Posts Tagged ‘pop’

PLAYLIST: Top 10 songs for the open road


Matthew Montgomery, 2009

Back in September 2009, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in my car while traveling across the western half of the United States. During this time I discovered that when speeding down a side road in Iowa, not all songs were created equal. Here is a list, in no particular order, of the 10 best songs for driving to.

1. The All New Adventures of Us – “Firetruck”

This song is wonderful to say the least. It meets all the requirements to be a good driving song: sonic guitars, blasting horns, enough changes to keep you interested and of course, a beat you can tap your gas pedal too. The song speaks of never missing another adventure, and that really embodies what this article is about: adventures.

2. The Beatles – “Two of Us”
“Two of Us” is one of those jangly guitar songs you just can’t do without on a good drive. It’s stood the test of time and after nearly 40 years it is just as valid as it was on its release. The song itself induces images of driving on a winding backroad with the windows down and the sun shining.



Review: Emiliana Torrini – Me and Armini

Emiliani Torrini - Me and ArminiEmiliana Torrini
Me and Armini
Rough Trade, September 9, 2008

On its face, Me and Armini could be just like a number of female-fronted pop records; Emiliana Torrini has a simultaneously marketable and enjoyable vocal style that wouldn’t bring any surprises if it reached mainstream success. Me and Armini, though, is much more than a simple throw-away pop release, and Torrini’s silky vocals are only the tip of a musical iceberg.

Emiliana Torrini – “Me and Armini” | download

Torrini might be best known for performing “Gollum’s Song” from 2002’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, but Me and Armini could change her status from being a slight footnote in mainstream pop culture, whic she attained both for “Gollum’s Song” and for co-writing two tracks from Kylie Minogue’s Body Language. A footnote, though, doesn’t seem to be Torrini’s favorite option, so with Me and Armini she’s released a powerful, engaging picture of her musical talent of the Iceland native. (more…)

Video: They Might Be Giants at TED2007

They Might Be Giants performing at TED2007.Okay, this video might be a little old — don’t ignore it for that reason, please. Besides, if old counts as around a year and half ago, I suppose there’s plenty I ought to ignore instead of give some attention. At any rate, it’s apparently the earliest the band’s performed (or so they claim) and is full of witty banter. The video’s embedded below, but for your convenience, here’s a link: They Might Be Giants at TED2007. TED (Technology Entertainment Design), a conference taking place in Monterey, California, features all sorts of interesting speakers and performances, many of which are available at their official site,

The site includes a great MP4 download for those looking to watch this extravaganza on their favorite media device.

Plus, there’s a great performance of Apollo 18 favorite, “Fingertips,” that’s not to be missed. The video’s embedded after the jump. (more…)

Spotlight: Grand Archives

Grand Archives / Courtesy of Sub Pop RecordsGrand Archives, consisting of five – Mat Brooke, Jeff Montano, Curtis Hall, Ron Lewis, and Thomas Wright – bring us bright, experimental pop recordings. “Torn Blue Foam Couch” is particularly lush with a chirping summery tone and beautiful four-part vocal harmonies. Perfect walking music, as great pop should be. To kick off their album release (Feb. 19th) Grand Archives will be performing Live at KEXP 90.3 FM and a live (free!) show at Sonic Boom later that evening in Seattle, WA. Full tour dates will be listed here. Their self-titled album will be released Feb. 19 on Sub Pop Records.

Grand Archives — “Torn Blue Foam Couch” | download


Spotlight: The Helio Sequence

The Helio SequenceThe Helio Sequence of Portland, OR, have recently released their highly anticipated third album Keep Your Eyes Ahead a few days past – January 29th. The band is made of two; Brandon Summers, guitar and vocals, while Benjamin Weikel takes control of drums and keyboard. This indie pop/rock duo give us rich ambient atmosphere, as such in the title track “Keep Your Eyes Ahead,” with wonderfully flavored lyrical tone to guide us through. Also noteable are the acoustic, more folky tune of “Shed Your Love,” and “Broken Afternoon.” The Helio Sequence are currently touring the United States, with European dates to show after April. Full tour dates will be listed below.

The Helio Sequence — “Keep Your Eyes Ahead” | download

The Helio Sequence — “Blood Bleeds” | download

The Helio Sequence — “Everyone Knows Everyone” | download


Spotlight: Reed KD

Reed KD / Courtesy of Fanatic PromotionReed KD, a northern California-based act with a refreshing indie-centric folk-bluegrass-pop style and a penchant for vocals that sound at least a smidgen influenced by Elliott Smith, are set to release The Ashes Bloom on Feb. 12. The album will be released on Dirty Laundry Records. The two tracks posted below, “Empty Bottles” and “Even If I,” are well-written, well-timed pop songs, and they’re certainly worth an attentive listen.

Reed KD — “Empty Bottles” | download

Reed KD — “Even If I” | download


Spotlight: Papercuts

PapercutsPapercuts, fronted by Jason Robert Quever, bring us two unique and refreshing pop/folk rock albums: his debut Mockingbird (2004), and latest release Can’t Go Back (2007). In both albums, Quever takes on airy vocals that blend beautifully with his folk-style guitar work interlaced with string instruments, gentle percussion, and cheery pop tunes. His timeless style, most apparent in “Take the 227th Exit” and “Outside Looking In,” will very likely keep him in the spotlight for many years to come. Papercuts will also be going on tour this year beginning February 28th through April. Further information on tour dates may be found on

Papercuts — “John Brown”

Spotlight: Jenny Hallam

Jenny Hallam / Courtesy of Jenny HallamJenny Hallam is an independent, relatively unknown, artist from Worcester in the UK. Her music ranges from piano driven pop to quick paced, crunchy guitar ridden rock. She is yet to be signed or have a self released album, but does has a few demos up for listen on her MySpace page. The song Avoiding the Spotlight starts with quick drums, and dance influenced keyboard sounds, but quickly gives way to guitar solos that harken to the days of Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane. All things considered, this girl has some great talent and shows real potential.

Jenny Hallam – “Avoiding the Spotlight” | download