Archive for the 'Experimental' Category

Jan 18 2012

Hezekiah Jones – Have You Seen Our New Fort?

Published by under Experimental,Folk,Fun!,MP3's

Hezekiah Jones has been on my list of favorite artists for a couple years and consistently puts out fun, catchy albums that I find myself going back to on a regular basis. If you’ve been on the prowl for a new folk album, I highly recommend checking out their latest release, Have You Seen Our New Fort?.

You don’t have to listen long to discover that the band plays an insane number of lovable instruments, including piano, wurlitzer, glockenspiel, waterboards, trombone, flugelhorn, saxophone, and clarinet. I’ve long held the belief that every album out there would benefit from these aforementioned instruments, but few artists ever have taken me up on that. And those that have rarely make it sound as great as Hezekiah Jones does. A few of my favorite songs on Have You Seen Our New Fort?  include “Airplane Window,””Drawing Pictures,” and “Lift the Shadow From This Heart.”

Hezekiah Jones is based out of Philadelphia and has an interesting background. Frontman Raph Cutrufello was afraid of performing alone and would invite other local musicians up on stage to play with him. Before he knew it all these musicians learned the songs and more or less became part of the band. While there are a couple musicians who are now full-time members, there are over 15 artists who rotate in, giving it a very collective feel.

Two fun facts: 1) The band was named after Raph’s pet snail, which was named after a character in Joseph S. Newman’s poem, Black Cross (There’s a bootleg of Bob Dylan’s version of the poem that was playing when he brought the snail home). 2) Raph is left handed and learned to play guitar on a right handed guitar… so he just plays it upside down (These fun facts come to you thanks to Philly Venues‘ great interview).

Have You Seen Our New Fort? (2011):

Hezekiah Jones – Drawing Pictures (mp3)

Hezekiah Jones – Airplane Window (mp3)

Shaking Through Vol. 2 (brought to us by non-profit, Weathervane):

Hezekiah Jones – Borrowed Heart (mp3)

Facebook |Bandcamp | iTunes | Spotify | Yer Bird (label)

3 responses so far

Apr 12 2011

Common Prayer – There Is A Mountain (2010)

Published by under Experimental,Folk,MP3's,Video

If you’re a fan of Midlake, Bishop Allen, or any band with that similar indie/folk sound, you’re going to love the Brooklyn band, Common Prayer. I’ve had two songs from their debut album, There Is A Mountain, on my computer for a while, but didn’t listen to the whole thing until recently. If I had, I most likely would have placed this on my Top 10 albums list last year.

Common Prayer was started by the former basist of Mercury Rev and founder of the band Hopewell, Jason Sebastian Russo. The band is a pretty big departure from his other ones, and I really love when artists aren’t afraid to branch off into new sounds like this. Since they are making the music they love, rather than just catering to current fans, it’s often some of the most creative work you’ll find from them.

And that’s exactly the case with There Is A Mountain. This is a pretty experimental album, though in a fun, folksy sort of way. All the songs have a different flavor. The opening track “commonprayer” is one of the catchiest songs I’ve heard in recent years. A few other favorites on the album include “Us Vs. Them” “Of Saints,” “Free Air” and “Everything & More.”

There Is A Mountain (2010):

Common Prayer – commonprayer (mp3)

Common Prayer – Us. Vs Them (mp3)

Site | Amazon

 

6 responses so far

Mar 25 2011

The Olivia Tremor Control – Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One (1999)

Last week, I saw members of the Elephant 6 collective play a show at Lincoln Hall in Chicago as part of their Surprise Holiday tour. For those who aren’t familiar with Elephant 6, it’s basically a collective/label that formed in the 90s that includes bands such as The Apple in Stereo, Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal, and… too many to list here.

I’m a big fan of most of the bands who are part of E6, so seeing some of them live was kind of a dream come true. The Surprise Holiday tour basically consists of a lot of members from different E6 bands getting on stage together and playing each others songs.

This feature is about one of the founding bands of E6, in particular: The Olivia Tremor Control. Before seeing them at the show it had been years since I had properly listened to their music. After the show, I immediately went back home and put on their 27 track album released in 1999, called Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One. It’s weird and pretty awesome.

If you’re a fan of experimental/psychedelic,  indie rock, kinda like the bands I listed above, definitely check out the album. If you took Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and upped the experimental level by about 160%, you would have something close to the lines of The Olivia Tremor Control. I’m glad I took the time to re-visit this album.

Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One (1999):

The Olivia Tremor Control – Hideaway (mp3)

The Olivia Tremor Control – I Have Been Floated (mp3)

Amazon | iTunes | Elephant 6

Photo credit: John Kendelhardt (not from the show I went to… Jeff Magnum unfortunately wasn’t there)

3 responses so far

Mar 23 2011

Eureka Birds – Eureka! EP

Published by under Alternative,Experimental,MP3's

I’m a big fan of the Baltimore based band, The Eureka Birds. They have this really cool lo-fi, pop sound, and their piano and string arrangements bring to mind some of my favorite aspects of The Beatles’ music (gasp!).  Their lead singer, Justin Levy, is also a real scientist, which adds that much more street cred to their music. Up to date they have released one album, which I featured here, and just recently released a new fantastic EP called, Eureka! EP.

A few of the tracks I’m really digging on the 6 track EP include, “The Mountain is a Volcano,””Sarah (Sits and Cries),””There Was Light,” and “Cactus Man.” So that’s pretty much the entire thing right there. And the band is being nice enough to give it away for free on Bandcamp.

Just like with the arrangements on many Beatles songs, I find these tracks growing on me the more I listen to them. So take a listen— and if you’re not sure how you feel about it right away, definitely do this band justice by listening through a few times. It’s worth it.

Eureka! EP (2010):

Eureka Birds –  The Mountain is a Volcano (mp3)

Eureka Birds – Cactus Man (mp3)

Site | Bandcamp

4 responses so far

Feb 14 2011

Young Man – Boy (2010)

I never properly introduced Colin Coulfield, who goes by the moniker Young Man, on IndieMuse. Given I put his EP, Boy, on my Top 10 albums list last year, this seems like as good a time as any to feature him on the site. I highly recommend his music, especially if you are a fan of Iron and Wine, Avi Buffalo, or Animal Collective.

Colin does an amazing job mixing together folk, lo-fi, and indie pop to make Boy one gem of an EP. I get completely absorbed by the memorizing melodies and Colin’s incredibly chill, layered vocals. A few of my favorite tracks on Boy are “Five,” “Home Alome,””Playtime,” and “Up So Fast.” I enjoy this album so much though that I can’t help but listen to it from start to finish.

Colin is originally from St. Paul, Minnesota and currently goes to school in Chicago (believe it or not, he’s only 21 years old). He now plays with a full band and is in the process of recording his first full-length LP. While we wait for that to release, it’s worth keeping up with his Facebook page where he sometimes releases covers and “idea” tracks.

Boy (2010):

Young Man –  Home Alone (mp3)

Young Man – Five (mp3)

Strangers (single)

Young Man – Strangers (mp3)

Site | iTunes| Youtube | Daytrotter

One response so far

Jan 25 2011

John Vanderslice – White Wilderness (2011)

Published by under Experimental,Indie pop,MP3's

If you’ve been following IndieMuse for any period of time you’ll probably know that I am a big fan of John Vanderslice. With the release of his new album today, White Wilderness, it seems like a good time for another feature.

If you’re not familiar with any of John Vanderslice’s music, I recommend checking out some of his older albums first, such as Pixel Revolt or Cellar Door. What makes this current release interesting is that it’s completely experimental for Vanderslice. He partnered up with the Magik*Magik Orchestra to make the album, which  gives White Wilderness a much different vibe than his previous seven releases.

Vanderslice runs a popular, artist friendly recording studio out of San Francisco, called Tiny Telophone, and first got connected with Magik*Magik after their manager contacted him about being a “house band” for the studio. Before he knew it, they decided to make an album together. In a recent interview with Spinner, Vanderslice went into some details about what that was experience was like.

“While we were recording, some were auditioning for the San Francisco Opera. They’re in a different world,” Vanderslice recalls. “I love both worlds equally, but if you don’t really know what a downbeat is, you definitely look a little stupid. There were moments where Minna was like ‘Do you know this part is in 3’ and I’d have to say, ‘Honestly, I don’t.'”

Enjoy!

White Wilderness (2011):

John Vanderslice – Convict Lake (mp3)

John Vanderslice – Sea Salt (mp3)

Pixel Revolt (2005)

John Vanderslice – Exodus (mp3)

site | amazon (only $3.99!) | Spinner (stream the full album)

2 responses so far

Jan 20 2011

Yellow Ostrich – The Mistress (2010)

photo by sarah mulligan

Yellow Ostrich’s release, The Mistress, is among my favorite albums from 2010.

Alex Schaaf, the main guy behind Yellow Ostrich, is a treat to listen to for several reasons. First, he makes fantastic music — some have even started comparing his unique style to a modern day Neutral Milk Hotel. And second, he is the rare musician who has a true sense of what music is all about. Instead of hiding in the crevasses, attempting to create a masterpiece for years (and promoting it for even more years), Schaaf has been completely transparent with his development as an artist. Since 2009, he has released 3 albums and 4 EPs. Some of these bedroom recordings are better than others, but that raw look in is completely genuine. Artists often times are afraid to risk putting out music that might not gain traction–and are often discouraged when they don’t instantly receive positive reinforcement. It appears that Schaaf isn’t like that at all. He is on a journey with his music and has invited us along for the ride. He can make an EP with the lyrics being only words from Morgan Freeman’s Wikipedia page, and feel good about it. I think that’s pretty awesome.

The Mistress is Schaaf’s stand out album. A few of my favorite tracks include “WHALE,””Hahahaohhoho,” and “Mary.”

Schaff is from Appleton, Wisconsin (Midwest, represent!) and recently moved to New York City. He just announced a US tour supporting Say Hi (dates below), and you should definitely try to see him if possible. As rumor has it,  part of the joy of  seeing him live is watching him multitask with his pedals, kind of like Andrew Bird. He is backed by Michael Tapper on drums, who has played with We Are Scientists and Bishop Allen.

The Mistress (2010):

Yellow Ostrich – WHALE (mp3)

Yellow Ostrich – Mary (mp3)

Fade Cave EP (2010)

Yellow Ostrich  –  Bread (mp3)

site | bandcamp (FREE!)

tour dates after jump:

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Jan 18 2011

Auditorium – Be Brave (2011)

Published by under Experimental,Folk,Fun!,MP3's,Video

As of today, you can grab a copy of Spencer Berger’s great debut album, Be Brave. Last year I featured Spencer on IndieMuse when he was recording under the name Field; however, because of the surprising number of bands with a similar name, he decided to switch the name over to Auditorium.

Berger’s voice makes Be Brave one of the most unique albums I’ve heard in the past few years. In my mind, I place his style somewhere between David Bowie and Flight of the Conchords. A few of my favorite tracks include “Sunday,””I’m the Enforcer,” “Saturday Soldier,” and “Oh, My Desperate Soul,” although really, this entire album is solid.

Spencer is based out of Los Angeles, and first made a name for himself as writer and actor of the SXSW Audience Award winning film, Skills Like This. If you’re in LA tonight (1/18) and want to attend the release party, you can find the details here. He plays with a live band, made up of Justin Hogan, Chris Littler, Elizabeth Berger (his sister), Daya Wolterstorff, and BK Etheridge.

And remember this little advice from Auditorium’s Spencer’s site: You don’t have to call Spencer “Auditorium” in real life. He’s not like The Edge. In fact, if you called him “Auditorium,” he’d politely tell you to stop.

Be Brave (2011):

Auditorium –  Sunday (mp3)

Auditorium – I’m the Enforcer (mp3)

YouTube Preview Image

Site | iTunes

2 responses so far

Jun 22 2010

Ugly Casanova – 180 South Soundtrack

Published by under Experimental,Folk,MP3's,soundtrack

this is an old picture. add on 8 years.

I am so happy right now. In fact, I don’t think I’ve been this happy for 8 years. As you probably suspected, this is because new material from Isaac Brock’s side project, Ugly Casanova, released today. Ugly Casanova’s 2002 solo release, Sharpen Your Teeth, is still one of my favorite albums, and I’m not even mad that it’s taken him this long to release something new for the project, as I’m still absorbing the genius of that album.

The 9 new tracks were created for 180° South, a documentary that “retraces Yvon Chouinard’s and Doug Tompkins’ epic 1968 journey to Patagonia through the eyes of adventurer Jeff Johnson.” (Currently available on Netflix instant stream). Other contributors to the 180 South soundtrack include Mason Jennings, The Shins’ James Mercer,  Jack Johnson, and Love as Laughter…all great musicians. The soundtrack releases today on Brushfire Records.

I’m definitely going to be listening to the second track, “Here’s to Now,” for a very long time. A few other Ugly Casanova favorites include “Lay Me Down” and the rendition of  “Hotcha Girls” (my favorite track on Sharpen your Teeth).

Brock’s must read interview with Pitchfork answers the question you are like asking right about now.

Pitchfork: What made you decide to bring back your Ugly Casanova project?

IB: Well, the nitty roots of that is that it would have been a problem legally if I’d called it Modest Mouse. I don’t much like things to go by somebody’s name, like the Bob Jones Group Jam Band. I figured, since it was more than writing, it’d just be easier to consider it as another Ugly Casanova project.

Happy Ugly Casanova day!

180 South OST (2010):

(mp3) Ugly Casanova – Here’s to Now

(mp3) Ugly Casanova – Lay Me Down

180 south | brushfire | amazon (only 7.99) |iTunes

19 responses so far

May 19 2010

Light Pollution – “Oh, Ivory!”

Published by under Chicago,Experimental,MP3's,Tour

Recently I’ve been posting a fair amount of folk music, because let’s face it, folk is awesome. But it’s time to change things up a bit (at least for this post).

I’ve really been digging Light Pollution’s song “Oh, Ivory!”. Definitely worth your time to check out.  Their debut album Apparitions is releasing June 15 on Carpark Records.

Light Pollution is based out of Chicago and has that shoegaze, psychedelic, Animal Collectivey sound. Band members include James Cicero, Matthew Evert, Nick Sherman, and Jed Robertson.

Apparitions (2010):

(mp3) Light Pollution – Oh, Ivory!

myspace | carpark

continue for tour dates…

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