May 2010

To be clear, I’m not completely sure why this pleasure feels so “guilty”.  I’m sure many of you out there have far “guiltier” pleasures (I likely do as well) – it’s just that this relatively simple tune feels like something I should dismiss and not take seriously.  But frankly, it’s too much fun to do so.

The song has a catchy, accessible dance-club beat and engaging vocals – who can ignore sultry, thinly-veiled allusions of “making sandwiches” on the dance-floor.  I mean, I can be the bun, and she can can “be the burger, boy” – ridiculous.

If you’ve got a guilty pleasure of your own, let’s hear about it in the comments – I know for a fact that certain members of my audience have an affinity for Kelly Clarkson – anonymity will be respected.

[mp3] Body Language – Sandwiches (Alaska in Winter Remix)


I recently came across this great performance that The Black Keys put on while on Letterman this past Tuesday.  Doubling the size of the band for this performance gives this song a bit more activity and texture, and while the addition of the bass and keyboard dilutes the funky bluesy feel a tad (my opinion), the end result is still great.  Also, bonus points for the standard super-weird comments from Letterman at the end.  “Beautiful drums, are these yours?” – who says that?

As a follow-up to my previous post indicating that samples of the new Arcade Fire singles were being offered on their website, news comes today via… well, basically everywhere, that the singles were played in their entirety on the radio earlier today and someone has been kind enough to rip them and provide them to grateful listeners around the world.  First thoughts are that it’s a bit dancier, a bit edgier, and a bit more lo-fi (although this might just be the radio rip), but that it’s definitely got the Arcade Fire “je ne sais quoi”.

Enjoy the singles, available for download from One Thirty BPM.

Update: New album will be called “The Suburbs” and is due to be released August 2nd

Do you know that moment when the perfect buzz kicks in?  I mean, that point in an afternoon or evening accompanied by great friends and libations when a couple of drinks are working their way through your bloodstream and suddenly a slightly numbing feeling washes over you – your cares and worries melt away, you feel at peace with the world and you just feel like sitting and watching a sunset, riding out that perfect feeling?

That is what listening to Phantogram is like.

Their first full-length album, “Eyelid Movies” was released in March of this year, and is full of relaxingly sweet, weightlessness-inducing melodies.  Prime examples are the first two tracks, “Mouthful of Diamonds” and “When I’m Small”.  Each has a slightly different feel, but both feature a moody base melody enhanced with soft and sweet vocals, with some synthy texture-adding sub-melodies.

[mp3] Phantogram – Mouthful of Diamonds
[mp3] Phantogram – When I’m Small

Band of Horses released their 3rd album, “Infinite Arms” last week and after a quick listen through, I’m quite impressed.  You can currently stream the album over at their website via a very nice View-Master-like layout that showcases the songs and some accompanying nature-oriented imagery that nicely compliments the pleasant, down-to-earth accessibility of the album.

Some early standouts include the lovely and dramatic single “Factory”, the classic rock n’ roll melodies of “Compliments”, and the yearningly beautiful “On My Way Back Home”.

Check it out – you won’t be disappointed.

Absofacto is the handle of Jonathan Visger, the frontman for Mason Proper, an indie band out of Alpena, Michigan.  He’s released a few EPs and singles now, and I’ve managed to fall in love with one of his singles, “Gnat Years”.

It’s a really well-constructed song that progresses through three distinct parts.  A relentless rhythm and tempo open the song, with well-placed foreshadowing of some fuzzed out guitars.  About halfway through, the song gains some edginess and attitude, with the guitars playing a more prominent role.  They steadily increase tempo and urgency until managing to break through a crescendo and fall into a soft melody that rhythmically fades in and out with dreamlike effect, each successive apex softer than the last, until it disappears into the distance.

You can check out “Gnat Years” below, and if you fancy listening to some more Absofacto, I’d recommend visiting his website, where all of his music is available on a “pay what you can” basis.

[mp3] Absofacto – Gnat Years

Okay, first of all, one caveat: they have released only samples of their new singles (i.e. not full songs, just 30 seconds or so).  However, given that caveat, I like what I’m hearing, although it’s clearly a bit too early to tell.

Extra points for the cool vinyl design and the ability to manually play the samples via “spinning” the record (I suppose you could also attempt to scratch as well, but my guess is it won’t be that effective).

Samples are on Arcade Fire’s site here – make sure you flip the disc over when the first one is done.

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