Archive for the 'Jangle' Category


“Oh! Canada” compilation showcases less familar Canadian artists

One of my favorite music homes on the Internet is the British music site, The Line of Best Fit.  While I’m relatively new to the site, it has quickly become my number one place for discovering new music–it’s not just another site that primarily regurgitates Pitchfork’s likes and dislikes.  Recognizing the great music coming from Canada, the site has recently launched a recurring column on Canadian music and has worked with artists and labels to offer a companion MP3 “mixtape” download.  Here’s how TLOBF describes its decision:

Those of you who have been loitering around the security doors here at TLOBF Towers for a while now you have probably noticed the frankly phenomenal amount of great new music coming from Canada over the last few years. From the classics (Joni, Neil and Laughing Lenny), the big hitters (Arcade Fire/ BSS/ Feist) to the up and coming (The Acorn, Woodpigeon, Ohbijou) TLOBF has been committed to bring you the best of what the Great White North has to offer. So we figured it made sense to start a new column dedicated to uncovering the latest new talent emerging from Canada, to showcase some of the lesser sung acts, labels, and events that may not have shown up on the collective radar over here in the UK. So from The Acorn to Zumpano TLOBF brings you: Oh! Canada.

The first compilation is one of the best compilations I’ve heard in sometime.  Dan Mangan‘s wonderful song “Robots” is a song so good, so perfect in its (folk) pop construction, that I’m nervous to check out any of his other material for fear it could only possibly let me down.  As someone pointed out on, the ending chorus line, “Robots need love too/they want to be loved by you/they want to be loved by you” is not only perfectly orchestrated and catchy as all hell, but a tad eerie too.  There’s a certain quality that makes it seem that the background cacophony of singers might just be robots wanting to join in the robots need love  pronouncement.  Of course, the song is ultimately a larger statement of love akin to Metric’s closer on new album Fantasies, “Stadium Love.”

“I Like The Summer” by The Michael Parks is as effortless a pop song should be about liking the summertime.  Jim Bryson’s “Pissing on Everything” is stellar too and sounds like a song culled from the set of a much more famous singer-songwriter.  Timber Timbre, aside from having a great name, has a great song with “Lay Down in the Tall Grass.”  No wonder the band was  recently signed to Arts & Crafts who will rerelease its self-titled album worldwide in July.   I could go on and on.  The whole album makes for a great listen.

TLOBF’s article about many of the artists included on the CD, performing at the Canadian Blast! showcase during the Great Escape festival can be found here.

The compilation, “Oh! Canada, Vol. 1” can be found here.

Thanks to the fines folks at The Line of Best Fit for making the beginnig of summer sound so much better!

UPDATE: I’ve since purchased through Dan Mangan’s new EP, Roboteering. It doesn’t disappoint.  I agree with each of these sentiments that Mangan proudly displays when you visit his webpage.  Hear it on his Myspace.

  • “If this is the quality of the forthcoming album then it will be immense.” –Americana UK
  • “It’s all great, just great. Hurry up with the rest of it, dude.” –Exclaim!
  • “Mangan’s distinctive voice, which is confident and weary beyond his years, sounds like it’s been aged in oak… Compelling, twisty and imaginative.” –The Georgia Straight
  • “Mangan’s next move is definitely going to be worth waiting for.” –London Tour Dates
  • “Feels so beautiful and personal that time ceases to exist.” –CHARTattack

Dog Day? Not With Concentration

I should be going to Halifax in a matter of weeks, but, ever behind in my work, I’ve set an embargo on all academic travel (at least until 2010, I must be reasonable).  I’ve always wanted to visit Halifax for its apparent splendor, and since it’s home to many of my earliest indie pop music loves (hell, I chose my MA program in Athens, GA in part for its music scene).  My Halifax favorites include The Flashing Lights, The Super Friendz, and, of course, the Beatles of Canada–Sloan!  A nice overview of the “Halifax Pop Explosion” can be found here.   In light of my absence from Halifax, even though there’s a panel basically devoted to my dissertation topic on popular music policy, it’s really quite nice to lose myself in a new album straight out of Halifax, Dog Day’s Concentration.

In a year proving to be my favorite for Canadian music in ages, Dog Day’s new album is an amalgamation of many of my favorite pop music attributes: jangly guitars, well-done (not over-done) synth work, boy-girl vocals, hooks galore, and enough atmospheric elements to remind one of the The Smiths or The Stone Roses.  There’s a bit of Dunedin in this Halifax too.  Along with the sophomore effort by Finnish band Cats on Fire (see  video for “Tears In Your Cup“), my retro-ish tastes for still  fresh pop are well alive in 2009, amid the monotonous, Pitchforkian Monolith announcements I must continue to endure.

“Happiness” is the first single, and somewhat unique in that its vocals are led by Seth Smith (husband to female vocalist, Nancy Urich, who usually takes the lead).


Scotland Invaded the Bottle!


This past weekend initialized my 2009 season of shows.  There isn’t much on the horizon yet for live gigs, but if Friday and Saturday’s live performances were any indication, this might be the year of quality over quantity.  The two other contributors to this blog live and die by that creed.  On Friday, I witnessed the Chicago supergroup Prairie Cartel who kick out intelligent, catchy electro-rock with style at the recently re-located Bottom LoungeCheck PC’s “Homicyde” track here.

And then, Saturday brought the Scottish quartet Frightened Rabbit to the cozy and hipster infested Empty Bottle.  We know music outta this area is no joke.  The Bottle has been home to countless shows that will forever set the standard for how a live gig should be – I’ve seen some of my most dynamic and unique shows at this dark, waiting to be destroyed by instruments venue.  No, this isn’t where my post is headed, but Frightened Rabbit electrified the audience enough –and captivated everyone’s attention – to mention how this venue can bring artists alive.  Maybe Frightened Rabbit were a timid group at one point – but Saturday’s lively set exuded the complete opposite.  The Midnight Organ Fight, from 2008, was a pleasant surprise for me and when placed in front of an audience, the Rabbits’ guitars seem to churn a lot quicker, the drums clash at a more rapid pace, and one begins to appreciate the wit and sincerity of Scott’s lyrics as the jangle roars underneath.  Unfortunately, the boys’ U.S. tour is quickly coming to a close, although I’d be damn surprised if they aren’t at one of the big, local summer festivals.  Highly recommended on record or face-to-face.

For the encore, the unaccompanied Scott Hutchison walked upon the stage packing only his acoustic guitar.   A quick wave of silence instantly hit the sold-out Empty Bottle, while the front man kept us mesmerized with his carefree lyricism and tuneful Scottish delivery.

Frightened Rabbit :: Poke

Appropriately, they closed this monumental set with…

Frightened Rabbit :: Keep Yourself Warm


2008 In LP Form…


If there was a central theme/trend this year in music, it spun right past me.  But by no means do I feel outta the loop this time around – but I’ve realized in the past few weeks how many albums I entirely missed.  Obviously, it’s not realistic to aspire to hear all the records on your favorite website’s end-of-year-list, right?  Back in January, I began to compile an Excel spreadsheet of new records I was listening to in 2008 – that lasted maybe a month, maybe even less.    To me, this year was full of an overabundance of full-length LPs at my disposal; at times, the queue was too deep to even bother with many records.  What lies after the jump, are the records that didn’t end up in my digital trash can and received a lost count of spins…

Continue reading ‘2008 In LP Form…’

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May 2021