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It's Friday, everyone! Let's be joyous. Today I'd like to highlight Alaska In Winter, who released their debut album, Dance Party In The Balkans this week. Brandon Bethancourt heads up this project, dipping into Eastern European and Arabian music...only with a slight electronic bent! Did I also mention Zach Condon contributes trumpet, ukulele, and vocals on some tracks? Like the one below?

Alaska In Winter - Close Your Eyes - We Are Blind

Alaska In Winter on MySpace
Alaska In Winter label site

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Looks like the Mystery Jets are at it again, bringing their brand of prog-pop to the masses! This week saw the UK release of their new album, Twenty One. No word when it'll hit the states, but I'll keep ya updated.

Mystery Jets - Young Love

Mystery Jets official site
Mystery Jets on MySpace

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I'm not usually big on live albums, but I am looking forward to After The Balls Drop from Les Savy Fav (4/29/08). I've seen Les Savy Fav live many times before, and each time has been a unique experience. I recall one time Tim Harrington leading a massive game of duck duck goose when someone pulled the fire alarm...

Anyway, not sure they'll catch that on audio, but this is a document of their new year's eve show from this year. Check out fan fave "The Sweat Descends"!

Les Savy Fav - The Sweat Descends (Live)

Les Savy Fav official site
Les Savy Fav on MySpace

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We all know Peter (of PB&J) has been running about freely these last few months, putting in guest appearances with Carl Newman and covering Gene Clark...turns out he's also had time to record a solo album! The Last Tycoon will be released by Touch And Go / Quarterstick on April 8th, with him channeling The Beatles, The Byrds, and The Kinks.

Initial Impressions:
He's got the sound down perfectly, and managed to distinguish himself from the PB&J juggernaut. Love how "Social Competence" builds and drops those Lou Reed-esque sweeping strings in there!

Pre-order it here.

Peter Moren - Social Competence

Peter Moren label site
Peter Moren on Myspace

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Sweden is rocking me these days. Recently I've posted about Oh! Custer, Studio, and now Wildbirds & Peacedrums. Consisting solely of Mariam Wallentin and Andreas Werliin, W&P really packs quite a punch! Free roaming vocal melodies meet tribal Dodos drumming and sometimes a glockenspiel is involved...

Their debut album, Heartcore will be re-released April 28th.

Wildbirds & Peacedrums - Doubt/Hope

Wildbirds & Peacedrums official site
Wildbirds & Peacedrums on MySpace

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Well, SXSW's just about wrapped up, but I found a new Ghosthuster nugget in the SXSW bands torrent! This one finds the boys treading a little more on Michael Jackson/Chromeo territory, but still making it their own.

Guys, when is the album coming out?

Ghosthuster - Only Me To Trust

Ghosthuster on MySpace

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Well, the weather's heating up here on the west coast and spring's right around the corner. Need a band to pop onto the iPod for a hazy, nostalgic drive? Look no further than Lund, Sweden's Oh! Custer. Taking cues from their countrymen (and townsmen) The Radio Dept., Oh! Custer plays melodic indie-pop through the shoegaze filter and comes up with a silky smooth blend.

Oh! Custer - Post

Oh! Custer official site
Oh! Custer on MySpace

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The Cairo Gang gets their name from a group of British Intelligence agents who were assassinated during the Anglo-Irish War. Despite the violent connotations of the name, The Cairo Gang is quite low-key and understated. Primarily the project of songwriter (and occasional Beth Orton guitarist) Emmett Kelly, they've been described as "picking up smack dab where Elliot Smith left off". Sounds good so far...

When I popped onto their website today I was immediately smitten with "Some Sort Of Sympathy" and its quiet intensity. I hope the boys don't mind, but I've nicked it from their MySpace page. Just to show you, music doesn't have to be loud to be powerful.

The Cairo Gang - Some Sort Of Sympathy

The Cairo Gang on MySpace

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Looks like the jokers at Improv Everywhere have struck again!

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Fresh off their American re-release of Sing the Greys, Frightened Rabbit is back with more anthemic pop and thick Scottish accents on The Midnight Organ Fight (due April 1st). I remember when these guys first caught my attention back in December - I heard their most excellent Christmas song, "It's Xmas So We'll Stop" and I immediately purchased their album!

Frightened Rabbit - The Modern Leper

Frightened Rabbit official site
Frightened Rabbit on MySpace

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A notable release earlier this week was Born Ruffians' Red Yellow & Blue. I first saw these guys open for Hot Chip in '06 and they've been gaining momentum ever since! They do a great job of keeping their indie pop songs fresh despite only being a 3 piece - I love how they end "Hummingbird" by changing the bassline of an already established part.

Born Ruffians - Hummingbird

Born Ruffians official site
Born Ruffians on MySpace

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Hey guys, finally turned on mobile blogging. Let me know what you think!

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Well, I was at the Nicole Atkins show the other night at the Independent in SF and in the bathroom I saw the sign for the Crystal Castles / HEALTH show for this saturday. Unfortunately, Alice from CC was involved in a car accident the other day and has broken a couple ribs. As a result, they're going to skip some of this tour and try to get bandaged up in time for SXSW. So, get better Alice!

Their self-titled LP album comes out March 18th. Hope y'all like glitch pop!

Crystal Castles vs. The Little Ones - Lovers Who Uncover

Crystal Castles on MySpace

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Hey all, I owe y'all some posts about Noise Pop, but I'm pretty busy...seeing shows. Expect those a little later this week. In the meantime, I've got The Wombats for ya. As you can see, NME has taken a liking to them and I have too. We've got that bratty post-punk going on here, covering common ground with The Futureheads and The Cribs. Also, CSS seems to be remixing everybody these days, so hop to it!

The Wombats - Kill The Director
The Wombats - Kill The Director (CSS Remix)

The Wombats official site
The Wombats on MySpace

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