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Killer Bs: Veronica Falls – “Starry Eyes”

7 Feb

starry eyes indeed

It's rare when a single's a-side is bettered by the flip. Rarer still that a cover surpasses the original. But I think both those things happen with Veronica Falls' debut 7" on Captured Tracks. "Found Love in a Graveyard" made my Favorite Singles of 2009 list when it was just an MP3 floating around on the internet — indiepop at its sad, romantic best. But what a treat too see they covered Roky Erickson's "Starry Eyes" for the b-side. Roky's take (of which there are many versions) was more twangy power pop, but Veronica Falls let the lovelorn lyrics lead the understated arrangement, punctuated with ooh-wee-oohs and the fragile vocals of Roxanne Clifford and Patrick Doyle, both late of Glasgow's Royal We and Sexy Kids. Perfect for you next crush mix-tape.

MP3: Veronica Falls – Starry Eyes

Soundbites Best of 2008 | Singles, Tracks + EPs

29 Dec

Mysterjets_younglove

So here's my list of best singles, album tracks, and EPs from 2008. Unlike my Best Albums List, songs that were from a 2007 album but were released as singles in 2008 are eligible. But single reissues are not. (Which is why "Time to Pretend," Friendly Fires and Pacific are absent from my list.) With the concept of the "album" diminishing in this world of digital downloads, singles are becoming more important. I'm not calling the death knell for the Album, but if groups whose music leans toward the poppy and immediate side of things wanted to just release singles or EPs every couple months instead of a full-length, I'd be okay with it. As I've said before singles are ephemeral in nature, and though I've hit my yearly limit on a few of the songs on this list, there was certainly a period of time in 2008 where all 50 of these were stuck on repeat.

1. Mystery Jets feat. Laura Marling – Young Love (MP3) (Video)
The most inventive, deceptively simple (but actually kind of crazy complex; listen to all the little flourishes), repeatedly-rewarding pop song of the year. Great video too.

2. Metronomy – Heartbreaker (MP3) (Video)
Fantastic bassline + creaky doors + whistling = my second favorite song of the year.

3. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Everything With You (MP3) (Video)
A great big hug wrapped in a fuzzy indie pop sweater.    

4. Violens – Violent Sensation Descends (MP3
Loud Quiet Loud as has never quite been done like this before. I can't wait for their full-length.

5. Dizzee Rascal w/ Calvin Harris – Dance Wiv Me (MP3) (Video)
I've never been much of a Dizzee fan, but add Calvin's '80s-style production and you've got a dancefloor killer.

6. Sam Sparro – Black and Gold (Video)
The rest of this album does nothing for me but "Black and Gold"'s glammy throb is irresistible.

7. TV on the Radio – Golden Age (Video)
2008 was the year of Change and TVotR made the perfect soundtrack. This is the sound of hope with a good beat.

8. Sexy Kids – Sisters Are Forever (MP3)
Just try not to bounce 'round the room while listening to this slice of Scottish pop perfection a la Altered Images.

9. Esser – Headlock (MP3) (Video)
Effervescent single, ridiculously catchy, like superballs set free inside a perpetual motion machine… yet loaded with downer lyrics like "I've got a problem, it's called living." Perfect.

10. Summer Cats – Lonely Planet (MP3) (Video)

Like the Rosebuds backed by Stereolab, Australia's Summer Cats put a sunny coat of paint on the krauty VU groove. 

11. Metronomy – A Thing for Me (MP3) (Video)
I could put almost all of Metronomy's Nights Out on this list, but restrained myself at two. Be sure to check out the video to this one.

12. David Byrne & Brian Eno – Strange Overtones (MP3
Too bad the rest of the Byrne/Eno album didn't deliver on the promise of this great single.

13. Sky Larkin – Fossil, I (Video)
Old school indie rock done with vim and vigor by this Leeds, UK trio. Vim and vigor? Really. Just listen to the song. It rocks. 

14. Lykke Li – Little Bit (Video)
Lykke Li's coquettish delivery slightly disguises just how hot this is.

15. Ida Maria – Queen of the World (MP3) (Video)
One of the most joyous songs ever about being smashed on whiskey.

16. MGMT – Kids (Video)
Hate their fashion, hate their friends, hate their rich hippie-ness, but MGMT have some great songs. The hooks are undeniable!

17. Girls – Lust for Life / Morning Light (MP3) (MP3) (Video)
There are too many "Girl" groups right now, but I've got room for San Francisco's shoegaze folk rock wunderkinds. Especially on this double A-side.

18. Animal Collective – Water Curses EP (MP3) (Video)
Animal Collective have finally started to get poppy enough for me to genuine like them. Bring on Merriweather Post Pavillion!

19. Late of the Pier – Heartbeat (MP3) (Video)
One of the many "this shouldn't work" songs on LotP's great debut Fantasy Black Channel. Yet it does, brilliantly.

20. Vivian Girls – Tell the World (MP3) (Video)
Every time these girls open their mouths to the press, it's a disaster, but give 'em instruments and hard
to hold it against them. So many things in that sentence could be construed the wrong way.

21. Casiokids – Grønt Lys I Alle Ledd / Togens Hule (MP3) (Video)
You don't need to speak Norwegian to dig this double A-side. I imagine it would help, though. But not that much.

22. The Last Shadow Puppets – Standing Next to Me (MP3) (Video)
Alex Turner and Miles Kane seem a little young to already be going through their Jacques Brel/Scott Walker period, but that's also probably why it's as good as it is.

23. The Wild Beasts – The Devil's Crayon (MP3) (Video)
Not since the days of the Associates and the Triffids has pop attempted to be so grandiose… and successful at it. I must say I can't really stomach the resto of them album, but but "The Devil's Crayon" is a bullseye.

24. Adele – Cold Shoulder (Video)
I'll take Adele over Duffy any day… "Cold Shoulder" perfectly-produced soulful pop. Ronson-produced, natch.

25. Amazing Baby – Infinite Fucking Cross EP (download EP) (Video + Video)
Hated by Brooklynvegan commenters, loved by me. Harder, more-rocking Roxy Music? About as close to a good description as you can get with there pigeonhole-adverse Williamsburg residents.

26 – 50 after the jump…

(more…)

Slumberland Goes to Glasgow for Sexy Kids and Bricolage

10 Nov

Slumberland Records knows how to make a comeback. One of the most influential indie labels of the '90s, they went dormant, for the most part, in 2001. But then last year, like the Wonka factory, things began to stir in Slumberland land, with the label being fully revitalized this year. We've gotten great full-lengths from The Lodger and Crystal Stilts, a swell caUSE co-MOTION compilation, the awesome Searching for the Now series of split 7" singles and the promise of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's excellent debut album due in February 2009.

Now add to that absolutely fantastic singles from two of Glasgow's best new bands.

Slr79
First is Sexy Kids' debut single "Sisters are Forever," which features half of the short-lived, dearly-missed The Royal We. Like that band, it still owes a lot to that city's '80s new wave scene, though this really sounds more like Altered Images than anything on Postcard. (More specifically, it sounds like The Wedding Present's cover of "Think That it Might.") It's pretty great:

MP3Sexy Kids – Sisters are Forever (buy it from Slumberland)


MP3The Wedding Present – Think That it Might

Slr86
Slumberland has also signed Bricolage who definitely evoke the Postcard sound. The band have been together for two years and have toured with Franz Ferdinand and punk legend Vic Godard (who Orange Juice covered). "Turn U Over," their fourth single, reeks of Orange Juice but yet it tastes fresh, not from concentrate, and the chorus is insanely infectious and bonkers good. I love it. 

MP3Bricolage – Turn U Over (buy from Slumberland; earlier releases on Emusic)

MP3Orange Juice – Satellite City

Bricolage's debut album, which "Turn U Over" is from, is due out in February on Slumberland.