First up, Pagan Wanderer Lu has a single and album out around now. Can't say I've been overly struck by the previews — my favourite songs are still Winston Churchill, Memorial Hall, Molly's Lips & Kofi Annan TV — but if you like any of his previous stuff have a gander at the (slightly sweary) video for Tree of Knowledge.
Between a mention by Warren Ellis and a track on a The Word cover CD, Asobi Seksu have made a very favourable impression on me. Their self-titled debut is my favourite of what I've heard, and the first I've acquired. Plenty of noise backed by vocals that would be gentle and comprehensible if it weren't for the fact some of them are in Japanese. Get MP3s of Thursday and I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me.
Chicks, one of the first bands I ever saw live (supporting Ash) appear to have reformed. Thanks to a very informative post at Stereo Sanctity for alerting me and check out their new recordings on Myspace plus MP3s of This Is Gonna Be and Daria at Supremo Recordings — unfortunately there's no legal download of A-ok there but it sounds rather like early Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In other respects they remind me a lot of lo-fi rockers Helen Love.
The Hot Puppies have new tracks up at Myspace too, including the rather excellent retro Clarinet Town. A single and second album are expected soon.
Meanwhile, The Crimea don't know when their next single is due out, but do have old favourite Out of Africa up for listening at the moment. Things have been quiet over here as they've been gigging in China.
And you can't have missed Radiohead giving away their new long-player (or rather letting downloaders set a price) — it's... er, have Radiohead albums been like this for the last few years? It's been ages since I listened to the band, and there don't seem to be any hooks on it. The download-fest seems to be a publicity grab for some rather mediocre material.
Finally for now, I found some information on a Vonda Shepard track that was used in the first series of Ally McBeal but never released, called The Only Love I Had, from the episode Drawing the Lines. The song was originally by another band, and though the version in the show is an almost total rewrite, this might account for it not being recorded for sale. The information came from merrystar at AllExperts — and at some point I'll rip audio from the DVD and edit the two halves together, like I did with the song from VHS back when the show was on TV.