Musings about music.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Spring Standards - Would Things Be Different

After a promising Rhett Miller (The Old 97s) produced EP, The Spring Standards return with their fan-funded independent debut album Would Things Be Different on April 13.

Two tracks from the upcoming album can be found on the band's Myspace page. I am REALLY loving Bells and Whistles (track below) and I can't wait to hear the rest of the album! The sample clips on Amazon sound very promising.

Jennie Arnau - Chasing Giants

On her fourth studio album, Jennie Arnau continues to create her unique blend of grassroots Americana and indie rock. Taking the southern styling of her South Carolina roots with the big city polish of her current New York City home.

Chasing Giants has an April 13, 2010 release date and will be purchasable in her store.
The album is still undeniably country infused, but fans of lighter indie rock will enjoy it as well. Her sound is similar to Dawn Landes, one of my favorite artists.

Check out her song For The Winter below. Additional tracks can be found streaming on her Myspace.

Lou Rhodes - One Good Thing

One Good Thing, is the third album from Lou Rhodes, the dusky-voiced singer/songwriter best known in the U.S. as one half of the duo Lamb. It was just released in the UK and has a US release date of April 20, 2010.

You can check out some tracks at Lou's Myspace page. Also she's offering a free download of the song There For The Taking on her website.

This album is deeply personal for Lou who wrote the songs during a time of a "dark valley" after her sister's suicide and the ending of a long relationship. Raising her children alone in the secluded British countryside, the devastated Rhodes began writing songs to help bring her out of what she looks back on as her emotional free fall.

This is not a happy record, it's tone is understandably melancholy but also gives tiny glimmers of optimism for the road ahead. The title alone a message that sometimes, all you need is one good thing to keep going. Every track here is beautifully produced and worth a listen, or ten.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Artist to Watch - Keaton Simons

I can't recall how I stumbled upon Keaton Simons but I'm glad I did. His step father is actor Eric Roberts and he's done a nice job of promoting the young man's music. Keaton is about to begin a tour with REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar. Pretty impressive.

Check out his song Without Your Skin (featured on the TV show Harper's Island) below.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wye Oak - My Neighbor / My Creator

Less than a year after their acclaimed, dark triumph The Knot, Baltimore’s Wye Oak offer My Neighbor / My Creator, a vibrant EP that brims with melody and creative detours over five new recordings.

The EP is set to be released June 8, 2010 but if you don't want to wait, you can purchase it digitally now on Merge Records in MP3 or FLAC format.

Check out one of the tracks, the I Hope You Die below and additional tunes on their Myspace page.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

From Grace Potter and the Nocturnal's Myspace
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, the emerging Vermont-based band’s third album for Hollywood Records, will be released on June 8. Produced by Mark Batson (Dr. Dre, Eminem, Jay-Z, Dave Matthews Band), this captivating new recording showcases the Vermont-based band’s new five-piece configuration, in which singer and Hammond B3 player Potter, lead guitarist Scott Tournet and drummer Matt Burr are joined by bassist Catherine Popper (Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, Hem) and rhythm guitarist Benny Yurco, “This record is the first time it’s really been us — the first time we’ve all found each other and ourselves,” says Potter. Adds Burr, “Every record you make, you always say, ‘This is the one.’ But with this lineup we’ve cracked the code.” The track listing for the 13-track disc is as follows:

Track listing for Grace Potter and the Nocturnals:
1. “Paris”
2. “Oasis”
3. “Medicine”
4. “Goodbye Kiss”
5. “Tiny Light”
6. “Colors”
7. “Only Love”
8. “Money”
9. “One Short Night”
10. “Low Road”
11. “That Phone”
12. “Hot Summer Night”
13. “Things I Never Needed”

The first single Tiny Light is now streaming on their Myspace page and it's well worth checking out. You can also view the video on Rolling Stone here.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals recently wrapped up some SXSW shows and I think this album is really going to push them in the right direction.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Artist To Watch - Lail Arad

I don't know enough about Lail Arad, but I want to. Hailing from London Lail has been making music for a few years and is releasing her first EP Someone New this Spring (soon I hope?)

The songs I've heard from her I absolutely love, each one is like a cute little story. This is an album I can't wait for!

Check out the track Who Am I below, but do yourself a favor and visit her Myspace for my personal favorite, Winter.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Artist To Watch - Matthew and the Atlas

Drawing comparisons to John Martyn and Ray Lamontagne, London's Matthew Hegarty and his backing band The Atlas find a way to intertwine both traditional U.K. folk elements and contemporary acoustic song crafting. A must listen for fans of the genre.

Matthew and the Atlas are currently on tour with another band I'm really loving. Recently mentioned Mumford and Sons.

Their debut, the upcoming EP, To The North will be released April 12, 2010, I highly recommend it.

Check out the new track I Will Remain below.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Artist To Watch - Tift Merritt

Tift Merritt isn't new to the music scene but she's new to me, and she might be new to you also.

Merritt began her professional career in 1998 playing small gigs in Chapel hill and Raleigh. I would describe her sound as country folk, she reminds me a bit of EmmyLou Harris. She has a new album being released on June 1, 2010 and I'm anxious to hear it. In addition, My Morning Jacket front man Jim James (aka Yim Yames) is featured on the upcoming track Feel Of The World.

I'm not usually big on "country" music, but she's got a beautiful voice, nice melodies, and the overall package is something I'm enjoying. She's streaming some new material on her official site and I can only assume they are tracks from the upcoming See You On The Moon.

For an example of her sound, check out her track Broken from her 2008 release Another Country(Fantasy Records).

Artist to Watch - School of the Seven Bells

Brooklyn based School of the Seven Bells have a new album coming out this Spring, if you aren't familiar with their work you should get acquainted! Start with Half-Asleep my favorite track from their debut album Alpinisms.

They recently toured with another of my favorites The XX.

Jonsi - Go Do

Oh look you guys! It's more from the new Jonsi album!

Love this! Reminder, new album s being released April 6th and is well worth picking up!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More

I first came across Mumford & Sons when their song Little Lion Man appeared on the UK Now That's What I Call Music Vol. 74. I was instantly smitten with it and it's catchy chorus, "It was not your fault but mine. It was your heart on the line. I really fucked it up this time, didn’t I, my dear?”

I almost immediately went to find an LP from the band, but it wasn't out yet. I forgot that it was on it's way until I came across a copy of Sigh No More (Island Records) at the radio station and popped it in. My first response was, "wow."

Seriously, this album is really, really good.

I can honestly see this London quartet achieving success in the music scene that will surpass that of current folk. Where artists like Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, and Noah and the Whale have started a revival of sorts to much critical acclaim though not achieving much in the way of popular success. I did, after all, find the first single on a Now! disc, which is more then I can say for most music to come from the folk scene.

Drawing inspiration from The Avett Brothers to Arcade Fire. Comparisons are abundant but you shouldn't pigeonhole this band into your standard folk. I'm greatly impressed by them and this album. Not only is it nice to listen to, but they have already created their own style that draws on their influences without mimicking them. Distinct from, but closely related to their contemporaries.

In addition front man Marcus Mumford has certainly proven the ability to write good music. Every song builds beautifully and twists into gorgeous melodies and musical compositions. The excellence of my favorite track Little Lion Man (below) is just the tip of the iceberg.

Phantogram - Eyelid Movies

Hailing from the small town of Saratoga Springs, NY Phantogram is an indie duo that certainly love their hip-hopey beats. Although their hushed, delicate indie rock vibe sounds right at home on the Bursuk label (Rilo Kiley, Mates of State, Death Cab For Cutie), the 11 songs on this full length debut are back boned by electronic beats similar to those of The XX and Portishead. Toss in a little shoegaze guitar and soft vocals and you’ve got a recipe that's something really delicious!

Their first full length album, a follow up to a 2009 5 song EP, was released on February 9, 2010. For fans of the genre they are definitely worth checking out! Phantogram has recently toured with the likes of Zero 7, Ra Ra Riot and Yeasayer. You can purchase the album on iTunes. Check out my personal favorite Mouthful Of Diamonds below.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sarah McLachlan & Lilith Fair

Sarah McLachlan is about to do something she hasn’t done in seven years. Release a new album of original material.

The Laws of Illusion album is still being recorded at studios in Montreal and Vancouver. It's slated to be released on June 15, it will feature longtime-collaborator/producer Pierre Marchand. McLachlan’s last original album, Afterglow, came out in 2003.

Fans who pre-order the album on her website will have the chance to buy tickets to the revived Lilith Fair tour before anyone else.

Early buyers will also get an instant download of the song McLachlan performed at the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, One Dream.

You have just under three days to take advantage of this and you can pre-order here. That link also gives some instruction on how the pre-sale will work if you plan on going to a date that hasn't already been announced.

I wish they would finalize some more lists to make it easier to plan for this! Hopefully soon :)

You Tube - Musicians Wanted

I just read about this new program on Drowned In Sound and it sounds like a really great opportunity for independent musicians to make some additional revenue.

Also it will probably mean more creative music videos which is always a plus!

Good work Youtube, certainly a step in the right direction!

Read the article here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dead Weather - Sea Of Cowards

It seems Jack White's plans have changed a bit in regard to The Dead Weather's sophmore album. He told Triple J radio early last month that the new album “should be out in April,” following the first single Blue Blood Blues. The actual release date, appears to be May 7 in Ireland and likely the 11th in the U.S.

The band’s choice for the first single has also changed. According to an Amazon listing, the first single will be Die By The Drop accompanied by b-side Old Mary. You can listen to a 30-second clip of each song, which are due out next week March 23rd.

You can also catch some new artwork up on their official site but further details haven't been released yet.

The National - High Violet

Already one of the most anticipated albums of 2010, The National have revealed the title and release date for their upcoming album. High Violet is due out May 11th in the US. I haven't seen an official track list yet but the cover art is below.

I'm sure many of the albums songs will be played on their current Spring tour, as far as what to expect, lyricist and front man Matt Berninger says
We started out trying to make a fun pop record. I had the word HAPPINESS taped to my wall. We veered off that course immediately. We’ve narrowed it down to about 15 songs now and it’s going to be our best record (one song you can dance to) but it can’t be described as happy.

They recently debuted the opening track Terrible Love on Jimmy Fallon, check it out below.

Kate Nash - Do Wah Doo

The video for Kate Nash's first single has been released. Catch it here.

SO excited for this to finally be out and to see her in NYC in April!

She's also announced that the title of the new album is My Best Friend Is You.

Weepies - Be My Thrill

YES YES YES!!! Finally some news on the new album from The Weepies which was recorded recently. The album will be called Be My Thrill it will be released May 25th via Nettwerk Records.

It marks the duo's fourth release since pairing up in 2002. Recorded at their home studio over the past year, the album will include new songs Hummingbird, Tiny Binds and Empty Your Hands as well as the title track. Guests on the album include Colbie Caillat, Meghan Toohey and producer/bassist Larry Klein.

No matter what's going on with me I can always count on The Weepies to brighten my day... How ironic is that.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sia -We Are Born

Sia has just released six preview tracks from her upcomming album We Are Born, due to be released June 8th.

I can already tell from the previews that I am going to LOVE this album. It's got a different sound then her previous work and clearly has taken a lot of it's influence from the earlier Brit disco era. The tracks are upbeat, fun, and melodic.

All tracks were co-produced with Greg Kursten (The Bird and the Bee, Lily Allen), and they are indeed the brightly colored pop confections that she's been promising.

You can check them all out at her official website. My favorite so far is You've Changed, shown below.

Tune Up Application

Dude... seriously awesome.

If you use Itunes and you have a lot of digital music files this program is a LIFESAVER.

I've recently been trying to weed through my massive MP3 collection (over 20,000 egads!) using Itunes and it was taking FOREVER.

I found this application called Tune Up that claimed it would do most of the clean up for me. I was really skeptical but they give you a 100 song trial before you buy. I had tried a different trial program before and it didn't work at all so I had low expectations.

I was fucking blown away. I had tracks labeled 01 - unknown - unknown artist - unknown album and it knew what it was! Things that had been downloaded 11 years ago when I was in college that were labeled with incorrect artists or spelled wrong were all getting fixed.

It's less then $25 for a life-time use of the product and if you have a lot of files like me it will save you a ton of time.

Also if you use the code JKtuni064 you save 15%

Laura Warshauer

Hey guys! If you missed Laura Warshauer when she was on the radio show in February the show is up online now, links on the left side will play audio for you. Check them out!

She recently announced some tour dates which you can find here. If you're in an area she is performing you should certainly stop by and catch a show because she is PHENOMENAL live!!!

Artist To Watch - Ortolan

Orlotan recently played a show at Knitting Factory in New York. I was not able to attend but after seeing their label (the same as Sufjan Stevens) I went to their Myspace to check them out. They are a female, four piece, band from Riverside, NJ. Read their bio on Sounds Familyre Records

The fact that they are from Jersey is good news for me, because it probably means it will be easy for me to see them perform live somewhere soon :)

They have recently put some songs on Itunes and I think they have a lot of potential. Certainly a young group that I'm keeping an eye on.

The Joy Formidable - Popinjay

The Joy Formidable have a new album coming soon and have recently released the first video for it. The single will be a 7" limited release starting April 5, 2010.

They are currently touring in UK and I'm hoping they will visit The States when the new album is released. Check out the single Popinjay below, it really rocks!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Artist to Watch - Skyler Stonestreet

I feel like no one knows who Skyler Stonestreet is and that makes me sad because I think she's really great. I can't remember how I came across her music in the first place but I've been listening for awhile now and I enjoy her lyrics and her sugary voice.

She grew up in Santa Barbara, Ca and began playing classical piano at the age of seven. Within a few years she found a sound and writing style that branched out from her classical roots, and became a sound all her own. She lists her influences as Carole King, Rickie Lee Jones, and Jeff Buckley, among others.

She has some singles available in Itunes and she's having an EP release show on March 20th for her new EP You. I can't find a way to buy the EP anywhere yet, but I assume it will be available soon.

Little Dragon

I wish I had known about this band sooner! I only noticed them recently when I saw that they were going to be playing with VV Brown at Johnny Brenda's in Philly this month. I will be out of town but everyone else should GO TO THIS SHOW!

I'm a fan of VV so I was curious to hear what the band touring with her sounded like. I picked up a copy of their newest album Machine Dreams. These songs really have a way of getting under your skin. They creep in without you even noticing them and I've had this album heavy in my rotation recently.

The songs aren't terribly hooky at first listen but once you get to know them the melody and the rhythm seem to separate a bit and you can really focus on Yukimi Nagano's vocals, which are brilliant.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Foals - Total Life Forever

Fans who’ve been searching the internet for more information on Foals’ highly anticipated new album Total Life Forever have been greeted with a mysterious result.

The link – – delivers an image distorted by three concentric shapes, all of which can be moved with the click of a mouse. When the shapes are arranged into the correct order and the image is completed, the viewer is greeted with a snippet of lyrics and instrumentation from one of the new songs appearing on the album.

The viewer was then presented with another image which, when completed, unveiled another new song. A new album track was added to the site each day until a preview of each song was available. I found it was easier to work from the outside in, and I really appreciate this inventive way of providing album info.

The new album is slated to be released in the UK (Transgressive) and US (Sub Pop) on May 10, 2010.

Chris Walla signs The Lonely Forest

The Lonely Forest are the first band to sign to Chris Walla’s new label Trans, an imprint on Atlantic. “I’ve been lucky enough to make records with tons of phenomenal bands, and I’ve considered [starting a label] a number of different times,” Walla says. “I don’t know—is it oversimplified to say it’s them and it just makes sense? This wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for the Lonely Forest. They’re a phenomenal band. I’ve been following my nose for so many years, doing the things that felt like the right thing to do. And this time the answer was yes.”

I've seen a lot of amazing things come from Chris Walla, and I trust his instinct on this one. After listening to a couple of their songs on Myspace I am really excited about this partnership and I think it's going to lead to great things on both sides. Check out their song We Sing In Time below and catch a few more on their Myspace page.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Sweet Serenade - Die young

The Sweet Serenades are from Sweden and just debuted this video for their catchy track Die Young which was recently played on Grey's Anatomy. It features Karolina from Club 8 (who also have an album being released this May).

It's a wonderful duet about not falling in love with your one night stands. Probably sound advice. Absolutely loving this track and the video as well! The track is off their debut album Balcony Cigarettes which is out now in Sweden and Germany, and later this year in the US.

Jonsi - Go

It's getting close to the April 6th release of Sigur Ros’ front-man Jón Þór Birgisson's (aka Jonsi) solo album entitled Go.

I have been anticipating this release since I heard about it last December. The album is supposed to be a little more acoustic then Sigur Ros and the first single Boy Lilikoi, which released a few months ago) has me anxious for April! Check it out below.

The single is available for download on his official website.

Friday, March 12, 2010

1,2,3, Confetti

I just found this newish band from Pittsburgh and I really like what I've heard so far. Their music is original and refreshing and I certainly see them going places in the future.

1,2,3 released their debut 7″ single in February on Ohh La La Records, which featured the more lighthearted A-Side Confetti and the darker, more gritty B-Side Can’t Bribe God. Both of which have pretty much completely different sounds but are equally great. You can hear both songs on their Myspace page, as well as a third track.

They are also being featured in the April issue (#261) of Alternative Press magazine in the “100 Bands You Need To Know in 2010" article.

matt pond PA - The Dark Leaves

On April 6, 2010 Matt Pond PA will be releasing what started out as a side project for them. The side project never fully materialized and the songs and are now reappearing as a Matt Pond PA full-length album, their eighth.

I'm excited to hear this, it's the first album in three years from this Philly/New York indie band. The release is being accompanied by three 7″ vinyls. Side-A of each 7″ will feature a new song from the upcoming full-length. Side-B will be unreleased b-sides plus an instrumental.

Check out the first single from the album with a free MP3 via Paste.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Break Tour @ Johnny Brenda's

Tuesday night (March 9, 2010) was my first visit to Johnny Brenda's in Philly. To be honest, before the Spring Break Forever Tour, I had never even heard of the venue. Totally my loss! Not only do they have decent prices on food and drinks, the music space is pretty cool, and they have totally legit bands there you guys! Upcoming events include The Fruitbats, Little Dragon, VV Brown, and Rasputina, and a slew of other awesome musicians. Needless to say I will be visiting again soon and probably in the near future.

The evening began on kind of a bad note for me because I had borrowed a super awesome HD digital camcorder to record some videos for you guys. I bought tapes for it and then forgot them at my house so the only pictures I have are some pretty lame stills that I will add tomorrow night since I am on my laptop right now. I decided that I wasn't going to let my forgetfulness ruin my night, after all you're not supposed to worry about things on Spring Break!

Allison Weiss was the first performer of the evening. I've been following her music for about 2 years now but this was my first opportunity to actually see her perform in person. She stepped on stage wearing a Tegan and Sara shirt (yes!) and a matching bandanna around her neck. Her first two songs were I Don't Want To Be Here (though she assured us she really DID want to be there), and Let's Leave. One thing I noticed pretty much immediately is that Allison is quite funny on stage, at this point she stopped to let us know that she wasn't sure what she ate today but, "I know I had an entire bag of turkey jerky."

The next leg of her set included, From You To Me, Try To Understand, and You + Me + Alcohol. I can honestly say that Allison, or Mr. Frosty as she's known on Spring Break, sounds really great live. Her vocal quality is easily as good as on her studio albums, and may even be better.

Next came Ghost Stories, a song she wrote about true events on her 2007 tour, on which she lost her GPS. After her next song, Let Me Go, Bess joined her on stage playing electric guitar and Jenny picked up the bass, making sure to compliment Allison's bangs, which Allison reciprocated, before playing. Their first song as a trio was Fingers Crossed. I really enjoyed the added background vocals by Jenny during the choruses.

For I Was An Island Bess moved over to the keyboard and Jenny shifted to Xylophone. It was pretty impressive the way the girls seamlessly shifted instruments all night long. Allison's last song of the evening was I'm Ready. Bess switched back to electric guitar for this one.

Overall this was a really fun set. She added lots of clever Spring break anecdotes in and managed to make heartbreak seem like a Spring Break blast!

After a short break Bess Rogers took the stage. She started with the title track from her last EP, Travel Back. Followed by Everything To Lose. There was a brief break during this song when Bess accidentally combined the words love and want and got, "the only thing you wuv is money" i don't think anyone would have noticed if she hadn't stopped to tell us. After some laughter and some time to regain her composure she started again and finished the song flawlessly.

I'm sort of sad to say I don't know the title of her third song. I can only assume it's a newer one that I haven't heard. It was nice though, the strumming was particularly on point during this tune and I liked the words which started out with, "Do you remember that day in 2008 when you said you love me?" After that she played Good Enough, which is a song from her upcoming album. the vocals were pristine and I get more excited about hearing the studio version every time she plays it so I hope the LP is done soon!

She followed with What We Want and then the Flux Capacitors (a side project of Bess's) cover of Pour Some Sugar On Me. Her last solo song of the night was Please Come Home. Overall her performance was a little more serious then Allison's, that's not to say she wasn't having fun. Once again it was apparent to me how seasoned a performer she is, executing wonderful music and making it seem like it takes no effort.

After that Jenny and Allison joined her on stage where they discussed their tour names, Allison = Mr. Frosty, Jenny = Pizza Pie, and Bess = Magical Boobs. Then they jumped into I Don't Worry with Jenny on ukulele and Allison on bass. After another instrument shift (Jenny on bass, Allison on keyboard) Bess played the last song of her set, Bulldozer.

After a short break, and a trip to the merch table (where I was super impressed that Allison remember my name) I was ready for Jenny's set. She started off with Dissolve and followed it up with Led To The Sea.

After this she played Transmitter Failure, which is one of my favorite songs of hers. It seemed a little softer then I am used to and I really liked that. Next was Clean Break, I'm not used to hearing this song so stripped down and this solo acoustic performance was probably my favorite version of it.

At this point Allison came up on stage to do a tequila shot (yea Spring break!) and so Jenny appropriately followed with Drinking Song. Bess joined her on stage playing the electric guitar for Voice On Tape. This version was really beautiful, it had a dreamy quality to it accentuated by Bess's guitar. They then played Start + Stop and they really rocked out on this one.

Allison joined the stage and together they played Secrets. I thought it was a sweeter version of the song with Bess on background vocals. This is one song that sounds really different to me every time I hear it. Also I've seen her perform this song with several different artists doing the other vocals which always makes it interesting.

For Last Person Allison played tambourine. During this song I realized that it was the first time I had ever seen Jenny wear anything other than Converse All-Stars (random I know.) The last song of her set was fan favorite Fuck Was I and Bess played ukulele for it. I think adding that slowed it down a little bit and I REALLY liked it. The added vocals at the end were also really awesome.

At the very end they played their Spring Break Forever Tour song and Allison had an awesome guitar solo. It was a fantastic show, great music, great venue.

After the show they got in the photo booth with me, you can see us throwing some gang signs here, my favorite is the last picture where my hair, and Allison's hair sort of framed Bess and made it look like she had long hair.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Break!

I will review this tomorrow, it was a fantastic night and probably the only time in my life when I will get in a photo booth with THREE of my favorite musicians. That's right... photo booth! I'll post a pic tomorrow... right now I have to go be a Final Fantasy fan girl... So lame :(

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bright Eyes & Neva Dinova - One Jug of Wine, Two Vessles

In the fall of 2003 Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst and Jake Bellows of Neva Dinova finally collaborated after six years of appreciation of each others music. The EP, One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels featured six brand new songs performed by musicians from both bands. The pair split the songwriting duties, and the tracks were recorded by Conor Oberst and Jake Bellows in the basements of houses in Omaha, NE.

Almost seven years later the Omaha natives are going a step further then a straight reissue. In the fall of 2009 they reconvened and wrote and recorded four new tracks to be included on the reissue. The songs, Rollerskating, Happy Accident, Someone’s Love, and I Know You will make up the first four tracks from the now full-length LP.

Spring Cleaning is one of my favorites from the original album, check it out below.

The reissue will be released March 23rd via Saddle Creek Records. You can pre-order it on Amazon.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Emanuel And The Fear - Listen

Emanuel And The Fear are releasing what I believe is their first full length album this week, I've heard many of the songs on the interwebs and on their Myspace and I am pretty excited for this release.

I only discovered them recently because they are on the same independent label as Peasant, Paper Garden Records but all the way back in April of last year The L Magazine named them as a 2009 NYC band you need to hear.

I personally like that they don't try to do minimalistic indie, they are an eleven piece ensemble that all actually contribute to the sound.

Pre-order on Amazon, or buy it on March 9th.

Paper Garden is offering the song Dear Friend for free check it out at Paper Garden Records.

Emily Jane White - Liza

Emily Jane White's style is most accurately discribed as "dark folk" a genre that it's not always easy to find a niche in.

Her new album Victorian America is being released in the US on April 27th. So far I have only heard the track below but I really like it and I am anxious to hear the rest of the album.

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You can hear more from Emily on her Myspace page.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Artist To Watch - Freelance Whales

I only first heard of the Freelance Whales in the last few weeks. They seem to have gotten a lot of buzz in the British music industry but have remained kind of under the radar in the US until the last six months or so. I find that surprising since the band hails from New York.

They are frequently being compared to Owl City which makes me cringe because I have not been at all impressed with their most recent album. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the music and like most people find it very similar to The Postal Service, whom I love. My problem with Owl City are their lyrics which are just not very good.

Thankfully I have not seen the same lyrical mishaps from Freelance Whales and that's a good thing, because it gives me a new band to listen to that actually DO remind me of The Postal Service. Particularly on the song Starring which you can find on their Myspace.

Their album Weathervanes is being released on April 13th from French Kiss / Mom and Pop Records. It's a re-release of the album which was originally self-released. I see them headed in a positive direction and I am certainly keeping an eye on them from now on.

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Peasant - Shady Retreat

In the beginning of 2009 I got completely addicted to the television show United States of Tara. I'm a pretty big Diablo Cody fan and I've been a fan of Toni Collette since my freshman year of college when I found someone's copy of Muriel's Wedding under a couch and watched it. But I digress...

Not only did I love the writing and the acting on USoT but I fell in love with the music. From the opening number, which is a short piece by Tim DeLaughter of The Polyphonic Spree, I was hooked.

It featured some songs by little known artists that I already enjoyed like The Kills (Cheap and Cheerful), The Helio Sequence (Keep Your Eyes Ahead), The Eels, Andrew Bird, and Bon Iver. This show also helped me discover some great artists I had never heard of and I ended up LOVING them. It's where I discovered Dawn Landes (Straight Lines), Kat Edmonson (Lucky), Liam Finn (Second Chance), and Peasant (Fine Is Fine).

The second the guitar of Fine Is Fine started I was in love with it. I searched and searched to find out who it was. No one seemed to know, I finally ended up writing to Showtime to get the information which I then posted on a TV/commercial music blog I follow. I was happy to discover that Peasant, which is really a young man named Damien DeRose, was from Doylestown, PA which is pretty close to me.

I still haven't gotten a chance to see him perform live but I am hoping to correct that later this year. As soon as I found out who the performer was I bought his LP On The Ground. If you're not familiar with his music it's an excellent starting place. I probably listened to the album front to back over 30 times, he's got a very soothing voice and the guitar melodies are really lovely.

I hadn't seen anything posted about a new album until very recently. In late January I saw mention that Paper Garden Records would be releasing a new Peasant album in the beginning of March.

Well, it is now the beginning of March and I've finally gotten my hands on my copy of Shady Retreat. The lead track, Thinking, is a really nice foundation to start with. I dig the use of shakers as the only percussion instruments in it and while the lyrics aren't as moving for me as his previous work the sound is still really nice.

The rest of the songs on the album blend together really nice. Peasant frequently uses hushed vocals that create a sense of intimacy, making you want to lean in and hear each delicate note. A trait used in bands with a similar sound such as Iron & Wine and Bon Iver.

In Pry Peasant picks up the pace a little bit and the vocals are not quite as faint. Like the majority of the album, and his previous work, the main focus of Shady Retreat is heartbreak and this track is no exception with phrases like "Close all your books, and keep up your looks, that got you as far as they did." And "what can I say, well I don't want to pry but I think that somethin' is wrong, and what can I do when I'm lookin' at you and you're cryin' and callin' my name."

The first single from the album is called The End and it's mix of piano, guitar twang, and vocals that give off a Simon and Garfunkle vibe that really works for him.

My favorite track on the album is Into The Woods, which manages to have a melody whose tendrils weave between haunting and catchy effortlessly.

I like every song on this album and it's a solid release from a very promising young musician. My only complaint would be that the songs often sound so similar, and are so short, they blend together just a little too much. In addition I felt that the lyrics were not quite as meaningful as they were on his last album. That being said it's well worth purchasing if you are a fan of similar music.

Congratulations Amanda Duncan!

I want to take a second to congratulate Amanda Duncan on winning the February Ourstage Monthly Song Competition. It's a well deserved accolade for a very hard working, fun musician. She won for her song Love I Have For You.

I met Amanda a couple of months ago in Asbury Park, NJ and I was instantly impressed by her bubbly and outgoing attitude towards music. She's a genuinely nice person (and a hugger!) who makes really good music and she does it because she loves it, and I think that's awesome so I do what I can to support her endeavors. You can buy her EP on Amazon or on CD Baby.

Amanda is currently competing in the Train's "Save Me, San Francisco" Songwriting Challenge also found on Ourstage, if you get a chance check out the entries and cast your vote!

While I was weeding through entries for the song competition I came across some emerging new talent that's also worth checking out. I was particularly impressed with Caitlyn Hessell, Xoe Wise, Crissi Cochrane, Devin Belle, and Chris O'Brien. They each have a Myspace page worth checking out and I'm keeping them on my radar for the future.

St. Vincent & Andrew Bird - Black Rainbow

This is really stunning, and the story behind the video is pretty cool too.

It was an evening in which there was one of those moments when the situation escapes us, where the artists take the wheel, and give more than what we would have dared to ask. We had tried to push St Vincent and Andrew Bird to play a piece together, they had spoken vaguely about a rendition of Dylan. Then Annie arrived and Andrew, who was supposed to leave, remained. He sat down at the other end of the piano, his violin in hand, and improvised on each of Annie's compositions. At that moment, we were not organizing a concert within a special framework, we assisted.. jellyfishes..of pure creation.. in charming duel.

Some weeks later, Andrew Bird announced that St Vincent would [be opening act for his United States tour]. In Paris, some lucky devils knew where they had met

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This pairing is a beautiful match-up and the result is what happens when you pair amazing musicians together and just let them play music.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Karen Elson - The Ghost Who Walks

Before a week ago I only knew Karen Elson as the wife of Jack White. Recently I saw a small write up about her upcoming album The Ghost Who Walks on Brooklyn Vegan.

She's gotten a bit of negative response which I don't think is necessarily fair. There seem to be a lot of people who think she's only getting the opportunities that she is because she's married to Jack White. That may be true, but I've listened to her sing. She has a nice voice, and I really enjoy what I've heard so far.

Below is a live acoustic version of the title track. The single is being released on March 17th and the 12 track, full length album is set to be released this summer on Third Man Records.

Karen will be performing at SXSW on March 20th and Manhattan’s Le Poisson Rouge on Bleeker Street, Monday March 22nd. This show starts at 7.30pm and tickets can be purchased on Le Poisson's website.

Laura Marling - Devil's Spoke

Laura Marling's highly anticipated sophomore album is due out in the US on April 6th (March 22 in the UK). I first heard Laura Marling nearly two years ago, shortly after her debut release of Alas I Cannot Swim. I was shocked to find out that she was only 16-17. Not only was her sound polished and mature but her lyrics were smart, fresh, and remarkably adult.

Two years later she is ready to release her follow-up (and from what I hear a subsequent third album this fall, talk about ambitious) I Speak Because I Can. Both albums are being produced by Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Kings Of Leon, Ray LaMontagne, Paolo Nutini).

According to Marling the album's themes address "responsibility, particularly the responsibility of womanhood". She just wrapped up a small US tour and she has a larger UK tour beginning in April. Dates are posted on her official website.

Thus far I've only heard the opening track Devil's Spoke but I am totally enamoured with it and I'm really looking forward to hearing the rest. The video already has an impressive number of hits on Youtube and I sense very big things on horizon for this girl.

Laura Marling - Devil's Spoke

Laura Marling | MySpace Music Videos

Yeah... That girl just turned 20 in February, pretty amazing if you ask me.

Darwin Deez - Radar Detector

At first I couldn't stop laughing and then I got oddly addicted to this song.

It also makes me want to have a waffle.

More songs can be found on the Darwin Deez Myspace page. The single for this song will be available on US/UK Itunes on April 5th:

Friday, March 5, 2010


Do you like indie dream pop? Then Kisses is totally for you!

There's already a bit of blog buzz on this perfectly paired duo. Undeniably, Jesse Kivel and Zinzi Edmundson make some beautiful, catchy music and I’m highly anticipating their first full length release, The Heart of the Nightlife, due out this April.

To tide you over check out the tracks Kisses, and Bermuda which will be appearing on the upcoming album.

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