The Awkward Stage

The Awkward Stage ended up being one of my happy finds, with “West Van Girl,” “1000 Teenage Hearts,” and the title track from Shane Nelken’s debut album, Heaven is for Easy Girls, all being worth at least $.99 at the legal download site of your choice. Hopefully the band’s sophomore spin, Slimming Mirrors, Flattering Lights — out in June, two days before my birthday! (hint, hint, Mint Records) — will offer up another set of smart Canadian pop from the sensitive and supremely talented Nelken. “Anime Eyes” is a rocking little piece of candy sweetly luring us in.

Anime Eyes [MP3, 3.4MB, 128kbps]

Original post: 09/28/06
About The Awkward Stage, my friend Tim O. has this to say: “Here’s an album in the grand tradition of geek rock, as in Weezer, Beck, etc., even though The Awkward Stage doesn’t sound like any of them. Strong melodies and pop hooks lead a slight voice through cleverly-titled, literate and ultimately pathetic songs. Even the cover art depicts lead singer Shane Nelken going to prom with a blow-up doll while wearing a retainer and head gear. In fact, I heard Joe had the same head gear in middle school.” Wait a minute, there… Well, that’s enough from Tim O. on the subject. Oh no, wait, he has one more thing to say. “While the title track claims ‘The Morons are Winning,’ The Awkward Stage are clearly figthing back.” Brilliantly pithy, T.O. Look for Heaven is for Easy Girls on October 10.

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Bella

My most awesome musical dream right now is of Bella and Mighty Six Ninety doing a “Battle of the ’80s Cover Bands.” How cool would that be? M-690’d take on “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” and Bella would do “Fascination.” Certainly, I could die a happy man after that show. I actually can imagine keeling over while dancing to “Give it a Night,” off Bella’s Mint Records debut No One Will Know. It’s a super-pop retro-blast, like a “Sweating to the 80s” exercise video soundtrack made in heaven (or would it be nirvana). All this means, of course, that Bella’s about to get a hundred million plays on the family iPod.

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Young and Sexy

Aside from the obvious ploy to boost our search engine traffic, I offer up Young and Sexy to add to Sean’s early nominations for Pop Album of the Year. This Vancouver outfit’s thoughtful, epic take on pop makes them a perfect foil for the Figurines’ scruffy charm or Field Music’s fleeting sugar rushes. Me, I’ve got all three in heavy rotation. Who says there can only be one Pop Album of the Year? Well, the oddsmakers, I suppose. Best believe there’d be rioting in Vegas if we ended up with a three-way tie…

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Immaculate Machine

Neal took me on my first snowboarding experience a few weeks ago, and on our way to the fake-snow-covered landfill that is skiing in SE Michigan, we listened to CBC Radio 3. What a cool show! (And a good way to get my mind off of impending pain. Actually, Neal is a GREAT teacher, and while I never managed to actually turn the snowboard on purpose, I didn’t hurt anyone either.) Immaculate Machine got spun, and I was sold quickly on their late ’80s new wave sound. Plus, I bet they don’t snowboard on other people’s old garbage in British Columbia.

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