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Friday, April 27, 2007

Bloom - Everyday

"How do you feel?"

I've got some catchy Swedish pop for you today. Bloom are not really well known and, actually, their album's a bit iffy, but Everyday is so damn catchy and soaring that you almost can't help but like it, even if everything inside of you is telling you to run away. The song is poppy to the point of being a bit saccharine, but it's got enough of a rock edge to make it very radio friendly as well. The closest comparison I can give you is Lambretta, the band that Linda Sundblad used to front before she went solo. Strangely enough, Bloom have seemed to disappear off of the face of the earth. No website, no touring... nothing, really.

Bloom - Everyday (mp3) (zshare)

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the album here)
Video Premiere: Sahara Hotnights - Cheek To Cheek

Finally we have the promo to by far the best track from Sahara Hotnights' new album. Basically it is just a lot of walking, but it is such stylish walking that the whole thing is quite hard to turn away from.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Saturna - Just For Thrills

"You know I'm never gonna be with you again"

I get a lot of music sent to me these days. Some of it really isn't that good, and the vast majority of it doesn't really fit with the kind of stuff that I post on this blog, but I love listening to it just the same. Just For Thrills by Saturna is definitely more of a straightforward rocker than most of the stuff on Alienhits, but I love its simple catchiness and the directness of the melody. Weirdly enough, it actually kind of reminds me of what a Snow Patrol song could sound like if it was really amped up. Maybe that's just me, but see what you think. Also, the band is from Portland, Oregon, which just happens to be where I was born. Putting that aside, though, the band plays blissed out, fuzzy rock and roll that is actually quite good.

Saturna - Just For Thrills (mp3) (zshare)

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

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

User - Miss Wanted

"It's gonna hit your heart this time"

Combine a bit of Lambretta, a bit of the Sounds, and a lot of pop energy, and you've got User's Miss Wanted. User (technically called User Of A Common Name, but I think that's a bit of a mouthful) released this track back in 2004 in Scandinavia and I remember liking it a lot back then. So, I was delighted to find the single for very cheap in Stockholm and even more delighted when the song held up and I liked it just as much as I remembered. Best of all, I can guarantee you'll like it as well, for it really is just a nifty slice of radio pop/rock. Nothing more, nothing less... just quite catchy and fun. User are still at it, releasing a sorta greatest hits/deluxe package last year. Their big break may yet to have come, though.

User - Miss Wanted (mp3) (zshare)

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Legends - Darling

"Why didn't you stay here for another day?"

The Legends have famously declared their music as "a hate for dancefloors combined with dance music." I have been a very casual fan of theirs for some time but decided to pick up their most recent release based on the strength of the singles, the wonderful cover art, and the fact that I got it at a bargain at a used cd store. While their music can sometimes be a bit too background music-ish for me, the stunning Darling single-handedly gives these guys the "Pet Shop Boys of Scandinavia" label from me. The song is absolutely, drop dead gorgeous. The chorus, married to a startlingly beautiful synth refrain, is about as perfect as you can get. In fact, the whole thing is pretty damn flawless.

The Legends - Darling (mp3) (zshare)

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

Monday, April 23, 2007

Emmon - Make It Up

"We can make it up, honey"

I posted a track by Emmon (Wake Up Time) to great popularity a few months ago, and when I was in Sweden I was finally able to pick up her full album, The Art And The Evil. It's full of atmospheric electro-pop similar to Wake Up Time, with Make It Up being one of the catchiest tracks. If you're a fan of artists like Bertine Zetlitz and Margaret Berger, or even more pop minded singers like Madonna, you're sure to love this girl. Plus, she's recently done a remix of Melody Club's Fever Fever, one of the best pop songs of the year by one of the bands in my Holy Trinity of Swedish Music, so there you go.

Emmon - Make It Up (mp3) (zshare)

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists! Buy the album here)
Lucky Soul - The Great Unwanted
Release Date: April 9, 2007
Label: Vital

There’s been a welcome resurgence of the Phil Spector 60’s sound of late. The Pipettes perfected it with their single Pullshapes, Johnny Boy matured it with the soaring You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve, and now Lucky Soul have contemporized it with their debut, The Great Unwanted.

Earlier singles Lips Are Unhappy and Ain’t Never Been Cool hinted at the greatness of this English band… a sort of Ronettes meets the Cardigans sound that seemed quite unstoppable. Their full length debut is not quite the masterpiece that it first seemed it would be, but it is nonetheless an exercise in fantastic retro pop. Bouncy new single Add Your Light To Mine, Baby opens the album on an uptempo note, followed by the wistful One Kiss Don’t Make A Summer and the pure 60’s bliss of Struck Dumb. The best songs on here, though, are the aforementioned singles, although the pounding title track does come close. Unfortunately, there are also a few missteps. Get Outta Town tries to be much more fun than it is, while It’s Yours and Last Song offer a bit of a snooze-fest as a closer. In other words, the album could benefit from just a little bit of pruning.

Still, the sound is remarkably consistent without becoming tiring and the whole thing sounds like a collection of could-be singles, even though they might have to travel back forty years or so to become real hits. But, if you’re looking for an album to soundtrack your barbeques this summer, you couldn‘t do much better than The Great Unwanted. B

Key Tracks: Lips Are Unhappy, Ain’t Never Been Cool, The Great Unwanted

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sahara Hotnights - What If Leaving Is A Loving Thing
Release Date: April 18th, 2007
Label: Universal

For their fourth time out, Sahara Hotnights came at us with an almost completely new sound. The single Cheek To Cheek promised a pop-minded, more dance-conscious side to the group. With its galloping beat and saxophone breakdown, it is the pinnacle of the band’s career so far. And, nothing on their new album, What If Leaving Is A Loving Thing, can match it.

Far from the rockier sound the group has ridden to success in the past, Leaving attempts to show a more mature side. Embracing elements of roots music, country and 80’s pop, most of the songs are interesting experiments for the girls. Opener Visit To Vienna is an unqualified success, a rollicking stomper that sounds like nothing they have ever done yet retains the simple catchiness of their past material. Other tracks are a bit more subdued, which is surprising for a band who used to be so boisterous. And, while everything sounds technically great, there just aren’t enough melodies that really entrench themselves deeply enough to prove memorable. Of the new rootsy sound (which does suit the band surprisingly well), Salty Lips is definitely the standout, a back porch singalong perched somewhere between Pat Benatar and the Dixie Chicks. The record looses a lot of its punch in its final third, though. Puppy and Static are about as boring as their titles, while album closer If Anyone Matters It’s You is Leaving’s most ineffective ballad.

While What If Leaving Is A Loving Thing tries on a new sound for Sahara Hotnights, it also seems to have forgotten that new sounds still require great songs. They’ve got at least three here, Cheek To Cheek being an absolute classic, and the rest comes dangerously close to filler. One can hope that this is just a transitional album and they’ll kick it into high gear next time. C+

Key Tracks: Cheek To Cheek, Visit To Vienna, Salty Lips