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This is a big, big week for new releases that we've been listening to and preparing for the past month. All of songs featured in this mega-playlist mix are choice tracks off of new releases that officially drop this week, including Dr. Dog, Hacienda, Harlem, Javelin, Codeine Velvet Club, Jonsi, Matt Pond PA, Pepper Rabbit, Tung, Mi Ami, The Kissaway Trail, Red Sparowes, Rob Laufer and more. Many of the artists and bands in today's playlist mix were big draws at last month's South By Southwest in Austin. Following today's new releases, there is also a mix of MP3s of songs from re-issues of Elliott Smith, Cheap Trick, The Doves, and Ray Charles.

First up is the popular Philadelphia rock band, Dr. Dog, who have consistently put out one solid release after another during the past decade. As well, Dr. Dog has gained a strong reputation for their energetic and well executed live performances. Absent of writing a more thorough review (sorry, time squeeze here), we can tell you that Dr. Dog's latest release demonstrates the band at their best, and indeed has an aspect of their live sound throughout. "Stranger," is the lead single. Shame, Shame is already #31 of Amazon's best-selling albums.

"Stranger" - Dr. Dog from Shame, Shame
Dr. Dog official website


San Antonio band Hacienda dropped their sophomore album, Big Red & Barbacoa, today. Like the band's debut album, Loud Is The Night, Hacienda's new LP was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Big Red & Barbacoa throws down heavy grooves, 1960's style harmonies, and a blend of Tex-Mex roots rock, retro-pop and rhythm and blues, a formula that some call "South Texas soul music." In 2009, the band gained national recognition for their sets at popular music festivals and on tour opening for Dan Auerbach, Dr. Dog and Alberta Cross.

"I Keep Waiting" - Hacienda from Big Red and Barbacoa
Hacienda on MySpace


The roughly recorded guitars, drums and vocals on Harlem's Hippies may sound like they're coming from the neighbor's garage down the street, but the lo-fidelity rock that the Austin trio wields spills over with pop ambition and exuberance. Snappy rhythms, simple song structures and interesting lyrics may seem ordinary at first, but with each subsequent spin, reveal the album's brilliance, and elevate the band's position as one of Austin's hottest bands of the past year or so.

"Cloud Pleaser"- Harlem from Hippies

"Friendly Ghost" - Harlem from Hippies

Bonus: "Gay Human Bones" - Harlem from Hippies
Hacienda official website


Another much talked about SXSW band, Codeine Velvet Club, are Scottish alternative rockers featuring founding member John Lawler (aka, Jon Fratelli) of The Fratellis. While on break from The Fratellis, Lawler and the band released their debut album in December in the UK to wide acclaim. Today marks the official U.S. release of Codeine Velvet Club's debut via Dangerbird Records. We've listened to the self-titled LP enough now to say it is definitely one of the best debuts of 2010. If you like these two songs, you'll love the album. Highly recommended.

"Hollywood" - Codeine Velvet Club from Codeine Velvet Club
"Vanity Kills" - Codeine Velvet Club from Codeine Velvet Club
Codeine Velvet Club

"Vibrationz" - Javelin from No Mas
"Oh Centra" - Javelin from No Mas
Javelin on MySpace

"Transparent" - Awesome Color from Massa Hypnos
Awesome Color on MySpace


What else can we say about Sigur Ros' frontman Jonsi's new solo album, Go, that we haven't already said? If you are a Sigur Ros fan, you'll want to add Go to your 'music to get' list for spring of 2010. The project was recorded with help from Jonsi's partner. Also, we have a new track from Matt Pond PA's latest album and a Mojib mash-up/cover of UNKLE's 2007, "May Day Revisited," featuring The Radio Dept.

"Boy Lilikoi" - Jonsi Birgisson from Go (currently #17 on Amazon)

"Starting" - Matt Pond PA from The Dark Leaves

"May Day Revisited" - Mojib and The Radio Dept.

"Sea Waves" - Nice Nice from Extra Wow

"On Giving Up" - High Places from High Places vs. Mankind

"I Learned The Hard Way" - Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings from I Learned the Hard Way (currently #2 on Amazon)

"Killing Kind" - Shark Speed from Education EP
Shark Speed on MySpace


In the follow-up to their triumphant debut, The Kissaway Trail's new album, Sleep Mountain, has it's strong points, but the Arcade Fire rip-off is a huge disappointment, and somewhat baffling. Afterall, one of Sleep Mountain's new tracks, "Don't Wake Up," has the muted vocals, accordion waves and choruses of some of AF's biggest songs, including, oddly enough, their very popular track, "Wake Up."

Whether Sleep Mountain is some misguided attempt to parody AF, or pay honor to the Montreal band's unique style and sound, The Kissaway Trail, their management and label have done themselves, and TKT fans, a disservice. As well, producer Peter Katis (Interpol, The National, Jonsi), should have known better as well to ditch the Arcade Fire copy-cat, and focus on TKT's strengths, not to mention provided his expertise to ensure this album demonstrated the band's growth and progression.

Here's what Pitchfork, which gave Sleep Mountain a 4.4, said: "From the palm-muted chords and chiming bells that open it, this album is stained to the point of unintentional parody by the Arcade Fire's influence." And, as the PF review points out, this is unfortunate because the album has some strong songs, yet most are on the second half of the LP.

"Beat Your Heartbeat" - The Kissaway Trail from Sleep Mountain
The Kissaway Trail on MySpace

"Red Wine" - Pepper Rabbit from Shakes + Clicks
Pepper Rabbit on MySpace

"Giving Birth to Imagined Saviors" - Red Sparowes from Fear Is Excruciating But Therein Lies the Answer
Red Sparowes official website

"Latin Lover" - Mi Ami from Stealing Your Face
Mi Ami on MySpace

"Don't Look Down of Back" - Tunng from ...And Then We Saw Land
Tunng official website


We really love these two Rob Laufer songs that were sent to us by his manager. Laufer has a brilliantly melodic, soft voice, a penchant for creating memorable songs and lyrics, and an overall musicianship that is impressive. His new release, Excruciating Bliss, is out today.

"Mary Entertaining" - Rob Laufer from Excruciating Bliss

"Birds" - Rob Laufer from Excruciating Bliss


Reissues and Compilations We Like: Elliott Smith, The Doves, Cheap Trick, Ray Charles and Solomon Burke

"Angel in the Snow" - Elliott Smith from Roman Candle

"Twilight" - Elliott Smith from Basement on a Hill

"Sea Song" - The Doves from The Places Between: The Best of Doves

"Surrender" - Cheap Trick from One on One/Next Position Please

"Cry To Me/Take Me As I Am" - Solomon Burke from Nothing's Impossible

"I've Got News for You" - Ray Charles from Genius + Soul = Jazz


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   April 5, 2010   


At 5:09 AM , Blogger Pangea said...

very solid post. thx

check out

At 11:18 AM , Blogger Skepticon said...

None of these bands seemed to do anything for me other than try to depress me. These bands and their songs are rather melancholy and not altogether original. We can either enter 2010 on a melancholy note or enter with energy and inspiration. My band is going for inspiration and energy and hopefully it will be contagious.

At 1:44 PM , Blogger Jon Wolf said...

Great post! Thank you!

Has anyone seen any lyrics yet for "Gay Human Bones"? Kind of tired of mumbling through the chorus...


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