Saturday, November 29, 2008

Everyone loves a potato monkey!

From the opening notes (in incredible five-part vocal harmony) of Tally Hall's Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum, I am completely smitten. Maybe it's nostalgia for my college days, but right now I just can't get enough of the unique blend of a capella music, nerd rock and complex quirky pop (a la XTC) that Tally Hall creates.

Hailing from Ann Arbor, Mich., I suspect the college circuit has greatly informed their music, so I suppose it should be no surprise that they carry the mantle of bands I loved as a co-ed - bands like Ben Folds Five, Barenaked Ladies, and They Might Be Giants. The lyrics are mostly silly ("Two Wuv" is an ode to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, for example,) but the music is exuberant and infectious and full of hooks. And their vocal harmonies are amazingly complex and tight.

Check out their MySpace page for a few tracks from the album, as well as a charmingly ridiculous version of Biz Markie's "Just a Friend." You can also watch episodes of Tally Hall's Internet Show and meet all five members of the band through their random musings and general silliness.

Friday, November 28, 2008

50 for $5

Christmas came early here at Lost Things Found: is currently offering the 50 top-selling new-release albums of 2008 in mp3 download format for only $5 a piece. This includes Paste's "Best Album of the Year:" Volume One, by She and Him, as well as titles from Radiohead, REM, Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Death Cab for Cutie, Fleet Foxes, Beck, Duffy, Vampire Weekend, Moby, Al Green, Mariah Carey, Mates of State, the Walkmen, Jamie Lidell and many, many others.

I don't know how long it will last, so get there fast!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

LTF Playlist: The OC Soundtrack

Over the past few months, I have spent many of my free moments visiting Orange County, Calif., via the magic of DVD boxed set. I realize I'm a couple of years late on the obsession with Seth, Summer, Ryan and Marissa, but that's okay, because the very best part of the show - the music - has held up extremely well.

From an indie lover's standpoint, the OC might be the best television soundtrack ever conceived, and I don't just mean the several volumes issued as "official" soundtracks on CD. I mean that every song chosen to run in the series was great and deserves its own spotlight. There are classics that have been woefully overlooked and mainstream music that was largely misunderstood. There are cutting-edge bands that ran on the series 2 years ago or 4 years ago that are just now beginning to get the airplay they deserve. There is Journey.

So in the interest of paying homage to this most seminal TV music lineup, I have compiled a new LTF Playlist: The OC Soundtrack.

It's such an extensive catalog that I'm still adding to the playlist, but I have enough to get you started, including songs by the Eels, Jem, Mazzy Star, Thicke, Fountains of Wayne, Guster, Iron and Wine, and Seth's absolute favorite band - Death Cab for Cutie, among many others.

Just click the player at right and give it a spin! (And check back as I continue to update the playlist!)

Oh, and...: For more music from the OC, visit and listen to 6 different mixes, including mix 6, which features indie bands covering the songs of other indie bands.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

LTF approved: Jem

I have to admit I wasn't one of the people who thought Welsh singer Jem's debut album, Finally Woken, was the greatest album of the year, come down from the mountain to redeem us all with its gentle shoegazing sound. (I'm looking at you, Nic Harcourt!) Yes, the song "Just a Ride" was pretty great, but it instantly got played out in soundtrack-ville and the rest of the album failed to charm me the way it charmed everyone else.

In spite of this, or possibly because of this, I like Jem's latest outing better than everyone else, or so it seems. Down to Earth has a certain bi-polar quality, yes, swinging wildly from mellow light indie to clubby trip-hop but there's a certain appeal in the general quality of the sound that keeps me coming back for more. It's may be the undercurrent of Baroque classical music that runs throughout the whole bi-polar affair that binds it all together for me. (For instance, on "Got It Good," you can actually hear the influence of Pachelbel's Canon in D Major. How many indie albums can you say that about?)

There's a little too much stereotypical "ethnic" sound going on in some of the songs - "Crazy" tries way too hard to be Latin-influenced, for instance - but when Jem just relaxes and lets her natural classical inclinations shine through, the result is excellent. (See songs "It's Amazing," "Got it Good," and "And So I Pray.")

Definitely worth a listen. To get you started, check out Jem's MySpace page and listen to "It's Amazing" (or for nostalgia's sake, "Just a Ride.") Then listen to "Got It Good" via the miracles of YouTube:

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Everything leaves a mark

I've been holding off writing about Pictures and Sound, the latest project from former Blue Merle lead Luke Reynolds, because the sound sort of defies description or categorization. There's a big element of New Wave in the shiny, electro-laden arrangements, but the foundation is pure pop/singer-songwriter, reinforced by Reynolds' organic voice. There's a touch of punk ("The Last Ocean,") a little soul ("It's You,") some electro synth-pop ("100 Directions,") even a hint of Western country ("Every War.") The result is an album that has the cutting-edge sound that makes soundtrack editors swoon - deceptively addictive ear candy, packaged in layers of complexity.

Listen to a few tracks on Pictures and Sound's MySpace Page. This is music that gets under your skin after a few listens, so give it some time to sink in. And then just try to stop listening... it's nearly impossible.

Oh, and...: Thanks to the September Paste sampler for introducing me to this band!