Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Little to Say. Lots to Hear.

>> Featured Artist: The Boy Least Likely To

DJ Bryan got to this band first, scoring high on the 2005 Toaster Countdown with "Be Gentle With Me." This charming - if wimpy - indie outfiit's latest single, "Hugging My Grudge," does not surpass the aforemention, perhaps just because "Gentle" seems to embody the band's entire sound and persona.

Still, following in the Toaster precedent of Nilsson and Cat Stevens, this song carries that same summer end-of-the-hot-damn-day calming effect that the Toaster enjoys so much.

>> Album Lookout: Personality (One Was a Spider, One Was a Bird)

The Sleepy Jackson - Released: July 26, 2006 Capitol

If you were to ask the Toaster in 2003 "Sleepy Jackson or the Strokes?," he would have bit his can't-be-too-trendy tongue and said "Strokes." Not that the Australian dance-pop gods couldn't make us dance with pop sensibility or smile with a clever turn of lyric.

The Sleepy Jackson, however, have jumped into the lead - by taking some time off. The Strokes have issued two underwhelming releases since 2003, while The Sleepy Jackson are back with a long-awaited, long-titled follow-up.

"I Understand What You Want But I Just Don't Agree" is similarly long winded in its title, but it's near-perfect pop to boot just in time for a late-summer release.

>> Reverting to: 1992

Another of the Toaster's hall of famers, XTC's Nonsuch was a coming-of-pop for Mister Toaster. On "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" Andy Partridge pulls a McCartneyesque ditty out of his hat and pretty much says, "Top this!" to the other Beatle bands out there.

I'm not sure McCartney himself has come close to topping it, you know, in the post-1992 era. OK, perhaps that's unfair. But life, summer and the Toaster are not fair, friends.

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