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Friday, January 04, 2008

Tikkle Me - Remind The World

"I've got no balls, you see, I've already checked"

Okay, weird weird weird weird weird. Last June I was in Sweden and I went to this great show with The Ark and Melody Club in the tiny coastal town of Oxelösund (on the east coast of the country, south of Stockholm). The show was part of the town's annual Hamnfestival, basically a showcase for small unsigned local bands. The indie groups played throughout the day (with varying success) and then the big headliners came on at night. I arrived early, not really knowing my way around the place and wanting to make sure I was there in time for my favorite bands, so I got to watch a lot of the smaller acts as well. The scene was incredibly surreal, because the grounds of the festival were very small and there were maybe at most twenty people there, mostly (I assumed) families of the artists that were playing. I felt very much like a fish out of water, being the only non-Swedish there and also being on my own. I might as well have been crashing a stranger's house party basically. Anyway, one of the artists that played (I didn't know thir name at the time) was Tikkle Me. I know this now because one of their songs was just posted on the fantastic blog Absolut Noise, and I recognized it immediately. They were the best band (well, duo) that I saw that day and had an incredibly unique sound, emphasized by the fact that I can still remember almost every bit of Remind The World. I'm so glad that I've been reintroduced to these girls properly because I think they've got a really strange, fun, and interesting synthpop sound.

Tikkle Me - Remind The World (zshare)

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

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Adam Tensta - My Cool

"That's my cool and I can't take it off"

I am not a fan of rap music... haven't been since the turn of the century when it began to resemble something more like pollution than actual music. Weirdly enough, though, I now find myself obsessing over a rap song. Of course, Adam Tensta's My Cool (a major hit in Sweden right now) is nothing like the crap we've got in the States. It's more like the fun, catchy stuff that I used to love back in the late nineties. Add an amazing electro beat to the mix and you've got one of the better singles out in the world right now. This is how hip hop should sound.

Adam Tensta - My Cool (zshare)

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

Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 is over... Let's look on to 2008!

2007 was a great year for music and 2008 will have a lot of work to do to match or surpass it. Though I'm hoping that a release from the big three (The Ark, Melody Club or Scissor Sisters) will find its way onto shelves sometime this year, I doubt whether that will end up happening. But, you never know. Still, even without those guys, there's a lot to look forward to in 2008, musically speaking.

Oh, and by the way, regular music posts will resume on Wednesday!

Confirmed Music Releases:

Delays - Though word has become scarce on these guys (which I find very strange and slightly disconcerting), last I heard their new full length is due to be released in late winter/early spring of this year. If it's as good as the recently released EP then I want it now!

The Feeling - Released in February, I’ve got a “feeling” that this could end up being ten times as good as their already stellar debut. The lead single sure is a step in the right direction to pop perfection. (Feb. 18th)

Janet Jackson
- Her last few releases have been pretty disappointing, so I’m surprised that I’m still excited for a new Janet release. I’ve got a good feeling about this new one, though. We’ve already got a fantastic lead single (Feedback, the first Janet single I’ve liked for awhile), a great album title (Discipline sure as hell beats 20 Y.O.) and a cool, less slutty image. Here’s hoping the record will live up to it all. (Feb. 26th)

Moto Boy - Pikko and Lamont’s frequent collaborator finally comes out with his full length debut in January, and from what I’ve heard so far it should be really great. (Jan. 16th)

MGMT - I posted a track by these guys a few weeks ago and I’ve had a chance to listen to their full debut, Oracular Spectacular, now. At first I didn’t really like it, but now that I’ve given it more attention I’m thinking that it’s growing on me, even though it is still quite strange and a bit more downtempo than I'd prefer. (Jan. 22nd)

Music Releases I Can’t Wait To Confirm:

Monicko - He was around the top of my most anticipated releases of 2007 but the album by former The Mo front man Nicko Stenemo never surfaced. Instead, we were treated to a stellar trio of tracks that he’s been working on (all over at his myspace) including a slightly different version of (maybe first single?) Perfect Day. Also, now he’s got some slightly more experimental stuff on a new page under the band name Kite, though I'm guessing this is more of a side-project. I am holding out hope that we get a poppy full length from this guy, one of my top three artists out there right now.

Hotel Motel - I have been following this UK trio with huge interest throughout the year and it looks like they’ll be releasing their first EP (Road Songs) very soon. Go over to their myspace and listen to all four tracks, especially Long Distance, one of the most gorgeous songs written in the past decade. It's a blast from the 80's, and downright perfect music.

Pacific! - They’ve got their new single streaming on myspace (the brilliantly simple and fun Number One) and I’m hoping that now that they’re finished with their trio of singles, they’ll release a full length as well.

Surferosa - No word on a release date from these guys yet, but you can hear their new single, The Future, on their myspace.

Don Juan Dracula - According to their website there will be a new album coming out in 2008, but there’s no word on when that will be. I’m guessing Spring/Summer, but who knows.

The Alpine - They’ve been promising new songs on their myspace forever, yet nothing has materialized quite yet. I do understand that a 2008 album is pretty much a certainty, though.

Juvelen - No freaking word on this guy for like half a year! When are we going to get the album???

Frankmusik - There’s like a gazillion new songs up on his myspace, yet no for sure release date of his debut album. I’m guessing from all of the new material that it’ll be out sometime in 2008, though.

Dolly Daggers - Another band I’ve been waiting on to release an album for what seems like forever, they’ve finally released the full version of their new (?) song Circle Line on their myspace so maybe that’s a step forward to an actual release date. Who knows?

Gender - Their label’s website says that their album was released on December 25th, though obviously it wasn’t. However, their myspace seems to believe that The Origin Of Gender will be out in 2008. As long as it’s soon…

Other Music Related Stuff:

Melodifestivalen 2008 - I can always count on Sweden’s Eurovision tryouts to brighten up the late winter. So far it seems like it’s going to be a great line-up this year. I'm particularly excited to see what BWO, Ola and E-Type/The Poodles (an odd mix for sure) come up with. I've also heard a rumor that Laakso could be entering a song, which would be absolutely amazing.

American Idol - Yeah, it churns out crappy music year after year, but could this finally be the year we get an 80's synth lover or a glam rocker on the show? Or even somebody remotely alternative?? Probably not, but I’ll be watching anyway.
So that's it, folks...

The countdowns are over, and to wrap everything up I've got them in one handy post for ya. Even cooler, one of my readers, Grifit, made a video countdown of my top 50 songs of the year over on youtube, so if you want a visual as well as aural experience, head on over there and enjoy the playlist. I know I will.

Top 20 Albums of 2007:

1. Laakso - Mother, Am I Good Looking?
2. Superfamily - Warszawa
3. The Ark - Prayer For The Weekend
4. Lil' Chris - Lil' Chris
5. Private - My Secret Lover
6. To My Boy - Messages
7. Pikko - Electric Body Design
8. Silverchair - Young Modern
9. Alphabeat - Alphabeat
10. King Midas - Sorry
11. Mika - Life In Cartoon Motion
12. Darren Hayes - This Delicate Thing We've Made
13. Bodies Without Organs - Fabricator
14. Dragonette - Galore
15. Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position
16. Chromeo - Fancy Footwork
17. The Attic - Remember Tomorrow
18. Sahara Hotnights - What If Leaving Is A Loving Thing
19. Girls Aloud - Tangled Up
20. Montt Mardie - Clocks/Pretender

Top 50 Singles of 2007:

1. The Ark - Absolutely No Decorum
2. Superfamily - The Radio Has Expressed Concerns About What You Did Last Night
3. Lil’ Chris - Gettin Enough
4. Laakso - Italy Vs. Helsinki
5. Pleasure - Out Of Love
6. Pikko - Kill With A Dance
7. Delays - Love Made Visible
8. Melody Club - Fever Fever
9. Juvelen - Hanna
10. Pacific - Hot Lips
11. Robyn - With Every Heartbeat
12. Superfamily - Warszawa
13. Tiny Dancers - I Will Wait For You
14. Gender - If I Was A Girl
15. Laakso - Dropout
16. Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position
17. The View - Same Jeans
18. Magnus Carlsson - Live Forever
19. Ola Svensson - SOS
20. Unklejam - What Am I Fighting For
21. Frankmusik - 3 Little Words
22. Ghosts - Stay The Night
23. Chromeo - Bonafied Lovin’
24. The Enemy - You’re Not Alone
25. Private - My Secret Lover
26. The Ark - The Worrying Kind
27. Sahara Hotnights - Cheek To Cheek
28. Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
29. To My Boy - Model
30. Hellogoodbye - Here (In Your Arms)
31. Moto Boy - Blue Motorbike
32. The Ark - Little Dysfunk You
33. Rihanna - Umbrella
34. Sebastian - Words And Violence
35. Rufus Wainwright - Going To A Town
36. My Chemical Romance - Teenagers
37. Laleh - November
38. Moneybrother - Guess Who’s Gonna Get Some Tonight
39. Gwen Stefani - Early Winter
40. Darren Hayes - On The Verge Of Something Wonderful
41. The Enemy - Had Enough
42. The Killers - For Reasons Unknown
43. Vincent Black Shadow - Metro
44. Ola Svensson - Natalie
45. Manic Street Preachers - Your Love Is Not Enough
46. Frida Hyvonen - See How I Came Into Town
47. Girls Aloud - Call The Shots
48. CSS - Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above
49. Loveninjas - I Wanna Be Like Johnny C
50. Operator Please - Just A Song About Ping Pong

Sunday, December 30, 2007

2. Superfamily - Warszawa

This was one of those albums, like the Delays' album last year, that was just instant with me. I was blown away by the scope of the music and power of the melodies. This and the number one album are really neck and neck and they both define the word perfect. Warszawa literally sounds like it was recorded on another planet. The time traveling theme definitely supports this, but it’s the monstrous, majestic music that really puts you in a different zone altogether. I’m a fan of the epic, and this album delivered that like hardly any other I’ve ever heard before. It’s hard to believe, going in to the first track, that they can keep the momentum up through the entire album, and yet somehow they do.

Superfamily - Bitches On The Scene

1. Laakso - Mother, Am I Good Looking?

It’s difficult to explain how much this album means to me. For some reason, I find it incredibly personal, though I’ve never gone through most of the things that Marcus writes about. It’s something about his delivery and the strength of the music. I wasn’t immediately aware of how great this record was upon first listen, but then I gave it another try and soon I was listening to it daily when I was in the UK this past Spring. It followed me everywhere, to new cities, new people, new adventures. This of course wouldn’t mean much if the record wasn’t as brilliant as it is. The songs are incredibly diverse in their sound, yet the lyrics bring them all together and form a definite album, not just a collection of great tracks. Remove one song and it just isn’t the same. The funniest thing is, before 2007 Laakso were maybe at best a second tier group in my eyes. This year they joined the masters.

Laakso - Hang Me In The Christmas Tree

5. Pleasure - Out Of Love

This is one of those rare songs where everything comes together completely perfectly and there’s nothing you can do but listen with awe. My god, the chorus is spectacular.

4. Laakso - Italy vs. Helsinki

A total left turn for Laakso, and the song that made me fall in love with them. There aren’t enough songs this day and age that are as overblown as this one. And the funny thing is, even in its unabashed cheesiness, it’s deeply beautiful.

3. Lil’ Chris - Gettin’ Enough?!?

I know, I know… technically this was late 2006, but I’ve got to include it anyway. It’s everything a teen rock song should be, and I never would have predicted that it would have made it this high on my countdown, but it’s just that good.

2. Superfamily - The Radio Expressed Concerns About What You Did Last Night

The longest title on here, and the most epic of dance rock tracks as well. If a song had the power to literally blow you into the air, this one would do it.

1. The Ark - Absolutely No Decorum

The Ark bottled everything amazing about all of their past songs and crammed it into their first single of 2007. It is stadium rock the way stadium rock was meant to sound. Absolutely, utterly flawless.