"The Song That We Sing" (Vice) France's Charlotte Gainsbourg was pleasantly charming in The Science of Sleep. The same description can pretty much be used to explain her music. It has the pleasant familiarity of the odd-girl-next-door, hinted with the perfect touch of mystery.
"Dear Confessor" (Toolshed) Of all the bands in The New Pornographers' family tree, Immaculate Machine (featuring keyboardist/vocalist Kathryn Calder) is perhaps -- outside of papa Newman's solo work -- the most similar to the Canadian supergroup. With great hooks and irresistable male-female harmonies, Immaculate Machine is poised to become more than just a quiet, modest cousin.
6. "Good Vibrations" / Beach Boys Brian Wilson and Mike Love crafted one of the most splendid pop songs of all-time with atypical song structures, stunning harmonies, and subtle innovations (like the use of the electro-theremin). It was the song that solidified that the Beach Boys weren't just another pleasant sounding surf rock vocal group. They were once and for all legitimate, brilliant musicians.
"2 x 2" (Absolutely Kosher) For fans of nerdy indie pop, prepare yourself for the sophomore effort from Providence's Get Him Eat Him, out next month. Arms Down features this track, on which band leader Matt LeMay exclaims that they'll "fight back" because they're "under attack". The song had about as much ferocity as a kitten with its paws up -- dimple-cheeked irony that's not for the cynics.
"You're a Wolf" "Black Dirt" (SeaWolfMusic.com) Former Irving bassist Alex Church is the man behind rising indie hype collector Sea Wolf, whose first EP of melodic gems, Get to the River Before It Runs Too Low, promises to make the band the next Voxtrot -- except with a little more emotional power and a lot more musicianship.
"My Children, Be Joyful" "When We Go, How We Go, Part 2" (RockPlazaCentral.com) Yep Roc is giving Toronto band Rock Plaza Central's Are We Not Horses? a proper U.S. release next week. The psychedelic folk rock concept album received quite a few pretty stellar reviews when it was originally released last year. Let's hope the increased availability will give the band's goregeous and strange music the full exposure it deserves.
"Long Before Rock 'n' Roll" (Insound) Swedish band Mando Diao's upcoming third album Ode to Ochrasy is sure to feature more modern interpretations of British pop and garage punk like this one. The CD arrives on April 24.
"Now. Now." (Beggars) Annie Clark's long-awaited debut disc is finally coming up on the horizon. The Polyphonic Spree member and touring companion for Sufjan Stevens releases Marry Me on July 10. Expect more whimsically fun songs like this one when the full album arrives.
"See a Penny (Pick it Up)" (Team Yacht) The Blow's Jona Bechtolt, aka Yacht, has concocted a new collection of kooky keyboard delights that will surely have us all dancing to our iPods on the subway. He releases his solo album I Believe In You. Your Magic Is Real. in May.
"Something Wrong" "It's Alright" (Fanatic) Featuring fuzzy vocals and moody angular beats, Gang Bang's airy Icelandic pop sounds kind of like Mew on Valium. Their latest album Something Wrong received its first stateside release on From Nowhere Records earlier this week. (The album was initially put out in 2003 elsewhere.) If trip-hop can find a place in the 21st century, then this is it.
"Flesh and Spirits" "Love for Want of a Lesser Word" (Lujo) Bob Massey, the ringleader of D.C.'s The Gena Rowlands Band, often has his heavily orchestrated music lumped into the chamber pop category, but his odd but intriguing combination of quirky post-rock rhythms and vocals that sound like they're from an off-broadway musical aren't exactly what you'd expect from the subgenre they've been tagged. These tracks are from the band's new album Flesh and Spirits, out next Tuesday.
"Los Cruzados" "Cherries in the Snow" (Friendly Fire) Read any of the buzz about NYC's Elk City and the first thing about the band to be mentioned to likely to be regarding frontwoman Renee LoBue's powerful, engaging voice -- which sounds something like Patti Smith's blended with Leslie Feist's. This pair of tunes will appear on their forthcoming CD New Believers.
"In The Morning (Hot Chip Remix)" (Insound) In this 8-minute-long remix of the So This is Goodbye single, Hot Chip takes more than 90 seconds before revealing any aspect of the original song. An interesting take, but as it often happens, I just find myself longing to hear the original cut -- an already wonderful and unpredictably constructed song.
"Like a Secret" (SamChampionBand.com) Sam Champion's energetic basement pop continues to mature without losing their sophomoric charm. You can find this fun, smartly layered track on their upcoming, yet-untitled album.
"Bookshop Casanova" (Pitchfork) This slick '60s UK pop throwback, featured on the band's upcoming CD God Save the Clientele, shows that the more upbeat side of Alasdair Maclean and co. makes me wish even more that I was around for the British invasion. The album is out May 8.
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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