Fingertips Music Guide to betterPropaganda: October '06

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) "Doctor Blind" - Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton
Haunting, piano-based reverie with a pointed message. From her weary, not-quite-deadpan voice to the unearthly background noises, everything here seems draped in lamentation. Listen in particular for those echo-noises in the background, which sound by the end like a chorus of alien ghosts trying to warn us, through a some sort of interdimensional doorway, about something we wouldn't understand anyway. Highly recommended.

check out a more detailed review on Fingertips:

2) "Brother" - Annuals
Sounding like the Arcade Fire's younger American cousins, Annuals transform a lilting, pastoral opening (complete with crickets) into a hard-driving rocker, showing both patience and passion in the process. Along the way, they demonstrate an impressive grasp of instrumental melody (note the recurring violin refrain), musical dynamics (they do both loud and soft with impressive character), and idiosyncratic production tricks. Not bad for a bunch of (almost) kids.

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3) "Hang On Girl" - Favourite Sons
Hard-edged swagger, siren-like guitar line, shimmying drive: yup, this one has all it needs to be added to the list of classic New York City rock tunes. Bristling with energy without wasting any sounds, "Hang On Girl" gets its heart and soul from singer Ken Griffen's alluring baritone, a pitch-perfect downtown dude's combination of nonchalance and spirit.

4) "Turn This Thing Around" - El Presidente
With their feisty dance-rock riffs and falsetto vocals, this Scottish quintet edges neo-glam-rock ever so close to camp (and truly it's never far away), but for the crazy sincerity of its exhilarating chorus. When Dante Gizzi (great name) sings "Let me go back to where we were," the melody not only resolves impeccably but I hear an unexpected dollop of genuine poignancy, which to me raises "this thing" from catchy buzz-hit to a true musical highlight of 2006.

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5) "Supernatural Car Lover" - Robert Pollard
The preposterously prolific Pollard is back with his 73rd album of the last 18 months (or something like that), and damn if it isn't full of the sort of tuneful, inscrutable pop that leaks from his body via osmosis 24 hours a day, I'm guessing. This one puts me in the mind of early R.E.M.: the effortless guitar hook, the Stipe-ian voice, and Pollard's uncanny ability to present English as a foreign language--even when I can understand the words I have no idea what he's saying. But, R.E.M.-ishly, that doesn't seem to matter at all: the music and vibe rule the day, quite happily.

September Reviews:
August Reviews:
July Reviews:
June Reviews:

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