I’ve purchased a few albums in the past couple of months and have been defunct in sharing my findings. A few of these albums came out somewhere in 2009, but I am a little slow on the uptake. So, apologies if this is old news for the more hip of you in the crowd, but they are definitely not mainstream bands so some of you may not have heard them before. Also, I am on an “electropop” kick, which will explain some of my choices below.
* Miike Snow (self-titled): A trio of guys from Sweden (none of them named Miike). Of 11 songs, there is only one I’m not crazy about, which seems like pretty good odds.
* Broken Bells (self-titled): This is a duo composed of Danger Mouse and James Mercer from The Shins. They are so hip and cool that the first song on this album was used in an episode of the hipster-centric show on HBO, “How to Make it in America.” Hearing and recognizing it while watching that show was a proud moment for me. The mid-point of the album drags a wee bit, but it opens and closes strongly. The last track is my fave.
* The Temper Trap (“Conditions”): I bought this album based on being in love with one of the singles that’s been getting some radio play out here, “Sweet Disposition” (apparently it was featured in 500 Days of Summer). It’s really an amazing song. The rest of the album is very good with a couple of other notable standout tracks and a surprisingly good instrumental song at the end.
* Passion Pit (“Chunk of Change” and “Manners”): They are my current obsession. I think “Sleepyhead” is their most popular track, which is on the EP “Chunk of Change,” my first PP purchase. The six songs were so incredible, I bought the full-length album “Manners” – but the version with some bonus tracks. It’s got a stripped down version of “Sleepyhead” – think instrumental with piano – that is surprisingly beautiful. The person who first turned me on to them thought I wouldn’t like the entire album and explained it as “experimental.” I disagree with that and was pleasantly surprised by how good these songs really are. It is by far the best music purchase I’ve made in quite a while.
* Run Toto Run (various): The way I found them was kind of by accident. My hipster friend (who I rely on for any and all new music recommendations) turned me on to this cover of “Sleepyhead.” Being generally ignorant of the hipster music scene, I misread the name of the video and thought that this trio was Passion Pit and they were covering a song by a band called Run Toto Run. Turns out Passion Pit is 5 guys from New York who just sing really high and that this adorable group were the ones doing the cover. They do not have a full length album anywhere (at least not one that I could find), so I bought an EP, “Plastic Gold,” as well as a few random singles that were on iTunes. Their sound is really great – string instruments and this woman’s soft vocals, which are beautiful. They seem to have experimented a bit with electronica for their newest single, “Hater,” which is an awesome song and may just be the new anthem for my life.
So, there you have it. It took me almost six months, but I eventually pulled it together. Hopefully I’ll have another list by November or so.