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Various Artists: The Sing-Off Best of Season 2

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Beautiful Day - All
Apologize - Committed
Creep - Street Corner Symphony
Landslide - Backbeats
Mercy - Jerry Lawson
Baby - Eleventh Hour
Cooler Than Me - Groove For Thought
Grace Kelly - Whiffenpoofs
Good Girls Go Bad - Pitch Slapped
Take A Bow - Men of Note
The Final Countdown - On The Rocks

Since the couple of months in the Spring of 2008 that producers from NBC followed Primarily A Cappella's John Neal around and their camera crews filmed the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Finals in San Rafael, CA, the a cappella world has gone through some big changes. The Sing-Off showed off the Sweeps' brand of exciting, unique mixed-genre a cappella competition to new studio audiences and millions of new Primetime tv viewers. Harmony Sweeps Finals veterans like Face and MAXX Factor were showing off their stuff, and the first year's champion was Nota, whose three core members performed as Alpha at the '04 Sweeps Finals. "The sing-off, The Best of Season 2" features 2005 Sweeps champs Groove for Thought, and these 11 songs, like "Beautiful Day" by all the sing-off contestants, "Apologize" by 1st place winners Committed, Radiohead's "Creep" by Street Corner Symphony, Stevie Nicks' "Landslide" by The Backbeats, Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town's "Mercy," Eleventh Hour's "Baby," Groove for Thought's "Cooler Than Me," The Yale Whiffenpoofs' "Grace Kelly," Pitch Slapped's "Good Girls Go Bad," Men of Note's "Take a Bow" and On The Rocks' "The Final Countdown" simply underscores how much vocal talent has been assembled here for all to see and hear. Buy "The Best of Season 2" and listen to a cappella take off like a harmonious, vocal percussioning rocket on national TV!

Listen to "Apologize" in RealAudio.

5998 CD$9.95 ON SALE $8.95

Vybration: Vybration

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Fly Like An Eagle
Blue Skies
Lean On Me
Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
Route 66
Dock Of The Boardwalk
California Dreamin'
Everyday People
Seasons Of Love
Disco Medley
America The Beautiful

Southern California’s hottest contemporary a cappella sextet, formed in 2001 to perform at Disney’s California Adventure under the name “Groove 66,” led by musical director and vocal arranger Deke Sharon. The band became the park's most popular atmosphere group, and performed every day at Disneyland for almost three years; now they exist primarily outside of Disney, making appearances on TV and radio, headlining on cruise ships, corporate events and the Orange County Performing Arts Center. We had the pleasure of watching and hearing Los Angeles-based Vybration's wonderful set at the Harmony Sweeps Finals, which won them 2nd place against a very strong field of Regional winners, and Best Original Arrangement for Sharon's arrangement of "Route 66." That finger-poppingly jazzy song is one of our favorites among the 12 songs here, other ones are the Eagles' "Fly Like an Eagle," a jazzy "Blue Skies," "Fly" medley, Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," Otis Redding's Bay Area anthem segueing into the Doo-Wop hit, "Dock of the Boardwalk" the Mamas and the Papa's iconic hit "California Dreamin', Sly and the Family Stone's "Everyday People," and "Disco Medley." Vybration's stage act was completely fun—these three men and three women obviously love what they do, and it adds up to great entertainment!

Listen to "Route 66" in RealAudio.

5997 CD$14.95 ON SALE $12.95

Overboard: Help!

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In My Life
Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
Got to Get You Into My Life
She's Leaving Home
She Came In Through the Bathroom Window
Come Together
Good Day Sunshine
When I'm Sixty-Four
For No One
The Fool On the Hill
Hello Goodbye
I Saw Her Standing There (reprise)
The Long and Winding Road
A Day In the Life
Eleanor Rigby
Good Night
Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight
Getting Better
Get Back

Boston's all-male professional a cappella sextet Overboard put on an incredible show at the Harmony Sweepstakes Finals in San Rafael this month (in fact, it was the strongest field we have ever seen, and a tremendous show!). Group member, arranger, producer and tracker Nick Girard took on the massive task of rearranging 12 of Lennon & McCartney's most beloved hits from "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "The White Album," using only vocal percussion and faux instruments (yes, that includes faux harp at the beginning of "She's Leaving Home!). "In My Life," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Taxman" (which segues into "I Saw Her Standing There"), "Something," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Come Together," "Good Day Sunshine," "When I'm 64," "The Fool on the Hill" - Overboard nails every one of them, seemingly effortlessly. "Help!" is a tour de force, an a cappella masterpiece by a group fast on its way to stardom!

Listen to "Help!" in RealAudio.

5996 CD$14.95 ON SALE $12.95

Throat: Throat

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ala Floyd
Jeremiah Pollock
Monsters, Animals
On and On
Down and Down
Full Set of Heartbreaks
I Have Become
Bang on the Door

We had the pleasure of hearing Mister Tim and his four other singers, Kate, Emily, Peter and Matt, onstage at the 2011 Harmony Sweeps Finals, where they performed a powerful set and won "Best Original Song" for "Monsters, Animals." Winning the Rocky Mountain Regional, Throat's Mister Tim, according to his website, is associated with a number of groups who have graced Harmony Sweepstakes stages, Mouth Beats, moosebutter (one of our favorite groups), and the 2010 Sweeps Champs Plumbers of Rome, two members of which joined Throat for their set at the Finals. The personnel changes are all pretty confusing, but the music, which reminds us a lot of another one of our longtime favorites The Bobs, is great! There are 12 songs here, the first five performed by Throat, and 6 through 12 performed by, who uses a repeat loop recording machine to sing leads and harmonies with himself. All songs are written by Mister Tim, with the exception of "Monsters, Animals, which was written by Emily Bedal.
With a heavy, driving vocal percussion beat, lyrics that are funny, surreal and bizarre, great leads and background harmonies, Throat and Mister Tim kick butt and take no prisoners! Some other favorites are "ala Floyd," "On and On," "Softly," "Full Set of Heartbreaks," "Momma," "Bang on the Door," "Zombies" and "180." The songwriting is reminiscent of Bob Dylan crossed with Peter Gabriel, with a touch of a young Leonard Cohen. But don't take our word for it, have a listen—Mister Tim is a world-class poet and his Throat can sing their tails off and put Tim's lyrics out with style, power and attitude. And to us, and to the appreciative Sweeps Finals audience, that's entertainment!

Listen to "Monsters, Animals" in RealAudio.

5995 CD$9.95 ON SALE $8.95

The Baudboys: Hello World

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Drift Away
Gonna Make You Happy Tonight
Every Little Thing She Does
One More Minute
New York City
Boogie Down
Ghost Train
Homeless Diamonds on The Soles of her Shoes
Carol of the Bells

We had the pleasure of catching 8-man Baudboys, "the Undisputed Kings of Geek A Cappella," live at the 2008 Harmony Sweeps Finals, and we look forward to seeing them again at the 2011 Finals, as they won the Pacific Northwest Regional again this year. Composed entirely of Microsoft employees and alumni, this a cappella group has been performing up and down the West Coast for more than two decades, thrilling audiences with their irresistible combination of musical excellence and geek comedy. "Hello_World," the group's debut recording, has 11 winning covers, with a fair amount of very funny lyric "augmentation" thrown in. Some of our favorites are the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Aeroplane," Mentor Williams and Dobie Gray's anthem "Drift Away," a quintessentially geek/gamer take on Tripod's "Gonna Make You Happy Tonight," Sting's "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic," Stevie Wonder's moody "Overjoyed," a particularly graphic cover of Weird Al Yankovic's "One More Minute," Cub's manic "New York City," Al Jarreau & Michael Omartian's jazzy, scattish "Boogie Down," Joseph Shabalala & Paul Simon's "Homeless/Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" and a completely incongruous, yet lovely, live cut of Dmytrovych Leontovych & Peter Wilhousky's "Carol of the Bells." The Baudboys have a fresh, (dare we say) modern sound, understated vocal percussion and background harmonies, sweet leads, great arrangements and a great sense of humor. Don't miss this impressive, surprising, big fun debut CD from Seattle's talented, slightly crazed Baudboys!

Listen to "Drift Away" in RealAudio.

5894 CD$14.95 ON SALE $12.95

Brass Farthing: More Songs About Dogs and Beer

Itches in McBritches
Bass Ale
Dido Bendigo
General Taylor
The Crayfish
Mary Anne She's After Me
Barbed Wire
Miss Fogarty's Christmas Cake
The Rope
The Man That Waters the Workers Beer
Gamble Gold and Robin Hood
I Love You More Than Beer
Oak Ash and Thorn
Charlie Mopps

All male a cappella octet Brass Farthing, 'a group of stalwart lads brought together to sing songs, raise good cheer, and otherwise make merry in the company of friends both old and new.' We had the good fortune to catch the live show of these 8 authentically costumed and propped male vocalists at the 2011 Bay Area Harmony Sweeps Regionals in San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts, where they easily won Audience Favorite and First Place, and have to say that these guys are amazing! Rory, Daniel, Chris, George (Director), Mark (Assistant Director) Jim, Tazz and Ben have found wonderful, hilarious, traditional English drinking songs like 'Itches in Me Britches,' 'Bass Ale,' 'Dido Bendigo,' 'General Taylor,' 'The Crayfish,' 'Barbed Wire,' the nearly bawdy, very funny 'Brasso,' 'Gamble Gold and Robin Hood' and 'Charlie Mopps.' They've also unearthed such gems as Fred W. Leigh's (1911) 'Mary Anne, She's After Me,' C. Frank Horn's 'Mrs. Fogarty's Christmas Cake,' Paddy Ryan's (1938) 'The Man That Waters the Worker's Beer' and Peter Bellamy's 'Oak, Ash and Thorn,' with lyrics by Rudyard Kipling. The boys have written a couple of their own: Daniel's 'The Rope' and Rory's 'I Love You More than Beer.'

6520 CD $12.95 ON SALE $10.95

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