rafter: get your ass out on the floor.

Rafter - No Fucking Around
Rafter - Timeless Form, Formless Time
Fol Chen - No Wedding Cake (Rafter Remix)

Ginger children may not have souls, but some of them grow up to make outstanding music. Evidence of this phenomenon can be heard on Rafter‘s new album Animal Feelings. With influences as wide-spread as Koji Kondo and R. Kelly, there are surprises around every corner of this forty-one minute adventure.

The opening track “No Fucking Around” grabs you by the shirt collar, demanding that you break out your spastic moves on the dance floor. One could compare it to Alphabetical era Phoenix featuring Daft Punk on the chorus, but one could also probably come up with better descriptions than that.

Rafter has also done a remix of ITMS faves Fol Chen‘s “No Wedding Cake”. It may not sound like much when you first begin playing it, but the beat switch at 1:30 will make his intentions clear. And then when you hit 2:58? You’ll wind up saying things like, “Oh no he di’n’t, gurl!” Or you’ll be like, “Why the fuck am I listening to this shit?” Either way, it will be totally shocking and amazing. Kind of.

chinese christmas cards: from barcelona.

Chinese Christmas Cards - Welcome To Life
Chinese Christmas Cards - No Radar No Phone

An initial listen to Chinese Christmas Cards brought on similarly happy feelings to the first time I heard I’m From Barcelona. I found this particularly amusing considering that the former is actually from Barcelona, while the latter is from Sweden. In fact, I chuckled for a good moment about the idea of this whole concept coming full circle, with a Chinese band entitled Swedish Chefmates. Basically I’m a dork.

“Welcome To Life” has been making the rounds lately, but it should be noted that the band also has six equally awesome songs streaming on MySpace and YouTube. “Monday Morning” is highly recommended. Of course I don’t really know what I’m recommending you do with it. The duo has yet to release their debut album or provide a method for downloading their tunes, so I guess we’ll just have to just sit here and listen? Get comfortable in that computer seat. I swear it’ll be worth it.

jennifer love hewitt: ain’t no shame… in believing.

Jennifer Love Hewitt - I Believe In...

Today’s post is brought to you by Sojourner “You Can’t Handle The” Truth of Diary of a Mad Blacktress. It is the first in a series of guilty pleasures, as submitted by other writers.

So, um, I have a bit of a secret. I believe in love. I know, crazy, right? I can’t help it. It all started back in 1996 when I purchased the self-titled album of the original girl next door of my youth, Jennifer Love Hewitt (suck it, Katie HolmesCruisin’ for a Bruisin!).

Yes, I purchased a Jennifer Love Hewitt album with my own (dad’s) money. If that’s not enough to send every potential male suitor and even some good friends running for the hills, what’s worse is that… I LIKED IT.

I recall sitting in my room and singing along at the age of 12, convinced that Jennifer Love Hewitt was speaking to my soul. When she belted, “I been thinking all night / I been thinking all night / I should have trusted your love / it’s on 20/20 hindsight / I’ve been thinking I don’t want to leave it to fate, so I’m gonna pray just a little / But is it too little, too late?” I knew that my middle school tragedy was understood.

I recently played the J. Love tracks for JJS-III as we sat drinking tea on a crisp New England fall day, and I realized that J. Love resonates now just as much as she did back then. The whole album invokes an early-90s wanna-be R&B vibe, and you’re waiting for a gospel choir of hefty women to chime in during the bridge, but alas, it doesn’t happen. Her voice is perfectly acceptable, and way better than any of today’s tv-starlets-turned-singers (I’m talking to you, Leighton Meester), and what’s even better is that J. Love sends a message, as evidenced in “I Believe In…” – by far her most poignant track (what is in the ellipsis?!). The lyrics are below:

Saw the news today / A teenage boy blown away / Another mother’s lost her only son / He learned his way at school / Fighting is the golden rule / For twenty dollars you can own a gun / I saw the words in red / Someone painted “Love is dead” / On the sign above the football field / I had to turn away / It hurts my soul to think that way / When love is what’s real

‘Cause I believe in / I believe in love / And I believe in / The miracles in us / And no matter what they say / They can never take away / What I believe in / I believe in love

In 1942 / A demon army trampled through / Every inch of her forgotten town / The family hid away / A secret place above decay / And there they lived and breathed / Without a sound / She learned to write that year / Of every scream she’d dare not hear / And every tortured soul / She one day moved / One day the soldiers came / And marched her family to the train / And left her diary right in the street / And it read…

I believe in / I believe in love… (chorus continued)

Why is it that we can’t help but look for / A crack of light in the darkest sky / When will we come to understand / That through right and wrong / Love’s the only thing that’s real / So here we go again / Fighting ’til the bitter end / Better off to go our separate ways / And as you slam the door / I swear that I will love no more / But you can’t believe a word I say / And that’s right…

‘Cause I believe in / I believe in love… (chorus continued)

As you can see, this song touches on many topics. From handgun violence in schools to THE HOLOCAUST (I think she’s even going for “Anne Frank,” proving her literary prowess), and then back to her own tumultuous relationship, Love shows us that her middle name isn’t just kinda cheesy – it’s the only thing we have left to hold on to in this crazy mixed-up world! I mean, who would paint “LOVE IS DEAD” on the football field?! WHO WOULD DO IT?! I also appreciate that she said it “hurt her heart” to think that way – I mean who hasn’t been caused heartache by the denial of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s obvious talent?

No, but for serious – this song is cuckoo bananas and brilliant all at once. When you can go from talking about the Gestapo to your booface in one track, you are not messing around. J. Love paints a picture – a series of vignettes if you will – all linked by the common theme of love. By the common theme of her. If listening to J. Love is a crime, sentence me to LIFE.