This Tuesday’s new releases

It seems like just yesterday I saw “Captain America” in theaters over the summer, and today is hit stores on DVD. Insert nostalgic sigh here.

While I have yet to purchase it, I hear the DVD has some pretty tasty extras like behind-the-scenes featurettes and more.

In music news, my faves She & Him released their very first Christmas album today. While I am quite possibly the biggest She & Him fan on the planet, I cannot bring myself to even think about listening to this disc yet. I still don’t even have my Halloween costume together yet! Once turkey time has come and gone, expect a review of the album in it’s entirety, but for now, I’ll give you a glimpse of the cover art, because that’s all the holiday spirit I can muster right now…

Tis the season? Not quite yet!

 

Top 5 albums of the year (thus far)

It’s that time of again, kiddies!

Time for all sorts of “best of” lists to start popping up all over the place. You know, the ones that wrap up the year and give you a chance to check out some truly spectacular tunes, films, etc. that you may have missed out on.

With that, I give you the countdown of 2010’s top five albums (thus far).

5. Maroon 5’s “Hands All Over,” released on Sept. 21, 2010

Don’t even try and tell me that Maroon 5 isn’t cool anymore. Have you heard their new album? I can honestly say I was completely sick of Adam Levine and company after hearing “She Will Be Loved” every second of every day of my life for approximately five years, but this album is seriously magic. If you haven’t yet, check out the saucy video for their first single, “Misery.” However, if you’re only going to take the time to listen to three tracks, please let them be “Stutter,” “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” and “Just a Feeling.” This album is so good that after talking about it, I’m going to have to stop writing this list and go listen to this bad boy in its entirety before I continue…

4. Robyn’s “Body Talk, Pt. 2,” released on Sept. 7, 2010

If you’re unfamiliar with Swedish pop singer Robyn, you need to change that. She has released three, count ’em, three, albums in 2010. Her “Body Talk” trilogy is awesome, but part deux is by far the best. Check out my review of “Body Talk Pt. 2” on Spartanedge and if nothing else, be sure to watch the video below. Robyn is like an electro-pop explosion of talent, a.k.a. Sweden’s version of Lady Gaga. Kind of.

3. She & Him’s “Volume Two,” released on March 23, 2010

Zooey Deschanel (she) and M. Ward (him) are easily one of the most talented male-female duos in music today. Put their record on, close your eyes and you could easily find yourself being transported back to the 1960s. Their sound is heavily influenced by an old fashioned, sun-kissed sound, yet this album is a brand of folk unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Deschanel is able to maintain her sunny disposition even on songs like “I’m Gonna Make It Better” and “Gonna Get Along Without You Now.” The highlight of the album is definitely their cover of NRBQ’s “Ridin’ In My Car.” Don’t even get me started on how good it sounds on vinyl…

2. Wakey!Wakey!’s “Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said The Last Time I Saw You,” released on Feb. 2, 2010

In terms of pure musical ability, Mike Grubbs is one of the best I’ve ever heard. He can play the piano like no other, and on his band’s debut full-length album, he does not disappoint. Each song goes seamlessly from one to the next, and the only problem with this album is that it ends. “Dance So Good” is the album’s best track, and songs like “Light Outside,” “Car Crash” and “Feral Love” all top contenders as well. This Brooklyn band isn’t very well known, so be sure to tell your friends and spread the word. Also, don’t forget to check out my interview with Grubbs via Spartanedge.

1. Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More,” released on Feb. 16, 2010

This English folk-rock band has just about the most unique sound I’ve heard in a while. Electric banjo, anyone? Chances are if you’ve heard any of their stuff, you’ve heard “Little Lion Man.” However, if that’s their only song you are familiar with, I pity you. Seriously, stop reading this, go to amazon.com and buy the album. Immediately. Beginning to end, “Sigh No More” is nothing but deliciously heartfelt music backed with actual talent, something that is rare to come by in the “music” industry these days. “The Cave,” “White Blank Page” and “Winter Winds” are the best of the bunch, but this is one of few albums that I can listen to all the way through and not skip a single song.

Honorable mention: Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dog’s “God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise,” released on Aug. 17, 2010

There’s no way for me to not mention this album. I may be biased because I can sit and listen to Ray LaMontagne for hours on end, but this album is pure brilliance. Don’t believe me? On Dec. 1, LaMontagne was nominated for three Grammy’s for this album including Song of the Year for “Beg, Steal or Borrow” and Best Contemporary Folk Album.

There you have it. If you’re not satisfied with my picks, let me know what you think I should have chosen instead!

Throwdown: Brandon Flowers vs. She & Him

No, Zooey and Brandon didn’t actually get into fisticuffs. She’s much too classy for that.

Yesterday, Brandon Flowers unveiled his music video for “Crossfire,” the first single off his debut solo album, “Flamingo.”

Today, She & Him released their video for “Thieves,” a track off their most recent album, “Volume Two.”

After watching both, I can honestly say…

Brandon Flowers: 0

She & Him: 1

Click here to find out why!

Music That Fits Just as Well as Your Jeans

Personally, I have to place the importance of music in my life before my Levi’s.

However, I must give the company props for its new campaign, “Levi’s Pioneer Sessions: The Revival Recordings,” which allows a diverse group of musicians to select and cover a song that has personally influenced them.

Click here to continue reading and download a free song by She & Him!

May’s 100 Albums for $5

Ahh, the joys of May.

With freedom from school and Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, what more could I want?

Some cheap tunes to kick-start my summer would be nice, and Amazon.com has answered my pleas with their list of 100 Albums for $5.

There are some pretty good albums on this list, so get ’em while they’re cheap!

My highlights? “Gorilla Manor” by the Local Natives and “Bomb in a Birdcage” by A Fine Frenzy.

I highly recommend snagging She & Him’s recently released “Volume 2” as well as “Feels Like Home” by Norah Jones.

There’s enough of a variety that there’s bound to be something for everybody.

Check out the list for yourself here and listen to the Local Natives’ track “Wide Eyes” below.

“Volume Two” arrives over a week early

Last week She & Him released a delightfully perky music video for the duo’s single, “In The Sun.”  This week, they topped that with a free stream of their yet to be released sophomore album, “Volume Two.”

The disc hits iTunes and store shelves a week from tomorrow, March 23rd.  Personally, this date has been marked on my calendar and committed to memory for what seems like an eternity.  Because of this, I was thrilled to find that NPR posted an exclusive first listen of the entire album this morning.

I’m going to save my review of “Volume Two” for next week, so keep an eye out for it.  The iTunes version of the album comes with a bonus track, “I Knew It Would Happen This Way,” and I feel that writing a review without it would be incomplete.

I will say this though:  some early reviews I’ve seen have been complaining that there’s too much She (Zooey Deschanel) and not enough Him (M. Ward).  Zooey did write all of the tracks for the album, and it might be a little She heavy this time, but I’m loving it so far.  Also, if you choose to only listen to one track, let it be “Ridin’ In My Car.”

Ok, seriously, that’s all I’m going to say for now.

Check back next week and enjoy the free stream until Tuesday!

She & Him video for “In The Sun”

Indie-duo She & Him unveiled the first video from their upcoming album today.

The pair, better known as Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, will be releasing their second album, “Volume 2,” on March 23.

Until then, check out the video for “In The Sun” below.  It’s pretty much impossible to be unhappy after watching it, it’s just that darling.

“In The Sun”: A She & Him Preview

Attention, She & Him fans!

Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have released a track off their upcoming sophomore album, “Volume 2” two months early.

One of thirteen songs on the album,  “In The Sun” does not disappoint.  The track provides fans with a taste of what to expect:  the same raw talent the duo displayed on “Volume 1.”

“Volume 2” drops March 23, but for now, check out “In The Sun” here.

Related She & Him news: Coachella Music Festival