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    Friday, November 21, 2008

    Best Places to Find Free MP3's

    With the RIAA cracking down more and more, illegally downloading music can be quite a sketchy endeavor. As an avid music fan and broke college student, how can you check out the newest and best music without blowing all your hard earned cash? Today, a number of blogs post free MP3's of bands' music for you to download. The idea of these free MP3's is that they will entice you to buy the band's album. But, between you and me, with so many blogs posting songs from the same bands, you can usually find half of an album on the web (sometimes even before it hits stores), and the best part is that you won't get hit with a hefty fine from the RIAA.

    Here are some of the blogs who offer lots of free MP3's for your consumption. - Check out the "Forkcast" section for videos, streams, and (more often than not) MP3's of the newest material from all walks of music. - 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

    WASU Top 10 & Adds - Week of November 17th

    WASU Top 10
    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

    WASU Top 10 & Adds - Week of November 11th

    WASU Top 10
    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

    WASU Top 10 and Adds - Week of November 3rd

    WASU Top 10
    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"

    EP Review: Tom Gabel - "Heart Burns"

    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

    Caught Off Guard: Get Help's "The End of the New Country"

    By: Daniel

    Every once in a while -- a very long while -- I'm caught off guard by how good an album is. As is the case with The End of the New Country by Boston's Get Help. I had never heard of the band, its record label, or any of its members. The record wasn't sent to WASU by one of the many promoters who supply us with CDs. A one-sheet listing the tracks, giving a little background on the band, and imprinted with a, dare I say, unflattering picture of the two primary members was all that accompanied the CD. What cause did I have to expect great things from Get Help? How was I supposed to know The End of the New Country would be chocked full of beautifully dark post-punk goodness that brings to mind such masterful bands as Joy Division, The Pixies, and especially R.E.M.? 

    I would take the time to write a detailed description of the album, but why do what NPR has already done so well?

    A self-proclaimed "supergroup of unknown musicians," Get Help makes gloomy but thoughtful
     guitar-rock that would fit comfortably in the post-punk era of the late '70s and early '80s. Get Help's two primary members, Tony Skalicky and Mike Ingenthron, were in elementary school when bands like Joy Division were making music. But on their new CD, The End of the New Country, the duo cribs from post-punk with enough honesty and talent to keep from sounding like a cheap knock-off.

    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,