Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Return to Honor - a Twofer Tuesday!

Editor's Note: To apologize for the much-talked-about absence, The Toaster Talks issues a two-songs-per-category edition. It's like ice cream with your cookie cake.

>> Featured Artist:
Sondre Lerche

Sondre Lerche is a tiny man. Few music journals appreciate this as much as the Toaster. He's tiny and foreigner-cute, hailing from the land of Norwegian Egg Salad. When he's singing his indie originals, it's the small gaps in his English that endear him to the world. When he's singing jazz standard-souding originals, as he does on his latest album with the Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions - we all just want to know what's going on. It might seem a little strange that the same guy who brought us the wonderfully indie "Sleep on Needles" can pull off something as jazzy as "Everyone's Rooting for You."

We first heard Sondre heading in this direction on 2004's Two Way Monologue, especially on bits of the title track. But Duper Sessions is a full-fledged style twist, except for the repeated assurances that Sondre's putting out a pop album later this year, too. Phew. That means we can like this old-timey stuff, then. As long as this is only temporary...

Adding to the Toaster Wishlist: a Sondre tour with Rufus Wainwright. It's only a matter of time before someone smarter and richer than we are comes up with this idea, too.

>> Album Lookout: "At War With the Mystics"

The Flaming Lips - Due Out: April 4, 2006 Warner Bros.

Mister Toaster likes the way the Flaming Lips never fail to write catchy-creepy pop songs. "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song...(With All Your Power)" is, of course, no exception. Once the listener gets accustomed to the computery chorus of 'yeah yeah yeah" after every vocal line, Coyne et al. bring in the "no no nos." And then at 3:30, the Lips play their Yoshimi Pt. 2 card -- have someone sing-scream disturbingly, making the listener worry about how his/her hearing will be effective. But the song's resolve, complete with a beefed-up build up of the song's hook and a mechanical fade and band-member studio "outtake."

The Toaster Talks editorial staff also throws your way one of the Lips' best pop songs, the good-weather-lovin' "Buggin.'" It makes the Toaster smile and dates back to a 1999 mix by DJ Bryan.

>> Reverting to: 1972 (and 2001)

Some songs slip through the cracks. And they get covered by somebody, and all is right with the world again. Mister Toaster first heard Big Star's "Thirteen" when a bootleg of Elliott Smith's cover for the Thumbsucker soundtrack surfaced. Apparently he wasn't the first. Nor the last. Mary Lou Lord put an Elliott-like verison (perhaps, more accurately, Elliott's version is Lord-inspired) on her 2001 Boston subway live album, Live City Sounds. Hear her "Thirteen" here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


The Toaster apologizes for its unannounced absence. It will return to its standard schedule Tuesday, March 28.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


>> Featured Artist: Nada Surf

With The Weight Is a Gift picking up some steam among critics and bloggers, The Toaster Talks decided to weigh in on what has become a very reliable band. It is reliable in that the Matthew Caws-fronted band has found its groove and is digging in and pumping out memorable indie pop. The standout tracks shine and the forgettable songs blend into the band's winter-becomes-spring/fall-becomes-winter atmosphere they've managed to create.

When Let Go shocked the hell out of all of us, they set a high bar for themselves. Perhaps it was too high. The first track leaked off of Weight was "Your Legs Grow," a slightly different version than the eventual album release (sans the dreary coda, mainly). It was featured on MoveOn.org's Future Soundtrack for America as one of the few songs that respectfully didn't make an overt political point (not overt, I guess, if you can't see that "your legs" clearly denotes the proletariat that "grow" where it's "cold but not that deep.") Yes, the clinkers on Weight make it a slight disappointment when compared to its immediate predecessor, but Nada Surf still has the Toaster in its corner.

>> Album Lookout: "Love Sincerely," Writes the Writer

Daddy's Gonna Kill Ralphie - Due Out: March 14, 2006 Joko Records

Remember when The Toaster plugged its own band shamelessly? "Another Flight" is a track off Mister Toaster's band's newest album. Oh well...expectations of integrity can only lead to disappointment.

>> Reverting to: 1967

An Aquarium Drunkard featured this version of the Beach Boys classic "God Only Knows" yesterday among a set of songs said to be from a 1967 rehearsal. We dare say it's even more breathtaking than the original, perhaps because it just sounds so natural. And it reminds the Toaster how much we all miss Carl Wilson's voice. Goodness.