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10.28.2006

The Hold Steady and Cold War Kids

I figured it was about time I weighed in on a couple of bands making bloggers go crazy... I usually try to hold back on these things, just to be sure not to be caught up in the wave of obsession. Lately two bands that have held up to critical thinking include The Hold Steady, who are keeping the classic rock sound alive, and the Cold War Kids, an anti-loud, ragged kind of group.

First off, the Hold Steady really appealed to me, considering I'm already such a huge fan of the Boss. Their slice of life Americana is really detailed and makes you feel like you are partying alongside the hopeless delinquents in "Boys and Girls in America." Hold Steady also bumps up the appeal by basing the entire album around a quote from a Jack Kerouac novel.

I would definitely recommend this group to anyone who loves Costello, Springsteen or even the Replacements. Go here to buy their CD and support the band!

MP3: Stuck Between Stations by The Hold Steady.

MP3: Party Pit by The Hold Steady


The other band I've really been into is Cold War Kids, who have a slinky, sexy yet somewhat ragged of a sound. The drums and bass really propel their music forward, while the guitar kind of inhabits a weird, echoey kind of space. Pianos bang around in the background, and the lyrics are smart and thought-provoking, which I suppose proves as a good antidote to the boy meets girl themes of The Hold Steady. They have a new album coming out this fall called "Robbers & Cowards," which I plan on picking up the vinyl edition as soon as I lay eyes on it. Right now Cold War Kids are pushing their last EP "Up in Rags" (which is amazing), which feature my favourite songs, "Hang Me Up to Dry" and "We Used to Vacation." The band also has a live acoustic album of covers available from their website here. Try to buy something that's not sold out from Monarchy Music here, or look to buy something here at their new label, Downtown Recordings.

MP3: Hang Me Up to Dry by Cold War Kids

MP3: We Used to Vacation by Cold War Kids

MP3: I Don't Want to Grow Up (cover) by Cold War Kids

Further watching required: (Youtube while you can, before the golden era is over!)

The Hold Steady: Chips Ahoy!



The Hold Steady: Stuck Between Stations live



Cold War Kids: Hang Me Up to Dry



Cold War Kids cover State Trooper by Springsteen

10.14.2006

Unfamiliar Records -- free album of amazing artists


Around these parts, there's nothing I love more than local and Canadian musicians, excelling at whatever form of distinctive rock and roll they have going on.

One of those people that seem to innately find the most interesting and passionate of musicians would be Greg over at Are You Familiar, who launched his own record label, Unfamiliar Records, putting out The Paper Cranes' Veins EP as their first release (read my review of their amazing work here).

Now, after the Pop Montreal music festival is weekend, Greg is offering up a mini-album/sampler of the best tracks from his amazing Unfamiliar roster, including The Paper Cranes, The Weather, The Two Koreas and No Dynamics. Download the whole thing for free at Unfamiliar Records right now!

I could go on at length about how amazing the Paper Cranes are, but I won't... if you listen to "I'll love you until my veins explode" just once, you'll understand.

The Two Koreas is a perfect mix of fuzzed out guitar and laid-back punk rock. Don't miss "Cloth Coat Revolution".

If you've read a handful of Toronto weeklies, or heard their first amazing EP, then you already know No Dynamics and their heavy, hypnotic rock sound. Check out "I Got You on My Mind."

I never listened to The Weather before this free offering, but I have to say I'm really into their Talking Headsish angular dance rock style. Listen to "Hope and Maybe."

Again all links to MP3s are courtesy of Unfamliar Records, so go to their website to get the rest, and while you are at it, buy the Paper Cranes EP at Insound.

10.03.2006

Today is ANTI-DRM Day

So what's DRM? Basically, its a form of "locking" your music files on your computer, so if you ever wanted to burn it, share it, or whatever, you basically can't. Failed versions of DRM have installed crippling spyware on people's computers secretly, while others backfire... meaning you can't back up any music and if you computer crashes, you're screwed.

I'm no expert, so I'll point you towards different places to find more info... as a "blogger" (perhaps not for much longer) or a music fan in the digital age, DRM could destroy our wonderful music experience.

Defective by Design wants digital freedom

DRMfree is a search engine for non-chained music

Wikipedia entry about DRM

And because everyone wants MP3s, here's a couple... if you like it, buy the album!

MP3: The Lemonheads - Rule of Three

MP3: The Killers - When You Were Young