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From its title to its punchline, this song is clever, a coming-of-age-in-a-library tale with bodies pressed against the spines of books. Not just clever, though. The puns barely cover the tangible feeling of excitement turning to disappointment (a.k.a. growing up). Musically, it captures both the rush of feeling loved and its come-down. It’s a firecracker with an air of sadness: the perfect metaphor for the way hot new bands like the Pains of Being Pure at Heart are treated as superstars one day, then yesterday’s news. They seem to be powering right through that cycle, however, on the strength of songs like this.

It’s always a bit of a bummer when one of the most solar-plexus-punchingly great records of the year comes out in November or December. Some people haven’t heard it yet, and others are wary of confusing novelty with quality, so it doesn’t make the “Best of” lists as much as it should.

Well, I’m here to tell you, Them Crooked Vultures really is one of the greatest albums of 2009, and the first single, “New Fang”, is the song Natalie Portman should’ve made Zach Braff listen to in Garden State, not the Shins’ anemic “New Slang”. It might not change your life, but it’ll sock you in the gut, in the very best way possible.

The Von Bondies shot their wad in 2008 by releasing a four-song EP with the most stellar tracks off the 2009 album Love, Hate, and Then There’s You. Frontman Jason Stollsteimer has gone through bassists and guitarists like flu season Kleenex over the past decade, and apparently decided to embrace that by not listing any band members at all in the new disc’s liner notes. 

But when he continues to make rock perfection like “Pale Bride”, no matter what you (or Jack White) think about Stollsteimer, all is forgiven.

Shakira
“She Wolf”



If you were to propose a song by the Latin contortionist sensation Shakira produced by one of the guys from The Apples in Stereo (John Hill) and another guy from The Bravery (Sam Endicott), it would unequivocally sound like a disaster on paper. Yet, what we have is the closest vie yet for the long tail of the DFA on the pop charts. This is not to suggest pop validation by indie credibility, but rather just the opposite. Rubbery bass, ricocheting fricka-fricka guitars, and seductive vocoder (not, mind you, auto-tune) have never sounded so deliriously insatiable as they do in a format palatable for both hidebound radio and libertine clubland. Utterly ace.
Timothy Gabriele

Corinne Bailey Rae is set to release her second album on January 26th, a follow up to her Grammy-winning first album. Though the newest release, titled The Sea, isn’t out for another month and a half, the album’s first single, “I’d Do It All Again”, was recently performed on Later…with Jools Holland. Catch the performance below: 

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