"Wishbone (Franc Tetaz Remix)" (Force Field) The eclectic buoyance of the Architecture in Helsinki sound lends itself quite naturally to being remixed. Hence, the release of an entire album of remixes of tracks from 2005's In Case We Die. The CD's list of musical warpers includes Hot Chip, Safety Scissors and New Buffalo.
"Titties" "Zombie" (Toolshed) While I can't argue that the ladies of The Trucks have an appealing spunk, there's not much setting this Washington state band apart from other synth-pop groups. The track "Titties" even borrows Peaches' raunchy schtick. It's a worth a listen and a head bop, but it's likely The Trucks will be driving off our collective musical radar before the album even comes out in January.
11. "Eleanor Rigby" / The Beatles As a highlight of their most acclaimed album, Revolver, The Beatles' dark tale of loneliness, was one of the first signs that The Fab Four weren't the same old pop band that made teenagers swoon when they crossed over to America. The song's immediately recognizable strings set the tone for song that overflows with beauty and sadness.
"Ankle Injuries(Deaf Dumb + Blind) Their name may imply otherwise, but Fujiya & Miyagi are actually a trio from the UK, not a pair of Japanese electro artists. The band's album Transparent Things will be released stateside in January. This cut, which at times reminds me of a selection from U2's Zooropa, adds some fun and wit to the ordinary moody mellow dance track.
"Phantom Limb" (Sub Pop) The Shins present their first glimpse at their greatly anticipated follow-up to Chutes Too Narrow with this 60s rock-pop influenced track. "Phantom Limb" has an unexpected maturity about it that hints that, on Wincing the Night Away, perhaps the band figured out how to develop past their already fantastic sound.
"That was The Worst Christmas Ever" "Sister Winter" (Asthmatic Kitty) Months ago when it was announced that Sufjan Stevens was releasing a 5-disc box set of Christmas melodies, I just shrugged it off as an absurd, quirky project. But now that the season of yuletide is arriving, I'm thinking this will be the soundtrack to my entire December. Thanks, Sufjan, for saving me from turning to some "lite FM" station for my holiday fix.
12. "Genius of Love" / Tom Tom Club Talking Heads members Chris Frantz's and Tina Weymouth's island friendly side project yielded this 80s classic. The bubblegum-flavored beats, Caribbean rhythms, and references to Kurtis Blow and James Brown are all unique pieces of a pop song like no other (except, of course, for the two where Mariah Carey samples the track).
"Yea Yeah"(MattAndKimMusic.com) Although this single from their new self-titled album doesn't add up to much more than a couple of pop punk kids goofing around on the keyboards, Matt & Kim's playful energy is irresistable. The album is now available on I Heart Comix Records.
"Wet and Rusting"(Barsuk) The accessibly experimental indie pop band Menomena make their Barsuk debut after releasing two albums on the small label Film Guerrero in their hometown of Portland, OR. They create pleasant melodies with incredibly crafty structuring on this track from the album, Friend and Foe, out early next year. Every shift within the song is unexpected but completely unjarring.
YEAR IN REVIEW: THE TOP 40 BANDS IN AMERICA (INFORMATION LEAFBLOWER POLL)
The Top 40 Bands in America - 2006 Edition TV on the Radio, The Hold Steady and The Decemberists top this fourth annual poll of best bands in America. Information Leafblower asked 25 bloggers for their list of top ten acts of 2006 and compiled the results. Agree or disagree, the poll looks like a fairly accurate snapshot of what bloggers loved to cover this year.
"Fortune Teller"(Anti) Xavier Rudd's porch swing surf rock, highlighted by real foot stomps and didgeridoos, is both raw and smooth. This track comes from his upcoming album Food in the Belly, which will be unleashed Jan. 30.
"The Fatalist"(New Line) From their newly released EP The Fatalist and Friends, which can only be purchased digitally, this song's hypnotic punk rhythms and commanding vocals make a fine appetizer to their next full length Grand Animals, due in the spring.
13. "When Doves Cry" / Prince Prince's operatic dancefloor hit from the soundtrack to Purple Rain is unparalleled in its uniqueness. Elaborate guitar riffs, dark drum beats and synthesized organ runs meld into a timeless hit that is all genres at once. All while, with his lyrics, creating a surrealistic picture of romance gone sour.
Sort through an, at some times, odd selection of nominees and cast your vote for The 2007 Plug Independent Music Awards. I know it must be difficult to come up with a shortlist of a dozen of the year's best indie acts, but Girl Talk and Silversun Pickups making the cut for Artist of the Year is a total mystery.
After already tackling top 100 lists of novels and films with few surprises, the folks at Time offer their take of the greatest albums of all time. And while none of their picks will be changing the musical canon, it is a bit of a shock that 11 of the 100 that the news mag chose are rap albums. All fine choices, but does the Time staff really think Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP is better than Love's Forever Changes and Dusty Springfield's Dusty in Memphis, or is this just a feeble attempt at luring in younger readers?
"Encouragement" "Gentle Men" "Hope" "Monsters" (Toolshed) Music for Total Chickens is Rafter's bizarre interpretation of an inspirational album. This collection of abstract pop explosions that intend encourage folks to start throwing punches toward their personal battles. The CD is available in stores in January.
"The Rifle"(Holocene) The pleasant coffee-house blend of traditional folk and wandering abstract vocals is what separates her from both alt country queens like Neko Case and indie singer/songwriters like Joanna Newsom. This track can be found on her newly release CD The Pirate's Gospel.
14. "How Deep is Your Love" / The Bee Gees On the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, The Bee Gees gave the world disco dance hits that will be played at wedding receptions until the end of time. But it's the film's slow dance single "How Deep is Your Love" that remains just as infectious of a pop song today as it did in 1977. Call it a bit cheesy, but try not attempting to harmonize with the Brothers Gibb every time the chorus comes along.
"A Walk in The Dark"(Dim Mak) Whitey introduced his debut album The Light at the End of the Tunnel is a Train to U.S. music fans last month. The UK indie dance artist has already made his mark in Europe with his new wave electro-punk sound.
"When You Go Out" (Secretly Canadian) Spoon's Britt Daniel produced I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness' self-titled debut EP in 2003. And since most of their fans discovered the band with their latest album Fear is on Our Side, Secretly Canadian is reissuing the CD at the beginning of January to help us understand where the new indie pop force got its start.
"Adventure Rocket Ship" (Yep Roc) You never quite know what you're going to get with a Robin Hitchcock record. Lately, he's been known for his acoustic folk rock, but on his recently released CD Olé! Tarantula he's rediscovered his garage rock roots -- with help from collaborators Peter Buck of R.E.M. and The Minus 5's Scott McCaughey.
15. "I Wanna Be Adored" / The Stone Roses The slow-building, devishly charming opening track from the UK band's hugely successful debut was an important predecessor to 90s Brit pop. But regardless of its place one the music timeline, the dark and mellow alternative dance hit is timeless because it remains one of the most powerfully atmospheric rock tracks ever recorded.
"I'll Be Home for Christmas" (Toolshed) If you thought Aimee Mann had serious cred as a singer/songwriter, you may change your mind if you're learning for the first time that she just came out with an album of traditional Christmas music. Granted her voice does kind of complement tree decorating quite well.
"Trouble" (Beggars) The 3-Song EP Your Biggest Fan is the final stop for indie pop hype riders Voxtrot before finally releasing their first full length album. "Trouble" isn't as addictive as the strongest cuts from previous EPs, but we'll have to wait until next year to see if their syrupy hooks have run dry.
The old Listening Room was kind of silly. We at The LARRY Page have concluded the kids will like this better.
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