November 24, 2004
If the Beatles were still making music as a group today, they might sound a little like this song from Razorlight. Granted, nobody can top the Beatles, but this is still a great song. The catchy guitar riff hits you from the first moment, and the singing keeps you going through the end of the song.
-Similar to: The Beatles, Oasis
"Golden Touch" by Razorlight
November 17, 2004
Great indie rock music isn't like pop music. You won't hear the catchy hook or guitar riff in the first 10 seconds of the song. Run Run Run's songs are a perfect example of this. This song is fairly quiet for two minutes before letting loose the guitar chorus that sticks in your head for the rest of the day.
If the name "Run Run Run" sounds familiar, it's because they've opened for quite a few well-known bands, everyone from "The Strokes" to "And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead". If you have $2 plus shipping in your bank account, I'd highly recommend getting the Drizzle EP from Amazon's resellers. It's five great songs for dirt cheap price.
-Similar to: Smashing Pumpkins, Dandy Warhols
"2 A.M." by Run Run Run
-Other good tracks: "Drizzle", "Skyscraper"
November 10, 2004
Great mixing skills and a desire to get away from rap's immaturity has helped K-os take hip hop to a new level. His first album, released in 2003, won International Album of the Year at the Source Awards, and he's toured with The Roots and India Arie. In my opinion, his second album is even better.
To put it plainly, if you like any kind of R&B, you'll love this.
Similar to: The Roots, Mos Def
"The Love Song" by K-os
October 27, 2004
This week's singer, Joss Stone, was suggested by Jojo. She's got a deep soul voice that goes lower than Aretha Franklin or Erykah Badu, but with the softer, slower style of Alicia Keys. Stone's first album made her a star in the hipster world, and this new one might push her even further into the mainstream. To put it plainly, if you haven't heard Joss Stone, you should probably get your ears checked, because she's been everywhere lately.
Similar to: Alicia Keys
"Spoiled" by Joss Stone
October 20, 2004
Jimmy Eat World has received a lot of publicity since their last album, and they even have a video for this first single, but their new album is still worth publicizing here on WMS. Amazing guitar riffs are once again the key to the band's album, and impressive ones are found on almost every song. If you love "Pain", you'll love every song on "Futures", the album they released yesterday.
Similar to: Weezer, Something Corporate
"Pain" by Jimmy Eat World
October 13, 2004
It's been a while since we've had something hardcore on here. Enough of this soft stuff, let's get to some rockin' tunes. The Briggs are opening for Flogging Molly, and I had a chance to be wowed by them. They're like the most hardcore punk band you've ever heard, but with actual good guitar riffs. The song I'm featuring here is one of their old classics, but you can download an mp3 from their new album here.
Similar to: Rancid, NOFX
"Paycheck" by The Briggs
October 6, 2004
If you like Death Cab For Cutie, you've probably already heard of Rogue Wave. They're DCFC's opening act on tour. Soft, thoughtful, and deliciously addictive, Rogue Wave writes the kind of songs that will make your day just a little better. Even though your girlfriend is cheating on you with me, Paul Ryan, Rogue Wave will still have you tapping your toes.
Similar to: Elliott Smith, Death Cab For Cutie
"Kicking the Heart Out" by Rogue Wave
September 29, 2004
The latest album from The Datsuns, "Outta Sight/Outta Mind", is worth buying, especially for the song I'm featuring today. If someone gave Bob Dylan amphetamines and had the band "Jet" backing him up, it might sound something like The Datsuns. Other than that, I'm not quite sure how to describe this truly awesome band.
"Girls Best Friend" by The Datsuns
September 22, 2004
Lots of the music I post in WMS is aimed at young people, but Marc Broussard that everyone will enjoy. A perfect fusion of blues and rock makes him one of the best new acts I've heard. The music is catchy, and his voice is off the charts. If his picture didn't prove Broussard is white, you'd swear he wasn't.
"Come Around" by Marc Broussard
September 15, 2004
I've featured Flogging Molly on WMS before, but they deserve a second round. They have a new album and a new tour, and they're well worth checking out again.
Their blend of Irish folk music and modern punk rock is unparalleled in the music world. They're better than the Dropkick Murphys and more authentic-sounding. To put it plainly, buy their albums, see them on tour, and enjoy the ride.
"The Seven Deadly Sins" by Flogging Molly
September 8, 2004
The Pat Freestone Band has yet to play their first gig, but this single sent to me by Mr. Freestone himself (the guy in the picture on the left) is surprisingly good. I read Pat Freestone's blog every day, and find it zany and hilarious. I'll bet you will, too.
For those of you who live in New York, you can see The Pat Freestone Band playing at Arlene's Grocery (95 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002) on Thursday September 23rd at 8 p.m. Someone please go. I want to see photos, damn it. I want to see how similar the so-called "real" Pat Freestone looks compared to that obviously photoshopped photo.
"Ftrain Girl" by The Pat Freestone Band
September 1, 2004
Guster has a big cult following, and a melodic sound that's almost hypnotizing. It's hard to fill in the "similar to" category, because there's not many bands that sound like Guster. They just feel comfortable.
"Amsterdam" by Guster
August 25, 2004
Ben Folds is insanely popular and nowhere near "unknown", but I'm making a special exception for this edition of WMS. Folds released an EP today, called "Super D". It's five great songs, including a remake of Ray Charles' "Them That Got" and the song I'm letting your preview today, the Darkness' "Get Your Hands Off My Woman". Is there anything better than hearing Folds slam on the piano while screaming "Get your hands off my woman, motherfucker" in a high-pitched voice? Not likely.
Unfortunately, you can't get Folds' new CD in stores. You can either download the album from iTunes for $4.95, or buy it here for $5.98. Either way, it's worth your money.
"Get Your Hands Off of My Woman" by Ben Folds
August 18, 2004
If you like this song by Phoenix, you're going to absolutely love "Alphabetical", their album. The CD just came out, and it's filled with groovy beats like this one. Make sure to visit their website through the music player, and check out another great song of theirs, "Run Run Run".
"Everything is Everything" by Phoenix
August 11, 2004
If you've seen the movie "Kill Bill", then you already know The 126.96.36.199's, a female rock band from Japan who performed in the movie. The reason I'm using them as this week's spotlight is because they're starting a U.S. tour next month, and it's a show you don't want to miss.
If you live in or near Minneapolis, they're playing at First Avenue on Monday, September 27. I'm taking a few vacation days at work and making the two and a half hour drive from La Crosse to see them. So to all you Twin Cities DR groupies, show up and have a drink or seven. I'll match you, beer for beer.
"I'm Blue" by The 188.8.131.52's
August 4, 2004
Billy Talent absolutely rocked the stage at the Warped Tour. I probably never would have seen them, but they were so popular that they were moved up to the main stage. They completely came out of nowhere.
They're now one of my favorite bands, a mix of AFI's screaming vocals, and Sum 41's crisp guitars. I've been rocking out to them for the past week, and now you can too.
"This is How It Goes" by Billy Talent
July 28, 2004
You may not know The Icarus Line, but most musicians do. The band has toured with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Queens of the Stone Age, A Perfect Circle, and more. Their latest album was mixed by the same guy who mixed albums by Nine Inch Nails and the Smashing Pumpkins.
But enough of the name dropping. The lead singer sounds like a cross between Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes and Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction, and the band has a rough guitar sound like The Vines. I've never seen them play live, but I've heard their shows are rude and crude, filled with old school rough and tough slam dancing. And frankly, we could use a few more bands like that.
"Up Against The Wall" by The Icarus Line
July 21, 2004
Richard Cheese is a hilarious lounge singer who does "loungified" versions of popular hits. But he's not Weird Al Yankovic. Richard Cheese actually has singing talent. He's like Dean Martin, if Martin sang lounge versions of rap songs by Snoop Dogg. Here's my favorite song of his new album, Snoop Dogg's "Gin & Juice".
"Gin & Juice" by Richard Cheese
July 14, 2004
Rachael Yamagata interrupts her normally quiet style by pumping some heavy charisma into this song, "Letter Read". Yamagata records in Chicago, and is relatively new on the solo scene after leaving a popular funk band she fronted called Bumpus.
Her first full album is a good one. You can listen to more songs off it from her website.
"Letter Read" by Rachael Yamagata
July 7, 2004
Haley Bonar may have criticized me and made some outrageous comments (How is saying someone is hot slander or libel? Laura Ness was hot, wasn't she?), but that doesn't mean she can't make good music. And she writes some damn good music.
Bonar is one of the few acoustic artists I like. She uses her voice in a variety of different ways, my favorite being on this song, "Drinking Again". Give it a listen by clicking below. I guarantee you'll like it. You can also download the mp3 of this song, and a few more of her songs, by clicking on the "More Songs" link while it's playing.
"Drinking Again" by Haley Bonar
June 30, 2004
Wires on Fire is one of the first hardcore rock bands I've heard in a while that actually sounds good. If you're a fan of System of a Down and old school Korn albums, you'll be a fan of this band.
They don't have an album out yet (how's that for bringing you the newest of the new bands?), but an EP is forthcoming. For now, listen to their first song release, "Learn to Drown", which you can also download free from their website.
"Learn to Drown" by Wires on Fire
June 23, 2004
Listening to The Kicks is like hearing every style of rock band rolled into one. They're part rock, part punk, part indie, and part emo. They're not too loud, but not too soft. Only one factor seems to be confirmed: they're good. Check them out and see for yourself.
"Mir" by The Kicks
June 16, 2004
Roxy Saint is an artist's artist, one of those artists who try so hard to be different that sometimes it's annoying. Luckily, she has a hell of a lot of musical talent to back herself up. Her first album isn't really an album at all. It's a DVD, so all her songs are videos shot guerrilla style. But even without the visuals, her songs are fun. So have a listen.
"The Fuck Song" by Roxy Saint
June 9, 2004
"Relax/Don't think about/The way I treat you." Those lyrics will be stuck in your head for days after you hear this great song by Ambulance LTD. It's funky but not too loud. I wouldn't be surprised to see this band's songs go into heavy rotation in the land of alternative music, if they get the exposure they deserve.
If you go to Ambulance LTD's website, you can download another of their songs, and listen to a bunch of others. They also have some great wallpaper images for your desktop. Their website is rather difficult to navigate, but just keep in mind that the different sections to choose from are in the dim photos in the top righthand corner of the screen, and that some sections haven't been set up yet and won't work.
"Primitive" by Ambulance LTD
June 2, 2004
Over in the UK, Snow Patrol is making a name for themselves. Now they're bringing their light, airy songs to America. This first single will mellow you out after a tough day. Listen and relax.
"Run" by Snow Patrol
May 26, 2004
Do you like "The Like"? I like "The Like". They're a trio of high school girls from Los Angeles who can play and sing better than most mainstream bands. Just think how good they'll be when they get more experience. But for now, listen to this song. It'll make you forget all about their age.
"(So I'll Sit Here) Waiting" by The Like
May 19, 2004
Hometown Hero has put out one mildly successful album, but this one will really add to their fan base.
This song, "Robbers", sounds like old school Stone Temple Pilots, which isn't surprising, considering they've toured with STP. Unfortunately, the rest of their album is very different (you can hear the full ablum through the flash player on the band's website).
"Robbers" by Hometown Hero
May 12, 2004
I'm not sure what the hell Kiiiiii! is, but it's Japanese and it's quite possibly the most amusing thing I've ever heard. Either way, it rocks like nothing else you've heard, and it might be the first band since "Wham!" to have an exclamation point in its name.
"4littlejoy Remix" by Kiiiiii!
May 5, 2004
Story of the Year is a good band. If you really want to be surprised, you'll click on the link and gasp at the picture I used for their Wednesday Music Spotlight.
"Anthem of Our Dying Day" by Story of the Year
April 28, 2004
Yellowcard is fairly well known, but they're not quite mainstream yet. But if they aren't already, they'll soon be rockin' on MTV, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Even MTV gets things right once in a long while.
"Way Away" by Yellowcard
April 21, 2004
I went to see Phantom Planet in concert Sunday night, and The Thrills were opening for them. They sound a little like The Honeydogs, but with a harmonica thrown in every so often.
They have a song on the radio you've probably heard called "One Horse Town", but I like this one better. You have to wait for the chorus, though. That's the part that you'll be unknowingly humming the rest of the day.
"Santa Cruz (You're Not That Far)" by The Thrills
April 14, 2004
You don't know Autopilot Off yet, but you probably will soon enough. They might need another album to perfect their sound, by why not get in on it before it goes mainstream?
"What I Want" by Autopilot Off
April 7, 2004
Most rappers wish they had beats like this one, and the funny part is, it's a techno beat. Ratatat is a brand spankin' new band, and while they don't have an album out yet, if it ends up sounding anything like this single, it'll be the best thing to happen to techno outside of Moby being hit by a bus.
"17 Years" by Ratatat
March 31, 2004
Is this a great song or what? I'll give you the answer: it's a freakin' awesome song. The Avatars are straight outta Detroit with a catchy sound full of guitars and yummy pop goodness.
They're also my new favorite band. If you like this song (and how couldn't you? I mean it's freakin' great!), be sure to check out their website, where you can download it, along with a second good song called "Honey Do".
Oh, and just for the record, I've got dibs on their bass player (girl in the lower-left corner). I saw her first, damnit.
"Wait" by The Avatars
March 24, 2004
Who the hell is Steriogram? I dunno, but they have one badass video for their latest single. The guitar riff is solid, the vocals are unique, and you'll be rockin' out to this tune for a long time.
"Walkie Talkie Man" by Steriogram
March 17, 2004
Today's song by The Postal Service is brought to you by CJ. In fact, CJ likes today's song so much that he demanded that I use it. And you know what? I like today's song too. It's a quieter song, but in a different sort of way. It sounds great, like it should be on the radio, but it still maintains that amateur feel that keeps you feeling close to the band.
By the way, in case you haven't noticed, I've added a "Pepsi cap donation" link to Wednesday Music Spotlight. If you drink Pepsi products but don't use iTunes, donate your winning caps to be used to buy songs for future editions of WMS. Thanks in advance.
"The District Sleeps Alone" by The Postal Service
March 10, 2004
Many of you probably know Phantom Planet from their hit "California", the theme song for the TV show "The O.C." But they have much better and faster songs, including this one from their new album. If you're still hungry for more after this song, go on file sharing and find "Lonely Day" from their last album.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, their former drummer was Jason Schwartzman, that kid in the movie "Rushmore". But he's not in the band anymore.
P.S. I got bored, had some images leftover, and decided to make two Phantom Planet wallpaper images. Here's one, and here's another one.
"Big Brat" by Phantom Planet
March 3, 2004
If you don't know The Get Up Kids by now, then you probably aren't reading this anyway. But they came out with a new album yesterday, and this song is the first single off it . . . if you can call a song that isn't on the radio a single. Either way, it's good.
"The One You Want" by The Get Up Kids
February 25, 2004
The Von Bondies are one of my favorite new high-energy bands on the indie scene. In fact, the only thing I don't like about them is the fact that they've chosen to skip Minneapolis on their US tour. Boo to that. I'm not driving to Milwaukee and back on a Thursday night. Anyway, this song is really short, and well worth the miniscule download time.
"C'mon C'mon" by The Von Bondies
February 18, 2004
In case it's not incredibly easy to figure out, Armor for Sleep is an emo band of sorts. They have a harder rock edge, though. Their album just came out, and this is their first single.
"Dream to Make Believe" by Armor for Sleep
February 11, 2004
This song by "The Dog and Everything" comes from Nik. It's damn catchy. It's got not one, but two great hooks. Even the verses are catchy.
"Hey Luv" by The Dog and Everything
February 4, 2004
CJ put this song by The Plastic Constellations on a mix CD, and I played it about 30 times before I stopped laughing. Seriously, it freakin' rocks. Let's war!
"Let's War" by The Plastic Constellations
January 28, 2004
Holy crap! I actually got a recommendation from someone. Jojo recommended the band "Flaw". They're not bad. Not great, but not bad.
"My Letter" by Flaw
January 21, 2004
Today is a slightly different, yet very special, edition of Wednesday Music Spotlight. This week I don't bring you music. I bring you an hour-long mp3 of a David Sedaris Christmas special from "This American Life". It will only be available for a week, because it's a large file and I can't afford to use up the space for a long time. But for the time I'll have the extra space, I figured I'd use it for something cool, even if it is outside the holiday season.
David Sedaris book reading
January 14, 2004
This is a monumental occasion, because it's the first time I've liked a new band enough to bring them back for a second Wednesday Music Spotlight. If you remember the first time I introduced Say Hi to Your Mom, I gloated about what a great low-key band they were. Well, they've just released a new album, and I'd highly recommend picking it up. The same catchy and peppy, yet softly sweet guitar songs you heard on their first album.
That, and it's only $12 for the CD, including shipping. Sweet. Now click below and listen to the song.
"Hooplas Involves Circus Tricks" by Say Hi to Your Mom
January 7, 2004
Oh man, you don't even know how excited I am by today's song. It's by Gob, a band that's been around since 1994 but hasn't gotten much notice. They're punk, they're fun, and I must see them live as soon as possible.
Listen to "Give Up the Grudge" by Gob