Part of the Deal"

Wednesday, July 30


In certain ways, THE OFFSPRING have always been a step behind and below their alterna-punk brethren GREEN DAY. Their breakthrough album, SMASH, showed up two months after Green Day's breakthrough album, DOOKIE. DOOKIE sold 10+ million units U.S.; SMASH sold 6+ million units U.S. Green Day have won Grammys, boatloads of MTV Music Awards, and went a long way toward locking down their legacy with the critical & commercial success of 2004's AMERICAN IDIOT; the Offspring... well... not so much.

Fact is, the Offspring have always seemed significantly more frat-boy shallow and gimmicky than their more celebrated counterparts. Goofy-lyricked novelty songs like "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" may have helped them sell 40+ million records worldwide, but they don't do much to build artistic credibility. Of course, if the members of Offspring are truly "punks," then they don't give two shits out of a rat's ass about artistic credibility (or record sales, for that matter). But I've always thought they were more "pop-metal" than "punk," and when they choose to introduce a bit of ska into the mix, they can start to sound a hell of a lot like SUGAR RAY.

All of this remains true on the Offspring's latest LP, RISE AND FALL, RAGE AND GRACE, which was released back in June. We'll work our way up to that, eventually, with next week's Part 2. For now, though, how 'bout a trip back to 1994, when the Offspring, Green Day, and (to a lesser extent) RANCID set about stealing some of grunge's thunder....


From the LP AMERICANA, 1998 >>>
MP3] [VID] "Why Don't You Get a Job?"

From the LP IXNAY ON THE HOMBRE, 1997 >>>
MP3] [VID] "Gone Away"

From the LP SMASH, 1994 >>>
MP3] [VID] "Come Out and Play (Keep 'Em Separated)"
MP3] [VID] "Gotta Get Away"
MP3] "What Happened to You?"

Tuesday, July 29


The '60s/Motown/Phil Spector/DUSTY SPRINGFIELD revivalist movement shows no sign of abating. To the list of THE PIPETTES, AMY WINEHOUSE, DUFFY, and ADELE, you may consider adding Australian singer KYLIE AULDIST. Entirely up to you....


MP3] "Community Service Announcement"

MP3] "No Use"

Monday, July 28


It was just this past September that I was telling anybody who would listen:

"L.A.-based EARLIMART have always been a bit too averse to verse-chorus-verse convention for me to ever feel overly cuddly and comfortable with them. That's probably just the way they wanted it."

I went on to point out that their 2007 release, MENTOR TORMENTOR, took them in a slightly more traditional direction (which pleased this musical traditionalist no end). The "band" is down to just AARON ESPINOZA and ARIANA MURRAY these days, and each continues to contribute songs and vocals to the now nine-year-old enterprise. Their latest album, HYMN AND HER, was released July 1.

From the LP HYMN AND HER, 2008 >>>
MP3] "Time for Yourself"
MP3] "For the Birds"

From the LP MENTOR TORMENTOR, 2007 >>>
MP3] "Nevermind the Phonecalls"
MP3] "Happy Alone"

Sunday, July 27



MP3] "It Ain't Me Babe" [1965]

MP3] "Guide for the Married Man" [1967]

MP3] "Elenore" [1968]

MP3] "Flyin' High" [1966]

MP3] "She'd Rather Be With Me" [1967]

MP3] "Surfer Dan" [1968]


While I was compiling my recent HALCION DAZE mix, I came across the song "Guide for the Married Man" by THE TURTLES. I don't really remember how I came across it (or why, for that matter). Maybe the title seemed to fit what that mix was starting to feel like for me -- something having to do with 1960s domesticity, behind-the-scenes debauchery, etc. The TV series "Mad Men" certainly played a part, as I was then in the process of watching the first season on DVD. Though I came to think the show is overrated (the writing, in particular, but also the acting of everyone other than John Slattery), I loved the look and feel of the thing. The overall vibe, I guess.

Anyway, before I get too far off track... I ultimately deemed the Turtles' tune unsuitable for the mix, but I still liked the song. Previous to that, I'd only really been familiar with a handful of the band's hits -- the great "Happy Together" first and foremost. A deeper investigation seemed in order. Here are the results of said investigation....

[MP3] "Happy Together" [1967]

MP3] "You Baby" [1966]

MP3] "She's My Girl" [1967]

MP3] "You Showed Me" [1968]

MP3] "Can I Get to Know You Better" [1966]

MP3] "Eve of Destruction" [1965]

Friday, July 25


[MP3] TRAVIS/"Sarah" [2008]

MP3] UH HUH HER/"Not a Love Song" [2008]

MP3] RON SEXSMITH/"One Last Round" [2008]

MP3] THE CLOUD ROOM/"24 Hr Heartbreak" [2007]

MP3] KIETHEVEZ/"Non Compos Mentis" [2008]

MP3] THE MAGNETIC FIELDS/"Meaningless" [1999]

Thursday, July 24


I have no idea whether London's NOAH AND THE WHALE took their name from the Noah Baumbach film "The Squid and the Whale," but I kind of hope they did. Because I like that film (and I seem to be liking fewer and fewer films, as the years go by). More importantly, for our purposes here, I like the band -- which has a laid-back, literary vibe that evokes BELLE AND SEBASTIAN and MOJAVE 3. Their debut LP, PEACEFUL, THE WORLD LAYS ME DOWN, will be released next month.

(Oh, wait a minute... there's a story in that Bible-book-thing about a guy named Noah, isn't there? And another with some other guy and a whale. Jonah, Noah, Moby Dick, MOBY GRAPE, MOBY... who can keep these people straight...?)


MP3] [VID] "5 Years Time"

MP3] "Give a Little Love"


I'm feeling love today, and you know I love to love you, baby. A little hot stuff seems to be what's needed to get this party started, so, without further ado, we undim all the lights for a bad girl who works hard for the money -- Ms. DONNA SUMMER (nee LaDonna Adrian Gaines).

Yes, that's right, the disco diva is still kickin' it at age 59 -- with a new album (CRAYONS) to boot. A little alarming, frankly, to hear La Donna singing tunes that sound like they were written for '90s-era boy bands, but the two below pass at least some modicum of muster....

[MP3] "The Queen is Back"

[MP3] "Be Myself Again"

Tuesday, July 22


After miles and miles of MELLENCAMP & American heartland highway, it's time to take a slow boat to Brazil. On second thought, screw "slow"; we need one of those sleek, "Miami Vice"-styled cigarette boats to rocket us to Rio. Time's a'waistin'.

CANSEI DE SER SEXY (aka CSS) offer us female-fronted electro-pop. Their new CD, DONKEY, dropped yesterday. You don't have to go to Rio to pick it up.


From the LP DONKEY, 2008 >>>
MP3] [VID] "Left Behind"
MP3] "Jager Yoga"

From the LP CANSEI DE SER SEXY, 2006 >>>
MP3] [VID] "Music is My Hot, Hot Sex"

Monday, July 21



From the LP LIFE, DEATH, LOVE & FREEDOM, 2008 >>>
MP3] "My Sweet Love"

From the LP FREEDOM'S ROAD, 2007 >>>
MP3] "Someday"

From the LP CUTTIN' HEADS, 2001 >>>
MP3] "Peaceful World" [w/INDIA.ARIE]

From the LP JOHN MELLENCAMP, 1998 >>>
MP3] "Eden is Burning"

From the LP MR. HAPPY GO LUCKY, 1996 >>>
MP3] "Just Another Day"

Sunday, July 20


In which the heretofore JOHNNY COUGAR/JOHN COUGAR/JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP finally arrives back at plain-ol'-man-o'-the-people-soundin' JOHN MELLENCAMP. Can't you just smell the authenticity? (That's the smell of Kokomo in the springtime. Or French Lick. Or... you know... Gary.)

From the LP DANCE NAKED, 1994 >>>
MP3] "Dance Naked"

From the LP HUMAN WHEELS, 1993 >>>
MP3] "Human Wheels"
MP3] "What If I Came Knocking"

From the LP WHENEVER WE WANTED, 1991 >>>
MP3] "Again Tonight"

From the LP BIG DADDY, 1989 >>>
MP3] "Jackie Brown"

From the LP THE LONESOME JUBILEE, 1987 >>>
MP3] "We Are the People"

Friday, July 18


90 degrees outside... 80 degrees inside... so there's really no call for a parka, coat, jacket, poncho, or any other variety of outerwear today. But I guess we'll make an exception for the Scottish band that calls itself PARKA (come to think of it, we already dealt with the band that calls itself MY MORNING JACKET a couple weeks ago).

Parka (the band) has an album out called ATTACK OF THE HUNDRED YARD HARDMAN, which sounds like the title of a gay porn video centering around American football locker-room/shower shenanigans -- tight ends becoming wide receivers, etc. The first song below is fairly standard, modern-day Britpop. The latter channels THE B-52's (who could probably provide a pretty fabulous soundtrack to a gay porn video centering around American football locker-room/shower shenanigans). (If Tom Brady is in it, I am so there....).


MP3] [VID] "Better Anyway"

MP3] "DJ in the Corner"


I mentioned MATTHEW SWEET in the last post, so now seems as good a time as any to preview a couple tracks from his upcoming album (SWEET SUNSHINE LIES; August 26).

Back in the day, everyone went over-the-moon-batshit-ga-ga over the song "Girlfriend" and its attendant, "buzzworthy" video. Me, I'm more of a 100% FUN/BLUE SKY ON MARS/IN REVERSE kind of guy. (And I consider anime to be one of the most annoying things ever conceived by man.)


MP3] "Feel Fear"

MP3] "Around You Now"

Thursday, July 17


Going into this post, I found myself wondering if anybody thought of the band YOUTH GROUP as the Australian COLDPLAY. Perhaps because their sound seems designed to appeal to the masses. Their gestures may be a bit less grand and blustery, but their edges are just as soft. No one was harmed in the making of this music; no one will be harmed listening to it. Rather reassuring, that.

Turns out, though, that Coldplay may not be the best reference point. DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE gets mentioned (pre-NARROW STAIRS, one presumes). One review cited BADLY DRAWN BOY. Another: MATTHEW SWEET. I agree that there's much "pop" in their pop-rock, and, in that regard, singer TOBY MARTIN has an absolutely ideal voice for carrying their message forth -- clean, pristine, yearning but never overreaching.

(P.S. Though I only stumbled upon it while checking YouTube for videos to today's selected songs, the skateboarding video footage accompanying "Forever Young" is uncommonly apt & engaging. This isn't eXtreme, X-Games-styled jumps, stunts, thrills & spills, mind you. Just slow, woozy '70s nostalgia that perfectly complements the music. And you needn't have been a kid in the 1970s -- like yours truly -- to find yourself a bit beguiled by it.]


From the LP THE NIGHT IS OURS, 2008 >>>
MP3] "One for Another"
MP3] "Babies in Your Dreams"

From the LP CASINO TWILIGHT DOGS, 2006 >>>
MP3] "Sorry"
MP3] "Dead Zoo"
VID] "Forever Young" [ALPHAVILLE cover]

From the LP SKELETON JAR, 2005 >>>
MP3] "Lillian Lies"
MP3] "Someone Else's Dream"

Wednesday, July 16


I don't have a lot of background information on Sweden's THE CONFUSIONS, so the music's going to have to do the talking here. They seem to be a band. With six (or so) members. From Sweden. Dark-edged indie-rock. Songs are rife with catchy elements yet refuse to unspool in staid, predictable ways. (First three songs below taken from their 2008 album, THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY.)


MP3] "Whatever Money Can Buy"

MP3] [VID] "The Logo"

VID] "Perfect Plan"


MP3] "All Dressed Up" [acoustic version] [2007]

VID] "The Pilot" [2002]


We're big fans of brother/sister duos around these parts. We've had Australia's ANGUS & JULIA STONE. Sweden's THE KNIFE. Downey, California's THE CARPENTERS. (Not to mention Detroit's leg-pulling/piss-taking WHITE STRIPES.)

Now, we have NYC's BLONDFIRE (formerly ASTAIRE). ERICA & BRUCE DRISCOLL were born in Grand Rapids, MI but spent a good chunk of their childhoods in Brazil. Perhaps not surprisingly, then, they cite ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM and ASTRUD GILBERTO as influences.

Overall, the Driscolls' smooth, cosmopolitan pop bears a resemblance to that purveyed by their fellow New Yorkers, IVY.


MP3] "Always the Last to Know"

MP3] "Pretty Young Thing"

Monday, July 14


At which time we reach the end of the road (or beginning of the road, as the case may be) i/r/t Mr. BEK DAVID CAMPBELL aka BECK HANSEN aka BECK. (For our purposes here, we will discreetly seek to ignore the fact that the man is a Scientologist. Jeepers creepers!)

From the LP SEA CHANGE, 2002 >>>
MP3] [VID] "Lost Cause"

From the LP MIDNITE VULTURES, 1999 >>>
MP3] "Pressure Zone"

From the LP MUTATIONS, 1998 >>>
MP3] "Dead Melodies"

From the LP ODELAY, 1996 >>>
MP3] [VID] "The New Pollution"

From the LP MELLOW GOLD, 1994 >>>
MP3] [VID] "Loser"