Friday, October 30, 2009

Free Friday: This Time Next Year - "Road Maps & Heart Attacks"

Equal Vision Records and This Time Next Year have announced that they are offering their new album, Road Maps & Heart Attacks on The album is available to download for free...or you have the choice to pay what you want. If you prefer (as I do) to have a physical copy, you can order it from the label itself.

This Time Next Year is pop-punk they way it used to be...the way it should be! For fans of Blink 182, early New Found Glory, Lifetime and Taking Back Sunday, with their shared two-vocalist approach. With roots in the hardcore scene, their music is both melodic and metallic with the emphasis on the music they create and not their image. They are heartfelt without being whiny and poppy without being too sweet. They are a swift kick to the ribs of a stale genre. Their first single, "New Sensation" is a tongue-in-cheek slap in the face to all of the image-conscience, band-wagon bands with a sing-along chorus to boot.

Download "New Sensation":

Download Road Maps & Heart Attacks and pay what you want here:

For more info click here: and here

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Holopaw - "Little Stallion with a Glass Jaw" (New song from their long-awaited 3rd album, Oh, Glory, Oh, Wilderness out next week on Bakery Outlet Records)


2. Brim Liski - "Fight" (Self described "electrogaze dreamhop". For fans of AIR, MBV and Depeche Mode.)


3. Pearl and the Beard - "Oh, Death!" (Modern folk from NYC with 3 voices, 1 cello, 1 glockenspiel, 1 guitar and 3 pairs of glasses!)


Bonus: Pearl and the Beard - "Will Smith Medley" Video


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Old Canes - "Feral Harmonic"

Old Canes is the solo project of Chris Crisci of Appleseed Cast. Feral Harmonic, out now on Saddle Creek Records, is his second album and first since Early Morning Hymns was released in 2004. The raw rhythm-driven folk on the album is passed through the same experimental filters that made Appleseed Cast so interesting with added traditional folk instrumentation.

A short noisy instrumental intro opens the album, setting the tone for “Little Bird Courage” and its spirited acoustic strumming, scuttling drums, toy piano and triumphant trumpets by Kelly Hangauer of fellow Kansas band Fourth of July and ends with a church-like call and response chorus. “The Last Collapse” features more furious strumming, a shuffling beat and boisterous vocals. “Trust” is rooted in a Southern Gothic melody with banjo and a breakdown of shimmering bells before crashing back in with the chorus. “Next Flood” has an off-beat open-room drum sound, gentle acoustic guitar, harmonica and Crisci’s signature vocals. The beginning of “Sweet” sounds like an acoustic version of an Appleseed Cast song but with toy pianos and more trumpets before launching into a discordant jam to end the song. On “Under” Chris uses great vocal harmonies, aching harmonica and banjo to great effect for a more traditional folk sound. “Stuck” begins with speedy mandolin and banjo picking before revving up into a speaker-popping frenzy of instrumentation along with lyrics of a lamented love. Finally, after all of the energy, ornamentation and guests like, Jordan and Lucas of Minus Story, “Southern Radio” simply closes out the album with just Chris’s vocals and a guitar.

With Feral Harmonic, Chris Crisci has created a loose, punk-inspired folk record that fans of Appleseed Cast and of the Saddle Creek roster of bands can get behind.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Tim Williams - "Murderous Air" (A Death Cab-like ballad from his 3rd album, Careful Love)


2. Of Montreal - "Brush, Brush, Brush" (From the Yo Gabba Gabba Soundtrack and just as good as any of their other songs!)


3. Little Girls - "Growing" (Toronto-based band brings the gloom like a lo-fi Joy Division)


Friday, October 16, 2009

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - "Summer Of Fear"

Summer of Fear, Miles Anthony Benjamin Robinson’s sophomore album and follow-up to last year’s self-deprecating self-titled debut is out today on Saddle Creek Records. The new album is still just as grim in its worldview, with broad strokes of pain and self-doubt but a glimmer of hope emerges in the clever arrangements and lyrics this time around. With a voice like Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Bryan Ferry on a conference call, Miles captivates with his calculated delivery and phrasing alongside excellent production assistance from Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio.

“Shake a Shot” opens the album with electric piano, a shuffling beat and introduces you to Mile’s unique voice with a half-mumbled melancholic melody. “Always an Anchor” begins with steady acoustic strumming and vintage organ and builds momentum with arena-sized power chords and a driving string arrangement. The mid-tempo first single, “The Sound” is propelled by a 70’s style electric piano riff with swirling atmospherics and flickering electric guitar solos along with Kyp’s signature background vocals. “Hard Row” features aching vocals fueled by resentment with contrasting joyful background vocals that change the mood by the end of the song. “Woke up and wiped the blood from my bloodshot eyes, wondering why I should still stand here and try to try” are the bleak opening lines to “Trap Door” an up-tempo track that channels Tom Petty along with tinny guitars and an anthemic chorus that builds to a cathartic release. The closing line, “Now I know, there’s no bottom below”, offers up the glimmer of hope that this album hangs its hat on. The theme of the record continues on “The 100th of March” with its triumphant horns and “arms-locked” group vocals despite the betrayal depicted in the lyrics. Sharon Van Etten rides shotgun with her calming vocals on “Summer of Fear pt.1” which is a skewed slice of folk-pop. The almost 12 minute long “More than a Mess” is introspective with spoken verses over a haunting funereal march with another healthy dose of skronking horns and flows right into album closer, “Boat” with it’s stomping beat, fluid ambience and ringing guitars.

With as many musical connections as Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson has, he is sure to get plenty of attention but after one listen through Summer of Fear, you will quickly realize he deserves it. This record should land on many year end top ten lists. It is definitely at the top of mine.

Download "The Sound" here:

For more info click here: and

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. CANT - "Ghosts" (CANT is the solo project from Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear)

2. Netherfriends - "Nunya" (Fantastic bedroom-pop from Chicago)

3. A.A. Bondy - "I Can See The Pines Are Dancing" (From new album When The Devil's Loose)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thao with The Get Down Stay Down - "Know Better Learn Faster"

Thao with The Get Down Stay Down return with their second Kill Rock Stars released album Know Better Learn Faster, out today. Last year brought a critically acclaimed debut and constant touring that allowed the band to hone in on their sound for the new record, which is more mature and focused but still as quirky, emotional and catchy as ever.

The aptly titled, “The Clap” opens the album with a short, hand-clapping foot-stomping sing along that is as catchy as the disease itself. “Cool Yourself” showcases Thao’s bluesy, tight-throated vocals that recall Chan Marshall’s, along with horns, jangly guitars and saloon-style piano that is the audible equivalent to the party on the album’s cover. “When We Swam” features plinking guitars with a staccato vocal melody and girl group background vocals and hand-claps for an incredibly catchy and danceable track. The title track, “Know Better Learn Faster” slows down the pace with weeping violins and an aching vocal dripping in regret and redemption. Standout track, “Body” and the diverse instrumentation, including rafters-reaching horns and winding guitars, is anchored by one of the catchiest choruses you will hear this year. “Good Bye Good Luck” with its yelping gang vocals, crashing cymbals and country-fried guitar fills are fit with a rumbling drum beat. The upbeat “Fixed It!” features more hand claps (and that’s a good thing), doubled tracked vocals and playful organ over a shuffling beat. Album closer, “Easy” announces that “Sad people dance, too” before launching into a looping, rhythmic guitar line with an electronic beat and catchy chorus of “Make it easy peasy…”. The song sums up Thao’s skill of bringing melody and a lightness to melancholic subject matter.

With great guests musicians on the album like, Andrew Bird, Laura Veirs, Horse Feathers and Jenny Conlee of The Decemberists, Thao could easily be over-shadowed but with the new album, Know Better Learn Faster, she proves she deserves to be at the top.

Download the title track, "Know Better Learn Faster" here:

For more info click here: and

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

3 Songs: New Music

1. Headlights - "Get Going" (from their colorful and poppy new album, Wildlife out now)


2. Fall of Troy - "Panic Attack!" (from their progressive new album, In The Unlikely Event out now)


3. Octoberman - "Trapped In The New Scene" (raw Canadian folk rock from Mark Morrissette)


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Orenda Fink - "Ask The Night"

After Azure Ray split, Orenda Fink has been as busy as a female Bob Pollard with her solo album Invisible Ones, her lush pop band Art In Manila, the art/music project O+S and now her sophomore solo album, Ask The Night. While O+S was more of an art project turned band and an experiment with technology, art and music; Ask The Night is more personal and stripped down, an experiment in emotion and traditional folk music, recorded on a basic 8-track.

“Why Is The Night Sad” begins with gentle, sullen strumming and Orenda’s candlelit vocals for an intimate performance to open the album. The first single, “High Ground” features vocal assistance from Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse including his signature yelps with understated instrumentation such as mandolin, banjo for a modern take on Bluegrass. “Sister” includes a waltz-y time signature and beautiful vocal harmonies in tribute to her Southern Gothic roots. “That Certain-Something Spring” is ethereal and lucid with a floating melody and a lush atmosphere. The jaunty mandolins and banjo on “The Garden” combined with the violins hint at bluegrass without going over the edge and offers even more gorgeous harmonies. An ode to her birthplace, “Alabama” is froggy, back-porch Country music with a wistful and weary sentiment. Continuing in the collaborative nature of O+S, “The Mural” and four other tracks were written with Chris Lawson, a Birmingham artist and poet who also provided the album artwork. With singing saw and slide guitar, “The Moon Knows” ends the album, book-ending it with the answer to the question the first track asked…

Ask The Night is Orenda’s best work yet and at her current pace, we should expect an album or two next year as well. I am still waiting on that supergroup with Orenda, Maria Taylor, and Jenny Lewis (see: the interview I did with Orenda and Cedric of O+S).

Friday, October 02, 2009

Free Friday: Sole and the Skyrider Band - "Battlefield EP"

Sole, one of the founding members of Anticon Collective is back with his band for their second album, Plastique. The 9-song album drops October 13th on Fake Four Records but they have released a free digital EP that includes the first single, "Battlefield". The single includes contrastingly warm guest vocals from Markus Acher of The Notwist that are set against an experimental, techno-fueled hip-hop background to great effect.

Download the EP here: (for the price of an email address).

And then pre-order the Plastique here: (includes instant download).