Sound Bites, Vol. 1
It's not much of a secret to those who know me - my musical tastes rarely (the odd Kelly Clarkson tune excepted) jibe with what's flowing out of most mainstream radio control rooms. Cookie-cutter pop music bores me - yeah, yeah ... tar me with that elitist brush - therefore I'm forced to roam the fringes, seeking out adventurous yet catchy tunery that tickles my ear and doesn't leave me reaching for my revolver after two or three tracks.
Here's a list of what's been in reg'lar rotation in either iTunes, my trusty iPod or in the Riprockmobile the last few weeks. These all carry the "Dash Riprock 100% Guaranteed Sonic Seal of Approval" - spin these puppies and forget all about the fact that someone actually felt obligated to allow Britney Spears to procreate.
Sun Kil Moon, Ghosts of the Great Highway
Sure, it's almost two and a half years old, but this little-known treasure can't be championed enough - Mark Kozelek (of the Red House Painters) wraps his mournful tenor around starkly composed chamber pop that's tailor-made for a rainy, somnolent summer's afternoon. Of course, it sounds even better huddled in front of a roaring fire but it's June, people. Just stick with the rainy afternoon for now.
Anna Nalick, Wreck of the Day
She's talented and drop dead smokin' hot (which is always a dynomite combo for the Dashmeister) - but take one listen to "Forever Love (Digame)" on her debut disc and this singer/songwriter will become one of your new favorite artists. Her current single, "Breathe (2 AM)" ain't shabby neither and this Noo Yawk-based musician is poised to bring on a lighter, less angry Alanis/Fiona/Shawn Colvin vibe for the double oughts.
Gorillaz, Demon Days
Damon Albarn gets his drug-pop on with this searing, utterly mesmerizing collaboration between shit-hot DJ of the moment Danger Mouse and the cartoon collective (animated by Jamie Hewlett) known as Gorillaz. The lead single, "Feel Good, Inc." is a trippy, vaguely nihilistic piece of pop augmented by a truly demented De La Soul cameo - also, Dennis Hopper shows up on a spoken word track that would make a killer answering machine message. Y'know, if you're bored some evening and looking for something fun to do ...
As the lads from London continue their ceaseless bid to usurp Bono and the boys of U2 from the throne of "World's Most Important Rock Band," they find themselves more or less in a holding pattern on their third (and still quite brilliant) album - while the seething angst that fueled much of 2002's A Rush of Blood to the Head is relegated to the margins, there are still soon-to-be-classic tracks such as "Square One," "White Shadows" and "Talk" that rock with polished precision and still manage a sense of ragged emotion. Chris Martin's written his most memorable ballad yet with "Fix You" and something tells me their fourth record will up the ante considerably.
Oasis, Don't Believe The Truth
Yes, the Gallagher brothers stopped banging models, doing blow and brawling with each other long enough to churn out yet another album - but here's the real shocker: it might be Oasis' most compelling and consistent record since the mid-Nineties. "Lyla" is a killer first single and if they'd release the positively off-kilter "The Importance of Being Idle" as the follow-up, it'd be like Standing on the Shoulders of Giants never happened. Not that I hate that album or anything.
Stay tuned for regular-ish installments ... and of course, feel free to leave me new records that blow your hair back (or your skirt up, as the case may be). Happy listenin' and if you need me, I'll be throwing dice with the neighborhood kids near the wading pool.