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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Well, I thought that Europe had taste, but apparently that is abundantly untrue. I guess that's what you get for putting a proper band into a competition that is clearly not about the music.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Introducing the MUBA's + 40 free Songs For YOU!

During the past few months, I (along with 33 other blogs) have participated in the first annual MUBA awards, sponsored by emusic. I will not attempt to recreate the press release, but I will say that there are 14 categories to vote in and I am quite excited about the prospect of a unified blogger awards ceremony growing each year. Read on to learn more…

"The Music Blog Awards are the first music award event to combine the way today's audience listens to music (MP3s), discovers music (music blogs), and celebrates it (the MUBA). The nominees selected in each category were chosen by a diverse group of authors from some of the most popular music blogs. Though the nominees were selected by the music bloggers, the winners in each category will be chosen by the general public. That means you! Voting is now live at:

Everyone who votes will be given the chance to sign-up for Emusic and get 40 free downloads. Also, they will be able to get exclusive playlists hand-selected by the Music Bloggers. Voting will end on June 15th, 2007. So vote now!"

The best part, as you read above, is that once you’ve finished voting, you’ll be given the opportunity to have a trial of the emusic service, in which you’ll receive 40 free downloads of your choice! I’ve used emusic before and it’s quite wonderful. There’s a wide selection of (mostly) indie music and searching/downloading couldn’t be easier. Best of all, once you’ve downloaded your 40 songs, you can either choose to quit your trial or become a regular member. It’s really a no risk situation. Trust me, I’ve done it before (but I was only offered 25 songs at the time).

For fans of my blog, emusic has got tracks/albums by the Similou, Lucky Soul, The Gossip, Stimulator, The Tough Alliance, Lo Fi Fnk, Montt Mardié, The Shapes, Sparks, Van She and much much more. There are lots of things on emusic that I haven't been able to find anywhere else. Try it for yourself, just don’t forget to tell emusic which blog sent you there after you’re done with the voting!

And, to get you started I’ve developed an alienhits play list especially for emusic. Click here to see it.
The Rumble Strips - Motorcycle

"If only my bike was a motorcycle"

Finishing off UK Indie week are the Rumble Strips. I must confess, I paid very little attention to this band until I read an interview where they said they took inspiration from 80's punkster Adam Ant. There are certain band/artist names that, when they are listed as influences, force me to stand up and listen. Ant is definitely one of those. Turns out that the Rumble Strips' Ant influence is more about tone and songwriting than it is about their sound. For that, you'd have to turn to another 80's band, Dexy's Midnight Runners. The Rumble Strips bring a thriving brass ssection back into pop music, but I wouldn't necessarily call their stuff ska. Whatever it is, Motorcycle is a wonderful little drama wrapped up in an incredibly catchy song. If these guys are ever going to have a massive hit, it's hard to imagine that it would be anything but this.

The Rumble Strips - Motorcycle (mp3) (zshare)

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

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Air Traffic - Just Abuse Me

"I never knew you, but now I'm haunted by your past"

Air Traffic may have a snooze-inducing band name, but they've got their sound right. Actually, this up and coming group reminds me a lot of Canada's Hot Hot Heat, minus some of the dance influence and with a greater reliance on piano riffs. They've already released two singles in the UK, both of which are great examples of catchy radio-friendly indie rock. Just Abuse Me is one of the group's b-sides, but it's every bit as enjoyable as their singles. A brisk, piano powered rocker, it's a nice mix between garage rock and full blown theatrical pomp. We'll see if these guys can distinguish themselves enough from the competition, but if they can I think they've got a great chance at success. The album's out June 4th in the UK, which seems to be the week for new indie stuff.

Air Traffic - Just Abuse Me (mp3) (zshare)

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

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Tiny Dancers - I Will Wait For You

"But one day you'll wait for someone like me"

I am a relatively new convert to the Tiny Dancers club, and I don't know how I've missed them up to this point. Perhaps it's because I Will Wait For You is not the standard sound of alienhits. In fact, it's even got a bit of a country vibe to it. But, it's one of my favorite songs of the past few weeks. The melody is absolutely soaring and the group's sound has a real classic feeling to it. Think a bit of Elton John mixed with Neil Diamond and maybe even a little John Denver. This doesn't sound particularly appetizing, I know, but the song just happens to be perfect. If you're not singing along by the second or third listen, I'd be very surprised. It's something about the slowed down, dramatic chorus that gets me. Plus, lead singer David Kay has got a flawless voice for this style of music. The band's debut album is out on the 11th of June, preceded by the new single Hannah We Know, which is quite possibly just as good as this one. It's too early to tell right now, but like the Zutons' Valerie last year, this could end up being my song of the early summer.

Tiny Dancers - I Will Wait For You (mp3) (zshare)

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

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ghosts - Hold On

"Hold on, hold on, hold on"

Ghosts are perhaps my most anticipated of the new UK indie groups, mostly because the lead singer's voice (and the tone of their music) reminds me of the Delays, surely one of England's best (and most underrated) bands. The song that will properly introduce you to Ghosts and cause rabid obsession is their first single, Stay The Night (see the video here, if you haven't already - and if you haven't heard this song, you must as soon as possible). However, most blogs have already posted or written about that track already so I've decided to put up a b-side. Hold On is not as instantly glorious as the group's singles, but it is a stunning, dramatic ballad that manages to be more enjoyable than most b-sides. The band's debut album is released on June 4th in the UK, shortly preceded by another instant classic single, The World Is Outside. With their jolly, catchy melodies, these guys could be this year's The Feeling, so watch them very closely.

Ghosts - Hold On (mp3) (zshare)

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

Monday, May 07, 2007

Switches - Step Kids In Love

"I never felt your daddy's fist before"

Kicking off UK Indie week is the only band out of my five picks that has actually released their debut album already. I first wrote about Switches and their non-album track No Hero a few months ago, and was impressed with their glam rock approach to indie music. Their album (Heart Turned To D.E.A.D.), I'm pleased to say, is a hodgepodge of different styles, incorporating power rock, glam, funk and 70's guitar pop. Step Kids In Love was my instant favorite of the new songs. It has a bit of a Scissor Sisters feel to it, a chugging pace not unlike that band's hit Laura. Actually, I think it's even more over-the-top (More over-the-top than Scissor Sisters? I know...) and of course sinfully catchy. On the downside, I've been a bit upset by Switches' lackluster chart success in the UK so far, and I hope that changes soon, because I can see them appealing to a wide audience with their music.

Switches - Step Kids In Love (mp3) (zshare)

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

Sunday, May 06, 2007

OK, So I Lied...

After coming back on Friday evening from South Wales I have been absolutely lethargic, exhausted from three days of climbing and walking and standing in the sun. I did get to see the lovely Brecon Beacons, though, and stay in a pleasantly old fashioned cottage hostel in the middle of nowhere.

Of course, my being tired does nothing for you because alienhits has been postless for far too long! Fear not, though, because starting tomorrow I will be bringing you five days of my favorite new UK indie groups (geez they spring up like weeds sometimes, don't they?), as well as some news on an exciting new development in the blog world and your chance to get 40 free songs of your choice!

Also, I've got to throw in a few bits of pop culture before I go. I saw Spider-Man 3 on Friday night, along with everyone else in the world, and was somewhat disappointed because it totally did not live up to the previous two. Far too disjointed in my opinion. I think I need to see it again to make sure, though, as I was way too tired to be the judge of anything.
Secondly, for those here who watch American Idol (and I have been sneakily downloading episodes here in the UK because I am ridiculously addicted), I'm so pleased with the final four this year. Melinda, Blake, Jordin and Lakisha are by far the best final four the show's ever had. My vote (since the very beginning, actually) goes to Blake... but Melinda or Jordin I could live with as well.
Finally, don't forget about Eurovision this Saturday, where The Ark will win over a continent and claim their rightful victory. Well, at least I can hope so...