Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Worthy Pursuits and Playlists -- from May 27, 2006

So I'm no journalist or talent scout, but I know a good deal of music. And I also know how frustrating it can be to try and find good music. There are so many talented acts out there, but finding them is time consuming. At the same time, radio stations rotate the same 40 songs over and over and over.... So at the request of a handful of friends and acquaintances, I'm going to start putting together weekly emails and blogs that will help you sift through new music that is coming out. I'll try to include a variety of genres to cater to a variety of tastes.

Without further adieu...

Worthy Pursuits and Playlists:
new music that you should look (and listen) for

Mates of State -- Barsuk Records (former home to Death Cab)

Husband and wife duo, Kori and Jason, throw words back and forth at one another, just as any other married couple does. But these two do it on stage and strike the perfect harmony. Just drums and organ... you'll be amazed how much sound comes out of two people. The lyrics on "For the Actor" (off the new release "Bring It Back") are stellar... "Put your life on hold as we interest one another, two steps closer to a level I imagined, I remember when it poured and you came to me in summer, it's a fantasy." You can hear their new single "Fraud in the 80s" at -- "Bring it Back" is definitely an album to go out and buy -- it will probably make my top 20 of the year.

Gnarls Barkley -- Atlantic

Gnarls Barkley is the collaboration of Cee-Lo (of Atlanta's Goodie Mob) and Danger Mouse (famous for his mash-up of The Beatles' White Album and The Black Album by Jay Z). Their first single "Crazy" is my favorite song so far this year. That's all that needs to be said, just listen...

IV Thieves (formerly Nic Armstrong & the Thieves) -- New West Records

Riff-heavy rock from four relocated Brits (now hiding out in Austin, TX). ."Down Home Girl" will resonate with anyone who has lived in the South. Collard greens, grainy vocals, and blunt British observations about, well, a down home girl... You'll need to get this one on iTunes, but you can hear some more songs at

Anathallo -- independent; Artist Friendship

These boys (and girl) from Michigan may seem a bit chaotic, but they have a plan. I swear. To understand it, picture marching band practice in the fall -- everyone standing around in their zip-up hoodie sweatshirts and wool sweaters. There are big bass drums, trombones and trumpets, even some xylophones. Now take away the sheet music and conductor. Throw in some nontraditional instruments -- electric guitars, velcro, a deck of cards. Sing hymns in Japanese and march out of step.... Some would call it a marching band gone very wrong, but my colleagues and I think it's very right. -- Paste just put out a podcast with three live songs from the upcoming album, "Floating World," and the quality is pretty amazing. Visit or download the newest episode on iTunes (this was the lunchtime performance at my office)

Nathan Angelo -- independent

I was walking up the stairs to Smith's Olde Bar when I heard this powerful voice echoing out of the venue. I thought, this is the opening act? The guy I've never heard of? It seems Nathan Angelo just graduated from college and moved to Atlanta. For fans of Gavin DeGraw. It's been done before, but there's nothing wrong with that.

A Playlist for Graduates (Without the Cliche Songs by Green Day or Vitamin C)
(most titles available on iTunes)

"Twentysomething" Jamie Cullum
"Once In a Lifetime," Talking Heads
"22," Denison Witmer
"Me & Jiggs," Josh Ritter
"Under Pressure," Queen with David Bowie
"Logical Song," Supertramp
"Why Georgia," John Mayer
"What Am I Gonna Do," Dave Barnes
"This is Not an Exit," Saves the Day
"Around the Clock," The Rocket Summer
"Life," Josh Rouse
"First Day of My Life," Bright Eyes
"Meteor," Virginia Coalition
"Good," Better than Ezra
"Declaration Song," Jason Harwell

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