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Saturday, October 21, 2006


“I miss everyone, but most of all the little ones"

Straight from my review of the album yesterday, I felt compelled to post this track. It's not a runaway pop smash like some of the songs on the album, but it is wonderfully alien and mysterious and haunting. I've had it on repeat for the past few days. It's the kind of song that simply begs for a cinematic music video, the sort that they (unfortunately) don't really make anymore. From the softly anthematic (yet robotic) chorus to the pounding drum interlude, the song has everything needed for a great sci-fi story.

Shiny Toy Guns - When They Came For Us

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

Song #21

Alice Cooper - Feed My Frankenstein

Devilish shock rocker brings us a power metal Halloween anthem that manages to be both cheesy and perverse.

Friday, October 20, 2006


“Here's a bag of hope and a bullet if you must"

To end this week of fantastic music (and not to toot my own horn, but it has been a great musical week, hasn't it?) I've got a future classic for you. This Canadian band sounds shockingly Swedish... even the vocals sound like they've got that distinctive Swedish accent. The song itself will grab you from the first listen with its catchy, funky power pop (assisted, of course, by disco keyboards). Dead Flowers is the first single and title track from The Miniatures' third album. And, as a special Friday treat, I've also got the video for you, which is amazing. Watch it until the end... and no, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you.

The Miniatures - Dead Flowers

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

Song #20

Aqua - Halloween

Following the Allstars post from awhile back, here's shameless ultra-cheesy Halloween song #2. This one even has horribly stupid dialogue! How do they do this with a straight face? No one will ever know.
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
Release Date: October 24, 2006

Label: Reprise/Wea

Green Day did it, so did the Killers. Who knew that the rock opera concept album would become a new trend? My Chemical Romance are the latest to attempt a full-length story cycle complete with over-the-top theatrical vocals, loads of sky high harmonies, and epic guitar solos. And, like the bands before them, it completely works.

What separates The Black Parade from its peers more than anything is its tone. The album’s all about dying, waiting to die, pining for loss after death…. you get the idea. It’s a dark album, but also My Chemical Romance’s most infectious, diverse piece of work yet. Within its aurally narrow genre, it’s a staggering achievement, and nothing is more impressive than the lead single, Welcome To The Black Parade. Stylistically it’s all over the place and easily the album’s most over the top moment. Queen-cloned guitars battle with a choir and Gerard Way’s furious, impassioned singing to create a nearly transcendent piece of music. Opener The End and rocker Mama are nearly as dramatic. The latter features a guest turn by Liza Minnelli, a move sure to turn a few heads but perfectly fitted to the feel of the song. Other tracks are more straightforward, like the catchy stomper Dead! and the harmonized hell storm The Sharpest Lives. But, even the songs that aren’t mini stage set pieces are among the band’s best work.

Cancer, an agonizing ballad appearing in the second half of the album is the most heartbreakingly sad song any band has recorded this year. That, and it’s also utterly gorgeous, using flourishes of orchestration to maximum effect. Teenagers is also worthy of praise for its glam-stomp and fist-in-the-air chorus. With The Black Parade, My Chemical Romance may have created that vital, crossover album. The one they’ll be remembered for when the last of the black confetti has been swept away. A-

Key Tracks: Welcome To The Black Parade, Cancer, The Sharpest Lives
Shiny Toy Guns - We Are Pilots
Release Date: October 3, 2006
Label: Umvd Labels

Inside We Are Pilot’s liner notes there are the words Version 3.0, alluding to the fact that this major label debut by Shiny Toy Guns is in fact the third incarnation of this album (two different demo versions being released previously). Given that this is the version released to cd shelves, it should be perfected, right? The band certainly photograph well, looking like charismatic sci-fi superheroes in their press photos. And the record sounds great. Very stylish. The question then becomes: is this a case of style over substance?

Well… yes and no. The record has some amazing high points, and the songs appearing on earlier demo versions of the album have been polished until they…ahem…shine. This being said, We Are Pilots is not quite as consistent as it could (and should) be. Let’s get the clunkers out of the way first, since there are thankfully very few. Tracks like Starts With One and Chemistry Of A Car Crash are the kind of songs that you could throw against the wall a hundred times and they still wouldn’t stick. Just not memorable enough. Luckily, there is plenty to love on We Are Pilots. The album’s centerpiece is When They Came For Us, an astonishing cinematic science fiction story-song. It’s mysterious and hauntingly alien, just like those press photos. Surefire dance smashes Le Disko and Don’t Cry Out give the album some much needed showstopper power, though elegant opener You Are The One and gorgeous closer We Are Pilots shouldn’t be missed either.

While Shiny Toy Guns don’t particularly reinvent anything, they play their electro/rock/pop combination with verve and an earnestness that’s absolutely contagious. The album has its flaws, but you’ll need a break to get a drink in between fits of dancing anyway. B+

Key Tracks: When They Came For Us, Le Disko, Don’t Cry Out

Thursday, October 19, 2006


“Dance like Michael Jackson"

This Finnish band just released their third album this week and, although their previous output has mostly been Rasmus-style power rock, this new offering expands their sound a bit with some dance influences. Michael Jackson is a crazy-catchy slice of party pop that is as shameless as it is fun. Recording a tribute song to MJ after all that's happened with the artist is a surprising and humorous turn. The best part is that the band sound so earnest. I can't find a bit of irony in here... maybe I'm just easily fooled? Whatever the case, it's a ridiculously fun song.

Technicolour - Michael Jackson

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

Song #19

Robin Black - Hellraiser

A 2000's remake of the Sweet classic, this party rock anthem is perfect for a mischievous night out with your supernatural friends.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


“We are one, unified... I feel a love so strong"

I decided to post a semi-old track today, as I'm feeling nostalgic for my days in Stockholm this past Spring. It's raining here in the Pacific Northwest (as usual for this time of year - though I suppose it's probably raining in Stockholm as well so there you go) and this song reminds me of the summer. The Attic, in case you don't know, are a Swedish dance/pop duo specializing in creating the most perfect slightly-techno-but-more-pop dance songs. This one, their breakthrough, is my absolute favorite. Very uplifting.... the sound of Stockholm in the summer (for me at least!). Plus, their album is finally out November 8th (the same day as Melody Club's) in Sweden.

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

Song #18

Superheroes - Ghost

A hyper-catchy pop/electro offering from the Danish group Superheroes, this track would work as a nice compliment to the classic Ghostbusters theme.
Robbie Williams - Rudebox
Release Date: October 23, 2006
Label: EMI Int'l

Robbie Williams’ new album Rudebox opens with an extended album version of the title track and first single, a move that will doubtlessly be met with a groan from many of the artist’s fans. Rudebox is Mr. William’s weakest lead-single to date, a mediocre rap/electro hybrid that seemed more of a joke than anything. This makes it even more surprising that the album Rudebox is the most exciting and interesting thing that Williams has done in years.

Comprised of seventeen tracks (five of them covers by other artists) of adventurous, experimental eighties-tinged pop, Rudebox is Robbie Williams at his most daring. Instead of rehashing sounds from the past (which his previous two albums attempted to varying success), Williams builds on the promise he showed six years ago with rock/dance confections like Supreme and Rock DJ. Some of the credit belongs to the Pet Shop Boys, who produced a few tracks and whose shadow looms over the entire project. Lyrically, the album is obsessed with pop culture, both in a wider global sense (song titles like She’s Madonna and We’re The Pet Shop Boys kinda give that away) and on a more personal note. Throughout his albums, Robbie’s story has become almost mythical, as much a part of his success as his music. Rudebox may be his most personal yet, culminating in the straight-out-of-a-biography song suite titled The 80’s and The 90’s. In between all of the self-referential tracks there are also a handful of excellent 80’s pop, chief amongst them a brilliantly catchy cover of Steven Duffy’s Kiss Me, the maniacal Never Touch That Switch and the tongue-in-cheek She’s Madonna.

Of course, in an album seventeen tracks long there are bound to be a few stinkers. Most of these occur when Williams fashions himself as the next 50 Cent. Good Doctor is as messy as its subject matter while the title track will surely go down as one of Robbie’s least memorable singles. Still, small missteps like these are easily forgiven when an album revels this much in its own creativity… a sort of fuck you attitude that Williams hasn’t displayed for far too many years. Rudebox may not be the most consistent album of his career, but at least it’s a step in a new direction. A-

Key Tracks: Kiss Me, She’s Madonna, The Actor

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


“You know it all just slips away like a butterfly in May"

Denmark's Mani Spinx creates the kind of experimental rock/folk/pop that artists like Beck have made famous. Last Night In America is a brooding throwback with a fantastic melody that manages to be singalong even though the song's quite dark. Plus, Spinx describes his music as "Beatles on crack." What could be better, really? And, do I even have to draw your attention to the brilliance of the tin-foil assisted picture above? It's artists like these the world needs!

Mani Spinx - Last Night In America

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

Song #17

The Who - Boris The Spider

One of the older songs I'll post in this countdown, this sixties classic is incredibly endearing, especially the creepy/amusing title refrain.

Monday, October 16, 2006


“Wait just a moment we haven't wept"

This new L.A. trio specializes in goth-tinged synth pop with a commercial edge. Sounding a bit like a combo of The Upper Room and Elkland, it's a successful, catchy sound. Just A Moment was the song that jumped out most immediately to me. It's a midtempo, sweeping (yet simple) synth drenched track with a really memorable hook. Perfect for these dark autumn nights.

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

Song #16

Aerosmith - Boogie Man

As a closer to the band's early nineties hit, Get A Grip, this instrumental song was quite haunting but never really fit the rest of the album. It works much better as a moody piece of music perfect for cemetery walks and haunted houses.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


“Watching rich girls on the catwalk"

Violet Elegy have opened for some of my favorite Swedish bands like the Ark and Melody Club. So, it was natural that I had to check them out. They play a decadent, synth drenched synth pop that would be perfect for an evening in. Fashionistas floats on a gentle electronic pulse that underpins lead singer Christian's gorgeous voice. There's a lot of 80's throwback bands around and Violet Elegy don't sound too terribly different from most of them. But, they do have a few great songs - this one being my favorite.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! No album yet, but download more for free here.)

Song #15

David Bowie - Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)

I had to throw a Bowie song in here somewhere, and this early eighties classic fits the bill perfectly for the season. It's also one of his best post-seventies recordings.