Me, Myself, and iPod 9/22/10: Wake me up when September ends

esd ipod

Sorry, disappeared for a while there. I took a week off after Lollapalooza – my first week off in two years, I might add – and I still haven’t caught up on email. I know, wah wah wah, you have too much music to listen to. Hey, I’m just sayin’, there are only so many hours in the day. My kids miss their daddy when I hole up in the music cave, and I miss them, too.

Mackintosh Braun – Could It Be
Man, if only the rest of the record could keep up with this song. In theory, I should love Mackintosh Braun. They make ELO-inspired synth pop, which is as close to my wheelhouse as things get. In reality, I merely like Mackintosh Braun. I think it was the processed vocals that did me in. They have ’em on every track. The record overall is good, and I’m betting they can do better next time around, but if you’re going to take one song of theirs with you, this one, for now, is it.

Chatelaine – Broken Bones (Depreciation Guild remix)
Ah, Toni Halliday. She could sing the phone book, and I’d swoon. Her new band, Chatelaine, is a much mellower beast than Curve, but their album Take a Line for a Walk is a keeper. This remix of the leadoff track is a neat mix of both her past and her present. But mostly her present.

Doppelganger – Breaks My Head
I’m a sucker for those slow-building songs with only a handful of chords. This is one of those songs.


Mackintosh Braun: Where We Are

RIYL: Dissociatives, Air, E.L.O.

It’s good to see that there is someone at the major league level who remembers the importance of having a label with a personality, and that someone is Chop Shop Records’ Alexandra Patsavas. If Patsavas has your back, odds are you are a contemporary pop act with an offbeat approach and throwback sensibilities, i.e. you write songs like they were written before Rob Thomas fucked everything up, and this describes Patsavas’ latest signing, Mackintosh Braun, to a ‘T.’ The Portland duo’s debut album Where We Are is blissful synth pop song after blissful synth pop song, filled with breathy, manipulated vocals and washes of sound that envelop the listener like a wave from the oceans of Xanadu. The band could definitely use a second operating speed, but when they’re on, like the fab opening track “Could It Be” and the ringing “Line in the Sand,” it’s damn near irresistible. Most of the album, though, falls into the pleasant-but-slight category, and the robotic vocals leave the proceedings a little cold, but you can tell from the chord sequences that Mackintosh Braun have the right idea. With any luck, they’ll come up with more of those right ideas next time around. (Chop Shop/Atlantic 2010)

Download Mackintosh Braun’s “Could It Be” here

Mackintosh Braun MySpace page
Click to buy Where We Are from Amazon


Anya Marina: Slow & Steady Seduction Phase II

Anya Marina is an entertainment triple threat—she’s been a radio DJ, an actress, and is now fortifying her music career with a second album release, Slow & Steady Seduction: Phase II, released on Alexandra Patsavas’ Chop Shop Music label. Patsavas, one of the best-known film/TV music supervisors, placed one of Marina’s songs on the “Grey’s Anatomy” soundtrack and then signed her to the label. Marina’s unique, sultry vocal is a more alternative version of Gwen Stefani, and her playful songs on Slow & Steady are accented by the hipster production crew of Brian Karscig (Louis XIV) and Britt Daniel (Spoon). Daniel’s drum loops helped give Marina a creative spark and as a result the album is a leap from Marina’s earlier singer/songwriter fare. There are some great moments, especially on the opener “Move You,” the ultra-bouncy “Cut It Out,” and on “Vertigo,” which has an ‘80s, “Pretty in Pink” undertone. But on “Not a Through Street,” which starts out with just an acoustic guitar and Marina’s pure vocal, her appeal jumps through the roof. It doesn’t matter if the flavor-of-the-month artist is your thing or not, there will be something most everyone can like about Anya Marina. (Chop Shop/Atlantic)

Anya Marina ySpace Page


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