It’s Valentine’s Day!!

February 14, 2008

First Valentine’s Day spent alone in five years is going alone perfectly so far. I’ve been so ungodly busy I haven’t really even thought about what’s going on.

In honor of this awesome holiday (which was “invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap“), I’ve decided to share some tunes I’ve discovered / been digging lately. These are all HypeMachine links, and by clicking on them you’ll go to a page where you can listen to the tune (hit the play button). The industrious among you will find a way to turn this HypeMachine page into a source for a download (hint: click “Read full post”). HypeMachine’s pretty easy to work once you get the hang of it. Wink. Wink. Wink.
I’m not saying these are great songs, but they’re probably noteworthy in the blogosphere, so you should probably hear them so you can hold your own at the next Vampire Weekend show (this is, of course, assuming the world doesn’t forget about them in 2 weeks):

1. British Sea Power – Lights Out for Darker Skies

If you like your rock epic, give this one a go. It’s like Fugazi aping U2 meets William Wallace from Braveheat. And damn if it isn’t catchy — I haven’t been able to shake the verse melody out of my head for days (“Oh light out ba-by, for darker skies!”)

2. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Glue Girls

These guys are due for a full length in 2008, and sadly, there’s no indication that they’ll be changing their name prior to its release date. However cheesy these guys seem on the first go-round (and they do seem cheesy on the first go-round), this is some pretty smart guitar pop that reminds me of the early 1990’s — acoustic guitars with tame electrics on top, sugar-sweet vocals, hand-clappy choruses, and a whole hell of a lot of melody. One of my favorite guitar pop songs I’ve heard since Voxtrot’s “Mothers, Sisters, Daughters and Wives.”

3. M83 – Coleurs

Here’s the first (8:34 long!) single released from M83’s upcoming Saturdays = Youth. Anthony Gonzales, now on his second go-round as the sole voice behind M83 (the other guy left after Dead Cities), is moving M83 away from the theatrical shoegaze dramatics of the previous two releases and into a more 80’s dance infused realm. Whatever. It’s still lush as ever, and I love the sound of the 1980’s, and it still sounds like shoegaze.

4. Blonde Redhead – 23

So, so late on this one. This sounds like Radiohead’s “Where I and You Begin” drenched in MBV-esque guitars (typing this phrase alone made me ejaculate) with some whispy, pretty — and even Thom Yorke-esque — female vocals on top. This song garnered a lot of attention in 2007, and even though I failed to see it then, I definitely see it now.

5. Mobius Band – Digital Love (Daft Punk cover)

This is just sort of neat, especially for me — my old band Karenin’s Smile used to cover this song, and it’s interesting to hear a real, full-band cover of it. Also, this is one of my favorite songs, so this has that going for it as well. It’s not amazing (in fact it’s a little boring) but the ending, what with all the bleeps and blips and cascading and chaotic percussion, is pretty cool.

6. Field Music – Closer at Hand

I haven’t heard complex pop as smart or as good as this in a while. These guys don’t mind flexing their creative or melodic muscles with the best of ’em, and, well, they shouldn’t. I dare to throw a Beach Boys comparison out, but there’s almost enough going on here in 2:29 to make Brian Wilson blush — but what’s best is that the band never goes too far; it just sounds so perfectly effortless, as if music this good should always have this much to it. The violin line makes me want to fist-pump, and it’s a violin line!

7. The Wombats – Let’s Dance to Joy Division

Scenesters and hipsters will love this song; I honestly probably only downloaded it because of the band name in the song title. I guess this is like the Klaxons or something; I don’t know — it’s a little too happy for me to really like. It’s worth hearing, if no other reason than to be able to say you heard it, and don’t like it (or do like it), and whatever.  Also notable from these guys: Kill the Director.

8. Dizzee Rascal f/Calvin Harris – Dance for Me

I’ve been pimping this for so long, and I’m not stopping. This is the best song I’ve heard so far in 2008, and I haven’t even heard the real song yet. The only version available is a lo-fi rip off of a British radio show, but that’s enough to showcase just how mega this is. This should be blowing up the clubs this summer, but it likely won’t… unless, of course, you live in Europe. Sigh. HEAR THIS NOW. HEAR THIS NOW.

9. Young Galaxy – Swing Your Heartache

This is an Arts and Crafts band. They need a new lyricist. The lyrics in this song are bad, bad, bad, bad. But you can tell they’ve got a great sound down — a little shoegazy, a little sparse, and here, a little gospel; the perfect thing for late night chilling out. Some of their other songs are soaked in a shoegaze feel, which always excites me, but I felt this one — given the fact that today is Valentine’s Day and I’m swinging my heartache so to speak — was just too appropriate.

10. The Duke Spirt – My Sunken Treasure (stream only)

From Stereogum: ” … as “My Sunken Treasure”‘s title tips off, there’s lots of watery metaphors at work. Their last sounds were garagey, noisey, grungy — here comes a shift, though, to the sort of shuffling, glockenspiel-tinkled Motown soul Spoon’s been working ala “You Got Yr Cherry Bomb.” Not the most original sound in a post GaGa world, but it’s a sweet tune, done well. Expect rom-com soundtrack placement.”

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