emo lane: aspirins and alcohol.

Inspired by my trip down memory lane caused by Andy Greenwald‘s book Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo, this begins a new series of posts embracing the days when I would wear a Taking Back Sunday t-shirt without embarassment or shame. The days when I would blast songs that included repeated choruses of “Spoon Out My Heart”. The days when I was “emo”.

These are the songs that I hate to still love…which I suppose is sort of emo for me to say.

My first post of this series starts off with “Aspirins and Alcohol” by Stockholm rockers Last Days of April. After discovering this song on the Emo is Awesome, Emo is Evil compilation that I shamelessly bought from Hot Topic (tell no one) in 2003, it became an anthem of mine for whenever I felt moody. This was awfully strange because I was much too smart to involve myself in such self-destructive behaviors as downing aspirins and alcohol to deal with my problems. I suppose what made the song so appealing was the sense of longing as frontman Karl Larsson utters “What I’d give to…be the one. Have my name linger…on your tongue”. This is paired with apathy as he repeatedly states, “That’s nice” as if he doesn’t actually care that the antagonist is going to break another man’s heart. Add a few violins to that, and I’m sold.

Emo Qualifications: Touring with The Promise Ring, being on a compilation with the word “emo” in the title, self-deprecation, and other factors

DOWNLOAD: LAST DAYS OF APRIL– Aspirins and Alcohol

Check out more songs at their website, or BUY Angel Youth

BLOGWATCH: Download an entire live show by Fiona Apple over at Looking At Them. Catch The Boy Least Likely To‘s doing George Michael (his music, not HIM) over at I Guess I’m Floating or You Ain’t No Picasso.

summer album preview: begin to hope.

Regina Spektor used to bore me, but the minute I heard “Fidelity”, the opening track off her new album Begin to Hope, my mouth dropped in amazement. Was this the same anti-folk pianist I brushed off my shoulder with no regrets back in 2004? Yes. But better…or as Ms. Spektor would say “beddo”.

The album proves that this Russian singer-songwriter isn’t afraid to experiment, messing with her old piano formula by bringing in electric guitars, drum machines, and electronic loops. She retains her eccentric lyrical style while bringing in a poppy sound. a new formula that works ten times better than the old one.

Unfortunately, the album suffers in it’s inconsistency. “On the Radio” (listen at Kill Your Co-Workers) is a short, upbeat ditty-doo followed by the 5 minute and 18 second piano ballad “Field Below”. While both songs are equally good, there is no transition between the tracks, leaving the listener very confused. In the end, the only consistent thing about the album is it’s resistance to be consistent or have any flow for that matter. While it’s annoying to some degree, something about that is very charming and that something is sure to help Regina gain a spot on several “top albums of 2006” lists.

DOWNLOAD: REGINA SPEKTOR– Fidelity
DOWNLOAD: REGINA SPEKTOR– 20 Years of Snow

BUY Begin to Hope, release date is tomorrow!

BLOGWATCH: Check out the new Jurassic 5 (unfortunately featuring Dave Matthews) over at Gorilla vs. Bear.

summer album preview: loose.

Nelly Furtado‘s new material has gained her titles ranging from slut to sellout to comeback queen. The lead single in the US, “Promiscuous”, is in heavy rotation on video channels and radio. Some are shocked by her new sexy, “hip-hop” sound and image. Some are shocked by the fact that she’s working with Timbaland

These people are idiots.

Okay, that’s a bit harsh…You may be among those people. If you are, let me educate you dearie. Ms. Furtado and Timbaland have collaborated as early as 2001 on the “Turn Off the Lights” remix. She was featured on Missy Elliott‘s “Get Ur Freak On” remix (2001) and Ms. Jade‘s “Ching Ching”…both produced by Timbo and recorded a year or two after her debut album was recorded. They’re not strangers. On top of that, she has collaborated with The Roots, Jurassic 5, and Swollen Members. She even experimented with rapping and spoken word poetry on her first album. Nelly Furtado and the hip-hop genre aren’t strangers either.

With that said, let’s address the sexy image. Nelly has recently split with her husband. Quite simply, the girl is doing her thang and letting…um…Loose. You may be surprised to hear that the material of the album isn’t all sex-charged pop. “In God’s Hands” addresses the end of her relationship with her husband, “Afraid” is a classic soul-searching Furtado song that just happens to have a Timbaland beat, and “What I Wanted” showcases the same acoustic-guitar bearing Nelly who sang about birds. The album maintains Nelly’s power of making every song a cultural and emotional explosion. It’s the same Nelly we know and love (or hate), but she’s back with a bit more…uh…flava.

And she sort of needs it. While her debut album Whoa, Nelly! managed to push two million off the shelves in the US, the follow-up, Folklore, only pushed a quarter of that off the shelves. This was partially due to issues with the record company and lack of promotion, as the album was minorly successful on a global level (“Try” reached #1 in Mexico) and embraced by her die-hard fans. In any case, Nelly had to switch things up if she wanted to keep making music. Timbaland was the man to help her do it.

Random interruption: Have you heard that Timbaland and Bjork are collaborating? I hope more than anything that this is true.

The track that stood out most for me was “Do It”, mostly because it is a dance anthem strangely between two of the album’s slower, more introspective tracks. “Do It” is sure to be compared to the style of Gwen Stefani’s Love Angel Music Baby, a much more accurate comparison than Paris Hilton‘s “Stars are Blind” (which is reminiscent of Gwen, but on the No Doubt album, Rocksteady). The straight-up 80s feel of this track will likely enable it to be adopted as an underground dance party gem.

Another surprise on the album is the exciting alternate conclusion to the UK single “Maneater”, which brings in the genius Mr. Mosley chanting “I been around the world, never seen a girl like this.”

In less words, Loose is a strange collection of songs that are sure to gain a new collection of fans without straying too far from the formula that gained her the old ones. Will the original fans embrace it? Honestly…I don’t even think that matters at this point.

DOWNLOAD: NELLY FURTADO– Do It
DOWNLOAD: NELLY FURTADO– Maneater (album version)

PRE-ORDER Loose, out on June 20th

BLOGWATCH: The big blogs are catching on to Tigarah…check out “Fake Out” and “Roppongi-Dori” at bigstereo.