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Holiday Music!

I'm not a huge fan of holiday music, especially with people constantly covering holiday classics. But I figured that I would share some of my favorite holiday songs.

Vienna Boys Choir - Carol of the Bells
I've always loved this song and the grandeur of the song. It's always a powerful song when sung by a choir.

Sufjan Stevens - O Come O Come Emmanuel, Get Behind Me Santa!Come On! Let's Boogey To The Elf Dance!
Sufjan Stevens, being one of my favorite artists ever, released a holiday album a few years ago and he wrote some really great and fun holiday tunes. And his version of O Come O Come Emmanuel is one of the most beautifully haunting covers of traditional Yuletide fare.

Jars of Clay - Little Drummer Boy
Really great alternative rock version of a classic song with build-up to a catchy pay-off

Death Cab for Cutie - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
This stripped-down cover of the U2 holiday song is beautiful in its longing.

Jimmy Eat World - Last Christmas
I prefer this verison of the Wham! song because it's so bouncy. Not quite the point of the song, but it's still a good track.

NSYNC - Merry Christmas Happy Holidays
You can't not love this upbeat 90's holiday track. It's boy-band nostalgia and holiday music in one glorious package!

Peter, Paul and Mary - Light One Candle
I grew up with Peter, Paul and Mary's holiday concert cd constantly playing around the holiday season, and out of all the songs on it the one that stands out is their original track about remembering the importance of Hannukah as the Jewish people defending their faith against the Greeks. It's truly breathtaking.

Matisyahu - Miracle
A happy Hannukah song! It's celebrates the miracle of the oil lasting eight nights so joyously!

South Park - Dreidel Song
This is a hilarious rendition of the Hannukah song that's a skit within itself. It's a short song, but made all the more hilarious with each character's input about the game.

Judy Garland - Have Yourself A Merry Christmas
This is a staple of all holiday music. And it doesn't get better than Ms. Garland herself.

Sounds of Summer

 I know, I know - it's been too long without a post. So what I've decided to do is post the songs I've been listening to all summer. Like all of my music posted here so far, it's a diverse mix but every song is fantastic. Hopefully you guys enjoy all these songs!

Arcade Fire - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
If you guys haven't heard about Arcade Fire before the 2011 Grammys when they won Album of the Year for their 2010 release "The Suburbs", they're basically a alt-rock 8-pice band with a flair for poetic yet reality-based lyrics with a sweeping rock/orchestral background that makes every song a sonic experience unto itself. This song is just a mere taste of the epic album that is 'The Suburbs".

Britney Spears - I Wanna Go

I am by no means a Britney Spears fan, but her recent album "Femme Fatale" has won me over with it's lighthearted fun and pounding club/electronica beats that helps define her as a dancefloor diva. "I Wanna Go" is probably the best example of this - great mixing, easy to dance to, while the lyrics give just a little insight into how much the woman has been through in the spotlight. I mean, the video itself explains it all with humor.

Cee-Lo Green - Wildflower
I'm a lover of the retro-soul wave of the past five years, and Cee-Lo is no exception to this rule - his voice reminds me of Marvin Gaye meeting James Brown and Al Green. It also helps that he's part of one of my fave duos of the last decade, Gnarls Barkley (this would be the most well known of their tunes). His solo cd, "The Lady Killer", is a great display of his voice and the retro-soul sound, but "Wildflower" in particular stands out as a tender, sweet loving song. 

Childish Gambino - Bitch Look At Me Now
Childish Gambino is the rap alter-ego of actor and comedian Donald Glover, who got his start doing college humor shorts and is now part of the ensemble cast of NBC's "Community". His rap style is either love-it-or-hate-it, but he distiguishes himself with self-depreciating humor and great backing tracks. Hell, in "Bitch Look At Me Now", he recognizes the delightful absurdity of rapping over Grizzly Bear's melancholic yet sweet single "Two Weeks".

Florence + the Machine feat. Dizzie Rascal - You've Got the Dirtee Love
This particular collaboration of the ginger-haired siren and one of Britain's most famous rappers was at the 2010 Brit Awards, where he basically free-styled over her glorious cover of "You've Got the Love". You'd think it wouldn't work, but it's a gorgeous combination that I feel everyone should own.

Georgie James - Cheap Champagne
I got this song off a compilation via Dealbreaker, a hilarious Tumblr blog that posts people's dating turn-offs. I've actually gotten a lot of great songs from internet mixes (there'll be a few on this list), and this upbeat song about resisting the temptations of the fast lane is a wonderful ditty.

Guilty About Girls - Candy Candy
Again, this comes from an online compilation, but it's such a great song not to share. It's a modern spin on a guy being intrigued by a Manic PIxie Dream Girl type, but the melody and music is so damn catchy you forget it's a spin on a popular song theme.

Kaiser Chiefs - Out of Focus
I still can't believe that a Kaiser Chiefs fan like me would go months without knowing that they released a new album, "The Future is Medieval" this year. Nonetheless, I quickly corrected that sin by downloading it and safe to say, the Kaiser Chiefs have still retained their neo-punk alternative rock sound seamlessly. This song is more melancholy in arrangement with use of electronic keyboards, but a good song to wind down to.

The Kills - Cheap and Cheerful
This is off a compilation mix themed around Glee's resident mean girl character, Santana Lopez. And this song perfectly captures the character - a no-nonsense, confident girl who knows exactly what she wants from life and love. Even without the tie-in to the tv show, it's still a groovy song about sistas doing it for themselves.

Local Natives - Sun Hands
This LA-based band has exploded on the indie music scene with their single "Airplanes" and their entire album is fantastic. This is one of their more low-key songs, perfect for driving around in the summer sun with.

Milo Greene - 1957
I actually heard about this song when one of my favorite singer-songwriters Brooke White posted this song on her blog as a recommendation. Of course, given how much I like her, I gave the song a shot and loved it. The lead vocals are male and female and has a whimsical feel admist a steady clap-your-hands-along beat.

Nikka Costa - Corners of My Mind
I've always wanted to listen to more Nikka Costa given that one of my favorite songs is "Everybody Got Their Something", so I recently researched her music more extensively and fallen in love. Her raspy multi-octave range is incredible and she uses it brilliantly in her bluesy songs. This is one of her slower songs, and is undeniably gorgeous.

Wolfmother - Joker and the Thief
Given that I listened to "Vagabond" almost the entirety of last year, I'm not sure why I didn't listen to this song before a few months ago. But it's such a classic guitar riff-heavy, pounding beat that seems like what Led Zeppelin would be doing today (but with less psychedelics). In short, a good song to pump yourself up to.

Zero 7 - Somersault
I admit, I've been really late onto jumping onboard the Sia bandwagon (for reasons I'm still not sure of) but once I've gotten on I don't wanna get off. Her voice is so pure and her lyrics are so sweet and heartfelt. (No wonder she was the co-mentor for Christina Aguilera on "The Voice", she wrote Christina's single "You Lost Me".) "Somersault" is product of her involvement in the duo Zero 7 with Jose Gonzalez, combining acoustics with electronica, and is a most beautiful, most perfect song about being in love.
This post will be something a little different, in which I give a mini-review of some of the albums I've been listening to recently and post some of my favorite tracks from them.


The Decemberists - The King is Dead

I first got into The Decemberists the summer after high school, digging on their folksy alterna-rock but it was more on a individual song-basis rather than multi-album thing, in particular "On the Bus Mall" (which in my opinion is one of the most gorgeous alternative rock songs ever). But "The King is Dead", released early January of this year, in my humble opinion is their strongest album and the first that I enjoy every song. I sincerely hope this is a contender in next year's "Best Alternative Album" Grammy race.

Don't Carry It All

Rox in the Box
This Is Why We Fight
January Hymn
Down By the Water



The Script - "Science and Faith"

The Script is a U.K. pop-rock band that broke big in the US in the last year with the song "Breakeven" from their self-titled debut album (which is decent), but I personally think that their sophomore effort, "Science and Faith" is a much stronger album than the one they began on. The trio have grown as musicians in terms of writing and arranging and it feels much more personal lyrically.

You Won't Feel a Thing
For the First Time
Nothing
Dead Man Walking
This = love
Science and Faith


Adele - 21

I love Adele, and I've loved her ever since I saw this incredible routine on "So You Think You Can Dance" set to her incredible song "Hometown Glory". Her first album "19", in my humble opinion, deserved all the accolades it got and her followup is absolutely astounding. Her voice is just so flawless and raw and she's definitely grown from her debut album lyrically to encompass more emotion if possible.

Rolling in the Deep

Rumor Has It
Turning Tables
Set Fire To the Rain
Take It All
Someone Like You
Hiding My Heart

Various Artists

After a prolonged absence, I'm back with some new tracks for you all to enjoy!

Sia - I'm In Here

I love Sia's low key songs,and out of all the songs on her latest album "We Are Born", I like this one the best. It's a great mix of piano and electronica to create one of the most perfect ambient songs I've ever heard.

Robyn - Indestructible

The store in which I work, Urban Outfitters, has played Robyn's "Body Talk" cd to death so that I can't stand most of the songs on it now. However, this is the one dance track that I still like - the beat is fantastic and Robyn's voice is understated and sublime.

DM Stith - Gates of Eden

DM Stith is a singer-songwriter who opened for Sufjan Stevens when I went to see him in October. The two sound very much alike with their acoustic sensibilities and his vocal style is similar to Greg Laswell's and Duncan Sheik's and he was really great live. This is my favorite track of his, which is a Bob Dylan cover featured on a tribute album.

Jamie Cullum - High and Dry


I love love love Jamie Cullum, British singer-songwriter and one of my favorite songs of his is his cover of Radiohead's "High and Dry". He's a classically trained jazz pianist and arranging the song

Matt and Kim - Block After Block


I've been a fan of this duo since 2009 with their catchy single Daylight and this song is very similar to what I love about what I fell for in the first fell in love with - bouncy and fun beats and sing-songy lyrics that only the best in alternative rock can do.

Rye Rye feat M.I.A. - Sunshine

Rye Rye is a Baltimore-based female rapper who is a protegee of M.I.A. and is signed to her record label N.E.E.T. I love how light and innocent this song feels about schooltime love and Rye Rye is a pretty sick rapper.

Freelance Whales - Hannah

Freelance Whales is a Queens, New York-based band specializing its electronic-rock sound ala Owl City, Sufjan Stevens and Postal Service. I actually first heard of them because one of the members of the band, Chuck Criss is the younger brother of Team Starkid's Darren Criss and wanted to hear the band he was in. Then I bought the album and really enjoyed it, "Hannah" being the standout track of the album.

Lykke Li - I Follow Rivers

 
This is technically a leaked track from Lykke Li's upcoming sophomore album "Wounded Rhymes" but unlike the first single from the album (the sexy Get Some), this feels more true to who Lykke Li is an artist. Using what sounds like Jamacian drums and electronica, she creates a spiritual song that feels freeing as simplying following just beyond the riverbend. (Ha, just threw a ), this feels more true to who Lykke Li is an artist. Using what sounds like Jamacian drums and electronica, she creates a spiritual song that feels freeing as simplying following just beyond the riverbend. (Ha, just threw a Disney song reference. :P)

Week 12 - Various Artists

I present another week of...

Various Artists!

Lykke Li - I'm Good, I'm Gone
Of all the places to hear indie music, I never thought "American Idol" would ever be a place I would discover a cool indie artist. Nonetheless, when the top 7 sung this song for one of their weekly Ford commercials during season 8, I went to Youtube to listen to the original and fell in love with the song. Since then, I've downloaded Lykke Li's debut album and I love her quirky, playful style.

Marina and the Diamonds - Starstrukk
30H3 and their ilk kinda make me sick to their stomach, but one of the many things i love about Marina Diamandis is that she can make me like almost anything she sings. Thus, this cover she did for Radio One's Live Lounge is incredible because she took a meaningless party song and turned it into a beautiful introspective ballad. Methinks this is a move that American Idol-era!Adam Lambert and David Cook would greatly approve of.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - O Children
It feels slightly impure as a music junkie to say I found this song from a movie, but since that movie was from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One" my Harry Potter self is happy to feel justified to find awesome music in it. Aside from it, it's a beautiful, moving song about the loss of innocence and it makes me want to cry every time I listen to it in the best way possible.

Modest Mouse - Here It Comes
I'm a longtime fan of Modest Mouse in high school ever since i saw their pop-up box video to "Float On" and have devoured every release ever since then. I was surprised to find this song on a mix through the popular Tumblr blog Dealbreaker (which is a hilarious blog about dating turn-offs) and it's a great, low key track.

Gorillaz - Doncamatic
New Gorillaz songs always make me happy, and this song is absolutely true to classic Gorillaz form - a synergy of rock and electronica that's grooveable. Musically it's similar to "Dancing in the Moonlight", but more modern electro-sounding and the lyrics are more melancholy. And I'm thrilled that they're nominated for two Grammys for their "Plastic Beach"!

Robyn - Hang With Me (acoustic)
I'm a little late to the Robyn train (call me crazy but I had no clue that the same girl who did the cute 90s song "Show Me Love" from my childhood was the woman behind this year's much-talked about "Body Talk" album), but everything I've heard from her I've absolutely adored. Although she specializes in electro-pop, my favorite song of hers is her acoustic version of "Hang With Me", which is on her first volume of "Body Talk". Here, her voice shines and the arrangement with the piano and strings is just so beautiful, highlighting how complicated how it is to draw the fine line between friend and lover.

The XX - Crystalised
I've heard so much poetic waxed on this band through various websites and indie music publications and have been kinda "eh" about their music until I heard the Gorillaz cover "Crystalised" on Radio One's Live Lounge. I thought it was incredible and made me want to check out the original and the original is definitely wonderful in its simplicity of soft voices, guitar and tiny tick of beat with the drumsticks.
SKY FERREIRA



Sky Ferreira is an up-and-coming pop singer on the Los Angeles scene and while her debut album isn't set to drop until early next year, her single "Obsession" has already been featured in the tv show "The Vampire Diaries" and created buzz over her pop-electronica sounds. The constant leaks of her material have me intrigued over her voice and her sound and I look forward to hearing more from her.

Happy Dre
Obession
Wish I Stayed (cover of Ellie Goulding)
Animal (cover of Miike Snow)
One

I'd also like to take this time to share some tracks that I think are worth sharing:

Mark Salling - Fugitive

Mark Salling, aka Puck on Glee, is more of a musician than he is of an actor and he released his solo cd "Pipe Dreams" last month. Granted that I can't give a full, educated opinion on the entire cd as I haven't listened to the whole thing but I noticed my friend Elizabeth (darlingdivine) blogged about how good "Fugitive was and I listened and I fell in love. Sonically, it reminds me of Everlast's "What It's Like" and I really like Mark's voice on it and makes me lament how underused he is on Glee.

Ellie Goulding - Every Time You Go

There's something very precocious about Ellie Goulding's voice and the way she arranges her songs that make them the sweetest things ever. This one in particular, while about being used and abused by an person who doesn't want to define the relationship is tempered by the sweet dots of electronica with a steady drumbeat and soft melodic tones of Ellie's upper registers that make it beyond endearing. It makes the music that more easier to relate to and ultimately that much more fun to listen to.

M.I.A. and Sufjan Stevens - I XXXOed

Never in my life would I have ever thought that two of my favorite artists of all time, M.I.A. and Sufjan Stevens, would ever make for a good mash-up because their musical stylings are such polar opposites. But using the low-fi instumentals of "I Walked" with the lyrical flow of "XXXO" brings out the best in both songs and creates a beautiful new track that I have not been able to stop playing.

Bruno Mars - Grenade

I'm not one to wax sentiment on current pop phenomenons, but I do believe that whoever found Bruno Mars did us all a really great service. I don't often believe many men behind pianos singing about love but Bruno has a real vocal gift and emotional delivery that I completely buy into. Having listened to his full album, I think his current single, "Just the Way You Are" is a good first single, but "Grenade" is the best track on the album.

Glee Cast - Teenage Dream

I know, I know - what the hell is a song from Glee, let alone Katy Perry, doing on my blog? Well, remember when I did a post on Team Starkid a long time ago? Turns out Harry Freakin' Potter, aka Darren Criss, landed himself the big break of a lifetime on Glee and appeared on last week's episode as a gay mentor-of-sorts to Kurt and he's featured on this track. Darren's character, Blaine (insert Ducky's "Pretty in Pink" quote, "His name is Blaine? Oh! That's a major appliance, that's not a name!" here), goes to an all-boys school and sings with an acapella group (which happens to be the real life acapella Tufts college acapella group the Beezelbubs), as noted here and the vocal arrangement is so perfect and Darren's voice is just wonderful. I'll go as far to say it's the best number of season two, and I don't think I'm completely alone in that sentiment.

Week 10 - Sufjan Stevens Mega Post!



Sufjan Stevens is an indie folk/rock artist who is most well known for kick-starting the folk revival in the independent music scene. He plays banjo, guitar, drums as well as other instruments and often plays them all himself when recording (using multitrack recording). His early works feature electronica elements, but in all of his work, he is known for grand melodic arrangements, a variety of insturments, and making use of employing different time signatures. He debuted his first album, "A Sun Came!" with Ashmatic Kitty Records in 2000 (which was founded by himself and his stepfather) but did not reach broader success until he released two albums in what would have been part of a "50 States Project" - "Greetings from Michigan - The Great Lake State" and "Come On, Feel the Illinoise!" The latter in particular includes his biggest hit to date - "Chicago" - which was featured as the theme to the 2006 Sundance hit movie "Little Miss Sunshine", and the album itself reached #1 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers Chart. His recent album, "The Age of Adz", revisits the electronica he began with, which I was personally slow to come around to, but going to his concert changed everything for me and now I love it.

There is also an inherent spirituality to Sufjan Stevens' music, as he makes a shitton of Biblical references in his work. But what I like about him is that unlike many others, he is not a preacher. I present this quote: "I don't think music media is the real forum for theoogical discussions. I think I've said things and sung about things that probably weren't appropriate for this kind of forum. And I just feel like it's not my work or my place to be making claims and statements, because I often think it's misunderstood." You gotta respect a guy that knows where to draw that line.

As for I found Sufjan and why I love him so over the past four years, I have gone into great detail at my personal journal including the fucking incredible concert I went to this past Sunday at the Wiltern. Even then I cannot describe how much I love the music. To this day, "For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti" is my most played track in my iTunes library and the most gorgeous song I have ever heard in my life.

Here are my (many) favorite tracks by Sufjan Stevens and I encourage you to take, listen and love as I have:

For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti

Oh Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head (Rebuild! Restore! Reconsider!)
Holland
Jacksonville
Say! Yes! To Michigan!
Casmir Pulanski Day
Chicago
The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts
Decatur, or Round of Applause for your Step-Mother!
They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!
Ring Them Bells
Dear Mr. Supercomputer
Springfield, Or Bobby Got A Shadfly Caught In His Hair
Adlai Stevenson
The Henney Buggy Band
The Avalanche
Chicago (Multiple Personality Disorder Version)
Heirloom
Enchanting Ghost
The Dress Looks Nice on You
To Be Alone With You
We Are What You Say
I Walked
Futile Devices
Vesuvius

Week 9 - Various Artists

This post is compiled of recent uploads I have made for requests of other people, so I figured that I'd share them here.


Bon Iver - Flume
I like Bon Iver's low-key melodic sound, and although this isn't my absolute favorite by Bon Iver (I'll share that at some later point), this was a particular request at the music community mp3_share , so I figured I'd share it on my own blog. It's definitely a great intro track to Bon Iver though.

Noah and the Whale - 5 Years Time
This song was given to me on a birthday mix by my sister, Sasha. She and I have a lot of similar taste when it comes to music, and she's the only person I know who has a larger and crazier music library than I, so I love it when she makes me cds (which is often for my birthday and for the holiday season). This band has a folk-y kind of sound and it's a very sing-a-long-y type of song. J'adore "5 Years Time"!

Semisonic - Closing Time
Anyone remember this one hit wonder from 1998? It's the official bar/party-ending song but it's a really great rock tune. I was in love with it when I was eleven and I still really enjoy it. 

Cascada - Everytime We Touch
This is a total guilty pleasure song and I dare you to not dance/bop your head/fist pump/shake hips/whatever form of excited movement you call "dancing". When I think of silly fun club tunes, this is the first song I think of. :P

Fort Minor - Remember the Name
This is an incredible inspirational rap song about trying to make it and persevere against all odds. I am not normally a fan of rap because I find most rappers tend to be misygonistic and shallow in their song subject matter, but I love the beat and the message of self-belief to raise you up and forward.

Adam Lambert - I Just Love You
One of these days I'll do an Adam Lambert post (anyone who knows me well knows I'm a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge fan of Adam Lambert), but for now, in honor of all the anti-bullying campaigns that have sprung up in light of the five or so suicides of gay kids who were bullied, I think this song of sharing love even from the most remote distances is so important. Also, if you haven't heard Adam Lambert sing or are just convinced he can only crazy rock-wail, this song proves that this man has a remarkable gift. Oh, and watch his "It Gets Better" video, it's pretty much the best one in the series.

I will do another solo artist-themed post soon though, don't worry!

Week 8 - Various Artists

And now for some more random song recommendations!

David Archuleta - Stomping the Roses, Good Place

Remember way back when I did my second post here on the world's most precious "American Idol" runner-up? Well, he has a new album out called "The Other Side of Down" (...up? I don't get the title either) and these are my two favorite tracks off the album. Overall, I recommend the album highly - he has a lot more maturity in this album than his debut exhibited.

Kanye West feat. Pusha T - Runaway

Yes, Kanye West is a dick. This is a known fact. But it cannot be denied that he truly makes great hip-hop and uses beats in great new ways and his lyrics are often reflective and insightful to who he is as a person. This song is a perfect example of both of that - the self-aware ego-maniac jackass ("let's have a toast to the douchebags, let's have a toast for the assholes") telling his girlfriend she's better off without him.

Minus the Bear - Animal Backwards

I've heard a few tracks by Minus the Bear over the course over the past two or so years. I think out of everything I've heard by them though, I like this electronic, seductive track about being hypnotized by a girl the best.

Mark Ronson and the Business INTL - Bang Bang Bang


I love Mark Ronson's retro-styled production that he did for Lily Allen's and Amy Winehouse's respective debut albums and his first album, "Version" was also amazing. His second album, "Record Collection", is more electronic and eighties-inspired, but I still find myself enjoying it. I guess Mark Ronson simply cannot do any wrong in my book.

Beriut - Elephant Gun

If you've ever seen the movie "Amelie", you're familiar with Yann Tiersen. He composes these gorgeous pieces of music that are used in films from "Amelie" to "Goodbye Lenin!" that are simple, yet use the maximum effect of the piano and accordian. This song reminds me of Yann Tiersen with lyrics, and I love it.

Jenny and Johnny - Big Wave


Like She and Him and Pete Yorn's collaboration with Scarlett Johannson, Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley has recently debuted a collaboration project with boyfriend Johnathan Rice called "Jenny and Johnny" and released an album called "I'm Having Fun Now". It's very much in the same range as her own solo stuff and her music with Rilo Kiley - alternative light-hearted rock. And as someone who likes Rilo Kiley and She and Him, I really like this collaboration.

Week 7.5 - Various Artists

Again for the prolonged absence between the Phoenix and Amanda Blank posts, I complied a post of random music recommendations.

Paramore - The Only Exception

I don't listen to Paramore (they're like the female-led version of Fall-Out Boy, who I'm not too fond of), but I think this is a really sweet, singer-songwriter ballad with a rock twist. Also Hayley Williams' voice sounds really pretty on this. Lea Michele did a decent cover of this song on Glee as well, because she doesn't normally sing pop songs all that well.

Animal - Neon Trees


You know how some songs come on the radio randomly and their catchy uptempo beats strike your eardrums and although you've been reading how it's supposedly a good song but you've never given it a shot but suddenly it all makes sense? ...okay that sentence made no sense whatsoever. Point is, it's a good song.

Save the Lies - Gabriella Cilmi

I love the upbeat, sassy track channeling Aretha's "Respect" but with a funky twist on it. I've become obsessed with these quirky voiced female singers lately and I think it allows this unique form of of expression for women. (TBH I'm a little jealous I can't sing that way.)

The Temper Trap - Love Lost

I am in love with the Temper Trap. Since their single "Sweet Disposition" took over every commercial since it was featured in last year's Sundance hit "500 Days of Summer", their U2-esque sound is infectious. I recommend their opener track to their cd "Conditions" because I love how it starts off so soft with the hand claps and electronic keyboard chords and then a minute in the guitars and drums kick in the drive.

Cheryl Cole - Promise This

Cheryl Cole (née Tweedy), for those not familiar, is best known as one-fifth of the girl group Girls Aloud, massively popular in her native U.K. Cole also serves as a judge on the U.K.'s X Factor (and rumored to join the US version next year) and was until recently married to successful (but notorious womanizer) soccer-player Ashley Cole. She released a solo cd last year and is about to release a sophmore effort, of which this the first single. It's ridiculously catchy AND I CAN'T GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD.

Dragonette - I Get Around


I first heard this song on "The Vampire Diaries" which suits the song to a t - it's a very sexy, slinky song about love and naughtiness with the refrains of "I get around" and "I say yes when I ought to say no". Give it a shot, and tell me you wouldn't think about trying to do some sort of sexy dance to it. :P

To Build a Home - The Cinematic Orchestra


The vocals are reminiscent of Chris Martin of Coldplay, but the piano is grandscale and sweeping that fools you into thinking it's a sixteen string orchestra. And to think that the act is called an "orchestra" and described by iTunes as "electronic". Ha.

Roisin Murphy - Ramalama (Bang Bang), Night of the Dancing Flame, Ruby Blue

I'm not gonna lie - I got these from watching So You Think You Can Dance. Wade Robson (yes, the guy who choreographed for Britney Spears) did these amazing modern jazz routines to each of these songs for seasons two, three, and five, which made me immediately download those songs and play them over and over and over again.