Friday, July 29, 2011

MTV Back on the Map

Don't forget '120 Minutes' makes its triumphant return to television on MTV2 (Saturday at 1AM east/10PM west). Just like the old days, Matt Pinfield hosts. It will be fun to slow down and park it in front of the television for a couple of hours instead of surfing the Web. Unfortunately, the show is only on the last Saturday of each month. All of that great programming, you know. Ugh.

Also, to mark the 30th anniversary of MTV's launch (Aug, 1, 1981), all of the surviving original VJs will mark the occasion this weekend (and Monday) with specials on Sirius' 80s on 8 satellite-radio channel. One of the many magical moments will be a re-broadcast of the network's first hour. Should be a blast. Here's a piece about it from Rolling Stone. I sure have missed MTV. It's nice to think about the channel for the first time in many years.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another Song From Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Just five weeks after we got our first listen to a track from the upcoming Clap Your Hands Say Yeah album, the band has given us a second song. Get "Maniac" from the widget below, and look for 'Hysterical' on Sept. 20 here in America. No, these first two songs are not quite up to the material on their debut album, but they are in the neighborhood and worlds better than the last LP.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Housemartins Get Yet Another Compilation

I was about to go on a rant about how bands with only two proper studio albums don't deserve a best-of album... let alone four of them since 1988... but that's exactly the score as of this week with the release of 'Happy Hour: The Collection' by the Housemartins.

I should say right up front that the band's full-length debut, 'London 0 Hull 4,' is one of my all-time favorites, and I would recommend it before any of the available compilations. What I would really like to see, however, is a single disc twofer that comprises both studio albums. That's 28 songs (if you include the extra ones that appeared on the original CDs but not the vinyl), eight more than you get on 'Happy Hour: The Collection.' C'mon, minus B-sides and live cuts we could have the band's entire catalog on one CD instead of a label picking the "best" for us. I can't rant, however, since this collection is selling for three pounds in the UK. That's about $4.92, folks. It's difficult not to give the OK to those that want to give the band a try.

That doesn't mean I'm entirely happy about the songs selected. An example of what irks me is the omission of "Sheep." It was the first single released from 'London 0 Hull 4' back in March of '86. The song peaked at No. 56 in the UK. How can the band's first significant single not be included on a compilation? Anyway, it's a crackin' piece of jangle pop. Enjoy it ripped from my 25-year-old vinyl. Preorder 'Happy Hour: The Collection' here.

The Housemartins - Sheep (mp3)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cover Me Impressed: 'Superman'

In honor of R.E.M.'s fourth and last classic album (sorry die-hard fans, but it's true) getting the deluxe treatment earlier this month, let's take a listen to the one cover that appears on 'Lifes Rich Pageant.' Class, here's a little history lesson. The original song is an obscure 1969 B-side of a single called "Sugar on Sunday" by Texas-based band the Clique. If, by some minor miracle, you think you know "Sugar on Sunday," it's probably not this version. The original "Sugar on Sunday" was a deep cut by Tommy James and the Shondells. What's a Shondell? Leave your answer in the comments section.

For R.E.M.'s take, Michael Stipe hands the microphone to Mike Mills, and he handles lead-vocal duties perfectly. In fact, the whole band sounds great... a little less jangle and a little more garage rock than previous efforts. "Superman" was the second and last single released from 'Lifes Rich Pageant.' It peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. For many future R.E.M. fans in 1986, this is the song that sold them. Man, I sure miss the band's I.R.S. years. Pick up the 25th Anniversary Edition of 'Lifes Rich Pageant' here.

The Clique - Superman (mp3)
R.E.M. - Superman (mp3)

More Cover Me Impressed:
"Almost Saturday Night"
"Too Many Teardrops"
"Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me"
"They Don't Know"
"Everybody's Talkin'"
"What Goes On"
"There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"
Halloween Edition
"Porpoise Song"
"Prairie Rose"
"Come On Eileen"
"Walking On Thin Ice"
Jason Falkner Edition
"True Love Will Find You In The End"
"This Will Be Our Year"
"You're My Favorite Waste of Time"
"The End Of The World"
"(Don't Go Back To)Rockville"
"God Only Knows"
"And Your Bird Can Sing"
"So Sad About Us"
"Walking The Cow"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

First Listen From New Girls LP

Gotta love it. It hasn't even been two weeks since news of a new Girls album and already we are getting a song for free download... and this ain't no filler either. The six-and-a-half minute track "Vomit" is epic. (Ignore the title.) Christopher Owens' vocals are full of the same kind of passion as his work on "Laura," one of my all-time favorite songs. He has help from dense instrumentation and even a choir. If this is what we can expect from 'Father, Son, Holy Ghost,' out Sept. 13, we'll have a candidate for album of the year on our hands. For more on the new song, including its origins, check out the Matablog, and preorder the album here. Now grab that sucker below.

New Song and Album News From M83

Straight outta France, dream popster Anthony Gonzalez's M83 is following up the fantastic 2008 album 'Saturdays=Youth' with a 22-track double disc called 'Hurry Up, We're Dreaming,' out Oct. 18, via Mute. Gonzalez says this time around he was inspired by Smashing Pumpkins' 1995 double album 'Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.' I'm not a follower of the Pumpkins. Still, I'm loving this preview song available for download below. "Midnight City" is more of that '80s synth I'm a sucker for. I would put this right up there with previous singles "Graveyard Girl" and "Kim & Jessie."

Midnight City by M83

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stream Paul Weller's New Single

Although I count myself a huge fan of the Jam and Style Council, I haven't always been kind when speaking of Paul Weller's solo work. He broke through for me, briefly, with '22 Dreams' back in '08. Other than that, my interest has been limited to a handful of singles. Perhaps Weller has fans like me in mind with the announcement of his latest song, "Starlite." There is no forthcoming album. This is a one-off 12" single (or digital download) to be released in August. I have no chance to be disappointed, and I can proclaim with glee that this song is a keeper. Prepare to take a trip back to the days of late '80s Style Council. Stream the song here, and get the complete tracklist and other nuggets about "Starlite" here. Many thanks to the Modfather for a smile on this gloomy day in the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Another Song From Malkmus and More

Stephen Malkmus fans (like me) have been whipped into quite a lather these days as now a second song from 'Mirror Traffic' (out Aug. 23) has been given to us by the folks over at Matador. Check out "Tigers" below but, hey, don't blow off the first song we got our ears on, "Senator," just yet. Matador has a really funny contest going on where you can help rewrite a clean version of the song for radio play. Do you know what the senator wants? Get all of the details here, and check out the cool prize for the winning tune.

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Tigers (mp3)
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Senator (mp3)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

'Freaking Out!' New One From Toro Y Moi

As I mentioned the day I posted my top songs from the first half of 2011, chillwave sensation Tori Y Moi has been one of my favorite discoveries this year. I'm sure 'Underneath the Pine' will find a cushy spot on my year-end list of best albums but, in the meantime, there's news of a Sept. 13 release for an EP called 'Freaking Out.' Toro Y Moi's label, Carpark, says these new songs were just recorded in June, including the free download of "Saturday Love," a cover of a song by Alexander O'Neal & Cherelle that's available right now. Grab it from the widget below.

Friday, July 15, 2011

OMD to Conquer America For Second Time

One of my major disappointments of the past year was knowing the reunited Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark was actually touring America... yet, they weren't coming anywhere near my hometown of Seattle. The nearest my synth-pop heroes would be was Oakland. So close, yet so far. That was in the spring. They performed to rave reviews across the country, including SXSW, and headed back across the pond. I assumed, incorrectly, that was that. I would have to live out my dreamy dreams through grainy YouTube videos of their triumphant performances.

Well, the tour went so well that the fellas have decided to return in the fall for 21 fresh dates... INCLUDING Seattle. There is no way I'm missing Andy, Paul and the rest of the classic lineup this time. This is also as good a time as any to make this plea: If you don't already have 'History of Modern,' the band's 2010 album and its first set of new songs with this lineup since 'The Pacific Age' way back in 1986, get it now. If you were a fan from way way back, you will not be disappointed. Check out a video for one of the singles from the LP below.

OMD's North American Tour
Sept. 16: Grand Central, Miami
Sept. 17: Beacham Theatre, Orlando
Sept. 19: Ramshead Live, Baltimore
Sept. 20-21: Irving Plaza, New York
Sept. 22: Theatre of the Living Arts, Philadelphia
Sept. 24: Vic Theatre, Chicago
Sept. 25: Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee
Sept. 26: First Avenue, Minneapolis
Sept. 30: Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver
Oct. 1: Wonder Ballroom, Portland, Ore.
Oct. 2: The Showbox @ Market, Seattle
Oct. 4: The Warfield, San Francisco
Oct. 6: House of Blues, Anaheim
Oct. 7: Club Nokia, Los Angeles
Oct. 8: House of Blues, Las Vegas
Oct. 9: Humphrey's by the Bay, San Diego
Oct. 11: House of Blues, Dallas
Oct. 12: Cain's Ballroom, Tulsa
Oct. 13: La Zona Rosa, Austin
Oct. 15: Corona Capital Festival, Mexico City

Free Download From Former Coral Guitarist

Domino Records offshoot Double Six has announced former Coral guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones has joined their stable. To celebrate, you can download a free four-track EP from Ryder-Jones' label. This is a precursor to a full-length album expected later this year. The Coral have done just fine for themselves in the three years since Ryder-Jones left the Liverpool band, but it will be interesting to see if Ryder-Jones sticks to the same psych-pop sound he made famous during his 12 years with the band. Let's find out together. Grab the EP, A Leave Taking Soundtrack,' here.

'A Leave Taking Soundtrack' Tracklist
1. Nothing Ever Changes
2. A Leave Taking
3. Moel Famau
4. Glennons Theme

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Song From We Were Promised Jetpacks

In my book, Scotland has always had quite a bit going for herself: McVitie's, Aztec Camera, Lloyd Cole, Camera Obscura, McVitie's, Orange Juice, the Delgados, Close Lobsters, (I mentioned McVitie's, right?) and these blokes. In 2009, We Were Promised Jetpacks blew me away with their raw and raucous debut, 'These Four Walls.' If you don't have it, get it right now. As the lads over there would say, it's a real corker. Well, here comes the full-length followup. On Oct. 4, Fat Cat Records will release 'In the Pit of the Stomach,' and if you go to the band's Web site (or the widget below), you can hear a song from it. If "Act on Impulse" is any indication, we are in for something special... again. What I wouldn't give for a digestive biscuit right about now.

We Were Promised Jetpacks -- Act On Impulse by jabermohamed

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Drums Name New LP, Stream Song

If you've heard the Drums' toe-tappin' EP 'Summertime!' from a couple of years back, then you know this band can be really good. In fact, I just listened to it again the other day. Although their debut full-length album didn't quite live up to the buzz built around that six-song set, I have high hopes for the followup, and now we have some details on the sophomore LP. 'Portamento' will be out Sept. 13 via Island, and the first single, called "Money," will be available a week earlier. In the meantime, you can stream that song below. As usual, it will have you clapping along. Yet, it sounds just a bit darker than some of their earlier efforts.

The Drums - Money by WorkItMedia

'Portamento' Tracklist
1. Book Of Revelation
2. Days
3. What You Were
4. Money
5. Hard To Love
6. I Don’t Know How To Love
7. Searching For Heaven
8. Please Don’t Leave
9. If He Likes It Let Him Do It
10. I Need A Doctor
11. In The Cold
12. How It Ended

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Get Reacquainted With Girls

What a coincidence! The song that first got me into Mates of State was their cover of "Laura" by Girls. Now, on the same day we get a listen from the new one by Mates of State, we also get some news on the new album by Girls. 'Father, Son, Holy Ghost' will be out on Sept. 13 via Turnstile. Go to the label's site for a nice little written introduction to the record. Other than that, we'll just have to be happy with the tracklist and art (above). Let's hope we get a song to stream or download soon. Take a moment to remember the greatness of their debut album and followup EP from the samples below.

'Father, Son, Holy Ghost' Tracklist
1. Honey Bunny
2. Alex
3. Die
4. Saying I Love You
5. My Ma
6. Vomit
7. Just A Song
8. Magic
9. Forgiveness
10. Love Like A River
11. Jamie Marie

Girls - Laura (mp3) from 'Album'
Girls - Carolina (mp3) from 'Broken Dreams Club' EP

New Song and Video From Mates of State

We've got lots of news about the new Mates of State album for you. 'Mountaintops' will be released Sept. 13 via Barsuk. The label has made a song available for download. Check out the very fun video for "Maracas," and then download the song from the widget. Both can be found below. The first dates for the band's tour are also out. Find those here. I'm very late to the Mates of State party, but I fell for them in a big way last year with 'Crushes,' perhaps the best covers album I have ever heard. If you don't believe me, check out my top 10 albums list from 2010. For you longtime fans, these are heady days. Mates of State haven't had an album of original recordings since 'Re-Arrange Us' in 2008. I can't wait for this one.

'Mountaintops' Tracklist
1. Palomino
2. Maracas
3. Sway
4. Unless I'm Led
5. Total Serendipity
6. Basement Money
7. At Least I Have You
8. Desire
9. Change
10. Mistakes

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Baxter Dury Is Back!

It's been way too long since the talented son of the late Ian Dury had a new album, six years to be exact, but the wait is almost over. EMI will release Baxter Dury's 'Happy Soup' on Aug. 23, and the first single was made available this week. While listening to the new song, "Claire," with tongue firmly in cheek, I asked Mrs. Linear Tracking Lives! if she knew who it was. In about one second she triumphantly proclaimed it was Ian Dury. The vocals of father and son are uncanny. If you have seen the relatively new biopic on Ian Dury's life, 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll,' you can't help but root for Baxter. Preorder 'Happy Soup' here, and check out a video of Baxter and actress Olivia Williams (LOVELY!) discussing the film.

Baxter Dury - Claire (mp3) Sorry, song has been removed. There was a complaint.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Nick Lowe to Open for Wilco

The blogosphere is buzzing with Wilco news. You can hear new songs, see the new album cover with tracklist and, yes, peruse concert dates. All of this is pretty exciting. I have, in fact, seen Wilco at least a half dozen times, but I have only seen Nick Lowe once... and that was way back in 1998 at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. So, forgive me if I place all of this Wilco stuff on the back burner to pass on the news that Nick Lowe is opening for Wilco on several dates this fall to support his new album. I wrote about that a couple of weeks ago. You can see the Lowe/Wilco dates here. Let's celebrate with some live music from my vast catalog of Lowe shows.

Rockpile - Heart of the City (mp3) (Live in London, 1977)
Rockpile - So It Goes (mp3) (Live in Boston, 1979)
Nick Lowe - Raging Eyes (mp3) (Live in New Haven, 1983)
Nick Lowe - Half a Boy and Half a Man (mp3) (Live in Paris, 1984)
Nick Lowe - Without Love (mp3) (Live in Chicago, 1995)
Nick Lowe - True Love Travels on a Gravel Road (mp3) (Live in Austin, 1998)