I love fun.!

Ok, all you who are broken-hearted because of the Format’s break-up, come to The Indie Handbook and we will give you rest.  We have all been waiting so patiently for fun.’s album, Aim and Ignite, trying to subdue our anxious ears with “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be),” but now is the time to rejoice because the album is here! It is here for real tomorrow, and it is here now streaming on their myspace page!

We’ve talked about these guys before because Eric got to see them live which makes me so jealous  I could scream, so you probably already know that fun. is the collaboration of the Format’s Nate Ruess, Anathallo’s Andrew Dost, and Steel Train’s Jack Antonoff.  And ohh my gosh their album is streaming.  Am I over eager?  (no such thing).

I’ve heard mixed feelings about fun. from friends who saw them live and have streamed Aim and Ignite, and I have to agree most with a friend who said that their name truly fits them–they’re really just a lot of fun to listen to, and probably even more fun to see live.  To the assertion that they’re not catchy enough, I must disagree.  After listening to Aim and Ignite, I would say that fans of the Format’s Dog Problems will appreciate this album the most.  I’m sure fun. would rather not be constantly compared to the Format (sorry!) but I hear definite stylistic parallels between the melodramatic structure shifts and incredible orchestration in the two albums.

I have no idea if fun. claims Queen as an influence, and maybe I’m committing some kind of musical treason in saying this, but I hear elements in Aim and Ignite that are very reminiscent of Queen–strong lead singer, complex orchestration, a tendency towards the anthemic, raw emotion, and a general songwriting courage…there’s no shrinking from drama here, but somehow it isn’t kitschy or annoying–it’s awesome, actually.  Could fun. be the next Queen?  I don’t know.  I’m just sayin’.

So now let’s play a game called, listen to Aim and Ignite and tell us your favorite song on the album.  I can’t pick just one, but I really enjoy “Benson Hedges” (kind of an interesting gospel influence that you also hear  a bit in “Barlights”) and “I Wanna Be The One.”  And I still love “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be),” even though it isn’t so new.

Kristin is taking a week off.

Yesterday was Kristin’s birthday and because she is my friend and I have been slacking off lately, I suggested she take the week off. (Also, I am too cheap to buy her a real present.) Sorry folks, you’re stuck with me for the week, but at least you’ll get a brief respite on Wednesday, because I have another guest submission from Dan Holloway. I guess every cloud really does have a silver lining.

But wait, it gets worse. I have been crazy busy lately: the Dublin Irish Festival last weekend followed almost immediately by four and a half days out of town (that’s a lot of hours in my car and even more scones). Consequently, I have had very little time to explore and have been listening almost exclusively to Julie Fowlis, Tilly & the Wall, and the Pipettes. (In the process, I learned a beautiful Scots lullaby, which I will be happy to sing to you, if you are a girl.) So, unless you really want to hear more about one of those artists, you will have to content yourself with the news contained in this article.

In case any of you actually expressed interest in the initial clause of that last sentence, you may be interested to know that Rose Elinor Dougall, formerly Rosay of the Pipettes, is in the process of releasing her second single as a solo artist, with plans to put out a full LP some time in 2010. Also, Gwenno Saunders, currently of the Pipettes, had some success with Welsh and Cornish language electropop before joining the band.

Word from Cardiff is that The School are in post production of their debut LP. Mastering and production work were completed on Wednesday. From what I hear, all that is left to work out are the singles, artwork, and that sort of thing, hopefully to be completed in time for an October release.

Not to mention, we are but a fortnight removed from Fun’s Aim and Ignite and Imogen Heap’s Ellipse. Of course, you knew that already. What you may not know is that you can stream Aim and Ignite on MySpace right now.

Even more pressing, however, is the imminent release of the new album, Silent City (featuring Will Oldham, a.k.a. Bonnie “Prince” Billy, on three tracks), by Columbus, Ohio’s own Brian Harnetty. That is, it comes out tomorrow. For you locals, there is a release party at Rumba on Friday. Super Desserts will also be playing. I’ve heard Brian perform once before, in a local used record store. It was a low-key affair, but I was transfixed. He is Paste’s “Artist of the Week“, and deservedly so.