Sing, Sing A Song…

It’s been a bad year for music. Well, for me at least. I was looking at my iTunes and I only have half a dozen albums recorded in 2006 and we are already halfway through August. This is appalling.

The last two albums I got were The Raconteurs' Broken Boy Soldiers and Johnny Cash’s American V: A Hundred Highways, with its heartbreaking version of “If You Could Read My Mind.” Both great albums, but I’m hardly overflowing the iPod.

There is one little ray of sunshine in all this – my friend Rob let me know about a new Sloan album coming out in September, so at least I’ll have seven albums by the end of the year. You can get a taste of the 30-track (!!) opus with the first single “Who Taught You to Live Like That” over on their MySpace page, which makes me very happy. Hey, who knew there was good stuff on MySpace pages?

Anyway, I can’t let this situation continue so I’m appealing to all my readers to tell me the best music they’ve heard this year, or at least summer. Albums would be best as I’ve never been one for singles, but I’ll take on all comers. So help me out everyone, don’t let this musical atrophication continue. I’ll be listening to Raffi and his ilk soon enough as it is.

P.S. - I'm doing a spot of guest editing over at Scandal Sheet this week. It's fun to be mean and gossipy.


  1. Sloan rocks it, so I am looking forward to that.

  2. You might check out the band Throwback Suburbia and their album Eight Tracks. It's a small album, only eight songs, but IMHO it is nearly perfect. I can't recommend it to fans of powerpop enough. The song "The Ride" is especially good.

  3. Video killed the radio star and IPod killed good music.

    --RC of

  4. Mmmm, powerpop. Sounds perfect, I'll be sure to check it out. Do you listen to the New Pornographers? Also a stunning piece of powerpop. Ok people, this is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for.

    And RC, why so down? The iPod has liberated my music - we went to the cottage for a week and took all 5,000+ songs with us. I listen to songs I've ignored for years and it makes it easier for me to try out new music (this year notwithstanding.) have you heard nothing good this year?

  5. I thought you'd NEVER ask, Jer! Here's my personal faves from this summer:

    The Joel Plaskett Emergency, Make A Little Noise (CD/DVD) - Tough to find better sing-a-long tunes, from one of Canada's best singer/songwriters.

    Islands, Return To The Sea - Former Unicorns together making some of the catchiest pop riffs of the year. 'Rough Gem' is the standout track and perfectly titled! Finally out with a full CD! Check out this description: " Shout out out out out = two drummers + four bass players + two samplers + five synthesizers + five cowbells + two octapads + one vocoder. Shout out out out out plays volatile dance music." Dare you not to listen... - Dugout has been in my head for weeks - great rock track.

    And last but not least...

    Malajube, Trompe l'Oeil - One of the Polaris Prize nominees (probably the one that most people have never heard of), this is definitely one of the best albums of the year. Riddled with great pop hooks, it doesn't matter whether you can speak French or not - it's just amazing music.

  6. Ooops - sorry for the crappy links. The third band is Shout Out Out Out (Listen Here) and the fourth band is Ladyhawk (Listen here)

  7. Where to begin . . . First off, never EVER say it's been a bad year for music unless you follow it up by admitting you have not heard much music that year. Not really for you, Jer, as you did that, but I send that out to the readers as well.

    Secondly, I've had a GREAT year for music. Now I'll admit that I am buying more stuff from the 50s and 60s nowadays than I am from 2006, but that's a minor point. :) The reality is, you can fill that iPod with music from any year, so I wouldn't restrict the focus just on this year.

    But, here's some stuff you may enjoy:

    Lily Allen - Alright Still
    this is the young woman who posted songs on myspace, which led to her getting a huge legion of fans, and now she has a record deal. The album is brilliant, catchy, and she's a great lyricist.

    Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
    You likely know these guys, and the new album is great. Synth-pop with beats, and gorgeous vocals.

    Sparklehorse - Dreamt For Light Years In the Belly Of A Mountain
    Sparklehorse rules, and the new album has leaked. It reminded me how much I love this band. And Tom Waits sings on a track!

    Jim Noir - Tower of Love
    singer-songwriter from the UK whose sound most reflects the Beach Boys. Simple lyrics, killer melodies.

    Nelly Furtado - Loose
    Laugh if you want, but denying this is denying yourself great music. Definitely one of my favourite albums of the year, and all singles are amazing!

    Ane Brun - A Temporary Dive
    This is a norwegian singer songwriter whose voice is so gorgeous, you'll fall madly in love with it. Very strong vocalist as well. The album is a year old, but only came out in North America a month or so ago.

    Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
    Imagine Ron Sexsmith fronting a 70s folk-rock band. Very creative lyrics, and the songs are filled with catchy hooks!

    Not sure if you like hip hop at all, but the T.I. and Ghostface Killah albums are essential, and the latter will likely fall in my top 10 of the year. And on a more soulful edge, the Gnarls Barkley album is a MUST OWN. Also, if you ever want to see a really entertaining gig, see Gnarls Barkley live! There's other stuff that I love, but you may not care for, like The Knife - Silent Shout, Scott Walker - The Drift, Herbert - Scale, Opensouls - Kaleidoscope (a blend of hip hop, afrobeat and funk!) and others.

    Anyway, hopefully that helps. :) I'll likely provide more soon (cause I'm writing this from work, and my mind is going blank).

  8. Add to my list the following:

    I'm From Barcelona - Let Me Introduce My Friends
    28 person pop group. Better than Polyphonic Spree!

    Thom Yorke - The Eraser
    Not as great as a Radiohead album, but I love his voice, love his songs, etc. If you do too, you should like this.

    Calexico - Garden Ruin
    Possibly the best collection of songs they've ever released.

    phoenix - it's never been like that
    Amazingly catchy pop album. Very cheap at Soundscapes.

    shack - the corner of miles and gil
    If you know Shack, then you know they're one of the greatest British bands in the world EVER!!! If you don't know shack, hide your head in shame until you've bought their albums! Start with HMS Fable, but this one is a close second.

    Others you should download:

    guillemots - through the windowpane
    camera obscura - let's get out of this country
    pajo - 1968
    The Young Knives - Voices Of Animals And Men

  9. jeremy, while the ipod has liberated some music, it has also made music album free.

    songs have to grab you on first listen for you to download them, etc. which makes music have to stand out and doesn't give it the opportunity to grow on you...

    you know you've bought CD's before where you really liked track 4...and then all of the sudden you liked tracks 1, 2 and 3...and then you pop the cd in and listen to the whole things 6 months to a year later after your sick of it and realize you just don't know how you've lived life with out track 9.

    now it all has to stick right away without giving music time to grow on you.

    just my thoughts on one of the ways iPOds and mp3 technology is harmful to music (i know, i know, i sound like one of those old guys who don't like how CDs are smaller and don't leave as much room for Record Art).

    --RC of

  10. Currently on my Recently Played list:
    Thom Yorke - Black Swan
    The Postal Service - Be Still My Heart (Nobody Remix)
    Umbrellas - The City Lights
    Mark Lanegan - Carry Home

    And old as dirt, but still good:
    Matt Pond PA - (All albums)
    The Get Up Kids - (All albums)

  11. RC, I can totally see your argument with respect to people being more focused on songs and not full albums, but I don't see how that argument means that the Ipod killed good music.

    I'm still an album person too, and with my recommendations, hope that Jeremy listens to them as a whole, and not just in parts (if he chooses to search out any of my recommendations). And while I can agree that more people I know are focussed on songs, not albums, I don't think the quality has suffered at all.

  12. Maybe we are focussed on songs because most cd's have three good songs and ten fillers. Anyway, the new Keane album has three or four good songs on it.

    other stuff in heavy rotation
    death cab for cutie - transatlantacism (this is from last year)
    chicane - misc stuff including 'stoned in love' feat. tom jones
    les rythmes digitales - sometimes
    I've been enjoying The Knife also.

  13. Okay -- buy the National album called Alligator -- it was my favourite from last year. I'm really digging a band called "Broken Family Band". The album is called Balls and is awesome. I quite like the new Futureheads, and a band called "I love you but I've chosen darkness." Oh, and Sunset Rubdown, which is an offshoot of Wolf Parade (which is awesome too, if you don't have it.) The new Sleepy Jackson album, Personality, rocks my socks.

  14. The fact I like the Skydiggers is no big secret. So the Skydiggers/Cash Brothers collaboration is a great choice as is the Finlayson/Maize record, Dark Hollow. both are available through If you must download a sample try "From Down the Line," from the Finlayson/Maize project. By far my favorite song of the summer.

    If you are a file sharing type of dude, the new Yo La Tengo is pretty good.


    The Stills - Without Feathers

    Sexsmith & Kerr - Destination Unknown

    Ron Sexmith - Time Being

    Belle & Sebastian - Life Pursuit

    Various Artists - Tropicalia : A Brazilian Revolution

    And my favourite girl band...The Pipettes. Here's the big hit from YouTube:

    And if none of this works go to and and randomly read reviews of the highest rated records.

  15. OK, so I'm two weeks late in coming to post a comment in response to your request for music ideas - life happens.

    For the record, I agree that American V has soul-shattering gravitas. But my favorites from Cash's work with Rick Rubin in the American series are two tunes from his previous release: Cash's original When the Man Comes Around and his cover of Hurt by the Nine Inch Nails.

    I'm almost old as dirt, and therefore clueless when it comes to new releases and this year's music. I'm still catching up on old stuff. But decided this winter that I like techno punk (go figure) and turned me on to a band called Lords of Acid that you have to at least check out, if you haven't already (I take it they've been around quite a while), for their novelty.

    Their music chops aren't terribly sophisticated and if Pandora hadn't suggested them I'd probably never have given them a chance. But they're incredibly funny, in the same sarcastic way that Pink's Stupid Girls is funny, and decidedly obscene. Am I Sexy, the first sample on their sounds page ( is fairly representative of their musical range, but isn't long enough to hear most of the funny bits.

    Don't forget I warned you about the obscene part.