Destroyer

Destroyer is Vancouver’s own Dan Bejar. “European Oils” is taken from the seventh Destroyer album. If you’ve yet to hear of Destroyer and you’re thinking SEVEN ALBUMS ALREADY?? where have I been?, fret not. Bejar keeps a low profile. He even downplays his involvement with another Canadian band, The New Pornographers. I love the opening jam of this track. Feels like you’re comfortable and couched and about to spend the next half hour with a witty gang of characters on a ’70’s sitcom. Then Bejar comes in with that voice of his–a mix of Bowie and Dylan maybe. Quirky, odd, and completely satisfying.

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The Rosebuds

My inner zen master wants to say of their latest release, Birds Make Good Neighbors, “the delicate sound of falling leaves coupled with the ominous sounds of the approaching winter.”
The realist in me will end this way: Timeless pop from Raleigh, North Carolina. The Rosebuds conjure a rich textural sound and do so in such a way as to evoke Lloyd Cole, The Stone Roses, Grant Lee Buffalo and a tiny dash of Rufus Wainwright. This husband and wife duo are definitely worth a listen.

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Spoon

So nice to have Spoon back in the mix. Dig the thick groove and soulful vocals on “I Turn My Camera On,” a cross between Prince and Gang of Four. How can that be bad? Not much more booty-shaking on the album (with the exception of “Was It You?”), but lovely nonetheless.

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The Essex Green

Hopefully you were familiar with the musical offerings of Merge Records before hearing The Arcade Fire. If not, I hope you’ve done some due diligence since. The Long Goodbye, released in 2003, from The Essex Green is among the many gems in the Merge catalog. Largely underappreciated by the press, public, and perhaps even their label, songs like “The Late Great Cassiopia” alone are worth 10x the current download pricing standard of 99 cents. Thanks to the generosity of the artist however, you pay nothing. Appreciate it!

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Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura, like most good Scottish bands and football (a.k.a. soccer) clubs, hail from Glasgow. This seven-piece outfit makes classic pop. Sure, comparisons to Belle & Sebastian and even Nick Drake may abound, but Camera Obscura add a soul to their pop that makes them unique. Merge Records has been releasing their original Elefant Records releases in the U.S..

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