Fingertips Music Guide to betterPropaganda: February 07

Our collaboration with one of our favorite bloggers, Jeremy Schlosberg from Fingertips, continues. Start reading this months Top 5 recommendations and don't forget to check out Fingertips while you're at it for more in depth reviews.

1) "Down In The Valley" - The Broken West
The Broken West is a young quintet from Los Angeles who sound as broken in and familiar as an old pair of slippers. With its muscular tom-tom beat, feedbacky guitar, sloppy-tight harmonies, and organ solo, "Down in the Valley" walks that great great line between power pop and garage rock--a line walkable only by bands that really know what they're doing. Although the year is young, I think I'm going to be hard-pressed to find in 2007 another chorus as infectious as this one.

check out a more detailed review on Fingertips:

2) "Welcome, Ghosts" - Explosions in the Sky
I don't tend to be attracted to instrumentals but this is one band that commands attention the moment they plug in. Somewhere between the ringing guitars and the deep deliberate drumming they have unearthed a majestic yet bittersweet sound unlike any I've heard. Even without words, the story unfolds with drama and interest from beginning to end. Powerful stuff.

3) "In Transit" - Albert Hammond, Jr.
Chimey, brightly-paced, and instantly likable. On this song from his solo debut, Strokes guitarist Hammond betrays an unexpected affinity for good old ELO, what with the gleeful melodies, the sky- and space-oriented sounds and imagery, and even Hammond's voice, which sounds eerily like Jeff Lynne's at certain moments. While the sharp guitar lines are reminiscent of something you'd hear from the Strokes, the vibe is lighter, airier, and poppier.

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4) "I'm A Broken Heart" - The Bird and the Bee
Awash in an echoey, vaguely '60s-like aural landscape, "I'm a Broken Heart" reveals itself to be brand new at its core, a combination of electro-retro sounds that we've never quite heard before. Inara George (daughter of the late Little Feat leader Lowell George) sings the lilting melodies with a beautiful airy tone, while keyboardist/producer Greg Kurskin surrounds her with a warm but quirky mix of jazzy sounds, the line between electronic and organic completely obscured. On their MySpace page, the band describes their music as "a futuristic 1960's American film set in Brazil." Great fun, in other words.

5) "Sorry" - Youth Group
Crisp, glistening music that breaks no particular ground and yet makes me happy in a bittersweet sort of way and compels me to go back and listen again. Those who remember the British band James may hear some pleasing resonances here; "Sorry" boasts the soaring yet fleet-footed touch of that band's best work. Youth Group has a big following in their Australian homeland but they seem clearly poised for international recognition.

check out a more detailed review on Fingertips:

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