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30_c_w_450_h_450Stornoway – “I Saw You Blink”  What does this band and the official residence of Canada’s Loyal Opposition leader have in common? They are both named for a small fishing village on a remote Scottish island. And what does that have to do with this English’s band’s music? Not much, apparently. At first listen, this song seems very folky – harmony vocals, acoustic guitars, etc. – but the catchy bass line signals it is something else and as the song goes it becomes less and less folk, particularly with great organ and synthesizer riffs that appear about half way through. The song is from their 2010 debut album, Beachcomber’s Windowsill, which also features “Zorbing” and “Here Comes the Blackout.”

Stornoway website

a3273832733_10Stella Ella Ola – “Summerette”  Stella Ella Ola opened for Ezra Furman at his recent Toronto show and performed a killer set. The whole band sings at different points in most songs and the performance says we’re here to have some fun. This song is from their recent album I Think We Should Hang Out All the Time and oozes a great B52’s party vibe. A must see live band!

 Stella Ella Ola Facebook


The Format – “Wait, Wait, Wait”  Before Fun broke out as major act with songs like “We Are Young” and “Some Nights” lead singer Nate Ruess had belonged to a different band that had a minor brush with success, The Format. Just as poppy as Fun but with a more restrained performance style from Ruess, The Format released just two albums before calling it quits in 2008. “Wait, Wait, Wait” has all the classic poprock elements: propulsive four piece rock and roll sound with strong hooks. The chorus sounds like the song should be called ‘Don’t, Don’t’ and really delivers on its last line: “I’ll be the last sound that you hear as your eyes close.” The whole first album, Interventions and Lullabies, is worth looking up.

 The Format website