Christmas in July
If it was Christmas in July and I could only offer newish music as gifts, I'd buy all my friends these records, each one of which has become quite close with my iPod. But it's not Christmas, so you have to buy them your damned self.
(If you are internet-impaired, some links below lead to other sites, while others are downloads. Windows users, right click and select "Save Target As." Mac users, Control + click.)
Harlan T. Bobo, Too much love, Goner records
The result of "six years of modern love sans god or government" comes this fine, fine recording. I've spent a great deal of the past week with this one. It's quiet when it needs to be, warm and rocking in the other spots. Even some good use of spoken word, which normally, I can't stand. Don't believe me? Check out some mp3s here on the Goner website.
the boy least likely to, the best party ever, Rough Trade
Chances are, if you like the poppier side of indie pop, you already know this English duo. If not, shame on you. Here's a cut called "Paper Cuts" - pun intended.
Want to know more? Go straight to the horse's mouth, or in this case, blog.
Shout Out Louds, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, Capitol
They're Scandinavian. They're hip. They make my feet move. Definitely one of my favorite records so far this year. Stream samples here.
Devin Davis, Lonely People of the World Unite, Mousse records
Devin comes to us from Chicago, via Florida, where he moved to find some loneliness. Recording the majority of the instrumentation himself, this is a quirky record featuring lots of good guitar and comical lyrics. "Iron Woman" is the first track on Lonely People of the World Unite, and can be streamed here.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, s/t
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are so last month, which is about the time that a co-worker (who is also responsible for the next record) introduced me to this Brooklyn band. Chances are, if you have internet access and enjoy music, you know them and the story, but it deserves repeating. These guys put out a self-produced, self-titled record that within two weeks, was everywhere and anywhere -- all without a record label or distribution company. This album received a 9.0 rating (as in, 9 out of 10) from Pitchfork Media and may have earned an 11.0 (as in, 11 out of 10) from DMo Media. Check out "Upon this tidal wave of young blood."
Devandra Banhart, Cripple Crow, XL recordings (due out in September)
This young man may be a crazy hippie who doesn't, or at least didn't, realize the impact of his music until XL asked him to move to New York from the West. Without any money, or really, any body fat, he couch-surfed the Boroughs while recording Cripple Crow, a beautiful and diverse record due in stores September. Check out "Long haired child" or stream the upcoming release from XL's site here.
Sufjan Stevens, Illinoise, Ashmatic Kitty
Ah, Sufjan. Thank goodness you started back on your promise from a few years back of making a record to chronicle each of the 50 states. Otherwise, I'd be down right screwed when it came to history and lore regarding the fine state of Illinois. For instance, are you familiar with "Casimir Pulaski Day"?