Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Summer Is End.

>> Featured Artist: Sparklehorse

A few of us really got into the It's a Wonderful Life album back in the summer of 2001. And Mister Toaster was famously unimpressed with the live show when the band opened for R.E.M. on its 2003 tour. And then there were three years of silence.

We can't tell you why, but we root for this band.

So, it is with this introduction that we tentatively wade into the new material (Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain), released today on Astralwerks. And we do so with the Toaster's first-listen favorite, "Don't Take My Sunshine Away." It's quickly becoming an anthem, seeping into our guts the way "Piano Fire" did way back when - albeit with less gusto.

>> Album Lookout: Boys and Girls in America
The Hold Steady - Due Out: October 3, 2006 Vagrant

We've already expressed our feelings about October 3. [It's sad that ...Trail of Dead will not be joining in the fun, as it was announced today that the album won't be released until November 14.]

The Hold Steady make us want to be drug addicts. And have friends who are too.

Most of all, and this is reflected in nearly everything about this band, the Hold Steady is alive. The Hold Steady has a tone all its own and Craig Finn et al. pretty much bleed originality (launching a YouTube-like site as a promotional tool for the new album), celebration and excitement. This band is one of three or four bands making music today that give us faith in the whole process.

Here's the much celebrated first single "Chips Ahoy" for us all to savor until that fateful day arrives.

>> Reverting to: 1970

George Harrison may have ripped off the Chiffons when he had the first solo Beatles' No. 1 single, and he may have been a little too, um, God-focused - and repetitively so.

It doesn't matter. We love our George.

"My Sweet Lord" was one of the jewels in his solo masterpiece All Things Must Pass. Just months before he died in 2001, he commented on the album:

"To be able to do all my own songs on one record was a novelty at that point, you know. Only the fact that people have written about the reissue have I realized that it spent seven weeks at No. 1."

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