Friday, July 30, 2010

Free Friday: Cheyenne Marie Mize and Bonnie “Prince” Billy - "Among The Gold"

Cheyenne Marie Mize and fellow Louisville native, indie-folk pioneer Bonnie "Prince" Billy have recorded an EP of their renditions of American parlor music originally recorded in the 19th century. The timeless set of duets, Among The Gold is being released as a free download in anticipation of the September release of her debut solo album Before Lately. Cheyenne has also collaborated and toured with Jim James, Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore as a vocalist and violinist.

With minimal instrumental accompaniment, Mize and Billy let their beautiful voices guide these intimate and haunting tales from long ago. The two singers trade off lead vocals on the opener "Only A Dream", a lullaby of love lost. The waltzing "Beautiful Dreamer" features Cheyenne's violin playing and olde-timey melodies. Another standout is "Kiss Me Again", a sweet serenade seemingly perfect for their seamless harmonies.

For more info click here:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Enlou - "Body of Friends, Body of Water" EP

Less than a year after the release of their debut EP, Cincinnati’s Enlou return with a new EP Body of Friends, Body of Water, out this week on Lujo Records. The 5-song EP improves upon their already lush and psychedelic rhythm-driven indie-pop and was mixed and mastered by T.J. Lipple of Aloha.

The first single, “Amphibian” opens the EP with counteracting guitar tones, one tinny and vibrant, the other a spooky baritone along with haunted harmonies and a slippery pace. Standout track “Ghost of Peace” is twitchy and sparkling with an immediate lively melody and ends before you are ready for it to. Like a humid day at the beach, “Mountain Thoughts” features guitars as shimmering as the heat coming off of the water, a pulsing beat and hazy, sun-drenched harmonies along with lyrics that wax upon simpler, younger days. Like all of their songs, “Potluck” is intelligently layered with a beach-y rhythm and each ringing vibraphone note in its place. And “Creatures of Insight” is kaleidoscopic and atmospheric with earnest vocals and galloping tom-heavy drums and crashing cymbals, closing the EP with the building anticipation for a proper full-length at full boil.

Download "Amphibian" here:

For more info click here: and

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

3 Songs: Say My Name Edition

Lawrence, Kansas beat maker Say My Name released his self-titled debut EP yesterday on Range Life Records. Best known for his remixes for label mates White Flight and DRI as well as Hospital Ships, he also plays guitar in indie-rock band Fourth of July. The EP is an 8-song mix best played consecutively and on repeat as each song blends into another and features fractured synths and samples, found sound, and scratchy beats, all with a Blaxpoitation meets World Music vibe.

1. Say My Name - "Stop Snitching" (The first mp3 from the Say My Name EP features whooshing horn-like synths and a sound like shattering and falling glass yet still dreamy and hazy enough to chill out.)


2. White Flight - "The Condition (Say My Name Remix)" (Say My Name's bulging beat and broken blips and beeps highlight the super catchy standout track on White Flight's debut.)


3. DRI - "What's Real (Say My Name Remix)" (SMN adds an old-school R&B style and a stuttering beat to a track from the solo project of Adrienne formerly of The Anniversary).


For more info click here: and

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Miniature Tigers - "Fortress"

Arizona indie-pop band Miniature Tigers are back with their sophomore album Fortress out today on Modern Art Records.

While their debut Tell It To The Volcano showed a band with a keen ear for quirky melodies and witty lyrics set to an organic folk-pop sound influenced by the Beatles and Beach Boys, the new album see them branching out. The best example may be the tinkling synths and production provided by Neon Indian on the standout first single, “Gold Skull”, and the tense thunderous drums, hall of reverb and crashing cymbals that provide the band’s loudest moment ever on the album opener, “Mansion of Misery”. “Rock N’ Roll Mountain Troll” though, is a return to form ,featuring a walking piano riff, soft, chugging guitars and a great sing-along chorus with the same humorous lyrical bent as the last album. As a change of pace, “Dark Tower” is moody with intimate acoustic guitars and heavenly harmonies. “Bullfighter Jacket” is a joyous and fun sing-along with a pounding piano that propels the song and ends with a whistled outro. Another standout track is the energetic “Japanese Woman Living In My Closet”; a power-pop anthem with a Vampire Weekend-like World Music flair. And album closer “Coyote Enchantment” begins with only a female voice and warped synth hits before a marching beat and hazy psychedelics take over, providing for a trippy ending to the album.

It is clear that after playing over 200 dates last year in support of their debut, the band has grown tighter and gained the confidence to add in new and interesting elements to their already quirky indie-pop style that only makes Fortress that much better.

Download "Gold Skull" here:

For more info click here:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Free Friday: Darker My Love - "Darker My Love"

L.A.-based psych-rock band Darker My Love is set to release their third album in August on Dangerbird Records. Their new album Alive As You Are chips away at most of the fuzz, reverb and trippy psychedelics to reveal a more organic and honest approach, showcasing the stellar songwriting underneath. To show how they have grown and as an introduction to new fans, the band and their label are offering their excellent 2006 self-titled debut album, Darker My Love for free download.

The heavy-handed piano and droning guitars on the lead-off track, “Opening” provide a standout moment on the debut album as well as the feedback drenched and hazy layers of vocals on “What’s A Man’s Paris; which also includes a fuzzy freak-out that perfectly incorporates the band’s punk roots with their 60’s-inspired Californian psych-rock sound. Also the noisy and chugging “Fall” delivers with counteracting vocal harmonies and jangly Byrds-like guitars.

Also in support of the new album, you can catch the band on tour in August with the like-minded Band of Horses on the West Coast. Check out the links below for tour dates, to pre-order the new album and get your free download of Darker My Love.

Download their self-titled debut album for FREE here:

Download the first single "Split Minute" from Alive As You Are here (for an email address):

To pre-order the new album Alive As You Are click here:

For tour dates and more info click here:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mozart Season - "Nightmares" EP

The latest addition to the creatively unique and always great Equal Vision Records family is Mozart Season. Their new EP Nightmares, features 3 new songs and 3 older songs from a prior EP, and was released this week as an introduction to the Sacramento-based band.

“Famous Last Words (You’re Nothing Without Me)” opens the album with ringing guitars and furious vocals until the chorus clears the pit with windmills of catchy melodies followed by a meaty breakdown. Musically “Look Mom, I’m On TV (feat. Jon Mess)” is more angular and progressive while vocalist Nate Richardson and Jon Mess from fellow Sacramento band Dance Gavin Dance battle for screamo supremacy. “Rage Factor 11” lives up to its title with straight-forward aggression and a passionate sing-along but is tempered with a poppy chorus and finger-tapping guitar melodies. Lyrically, the album focuses on relatable real life struggles and problems and not just of the broken-heart variety as “Ankle Deep Water” deals with issues of deception and false expectations with a heartfelt refrain of “This isn’t what I expected…no, this isn’t what I wanted it to be.” And finally the title track, “Nightmares” closes out the EP, leaving you satisfied but wanting more with a positive, hopeful message to go along with the heavy and melodic metallic pop.

Combining catchy pop-punk choruses with dark and heavy post-hardcore on the Nightmares EP, Mozart Season are ready to break out.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Soft Metals - "Love or Music" (Portland duo Ian Hicks and Patricia Hall create romantic dance music with icy Kraftwerk-ian synths and vintage drum machines. First single from their forthcoming debut EP on Captured Tracks.)


2. Kristin Hersh - "Coals" (First single from Crooked which was released as a book with stunning artwork and essays by Kristin for each song. A smoldering guitar solo and choppy rhythm throw back to her Throwing Muses days for her best song in a long time.)


3. Mace Ballard - "Up In Arms" (Punchy new song from Pittsburgh pop-punk purveyors. If you haven't yet, download their excellent free EP from their website.)


EP review on Atlas and the Anchor:

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gnashing of Teeth - "Walking The Appian Way"

Dayton’s long-standing Christian tech-metal kings have recently signed to Sancrosanct Records and released their new album, Walking The Appian Way. Original members Larry Davis (Drums) and Duane White (Guitar, Vocals) along with bassist Nate Landis and guitarist Travis Cooper set the rock solid foundation as new vocalist Chris McKinney brings a commanding vocal presence that belies his young age. Sheer brutality mixed with off-beat time signatures and moments of early 80’s thrash and 90’s death metal combine for a return well worth the wait.

“Separate” opens the album with a crushing blow of thundering drums, an unrelenting riff, a discordant guitar solo and a fist-in-the-air chanted chorus. “Appian Way” follows with intricate construction and a powerfully choppy, stagger-inducing rhythm, sounding like Pantera spliced with Meshugguh. Lyrically “Death by Design” paints a bleak picture but offers hope with the chorus of “Another has stepped in for us all to escape death” over a punishing and slow grinding dual-guitar attack. On the stand out track “Awaken From These Dead Days “, Chris and Duane trade off vocals as they mix in some melody to the brutality with some spirited sung vocals on the chorus. “Mask” sees the band reach further into their influences with head-banging half-time hardcore and guitar harmonics. Another standout “Warhammer” begins with a fragile guitar melody before exploding with disorientating poly-rhythms and a blistering heaviness sure to be a live favorite. “Contrition” charges forward from start to finish with machine-like precision and chaotic vocal and guitar dynamics; as does album closer, “You” except the chaos is countered with clarity in the form of another sung chorus and ends with a pummeling exercise in breakneck speed and leaves you exhausted in a good way and wishing for more.

More and more, Christian metal is crossing over with mainstream metal appeal. And with the stellar musicianship on Walking The Appian Way, Gnashing of Teeth will have no problem securing fans in and out of the faith.

For more info click here: and

Friday, July 16, 2010

Free Friday: Beat Connection - "Surf Noir" EP

Chilled-out Surf-inspired synth-pop is not quite what you would expect coming from Seattle but Beat Connection go beyond those stereotypes with the escapist electro-pop of their debut EP Surf Noir, out now for free download on Bandcamp. They were also recently featured on Pitchfork’s new sister site Altered Zones and are a new band to watch.

“Sunburn” opens the mostly instrumental EP with sun-baked psychedelic guitar melodies over a shifty beat, invoking Summer time nostalgia. “In The Water” follows with samples of sea gulls, a clapping beat, and then quickly dissolves into a tropical dance party with layers of washed-out vocals and steel drums. “Theme From Yours Truly” sparkles with shimmering synths and settles into a laid back groove custom made for a summer evening. Another standout on the stellar 8-song debut is “Silver Screen” with its Afro-pop bounce and poppy vocals reminiscent of Sting or Paul Simon.

Download the Surf Noir EP here:

For more info click here:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kris N. - "Lo-Fi Movement"

Sometimes it’s just right there in front of you…

I recently discovered Kris N. opening for Love Of Everything here in Dayton. Kris N. creates lo-fi acoustic bedroom pop, recorded in his kitchen on Dayton’s Poptek Records. The album has an open-room sound with tape noise and a first take quality that brings honesty to the songs of nostalgia and life and love.

The nine-song album opens with the short self-depreciating “B-side” with the clever refrain of “This is a B-side at best.”, and later the song is reprised as a beautiful ambient instrumental. The title track, “Lo-fi Movement” features raucous guitars and enough clattering and natural reverb to live up to its name. The low-key melodies inch their way into your brain and stay there, such as the catchy and nostalgic standout “Turning 31” and “Pollard’s Old Drunk Drivers”, which features Kris’s kids laughing and talking in the background with steady acoustic strumming and a simple keyboard melody. Another standout is the introspective slow jam “Saturday Girls”. And “Mustache Jesus” closes out the album with an upbeat and poppy sing-along.

Kris N. makes music for late nights and long drives and he makes a lot of it. Go to to sign up for the Poptek Song of the Week email list and pick up Lo-Fi Movement on CD or digitally.

Download "Pollard's Old Drunk Drivers" here:

For more info click here: and

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. White Flight - "Panther" (New single from Justin Roelofs, formerly of The Anniversary. Built upon a beat by Ratatat, he mixes the organic and electronic for a mind-blurring sound collage that reflects his world travels.)


2. No Kids - "The Jazz Singer" (From their new Judy At The Grove EP. Beat-driven R&B with old Hollywood-style strings, layers of smooth vocals and stair-stepping synths.)


3. Dominant Legs - "Clawing Out At The Walls" (The shimmering first single from the San Francisco duo of Girls' guitarist Ryan Lynch with Hannah Hunt. Their debut EP features sun-drenched melancholic melodies and danceable indie-pop.)


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Admiral Radley - "I Heart California"

After years of friendship and touring together, Jason Lytle and Aaron Burtch of Grandaddy along with Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray of Earlimart have created Admiral Radley. Their self-released debut album, I Heart Califonia, is out now and is exactly what you would expect; ethereal, melodic indie rock featuring vintage keyboards and quirky lyrics, with traits from both of the parent bands.

The album opens with the bouncy, piano-led title track, “I Heart Califonia”, sung by Jason and leans more toward Grandaddy’s sound with airy vocals and lyrics that pay homage to his home state. Standout track “Ghosts of Syllables” is midtempo with spacey background vocals, a catchy keyboard melody and Aaron Espinoza’s Elliot Smith-like vocal timbre. “Lonesome Co.” is a laid back folksy tune with excellent vocal harmonies that seem to blend seamlessly. “Sunburn Kids” is a danceable anthem with buzzing synths and quirky lyrics that name-drops states and cities other than California. Ariana takes the lead on vocals for the jaunty honky-tonk piano and banjo-led “The Thread”. “Ending of Me” sounds like Aaron E. leading Grandaddy with chugging guitars and handclaps. “G N D N” sounds like it is being beamed straight from California on an AM radio circa 1970 with shimmering keyboards and soaring vocal melodies. And both of the bands were known for their beautiful balladry and they combine their forces to create some moving, lush ballads here including, the waltzing album closer “I Left U Cuz I Luft U” which comes full circle as a love letter to California regarding Jason’s move to Montana after Grandaddy.

With an album this good, I hope more bands will take a cue from Admiral Radley and combine forces to create a musical masterpiece such as I Heart California. Just imagine…

Download the first single, "I Heart California" here:

For more info click here:

Friday, July 09, 2010

Free Friday: Traveling By Sea - "Light" EP

Traveling By Sea is the side-project of new Pomegranates member Dan Lyon. The self-released debut EP, Light was released last month, coinciding with their tour with the She Bears (Deep Elm Records). Right away you can hear why the Pomegranates sought out Dan to be in their band as he specializes in the same unconventional songwriting and atmospheric shimmering guitar style in both bands.

“Summer” opens the EP with breezy bending guitars, well placed glockenspiel and a group-shouted chorus. “Teenager” is bouncy with intermingling guitar lines, Dan’s baritone vocals and a super-catchy chorus to go along with a mid-song house party freak-out with crazed laughter and more shouted vocals. The jaunty country-tinged finger-picked guitar makes “Silver” a standout with its spirited sing along moments. The title track, “Light” features heavily reverbed vocals and showcases Dan’s inventive arrangements. The last song on the 5-song EP, “Ghost” features chiming atmospheric guitars and much like the EP, it is over before you are ready for it to be. The songs are even better live as the band is tight and energetic and the sing-a-longs translate well to the live setting.

Traveling By Sea have created a promising debut of psychedelic art-rock that Dan has chosen to put up on Bandcamp for FREE download but you can also kick the deserving band a couple of bucks if you so choose.

Download the Light EP here:

For more info click here:

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

3 Songs: New Music On Repeat

1. The Innocence Mission - "God Is Love" (Karen's breathy, jazzy vocals and Don's organic folk-pop arrangement blend with a powerful message on the veteran band's new album, out next week on Badman.)

2. Keegan DeWitt - "Say La La" (A good times sing along with a buzzy bassline from the mind of a soundtrack-scorer. New EP Nothing Shows is first exclusive release through Daytrotter's Record Barn.)

3. Bishop Morocco - "Last Year's Disco Guitars" (New project from Jake Fairley aka Fairmont and Jim Jayce formerly of Tangiers features swooning Smiths-inspired synth-pop with touches of both post-punk and new wave.)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Pierce The Veil - "Selfish Machines"

It has been three long years but Pierce The Veil have finally returned with their long-awaited sophomore album, Selfish Machines, out now on Equal Vision Records. The long period of time between albums allowed the forward-thinking band time to mature and fine tune their sound over several tours. Also with some songs being written on the piano as opposed to guitar and with production from Mike Green (Paramore, Set Your Goals) the album has a slightly poppier feel but without losing any of their post-hardcore aggression and emotion.

Album opener, “Besitos” explodes with frenetic fretwork and percussion with pretty piano and enough brutality to balance it all out. “Southern Constellations” is a short interlude that builds into “The Boy Who Could Fly” which stands out as the perfect definition of Pierce The Veil’s sound with screamed and sung vocals blending with poppy moments and a heavy breakdown before ending with a 30 second atmospheric outro with bending guitars. The upbeat “Caraphernelia” combines layers of vocals and includes a dual organ and guitar solo; while “Fast Times At Clairemont High” features a super-catchy chorus along with a neck-snapping beat for two standout moments on an album filled with inventive song structures and instrumentation that defies classification. For further proof, check out the processed vocals and Spanish instrumentation on “The New National Anthem” and the invincible pop chops on display on “Bulletproof Love”. Finally, the band shows off its versatility with the soaring and emotional piano-led ballad “Stay Away From My Friends”.

Selfish Machines easily avoids the sophomore slump and sets the expectations for the band even higher.

Download "The Boy Who Could Fly" here:

For more info click here: and and

Friday, July 02, 2010

Free Friday: Fol Chen - "In Ruins Remix" EP

Fol Chen, the ever elusive electro-pop group are primed to release their second album Part II: The New December on Asthmatic Kitty Records next week but in anticipation, have released a remix EP of their single, "In Ruins" for free download on their website.

The In Ruins Remix EP includes the title track, which is the cutest and most danceable post-apocalyptic song ever, with twinkling keys and a big, fuzzed-out beat. It also includes great remixes of the track by Baths and Keepaway as well as the song's guest vocalist Karin Tatoyan's take on the track and a re-imaging by Fol Chen member Julian Wass.

Sometimes a whole album or EP devoted to remixes can be daunting or monotonous but each artist here brings a fresh approach to the track, in fact, Keepaway shrinks the track below even the song's radio edit playing time. And as for Karin's remix, she morphs the song into a slow burner; subtracting the Bjork-like playfulness and adding a haunting and smoky Cat Power-ish vocal on the standout track.

Check out the free EP now, then pick up the new album next week!