Hey Marseilles – To Travels & Trunks

hey mersailles

If you are a fan of the Decemberists, Beirut, or Yann Tiersen you’ll probably really dig the indie/gypsy folk sound of the Seattle band, Hey Marseilles. As you can see in the photo above, the band consists of seven members, and they play a bunch of super sweet instruments like trumpets, cellos, accordions, and a sousaphone.

Hey Marseilles’ 2008 self-released debut, To Travels & Trunks, is phenomenal, and unfortunately hasn’t gotten the exposure that it deserves because of its limited release.  If you are looking to boost your productivity today, listen to the tracks “To Travels & Trunks” and “Rio.” Hey Marseilles makes intelligent music that will inspire you to do great things (not to sound like a fortune cookie, but it’s true).

And if you’re like me, you may be wondering how  the collaboration process works in a large, instrumental band like Hey Marseilles. Of course it varies from band to band, but I often think, who was it who decided to put that little horn there? How did you decide to put it there instead of here? Why can’t I be this talented!

When asked about the writing process in a Three Imaginary Girls interview, Hey Marseilles frontman Matt Bishop said,

There’s kind of a few different ways that we do it. Some of the songs were songs that I brought to the table and then we would fill in the spaces and integrate it into the Hey Marseilles sound. A lot of the songs these days are coming out of the instrumentals that we’ll put together and then I’ll sit down and write melodies and lyrics on top of that. So it’s pretty dynamic in terms of the way they come together.

I can’t wait for the sophomore album to come out, and highly recommend you buy this album!

To Travels & Trunks (2008):

(MP3) Hey Marseilles- To Travels & Trunks

(MP3) Hey Marseilles – Rio

Official Site | or buy it at MF, where artists earn all the money (a new project I’ve been working on!)

Wisdom Tooth – Cathedral Park (2009)

wisdom tooth

If you keep up with IndieMuse, you are probably well aware of my love for the xylophone. I think it’s a great instrument. And fortunately, a lot of bands dig the xylophone too, so I can pretty much write about it to my heart’s content.

Another instrument that I really love, that I can’t write about as much, is the ukulele. The ukulele is a totally underrated instrument, and it makes me sad that there are some ukelele haters out there who think it’s a lame guitar wannabe. It’s not. It’s awesome.

If you are like me, and just want to listen to great ukulele folk/pop all day, you should check out Meagan Day, aka Wisdom Tooth. She recently released an album called “Cathedral Park” that I highly recommend.  Best of all, she gives away all of her music for free.

Meagan is a Texas native, attending Oberlin College in Ohio,  and has been writing songs since high school.

Cathedral Park (2009)

Wisdom Tooth – Cathedral Park

Wisdom Tooth – Wild Grasses

Myspace | CLLCT (download fo’ FREE!)

Devendra Banhart: Song of the Day, New Album and More!


I’m sure you’ve all heard this track by now, but I just can’t get over it. Every once in a while, a remix will come out that is (in almost every way) better than the original song. Perhaps it is a reflection of our “open-source society.” In this case, Neighbors and Devendra Banhart completely rethink the song “Rome” from Phoenix’s latest album.

MP3: Phoenix – Rome (Neighbors RMX w/ Devendra Banhart)”

Since I first picked up Nino Rojo, my opinion of Devendra Banhart has changed fundamentally. While I initially reflected on Banhart as a musical jester, prone to take the side of drug-induced nonsense before engaging sincere emotion, I was not considering his full scope. Needless to say, 2007’s Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon blew me away. It moved between folk, psychedelica, doo wop, soul and pure rock with the finesse and grace that only seemed right emanating from such an enigmatic songwriter. The sensual, analog texture of the album and the sheer diversity of Banhart’s songwriting and production skills cemented him and his work as a thing of beauty. Still the strange, psychedelic, wandering minstrel that drew me to him in the first place, Banhart now has the tools at his disposal to do great things to whatever he touches.

MP3: Devendra Banhart – “Shabop Shalom” from Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon

MP3: Devendra Banhart – “Seahorse” from Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon

In researching Banhart for this post, I realized that his latest album, What Will We Be comes out on October 27th!!! Holy balls! For someone who writes about music, I should know these things… as someone who suffers from chronic obliviousness, I think I’m on par here. The new album features many of the same forces that made SRDTC such a fantastic album. Real info the actual recording and philosophy has been hard to come by… the mystery only intrigues me more. Check these out and let me know what you think. There’s a particular, defined energy that has been elusive on past recordings. I’m interested to see what this does for his more conceptual ideas. Regardless, I’m excited.

MP3: Devendra Banhart – “Baby” from What Will We Be (I LOVE THIS SONG)

MP3: Devendra Banhart – “16th and Valencia Roxy Music” from What Will We Be

MP3: Devendra Banhart – “Goin’ Back to the Place” from What Will We Be

Hear another track, “Walillamdzi” on StereoGum and hear another, “Angelika” on his MySpace

Home | MySpace | AllMusic Guide | Wiki | Hype Machine

What Will We Be drops Oct. 27, 2009. Pre-order: Amazon | InSound | iTunes

To close, here’s Devendra’s video for “Carmensita” starring his ex, Natalie Portman… yep, that’s right.


I Met The Walrus

One day in 1969, a 14-year-old from Toronto skipped school on a rumor that John Lennon was in town. With a tape recorder and unassailable determination, Jerry Levitan snuck into Lennon’s hotel room and conducted an intimate audio-interview that has been animated into what was the 2008 Academy Award winner for “Best Short Film.”

Levitan’s interview dealt with PEACE and how human beings can foster healthier environments for such an important concept to flourish. Lennon, a man of sincere wit and ambition, does not disappoint with his insights in the least. With the addition of surreal pen-animation, this interview is transformed into a work of art. It combines the spontaneous, excited energy of a revolution with the precise, scrupulous perfection of visual art in animation. Inspirational and humbling all at once, I Met The Walrus is not to be missed. Check it out:


For more info on this short, visit the I Met The Walrus Official Site.

Bored To Death


I’m quite fond of the new HBO series Bored To Death. When I heard that Zach Galifinakis (one of my favorite comedians) and Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore & I Heart Huckabees) were going to be in a new series, I knew that it was probably going to be great, but I was surprised by just how great it actually is. Is it bad that I just want it to be next Sunday already?

Schwartzman’s role as an author/unlicensed private investigator seriously couldn’t have been cast better. And this show has made my affection for Galifinakis grow even stronger, which I didn’t think was possible-his dry sense of humor is more subtle than in his other projects, and I love it. Ted Danson is hilarious as well, and Jim Jarmeush guest starred in the third episode!

To make things even better, Bored to Death jumped on the “good indie music in background” bandwagon. However, instead of trying to “make” every indie band out there, like Grey’s Anatomy, it plays less bands more frequently.  You can see the list here.

HBO just renewed Bored to Death for a second season. According to /Film, “the series also features guest appearances from John Hodgman (Daily Show, Mac ads), Patton Oswalt, Kirsten Wiig, Parker Posey, Bebe Neuwirth, Oliver Platt, Olivia Thirlby. And if you’re not sold yet… Paul Feig, of Freaks and Geeks, The Office and Arrested Development fame, directs a couple episodes.”

Episode 1:

(MP3) Kaiser Cartel – Favorite Song (Live from Breakthru Radio EP)


(MP3) Andrew Bird – Lull


Episode 4:

(MP3) La Strada -Loved You All Along


The trailer doesn’t really do the show justice, but here you go anyway.


Thom Yorke and Flea… YES!

Well, if you haven’t heard about it already, Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame enlisted Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist along with producer Nigel Godrich and percussionists Joey Waronker and Mario Refosco played two shows in Los Angeles this week… yes. Here’s a clip of “Harrowdown Hill.”


If you ask me, there’s something right about seeing Flea rocking out over Thom Yorke’s… “dancing.” The LAWeekly Blog has a solid roundup of the project.

One thing is for sure. This isn’t any sort of vanity project. These guys are for real, and made music on Friday night that was both a logical extension of The Eraser — some sort of advance — and something very removed.

See what they mean, there are a few more videos on the website. I’m gonna wait to hear more… maybe a recording?

Avi Buffalo


I’ve been listening a bunch recently to the Long Beach based band Avi Buffalo.  They have a great indie/folk sound and for being a young band, they have unbelievable potential. I love their charming vocals, guitar riffs, and little subtitles on every track.

The band is currently in one of those funky pre-label stages where they have a recorded album, but it’s not quite ready to see daylight yet. In the weeks to come they will likely make an official announcement about a record deal, and set a release date for their debut soon after that (UPDATE: Avi Buffalo has officially signed to Sub Pop). In the meantime, to help raise some gas money,  they are independently selling 5 tracks via Bandcamp that you should check out. I’ve been playing “Distaste and Interest” non-stop.

Avi Buffalo is Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg, Sheridan Riley, Arin Fazio, and Rebecca Coleman. Avi started writing songs his sophomore year in high school, and after being asked to play a show by Bill Cutts of Outsider Folk, Avi got together some friends to play an acoustic set at the Zephyr Cafe in Long Beach. “With the summer time and a local fall music festival approaching, a full electric band was in order. The band was asked to play in Los Angeles, and did, and kept doing it! A year later, Avi and Aaron Embry(Amnion) began recording the songs that would become the band’s first record.”

(MP3) Avi Buffalo – Wheres Your Dirty Mind

(MP3)  Avi Buffalo – Coaxed (Aquarium Drunkard Session @ Infrasonic Studios)

Site | Myspace | Bandcamp

Old Hannah – When I Die

Old Hannah are a folk-duo out of Boston. Their songs create memories of debatable origin. They elicit a nostalgia not entirely based in reality, more like some vague swirling sensation of times past.  Like a montage of youth shot through corroding, color-beaten film. Specifically their song “When I Die,” which, like most things I obsess over, keeps me up at night

Old Hannah is guitarist Tyler Bussey and singer A.K. Bussey plays guitar with the craftsmanship and melodic sensibility of Elliot Smith, embedding slight, lilting melodies into palm-muted chords while A.K. sings with the conviction of one who understands Grace as both abstraction and fact of life. In “When I Die,” a song as profound as it is simple, Bussey’s guitar playing acts as an understated guide to A.K.’s melody as she details post-mortal wanderings and laments, traipsing through golden gates and floating above the world, images that mirror the ambitions of her vocals. And when they touch the chorus, a nearly ethereal portion of the song existing only as a riff and a line, Bussey reaches an infectious slide which propels A.K.’s lament to the heavens: “And when I die, I’ll sing you songs.”

I first saw Old Hannah at a folk show where most people played covers. Given the power of  “When I Die,” I assumed it to be a song handed down through the generations and was astounded to find it was theirs.

Get into it.

From Old Hannah’s Bright World EP:

Old Hannah – When I Die

MySpace | BUY IT! |

Jim James (My Morning Jacket) shares his favorite books


It was a nice surprise to see that this weeks edition of the great magazine The Week featured a list of Jim James’ favorite books. James is the frontman of My Morning Jacket, has a side project ‘Yim Yames’ under which he made a tribute album for George Harrison, and is one of the members of the power-group, Monsters of Folk (with Conor Oberst, M.Ward, and Mike Mogis). Here is the list if you are looking for some book recommendations. I’m actually way behind on reading and could use a recommendation from his recommendation list if you can help out.  (And I apologize if you thought the above photo was Seth Rogen. It’s not. Besides, I don’t think Rogen reads anything besides comic books.)

Monsters of Folk – Temazcal

My Morning Jacket – I’m Amazed

My Morning Jacket – Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ (Velvet Underground) @ Bonnaroo 08

Jim James favorite books (via The Week) :

Be Here Now by Ram Dass (Three Rivers, $15).

I was given this book at a point in my life when I needed it most. I digested its meditations on consciousness and spiritual identity, and knew I had met a lifelong friend. “Be here now.” What else needs to be said?

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (Picador, $16).

The mini-universe created within these pages, lost in time but forever timely and relevant, never fails to move. The human experience, the heights of emotion, the depths of sorrow, love, war, loss, and comic books are all vividly portrayed in Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel.

The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey

(Harper Perennial, $15). Monkey wrenchin’. Stickin’ it to the man. For his 1975 comic novel about a band of eco-saboteurs, Abbey invented some of the most memorable characters ever set into motion. High adventure in the great American West. Pure mental cinema. Great escape with a great message to boot.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

(Vintage, $15). One of my favorite voices. What creativity and depth Eggers poured into every aspect of his personal story about his family’s tragedy. What a good force for this planet Eggers has since become! All the proceeds from the sale of his recent novel What Is the What go to benefit the Sudanese in America and Sudan.

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf; drawings by Robert Lawson (Grosset & Dunlap, $4).

“All the other little bulls he lived with would run and jump and butt their heads together, but not Ferdinand.” This simple story about finding peace and contentment within oneself remains relevant more than 50 years after its publication.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (Vintage, $16).

This was the first of Murakami’s books to grace my mind’s eye. I liked it so much I read all his books back to back and found myself lost in one giant blended story of surrealism so normal and strange.

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