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Sorry about the poor quality Youtube, it’s the best I could scrounge up. This is Me Smiling is an indie pop group from Chicago who have gotten some curious love from the pop-punk scene, probably from doing some shows supporting Motion City Soundtrack. While there are some upbeat thumpers like “Mixin’ Up Adjectives”, most of this is really chilled out and relaxing. It’s a lovely little album, you’re gonna dig it.

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How can you not love this album? I listen to this even when it isn’t Christmas, but this time of year it starts getting heavy playtime in my world. This never fails to cheer me up, because it’s such a charming little collection of carefree tunes. Get into it.

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This three-piece band is based in Gaineville, and they make acoustic folk punk music. The difference between this and what most people think of when they hear folk punk (AJJ, Ghost Mice, Defiance, Ohio and the like) is that these guys take a much more bluegrassy approach, and it ends up sounding more, for lack of a better word, authentic. This album sounds like some good ol’ boys sitting around with their ramshackle instruments, and, well, that’s what it is! Drummers need not apply to this band; acoustic guitar strumming and banjo picking abound! The next time you’re on a roadtrip, at a bonfire, or having a hoe-down, you will be prepared with an appropriate soundtrack. Get into it!

Peachcake - What Year Will You Have the World

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Peachcake are an Arizona-based powerpop/electronica act that have the special distinction of being far and away the best live band I’ve ever seen. But I won’t get too deeply into that. This band is super-positive, and their music is a ton of fun to listen to, and as lame of a description as that is it’s really what they’re all about. It’s upbeat, it’s catchy, and it’s the type of thing that always always always can put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Download this album. And then, if you want one of the most awesome experiences of your life, go see them live.

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By now, pretty much everyone has heard fun.’s debut album, Aim and Ignite. Well, this is a session they did with Paste magazine, where they played acoustic renditions of four songs from the record. Also, three of the tracks here are interview questions, and the band responded with impromptu songs, which are actually, like, good. Not quite the same level of soaring, anthemic indie pop, but good nonetheless. And of course the acoustic versions of their songs are great. So check it out.

Harvey Danger - Dead Sea Scrolls

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For my first post on this blog, I was going to share an album that I really, really loved. Something I could call a personal favorite. But then I realized that this album, despite being released so recently, is already exactly that. Harvey Danger is a band that you may regard as a one-hit wonder, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Since their inception over 15 years ago, they’ve released three excellent studio albums that were progressively more thoughtful and mature, and are concluding with this 2009 release of b-sides, covers, live tracks, and studio demos. And even though this record was sold only at their final few shows (yes, they just broke up), it’s still something that can stand firmly on its own as an album, and as a testament to how much more attention this band should have received. Listen to this, and don’t be surprised if you happen to fall in love with Harvey Danger.