Friday, March 30, 2012

Free Friday: Retribution Gospel Choir - "The Revolution" EP

Retribution Gospel Choir, the arena-sized rock trio led by Alan Sparhawk of the more subdued indie-rock vets Low, returned this week with a new 7" EP, The Revolution, out now on Sub Pop.  And in addition to the already low priced vinyl, they are offering up the digital download of the 4-song EP as a free download for the price of an email address.  

The stand out single "The Stone (Revolution!) starts out around the campfire with acoustic guitar then takes the riot to the streets with a hard-charging and anthemic chorus.  And the stomping, psychedelic-laced power-pop of the opener, "Feel It" is as visceral as the title suggests. 

Download the single "The Stone (Revolution!)" here:

Download The Revolution EP here:

For more info: and

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

3 Songs: On Repeat

1.  La Sera - "Please Be My Third Eye" (Vivian Girl, Katy Goodman returned this week with Sees The Light, her second solo album under the La Sera moniker.  Ditching the dreamy haze of her debut like a bad boyfriend for a more direct and poppier approach, the new album bristles with energy and charm.)


2.  Oberhofer - "HEART" (The 4-piece band led by Brad Oberhofer released their highly anticipated debut album Time Capsules II on Glassnote Records this week.  Legendary producer Steve Lillywhite (U2, Morrisey) adds glossy major label sheen like piano, string sections and more emphasis on their xylophone to their highly-charged energetic ramshackle rock and the result is nothing short of album of the year quality.)      


3.  Lightouts - "The Official Ironmen Rally Song (Guided By Voices Cover)" (The Brooklyn-based 90's-inspired fuzz-rock duo return with their fourth installment of their single series with the hard-charging "Cure For Shyness".  And with each release, they include a cover song and have chosen to put their own churning, anthemic spin on their favorite GBV track on the B-side.  For more info and to download the single for free, click here:


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Poor Moon - "Illusion" EP

Poor Moon is the new project from Christian Wargo and Casey Westcott of Fleet Foxes (and also of the criminally underrated Crystal Skulls), the band is rounded out by Ian and Peter Murray of The Christmas Cards.  Their 5-song debut EP was released this week on Sub Pop digitally and on 12" vinyl and CD.  The band takes their name from frontman Wargo's favorite Canned Heat song and their sound blends the warm folk of their parent band and the psychedelia of the 60's with a slight modern twist.

The EP opens with the title track, "Illusion" and its cyclical acoustic guitar, washes of electronic ambient noise and understated vocal melody.  "Anyplace" follows with the familiar Fleet Foxes-style close knit vocal harmonies and a 60's inspired psychedelic bent.  The stand out single, "People In Her Mind" keeps with the 60's theme but with jangly guitars, a sturdier beat and some catchy, sun-soaked melodies.  Much like the darker psych-folk of "Once Before", the band went through band names like Peppermint Majesty and Rabbit Kingdom, that reflect their music before settling on the name Poor Moon.  And the eponymous EP closes with the afro-pop inflected "Widow" which also features the vocals of former Fleet Foxes drummer J. Tillman who also lent his drum and percussion skills to three of the five tracks. 

With a full-length album ready for release in August, the Illusion EP is a perfect and cheap introduction to your new favorite folk rock obsession.    

Download "People In Her Mind" here:

For more info:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Free Friday: Caleb Groh - "Down, Dakota!" EP

Boston-based singer-songwriter Caleb Groh, who also has recorded under the moniker Happiest Lion, just released his new album Bottomless Coffee on his Bandcamp page this week for the low price of $5.  The 14-track album features contributions from his friends in the Cincinnati psych-pop band the Pomegranates.  His dusty and weary old-fashioned folk rock features his descriptive lyrics that focus on Biblical and historical figures, sung with a traditional folk narrative. 

Last October, in anticipation for the new album, he released an excellent 4-song EP titled, Down, Dakota! as a free download on his Bandcamp page.  "All That Sultry Summer Long" opens the EP with some plucky bluegrass and a stomp and clap rhythm on the Gospel-soaked folk song.  "Matter Of Moons" follows with an Appalachian talk/sung acappella with a hint of Bob Dylan in the vocals.  The country-rock shuffle of "Cairo" stands out with a warble-mouthed vocal delivery, and the EP closes with the mournful yet jaunty "Tegucigalpa". 

Download the Down, Dakota! EP here:

Buy/Stream the album Bottomless Coffee here:

Download the album Mammoth Moon by Happiest Lion here:

For more info:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

3 Songs: On Repeat

1.  Tanlines - "Brothers" (Indie-pop duo released their excellent sophomore album Mixed Emotions this week on True Panther Records.  They create an 80's inspired synth-driven tropicalia-laced dance music and the hypnotically catchy first single, "Brothers" is already my favorite song of the year.)


2.  Conduits - "Top Of The Hill" (The Omaha, Nebraska-based band's self-titled debut album hits you with a liquid wall of squalling guitars and droning synths as the hauntingly beautiful vocals of singer Jenna Morrison rise above the din.  And you can catch their cinematic guitar-led dream-pop on tour with Cursive and Cymbals Eat Guitars now as well.)


3.  Lee Ranaldo - "Off The Wall" (Chugging rhythms and jangly guitar melodies collide on the Sonic Youth guitarist’s debut solo album, Between The Times And Tides, out now on Matador.  The John Agnello-produced album features keyboards from John Medeski, drums by Steve Shelley and lead guitar from Nels Cline and a cast of other great guests but Lee's signature guitar sound and songwriting)  


Bonus:  Anya Marina - "Notice Me" (Stream the first single from Anya's highly-anticipated (especially by me) sophomore album Felony Flats, out now on Chop Shop Records.  The excellent new album tackles more personal themes lyrically, but remains upbeat and super-catchy musically. Portland-based guests musicians Cody Volotalo (Blood Brothers) and Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse), among others help shape her unique musical vision.)


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Margot And The Nuclear So And So's - "Rot Gut, Domestic"

Margot And The Nuclear So And So's return today with a self-released new album Rot Gut, Domestic, their fourth overall.  Produced by John Congleton (The Walkmen, Modest Mouse), the album follows in the footsteps of 2010's Buzzard with a raw sound centered on crunchy, distorted guitars and fuzzed out bass.  While retaining the depressive wit and off-kilter pop sense, it is still a far cry from the folk-leaning chamber pop of their first two albums. 

The album opens on the ringing guitars and big crashing chords of "Disease Tobacco Free", making a loud statement for the songs to come.  "Books About Trains" follows with a noisy, wall of sound made of up squelching guitars and faint screams and a locomotive rhythm.  The stomping new single, "Shannon" stands out with a fuzzy, bottom end blended with a little 70's glam rock on the chorus and some self-deprecating lyrics we have come to expect from singer/songwriter Richard Edwards.  "Prozac Rock" features a catchy, howling chorus on the sinister first single.  As a change of pace, "A Journalist Falls In Love" is a slow-waltzing country-leaning acoustic song that trades in the haunting folk-pop of their excellent debut.  The piano-led "Frank Left" adds pedal steel, sweeping wire brush drums and some female vocals to the mix.  "Fisher Of Men" brings the album back into focus with a heavy blues-rock stomp and a rousing, sing-along chorus.  "Arvydas Sabonis" is in tribute to the Lithuanian-born NBA basketball player of the same name, all set to a slice of vintage organ-drenched, Nirvana-esque grunge-pop.  Another standout track, "Coonskin Cap" is bouncy, with liquid guitars and a room-filling ambiance.  "Ludlow Junk Hustle" features a super-catchy off-kilter guitar riff and the album's title is taken from the lyrics.  The album closes with the tense, darkness of "The Devil" and the piano and church-bells of the lighter yet mournful "Christ".

With the well-documented label struggles behind him, Edwards was able to write from the heart, (or from the gut), and Rot Gut, Domestic stands as a great album filled with raw emotion that translates to both the lyrics and the music and though the style may have changed, it is still uniquely Margot.            

Download "Shannon" here:

For more info:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Free Friday: Swimwear - "The Kissing Machine" EP

Swimwear is the solo project of Tim Derricourt of the Australian indie-pop band Dappled Cities.  His debut EP The Kissing Machine released in February, is filled to the brim with sparkling 80's-inspired dance music and the pop hooks you would expect. 

The 4-song EP opens with the infectious disco beat of "Nowhere To Run" followed by the delirious and delicious dance party on "Knocks".  Mixing live instruments like guitars with synths and drum machines, Tim blends the organic with the electronic on the bouncy and swirling "Highs And Lows".  The closing track, "Easy High" features breezy surf rock guitars, a hip-hop beat and some Morrisey-like vocals.

The Dappled Cities haven't released an album since 2009 but promise one by the end of this year.  This EP by Derricourt definitely softens the blow but only heightens the anticipation...      

Download The Kissing Machine EP here:

For more info: and

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3 Songs: On Repeat

1.  Spoek Mathambo - "Put Some Red On It" (For Father Creeper, his second album and first for Sub Pop, the Johannesburg born Spoek Mathambo is leading a band and has blended electro-rock, grimey rap, post-dubstep and more for a hybrid sound that is truly next level and just as varied as his home country's various cultures.)


2.  Bishop Morocco - "Old Boys" (The synth-laden title track from the Toronto-based duo-now quartet's new 6-song EP out now on Arts & Crafts features new romantic melodies along with the newly added guitars and drums of members Ian Worang and John McCann, for a fuller and more richly textured sound.)  


3.  Drew Grow and the Pastor's Wives - "It All Comes Right" (Currently on tour with The Head And The Heart, the passionate, stomping gospel-soaked garage rock from the Portland band's debut hits all the right notes, just like the sweeping closing track featured here.)

Download: (click through)

Friday, March 09, 2012

Free Friday: Slow Country - "The Late Great Slow Country"

The Late Great Slow Country is the debut album by the Queens-based indie-folk band Slow Country.  The two songwriters in the band, Boyd Shropshire (from the under-rated Human Television) and Chase King each bring their own unique style to shape the band's brand of melodic country-leaning psych-folk.  They and their label Wonderland Archives have put up the excellent album as a free download on their Bandcamp page.  And if you like what you hear, you can also order the limited-edition screen-printed LP as well!

Download The Late Great Slow Country here:

Download the single "Yes You Have" here:

For more info: and

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

3 Songs: On Repeat

1.  Yellow Ostrich - "Marathon Runner" (Alex Schaff's solo bedroom project is now a fully formed trio, and the fuzzy guitar-led anthems on their sophomore album and Barsuk Records debut, Strange Land are both nostalgic and new, with Alex's imaginative lyrics dueling with the guitar for the spotlight.)


2.  Ceremony - "Adult" (Continuing and expanding on the more mature sound of Rohnert Park, the Cali-based punk band's debut for Matador Records, Zoo was released this week.   The stellar new album features longer songs, a positive, optimistic lyrical stance and an experimental sound that trades in the abrasive hardcore for a more classic punk sound, that is sure to shape the punk to come...) 


3.  Capybara - "Late Night Bikes" (The Kansas City experimental folk-pop band released their sophomore album Dave Drusky last month on The Record Machine.  Blending the organic and electronic, their sound is lush and beautiful but at times off-kilter and freaky.  Just how I like it!)


Friday, March 02, 2012

Free Friday: Young Statues - "Acoustic EP"

Philliy-based indie rock band Young Statues led by singer-songwriter Carmen Cirignano are set to tour with A Great Big Pile Of Leaves and Mansions.  In anticipation they have re-recorded a new acoustic EP of songs originally released on their self-titled debut album released last fall on Run For Cover Records.  The four-song digital EP, up on their Bandcamp page for as a free or pay what you want download, strips away some of the layers to reveal the true emotion and heartbreak underneath. 

The glimmering keyboards and huge brit-pop melodies on "Pretty Girls Make Raves" stands out as a highlight and the shuffling beat and laid-back roots rock rendition of the single, "Spacism" does as well.

Download the Acoustic EP here: 

For tour dates and more info: and

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Fanfarlo - "Rooms Filled With Light"

The London collective Fanfarlo are set to release their highly-anticipated sophomore album Rooms Filled With Light today on Canvasback/Atlantic Records.  Produced by Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter) the experimental new album takes on a different color palette with electric guitars, synths and saxophone taking prominence over the acoustic guitars and folk instrumentation of their anthemic 2009 debut, Reservoir.  The songs are just as bombastic and enthusiastic as ever though but with new found Talking Heads-like twitchy rhythms and instrumentation that only adds to the band's charm.

"Replicate" opens the album with soft chugging violins and bubbling synths that seem to produce the sound a virus replicating in our bodies might make which match singer Simon Balthazar's lyrics.  The charging and playful "Deconstruction" follows with a rubbery new romantic bass line and a soaring chorus.  Stand out track "Lenslife" features an off-kilter rhythm with marimba, an atmospheric ambiance and the introduction of saxophone to their mix.  Irresistible and danceable, "Shiny Things" is a bouncy slice of quirky pop like Talking Heads fronted by David Bowie.  Making great use of the trumpets and saxophone, "Tunguska" is a slinky mid-tempo number with jazzed-up soulful horns.  Another standout, the taut "Tightrope" may be the catchiest song on the album.  The tropical pop of "Feathers" features springy marimba and soaring strings.  "Bones" is aptly titled with ringing minor key synths and a chilling atmosphere.  The revved up "Dig" follows with gothy 80's inspired synths and a hip-shaking rhythm.  And the album closes with the close-knit harmonies of "A Flood" and the short intrumental "Everything Resolves".               

Adding colorful synths and samples seems to be the thing to do this year for all of these anthemic, ochestral pop bands (Coldplay, I am looking at you) but Fanfarlo pulls it off with enviable charm and grace without missing a beat on their excellent new album Rooms Filled With Light

Download "Shiny Things (Yeasayer Remix)" here:

For more info: