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Friday, February 01, 2008

Hey, that Juvelen album finally has a release date! That's all it has, though. No title, artwork or tracklisting yet. But thank god we now know it's scheduled to come out on April 3rd of this year!
Joniverse - The Mess I Made

"What a mess I made"

Speaking of solo projects from members of fantastic bands (i.e. Nicklas Stenemo and the Kaka project last week), today I've got a great bright pop song from one of the members of Melody Club (a great, bright pop band as if you didn't know). I love that all these guys are striking out on their own while still retaining their membership in the band. In this case it's Jon Axelsson, who plays keyboard in Melody Club. His solo stuff isn't so different than the band's brand of slick catchy pop rock, which means that it is of course a very welcome addition to the Swedish music scene. Because, quite frankly, you can never have enough of a good thing.

Joniverse - The Mess I Made (zshare)

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

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Paris - Take A Chance On Romance (with Nicklas Stenemo)

"Life is for singles"

I am amazed that it took me almost four months to realize that this duet existed. As all of my regular readers know, I'm an enormous fan of Nicklas Stenemo and The Mo, which is the band he used to front. Imagine my glee when I discovered that there was a new song featuring his vocals, and then imagine that times ten when I listened to the track and found that it is a gorgeous pop song. Although the production is a bit lacking (a fact that annoyed me at first but I now find endearing), the melody--especially in the verses--is completely on point. It's got a fantastic throwback vibe to it and Nicklas and Annika sound perfect together.

Paris - Take A Chance On Romance (With Nicklas Stenemo) (zshare)

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

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Spleen United - Suburbia

"You remember how it feels to fall apart"

Danish synthpop band Spleen United recently released their new album, Neanderthal. I'm not 100% sure of it as an entire album, but the opening few tracks are all brilliant. My Tribe, the lead single, miraculously missed out of my countdown of 2007 singles and I'm annoyed about that, because it is freaking amazing. Unfortunately it was just one of those songs that took until 2008 to hit me. Anyways, I'm not posting that track because it should be pretty easy to find and buy. Instead, I'm posting Suburbia, the lead track on the new album and a great, high energy electro song. This is the kind of material that the band excels at. After you've downloaded this, make sure to seek out My Tribe. You won't be disappointed.

Spleen United - Suburbia (zshare)

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

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Royworld - Elasticity

"You're just a rubber band boy"

There is so much good poppy rock music out there in the UK right now. I guess The Feeling get most of the credit, but they better watch their backs because a newer band like Royworld might just come up and snatch their crown. From the few tracks up at their myspace (including their amazing new single Man In The Machine), I think it's safe to say that these guys are going to produce one hell of an album (out sometime in June, apparently). They've been nice enough to offer us Elasticity to tide us over until the single and album releases, and I've been listening to it like crazy over the past few days. It's rare when I can look at a band's list of influences on their myspace and know immediately that I'm going to love them, but Royworld was definitely one of those situations.

Royworld - Elasticity (zshare)

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

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Cult Called Karrianna - Hold On

"I don't wanna sit down"

I am super excited about this band. I ran across their myspace site a week or two ago and was beyond happy that they offered stuff there for free download because I knew after one listen that I would need to hear these songs many more times than once. A Cult Called Karrianna (or ACCK, as their page labels them), may look a bit like an eighties hair band, but they play hard edged, at times even industrial, synth pop with brilliant melodies. At first I was just going to post Hold On today, which is my favorite track (with verses straight from heaven), but then I realized that I had to post all of the songs because each is amazing in its own way. Faith In Line has one hell of a chorus, and Ruin and Curse are both hard edged, stabbing dance tracks. I cannot wait for a full album because it could easily be in my top ten at the end of the year. I have officially joined the cult!

ACCK - Hold On (zshare)
ACCK - Faith In Line (zshare)
ACCK - Ruin (zshare)
ACCK - Curse (zshare)

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

Sunday, January 27, 2008

MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
Release Date: January 22, 2008
Label: Sony

It seems to me that much of North American alternative music of late has been Arcade Fire-ized. Blame it on a lack of imagination, I guess. One group makes it huge and everybody jumps on the bandwagon. I, for one, am somewhat sick of it and thus approach new alternative pop with a healthy dose of skepticism.

I had a heard a lot about MGMT before listening to their debut record. I knew they made oddball pop music and what little I had heard from them, unsurprisingly, sounded a bit like Arcade Fire. It was with great relief, then, when I discovered that the band’s full length debut Oracular Spectacular borrows more from 70’s glam and progressive rock (with even a hint of disco) than current trends. Indeed, the entire album is a kaleidoscope of nearly dissonant sounds that at first came off as more of a compilation than a proper release. It is in this diversity, this junkyard grab bag, that MGMT find their own voice, one that looks both backward and forward at once. This is no more apparent than on the opening track, Time To Pretend. A glorious, drug-soaked lament, it certainly builds like a classic Arcade Fire track, but add to that a glam stomp and keyboard riff and you’ve got something entirely different and completely essential.

Elsewhere, the band expertly hints at stabs of Bowie (Weekend Wars), the Bee Gees (Electric Feel) and vintage Sparks (the chorus of The Youth). The second half of the album is a bit more experimental and displays the guys’ obvious affinity for prog rock. These tracks at times stray from the perfect pop of the first half in favor of a fanciful, more evasive edge. Still, this is a very minor complaint and even the most murky tracks become quite wonderful after a few close listens. All in all, I think it’s safe to say that Oracular Spectacular is 2008's first great album. A-

Key Tracks: Time To Pretend, Kids, Weekend Wars