If you like Bon Iver, Wisconsin, and beards, you need to check out Cedarwell. Erik Neave, the main man behind Cedarwell, creates music that excites me much in the same way Justin Vernon’s music did when I first set ears on For Emma Forever Ago.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if his name quickly spread.

It almost seems too easy to compare Neave to Vernon,  but his music has a similar tone, he’s from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and  looks like he could be Vernon’s brother. Hopefully, he doesn’t mind the comparison, as it’s one he definitely will not be able to escape. Anyway, I think it’s a pretty big compliment myself, and he’s been making music for a while, as well, and is in no way a copy cat.

Cedarwell currently has two albums out and an EP (they’ve also made music under the name Amalgam), and they have plans on releasing another album in February. I’ll be keeping you posted. The band is currently touring in Europe, so go check em out if you can! From the videos I’ve watched they seem to put on very personal shows.

Live on LaudroManitee.com:

(mp3) Cedarwell – Burn Up The Sky (Which One)

Fall ’08 Tour EP

(mp3) Cedarwell – Black Lung (highly recommend)

Smoky Mountain Bear (2008):

(mp3) Cedarwell – Home

more mp3s on Cedarwell’s website. Buy albums here.


Folk Covers: Lady Gaga & MIA


I’ll admit that I don’t actively seek out cover songs, so this award may be completely unwarranted for all I know, but this cover of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” by Orba Squara wins the best “Cover of the Year” in my book. It’s amazing.

Your Yellow Dress’ cover of MIA’s “Paper Planes” comes in a very close second.

Orba Squara – Poker Face (Lady Gaga cover)

Your Yellow Dress – Paper Planes (MIA cover)

Are there any other covers I should check out? I’ll be doing more complete features on Orba Squara and Your Yellow Dress soon…they’re both really awesome.

Oh my, the difference electronics and sex appeal can make!

Lady Gaga – Poker Face

MIA – Paper Planes

Amber Rubarth Interview


Amber Rubarth, a singer/songwriter whose beautiful music is getting worldwide attention, just got back from a US tour with Joshua Radin and Gary Jules. We got a chance to catch up with her and learn about the tour, her life as a independent artist, and what inspired her to pick up a guitar for the first time at the age of 20 and pursue a career in music.

IM: Hey Amber, welcome back from the tour! How was it?

AR: The tour was AMAZING!!!!  Truly fantastic.  I was familiar with Gary Jules & Josh Radin’s recorded music but hadn’t seen them much live… so first and foremost it was wonderful to see their shows every night and fall in love (over and over again) with their music.  Second, it was my first time on a tour bus (!!) and my first time to Canada!  Loved both. In fact, I’m missing it still.

IM: Do you have any memorable experiences you can share?

AR: Tons and tons of memorable experiences, but some of my favorites were (1) bike riding through new towns with Joshua ~ he found a pawn shop in Toronto where all the bikes were $80 so we took ours on the bus with us…. and (2) my birthday 9/21 where all the boys surprised me with a big cake in Ohio.  And (3) singing on stage with Josh and Gary the last night, that was a ton of fun.  I love those guys, the whole band, the whole crew…. everyone was truly wonderful.

IM: That’s awesome. Who invited you onto the tour?

AR: I’ve heard two different things of how I was asked… I found out through someone I know at MySpace who said they submitted me as a “good idea” as an opener, Josh said he heard of me from Brett Dennen a while ago (who I opened for in CA, he’s amazing!!) and told his management he wanted me to open.  I had met both Josh and Gary once at the Hotel Cafe where we all were on the same night for a benefit they were having, but hadn’t really talked more than a few minutes to either before the tour.  Now I count them both as close friends and it looks like we might be touring again.  Everything was so perfect, I was smiling every day of the tour.

read more of the interview after the jump.

Good Mystery (2009):

Amber Rubarth – Pilot

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


Continue reading

Songs of the Day: Relax


Hey everyone. Here’s a short, relaxing mini-mix for the stressful winter season. Doty and I put this one together, enjoy!

1. Sexy. From their new album, Up Here. We got a chance to see ’em in Vermont a few weeks ago, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. This track is a sultry, soulful ballad that’s more like a warm blanket than a jam. Enjoy

MP3: Soulive – “PJ’s”

2. Two world famous UK DJ’s making awesome music. From 1999’s Epv, I really think this track was destined to find me. I’m not really sure I can vouch for the rest of their music, but this song is pretty much as cool as they come. Ambient lounge grooves, with vocals from Yvonne Webbley.

MP3: Amalagamation of Soundz – “Enchant Me”

3. This album is still shrouded in mystery to me. Although these guys have come out into the public eye, relatively speaking, their music is both personal and universal. There’s something about a pounding beat and dreamy guitar tones that really does it for me. Perfect for early in the morning, or late, late at night. Their debut album came out quite recently, but if you are keen enough, you can track down all sorts of demos, b-sides and side-projects from these guys. Start at We’re Tapes.

MP3: Memory Tapes – “Swimming Field”

4. Her first album in 8 years, Hope Sandoval’s Through The Devil Softly breaks new ground as well as staying true to the idea that was born in Mazzy Star and was realized on Hope’s album Bavarian Fruit Bread. This song, the third track, winds its way into the listeners subconscious and finds a dark place to hide. I’m always haunted by Hope Sandoval’s angelic voice and amazingly intimate lyrics.

MP3: Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions – “For the Rest of Your Life”

5. If you haven’t taken the time to put on your headphones and listen to The Flaming Lips new record Embryonic, do it. It’s an amazing journey from start to finish. In my opinion, this album is not meant to be split up into “singles” and stand-alone tracks, but for the sake of relaxation, here’s a track that features the percussion of a lit match and the psychedelic awesomeness of vocoders, mellotrons and harps. I love The Flaming Lips.

MP3: The Flaming Lips – “The Impulse”

6. I used to listen to Tarika’s album, Son Egal, as a kid. It came out in 1997, and I rediscovered it almost 10 years later. Apparently, in 2001, TIME magazine listed Tarika (Along with Radiohead, U2, Portishead, Sigur Ros and Ziggy Marley, among others) as one of the “10 Best Bands on Planet Earth.” Yeah. Pick up Son Egal or any of their other work if you can.

MP3: Tarika – Sonegaly

7. This 10 minute 20 second masterpiece comes from The Cinematic Orchestra’s unbelievable soundtrack to Dziga Vertov’s 1929 experimental documentary Man With A Movie Camera.  You can see it in part’s on YouTube, but the soundtrack is amazing enough to stand on its own. This song is just a bite of one of the many extreme moods expressed in the score. Check it out.

MP3: The Cinematic Orchestra – “The Awakening of a Woman (Burnout)”

John Vanderslice to reissue albums on vinyl


One of my favorite musicians, John Vanderslice, is going to reissue his entire back catalog on the Minneapolis based label Afternoon Records! They’ll be pressing Time Travel Is Lonely (2001), Life and Death of an American Fourtracker (2002), Cellar Door (2004), and Pixel Revolt (2005), all on high-quality RTI-vinyl. His most recent albums, Romanian Names and Emerald City, are still in-print, hence not needing to be reissued.

Pixel Revolt is one of my favorite albums to listen to on vinyl–I highly recommend getting it. The original pressing of 500 copies sold out six days after the release, so it’s really awesome that Afternoon Records took an initiative to get more copies of these records out there. If you aren’t familiar with John Vanderslice, I’d say check out Pixel Revolt first. Some people give me a hard time when I say I like Pixel Revolt more than Cellar Door (which is also great), but I dunno, that album just really connects with me (and Pitchfork agrees with me and gave it a higher rating than Cellar Door too…and Pitchfork knows all, right?)

But hey, if you have the cash,  just buy all four vinyls for $70. They’re really good. You can pre-order here (release date is December 8th; they all come with mp3 codes).

Pixel Revolt (2005):

(Mp3) John Vanderslice – Exodus Damage

(Mp3) John Vanderslice – Trance Manual

Life and Death of An American Fourtracker (2002):

(Mp3) John Vanderslice – Underneath The Leaves

JV’s site | Afternoon Records

Sam Hart – Mario Kart Love Song

Mario Kart Love Song

I grew up playing Mario Kart, and really loved the game despite the fact that I was absolutely horrible at it. My strategy was to be so bad that I would distract my opponents, and then sneak attack a banana peel, but that never seemed to work out too well for me. I once slipped on my own peel which I didn’t even know was possible…

Mario and I have parted ways over the years (on good terms), but there are some really good Mario songs out there that still keep us close. My favorite is called the “Mario Kart Love Song” from a musician named Sam Hart. Sam plays music more as a hobby, for now, but this awesome song has gotten him quite a bit of attention.


(MP3) Sam Hart – Mario Kart Love Song

The above MP3 is the Youtube version. Buy the better quality MP3 at iTunes or CDbaby. Sam is independent, support him!

Black Pear Trees EP:

(mp3) The Mountain Goats & Kaki King – Thank You Mario But Our Princess Is in Another Castle

Bombadil – Tarpits and Canyonlands


I highly recommend checking out the band Bombadil. Their 2009 release Tarpits and Canyonlands hasn’t received all that much attention, which is really unfortunate given it’s one of my favorite albums of the year. I’m absolutely in love with the third track on the album, called “Honeymoon.” I would even go as far as saying that it’s my favorite track of the year. Its layered arrangements are gorgeous and seriously… it’ll blow your mind. Take a listen below.

Bombadil has a truly unique sound. It’s hard to classify them in a genre because their songs constantly evolve into something new. One second you can make the Neutral Milk Hotel connection. Next second,  Andrew Bird or the Minders. Perhaps with a dash of the Fleet Foxes.  Songs like “Sad Birthday” and “Honeymoon” have somewhat dark lyrics, but are among the most upbeat songs on the album. “Laurita” is sung in Spanish. The album is all over the place, and makes for one of the funnest concoction’s of the year. It’s pretty cool that the band and their label Ramseur (Avett Brothers) took the risk of putting this “multi-genred” album out. People might not like every song, but there’s definitely something here for everyone (at least on indie muse).

Bombadil is based out of Durham, NC, though they met while studying in Bolivia.  If you aren’t convinced that they’re a cool band yet, just take a look at their site where they pose their CD around the U.S. like Amelie does with the Garden gnome.

ameliegnomebombaldi rushmore

Tarpits and Canyonlands (2009):

(MP3) Bombadil – Honeymoon

(MP3) Bombadil – So Many Ways To Die

Site | Store | iTunes | Myspace