Posted in: October 2006

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Seems like we’ve all got a taste for the French this month: this is our second (not the third!!) French artist for this month. Anyhoo, I found Camille through random stumblings on the Interwebs and thought I’d check out the album for you lovely people. Although I’ve classified this post as Pop, it’s really more like Minimalist pop. Camille employs instruments sparingly: most of the time, it’s a piano, a double bass and her voice. Speaking of her voice, she uses it in some pretty strange ways to act as a background to her singing. Pretty crazy! The singing itself is very smooth and pleasing on the ‘ol ears.

Since I don’t understand French, I can’t really comment on the lyrical content, but I can say that the tunes are enjoyable and meaningful (as in, it doesn’t sound like pop produced for the sake of being pop). As the Hughster mentioned in his Mansfield.TYA post, “you don’t have to understand the language to know that this is some damn good music.”

Right on, brother, right on!

From Le Fil
Ta Douleur – (Music Video)
Au Port – (Music Video)

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No doubt you’ve probably heard of these guys before – they were the creators of the Thumbsucker soundtrack, they were featured on the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Sunshine soundtrack, they were featured on Scrubs, and they wear…flowing robes? They’ve been around anyway, so here’s their first release for you: The Beginning Stages Of (the US re-release). This incredibly large group (it’s ranged from like 20-30 people, which is pretty awesome) has produced music that’s so undeniably cheery that you cannot help but smile when you listen to it. I mean, just have a look at these lyrics:

Hey! It’s the sun! And it makes me shine!


Just follow the day and reach for the sun!

It’s just super happy music, which is wonderful to me. I guess there’s times where we don’t need finely crafted indie pieces or deep meaningful lyrics, which is why I wanted to bring these guys to your attention in case you haven’t heard of them! They’re just enjoyable tunes, so I suggest you check out Section 2 (It’s the Sun), Section 3 (Days Like This Keep Me Warm) [very pretty tune], Section 4 (La La) [pretty crazy tune] and Section 9 (Light & Day/Reach for the Sun) if you want a taste of the Polyphonic Spree. Of course, you should check out the rest, as they’re all pretty interesting.

Ok, this is a pretty lousy post, but check the band out anyway!

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As I’ve mentioned before, there are bands that I meant to write about a while ago. Brando is one of these bands. I found them a while back on Musical Family Tree’s compilation album and listened to their song Your Nelson Now constantly, just for the damn keyboard. However, MFT has an extensive (and free!) MP3 catalog, and that meant two more albums from Brando. While I do not profess to like every song they’ve done, they have quite a few that are lo-fi indie classics. The ones that I have linked down there, for instance. Chiggity-check ’em; they come highly recommended from yours truly. I hope they’re not my version of Morex Optimo.

Note: Don’t right-click and hit save target as, since that won’t work… just click ’em and it’ll do its job.


From The Headless Horseman Is A Preacher
The Fight Club Song – (MP3, 3.2 MB)
Pilot Of This Ship – (MP3, 3.2 MB)
Hold Me Mine – (MP3, 5.8 MB)

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There are four things you should consider about this post. 1) This band is French, 2) I do not speak French, so 3) I can’t understand their damn webpage and can’t tell what album the following songs are from. 4) However, you don’t have to understand the language to know that this is some damn good music. If I were to go by the category tags I’ve used, I would describe it as downtempo folk-pop. And since it is indeed French, there is a bit of that seductive romanticism thrown in. Delightful!

If you end up liking these tunes, make sure to check out Aurgasm’s post about them; he’s got two of their best songs on there. Which isn’t to say these songs aren’t great (the first two are, especially).


Pourquoi Mon Coeur – (Zipped MP3, 2.3 MB)
Tomorrow – (Zipped MP3, 2.7)
Living On A Boat – (Zipped MP3, 3.7 MB)

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Oh no, a band that does not receive the ‘gypsy’ tag for once! Never fear, this music makes up for its lack of accordions through interesting syncopation and strange, strange lyrics. They do seem to have an indie bent to them, but to leave them labeled as such would be an outrage. Their sound alternates between sparse and complex, with the odd outburst to make sure you don’t get too comfortable.

I would start with Burkina Faso and Lordosis to get their idea down, but ideally you should listen to them all. Exhaust almost sounds like it will actually be mellow, before breaking down into some kind of desperate crescendo, and Stalling features an almost-falsetto chorus. Something for everyone, fun for the whole family; that sort of deal, except not really. You may just hate it.

As a side note, I just read a review of the band that mentioned it being both “sparse” and “complex” in the same sentence, and I want to make it clear that I typed the preceding paragraphs before reading that, and am now vaguely creeped out.


From Beast of Reflection
Burkina Faso, Kung Fu – (MP3, 3.9 MB)
Stalling – (MP3, 3.8 MB)
Exhaust – (MP3, 6.8 MB)

From 3 Songs
Actions of a Ruminant – (MP3, 5.9 MB)
Lordosis – (MP3, 5.8 MB)
Drosophilia – (MP3, 6.2 MB)

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It is funny that Ant has made mention of mix CDs, as I have neglected this site recently because I got caught up in making my own mix CDs for various internet folk. Nevertheless, I have been informed indirectly that I am a bum and should post more. And what luck! I have just the band for you.

So, The Cat Empire, a band from Australia that mixes all kinds of styles, such as gypsy, jazz, ska, etc., and manages to make it sound cohesive. This particular recording was done in Cuba, and their surroundings definitely seem to have left a mark on its overall tone.

They assert that we should “get so funk-inflicted it’s a crime”. Every day that passes without you listening to this band is a travesty.


From The Cat Empire
The Wine Song – (MP3, 6.8 MB)
Hello – (MP3, 3.5 MB)

From Two Shoes
The Car Song – (MP3, 4.0 MB)
How to Explain – (MP3, 3.3 MB)

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It has been too long. Normally I would write about bands I should have written about weeks ago, but here I am, not doing that. Why? Because Blanket Music is delightful and still fresh in my mind as being delightful. If you took some of the upbeat twee out of Belle & Sebastian’s Dear Catastrophe Waitress, you would be left with Blanket Music, more or less. Even the vocals, though since BM’s singer does not appreciate such comparisons, it will be said that his voice evokes a certain amount of Ben Kweller at times. How utterly delightful. And they’re from Oregon! Big up the local bands or something of that nature.


From The Love/Love Translation
I Love You – (MP3, 4.4 MB)

From Cultural Norms
You Shouldn’t Have Said That – (MP3, 2.2 MB)

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No doubt I’ll be lauded as a total whore for posting about this soundtrack (the indie peeps get a bit pissed when people hail this soundtrack as “indie”) but I don’t care: this is dang good mix.

The thing about mix CDs ya see is that most of the time around 20% of it is good (i.e. songs you can really get in to) and the rest is generally OK, to poor, to utter crap. HOWEVER. The Garden State soundtrack is quite excellent, thanks to Braff’s excellent vision/audio hearing capabilities. There’s an extremely nice mix of indie (Cary Brothers, Remy Zero, Bonnie Somerville), downtempo (Thievery Corporation, Zero 7, Frou Frou), classics (Simon & Garfunkel) and even some folk (Nick Drake). Granted, the popularity of the album has probably elevated the status of some of the artists (*cough*The Shins*cough*), which is why some tossers complain when some guy says “That’s indietastic!”. Well, I say “Screw you, suckers!” – this is an accomplished mix of goodness that should already have been sampled by everyone out there on the Internetz. Check it out: I guarantee you will like at least ONE tune on there…

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Continuing on with my theme of downtempo music that everyone has probably already heard because they’re old releases, here’s the lowdown on The Mirror Conspiracy by Thievery Corporation. Now, considering I already revealed the genre to you, I’ve probably blown this post way out of the proverbial water! Anyhoo, if you’ve been listening to Zero 7 lately, you can say that Thievery Corporation is a more “hardcore” version: a more uptempo downtempo, if you will. Generally speaking, their music is less vocal-y and less real-instrumental-ly (teehee), but not to the point of it being absurdly electronic. If I were you, I would go ahead and check out Lebanese Blonde (which was in Garden State, yay!), Focus on Sight, Shadows of Ourselves and…well, you know what? You should just check it all out, cos it’s pretty awesome!

Ok, this is a ridiculously tiny post, but hey, short and sweet!

From The Mirror Conspiracy
Shadows of Ourselves – SWF (Flash) File