Cale Parks

Cale Parks — multi-instrumentalist for the band Aloha — released a solo album — Illuminated Manuscripts — about a year ago. It’s shimmery and delicate and quivery and pretty much electronic, save for the snappy live percussion. These characteristics contrast so nicely with the rasp and grit of the acoustic folk rock that’s lately been pouring through my earbuds that I don’t care how old it is; I’m just happy to be in the haze.

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Headlights

My dear friend Seth rarely pushes anything on me. He believes strongly in free will and all that jazz. He might occasionally make a gentle suggestion that I might enjoy a book, or ask me if I’ve heard of a band (knowing that I will lie and say yes and then immediately run to my computer and discover who they are). But he never pushes. (Except for his very favorite book, Winters Tale by Mark Helprin, which he pushes on everyone, but no one ever reads.) So, in rare form, Seth pressed on, asking me again and again if I had listened to the Headlights song. Lesson? When Seth makes an enthusiastic recommendation, a girl should listen. In any case, I’d say more about the music, but I’ll have to let the music speak for itself as I am walking out the door to go meet fellow ‘Hiver Joe for the very first time!

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The Like Young

“For Money or Love,” the second song on The Like Young’s Last Secrets really says it all about the Like Young: for the love of their music, for the love of the band, for the love of each other (they’re married), Amanda and Joe made sacrifices to do what they loved, despite the struggles with money. Last Secrets explains it all, and perhaps, fittingly, was their last album before they retired the band back in August. Many more songs of their duo-punk-rock from earlier releases can be downloaded from their site.

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The M’s

The dilemna? Keep running with this whole anti-Valentines thing that the kids and the nation’s biggest retailers got going on and throw in a little post-Valentines Norwegian death metal today on 3hive? Or try to actually extend the blessed day–after all I do have four Valentines at home–by finding a band whose name had something to do with Valentines Day, other than the Valentines? But what’s this? Chicago’s the M’s have got a new album coming out next week, so today just had to be them and their fuzzy, psychedelic-tinged ode to the music of the 60’s and 70’s, completely unashamed of wearing their influences or their hearts (hearts, get it?) on their sleeves. Happy Wednesday!

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xbxrx

xbxrx are, if I may quote the words of the American commander replying to a German demand for his surrender at Bastogne in WWII, simply “Nuts.” Think of Le Tigre, but rather than being quirky and political, xbxrx are just crazy. I mean that in the kindest, most complimentary way. And continuing the previous comparison, rather than having pop-punk-electronic leanings, xbxrx love the rock ‘n’ roll and let everyone know it.

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Of Montreal

There’s something about good music where you can always remember the circumstances when you were first introduced to it. More than a few years ago, my brothers and their friends, collectively known as the “Dirty Boys” for their fear of bathing, would gather for weekly soccer games while they were still in high school. I always played with them, despite being the only one who owned a proper pair of soccer boots, and boy did we have some good games. After one of those games, we having defeated a neighborhood Hispanic team who just showed up that day, BW Appleseed, as Brian was called, pressed into my hand a Holly Johnson tape. Holly Johnson?!! Well, on one side was handwritten “The Minders,” and on the other was scrawled “Of Montreal.” Of Montreal have their roots in Athens and the Elephant 6 collective, and they make just wonderfully eclectic pop. And I’ve still got that tape.

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Mates of State

There’s one thing you can say about bands who tour constantly: they love their music. Mates of State is one of those bands — and you’ll soon love their music, too. In antipication of the November release of their new EP and DVD, enjoy these songs, one off of each of their three albums. Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel are literally mates, and the things they do with a Yamaha organ and a drumkit will soon put you in another state. So that’s how they got their name…

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Saturday Looks Good to Me

Fred Thomas leads this band of Detroit’s finest, an ever-changing lineup of musicians bringing back all that was good from ’60s pop music. Reverb-drenched boy-girl vocals, the gently strummed guitars (also reverb-drenched), it’s all here. But make no mistake, SLGTM ain’t plagiarists. They add their own originality, which makes their music so refreshing. And yes, Sam, I said Detroit.

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Volcano, I’m Still Excited

Comparisons are usually poor. However, just imagine a four-way intersection in a small town, the only intersection in town. Now imagine that Modest Mouse, Human League, Peter Hook, and, let’s say, an ice cream truck are converging on this intersection. Well, Mr. Hook, the crazy Brit, is driving on the left-hand side of the road! From the resulting crash emerges Volcano, I’m Still Excited.

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