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.

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