Wednesday, March 31, 2010

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Jen Olive - "Wire Wire" (Cyclical acoustic guitars and vocal melodies marks the debut of another great, quirky artist hand-picked by Andy Partridge for his Ape House label.)


2. Dinosaur Bones - "Royalty" (A fuzzed-out bassline and brooding melancholic vocals combined with jagged guitars and a danceable beat forms the B-side to their debut 7".)


3. Medication - "Didn't Wanna Know" (Medication is Mikey Hyde whose super lo-fi and hazy brand of shoegaze is laced with a poppy undercurrent.)


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mimicking Birds - Mimicking Birds

Mimicking Birds have just released their self-titled debut on Isaac Brock’s label, Glacial Pace. After touring with Modest Mouse in early 2009, Isaac helped produce the album written by singer/guitarist Nate Lacy. The album is filled with understated melodies that creep up and curl around the sparse arrangements of mostly acoustic guitar and Nate’s lived-in vocals.

“Here and Somewhere Else” opens the album with slippery, cyclical guitar and echoing vocals. “The Loop” features Nate’s fragile vocals with vocal assistance from Isaac Brock, a looping guitar riff and some Brian Deck-like percussion and electronic ambience. The first single from the album, “Burning Stars” is built upon steady acoustic strumming and an instantly catchy chorus. Isaac lends his signature guitar playing to “New Doomsdays” with its interesting vocal phrasing and includes the band’s name within the apocalyptic lyrics. “Subsonic Words” is spacey and spacial, giving Nate’s comforting voice enough room to breathe among the tapping percussion and side-winding flourishes. “Remnants and Pictures” is short and has a sweet melody wrapped in squelching electronics. Another standout, “Them” is stripped of the electronics for the most part but makes up for it with multi-tracked vocals and a Modest Mouse-like bending guitar line.

Isaac Brock may have his fingerprints all over this album but, ultimately Nate Lacy’s songwriting and voice are what matters and he has proven himself worthy of our attention.

Download "Burning Stars" here:

Stream the album here:

For more info click here: and and

Friday, March 26, 2010

Free Friday: Dark Mean - "Music Box" EP

Dark Mean, are a Canadian 3-piece reminiscent of both The Postal Service and Tokyo Police Club with ambient synths and a folky undertone to their indie-rock. The are offering up their new Music Box EP as a free download on Bandcamp. Smartly arranged, the songs are filled with horns, harmonies, banjos, electronics and interesting ideas all without feeling cramped and over-done.

"Music Box" opens the EP with droning and crashing guitars before settling into a shuffling groove with laid back acoustic strumming and great sing along chorus. The title of "Piano & Beat" is a bit misleading as the punchy piano-driven song is laced with joyous horns and pedal steel and much more than the simple title describes. "Acoustic" is a thick slice of Americana with harmonica and steady acoustic guitars. The last song, "Dark Banjo" features glimmering banjo and a percolating rhythm.
After the release of two well crafted EPs, Dark Mean are set to release their debut full-length this Spring. Download the Music Box EP now before everyone else catches on and while it is still free!

Download the Music Box EP here:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bright Eyes & Neva Dinova - "One Jug Of Wine, Two Vessels" Reissue

In the Fall of 2009, Conor Oberst and Jake Bellows of Neva Dinova got back together and recorded four new songs for the release of the new reissue of One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels, released this week on Saddle Creek Records. In addition to the six original tracks, Bright Eyes and Neva Dinova each collaborate and contribute two new tracks to the reissue. It is exciting to hear the first new Bright Eyes songs since Cassadega.

The new recordings are sequenced first, with the Neva Dinova written “Rollerskating” opening the album with a bouncy guitar line, sounding like the Cure gone country. “Happy Accident”, the first new Bright Eyes track has the upbeat Americana feel of the Cassadega-era but with a sax and piano freak-out that ends the song. The second new Neva Dinova track, “Someone’s Love” features Jake Bellow’s introverted crooning along with some lilting, melancholic harmonies. And finally, the second new Bright Eyes track is a waltzing, classic Bright Eyes song with bitter, wavering vocals and a trumpet solo.

Download "Happy Accident" here:

For more info click here:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

3 Songs: New Music

1. Love Is All - "Kungen" (A sunny slice of 60's bubblegum art-pop from Love Is All's new album, Two Thousand And Ten Injuries, out now on Polyvinyl.)

2. Grovesnor - "Taxi From The Airport" (Hot Chip drummer Rob Smoughton combines warbling synths and smooth vocals to create the mellow, electro-pop that forms his solo project due May 25th on Lo Recordings).

3. Midas Fall - "MovieScreens" (Scotland post-rock band creates moving melodic soundscapes with breathy vocals reminiscent of Beth Gibbons of Portishead.)

Aloha - "Ruins" (The chorus of this arena-sized proggy album closer is permanetly etched into my mind...and that's a good thing!)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Portugal. The Man - "American Ghetto"

Quickly on the heels of last year's The Satanic Satanist, Portugal. The Man are back with a new album, American Ghetto and they are already writing their next album. At this pace, the ever-prolific songwriter John Baldwin Gourley should be considered to be a prog-rock Bob Pollard! American Ghetto is more rhythmic and beat-driven but just as melodic and interesting as we have come to expect.

The first single, “The Dead Dog” opens the album with a swirling, snowstorm of synths and guitars and a catchy syncopated chorus. “60 Years” mixes a hip-hop inspired beat and psychedelic guitars with lyrics of perseverance. “All My People” blends acoustic guitar with squelching electronics for a “for the people” anthem. Layers of vocal harmonies highlight the infectious chorus on the buzzing, electro-rock on “1000 Years”. The foreboding piano and swaths of distorted guitars gives “Fantastic Pace” an ominous vibe before a contrastingly funky, strutting outro fades out to end the song. “The Pushers Party” is equally as funky with it's memorable cowbell infused beat but also could've fit in nicely on The Satanic Satanist as well. Gourley’s trademark falsetto is put to great use on the laid back “Do What We Do”. And “When The World Ends” closes out the album on an upbeat and poppy note with swirling vintage synths, a throbbing bass line and a steady vocal cadence.

Always challenging themselves and their fans, Portugal. The Man are an exciting band with an endless supply of great songs and ideas that seem to never run dry. American Ghetto is available now digitally and physically May 11th on Equal Vision Records.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Free Friday: Places And Numbers - "Waking The Dead" EP

Places And Numbers is the solo project of Bobby Darling, guitarist for the acclaimed art-rock band Gatsby's American Dream. After the breakup of GAD, and the death of his parents, Bobby travelled the world as an airline assistant. These tragic and eye-opening experiences helped mold the therapeutic and hopeful songs that make up his debut EP Waking The Dead, released last month on Equal Vision Records.

The music combines shimmering electronics and big beats with guitars, raw emotion and a voice with the same warm, higher register of Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips. Opening track, "I Had a Dream About a Nuclear Attack" may remind many of Postal Service but with swirling layers of guitars. "Goldfinger" combines a breathy "90's alt-rock" sentimental vocal with a shuffling beat and chiming keys and guitars to great effect. The too short, "I Have Mapped The Curves Of Your Body" intrigues with oscillating keyboards, strings and a half-time beat. Finally, the title track, "Waking The Dead" features gurgling synths alongside his emotional and personal lyrics.

Places And Numbers and Equal Vision Records are offering the Waking The Dead EP with the pay what you want model on Bandcamp. So, you can download it for free or you can pay whatever you feel like. But this debut is definitely worth your money as Places And Numbers have created an excellent debut that only hightens the anticipation for their full-length due later this year.

Download Waking The Dead EP here:

For more info click here: and

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Bled - "Heat Fetish"

The Bled’s long-awaited new album, Heat Fetish was just released on their new label, Rise Records and they may have finally found the perfect balance of melody and brutality with their fourth album.

“Devolver” opens the album with a stark, fast-paced sing-along that’s as scorching hot as their hometown of Tucson, AZ. “Mouthbreather” flies by in a minute and a half but defines their sound perfectly with both throat-shredding screams and melodic Chino Moreno-like singing over blisteringly intense metal. Stand out track “Running Through Walls” displays the taut energy of their debut with their dissonant Converge-meets-Refused style. “Smoke Breaks” continues the assault with swirling guitars, a meaty breakdown and a more emotive vocal approach. “Shouting Fire In A Crowded Room” is fast and unrelenting and gives way to a quick melodic chorus that acts like a ray of light parting the clouds. The two tracks “Needs” and “Crowbait” act as a showcase for the band’s disjointed melodic side with a focus on tight, memorable vocal harmonies. “Night Errors” features a display of fancy fretwork on the authoritative track before bleeding into the passionate and epic closing track, “Crawling Home”.

With a more straight forward, less experimental approach, The Bled have created an album that proves they can still hang with the new kids on the block while remaining equally melodic and blisteringly brutal on their new album Heat Fetish.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

3 Songs: New Music

1. The Golden Filter - "Hide Me" (Fans of The Knife will love the breathy vocals and icy, 8-bit synths that make up this NY-based duo's first single from their debut, Voluspa.)

2. Cate Le Bon - "Shoeing The Bones" (Quirky and Nico-like, Cate is best known for her vocal contributions to Gruff Rhys's Neon Neon project. First single from her debut full-length, Me Oh My out May 4th.)

3. The Bewitched Hands On The Top Of Our Heads - "Hard To Cry" (Psychedelic, Pavement-inspired pop-folk from France, taking over SXSW and the US.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jaguar Love - "Holograms Jams"

Now a duo, Johnny Whitney and Cody Votolato (ex-Blood Brothers) of Jaguar Love have released their second album, Hologram Jams on their new label, Fat Possum Records. Gone is the quirky, poppy patchwork of their debut, as they now focus on an energetic dance-oriented electro-pop.

The glammy electro-rock of “I Started A Fire” starts the party with handclap snare hits and Johnny’s trademark, spazzy vocal acrobatics. “Polaroids And Red Wine” features a trumpet-like 80’s synth line that follows the super-catchy melody on the chorus. “Cherry Soda” is energy defined with a rumbling beat that collides with several different synth sounds and an anthemic chorus featuring the album title in the lyrics. The buzzy beat, steady guitar strumming and power-pop vocals of “Don’t Die Alone” and the ballad-y “Evaline” are the only songs that would fit in on their debut, as much of the new material is more in line with Johnny’s Neon Blonde project. The first single, “Up All Night” is a propulsive party anthem with wild processed guitar riffing and an infectious, sing along chorus. “Everything Is Awesome” is a stand out with its stuttering beat and positive message. Surprisingly, “Sad Parade” is the only song on the album that gets the auto-tuned vocal treatment and it is limited to just a few lines but used to great effect. The bouncy “Freak Out” closes out the album with a tantrum-like shout-out chorus at the end that bleeds right into a hidden track which offers Jaguar Love’s unique take on the classic Janis Joplin track “Piece Of My Heart”.

While many reviewers of their debut wished the band would pick one style and stick with it, Jaguar Love did just that with Holograms Jams and the results are as fun and interesting as we could’ve hoped for. Here’s hoping that for the next album they choose a different style from their arsenal and expand on it…

Download "Up All Night" here:

For more info click here: and and

Friday, March 12, 2010

Free Friday: ARMS - "ARMS" EP

ARMS, now a trio and full-time project of Todd Goldstein from Brooklyn's Harlem Shakes (who broke up last September) has just released their new self-titled EP as a free digital download. This EP comes on the heels of their debut album, Kids Aflame, released by Gigantic Records last October.

The EP consists of five new songs and "Heat & Hot Water" stands out with it's faucet-dripping percussion and "partly cloudy" melodies. The reverb-drenched "High Heels" grows in intensity as the contrast between the shimmering guitars and husky vocals pulls you in.

Download the EP here:

For more info click here: and

Download "Tiger Tamer" from Kids Aflame here:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cursive - "Discovering America" single

Cursive released their latest single, "Discovering America" this week and all proceeds benefit the American Indian College Fund. The Denver-based non-profit provides more than 6,000 scholarships annually for American Indian college students seeking to better their lives and communities through education at the nation’s more than 30 accredited tribal colleges and universities.

A jaunty piano, trumpet blasts and noisy guitar squalls provide the background to biting lyrics such as "driving in my Cherokee to see the Redskins scalp the Chiefs”. Tim Kasher doesn't skirt around the issues, such as the common-place racism American Indians still face in our Country.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. The Fresh & Onlys - "Diamond In The Dark" (A feedback drenched anthem taken from the ever-prolific band's new EP August In My Mind.)


2. Anais Mitchell - "Wait For Me" (This dark track from her ambitious new concept album Hadestown, features Justin Vernon of Bon Iver on vocals who contributes to four other tracks as well as Petra and Rachel Haden of 90's alt-faves that dog, among others.)

3. Zucchini Drive with M Sayyid from Anti-Pop Consortium - "Down The Spine" (Some "next level" beats, M Sayyid, and the whole album is free? Check it.)

Download the album here:

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Aloha - "Home Acres"

After a more straight-forward, mostly acoustic affair on their last EP, Aloha returns “home” with their more experimental side on the upbeat new album, Home Acres released today on Polyvinyl Records.

“Building a Fire” begins the album with a steady, chugging guitar against a glimmering background like a train driving through a waterfall. The first single, “Moonless March” uses a fuzzy bass line and a big, insistent beat with contrasting piano to create one of the band’s heavier songs to date. “Microviolence” feeds off of a catchy chorus and memorable marimba hook which lends to a bouncy rhythm. “Searchlight” is bright and shiny with a poppy, 60’s sound. “Everything Goes My Way” is led by a huge vintage organ sound and a tom-heavy beat for a psychedelic vibe. “White Wind” slows down the pace a bit and dials up the ambience with more subdued organs and marimbas. On the other hand, “Cold Storage” is fast paced but is just as ambient with buzzing guitars, plinking pianos and a misty haze that encompasses the whole track. Album closer, “Ruins” is guitar and organ heavy with a shuffling and at times pulsating beat for a unique, arena-sized end cap to one of the bands’ best releases and an excellent and worthy follow-up to Some Echoes (2006).

With four years between albums, Aloha tweaked their already captivating signature sound to include faster tempos and brighter hooks while remaining distinctly Aloha.

Download "Moonless March" here:

For more info click here: and

Monday, March 08, 2010

Contest: Win "Interpreting The Masters Volume 1: A Tribute To Daryl Hall & John Oates" by the bird and the bee

As referenced in the Atlas and the Anchor interview with Greg Kurstin from Feb. of last year, The Bird and The Bee are set to release their "love letter" to the soulful 80's radio kings Hall & Oates. The album, Interpreting The Masters Volume 1: A Tribute To Daryl Hall & John Oates includes eight covers and one original, titled "Heard It On The Radio".


Heard It On The Radio

I Can’t Go For That

Rich Girl

Sara Smile

Kiss On My List


She’s Gone

Private Eyes

One on One

The album will be released on March 23rd but you can win a CD from Atlas and the Anchor, Blue Note Records and Filter Music Magazine now! Just email me and tell me your favorite Hall & Oates song.

One winner will be drawn and notified by email on Friday 3/12. Good Luck!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Free Friday: Eolune - "Canvas" EP

Unsigned Boston-based band, Eolune have decided to give their debut recording, "Canvas EP" away for free to generate as much interest in the band. Combining electronic soundscapes with wiry, post-punk guitar work they have created a debut EP that should demand your attention after just one listen. Standout tracks include the hip-shaking dance floor rhythms of "Canvas" and the winding guitars of the anthemic lead-off track, "Billboard". Check it out!

Download the EP here:

(You can name your own price including $0 but the guys have put a lot of work into the album so kick 'em a little something if you can!)

For more info click here: and

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

3 Songs: New Music

1. Summer Cats - "TV Guide" (Filled with organs, jangly guitars and a simple lyrical premise...getting together to watch TV, this is the B-side to this Australian indiepop band's latest single.)


2. Club 8 - "Western Hospitality" (The first single from Sweden's Club 8 who returns with a poppy and rhythmic new album, The People's Record.)


3. Emily Jane White - "Liza" (With a dusky voice, dark undercurrents and swirling strings Emily Jane White pulls you into her world with ease.)


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A Weather - "Everyday Balloons"

Out now on Team Love Records is A Weather’s sophomore album Everyday Balloons. While keeping their hushed, folksy indie-pop intact, the band has introduced a more guitar-driven sound and the vocal interplay between guitarist Aaron Gerber and drummer Sarah Winchester is as emotive and soaring as ever over the dueling guitars.

The six and a half minute opener “Third of Life” shows off the band’s new dynamic with thumping drums and electric guitars that fade into a vocal trade off with Aaron’s sleepy delivery and Sarah’s airy beauty until a noisy climax ends the song. “Winded” uses a bouncy Randy Newman-like piano romp to show a poppy side of the band. “Ducks” follows with a piano-led ballad with spare string-sounds blurring the corners and entwining vocal harmonies. Sarah’s elevating vocals combined with the subtle, hushed beauty of “Midday Moon” could easily soundtrack an introspective moment on a TV show. The slow burn of “Happiness” belies the song’s title but makes for an interesting listen with a triumphant middle part with subtly stomping drums and crashing electric guitars. Album closer, “Lay Me Down” is an emotional end to the album with lush instrumentation and gripping vocal harmonies.

With Everyday Balloons, A Weather has expanded their sound and delivered on the promise of their debut for a follow up that shows growth and no signs of a slump for their sophomore release.

Download "Third of Life" here:

For more info click here: and

Monday, March 01, 2010

Free Best of Bonnaroo Compilation Download

A 17 track Best of Bonnaroo compilation is available for free download at All made possible by the artists, as well as Headcount, an organization that has registered voters at concerts and the NRDC Action Fund – an advocacy group interested in reducing pollution and jumpstarting the clean energy economy.

The album features live tracks hand-picked by the bands themselves including, Wilco who contributes “Bull Black Nova”, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, The Decemberists, and Phish. My Morning Jacket contributed their cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’”.

The music is free but the artists ask that you email your Senators or local newspapers to make a difference in the Climate Change issue.

For more info click here: and and

Download here: