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Holiday Playlist 2007

by Seth Brau in Culture on 13 December 2007

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Le Loup: The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly
A weird mixture of banjos, percussion and computer sounds Le Loup creates an experimental sound that's still fun listening. Based on Sam Simkoff's original cheap recordings of a hodge-podge of inexpensive instruments, such as toy glockenspiels and an old banjo, and recorded using the microphone and recording software included with his computer, the final album was created with a band formed using Craigslist. A true testament to the democracy of the digital music age, Le Loups music is a wonderful mixture of lo-tech and real instruments, carried along by the beautiful harmonizing layers of singing voices. See their MySpace to have a listen, then go buy the album from iTunes.

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White Williams: Smoke
I know I'm not supposed to judge a book by its cover but I was originally drawn to White Williams' Smoke because of the album art. The subtle dance pop I was to uncover underneath the eerie colorful album art ended up surpassing my expectations. With the perfect mixture of synth sounds, guitar and bass laid over magical drum beats, White Williams creates music that is as great for dancing as it is for sitting in your bedroom alone staring at the ceiling in a state of paralysis because you're so baked. Check out his MySpace for some samplings or buy Smoke right now on iTunes or from Insound.
—Seth Brau

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The Tough Alliance: New Chance
Another duo out of Sweden that deserving attention, The Tough Alliance (TTA) is a mixture of electronic, glitch pop, and new wave—but better. The young Gothenburg duo, Henning Fürst and Eric Berglund, are fellow Swede Jens Lekman's favorite band and rightfully so. Their odd beatscapes mixed with youthful vocals are poppy and painfully catchy.

I've heard that they will schedule a show at 8pm, not come on stage until around 4am and then only play one song, understandably inciting small riots. Not very nice on their part, but the fact that some people are willing to wait that long says a lot. Listen to a few songs on the TTA MySpace and visit their website, which has virtually no info on the band. Get their latest album, New Chance from iTunes.

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Cass McCombs: Dropping the Writ
His first release on Domino, Cass McCombs takes a more lyrical laid back approach with Dropping the Writ. Her voice has an effortless sound, which, layered on different tracks over repetitive guitar riffs, embellish the star-gazing quality of the music. Using blunt, odd and sometimes funny lyrics, he talks of himself and everyday life experiences.

Listen to "That's That" on his MySpace, a relatively mellow track from Dropping the Writ, which is available at Domino and Insound or download it from iTunes for £8.
—Tim Yu

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Snoop Dogg: Sensual Seduction
Like everyone else with a penchant for smooth jams, sexy lyrics and impeccable production, I can't get enough of Snoop's hit track "Sensual Seduction." I've always had a soft spot for his mellifluous voice and Southern California drawl but this track adds something new and the beat is irresistible from start to finish. Watching the Doggfather dance in the video is pretty great too.

It's the first single from the forthcoming Ego Trippin' (due out in March 2008). Listen to it on Snoop Dogg's site or download it from iTunes.
—Ami Kealoha

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Daft Punk: Alive 2007
As a general rule live albums are for ultimate fans or serious music nerds, but this new release from everyone's favorite French avant-disco duo is an exception. The recording captures the drama and energy of their acclaimed Alive 2007 tour (minus the light show and helmets) and is perhaps one of the best concert albums out there. Listen on MySpace, buy from Insound or download from iTunes.

Wu-Tang Clan: 8 Diagrams
One of the most hotly-anticipated releases of this year, 8 Diagrams is the first new album from Amazon or download from iTunes.
—Evan Orensten

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