Sometimes one’s computer dies. And it takes with it thousands of un-backed-up songs, hundreds of un-backed-up pictures and well, your whole electronic life from the past 5 years. We’ll skip past my stages of grief, denial and rage and go direct to the fact that I have many kind friends to thank for an influx of mix cd’s, emails with links to things to cheer me up, It mostly cheers me up. Amongst these desperately needed donations, Malajube turned up. And while it seems to me that there are many a sound that could be described as belonging to Montreal (lo-fi loveliness like the Unicorns; gorgeous string infused songs for depressives like Owen Palette; etc.)–the one I need right now in this moment of return to my 1999 boom box is this one: scratchy guitared, French-Canadian, happy, bouncy indie-pop. In French. I need a little bum-bum-bum-budumpbadum in my life. Don’t we all?

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Hello, Blue Roses

Today I will be brief in favor of yet another satisfying nap. I love slow, electronic-ish, mixed-voice fare. I really, really love it, actually. And from this vantage point, Sydney Vermont and “her man” [direct quote from Myspace bio, interesting…] Dan Bejar (who spends some time with Destoyer and the New Pornos as well) are yet another antidote to seasonal indulgence. This one was recommended by my dear friend Seth, who will leave New York City this week for more verdant vistas. How appropriate and delicious the melancholia.

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Dead Meadow

Somehow, this holiday season snuck up on me. No more pigs in blankets! No more cheap red wine! I revolt. I can’t listen to DJ’s play the greatest hits of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s anymore! I revolt! I am deeply desirous of a comfortable pair of pajamas, a cup of tea, some only-me-and-no-one-else time and the piece de resistance… new Dead Meadow playing on repeat. Shan called it way back in ’05—“blissful rock and roll melancholy”. I couldn’t agree more. What better place to escape to in the midst of small talk, velvet dresses, candles and fake snow? These guys had it right when they took their fifth-album making selves to rural Indiana to create these tunes—there is something deliciously escapist about them.

What Needs [MP3, 5.9MB, 192kbps]

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Hey Hey My My

Every once in a while, something pops up in my inbox and completely catches my eye. In this case it was the music of two Parisian musicians who improbably have same first name and last initial, who have referenced Neil Young in their band name and who make music that is alternately sober and peppy. Even if I didn’t harbor closet francophilia, a tendency toward melancholic-yet-oddly-upbeat music, and and a predilection for bands with “Hey” “My” “Clap” or “Ra” in their titles–they still would have had me at the opening of “Too Much Space”. I hear they will soon be descending upon the states for a tour and that is good news indeed–these guys make me feel like I’m gonna be able to gloat about knowing about them first.

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Nothing says Thanksgiving to me more than Dujeous. Full disclosure: I’ve know these guys since before I was of legal drinking age, they are old friends and I am 100% totally, completely biased in their favor. Back in the good old days, there was always a Dujeous show to look forward to. You would see the family, put on your cute clothes and head out to whatever downtown venue the Duj happened to be playing at. You would have crushes on various Dujeous members. You would think you were really cool when you could sing all the words to “Spilt Milk”. But mostly, you would bliss out all night to the sweet sounds of good old-fashioned hip-hop, the kind that involves a drummer, a bass player, a trumpet and all manner of wonderful instruments. You may have heard the sounds of Dave Guy (trumpet) before, as he is super busy sidelining as a Dap-King, playing with Sharon Jones, a member of the Budos Band, appearing as a cartoon in the New Yorker and showing up on my television in Lily Allen’s band. The six other bandmembers, die-hard New Yorkers all, have been doing it up — producing, providing music for soundtracks of oscar winning films (see: Half Nelson), being MCs, touring what seems like ALL of Asia, popping up as staffers at my place of work, and just being Dujeous in general. (I’m told the name may serve as a noun, a verb or an adjective, depending on your mood.) I love them. Dujeous makes me highly nostalgic. More people should know about Dujeous. Hip-hop, instruments, big love for what they do — enough said.

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Chris Walla

It’s a rare day that this kind of pop is considered a threat to national security, but then, these are strange days we live in. Apparently, a “data hard drive containing critical album files was detained by US Customs. The drive was held “to be analyzed” for several weeks on its way back into the US prior to final mixing of the album.” Well, as a mention of the band Death Cab for Cute simply hurls me backwards to my collegiate days of angst and Chuck Taylors–I’m glad the music pulled through. Chris Walla, DCFC guitarist/producer, despite some strange customs officer’s sentiments, is not making “contentious” music, its true. But I’m always ready to don my Chucks, emote a little and listen to something perty.

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Elk City

So there is this perfect meal that I like to make in the fall (due credit must be given to Marcella Hazan, the grande dame of Italian home cooking). I just take some plum tomatoes (canned are best, but the good kind, not the five for a dollar kind) and I put them in a pot. Then I take an onion, cut it in half and put it in the pot. Then I take five tablespoons of butter and, ahem, put it in the pot. I then cook the contents of the pot for 45 minutes, spoon it over piping hot pasta and sit in my pajamas watching wretched TV. It tastes just as good as any complicated and fussy meal I’ve ever made. But this is not a cooking blog, its about the music, so what the hell is my point? My point is that Elk City’simple and lovely “Los Cruzados” is the long missing final ingredient to this simple, yet high octane, tomato sauce. My point is that songs don’t have to redefine the rules to be good, and sometimes taking a few simple, common, high quaity ingredients and mixing them into the pot can yield the most comforting, pleasure inducing things. And then of course you add some butter. If you were wondering, singer Renee LoBue’s melty, raspy voice is totally the butter.

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Ferraby Lionheart

Lately, everything has just seemed charming. And my last few posts have reflected that. (Uh, I hope?) Ferraby Lionheart completes my “charmed cycle” and, with Clare and the Reasons and Jens Lekman, has been fillling my little apartment with happy sounds. He doesn’t sound like Ryan Adams to me at all, but somehow when Ferraby Lionheart is playing, my brain is somehow right back in Chicago circa 2000 listening to Whiskeytown and driving down Lakeshore Drive watching the leaves change. Or I am in Minnesota listening to the Strokes first album for the first time. In short, this is music to mark time to. Mr. Lionheart is a mishmash–there are strings occasionally, some Otis Redding style whistling, tics sometimes, a little harmonica and a small, appropriate amount of irony mixed up in this man’s music. But mostly its just pretty and solid, and tis the season for pretty, transporting songs.

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Clare & The Reasons

It’s fall. It may be 87 sacreligious September degrees in NYC right now, but as far as I am concerned it is fall. I want my braised meat, I want my long sleeve shirts, I want cups of tea and I want old school loungey twilight songs. Husband and wife duo Clare & the Reasons are perfecto for such seasonal urges. I think I once mentioned my secret compulsion to enjoy sappy soundtrack songs (it’s true, I’m sorry), and Clare & the Reasons (who named their album “The Movie”) are like all the joys of my secret musical vice without the any of the cringey guilt. Its plucky and sweet enough for my to get me my fix, but wacky and hip enough that I can play it for others and anticipate a jealous “wait, who is this playing??” Love that. Plus, the entire delicious album is on Emusic.

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Jens Lekman

This, people, is the post I have been waiting for. It’s no secret that I love me some Swedes and even less of a secret that I adore what shall heretofore be referred to as “The Gothenburg Sound.” (see: El Perro Del Mar, Love is All, Jose Gonzalez, Detektivbyran…) Above all, though, I love me some Jens Lekman. In the world of “Lisa Likes” regulations, artists should be a little nuts, a little grounded, part innovative freak genius and part renegade throwback revisiter. Jens, for sure, is all of these things. It’s a rare day that the hype aligns with the music. Hype, meet music. Music, meet hype. You two shall surely be friends. On a personal note, Jens Lekman’s music feels connected with my recent personal history and I couldn’t be more happy–it’s wistful, charming, silly, sad, bombastic and, occasionally triumphant. We all need something to listen to for all of these moments. And I’m grateful to Mr. Lekman for making such sounds that match up with more than one of these moments at the same time. Just listen. And try to love. I really want you all to.

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