Concettina Died and Other Stories of the East Side

New Music Tuesday, posted March 20, 2007 at 10:12 PM

When I bought CDs more regularly than I do now (I buy more digital downloads now than CDs), Tuesdays were the Big Day to haul my ass to the Wrecka Stow to peruse the new releases, buy a long-waited-for CD, and perhaps even randomly try something new based simply on judging the bookrecord by its cover. Not to mention the fact that every other nerdy dude [read: eye candy] was also there on Tuesday evenings doing the same.

But lately, I do my browsing online. 30-second samples of songs are available weeks before music is released for sale. Blogs, music sites, and MySpace provide entire tracks as streaming or even downloadable previews. And for high enough profile projects, I often find illegal downloads of the entire album up to two or three months before release. (I should note, that for most of those I end up buying the music when it's released, so that I have a good-quality version).

Anyway, it's Tuesday, and I meant to go to the record store, to buy the new Tracey Thorn CD, which I love, which I wrote about here, and for which I want the album art and higher sound quality of the compact disk. But I didn't make it to the store, and since I have the music already, it can wait until tomorrow. But it is Tuesday still, so let's talk some new music--well, new to me, anyway.

I don't think I previously wrote about Peter Bjorn and John. They're like Peter, Paul & Mary, without the commas and without, um, Paul and Mary. I didn't write about them because the general indie swoon that's sweeping the nation pretty much speaks for itself. It's good pop, with good rhythms, and with catchy tunes. It's Swedish. Somehow the Swedes are definitely winning the race for international indie dominance. But beyond PB&J, here are two new CDs that are currently being devoured by my iPod, Swedes both:

Loney, Dear sings sweetly. Almost twee, but too esoteric for twee. I have no idea what the name "Loney, Dear " means, if anything, though perhaps it's a reference to the lone man band creating this music, Emil Svanšngen. "Loney, Noir" is his first US release (fourth in Sweden I believe) and it's a winner. 33 short minutes of small songs constructed on large frames--they almost all grow from quiet and pulsating to just-louder than quiet and frenetic. High-voiced squeals, clarinet solos, old-school fake beats mixed in, and a general vigor reserved for the young. My favorites on this album are the lead single, "I am John" along with "Carrying a Stone" and album closer "And I Won't Cause Anything At All." None of the songs run more than a few seconds beyond the three-and-a-half-minute mark, and none needs to really. They're delicate little pops of pop that you can pop in your mouth and devour in half an hour. Free downloads of a few songs are on their website. I suggest you start with "I am John."

Loney, Dear lends his voice and his somewhat gender-bending talent to one song of this week's other new selection, an album released in the States today by a band called I'm From Barcelona (they have great t-shirts for sale on their website). The album is called "We're from Barcelona." They're from Sweden. This is a band with 29 members (seriously) and they sound like they're having a heck of a good time. Sunshine, fun-loving songs, jaunty choruses, poppy vocals, and messy chamber music arrangements are the name of the game. Definitely worth a listen. My favorites so far are "We're From Barcelona" and "This Boy." You can hear a few of the songs on their their MySpace page.

As I mentioned earlier, the Tracey Thorn album hits shelves today. I love it more and more every day. Every day a new favorite song. Again, some listening is possible at her MySpace page, but just trust me on this one and go buy it.

And one classical mention: I'm late to the party on this one, but all those rave reviews of Leon Fleisher's CD called "Two Hands" are true. This one is a keeper. If you can envision Pure music, with a capital P, no time or space or context, just music, that's what you're getting on this CD. It's miraculous, and I'm not exaggerating. Buy it here or on

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