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Saturday, December 16, 2006

myDataBus = not working

If you've noticed recently, many older files hosted with mydatabus have mysteriously disappeared. No clue why, but I am reuploading files now that were previously only available from myDataBus links.

For all other tracks, use the "listen" link if the "download" one doesn't work. And, let me know if there are any problems.


“I found the sound, it explodes in my mind"

Today's post is from an Italian electro-rock group who don't sound all that different from my beloved Ark. Their songs are a mix of English and Italian lyrics, and they are still in their beginning stages as a band. Because of this, I'm sure their sound will mature and become even more polished. Modern Dandy is an incredibly catchy track, though it's a bit difficult to discern the lyrics, as they're a mix of languages. Still, the beat is terrific and this is just the type of glossy, glammy pop/rock that is the common thread through many of my most favorite bands.

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

Honorable Mention: Pink - I'm Not Dead (but you might as well be)

5. Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape
Not a complete and utter disappointment, and that's why it's the lowest on the list. Still, 4-5 passable tracks does not make an album, especially one befitting a star of Stefani's caliber. Too many cooks in the kitchen, way too much rap (for a girl that doesn't - and shouldn't), and a general feeling of retread sink the few standouts. Early Morning saves the album, but it really shouldn't have needed saving.

4. Justin Timberlake - Future Sex/Love Sounds
Justin's debut was one of my favorite albums of 2003. It had a classic sound, a great selection of songs, and a lot of melody. Unfortunately, FS/LS loses almost all melody about halfway through and instead reverts to monotonous posing. Many herald this album as bringing brave new sounds to pop radio, when really all it is is a subpar Timbaland album sung by Justin the uncharismatic wimpy white boy. A shame. For a while it was looking like we were going to have a new (and sane) King of Pop.

3. Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell III
Meat Loaf's newest album carried with it an intense amount of expectation. After all, it was completing a much-beloved rock trilogy. He really should have stopped when he was ahead. Bat Out Of Hell III is pure filler, a collection of unreleased material that should have stayed that way. Instead of pushing for something new he instead chose to record melodies and sounds that he'd already mastered long ago. This one stinged especially because we could really use some Loaf back on the radio.

2. Beyonce - B'Day
Perhaps the worst mainstream successful album of the year, Beyonce's shriek-a-thon called B'Day was unleashed upon the American public who, of course, embraced it. A collection of atonal tracks highlighted more for their beats than the actual songs, don't be fooled by current single Irreplaceable, the sole gem on the album. B'Day is a prime example of a young star not utilizing her full potential.

1. Christina Aguilera - Back To Basics
The most overindulgent, self-aggrandizing vanity project released this year, Back To Basics is the longest, and most insufferable album on this list. There's something to be said for a double album that has maybe four tracks worth listening to. This album also wins the award for worst song (non-single) of the year, with the atrocious (and ironically titled) Thank You to the Fans. From the gorgeous, boundary breaking Stripped to this.... it was a long plummet for Miss Aguilera. And, judging by the album's lukewarm reception in the States, she should consider this a lesson learned.

Friday, December 15, 2006


“I'm so in love, in love with you"

Talk about a loaded band name! Calling yourselves the Californias instantly sets up an expectation of sunny power pop, perfect for boomboxes at the beach. Luckily, that's exactly what The Californias specialize with, despite actually being from Georgia. In fact, it wouldn't be totally off mark to compare them to groups like the Click Five or McFly. So In Love is one of those bouncy, disposable summer anthems. And, really... there's nothing wrong with that at all, especially when the results are so catchy. According to the band's myspace, their debut is out next year, though you can buy it digitally already.

Listen: The Californias - So In Love
Download: The Californias - So In Love

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

2. The Killers - Where The White Boys Dance (Sam's Town B-Side)
More interesting than most of the stuff on Sam's Town (btw that is not a diss.... I loved Sam's Town, but it is a fact), Where The White Boys Dance throws some funk into the Killer mix, and Brandon sounds like Sparks' Russell Mael at times, which is always welcome. This song really could have been a single itself.

1. Scissor Sisters - Making Ladies (Ta-Dah B-side)
No other b-side this year was as memorable or as fun as Scissor Sisters' Making Ladies. A return to their pre-major label output, the track is pure, unadultered camp, not to mention the funniest song of the year. It simply begs for a music video (a tranny factory, perhaps?... with extended dance sequence, of course) and it's not even on the album!

Thursday, December 14, 2006


“On the bus, I'm enchanted but I don't know where to start"

Today's track is hot off the presses... like, literally all finished this week and sent to yours truly. This is made even cooler by the fact that it's really nothing less than a future classic. If you're not convinced by the rolicking classic rock-meets-electronic beat, wait until the inescapable chorus. Like so many great rock/pop acts right now, it rekindles some magical energy from the past and twists it into something current. Swedish For Beginners (from Sweden, as if you hadn't guessed) is primarily Johan Signert, who composes all of the music. Then, he's joined by up to eight people onstage for a true rock symphony. Sounds very cool. I hate repeating myself, but as with yesterday's post, remember where you heard this song first!

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

4. Pet Shop Boys with Elton John - In Private (Stuart Crichton Club Mix) (Fundamental B-Side)
An update of the Dusty Springfield classic, I have no idea why this song seems to have been brushed from everybody's memory. It's simply massive, especially with PSB and Elton teaming up (a match made in heaven). Plus, this cover has given the original a real dark twist.

3. Scissor Sisters - Almost Sorry (Ta-Dah B-Side)
One of the Sisters' most accomplished ballads, it's really a credit to the quality of Ta-Dah that something this amazing was relegated to b-side status. Co-written by the legendary Paul Williams (of Bugsy Malone/Muppet Show/Phantom of the Paradise fame), it's got the guy's mark all over it. Best part? When the full beat unexpectedly kicks in. Trust me, you'll know when it comes.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Track of the Week

In a close race (though voting was down), Iris' Appetite was the eventual winner. Good job, all... it's a great track! Now, on to this week's poll, which should also be a pretty close race.

Track of the Week (Dec. 3rd - 9th)
Free polls from


“Have I been sleep talking?”

Performance are a ridiculously fun guy/girl group from England. They're very new, and their influences are evident (think a synthpop Franz Ferdinand with some chirpy female vocals popping up sporadically - or an even better Matinee Club). This is not their single (that'd be the equally excellent Short Sharp Shock), but it's a standout of their work so far. Opening with a sprinkling of synth that's quickly joined by a shimmering dance beat, the song easily retains its momentum through its nearly four minutes, the best part being when the female backing comes in. Remember where you heard it first.... this band could be huge.

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

6. Pet Shop Boys - The Resurrectionist (B-Side to I'm With Stupid)
The rare case of a b-side that's actually better than the single it's attached to, The Resurrectionist is classic PSB, and god only knows why it wasn't on the album. Actually, of all of the artists on this countdown, these guys probably have the most distinguished list of 2006 b-sides.

5. Delays - Broken Pylons (B-Side to Hideaway)
A gorgeous compliment to Delays' second single from You See Colours, this gentle ballad lulls along until it hits an astoundingly beautiful chorus. If a track can sound like a beach at sunset, this'd be it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


“I'll still bleed with the fading winds”

Sounding a bit like Scissor Sisters' piano-riffed Laura sped-up to a frantic pace, New York's Holy Hail create a kaliedoscopic pop sound mixing elements of rock, dance, country and hip-hop. County Fair (Part Two) is an extremely strange pop song, with boy/girl vocals (barely) fitting together to deliver the hip-pop verses. Best though, is the instrumental break-down that forms a sort of chorus in between the singing. It really all shouldn't work when put together, but it does... and brilliantly so.

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

8. Razorlight - Black Jeans (B-side to In The Morning)
A gently lilting ballad, this one took a while to sink in as it's almost so slight that it threatens to fade away as soon as it's over. However, a few listens later and something amazing happens... the song lingers with you like the ghost of some long lost Beatles strum-along.

7. The Feeling - Sun Is Shining (B-side to Sewn)
This was the first song that proved that The Feeling was more than the typical British rock group. A polar opposite of the single it was attached to, Sun Is Shining is a jaunty little number whose bright, bounding melody is offset by some pretty dark lyrics.

Monday, December 11, 2006


“Hey Steven, get even”

The KBC are a funky-as-all-get-out three piece from England. They've been sporadically releasing EPs and singles with an album prepped for early next year, and this song is the flipside of their newest release, Test The Water, but I think it's completely deserving of being a single as well. It begins with insanely addictive verses punctuated by a great funk guitar riff and a disco-rock groove. In England's current climate of indie-dance, this kind of thing should be huge. It's just different enough to be recognized for its own merits rather than be lumped into the pack of similar sounding artists. The debut album by these guys will hopefully be just as fantastic, given the amount of high-quality material they've already released.

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

B-sides are still an important part of an artists' catalog. Oftentimes a chance to release something more experimental and/or not suited to a proper album, they can turn out to be real undiscovered diamonds. All this week I'll be counting down my favorite ten b-sides from 2006, starting with these fine selections...

10. The Upper Room - Up In Smoke (b-side to All Over This Town)
A classic sounding little pop tune, Up In Smoke edges out the Upper Room's other fine b-side selections with it's gentle synth noodling and catchy chorus. Plus, it has handclaps... which instantly make any song epically great.

9. Lily Allen - Absolutely Nothing (b-side to Smile)
I actually prefer this b-side to many of the songs on Allen's album. It forgoes some of the silliness of Allen's other work for a classic, eighties sounding melody and a beautiful vocal performance.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


“I'm gonna miss you too much”

For those readers who haven't been with me since the very beginning, I want to reintroduce a Swedish band that I'm a very big fan of. Crafting one of the best songs of the decade (that would be Melody That Counts, posted waaaaaay back in the first weeks of the blog), the Callahan create a fantastic genre of "hardpop," synth-driven, poppy glam that's really addicting. if you haven't bought the band's debut already, I strongly urge you to do so. There are so many more great tracks like this one!

Listen: The Callahan - Baby I Miss You

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