July 2010


Much-hyped Cults are back with their fourth, count it, fourth song, and although these guys seem to get about as much coverage per song as most bands do per album, I’d have to say it’s largely warranted.  Like their other songs, “Oh My God” is full of dreamy, glockenspiely goodness, bright sprightly vocals, and an underlying mellowness that begs to send you off into a pleasant, dream-filled mid-afternoon nap in the shade of your favourite tree.  So pick a nice spot to lie down, press play, and let the mus… zzzzz…

[mp3] Cults – Oh My God

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Montreal-based The Hoof & The Heel formed in mid-2009 and recently released their first EP.  Last.fm describes their style as “a mix of intelligent indie pop, sentimental melody and unpretentious joy”, which frankly sounds like the perfect mix of styles for summer listening.  Fireworks is the first song off of the EP and is a great, light, fun song for summer lounging while catching some rays.

[mp3] The Hoof & The Heel – Fireworks

If you’ve been looking for a new summer song to blast out of the car stereo with the windows down, or out of your iPod while taking a summer stroll down the sweltering sidewalk, Hot Spa’s Kiola Beach may be your ticket.  I’m not sure whether it’s the delightful twang of ukeleles(?), the lo-fi sounds reminiscent of portable boomboxes at the beach, or the grainy home-made video spliced together from years of authentic Australian summer vacation footage, but this one is a pleasure to listen to.

[mp3] Hot Spa – Kiola Beach

Manimal Vinyl just announced that it will be releasing a David Bowie tribute album on September 6, 2010 entitled “We Were So Turned On”, with proceeds going to War Child.  This makes me doubly excited.  First, David Bowie is amazing.  Second, I think Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros are pretty swell, and they have already pre-released their contribution to the effort, a cover of Bowie’s “Memory of a Free Festival”.  The album will also feature contributions by Duran Duran, Warpaint and Chairlift, amongst others.  You can get the Edward Sharpe song below, which I must say, remarkably channels the David Bowie spirit.  The first half features Alex Ebert vocals that sound amazingly like Bowie, and the second half is just a hand-clapping good time sing-a-long.

[mp3] Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Memory of a Free Festival (via Manimal Vinyl site)

Jónsi‘s “Go Do” features in a marvelous ad which fits the song so well that it might as well be the music video.  The ad is for Dulux Paints’ “Let’s Colour Project” which aims to transform grey community spaces with the use of colour.  Like the featured song, the ad itself is beautiful, emotive and remarkably well made.  A must watch.

[mp3] Jónsi – Go Do

There’s something to be said for occasionally satisfying your sweet tooth with some sugary indie pop.  For those looking for a dose of high-fructose corn syrupy musical goodness, the new Marina & The Diamonds video will certainly hit the spot.

I’ll fully admit that this song and video was almost too much for me at first – to keep comparisons up, I suppose it was like going into diabetic shock at the beginning of the song.  But by the end of the song, Marina had completely won me over with what is an unabashedly fun and infectious pop song with a vivid, bright, exciting, video that fits the music absolutely perfectly.  Think shiny 80’s comic book.  Awesome.

John Grant, the former singer/songwriter of The Czars (who I am not familiar with), has teamed up with Midlake (who I am familiar with) to record his first debut album “Queen of Denmark”, released earlier this year.  “I Wanna Go to Marz” is off of this album, and for those of you familiar with Midlake, you will immediately recognize their fingerprints all over the song.  Like some of their other songs, the instrumentals and melodies are soft, atmospheric, and at times eerie.  This all matches up well against John Grant’s mellow vocals which float along darkly, meandering slowly through the lyrics and melody.  When you actually listen to the lyrics, you soon realize that the vast majority of them consist of Grant stringing together the names of different types of candy – I’m not particularly sure why this is, but it only seems to add to the whole disorienting atmosphere.  I’m not sure whether I have a natural affinity for eerie music (although my previous post on Warpaint’s Billie Holiday suggests that I may), but for whatever reason, I like this one.

Also, for an extra-special “treat”, you can also check out the official music video, which is pretty cool, but also really, really, super-weird.  Basically, imagine ghosts meeting up in the afterlife in a candy heaven, complete with 70’s-themed costumes and a celebration for the birth of a candy child.  Yeah.  Mind-altering drugs not included.

[mp3] John Grant – I Wanna Go to Marz

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