February 2010

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Seattle pop band Mighty Tiger
Music, like fashion and politics, goes in cycles. What was once popular, having faded out of fashion, will likely make its way back to the forefront at some point. But when it comes back it has usually mutated, changed itself in the long journey from obscurity. The new musicians add bits and pieces of other things that have come along since it was first popular, and the end result is something that looks an awful lot like what you remembered, but has changed just enough to be interesting again. Progress is made. The new style that has been created will fade, only to come back later as something new. The cycle begins again.

What does this have to do with Mighty Tiger? They have managed to add a contribution to this cycle, this evolutionary process. They take sunny 60s pop, with it’s simple structures and cheery sound, and add some 80s synths and other eclectic modern elements. The results is something new, but comfortable, like a brand new pair of jeans that’s almost exactly like your favorite old pair of jeans. Or just something fun to listen to.
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I didn’t really pay enough attention to Bowerbirds’ 2009 release, Upper Air. I listened to it a couple of times, got a sense that it was solidly put-together, and a continuation of what they did on In Our Talons, but not enough to really appreciate it. The new video for “Northern Lights” has gotten me to go back to it though, and I’m starting to realize just how good it is. Check out the video:

via StereoGum

Actually it’s not just a uke. It’s a uke, a mandolin, and a banjo. With instruments like that it should be bluegrass, or maybe some sort of Hawaiian-bluegrass fusion (the horror…). But it’s not. It’s just a good amateur pop cover of the Go West “classic”.

Special thanks to Libby from The Poptimist for passing this along!

Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward are She & Him

Man, I should have read ALL of my music news before posting earlier. If I had I would have realized that THREE great bands released singles today. Joining Apples in Stereo and New Pornographers are She & Him (aka Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward). Their second album, creatively titled Volume Two, comes out March 23rd. Their new single is “Thieves”, and if you liked Volume One it will be right up your alley:

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via StereoGum

The Apples in Stereo and New Pornographers

Oh happy day! It’s not often two of your favorite bands release new singles on the same day, but today is one of those rare, bountiful days.

First up is The Apples in Stereo. Robert Schneider and crew are getting ready to release their new album, Travellers in Space and Time on April 20th (insert 4/20 joke here…). Schneider has said this album is going to be a bit of a departure from New Magnetic Wonder, and judging by the first single I think he’s right; “Dance Floor” doesn’t sound like anything on that album. Check it out:

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The only thing this has in common with New Magnetic Wonder is the vocoder. This one may take a while to grow on me.

Not so with the new song from The New Pornographers. The Canadian indie superstars will release Together on May 4th, and if the first single is any indication it will be a strong, strong effort. “Your Hands (Together)” is vintage New Pornographers. Give it a listen:

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Frank Fairfield
Frank Fairfield may well be the best evidence we have that time travel is not only possible, but has already sent folks to us from the past. He looks, sounds, acts, and dresses like a Depression-era blues man, yet he’s a young man living in LA. His music sounds like it should come from a scratchy 78, not an iPod, yet if it wasn’t for YouTube and the internet nobody would have heard of him. While many musicians immerse themselves in a genre, then add a modern twist to it, Fairfield seems intent on keeping a genre alive, exactly as it was. And he’s doing a damn good job of it.
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The more I see of this movie the more I think it’s going to live up to its name. Here’s another red-band trailer, which primarily uses profanity to get its status, and shows a ton of violence and smartass comments:

Kick-Ass comes to theaters April 16th.

The Morning Benders are back with a new album due out in March. To build up anticipation they’ve released a video of their new single, “Excuses”, performed live in studio with a whole bunch of friends, including John Vanderslice, Chris from Girls, The Mumlers, and Gram LeBron. The song is really, really good. Check it out:

The Morning Benders’ new album, Big Echo, is out March 9th.

via StereoGum

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
Remember Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings? They popped up in Sunday Music Spotlight a couple of years ago and made old-school soul cool again. Here they are again, bringing their unique spin to a song made famous by Kenny Rogers, before he was the rotisserie chicken guy:

“Just Dropped In to See What Condition My Condition Was In”

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Kenny sang this as a part of The First Edition, before his solo career took off, but they weren’t the first to record it. Jerry Lee Lewis actually recorded it a year before The First Edition, but he wasn’t happy with it, so it never got released. It’s probably most famous for its use in this iconic scene from the massively overrated The Big Lebowski (NSFW):

via My Old Kentucky Blog

photo via Rosa’s Photo Corner

English rockers The Heavy
Part soul, part funk, part punk, The Heavy is all good. The Bath, England, band mashes all of those influences into a thick paste of awesome. They feature searing horns, crunching riffs, and powerful vocals.
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