You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2007.

This is nothing fancier than an iTunes playlist that I put together and have been listening to a lot lately. There is no overarching style. Some of it is very appropriate for languid, late summer days. Some of it isn’t. Most of it’s new. Some of it isn’t. See for yourself:

1. Teenage Lust! – Times New Viking – Paisley Reich

I had a day last week when I couldn’t stop listening to this song. I even put on some headphones while I was out at a bar, because it was stuck in my head and wouldn’t leave me alone. If you were raised on ’70s punk, this track will do your heart good. Lo-fi to the extreme, with fuzzy instruments and imperfectly-recorded boy-girl vocals, it is the weirdo dark horse contender for best pop song of 2007. Give it a few listens and you’ll catch yourself mumbling “I don’t want to die in the city alone” over and over when you’re not even thinking about it.

2. Atlas – Battles – Mirrored

I know, everyone likes this song. It’s no big discovery. But every time I hit that part where the catchy drum beat and distorted vocals come together, it’s like the walls are melting.

3. California Demise – Olivia Tremor Control – Black Foliage: Animation Music

I went through a serious Elephant 6 phase. While it’s mostly over now, songs like this stay with me. Lazy guitar strumming and fairy tale lyrics make for the perfect soundtrack to a summer afternoon.

4. Kookaburra – John Vanderslice – Emerald City

A really smart, gorgeous, and spare song about the mess this country and this world are in. Here’s my review of the album.

5. All the Old Showstoppers – New Pornographers – Challengers

The most consistently captivating pop band around is about to come out with its fourth album. An upbeat A.C. Newman classic, with killer keyboards, filled out by backing vocals by Neko Case.

6. Wish I Was the Moon – Neko Case – Blacklisted

Speaking of Neko Case, this is a slow, thoughtful ballad that’s already a few albums old. Sounds like a 90 degree night in Alabama, drinking iced tea on a rickety, old front porch.

7. Thrush – Pink Reason – Cleaning the Mirror

This is what cold steel would sound like if it could compose its own music and hired a chorus of junkies to do some nodded-out vocals. If this sounds unappealing, I don’t wanna know you.

8. You Can’t Hold the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man – Okkervil River – The Stage Names

A classic, rollicking rocker from a band that is too young to be as effortlessly poetic (in a good way!) as it is.

9. Mambo Sun – T. Rex – Electric Warrior

Where glam rock and hippie shit collide, there is T. Rex. Grab your platform boots and mascara, boys. And, ladies, feel free to swoon when Bolan sings, “I’ve got stars in my beard/And I feel real weird/For you.”

10. This American Life – Marnie Stern – In Advance of the Broken Arm

I’ve already rhapsodized at length about Marnie Stern. Here’s one of the best examples of those both-hands-on-the-frets guitar chops. She’s no slouch lyrically, either, beckoning, “Mythology, come take me away.”

11. Mistaken for Strangers – The National – Boxer

For a while, I just couldn’t listen to The National. I kept seeing their names in the same places as The Hold Steady’s, and I just figured they’d be as awful as that band. Listening to the new album, I was pleasantly surprised. This is a great one about being an alien in your own life.

12. Fake Rain – Parts & Labor – Mapmaker

Discordant string sounds, fast-paced drumming, and some hints of Ennio Morricone make this a heart-pounding sprint of a song.

13. Double Dagger – Luxury Condos for the Poor – Ragged Rubble

Everyone’s favorite post-hardcore band rails against gentrification in Baltimore. Finally, a punk band that’s pissed off for the right reasons.

14. Jesus Was a Cross Maker – Judee Sill – Live in London: The BBC Recordings, 1972-1973

Somehow lost to history, this is early ’70s folk singer Judee Sill’s only remotely successful single. Think Joni Mitchell with a dark past, and you’ll almost have it. Look for my review of the album on TMT soon.

15. Wham City – Dan Deacon – Spiderman of the Rings

Man of the hour in the independent music world (and man of the decade in Baltimore) Dan Deacon’s epic ode to his beloved Wham City collective. Like an amusement park ride that gets you so dizzy that you vomit and then get right back on for a second ride.