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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Video Premiere: The Killers - Read My Mind

Definitely my favorite video from tha band so far, there's something so magical about this clip. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the group's gotten back on track and decided to release a song that should save Sam's Town from relative failure. This has hit written all over it.

Fall Out Boy - Infinity On High
Release Date: February 6, 2007
Label: Island

I hate Fall Out Boy. I think it's fair to preface this review by getting that out of the way. I hate singer Patrick Stump's whiny vocals, I hate the group's annoying long "clever" song titles, and I hate the fact that in America, this supposed rock band is taking a place at the top of the charts that could be filled by so many others. With all of this being said, the grade that I'm about to give the group's newest album Infinity On High, is something of a small miracle.

The sole reason for my sudden semi circle turnaround with this band is experimentation. Wisely, the boys realized that their trendy brand of emo rock wasn't likely to garner them many more hits when the American public finally decide to move on to a new preferred genre. So, they enlisted hip hop collaborators and produced some tracks, like the winning single This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arm Race, that coat the group's stylings in a layer of urban beats and theatrical pop/rock songwriting. Suddenly, Stump's whine is replaced by a surprisingly effective and charismatic croon and the songs are lifted to a completely different level than before. Even the song titles are less annoying. Tracks like Take Over, The Break’s Over and I'm Like a Lawyer With the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You) wander closely to a harder edged Maroon 5, and are all the better for it. Then, there's Golden (easily the best ballad the band's ever produced) and I've Got All This Ringing in My Ears and None on My Fingers, which borrow touches from classic rock and rock opera. Who expected that?

This new, welcome energy is sustained throughout a half to three quarters of the record. The rest, like You're Crashing, But You're No Wave and Thriller, sounds just like old style Fallout Boy. The legions of FOB supporters will surely eat it up. I do not. Still, I never thought this band would surprise me the way they have with Infinity On High. One step further, and I might have to consider myself a fan. B

Key Tracks: This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race, I'm Like a Lawyer With the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You), I've Got All This Ringing in My Ears and None on My Fingers
Young Love - Too Young To Fight It
Release Date: January 30, 2007
Label: Island

Young Love is the new project from former punk front man Dan Keyes. And, it represents perhaps the epitome of the emo-dance genre. In fact, it could probably be replaced with recent albums by Cobra Starship and Panic At The Disco without anybody noticing (my recommendation: go with Cobra Starship). Like those releases, Young Love's provided us with a couple of great singles, one or two carefully placed surprises, and a heap of unremarkable filler.

Let's start with the high points. Both Discotech and (to an even greater degree) Find A New Way clearly tent pole the record. They're sterling examples of the emo-dance sound, all pulsing synths and tortured white boy yelps. More interesting, though, are Tragedy and Tell Me, the album's high points. Both are pulsing, somewhat experimental pop songs. And, they instantly sound more timeless than anything else on the record. Less successful are the title track and Take It Or Leave It, songs that aren't catchy or interesting enough to make a mark despite their punchy production. It's places like these that the album becomes quite disposable. It almost feels like the entire package should come printed with an expiration date.

Still, the emo-dance genre, although already tiresome, is at its core a fun, non-threatening entity. If you're looking to dance, you could do worse than this. The key is, you could also do so, so much better. Young Love urges his listeners to "find a new way to dance," yet throughout too much of Too Young To Fight It, all he's doing is giving us more of the same. B-

Key Tracks: Find A New Way, Tell Me, Tragedy

Friday, February 09, 2007

Melodifestivalen, The Ark Have Arrived!

The Ark's Melodifestivalen (and ultimately Eurovision) bid was premiered today, and it's yet another example of what an amazing pop song sounds like. The Worrying Kind borrows heavily from seventies glam, more so probably than any of the band's other songs. It's got a real classic sound to it, like you can almost hear several older songs within it. A bit of Bowie and Bolin here, a bit of Abba there. It's also the kid of track that gets better with each listen. And, hopefully, we'll be hearing it a lot as the group takes it all the way to Eurovision! The band will be performing it as well for the first time tomorrow.

The Ark - The Worrying Kind (web rip)

Plus, check out the band's Melodifestivalen blog here (in Swedish).
Video Premiere: Scissor Sisters - She's My Man

Upon my first viewing of this video, all I could say was... what the hell?? VERY strange video, but oddly captivating. The Ark and Scissor Sisters in one day? It's like heaven!

Lisa Miskovsky - Acceptable Losses

“And I'll tear it apart and I'll burn it all down 'cause I have to"

Lisa Miskovsky is a singer/songwriter from Sweden who writes semi-acoustic pop songs with some interesting global influences. she's been pretty successful in Sweden, first with Mary, which was alright, then with Sweet Misery, which I loved, and soon with Acceptable Losses, my favorite song from her so far. At first it may not sound like much, and is definitely a departure from the kind of music I usually post, but it's got a real perfect pop melody that gives it real staying power. Couple that with one hell of a chorus, and you've got a hit, no matter what the genre!

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

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cut Copy - Hearts On Fire

“I reach out to you tonight"

Australian synth poppers Cut Copy are coming back with a new album and Hearts On Fire is the first single to be released from it. It's one of the band's best songs to date, though I wish that it was a little less repetitive because it sounds like it has the potential to be even better. But, repetitiveness (repetivity? Is that even a word? If not, it should be.) is really a hallmark of this band. Still, the song reminds me a bit of Daft Punk's Face To Face in some parts, which is totally a compliment. I could see this track becoming a big hit going into the spring. It just has that sunny, early-evening feeling to it.

mp3: Cut Copy - Hearts On Fire
zshare: Cut Copy - Hearts On Fire

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

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A.C.T. - Call In Dead

“This is what happens when parents are right"

You think Mika pushed it to the limit with Grace Kelly? Well, you haven't heard Sweden's A.C.T. yet. A rock band who mixes a bit of Queen, ELO and Abba into their music, they are completely over the top. Call In Dead is under three minutes long, yet it sound like an entire rock opera sped up and crammed together until it practically bursts with odd verses, stylistic changes and multitracked theatrical vocals. It takes at least a few listens to even be able to digest it. The track is off the band's newest album Silence, though they've been around awhile and have three earlier albums of similar prog pop/rock. File this near Tally Hall and LEO and have yourself an epic rock evening. Bonus points to anyone who can tell me what the band's name stands for!

mp3: A.C.T. - Call In Dead

zshare: A.C.T. - Call In Dead

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

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sekiden - S-T-A-Y

“I want you to stay"

I've got a simple power pop tune for you today. Nothing more, nothing less... just a straightforward, catchy track. Sekiden are a great Australian new wave band that is for sure very indie, yet also wear their pop hearts on their sleeves. S-T-A-Y is actually from one of their older albums (2003's Junior Fiction) but I'm assuming most people reading this haven't heard of the band before, so this might as well be new. The verses are definitely the standout here, though the whole track will undoubtedly be floating around your head tonight.

mp3: Sekiden - S-T-A-Y
zshare: Sekiden - S-T-A-Y

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

Sunday, February 04, 2007

P3 Guld 2007: A hell of a lot better concert than the Grammys will be!

I thought for today's post I'd spotlight some of my favorite performances from Sweden's P3 Guld 2007 Awards Ceremony a few weeks back. I can tell you now that I'm not looking forward to anything that'll be on display come Grammy night, so I have to live vicariously through these Swedes instead.

So, for today I've got the Ark performing their brilliant new single Absolutely No Decorum (and looking stunning while doing it), Melody Club performing personal fav Last Girl On My Mind while backed by fantastic violins, and newcomer Juvelen, performing the brilliant Hanna.


The Ark - Absolutely No Decorum

Melody Club - Last Girl On My Mind

Juvelen - Hanna