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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix Trailer

Not exactly music related, but how cool does this look? I'm a bit confused about the ocean liners and what appears to be the New York City skyline, but the whole thing seems fittingly epic. I am officially excited.


“I have to believe when the feeling hits me like the sound of a drum”

Today's post is a bit of an older song, but still completely worthy of joining the #1 Hits ranks. When I was in Stockholm this spring, I bought Brolle Jr's album in the clearance area, based pretty much on the strength of this song. Brolle Jr (if somebody could explain the origin of the name, I'd be eternally grateful) has got an amazing voice that can do pop, rock, country, classical... pretty much whatever. It lends all of his songs a sweeping, mature quality that is different from most artists. Above all, though, The Sound Of A Drum is a fantastic pop song. Also check for more of his promo images. His hair is at times absolutely insane!

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

Synth Pop does Abba

Listen & Download: Erasure - Take A Chance On Me
Download: Erasure - Take A Chance On Me

The most well-known of the tracks that I'll be posting this week, Take A Chance On Me was actually a single from Erasure's Abba-esque e.p. in the early nineties. For good reason, too, as it vamps up the original to tremendous effect.

Friday, November 24, 2006


“You're a toy and we're the battery”

Like fellow Swedes The Hives, The Sunshine's sound is primarily garage based, though unlike some bands of this genre, there’s a strong pop influence as well. Sabotage is a blistering introduction to the band, all swagger and… well, sunshine. From the very first verse, the song completely infiltrates your brain. Other tracks from The Sunshine are a little more pop and reveal the Beatles as a big influence, as well as new wave groups like Duran Duran (there’s even a fantastic song titled Simon le Bon).

Listen & Download: The Sunshine - Sabotage
Download: The Sunshine - Sabotage

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

Euro Dance does Abba

Listen & Download: Sylver - Lay All Your Love On Me
Download: Sylver - Lay All Your Love On Me

Well, I guess one could argue that Abba pretty much is euro-dance, so this cover's more of an update than a brand new spin. Still, it's one of the group's best songs and has been glistened up especially for the clubs.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


“Hey sister, I can see your soul runs free”

I am not the first blogger to write about The Tender Box, and I probably won't be the last either. Mister Sister is an utterly sparkling slice of indie pop/rock, with an ebullient chorus that becomes an anthem even though it really doesn't have any words (other than lots of "oohs"). One of the most promising synth-rock bands in the States right now, The Tender Box actually sound very British. This is a good thing, because even though they fit neatly into the Killers/Franz Ferdinand/etc category, they do have their own, recognizable sound.

Listen & Download: The Tender Box - Mister Sister
Download: The Tender Box - Mister Sister

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

German Cabaret/Polka/? does Abba

Listen & Download: Palast Orchester - Super Trouper
Download: Palast Orchester - Super Trouper

Perhaps the strangest selection this week, I can guarantee that you have never heard Super Trouper like this before. It's also the only cover this week that sounds like it actually predates the original song. I can't imagine anybody listening to this without a smile on their face.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Track of the Week

In a close race, Tally Hall's Good Day and Loto's Cuckoo Plan (ft. Peter Hook) tied for last week's honor with four votes each. There was a lot of love for all the artists, though, and more votes were cast last week than ever before. Here's this week's poll. Make sure to support your favorite!

Track Of The Week: (Nov. 12th - Nov. 18th)
Free polls from


“You need a man who understands”

New Swedish duo Pompadil (that would be Jake and Petrus) have created a shimmering house anthem along the lines of fellow swedes The Attic's work. You Need A Man is absolutely irresistable, with some of the most smooth, catchy verses I've heard from this genre in a good long time. It's one of those songs that gets better and better with each listen. The duo are just starting out, which makes the success of their songs even that much more impressive. Best of all, each song that they've made available for preview is just as good as the last. When these guys make it big, remember that you heard it first here!

Listen & Download: Pompadil - You Need A Man
Download: Pompadil - You Need A Man

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

Goth Metal does Abba

Listen & Download: Beseech - Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)
Download: Beseech - Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)

I absolutely adore the song choice by this dark, silly group. I don't know what possessed the bellowing singer of Beseech to perform Abba's campiest single so earnestly. Whatever it was, I'm glad that this was recorded, if only because it's so incredibly odd.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape
Release Date: December 5th, 2006
Label: Interscope Records

Gwen Stefani has the potential to become this generation's most relevant female artist. Able to shift effortlessly between new wave rocker, sassy urban party-starter, and pop temptress, she has something for everybody. It's a shame that on her new album, instead of truly embracing this kaleidoscope of possible pop crossover, she too often comes off as a hapless, hip hop moron.

Fundamentally, The Sweet Escape is a collection of castoffs from Stefani's earlier album, L.A.M.B., and most of the time that's exactly what it sounds like. Too much of the material (Orange County Girl, Fluorescent) is simply too slight and unmemorable to make a mark. It simply passes by. More worrisome is a pair of tracks: Now That You Got It and Breakin' Up. Far from being unmemorable, they are truly unbearable. The latter, if combined with Beyonce's Ring The Alarm tirade, would surely win the award for the shrillest, most obnoxious seven minutes recorded this year. It's a shame, too, because while most of The Sweet Escape is alarmingly tepid, the record does contain one of Stefani's best solo songs to date. Early Winter, co-written with Keane’s Tim Rice-Oxley, is a soaring 80's-flavored ballad. Unsurprisingly, it sounds like Gwen fronting Keane. What is surprising, though, is what a flawless match it is. Similarly, bookends Wind It Up and Yummy are two of the (too) many hip-hop tracks that actually work, due in part to their spare experimentalism. Wind It Up mixes the baffling combination of showtunes and rap, while Yummy utilizes bhangra influences and a ridiculously infectious hook to great effect.

Sadly, it's far too little to bolster the album. While there are momentary highlights (Wonderful Life and the title track also deserve a mention), the record is far too clumsy and dull. Compared to this, L.A.M.B. is an absolute masterpiece. There are multiple tracks on The Sweet Escape where Stefani repeats endlessly that "this is the craziest shit ever." How about this, Gwen? Instead of constantly reminding us, why don't you actually show us? C

Key Tracks: Early Winter, Yummy, Wonderful Life


“Show me, teach me, lead me to the light where you are”

Today's post is from brand new Swedish group High Jumping Jack. Other than having one of the best band names I've heard all year, these guys know how to write a great, succinct pop song. Lead Me Into The Light is their best, a sparkly 80's bauble that comes and goes all too soon. The almost robotic, snowballing verses match the heavy synthesized riff perfectly, only to segue into an equally fantastic chorus. Somewhere between Melody Club and Oh No Ono, it's a great sound. Yet another promising new band to add to the ever-growing list.

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

Bluegrass does Abba

Listen & Download: Texas Lightning - Dancing Queen
Download: Texas Lightning - Dancing Queen

German bluegrass group (just ponder that for a while) Texas Lightning have reinterpreted Abba's best known classic as a back porch honky tonk. It's really quite lovely and doesn't sound nearly as strange as it probably could.

Monday, November 20, 2006


“Shake... shake... shimmy”

I feel very proud to be able to introduce you all today to a band that I wholeheartedly believe has "it." Not to say that all the music I post here isn't a possible #1 (that is the idea, after all), but I feel almost 100% sure that, in a just and right world, Lucky Soul will be major stars by the end of the next year. Lips Are Unhappy is instant and timeless, and from the first "shake, shake," you just know it's going to be great. They just don't make pop music this blissful anymore. Lead singer Ali Howard recalls the Cardigans' Nina Persson, but with more sweetness to her voice. Both a throwback and a daring departure, watch Lucky Soul very closely.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! The e.p. comes out on December 11th, but listen to more here.)

80's Hair Metal does Abba

Listen & Download: Nation - Waterloo
Download: Nation - Waterloo

Abba's breakthrough single works surprisingly well as an over-the-top hair metal rocker. Not that anyone will remember who (or what) Nation was, but I credit them with creating the best reimagining of an Abba song in this style, complete with unnecessary guitar solos. The sound is somewhere between Sweet and Journey. Sublimely stupid.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Take a good look at the picture below and kiss them goodbye, because next week's #1 Hits special feature will see some of the fab four's biggest hits completely reimagined (to varying degrees of success, definitely). First post starts tomorrow!

Melody Club - Scream
Release Date: November 13th, 2006
Label: EMI

Amidst the galloping funk of Feed On Me, which opens Melody Club’s third album Scream, frontman Kristofer Östergren speaks for the whole band when he warns “don’t you dare ignore me, we know why you came.” Indeed they do. Melody Club know their fan base: those who like their pop songs crammed so full of hooks that they practically explode. Luckily for all of us, Scream finds the band in better form than ever.

Since Melody Club’s last album (2004’s Face The Music), the band’s former base player Magnus Roos left the group, to be replaced by Niklas Stenemo (brother of the guitar player and former frontman of fellow Swedish band The Mo). Niklas was a smart choice, as he brings a heavy disco-funk element to the songs on Scream. Melody Club have never sounded as full or as utterly irresistible as they do now. Disco-stompers Scream and Fever Fever easily match (and nearly outdo) the Scissor Sisters’ recent offerings, while a trio of anthems-in-waiting (Crash, Last Girl On My Mind, & Evil Thing) trump 99% of the pop released this year without even sounding like they’re trying. Out of all of the songs, lead single Destiny Calling sounds the most like the group’s earlier work, and neatly divides the album halfway through. The group also continues their tradition of playfully experimental pop-ballads, most notably with Sweet Thing. Opening with what sounds like the beep-beep of a hospital’s life-support system and quickly segueing into a dreamy sing-along, it sounds both classic and strangely alien.

There is not a bad song on Scream, and that is an absolute triumph in the pop genre. The album offers just enough growth in Melody Club’s core sound to give the impression that this glossy group isn’t going away anytime soon. This is music to dance to, to sing along with in the car or while you’re working. Big, silly and bright, Scream is one of the best things you’ll hear all year. A

Key Tracks: Crash, Scream, Feed On Me
Video Premiere: Revl9n - Walking Machine

This is one of my favorite videos of the year. Sci-fi, dream-like wackiness to complement an equally off-the-wall song. There's something utterly entrancing about this group, and this video showcases that element far better than the one for Someone Like You. The tone reminds me of the Let's Make Love video by Cansei Der Se Sexy earlier this year, though I think I even prefer this one.


“Let's get down, we've been waiting a long time”

I believe this may be the sound of emo (or in this case, post-punk - isn't it all a bit confusing?) finally succumbing to disco. The force behind Young Love, Dan Keyes, was formerly a member of rock band Recover, and has just now apparently discovered his love for music that makes you dance. Discotech is blowing up in the New York clubs (or so I hear...) and seems set for world domination. The album's out late in January of next year and, if the rest of it is as good as this song, it's pretty much a guaranteed hit.

Listen & Download: Young Love - Discotech
Download: Young Love - Discotech

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

Disco "Song" #7

Listen & Download: Maywood - Late At Night
Download: Maywood - Late At Night

Isn't that an absolutely gorgeous picture? If only promo shots still looked like that. Anyways, I picked Dutch duo Maywood as this week's last post because, despite their inherent campiness and poor wardrobe choices (check out the video for proof), I actually cannot get this song out of my head. And, with its honky-tonk influences, I can see a glimmer of my beloved Scissor Sisters in this stupid little song. Plus, it's one of the only posts this week where unfortunate sexual connotations have not been present. Fun for the whole family!