Quick Toots – Recent Favorites from Smells Like Pop

Destroyer
Ken

A lovely and complete album from Dan Bejar and company with punchy drums and bass á la New Order and atmospheres from Disintegration-era Cure. Only criticism? It’s too short. Get it!

The Smiths
I Know It’s Over (Demo)

This demo recording from The Queen is Dead brings out the drums and bass and makes you think the band is performing live right in front of you. Release ALL the demos!

LCD Soundsystem
American Dream

They said they were through. They went out with a bang. Then, years later there was a single. Then another. And now a full album of new songs from one of our favorite bands. Not their best LP, but a solid and welcome addition to their library.

Luna
A Place of Greater Safety

Luna is back again with an album of instrumentals. I thought I’d miss Dean Wareham’s vocals gently guiding the songs along, but this is a nice album for listening to while working. Or thinking. Or just doing nothing.

We live in a world where, thanks to ever-evolving technology, things we need and want come to us faster and easier all the time. News, information, and (yes) digital music all come at us through the internet with no waiting. Twitter is spitting out information even faster than blogs and news sites. So, when the new Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks album was announced on the Matador Records’ Matablog with a release date in late August, someone posted this question: If the album is in the can, why not just sell it now? I’d BUY it now. I suppose everyone would just steal it in the end either way. But why the wait? Just for the retro aspect of how things used to be? Patrick from Matador was nice enough to explain...

Beastie Boys | Hot Sauce Committee Part Two Capitol Records | May 2011 I have to admit that I haven't listened to the previous Beastie Boys’ album, "To the Five Boroughs" so my last exposure to their mix of hip-hop, punk and lounge (yes, lounge!) was with "Hello Nasty" from the late 90s and 2007's somehwat less satisfying collection of grooving jams, "The Mix Up." But, the Beasties are back, and on the surface it's like they never left. The album’s tracks may at first sound familiar, full of snark and witty word-play, but the textures are more sophisticated and the grooves more indelible than past albums. “Make Some Noise" starts with some noodling 80s sounding keyboard lines then breaks into a perky Super Mario-worthy synth riff with some old school raps that only Ad-rock, Mike D and MCA can deliver – Ad-rock often sounding like an amphetimine-riddled Dana Carvey doing his best...

Radiohead | The King of Limbs TBD Records | March 29, 2011 As I'm sitting here listening to a copy of Radiohead's latest outing, The King of Limbs and getting ready to make some sort of commentary about it, I wanted to bring up two quick points: A) Writing a review of a Radiohead album is like asking to be used as a human piñata in every hip neighborhood in the known world, and B) I have been known for many years as The Guy Who Doesn't Like Radiohead! That said ...

Fuse, Fuse Music TV, or Fusic TV as I like to call it, has a quick 4+ minute overview of the Portland music scene. Yes, they only talk to some of the bigger names in town like The Thermals, Menomena, and Colin Meloy of the Decemberists, but it's not as cringe-worthy as the first episode of Portlandia. Are you an indie band in need of a town? C'mon down (or up) ...

PJ Harvey – Let England Shake Vagrant Records | February 2011 Polly Jean Harvey has never been an artist cautious in her approach, or particularly concerned with what her listeners might think of her sound. She's been making her own path in the music world since her debut album, Dry for which Rolling Stone called the then-22-year-old Harvey the year's Best Songwriter and Best New Female Singer. Raw, emotionally-bare, experimental, shocking, but always beautiful, even when the guitars are shredding and the drums are blasting like cannons. Her follow-up, Rid of Me took the back-and-forth of sober beauty and rock bombast to new heights – loud-soft-loud-soft was the sound of the 90s. Since 1993, PJ Harvey has been recording as a solo artist (without her original trio) but often with songwriting partner, John Parrish and producer Flood. Her latest album is no exception, but instead of a recording in a studio, it was recorded...

As cool as they are, it's hard for me to justify getting an iPad. I already have a laptop, an iPhone, and an iPod. But there's something so enticing about the simplicity and portability of the device that makes me drool. And that was before I saw these very cool music apps designed for the iPad. The other thing thing that makes all of this so compelling is the price of the Apps. Almost all of the following titles are less that 15 bucks! Compare that to the cost of a new synth, 4-track or amp and you’ll quickly forgive many of the applications' shortcomings. djay for iPad – Seeing the video for this app is what inspired me to write this post--it's just that cool. djay transforms your iPad into a full-fledged DJ system, allowing you to mix your iPod music library on a visual turntable interface. Perform live, record iTunes...

Here are my selections for Best Albums of 2010 based not so much on what I think should be the best, but what resonated with me and "stuck around" more, causing repeated listening. There were many recordings put out this year that are technically marvelous, interesting and challenging. So, maybe this list should be called my "Favorite Albums of 2010" instead and, because of that, they tend to be a bit more "pop." New Pornographers – Together Beach House – Teen Dream Broken Bells – s/t MGMT – Congratulations Superchunk – Majesty Shredding Grinderman – Grinderman 2 Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening Maximum Balloon – s/t Unkle – Where Did the Night Fall Gorillaz – Plastic Beach Spoon – Transference Surfer Blood – Astrocoast Tame Impala – Innerspeaker The National – High Violet Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky Crystal Castles – s/t Laura Veirs – July Flame Les Savy Fav – Root for Ruin Massive Attack – Hegioland Honorable Mentions:...

Smells Like Pop's editors and writers listen to hundreds of records every year--not because we have to, but because we need to. We need new music like sharks need surfers. Please take a look at our lists of best albums from 2010 below, and see some of favorites from years' past here. Gene's Top 15 Albums of 2010 David's Best Albums of 2010 David's Favorite Songs of 2010 Smells Like Pop's "Best of" Archive ...

If you're like me (David Bailey), you're probably wondering what gave me pause to hit the "star ratings" button on iTunes this year. Well, wonder no more, my star-obsessed friend! Here's a list of songs that were in heavy-rotation on my office speakers this year, divided by genre for your perusal. [twocol_one] Of the rock-n-roll type (including pop rock): Superchunk – Fractures in Plaster MGMT – Brian Eno Spoon – Written in Reverse Grinderman – Heathen Child The Apples in Stereo – Next Year at About the Same Time Best Coast – The End Beach House – Zebra Clinic  – Orangutan Los Campesinos – Romance is Boring Fang Island – Life Coach The Ruby Suns – Dusty Fruit Arcade Fire – Empty Room Queens of the Stoneage – Monsters in the Parasol UNKLE (feat. Blank Angels) – Natural Selection The National – Afraid of Everyone New Pornographers – Silver Jenny Dollar Broken Social Scene – Sentimental X's Black Keys – Everlasting Light Ariel Pink – Menopause Man Belle and Sebastian – I...

Undulating, padded guitars and hints of echoing percussion lull the listener into thinking that this may be another album in the mold of Eno's Music for Films. Nice. Then abruptly the songs take on the seeming structures of rock and pop from his Here Come the Warm Jets period. Yes! But, that was just another feint in a different direction, as the "songs" take on a lovely and spaced-out electronic/trance shape. But, what's this? Raw electric guitar slicing through on “2 Forms of Anger”. Yet, as one would expect from the man who brought African rhythms and song structure to pop music via the Talking Heads and his collaborations with David Byrne and others, it still doesn't sound like traditional Western music. The rhythms are trance-inducing and the melody is almost completely ethereal. Each subsequent track is like an exploratory scouting party, moving forward, and then just when you get comfortable, the...