As he’s shown on his previous records, 2004’s Infiniheart and 2006’s Skelliconnection, Chad VanGaalen knows how to create intricate pop songs, whether soft and simple, or distorted and experimental. Now, that contradicting sound is nicely summed up in the title of his latest – and perhaps best – effort, Soft Airplane.

Death has been a central theme on all of VanGaalen’s records so far, and Soft Airplane is no exception. On the album-opener, the gentle “Willow Tree”, VanGaalen frailly sings:

When I die
I hang my head beside the willow tree
When I’m dead
Is when I’ll be free

Somber to say the least, but also one of the best tracks I’ve heard all year. And the rest certainly don’t disappoint – Soft Airplane is by far VanGaalen’s most consistent album yet, with well crafted tunes from start to finish. Because while his first two records had plenty of solid songs on them, there were also some that easily could have been weeded out. This time, it seems like VanGaalen has done just that and only included the top of the crops, creating one of the best albums of 2008.

~ “Willow Tree” ~

One of my all time favorite Swedish singers, Rebecka Törnqvist is releasing a new album on September 24th. For those not familiar with ms Törnqvist, I suggest you check out her music pronto! She is seriously one of our fines jazz/pop vocalists with a string of great albums under her belt, including the two she did as part of the group Gloria.

Her latest solo effort is entitled The Cherry Blossom And the Skyline Rising From the Street and was recorded in Stockholm this past year. It’s being released on Rebecka’s own lable, Moule, which also released the critically acclaimed record Fire In the Hole – Sara Isaksson and Rebecka Törnqvist sing Steely Dan.

I can’t wait!

Are You a Sad Robot?

September 1, 2008

Stars digitally released their latest EP Sad Robot today via the official website.

The EP consists of a very pretty cover and six tracks, whereof one is available for free. In order to download it though you have to create an account at the band’s online store, but I’ve taken care of that so you can just download it right here instead.

It’s a lovely track, so make sure to snag it!

Sad Robot EP tracklist

01. Maintenance Hall, 4am
02. A Thread Cut With a Carving Knife
03. Undertow
04. Going, Going, Gone (live)
05. 14 Forever
06. Sad Robot