Friday, August 31, 2007

Les Savy Fav - Patty Lee (link removed)

Can you believe it's been 6 whole years since Les Savy Fav's last album proper? The good news is that listening to their new album Let's Stay Friends it's as if they never really went on that so-called "hiatus" after all. It seems like with each successive LSF release I find myself saying it's their best one yet, and this one is no different. There's still that sense of urgency, those cryptic lyrics, and the suspicion that the band is teetering on the edge of insanity (proven true upon witnessing frontman Tim Harrington's live antics), but mostly it's the haphazard and hypnotic guitarwork of Seth Jabour and the raw intensity of the music that always manages to progress with each record. This time around they also brought along some guests: Enon, Emily Haines of Metric, Nicholas Thorburn of Islands, and Eleanor Friedberger of Fiery Furnaces just to name a few. Let's Stay Friends will be available on September 18th through French Kiss Records, and if you want to stay friends with me you better start counting your pennies now.

» Bonus Track: Kiss Kiss Is Getting Old (link removed)
» Bonus Track: What Would Wolves Do
» Pre-order it on Amazon

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Weakerthans - Relative Surplus Value

I have to admit, when The Weakerthans released their first album back in 1997, I didn't quite understand the appeal. All I knew is that frontman John K. Samson used to be one of the guys in the politically-charged punk band Propagandhi, and this sounded nothing like Propagandhi. It was all slow and like... emotional or something. Now some 10 years later, I'm a bit older and grown out of the punk rock thing, and I hear The Weakerthans with new ears. I've really warmed up to them over the past decade, and I find it funny how this new album Reunion Tour (not actually a live album, as the title might have you believe) connected with me right from the very first listen. They're a very Canadian band, with possibly more Canadiana references per song than Joel Plaskett (famous hockey goalie Gump Worsley and curling being just a couple of the topics at hand), but I'm not sure how many people outside of Canada are familiar with them. The new record is being released on Epitaph so that's gotta mean something. Still, if you've never heard them before, they're great for fans of indie rock with a folky, heartfelt core. Reunion Tour hits stores on September 25th.

» Bonus Track: Sun in an Empty Room
» Pre-order it on Amazon

Shy Child - Astronaut

If you ask me, Supersystem's Always Never Again is one of the best albums from the past few years that no one heard. Take the sweaty rhythms of !!!, and add in some manic synths and a hint of D.C. post-punk and you might have a close approximation of Supersystem (formerly known as El Guapo), but for some reason they never quite managed to attract as much attention as they deserved. After releasing their second full-length album under the name Supersystem, A Million Microphones, the 4-piece quietly disbanded and went their separate ways. But wait -- it's not too late to latch onto a piece of the Supersystem legacy: keyboardist Pete Cafarella and drummer Nate Smith are now concentrating full-time on their 2-man side project, Shy Child, and their new album Noise Won't Stop captures a lot of what was missing from the last Supersystem album. Just about every track on this album has the potential to get a dance floor moving. Noise Won't Stop hasn't been released in the U.S., but it's available in the U.K. on Wall of Sound Records.

» Bonus Track: Generation Y (We Got It)
» Buy it on Amazon

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Muzak For Cybernetics Mixtape #12

Things have been a bit slow around here lately, but I'm glad to say that we've finally got another Muzak For Cybernetixxx Mixxxtape in the can and ready for download! It's been tough finding time to post regularly, and we've been thinking about abandoning the MP3 blog altogether to concentrate strictly on the Mixtape podcasts from here on in. For those who actually keep up with the blog, let us know if you'd object to such a thing. And now, sit back and enjoy your last mixtape of the summer!

Vampire Weekend - The Kids Don't Stand A Chance
The Narrator - Surf Jew
Spinto Band - Cat's Pajamas
Magic Weapon - Cloudy People
Sunset Rubdown - The Courtesan Has Sung
Les Savy Fav - What Would Wolves Do
Kevin Drew - Back Out On The
Future of the Left - The Lord Hates a Coward
Fog - What Gives?
The Lionheart Brothers - Down at My Place
The Go Team - Titanic Vandalism
The Brunettes - If You Were Alien
Stars - Take Me To The Riot
Octopus Project - I Saw The Bright Shinies
Jesu - Farewell

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Belaire - Don't Delay, Participate!

I first heard Belaire's catchy self-titled EP a couple of years ago now, and at the time I fully expected to see this band get picked up by a reputable indie label and turned into superstars. Unfortunately, things haven't quite panned out like that for these 4 Texans... at least not yet. One thing that may be holding them back is the obligations of Matt Simon and Jason Chronis to their other band, Voxtrot. Then again, with the growing popularity of Voxtrot, you'd think more people would have heard of Belaire by now too. Either way, Belaire's first full-length album is being released this September by Indierect Records, and it definitely picks up where that EP left off. It's chock full of dreamy pop melodies courtesy of twin sisters Cari and Christa Palazollo, with a sound that puts them somewhere between The Rentals, Stereolab and Mates of State. Sound intriguing? Check out these tracks from Exploding, Impacting... and while you're at it, look into their various other projects as well!

» Bonus Track: Step Step Step
» Buy it from Indierect Records

Stereo Image - Red Nights

So you've heard and enjoyed the first two albums from Hamilton's Junior Boys -- perhaps you've even collected their EPs and early singles -- and now you're wondering what else you can get your grubby little hands on. Well, aside from a new Junior Boys album, this could perhaps be the next best thing. As I understand it, former Junior Boy Johnny Dark left the band before the release of their first album Last Exit, but he did not do so with any intentions of straying from the realm of electronic music. Instead he went on to release a solo EP of his own, before teaming up with vocalist San Serac to form Stereo Image. They have since signed to UK label KIN Records, and their first single "Red Nights" is out now. The sound is a kind of chilled out electro-soul vibe, not unlike Junior Boys, but certainly a bit different from Dark's own techno-heavy solo album. I'm looking forward to hearing more from this duo. (Thanks to Dave for the heads up!)

» Stereo Image on MySpace