Hallelujah: A “YMCA”-free wedding mixtape

Here Comes the Bride: A Popdose Wedding Songs MixtapeWe’ve all been there: You’re invited to celebrate a couple’s special day with the bride, groom, and 100 or so of their closest friends and relatives. Everyone’s dressed up and looking good, the food is fine, and the alcohol is flowing. What could be better?

Here’s an idea — how about a DJ who doesn’t play the same damn songs you’ve heard at every other wedding you’ve been to? No “YMCA,” no “Electric Boogie,” and, for the love of God, no “Macarena.” It shouldn’t be that hard, but it is — which is why we’re so pleased to inform you that the gang at Popdose has gotten together and come up with “Bride of Popdose: A Wedding Songs Mixtape,” featuring a long list of songs from their own weddings that haven’t already been played to death. Whether it’s Ennio Morricone, Trisha Yearwood, Indigo Girls, or Beausoleil that strikes your fancy, you’re bound to find something worth celebrating here. And who knows? Maybe some of these songs will come in handy the next time you have to plan a wedding…

Seen Your Video: Metric, “Sick Muse”

We were admittedly late to the Metric party, but after hearing the band’s fantastic new album Fantasies, we are officially smitten. And how cool is this: they just made a video for “Sick Muse,” the song we’ve been putting on mix discs since the album’s release.

The clip itself is simple one: the camera stays still while the band members play, or dance, or sing, or whatever they feel like doing. And if Emily Haines doesn’t have the cutest dance ever, we don’t know who does. Swoon. And as a bonus, this player – which defaults to auto-play, grrrr – contains videos for “Gimme Sympathy” and “Help I’m Alive” as well, along with audio streams of the entire Fantasies album. Sweeeeeeet.

Scripts ‘N Screwz: The New Noise

If there’s one thing you’d expect from an East St. Louis rap duo, it’s the ability to convincingly go dark, and on their full-length debut, The New Noise, Scripts ‘N Screwz deliver: for nearly an hour, the album envelops the listener in a grim, seedy wall of unforgiving sound that effectively frames their stark, socio-politically oriented rhymes. It’s distinctly inner-city stuff, with anger to spare, but it’s also a work of deep thought – and the probing lyrics are well matched by the steadily shifting production, which shifts from the dense, flashy barrage of tracks like “Brick” to the pared-down menace of “Eyes Wide Shut.” Scripts ‘N Screwz claim OutKast as a major influence, but don’t go into The New Noise expecting the freewheeling, genre-hopscotching whimsy that typifies OutKast’s albums; where releases like Aquameni and Stankonia tried to bring the street to the FM dial, Noise sits on the stoop and dares you to come to it. It isn’t always a happy journey, but it’s an unmistakably worthwhile one – if you like your hip-hop lyrically conscious and a little off the beaten path, this is Noise you need to hear. (The V.E. Company 2009)

Scripts ‘N Screwz MySpace page

Solomon’s Seal: The Sea, The Sea

U.S. based British band Minibar has been a fixture on the Los Angeles indie pop scene for the last decade, but yet Minibar has managed to stay under most everyone’s radar. Those who know the band know the slightly smoky and brooding vocals of front man Simon Petty, who is also one heck of a songwriter, and now he gets to prove that point with his debut solo effort, The Sea, The Sea under the moniker Solomon’s Seal. Petty’s obsession with the Smiths is documented in the press materials, and he’s also said to be influenced by the late, great Nick Drake. One thing going for Petty right off the bat is that he doesn’t feel compelled to fake a British accent like other alt-popsters. His vocals bring the songs effortlessly to life – and the songs themselves, with their beautifully sparse production and arrangements, are simply wonderful. The haunting instrumental “Solomon’s Suite” is an odd opener, but then right from the soothing piano and smooth vocals of “A Trick of the Light,” Petty’s artistry just shines. Other standouts are “Sleeping in the Car,” which sounds like a Glen Phillips-Joseph Arthur hybrid, the pretty guitar/vocal of “I Built a Fire,” and the romping, Peter Gabriel-esque “A Part of the River.” (Unshackled 2009)

Solomon’s Seal MySpace Page

My Favorite Highway: How to Call a Bluff

Depending on how cynical you are, there are two ways you can look at My Favorite Highway: Either they’re a television music supervisor’s wet dream – and the latest withered apple to fall off the Something Corporate branch of the blink-182 family tree – or they’re every bit as earnest as they seem, and their full-length debut, How to Call a Bluff, is really just the front line in a new wave of bands whose members grew up listening to Third Eye Blind, Matchbox Twenty, and Everclear. Either way, there’s no getting around the fact that lead Highwayman David Cook is a songwriter with a gift for melody and his heart strapped firmly to his sleeve, and if that just happens to be exactly what it takes to get your music played in an episode of “The Hills,” that’s no reason to write the band off as a crass, watered-down facsimile of something that wasn’t all that great in the first place, is it? Well, again, that depends on your level of cynicism – but if you can bring yourself to listen to Bluff without hearing the strong echoes of the band’s influences, though, you’ll find it a veritable buffet of sweet, fizzy pop treats, all gleaming surfaces, sticky hooks, and giant choruses. If this Highway leads to less-traveled environs, some beautiful vistas could await. (Virgin 2009)

My Favorite Highway MySpace page

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