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Saturday, June 12th, 2010 01:57 am
Handsome Furs - I'm Confused cover art

Handsome Furs is a synth punk indie rock band formed in 2007 and based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. [ref]

I got this single from Amazon on a Sub Pop Sampler last year. It was free, but I really quite like it. It's got a retro feel to it that takes me back to the 80s in a good way, while not leaving behind the evolution music has taken since then. And I like the chorus.

The video for it is disturbing, but good. You can watch it on Vimeo or YouTube, or embedded here:

Read more... )

Freaky, no? But in that quirky Euro-Canadian way that just really appeals to me. I haven't checked out the rest of their music yet, but I think this song and video is a good introduction to them.

Buy:
Amazon [mp3] or [Face Control full album]
iTunes

Vital Links:
Official Site
MySpace
Monday, May 31st, 2010 09:49 pm
So. Meet Battleme.


(Pictured: Blurry dude on the diagonal.)


They sing one of my favourite songs, a lovely, mellow little track called Burn This Town. Chances are that you haven't heard of them. They're on an indie label called Bad Mouth Records, but they don't have a debut album out yet. That should come later this spring and should be between 9-12 songs.

This is Battleme in their own words:

Battleme is the lost noise project of Matt D from Lions (Austin, TX). It surrounds itself with heroes and losers.

-Source


Burn This Town was featured in an episode of Sons of Anarchy, and can be found on the Sons of Anarchy: Shelter EP (i.e., the EP soundtrack for season 2).



I hope to hear more from them because Matt D's other band, Lions, is one of the "house bands" for the show, since SOA primarily uses cover versions of famous songs to keep costs down. I love hearing awesome songs in TV shows or movies. I'm not going to lie - it gives me a little thrill.

The band has an interesting sound. While it's not exactly groundbreaking, there's definitely enough room on my iPod for it.

Lyrics )







Links:

- ReverbNation
- Facebook
- MySpace
Saturday, May 22nd, 2010 04:58 pm
These two dorks are Mark Hoppus and Pete Wentz and they're fucking awesome.



So these two guys are the bassists in their bands (Blink-182 & Fall Out Boy respectively), amongst other things. And they decided to make some pretty music together for the Almost Alice not!soundtrack.

Listen to "In Transit" on Grooveshark.
Or here )


Looking at the lyrics I'm going to guess these were mostly written by Pete. Which is awesome, because I love the way he has with words. And these words are a great example of that. You can feel the pain and longing in the words.

Lyrics )

And match that up with the hauntingly beautiful music and the way Mark sings the song? Absolute perfection. It has just the proper feel for a song about Alice, but at the same time able to stand independent of that. Which I think is important.

I admit that I didn't out and out love it at the very first listen. But, on the second listen, once I sat still and really paid attention it just grabbed me by the gut. Gave me that awful/wonderful feeling of need/want and loneliness. It has this feeling of contraction/expansion, pulling in close and then flying outward across the distance. And for all that the loneliness and want permeate the song, there's something to it that doesn't feel like all hope is lost.


Mark and Pete have mentioned that they may be doing other things with each other musically in the future. I sincerely hope they do, because they really seem to mesh well.

Links:
Mark: blog, twitter
Pete: blog, twitter
AmazonMP3: In Transit
iTunes: In Transit (as is often the case, iTunes is more costly than Amazon)

PS: If you feel inclined to look at the rest of the Almost Alice not!soundtrack, I can very enthusiastically recommend Welcome to Mystery by The Plain White T's and The Lobster Quadrille by Franz Ferdinand
Saturday, May 15th, 2010 03:30 pm


So, last week I mentioned that on occasion, iTunes Canada actually does give us a fucking awesome song for free. This is one of those times.

Sam Sparro is an Australian singer-songwriter born in 1982. He's best known for this song - Black & Gold. His self-titled album came out in June 2008. Of the 13 songs, Black & Gold (Marcussen Album Version) is the strongest (and, unfortunately, the only song worth keeping, IMHO). His work ranges from R&B to funk to electronica, to classic Prince to Scissor Sisters, to everything in between. If that sounds like it's your cup of tea, then he's definitely an act worth checking out.

Back to Black & Gold, though. This song has proven to be extremely popular, which was a huge surprise to me because I haven't heard it anywhere. Apparently it's been used in soundtracks, commercials, tv promos, and video games. You'd think I'd at least have heard about that, but apparently not. It's entirely possible that I live under a rock.

There's been a few cover versions of this song (most notably Adele, Ellie Goulding, Alphabeat, and Katy Perry) but like usual, the original is always best. There's something to be said for Sam Sparro's voice and the way he sings the lyrics. Also, a bad cover version of any song is a sin that should banish you to the depths of hell.*

*Okay, okay, we'll reserve that solely for butchers ofHallelujah. DNW anyone other than Jeff Buckley, kthnx.

Here, have a streaming file from Grooveshark:



The song has a video, but Sam's record label, Island Records (UK), has had embedding disabled at YouTube. It's so camp and I laughed, but everyone needs a little camp in their day now and then. Click here to see it. It's boys in tuxedos and top hats. Carrying walking sticks and feeling up a limo. No, I'm not just saying that. There's also a fast food drink cup but that might be for a rousing game of One of these things is not like the other....

Links:
- Facebook
- MySpace
- Twitter
Saturday, May 8th, 2010 11:58 am
I'm sure we've all noticed by now that the iTunes free track of the week is usually a hot, steaming pile of crap. When it's not the place where shitty music goes to die, it can occasionally be decent. Now and then, someone at iTunes Canada slacks off and actually lets a really, really awesome track slip through.

This isn't one of those tracks, but it is how I found this band - Said the Whale.



[Pictured: Said the Whale. Not pictured: actual whales.]


In mid-October 2009, the free track of the week was the band's The Gift of a Black Heart. I downloaded it like I always do and I was pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, I have musical ADD and forgot about them fairly quickly. Every now and then I'd 'rediscover' them on shuffle, but it wasn't until Genius recommended their 2-track The Magician EP two weeks ago that they became a band I really, really wanted to learn more about. I guess it's kind of funny that it was the single B-side that I went so crazy over. Carmelo (The Magician) is a good song, but the real gem is Love is Art / Sleep Through Fire. The lyrics are pretty and the melody is sweet and flows very nicely. It doesn't necessarily sound like eight other songs I could name, which often happens when you listen to a lot of a certain genre.

Said The Whale formed in 2007 as a collaboration between songwriters Ben Worcester and Tyler Bancroft. The pair’s debut EP, Taking Abalonia, featured sunny west coast indie pop, with breezy harmonies, shimmering guitars, and lyrical tributes to their home city of Vancouver.* In 2008, the album was rereleased as Howe Sounds/Talking Abalonia, featuring seven additional tracks that stretched the band’s stylistic palate to include bubblegum folk (”The Light Is You”), thundering hard rock (”Last Tree Standing”) and gentle ukulele ballads (”The Real of It”). After several personnel changes, the group settled upon a five-piece lineup that includes bassist Peter Carruthers, drummer Spencer Schoening, and keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown. The quintet embarked upon a rigorous touring schedule, crossing Canada numerous times and landing high profile gigs at V-Fest 2008 in Calgary and the nationally televised Canada Day celebration on Parliament Hill.

-Source



[*Sorry, I was just excited for a second there.]


Here's a clip from a live version of this song. I couldn't find a full, streaming version of the studio track, which is one of the downsides to unsigned bands.





Love is Art / Sleep Through Fire can be purchased through iTunes for $0.99, or as part of The Magician EP for $1.98.


So, in conclusion:



[Pictured: Said the Whale. Also pictured: cutie in white shoes.]


Links:
- Official Site
- Facebook
- Myspace
- Twitter
- PureVolume
- LastFM [with videos]
Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 04:39 pm
Stylo by Gorillaz cover art


There's a really nice groove to this song that just pulls you in and transports you to this other reality. Somewhere chill and yet alien. The lyrics are a good mix of repetition and narrative. The different voices singing really adds some dimensionality to the song. And the music is this interesting mixture of retro and futuristic. Really well done.

The only radio-type thing I listen to is Music Choice. The Alternative Channel starting playing the hell out of Stylo and I was quickly hooked. The comic characters in the artwork confused me at first, since I had never heard of the band prior to this. But I looked them up, and it's actually kind of interesting:


Gorillaz (which originally was to be called Gorilla) is a British virtual band formed in 1998 by a collaboration between Damon Albarn of Britpop band Blur and Jamie Hewlett, co-creator of the comic book Tank Girl. They had the idea to create the band while watching MTV in their London flat.

The band is comprised of four fictional band members: 2-D (vocals, keyboard), Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar, vocals) and Russel Hobbs (drums). These characters only appear in animated form and are not alter-egos of real people, as is often mistakenly assumed.

There is an extensive fictional back-story behind these band members, written by Albarn and Hewlett, which is described in the albums produced by the band as well as several videos and their autobiographical book Rise Of The Ogre. Damon Albarn is the only permanent musical contributor to the band, which is a collaboration between various musicians. Their style is broad, with a large number of alternative influences including rock, hip-hop and electronica.

-source


You can pay $1.29 for Stylo on iTunes or you can buy Stylo on AmazonMP3 for only $0.99 (assuming your country has access).

I did give the whole album a few listens, but Stylo was the only song that really fit me. That happens from time to time with a band/album. It's not that the other songs are bad, it's that my tastes and the band's only intersect on one song. That's why we're doing these Single Recommendations.

Links:
Official Site
MySpace
Lyrics for Stylo
Stylo Music Video on YouTube
Stylo Music Video on Vimeo
(PS: the video is SO FUCKING COOL!)