Friday, April 30, 2010

Free Friday: "Joan of Arc presents: Don't Mind Control LIVE"

Earlier this year, Joan of Arc hosted a sold-out event at Chicago’s Empty Bottle featuring a one-time get together of the Joan of Arc family tree to perform songs from their recent Don’t Mind Control album. The night featured almost 30 musicians who have been linked to or have performed with Joan of Arc over their 15 years as a band, including indie-jazz champs Euphone, Owen, and Vacations, among others.

A highlight of the night was a surprise reunion by emo-forefathers Cap’n Jazz, who performed four songs including, “Little League” and “We Are Scientists”.

Too bad you missed it.

Well, lucky for us Polyvinyl Records and Joan of Arc are giving away a free download of the entire concert!

Here is the amazing 24 song tracklist:

1. Euphone w/Tim Kinsella – Friend in Common
2. Euphone w/Tim Kinsella – King Missile Lizard King Jam
3. The Zoo Wheel – The Prize/Water
4. The Zoo Wheel – Hi Honies
5. The Zoo Wheel – The Old Adage Is True
6. Litesalive – Tele / Shoulders / Alone and One / Blue-Bronze Player
7. A Tundra – Beer Plugs
8. A Tundra – Fallen Awake
9. A Tundra – The Doug McComb Over
10. Jeremy Boyle – Thanks Todd and Theo
11. Disappears – The 15th (Wire cover)
12. Disappears – Sound of Confusion (Spacemen 3 cover)
13. Cap’n Jazz – Little League
14. Cap’n Jazz – Oh Messy Life
15. Cap’n Jazz – We Are Scientists
16. Cap’n Jazz – Que Suerte
17. Joshua Abrams – [amalgamation of many tunes]
18. Birthmark – Untitled New Song
19. Birthmark – Untitled New Song
20. Birthmark – Untitled New Song
21. Vacations – Friday the 13th Pt. 2
22. Vacations – New Friends
23. Vacations – Ewoks in Domes
24. Slick Conditions – Spit in Layers


For more info click here: and

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sky Eats Airplane - "The Sound Of Symmetry" EP

Sky Eats Airplane returns with a new vocalist Bryan Zimmerman and a 3-song EP as a teaser for their new album, to be recorded later this year for Equal Vision Records. The Sound Of Symmetry EP released on April 13th, is being sold digitally and exclusively on their tour with Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Their sound is still as brutally heavy and includes the disjointed electronic embellishments they are known for but includes more melodic vocal melodies and bigger choruses for a more well-rounded sound on these 3 new songs. “The Contour” opens the EP with cyclical synths and stuttering guitars and a nice introduction to Bryan’s captivating vocal capabilities and their newfound focus on melody. The title track kicks off with a pummeling intro before launching into an arena-sized chorus. The last song, “Motion Sickness” is more beat-driven and experimental, leaning on ambient background vocals and electronics to set the mood and close out the EP, leaving us hungry for more.

For more info and tour dates, click here: and

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. The Wailing Wall - "Bones Become Rainbows" (Multi-instrumentalist Jesse Rifkin along with collaborator Tim Fite create captivating multicultural soundscapes, like the first single from his second album which includes a sitar solo.)


2. Magic Bullets - "Lying Around" (Bristling with the energy of the Cure and the swoon of The Smiths mixed with early 90's indie-rock, Magic Bullets are ready to bust out with their 3rd release due thie June.)


3. Common Prayer - "Us vs. Them" (A stomping beat, a twinkling piano and memorable whistling highlight the first single from Jason Sebastian Russo's rustic indie-pop project.)


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Mynabirds - "What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood"

After the breakup of Georgie James, her acclaimed project with John Davis (Q and not U, Title Tracks), Laura Burhenn quickly began writing the songs that would become The Mynabirds’ debut album What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood. Though considered a solo effort at first, Laura collaborated with Richard Swift who produced, played multiple instruments and provided background vocals on these stylized 60’s throwback indie-pop gems.

The album opens with the title track led by piano, a walking bass line and Laura’s gorgeous, organic voice, before transitioning into a triumphant ending complete with jazzy horns provided by Nate Walcott (Bright Eyes). “Let The Record Go” stands out with hard-charging piano and a smokey, Chan Marshall-meets-Dusty Springfield crooning vocal performance. The first single, “The Numbers Don’t Lie” is a modern take on the doo-wop girl-group sound, complete with “ooh, la, la’s”. “Give it Time” is Gospel-tinged and features the first guitars on the album as does the Mazzy Star-like sentiment of the guitar-driven “Ways of Looking”. “Wash It Out” is upbeat and poppy with jabs of guitar and an instantly catchy chorus. “We Made a Mountain” features a soulful horn arrangement along with a Bluesy piano romp that sounds timeless. “Good Heart” closes out the album with pedal steel and longing vocal harmonies for a classic Country sound.

Touchstones such as Dusty Springfield, Motown and Neil Young are noticeable but its Laura’s voice and songwriting that take the spotlight on the fantastic What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood, out today on Saddle Creek Records.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

3 Songs: New Music

1. Beach Fossils - "Youth" (The jangly, reverb-drenched first single from the Brooklyn band's debut out May 25th.)

2. The Mary Onettes - "The Night Before The Funeral" (Released as a Record Store Day last Saturday, the 7" will be released digitally on May 5. Epic, gloomy, and orchestral like a marriage of The Stone Roses and Joy Division.)

3. The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! - "Ride/Friendship" (Horns, synths and gang vocals abound on the first track from this dance band/art collective's debut on Luaka Bop.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dr. Dog - "Shame, Shame"

Dr. Dog returns with a cleaner, more polished sound on their new album Shame, Shame, their fifth and first for their new label, Anti-.

Giving up the Beatles and 60’s influences, they went for more of an upbeat, 70’s roots-rock sound similar to the Flaming Lips jamming with the Band. Dr. Dog felt like they have never released a complete album after recording their past four albums in their own studio. So they enlisted producer Rob Schnapf, who has produced great albums by Elliott Smith and Beck, to man the boards. Without becoming a distraction, the production is more polished than the dusty techniques used on their previous albums. Although the lyrical themes may be darker, the harmonies and melodies are brighter and even catchier than before and they have finally reached their potential with Shame, Shame. The album is chock full of expressive bass lines, vintage organs, honky-tonk pianos, upbeat rhythms and the great vocal harmonies we have come to expect and serves as their best release yet.

Standout tracks include the first single, “Stranger” and its big soaring chorus, and the title track “Shame, Shame”, which includes assistance from Jim James of My Morning Jacket along with a jaunty beat and whining slide guitar. Another standout is the strutting honky-tonk piano-led “Shadow People” that sounds similar to The Flaming Lip’s “She Don’t Use Jelly”, as well as “Mirror Mirror” which features glam-y harmonies, jabbing guitars and steady beat.

Download "Stranger" here:

For more info click here: and and

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Olney Clark - "Tea and Thunderstorms" (Grant Olney and Barry DeBakey (Clark) create colorful and emotional orchestral Indie-pop for fans of Kings of Convenience and Nick Drake.)

2. Bigbang - "Call Me" (Norwegian retro rockers are well schooled in Californian history, power pop and 70's guitar crunch on their US debut, Edendale.)

3. Cuff The Duke - "It's All A Blur" (An intriguing mix of post-rock guitars and folksy embellishments and hamonies highlight the Canadian indie-folk darlings' new single from their Juno-nominated album Way Down Here.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Freelance Whales - "Weathervanes"

Although it has been out for some time digitally, today marks the physical release of Weathervanes, the debut by Freelance Whales. Using a pawn shop worth of instruments and layers of vocals and melodies, they have made a debut as interesting and engaging as anything to be released this year.

Album opener “Generator ^ First Floor” provides a great introduction to their multi-layered eclectic sound combining jaunty banjo picking and twinkling glockenspiel with swelling harmonium and stacks of sweet vocal melodies. “Hannah” is built on a bubbly synth pattern and a hip-hop inspired vocal cadence, providing one of the catchier moments on the album. “Location” features a throbbing beat, a stair-stepping banjo solo, and lush vocal harmonies. The upbeat Postal Service-like “Starring” has a stuttering beat and glimmering keyboards and glockenspiel, mixed with more banjo and an instantly memorable chorus. Standout track “Kilojoules” is bouncy and poppy before fading into an elegantly dreamy outro to end the song. “Broken Horse” is slower-paced and filled to the brim with instrumentation with a hazy but plush arrangement. “Danse Flat” one of the various instrumental interludes sounds like wind chimes on the back porch during a relaxing day. Buzzing electronics, feedback drenched guitars and trickling glockenspiel make up the haunting “Ghosting”. And “Generator ^ Second Floor” weaves the various instruments into tight patterns with light, sweet vocals and a sing along chorus. “The Great Estates” closes the album at an easy-going pastoral pace with banjo and rafters-reaching ringing guitars, keyboards and voices, bringing the album to a triumphant end.

Much like the current indie music landscape, Freelance Whales blurs the lines of classification on their excellent debut, touching on Sufjan Stevens' organic Americana, The Postal Service's machine-made masterpieces and everything in between for a fully formed sound all their own.

Download "Generator 2nd Floor" here:

Check out the video for "Generator 2nd Floor" here:

For more info click here: and and

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Cary Ann Hearst - "Hell's Bells" (Snarling first single from her debut EP of punk-inspired country-blues Neko Case fronting the White Stripes.)


2. Neon Indian - "Psychic Chasms" (BRAHMS Remix) (Chill-wave pioneer is given the remix treatment by Brooklyn's BRAHMS featuring Cale Parks of Aloha.) and


3. Red Sparowes - "Giving Birth To Imagined Saviors" (Swirling, triumphant post-rock with lush, ambience filling in all of the empty spaces. On headlining tour with Fang Island.)


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Love of Everything - "Best in Tensions"

Bobby Burg is a busy man. He runs his own record label called ‘Record Label’ and plays or has played in many great Chicago bands such as Vacations, Make Believe, Chin Up Chin Up and Joan of Arc, and now his solo project, Love of Everything. Best in Tensions is the debut full-length album of Bobby’s short and sweet, quirky bedroom pop songs and includes his wife, Elisse La Roche on drums and guest appearances by Tim Kinsella from Joan of Arc among others.

“Tin Can Phone” opens the album with stabs of electric guitar and Elisse’s simple but effective drumming with Bobby’s dulcet yet emotive vocals. “I Love All You Guys” is a noisy affair but still poppy with a jerky rhythm. The acoustic “Boy Friending” is over before you know it but the lonesome melody sticks in your head much longer. A cover version of “Marriage” by the Decendents is a highlight with vocal assistance from Tim Kinsella of Joan of Arc. “Fear of Missing Out” features a breezy surf-rock guitar and gang vocals from eight former and current band members and friends for a catchy sing along. “It Feels So Good To Be Alive” features jangly guitars and a hummable keyboard melody that makes the song standout. The ambient “Total Eclipse of the Heart (Revisited)” is not a cover song but is built on swiping guitar strums and resembles Joan of Arc. “Marry My Wife” is a standout with crunchy guitars and a late 90’s Midwest emo sound. “Birds, Ice Cream and Whales” is another standout with Bobby’s poetic, non-sensical lyrics and cyclical, beachy guitar riff.

Love of Everything just completed a tour of Europe and Japan with plans to tour the U.S. after the release of Best in Tensions. It is available now on vinyl on the ‘Record Label’ record label and digitally through Polyvinyl Records. Check it out!

Download "Fear Of Missing Out" here:

For more info click here: and

Friday, April 02, 2010

Free Friday: Snowden - "Slow Soft Syrup" EP

After an almost four year absence, Snowden returns with a new EP, Slow Soft Syrup released as a free download on their website. A lot has changed in the music scene but luckily Snowden hasn’t changed much since their 2006 debut Anti-Anti. The new songs are even more beat driven and are just as moody, catchy and danceable. The EP acts as a teaser for an album to be released later this year and features four new originals as well as a cover of “No Words No More” by Love And Rockets.

The haunting opening track, “No One In Control” builds gradually over its seven minute length with hypnotic distorted keyboards over pounding drums and singer Jordan Jeffares’ gloomy, emotional vocals. The first single “Don’t Really Know Me” features ambient washes of guitars and a twitchy beat as well as a catchy chorus. Much like most of Anti-Anti, the vocal phrasing just as much as the beat, propels the song on “Anemone Arms”. The last original song, “So Red” is built on a tribal beat, chiming synths and a chanted vocal melody.

Finally, we have more great music from Snowden and it’s free! It doesn’t get any better than that. Check it out.

Download the EP here: (for the price of an email address and your zip code)

For more info click here: and

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Sleeping With Sirens - “With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear”

Earlier this month Rise Records released the highly anticipated debut With Ears To See And Eyes To Hear by Sleeping With Sirens. After successful tours with We Came As Romans, Sky Eats Airplane and Tides of Man, the Orlando band has set the bar high for their debut.

The first single “If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn” opens the album with soaring, higher-pitched vocals reminiscent of Anthony Green of Circa Survive but with more of a pop sensibility in addition to some contrasting throat-shredding screaming to great effect. “The Bomb Dot Com V2.0” introduces both chugging and ringing guitars alongside the yearning, catchy chorus and a killer breakdown. “Let Love Bleed Red” is a modern take on the 80’s power ballad complete with acoustic guitars, Heavens-reaching harmonies and synthesized pizzicato strings, all without pastiche. And in case you let down your guard, the next song “Captain Tyin Knots VS Mr Walkway (No Way)” crashes in with more screaming, heavy poly-rhythms and another infectious chorus. Most songs on the album include some kind of electronic flourishes but “Don’t Fall Asleep At The Helm” puts down the guitars and is all glitchy electronics and shivering beats for a nice change of pace.

Sleeping With Sirens will be compared to their contemporaries but have created a sound that will set them apart in the scene with their clever use of electronics and their ability to mix the beauty with the breakdown.

Download "If I'm James Dean, You're Audrey Hepburn" here: (on Amazon for a ltd. time)

For more info click here: and