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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Just wanted to make a quick note that there'll probably be no Millenium Project today as I'm running a bit behind. Look for it tomorrow...

Also, I just got tickets to the Scissor Sisters show this October at the Showbox in Seattle. So freaking excited!!! This'll be the third time I've seen them.

Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancing (Linus Loves Dub Mix)

Oh my god that mix cracks me up. It's totally crazy.


"I want to know if it still grows inside you"

If you like synth-pop/electro bands like Elkland, Clear Static and the Lovemakers, you should love the Aeffect. Don't judge them on their dodgy camel picture or their strange name, let the song do the talking (or singing?). Or, better yet... watch their partially animated awesome 80's inspired video (it's got a bat with a top hat and lasers!) for the song. If only American music video channels would play this kind of stuff. Sigh.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the cd here)

Friday, August 11, 2006


"Oh Kelly, you know I see you running"

Bigstereo recently posted this song on their blog and I think you'll really like it. I instantly fell in love with it, so it must be good! Van She is from Australia and plays 80's synth-pop so authentic that it sounds like it could have been released in that era. This particular song has a glossy pop sheen that I think could actually give this band a hit under the right circumstances. If you like the song, you can find the video on bigstereo.

Van She - Kelly

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the ep here)

Millenium Project: Day Five (Albums 60-51)

60. Surferosa - Shanghai My Heart (2004)
This band is like the Sounds with a more psycho lead singer. I love the strangeness of this album. Just a scan at the track names (German Socks, Digital Audio Work Station, Unit [Supply Of 11 Roses]), and you realize that this isn’t going to be your typical pop record. It is consistently energetic and catchy, though, and the trio of singles (Lucky Lipstick, Neon Commando & Saturday Night) are flawless. Funniest of all is Canuba Toystore, which opens with the utterly ridiculous shrill scream of “Toys!!!!!” over and over again for no apparent reason.

Surferosa - Saturday Night

59. The Rasmus - Dead Letters (2003)
A mix of goth-pop, Bon Jovi style power-rock and a unique voice, the Rasmus hit it out of the park with this album. Each song has been thoroughly filled with hooks as to get stuck in the collective consciousness of listeners from Finland to the US. Hit single In The Shadows starts things off, but that’s not even the highlight. F-F-F-Falling is one of the best teen-angst songs ever written.

The Rasmus - F-F-F-Falling

58. No Doubt - Rock Steady (2001)
Taking inspiration from the 80’s has turned out to be a good move for No Doubt and Gwen. The band’s always been about making upbeat, fun music, and Rock Steady was kind of a return to form after the somewhat melancholy Return Of Saturn. Rock Steady is a consistent party record and even the slower songs (the gorgeous Underneath It All, Waiting Room, Running) have a good vibe to them. And, even more impressive, there’s not a bad track on here. (Although we used to make fun of Start The Fire -- like they were planning a mass sacrificial burning or something)

No Doubt - Detective

57. Roxette - Room Service (2003)
Marie and Per are gods. It’s really as simple as that. This is the only Roxette album released in the 2000’s and, although it’s not their best work, it’s still a great listen. When you put on a Roxette cd, you know you’re in for a good time. Room Service has some of their greatest uptempo work (The Centre Of The Heart, Jefferson, Fool) and some fantastic ballads as well (Milk And Toast And Honey, Bringing Me Down To My Knees).

Roxette - Jefferson

56. Keane - Hopes & Fears (2004)
Normally I’m not a fan of this slow, melancholy, Coldplay-ish music. But, Keane manage to make it a bit theatrical, and they’re lucky to possess a lead singer with one of the greatest voices out there right now. There’s something addictive about the melodies on this album. Everything is so simple, yet it stays with you. This Is The Last Time is a masterpiece of its genre and will probably be the best song Keane ever write.

Keane - This Is The Last Time

55. Darren Hayes - The Tension And The Spark (2004)
Darren followed up Spin with an incredibly different record. More dense and challenging than his past work, it took a few listens for me to be hooked. There are poppier moments (Pop!ular, Love And Attraction) but then there are broodier moments as well (the slow build of Darkness, Unlovable, Ego). The best tracks on here are the more avant-garde uptempo pop (I Forgive You, Hero, I Like The Way).

Darren Hayes - Hero

54. Britney Spears - Britney (2001)
Here it is… Britney’s only good album. I’m usually not a fan of this overly manufactured music (unless it is manufactured by the band/singer themselves and not manufactured for them), but it works on this album. Every song (other than the dire I Love Rock And Roll) is an absolute pop gem. Lonely, What It’s Like To Be Me, Anticipating and That’s Where You Take Me are all way higher quality than Britney’s ever reached before, and Slave 4 U is purely irresistible, no matter what your taste in music.

Britney Spears - Anticipating

53. Antony And The Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now (2005)
I honestly wept the first time that I heard this album. A singer’s voice (and the honesty, pain and humanity conveyed through it) has never affected me that way before. I Am A Bird Now is not the type of album I usually seek out, but the songs are so powerful that they practically sought me out. Hope There’s Someone, For Today I Am A Boy and You Are My Sister all give me absolute chills. It is unlike any other album I’ve ever heard.

Antony & The Johnsons - Hope There’s Someone

52. Pink - Can’t Take Me Home (2000)
Despite what some people would say, Pink has never had any more personality than she had on her debut album. Sticking firmly to slick r&b/pop, Pink manages to humanize the glossy genre and add much needed humor. From her downright brilliant first single There You Go to its equally great follow-up Most Girls (complete with faux-operatic background vocals), the album never lets up. Stop Falling may remain Pink’s best ballad ever, while Can’t Take Me Home, Hell Wit Ya, and Hiccup are all funny, catchy dance tracks.

Pink - There You Go

51. The Callahan - Hardpop (2005)
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant was the Callahan’s debut single, Melody That Counts. In fact, nothing else on the album can compete, but there is still plenty here. Server X and Baby I Miss You rekindle a bit of Melody’s glory, while Dirty Little Angel is a gorgeous glam-ballad. The funniest bit of this album appears as a bonus track, with the band (all siblings) singing the Callahan song. Apparently there is one that they’ve made up, and it has a lot of dramatic, almost monk-like vocals.

The Callahan - Melody That Counts

(Music is for evaluation purposes only. Buy these fabulous albums here, except you need to get the Callahan album here.)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Bit Of A Myspacey Update

I just wanted to let everyone know that if you liked previous posts by Under The Influence Of Giants and Ezra Reich, you can download more tracks by them for free at myspace.

Click here to download two non-album tracks from UTIOG. "Beautiful," in particular, is fantastically dancey and should have been on the album.

Click here to download two songs from Ezra Reich's (hopefully) upcoming album "Milkshake Arcade."

"I'm getting dizzy then I hit the floor"

This post is more of a Protocol protest than anything else. My question is...where is the album??? I mean, I know that they've had label troubles, but I've been anticipating their debut for almost a year now. Their website is currently being rebuilt, which I guess is a good sign...although it leaves me with no information. Anyway, the reason I anticipate this release so much is that the band totally rules. They make lovely 80's inspired pop (somewhat similar to Melody Club) and thoroughly glamorous music videos (here and here). Now, if they can only get that album out!

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the single here)

Millenium Project: Day Four (Albums 70-61)

70. Darren Hayes - Spin (2002)
I was devastated by the demise of Savage Garden. Their debut album was the first cd I had ever bought, and I adored the band. Luckily, Darren continued on as a solo artist (though none of his stuff matches the brilliance of SG). This is a nearly flawless pop album. Some songs already sound a bit dated, but the more SG-ish tracks (Strange Relationship, Good Enough, Spin) are freaking great.

Darren Hayes - Strange Relationship

69. No Doubt - Return To Saturn (2000)
Tragic Kingdom was such a complete masterpiece that it was impossible to follow it up. So, naturally this album loses some of its glamour when such a huge shadow is cast over it. But, it is a fantastic album in its own right. The singles (Ex-Girlfriend, Simple Kind Of Life, New, Bathwater) are all flawless No Doubt, as are some of the album tracks (Six Feet Under, Artificial Sweetener, Comforting Lie). In fact, I’ve found that this album becomes better with age.

No Doubt - Simple Kind Of Life

68. Gwen Stefani - Love, Angel, Music, Baby (2004)
Right in front of No Doubt’s album is the solo release from Mrs. Stefani. Before certain songs were played to death (um…Hollaback Girl), I tended to like this album even more than I do now. I tend to appreciate the straight 80’s pop sounding tracks (Danger Zone, Cool, Crash) more than the faux-urban ones (Hollaback Girl, Rich Girl, & the retched Luxurious). It’s a shame she didn’t have enough bravery to go the non-urban route, as the best songs on the album are the unreleased ones.

Gwen Stefani - Danger Zone

67. Hedley -Hedley (2005)
I hate what passes for punk rock today. Most of it is a bunch of glossy whining. So, this album is a bit of an exception to the rule. The lead singer (Jacob Hoggard) was a contestant on Canadian Idol, and he was easily one of the top three contestants on any form of Idol I’ve seen. That would have been enough, but Hoggard took his band and released one corker of an album. Book ended by two amazing rock tracks (Villain & I Don’t Believe It), this is a great debut.

Hedley - Villain

66. Shakira - Laundry Service (2001)
Shakira descended on the international public like a crazy gypsy with this album. It contains some true classics (Underneath Your Clothes, Wherever, Whenever, The One) as well as some stunning pop/rock (Ready For The Good Times, Rules). I still can’t figure out why it’s called Laundry Service, but whatever. It’s a strange album, so the strange title fits it.

Shakira - Underneath Your Clothes

65. The Darkness - Permission To Land (2003)
Fueled by the massive I Believe In A Thing Called Love, Permission To Land can sometimes be uneven, but is always so damn energetic that any missteps are forgivable. I’ve always loved bombast and drama in rock, and that’s definitely in no short supply with the Darkness. Highlights are mostly non-singles, like the catchy Friday Night and the closing ballad Holding My Own.

The Darkness - Friday Night

64. HIM - Razorblade Romance (2003)
I’m not normally a fan of Goth music. I find it all to be a bit silly, honestly. But, this album is such a skillful pop album (no matter what the genre is). There’s a lot of theatricality, romance and drama in the songs, and the album is incredibly consistent. The highlight comes right away with the opening trilogy of Your Sweet Six Six Six, Poison Girl, and Join Me In Death (gotta love those titles, right?). Also worth noting is the band’s triumphant cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Games.

HIM - Your Sweet Six Six Six

63. Delays - Faded Seaside Glamour (2004)
Perhaps one of the most beautiful albums ever, just listening to this cd will put you in a better mood. The songwriting, harmonies, vocals, everything just drips with blessed out gorgeous poppiness. Best are the singles (Long Time Coming, Nearer Than Heaven, Hey Girl), which already sound like long lost classics. Also check out Stay Where You Are, which seems to me to be a hint of things to come with this band…

Delays - Long Time Coming

62. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand (2004)
This album was definitely a breath of fresh air at the time and I can’t believe that they actually gained success in the States as well as Europe. I didn’t think we had it in us! Their first album will probably always be their best, unless they decide to go a different route with their third. Take Me Out and Michael are freaking awesome songs, as is Auf Aucshe with its gentle disco keyboard swoops.

Franz Ferdinand - Michael

61. The Similou - So Hot Right Now (2005)
I’m proud to say that I was singing along to All This Love during the spring of 2005, a full year before it was discovered by English and American audiences. It is simply one of the greatest pop songs of the decade, perhaps ever, and I’m so glad to see it becoming successful (finally). The rest of the album does pale in comparison (how could it not?), but it’s still great. Ladykillers is a great follow-up to All This Love, and the sheer amount of retro keytar sounds is bound to delight.

The Similou - All This Love

(Music is for evaluation purposes only. Buy these fabulous albums here.)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


"I'm gonna treat you like a lady of honor, I'm gonna treat you like my daughter"

If I had my way, songs like this would be on the radio rather than all the crap cluttering it nowadays. Supergirl sounds like the music David Bowie would make if he was still writing relevant pop songs rather than drudging up past glories. This is strange, quirky avant-garde pop music. In fact, it sounds like David Bowie's vocals with Melody Club's pop sensibility and the songwriting of The Cars. It's bright, bubbly, brilliant stuff, and is certainly on my summertime playlist.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Unfortunately, Reich's new album is not yet released...but buy the old one here)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Buy This Album!
Under The Influence Of Giants
I posted a song by this band a few days ago (the absolutely brilliant--and #1 hit worthy-- "In The Clouds") and I was really excited to go out and buy their debut cd today. A couple of years ago I made a declaration that disco would make a comeback, and now I'm starting to see it. Under The Influence Of Giants act as kind of a west-coast Scissor Sisters with a few differences. They're a lot less perverse, they love blue-eyed soul, and you can hear more of a Californian seaside influence. Some of the songs have a SS swagger ("Got Nothing," "Against All Odds") and they can write a good ballad as well ("Stay Illogical" is beautiful). Best of all, UTIOG go straight for the pop jugular. There's a reason why most classic songs have a pop basis. It's catchy, it makes you feel good, and it's timeless.

Listen to the album before you buy it here.

Under The Influence Of Giants - Got Nothing

(you can buy the album here - music is posted for evaluation purposes only. Please support the artists. If you hold the copyright to this song and wish it to be removed, contact me and I will delete it immediately)
Millenium Project: Day Two (Albums 90-81)

90. Dannii Minogue - Neon Nights (2003)
Perhaps one of the most consistently discotastic albums of all time, Neon Nights never lets up. It’s just so damn campy. The thing is, I’m not the biggest Dannii fan. In fact, I think that this album (with the supplement of her Greatest Hits) pretty much covers all the necessary Dannii territory. Hate me if you will, Dannii fans. She’s still great, though. And, this album is a masterpiece of the genre. So many hits here. My personal favorite is the campy album track, Mystified.

Dannii Minogue - Mystified

89. The Zutons - Tired Of Hanging Around (2006)
Free of any of the annoying try-too-hard songs from their debut album (Dirty Dancehall, anyone?), and possessing the summer anthem Valerie, it’s hard not to fall in love with this record. It’s consistently a fantastic summer-sounding cd, and the best (and rarest) thing about it is that the singles aren’t necessarily the standouts.

The Zutons - Valerie

88. Kylie Minogue - Body Language (2003)
For better or worse, Body Language sounds completely different than other Kylie albums. It pales in comparison to Fever or Light Years, but it’s still a good cd. I found Slow to be an odd choice for first single, though I think the slow haze of Chocolate is totally addicting. Given that this cd was an underperformer in the singles department also means that there are some great hidden treasures (Promises, Sweet Music).

Kylie Minogue - Sweet Music

87. Robbie Williams - Escapology (2002)
Another underperformer from one of my favorite artists, Escapology was marred more by high expectations and inconsistency than a lack of talent or tunes. This album has some of William’s best work (Come Undone, Something Beautiful, Cursed) and some of his worst (Handsome Man, Me & My Monkey, How Peculiar). It is, however, always entertaining.

Robbie Williams - Come Undone

86. Aaliyah - Aaliyah (2001)
Interesting album, because after the singer’s tragic death, I basically stopped listening to it. I’m not sure why this was, maybe out of mourning? It is a staggeringly accomplished modern r&b album… probably the best of its kind, actually. Aaliyah is one of those albums that flows from one track to the next so well that it’s almost like listening to a story.

Aaliyah - We Need A Resolution

85. Nelly Furtado - Loose (2006)
This album could have sucked so bad. Furtado can’t dance, she’s hardly “street,” and she was attempting to move towards a really boring and (at many times) unimaginative genre of music. But, everything clicked and we have Loose, her best album to date and a major hit. The opening salvo of Afraid, Maneater and Promiscuous speaks for itself, I think.

Nelly Furtado - Say It Right

84. The Feeling - Twelve Stops And Home (2006)
This kind of album, quite frankly, is what the world needs right now. Big, shiny pop music. Definitely a summer album, Twelve Stops And Home isn’t the masterpiece it should have been, but it is incessantly fun and catchy. The opening few tracks are thrilling in their consistent peppiness. And, Sewn is an official anthem.

The Feeling - Love It When You Call

83. Jason Mraz - Waiting For My Rocket To Come (2002)
One of those cds I owned years before it became popular, Mraz was ruined by overexposure. There was a time, though, where this cd was quite charming. Actually, now that Mraz is kinda over with, the album holds up really well. It’s got a consistent summer feel and, forgetting the massive single (The Remedy, which is not even the best song on the album) it’s a real laid-back piece of Americana. And, Mraz has got an amazing voice when he wants to.

Jason Mraz - You & I Both

82. Prince - Musicology (2004)
Much more than its follow-up, Musicology redefined Prince as a major star. Personally, I had never forgotten about him, but I was glad to see him return somewhat to 80’s form. The album’s pretty laid-back, drawing the listener in with some gentle funk at the beginning before pelting them with the best, rockier songs (Cinnamon Girl, A Million Days, The Marrying Kind). Prince was always better when playing guitar.

Prince - A Million Days

81. Robbie Williams - Intensive Care (2005)
A far more mellow album than Robbie’s ever turned in, Intensive Care marked a bit of a turn in direction. Personally, I really liked it. There are hints of electronica here and there (Sin, Sin, Sin, Your Gay Friend) and some great anthems (Advertising Space, Spread Your Wings, Ghosts). Horrible single choices, though. Why wasn’t A Place To Crash released?

Robbie Williams - A Place To Crash

Monday, August 07, 2006


In addition to playing the new Scissor Sisters song to death, I've also been loving on the new Killers song. In honor of the wonderfulness that is "When You Were Young," I've decided to post four rare Killers demos. I think you'll find the variance in sound to be somewhat peculiar, as none of the four songs (well, maybe "Desperate") really sounds like it could be on Hot Fuss. They were clearly a band finding their direction at the time of recording. "Desperate" is a really dramatic sounding semi-ballad, "Waiting For Love" has an almost ska influence in parts, "Oh Yeah, By The Way" is more glam rock than new wave, and "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town" (an unlikely Kenny Rogers cover) has a lo-fi country shuffle to it.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists!)

Millenium Project: Day One (Albums 100-91)

100. Mya - Fear of Flying (2000)
Mya’s always been, at least in my eyes, a little more ambitious than her r&b peers. She doesn’t have the “belter” kind of voice, which means she doesn’t over rely on it. This is a good thing because it allows her albums to focus on catchy songs. This is a good, if not utterly spectacular pop album with some amazing tracks (Case of the Ex, Free, Pussycats).

Mya - Case of the Ex

99. Shakira - Oral Fixation Volume Two (2006)
Although a lot of fans preferred the tepid (at least in my eyes) Volume One, I think that this album is a lot more fun to listen to. The thing about good pop albums is that they tend to run the gamut when it comes to styles and genres. While Shakira’s focus is Latin music, with this album, we get surf guitars (Animal City), No Doubt style ska (Hey You) and eighties dance (Timor).

Shakira - Timor

98. Red Hot Chili Peppers - By The Way (2002)
Although not as good as their late 90’s effort, Californication, By The Way is an incredibly consistent and at times surprising album. Fueled by a ridiculously good lead single, By The Way was also a pretty diverse record. From the new-wave styling of Throw Away Your Television to the flamenco of standout Cabron. Overlong at 16 tracks, but a great summer listen.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - By The Way

97. Madonna - Music (2000)
Unlike some, I’m not really a fan of Madonna’s post-80’s music. Honestly, to me she always sounds a bit up her own ass. This album, however, is the exception (in addition to Ray of Light, but that’s not from the 2000’s). Great lead single, even better follow-up…it was the perfect sound for the late summer of 2000. It’s not perfect (Paradise just kind of drudges along), but it’s catchy and fun, which is important when it comes to Madonna.

Madonna - Music

96. Tegan & Sara - So Jealous (2004)
It takes awhile to get past the almost alien harmonies of these twin sisters, but once they pull you in with the pure pop of their songwriting (awash with gentle synths and punchy guitar stabs) you will be entranced. Lead single Walking With A Ghost is purely hypnotic. The songs on this album are so simple, and because of this they could have all been singles (just imagine Where Did The Good Go playing in the background of a TV montage). There are no standouts on this record, because everything is so good.

Tegan & Sara - Walking With A Ghost

95. Nelly Furtado - Whoa, Nelly! (2000)
I remember I first read about Nelly in Entertainment Weekly magazine. They were reviewing this cd and saying how she was going to become this massive, massive star. Well, it took six years, but it’s finally happened with Promiscuous and Maneater. Back in 2000, Nelly was a little less mainstream, but still made insanely catchy music and racked up quite a few hits from this album. It’s consistent and varied in style. Most importantly, it was different from anything out at the time.

Nelly Furtado - …On The Radio (Remember The Days)

94. Muse - Black Holes And Revelations (2006)
I’ll be honest when I say that I actually had higher expectations for this cd. With two brilliant lead off singles (Supermassive Black Hole in the UK and Knights of Cydonia in the US) I was expecting utter brilliance. What I got was a nice album, almost tent poled by those two tracks (and the stunning Map Of The Problematique in the middle). In other words, not as consistent as their previous release, but it’s Muse, so of course it’s still great.

Muse - Map Of The Problematique

93. Shaggy - Hotshot (2000)
Here is probably the only good (and the only hit) record that Shaggy will ever have. I really don’t care much for the rap/reggae genre, but this album was so damn poppy. I practically played it out. It was also the kind of record that I bought upon its release (based on the terrific Hope, Dance & Shout, and Luv Me, Luv Me) when nobody even cared about it. Then, a year or so later (and with the help of the massive Angel and It Wasn’t Me) everybody owned it.

Shaggy - Hope

92. Elton John - Songs From The West Coast (2001)
I love Elton John. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is one of the best albums ever recorded. However, I hate 80’s and 90’s Elton John (other than the Lion King, of course). Songs From The West Coast was Elton’s return to his 70’s form, and that description is pretty accurate. From the heartbreaking This Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore (complete with Justin Timberlake video) and American Triangle to the beautiful I Want Love, there are echoes of Yellow Brick Road here.
Elton John - This Train Don’t Stop Here Anymore

91. Eminem - The Eminem Show (2000)
From Elton to Eminem…interesting. But, that’s my taste in music. Actually, Eminem’s whole career has been so damaged by his disappointingly lame follow-up efforts to this album (and the prominence of boring rap today) that The Eminem Show has lost a lot of its luster. There was a time, though, where I would play this over and over. It’s the poppiest of his efforts, which is probably why I like it the best. Yes, Without me was (and still is) annoying, but Say Goodbye to Hollywood, Cleaning Out My Closet, and Business are all good. And, hey…it’ll be good for a time capsule.

Eminem - Say Goodbye To Hollywood

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tomorrow begins the Millenium Project, in which I will be counting down my top 100 albums of 2000-2006 (so far). Each day I will post ten, starting with 100 and ending with 1. In addition to short reviews of each cd, I'll also post my favorite song. So, watch this space...
I will, of course, continue with regular posts as well.


"And we will dance into the dark"

I'm in a summer mood (you can probably tell from the music I've been posting), so here's a great song to add to the summer soundtrack. Boys & Cars is one of those perfect driving around town with the windows down song. At first it's gonna sound a little like Vanessa Carlton or something, but it quickly shows its electronica influences as the verses progress. Nordnes is from Norway (say that ten times fast) and this is the first single from her second album. She's working on the third now. Here's the video as well, if you're interested.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists!)