Monday, December 18, 2006

The Best Of 2006

As we're approaching the new year, it's time to summarize all the good and the bad things we had in the past year when it's about indie music. The task was not easy at all, since 2006 was a very affirmative year for the indie music. We had a plenty of interesting releases where many of them came from the newcomers. We also had a large internet music expansion through MySpace and YouTube, we had a plenty of excellent festivals, etc. So, one may say it was not bad at all. Here is the Indie Surfer's list of the best albums in 2006. I tried to put most of the good things in the lists and I probably missed something but I hope you'll not mind :) Finally, I invite you to give your own opinions on the best music of 2006 and to make your own top-ten lists and leave them in the comments.

The best indie albums of 2006:
100. Mando Diao - Ode To Ochrasey
99. Two Gallants - What The Toll Tells
98. Albert Hammond Jr. - Yours To Keep
97. Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
96. Mono - You Are There
95. Swan Lake - Beast Moans
94. Bound Stems - Appreciation Night
93. We Are Scientists - With Love And Squalor
92. Mogwai - Mr. Beast
91. Jenny Lewis - Rabbit Fur Coat
90. Midlake - The Trials Of Van Occupanther
89. Mates Of State - Bring It Back
88. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
87. Ratatat - Classics
86. Beck - The Information
85. Girl Talk - Night Ripper
84. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
83. Tapes'n'Tapes - The Loon
82. The Strokes - First Impressions Of Earth
81. Built To Spill - You In Reverse
80. The Young Knives - Voices Of Animals And Men
79. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
78. Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - Etiquette
77. The Hidden Cameras - Awoo
76. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium
75. Ane Brun - A Temporary Dive
74. Isis - In The Absence Of Truth
73. The Grates - Gravity Won't Get You High
72. The Long Blondes - Somone To Drive You Home
71. The Bicycles - The Good, The Bad And The Cuddly
70. Serena Maneesh - Serena Maneesh
69. OOIOO - Taiga
68. Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & Roll
67. Scott Walker - The Drift
66. Howe Gelb - Sno' Angel Like You
65. I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - Fear Is On Our Side
64. Be Your Own Pet - Be Your Own Pet
63. Califone - Roots & Crowns
62. ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - So Divided
61. Asobi Seksu - Citrus
60. The Whitest Boy Alive - Dreams
59. Wolfmother - Wolfmother
58. The Album Leaf - Into The Blue Again
57. Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
56. M. Ward - Post War
55. Brand New - The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me
54. Page France - Hello, Dear Wind
53. Mastodon - Blood Mountain
52. Cat Power - The Greatest
51. Boris - Pink
50. Boy Kill Boy - Civilian
49. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
48. Leya - Watch You Don't Take Off
47. The Fratellis - Costello Music
46. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
45. Ben Kweller - Ben Kweller
44. Dodo Bird - Beware Of The Maniacs
43. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
42. Final Fantasy - He Poos Clouds
41. Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That
40. Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
39. The Kooks - Inside In, Inside Out
38. Guillemots - Through The Windowpane
37. Sparklehorse - Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain
36. Evangelicals - So Gone
35. The Pipettes - We Are The Pipettes
34. The Knife - Silent Shout
33. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam
32. Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
31. Math And Physics Club - Math And Physics Club
30. Annuals - Be He Me
29. Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming
28. I'm From Barcelona - Let Me Introduce My Friends
27. Envelopes - Demon
26. Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah
25. Bonnie Prince Billy - The Letting Go
24. Maritime - We, The Vehicles
23. Hot Chip - The Warning
22. Juana Molina - Son
21. The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
20. Oh No! Oh My! - Oh No! Oh My!
19. Babyshambles - Down In Albion
18. Figurines - Skeleton
17. Lily Allen - Alright, Still
16. !Forward, Russia! - Give Me A Wall
15. Danielson - Ships
14. Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
13. The Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I'm, That's What I'm Not
12. The Veils - Nux Vomica
11. The Plastic Constellations - Crusades
10. Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped

09. Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubbies

08. The Diableros - You Can't Break The Strings In Our Olympic Hearts

07. Beirut - The Gulag Orkestar

06. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

05. Islands - Return To The Sea

04. Tv On The Radio - Return To The Cookie Mountain

03. The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine

02. Joanna Newsom- Ys

01. The Hold Steady - Boys & Girls In America

The best hip-hop/r&b albums of 2006:
10. Lil Wayne & DJ Drama - Dedication 2
09. Rhymefest - Blue Collar
08. The Game - Doctor's Advocate
07. Lady Sovereign - Public Warning
06. The Roots - Game Theory
05. Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor
04. J Dilla - Donouts
03. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
02. T.I. - King
01. The Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury

The best EPs of 2006:
10. Saturna - All Night
09. The Horrors - The Horrors
08. Dinosaur Jr - Live Acoustic At CGBG
07. Klaxons - Xan Valleys
06. The Little Ones - Sing Song
05. Benjy Ferree - Leaving The Nest
04. The Morning Benders - Loose Change
03. Babyshambles - Blinding
02. DeVotchKa - How It Ends
01. Born Ruffians - Born Ruffians

The 2006 black list contains the releases that are not necessarily bad, but I simply expected much more from those artists.
10. Muse - Black Holes And Revelations
09. The Killers - Sam's Town
08. Kasabian - Empire
07. Damien Rice - 9
06. Tool - 10000 Days
05. Jet - Shine On
04. The Vines - Vision Valley
03. Adam Green - Jacket Full Of Danger
02. Keane - Under The Iron Sea
01. Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.

There are a couple of nice releases that are not contained in the other lists since they're of different genre or they belong to the mainstream artists.
Tom Waits - Orphans
Bob Dylan - Modern Times
Justin Timberlake - FutureSex / LoveSounds
VA - Tropicalia - A Brazilian Revolution In Sound
Ali Farka Toure - Savane
Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways
Corinne Bailey Rae - Corinne Bailey Rae
Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
Morrissey - Ringleader Of The Tormentors

that this will be the last post in this year. I'll make a break for holidays and will continue posting from the 8th of January 2007. I invite all of you who'd like to have your blogs (or similar internet pages) to be linked on Indie Surfer to send the links via email or MySpace or to leave them in the comments on the blog. I'll set up and publish the list at the beginning of the next year (2007).

I hope you've enjoyed visiting Indie Surfer in 2006. I wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Have nice holidays, see you soon!

Born Ruffians

When four musical boys get together and three of them kick one out and then the three write a bunch of songs and some they think are really great but later they think they suck and they keep doing so over and over until they are left with a bunch that they absolutely love and a bunch that they don't play anymore and then they record them and play them for others and others like them and they change their name and they dream of the world liking their songs and maybe they will let other boys and girls play the songs with them and then they will all grow up and the three boys will become policemen or firemen or other men they feared becoming as boys because now they have to settle down with a little girl (or another boy as they might discover about themselves) and their dream will be over...

Born Ruffians are coming from Toronto, Canada. On their debut self-titled EP, they provide that combination of impeccable songs and drunken youthful swagger that make your favorite rock records sit themselves comfortably in your brain and refuse to get out. For the fans of The Arcade Fire, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Unicorns and The Pixies. Highly Recommended!

Born Ruffians - Sampler
Born Ruffians @ MySpace

The Arcade Fire - Intervention (new song) !!!
Brandy - Tall Poppies
Audio Bullys - Generation
Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor
Roots Manuva - Awfully Deep
Goose - Bring It On

Paolo Nutini - These Streets !!!
The Kooks - Inside In, Inside Out
Nirvana - Nevermind

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dodo Bird (Meric Long)

The dodo's sound is shaped by the marriage of two periods in songwriter Meric Long's musical history: playing in rock/metal bands growing up in the suburbs, and playing and listening to old delta blues records in his post adolescent years. In the fall of 2002, Meric opened up for country blues guitarist Paul Curreri, who turned him on to the country blues style of finger-picking guitar, via Mississippi John Hurt, Leadbelly, and later John Fahey. Meric adopted this style of guitar into his repertoire, meshing it with noise, electronic sounds, and loops that he had developed in his earlier days. In order to add syncopated percussion to accent the rhythmic patterns in his finger picking, Meric began playing with Logan Kroeber in the fall of 2005, whose background in Santa Cruz heavy metal band Entragian made for a perfect fit.

2006 saw two releases from Meric Long, debut Dodo Bird and follower Beware Of The Maniacs. If you like Sufjan Stevens, Iron & Wine, Bright Eyes or Elliot Smith, then you should check Dodo Bird. They're available via Meric Long's official page. Highly Recommended!

Dodo Bird - Nerds (from Beware Of The Maniacs)
Dodo Bird - The Ball (from Beware Of The Maniacs)
Dodo Bird - Notes (from Dodo Bird)
Dodo Bird - Couples (from Dodo Bird)
Dodo Bird @ MySpace

Oh No - Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms !!!
Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury !!!
Panacea - Ink Is My Drink !!!
Project Polaroid - Project Polaroid !!!
+ Beck, 7L & Esoteric, The Fishscale, Ice T, Outkast, The Black Keys, Bob Dylan,
Gnarls Barkley, J-Zone, Lamb Of God, Mf Doom, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Bobby Previte,
The Stooges, The Roots, Time Machine, Dr. Octagon, Substance Abuse, Ryhmefest, etc.
The Album Leaf - Into The Blue Again !!!
James Figurine - Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake
Xiu Xiu - The Air Force
Ratatat - Classics
Le Volume Courbe - I Killed My Best Friend
+ M83, Brian Eno, Maria Rita, Phil Manzanera, Jon Hassell, Takagi Masakatsu, etc.
The Brilliant Inventions - Standing Room !!!
Ok Go - Oh No
Air - Talkie Walkie
Pete Miser - Radio Free Brooklyn + Camouflage Is Relative
Iron Maiden - Dance Of Death
Alanis Morrissette - Jagged Little Pill Acoustic
Lil Wayne & Currency - The Color Of Money
Ghostface Killah - 3 Albums
Blade Trinity - OST
Get Rich Or Die Tryin' - OST

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Herman Düne & Julie Doiron - Live

Julie Doiron began her musical career in 1990, singing and playing bass for the Canadian indie rock band Eric's Trip. As the group released numerous EPs and three albums for Sub Pop, Doiron also began writing her own largely acoustic material. When Eric's Trip broke up in 1996, she released an album under the name Broken Girl on Sappy Records, her own label. Later that year, Doiron worked on her second album, Loneliest in the Morning, which came out on Sub Pop and was recorded with prominent indie rock producers and musicians like Doug Easley, Davis McCain, Giant Sand's Howie Gelb, and the Grifters' Dave Shouse. Doiron moved to Tree Records for her next release, 1999's EP Will You Still Love Me; a collaboration with Canadian indie rockers the Wooden Stars followed in early 2000. Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars won that year's Juno -- Canada's equivalent of a Grammy Award -- for Best Independently-Released Album. Doiron moved to Jagjaguwar for 2001's Desormais and the following year's Heart and Crime; the label also reissued Will You Still Love Me? and Julie Doiron and the Wooden Stars in 2002 with some multimedia extras. In 2003, Acuarela released Julie Doiron/Okkervil River split album. 2004 saw release of Julie Doiron's latest album, Goodbye Nobody. The album was released for Jagjaguwar label.

The featured live show presents Julie accompanied by Herman Düne, the critically acclaimed Swedish folk-rockers. The English press (the NME, the Melody Maker, The Independant, etc…) has described them as 'Swedish Lo-Fi Serge Gainsbourgs' and wrote praise after praise of their first album "Turn off the light" (2000). John Peel invited them for a studio session (September 2000) and to his home for a live BBC broadcast of his Christmas party (2000). In February 2001 they released a four song CD for their European tour.

Shrimper, the notorious Californian label that produced Lou Barlow and Yo La Tengo's first recordings, has compiled some unreleased Herman Düne songs to make their second album, "They go to the woods" (April 2001). Never letting any dust collect, the Herman Dünes went back to the studio in June, 2001. The third album, "Switzerland Heritage", (which was appropriately recorded in Geneva, Switzerland), was released by Prohibited Records in October, 2001. The Whys And The Hows of Herman Düne & Cerberus Shoal followed in 2002. In 2003, "Mash Concrete Metal Mushrooms" has been released. "Not on Top" followed in 2005 and "Giant" in 2006.

Herman Düne are currently supporting the Kooks on their UK tour. Enjoy the show!

Herman Düne & Julie Doiron - Live, Rennes 29-11-2005
Herman Düne - BBC Sessions 09-06-2005

Brendan Benson - The Alternative To Love !!!
The Go! Team - Are You Ready For More [EP] !!!
Bob Dylan - Blonde On Blonde
Betty Davis - Betty Davis + They Say I'm Different
The Rollingstones - The Great Lost Live Album
The Yardbirds - Roger The Engineer
Weird Al Yankovic - Permanent Record (4CD)
Converge - Petitioning The Empty Sky + No Heroes

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Twin Cities Electropunk Series

The Twin Cities Electropunk compilation series are organized by Todd Millenacker from the band called Avenpitch. The main idea behind this compilation series is to collect some of the most interesting, unique, and hardest-working electronic acts in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul), group them together on one CD, print up 1,000 copies and give them away for free in order to give people a taste of the Twin Cities' electronic music underground. This way of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) self-promotion was always appreciated inside the indie community and it makes a very good example of an efficient way of spreading a buzz among the indie music lovers.

Electropunk isn't a single genre, rather, it's rooted in two genres: electro and punk. Electro is an umbrella term for various electronic styles influenced by 80s new wave and punk, with synth keyboards, drum machines and sequencers as its key components. Punk is the DIY punk work ethic of creating and promoting your own music without a major record label backing. DIY came about in the late 70s and early 80s when punk bands promoted their own shows and established small independent record labels. While the musicians had relatively low (by record industry standard) sales, they remained independent and uncompromising.

Twin Cities Electropunk compilations started in 2004 when the first compilation was released. The second followed in 2005 and the third in December 2006. Among the bands featured on the compilations are Apraxia, Avenpitch, Circa A.M., Endless Blue, Envy Is Blind, Fadladder, Future Wives, Gabber Nullification Project, Heliosphere, Hondo, Lolly Pop (former TELEPHONE!), Mach FoX, MSRP, Tim Rally Gold, Thosqaunta, OBCT, Uber Cool Kung Fu, Unicorn Basement and others. The compilations contain a plenty of very interesting electropunk sound and are recommended for your listening.

Twin Cities Electropunk Compilation Volume 1
Twin Cities Electropunk Compilation Volume 2
Twin Cities Electropunk Compilation Volume 3

Amon Tobin - Supermodified !!!
Dälek - Absence + From Filthy Tongue Of Gods And Griots !!!
White Noise - An Electric Storm !!!
El-P - Collecting The Kid
+ Front Line Assembly, Download, Jean Michel Jarre, Meat Beat Manifesto, U.N.K.L.E, Front 242, etc.
Boris - Akuma No Uta !!!
Isis - Panopticon !!!
Jesu - Jesu !!!
+ Zombie, Dillinger Escape Plan, House Of Low Culture, Ink & Dagger, Today Is The Day, etc.
Ojos De Brujo - Techari (2006)
+ Groundation, Claude Nougaro, Silje Nergaard, etc.
The Flaming Lips - At War With Mystics
Bright Eyes - A Christmas Album
Beach Boys - The Ultimate Christmas Collection
VA - Have Yourself A Merry Indie Christmas
Gorillaz - Demon Days
Dire Straits - The Best Of
Usher - Discography

Monday, December 11, 2006

Joanna Newsom

Although Joanna Newsom's Appalachian-meets-avant-garde take on folk music is her most celebrated work, her range is even more inclusive than her solo career suggests: the classically trained harpist adds a decidedly different, textural sound to Nervous Cop, the noise rock trio that also features Deerhoof's Greg Saunier and Hella's Zach Hill, and she also plays keyboards for the Pleased, another San Francisco-area band more akin to Blondie or Television than her other projects. Newsom's family and hometown of Nevada City, CA, were both musically rich: her mother trained to be a concert pianist, her father is a guitarist, and her brother and sister play the drums and cello, respectively; meanwhile, the Newsoms also counted composer/pianist Terry Riley as a neighbor, along with Howard Hersh and W. Jay Sydeman.

Newsom herself started on piano lessons at a very early age and played for a couple of years, but switched to the harp at seven. Her approach to the Celtic harp, from the percussive aspects of her playing to her chord changes, was also influenced by West African and Venezuelan harp music, which she began studying at a folk music camp she attended in her early teens. At the same time, she also listened to more vocal-based folk, punk, and jazz like Karen Dalton, Texas Gladden, Patti Smith, and Billie Holiday. By the time she reached high school age, Newsom decided she wanted to become a composer, and while that became the focus of her studies, in her free time she began writing and recording instrumental songs. Eventually, Newsom's passion for songwriting won out, and she began studying creative writing to work with words in the same way she was accustomed to working with music.

Despite her extensive musical background, she hadn't sung until she began concentrating on her songs, but her voice -- which had a pure, untrained sound somewhere between a child and a crone -- was the perfect complement to her music. Newsom recorded some collections of songs that she gave to her friends, but eventually her music made its way to likeminded musicians like Will Oldham and Cat Power, both of whom invited her to play opening slots for their shows in 2002. That year also saw the release of the Walnut Whales EP, which she followed up with more appearances and another EP, Yarn and Glue, in 2003. After signing to Drag City, Newsom released her full-length debut, The Milk-Eyed Mender, in spring 2004; later that year, she toured the U.S. with Devendra Banhart and Europe with Smog. She also performed on Smog's 2005 album A River Ain't Too Much to Love and began work on her second album that year, drafting collaborators such as Bill Callahan, Steve Albini, Jim O'Rourke, and Van Dyke Parks for the sessions. The ambitious, intricately lovely Ys arrived in late 2006.

The epic adventure experienced through five original songs on the Newsom's new album, qualifies Ys for the one of the best albums in 2006. Highly Recommended!

Joanna Newsom - Emily (from Ys)
Joanna Newsom - Sampler
Joanna Newsom - Live

Brand New - The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me (2006) !!!
Moth - Provisions, Fiction And Gear
Motion City Soundtrack - Commit This To Memory
Phoenix - Alphabetical
Reggie & The Full Effect - Albums
Cake - Albums
Royksopp - The Understanding
Matt Pond PA - The Green Fury + The Nature Of Maps +
+ Winter Songs [EP] + I Thought You Were Sleeping [EP] !!!
Feist - Live @ Olympic Island
OLIVIA - The Lost Lolli
Incubus - Light Grenades (2006)
Sublime - Sublime

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Raconteurs - Live @ Lollapalooza 2006

A self-described "new band made up of old friends," the Raconteurs feature the White Stripes' Jack White and power pop maestro Brendan Benson on vocals, keyboards, and guitars, and the Greenhornes' drummer Patrick Keeler and bassist Jack Lawrence as the group's rhythm section. The idea for the band began when Benson and White collaborated on the song "Steady, as She Goes," which later became the Raconteurs' debut single. When the duo drafted Keeler and Lawrence, they became a full-fledged band. Recording together at Benson's East Grand Studio whenever they were available from their other projects, the Raconteurs recorded their debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers, over the span of a year and released it in spring 2006 to middling reviews but a Top Ten place on Billboard's album charts. That year, the band also relocated to Nashville and worked on another batch of songs in between touring and dates at festivals such as Lollapalooza.

The Raconteurs - Live @ Lollapalooza 08-04-2006

Tom Waits - Orphans Brawlers, Bawlers, Bastards (2006) !!!
Feist - Let It Die
Cocorosie - Noah's Ark
VA - Little Miss Sunshine (Mychael Danna, DeVotchKa) !!!
Pete Yorn - Nightcrawler !!!
+ The Magic Numbers, Tapes'N'Tapes, Weezer, Air, The Spinto Band, Cat Power, Erasure,
David Bowie, Outkast, The Ramones, The Beach Boys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, etc.
Yo La Tengo - Live 5-13-00
Isis - In The Absence Of Truth
Mastodon - Blood Mountain
Slayer - Christ Illusion
Nacho Libre - OST
Broken Social Scene - You Forgot It In People
The Ventures - Albums
Klimperei - Un P'tit Coin De Ciel Gris
VA - A Brutal Christmas - The Seasons In Chaos
Indie/Alternative/Rock/Other Albums

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Maccabees

The Maccabees are a 5-piece British indie band from Brighton. Their debut single, 'X-Ray', was released on Promise records on 28th November 2005, and received some evening play on London radio station Xfm London. They received little exposure until they released their second single, 'Latchmere', on Fierce Panda Records some 6 months later in April 2006. This was championed by Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq and received airtime on MTV2. The video, directed by Hugh Frost and Samuel Bebbington, also proved an internet hit after it was posted on YouTube.

In mid-2006, influential music magazine NME gave the band some extremely favourable press, including a review of their now infamous headline show at Cafe dé Paris in London, where the magazine called the band "The best new band in Britain".

In November 2006 the band toured with Fields, ¡Forward, Russia!, and Wolfmother as part of the MTV2 spanking new music promotion. Also in November 2006, the band released their third single 'First Love', which charted at #40.

The band are now signed to Fiction Records, and are currently working on their debut album, due early 2007. Highly Recommended!

The Maccabees - Sampler
The Maccabees @ MySpace

Bright Eyes - Digital Ash In A Digital Urn !!!
The Unicorns - Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone !!!
Bark Psychosis - Codename: Dustsucker + Hex !!!
Hooverphonic - Sit Down And Listen To !!!
My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
VA - The Golden Apples Of The Sun (Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart, Cocorosie, Antony, etc) !!!
The Cancer Conspiracy - The Audio Medium !!!
Sufjan Stevens - Avalanche
Tristan Prettyman - Twentythree
The Album Leaf - Into The Blue Again
+ 65 Days Of Static, Thom Yorke, The Legion Of Doom, Sigur Ros, Underoath, Radiohead,
Pelican, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Inked In Blood, etc.
Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - Answering Machine Music + Twinkle Echo !!!
Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl
Muse - Origin Of Symmetry
Alkaline Trio - Crimson
+ Da Silva, Noir Desir
DeVotchKa - How It Ends !!!
Goran Bregovic (feat Iggy Pop) - Arizona Dream OST
Thom Yorke - The Eraser

Monday, December 04, 2006


Oasis will release the title track from their recent tour documentary, Lord Don't Slow Me Down, as their next single. The song, which was recorded during the sessions for the band's 2005 album, Don't Believe The Truth, will be released a week before next year's Brit Awards, which take place on February 14. The band are due to pick up the Lifetime Achievement Award at the event ...

The Killers have joined this year's race to be Christmas No 1 by releasing a brand new festive track. The Las Vegas band will release A Great Big Sleigh, although it is expected only to be available as a download. Speaking to NME, frontman Brandon Flowers explained exactly what got him in the Christmas spirit. "There are some great Christmas tunes that have been recorded over the years from the likes of George Michael (in Wham!) and John Lennon. "Sometimes you forget. You get so caught up in business and being an adult that you forget to have fun and enjoy things and be nice to people." A Great Big Sleigh is out on December 5 ...

Einstuerzende Neubauten shows up American indie rock outfits who think a 15- or 20-member choir's pretty hot stuff on the German act's latest CD. The joined with a 100-member choir, recruited from its avid online fan club, for Palast Der Republik. The DVD captures the veteran industrial/experimental act fattening up its lineup for a Nov. 4, 2004 show in the former East German Republic's former parliament building. The set, which followed in support of the act's 2004 Mute Records Effort, Perpetuum Mobile, hits stores March 13 from Music Video Distributors ...

That hush-hush live album available only at The New Pornographers' merch table on its latest tour will soon be a little easier to find. You won't have to be one of the few who caught the Pornographers on their latest Canadian tour to get a shot at picking up its fittingly titled Live! release. Copies of the limited-edition effort are set to show up in the band's online shop in upcoming weeks. A firm online-only release date for the effort has yet to be pinned down. Live! was taped while the band toured to support last year's Twin Cinema (Matador) between September 2005 and March 2006. The follow-up to Twin Cinema is also tentatively scheduled for a summer or fall release from Matador ...

Ted Leo and The Pharmacists will have their Touch and Go Records debut in stores this spring. The act's Living with the Living is set for a March 20 release from Touch and Go, according to Billboard. The 14-track effort was produced by Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty, and follows up the band's 2004 effort, Shake the Sheets ...

Idlewild have announced details of their new album. They are set to release Make Another World in February, reports They also plan to release a new single, If It Takes You Home, on December 4 ...

The Ponys are set to release their first album from the Matador stables this spring. Get excited, but also get ready for a three and a half month wait: The band's Turn the Lights Out won't make it into stores until March 20. No cover art or track listing for the album has been revealed ...

Talk about a low-key label debut: The Higher's first release as an Epitaph band will come in the middle of December as a digital release. The band will release its four-cut Pace Yourself Tuesday (Dec. 12) to iTunes. If you're not a fan of Apple DRM, the rest of the digital retailers will receive it Jan. 12. The four-song effort was produced by Mike Green (The Matches), and precedes the band's On Fire, full-length, which will be available in good, old-fashioned hard-copy from Epitaph Feb. 20 ...

Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Ballad Of The Broken Seas !!!
Gravenhurst - Fire In Distant Buildings + Flashlight Season !!!
Queenadreena - The Butcher And The Butterfly
Sufjan Stevens - Songs For Christmas (Vol.1 - Vol.3)
Sufjan Stevens - Songs For Christmas (Vol.4 - Vol.5)
Laibach - Anthems
Scandy - 13 Ways To Masturbate
Loxsly - Maps And Organs !!!
Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
VA - Badass Cinema
VA - 16 Garage Funk Hits
Indie Electronic & DJ: Enduser, The Muse Rapt, Royksopp, Dj XP Woodoo, Man With No Name, etc.
Albums: Depeche Mode, Slipknot, System Of A Down, Trivium, A Perfect Circle, Chimaira, etc.
Billy Idol - Happy Holidays: Christmas Album (2006)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Of Montreal

The brainchild of singer/guitarist Kevin Barnes, euphoric indie popsters Of Montreal were among the second wave of bands to emerge from the sprawling Elephant 6 collective. A native of Athens, GA, Barnes was inspired to form the group in the wake of a broken romance with a woman from Montreal; signing to Bar/None while living in Florida, he subsequently moved to Cleveland and Minneapolis in search of compatible bandmates, finally returning home to collaborate with bassist Bryan Helium (also a member of Athens' Elf Power) and drummer Derek Almstead.

Of Montreal's debut album, Cherry Peel, appeared in mid-1997, followed that autumn by an EP, The Bird Who Continues to Eat the Rabbit's Flower. After Helium left to focus on Elf Power full-time, Almstead assumed bass duties, and keyboardist Dottie Alexander and drummer Jamie Huggins joined the lineup; still, the second Of Montreal full-length, 1998's The Bedside Drama: A Petite Tragedy, was recorded primarily as a Barnes solo project. Multi-instrumentalist A.C. Forrester signed on for 1999's sublime The Gay Parade; the singles retrospective Horse & Elephant Eatery followed in the spring of 2000. The group continued with the release of Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies: A Variety of Whimsical Verse in April 2001 and Aldhils Arboretum in September of 2002, both for Kindercore. With the folding of Kindercore, the departures of multi-instrumentalist Andy Gonzales and Almstead, and Barnes' marriage, 2003 proved to be an up and down year for the group. Barnes' wife, Nina, joined the band and they signed to Polyvinyl Records, delivering one of their best records, Satanic Panic in the Attic, in early 2004. Released by Polyvinyl Records, it became one of their more successful efforts to that point, the album marked a shift to an electronica bass, with drum machines and synthesizers featured in singles such as "Disconnect the Dots."

This style would continue to evolve into 2005's The Sunlandic Twins, which was even more of Barnes solo effort. Recorded in Athens with the exception of one track, which was recorded in Norway, it was a much more pronounced electronic album. The album became a success, mostly due to the singles "So Begins Our Alabee" and the MTV clip for "Wraith Pinned to the Mist (and Other Games)."

The band released several collections of singles in early 2006. They recorded a new album in late 2006 for release in January 2007 titled Hissing Fauna: Are You the Destroyer?. Highly Recommended!

Of Montreal - Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse
Of Montreal - Hissin Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (album stream)
Of Montreal - Live

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