Archive for the 'Folk' Category

Oct 23 2012

Sparklehorse – Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain

Published by under Folk,MP3's

It’s that time of the year again. Leaves are falling. Days are getting shorter. And once again I find myself going back to the same handful of albums that I listen to during this annual transition. One of those albums is Sparklehorse’s 2006 release, Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain.

I never actively seek out this album during this time of year. It just kind of naturally happens. I guess that makes sense given that the first track on the album is titled, “Don’t Take My Sunshine Away.” The album has a unique, blend of indie rock, lo-fi, folk, and tamed electronic music that Danger Mouse contributed. The album evokes that strange feeling you experience when things are rapidly changing, but you still feel a sense of control. There’s a comfort in knowing that the change is meant to be uncomfortable.

Sparklehorse was the project of singer/songwriter, Mark Linkous, and this was his fourth and final album before he passed away in 2010. Linksous battled depression and drug addiction during the course of his life, which you’ll notice particularly on his other albums, and the cause of death was sadly suicide. The silver lining is that Linkous has joined a small group of musicians whose music will continue to be played with the changes of the seasons for years to come.

Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain (2006)

Sparklehorse – Don’t Take My Sunshine Away (mp3)

Sparklehorse – Shade And Honey (mp3)

Site | iTunes | Amazon | Spotify

13 responses so far

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

Nov 14 2011

Gold Leaves – The Ornament (2011)

Published by under Folk,MP3's

If you’re a fan of Fleet Foxes, Devendra Banhart, or Velvet Underground, I highly recommend checking out Gold Leaves. It’s a new project of Grant Olsen’s, who is best known as one half of the Seattle band, Arthur & Yu. The lo-fi layering of instruments and lush vocals on Gold Leaves debut, The Ornament, blend together a new age folk sound with 60s era pop. It has a reflective quality that’s perfect music for this fall/winter transition. A few of my favorite songs on the 9 track album include, “Cruel & Kind,””Futures,””Endless Dope,” and “The Ornament.”

Olson spent four years putting together The Ornament, although much of the early work was scrapped after his laptop was stolen. When asked in an interview with SEA live MUSIC why he branched off from Arthur & Yu for the album, he responded: “Mostly, it was just that these songs were a bit more first person and more personal and Sonya [other member of Artist & Yu] graciously encouraged me to record some of this on my own and try to make Arthur & Yu something more collaborative. It makes sense to want to feel connected to something if you’re going to go broke in a van for a handful of months why playing these songs every night.”

The Ornament (2011):

Gold Leaves – Cruel & Kind (mp3)

Gold Leaves – The Ornament (mp3)

iTunes | Amazon |Spotify |  Hardly Art

Tour Dates:

11/15 Oxford, MS Proud Larry’s *
11/16 Atlanta, GA The Earl *
11/17 Knoxville, TN Pilot Light *
11/18 Charlottesville, VA The Southern *
11/19 Washington, DC Rock and Roll Hotel *
11/21 Philadelphia, PA First Unitarian Church *
11/22 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom *
* = w/ A.A Bondy

 

8 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 05 2011

Iron & Wine @ Riviera Theatre, Chicago IL (03/04/11)

Published by under Chicago,Folk,MP3's,Show Review

Last night Iron & Wine played to a packed crowd at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago. The show ended up being quite good, despite one potentially devastating setback: lead singer Sam Beam was battling what appeared to be a mild case of laryngitis.

At first many people in the crowd were noticeably worried that this was going to compromise the show, which is so dependent on Beam’s vocals. However, after a few soundboard adjustments, and him putting in everything he had, most people quickly realized they were still in for a great show. Members from local band, Califone, backed him on stage, and all the instrumental work was fantastic, and included some fun saxophone and jazz flute.

Iron and Wine is touring on their new album, Kiss Each Other Clean, but made sure to get in a bunch of older fan favorites, as well. They also performed some cool renditions for their popular older songs, such as “Love And Some Verses,” and “Naked As We Came.” The full setlist and photos are below.

Despite Beam’s voice not being quite as present as it typically is, Chicago still witnessed a great show. Sure, it most likely won’t be a contender if they ever release a live album, but so goes life. I highly recommend trying to catch an upcoming show if you have the chance. It’s well worth it.

Kiss Each Other Clean (2011)

Iron & Wine  – Tree By The River (mp3)

Endless Numbered Days (2004)

Iron & Wine – Naked As We Came (mp3)

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6 responses so far

Feb 16 2011

Derby – Madeline EP (2011)

Published by under Alternative,Folk,Indie pop,MP3's

The Portland band Derby just released a new EP yesterday, called Madeline. I’ve been a fan of the band’s indie pop for years, and am enjoying these new tracks. On this EP the band is experimenting with a new sound that is slightly more raw than their past albums (which are summed up perfectly by Northwest Music Blog, as an “infectious, melodic bundle of sugary pop goodness”). The new sound actually brings to mind the Raconteurs quite a bit, especial on “Madeline” and “Creeping Climbing.” The EP is available for digital download and as a limited edition 7″ vinyl, which you can grab here.

Derby is Nat Johnson (lead vocals, guitar, bass), Dave Gulick (vocals, rhodes, organ, guitar), Isaac Frost (drum/percussions), and Wayne Miller (bass). Nat and Dave started playing together as dorm mates at University of Oregon. Isaac joined the band after graduating from Oregon State University, and soon after that, Wayne joined.

Fun facts about Derby:

Gulick came up with the name Derby, while watching an English Premier Soccer game between Manchester United and Manchester City. The announcer called the game a derby (cross town rivalry).

The band has a tour van named “The Green Submarine.” In Johnson’s words “It’s green, it’s huge, it smells like wet dog, and we love it. It could use some gold dubs, but we’ll deal as long as we can still get the ipods to work through the tape deck.”

Madeline EP (2011):

Derby – Don’t Believe in You (mp3)

Derby – Madeline (mp3)

Posters Fade (2008):

Derby – If Ever There’s A Reason (mp3)

Site

23 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

Feb 09 2011

Sydney Wayser – The Colorful

Published by under Folk,Fun!,MP3's

If you’re a fan of Andrew Bird, Yann Tiersen, or Cat Power I highly recommend checking out multi-instrumental artist, Sydney Wayser.

I’ve been listening to her beautiful 2009 release, The Colorful, non-stop this week. With all the hand claps, banjo picking, whistling, and glockenspiel goodness the album offers, we once again see that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs hits it right on the mark. Nice work, Maslow.

A few of my favorite tracks on The Colorful include, “Lullaby,” “Banjo Bayou,” “La Di Da,” and “Oh The Places You’ll Go.” As a fan of Woody Allen’s classic movie, Annie Hall, I appreciate how one of the scenes was the inspiration of “La Di Da.” Wayser explains, “It was the scene on the rooftop after they meet at the tennis match… Diane Keaton gets embarrassed and doesn’t know what to say so she says ‘la di da’. It is this wonderfully awkward moment… and I feel like I have that moment a lot in my life.” Can I get a La Di Da to that?

Wayser is French-American and lives in New York (she’s originally from Los Angeles).  She’s only 24 years old, so we have lots to look forward to… and it sounds like she’ll be releasing a new album this year, called Bell Choir Coast. I’ll keep you posted!

The Colorful (2009):

Sydney Wayser – Lullaby (mp3)

Sydney Wayser – La Di Da (mp3)

SiteBandcamp (only $1!) | Daytrotter (2009)

6 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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2 responses so far

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)

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Site | iTunes

2 responses so far

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