Monday, May 15, 2006

Wimping Out (Or: Throwing Babies in the Air)

>> Featured Artist: The Weepies

The Toaster stumbled on a track from this Boston- (or is it New York-? Or is it Pasadena-?) based duo in his usual online daydreams and became immediately smitten with Deb Talan's voice and the harmonies that Steve Tannen laid under it.

So the Toaster dished out $13 at his local record store and picked up the full-length, Say I Am You, released on Nettwork in February. Our first thought: "Somebody call Zach Braff." Alas, somebody beat us to him, as Scrubs featured "World Spins Madly On" on a recent episode.

Perhaps the album purchase was a little premature, as a full album of this sort of wimp indie gets a little draining on to live (that's to be expected, no?). Still, each individual song plays like perfection.

>> Album Lookout: The Avalanche (part one)

Sufjan Stevens - Due Out: July 25, 2006 Asthmatic Kitty

OK, we know the world got a little Sufjan-ed out over the past year. And maybe that's fair. Illinois was one of the best and indie-hyped albums of 2005, and then there was that pregnancy rumor. That'd normally be enough to do any young Michigander wimp-rocker in.

But Sufjan's not done with us yet. The plan is to release another (another!) 21 Illinois-themed tracks, outtakes from last year's gem on an album, The Avalanche, to be released in July.

The first track leaked is "Adlai Stevenson," named for the three-time Democratic candidate for president. While it immediately gets planted in the part of your brain that traps catchy melodies, the inspiration is weak - much weaker than anything on the album (hence the outtakes part, we guess).

Still, if you like Sufjan or perennial presidential losers, you'll probably dig it.

* This is part of a three-part Sufjan series, previewing the release of The Avalanche.

>> Reverting to: 1986

Jonathan Richman is 55 today. Alas, we had to get out of the wimp-rock. So today The Toaster Talks delves into Reason No. 231 that we're all happy the 1980s are over.

One of our favorite memories growing up was being thoroughly disturbed by the Henson project Labyrinth, which featured a young'n Jennifer Connolly, an aging (and freaked-up) David Bowie and - rumor has it! - The Toaster himself.

Aside from getting lost and trapped in a maze of magic spells and synthed-out soundtrack cuts, there were babies thrown unsafely high in the air (this was the '80s, when we were much more carefree about endangering the lives of infants - see the moralizing thrown at Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, et cetera).

"Magic Dance" encapsulates it all - the synths, the baby (goo-gooing), David Bowie saying "puppy-dog tails," and Muppet-esque monsters.

And it all ends happily, just like the movie, just 10 hairs after we lose interest.

(Interactive Toaster: a Role-Playing Opportunity)
Bowie: You remind me of the babe.
Unidentified Muppet: What babe?
B: The babe with the power.
UM: What power?
B: The power of voodoo.
UM: Who do?
B: You do.
UM: Do what?
B: Remind me of the babe!

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