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Saturday, January 24, 2009

WTF x 100000000

I am in love with this. I applaud it in every way possible. And I want that outfit.
Melodi Grand Prix

Yay! Surferosa made it through to the second chance round! Although, really (with the shitty competition they had) they should have gone straight to the final. You can watch their performance at the NRK TV site. I had no idea Mariann sounded so good live! And you gotta love the outfit (and the bizarre purple diamond at the beginning).

Friday, January 23, 2009

Alienhits Loves... Diary of a Wimpy Kid!

Judging from the amount of middle schoolers I see reading this book every time I'm at work, I can safely say Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the next big thing (as if it's not big already). And I can't think of any better series to bask in the glory that so few published books get to enjoy.
It's a novel in cartoons, which means that it's formatted like a novel but the ratio of text to cartoons is probably about three to two. Each book chronicles the middle school life of Greg Heffley, the "wimpy kid" of the title, and it's the rare series that definitely appeals to kids but is even better for older folks with a bit of nostalgia to put behind it.
I work in middle schools on a regular basis and there is something undeniably special and entertaining about that age. They are the funniest, coolest kids I know, doing their best at an extremely awkward age. And--I'm not ashamed to admit it--their sense of humor is more often than not my sense of humor. Many authors try to capture the feeling of these years but few really succeed in grasping and putting into words the rollicking randomness that is junior high. If you've read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (and if you haven't, you MUST--it's one of the best books of the decade), then you'll be familiar with Wimpy Kid's particular brand of dry humor enhanced by perfectly simple comic strips. This series is obviously aimed at younger audiences than Part-Time Indian, but the humor easily transcends age brackets.
This is one of those kind of books that you can pick up at a Borders or Barnes & Noble, read through the first couple of pages, and be instantly hooked by the premise. I sure was. Quickly after, I devoured the first two (they can easily be read in a couple of hours) and now I'm more than anxious to get my hands on the third book in the series.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid started as a web comic and, through sheer force of its literary x-factor, became the sensation that it is now. Well deserved, to say the least. If you like coming-of-age and humor, than these books are a can't miss.

Buy the book on amazon

Official website

Girls Don't Always Wanna Have Fun

Melody Club are back and better than ever! That guitar riff...those verses...that chorus! I'm definitely in love. Again.
This could be a HUGE single for them if radio embraces it as it should. It's just silly enough to sing at the top of your lungs but it's got that indelible Melody Club sound to it that guarantees it'll be stuck in your head the very first time you listen to it. As their name implies, these guys have such a gift for melody. I will be listening to this non-stop until the album comes out.

UPDATE: You can now watch their debut performance of the single on aftonbladet's web tv player. (click on the "Fler Klipp" red button on the bottom left hand corner and scroll down until you see the Melody Club one)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Put your hands where I can see them"

"I'm blown away" -- These are the first three words of Disarmed and they describe perfectly how I feel about this stellar pop song. Others have blogged about it in the past few months, and I'm not quite sure how I avoided it up till now, but after finally hearing it I am among the obsessed. This kind of cheesy pop music can be real hit and miss with me, but when Bassflow (who has also produced pretty much all of the Ola Svensson songs I like) is involved, I'm practically guaranteed to love it. The sound is very specific, and I'd probably describe it as "eighties power-dance." That is, it's got one foot on the dancefloor and the other in the realm of power-pop. And there are always synths involved. It's a rather thin line between this and gooey, boring boyband type stuff, but luckily Disarmed has the same ingredients that made Ola's S.O.S. one of my favorite songs of the past few years. If someone finally gets around to crafting an entire album of this sound, it will no doubt be a masterpiece. I dare you not to sing along when you listen to this track.

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Big Science

Straight from the BWO gods:

The brand new BWO album "Big Science" will feature 12 brand new songs and a total of 14 tracks (including two remixes) and be released in early April. Producers include Anders Hansson, Alexander Bard, Henrik Wikström and Johan Fjellström (of Star Pilots fame). The track listing will be set next month. A second single is set for a summer and a third single for a fall release beginning in Scandinavia. BWO promise a brand new sound inspired by such varied sources as Duran Duran, The Killers, contemporary electronic pop, classic soul and R&B, and a brand new look strongly influenced by futurism and science fiction.

The first single "You're Not Alone" will be released both as a ballad and a disco version (exactly like BWO classic hit "Open Door") in early March. The ballad version will participate in Melodifestivalen, the Swedish competition for the Eurovision Song Contest, beginning with the semifinal in Leksand on February 21. The maxi-single will feature a rich variety of remixes by SoundFactory, Michel Zitron, Skyylab and Oscar Holter. A video will be directed by Kamisol.

I have been on a real BWO kick the past few weeks and I must say this all sounds completely amazing! I'm curious how new their sound will be. Duran Duran + BWO? Freaking amazing.

"There's a new sensation...a fabulous creation"

Yay for new Scissor Sisters!! I've been waiting patiently for a long while, and now out of nowhere they come out with a cover of Roxy Music's Do The Strand. It's not for a new album (though it may appear on their upcoming 2009 release), but instead they recorded it for the War Child charity album, joining a ton of other artists covering old songs. The track hearkens back to their Comfortably Numb days, not only because it's a cover of a seventies classic, but also because it's completely disco oriented with loads of falsetto. Better yet, it's got one of those classic Ana Matronic spoken openers. On several occasions I've tried to give Roxy Music's albums a listen, only to be pretty bored by the music. Now after this cover and Kylie's version of Love Is The Drug a couple years back, I may have to revisit some of those old albums. It's the power of Scissor Sisters!

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Preorder the album here-it's a worthy cause!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Think about that hazy summer we spent wrapped around each other"

New Zealand pop band Charlie Ash have been too shrieky for me in the past, but their new single Come Back Lover is a perfect distillation of No Doubt, Blondie and every other female-fronted new wave group you can think of (including a definite Cyndi Lauper influence). I hope that this bodes well for their upcoming album, due out in March. An entire cd of songs with this kind of sparkly synth sound would be a huge treat come the end of winter. The band's also got an unmistakable spunk and creativity about them (just look at some of their promo pics). They are a group I will be watching closely for the next few months, and one who could surely give fellow New Zealander Ladyhawke a run for her money.

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

Monday, January 19, 2009

"It's the search for love on a Friday night"

Sebastian Karlsson's third album comes out soon and after the blah-ness of the lead single My Getaway (which has since grown on me but is still pretty boring), I wasn't particularly excited. But then I heard the second single Serial Lovers, by far the poppiest thing he's done so far and quite possibly my favorite track of his career. It's like he took a page from Melody Club's playbook and decided to write something totally immediate and completely danceable. Unfortunately it's a bit of a red herring as far as his album goes. The Most Beautiful Lie is heavier on the electronics than previous efforts and more upbeat, but Serial Lovers is by far the best song on the album (at least upon first listen). It's all about the chorus with this one. It's so incredibly addictive, especially towards the end where the electronics are really brought to the forefront.

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

A slight change in music posts...

I've been concerned with copyright issues and entire posts of mine mysteriously disappearing for some time now. So, I've decided that I'm going to try a new way to post music, taking a cue from one of my favorite mp3 blogs, into the groove.
Starting later today, I'm going to post songs on my imeem page, still linking to them through this site on a daily basis of course.
What this will allow me to do is post songs, especially radio singles, that I haven't posted in the past due to fear of infringement (imeem is completely legal since it doesn't directly allow downloads). I will be able to give a clearer picture of the type of music that I'm obssessed with at the moment and won't have to edit my choices.

Now, you will still be able to download music from this site, but you will need two tools to do so:

1. freemusiczilla
2. riva flv encoder 2.0

Both are easily (and freely) downloaded and installed from the links above, and both are highly recommended and simple to use.
Now, for downloading purposes, this is what you'll need to do (and I will keep this post up so that you can refer to it at any time in the future).

1. Launch freemusiczilla from your computer
2. Click on the link to the imeem page of whatever song you wish to listen to/download (the links for each song will be in the daily posts)
3. Allow the song to start playing
4. A file will appear in the white box inside the freemusiczilla program. Check the small box next to the file name and click "download" in the bottom right corner.
5. Once the word "completed!" appears under the "state" column, the song is downloaded to your computer. (You can click on the blue link on the bottom to open the folder your file downloaded to)
6. The file will download with a string of letters and numbers as its title--rename it whatever you want.
7. Now you've got an flv file, but we need it in mp3. Launch riva flv encoder.
8. Now this program is typically used for video, but it works just fine for audio too. In the input box, browse for your file and load it into the program.
9. Pick your output directory (wherever you want it saved) and be sure to delete the .flv at the end of the output file and replace it with .mp3
10. Down in the lower right hand corner, make sure that enable audio is selected, then make sure the bitrate is at least 128 (which will also change the sampling rate to 44100 Hz). Finally, under "channels" select "stereo".
11. Now just press the "encode" button at the bottom of the program window and it will take a few moments to encode, giving you an mp3 file which is what you're after!

Whew, I know that sounds like a lot, but the process is actually remarkably quick and after a couple of times going through it, it will be like second nature.
The best thing is, all songs I post will stay posted unless I decide for some reason to delete them. No more disappearing posts or expired links. Also, the flv encoding can happen at any time so you can download batches of songs and wait to encode them all in one sitting if you want.

First post later today! We'll see how this all works.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wow, have you guys heard Sebastian Karlsson's new single Serial Lovers? This album just got (potentially) very interesting again!