Pop Overload

photo from Consumer Reports

I can’t remember a previous January where there has been this much new music coming out, but I’m old and my synapses don’t connect they way the use to.  I do remember maybe a few releases trickling out at the end of January and then not much happening until March or April. Well, it’s a new decade and we’ve hit the ground running, out with the old, etc. The last few weeks have been total pop overload, and to give you an idea of the crazy amounts of good to great music that has made itself known in this very short year, I’m attempting this schizophrenic post. If any of you follow my wild and crazy finest kiss twitter feed some of this may be redundant. Twitter being what it is, you most likely forgot whatever it was I tweeted six seconds after you read it, so a rehash is in order to burn this stuff into your long term memories and to possibly give you same feeling of being overwhelmed by way too much good music.

I’ll start of this laundry list with the perfect song to start off a list of bands.  The Felt Letters are a three piece form from DC with Brendan Canty of Fugazi on drums.  They sound like another DC band, Girls Against Boys.  The way Ian Svenonius slithers his dilivery makes you think at first your are hearing some long lost GvsB single. The  similarities to Scott McCloud are uncanny, but Svenonius is a hell of a lot funnier: 600,000 bands: 50,000 sound like Can, 50,000 sound like Manfred Man.  I’m startin’ one like Cool and the Gang…The bass sound gotta be fixed.  It sounds a little like Robert Fripp.

mp3: Felt Letters – 600,000 Bands (from M’Lady 7″)

The Radio Dept. have been teasing us with EP’s every 11 months or so, but they’re finally threatening to release their 3rd album.  The album is called Clinging To A Scheme and will be out in March.  This teaser was posted on the Radio Dept. site last week.  Cue salivation.

mp3: Radio Dept. – Heaven’s On Fire (from forthcoming Clinging To A Scheme)

Portland’s Eat Skull, besides putting out the formidable Wilde and Inside last year on Siltbreez, have just unleashed a 7″ single on the venerable Woodsist.  From what I’ve read they’ve actually signed to Woodsist, whatever that means these days.

mp3: Eat Skull – Don’t Leave Me On the Speaker (from the Woodsist 7″)

Speaking of Woodsist, the Fresh & Onlys have a new 7″ out on the label as well.  To this point I’ve been luke-warm about the band.  Each release, and there have been many, has a few good songs but they get drowned out by the other ones.  I have to say that this new Woodsist single may be their best release yet. Yeah, I know these songs come from a previously released tape.

mp3: Fresh & Onlys – Second One to Know (from the Woodsist 7″)

I know nothing about French Kissing except what I read on the Weekly Tape Deck, which is very little except to say they have a very limited single upcoming on Sleep All Day Records.  Oh, and they’re from London and the A-Side to the single totally rules.

mp3: French Kissing – Oh Suzanne (from Sleep All Day 7″)

Has it really been five years since the last Lali Puna album?  No, Faking the books came out back in 2004 so it’s been six.  Wow, I missed them, and this song emphasizes that.  I remember Faking the Books was kind of a let-down after the near-brilliance of Scary World Theory.  What will the new album Our Inventions be like?  If Remember is any indication, quite good.

mp3: Lali Puna – Remember (from forthcoming Our Inventions)

Along a similar trajectory as Lali Puna, Pikelet‘s Weakest Link has me looking forward to this Austraian’s second album.  Pikelet is Evelyn Morris, and she seems to have good grasp of what sounds good.  Album number two is entitled Stem and it’s due in February on Chapter Music, home of the Crayon Fields and the Twerps.  Thanks to Rose Quartz for the heads up.

mp3: Pikelet – Weakest Link (from forthcoming Stem)

Last week I got friended on mySpace by London-based Yuck.  At first I thought eww, but then I listened to their Lily’s / Medicine song Georgia, and then I listened to the moody Automatic and I was smitten.  No hard copy releases yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

mp3: Yuck – Georgia (from Yuck’s blog)

It’s been a few years since the watershed Andorra was released by Caribou.  And a few more since they had their run-in with Handsome Dick Manitoba and had to change their name from Manitoba to Caribou.  Dan Snaith (leader of the pack) is back after a couple years absence with the first fruits of his forthcoming album Swim.  This has to be the most overtly dancy thing Caribou has ever attempted, and it’s pretty much a full on success.

mp3: Caribou – Odessa (from forthcoming Swim)

I have to admit that I haven’t really paid much attention to Horowitz, but the song that Cloudberry has made available from their upcoming single has me wondering why that is the case.  Two and a half minutes of fuzzed out pop bliss never goes out of style.

mp3: Horowitz – How To Look Imploring (from the Cloudberry 7″)

One more from Cloudberry, the latest from Sweden’s Sad Day For Puppets.  If you haven’t heard their album Unknown Colors or the preceding EP Just Like a Ghost, then this just might be the perfect introduction.

mp3: Sad Day for Puppets – Again (from the Cloudberry 7″)


  1. Brack · January 30, 2010

    That Felt Letters song would have been the 20 year old me’s idea of perfection. It’s pretty close now too.

    • Toby · January 31, 2010

      Close to perfection for me at undisclosed age too.

  2. Camella · January 30, 2010

    Eat Skull is now on permanent rotation. I know what you mean about thinking, “eww,” but Yuck reminds me of Velocity Girl–so refreshing to hear that sound again. I was just teleported back to junior year, lighting candles and brooding over some boy.

    PS: Your blog has become a regular stop for me. I always find something I love.


    • Toby · January 31, 2010

      Thanks Camella. I vaguely remember my junior year. I was probably brooding too, listening to Cure, Smiths, and Echo & the Bunnymen…

  3. superextragio · January 31, 2010

    Excellent overview of the new releases! If it wasn’t for this, I probably would’ve gone on too long without hearing new Lali Puna!

  4. Fense · January 31, 2010

    Thanks for the heads up on the new album by The Radio Dept. Song sounds great. I haven’t made up my mind on “Odessa” yet, but will probably end up really enjoying it after a few more listens.

    As usual, excellent list!

  5. LB · February 10, 2010

    FINALLY, new Caribou! Excellent find. Sounds like Hot Chip, which is fine by me.

    Really like that Felt Letters song, too.

    • Toby · February 11, 2010

      Yeah, the new Caribou is pretty far removed from the Manitoba days.

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