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Whenever Dan Bejar’s band Destroyer releases a new album I feel like a giddy little kid at Christmas. Sadly, their new record, “Ken” won't be out until October 20th, but they have put out a couple of singles that I’ll be playing non-stop until then. The beginning of the single “Tinseltown Swimming in Blood” could easily be the opening riff of a new New Order song which isn't too surprising given Bejar's published penchant for the post-punk pop group. Even the cascading drum fills that close the song remind me of the tribal drumming of New Order drummer, Stephen Morris. ...

To start things rolling here at the new Smells Like Pop, we decided to go with something a little personal, and well, precious (to us). Here's a playlist that we made especially for our daughter when she was less than 10 years old for her first boom box. It's full of happy, peppy songs. And then it ends a little mellower, because “Hey, calm the eff down already!”...

As usual, my list of “favorite” albums of the year is just that – a list of what stuck with me most throughout the year, and not necessarily what my brain thinks should be the best albums. Hopefully, these 10 recordings will stand the test of time....

In a so-obvious-why-didn't-I-think-of-this pairing comes news that David Byrne and Annie Clark (St. Vincent) have collaborated on a new album, Love This Giant. They've shared a pre-release track called, Who that sounds quite good, bringing together many of each artist's strengths with a backing band comprised primarily of brass instruments. The idea came about because of the constrictions of doing a benefit at Housing Works a venue that the two wanted to perform at together. According to Byrne, “Annie suggested we use a brass band rather than the typical rock ensemble—which would brilliantly solve the sound problems inherent in performing in a small joint like Housing Works. A brass band wouldn't need mixing and could be heard acoustically in a room that size. They'd balance themselves. Easy. We'd only need vocal mics” The collabroation which was written and recorded over a long period because of each other's tour and project schedules. “It was an education that involved figuring out the variety of sounds and approaches one could come up with using more or less the same group makeup on every song—we could go funky or majestic with the exact same band,” writes Byrne. “A lot of people, hearing a description of this project, assumed that it might be an artsy indulgence, but somehow it didn't turn out that way. It's a pop record—well, in my book anyway. I started to sense that we were ending up with a sound and approach I'd never heard before. There were elements that were reminiscent of things I'd heard, but a lot of it was completely new. Very exciting!” The album will be released on September 11th and coincides with a North American tour. The pair hits Portland with a full brass section on October 18th at the Schnitz. They'll be playing tracks from Love This Giant and songs from each other's back catalogs as well. You can download the track here....

The annual 5-day deluge of non-stop over-lapping live-shows will be invading Portland again this year from September 4th-9th. Our feature article by Cory X on Pete Krebs was even lifted for the MFNW site. With no credit. And no link. Smells like plagiarism. Here's some information from their site: MusicfestNW is once again returning to the historic Pioneer Courthouse Square—Portland’s civic living room—for three picturesque outdoor headlining performances at Levi’s Pioneer Stage headlined by shoegazing alternative rockers Silversun Pickups (Sunday, Sept. 9), mashup superstar Girl Talk (Saturday, Sept. 8), and the world music-tinged indie folk of Beirut (Friday, Sept. 7). Beyond the Square, MusicfestNW will once again take over the city of Portland for five days, with 150 bands playing at 16 clubs all over the city. On Wednesday, Sept. 5, electropop upstarts Passion Pit headline the Crystal Ballroom (the band also plays the next night) and reunited post-hardcore titans Hot Snakes play the Roseland Theater. The alt-country act Old 97’s playing their seminal record Too Far to Care front-to-back, the beautiful folk tunes of The Tallest Man on Earth, local atmospheric rockersThe Helio Sequence, local heroes Hazel reuniting for Cavity Search Records 20th anniversary show, rising hip-hop phenomsYelawolf and Danny Brown, A-Trak DJing on the Nike Sportswear stage, and the debut of the Red Bull Common Thread series featuring guitar heroes Dinosaur Jr. with sets from the bands’ two offshoots, Sebadoh and J. Mascis. The festival also features Critics’ darlings Ceremony, Julia Holter, Lightning Bolt, The Men, Fucked Up, Trust, and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart will all be performing special sets of over the September weekend.  ...

The editors at Smells Like Pop recently experienced the rare opportunity where we were all together at the same show. In this case, it was for Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Wonder Ballroom in Portland. And, instead of relying on one of us to do a write-up, we thought we'd all add a short review. Including our friend, Pete Champ! Cory's Review The BJM show got almost no local press, which was surprising because of a) the band’s famed and filmed love-hate relationship with locals The Dandy Warhols, and b) they put on a kick-ass show. Anton Newcombe orchestrated from the side of the stage, his distinct vocals and guitar standing out somehow over the wall of sound emanating from four to five other guitars on stage at any one time. The result was loud, of course, but almost restrained, counter to the band’s reputation for chaos. Newcombe even thanked audience members individually (rather than kicking them in the head, for instance). The night was given to dispelling all such demons, graciously inviting Zia McCabe herself onto stage, for a distinctly Dandy-ish song. BJM put on a remarkable show, the guitar-work layered and even disciplined, avoiding the pitfall of the many-guitared jam band. Indeed, they didn’t let loose until the final song, a Beatles cover that seemed to have no end. Afterward, I wished it hadn’t. Gene's Review It’s beyond cliché to reference the documented struggles of Anton Newcombe and his band, The Brian Jonestown Massacre. But it does seem to be fair to acknowledge when he – and they – get it right. Highlighting tracks from the band’s latest, Aufheben - which is arguably their most solid album from beginning to end, the BJM transcended that album’s strengths with an even stronger live performance. BJM ranged through its material, playing some old favorites, as well as showcasing the strength of newer tunes like the catchy “I want to hold your other hand”, and the warm-fuzzy inspiring homage, “Blue Order/New Monday”. Zia McCabe (of Portland’s Dandy Warhols) even hopped on stage to contribute some booty shaking and tambourine support – a nod to the past, while perhaps sensing the forward momentum created by the strength of BJM’s  new material and focused performance. Pete's Review Anton Newcombe is still chief engineer on the BJM express and everyone else is along for the ride. With each song you can pick a small piece from many bands. Now that the drama seems to be over you can focus on the music and relax. Being so prolific with their songs they almost blend together until they unleash a manic tamborine tune that reminds people why they like them. David's Review The audience waiting for the show to start at the Wonder Ballroom skewed older and artier. The seeen-it-all-before crowd was cautiously waiting for something new to happen – again. When the Brian Jonestown Massacre took to the stage with little fanfare, I was secretly glad to see lead tamborurine player, Joel Gion at the center of a stage that also included five guitar players (including bass), a drummer and keyboardist – all looking like...

The documentary on the short, but prolific life and musical career of Jay Reatard is playing now at little movie theaters across the country. We got to see Jay Reatard and his band at an in-store show at Jackpot Records in Portland shortly before his untimely death (murder). I'm glad we did, but it makes this footage all too sad. Reatard's last record was a sign of greatness to come--fast and messy pop songs that had so much power and energy bundled-up in 2-3 minute little nuggets. Alas, what we have is what we get and Jay Reatard is no more. Except on the big screen. Here's a list of screenings. And here's the trailer: ...

Too busy to write a full in-depth post, but hopefully I will circle back soon and flesh this out more! Without any further ado, here are my favorite 11 albums of 2011: PJ Harvey – Let England Shake St. Vincent – Strange Mercy Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Hysterical Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks – Mirror Traffic Wire – Red Barked Tree Destroyer – Kaput Tom Waits – Bad as Me Alessi's Ark – Time Travel Girls – Record 3 TuneYards – Who Kill EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints Honorable mentions Atlas Sound – Parallax // Wild Flag – s/t // Danger Mouse & Daniel Luppi – Rome // Fucked-Up – David Comes to Life // Yuck – s/t // Toro y Moi – Underneath the Pine // Radiohead – King of Limbs //  M83 – Hurry Up, We're Dreaming // Iceage – New Brigade // Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 // The Weeknd – House of Balloons // Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts...

We're all busy working on our Best Albums of 2011 lists, and as a preview of sorts, I thought I'd share my favorite songs of the year. Notice I didn’t say "best songs" and in some cases, these bands aren't even close to being on my top album list. But, these are my poppy, hook-laden favorites (in no particular order)...