Friday, January 29, 2010

the bubblepunksoul dance party

Slumberland Records is one of our all time favorite labels here at NMT. Starting with Black Tambourine many, many years ago and going all the way up to the new groups like Pants Yell! and Brilliant Colors, they have been nothing less than a trademark of quality throughout their epic run. So imagine how cool it was when Mike asked me (well, more like said okay when I begged him) to contribute a podcast on their website. I spent months trying to get it just right and then in a fit of desperation just went wild and threw together a bunch my favorite bubblegum jams, novelty soul stompers and rockers of all stripes. (Of course, there's some Tommy Roe too.) Get the mix here!

Make sure you keep up with the label in 2010. There's all kinds of mad nonsense brewing, including a Black Tambourine reissue that looks and sounds truly beautiful. Also new records by the Lodger, Brown Recluse and a reissue of Chin Chin's Sound of the Westway album.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

slept-on bands of 2009: the very most

The Very Most are a group made up of six really friendly looking lads and lasses from Boise, Idaho who play some seriously catchy and sweet indie pop. Think Bicycles, Bikeride or a jumped up Ladybug Transistor for easy one-stop comparisons to get the ball rolling. They spent last year recording EPs for every season, one for spring, one for get the picture. Each one did a marvelous job of capturing the spirit and feel of the season - take a listen to this song for an instant jolt of that feeling you get on the first warm day of the spring.

"Today it Is Even Better"

The band and Irish pop label Indiecator have compiled all the EPs into a document that already looks like a serious contender for 2010 break-out status. Sleeper awaken and go pick up A Year With The Very Most for yourself!


Friday, January 22, 2010

tim's favorite album of the 2000's

Saturday Looks Good to Me - All Your Summer Songs

Everything else was in the race for second place,  because this album is far above anything else for me. I love the emotion that fills the songs like sunshine on a cool day, the Girl Group and Motown sounds that Fred (and Warren) seemingly conjured out of thin air, the range of voices and instruments that take the songs from joy to heartbreak and back. . It's really quite breathtaking and powerful. And a lot sadder than the group gets credit for. There's always the conception that they were a goodtime happy fun band and while there are elements of that going on, these songs cry real tears and spill real blood. I don't think I'm overstating it at all. Just take a listen to this tune and see if you can help getting choked up a bit.


Every song on the album has some meaning for me, some have even been the soundtrack to important moments in my life as corny as that sounds. And yeah, it's true that I've known Fred forever but this record stands apart from all that. It would be just as important to me as a record even if fred were the biggest asshole in town instead of the biggest sweetheart. Just to convince you, I'm going to spill a little secret. I was actually going to sing a track on the record but when the time came to do it, I fucked it up so badly that he had no choice but to ask someone else (Matthew Smith of Outrageous Cherry) to take my place. So really, I should hate Summer Songs out of spite as opposed to it being one of the records I would run back to save if my house was on fire. I wish I had a copy of me singing it because it's so bad, but here's Matt instead. He did a pretty good job...

"No Good With Secrets"

And now because you've listened to me ramble on and on, you get a little treat. Here's an alternate mix of the single most devastating track on the album

"All Our Summer Songs"

The rest of my top ten:
The Avalanches - Since I Left You
Jens Lekman - Oh You're So Silent Jens
J Dilla - Donuts
Bella - No One Will Know
Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
Love is All - Nine Times The Same Song
The Exploding Hearts - Guitar Romantic
The Legends - Up Against the Legends
Daft Punk - Discovery

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

this will be our year! songs by gigi, burning hearts & sambassadeur

So I mentioned last time that 2010 was looking real good for us fans of indie pop, now I'd like to back that statement up with some concrete-solid proof. First of all we have Sambassadeur. Their new album European is out on Feb 24 and it's really good. Super smooth and glossy, but with a fragile tenderness underneath, I've already fallen pretty deeply in love with it. The first single "Days" has been out for awhile but thanks to Johan at Labrador, I have another song to share with you. Please listen to the lovely sounds of the band now and buy the record in a few weeks.

Sambassadeur - I Can Try

Next up, we have Burning Hearts. They were responsible for one of my favorite albums of last year Aboa Sleeping. I loved their mix of icy synth pop, warmly detached vocals and heartbreakingly sincere melodies, and listened to the record non-stop for about a month. I'm super stoked that they aren't just some fly-by-night project and have committed themselves to releasing more jams, especially when they are as nice as this one. I'm hardly one to advocate hard work and dedication but in this case, I make an exception. I want these guys to gut it out and get another album out this year. Forget your lives and loves, just make me happy!

Burning Hearts - Night Animal

This last song is almost too awesmoe to write about. See, Nick of No Kids along with producer Colin Stewart started up this project called Gigi (as in GG, short for Girl Group?) because they got ahold of an old reverb plate thinger and decided it would make sense to make an authentic sounding girl group-style record. They roped in a bunch of interesting people to sing like Owen Pallett, Mirah and Karl Blau, sort of like the 6ths but with no synthesizers and on a shoestring potato budget. So far so good, right? Well, hold on to something because I left off a name. There's no way to prepare you for the shock so I'll just spill it....ROSE MELBERG SINGING A GIRL GROUP SONG!!! This has been a dream of mine ever since Tiger Trap days and it's finally come true. I think it worked out really well too; great song, great performance. Rose is just a total sweetheart as usual and this time gives it a little more soul than you might expect! I'm going to be a pal and give you the song now, please do yourself a favor and get the whole record when it comes out on Jan 26. It's really good....

Gigi w/Rose Melberg - Alone at the Pier

Sunday, January 10, 2010

the twee pop soul of 2009, pt. III

Hey gang! Hope you're ready for one last mix of 2009 jams before we get cracking on what promises to be another brilliant year for indie pop. I've heard some stuff already that is going to knock your socks off! Though there's plenty of super twee stuff like Sea Lions (pic above - I hope they're doing a cover of "King Tut".) included, this mix is a little more wide-ranging than the last two, dipping into some noisier stuff as well as some disco-y jams, mostly from Sweden. I somehow managed to resist the urge to throw on a track from The-Dream's amazing album Love vs. Money. I mean, you should totally check it out if you love slick and smooth R&B with lots of weird harmonies and hooks, but it's not really very indie pop. Maybe I need to start an R&B blog I rarely post to....nah, one blog I rarely post to is enough, right? Anyway, please enoy this mix and stick around all year for the indie pop goodness.

The Crêpes - "What Else?"
Title Tracks - "Every Little Bit Hurts"
The Bicycles - "It's A Good Thing"
Sea Lions - "Good Feeling"
The Fresh & Onlys - "I'm Gonna Be Your Elevator"
Fergus & Geronimo - "Powerful Lovin'"
Spectrals - "Leave Me Be"
Strawberry Whiplash - Picture Perfect"
Cloetta Paris - "Cry Just A Little Bit"
jj - From Africa to Málaga
Au Revoir Simone - "Another Likely Story (Aeroplane Remix)"
We & Lisa - "I Am You"
The Sound Of Arrows - Into The Clouds
Air France - "GBG Belongs To Us"
Delorean - "Deli"
In Interview - "I Confess"  

mix it up here!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

crush bands of 2009 - arthur and martha

Arthur and Martha were a nice find this year. Their album Navigation is a poppy, synthtastic delight that probably should have made my 2009 Top 20 list. It definitely makes the hindsight Top 20. Arthur (not his real name) used to be in this band called Saloon, maybe you remember them. They were pretty good but stuck a little too close to the Stereolab formula of synth pop. With A&M, he and Martha (not her real name either) toss all the warmth and groove out the nearest window and turn up the AC full blast. The melodies are wrapped in chilly synths, the vocals are delivered with calm precision, and the beats are nicely robotic. More Human League, less Neu. More pop, less experimental. And though the surfaces are frozen, there is a robot heart beating underneath. Mine skipped a beat or two the first time I heard the album. Well, not really but kinda sorta. Buy the album at Happy Robots after you check out this excellent track: "Turn to Dust"