Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dance, you! Dance!

>> Featured Artist: Hot Chip

Indie dancing didn't die in 2006, but little got us off our pensive asses to move our feet. Sure, pop megastars like Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado and Beyoncé did their fair share, but where were the indie kids?

Our hope is that they were all with Hot Chip, which made a surprise leap from near obscurity to hit Number 35 on the year (thanks to input from the Great Aarby Machine. In the end, few songs made us want to dance more in 2006 than "And I Was a Boy From School" off Hot Chip's June release, The Warning.

Not that we dance well.

Still, "Boy" effortlessly tosses together a winning melody, easy lyrics, soft harmonies and a nasty-catchy instrumental loop. Combined, it puts us in a trance - a trance of lovable indie electronic dance.

BONUS: Bless the folks at The Torture Garden for posting an acoustic version.

>> Album Lookout: Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

Of Montreal - Released: Jan. 23, 2007 Polyvinyl

Still somewhat mystified by the pairing of Of Montreal and Outback Steakhouse, the Toaster wakes up to find the band has release another critically acclaimed LP.

We're not going to try to decipher the title, as we understand it's somewhat of a concept album and - after hearing only a handful of tracks - it's not clear where the hell it came from. Nor do we claim to know what/where/how Heimdalsgate is.

All that confusion aside, Of Montreal can't seem to shake us. Even though they put their pop instincts through a thicker bed of electronic dance music on this go-round, it's no less infectious than the band's previous releases. And, sticking with today's theme, it isn't short on the spirit either.

Though AllMusic characterizes Fauna as a "grower," we quickly found "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse" to be one of our fave Of Montreal tracks ever released. The way Kevin Barnes sings so buoyantly to his drugs to get him over a streak of depression is the ultimate contradiction. The conclusion: endearing happy-sad dance pop is off to a good start in '07.

>> Reverting to: 1965

Not all dancing is peppy, of course. Finding ourselves inside watching a rerun of the strange and sad (not to mention, addictively bad) biopic of the Temptations this weekend on VH-1, we started to recall better times for the Temps and happier times for the Toaster - back when a little shuffle and a finger snap could save the world.

And then we did a bunch of drugs and called it a day.

That said, here's to one of the greatest pop songs ever written (thanks, Smokey): "My Girl."

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