Saturday, June 28, 2008


Following up from yesterday's repeat-fest, I figured it was time for a Roulette to share what I've been listening to as of late with you guys.

1. Billie The Vision & The Dancers - A Man Fom Argentina
Album: The World According to Pablo (2005)

An exceedingly bittersweet song from the perspective of a guy who longs for what his friend has, a man from Argentina who makes her 'the happiest girl in the world'. It's simply played, and just plain charming.

2. Why? - Fatalist Palmistry
Album: Alopecia (2008)

How can I not love a song about psychics who hide their palms so nobody can read them, discussion of ways to sleep and mummies, and the use of the phrase 'coffin rehearsal'? Why? has been just below my radar for a while despite sitting on my iPod for ages, and it's a shame because their CD, Alopecia, is quite excellent. This song just makes me smile, with its quirky-yet-expressive lyrics and half-deadpan tone with layers of music behind it.

3. Los Campesinos - You! Me! Dancing!
Album: Hold On Now, Youngster... (2008)

This song makes me ridiculously happy. I can't listen to this song and frown, and that's pretty much the best way I can describe it. Listen. Grin. Get more Los Campesinos.

4. Aaron Thomas - Aw C'mon
Album: Follow the Elephants (2008)

There's something very caustic about Aaron Thomas' "Aw C'Mon", the standout track from his album Follow the Elephants. I love the simplicity of the loping, looping guitar music and the multitude of expressive metaphors, as well as the swaggering, almost teasing quality of the vocals.

5. Radiohead - Sulk
Album: The Bends (1995)

There's something oddly magnificent about this song, especially the title lyric: "Sometimes you sulk, sometimes you burn". Radiohead's music has begun to enchant me, with its obscure lyrics and deep, layered sound.

And remember, search for more at The Hype Machine; purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.

Friday, June 27, 2008

100 POSTS!

Wow, I hadn't even noticed, in my music-related lull, that I'd hit my big One Oh Oh. Luckily, as I was checking in here to do an admittedly lacklustre roulette, this little fact spurred me to want to something a little more special. Back in November (ah, so long ago!), I premiered this little blog to little fanfare, moreso a way to clear my head than anything else. Since then, I've graduated high school, switched my little 30 gig iPod for an 80er, and tBoS has gotten itself on the magnificent Hype Machine! I'm still a little fish, but I've at least hatched, and that's thanks to you guys!

That said, I think the best way to acknowledge the passage of time is to homage my first post without copying it. Back then, I posted my top 10 according to my iPod. it's funny how things can change, as you'll see when I revisit that idea with a completely new Top 10...


10. Emilie Autumn - Shalott
(Album: OpheliaC; 2006)
(Previously Featured: ----)

9. Carissa's Wierd - Sofisticated Fuck Princess Please Leave Me Alone
(Album: Songs About Leaving; 2002)
(Previously Featured: ----)

8. Sia - The Girl You Lost to Cocaine
(Album: Some People Have Real Problems; 2008)
(Previously Featured: Roulette 6)

7. The Dresden Dolls - Mandy Goes to Med School
(Album: Yes Virgina...; 2006)
(Previously Featured: Showcase: The Dresden Dolls)

6. Poe - Walk the Walk
(Album: Haunted; 2000)
(Previously Featured: Showcase: Poe)

5. The Dresden Dolls - Sex Changes
(Album: Yes Virgina...; 2006)
(Previously Featured: Mystery Post 2 [Live Radio Version])

4. Carissa's Wierd - Ignorant Piece of Shit
(Album: Songs About Leaving; 2002)
(Previously Featured: Roulette 7)

3. Poe - Not a Virgin
(Album: Haunted; 2000)
(Previously Featured: Showcase: Poe)

2. The Dresden Dolls - Half Jack
(Album: Yes Virgina...; 2006)
(Previously Featured: ----)

1. Poe - Spanish Doll
(Album: Haunted; 2000)
(Previously Featured: Showcase: Poe)

(Search for more at The Hype Machine. Purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.)

Instead of talking about the individual songs, most of which I've posted about previously (with 3 exceptions), it would probably be more valuable to talk a little about how my tastes have shifted so radically and compare the two lists a little.

First off, the dominance of three bands: The Dresden Dolls, Poe, and Carissa's Wierd, with 3, 3, and 2 respectively. I would say this relates to 'new iPod syndrome' - that is, when your play counts have been wiped (as mine were) I began to listen to certain bands more and others less. My main 'good playlists' have been playcount driven (on my old iPod, the minimum was 7 plays; on the new iPod I have one 7, and another at 3). With thousands of songs at my disposal, shuffle is often a ponderous exercise when not connected to Itunes.

Another is my discovery of A) how much I love The Dresden Dolls and B) how smooth Poe's Haunted sounds when listened as an album. Amanda Palmer and Ann Danielewski (of the Dolls and Poe respectively) are wicked vocalists. However, though Palmer is the stronger voice, Danielewski's sense of production is unparallelled. While she probably had aid in producing the album, it just feels like such a personal affair (and the subtle links to her brother's genius book House of Leaves, and the inclusion of tapes left to her posthumously by her father are also included seamlessly, enhancing rather than detracting).

Since November, I've both started really listening to the lyrics of both and bought Danielewski's brother's aforementioned novel, House of Leaves. Palmer is relentless and shameless as she tackles issues no-one else would touch with vigour and humour, while Poe's songs are lush, beautiful pieces of work. Listen to "Spanish Doll" and tell me it doesn't break your heart just a little.

Meanwhile, the purchase of the new iPod also changed something else. Artists like Andrew Bird, The Fray, Imogen Heap and Tegan and Sara, who appeared on November's list, had become overplayed to me. Having lost the built up play counts from the old iPod, and having been played to near exhaustion already, they didn't have the power to make the climb alongside the Dolls. In fact, none of last years (fantastic) offerings have made it to the top 10 yet. Sia, the only one to survive the iPod switch, had an album release in early 2008 just as it occurred, perfectly timed for the new list. Even with this, early favourites off Problems didn't make the cut (say, "Academia" or "Soon We'll Be Found"), only second-wind favourite "Girl".

Another interesting note: Every single song here is led by a female vocalist. In fact, the highest spot held by a male vocalist is #12, Andrew Bird's "Imitosis", and then at #17, Angie Aparo's "Cry". In total, only 18 male vocalist led songs made it to my Top 60 (and only 26 in my Top 100!). As equal-opportunity as I claim to be, apparently the shift is more obvious than I'd like to admit. Something to rectify in the future, as there are many male vocalists I love who get trampled by their female equals.

I will be the first to admit that I am a child of the 2000's, despite my childhood during the 90's. Not one of these songs is from before the year 2000; in fact, on my 'pod, I have only listened to 16 pre-2000 songs more than twice, and I only have 618 of them on the pod at all. In fact, I only have 44 songs pre-1990 - and over 30 of those are The Smiths! This fits in with my more modern tastes in terms of TV and movies, as well. It's sad, because I have enough music from the past 8 years to last me another 10 years...*

(* Note some-much of my music has no marked year, so more may be hiding.)

So, my resolutions for the next 100 posts?

---> Listen to more male vocalists, or at least in great volume. I'm sure things will even out soon: Andrew Bird, My Latest Novel, The Fray, and Snow Patrol should all be coming out with new albums by the end of 2009 (hopefully). Unfortunately for them, they'll be contending with Amanda Palmer's solo debut and new albums from Kate Havnevik, Lily Allen, Jem, Dido....

---> Seek out more pre-2000's music and actually try to enjoy it. I've heard a lot of the mainstream stuff, but I have to give more stuff a chance. I'm beginning to get into older albums of Radiohead, Magnetic Fields (particularly 69 Love Songs), and Aimee Mann's discography, to name just a few.

---> Try not to burn out The Dresden Dolls or Poe like I did Andrew Bird, who I still love but need a break from.

---> Blog more! In the past few months I've been letting go of a lot of my blogging, mostly lost in what to write about with too much music to listen to. I have a To Do list of posts that I would like to begin on, especially as I have a lot more free time nowadays and plenty of music-related passion.

So, yes. Apologies to older readers who already have most of these songs and all readers who have been annoyed at my sparse posting. Will rectify that. In the meantime, enjoy these and await my next post!

~ Alden

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Haven't been keeping up lately, sadly enough. Still, here's some songs I've been enjoying as of late...

1. Sarah McLachlan - Prayer of St. Francis (from Rarities, B-Sides And Other Stuff Volume 2; 2008)

McLachlan does gorgeous work with music-izing this prayer, making a beautiful piece of music even for those with no religious affiliation. A longtime favourite.

2. Adrienne Pierce - Fool's Gold (from Faultline; 2007)

A really pretty song found through "Grey's Anatomy". The lyrics are pretty similar to most of its ilk, but Pierce has quite a nice voice.

3. Jem - It's Amazing (from Sex and the City Movie OST; 2008)

We've all been waiting far too long for Jem's new album, and we get a small sneak peek with her inclusion in the "Sex and the City" OST. It's nice, and foretells good things for the new album.

4. Alanis Morissette - The Guy Who Leaves (from Flavors of Entanglement Bonus Disc; 2008)

While I agree with Morissette's decision to leave this song off the CD proper, it makes a very nice b-side of sorts, with a nice introspective look and an enjoyable sound.

5. Wolf Parade - Call It a Ritual (from Mount Zoomer; 2008)

A new discovery prompted by a cousin. Definitely worth a listen, with vocals that sound a little like Belle & Sebastian if they were more indy-rock-whatever instead of twee.

Search for more at The Hype Machine. Purchase albums or mp3's at Amazon, Amazon Canada, Amie St., cdbaby, or Insound.