Sunday, April 27, 2008


"Yes, it was profoundly meaningless."

What can I say about the brilliant Stephin Merritt? The man who spearheaded a triple-CD project called 69 Love Songs on a whim, who has headed four separate bands along with his own solo work, and who can write witty, sad, and funny songs - all in one. I haven't followed everything he's done, but I know much of his work with Fields, and it's great stuff. Merritt has practically invented the super-quirky love song. He wrote every one of the songs, from ditties to ballads to epics. I love his co-vocalists as well, particularly 69 Love Songs contributors Claudia Gonson, Shirley Simms, AD Beghtol, and Dudley Klute.

Though not all of their songs are hits, they produce so many that the amount of gems they produce far outweigh some other artists. They bend genres, styles, genders, whatever they want. Quite genius.

The Magnetic Fields - Too Drunk to Dream
The Magnetic Fields - If You Don't Cry
The Magnetic Fields - Reno Dakota
The Magnetic Fields - I Don't Want to Get Over You
The Magnetic Fields - The Night You Can't Remember
The Magnetic Fields - Meaningless
The Magnetic Fields - All My Little Words

That's a good starter selection - sad, funny, and wittily written. There are many others I could've included, but I thought that, if you do like them, you can easily pick up an album or two.

BUY: Amazon | Amazon Canada | Indigo

Friday, April 25, 2008


Another roulette for you guys, both for some variety and to show off some new acquisitions...

Russian Red - No Past Land

I recently got my hands on Spanish indie band Russian Red's I Love Your Glasses, and it's enchanting. Lourdes Hernandez has a gorgeous voice, different than most of those I listen to. It's dark and beautiful and an excellent newcomer, even if information about the band is sparse. This album improves with every listen.

The Dresden Dolls - Night Reconnaissance

The first single for The Dresden Dolls' b-sides compilation, No, Virginia..., I'm a fan of the lyrics but still warming to the song itself. Though it's quite a good song, and as personally-relevant as the best of Palmer's work, the song works against her voice in many places instead of enhancing it. That said, I can't wait for the album and hope this song grows on me like most of the Dolls' previous work has.

Radiohead - (Nice Dream)

This is far from new. It is, in fact, from Radiohead's 1995 album The Bends, which I uncovered in a stack of old CDs of my sister's that I haven't listened to in years. I feel nostalgic every time I hear it, because though I can barely remember back then I used to listen to it occasionally on my old CD player. This was always my favourite off the disc, though "Fake Plastic Trees" went on to become an omnipresent cover in the current scene.

Moloko - The Time is Now

I've also gotten Catalogue, the compilation for Moloko - aka Roisin Murphy's old band. I've always liked Roisin, and I'm now discovering Moloko might also be something to look into. "The Time is Now" is quite nice, pretty different from the more-intense songs Murphy creates.

My Brightest Diamond - The Brightest Diamond (alternately known as 'The Diamond')

From My Brightest Diamond's (to be released) sophomore album, this song is a quiet, hazy and beautiful piece. Shara Worden, at the core of this project, has created a beautiful landscape of a love song filled with regret, and her vocals are the showcase here (as always). It's operatic in its scope, classical in its sound, with both strumming and soaring strings. It's different than the sound of Bring Me the Workhorse, but that's far from a bad thing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Haven't felt up to blogging much as of late, despite that lovely concert review I wanted to do. It's getting further and further back, but I do still have my notes and my memories... Anyhow, a roulette of some recent songs I've been listening to...

The Pale Young Gentlemen - Clap Your Hands

I've been getting these indie/rock playlists, and this song was one of them. A reeling, old-sounding song about dancing and the escape from one's problems it brings. Very enjoyable.

Forest City Lovers - Monsters

A lovely, soft song with pretty vocals. I'm new to the Forest City Lovers, but I'm becoming a fan.

Meg & Dia - Monster

There's something about these harmonising pairs that just hit me in the right way. Electric guitars with simple female vocals, giving a great sense of paranoia to the lyrics - especially when the guitars fall away, leaving the scared, worried vocals on their own.

Islands - Creeper

I will admit, I first got hooked on this song because the slang term 'creeper' (for, obviously, a creepy person) has been making the rounds in my group of friends and it amused me. However, I've begun to really enjoy the song, as it has a great sound. It's a genuinely creepy song about being ambushed upon coming home by a 'creeper' with a knife, and despite that creepiness has a really cool beat to it.

Damien Rice - Rat Within the Grain

Though I was a bit hard on Damien Rice once he and Lisa Hannigan split, I'm coming back around on him. Actually, while I once declared O to be the far superior album, I find myself becoming more and more bored by the long, artsy songs on it and instead enjoy the angrier, tighter work on 9, despite a lack of Lisa. After finding an excellent set of live recordings of him, I took a look around and found this wonderful "9 Crimes" b-side. It's short, bitter and self-deprecating; that is, Damien at his best.

Laura Marling - New Romantic

I didn't get the appeal of this song when my cousin Marelly declared it amazing, but recently I've come around to it. Really, it's the kind of honest confessional style I love, and despite the protagonist's dilemma of whether to leave her guy (whom she convinced to break up with his girlfriend to be with her), you feel how confused and pissed off at herself she is here. She attempts to swear off love altogether, but finds herself wavering in the face of this 'new romantic way'.

Also, while you're here, check out the two excellent demos Lily Allen has thrown up on her MySpace. "I Don't Know" in particular has major potential to be a new favourite.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


It's time for another covers post! I've sworn in my 101 Things in 1001 Days to post one every month, as I so enjoy them and always forget to give them a shot. So, here goes!

The Puppini Sisters - Walk Like an Egyptian (The Bangles cover)
Rockabye Baby! - Trouble (Coldplay cover)
Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (live The Flaming Lips cover)
M. Ward - Bye Bye Love (Everly Brothers cover)
The Dresden Dolls - Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover)

Hope you guys enjoy those! They're mostly ones I've picked up recently, and are quite nice.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


"I know where I am when you're here."

One of my favourite up-and-coming artists, young Torontonian Valerie Poxleitner who goes by the stage name of Lights, has dropped a few new songs into the interweb. I've had 3 or four of her songs for months, waiting for more output, and lo and behold, I hear a new song on an Old Navy commercial! All the power in the world to her on that front, as I'm hoping it'll give her some great exposure. We know from the overnight success of Feist that great music + popular commercial = greatness.

Is Lights' music great music? Not quite yet, though I think she has potential to be a great pop artist without selling her soul (or in the case of Spears and her ilk, body and mind as well). She's pretty new to the scene compared to the greats, and that's okay because it leaves her room to grow. Her music is nice, poppy and just makes me grin when I hear it.

That room to grow is shown both ways in her new song, "Drive My Soul", which I'm divided on. The core concept, comparing a soul to a car and driving, feels very tween, very Avril Lavigne, and that weakens the message. But the song itself, even when the songwriting dips, is pretty damn enjoyable because our girl manages to sell it, and the song has a couple really nice moments. The music is exactly as we expect from Lights, and the vocals are just vulnerable enough to make the sometimes cringeworthy lines feel genuinely expressive. Really, it sums up a lot of my feelings about her music - it could be great pop to hop to, once she starts pronouncing "February" right and letting her songs grow into themselves.

The other newbie, "White" is nice and doesn't present the flaws of "Drive" so obviously - but, alas, doesn't capture my attention in the same way either. When it comes to Lights, I'd say get on the train now, because the only direction I see her going in is up.

Lights - Drive My Soul

MYSPACE (including previews of "Drive My Soul" and "White", as well as "I Owe You One" and "February Air")

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


So here's the thing. This past week, I've been hit with a sudden case of intertia. It's like writer's block... for all of life. It sucks muchly, especially as I've got some great posts in the pipeline waiting to be written for you guys.

Dragonette @ The Phoenix, April 3 2008

This is probably embarrassing for any music blogger, but I will admit to you guys that, before last week, I had never been to a live concert. That changed with seeing Dragonette last Thursday at the Phoenix at Toronto. A full post on that upcoming, though I lack a camera so no pics of the actual event.

Dragonette - Magic Fantastic

New CDs!

So, I listen to a lot of music, so acquiring new music isn't a big deal - except when I buy the physical CD. In this mp3 age, it's nice to own some CDs, and I've come into a few as of late. First off, what arrived today was my lovely Die Romantik CD, Narcissist's Waltz, a very highly anticipated one for me as the tracks I came across previously were some of 2007's best. It's too bad the band has disbanded, as they were my pick for Best Newcomer of 2007 (despite, as I recent;y found out, having played for five years unnoticed previously).

Next off, at the Dragonette concert I bought the CDs of both their support bands: Sweet Thing (Sweet Thing) and Fritz Helder and the Phantoms (Greatest Hits). Both bands impressed me, and neither was too expensive, which makes me happy. And lastly, I got my hands on a review copy of Andy Hunter's Colour, which I'll also be popping out a review for in the near future.

I should also be getting a My Latest Novel single ("When We Were Wolves") soon, bought used off Amazon purely for the b-side, which I believe is a Beach Boys cover. So completely worth it.

Die Romantik - Another Round (Live on Fair Game from PRI with Faith Salie)
Andy Hunter feat. Shaz Sparks - Shine
Sweet Thing - Down to the Ground
Fritz Helder and the Phantoms - You Ain't Vogue
My Latest Novel - Hopelessly Endlessly (demo)

MYSPACES AND WEBSITES: Dragonette | Die Romantik | Andy Hunter | Sweet Thing | Fritz Helder and the Phantoms | My Latest Novel

BUY: Amazon | Amazon Canada

Thursday, April 3, 2008



Just got my hands on the new Heroes Season One soundtrack, and while I haven't given it an intense listen over, I am very happy about one thing: A new Imogen Heap tune! As well as a new Death Cab For Cutie one. Plus, for anyone who hasn't grabbed the new Panic at the Disco album (or read my post below where I dropped this same mp3), their new single "Nine in the Afternoon" is included as well.

Imogen's tune, "Not Now But Soon", follows the pattern of her compilation work being better than her album work, and I'm happy to hear it. It's got heavy synth work, and is very electronic a little Frou Frou-y, in fact. It doesn't compare to the best of her work, like Narnia's magnificent "Can't Take It In" or Plague Songs' "Glittering Clouds", but its a worthy addition to her discography, and I suspect it will grow on me s many others have.

In addition to this, the album includes Death Cab For Cutie's "Jealousy Rides With Me", The New Pornographers' "All For Swinging You Around", David Bowie's iconic "Heroes" (of course), and some surprisingly fantastic work from the series score creators Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, better known as Wendy and Lisa. The music of Heroes is sometimes noticeable while watching, but usually it slips under your skin and enhances the scenes. We don't get a huge taste of it here, as three of the four that bear their name - the series' theme, "Natural Selection", and "Homecoming" - are painfully short, leaving their only lengthy contribution here a collaboration with vocals by Shankar (an Indian vocalist and violinist who also goes by Shenkar), entitled "Fire and Regeneration". What I believe is choral work run through synths has a great effect on "Fire and Regeneration", though, building beautifully through the song and making it very deserving of its spot on this album. I hope we get to hear more of this score in future releases. Also, Sheila Chandra's inclusion, "ABoneCroneDrone 3 ", is also exceptional.

Imogen Heap - Not Now But Soon
Wendy and Lisa ft. Shankar - Fire and Regeneration

BUY: Haven't found a good online source for this, sadly enough, but look around hard enough and you'll get your hands on it. It should show up at NBC's web store sometime soon, though.