Lotus Plaza – “Remember Our Days” / A Hidden Gem

I was walking home from work at the embassy the other day and, as per usual, slipped my iPod earbuds on. I was pumped to (internally) rock out to some White Stripes as I walked through downtown Santiago on this cloudy and cold day, but I got held up. Let’s back up. During the last hour of work, I had decided to throw on the latest Lotus Plaza release, Spooky Action at a Distance, since the album was pretty chill and wouldn’t disturb my coworkers, busily calling local Chilean mining companies. I had listened to the album a few times before and enjoyed it, but hadn’t gotten much out of it. Well 5:00 PM rolled around and I hadn’t finished the album, so the ninth track, “Remember Our Days,” was queued up when I got out the iPod. I decided I would listen to it a bit before switching over to some “Ball & Biscuit”, but I became entranced. It’s a beautiful little song. Nothing grand, but simple and awesome. I can’t stress how important the atmosphere around you is in determining your enjoyment of a song. And on this cold day, this track was what I needed.

The Beach Boys – “That’s Why God Made the Radio” / So Cheesy, but So Good

The Beach Boys are reuniting for their 50th anniversary this year. FIFTY years! Honestly I’m shocked and pleased that mad genius Brian Wilson has made it this far (even if he does seem like a shell of his former self). But here they are with their newest single, “That’s Why God Made the Radio.” While the lyrics do express a sentiment with which I can relate, they certainly aren’t the most clever (Mike Love must have wrote them). And the production is a little too cheesily slick for my taste. But guys, listen to the harmonies on this thing. Those guys had a gift, plain and simple, and they still do. Overall, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

We won’t get into how the video could be better. Just listen.

P.S. Can you believe that NBA superstar Kevin Love is Beach Boy Mike Love’s nephew? I still can’t get over that.

Spiritualized – “So Long You Pretty Thing” / The Joy of Big, Soaring Choruses

I hadn’t heard of Spiritualized until this week when they released their latest album, entitled Huh?. No joke. entitled Sweet Heart, Sweet Light (Good catch, shortstack, my mistake). I’m usually wary of albums chock-full of 7-minute songs, but the whole thing was a delightful listen, echoing the Velvet Underground at their most accessible. The last track, “So Long You Pretty Thing,” just killed me. I love it. That’s what a big, repetitive, catchy, soaring chorus will do to you. Especially when they go on for a while and fade out at the end of the song. Other notable examples include:

  1. Elbow’s “One Day Like This” (Chorus starts at 3:21)
  2. Pitchfork’s #1 song of 2010, “Round and Round” by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti (at 3:47)
  3. The popular choice, “Hey Jude” by the Beatles

I kind of wish the first minute of the song was chopped off, but oh well. From 1:00 onward, it just builds and builds on the same chords (with great use of strings and a banjo) until the chorus bursts open at 4:17. Check it out.

Cadence Weapon – “Conditioning”

Today was the first time I’d heard of this dude Cadence Weapon, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. He’s already released a single entitled “88”, which sampled fellow Canadian and D-Brad Music favorite Grimes. His new single “Conditioning” has an old-school feel, from the sick beat, to his best Steven Tyler vocal impersonation at 1:28, to his faded hairstyle and 90s Charles Barkley jersey. Check it.

Norah Jones – “Say Goodbye” / Danger Mouse is a Wizard

(via Rolling Stone)

I’ve always appreciated and respected Norah Jones, but I never really fully embraced her…until now. The catalyst? Brian Burton, a.k.a. Danger Mouse, who has Gnarls Barkley and Broken Bells to his resume and receives the very lucrative honor (ha) of being my absolute favorite producer. (I think a post solely devoted to the Mouse is in order.) He’s behind Norah Jones’s new album Little Broken Hearts, coming out May 1st, and I couldn’t be more excited. Danger Mouse’s signature woozy production is fully intact on new single “Say Goodbye,” giving Jones a vocal effect that makes her already amazing voice even more alluring. And the song’s got an awesome hook. What more could you want?

Sigur Rós – “Ekki Múkk” / They’re Dropping a New Album in May!

(via Pitchfork)

News just broke today that everyone’s favorite band from Iceland, Sigur Rós, will be releasing their first album in four years, Valtari. Apparently Valtari means “steamroller,” which makes me think more of chugging Black Sabbath riffs than icy, emotion-filled soundscapes. Hear the lead single “Ekki Múkk” right here. You have to be in the right mood though for it to really hit the spot.