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