Whenever I go through extended bouts of downheartedness, I simply reach over to the last-minute stocking stuffer my mom bought me last Christmas: an inspirational quote-a-day desktop calendar. But it rarely changes my mood. "I cannot always control what goes on outside. But I can always control what goes on inside." True. I never have a problem keeping my insides a burning cesspool of self-loathing and crippling depression. "There is a great difference between worry and concern. A worried person sees a problem, and a concerned person solves a problem." Not true. I am worried I will have to read more of these, so I solve this by tossing this useless calendar in the trash.

Nah, words on a 5'x4' piece of paper accompanied by a poorly drawn cartoon just do not do the trick like music does. For months on end, I shunned the words of people like Twain, Thoreau, and "Author Unknown" in favor of daily doses of uplifting lyrics and music by Misters Alex and Tom White, who go by the cleverer moniker The Electric Soft Parade, to soothe my forever-broken spirit. It did the trick until I wore out my copies of Holes in the Wall and The American Adventure. Last summer's stop-gap EP, The Human Body, was certainly a wonderful surprise -- none other than our own Grant Purdum loved it, so you know it must be good! It quelled my loneliness for a brief period, but left me wanting more.

On April 24, my days of dread will once again slip away because Better Looking Records will release a new Electric Soft Parade album. You can check out Tom White's guide to the album here, but by the title alone, No Need to Be Downhearted, I know the band is once again singing directly to me! Be gone blues!

No Need to Be Downhearted about the lack of a tracklisting, because here is one:

1. No Need to Be Downhearted (Part One)
2. Life in the Backseat
3. Woken by a Kiss
4. If That's the Case, Then I Don't Know
5. Shore Song
6. Misunderstanding
7. Secrets
8 Cold World
9. Have You Ever Felt Like It's Too Late?
10. Come Back Inside
11. Appropriate Ending
12. No Need to Be Downhearted (Part 2)

The Whites, with Matthew Twaites on bass and ex-Dodgy drummer Mathew Priest on, um, drums, are using their time away from their "other projects" (Tom and Alex are also in The Brakes) to hit the ESP route hard when they play the U.S. and the UK during the next two months. Included below are their FOUR SXSW shows, with times, so you can plan your Austin sight-seeing and sound-hearing trip. AAA's got nothing on us

03.15.07 - Austin, TX - Moonshine (4:45 P.M., Windswept/Hunnypot party)
03.16.07 - Austin, TX - Guero's (4:30 P.M., Congress party)
03.16.07 - Austin, TX - Maggie Mae's (1:00 A.M.*, Better Looking/East-West showcase)
03.17.07 - Austin, TX - Cedar Street Courtyard (9:30 P.M., Filter/Lifebeat showcase)
03.19.07 - San Diego, CA - Casbah #
03.21.07 - Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland $
03.28.07 - London, England - Shepherd's Bush Empire %
03.29.07 - London, England - The Fly
04.18.07 - Stoke, England - The Sugarmill
04.19.07 - Newcastle, England - Digital
04.20.05 - Dundee, Scotland - Westport Bar
04.21.07 - Aberdeen, Scotland - Lemon Tree
04.23.07 - Glasgow, Scotland - Oran Mor
04.24.07 - Sheffield, England - The Plug
04.25.07 - Manchester, England - Roadhouse
04.26.07 - Hull, England - The Welly
04.27.07 - Leeds, England - Cockpit
04.28.07 - Bristol, England - Thekla Social
04.29.07 - Southampton, England - Joiners
04.30.07 - London, England - King's College
08.03.07 - Rees-Haldern, Germany - Haldern Pop Festival

* 1:00 A.M.? Shouldn't this be listed as March 17? No? Ok.

# Goldrush and Ryan Ferguson

$ Goldrush

% Billy Mackenzie tribute/Sound Seekers benefit show with Apollo 440, B.E.F. (British Electric Foundation, Claudia Brücken & Andrew Poppy, Mower, and Subterraneans (featuring Paul Haig and Christine Beveridge)

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