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Nick Hornby and Ben FoldsLonely Avenue (Nonesuch)

Yes, that Ben Folds. And yes, that Nick Hornby.  Brick.  High Fidelity.  Teaming up for what is to be a very intriguing album.
Author Hornby and musician Folds collaborated on this album, with the former writing the lyrics and the latter taking care of the music.  Since Hornby has had no experience in songwriting, which is a different beast from the short stories and novels he’s used to penning, it will be interesting to see how Folds can translate them.
Buy Album: Lonely Avenue
download mp3:
From Above

GlasserRing (True Panther Sounds)

From two masters of their craft, we move on to newcomer Cameron Mesirow, who performs under the name of Glasser.  This solo artist has been getting a fair amount of play on indie radio, for good reason.  Her strong voice compliments the vast amount of strings and percussion she uses, without it being overwhelming.  She only broke out onto the scene last year with her first EP, and I doubt we’ll be hearing less of her anytime soon.
Buy album: Ring
Download mp3: Home

Listened to either album?  Think I missed one that deserves to be talked about?  Leave a comment.

Sufjan Stephens keeps his fans guessing.  His first two releases were his state-titled Michigan and Illinois allowing fans to assume that 48 more albums were to come.
However his latest album is titled The Age of Adz and that isn’t the only difference.  Gone is the wistful banjo strumming, and in its place are synths and other devices.

Take a listen, as NPR is streaming the entire album for free here.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think about the album.

The Age of Adz releases October 12 on Asthmatic Kitty Records.

A new year, and finally some new music worth listening to.   Be excited.

Vampire Weekend - Contra

Vampire WeekendContra (XL Recordings)

I saw Vampire Weekend last year at the Glasshouse.  The place was nowhere near packed and the average audience member could not legally buy a Lotto ticket.  Fastforward to 2010: their upcoming album has been generating buzz since the summer, and last week’s show had been sold out for awhile.
I’m still not sure what I think of the album.  It’s been streamed on various websites, and leaked from several sources, making this album even more hyped.  Their self titled effort was so unique and well produced that Contra sounded a bit boring.  But with every play, I seem to like a new track.  My favorites for now are Taxi Cab, and Horchata (which I’m now craving.  Yum.)
Local shows: 4/14 @ Fox Theatre (Pomona)
Buy Album: Contra
download mp3:
Taxi Cab

Laura VeirsJuly Flame (Raven Marching Band Records)

So you’re in your third trimester of pregnancy and have gestational diabetes… what do you do?  If you’re Laura Veirs, you go on a European tour!  My new hero’s (who’s blog post about leaving for tour would probably hit any estrogen-filled human) seventh album released today, with some resemblances to Ingrid Michelson, and Jessica Hoop.  Veirs has the ability to allow the album to sound incredibly feminine with beautiful, wimsical string arrangements, yet not get too cute or predictable.  The title track has a bit of a haunting edge to it, while others are light and airy.  July Flame features guests spots from My Morning Jacket‘s Jim James, and the added harmonies are merely a bonus.
Local shows: 3/8 @ Casbah (San Diego); 3/9 @ Spaceland (Silverlake)
Buy album: July Flame
Download mp3: July Flame

Listened to either album?  Stoked for different music that released this week?  Leave a comment.

The Album Leaf

Unless you are a diehard fan of Michael Jackson or the Beatles, last Tuesday’s album releases won’t do much for you.  That is a very, very good thing, because 2010 promises for some excellent music.  Get your wallet ready.

The Album LeafChorus of Storytellers (Subpop)
(February 2)

Brilliant instrumentalist Jimmy LaValle is back next month with a new album, this time with a full band.  I’m not sure if it will feature lyrics or go back to the original roots of purely instrumental (hoping for the latter) but either way, this is a must-buy for fans.

local shows: 2/13 @ The El Rey
download: Falling From The Sun

Holly Miranda – The Magician’s Private Library
(February 23)
This is Holly Miranda’s first release since being signed to XL Recordings.  Hopefully being part of a bigger label (and touring with the likes of Vampire Weekend and Tegan & Sara) will get her the attention she’s deserved for a while.
download: Forest Green

The Bundles
(March 9)
Juno is not only my favorite movie, but boasts some great music — mostly due to Kimya Dawson.  She and her former band, Moldy Peaches, are responsible for most of the songs on the album.

Dawson is releasing her next album with the help of her new band, The Bundles.  I don’t know what exactly to expect (besides the usual anti-folk vibe), and I’m glad about that.

She & Him – Volume 2
(March 22)

I’m an idiot.  I missed out on tickets to She & Him’s LA shows this year.  I am willing to part with a non-vital organ if you have an extra ticket.
She & Him is, of course, Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.  Their folky, 50’s throwback vibe is simple, yet shows off their incredible talent.  I caught M. Ward’s other side project, Monsters of Folk a few months ago.  The guy is a musical genius.  Deschanel’s voice is hypnotic.
local shows: 3/25 @ the El Rey (sold out)

Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame
(Springtime)
Look for the group to take a slightly different turn on this album, focusing a bit more on punk influences.
download:
The Old Days

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings (I Learned the Hard Way)
(May 4)
Regardless of your taste, I highly recommend that you get this album when it comes out.  I’m admittedly not much of a funk/soul fan, but make an exception for any Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings song I can get my hands on.  The only genre they should be labeled as is “fun.”

The Strokes(RCA)
(TBA)
For right now, this album is more speculation than anything else, but as reports claim that a new album is finally going to be released in 2010.  As much as I love their solo projects, I am happy to hear that the group is getting back together, and hopefully will tour as well.

Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
(TBA)
Front man Robin Pecknold has said that the new album will be a bit more melancholy than past efforts.  Not sure what to make of that, besides more of a folk sound.

Only two albums worth your while this week, but these two are must haves.  I’ve been looking forward to both of these must have albums for about four months. Say it with me now: Must. Haves. Okay.  On with the show.

Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros – Up From Below (Community Music/Fairfax Recordings/Rough Trade)
Download MP3 Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Carries On
I featured Ed Sharpe’s song “40 Day Dream” on my June Playlist, and I wish I could have featured every song from his first full length album.  The LA band’s sound differs from song to song, though there’s a little 60’s throwback in each.
The group features Alex Ebert, who also fronts the dance rock band Ima Robot.  However, Ebert takes on the persona of Edward Sharpe for his new gig, and received tons of positive press during their set at Austin’s South By South West this year.  Reviews of “Here Comes” (their EP featuring songs also on the full-length “Up From Below”) have been solid.  Check out a show if you can, because I may have failed to mention that the band consists of Edward Sharpe and his 12 piece band.

The Dead Weather – Horehound (WEA/Reprise)

Download MP3: The Dead Weather – “Are Friends Electric?”
Jack White just doesn’t stop, and for that I am grateful.  The more I listen to one of his musical endeavors, the more I am convinced the guy is a musical genius.  Whether it’s making sweet melodies with his ex wife, or collaborating with the boys, White proves that he can consistently create unique music.  His third venture is no different.

Though White and lead singer Allison Mosshart (who also sings for The Kills) are arguably the most famous members of the newly formed The Dead Weather, the group also consists of guitarist Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) and bassist Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs and the Greenhorns).  Given Mosshart’s unique vocal styling, the Dead Weather definitely gives off a Kills vibe, but it will likely please many fans of harder alternative.

Honorable Mentions

The Fiery Furnaces – I’m Going Away (Thrill Jockey)
The Fiery Furnaces remind me of a more melodic, quieter version of the Dead Weather. I constantly repeat their single “The End Is Near” which is a slow number featuring lead singer Eleanor Friedberger.  The album’s digital release date is today and CD’s are releasing next Tuesday.


(500) Days Of Summer – Original Soundtrack (Sire/WEA)
A movie about (good) music?  Yes please.  This soundtrack features tracks from some solid artists in indie music: Feist, Regina Spektor, She & Him, and more.  It also highlights some greats such as Simon & Garfunkle and The Smiths.  If you’ve been finding yourself in a music rut, check out the soundtrack (and buy me a ticket to the movie, please)

This post is brought to you by the letter “O”… for overtime.  Sucks when you’re the last car out of the parking structure, but oh, how I love the numbers on the paycheck.
Which means, of course… foolish spending on music.

Enjoy.

Discovery – LP
Download Discovery – I Want You Back
For the second week in a row, the album I was most looking forward to was a dance/electronic one.  Discovery features members of Ra Ra Riot (one of my favorite bands) and Vampire Weekend (probably in my top 20).  Overall, the album is hit and miss.  I love the track that is hitting the indie airwaves, “Orange Shirt”.  But I can’t stand their Jackson 5 cover (a bit ironic, though, of course, it was made long before Jackson’s death) of “I Want You Back”.  Believe me, it’s not much of a tribute, or at least not to my ears.
However, Amazon is currently offering the album for $3.99.  Definitely worth it.  There are more hits than misses, and I do believe they will soon –ahem — discover what works for them, rather than just putting a bunch of beats together and praying to baby Jesus that it works out.

We Were Promised Jet Packs – These Four Walls
Download We Were Promised Jet Packs – Conductor
I’d never heard of this band till last week, when I was searching for albums that were coming out in July.  The band name sounded intriguing, I listened to some samples, and became hooked.  They’re a melodic, four-piece rock band from England that sounds a bit (and on some tracks, a lot) like Frightened Rabbit, or Bombay Bicycle Club.  Actually, they sound like the punk-pop-emo I listened to in college… but in a good way.  The album is great and I am surprised that this band hasn’t received more publicity.  Oh wait, I just said the band is good.  How silly of me to expect mainstream radio to give them a second glance.


Bowerbirds – Upper Air

Download Bowerbirds – Northern Lights
I am so excited for this album to be out.  I’m a fan of Bowerbirds, and folk-pop in general.  This group makes great use of their instruments – guitars, accordians, violins, etc.  Mellow without being boring, and quirky without being overbearing, this album shows that the group knows how to strike a great balance.


The Lovell Sisters – Time To Grow

Download The Lovell Sisters – Time To Grow
As the members of Nickel Creek spend more time on solo and side projects, I have been on bluegrass withdrawl (what? You didn’t know that this blog would feature bluegrass music?  Ohhhh yes it will.  Be excited.).  The Lovell Sisters may not completely fill the void – their album title is exactly what they need, and hopefully their next effort will provide a little more vocal depth and creativity – but for fans of Sara Watkins, Little Big Town, and Alison Krauss, this is an album to get.

Other albums to check out:
Owen – The Seaside EP
Tiny Vipers – Life On Earth
The Minus 5 – Killingsworth

I (translation: my bank account, and my fridge) am still recovering from last week.  Regina Spektor, The Phenomenal Handclap Band, Deer Tick, Pete Yorn, and Dinosaur Jr. put me about $50 in the hole.  Because, of course I had to download their albums the day they were released.  Um, duh.

Luckily, only two albums worth buying yesterday, the day of their release.  Take note, young samurais:

Moby - Wait For Me

Moby – Wait For Me
Download Moby -Pale Horses
Wilco, Wilco, Wilco.  That’s all I’ve been reading about on blogs and hearing about from all of the DJs.  I’ll get to them in a second.  The real gem of the week is Moby, Moby, Moby.  Wait For Me is creative, refined, and mature.  It is still classic, experimental Moby, yet it’s evident he has become more grounded than in albums past.  Definitely get this album.  As of 7/1, it’s only $3.99 at Amazon.  Even at it’s normal price, it’s worth it.  The title track is getting some play on independent stations, and is my favorite.

Wilco - Wilco (The Album)

Wilco – Wilco (The Album)
Download Wilco – I’ll Fight
Fine boys, you get your (deserved) time in the spotlight.  Where Moby is experimental, Wilco sticks to what they do best.  Jeff Tweedy and his band are on their seventh studio album now, and if you like the steady, mellow vibe they had going on Sky Blue Sky, then you will like this album.  Which means, I like this album.  For the nay-sayers who say, “This ain’t no Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” you’re right.  It’s Wilco (The Album). And use proper grammar.

Granted, other albums released on Tuesday: Bjork, Wu Tang Clan (yeah, they’re still making music.  Well, those that aren’t making memories in San Quentin, anyway) and other artists released material I won’t be listening to.  So I won’t tell you to… which means I get to stop writing and read go to sleep early get caught up on episodes of the Bachelorette.

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Any MP3 posted here is available to stream and/or download for two weeks or less, so get it while it's hot. Hopefully I can help steer you towards music you've never heard before. If you like what you hear, please purchase the album, and support the artist at shows. The music posted here is for sampling use ONLY. If you are a band or representative of an artist who is featured on this site and would like your music removed, please contact me directlyand I'll be happy to immediately remove the song(s).