Infinite Shuffle

January 31, 2010

14 – The Radio Dept.

Filed under: R, Sweden — assman41 @ 12:01 am

An old friend of mine mentioned the band The Radio Dept. to me back in late 2006, and the name has been sitting in the deep recesses of my mind ever since. Earlier this month I finally sat down and gave a listen to their two full-length albums.

Needless to say, I was impressed.

Reading the various reviews, it seemed clear that everyone thought their first album, Lesser Matters, was the best. However, I listened to Pet Grief first and enjoyed it. My one complaint is that it all kinda runs together and all the songs sound the same.

Upon listening to Lesser Matters, I could see why it was so highly regarded. It’s just got so much more going on and has a more well-rounded sound.

Lesser Matters is a lot more guitar-centric and filled with fuzzy reverb, while on Pet Grief, it’s the drum machine that stands out. That’s due to a major change in the band’s personnel, including the departure of the drummer and the bass guitarist.

Speaking of those aforementioned reviews, there were a lot of comparisons to My Bloody Valentine, including one Amazon customer who said Pet Grief was “Magnetic Fields meets My Bloody Valentine.”

From the official Amazon review …

Pet Grief is the best songs Pet Shop Boys never wrote and the album you’d hoped My Bloody Valentine did after Loveless. The key to what makes it so special, what makes it all sound so much like The Radio Dept., might be the ever present melancholy that permeates everything they write.

Having never really listened to My Bloody Valentine much before, I can neither confirm nor deny those claims. But one band they do remind me of is The Stone Roses.

My brother, whose musical taste is highly regarded, had this to say …

They are like Postal Service with a New Order sensibility with a dash of Pet Shop Boys. … I totally here (sic) New Order infuence on Lesser Matters.  I do not hear the PSB on Lesser Matters.  I think it would be criminal not to compare them to the Postal Service.

So, there ya go.

As for the band itself, stability isn’t necessarily one of its strengths. They’ve had notable turnover, which, as mentioned before, had a clear effect on their sound.

Their two albums came out in 2003 and 2006, and they’ve realeased nine EPs dating back to 2002. According to their unofficial website, The Radio Dept. are putting out another full-length disc, Clinging To a Scheme, this March. That website also appears to be loaded with a bunch of available downloads.

Here’s a track from each of their LPs. I think the sonic shift should be rather noticeable.

The Radio Dept. – Why Won’t You Talk About It

The Radio Dept. – The Worst Taste in Music

January 24, 2010

13 – The Boxer Rebellion

Filed under: B, England — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Another album I considered for honorable mention on my Best of 2009 list was The Boxer Rebellion’s Union. But I’d only listened to it once and didn’t have a strong enough grasp on it.

Now, after listening to it a handful more times in the past few weeks, it definitely belongs among the elite.

It took me a couple listens before I was able to pinpoint the band they reminded me of — Radiohead. Part of that is probably my dearth of Radiohead knowledge. But from what I have heard of Thom Yorke & Co., I could tell they were a big influence for The Boxer Rebellion. Just listen to the track “The Gospel of Goro Adachi” and you’ll agree.

There’s even a quote on their MySpace page and their official website that compares their sound to The Bends-era Radiohead.

But after listening to the album a few more times, I could hear The Boxer Rebellion distancing themselves from their legendary counterparts.

There was also a tinge of Muse in their music, but they’re clearly their own band.

On their first album, Exits, their influences were a little more scattered. On the opening track, “Flight,” I was reminded of Filter and Placebo, but by the third track, “We Have the Place Surrounded,” the Radiohead influence was unmistakable and lasted for the remainder of the album.

After that first release, their record company went bust, so the band released Union on its own through iTunes. It became the first unsigned band to hit the Billboard charts with a digital-only release.

Here are my two favorites from Union.

The Boxer Rebellion – Spitting Fire

The Boxer Rebellion – Forces

January 17, 2010

12 – Fanfarlo

Filed under: England, F — assman41 @ 12:01 am

As everyone started churning out their various Best of 2009 lists, I recognized the bulk of what was being mentioned. But there was one band that caught my eye that I’d never heard of before — Fanfarlo.

I think I first started hearing whispers about this London sextet around November or so, but I didn’t know much about them and basically wrote them off. Then their debut album, Reservoir, started popping up on the various year-end lists — one of my favorite music bloggers tabbed it as his favorite of the year, while another trusted source had it in his top 10 — so I was forced to take notice.

When I first started playing it, I wasn’t really blown away, but I didn’t dislike it either. As the disc went on, it grew on me.

The second listen really solidified it for me, and by the third go-around, I was sold.

As both of the aforementioned bloggers noted, there is an unmistakable Arcade Fire influence here, but it’s tamer — in a good way — and all the rough edges are smoothed out. To a lesser degree, Fanfarlo has a Beirut vibe going on as well, but it comes across more accessibly here.

This album didn’t drop in the States until late September, so I don’t feel so bad that it took me a couple months to discover it. But I’ll be sure to be on the lookout for their follow-up.

Between their MySpace page and their official website, you can hear seven of the 11 tracks on this album, plus a bonus track. An added treat on their MySpace page is the video clips of Fanfarlo covering such acts as Neutral Milk Hotel, Smashing Pumpkins and Bonnie Prince Billy.

I don’t really have a favorite song at this point, and since there are so many tracks available elsewhere, I figured I’d post one that wasn’t on another site.

Fanfarlo – Fire Escape

January 16, 2010

Best of The Aughts – My list

Filed under: Best of — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Well, you’ve read what everyone else had to say about the decade that was. Now it’s my turn. Here are my favorite albums and all the top singles that weren’t on one of the aforementioned discs.

TOP 25 ALBUMS

  • Arcade Fire … “Funeral” (2004) … This album was different than anything I’d ever heard before. It was among the first “indie” albums I discovered as I was beginning to make my transition from mainstream fan to indie fan. From this point, there was no turning back. Their second album, “Neon Bible,” was also amazing, but this one holds a special place in my heart. … Favorite track: “Rebellion”
  • Band of Horses … “Cease to Begin” (2007) … This was an amazing follow-up to a solid debut. There really isn’t a bad track on this album, which is loaded with great songs. … Favorite track: “Ode To LRC”
  • Bloc Party … “Silent Alarm” (2005) … I used to listen to this album all the time while sitting at my desk in Virginia, churning out pages. It’s a great mix of indie-pop and electronica, and the vocals are unmistakable. This is a breakout debut disc from a band that has continued to grow and develop its sound. … Favorite track: “Pioneers”
  • Camera Obscura … “Let’s Get Out of This Country” (2006) … They had several albums before, but this is the one that helped launch them to a larger audience, which has only grown with the release of their most recent disc. The standout singles are certainly notable, but they’re really not too much different than the rest of the tracks on here, which makes this album solid all around. … Favorite track: “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”
  • Neko Case … “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood” (2006) … I’d heard her name before, but I’d never actually listened to her music prior to obtaining this album. Needless to say, I was blown away. With the voice of a siren, she belts out one indie/alt-country ballad after another. Seeing Ms. Case live took my appreciation for her to another level. … Favorite track: “Hold On, Hold On”
  • Death Cab for Cutie … “Transatlanticism” (2003) … I put these albums in alphabetical order so I wouldn’t have to try to actually rank them. But if I had, this would’ve been the first one listed, hands down. I’ll always remember the first time I heard this disc — sitting at my desk late one night in Freeport, listening to it via Amazon, when a co-worker mentioned owning the disc. She burned me a copy, and the rest, as they say, is history. I always have a hard time picking a favorite song, because as I listen to the album, I change my mind every time I move to the next track. Maybe that’s why my unofficial favorite is one of the last songs on the album. … Favorite track: “We Looked Like Giants”
  • The Decemberists … “The Crane Wife” (2006) … If I recall correctly, the first time I heard this band, I wasn’t necessarily sold on them. Their sing-songy, pirate shanty style was definitely not like anything else on the radio. But you can’t realize the true strength of this band by listening to single tracks. For them, it’s all about telling a story over the course of an album. This one happens to take its inspiration from a Japanese folk tale. … Favorite track: “Sons and Daughters”
  • Editors … “Back Room” (2006) … One of the themes of the past decade was the obvious repurposing of ’80s music — most notably, all the Joy Division wannabes. But Editors stand out from the crowd with their amazing vocals and instrumentation. I’m not totally convinced this was my favorite of theirs, but it was the first, so I’m including it on the list. … Favorite track: “Munich”
  • Elf Power … “Back to the Web” (2006) … The first time I heard this band/album was while standing at one of those listening stations at an independent record store in Seattle. Of all the music I heard through the headphones, this is the album that really stood out. I absolutely love this disc, even if I can’t really describe the music. My brother referred to it as something of a modern-day Simon & Garfunkel sound. I don’t know if I’m totally sold on that, but I’ll go with it. … Favorite track: “23rd Dream”
  • The Gaslight Anthem … “‘The 59 Sound” (2008) … For anybody who has any sense of history when it comes to music, there’s only one name that should come to mind when you hear this album: Bruce Springsteen. These New Jersey rockers were clearly influenced by The Boss. But that’s OK. It’s a great album. And seeing these guys live in Detroit only added to my love for them. … Favorite track: “The ’59 Sound”
  • Glasvegas … “Glasvegas” (2008) … This album totally caught me off-guard. I can still remember the first time I heard the single “Daddy’s Gone” via some online British radio station. I had to memorize some of the lyrics just to search for the title. Eventually, I downloaded the album and was absolutely blown away. Easily my favorite disc of ’08, it’s full of power pop/rock with a Scottish accent. … Favorite track: “Daddy’s Gone”
  • Green Day … “American Idiot” (2004) … This was THE album of the first half of the decade. The Bay Area punks revived their career with this defiant, political rock-opera. It included a handful of great singles and even spawned a live album. … Favorite track: “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”
  • Jimmy Eat World … “Bleed American” (2001) … The powers-that-be forced the band to change the name of the album following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but this album’s greatness has not relented and neither shall I. This was my introduction to the emo-pop band — I would later discover their earlier and equally great work, “Clarity” — and it’s managed to stick with me for nearly a decade. If that doesn’t say something, then I don’t know what does. … Favorite track: “Sweetness”
  • Norah Jones … “Come Away With Me” (2002) … I don’t listen to much R&B music, but this is a special artist. Her debut album is loaded with her soft, sultry voice, that is equally good at falling asleep to or making love to. Or I suppose you could just listen to it while you’re relaxing. Your choice. … Favorite track: “Come Away With Me”
  • Killers … “Hot Fuss” (2004) … This album came out at a perfect time for me, right in the early stages of my musical metamorphosis. Equal parts indie and pop, with plenty of electronica thrown in, this disc made for an easy transition from mainstream to the alt scene. … Favorite track: “Mr. Brightside”
  • Kings of Leon … “Only By the Night” (2008) … The first time I heard songs from this album was when the band performed on “Saturday Night Live.” I was blown away by the anthemic sound but was even more surprised to discover that they were able to capture that sound on the disc. This was one of my most-played albums in ’08. … Favorite track: “Sex On Fire”
  • Linkin Park … “Hybrid Theory” (2000) … I remember first reading about this band in Rolling Stone while I was in high school. I almost feel like I’ve grown up with these guys in the periphery. They’ve provided something of a soundtrack to The Decade With No Name. I’ve liked all their albums, but this one is my favorite for sentimental reasons. Plus, it probably has the most killer songs on it. (Interesting fact: Hybrid Theory was one of the band’s original names before it settled on Linkin Park.) … Favorite track: “In the End”
  • Lovers … “I Am the West” (2008) … I absolutely fell in love with this band when I saw it live in Las Vegas. The dreamy, almost haunting vocals are enough to give you goosebumps. … Favorite track: “Wrestling Horses”
  • The Music … “Welcome to the North” (2004) … The memory that always pops up whenever I think of this band  is of me sitting in a bar in Madison, Wis., and seeing a video for one of their songs come on TV. I guess the sound must’ve been piped into the loudspeaker, because I remember going out and buying the album as soon as I got home. And I’ve loved it ever since. … Favorite track: “Open Your Mind”
  • Postal Service … “Give Up” (2003) … This was my true introduction to indie music. Sitting at my desk in Freeport, chatting with a friend online, he asked me if I’d heard the new Postal Service. I had no idea what he was talking about and was rather confused. He sent me a link to their Amazon page, and suddenly a whole new world had opened up to me. Later that night was when I found out about Death Cab for Cutie. Needless to say, that evening will go down in the annals of history. … Favorite track: “Sleeping In”
  • Rise Against … “Sufferer & the Witness” (2006) … I kept hearing a couple songs on the radio in 2006 that I really liked, but I had no idea who sang them. Eventually, a friend helped me discover that they all happened to be by the same band: Rise Against. So I went out and bought this album and was absolutely floored. This disc would definitely rank among my top 10 all-time. … Favorite track: “Roadside”
  • The Strokes … “Is This It” (2001) … This album was like something of a dawning of a new age in rock music. It was as if everyone had had enough of all the pop and crappy boy bands from the previous decade, and we were all finally ready to get back to our roots. The fact that the video to the first single, “Last Night,” was pretty cool in its simplicity didn’t hurt things either. … Favorite track: “Last Nite”
  • System of a Down … “Toxicity” (2001) … This was one of my early discoveries upon entering college. The song “Chop Suey” was getting a decent amount of airplay, so I bought this album and just loved the intense, in-your-face stylings of Serj and the boys. … Favorite track: “Toxicity”
  • White Stripes … “White Blood Cells” (2001) … Although they released some solid albums before, this was the one that put them on the musical map and started the whole garage rock renaissance. The awesome Lego-themed video for “Fell In Love With a Girl” was also a huge hit. … Favorite track: “Little Room”
  • Abdel Wright … “Abdel Wright” (2005) … Another one of those albums that I discovered while sitting at my desk in Freeport, I heard one or two songs online via Accuradio and decided to get the disc. When I eventually found it in Madison, I was opened up to another side of reggae that I never knew existed. … Favorite track: “Dust Under Carpet”

    Honorable Mention

    • Apples In Stereo … “New Magnetic Wonder” (2007)
    • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah … “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah” (2005)
    • The Frames … “Burn the Maps” (2005)
    • Forward, Russia! … “Give Me a Wall” (2006)
    • Great Lake Swimmers … “Lost Channels” (2009)
    • MGMT … “Oracular Spectacular” (2008)
    • The Magic Numbers … “The Magic Numbers” (2005)
    • The National … “Boxer” (2007)
    • New Pornographers … “Challengers” (2007)
    • Pearl Jam … “Pearl Jam” (2006)
    • Red Hot Chili Peppers … “Stadium Arcadium” (2006)
    • The Sounds … “Dying To Say This To You” (2006)
    • Sugar Ray … “Sugar Ray” (2001)
    • We Are Scientists … “With Love and Squalor” (2006)
    • Various Artists … “Garden State” soundtrack (2004)

    TOP 10 SINGLES

    • Band of Horses … “Funeral”
    • Bat For Lashes … “Daniel”
    • Kelly Clarkson … “Breakaway”
    • Eve 6 … “Here’s To the Night”
    • Franz Ferdinand … “Take Me Out”
    • M83 … “Kim and Jessie”
    • Modest Mouse … “Float On”
    • Peter Bjorn & John … “Young Folks”
    • Damien Rice … “9 Crimes”
    • Young Knives … “Turn Tail”

    Honorable Mention

    • Evanescence … “My Immortal”
    • Gomez … “Notice”
    • Matt & Kim … “Daylight”
    • Nickelback … “How You Remind Me”
    • Katy Perry … “Hot n Cold”
    • SUM 41 … “Fat Lip”
    • Uncle Kracker … “Follow Me”

    One thing you may have noticed on these lists is the total lack of anything by Radiohead or Wilco — often regarded as two of the most important bands of the past 15 years. The reason for that is because, for some unknown reason, I’ve only listened to about one album all the way through from each band. This is unacceptable. I realize that.

    In order to rectify the situation, I will be launching a couple special features in the coming months in which I go back and give repeated listens to each and every album from these two bands. I’ll write a review of each album as well, so you can follow along in my musical awakening.

    Stay tuned.

      January 15, 2010

      Best of 2009 – Everyone else

      Filed under: Best of — assman41 @ 12:01 am

      If you missed it yesterday, here is what I considered the best music of 2009.

      Now, a look at what everyone else thought of the year that was.

      BEST OF 2009

      • Amazon.com … No. 1 album: Neko Case, “Middle Cyclone”
      • eMusic … No. 1 album: Girls, “Album” … this list should probably be taken with a grain of salt, considering it doesn’t include any music that’s not offered by eMusic.
      • The Hype Machine … No. 1 album: Animal Collective, “Merriweather Post Pavilion”
      • Metacritic … No. 1 album: Nirvana, “Live at Reading” … this page includes a whole slew of top 10 lists from a variety of sources, including most (if not all) of the ones listed in this post.
      • MOG … No. 1 album: Phoenix, “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix”
      • MOJO … No. 1 album: Animal Collective, “Merriweather Post Pavilion” … This isn’t the official website, but it’s the only link I could find.
      • NME … No. 1 album: The Horrors, “Primary Colours”
      • NPR … No. 1 album: Grizzly Bear, “Veckatimest” … This is actually a link to all the various year-end lists NPR posted from a whole spectrum of writers and musical genres. The top album I listed is actually from the All Songs Considered Listeners Poll.
      • Pitchfork.com … No. 1 album: Animal Collective, “Merriweather Post Pavilion” … No. 1 song: Animal Collective, “My Girls”
      • Rolling Stone … No. 1 album: U2, “No Line On the Horizon” … No. 1 song: U2, “Moment of Surrender”

      BEST OF THE AUGHTS

      While we’re at it, here are all the various end-of-the-decade lists I could dig up.

      • eMusic … No. 1 album: The Strokes, “Is This It?”
      • Entertainment Weekly … No. 1 album: Kanye West, “The College Dropout”
      • Metracritic … No. 1 album: Brian Wilson, “SMILE” … No. 1 indie album: The White Stripes, “Elephant”
      • Paste Magazine … No. 1 album: Sufjan Stevens, “Illinois”
      • Pitchfork.com … No. 1 album: Radiohead, “Kid A” … No. 1 song: OutKast, “B.O.B.”
      • Rolling Stone … No. 1 album: Radiohead, “Kid A” … No. 1 song: Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy”
      • SportsJournalists.com … This is my favorite message board to check out. Besides the obvious sports-related topics, there are a lot of pop culture threads, including the posters’ favorite albums of the decade and their top songs of the decade.
      • Stereogum … No. 1 album: Radiohead, “Kid A”
      • Uncut … No. 1 album: White Stripes, “White Blood Cells” … They actually break down the top 150 albums of the decade. You can find the links to the other segments in a small breakout box near the top.

      Tomorrow, I shall unveil my top music from the past decade. Stay tuned.

      January 14, 2010

      Best of 2009 – My list

      Filed under: Best of — assman41 @ 12:01 am

      Now that we’re two weeks into the new year, I’d say it’s a good time to officially post my favorite music from 2009. Below are my top albums from the previous 12 months and my favorite singles that were not among the top albums.

      TOP 10 ALBUMS

      • Animal Collective … “Merriweather Post Pavilion” … A band with an experimental sound really comes into their own on this one. … Best song: “My Girls”
      • Arctic Monkeys … “Humbug” … The third album from these Sheffield lads, they really seemed to mature on this disc. After two ruckus albums, the band toned down their sound and got serious about their songs, and it shows. … Best song: “Crying Lightning”
      • Avett Brothers … “I and Love and You” … The trio/quartet from North Carolina has been rather prolific during the past decade, averaging an album a year. But its star is still rising after its latest offering of alt-country greatness … Best song: “I and Love and You”
      • Neko Case … “Middle Cyclone” … With the voice of a siren, Ms. Case has been putting out amazing record after amazing record since the late ’90s. This isn’t necessarily my favorite, but it’s definitely up there, and it may have finally helped her break through to a larger audience. … Best song: “This Tornado Loves You”
      • Decemberists … “Hazards of Love” … It tells the tale of a woman named Margaret, her shape-shifting lover, William, his fey forest queen mother and a cold-blooded, lascivious rake. What else would expect from these guys? … Best song: “The Rake’s Song”
      • Great Lake Swimmers … “Lost Channels” … As I’ve mentioned before, this is a great album and includes my favorite song of the year. … Best song: “Pulling On a Line”
      • Metric … “Fantasies” … This was just a well-rounded indie-pop album from one of Canada’s most popular acts. … Best song: “Sick Muse”
      • Phoenix … “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” … This album was somewhat ubiquitous in 2009, with songs constantly being played in shows and commercials. But if it helped this French group gain a bigger audience, then so be it. This album is a great way to greet the rest of the world. … Best song: “1901”
      • Silversun Pickups … “Swoon” … This Los Angeles group made some history by becoming the first indie band since Nirvana to hit No. 1 on the charts. Listen to the disc and you’ll see why. … Best song: “Panic Switch”
      • White Lies … “To Lose My Life” … I don’t know what I can say that I haven’t already said before. This was easily my favorite album of the year. … Best song: “E.S.T.”

      HONORABLE MENTION

      • Green Day … “21st Century Breakdown” … This was something of a continuation from their Grammy-laden previous album. It didn’t blow me away like the last offering, but it was still some great music. … Best song: “21 Guns”
      • Ladyhawke … “Ladyhawke” … Listing this album among my favorites might seem a bit hypocritical considering what I previously said about it. But those three singles are so good, that it at least deserved a mention here. … Best song: “Back of the Van”
      • Monsters of Folk … “Monsters of Folk” … When indie/folk stars M. Ward, Jim James and Conor Oberst get together, you know it’s gonna be good. Thankfully, this album lives up to the hype. … Best song: “Say Please”
      • Various Artists … “Dark Was the Night” … This might be a once-in-a-lifetime collection for indie fans. The best part? It’s all for a good cause.

      TOP 10 SINGLES

      • Bat For Lashes … “Daniel”
      • Camera Obscura … “French Navy”
      • Company of Thieves … “Oscar Wilde”
      • Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros … “Home”
      • Ida Maria … “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”
      • The Low Anthem … “Charlie Darwin”
      • Marissa Nadler … “River of Dirt”
      • Passion Pit … “Sleepyhead”
      • Temper Trap … “Sweet Disposition”
      • Yeah Yeah Yeahs … “Zero”

      HONORABLE MENTION

      • Biffy Clyro … “Mountains”
      • The Big Pink … “Dominos”
      • Kelly Clarkson … “My Life Would Suck Without You”
      • Cut Off Your Hands … “Happy As Can Be”
      • Death Cab For Cutie … “Little Bribes”
      • Florence and the Machine … “Dog Days Are Over”
      • God Help the Girl … “Come Monday Night”
      • La Roux … “Bulletproof”
      • Lady GaGa … “Just Dance”
      • Grizzly Bear … “Two Weeks”
      • Raveonettes … “Last Dance”
      • Razorlight … “Wire To Wire”
      • Jay Reatard … “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me”
      • Spinnerette … “Baptized By Fire”
      • Frank Turner … “Sunday Nights”
      • Visqueen … “Hand Me Down”

      Tomorrow, I shall post as many links as I can find for various end-of-the-year and end-of-the-decade lists.

      January 10, 2010

      11 – Band of Horses

      Filed under: B, Seattle, South Carolina — assman41 @ 12:01 am

      When Band of Horses released their debut album, “Everything All the Time” in 2006, I was mildly skeptical about their chances of catching on. The first single, “Funeral” is amazing and seemed to be getting constant airplay.

      The problem was that they have the type of sound that could be exhausting for an entire album. Just like the band Muse’s constant anthemic rock sound, the echoey, whisper-scream of BoH lead singer Ben Bridwell permeates every song on the disc. But instead of becoming tiresome, it really works here.

      Here’s how they were described on their Wikipedia page:

      The band often draws comparisons to My Morning Jacket, largely due to the vocal similarities between Bridwell and MMJ lead singer Jim James, the occasional Southern Rock tendencies that the two groups have in common and a penchant for glimmering reverb.

      The song “The Great Salt Lake” was definitely solid, and their song “Our Swords” was on the soundtrack for the movie “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” But I was still worried that, with such a great first song, Band of Horses might be destined for the realm of One-Hit Wonders. It didn’t help matters that “Funeral” was being played all over in commercials and a slew of movies and television shows.

      However, all of that worrying became a moot point when they dropped their sophomore effort, “Cease To Begin,” in 2007. This was my most-played album of the past year and is slowly becoming one of my all-time favorites.

      While their first album has one or two really powerful songs, the second one is packed with them. The singles that you might recognize include “Is There a Ghost” and “No One’s Gonna Love You.”

      But even the non-singles are really good. Songs such as “Detlef Schrempf,” “Ode to LRC,” “The General Specific,” “Islands on the Coast” and “Cigarettes, Wedding Bands” could have been successfully released by themselves.

      I’m eagerly awaiting another album, which is likely due sometime this year. The disc, which is tentatively titled “Night Rainbows,” was recorded in 2009, but a release date has yet to be announced. I’m also looking forward to catching them the next time they’re on tour.

      In the meantime, you can check out some of their biggest songs at their official website or their MySpace page.

      I chose to post the following song for two reasons — 1) it’s great, and 2) it’s awesome that the band, which had been based in Seattle before relocating to South Carolina, decided to pay homage to one of the Emerald City’s former basketball greats in the song title.

      Band of Horses – Detlef Schrempf

      January 3, 2010

      10 – Ladyhawke

      Filed under: L, New Zealand — assman41 @ 12:01 am

      Up to this point, every band or artist I’ve reviewed can lay claim to putting out at least one album that I have absolutely loved from beginning to end — well, except for Bat For Lashes.

      That isn’t quite the case with Ladyhawke. Her self-titled debut includes some of my favorite songs from the past year, but it also has a lot of filler I could do without.

      Ladyhawke is the stage name of Phillipa “Pip” Brown, a 30-year-old singer/songwriter from New Zealand who looks and sounds like a hybrid of a slew of popular ’80s singers — such as Pat Benatar, Debbie Harry, Cyndi Lauper, Kim Wilde, Debbie Gibson, Terri Nunn and Dale Bozzio.

      And like her predecessors, Ladyhawke produces solid new wave/indie rock tinged with plenty of electronica to keep the hipsters dancing. The problem is that, while her singles are incredibly catchy, she doesn’t quite sustain it for the entirety of the album.

      That’s not to say I wouldn’t have a problem with repeated listens to Ladyhawke, but more than likely, I’ll stick to just playing my faves, which include “Back of the Van,” “My Delirium” and “Paris Is Burning.”

      Just go to her MySpace page and try not to get hooked on that trio of songs.

      Ladyhawke – Back Of The Van

      Ladyhawke – My Delerium

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