Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Going Back To Cali Strictly For The Weather, Women, & The Weed. Sticky Green.


Going back to California for a few days of R+R. Take care of yourselves. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

The Notorious B.I.G.: Going Back To Cali

I Know That We Can't Carry On. No Chance To Finish What We've Done.

So, truth be told I was never a fan of Haircut 100. No substance. No emotional connection. Too disposable. So you wouldn't think former lead singer Nick Heyward would be capable of churning out a solo album as good as From Monday To Sunday. Loaded with power pop melodies and Brit pop guitars, Heyward delivered an album filled with heart and soul that thankfully found an audience outside of his pin-up boy status. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

Nick Heyward: Into Your Life

Nick Heyward: He Doesn't Love You Like I Do

Nick Heyward: Kite

Nick Heyward: January Man

::BONUS:: Ivy: Kite (cover)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I Looked Into The Mirror And Found That Everything Had Changed. The Glass Was Empty And All My Words Sounded Strange.

Today's directive: Cue this track up on your stereo. Have a shot of whiskey. Dance around in your skivvies. Rinse and repeat. See? It's easy to love The BellRays. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

The BellRays: Third Times The Charm

Thursday, April 13, 2006

This Story Ends In Bloodshed. The Face I Love. The City I'm From. The Persons I've Met. The Persons I've Let Down. But A Hero Never Turns Around.

As we discussed in yesterday's post sophomore albums can be a bitch. Pressure is put upon artists to come up with another winner, usually by hacks in suits who have no discernable soul or personality to begin with. Or talent. If this was the case for The Stills upon entering the studio to record their upcoming album Without Feathers (out May 9th) you would never guess it by listening to the finished product. With a personel switcheroo and somewhat more organic sound, you'd think our boys from Montreal would buckle under the pressure. But no. Not so at all. In fact they come through shinier than ever; glorious songwriting skills intact. I read somewhere online that these tracks weren't as epic sounding as the ones on Logic Will Break Your Heart and I couldn't disagree more. Spend some time with them. Pour yourself a drink; preferably a whiskey. Neat. And then settle in and tell me you don't get goosebumps from the stomping horn drenched Destroyer or the languid first single In The Beginning. I dare you. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

The Stills: In The Beginning

The Stills: Oh Shoplifter

The Stills: Destroyer

::BONUS:: Check out The Stills performing an acoustic version of Oh Shoplifter

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Under A Tempermental Sun. On The Dark Hillside Of Your Sorrow. If There's Pain In Your Heart, Let It Go. Just Reach Inside And Let It Go. Now Dig.

Pisceans of the world will always be misuderstood. I know this. And so does Terence Trent D'Arby. After the huge success of his debut album The Hard Line According To...thrust him into our social conciousness, TTD bailed the UK for LA and rented a house to record his tempermental but near perfect sophomore album Neither Fish Nor Flesh. As artists tend to do when recording, they evaporate from public view. Problem is though, TTD spent a little too much time away from his fans. One year became two. Strange requests started originating from inside the rented mansion. Grand pianos were dropped into swimming pools to create the "perfect" sound rattling around in his head; the sound he was trying translate for the masses. By the time NFNF was released, the pop landscape had shifted and TTD was suddenly no longer relevant. But beneath all the bizarre requests lay songs of beauty and honesty. Of lust and loss. Basically a grab bag of funk, soul, pop, and jazz, NFNF was an underrated and overlooked gem. And I fell in love with it. Afterall, I know what it's like to be misunderstood. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

Terence Trent D'Arby: This Side Of Love

Terence Trent D'Arby: To Know Someone Deeply Is To Know Someone Softly

Terence Trent D'Arby: Roly Poly

Terence Trent D'Arby: You Will Pay Tomorrow

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

There's Some Things In This World. I Haven't Heard.

It's contest time again kiddies and this time Vice & Indoor Fireworks have a doozy for ya! From Vice's email. Czech it out:

"Damn, we're good at this. Remember that band Envelopes we told you about a little while ago? The Swedish/French indie rock band that that no one had heard of? Well check them out now:

We went to their first U.S. gig ever at the Mercury Lounge and were impressed with how they fluidly mix guitar blasting rock with perfect pop songs which made us think of bands like Pavement and the Pixies. With killer sets at SXSW and the release of their debut album Demon earlier last week, Envelopes have proven their fresh, inventive music can win over the most discerning music lovers."

Still haven't heard of them? You can check out their single here:

Envelopes: Sister In Love

And dazzle your eyes with this video:

Envelopes: Sister In Love

Now that you're placated for the moment, here are the contest details:

The winner will receive an Envelopes prize pack consisting of The Demon cd, Sister In Love vinyl 7", and a whole stash of buttons. Winner will be picked at random, email The Vicar at indoorfireworksonline@gmail.com with "Gimme Envelopes" as the subject and let me know how much you want it. `Cause you know you do, you bad, bad little monkey.

Monday, April 10, 2006

If You're Not In The Mood To Dance. Step Back Grab Yourself A Seat. This May Not Be Uptown Jamaica. But We Promise You A Treat.

Before they abandoned their trademark "Nutty Sound" for a more pop appeal, Madness were the closest thing to traditional ska that the UK had. Well, for a bunch of white boys anyway. August 27, 1979 saw the group record their very first appearance on John Peel's BBC radio show and while some may consider the arrangements fairly straightforward, I would argue that there nonetheless is a definite spark evident on this 4-song e.p. Confident in their abilities, Madness displayed the very songwriting talents that would later land them on the UK pop charts for the better part of a decade. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

Madness: The Prince (live Peel Sessions)

Madness: Bed And Breakfast Man (live Peel Sessions)

Madness: Land Of Hope And Glory (live Peel Sessions)

Madness: Stepping Into Line (live Peel Sessions)

And because it was requested last week:

The English Beat: I Confess

Thursday, April 06, 2006

We Never Feel The Power Of Our Own Hands. Sense The Danger Late. And Only Vaguely Ever Grasp The Means Of Our Sole Salvation.

Madness? Love `em. The Specials? Superb. But my loyalty lies with Birmingham's The English Beat. After first hearing the reverb laden drum/sax intro to Doors Of Your Heart I was hooked. Combining elements of revivalist ska, reggae, and bright pop, the multi cultural English Beat carved out a special place in music over the course of three magnificent albums. Musically more adventurous than their previous releases, Special Beat Service saw the group enjoy success stateside; something that had eluded them prior to that point. It's impossible to say which of their albums is my favorite but SBS tends to rank rather high. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

The English Beat: Jeanette

The English Beat: Sorry

The English Beat: Sole Salvation

The English Beat: Spar Wid Me

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

There Was A Boy I Used To Be. I Guess That He Was Cold. If She Came To Buy Him Now. How Cheaply He'd Be Sold.

One of my favorite concept albums, Prefab Sprout's Jordan: The Comeback is a testament to the genius songwriting skills of singer guitarist Paddy McAloon. Along with producer Thomas Dolby, McAloon and the rest of Prefab Sprout weave together a densely lavish record about girls, religion, and the soul crushing pain of lost loves. Relegated to cult status here in the U.S., J:TC proved to be quite successful in the UK upon it's release. Even though I stood my ground, I got teased mercilessly in high school for liking this record. Funny how some things never change. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

Prefab Sprout: Looking For Atlantis

Prefab Sprout: We Let The Stars Go

Prefab Sprout: Moon Dog

Prefab Sprout: Carnival 2000

Monday, April 03, 2006

I Was So Impressed By You. I Was Running Blind. I Would Fall For Every Trick. Every Twist Of Mind.

It never fails. Every time I listen to OMD I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sort of like a mixture of butterflies and angst. And memories. Memories of girls. Of hanging out with friends. Of private school uniforms and first drags off cigarettes. If you don't own their greatest hits you really are missing out. For your listening (dis)pleasure:

OMD: So In Love

OMD: Souvenir

OMD: Forever Live And Die

OMD: Electricity