songs by email

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Music by email

Ye olde oddes & endes.

01. Eleni Mandell — I liked everything I heard from Mandell. “Artificial Fire” (the song) has this gorgeous guitar work on it, and though I’m not sure what she means by artificial fire, it’s no weirder than pretty much every New Pornographers song ever. There’s a strong jazz influence on the music, with extra brass, which is awesome. Mandell is apparently a Silver Lake fixture if you know that scene, so hop over to her site and preview some tracks. You can pick up “Artificial Fire” (the album) on Feb. 17.

Eleni Mandell — Artificial Fire

Eleni Mandell — Site | Label (Zedtone)

02. The Online Romance — They sent me a very cute song called “Ladybug, Don’t Smile.” Love the lyrics: “Your spotty bright umbrella covers your back / and it seems as though you never heard that luck goes badly.”

They seem to be writing some songs for an upcoming album. Perhaps we will hear more later? This song seems very apropos for a summer mix. *files it away for ladybug season*

The Online Romance — Ladybug, Don’t Smile

The Online Romance — Site | Myspace

03. Jenn Grant — Six-Shooter Records strikes again. I love Jenn Grant, I may have mentioned this before. Yeah. Gorgeous redhead delivers laid-back, harmonious, beautiful tunes, never the same twice. My favorite so far is “(I’ve Got) the Two Of You,” which sounds like the Andrews Sisters. Album entitled “Echoes” came out Feb. 3rd.

Jenn Grant — (I’ve Got) the Two Of You
Jenn Grant — Fireflies

Jenn Grant — Site | Myspace | Label (Six Shooter)

04. Turbowölf — Guys, they have an umlaut in their name. The music is as thick as peanut butter and “Ghost Hunt” has a fantastic moshable beat. It is not my usual cup of tea, dur, but it does take me back to high school (in a good way). I don’t think there’s any kind of new album or anything, just some random promotion and talk of SXSW and whatnot. Haha, I pet them on their Turbo furry heads.

Turbowölf — Ghost Hunt

Turbowölf — Myspace

05. Weinland — They didn’t send me much info so I have no review. However, you too can stream a good new Weinland song at the Portland Mercury site.

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You know the drill. It comes in my inbox, and sometimes I even write about it.

01. Oceansea — This Daniel Catarino guy gets around. He has two bands and Oceansea is his solo project (apparently he thinks he’s Stars, ha ha). The guitar work on “Breathing” made me happy because it put me in mind of the New Ams and my secret punk rock boyfriend (Matt Pryor) but leaving aside my peccadilloes, Catarino has a very nice voice and a pretty turn of phrase. The low-key guitar does sound a lot like the ocean on a good day, breaking and falling gently.

Catarino has made “Songs from the Bedroom Floor” available in its entirety through Creative Commons, so go to the myspace to download the whole dang thing (click on the giant adorable owl). If you listen & like it, consider donating a couple bucks (or Euros) to his three-band cause.

Oceansea — Myspace

02. Half Moon Tuesday — Two acoustic guys out of Costa Mesa — shout out to the OC from LA county :D. The songs are something I would have liked 10 years ago but it’s not complex enough for me now. They sound like they would have played at the Bronze back when I was getting my Buffy fix — I like the nice harmony in “Fade” with the guitar answering back.

Half Moon Tuesday — Myspace

03. Bambi Get Over It — Six piece band from Norwich, UK. Oddly, “Ginger” sounds like early live Rilo Kiley (and I’m not sure what it is with the British and redheads. Seriously, people). Add a little more stomp and a Detroit Cobras vibe and you get “Bad Man” and “Sounds of Her City.” I like that the songs are mandolin-heavy, I have a soft spot for the mandolin.

Bambi Get Over It — Myspace

04. Young Coyotes — Some howling going on here … this is more boy-indie than I like, with the whole shaky-voice ooh-ooh-ooh thing going on, but songs like “Momentary Drowning” does put one in mind of Bishop Allen or the Format (handclaps and all).

Young Coyotes — Myspace

Young Coyotes — Momentary Drowning

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Ndidi Onukwulu

Wow, I never thought I could get so sick of four unrelated words that started with Death and ended with Cutie. Talk about overload. Once again I turn to my inbox for solace, and it does not disappoint.

This one’s for James — a blues chanteuse who is Canadian and based out of scenic Toronto. She’s gorgeous and her voice is made for her genre. When I first heard her, I thought of Norah Jones, but better. Jones’s bland, inoffensive music sort of makes you nod your head and go, “that’s nice,” but when Onukwulu gets going, she layers brass on top of jazz drums or violin on top of guitar and adds her gorgeous voice and wham, you’re hooked.

Her new record, out June 17th, is called “The Contradictor.” I have duly listed the download-approved track, but it’s not the most stellar in my opinion; I prefer the sassier numbers, like “Forever SZ” and “Her House Is Empty KH,” which also features an awesome trumpet solo. Onukwulu’s voice is beautiful and rich enough to support “Move Together,” which is stitched together with a little guitar and handclaps but not much else. She can belt like Aretha or drop it down low for a country sound. I’m impressed.

Ndidi Onukwulu — Myspace | Site | Label (Jericho Beach)

[ed note — track removed.]

Ndidi Onukwulu — Final SK


Some of these don’t even get the obligatory 200 words. Oh well.

Jenn Grant — I believe I already said somewhere that I love Jenn Grant. Let me say it again. Listening to her reminds me of the good old days when my headphones were glued to my head in college and Sarah McLachlan was always playing. Not that Jenn sounds exactly like Sarah, but they both have a slow, lush timbre in common. New album is called “Orchestra For the Moon.”

Jenn Grant — Dreamer

Jistoray – seemed like something was there, but I just couldn’t find it.

Northern Room — though they sent me a nice email, this is not my kind of music. It’s very alternative top 40, like Silverchair crossed with Nickelback and a little bit of Incubus thrown in. Perhaps you like those bands who are currently on play on your local station; if so, then check out Northern Room.

Our Last Night – Dashboard Confessional on speed. *falls over dead*

The Sharp Things — I like the idea of a symphonic pop band, and the instrumentals backing this song are totally lickable; but I don’t really like the slick 70s vibe of the vox. Still, it’s extremely professional. If you liked those slick 70s numbers, this is the band for you.

The Sharp Things — Cruel Thing.

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Four bands named after nouns (or verbs, in one case: if it were a noun, it would be “The Oath.” Thank you, I’ll be here all week).

The Cape May

Reminds me very strongly of Sparklehorse; that same low-toned dreamy quality. Am I paraphrasing their presskit bio? It could be; they used a heck of a lot of adjectives. I could see the music from “Glass Mountain Roads” as the soundtrack for a Miyazaki-esque film full of strange animals and spirits and long vistas full of trees with maybe a town or two just out there in the distance.

The Cape May – Site

The Details

Winnipeg quartet describes themeselves thusly:

The Details is a band. The Details is a band made of people. The Details is a band made up of four people. Two of these people share a name, albeit a different spelling. One of these people has a name that rhymes with the pair of name-sharers. One of
these people has a name that rhymes with the word Jelly.

Mmmm… jelly. The music switches interestingly from wailing, breaking punk on “Reunion Souvenirs” to a slow, Lucksmiths-ish ballad (“Underground”). It sounds heavily like a band that oughtta be on Vagrant Records, and — in spite of their 10,000+ friends on Myspace, — this band ain’t my cup of tea. You might like it, though; give it a listen. The new album entitled “Draw a Distance. Draw a Border” comes out in September.

The Details – Myspace

The Saltshakers

I love their site; I’ll say that first. All sites should look so elegant. The music is peppy, even when the lyrics aren’t; isn’t that the paradox of music anyway? That we can dance to the things that break our hearts? I wouldn’t call it the most original thing ever, but the vocalist hits his marks beautifully; it is well-made pop rock and we always need more heartbreak to shimmy to (or, in the case of “Whiskeytown,” hold ourselves and sort of shuffle around in circles). New album is called “Up All Night.”

The Saltshakers – Site
The Saltshakers – Myspace

The Swear

Nice short email; thanks. The music speaks for itself — driving punk with, y’know, buckets of attitude. I love, love, love, that Elizabeth Elkins isn’t some sugar-coated soprano — she growls like a rock goddess. Sadly, not much to promote unless you want to pick up their 2005 album “Every Trick’s A Good One.” Tunes at the Myspace or downloads at their site.

The Swear – Site
The Swear – Myspace

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Songs by Email, part three

I got some great responses from my last post, and thanks to all the ladies who dropped by and gave me more names for my list. We only need one more site and we’d be at fifty, so if you’re out there, give us your name, precioussss. I was just glad to get so many more blogs for my RSS … I have trouble keeping up as it is, but so what? I’ll drown happy.

And now onto songs by email, part three. You know the drill.

Ali Marcus

Ms. Marcus is mentioned below in conjunction with female bloggers, but she is also a musician and her music sounds like something you’d hear on old timey radio, sitting with your ear pressed up against a vacuum tube. Very Dar Williams, using her voice and lyrics as instruments.

She has kindly made much of her 2007 album, “Miles and Miles and Miles,” available on her site. Can’t beat that. I’m really liking “A Pearl Is Just A Pearl.”

Ali Marcus – Site | Myspace | Label (Turtle Rock)

The Cinematic Orchestra

Recently released record entitled “Ma Fleur” is “the soundtrack to a specially commissioned screenplay for an imagined film (which may or may not yet be made).” Which is so frakking cool! It could be the soundtrack to your life, people! You just don’t know it.

The music is extra jazzy, sometimes sounding Bjorkian, like a song off of “Debut,” and sometimes just like what you said to your girlfriend last night on the phone before you hung up and cried. Yeah, admit it … the soundtrack already knows you did.

The Cinematic Orchestra – Site | Myspace

TCO — To Build A Home (edit)

TCO — Child Song (US 7″ b-side)


I appreciate the backwards-paddling mindset that it takes to compose blippity electronica, because often it’s not the kind of thing that makes the hoi polloi sit up and take notice. Kosovo decided that the rock they were churning out was ‘pretty generic’ (I quote their Myspace), so they tried something different, and bless them for trying.

It’s experimental and very laid-back, not something I could listen to all the time, but it would make excellent background for a Karazhan raid (gratuitous WoW reference). Your raid leader could give orders over it, and they’d fit right in.

Kosovo – Myspace

Robert Francis

Prettily played and sung, Ryan Adams crossed with Chris Isaak; thinks a bit much of itself. From the presskit bio:

Unlike most teenagers, Robert is not seduced by the decadent lifestyles of today’s pop stars and has only disdain for the over produced empty songs on the radio. Writing and producing all his own material, he injects one hundred percent truth and emotion into each of his songs.

Awww, teenage disdain and sincerity, you gotta love it. Album entitled “One by One” is coming out on Aeronaut records in August.

Robert Francis — Myspace | Label (Aeronaut)

Robert Francis — One By One
Robert Francis — Little Girl

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I’ve decided I love songs by email, mostly because I don’t have to host anything on my own space (unless it’s worth it). Thanks, promoters, for saving my bandwidth!

Cheyenne — So quintessentially indie — a guy who can’t sing, some pretty good lyrics, etc., etc. Perks up a bit in “Write It Down In Red,” with addition of female vocalist and harmonica, but mostly does nothing for me. However, I can see hordes of fanboys slavering over their new EP, “The Land Rush.”

Cheyenne – Myspace | Site

Rose Kemp – This gal is old school, from a long tradition of proud girl rockers who don’t give quarter. It’s not my style of music anymore, but when I was eighteen I would have listened to it at full volume on my little basement-bedroom stereo. I’m glad there’s still music like this to be heard! You girls out there choking on your surfeit of Fergie and Kelly Clarkson, you give Rose here a try.

Rose Kemp – Myspace

Rose Kemp – Violence (fades out at the end, but it’s enough to sample.)

Vivek Shraya — Reading through his website, I’m tickled by his sense of humor. As for the music: for electropop, it seems thin — rather one dimensional — but I do like it, especially “Fevered,” with those hot minor key changes. It bounces. I don’t know if this would fly in a club, but I’d dance to it in my living room. New album is called, “If We’re Not Talking.”

Vivek Shraya – Myspace | Site

Vivek Shraya – Fevered [track removed]

Stars — Superfab reader James notes that Stars has a new song called “The Night Starts Here,” a precursor to new album “In Our Bedroom After the War.” Recommended to those people who … you know … like Stars. Is there anyone who doesn’t?

Stars – The Night Starts Here

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[ed. note — Realizing how remiss I have been — oh yes, you were all scorning me — I watched the video for Love Will Tear Us Apart. Man, I would have liked that song a lot when I was fifteen. Makes me want to dig out my copy of “Seventeen Seconds.” If, y’know, it weren’t on tape.]

I get a lot of music emailed to me these days and not much time to listen to it, but I don’t want it to build up too long. I’ve gone and dug through a few of my emails, and so far it’s been a 50/50 prospect. I’ll feature them by fours anyway, the ones I liked and the ones I thought were meh (anything I really hated or found offensive got a delete button). Please excuse the prose, it is not as polished as usual, ha ha. In alphabetical order, because I’m a nerd like that:

the Good Luck Joes
— Nice funky pop, think Travis’s rock sound crossed with the Format’s cheeky lyricism. Lots of preview music available on their site. Album released last year called “What Do You Think Of That Noise?” Why, I think it’s just fine. Turn it up.

The Good Luck Joes – Site | Myspace

Motocade — Nice email from Motocade’s bass player — music is kind of young for me. Yes good bass (grats to Scott), kind of whiny vox. Lyrics can be very snappy, esp in “My Friends” — ‘you won’t go blind if you watch my back.’ Zing! Also props for a pretty Myspace, which you don’t see every day.

Motocade – Myspace

Papertrigger – Self-described as “rock juggernauts.” Er … I guess … but I’m just not getting it. Complimentarily, I suppose, I can’t find anything to compare this music with … perhaps the patriotic anthem of Borogravia? (Gratuitous Terry Pratchett reference ahead –) I can see the soldiers marching with their pictures of the Duchess and singing, “We Are Nations Now.” The lyrics make even less sense than a Band Of Horses song. Eek.

Papertrigger – Site

Pearlene — O deary me, I’m hooked from the first chord. Sort of a laid back Scott Biram vibe, very very blues rock. Recommended for those people (like me) who thought “Magic Potion” was one of the best albums of 2006. Newly released record is called, “For Western Violence and Brief Sensuality.” Hot damn, me likey. *plays air guitar*

Pearlene – Site | Myspace

Pearlene – Watch the Way

Pearlene – Hosannah

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