Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Here are some of the blogs who offer lots of free MP3's for your consumption.
Pitchforkmedia.com - Check out the "Forkcast" section for videos, streams, and (more often than not) MP3's of the newest material from all walks of music.
Stereogum.com - Almost daily, the guys at Stereogum post MP3's for your enjoyment. Check out the player or the "MP3's and Streams" tab for their entire MP3 archive. For some reason they really like cover songs.
My Old Kentucky Blog - MOKB is chocked full of free MP3's for your delight. Scroll through the posts to find out all kinds of wonderful info about bands, and more than likely a few MP3's about mentioned artists. The "Listening Party" posts are especially fruitful.
Paste - Besides being one of the best print publications I've ever seen, Paste magazine has turned itself into a multimedia online experience. In their "Paste Station" player, is a link to downloads, exclusive videos, album streams, and artists to watch. Be sure to check both the downloads and recently added tabs to get the full benefit.
Chromewaves - This one is new to me, but a quick glance shows a wealth of promisingly free digital music goodness.
So, these are just a few of the many places on the web to find free legal music. If you know of any more places, please leave a comment. Let us in on the secret. With so many free and legal places to find music on the internet, who needs to risk a fine?
Posted By: Daniel
1. Oasis - "The Shock of the Lightning"
2. TV on the Radio - "Shout Me Out"
3. Kings of Leon - "Crawl"
4. Anthony Green - "Dear Child"
5. Margot and the Nuclear So & So's - "Pages Written on a Wall"
6. Department of Eagles - "No One Does It"
7. The Subways - "I Won't Let You Down"
8. Ryan Adams - "Fix It"
9. Manchester Orchestra - "I Was a Lid"
10. The Rosebuds - "Another Way In"
What's New This Week
Blackmarket - "Night In Question"
J. Roddy Walston and the Business - "Used to Did"
Vampire Weekend - "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance"
Wintersleep - "Drunk on Aluminum"
The Deep Vibrations - "Oklahoma City Woman Blues"
The Soft Hands - "Lot to Know"
The Loom - "Song for the Winter Sun"
Naked Gods - "Mountain Smashing Song of Joy"
The Groves - "Dive Down"
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
1. TV on the Radio - "Shout Me Out"
2. Oasis - "The Shock of the Lightning"
3. Sleeping In The Aviary - "Write On"
4. Cold War Kids - "I've Seen Enough"
5. Kings of Leon - "Crawl"
6. Anthony Green - "Dear Child (I've Been Trying to Reach You)"
7. Margot and the Nucler So & So's - "Pages Written on a Wall"
8. Department of Eagles - "No One Does It"
9. Ryan Adams - "Fix It"
10. The Subways - "I Won't Let You Down"
What's New This Week
Japanese Motors - "Crooked Gun"
Whitley - "All Is Whole"
Gringo Star - "Transmission"
Audrye Sessions - "Turn Me Off"
Little Joy - "Keep Me In Mind"
Snow Patrol - "Disaster Button"
The King Left - "The Storm in a Teacup"
Bang! Bang! Eche! - "4 to the Floor"
Woodward - "Take It Back"
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
1. Jenny Lewis - "See Fernando"
2. Snow Patrol - "Take Back the City"
3. Joseph Arthur & the Lonely Astronauts - "Sunrise Dolls"
4. TV on the Radio - "Shout Me Out"
5.Oasis - "The Shock of the Lightning"
6. Cold War Kids - "I've Seen Enough"
7. Sleeping In The Aviary - "Write On"
8. Kings of Leon - "Crawl"
9. Anthony Green - "Dear Child"
10. Margot and the Nuclear So & So's - "Pages Written On a Wall"
What's New This Week
Kaiser Chiefs - "Half the Truth"
Longwave - "Eyes Like Headlights"
The (International) Noise Conspiracy - "Trashbins of History"
Past Lives - "Strange Symmetry"
Crystal Stilts - "Crystal Stilts"
Tom Gabel - "Conceptual Paths"
The Dead Trees - "Killer In Me"
Shiny Toy Guns - "Ghost Town"
The Decemberists - "Valerie Plume"
The Knux - "Roxxanne"
By David Edscorn
Against Me! is one of those bands that refuses to stop evolving. Starting as an anarchist folk-punk band from Florida that played sweaty acoustic anthems in crowded dingy basements, the band has changed slightly every album. This gradual change culminated in 2007’s New Wave, a highly-polished rock record with nary an acoustic song in sight. The critics raved about what they saw as progress, and die-hard fans raged about what they saw as selling out.
Personally, I prefer the raucous energy of the band’s early albums, but I also accept their new stuff as having moments of brilliance. Therefore, I was very interested to see what front-man Tom Gabel would turn out with his new long EP, Heart Burns. These seven songs are split between more sonic experimentation as well as a few songs that represent a step back to the band’s earlier sound.
Initially, I was disappointed with the first four songs. On these songs, Gabel experiments with different styles, and it doesn’t always work. The lead track, “Random Hearts,” is an almost new-wave (the style, not the album) sounding rock song. It’s interesting, but doesn’t really go anywhere. This seems to be a common problem on this part of the album. The songs have intriguing concepts, but Gabel fails to execute them to their full potential. “Conceptual Paths” attempts to mix acoustic guitar with electronic beats, and once again it doesn’t quite work. Lyrically, the concept behind “Cowards Sing at Night” (Senator McCain still fighting the Vietnam War in his head) is great, but I wish Gabel had taken us farther into this lost warrior’s psyche. These aren’t bad songs, they just could have been done much better.
Thankfully, Gabel pulls off the last three songs with the unplugged passion and energy that I’ve come to love. “Anna is a Stool Pigeon” is an engrossing tale of an activist that falls in love with an FBI informant and winds up in prison for his trouble. It’s almost Dylanesque in it’s delivery, helped by the harmonica between verses. “Harsh Realms” is a haunting song about the stress of life in the 21st century. The album finishes with the bluntly-titled “100 Years of War,” which debates the future of our country over jangling guitars and an infectious chorus.
All in all, this isn’t a bad album. The first four songs don’t quite work the way they could, but the last three more than make up for that. Personally, I would like to see Tom Gabel release a full album of all acoustic material. He’s at his best when he’s railing against the system without fancy gimmicks to distract the message. 7 out of 10
Download: “Anna is a Stool Pigeon,” “Harsh Realms,” “100 Years of War”
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Skalicky and Ingenthron, who write and record in New York, take turns on lead vocals. Skalicky unabashedly channels Joy Division's Ian Curtis (or Interpol's Paul Banks), and for some listeners, that might be too much of a turnoff to get through the whole album. But Skalicky's time at the mic fuels the album's most compelling and memorable moments.
The End of the New Country opens on a somber note with "Traveler's Shave Kit." Plaintive guitar strums, gentle rhythms, a little slide guitar and mellotron set an appropriate tone for an album that scarcely cracks a smile over the course of 15 tracks.
The album's title cut, like much of the CD, is full of resignation, as Skalicky sings about a world on the brink of collapse, with mobbed streets lined by burning buildings. "I think we've reached the end of the new country," he sings. "And I think we know the rest of its history." It's grim, to be sure.
But it could also signal a new beginning: By the end of the album, with the dramatic squalls of feedback on the closer "Growing Circles," the band seems to say that everything is going to be all right. "I am searching in growing circles," Skalicky sings. "And I will find you, I am certain."
Despite its darkness, The End of the New Country isn't a downer, though it's undeniably brooding and introspective. But there's enough inspired beauty in the lyrics — and consistently impressive guitar work — to make the music uplifting at times.
When not working as Get Help, Skalicky is the singer and guitarist for the Boston-based group The Beatings, while Ingenthron is in the New York group Strikes Again. The two collaborated on the songs for The End of the New Country over the Internet, with help from Rob Machold, William Scales, Daniel Parlin, Dennis Grabowski and Gene DiAvolio.
--- Robin Hilton, NPR
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Ryan Adams, a North Carolina native, and the Cardinals put forth a commendable effort on Cardinology. Alt-country is a genre I haven't much explored, and thus my knowledge of Adams' work is also limited. I get that Adams is going for the whole rehabilitation/rebirth/finding the light thing, and that the music is graceful and sweet for that reason. Yet, at times the songwriting feels a little hokey, and I kept hoping the band would show a little bit more energy. Some tracks -- "Fix It," "Go Easy, " "Magick," and "Sink Ships" -- do show signs of life, but overall, the album is set on cruise control. Cardinology may be a faster pace for Adam's, but it's still too slow for my taste. 6.7 out of 10
Rise Against - Appeal to Reason
I may have at one point in recent history described Rise Against as one of the few good modern punk bands. That was before I heard Appeal to Reason. Don't fret; Appeal is still a progressively minded, humanitarian, stick-it-to-the-man power chord punk fest. Besides reasoning behind the lack of variety, all I want to know is why there isn't a law regulating the number of times you can work pick scrapes into an album? I'm not sure of the official count, but they're in 90% of the songs on this album. Stand outs on Appeal to Reason for me are (of course) "Re-Education (Through Labor)," "Collapse (Post-Amerika)," "Audience of One," and "Entertainment." 7.5 out of 10.
1. Blitzen Trapper - "Gold for Bread"
2. Kings of Leon - "Revelry"
3. Dead Confederate - "Start Me Laughing"
4. Stereophonics - "Lady Luck"
5. Toadies - "Hell in High Water"
6. Jenny Lewis - "See Fernando"
7. Joseph Arthur and the Lonely Astronauts - "Sunrise Dolls"
8. Snow Patrol - "Take Back the City"
9. TV on the Radio - "Shout Me Out"
10. Oasis - "The Shock of the Lightning"
What's New this Week
Eagles of Death Metal - "(I Used to Couldn't Dance) Tight Pants"
Ray LaMontagne - "Henry Nearly Killed Me (It's a Shame)"
Astronautalis - "Two Years Before the Mast"
The Dears - "Berlin Heart"
Pretenders - "Boots of Chinese Plastic"
Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band - "Time is Now"
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
By: David Edscorn
The alternative-indie scene has gotten a little crowded lately. Bands that sound a lot like the Killers and Hot Hot Heat seem to be popping up everywhere. White Lies is one of those groups, but in this case, that may not be such a bad thing. Their brand new “Death E.P.” doesn’t necessarily do anything completely original, but it still manages to sound fresh and exciting. The lead track “Death” is an excellently driving anthem. With plenty of crunching guitar, sweeping vocals, and swirling synthesizers, the band shows a lot of promise. "Black Song" isn’t quite as good a track as “Death,” but it’s not bad. The album closes with two remixes of “Death.” Both of them are decent, especially the second one done by The Haunts, which keeps the feeling of the original while adding a little something fresh to the mix. The first remix is done by the Crystal Castles who are making plenty of waves of their own but only put forth a passable effort here. White Lies may not be the band to change the genre, but they’re certainly worth keeping an eye on. 7 out of 10.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
By: David Edscorn
Old Crow Medicine Show’s lineup is about as unique as they come. In the tradition of old-time string bands, the band consists (most of the time) of an acoustic guitarist, two banjo players, an upright bassist, and front man Ketch Secor (who alternates between singing, fiddling, and playing a wicked harmonica). Discovered by bluegrass legend Doc Watson while busking outside of Boone Drug, the band has gained popularity for playing music that successfully crosses the boundaries of the past and present.
With their newest album, Tennessee Pusher, Old Crow stick to their formula of hard-driving old-time music with all the energy of a modern rock band. While the music is still as expertly crafted as ever, this is a much darker Medicine Show than found in previous albums. Bouquets of dogwood flowers have been replaced with the heartbreak of “Next Go ‘Round” and the lonesome roads of “Highway Halo.” Both songs are engaging ballads, but weigh rather heavily in the emotional department.
Pusher does have its share of upbeat tunes. The album kicks off with “Alabama High-Test,” a rollicking yet cautionary tale of “down-home Dixie-fried home-grown.” Other foot-stompers include “Humdinger” and the sweet “Caroline.” These tracks, and the aforementioned ballads, are joined with several gritty downers, giving the whole album a sinister edge. “Methamphetamine” is a harsh tale of the dangers of the titular drug and its trafficking. The title track and “Hotel in Memphis” are both dark murder stories, the latter an anthem in the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Tennessee Pusher is a sprawling, impressive album, but it is a defiantly different direction for the band. The music is as captivating as always, but the lyrics carry more emotional baggage that may turn off listeners simply looking for a Southern-fried good time. 7 out of 10.
Download: “Alabama High-Test,” “Highway Halo,” “Caroline”
Thursday, September 18, 2008
By: Daniel Earney
With a name like Dead Confederate, you have to expect something at least somewhat Southern from this band. On their debut LP, Wrecking Ball, Dead Confederate take Southern rock, turn it on its head and cover it in thick, heavy mud. But that's a good thing.
Previously named The Redbelly Band, kicking around the Augusta club scene, and playing a Phishy jamband style of rock, the guys of Dead Confederate graduated from college and decided it was time for a change. They moved to the big city (Atlanta), changed their name, and adopted an entirely new sound. The band is already drawing comparisons to Sonic Youth, Band of Horses, and (what really caught my eye) Nirvana. Sonic Youth, for both bands' use of highly distorted atmospheric noise, I can see; Band of Horses, not so much; and Nirvana, though I had to make sure Tulsa’s Carter Tanton didn’t have a side project, at times, and not too often, the vocals are spot-on Cobain. If it weren’t for the sometimes weeping, sometimes screaming slide guitar, I’d place DC among Seattle’s elite.
I was scared at first that Dead Confederate would let me down: “Heavy Petting” starts abruptly and awkwardly enough with Hardy Morris belting out the song’s title, a pinch of Southern drawl showing through. Slow, soaring guitar permeates the first half of the track. Then the song erupts halfway through with an ominously fierce guitar solo mixing with Jason Scarboro’s heavily crashing drums. All the while, Hardy’s voice scratches and cracks in true Cobain fashion. Walker Howle’s guitar takes off a few more times before the song fades.
On the Album’s first single, “The Rat,” Morris continues the screechy wail as it becomes clear that the dark, war-torn lyrics are a common theme. Dead Confederate’s live performances, so far, have drawn positive reviews, and seeing the band perform “The Rat” on KEXP’s website made me, for the first time in a long time, intensely miss going to concerts.
At times Wrecking Ball can be slow, but the payoffs for being patient are immense. 2:50 into “It Was a Rose,” Howle’s slide is at once eloquent and overwhelming; later in the song, it’s simply insane. “Yer Circus,” “All the Angels,” “The News Underneath,” and the 12-minute “Flesh Colored Canvas” showcase DC’s slower, more melodic and elegant capabilities, but are not without their powerful punctuations. “Start Me Laughing” is a pure gem worthy of Nirvana’s songbook. The album finishes out with the title track, in all its destructive glory. The album, however, is not without its flaws; you have to listen too closely to make out John Watkins’ keys (when they’re present), and Brantley Senn’s bass is often buried beneath drums and guitars.
Wrecking Ball begins with a furor nothing short of Sherman tear-assing his way through Georgia circa 1864. (Luckily Sherman wasn't a Confederate.) Yet, instead of glorifying war, Dead Confederate show us that war indeed is hell; it’s loud, it’s painful, and it’s sad. A man can toil endlessly only to find that he has brought about nothing but death and destruction – a wrecking ball. 8.7 out of 10.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
There is not enough that I can say about Paper Route’s latest EP Are We All Forgotten. After listening to it 15 times or more, it continues to grow. It is so magnificently layered and mixed that you hear something new every time. The vocals are clean, the drums are epic, and the lyrics are powerful. Sometimes, as in “Empty House,” Paper Route reminds me of Band of Horses, and at other times I think back to the days when U2 was actually very good, as in “Are We All Forgotten.”
With the days of electronic music upon us, I did not know it was possible to be this innovative. The synthesizer and piano are used ingeniously and appropriately in each track. The opener, “American Clouds,” sounds as if it came out of the 80’s electro movement when Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode were making their best music. These tracks never get old and while “Waiting for the Final Leaf to Fall” is by far the most thought-provoking of tracks, if you were to only give the album one shot check out the title track, “Are We All Forgotten.” From what I hear, Paper Route has much more to offer, which means I begin my anticipation of a full-length album.
What is most impressive about Are We All Forgotten is that Paper Route produced, engineered, mixed, anddesigned the EP themselves. If you enjoy listening to Paper Route, check out the other artists on their indie label, Low Altitude Records. Lydia is a new signee to the label and Patrick Wolf rounds out the roster.
My biggest complaint about this EP is that it is short, but I guess EP’s are supposed to leave you wanting more. 9 out of 10.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
By: Tyler Sloan
Come Around is Sing it Loud's debut album with Epitaph records. Epitaph, one of the most well respected independent labels boasts great artists such as Pennywise, The Weakerthans, Sage Frances and Danger Doom. Honestly, I'm not sure what label head and Bad Religion guitarist, Brett Gurewitz, had in mind when he signed the band. At first listen, Sing It Loud sounds like a mediocre punk band turned pop from earlier this decade. I can't quite decide what band from that era they remind me of, but it is apparent that they are trying their best to emulate Motion City/New Found Glory. If they were to succeed in just doing that, it would sound better than this album. The album lacks one ingredient crucial to the pop/punk genre and that is catchy choruses. After listening to the album multiple times, I can't remember a single line.
On the plus side, I'm a huge fan of the synthesizer, which Sing It Loud utilizes. On the down side, the synth that opens track one, "I've Got A Feeling," is cheesy at best. It didn't take long to realize that this is a pattern. The bright spot on this album is the title track, "Come Around," the vocals mix well and the track has a very upbeat arena rock feel, which makes your foot tap, even if you don't want it to. I'm pretty sure every song is about a girl, and I'm pretty sure I have heard the lyrics before. The CD drops September 23rd, and while I think Sing it Loud would fare better in 2002, I look for much better things from them and Epitaph in the future. 3 out of 10.
By: David Edscorn
Visiter, the second LP from The Dodos begins unobtrusively with the sweetly banjo-laden "Walking." Right as you think that this is just another indie-folk band riding in the wake of Iron & Wine's success, they smack you across the face with "Red and Purple." This track takes everything you thought that folk was and throws it out the window. It's here that the Dodos establish their belief that acoustic instruments can rock just as hard, if not harder, than electric ones. From here on out the album is a journey through what exactly these instruments can do, and more importantly, what these two young men from San Francisco can do. Meric Long switches between delicate picking and rapid machine-gun-paced strumming of guitars, while Logan Kroeber gives the drums plenty of energy but never allows them to dominate the show (although they certainly drive "It's That Time Again"). The lyrics delivered by Long are packed full of emotion, even if their meaning isn't always discernable. "Fools" starts off sounding like it belongs on the Braveheart soundtrack, then turns abruptly into a fun upbeat romp. Other highlights include the gentle folksy "Undeclared" (which showcases Long's impressive falsetto), and the unplugged anthems "Paint the Rust" and "God?" The latter is an appropriately powerful album closer, smooth and epically driving at the same time. Visiter might not be an album that will change the music industry, but it certainly challenges the definitions of music that have been set forth, and is therefore definitely worth a listen. 8 out of 10.