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Sunday, Oct 14, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

Ani DiFranco —"Both Hands (brand new studio version)"
From Canon on Righteous Babe
Ani DiFranco to release first ever career retrospective studio album Canon,  on Righteous Babe Records. Experience the evolution of a true original over two discs hand-picked by Ani, including songs from her first album to her 19th, as well as five newly recorded classics.


His Name Is Alive —"Go To Hell Mountain"
From XMMER on Silver Mountain
His Name is Alive is well known for their ethereal, late night moods but on this new album the band picks straight up where last year’s Detrola left off and fires up an army of homemade electronics and freaked out songs that are equal parts organic and mysterious. David Bowie put Detrola in his top ten recommendations for 2006 and said it has “an early ‘70s singer/songwriter vibe plus it comes on like Karen Carpenter.” This year’s XMMER album is all that plus way more. His Name is Alive continues to create an astounding body of work that is exclusively their own.


   Shout Out Louds —"Tonight I Have To Leave It"
From Our Ill Wills on Merge
“Tonight I Have to Leave It” is the first single from Stockholm’s Shout Out Louds upcoming Merge debut full-length, Our Ill Wills. With a video for the title track, two remixes and two non-LP “b-sides” this is a great reintroduction to a Swedish band whose extraordinary 2005 debut, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff (Capitol) garnered worldwide critical acclaim and placed them squarely in the middle of the current Swedish pop explosion.


Carolyn Mark —"The 1 That Got Away (with it)"
From Nothing Is Free on Mint
Nothing Is Free is a woodsy and introspective album. The recording brings an immediacy to the music that conjures up a Sunday evening spent playing instruments and singing songs on the back porch of the cabin. You know, one of those days where everything seems all Emily Carr… and, although the city seems miles away for the moment, it still looms in the corner of your mind, nodding and smirking and saying, “you’ll be back”. Carolyn knows… not even a carefree getaway to the back woods is free, it comes with the price of eventually having to leave. Fortunately for the listener, her introspection finds many other things too, not the least of which is a (sometimes dark) sense of humour and a willingness to throw caution under the truck, have all the fun humanly possible.


C.O.C.O. —"You Think But You Don’t/Tamara Dobson"
From Play Drums + Bass on K
Up from the swamps of the death disco comes a new offering from the minimalist soul group all the heads call C.O.C.O. Olivia Ness (bass, drums, vocals) and Chris Sutton (drums, bass, vocals) have been tapping the primal groove for a while now using only the most basic of instrumentation, but this time our explorers have decided to travel to the outer limits of the beat. C.O.C.O.‘s mission is simple: “Play Drums + Bass” and that credo was the inspiration for their third – without a doubt their best - record. The musical spectrum continues to expand into the nether regions of dub reggae (for a tribute to the late great Tamara Dobson) all the way to the sunny side of surf rock (the album’s closer, aptly titled “The End”).


Seabear —"I Sing I Swim"
From The Ghost That Carried Us Away on Morr Music
This album doesn’t blurt it out: There is no loud “Ta-Dah!”, no exclamation mark. The Ghost That Carried Us Away flatters in a rather unobtrusive way. However, it has encircled you after the third song at the latest. Fragile hymns of nonchalant casualness, created by the 24-year-old Sindri Már Sigfússon. Guitars, piano, his almost bashful and yet so present voice. “Nature, mortality, love”, these are the topics of his debut album.


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Wednesday, Oct 10, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

The Trolleyvox —"I Call On You"
From Your Secret Safe on Transit of Venus
The Trolleyvox’s new release is a two album set that is comprised of Your Secret Safe, a full-band electric album produced by Brian McTear (Danielson, Espers, Mazarin, A-Sides, Lilly’s, Apollo Sunshine) featuring nine new originals and a ripping version of The Who’s “Our Love Was”; and Luzerne, a gorgeous acoustic album featuring songwriter-guitar player Andrew Chalfen and lead singer Beth Filla.


Swivel Chairs —"Afterthought"
From The Slow Transmission on Transit of Venus
The Slow Transmission is an album born of a friendship and musical partnership that has lasted more than a decade. Over that time, the Swivel Chairs song-writing duo of Jeremy Grites and Jason Brown have polished their craft through numerous self released cassettes; CD-R albums; compilation tracks; several split albums and EPs with bands like Audible (Polyvinyl) and The Banes; and the acclaimed 2004 indie-pop album A Late Day For Regrets on Portland OR’s Paisley Pop label.


Robert Pollard —"Rud Fins"
From Coast to Coast Carpet of Love on Merge Records
Pollard explores the poppier, “Beatles” side of his musical personality here. In the universe where Bob explains the Freudian divisions of his psyche, he calls Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love his id; Standard Gargoyle Decisions his ego’ and himself his Super Ego.
John Ralston —"Fragile"
From Sorry Vampire on Vagrant Records
What would become the jangly, densely layered Sorry Vampire, the second full-length from John Ralston, began as just a few basic elements and eventually snowballed into over 50 songs with almost twice as many individual tracks on each song. The record was built to give the listener the experience of hearing something new with each repeated listen – you’ll likely never hear this record the same way twice. The final dozen tracks also speak to the ‘luxury’ Ralston experienced by not having time constraints and being able to home record.


The A-Sides —"Cinematic"
From Silver Storms on Vagrant Records
In Philadelphia, they don’t get many big waves. But recently, they’ve been getting a little bit closer. The A-Sides suggest the ocean, the clouds, love, fury, life and death, with a sound that’s like sunshine on your arms, seeping in right after the biggest waves in the world have torn you down.


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Monday, Oct 1, 2007
by PopMatters Staff
PopMatters sponsor: Daptone Records

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
100 Days, 100 Nights [MP3]
     


Amy Winehouse stole her band for her 15 minutes in the spotlight, but Sharon don’t care about that. Sharon’s been due for her name in bright lights for a long time, and those 100 days and 100 nights have finally produced a glorious and highly anticipated new album with the Dap-Kings that is earning critical praise from everyone from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times and all spots in between. The world tour kicks off at the legendary Apollo Theatre, an apt first step to getting Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings en route to their own status as soul music legends. [PopMatters review]


PopMatters sponsor: Daptone Records

Budos Band
Chicago Falcon [MP3]
     


The Budos Band is the quintessence of Staten Island Soul. Their exciting new afro-influenced take on instrumental music has been captivating listeners from turntables as well as bandstands across the nation. Eleven pieces in all, their group consists of drums, bass, guitar, electric organ, two trumpets, baritone saxophone, and a percussion section employing bongos, congas, tambourine, guiro, clave, shekere and cowbell. Their music has been described as “compelling”, “unbridled”, “psychedelic”, “innovative”, and above all “soulful”. [PopMatters review]


PopMatters sponsor: Unfiltered Records

The Grey Race
On the Chin [MP3]
     


The Grey Race play soft melodic pop rock that is sure to appeal to fans of Paul McCartney (think Wings) and Sean Lennon (with perhaps a hint of John) as well as indie fans of Jeff Buckley and Midlake. American Songwriter says the debut album “Give It Love” is “quite a find”, and we hope you feel the same about its dark musings on the nature of survival in our everyday lives.


Klaxons
Magick (Simian Mobile Disco remix) [MP3]
     


Emma Pollock
Adrenaline [MP3]
     


Daft Punk
Human After All (Justice Remix) [MP3]
     



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Wednesday, Sep 19, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

Havoc
I’m the Boss [MP3]
     


Be There [MP3]
     


Mobb Deep MC and producer, Havoc, released his debut solo album, The Kush [18 Sept: Nature Sounds] this week. The album was produced in full by Havoc, and features appearances by Havoc’s Mobb Deep partner Prodigy (“Set Me Free”), along with 40 Glocc (“By My Side”), Nyce (“Set Me Free” and “Ride Out”), Un Pachino (“Ballin Out” and “Hit Me Up”), and Nitti (“Class By Myself”).


Doveman
Sunrise(Medley) [MP3]
     


With My Left Hand I Raise the Dead‘s [9 Oct: Brassland Records] 16 tracks alternate between melancholic chamber pop, sleepy folk music, and interludes which have more to do with lush, modern classical and experimental music. The songwriting and execution is that of a master craftsman, with meticulous attention paid to every detail. However it’s the voice of Thomas Bartlett—a heartbreaking, barely there sound—that gives the compositions their heft. With My Left Hand is a dense, experiential affair; a challenging yet engaging record that will truly reward repeat listening.


Dragons of Zynth
Get Off [MP3]
     


Coronation Thieves [25 Sept: Gigantic Music] (co-produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek) captures the same raw energy of a Dragons of Zynth show. The release follows a buzz-laden year in which the band saw themselves in a series of high profile concerts such as David Bowie’s Highline Festival, a Central Park Summerstage show with seminal punk band Television, and a date with indie royalty Modest Mouse.


Dragons of Zynth - Labor Day Lung


Emma Pollock
Adrenaline [MP3]
     


Galactic
What You Need [MP3]
     



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Thursday, Sep 6, 2007
by PopMatters Staff

David Dondero “Rothko Chapel”


From Simple Love on Team Love Records
From the acclaimed songwriting troubadour David Dondero comes Simple Love, David’s second release for Conor Oberst’s Team Love Records, and the follow up to the critically lauded 2005 release, South of the South. Few songwriters have experienced and expressed the sinking depths and uplifting optimism of humanity like David Dondero, and his ability to shine a light on the human condition (his own included) is inspiring.


Octoberman “Run From Safety”


From Run From Safety on White Whale Records
Upon first listen, it’s evident that Run From Safety is not only an album title but also a bold statement of intent. The album sublimely captures the sound of an artist abandoning the tried and true and striking out in unknown directions. While still fuelled by wanderlust, Octoberman’s music continues to remind us that not all journeys can be measured by distance alone.


Boddicker “Mississippi”


From Big Lionhearted and the Gallant Man on Banter Records
At 16 years old, Caleb Boddicker recorded a 22-track demo in the bedroom of his parent’s house in Mississippi. He was a sophomore in high school at the time and sold the demo online as a means of funding his future college education. He managed to sell over 1,000 copies to fans that were lucky enough to stumble across that gem of a record. In October of 2006, Boddicker entered Engine Studios in Chicago for a three-week recording session. The result is nothing short of a masterpiece. Boddicker’s gift of writing simple, yet powerful songs, combined with Deck’s production brilliance, culminated into a mind-blowing piece of work. The songs bounce from genre to genre, providing a glimpse into Boddicker’s erratic perception of the world.


Adrian Orange & Her Band “You’re My Home”


From Self-Titled on K Records
Rogue West African prison-funk from Adrian Orange and his rambling pack of peyote-laced thieves. These are outlaw anthems of life on the margins; Favella-core Latin American punk-hymns to Qaddafi and the insurgency. Machine gun stabs of sex and danger, love and death, life on the highway and lust in the jungles. This will probably be the last cohesive album of songs by this artist. It is in the process of vanishing in to the all, the beautiful unknown; where obscurely we-will-lay, willie, like lilies or be gulls, indefinitely. So get in, get out.


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