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Music Picks

Music to Win the War Against January Blahs

M.I.A., Andre Ethier, Handsome Furs, Feist and Los Campesinos.

By Elaine Corden 3 Jan 2008 |

Elaine Corden regularly writes a music column for The Tyee.

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Inspires an extra 10 minutes of wind sprints.

All right, January. You don't like us, and we don't like you. You are the month when studios and labels traditionally dump their worst mistakes on us, hoping that their albums or movies will catch as little attention as possible, slinking off quietly to the bargain bins while most of us try to dig out from under snow and credit card debt.

It is with that in mind that I offer you this week's Music Picks -- some golden tracks from 2007 that will carry you through this most bummerous of months. Pop 'em in your MP3 player and drown out the gawdawful dance music at your gym. At the very least, play 'em at home as you lie on the couch and pray for spring.

M.I.A.'s "Big Branch": this bonus track off the Sri-Lanka-via-London rapper's 2007 album, Kala, is the one you want to take out on your inaugural this-year-I-will-exercise run. Not only does the beginning riff sound like the theme song to Rocky, but the lyrics are stinging and powerful, a foul-mouthed indictment of anyone who ever dared piss M.I.A. off. Listen to it enough times and some of her power might rub off on you. At the very least, you'll be inspired to do an extra 10 minutes of wind sprints.

Andre Ethier's "Good Fortune": Better known as the lead singer of Toronto's Deadly Snakes, Ethier released his second solo record, On Blue Fog, quietly and without fanfare in 2007, meaning many outside of his home city didn't get to hear it. A pity that, as Ethier has produced a record of eclectic, brilliant folk. "Good Fortune" is the standout track, an acoustic, lilting tune that recalls such greats as Terry Callier and John Martyn. Perfect for sedate gatherings with friends in well-heated basement suites.

Handsome Furs' "Handsome Furs Hate This City": Although this track (the best from the Furs' 2007 debut album, "Plague Park" is likely about their hometown of Montreal, the anti-urban sentiment is easily grafted on to any city you'd care to resent. Also, the song is the exact mid-point between David Bowie and Gordon Lightfoot, which is impressive for its sheer unlikelihood.

Feist "My Moon My Man": The other Feist track of the year. Yes, that iPod commercial has worn out welcomes with me, too. But The Reminder is still a great album, and "My Moon My Man" is still a great track. And Leslie Feist can probably light her cigars with $100 bills.

Los Campesinos!'s "You! Me! Dancing!": Indie dance music! From Wales!


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