March Madness...

There were a bunch of really solid new releases this month, my favorites being Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible and Andrew Bird’s Armchair Apocrypha, but Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Modest Mouse, LCD Soundsystem, and Panda Bear all released strong albums as well. None of these albums snuck up on me though, so, if you haven’t already, read about the albums at the above links and then check out some great tracks I’ve come across this month:

MP3 :: You Am I - Secrets

Vastly underrated Aussies You Am I have recently released their latest album, Convicts, through Yep Roc. A gritty and ferocious record, if wildly uneven, Convicts has moments of truly inspired passion, this being one of them. “Secrets” is one of the few ballads, even if it doesn’t play like one, building to a raggedy declaration of trust, with the requisite gleam in its eye and card up its sleeve.

Visit You Am I’s website

MP3 :: Dan Deacon - The Crystal Cat

Weird, but a few of my favorite songs this year have been of the electronic variety. At least that’s what “genre” in my iTunes library says. But you have to hear this song. At first it awkwardly tried to fit-in in my iPod, but didn’t sound at all like the tougher songs, the 8-minute guitar rock monsters, the punks, and the alt-country purists. Slowly though the nicer songs, the sensitive singer-songwriters, the indie-rockers, and the soul men, one by one, started taking to it. It made them laugh, and those laughs were the “with” kind, not “at”. It started showing off its dance moves, and when it got to the noise solo that sounds like a crystal cat having a stroke, well, it was everyone’s best friend. Now it’s the song that plays in my iPod when it’s off, all the other songs dancing around, arms flailing wildly, singing along as best they can, wishing they could be as cool as it.

Visit Dan Deacon’s myspace

MP3 :: The Tragically Hip - In View

My favorite band of the 1990’s releases their most exciting song since, well, the mid-90’s. Ditching the plodding expectations of most of their Canadian fanbase, the Hip have abandoned the same old same old that has handcuffed them to mediocrity for the entire 21st century, if only for this song’s 4 minutes. Sporting synths and an acoustic guitar propelling the song along, Gordon Downie offers his most pop-conscious lyrics ever, and succeeds, fully completely.

Visit The Hip’s website

MP3 :: Loney, Dear - I Am John

If ever a song started off inconspicuously, it’s this. Just some simple strums and some (kind of) pretty singing. It doesn’t take too long for the pace to quicken, and quicken it does, building in stages to its dramatic finale: male-female harmonies (or does this dude just sing really high?), and a driving rhythm racing the fuzzed out guitar to the finish line, neck and neck, each incrementally getting faster as the other does.

Visit Loney, Dear’s website

MP3 :: Wilco - What Light

Ahhhh, I missed you guys….


And of course these 2, which are basically everywhere already:

The National :: Fake Empire (from Boxer, due through Beggars on May 22)
Voxtrot :: "Kid Gloves" (from Voxtrot, also due through Beggars on May 22)

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