Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Meet Mir(anda): Part II

>> Featured Artist: The Hives

Perhaps the least expected choice Mir(anda) made was taking a song from Tyrannasaurus Hives. I must admit I've never really followed the Hives. Nor have I ever felt compelled to listen to them. You'd imagine my surprise as I ran home to Google lyrics from a song I heard while waiting to get my hair cut. The Hives?! Sounded more like Screamin' Jay Hawkins to me (check out "I Put a Spell on You" - not on Mir(anda)).

Once the immediate panic subsided I decided to find the song and tuck it away in a folder to be revisited on a more sober location (for the record I hadn't been drinking, but I had just had a number done on my stylish locks - and I was also ripped from a whipped cream charger). Revisiting "Diabolic Scheme" took a few weeks, but I still found the whole tune strangely compelling. I found it gave Mir(anda) a much-needed lift in her middle parts, which were starting to grow a bit saggy.

>> Album Lookout:
Because of the Times

Kings of Leon - Released: April 3, 2007 RCA Records

The Toaster has a soft spot for Kings of Leon. Every since its rough-and-dirty hit "Wasted Time" found its way into our lives, I've pretty much at least mildly enjoyed everything I've heard from these Nashville guys. I was a bit unnerved though that I had completely overlooked their new album, which came out in APRIL!

So I made up for it by giving "Fans," a non-single from the album a prominent spot in the No. 2 position on Mir(anda). What a fun song to feel rough and dirty to!

>> Reverting to: 1971

How can you have a fall mix without a Bob Dylan song? Mir(anda) dug deep and found "You Ain't Going Nowhere" (which features the Band accompanying the Dyl). The song was first found on a 1968 bootleg called The Great White Wonder, but it didn't see the legal light of day until Dylan put out his second Greatest Hits volume in '71. (They later co-released the song in 1975 with a beefed up version of the '68 bootleg called The Basement Tapes). Beyond the neat history to this tune, it's just a nice, fun-lovin' way to kick off a car ride - or a mix, in this case.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Meet Mir(anda): Part I

>> Featured Artist: Kimya Dawson

I got a very special sneak peak at FOX Searchlight's big indie end-of-the-year release Juno last week, and I must say that all the hype is pretty well-deserved. And the film chooses to center a large portion of the soundtrack around the songstylings of Kimya Dawson and the Moldy Peaches. I didn't really care for the Peaches when they first emerged, but all that Kimya sure did get my attention (and a good chunk of spending on iTunes the next day). Here's the track that Mir(anda) chose: "I Like Giants." It's lighthearted and fun - two descriptors that could never be applied to "12/26" (a track I downloaded because it was seemingly named for my birthday - in actuality, it's named for the day that the 2004 tsunami killed thousands and thousands of people). Also, "XXX," a track featured at least twice in the film, is also near and dear to the heart for lyrical reasons.

>> Album Lookout:

Christine Fellows - Released (in Canada, yuck): November 6, 2007 Six Shooter

Anyone who has read the Toaster Talks since last fall knows of my probably unhealthy obsession for Christine Fellows. You might imagine that the release of her latest album would have me all a-twitter, and you'd be right. What's sad is that the album is only available in Canada right now, and even attempts to buy it via the Canadian Amazon proved that it'd be about $30. Not even iTunes has it for download. (This is a crime, and I suggest terrorists might be behind it).

So I only have a few tracks to tide me over until the tariff is finally lifted and I can enjoy Nevertheless in its entirety. That said, "The Spinster's Almanac" is an instant Fellows classic. I simply cannot get enough.

>> Reverting to: 1969

I got a big kick out of seeing The Darjeeling Limited end with this classic French pop song. The song for me, due to its omnipresence in my high school French classes, harkens back to a time when I believed Wes Anderson's works were flawless. So the pairing worked well. And now I'm eight years older; "Les Champs Elysée" is back in my life; and Wes Anderson has made another very good movie (a much-needed recovery after The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou). And if we can just return a Democrat to the White House, all may be right with the world after all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More Catching Up

>> Featured Artist: Jimmy Eat World

Very little appeals to me about a new Jimmy Eat World album. Futures never really grabbed me the way that Bleed American or earlier works had. And for some reason it's also left me feeling unexcited about anything forthcoming.

Clearly this is a band that can ooze talent and hooks on demand. It can scream emo or it can rock you straight. It can write songs that grab you and sit you down until the fade. But can it every do all of this well again?

Reviews are mixed on Chase This Light, the band's latest foray into rawking and feeling, etc. I'll sum up what I've read: Butch Vig produced it, so it's too glossy and too big-and-important sounding. It fails mostly, though, in that there's nothing adventurous really going on here. "Formulaic" - if not uninspired - is a word that seems to floating around a lot.

So now I'm really not all that excited. And the new single, "Big Casino" just kind of reinforces all of that (Though I was a bit into it when I heard it at a bar last night, but I think that's because it followed something awful). "Carry You" sounds like something off of Bleed American, which should be a great thing to say. But I guess I'm just not the same person (or, more accurately, age) I was when that album really moved me. Maybe it's me (it's never me).

>> Album Lookout: Hey Venus!
Super Furry Animals - Released: August 27, 2007 Rough Trade

Cue up the Wall of Sound, it's time for some Super Furry Animals. This is a band I've always liked from afar but whose appeal never last enough to actually make me buy an album. I came closest with 2003's Phantom Power. Somehow, after six or seven listens, it all starts to sound the same, and their efforts to sell me have all been cruelly thwarted.

I'm still open, however, to the prospect of picking this one up. "Run-Away" is a very catchy song, even if it does remind me a lot of later Pulp - and, for that matter, of everything else this band has ever done. But our music critic buddies are always so happy about everything they do, so we'll do a little more digging into what Hey Venus! has to offer.

>> Reverting to: 1992

Finally a shout-out to R.E.M., well deserved members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2007. I still remember "Stand" as the song I played over and over from the first mix tape I ever got (from my dad). In fact, a LOT of songs from that mix have ended up on the Toaster. As one of my friends put it, it's like those were the only songs the radio played back in those days. This isn't one of them, but it's one of my favorites from that era: "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite."