How You Like Me Now?

I’m happy to see The Fighter take home so many Oscars tonight, but the swinging, cheesy version of the song from the film’s opening credits they’re using is killing me. Here, now, in its full, biting, studio glory, is The Heavy’s “How You Like Me Now?”:

Boom!

Belated Best of ’10: V.V. Brown

I never got around to sharing my Best Songs You (Maybe) Didn’t Hear list for 2010 with the internets in general in December, so I’ve decided to mine it for fresh post material in February and March. I’m posting the songs in the order in which they would have appeared in the final playlist, so if you play along at home, you’ll have heard a tidy 80-ish minutes of great music when all is said and done. Today’s lesson: V.V. Brown.

V.V. Brown, Traveling Like The Light

V.V. Brown -- Traveling Like The Light

British singer V.V. Brown‘s Travelling Like The Light was, very simply, the best pop album of 2010. Her voice is rich and beautiful, every song is insanely catchy, and the playful retro girl-group vibe that permeates the album makes the whole affair loads of fun. What I appreciate most (and what can be chalked up to the cultural divide across the Atlantic) is that the songs are pop without being dance-pop. Don’t get me wrong, the tunes definitely make you want to get up and move, but the music doesn’t tread into dumbed-down, ringtone-centric club territory that weighs so heavily on current American pop music.

It was actually an easy task to pick just one song to represent V.V. on my mix — “Shark In The Water” is instant earworm material. Have fun getting it out of your head:

Grab Traveling Like The Light from Amazon MP3.

Perhaps they’d have more success as “Star Star”

(What does the post title mean? Find out @ Wikipedia.)

The best new album I’ve heard so far in 2011 isn’t even out yet: Portland, Oregon’s Starfucker (or STRFKR, if you hate vowels) is set to release their sophomore album Reptilians on March 8. While MGMT have decided to focus solely on shitty psychedelic rock wanking, Starfucker have claimed their indie dance/rock crown: hook-laden synths swirl over stomping beats creating a batch of songs that are eminently re-listenable. Get hooked by streaming or downloading (for free!) “Bury Us Alive” below:

Pre-order Reptilians at iTunes, and you’ll get a pair of good bonus tracks (“Slow Dance” is especially great). If you can’t wait a week and a half, head to their label Polyvinyl’s site: pre-orders there get an immediate MP3 download of the album.

Vintage Keef

Keith Richards, Vintage Vinos

Keith Richards -- Vintage Vinos

It’s a shame that Keith Richards’ solo material is mostly out of print: of all the Stones, his solo stuff was the most consistently interesting and winning. Ronnie is a great performer, but not much of a songwriter; Charlie’s jazz recordings are intriguing but not anything that will stand the test of time; and Mick’s solo career sadly has fewer peaks (Wandering Spirit) than valleys (everything else, really). To be fair, Amazon seems to have most of Keith’s catalogue in stock, but I haven’t seen anything at retail in ages.

That’s why I was thrilled to see the release of Richards’ Vintage Vinos, which is a nice overview of his three solo albums. Keith did most of his writing with Steve Jordan, and the songs are very different from the material the Stones were putting out at the time (late 80’s/early 90’s): they’re dark, rhythmic, and often spare but punctuated with just enough of Keith’s minimalist riffing. Try my favorite Keef solo tune on for size, “You Don’t Move Me,” from Talk is Cheap:

For a good time, try to decipher what Keith is saying about “You Don’t Move Me” in this clip recorded for his website a few years ago:

Vintage Vinos is on sale at Amazon MP3 right now — at $5.99, it’s certainly worth a look.

Belated Best of ’10: The Love Language

I never got around to sharing my Best Songs You (Maybe) Didn’t Hear list for 2010 with the internets in general in December, so I’ve decided to mine it for fresh post material in February and March. I’m posting the songs in the order in which they would have appeared in the final playlist, so if you play along at home, you’ll have heard a tidy 80-ish minutes of great music when all is said and done. Today, say hello to The Love Language.

The Love Language, Libraries
The Love Language — Libraries

The Love Language’s Libraries makes me think a lot of Elliot Smith’s XO: after releasing a number of beautiful, lo-fi folk albums, Smith got access to a real studio and big label money for XO and released a lush album that sounded like the best album George Harrison never released. The Love Language’s self-titled debut 1999 was a truly lo-fi rock affair, recorded without the benefit of a studio. For Libraries, Stuart McLamb and company holed up in a studio and made the album that Arcade Fire’s Suburbs should have been: a stirring shot of indie rock, augmented with flourishes of strings and handclaps but minus the art-rock pomp. Me gusta. The songs are sharp and catchy as hell, and their late-60’s-AM-radio vibe is still very much intact.

Picking just one song from Libraries to include on my mix was tough, but with the mandolin and those huge drums, “Brittany’s Back” sounds like a Spector-ized R.E.M., and it’s fantastic:

It’s also great live:

Grab The Love Language’s Libraries at iTunes, and you’ll get demos for half the album’s songs — pretty neat bonus.

Ancient Astronauts ain’t just the title of a volume of “Mysteries of the Unknown”

Ancient Astronauts -- Into Bass and Time

Ancient Astronauts -- Into Bass and Time


They’re harder to Google than you’d think, but Ancient Astronauts are worth the extra searching. I’ve been really digging the eclectic, Automator-esque sound of the German (!) duo’s forthcoming album Into Bass and Time, and you should, too: it’s hip-hop for people who want to listen to songs, not ringtones. A winning mix of breakbeats, funk, soul, and dub, I’ve yet to find a song worth skipping.

They also seem to be good people, to boot: they’re giving away the excellent instrumental album cut “Worldwide,” which has spent a lot of time in my playlists recently — listen/download below:

Into Bass and Time is out March 8, and you can purchase it directly from them at eslmusic.com. Definitely worth your bucks if you’re a fan of Cut Chemist and RJD2’s older work.