I’m certainly no longer a teenager, but Starf**ker makes me want to call my mom and tell her “I love this band named… STARF**KER” just because I will have a way to drop the f-bomb in front of her with immunity. Now I’m certainly way too grown to think of cussing a some form of small rebellion, but this album makes me feel young again! Like I can hang out until 5am on a Monday night! Like I might run off with a bass player and become West Coast Lisa! Like I don’t have to go to work in an hour! Like Long Island Iced Teas are still an acceptable drink! None of this is true in any way, but I believe in an album that can make me believe these things for at least a moment. SF is from Portland, the music is dreamy, happy/sad pop and they rock my socks off. Your turn.

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The Bell

Despite my penchant for cheerful pop I do enjoy moody sounds more than occasionally. The Bell joins fellow Swedes, The Mary Onettes, as another Scandinavian ’80s flashback band with a darker edge. Who am I kidding? The Bell is about as dark as a fluffy white cloud getting between you and the sun. It may throw a shadow, but it won’t ruin your picnic. The Bell is as threatening as anything on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. The Bell does capture the mood, what you remember as melancholy when your mom made you tear down your Cure posters or when she drove you to the barber to “fix” your self-coifed Tears For Fears hair-do, you may have often experienced as a teenager during the Reagan Years. This is all speculation of course, because really, what would I know about that?? Watch for The Bell’s U.S. release in February, twenty-two years after Andie, Duckie & Co. hit the big screen, on Badman Records.

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Nyles Lannon

Mr. Lannon needs to make up his mind! He’s released music under N.Ln, N.Lannon, and now, finally, under his full name Nyles Lannon. Whichever moniker he chooses you can expect moody, alluring songs with amazing melodies. Straight forward folk songs like “Did I Lose You?” quietly recall the work of Elliott Smith while “Next Obsession” punches a little harder and is not unlike another favorite of mine: Calla. It was news to me that he split from his band Film School, but now that he’s focused hopefully he won’t suffer from any further bouts of identity crisis. Because I’ll tell you right now Mr. Lannon, after this post, I’m not going to dedicate another one to any further name changes. As it stands I believe you hold the record here at the ‘hive with four different pages. And just in case anyone mistakes my tone: I jest. It’s all good. Thanks for the fine tunes __ Lannon.

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The Red Thread

There’s a yearning for something else in The Red Thread’s pretty, simple chords that give you a wistful sense that something is ending and another thing is beginning. Not anything serious, just something that was bound to change, like the heat of summer into the crisp melancholy of fall. Maybe it’s more ideal for the Tuesday coming up than for right now with the last long weekend of summer in front of you, but maybe you can give autumn a little peek and realize that you’ve been looking forward to it for a while.

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Yes, it was 70+ degrees yesterday in southeast Michigan, and yes, my daughter was playing in the sandbox in the park in short sleeves and no shoes or socks. Yes, the crocuses are in crazy bloom, and yes, the daffodils are ready to break free at any moment. The melancholy trio of songs below are for all of you who know, like me, that it will surely snow one more time this year. (Hayden is Canadian, after all. He knows this to be true, too.)

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Dave Derby

The former lead singer of The Dambuilders (if you don’t have Against the Stars, you’re not really living life to the fullest, are you?) and solo-monikered Brilliantine assumes his own name for his token easy-on-the-ears acoustipop record — except this is one token that shines.

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