Quarters for the Jukebox

Album — Re-arrange Us by Mates of State

Mates of State
Mates of State are a married indie-pop duo, originally haling from Lawrence, Kan. The new album contains some gems (see below) that offer honest, lyrical storytelling glued together with interesting, cinematic musical arrangements. The songs are mostly uplifting with strong choruses and bridges, even if they don’t sound like it at first. Their music connects. If you’re an indie-pop fan, I highly recommend. Check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: Blue and Gold Print; Great Dane; Lullaby Haze; The Re-arranger; You are Free; Get Better.

Worth listening, if you like: Matt Pond PA; The Weepies; Belle and Sebastian; Tina Dico; The Shins; Death Cab for Cutie; Palomar; Goldfrapp (kind of).


In the Jukebox — May 29

In the jukebox for this week (based off what’s new; arranged alphabetically by artist name):

  • Adele—Chasing Pavements: Admittedly, this came out in January, but it’s new to me. She’s been labeled “the next Amy Winehouse” and BBC tagged her as the top new music talent for 2008. Her voice is good and smoky, but the song is a slow burner.
  • Al Green—Lay it Down: Celebration of Al Green’s music produced by The Roots’ ?uestlove and James Poyser, imposed with duets by breathing artists such as John Legend, Anthony Hamilton and Corinne Bailey Rae.
  • Band of Heathens—The Band of Heathens: Americana rock out of Austin. The group is the joining of three former solo acts: Ed Jurdi, Colin Brooks and Gordy Quist.
  • Chris Sligh—Running Back to You: The portly guy with a bushel of hair from American Idol’s sixth season releases his first solo album, an offering of Christian pop-rock. His voice sounds waaaaay better (with professional production) than I remembered it.
  • Cyndi Lauper—Bring Ya to the Brink: Cyndi pretends she’s Madonna.
  • Death Cab for Cutie—Narrow Stairs: Poetic “nerd rock,” and a pretty solid album.
  • Ice Cube—It Takes a Nation: After listening to this single, it’s hard to picture him in a third rendition of “Are We There Yet?”
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Single/Video — Pork and Beans by Weezer

Pork and Beans is the first single for Weezer’s upcoming “Red Album” (available June 3, 2008), and the video is flipping amazing. It pulls the resources of virtually every famous (or infamous) YouTube clip. Quite simply, it’s one the best music videos I’ve seen in awhile (and the song is pretty good too).

In the Jukebox — May 20

What’s new and in the jukebox for this week (alphabetically sorted by artist):

  • 3 Doors Down—3 Doors Down: More blue collar rock appropriate for radio play.
  • AM—Side by Side – Duets EP: Came out about a month ago; male singer/songwriter AM sings soft, simple duets with Meiko, Tina Dico, Julianna Raye, Buddy, Susie Suh and Rick Garcia. Listening to it has prompted me to download AM’s previous albums … happy, Leanna?
  • Filter—Anthems for the Damned: The band who brought you “Hey Man Nice Shot” and “Take a Picture” is back with an album after a six year absence … “Cold” (which has hints of “Take a Picture”) and/or “Kill the Day” (or its remix) could have some potential as singles.
  • Foxboro Hot Tubs—Stop Drop and Roll!!!: Neurotic, frenetic, old-school-feel rock ‘n’ roll.
  • Jesse McCartney—Departure: Not that I’m listening, but I feel obligated to say it’s out (it’s his “I’m grown up and have street credibility even though I used to sing and dance for cartoon music videos and now want to be Robin Thicke” album). The production sounds good (for the couple of songs I’ve heard); it will be interesting to see how mainstream play takes to it.
  • Mariah Carey—E=MC²: What does Einstein and relativity have to do with Mariah Carey? I don’t know … other than the brief sharing of initials. Either way, expect to hear clips of songs on YouTube, YouTube … .”
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Album — No, Virginia by Dresden Dolls

Dresden Dolls

Dresden Dolls are at first glance, both fascinating and frightening. It’s this conundrum that makes it easy to want to like the Brechtian-punk-cabaret duo—just because they’re so unique and intriguing. More than a band, Dresden Dolls are an idea, an experience and a noble freak show. The music is a dark, raw and brash statement spoken with a wry smile through voice, piano and drums. Channeling a variety of musical influences, the songs are an unorthodox, unapologetic mixture of sexuality, pain, chaos, loneliness, buried secrets, violence and performance for the sake of performance—art that inspires reaction. It’s just up to you to see if that reaction is of fascination or fear or something entirely different.

The album “No, Virginia,” is companion to the duo’s second full length album, “Yes, Virginia” (titled in reference to an 1897 editorial reply in the New York Sun to a letter about the existence of Santa Claus—“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”). The songs are left over from the “Yes, Virginia” recordings, along with b-sides and compilation releases. The duo is releasing a digital version of this album on June 10, 2008. The digital release will feature three bonus tracks. Check for yourself. 

Quarters for the songs: Night Reconnaissance; Sorry Bunch; The Kill; The Mouse and The Model; Ultima Esperanza.

Worth listening, if you like: The Tiger Lillies; Cat Power; … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead; Antony & The Johnsons; Bauhaus; Tori Amos; Rilo Kiley; Rasputina; Cocteau Twins; Joy Division; Fiona Apple; Evanescence.

Album — Can’t Love, Can’t Hurt by Augustana

Augustana band photo by James Minchin III

Augustana‘s success has been a bit of a late bloomer, as their 2005 album, “All the Stars and Boulevards,” didn’t garner real national attention until 2007 (hitting the Billboard Top 40 nineteen months after its initial release, propelled by the success of their single, “Boston”). Now with a brighter spotlight on the group (and new guitarist), Augustana fills their new album with a lot of heartfelt, adult alternative songs. Lead singer Dan Layus’ fragile voice is what immediately stands out and takes center stage, effectively mixing the pain of an older heart with teenage angst. However, with all of the ballads, the album kind of positions the band as the cool version of Five for Fighting. Check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: Dust; Fire; Hey Now; Meet You There; Sweet and Low.

Worth listening if you like: Ben Kweller; Coldplay; Turin Brakes; Five for Fighting; Aqualung; Dashboard Confessional; Emerson Hart; Guster; Howie Day; Keane; The Fray; Switchfoot; Liz Phair; Cary Brothers; A Fine Frenzy; OneRepublic.

In the Jukebox — May 13

In the jukebox for this week (alphabetically ordered by artist):

  • Big Boi — Royal Flush: Outkast’s shorter half goes solo with this single, but still features Andre 3000 (and Raekwon); “mainstream” fans of Speakerboxxx will be disappointed.
  • City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra — Indiana Jones Trilogy: Grab your brimmed hat and one-liners. Just in time for the new movie, the Prague orchestra performs the music from the three previous Jones movies.
  • Dresden Dolls — No Virgina: Weimar-era-burlesque-alternative-piano-pop-cabaret-punk duo’s fourth full album.
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