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Archive | July, 2013

The Avocados, Alex Napping Project, Santiago Dietche (Jennifer)

July 31, 2013

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Austin may be located a few hours from the nearest beach, but you can still find some excellent surf rock without going to the Gulf of Mexico. According to their Facebook page, The Avocados were “born in a pipeline in an Austin east side neighborhood.” Think Dick Dale or The Ventures with added Tex-Mex flair. Break out the tortilla chips and let’s go dippin’ because it’s all guac’ n’ roll to me (pun intended).

If you’re in the mood for melancholic, but sweetly sung pop folk, there are two local songwriters playing shows this Saturday that I recommend checking out. The first is Alexandra Cohen (aka Alex Napping Project), who is opening the show at The Parish Underground. After playing keyboards and singing with Growl, she left that band and started writing songs for an upcoming EP, Wreck Beach.

The other is Santiago Dietche (lead singer and guitarist from Growl), who is playing a solo set at Spider House Ballroom; SPEAK and Danny Malone also share the bill on this free show. He will be playing acoustic songs from his upcoming solo album, Waxing And Roaring.

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HAIM

July 30, 2013

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Like many of you, I’ve pretty much worn out HAIM’s Falling, so the arrival of a new single is definitely good news.  Check it out below.  The band is set to play both ACL weekends in October, but there’s still no word on when a full length can be expected.  Enjoy.

:HAIM – The Wire:  While I really like this song, I don’t think there’s any part of me that can deny how it sort of sounds like a late 90s country crossover hit.  You guys are good with that, yeah?  I seem to be.

Bonus Video:

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Quickdraw: LADY, Cloud Control, Minks, Soft Swells, Carly Rae Jepsen

July 29, 2013

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Today’s music once had a weird night in Tijuana.  Enjoy.

:LADY – Tell The Truth:  To be honest, I wasn’t too impressed with this song the first time I heard it.  After a couple of listens, though, I think I see what LADY is going for, and I approve.  Quality soul music here, friends.  Grab their self titled debut now on Truth And Soul Records.

:Cloud Control – Scar:  This soaring pop tune is just dramatic enough for me to easily picture it playing over a montage of pretty people contemplating the complicated relationships that make up their lives.  So there’s that.  Cloud Control will release Dream Cave on September 17 via Votiv.

:Minks – Margot:  I really like this song.  It has such a wonderfully layered sound, and I appreciate that it favorably reminds me of Crystal SkullsMinks will put out their sophomore effort, Tides End, on August 6 via Captured Tracks.

:Soft Swells – Lifeboats:  Despite the fact that Soft Swells are on an Austin-based label that I have a lot of respect for, I’ve never been much of a fan.  With that being said, this song comes off as too inspired for me to not dig it.  The Lifeboats EP is out tomorrow via Modern Outsider.

:Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe (Saint Pepsi Edit):  I found this piece of electronic wizardry over at Stereogum yesterday, and I pretty much haven’t been able to stop listening to it.  The kids call it vaporwave, but that’s so silly that I’m ashamed I even typed it.  By the way, the vocals in this track are actually Carly’s.  How crazy is that?  Follow Saint Pepsi on Bandcamp.

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Weekly Movie News Rundown

July 28, 2013

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Time for your weekly movie news update!  Below you’ll find a slew of sentences meant to provide a brief glimpse of what’s been going on over the past week in movieland.  If something leaves you desperate for more info, then my advice is to do a little extra research on one or all of the following fantastic sites:  Latino Review, Dark Horizons, Ain’t It Cool News, CHUD and/or JoBlo.  Read on!

James McAvoy will play Victor Von Frankenstein in Paul McGuigan’s Frankenstein.

James McTeigue (V For Vendetta) is set to direct a remake of Bloodsport.

Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) will star opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in the zombie-themed Maggie.

Jessica Alba has signed on for a role in Stretch.  The film is being directed by Joe Carnahan (The Grey), and it follows a limo driver on a wild night in LA.

Topher Grace has joined the cast for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.

Sacha Baron Cohen has dropped out of the Freddie Mercury biopic due to creative differences.

Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone are reportedly set to star in a Rocky spinoff titled Creed.  Jordan will play the grandson of Apollo Creed.

Ben Foster may star in one of the three Lance Armstrong biopics currently in the works.  His would be directed by Stephen Frears (High Fidelity).

The Butterfly Effect is reportedly getting a reboot.

Michael Caine has joined the cast for Matthew Vaughn’s Secret Service.  He’ll play the head of the spy agency in the movie.  Also, newcomer Taron Egerton is reportedly in talks for the lead role.

John Williams will officially score the new Star Wars trilogy.

Vin Diesel will star in World’s Most Wanted.  The film will follow a team of specialists who go on the run after uncovering a massive conspiracy.

This Week’s Notable Trailers

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Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

July 26, 2013

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It’s July in Austin. It’s too hot for me to work very hard on writing this entry, so I’m going to cut to the chase and get straight to the music. Happy Friday; go swimming. And go see a hip-hop show, won’t you? The scene needs you – you can always start with Austin Mic Exchange every Tuesday at Spider House Ballroom at 11PM. It’s free and less cringey than regular open mics, I promise.

:Pretty Lights – Around The Block (Featuring Talib Kweli):
:Blockhead – Jet Son (Featuring Aesop Rock And Camu Tao):
:CYNE – Elephant Rome:
:Aceyalone And RJD2 – Cornbread, Eddy, And Me:
:Blu And Exile – Juicen’ Dranks (Featuring Taarach):
:Shad – The Old Prince Still Lives At Home:
:Goodie Mob – Special Education (Featuring Janelle Monae):
:Afro Classics – Boom In It:
:Open Mike Eagle – Password (Tiny Man Raps):
:Lupe Fiasco – Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free):
:The Hood Internet – Nothing Should Be A Surprise (Featuring Isaiah Toothtaker And Show You Suck):
:Jay Electronica – So What You Sayin’:
:Statik Selektah – Play The Game (Featuring Big K.R.I.T. And Freddie Gibbs):
:Shane Reis and Essence – Bounce To It (Produced By Black Milk):
:Fresh Breath Committee – Project Mayhem:
:Saul Williams – Om Nia Merican:

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Stream This

July 26, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Bad Cop – Light On EP
Kid Karate – Lights Out EP
The Mallard – Finding Meaning In Deference
Rainbow Chan – Long Vacation EP

VIDEOS

Quasi will put out Mole City on October 1 via Kill Rock Stars.

Hanni El Khatib’s Head In The Dirt is out now on Innovative Leisure.

Static Jacks will release In Blue on October 1 via Old Friends Records.

Fiona Apple put out The Idler Wheel last year.

King Khan And The Shrines will release Idle No More on September 3 via Merge.

Tree will release the Demons EP on August 13 via Apollo Records.

Volcano Choir will put out Repave on September 3 via Jagjaguwar.

Washed Out is set to release Paracosm on August 13 via Sub Pop.

Franz Ferdinand’s Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action is due August 27 via Domino.

The Uncluded recently put out Hokey Fright.

Holy Ghost will release Dynamics on September 10 via DFA.

Johan Hedberg will release a full length on Labrador later this year.

Shark Week will put out the Santurce 7″ on July 30 via Analog Edition Records.

White Prism’s self titled EP is out now.

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Movie Breakdown: I Declare War (Noah)

July 26, 2013

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

This movie made some decent waves on the festival circuit before being picked up by Drafthouse Films. Regardless, I struggle with kid actors as much as I struggle with any part of any movie and this is just a big roiling, amateur lump of them.

The Reality:

I was the king of playing War when I was little. We called it Fantasyland and it usually involved laser guns, chainsaw swords and the search for a mystical object that some eight-headed monster was lording over. I Declare War is the filmic version of this, a compact story about a bunch of kids playing War in the woods outside their house and the intense emotions/relationships that stem from it. As a veteran of this sort of fantastical war I can say outright that what I Declare War gets spot on is the earnest emotion of these sorts of games. With a cast of, eek, amateur kid actors directors Jason Lapeyre and Robert Wilson ably show the blood, sweat, and emotional hyperbole that lie at the center of why these games were fun when we were little. The trick of the film is of course that these kids are using wooden toys, but visually the toys are represented by actual pistols, rifles and grenades. It’s a neat visual trick that allows the film to deal, ever-so-slightly with the effect of violence on children and use the sight of young kids with pistols as a creepy side-effect. There was something about the film that I just never grabbed on to. These are young actors, 11 to 13 and so often you can feel them reading off the script or imagining what some other actor in actual war movie acted like and then just impersonating that. It’s funny because a film about a search for a different reality is actually hampered by how unreal it feels.

The Lesson:

Your kids are doing bad things in the woods.

I Declare War is out on VOD now.

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Movie Breakdown: Drinking Buddies

July 25, 2013

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Olivia Wilde is with Ron Livingston, Jake Johnson is with Anna Kendrick.  All of them are unsure about their relationships with each other.

The Reality:

I was very pleasantly surprised by Drinking Buddies.  Directed and written by Joe Swanberg, the film is a real charmer that thoroughly rummages around in its character’s relationships without ever taking the drama too far.  Not many dramedies function in a “grounded” way at all, so, I really have to give it up to Swanberg for pulling if off.  I honestly can’t remember the last movie of this sort that actually made me feel attached to everyone on the screen.  You should really make an effort to see this.

One last note, Olivia Wilde also deserves a shout-out for looking like a real person (and owning it) instead of sporting her usual glamorous appearance.

The Lesson:

Joe Swanberg’s next effort is now one to look out for.

Drinking Buddies is out on VOD now.

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Quickdraw: American Sharks, The Orwells, FIDLAR, Crystal Antlers, Chelsea Wolfe

July 25, 2013

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Today’s music doesn’t believe in curfews.  Enjoy.

:American Sharks – XVI:  Much of my 2013 has seen buzz for Austin’s American Sharks, and this power kick to the face of a song makes it easy to understand why.  I can’t wait to see them on Friday when they open for the Sword at Red 7.  The band will release their self titled debut in September via The End Records.

:The Orwells – Who Needs You:  There’s plenty to like about this year’s ACL lineup, but The Orwells are one band in particular that I’m actually anxious to see.  I know “infectious” is a word that’s super over-used these days, but it’s pretty much the best way to describe these guys.  The Who Needs You EP, which is their second release of 2013, is due September 10 via East End/Canvasback.

:FIDLAR – Awkward:  I actually posted this song last year, but FIDLAR have resurrected it for a tour-only split 7″ with The Orwells.  The guest spot from Kate Nash is gone, and it’s sporting a cleaner sound.  I think I like it more than the original.  The band is also playing ACL.

:Crystal Antlers – Rattlesnake:  I’ve long appreciated Crystal Antlers, but this song is so good that now I’m wondering if I should have been giving them even more attention.  Talk about inspired stuff.  The will release the Rattlesnake single on September 24 via Innovative Leisure.  A full length is expected at some point.

:Chelsea Wolfe – We Hit A Wall:  This is a really intense track.  I dig it, and I won’t be surprised if I end up spending a good chunk of time with Chelsea’s upcoming LP.  Pain Is Beauty is due out September 3 via Sargent House.  She will play the Mohawk on September 6.

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Cotton Mather, Genuine Leather (Jennifer)

July 24, 2013

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Local power pop artists Cotton Mather have returned with a new two song EP titled California.  The title track is a laid back, acoustic affair telling the poignant tale of “hearts to the sun/on the passage of love,” and High Society displays a darker, psychedelic vibe with its slightly distorted guitar riffs and vocals. The band is holding their EP release show this Saturday at The Belmont. Tickets are $12 and all those attending will receive a download card with the new songs.  Local cover band Skyrocket! will share the bill.  If you can’t make it to the show, you can download the new songs from their online store now or wait until September 7 for when they become available on iTunes.

I first saw Genuine Leather over a year ago at their first ever public performance at Cheer Up Charlie’s.  I liked what I heard, but they kind of disappeared until putting out a new song this month.  The Viper (Found A Good Place For My Love) is a catchy, harmony filled guitar pop number that reminds me of early 80s sounds from bands such as The Knack and The Romantics. It’s a 2 minute earworm worthy of adding to your summer playlist. The band is currently working on their second album and have some Austin shows planned for the fall.

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The Wolf, Holy Wave, Communion (Dan)

July 24, 2013

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Last weekend I took my annual trip to Chicago for the Pitchfork Music Festival. As far as 3-day festivals goes, it’s as good as it gets (with the exception of Fun Fun Fun Fest, of course). The thing Fun Fun Fun has that Pitchfork really needs is a Black stage. I love indie rock and rap as much as the next guy, but when it comes to live music, I prefer the heavy stuff. At Pitchfork bands such as Belle & Sebastian, Bjork, and M.I.A. drew huge crowds, but my favorite sets were by Metz, Mikal Cronin, Parquet Courts and OBN IIIs.  The louder the better, and that’s why this Saturday I will be at Hotel Vegas for a triple bill of psych rock, garage rock, and doom metal as The Wolf, Holy Wave, and Communion take the stage.

Communion features members of Axes to the Sky, The Roller, and Sweat Lodge. They only have two songs up on Bandcamp and each one is at least fifteen minutes long. They play guitar heavy drone rock that’s hypnotic, enveloping, and a little menacing.

Next up is Holy Wave, an Austin-via-El Paso band that manages to mix fuzzy shoegaze, surf rock, and sonic experimentations to produce their unique brand of psych. Each time I’ve seen these guys there’s a point during their set where everything clicks and the whole band is perfectly in synch. It’s hard to explain, but you have to see them live to appreciate how great they are. This is the first track off of RELAX, their first full length which is being released in November by Reverberation Appreciation Society.

Closing things down on Saturday is psychedelic garage rock masters, The Wolf. The six-piece features members of The Bad Lovers (LOVE that band) and in February they released their first album, Strange Flowers. I was a fan of their debut, a self-titled EP, but the band really stepped things up on Strange Flowers. It features thirteen tracks and each one is a total jam. Here’s hoping they play the whole thing start to finish on Saturday night.

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Joanna Gruesome

July 23, 2013

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I’m just going to go ahead and assume that Joanna Gruesome is a play on Joanna Newsom, which is sort of hilarious to me.  And yes, I’m well aware that’s just totally silly on my part.  Anyhow, the Cardiff-based band will release Weird Sister on September 10 via the always stellar Slumberland.

:Joanna Gruesome – Secret Surprise:  I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve listened to this song.  The less than three minute run time means it starts repeating before I know it, and then there’s the fact that I can’t get over how raucous and catchy it is.

Bonus Video:

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Quickdraw: Divine Fits, Yuck, Grooms, ARMS, Colette

July 22, 2013

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Today’s music once killed a yak from 200 yards away with mind bullets.  Enjoy.

:Divine Fits – Ain’t That The Way:  I kind of figured Divine Fits were going to be a one and done sort of project, but here they are with a new double A-side single.  The other track is good, but I think this one is great.  Grab the 12″ tomorrow via Merge.

:Yuck – Rebirth:  In case you missed it, frontman Daniel Blumberg is no longer in Yuck.  He left the band to start Hebronix, and has since been replaced by Max Bloom.  This is a well crafted effort that I really like, but it somewhat bums me out to think they may have totally ditched their 90s indie rock angle.  Expect an LP at some point later this year.

:Grooms – I Think We’re Alone Now:  One of the better things I discovered buried in my inbox over the weekend was this new song from Grooms.  It might be the best single they’ve ever put out.  Infinity Caller is due out September 3 via Western Vinyl.

:ARMS – Comfort:  Todd Goldstein (formerly of Harlem Shakes) did a lot with ARMS when he first started it up, but he’s been rather quiet the last couple of years.  Good to have him back.  This refreshing number can be found on EP2, which is due September 10 via Paper Garden Records.

:Colette – When The Music’s Loud:  I don’t know what it is about Colette, but I always love her singles.  Now excuse me, I have to get back to dancing in front of a mirror.  When The Music’s Loud is due out August 27 via Candy Talk.

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Weekly Movie News Rundown

July 21, 2013

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Time for your weekly movie news update!  Below you’ll find a slew of sentences meant to provide a brief glimpse of what’s been going on over the past week in movieland.  If something leaves you desperate for more info, then my advice is to do a little extra research on one or all of the following fantastic sites:  Latino Review, Dark Horizons, Ain’t It Cool News, CHUD and/or JoBlo.  Read on!

Warner Bros. has officially announced that Batman will appear in the Man Of Steel sequel.  Zack Snyder will direct, David S. Goyer will pen the script.

Max Landis recently noted that he and Josh Trank aren’t involved with Chronicle 2.  The former wrote the first film, and the latter directed it.

Andrew Kevin Walker (Seven) has been hired to touch up the script for The Girl Who Played With Fire.  David Fincher is unlikely to return to direct the sequel.

Tom Hanks and Ron Howard will reunite to adapt Dan Brown’s Inferno.

New Line is reportedly putting together a sequel to The Conjuring.

The Tom Cruise-lead All You Need Is Kill has been retitled Edge Of Tomorrow.

The Avengers sequel has officially been titled Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

Nicolas Cage recently noted that it’s unlikely he’ll be in The Expendables 3.

Britt Robertson (Under The Dome) has landed a role in Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland.

Rumor has it that Marvel would like Joseph Gordon-Levitt to play the role of Doctor Strange.

Gina Carano (Haywire) will star in an adaptation of the comic Avengelyne.

Jake Gyllenhaal has dropped out of Disney’s Into The Woods due to a scheduling conflict.

This Week’s Notable Trailers

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Zoe Knows Quiet Contemplation

July 19, 2013

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Have you ever had a heart to heart with your dearest friends? I am coming off of a string of those. It’s probably a byproduct of being 20, but soul-searching is on my mind lately. I’ve been delving into the last 5 years of my dating history (yeah, I’m a baby, get over it) which has led to a lot of, wait for it, quiet contemplation. And for me, quiet contemplation soundtracks, especially when it comes to making sense of past relationships, are not about love songs, or angry songs. They are about songs, on both sides of the spectrum, that have a certain yearning. The expression of that certain thing that is just missing. So I present to you, my favorite songs to quietly contemplate to.

He War starts us off with a bit of a vindictive slant; it’s good to get angry sometimes, and even the guitars sound snarky. Then, The Magnetic Fields chill us out with manic confusion – this is the 7″ version of I Don’t Believe You, which I’ve come to love more than the original. I think that the bleeps and bloops in the background are much better suited to the lyrical questioning of love. But don’t let these songs lull you into a lighthearted state–The National are here to bring us back down to cold reality. I really could have just made the playlist this song 15 times over, it’s so perfect for the theme.

Why? are my go to for such times; even their name is an existential crisis. This ethereal tune captivates me because he simultaneously seems to be in love and care less about the same person, a state I’ve found myself in many times. Also, “you’re the only proper noun I need” is one of my all time favorite lines, ever. But if we’re talking about yearning, Death Cab For Cutie has the market cornered. Transatlanticism consistently breaks my heart every single time; the soft, piano driven sounds crescendoing into Gibbard’s pleas never get old.

But if we’re going Transatlantic, we’re gonna fly over some oceans. Best Coast, back in their fuzzy days, have many a song about ex-boyfriends, but I like this one because it’s usefully vague – you can use it for any brand of angst. And if you’re feeling angsty, then Father John Misty is right there with you–he opens the song with “Oh, pour me another drink and punch me in the face.” This song was sort of my theme for a while, and I don’t even drink. But perhaps my love for these song stems more from the simple acoustic backbone, made even more beautiful by symphonic flourishes.

I once listened to this Deerhunter song over a car stereo while the sun rose, and that’s a pretty ideal environment for the spacey sounds. This song sounds how I imagine it feels to float on a cloud. But don’t fall asleep yet — because Delta Spirit still have to deliver the ultimate sassy kiss-off. While this might be a bit too rambunctious for quiet contemplation, I think it still qualifies because the yearning leans towards the extreme. And besides, quiet sounds are best left to Joanna Newsom, the woman who can always make so much out of so few sounds. Another excellently vague song that can you make you feel a range of emotions; who knew harps were so deep?

I hope your heart hasn’t healed yet, cause Jens Lekman is about to break it again, straight up. “Mama told me I was born a liar / Mama told me I was born with a heart to rely on” and the piano line will probably haunt me till the end of days. Speaking of haunting, I think this Wilco tune has etched every note of itself into my heart. I don’t even entirely understand what this song is about, I just know that the quiet words and simple instrumentation make this one ideal for aimless window-gazing and life questioning. And there’s something just so comforting about Jeff Tweedy’s voice.

But at the end of the day, we can’t use others emotions and words as a crutch. So I find myself returning to an old favorite; Joe Hisaishi’s Summer, a instrumental tune from the Kikujiro movie. Ironically, I’ll always associate this song with the winter of my senior year of high school, when I first heard it, but despite seasonal confusion, the power of the song will never wane. The ups and downs of the song can be interpreted however you wish; it’s time to turn that contemplation into conclusions.

:Cat Power – He War:
:The Magnetic Fields – I Don’t Believe You (7″ Version):
:The National – This Is The Last Time:
:Why? – Simeon’s Dilemma:
:Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism:
:Best Coast – Over The Ocean:
:Father John Misty – Nancy From Now On:
:Deerhunter – Helicopter:
:Delta Spirit – California:
:Joanna Newsom – Bridges & Balloons:
:Jens Lekman – Jens Lekman’s Farewell Song To Rocky Dennis:
:Wilco – One Sunday Morning (Song For Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend):
:Joe Hisaishi – Summer:

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