A Hi-Fi Heart Xmas, Day Four


Hem - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Leona Naess - Christmas
The Pipettes - White Christmas
The Joseph & Mary Chain - Twelve Days of Christmas
The Free Design - Close Your Mouth (It's Christmas)
Feist - Lo, How A Rose E're Blooming
Mindy Smith - What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?
Ron Sexsmith - Maybe This Christmas
Daniel Ellsworth - It's Christmas, I Love You
The Format - Holly Jolly Christmas

Alternatively, you can download all songs in one handy dandy zip file!


This site has 314 versions of possibly the best modern day Christmas song, "Last Christmas".

Sadly, this will be my last Christmas mix. I was hoping to have time to make five, but with all the last minute shopping & wrapping etc, I did not. So... Merry Christmas, y'all! And Happy New Year!

A Hi-Fi Heart Xmas, Day Three


Cocoon - Christmas Song
Rosie Thomas - Christmas Time Is Here
The Be Good Tanyas - Rudy
The Young Republic - Merry Christmas Again...
Matt Pond PA - Holiday Road
Oh Susanna - Go Tell It On The Mountain
Firefox AK & Tiger Lou - Christmas Eve
Kyle Andrews - Under the Mistletoe
Louis XIV - This Christmas
All My Friends - No One Should Be Sad at Christmas Time

Alternatively, you can download all songs in one handy dandy zip file!


It's Hard to Find a Friend has an incredible Christmas album titled "Peace on Earth". It's just $7 and all the proceeds go to Toys For Tots.

A Hi-Fi Heart Xmas, Day Two


Math & Physics Club - A Marshmallow World
The Weepies - All That I Want
Chris Garneau - Christmas Song
Pas/Cal - I Want To Take You Out In Your Holiday Sweater
Hello Saferide - Ipod Xmas
Over The Rhine - Snowed In With You
A Fine Frenzy - Let It Snow
Rufus Wainwright - Spotlight on Christmas
Lylas - Swing Low, Sweet Mistletoe
My Morning Jacket - Xmas Time Is Here Again

Alternatively, you can download all songs in one handy dandy zip file!


Eardrums has the absolute MOST indie Christmas songs! Check it out!

A Hi-Fi Heart Xmas, Day One

Each day leading up to Christmas, I will post ten of my favorite holiday tunes. Download songs individually or in one big zip file. I'll also feature my favorite Christmas "Link of the Day".


Robbers on High Street - Seasons Greetings
Ingo Star Cruiser - Just Like Christmas
Scissors for Lefty - Christmas Intentions
Old 97's - Here It Is Christmas
Everything But The Girl - 25th of December
Iain Archer - Little Drummer Boy
Young & Sexy - Santa Clause Likes Rich Kids Better
Emmy The Great - Christmas In Prison
The Liberty Bell - I Love You's
Joshua James - Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel

Alternatively, you can download all songs in one handy dandy zip file!


Download an entire Christmas album for FREE from various Nashville artists from Speakerheart.

New Releases - 11.20.2007

Almost a week late, but better late than never, right?

Usually label compilations are a bit of a mish-mash... And not so good to be listened to from start to finish. But since most of Morr's releases fall into a category I like to call "for the quiet times", this 2-CD set is actually fairly cohesive. Beeps & blips & pretty sounds abound!

Butcher the Bar - Leave This Town

I'll admit it. I love Christmas music. But even if you despise most Christmas tunes, I think you might still enjoy this EP from singer/songwriter Joshua James. It's like a soft and sweet indie-style Christmas, unobtrusively adding some holiday cheer to your day!

Joshua James - Winter Storm

Being The Format completist that I am, I already had most of the songs on B-sides & Rarities. But that didn't stop me from spending $30 on Format merch, just so I could get a physical copy of the CD. It was worth it because I now have their incredible new DVD and a whale t-shirt.

The Format - Does Your Cat Have A Mustache? (originally on For the Kids III)

Other honorable mentions for 11.20.07:

To My Boy - Messages (fun 80s-style-pop)
Benjamin Biolay - Trash Yeye (French folk)
Ed Harcourt - Until Tomorrow Then: The Best of Ed Harcourt (great introduction)
British Sea Power - Krankenhaus (to-tide-you-over EP)
The Devil Makes Three - The Devil Makes Three (old-timey americana/punk)
Ayo - Joyful (sweet R&B songstress)

The Hoosiers

In general, I know that I am bound to like an album if Drowned in Sound gives it a horrible review (usually my favorites receive 3 or 4 out of a possible 10). I honestly love reading their negative reviews, just becuase they are so well written and often hilarious. It may not be hip to like The Feeling or The Hoosiers, but I just can't help myself. Apparently, neither can the rest of the UK... Their most recent single "Goodbye Mr. A" hit the Top 5 and their debut album The Trick to Life is currently number one on the charts. "Goodbye Mr. A" is utterly irresistible on the first listen. It is big and bold and truly one of the most fun songs to come along in a good while. Imagine Jeff Buckley fronting ELO.

The Hoosiers - Goodbye Mr. A
The Hoosiers - LoveStoned (Justin Timberlake cover)
The Hoosiers - We Didn't Start The Fire (Billy Joel cover)

RIYL: The Darkness, The Feeling, MIKA, XTC, The Cure

New Releases - 10.31.07

I thought that I didn't care for Gomez, but turns out every song I heard featured Ben Ottewell as lead vocalist instead of Ian Ball. Now that that I know which one I prefer, I can listen to some Gomez! This is the first solo CD from a Gomez member, and you should tune in if you like laid-back acoustic rock a la Josh Rouse.

Ian Ball - When We Were Cool

Up until now, if you wanted to buy an album from Sweden's Anna Ternheim, you had to pay import prices. Finally, we see a U.S. release by Anna on Decca Records, even if it is just an EP of songs from her international releases. Her voice is pretty and haunting and sad all at once.

Anna Ternheim - China Girl (David Bowie cover)

I'm the dreaded casual Dylan fan. You know, the type that owns Dylan's Greatest Hits (because you have to) and Nashville Skyline (because it's the one time Dylan doesn't sound much like Dylan). I've yet to see this movie, but the soundtrack is an interesting tribute to the man.

Glen Hansard & Marketa Inglova - You Ain't Goin' Nowhere

Other honorable mentions for 10.30.07:

Nicole Atkins- Neptune City (retro-styled neo-folk)
Blue Rodeo - Small Miracles (nice roots-rock)
Various Artists - Goffin & King: A Gerry Goffin and Carole King Song Collection 1961-1967
(necessary compilation)
Alice Smith - For Lovers, Dreamers & Me (funky soulstress)
Graham Colton - Here Right Now (Kelly-Clarkson's-ex-makes-guilty-pleasure-pop-rock)
Kyle Andrews - Find Love Let Go (Local goodness)

New Releases - 10.16.07

It's so sad that Semisonic is often regarded as a one hit wonder from the 90s. Although I doubt lead singer Dan Wilson is too upset, seeing he's been busy earning Grammys for his work with the Dixie Chicks. This song was recorded first for Taking the Long Way but Dan recorded it as well for his recent album Free Life, produced by Rick Rubin.

Dan Wilson - Easy Silence

Back in the day (I think I can say that since it was ten years ago!), I was a huge Dar Williams fan. I haven't kept up with her newer work, but listening to her new live album brought back a lot of memories of my past life as a folkie. Songs like "February", "After All", and "When I Was a Boy" still stand out, whether you like folk music or not.

Dar Williams - Ripple (Grateful Dead cover)

The blogosphere is crazy about Maritime, and rightly so. Heresy & The Hotel Choir is the third album from this band started by former members of The Promise Ring and The Dismemberment Plan back in 2003. This is sensible music that won't offend anyone but still rocks hard enough to please the indie kids.

Maritime - Aren't We All Found Out

Other honorable mentions for 10.16.07:

Angie Stone - The Art of Love & War (old-school R&B)
Steel Train - Trampoline (above-average rock)
Octopus Project - Hello, Avalanche (instrumental indie)
The Launderettes - Fluff 'N Fold: The Best of The Launderettes (Norwegian garage)
Kenna - Make Sure They See My Face (genre-defying-music-from-Ethiopan-artist-discovered-by-Fred-Durst-but-somehow-it's-good)

Those Dancing Days

Those Dancing Days could be just another cutesy, twee Swedish pop act that bloggers love for one week and forget about the next. But lead singer Linnea Jonsson makes this band memorable, not because of her Orphan Annie hair, but because of her surprisingly soulful vocals. All five girls are from a Nacka, a suburb of Stockholm, and are aged 17 and 18. "Hitten" is utterly infectious; I dare you to try to get it out of your head. And "Those Dancing Days" is the perfect ode to music and staying out and dancing all night (which, by the way, is not the song the band is named after; bassist Mimmi likes the song "Dancing Days" by Led Zeppelin).

Those Dancing Days - Hitten
Those Dancing Days - Those Dancing Days

RIYL: The Pipettes, Lucky Soul, Dusty Springfield, Amy Winehouse

Kate Nash

I am happy to report that I think I should be able to update this blog (at least, semi-) regularly for the next few months. I hope, anyway. I feel kind of lame having my first post in almost a month be about the over-exposed Kate Nash. BUT, seeing as I just returned from London and my Anglophilia is raging stronger than ever, I guess it is fitting (plus it's a Friday night). I kept hearing "Mouthwash" in shops and couldn't help but smile every time I heard it. It makes me think of myself at age 17 or so. I do think freckles are very much underrated, although I could be biased since I have a face full of them. I think Kate's album is rather hit-or-miss but this song, "Foundations," "The Nicest Thing" and "Birds" are brilliant. I despise "Caroline is a Victim"... it is just useless for me. Thanks to The Huddle Formation for Kate's cover of The Arctic Monkeys "Fluorescent Adolescent". Much to my pleasure, The Huddle Formation also has numerous other "Live Lounge" covers. The one CD I picked up in the U.K. was the BBC's new Radio 1 cover song collection. I know she is disliked by many but I adore listening to Jo Whiley every morning at work, it's what makes me wake up each day. I have read a lot of complaints on the Internet about Radio 1, and probably all valid if you have other alternatives, but in the U.S., I dare you to find a station that plays such a variety of music. Hearing Sigur Ros next to Rihanna and British announcers in between is like my own personal radio heaven. So who cares if they use fake callers? Um, yes, back to the subject at hand... Kate Nash.

Kate Nash - Mouthwash
Kate Nash - Fluorescent Adolescent (Arctic Monkeys cover)

RIYL: Lily Allen, Regina Spektor, Emmy the Great, Adele

New Releases - 9.18.07

I was first introduced to Firefox AK (aka Andrea Kellerman) from the video for Hello Saferide's "Long Lost Penpal". Her music is not similar to Hello Saferide, although they both hail from Sweden, and they are both completely adorable. Sounds like a mix of Tegan & Sara and... Kylie? Yum!

Firefox AK - Zodiac

This Philly power pop band has done it again with their sophomore album Silver Storms. If you liked Hello, Hello, or even if you have never heard of them... It's the kind of indie pop that is really hard NOT to like (very Shins-like). They recently signed to Vagrant Records.

The A Sides - Amazing Grace

Now, after three albums, I am still wondering why less people have heard of Magnet (aka Norway's Even Johansen). He makes the kind of gorgeous, laid-back electronica-tinged singer/songwriter pop you will ever hear. In the vein of David Gray, Ed Harcourt, Thomas Dybdahl... 100% Lovely!

Magnet - Slice of Heaven

Other honorable mentions for 9.18.07:

Hard-Fi - Once Upon a Time in the West (nicely-done Britrock)
Matt White - Best Days (cheesy-but-lovable singer/songwriter)
Jesca Hoop - Kismet (quirky/eclectic pop)
Ben Lee - Ripe (always awesome)
Bella - No One Will Know (pretty indie-pop)
Plasticines - LP1 (French-pop goodness)
Rogue Wave - Asleep At Heaven's Gate (Gibbard-esque indie)
Drug Rug - Drug Rug (boy/girl twangy rock)

Next Big Nashville

I'm going to actually get out and support the local music scene this weekend. You should, too. Thirty bucks gets you a wristband for the whole weekend.

130+ Bands...10+ Venues...5 Days...Sept 5-9, 2007
The second annual Next Big Nashville (NBN) will showcase the best of the thriving Nashville music scene and artistic community over five-days at Cannery Ballroom, Mercy Lounge, 12th & Porter, Exit/In, The End, The Rutledge, Belcourt Theatre, The Basement, 3rd & Lindsley, Grimey's Records, Bar23, Layl'a Ultra Lounge, Bar car, & more. The event will feature performances from The Features, Jeremy Lister, Landon Pigg, The Pink Spiders, Freedy Johnston, Gabe Dixon Band, De Novo Dahl, Butterfly Boucher & many more.

Some MP3s for you (I plan to add more tomorrow, so check back!)....

Carey Ott - Am I Just One
Performing Friday at The Basement

Landon Pigg - Can't Let Go
Performing Friday at The Cannery Ballroom

How I Became The Bomb - Killing Machine
Performing Saturday at The Cannery Ballroom

Butterfly Boucher - Life Is Short
Performing Friday at The Cannery Ballroom

The Privates - My Shoes
Performing Friday at Exit/In

Judd & Maggie - Perfectly
Performing Saturday at The Mercy Lounge

De Novo Dahl - Shout (Popple Mix)
Performing Saturday at The Cannery Ballroom

The Features - Take You On (Demo)
Performing Saturday at The Cannery Ballroom

Cortney Tidwell - The Missing Link
Performing Thursday at The Basement

Be sure to visit Out The Other for many, many more MP3s from bands playing the festival.

New Releases - 8.21.07

This Johnson City, Tennessee band is in the same category as Gillian Welch, The Avett Brothers, and Hem. Both previous albums from The Everybodyfields are favorites of mine, and their sound and songwriting has only improved on Nothing Is Okay. Heartbreakingly sad sounding Americana (but in a good way).

The Everybodyfields - Over and Done

I have to admit I haven't listened to this album much yet, but what I have heard sounds like The Bee Gees and... Jewel? It seems everyone has an opinion on Rilo's new sound. People either love it or hate it. I don't hate it, but some songs on the album are truly dreadful (ie "The Moneymaker").

Rilo Kiley - Big Break (B-side to "The Moneymaker" 7 inch single)

Josh Ritter has been called the modern day Springsteen and the modern day Dylan... Both are fitting comparisons. His major label debut has a bigger, fuller sound, but when it comes down to it, Josh is still writing incredible folk songs when you strip away all the extra instruments.

Josh Ritter - To The Dogs or Whoever

Other honorable mentions for 8.21.07:

The New Pornographers - Challengers (perfect indie-pop)
Cartel - Cartel (irresistible pop/punk)
Architecture in Helsinki - Places Like This (quirky Australians!)
Caribou - Andorra (Zombies-like folk/rock)
Imperial Teen - The Hair, The TV, The Baby & The Band (pretty power-pop)
Ingram Hill - Cold in California (nice roots-rock)
Earlimart - Mentor Tormentor (subdued shoegaze)
Over the Rhine - The Trumpet Child (jazzy-pop for the Starbucks crowd)

New Releases - 8.7.07

[I've been a bad blogger lately, and might continue to be for the next few weeks... But I will resume eventually, I promise!]

Orenda Fink (one half of the defunct Azure Ray) ups the tempo slightly with her new project Art in Manila. By upping the tempo, I mean now it might just make you sleepy as opposed to comatose. Still, this is a lovely album full of girly indie sounds.

Art in Manila - The Abomination

This album was just released digitally this week, the physical version does not come out until Sept. 4th. I love everything about Ferraby: His Care-Bears-sounding name, the fact that he's a Nashville boy, his Rufus-Wainwright-but-less-over-the-top pretty vocals, his scruffy hobo songwriter look, etc.

Ferraby Lionheart - Pure Imagination (iTunes Bonus Track / Willy Wonka Cover!)

Moo, You Bloody Choir has been out in Australia for quite some time now, but was just released stateside this week. This Melbourne-based band has been creating melodic dream-pop for over a decade now but still have not received much attention in the U.S. The lead singer is very Jeff Buckley sounding.

Augie March - The Cold Acre

Other honorable mentions for 8.07.07:

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - This is Somewhere (smoky-voiced singer/songwriter)
Okkervil River - The Stage Names (gritty folk/rock)
Magnolia Electric Co. - Sojourner (ambitious box set)
Mirah & Spectratone International - Share This Place (album all about... insects?)
The Brunettes - Structure and Cosmetics (Kiwi indie-pop)


When I first heard this song by Fried, I thought that it sounded eerily similar to Gabrielle (a guilty pleasure of mine who I posted about several months ago). Then I did some research and found out that she was discovered by David Steele (formerly of the 80's group Fine Young Cannibals), who produced Gabrielle's first album. It seems he was looking to recreate that success with Jonte Short, a young singer from New Orleans. This song is retro-soul at its best. It makes me wonder whatever happened to Lauryn Hill?

Fried - I'll Be There

RIYL: Jill Scott, Macy Gray, Lauryn Hill, Gladys Knight, Gabrielle

New Releases - 7.24.07

Over 400,000 people viewed Dutch band Alamo Race Track's video for "Black Cat John Brown" on YouTube, and millions more heard the song on Grey's Anatomy. Comparisons I've heard so far: "early Radiohead with pizzicato strings", "Soft Bulletin-era Flaming Lips with The Strokes", and "slap-happy Peter, Bjorn John".

Alamo Race Track - Kiss Me Bar

I am pretty much in love with anything retro, and even more so when it is authentically retro like Nicole Willis and her Soul Investigators. Miss Willis is Brooklyn born and the Investigators are from Finland. Who knew Fins could be so funky?!

Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators - A Perfect Kind Of Love

"Spanish Teeth" was one of my favorite songs of 2005, so I was happy to hear that Robbers on High Street had a new album out. Grand Animals is less Spoon sounding, and more heavily Beatles-esque. Their sound is bigger and better this time around - I'm really digging it.

Robbers on High Street - You Don't Stand A Chance

Other honorable mentions for 7.24.07:

Tegan & Sara - The Con (their best yet!)
The Lovemakers - Misery Loves Company (80s leaning pop)
Tiny Vipers - Hands Across The Void (sparse folk)
Bishop Allen - The Broken String (indie must-have)
The Manchester Orchestra - I'm Like A Virgin Losing A Child (grandoise punk/pop)
John Vanderslice - Emerald City (indie-rock singer/songwriter)

New Releases - 7.17.07

Josh Rouse proves yet again that he is incapable of making a bad album with his 7th full length Country Mouse City House. Don't expect any big changes in his sound, though. Still the irresistible country-tinged pop/rock we have grown to expect from Josh. It seems moving to Spain from Nashville was a good move for him.

Josh Rouse - London Bridges

A Fine Frenzy is the stage name of L.A.'s Alison Sodul. She has a lot going for her: she has celebrity friends (Selma Blair), she is drop dead gorgeous, she's currently on tour with Rufus Wainwright, but most importantly her music is like a fascinating mix of Fiona Apple, Kelly Clarkson, and... Coldplay?

A Fine Frenzy - The Minnow & The Trout

Teddy Thompson (son of folk royalty Linda & Richard Thompson) heard a lot of country music growing up in a commune in England, and so it stood to reckon that he might make a country album one day. His voice has a pure folk sound, but somehow still works on these songs (all covers, except for one). "My Blue Tears" is a Dolly Parton tune.

Teddy Thompson - My Blue Tears

Other honorable mentions for 7.17.07:

Rooney - Calling The World (retro rock)
The Rocket Summer - Do You Feel (Hanson-if-they-were-a-Christian-emo-band-so-why-the-hell-do-I-like-it?)
The Honorary Title - Untouched and Intact (near perfect pop/punk)
The Magic Numbers - Those The Brokes (modern Mamas & Papas)
Eilen Jewell - Letters From Sinners & Strangers (less gritty Lucinda)
The Cribs - Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever (edgier Franz)

The Electric Cinema

The Electric Cinema is a four piece band based in London and headed up by siblings Dan and Rebecca Neale. They have been accused of being merely a rip off of other bands out there (yet aren't they all? Just some more obviously than others). And yes, they do sound eerily similar to The Flaming Lips. But I might label this "Flaming Lips Lite" because you don't have to be a fan of their swirling psychedelics to enjoy this. I also feel very guilty for being so judgmental, and almost not listening to this band because of the horrid haircut on the one female in the band. All four of them just have this contrived rock star look, when I'm sure they are all ten times more attractive in their normal look and clothes. I am glad I gave it a go though, because I have really been enjoying this album as background music. The only thing that gets old for me is the distorted guitars that are inevitable around the time each song gets about three quarters of the way in. I give the band the benefit of the doubt, though, because I read somewhere that these songs were created as a soundtrack to their old Super-8 home movies. I selfishly hope that their next album will be less Flaming Lips sound-alike, and more of the sweet and laid back pop sound that I prefer. I feel like I haven't said anything positive about this record but honestly, I do like it! At its best, their music sounds like a modern day Prefab Sprout.

Electric Cinema - I Could Know All Of You
Electric Cinema - Heat Exchange

RIYL: The Flaming Lips, Coldplay, Death Cab For Cutie, Grandaddy

Noah and the Whale

I have meaning to post about this band for such a long time now, because I do believe I have listened to their song "Rocks and Daggers" at least four dozen times by now. I must admit I am generally very impatient when it comes to songs. I like to be drawn in very quickly and I usually never get into bands that require "repeated listens". But luckily I kept an open ear with this one, because it starts out slow and slightly boring... Then the violin kicks in round the two-minute mark and hooks me. Thirty seconds later, Emmy the Great adds backing vocals and you can't stop me from smiling and singing along. Even when you think the song ends - twice - it starts back up and you are hooked again. I don't even know what to compare it to because it is like some kids got hold of some sticks and boxes and maybe a xylophone and tried to make traditional English folk music.

Noah and the Whale - Rocks and Daggers

RIYL: Jens Lenkman, Emmy The Great, Laura Marling

New Releases - 7.10.07

This Michigan band was a very pleasant recent discovery for me. Very Decemberists-esque folk rock. Somehow I feel like I've heard all these songs before, and I don't mean that as a bad thing. It's easy on the ears, but never boring.

Great Lakes Myth Society - Midwest Main Street

Oh, sweet troubadour boy... You are such a weakness of mine. The more fragile and precious you are, the better. This album has been out in the UK for some time now, but was just released in the US. Fans of Damien Rice, Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley... Prepare to swoon.

Fionn Regan - The Underwood Typewriter

So, it seems Seattle's Josh Hodges has started going by the moniker "Sexton Blake," maybe because he is ashamed of recording a Milli Vanilli song under his real name? But regardless, I am a sucker for well done cover songs and he has made me happy with an entire album full of them.

Sexton Blake - Bette Davis Eyes

Other honorable mentions for 7.10.07 (so many!! heaven!):

Crowded House - Time On Earth (stunning dream-pop)
Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (loads of fun)
Smashing Pumpkins - Zeitgeist (disappointment mostly)
Justice - Cross (massive dance party)
St. Vincent - Marry Me (eccentric piano pop)
BOAT - Let's Drag Our Feet (left-of-center indie)
Look Mexico - This Is Animal Music (the-good-kind-of-emo)

Taken By Trees

June 18th saw the release of ex-Concretes lead singer Victoria Bergsman's solo project, Taken By Trees. The album, Open Field, is much more subdued and melancholy than most songs by The Concretes, but still has a lovely quiet feel to it. You can just picture a Volkswagen commercial with a cute yuppie couple driving along in the rain, or possibly stopping for a picnic. Many folks know Victoria as the female counterpart on Peter, Bjorn and John's blog-famous "Young Folks". Her voice is an instrument in itself, with the cutesy phrasing and accent.

Taken By Trees - Lost and Found
Taken By Trees - Too Young

RIYL: Camera Obscura, Hello Saferide, The Concretes, Lucky Soul

BONUS! I will also share my favorite songs from The Concretes when Victoria was a part of the band... "Reverberation" sounds closest to her work in Taken By Trees.

The Concretes - Seems Fine (From 2004's The Concretes)
The Concretes - On The Radio (From 2006's In Colour)
The Concretes - Song For The Songs (From 2006's In Colour)
The Concretes - Reverberation (B-side from 2006's The Chosen One single)

The Concretes have since gone on without Victoria to make Hey Trouble, which is decent in its own right, but pales next to the songs that had Victoria's trademark vocals. For your comparison:

The Concretes - Keep Yours (From 2007's Hey Trouble)

New Releases - 7.3.07

[Note: You'll have to click on these links... No right click, save as... Filexoom and Fileden are not being friendly lately. Any suggestions?]

Sara Bareilles makes lovely, accessible singer/songwriter piano pop a la Rachel Yamagata or Anna Nalick. I have to admit I have a soft spot for a female singers with pianos, even though I know that's not cool to admit. Even cheesy, cliche lyrics can't scare me away.

Sara Bareilles - Love Song

Every week, I have a new favorite rock band from the UK. Air Traffic is it for this week. Although I do have that soft spot for female singer/songwriters, my soft spot for cute English boys is probably twice as big. Mix Coldplay, The Feeling, and Kaiser Chiefs and you have Air Traffic.

Air Traffic - Shooting Star

Album releases were pathetic this week. So, I'm going to cheat a little and feature the new single from Iron & Wine. I love Sam Beam because he appeals to everyone - both snobby hipsters and casual music fans. His new album (to be released Sept. 25) is supposed to be more "upbeat" so I am anxious to hear it.

Iron & Wine - Boy With A Coin

No honorable mentions for today. Sad.

New Releases - 6.26.07

[Note: These three releases are great and all, but to be quite honest, I anticipate that the new Kelly Clarkson and the new Ryan Adams will receive far more plays from me. But in the spirit of introducing more unknown artists, I thought it was better not to feature those two albums, excellent as they may be!]

You would never guess that these guys are from Brooklyn, but they are. The Morning Pages make retro-sounding alt-country that sounds like a mix of The Band and The Byrds. Their debut EP The Company You Keep definitely makes them a band to watch for the future.

The Morning Pages - Don't Ask Me

So, if you take The Pipettes and put them in Detriot, you'd have The Gore Gore Girls. This means that The Pipettes would be hardly recognizable as The Pipettes, much tougher, grittier and kick-ass. This song is like surf music meets The Detriot Cobras, and it's an awesome combination.

The Gore Gore Girls - All Grown Up

The band 27 is hindered by several things. First, they are on traditionally metal label Relapse. Second, 27 is an un-Google-able name. Ummm, no third. But that's enough to hold them back when they actually make lovely Mazzy Star-esque spaced out rock. Moody, sweet, and pretty are my unimaginative adjectives for you.

27 - Half Life

Other honorable mentions for today:

Kelly Clarkson - My December (Kelly-is-my-homegirl-and-can-do-no-wrong)
Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger (Ryan Adams is Ryan Adams Again!)
Kelly Willis - Translated From Love (twangy Texas goodness)
Marc Broussard - S.O.S. (kind-of-bland-but-I-like-it cover CD)
Carolina Chocolate Drops - Dona Got A Ramblin' Mind (makes me want to square dance)

The Format

I have a hard time writing about The Format. Because I know my love for them exceeds what is generally a normal amount of love for a band. In fact, I had to start a new last.fm account because The Format had about 500 plays, surpassing any other artist by at least threefold. My husband is also the culprit for a lot of those plays, but nevermind that we are a nerdy Format-loving couple. I'm not being eloquent at all here, so let me shut up and just copy and paste my favorite review of The Format's second album Dog Problems.

Tired of lamenting the split from a significant other locked in a dark room with Bright Eyes on repeat? Ready to turn that pain into a joyous singalong outside under the bright sun? Lucky for you, Arizona's the Format -- barely appearing phased at being dropped by Atlantic in 2005 -- have arrived with their self-released sophomore full-length, Dog Problems. Sure the album is mostly about singer Nate Ruess' most recent breakup and subsequent broken heart, but seriously, it's hands-down the feel-good album of the summer. After all, the heartache-induced lyrics of sarcasm and bitterness are in direct contrast to the sonic warmth emanating from every note-filled corner. Deftly elaborating on the sweet indie pop affair of 2003's Interventions and Lullabies, the guys have moved past straightforward ditties to craft songs that incorporate a wide range of instruments, tones, and occasionally, full-on orchestrations. "Time Bomb" immediately launches forth with exuberant vocal harmonies before the key-dancing chorus boogies to the front; the ironically catchy "The Compromise" -- which is the defiant result of Atlantic asking for a pop hit -- can be called radio-friendly in the best sense of the term. From a whimsical, carnival-esque air that appears sporadically throughout, the Format mix in horn sections, piano, banjo, handclaps and pretty much whatever else was lying around the studio when recording commenced. But every element is cleanly pulled off with such effortless charm, grace, and style that the songs in no way feel bogged down under the weight of the bands' ambition. The music never sounds forced or like the band is simply trying to be different through gimmicks; they've just matured into a new skin that fits as delightfully as their old. The Format were already showing obvious signs of being unable to write a bad song on Lullabies, but Dog Problems simply glows from beginning to end. It's like the music (both the gentle songs and high-energy ones) just can't help being fun and catchy, even if for some reason it didn't want to. The Format skirts cheesiness and cliché trappings by simply knowing how to make likable pop music that is entertaining and smart -- and they've absolutely never sounded better.
By Corey Apar, taken from allmusic.com

In celebration of the album's first full year in the marketplace, The Format is offering Dog Problems for free on their website (no strings attached). I urge everyone to download my favorite album of 2006 while you can (offer ends July 16th). If you love it, and I know you will, then go see them on their summer tour.

And as a bonus, here are some rare cover songs from The Format:

The Format - The Lottery Song (Bonus Track from Dog Problems - Harry Nilsson cover)
The Format - Apeman (Limited Edition CD Single - The Kinks cover)
The Format - Glutton of Symphony (Limited Edition Vinyl 7" Single - Jellyfish cover)
The Format - Movin' Out (Live at the Marquee Theater - Billy Joel cover)

And, finally, the song that will sell you, even if you refuse to be sold:

The Format - Janet (Studio Recording from the Snails EP)

P.S. Visit Spinner.com for a video and audio podcast from The Format, where you can hear their new song "Swans".

RIYL: The Beatles, XTC, The Shins, Limbeck, Steel Train


Farrah is a UK group that has been making ridiculously catchy power pop since 1999. I mean, completely and insanely catchy. They make the kind of music that you just know would be "big in Japan". "Fear of Flying" is a tribute to the girl that wants to see the world, but is hindered by... you guessed it... Her fear of flying! I love the airplane sound effect and how it whooshes through in stereo! Also, bass player Michelle Margherita shows up doing backing vocals here, and it really adds to the charm of the song. "No Reason Why" is big and fun and would be a hit on Top 40 Radio in a perfect world. Their newest release "Cut Out and Keep" is full of more pop anthems like these along with sweet slow songs.

Farrah - Fear of Flying
Farrah - No Reason Why

RIYL: Fountains of Wayne, Ben Folds, Weezer, Rooney

New Releases - 6.19.07

This album is all over blogland. Most folks say it's just okay, nothing great. But I diagree. It's perfect for what it is, which is beautifully crafted Americana rock a la Pneumonia-era Whiskeytown. His songs are helped by the fuller sound, complete with B-3, banjo, and harmonica.

Rocky Votolato - Silver Trees

There is such a thin line between electronica and pop music these days, and Misha is an act that blends the two perfectly. They take the beeps and blips and add warm vocals and pop hooks and memorable melodies, and it works so well. It's cute, but not overly so.

Misha - Delovedly

Arthur & Yu is comprised of Grant Olsen and Sonya Westcott from Seattle. Their lazy dream pop has a calming effect on me. It makes me want to ditch the office and head over to the local wave pool, something I haven't wanted to do... Since I was maybe 10? I'm sure I'd change my mind once I got there, but right now it sounds nice.

Arthur & Yu - There Are Too Many Birds

Other honorable mentions for today:

The White Stripes- Icky Thump (blues/rock goodness)
Mandy Moore - Wild Hope (can't-help-but-like-it singer/songwriter pop)
Crisette Michelle - I Am (Corinne Bailey Rae for 2007)
Art Brut - It's A Bit Complicated (tongue-in-cheek rock)
Xavier Rudd - White Moth (Australian Paul Simon sound-a-like)
Dimitri From Paris - Cocktail Disco (fabulous compilation)
Amiina - Kurr (Icelandic magic)
Chromeo - Fancy Footwork (synth-y fun)

So many great new releases this week! I have found that The Yellow Stereo has the best sampling of new releases (with MP3s too!), so check it out.