Song of the Day – 7/30/08

Last week I posted about a tour by two fantastic folk singers by the names of Vikesh Kapoor and Nicholas Beaven. I got my hands on their EP’s and this week I will feature them both.

Nicholas Beaven’s five-song Four Track EP is surely a work of art in both content and presentation. The sleeve of the disc was pressed with a hand-carved stamp that he made and a note inside is written intimately for the the listener. The sounds don’t disappoint either.

Reminiscent just as much of Nick Drake and Elliott Smith as the classic folk poets, Beaven’s songs have that eerie bit of honesty about them. The analog warmth of the recordings give his already intriguing progressions and patterns the texture they deserve. His voice could be one of the warmest you’ve heard and the motion of the songs play along perfectly. The songs on the album vary in their power, but just for the sake of its shining moments should you give them your time. Even moreso than his skill on the guitar and his unique approach to songwriting is his ability to invite you to see his person. To bear what may be more suitable for a private journal in such an open spirit is a quality that resides few and far between in music today.

A multi-talented artist from the great city of Chicago, Nicholas Beaven’s “Lady I’ve Yet To Meet”  is your song of the day. Make it speak to you.

MP3: Nicholas Beaven – “Lady I’ve Yet To Meet”

MP3: Nicholas Beaven – “Midnight Moon”

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Mount Eerie and Julie Doiron and Fred Squire

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Phil Elverum (of the Microphones and Mount Eerie fame) has collaborated with Julie Dorion and Fred Squire (of Eric’s Trip fame) on a new upcoming album “Lost Wisdom” due October 7th. I have a good feeling about this release after only hearing only one track “Flaming Home” which I have provided for you today. Phil and Julie’s voices blend so well together that it only leaves me wanting more after playing this track on repeat over and over again. I noticed that there was a little lyrical riff used from one of Mount Eerie’s songs “Let’s Get Out of the Romance”. It works really well in this song, almost better than in the original song. Phil Elverum seems to be moving towards a more melodic direction closer to the Microphones and I think that it’s a very good thing.
MP3: Mount Eerie and Julie Doiron and Fred Squire – Flaming Home 

MP3: Mount Eerie – Let’s Get Out of the Romance

MP3: Juile Doiron – All Their Broken Hearts

MP3: Eric’s Trip – My Chest is Empty 

P. W. Elverum & Sun |  MySpace (Mount Eerie/Microphones) | MySpace (Julie Doiron)

Captain of Industry – The Bronze



 A few weeks ago, my band had the fortune of sharing the stage with Dayton, OH indie-rockers Captain of Industry, who came at us by way of our friends in Pretty & Nice (who are about to drop ’08’s indie-pop bomb in October, more to come on that as the date approaches). Without ever having heard Captain prior to playing with them, I was instantly engaged in their live show – singer Nathan Peters calmly hid behind a battered Fender Rhodes piano, acting as the eye of an indie rock storm while his four band mates writhed around him, all dueling guitars a la Television and popping, instantly accessible, just short of recognizable hooks. But it wasn’t until I sat down with their album, The Bronze, that it really hit.

Their songs are short and sweet, just long enough to establish hooks but short enough to leave a distinct longing for something more. Each song has a story to tell, a message to convey, something instantly relatable reminiscent of early Pavement’s sincerity (like my favorite lyric from “Range Life,” – You gotta pay your dues, before you pay your rent). They’re just as likely to create shimmery neo-folk as they are frantic, deranged rock and roll. The album still knocks me over in it’s uniqueness, and that’s why I’ve included two tracks for download today. But dear god, buy this album, support this band.

Choosing which songs to upload was tough. Every other minute I’d decided on a different song, but here are the two I finally settled with:

“Face Full of Head Full of Hair” is on their neo-folk-shimmery-guitar-line side, as mentioned above. Great lyrics, dynamic structure, intriguing from start to finish. Peters uses a very peculiar inflection on his lyrics toward the end, some of the more engaging lyrics too.

“Sweet Nectar Action” is a minute and a half of furious, indie-rock bliss. Beginning with frantic hard-rock guitars, the song seamlessly transitions into a dance-rock anthem, with Peters’s double-tracked, harmonized falseto leading a tight groove that quickly crescendos and fades. Boom.

 And one of the more precious lyrics from the album:

“Let’s be friends and hold f’ing hands, burn me up we’ll tumble to the sun” – Blood, Sweat, Sex

 from The Bronze:

Face Full of Head Full of Hair – Captain of Industry

Sweet Nectar Action – Captain of Industry

| MySpace | eMusic | Rhapsody |

Jonathan Poneman’s 5 Favorite Sub Pop Records Songs

Sub Pop, my most beloved record label, is celebrating their 20th Anniversary this year. Co-founders Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman started a radio show in 1979, which turned into a fanzine, later to become the official Sub Pop Records we’ve all come to love. It’s hard to say exactly when Sub Pop “started” because in a decade it morphed from strictly a passion to a business.

Sup Pop is partially responsible for surfacing the 90’s grunge scene in Seattle, releasing albums by Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney. The  label is now shaping the sound of indie music, signing bands such as The Postal Service, The Shins, Iron & Wine,  and a slew of other amazing acts.

Jon Poneman is still running Sub Pop, although Pavitt resigned in 1996 to raise a family and experience life’s other offerings. NPR recently interviewed  Poneman, at which time he gave an update on what’s going on at the label and listed his five favorite Sub Pop released songs.

If you are looking for a fascinating story, read more about Sub Pop. Not only are they the most revolutionary independent label of the last decades, but have had a truly inspiring battle to get there. They saw a lot of rough times, and weren’t always able to treat artists as well as they would have liked. Pavitt says in an interview with Pitchfork, “We opened the doors to our very, very tiny office on April 1, 1988, and by May 1, 1988– 30 days later– we thought we were going out of business.” The dark years at Sub Pop got so bad that they had to beg the phone company to give them 10 more days of service. Then in 1995, verging  bankruptcy after the label spent a lot more money then they could afford, Sub Pop was forced to  sell 49% of the company to Warner Bros.

Thanks Sub Pop for all that you’ve done!

Jonathan Poneman’s 5 Favorite Sub Pop Records Songs:

Iron & Wine – Lion’s Mane

Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal

Pernice Brothers- Monkey Suit

Zumpano – Here’s the Plan

The Vaselines – Dying For It

Sub Pop website | NPR radio interview with Poneman | Pitchfork interview with Pavitt and Poneman

Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head – Glistening Pleasure

If you are looking to dance off the rest of the summer, I highly recommend you check out Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head. I’ve been actively following them since last summer when they played The Capital Hill Block Party in Seattle. Spoon rocked the two day festival, along with John Vanderslice, The Blue Scholars, Aesop Rock, and a few dozen more bands.  I went to their stage having no idea who they were, but NPSH quickly became my favorite performance there.

Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head’s music sounds like what a band with the name “Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head” would sound like. They are a synth-pop, quirky band out of Seattle who doesn’t take themselves seriously at all. They are absolutely ridiculous, and I love them for it.

NPHS just released their debut album Glistening Pleasure, which features a lot of their songs from their older Secret Crush EP. My personal favorites off the debut  include L.A. Noir, Mouth Full of Bones, Holding Hands in the Shower, Hush Hush, and Beard Lust.

The just out of high school band members of NPHS include Luke Smith, Shaun Libman, Claire England, David Price, and Liam Downey Jr. I laugh whenever I look at Shaun’s “band role” on their Myspace: “Vocal, maracas, shakers, tambourine, cowbell, claps.” The rest of their Myspace page is pretty entertaining too, you should visit it. The band is touring the US this summer so be sure to check if they are coming to your city.

Glistening Pleasure (2008):

Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head – L.A. Noir

Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head – Mouth Full of Bones

iTunes| Amazon |Myspace


Album Of The Year Contender: Beck- Modern Guilt


Beck is an artist that needs no introduction. For almost 15 years, Beck has put out great album after great album of varying genre, while still maintaining his distinct sound, characterized by his complex arrangements, clever lyrics and honest voice. Just like the sex rock/funk of Midnite Vultures to the intimate folk of Guero and Mutations, Beck’s 2008 release Modern Guilt forms a unique sound, highlighting Beck’s incredible songwriting abilities. Produced by Danger Mouse, the album is very drum/beat oriented and the guitar is often sparse or sampled. The second track, “Gamma Ray,” is the album’s catchiest number, full of rhythmic snare hits and punctual guitar, while “Chemtrails” exposes Beck’s vocal range as he whispers in falsetto over pounding drums and piano. Each track will get your head bobbing with their infectious rhythms while varying in sound and style. Modern Guilt is one of 2008’s best records so far and an early contender for album of the year.


From Modern Guilt:

Beck – Gamma Ray

Beck – Replica

Feist On Sesame Street

Feist is amazing.


 Feist Singing Kids Version of “1234”


“1234” Music Video


The Reminder:

Feist – 1234

Let it Die:

Feist – Gatekeeper


Feist – “Nothin’ in the World Can Stop Me Worrying ‘Bout That Girl” (Kinks Cover)

The Kinks – “Nothin’ in the World Can Stop Me Worrying ‘Bout That Girl”


 Site | iTunes | Myspace


Go See A Folk Show.


The other night I had the brilliant chance to catch a folk show at a good friend’s apartment. Seated cross-legged on the floor I was witness to a spectacle that shone with a respect to new art as well as a time honored tradition.

I met Vikesh Kapoor through a friend and am truly proud to bring his music to IndieMuse. He and his good friend Nicholas Beaven are ridiculously talented musicians and songwriters as well as honest members of the folk institution [sic].

From their press release:

Kapoor’s lyrics draw from the poetry of Whitman and from the melodic intonations of Woody Guthrie. He is a true wordsmith. Kapoor creates story-songs that while new, seem to have originated from archetypal American tales. And, like any classic tale revisited, his quirks (his vocal vulnerabilities and off–beat humor) cement his appeal.

MP3: Vikesh Kapoor – “Down By The River”

Beaven too can turn a skeptic into a true believer with his clear, almost haunting voice and fanciful guitar melodies. He sings of heartache and jubilation with constant references to nature, which is a prevalent motif throughout his work. Beaven’s lyrics are simple in format (in the style of Neil Young), but he has a knack for saying a lot by not being bogged down by complexities.

MP3: Nicholas Beaven – “Midnight Moon”

I was delighted to find that these guys would be going on a small tour through the northeast. If you guys have a chance and are willing to take our word, go see them. You won’t regret it.

I should be getting their EP’s in the mail soon and will have a review fer y’all soon.

Vikesh Kapoor | Nicholas Beaven

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Mirah – The Old Days Feeling

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I first heard Mirah unknowingly as background vocals on some tracks of the Microphones almost two years ago. After doing a little research I discovered Mirah and her wonderful music. Her new album “The Old Days Feeling” was released today. This is actually a compilation of old and unreleased material. Though these songs weren’t meant to be together as an album, it still feels coherent and could be treated as an album. Many of the songs are pretty light, perfect for the summertime. The second track “Slighted” has an old school ska groove that almost sounds like a better more mellow version of early No Doubt. An alternate version of “The Sun” is the highlight track of this album. A bunch of familiar voices from the Pacific Northwest come in about halfway through the song inviting everyone listening to sing along.  I wonder why some of these songs weren’t released, because I think they’re just as good as anything else she has released.

MP3: Mirah – Slighted

MP3: Mirah – The Sun

MySpace | K Records

Songs of the Day

Friday always reminds me to live in the moment, today I bring you a small mix of songs that I am listening to right now. Now, I’m not going to tell you that  these bands are gonna blow up. I won’t say that they are the next big thing. But in this moment, it’s all the music I need. There is no particular structure or mood, but hopefully one of these songs makes it onto your soundtrack. These songs are all fantastic in their own way.

MP3: The Do – “Stay (Just A Little Bit More)”

This song does not leave once it’s in my head. Give it a listen. If her voice doesn’t turn you into a pile of mushy smiles… well, I just don’t know about you. The Do hail from Helsinki, Finland. Their latest album, A Mouthful, is out now.

MP3: The Dodos – “Undeclared”

Okay, I’ll admit, The Dodos come almost directly after The Do in my iTunes library, but that does not detract from the fact that this song is a wonderful stripped pop song.

MP3: Al Green – “Just For Me”

This ?uestlove produced album dropped about a month ago. When I first heard it I thought it came out thirty years ago. If anything, the mood and atmosphere created on this album hearkens to a greater movement to music that is just a little more pure than the rest. Buy this album. Enjoy it. Make love to it. You won’t regret it.

MP3: Nomo – “My Dear”

Oh my god. Nomo is so sick. Honestly. We caught em at Bonnaroo on the first night in some beer tent and they were unbelievable. The lights weren’t working so they played in the dark for a while. They didn’t fuck up, just so you know. They played at the Middle East in Boston last night and from what I hear (Doty was there), they killed it. Their afrobeat explosion, Ghost Rock, is ready to be bought right now.

MP3: Ratatat – “Mumtaz Khan”

If any Ratatat song was ever your anthem you are not alone. This track, off their newest LP, is for the rest of you. LP3 dropped 3 days ago. Ratatat is cooler than you, and they never said a word.

MP3: The Acorn – “Low Gravity”

I really enjoy this band… if you didn’t know. Saw em a few weeks back at a small venue in Boston and will continue to support them for as long as possible. They are some of the most honest entertainers I’ve seen. Their music brings me a lot of joy.

MP3: The Peasantry – “Tie Off Before You Go Out”

MP3: The Peasantry – “The Ballad of Dean Jiggo”

The late greats, The Peasantry, were a fantastic band killed by circumstances. I caught their last show two weeks ago and it was unbelievable. I will miss them dearly and follow their individual work because frankly, I know it will be fucking awesome.

MP3: Towa Tei – “Last Century Modern”

I’ve been getting back into Towa Tei again. Listening to his 1999 release, Last Century Modern is a true testament to his status as a pioneer DJ. Releasing LCM just after his breakthrough, Sound Museum made us understand just how smart he really is.

MP3: Estelle feat. Kanye West – “American Boy (Kill the Noise Remix)”

I was going to post the version with Busta instead of Kanye (who is a bitch, btw) but I just couldn’t find it. I still think he’s clown shoes, but this song is hot.

I hope y’all have a great weekend. Enjoy the summer. Go outside.