Jens Lekman

Miracle Fortress -     Five Roses
#5

Miracle Fortress
Five Roses

Montreal, Canada
Secret City / Rough Trade

Based out of Montreal, Graham Van Pelt has created the closest thing anyone has come to a Beach Boys record of the new millenium. Mixing layers upon layers of guitars with catchy melodies, the similarities never end as he even has a voice similar to Brian Wilson. But there’s nothing unoriginal about it, because he picked one of the hardest pop artists of the 20th century to copy, so coming close is a pretty great feat. On top of that, he’s not trying to top the Beatles, so he did it all without having a nervous breakdown.

The     Clientele - God Save The Clientele
#4

The Clientele
God Save The Clientele

London, England
Merge / The Track and Field Organization

The Clientele’s first full-length release Suburban Light (a compilation of singles and compilation tracks) is perfect. Released in 2000, any unknowing listener would have to assume that it was recorded in 1966. That being said, their first two albums were unsuccessful attempts to re-create the soft, romantic mood of the earliest work. Not to say they were bad, they just showed no growth from a creative band with much potential. Their last release, God Save the Clientele, has the band expanding their sound, which has something to do with the addition of Mel Draisey on keyboards and strings, giving the band a much fuller, less subdued sound which dominated prior releases.

Lucky Soul - The     Great Unwanted
#3

Lucky Soul
The Great Unwanted

Greenwich, England
Ruffa Lane

The Pipettes are good, but Lucky Soul are great. Where the former had great singles and an album which didn’t quite live up to them, Lucky Soul have created one of the most consistently enjoyable albums of the year. Like the Pipettes, Lucky Soul rock the 60s girl group sound familiar to fans of the Shangri-Las and Lesley Gore. Just like those songs from days passed, although the songs have upbeat drums, strings, and horns, they are all tales of lost love and heartbreak, everyone’s favourite topics.

The Tough     Alliance - A New Chance
#2

The Tough Alliance
A New Chance

Gothenburg, Sweden
Sincerely Yours / Summer Lovers

Sweden is taking over the pop world. I like almost everything I hear from Sweden, and one of the best examples is The Tough Alliance’s new album A New Chance. It’s definitely a retro-sounding album that takes its cues from 80s new wave and 90s dance, but don’t let that fool you, because this album is unlike much you’ve heard.

Jens     Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala
#1

Jens Lekman
Night Falls Over Kortedala

Gothenburg, Sweden
Secretly Canadian / Service

Oh Jens. His songs are great, and although all of the albums are dubbed “collections of recordings” spanning several years, all of the songs on his newest release Night Falls Over Kortedala play perfectly as an album. His charming wit and somewhat bizarre/cute romanticism find a home among consistently perfect melodies and lush arrangements. This album is Tigermilk good.

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— , January 17, 2008    4 Comments
Comments:

Great choices, especially highlighting Miracle Fortress who gets no mentions on my side of the border.

Have to agree about the Clientele: had the early singles + Suburban Light not existed, we would have never heard of them until the new album. But don’t let that keep you from tracking down mid-period gems like “Since K Got Over Me” and “E.M.P.T.Y”

— teenage kicks, January 17, 2008

love the choices. particularly the top 3. couldn’t agree more.

— Sal, January 17, 2008

So I’ve meet Jens Lekman….no big deal. He’s nice, in a tall sort of way…

— HRG, January 18, 2008

I agree with the comments about the old Clientele + the mid-period gems, but I honestly couldn’t get into the latest album. I really did try, and I just found it somewhat pretty in a boring way. Rest of the picks are solid though. (‘specially Miracle Fortress… love. Should check out his cover of Hanky Panky Nohow if you can.)

— Bri, January 20, 2008