Benni Hemm Hemm: “Snjór Ljós Snjór”

Let’s put Bjork out of our minds for just a second and focus on the other other other group from Iceland: Benni Hemm Hemm. The band’s newest album Kajak is getting stateside release soon, so look sharp!

MP3: Benni Hemm Hemm – Snjór Ljós Snjór
OK, so this one’s a bit rougher to get into than their last album. Going from just my americentric view of the world, I’m guessing this album is entirely in Icelandic. However, some of the Jens Lekman appeal of of Benni Hemm Hemm’s self-titled release is lost in non-translation. Still, the arrangements are beautiful and lush, so it’s still a winner in my book.

And for good measure, here’s my favorite Benni Hemm Hemm song. When I used to play this on WRFL, I had a lot of people call in and ask who it was.

MP3: Benni Hemm Hemm – I Can Love You In A Wheelchair

Benni Hemm Hemm on Myspace

Ratatat: “Party and Bullsh*t” (Remix)

Yeah, I’m a little behind on this one, but I just got the new Ratatat Remixes Vol. II album and am positively in love with it. It’s got that kind of freshness that makes you go back and revisit the originals (or in the case of Beans and Saigon & U.G.K., hear the orignals for the first time). Here’s the one that I’ve been making everyone near me listen to for the past few days.

MP3: Notorious B.I.G. – Party and Bullsh*t (Ratatat remix)

And if you’re hungry for some live Ratatat, check out this Youtube video of “Seventeen Years.”

The Melody Function: “Anne Maria”

So I’m knee-deep in studying for finals, writing essays and composing portfolios: oh, the joys of college! The next three days might be somewhat bare around here, but I’ll do my best to keep it lively.

MP3: The Melody Function – Anne Maria
Tony from the Melody Function reminded me Friday that the first time they played this song, I came up to them after the show and said “Whoa! You got all Nirvana there for a minute!” Now, I’m not going to recant on that, but I will say that this isn’t quite what I think we should take away from this one. Please excuse the scatter-shot of references, but it’s somewhere between early Kinks, the La’s and maybe edging just slightly towards the Jam.

The Melody Function on Myspace

They Might Be Giants: “Take Out the Trash”

New They Might Be Giants album out May 15 on iTunes. Here’s an early preview!

Link removed by request.

MP3: They Might Be Giants – Take Out The Trash
When I was probably nine years old, my dad hooked up our stereo to the TV output so I could record the musical episode of Tiny Toons to a cassette. The reason for my infatuation? I was in love with They Might Be Giants. Over a decade later, nothing’s changed really. I’ve seen them live and they’re releasing a new album. Also, I think they’ve probably written two dozen tv theme songs and have more Johns in the band than anyone I can think of (except the Apples in Stereo, which have three). They Might Be Giants still know how to kick it with a fuzzed-out bass riff and tons of hand claps, and for that we should be thankful.

The Decemberists: “Human Behaviour”

So I’ve been listening to a lot of Bjork lately in anticipation for her new album and I’ve been playing the Decemberists to get ready for Bonnaroo. What more fitting thing to post than the Decemberists covering Bjork? I mean, until we get an Icelandic take on “As I Rise,” that is.

MP3: The Decemberists – Human Behaviour (Bjork)
If you’re anything like me, the start of this song will scare you a little bit. It’s really nice, just Colin with his acoustic guitar — but to paraphrase an old fast food commercial; Where’s the bass? It’s just another of the Decemberists’ tricks, though, as the bass, piano and drums come thumping in before the second verse. It’s a winner through and through, especially given Meloy’s characteristic vocal delivery giving lyrics usually song by someone with an even more distinct voice.

On a related note, I just got Bjork’s Live at the Royal Opera House DVD and all I can say is “wow.” You folks at Coachella and Sasquatch are lucky people.

Immaculate Machine: “Dear Confessor”

I think it was just last week that I checked to see if Immaculate Machine had anything new in the works. I must not have done a very good job because the Victoria trio posted a whole bunch of tour dates on their myspace and released this new single from their upcoming album Fables. Enjoy!

MP3: Immaculate Machine – Dear Confessor
The male/female vocal interplay mixed with a sugary pop musical backing calls to mind Mates of State playing with Camera Obscura or the Essex Green. It’s a driving, catchy tune that’s so good that I can hardly pinpoint the best part about it.

Immaculate Machine on Myspace

San Fadyl, drummer for Ladybug Transistor, has died. My prayers to out to the family and friends of a man responsible for some great music.

Bishop Allen Announce Album Details

Dead Oceans, the third sister label of the Secretly Canadian / Jagjaguwar group, just announced the details for the forthcoming Bishop Allen album, The Broken String. The album is coming out July 24, with updated versions of several EP songs as well as new compositions.

MP3: Bishop Allen – Click Click Click Click (from “July”)

Bishop Allen and the Broken String
The Monitor
Click, Click, Click, Click
The Chinatown Bus
Flight 180
Like Castanets
Butterfly Nets
Shrinking Violet
Middle Management
Choose Again
The News From Your Bed

In other Bishop Allen news, their song “History of Excuses” was played for a minute or so in the background of last night’s Scrubs. It was when JD and Melody(?) were waiting in the bar for Elliott. You go, Zach Braff.

Bishop Allen on Myspace

Previously on YANP:
Stay Hungry: The Story of Bishop Allen
Bishop Allen @ Hot Freaks! SXSW
Bishop Allen @ SXSW

They’ll be doing a tour leading up to the album, but right now the only show they have listed is tonight in NYC at the Knitting Factory (all ages, 6:30PM).

Polyphonic Spree Release Album Tease

Thanks to Stereogum for the heads-up on this one. The Polyphonic Spree’s upcoming new album (and my #1 most anticipated release of 2007) has been chopped into pieces and distributed over 8 minutes.

MP3: The Polyphonic Spree – Fragile Army Mashup

So there you have it. It’s out June 19, so practice your swooping arm gestures. If you need refreshers, check out the my review of the Spree’s SXSW Hot Freaks! performance.

The Features to Tour

Don’t let the croquet attire fool you, The Features have proven themselves time and time again to be one of the most consistant bands out there. Their last release, the “Contrast” EP, was absolutely fantastic; and I’d say that their full length is probably one of my favorite releases of the past five years. But while I don’t have any information on their upcoming release (as far as I know, they’re still unsigned after leaving Universal), I do have new tour dates to post. And yes, Virginia, they’re playing three Kentucky dates in the next three months and I hope to be at every one of them.

MP3: The Features – I Will Wander

The Features Tour Dates
Apr 28 MTSU- Rock for Arthritis Benefit Murfreesboro, TN
May 5 The Dame Lexington, KY
May 19 Riviera Theatre Chicago, IL *
May 21 Headliners Louisville,KY *
May 22 House of Blues Cleveland, OH *
May 24 Bogarts Cincinatti, OH *
May 25 Pageant St. Louis, MI *
Jun 1 Tabernacle Atlanta, GA *
Jun 2 Orange Peel Asheville, NC *
Jun 5 Roseland New York, NY *
Jun 7 Electric Factory Philadelphia, PA *
Jul 28 The Belvedere (Forecastle Festival) Louisville, KY

* w/ Kings of Leon

The Features on Myspace

Speaking of Forecastle, the full lineup got announced. Girl Talk, De La Soul and many, many more will be making their way to our fair state for two days of fun.