- LOVECRAFT IN BROOKLYN by THE MOUNTAIN GOATS. Recently acquired their album HERETIC PRIDE and it's pretty keen. I suffered heartbreak trying to choose between this song and MICHAEL MYERS RESPLENDENT but I finally went with this one because it's a real cruncher. "I cast my gaze towards the pavement/too many blood stains on the ground/Rhode Island drops into the ocean/no place to call home anymore". Smashing drums and grinding guitar-driven song where the singer complains of feeling like Lovecraft in Brooklyn. Now, for those not in the know, horror author H.P. Lovecraft briefly moved to Brooklyn from his beloved Providence -- and he absolutely hated it. So basically, this song is the new 21st century version of saying you're "Feeling Minnesota". Here's a site about 'em and here's another one.
- STRING OF RACEHORSES by HOTEL LIGHTS. Next we have a more laid back, strummy groove from former Ben Folds Five member Darren Jessee's band. The 6 song EP "Goodnightgoodmorning" is solidly packed with longing while keeping an open, layered sound to the music. You can visit their rather minimalist site (more to be added later) here. "String of Racehorses" is one of those songs you can get lost in or ride in the warm weather in your car with all the windows open or just sit there and sigh like a poozer.
- THE NAZIS HAD TINY GENITALIA by THE FISH BROTHERS. Total change of mood here as we move to a band that sounds like a turn-of-the-20th-century English music hall band morphed into a punk band. The musicians are surprisingly tight while the lyrics are without fail irreverant and sometimes offensive. All the better. They have a much more extensive website you can click on here to experience the insanity. This song postulates that the Nazis lost the war because they had tiny johnsons. The brothers' cd "NUMBER TWO" features songs running the gamut from a really authentic-19th century-sounding song about SWEENEY TODD to a song describing a strange monster called the PENIS MONSTER OF BRUNSWICK SQUARE. Can't be missed.
- SECOND CHANCE by LIAM FINN. Former member of Kiwi band Betchadupa and more famously the son of Split Enz/Crowded House founder Neil Finn, Liam Finn has finally struck out on his own with his first solo album recorded at his own Dad's analog studio. While Liam's voice is almost a dead ringer for his father's, the songs are more psychedelic-sounding. "Second Chance" actually begins sounding very much like the start of a Manu Chao song but quickly spins itself out into almost a train-like rhythm. Liam's ethereal double-tracked vocals sail out over the rhythm track. The entire album is an interesting listen which owes a little something, I think, to Sufjan Stevens' sound. However, the songwriting is quite different. A paradox but true. Take a peek at his own website where you can see videos for this song and the follow-up single "Gather at the Chapel".
- SLEEPING DEAD by EMILY JANE WHITE. Another total change in sound and feel as this loping, almost cowboy-like graveyard song. The tone of the album is set before you hear it: Emily Jane is pictured on the front of the cd covered completely in a shroud. The quickest way to my heart, to be sure! "I had a dream last night/there were ravens above my bed/and they took my newlywed." I can hear Johnny Cash covering this song, I really can. The weird part is that this introspective-sounding mainly acoustic album was made by a woman who apparently used to front an extremely loud punk band. Go fig. All the songs on this great new album sound like they're folk songs dating back a couple centuries. Visit her website here.
All five of the five songs are readily available so check them out. That about wraps it up for this installment of the five songs which are pleasing to the ear. Sometime soon, when you least expect it, you may encounter another installment of the five songs.