20070630

The Best of 2007 (so far)


Today is June 30th, just about as close to the midway point of 2007 as we're going to get. It almost scares me looking at what's been released and what's priming to be released because some amazing records aren't even going to crack the top 15 when it's all said and done.

My 10 Favorite Albums of 2007 (so far)

Just Missed: Lovedrug - Everything Starts Where it Ends, Page France - ...and the Family Telephone, Lymbyc Systym - Love Your Abuser, The Snake The Cross The Crown - Cotton Teeth.

10. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
9. Cloud Cult - The Meaning of 8
8. A Northern Chorus - The Millions Too Many
7. Paramore - Riot!
6. Dear and the Headlights - Small Steps, Heavy Hooves
5. Loney, Dear - Loney, Noir
4. Chris Merritt - Hello, Little Captain
3. The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
2. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
1. Field Music - Tones of Town

My 10 Favorite Songs of 2007 (so far):

Just missed: Modest Mouse - Dashboard, Beirut - Elephant Gun, Arcade Fire - Keep the Car Running, Des Ark - Lord of the Rings..., Georgie James - Need Your Needs.

10. Bill Coleman - Offer Up the Hope
9. Rooney - When Did Your Heart Go Missing? [mp3]
8. Softlightes - Heart Made of Sound
7. Cloud Cult - The Deaf Girl's Song
6. The Acorn - Spring Thaw
5. Chris Merritt - The Palace Flophouse [mp3]
4. The Shins - Australia
3. Loney, Dear - Hard Days 1,2,3,4 [mp3]
2. Field Music - In Context [mp3]
1. The National - Fake Empire [mp3]

Upcoming in 2007:
Spoon, The New Pornographers, Pinback, Iron & Wine, Mae, The Rocket Summer, Josh Ritter, Coheed & Cambria, Blitzen Trapper, and hundreds more.

I think the top 5 in both categories have legit shots to remain in the top 10 by December, but it'll be a free-for-all. Discoveries await around every corner. Love music.

20070629

J. Tillman


J. (Josh) Tillman has one of the most yearning and beautiful sounds on the planet. I've written about him here and here before, but he's never had his own feature. His metered strum, full of treble and repetition, fills out chords that seem to bake in the heat of the sun. The chords seem broken and battered, plodding ever onward. Tillman's voice, that of a weary traveler, guitar on his back, is covered in dust and sweat. It'll singe your ears in the quiet of the night and you'll dream of walking with him, just to listen to what he plays next.

Listen:
High Enough to Raise
[from The Territory|myspace]
When I Light Your Darkened Door
[from Cancer and Delirium|buy]

*Best of '07 Lists (so far) out tomorrow. Same bat time, same bat channel.

20070628

The New Stuff


We all live for the new stuff. The highly anticipated releases from bands in your all-time top 20. It starts to feel like it's been forever since the last one, and in some cases it has been. In the next 6-8 months, there's something coming out for everyone. For me, the highlights are Iron & Wine, Pinback, Mae, The Rocket Summer, Radiohead (Jan/Feb '08), Josh Ritter, and The New Pornographers. And probably numerous others I'm not even aware of. Margot and the Nuclear So and So's? Wesafari? Aloha? Ghosts & Liars? Say Anything? In combination to the potent attack of new music from the first half of '07, I'd say we're in for a hell of a year.

Here are two of the things I've upturned recently that get my mouth watering.

Matt Pond PA
If You Live
[from If You Want Blood EP|buy]


Iron & Wine
Carousel via the Hypemachine (click "listen" next to the top song.) incredible.
Resurrection Fern @ ElvisEnthusiastsUnite
[from The Shepherd's Dog (out 9.25)|info]

*p.s. Somehow, beyond explanation, I (or you, reader) ran through almost 10gb of bandwidth in the last 24 hours, rendering all the hosted songs useless. I'm going to spend a few mins switching the last few posts to zshare. I'm not mad, you little rascals.

20070626

Armchair Apocrypha: Andrew Bird


I've slept on Andrew Bird's amazing Armchair Apocrypha for over three months now. Thankfully, it popped up on my playlist again and I began digging for hidden treasure. After the first 15 seconds of "Imitosis", it was like hearing a big giant black X being drawn. In a forest. By an Owl. The treasure kept coming, too. Plucking violins, glockenspiel, tremolo-ed guitars, brush-rubbed snare drums, and plaintive piano. Bird's voice finds a sweet spot somewhere between Jeff Buckley's quivering coo and Matt Pond's everyman velvet. It is consistent and beautifully written and could easily end up in my top albums for the entire year. It may catch you on the very first listen. But if it doesn't, listen for that X, drawn by that owl, and start digging.

"i dreamed you were a cosmonaut
of the space between our chairs
and i was a cartographer
of the tangles in your hair"
a.bird -armchairs

Listen:
Imitosis
Placticities
[from Armchair Apocrypha|buy]

*links fixed

20070625

Listening Assignments 6.25.07


1. Rooney - When Did Your Heart Go Missing - This hook is stickier than flypaper and that's really all I care about. It's in the same vein as Modest Mouse's "Dashboard", but a little more '80s influence. Golly gee, this is hot. [from Calling the World (out 7.17)|info (or buy it on itunes)]

2. Modern Dance - The Feeling - Oh Modern Dance, why did you have to squander such promise? This was my introduction to the Norfolk band, defunct for at least two years now. It's just overwhelmingly pleasant. [not from anything. but here's their purevolume]

3. The Impossible Shapes - Florida Silver Springs - For some reason, the guitars really remind me of the Doobie Bros. "Listen to the Music", one of the planet's quintessential summer anthems. So there's that. Afterwards, though, it's a hypnotizing ditty about Florida. If that doesn't scream summer, you're crazy. [from Tum|buy]

4. Erlend Oye - No Train to Stockholm - My favorite half of Kings of Convenience and the only half of Whitest Boy Alive, Erlend has an angelic voice and a masterful acoustic strum. [from Total Lee! the Songs of Lee Hazlewood|buy]

*links fixed

20070624

A Random Sunday Links Roundup


I'm aware that I just blogged about Ms. Clarkson, but there are some random things you should see/hear today.

1. This beautifully written article on "overrated" bands. Aka The Beatles, U2, Nirvana. Struck a nerve yet?

2. Chime.TV - seamless web design video interface. Use the main categories easily or make your own playlist/channels to send your friends. It compiles video from all the major outlets (youtube, google video, metacafe, etc) and puts it in a quick-loading, pretty format. Dummy-proof as far as I can tell.

3. You can pre-order the upcoming Rocket Summer LP (out July 17th) for only $10. And you get an autographed poster for free. Sounds like a no-brainer.

4. The amazing Wally De Backer (aka Gotye) was a guest this week on Shifted Sound's podcast. He gets interviewed and spins some of his music (both Gotye and The Basics) as well as that of some of his recommended Australian artists. You can download in mp3 or subscribe for free at ShiftedSound.

Kelly: Less Cowbell


Kelly Clarkson has a fever. She has a fever and the only cure is not more cowbell. Her cure is apparently having as many one-word names of songs on her new album as possible (7 of 13). In fact, the titles of the 13 songs total only 25 words. This puts her in familiar company with Creed's My Own Prison (5 of 10), though nowhere near the (I'm sure) record that Pearl Jam set with Ten (10 of 11). Coincidence? I hope so.

In continuing with the song titles trend, I feel you should know that two of the best tracks on My December are ambiguously named "Maybe" and "Yeah."

It's no secret that Kelly's last record was every indie critic's guilty pleasure in addition to winning two Grammy awards. This album, however, is off the charts with inconsistency. I get the impression that My December has no idea what it wants to be. Does it want to be an angsty rock record that sounds like Evanescence? Or maybe it'd prefer to be the late '80s dance-rock Gwen Stefani used to pay her bills with. Perhaps it enjoys the watered-down balladry of at least three of these songs. Lyrically there is zero focus, just circles drawn around her usual subjects (independence, perseverance, just shoot me).

There are a few highlights, thankfully. "Yeah" has some great horn arrangements and melody and I hope, for her sake, it gets released as a single. The lengthy, winding closer "Irvine" sets a very nice flowing mood. It's not a single, obviously, but a few more focused and binding songs like this might have saved the album. So it's a wash. The third time is apparently not a charm for Kelly Clarkson.

Listen:
Yeah
Be Still
[from My December (out 6.26.07)|buy]

20070623

Book 'Em Joan


Listening to Joan as Police Woman will probably make you feel dirtygood. It might make your hips sway, you might close your eyes, fall asleep, possibly experience nocturnal emissions. After being in The Dambuilders, Antony and the Johnsons, and Rufus Wainwright's band, JaPW is Joan Waller's foray into more of a solo project with a band and it just sweats with promise. "The Ride" shows her smooth side with a deliciously sad twist that only gets better over the course of the song. "Save Me" is an incredibly sexy Buckley-esque number, especially poignant considering that they were lovers. Her velvety voice easily recalls a blend of Aimee Mann and Leslie Feist. Mmmmm.

"I've called it Punk Rock R&B but American Soul Music is better, I feel like my music is the melding of the two styles I love most - Soul, that whole encompassing Al Green, Nina Simone and Isaac Hayes, and then all the stuff that came from Punk like The Smiths, the Grifters and Siouxsie Sioux..." - Joan Waller

Listen:
Save Me
The Ride
[from Real Life|buy]

20070621

Wheat and a One Inch Square


The new Wheat album I prophesied finally dropped on May 22nd, but I heard nary a thing about it until last week when I found a promo copy in the used section of Relative Theory Records. I haven't posted about it until now because, honestly, I wasn't as happy about it as I wanted to be the first time through. The second listen really came on strong as I realized its merit, a vibe and result very different from Per Second, Per Second...Every Second, a record the band hated for its polish and major-label pop direction. To be frank, it upset me when I read about that debacle because I thought they sold all the fans who really enjoyed that album short (including myself). I always wondered if their response had been different if the album had actually sold a bunch of copies. I mean, it's not like the company forced them to write those beautifully developed but tastefully restrained pop songs in the first place.

The record's title (everyday i said a prayer for kathy and made a one inch square) is "about remembering through a ritual. We lose things we love, sometimes, in life. People turn corners and things change... Then we decide to make a square, simply to remember - or hope, maybe."

It is about the remembering. It's a retreat to things familiar to the heart. It's surely not as easily accessible as Per Second..., but with some searching, yields a few songs I would classify as great. Songs that, in just the right light, might start to explain what the band was talking about in wanting to remember what Wheat was all about back before all the pop and drama. Sure, there's still a pop element - there always was - but these tracks burn more, searching your edges for cracks to seep into. This record is flawed, just like you and me, just like the band, just like it should be.

Listen:
What You Got
Round In the Corners
[from everyday i said a prayer for kathy and made a one-inch square|buy]

20070620

Verbosity, Film Studies, Avant-Garde Jazz


I'm feeling scattered today, so scattered is what you'll get. Things will be numbered, however, as per usual in times like these.

1. It's possibly too late to save you from this fate, but do NOT go see Hostel II with any expectations of it being a gore-filled awesome-fest. This movie resides between two coveted places: "So good it's good" and "so bad it's good." It lives in the avoid-at-all-costs county of "so bad it's bad." What's worse, it really had some potentially interesting plot lines (more background into the business side of the Hostel and a very good character study on two of the men who have paid money to torture two particular people) and it squanders them. It's not scary, it's not shocking, you don't even see people being killed, the camera will cut away. And just when the movie seems to be picking up steam, it literally ends and "wraps up" in less than 5 minutes and the credits roll. Seriously, don't waste your time.

2. Now that you think I'm a blood obsessed freak, I'll confirm those notions by telling you to see Bug. If you're a fan of brilliant writing/dialogue, amazing acting, and psychological tension, this is the movie for you. All the tension is created by you, the viewer. The performances in the two lead roles are incredible. The build-up is immaculately handled and explodes suddenly with shocking resonance. And because (or despite) these things, it'll make 1/20th the amount Hostel II will make. It's a damn shame.

3. And my final thoughts on movies will be this: It's halfway through 2007 and I've gotta say that Hot Fuzz might be the best one I've seen so far. Outrageously funny, superbly acted, masterfully shot and edited. I'm hoping late-summer/fall will hold a lot of great movies because thus far it's been slim pickins. Any arguments? Leave them in the comments.

4. Upcoming on linesthroughlines:
mixes:
The Hearbreak List (lost love mix)
Oh, It is Love (new love mix)
the Covers Project v1 and v2.

other fun things:
the top 15 albums of 2007 (so far)
the top 20 songs of 2007 (so far)

5. And, as promised, the avant-garde jazz. A new track from indiejazzsters The Bad Plus. Courtesy of the always awesome Paste Sampler.

Listen:
The Bad Plus - 1980 World Champion [from Paste Sampler 32]

20070619

Riot!


We've come full circle. Back on August 29th of 2006, Paramore became only the second singular act to get coverage on linesthroughlines. And now the blog has been around long enough to cover a band twice. Anyway, I've always struggled with wanting to classify Paramore as a guilty pleasure, but screw it. I really just don't feel guilty about it. Now 18, Haley Williams' voice is downright unfair to other female rock singers. The guitar riffs have incredible weight, the melodies soar and dive with inspiring results. This album is infinitely more complete than their previous effort. It gets me pumped. OK, maybe I am starting to feel a little guilty. Screw it.

Listen:
That's What You Get
Misery Business
[from Riot!|buy]

20070618

Listening Assignments 6.18.07


1. The Spill Canvas - Staplegunned - Yes, this originally came out in '05, but apparently it's being re-released again on their new EP. Not that I'm complaining. As far as I'm concerned, the chorus is unstoppable and this should have been all over the radio. Period. [from Denial Feels So Good|buy]

2. Magnet - The Day We Left Town - This Norwegian sensation just released his third full-length, but you can't buy it here in the US yet and iTunes is being super lame. In response, you get a choice track from his '04 album On Your Side. Listening to Magnet is like living a dream, the best dream you can think of. A beautiful blend of samples, electronics, strings, and heart. [from On Your Side|buy]

3. Low Vs. Diamond - This is Your Life - It's trendy to put diamonds in your name (My Brightest Diamond, Lavender Diamond) if you're an indie band. (-1) Ditto for "Vs." (Bear Vs. Shark, Boys Vs. Girls, any mashup out there) (-2). And there's already another band named Low (-3). Despite starting at -3, there's hope for Low Vs. Diamond. They ooze Lovedrug/Snow Patrol/Arcade Fire (+3). And they're really good. (+10). [from Life After Love EP|buy]

4. Paul Carrack - No Easy Way Out - This man is the voice/songwriter behind some of my favorite songs of all time. "Tempted", "Silent Running", "Coffee In Bed", "Living Years", etc, etc. This could pretty easily be my favorite singer ever. Definitely top 5. The melody of this song rules. [from Blue Views|buy]

20070616

Circa Survival


I'll start out by saying I've been an Anthony Green fan since the very first time I heard the Saosin Translating the Name EP through a friend of theirs. His voice is signature, a soaring wail that cuts through the accompanying music like a blade. He left Saosin (who replaced him with a guy that sounds almost exactly the same, but not quite as good) to form Circa Survive, who ultimately developed into a much better band. Their new record just dropped and I've been trying to figure out if/how much I like it. There are definitely some standouts with fantastic dynamic elements (the riff to open "Living Together" rules, as does the melody). In fact, the first 5 tracks are consistently kick-you-in-the-face awesome, but after that I feel it takes a step back. The melodies get predictable, the guitar riffs less cutting, the songs themselves too similar. Anthony can definitely get in a groove where all his melody choices sound the same, to the band's detriment. Unfortunately, if this were a 9-10 song LP, it'd be a lot better. As it stands, at 12 songs, On Letting Go loses momentum in a wash of copycat songs in the latter stages. There are some moments of greatness scattered through the end, but too buried to save the entire second half of the album. All that being said, I'd still buy it for the first 5 songs. Which I did. So there.

Listen:
Living Together
The Greatest Lie
[from On Letting Go|buy]

20070615

Dead Heart Bloom


I got two copies of Dead Heart Bloom's Chelsea Diaries in the mail the other day, a surprise because it's literally been two months since I was asked if I wanted to have the album sent to me. It's definitely a strong album, awash in acoustic guitars and dual-harmonies. My issue is this: holy crap it sounds like a Beatles/Dylan covers record. I can think of plenty of worse musicians/bands to emulate, but this does almost border on creepy. It's very well done, the songs are well-crafted. It could pass easily as a long-lost Beatles b-sides collection. If this at all interests you, Boris Skalsky (the man behind the curtain) is giving away this and his first album for free on his website. Or you can buy it for a measly $5. Because love isn't love 'til you give it away.

Listen:
Who Will You Love
Wish it Well
[from Chelsea Diaries|buy or download for free]

20070614

Paste Sampler 33 (5th Anniversary)


The 5th Anniversary Issue of Paste Magazine was delivered to my mailbox two days ago, a much-belated birthday gift from my good friend Amanda (my birthday was 4/22!). I'm thrilled, obviously, but especially so because I can't think of a better first issue to receive. It's got a beautiful cover (which is too big to scan and you can't even find online yet), some really interesting insights on the roots of the mag, and the sampler CD that comes with it every month has some really strong stuff on it. Paste is definitely one of the more unpretentious, aesthetically pleasing, and interesting music magazines out there.

Listen:
Jason Isbell - Chicago Promenade - a highly pleasant blend of The Kamikaze Hearts and The Velvet Teen-like alt-country sounds with a more polished edge.
Dignan - They're Outnumbered - really really reminds me of Some By Sea. Which is totally awesome.
Ari Hest - Bird Never Flies (live @ Atlanta Film Festival After Party) - This guy's falsetto, when he tastefully uses it, is hard to top.

Should be on shelves soon. Or you could just [subscribe] and get a free issue.

20070613

Ice Cold Milosh


Want to hear something cool and Canadian? Milosh is an aural massage, a musical spa treatment. Exfoliation and renewal. He is aftershave, an ice bath, a cucumber. Milosh is the other side of the pillow.

Listen:
Couldn't Sleep
You Fill Me
[from Meme|buy]

20070612

Skye's the Limit


Ha! Sorry, I'm still laughing at the ridiculous title of this post. Ok I'm better now. If you cut open Skye Zentz, I'd put money on her bleeding a tune. In not much over a year, she's picked up a ukulele, become sponsored by Lanikai, and recorded Legitimate Bohemia, her very first real album. It's a wandering folk anthem, with all the trimmings. Generous helpings of ukulele, acoustic guitar, and Skye's songbird voice abound, but upright bass, lap steel, glockenspiel, cello, concertina and tons of random percussion leave their subtle mark on the album. It's a breezy, summery breath of air, it whispers through your hair. It's got heart to spare.

Listen:
Persephone
Ode to an Absent Self
[from Legitimate Bohemia|info]

20070611

Listening Assignments 6.11.07


1. Diamond Nights - Saturday Fantastic - This is how I always wanted Jet to sound, plenty of AC/DC, insane amounts of testosterone. And some sass thrown in for good measure [from Once We Were Diamonds EP|buy]

2. Map of Africa - Bone - Summer sweat, jungle vines, snakes, gnats, helicopter fly-bys, water buffaloes, gazelles, soundtracks, awesome. (thanks gvsb!) [from s/t|buy]

3. Zach Condon - Venice - The brain behind Beirut added this track to the Believer 2007 sampler under his own name. It's very spacy, with delayed electronic elements, and concludes with his haunting vocals. [from The Believer June/July Music Issue|buy]

4. Peter Himmelman - Beneath the Damage and the Dust - This song was my go-to sad/beautiful song for many years. Way before the internet and indie music opened its avenues, I had my dad to show me music like this. Oh yeah, and he's Bob Dylan's son-in-law. Peter, not my dad. [from Flown this Acid World|buy]

20070610

World Party - Bang!


Tracks 1-3 of World Party's 1993 album Bang! make up one of my favorite opening sequences in music. I was 11 when it came out, my dad and I saw them in Portland and I fell asleep during Grant Lee Buffalo. We were in the VIP balcony (complete with couch) and I was so tired, I declined the chance to go meet the band. Oh, how I wish I possessed the stamina of today back in those glorious days. Anyway, the Party had some great tunes ("Ship of Fools" is probably in my all-time top 50), and were a classic Brit-pop band. "Band" is used loosely because while they toured, the records were mostly the work of Karl Wallinger. The end product was part-Replacements, part-Crowded House, part-NIN ("Give it All Away"). This is just one of those records that sticks with me even today. It's the perfect start to a Sunday such as this.

Listen:
Kingdom Come
Is It Like Today?
[from Bang!|buy]

20070609

A Summer Hymn


Summer Hymns' album Backward Masks has been out since last November, but it deserves to be played now and this weekend. Today, I'm thinking this is the musical personification of the whole pleasant side of the spectrum of summer. The iced-tea, the grass blowing in the wind, the reflection of the sun on the waves, the cool feeling of immersion and envelopment underwater. It's not sticky, this music is not about the sweat and the sand in your crevices, it's about air-conditioning, shade trees and parasols. Big Floppy hats and kite flying. All of these things are summer hymns.

Listen:
Start Swimming
Darkness Comes
[from Backward Masks|buy]

20070607

Paolo's New Shoes


Oh Paolo, you smooth operator, you. Just look in the mirror, do you not swoon? You just turned 20, you have the swagger and vocal chops of a 30 year old, you're an international sensation. You've got the soul to hang with Ray LaMontagne ("Last Request"), the smoothness of Jack Johnson ("New Shoes"), and you could shake hips with Kings of Leon ("Jenny Don't Be Hasty"). You've opened for the Rolling Stones, your record was produced by Ken Nelson (Coldplay), you're on Atlantic Records, and America has no idea what it's about to get into. I know I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but Paolo Nutini, you're my current music crush. Don't get too comfortable, I'm sure you'll get replaced in time, but for now you've got me doe-eared and weak-kneed. Deal with it.

Listen:
Jenny Don't Be Hasty
Last Request
[from These Streets|buy]

20070606

Flight of the Conchords


The occasion for me to write about the Flight of the Conchords ("New Zealand's fourth most popular folk-parody duo") is long overdue. I will remedy this henceforth if you'd just give me the chance. Musical comedy is certainly not dead with amazing performers like Zach Galifianakis and Demetri Martin bringing the yukyuks over a tune. If anything, touring small-time comedians with guitars have made it more of a joke in the un-funny, self-parodying way. The Conchords, however, are not entirely unlike a folk-based Tenacious D. Two hilarious minds bouncing ideas back and forth, two guitars playing playfully interwoven parts, two deadpan faces that sell the idea with hilarious results. Just watch a video.



Watch the entire first episode of the 12-part HBO special series!

Listen:
Hiphopopotumus vs. The Rhymenoceros

20070605

Minus the Bear


Musically, Seattle's Minus the Bear is one of my favorite bands out there. It's a constantly changing and driving beat with intensely melodic moments. Lots of hammer-ons-and-offs on the guitars, time changes, various droning electronic elements, that kind of thing. In my opinion, they are one of the most consistent indie rock bands playing today, their signature sound only maturing, not changing with the seasons. These two tracks are from their upcoming record, due in August. Should be tremendous. Pre-order available soon...

Listen:
Ice Monster
White Mystery
[from Planet of Ice (out 8.21)|info]

20070604

Listening Assignments 6.4.07


1. Fields - Song for the Fields - The fast-strummed acoustic makes this sound like it belongs on a modern Cowboy film montage. Shooting bad-guys, galloping full-speed, rearing the horse up on its hind legs, kissing the damsel in a bonnet. Other than that, they sound kind of like Doves. [from Everything Last Winter|buy]

2. Julian Velard - Musta Been Somebody Else - This is live, which speaks to how awesome it was to see him perform last week. Just a tight jazzy number with a transcendent voice. [from Nitetime|buy]

3. Surrounded - Safe Tomorrow Sun - The bombastic open-hi-hat behind it all reminds me of Coldplay, but the swirling synths don't. It smacks of a much-subdued Angie Aparo, more on the chill side than the soaring vocals side. This is definitely a Sunday/Monday song. [from The Nautilus Years (out 6.5)|info]

4. Taxi Taxi - X Marks the Spot - The music video for this should take place on those people movers in the airport, but through the city. The pace of the drums is perfect for walking, the mood of the song is pleasant and reflective, and it's definitely ideal for looping over and over. Hypnotizing. [from Maps & Legends (out 6.12)|preview]

20070603

Sunday Newness


So I accidentally deleted my entire iTunes playlist of "pending blog music" that I would normally pilfer on a lazy Sunday such as this one. Therefore, you'll get a healthy dose of much-anticipated new music. Sound like a fair trade-off?

Listen:

The New Pornographers - My Right Versus Yours
The Pornographers' "Use It" was one of my top 5 songs of 2006 and remains to this day, so this upcoming record from the Canadian supergroup carries much intrigue. I've never fully bought into their style, as much as I've wanted to. This song is a great first step to winning me over for good. [from Challengers (out 8.14)|buy a poster and get the CD free]

Emily Haines - Rowboat
Finally, she wrote the song I wanted all of Knives Don't Have Your Back to be. She has the voice of an angel and the piano skillz to be incredible, but that album played out very choppily for me. This track from her upcoming solo EP is perfect with muted horns and a fantastic melody. [from What is Free to a Good Home? (out 7.24)|info]

Sufjan Stevens - In the Words of the Governor
I remember reading a Pitchfork interview with Sufjan at least a year ago to that really fascinated me. He was talking about how he had gotten tired of hearing his voice and banjo and clarinet and all the other things that have now become the "signature" sound for Sufjan Stevens. How on his next project, he might intentionally destroy the melody and do something really noisy. Here it is. You very well may love it, but you'd better abandon your expectations at the door. [from The 2007 Believer Music Issue CD|buy]

20070602

The Fragile Army


At their best, the Polyphonic Spree will make you feel like donning a robe and singing and dancing in the streets. Perhaps it's a subliminal instinct triggered by happy choir vocals after growing up in church, or maybe it's just a basic connection to the oft-forgotten joy that exists within you, but the result is certain. With the June release of their third full-length album The Fragile Army, the Spree will be dropping their cultish robes in favor of a smart black army uniform, a move that might actually expand the reach of their audience. I know of a few people that write the Spree off because of the cult-like appearance, a move I think is both a mistake and not-so-uncommon. This record is epic and triumphant, with trumpets and violins, angels on shoulders, sunbeams through clouds, lens flares, dandelions, and love. Soak it in like summer.

Listen:
Running Away
The Championship
[from The Fragile Army(out 6.19)|[pre-order]