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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

2007 Mid-Year Report:
The 10 Albums You Must Own!

Now that Summer's approaching (and I'm going away for six days to Hultsfred - you'll hear about that next week), it's time to look back at the releases of the past six months. It's been a good year for music so far, and these albums stand out as the cream of the crop. Here they are, ranked in groups and with complimentary sampler tracks for your listening pleasure.

Top Tier

The Ark - Prayer For The Weekend
The Swedish glam-pop heroes continue their ascent to legendary status. Four albums in, and they’re still as vital as ever. (Sweden)
Laakso - Mother, Am I Good Looking?
The big surprise of the year. It just gets better and better with each time you hear it. An album to launch a career with. (Sweden)

Next Tier

Lil’ Chris - Lil’ Chris
I wonder if the new wave gods know that they gave all their best songs this year to a snotty 16 year old? An unexpected masterpiece. (UK)
Alphabeat - Alphabeat
The sound of a party bottled up and burned onto a cd. It’s a Scandinavian party, of course, so it’s that much cooler. (Denmark)
King Midas - Sorry
Proves the real funky glam rock lies in Norway. Mix a bit of Bowie, a heap of Roxy Music, and electronic pop, and you’ve got a perfect summer album, even if it was released in February. (Norway)

Next Tier

Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position
Bizarrely mainstream folktronica with a major (key) pop edge. Eccentric and unforgettable. (UK)
The Attic - Remember Tomorrow
The best dance album of the year sounds like the best radio play list in the world. Funny, because the original version of this album was rubbish. (Sweden)
Mika - Life In Cartoon Motion
Candy coated debut just shy of being saccharine. Feels like a greatest hits, and the guy’s only just started. (UK)

Next Tier

Dover - Follow The City Lights
Hyper synthpop from Barcelona, Spain. That alone should earn it points, but they go one further by not skimping on the perfect pop songs. (Spain)
Rufus Wainwright - Release The Stars
Wainwright’s most accessible and instantly pleasing album. Going To A Town alone guarantees it a spot. (USA)

And the tracks:

1. King Midas - Music From A Window
Ultra smooth synth assisted rock that’ll have even the cool kids dancing.
2. Laakso - Norrköping
Irresistible tribute to growing up and moving on. Suitably anthematic.
3. Alphabeat - What Is Happening?
Subdued moment for the jolly poppers. The missing link between Bananarama and The Zutons.
4. Patrick Wolf - Get Lost
Jaunty synthpop by a guy who sounds a bit uncomfortable being this happy.
5. The Ark - Death To The Martyrs
Glamorous, epic, and laced with profanity. If this doesn’t convert you, I don’t know what will.
6. Lil’ Chris - I Never Noticed
He got the best electro ballad of the year as well? Unbelievable.
7. Rufus Wainwright - Between My Legs
Rufus rocks out and proves that he should really use electric guitars more often.
8. Dover - Madrid
Swirling, hectic synthpop that grabs your heart and doesn’t let go.
9. Mika - Stuck In The Middle
Piano pounding vamp where Mika unfurls the cartoon candy wrappers and gets down to business.
10. The Attic - Sail Away
The best hands-swaying-in-the-air soft rock epic of the year. On a dance record, no less.

Download each individually, or if you want the perfect soundtrack to kick off your summer, download the whole CD in a rar file!

I'll be back in a week with all the news from Hultsfred!!
Have You Heard That New Prince Song Yet?

If not, click on the cover above for a quick preview of Guitar, the first single from Planet Earth (out in July). It's like we're back to the Let's Go Crazy and era, and I wholeheartedly approve. The full song's even better, proving that (along with Elton John), this guy's got the longevity thing down.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Video Premiere: Robyn (ft. Kleerup) - With Every Heartbeat

Yeah, I know this is pretty much everywhere today, but the video is too amazing not to post. There's something very dreamlike and captivating about it, which compliments the song's slow build perfectly. I don't see how anybody could resist being a Robyn fan after hearing this song and watching the video.

Social Ambitions - Burning

"There is something burning in my mind"

Social Ambitions is a Swedish synth-pop group that just happens to be on the same label as Gender, the duo I posted about last Friday. They are a lot more straightforward than Gender, but that doesn't mean their music is boring. Burning, their debut single, is a pulsing piece of robotic synth that gets more and more addictive and melodic with each listen. I really like this guy's voice. It sounds like it came right out of the 80's, but not in the cliched way like many of today's 80's revival bands. I look forward to a full album from these guys.

Social Ambitions - Burning (mp3) (zshare)

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