Sizzle Pop


Goodnight Argent

Pop music is great, but if you’re looking for emotional depth, you may not find it in an LMFAO song. So when Chase Manhattan was recalibrating after his band short-circuited midway to their big breakthrough, he turned his focus to making pop music with substance. Enter Goodnight Argent, a nod to an old studio on Argent Road in the band’s hometown of Pasco, Wash. The band crafts burning, soulful pop, part Justin Timberlake, part Ben Gibbard. Those Were The Days is a smoldering look at summer love, driven by a simple back beat and panging piano. When the sun comes up will the stars remember our love? Manhattan wonders. Then, like an admonishment, the band fires back with Don’t Get Sentimental,  a track filled with spacy sequences and piercing guitars. The only thing these guys have in common with LMFAO is that they’re sexy and they know it.

West Side Story


Line Spectra

Line Spectra may have burst onto the Canadian pop scene from the west side of Montreal, but just listen to City Stars and you’ll see that the entire metropolis is their muse. Languid and dreamy, the track has a sparkle and drawl similar to a Rilo Kiley tune. I’ll never leave the city I call home, sings Vanessa Morelli. And then she repeats it in French, like a true Quebecer. Summer, Oh Wait! is more upbeat fare, a percussive jumble of guitars, keys, drums and handclaps. It’s the kind of catchy, wistful, and kinetic song that’s meant for driving with the windows down and the volume up. Line Spectra’s jangly indie pop continues with Choosing Sides, a coursing melody where guitars growl, keys hammer out an insistent line and drums keep it all moving forward. These three femmes are doing their city proud. Bravo, mademoiselles.

The Prodigal Daughter

With a father who sang for the Vienna Opera House, a mother who was a professional piano player and singer and a grandfather who won the gold in the Senior Olympics for playing a saw, Kat Parsons boosts a DNA advantage for a rich musical career. But genetic predispositions can only take you so far before you have to roll up your sleeves and do some work. Parsons is clearly accomplished”a multi-instrumentalist with a limber, gossamer voice. With the torchy Go Find Her, she proves her mettle as a chanteuse. But Parson’s got some pop chops as well. Miss Me is Fiona Apple meets Vanessa Carlton, a spare, emotive ballad that tumbles into gleaming pop with cascading keys. And then there’s No Will Power, a starry-eyed melody with jagged guitars and reverberating keys. Whether it’s jazz or pop, Parsons is equally adept. With all that pedigree, being a one-trick pony just isn’t an option.

Piano Pedigree

Ty Mayfield

Ty Mayfield may have had some success behind the kit early in life”if you count a rousing rendition of Genesis’s In The Air Tonight for a high school talent show”but he really found his calling when he dropped the drumsticks and sidled up to the piano. Exhibit A: 19 to 2, a punchy piano melody with an airborne chorus that catapults your spirits. Mayfield’s charismatic crooning and gleeful piano playing are a straight shot of serotonin. From his cheerful professions of love on The One For Me to the high-speed swagger of The Curveball, the singer/pianist delivers mood-enhancing piano pop a la Gavin DeGraw or Ben Folds. For the most part, Mayfield sticks to piano and organ, but he’s not adverse to technology. Do What I Do is the most ambitious of his tracks, a percussive mélange of digital bleeps and blips that tapers into the slow coast of the chorus. Despite his youthful appearance, Mayfield’s a polished performer on the brink of success. You can feel it in the air.

“19-2” – Ty Mayfield



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Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Bjork holds three-day karaoke protest

Everyone’s got their own way of protesting. Some people stage sit-ins, some people march, some people change their Facebook profile photo. Bjork”she sings. Along with tens of thousands of people. The Icelandic artist held a three-day karaoke contest in Reykjavik to protest a Canadian company’s planned takeover of Iceland’s HS Orka power plant. More than 45,000 people have signed a petition asking the government to reconsider its stance on the takeover. Which is really impressive, but we think sending the government a singing telegram, maybe wearing this, might be more fitting.

Black Keys want to take Tegan and Sara out

Indie cupid has plunged his arrow in none other than the Black Keys. In an interview with Spinner, drummer Patrick Carney says he and singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach want to take Canadian duo Tegan and Sara out on a date. The location? None other than Canadian donut franchise Tim Hortons. The problem? Oh, nothing. Except maybe the fact that their dates are lesbians. That’s all.

The Bad

Grown man gets Justin Bieber tattooed on his thigh

To repeat, a “Grown Man” got a tattoo of Justin Bieber on his thigh.

He’s ¦ a grownup. With a tattoo of a 16-year-old hearthrob. On his thigh. Forever.

We have no words.

Kanye asks for a cover that would be outlawed

In an interview with The New Yorker, artist George Condo lets it slip that Kanye West asked him to create an album cover that would be banned for My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy. Which makes it especially poignant that no one banned it. West even tried to kindle some controversy by falsely accusing Walmart of banning his album. No dice. Guess My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy will go down in history as having the most banal cover of all time. Sorry Yeezy!

The Ugly

T.I. lands in hot water after getting frisky with his wife

T.I. and his wife didn’t keep their hands where guards could see them during a supervised visit at the big house this week. The overly amorous pair had their visit cut short after prison staff spotted them getting a little too feely. T.I. was moved to tighter security housing as punishment for the offense. Hopefully one with cold showers.


Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Michael Jackson video teaser released

Michael Jackson’s posthumous album, MICHAEL, is slated for release on Tuesday. The record features collaborations with artists like 50 Cent and Lenny Kravitz, but because many of the recordings were works in progress at the time of Jackson’s death, Sony’s release of MICHAEL has been fraught with controversy. However, watching the new video teaser for Jackson’s duet with Akon, Hold My Hand, makes it hard to be bummed about the record. Check it out below.

Rolling Stone‘s top 30 albums & 50 singles of 2010

Rolling Stone has released their list of the top 30 albums and 50 singles of 2010. And now we have a million questions. Kid Rock beating Kings of Leon and Spoon”you sure about that Rolling Stone? Taylor Swift”sure, she can sell records, but does she really deserve the Number 13 position? And, Kanye West, your album is great and all, but seriously, Arcade Fire had one of the best albums of all time. Seriously.

The Bad

Dead celebrities back to life on Twitter

In support of the AIDS charity Keep A Child Alive, Alicia Keys, one of the organization’s founders, helped kick off the Digital Death campaign on Twitter last week. Keys, along with celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake, swore off tweeting until a $1 million fundraising goal was met. The campaign got off to a slow start, with the public donating less half that sum after a week. Just when it looked like their silence would be permanent, frustrated celebs with itchy Twitter fingers recruited philanthropist Stewart Rahr, who swooped in to pony up the $500,000+ difference. Great news for Keep A Child Alive, bad news for those of us enjoying the Kim and Khloe Kardashian silent treatment.

LCD Soundsystem to stop touring in 2011

James Murphy told Spinner this week, during the Art Basel festival in Miami, that his band LCD Soundsystem will stop touring permanently after this year. We’re done being just a pro rock ensemble, Murphy says. From now on, Daft Punk Is Playing at My House will have to only play at your house.

The Ugly

Morrissey delivers the diss to Bryan Ferry

When Morrissey found out that Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry, whose album For Your Pleasure he listed as one of his top 13 favorite records, was an avid hunter, he did what any combative vegetarian would do and penned an open letter taking Ferry and a handful of other British celebs to task. Calling Ferry’s son Otis Odious Ferry and Ferry himself Bryan Ferret, The Smith’s singer apologized to fans for his support of Roxy Music in years past. Hunters, beware. To Morrissey, you are the quarry.