Help fund Kickstarter project Sound Through Sight!

There’s a really cool new site called Kickstarter that allows people working on independent projects to raise funding through friends, family, and awesome folks around the internet. And better yet, funders usually get some really neat swag in return (i.e. an artist trying to raise money to record an album, will often times send it to a supporter for free). You are bound to find amazing people on this site–and given they are seeking help from the community, it’s fair to say most of them are extremely modest, unlike some of their industry “(insert mean word)” counterparts.

One project that gets a big IndieMuse stamp of approval is called Sound Through Sight: A Gonzo Road Trip to Understand Music In 2010. It’s started by Tom Williams (writer), Sarah Mulligan (photographer), and Rahawa Haile (filmaker).

Here’s a small blurb from their Kickstarter page explaining the project:

Picture Chuck Klosterman and Alexis de Tocquevillie joining Hunter S. Thompson, going not on a drug-fueled rampage across Las Vegas but on a trip of discovery across America, seeking to understand where music and the music industry stands in 2010, how we got here, and where we’re going. We are three passionate young music lovers who intend to do just that. To understand these questions and to look for answers, we are going on a Gonzo road trip, searching for insights and answers on the back roads of America. We will then write a book on the trip which attempts to answers those questions we just posed. We will also create a book of photography from our travels across North America and a short documentary about the music we encounter on this trip.

The money we are seeking to raise here will go towards printing the first edition of the book, as well as the gas, food, and other minor travel expenses we’ll need to complete this trip. (more)

If you have a few extra dollars in your pocket, you should consider helping out! A $15 donation will even score you a free copy of the book once it’s published!

Song of the day: Avi Buffalo – Where’s Your Dirty Mind

Cuckoo Chaos – We Are From Deerplants (2010)

I’m really digging Cuckoo Chaos’ new EP, We Are from Deerplants. The band will be releasing their debut later in the year, and this is a sign of good things to come. If you’e a fan of Devendra Banhart, The Bowerbirds, or that general folk sound, I highly recommend checking them out.

My favorite track on the EP is “It’s Easy, Ya Know. ” It’s short and catchy, and among my favorite songs of the year. I’m also drawn to the tracks “Hymn Number Twelve,” and “Preparing for the Eternal Winter, We,” both of which creatively incorporate eerie, staticy voices to fully drive that lo-fi sound.  Overall, just a solid EP. Keep your eyes on Cuckoo Chaos.

Cuckoo Chaos is based out of San Diego, and is fronted by Scott Wheeler.

We Are From Deerplants EP (2010)

(mp3) Cuckoo Chaos – It’s Easy, Ya Know

(mp3) Cuckoo Chaos – Slowly Counting Down To Nothing

Myspace | iTunes

Autolux – Future Perfect (2004)

Six years have elapsed since Autolux’s last album’s release (which apparently went under the radar as it “never had much support behind it“), but Future Perfect still feels exciting. This lasting interest likely has a lot to do with the fact that this Californian trio takes influence from decades past and decades that haven’t even elapsed yet—their sound is simultaneously before and after.

It’d be just as accurate to compare the band to My Bloody Valentine as it would to conjure up elaborate conspiracy theories that they’re actually a gang of robros from the distant future. Autolux have enough feedback-wrapped shoegaze to keep the nostalgikids happy, but the slick futurism of their whirling electronic flourishes helps keep them relevant.

Future Perfect is cool. Really cool. Honestly, this level of cool should not even be attainable. It’s hard to listen to the album without feeling like you’re standing outside the door of some secret party that you would never be invited to. The kind of party that takes place in a loft or an abandoned warehouse, complete with atmospheric lighting and highly-stylized attendees. But you can put your ear to the door and feel temporarily cool by proxy, telling yourself that your party invitation just got lost in the mail…

Future Perfect (2004)

(mp3) Autolux – Blanket

(mp3) Autolux – Here Comes Everybody

Site | iTunes | MySpace

Cuddle Magic – Picture (2010)

If you’re a fan of large, multi-instrumental bands be sure to check out Cuddle Magic’s sophomore album, Picture. It just released yesterday, and includes some great tracks.

The ensemble is based out of New York and Philadelphia, and made up of  12 musicians, or more, at any given time (and a 3-foot plastic penguin). Their sound covers a wide range of genres, including folk, world, and avant-pop. The diversity won’t be for everyone, but it’s always interesting to see how bands craft their music with such a variety of instruments (strings, percussion, vibraphone, clarinet, keyboards, guitars, and a whole lot more). Several tracks I recommend include “Expectations,””Anyone,””One Useful Song,” and “Say When.”

I might need to take a breather in between, but here’s the current roster in the band: Alec Spigelman, Ashley Paul, Ben Davis, Bridget Kearney, Christopher McDonald, Cole Kamen-Green, Dave Flaherty, (inhale-exhale), Eric Lane, Kristin Slipp, Lucy Railton, Max Haft, and Mike Calarese. Many of them got their training from the New England Conservatory.

Picture (2010):

(mp3) Cuddle Magic – Expectations

(mp3) Cuddle Magic – Anyone

site | label | MF (IndieMuse’s new music store where artists keep all the proceeds, cause we love em)

Headless Heroes – The Silence of Love

I highly recommend checking out Headless Heroes if you’re a fan of Beth Orton, Cat Power, or simply a fan of great cover songs. Headless Heroes is a group of established musicians who got together to cover songs spanning forty years. Artists covered include Daniel Johnston, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Vashti Bunyan, Linda Perhacs and The Gentle Soul.

The album, called The Silence of Love, is the brainchild of producers Eddie Bezalel and Hugo Nicholson. They recruited talented musicians for the album, including Alela Diane, Josh Klinghoffer (Beck, Jon Brion, Red Hot Chilli Peppers), Joey Waronker (Elliott Smith), Woody Jackson, Leo Abrahams, and Gus Seyffert.

Alela, an artist signed to Rough trade, is the female vocalist you hear on all the tracks. She was asked to take part in the project after Bezalel came across her Myspace page. The music varies from what she is used to making, but she says “it was quite liberating to just sing! And not worry about it being my record, or it being different from the type of music that I’m used to making.”

Some of my favorite tracks on The Silence of Love include “Just Like Honey,” “The North Wind Blew South,” and “Blues Run the Game” (Nick Drake also has a great cover of this song).

The Silence of Love (2009):

(mp3) Headless Heroes – The North Wind Blew South

(mp3) Headless Heroes – Blues Run the Game

itunes | myspace


Nick Drake – Blues Run The Game (off  2007 release Family Tree)

Abigail Washburn – “It Ain’t Easy”

I immediately fell in love with Abigail Washburn’s song “It Ain’t Easy” after one of my friends shared it with me last year. I’m not all that familiar with her music, but I continually find myself going back to this song’s gorgeous vocals and instrumentals.

Washburn has a pretty interesting background. She had no intentions of focusing her career on music, and as a hobby, experimented with a lot of different genres including R&B, gospel, and reggae. It wasn’t until a trip to China, where she immersed herself in the Chinese bluegrass culture, that this became her style. Her diverse background is apparent on her most recent release, Afterquake, which is an electronic/folk  benefit EP she made with Shanghai Restoration Project’s David Liang (it released on the one year anniversy of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake).

Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet:

(mp3) Abigail Washburn – It Ain’t Easy

Afterquake benefit EP:

(mp3) Abigail Washburn & the Shanghai Restoration Project – Sala

About “Sala”: The Qiang ethnic minority (the group most impacted by the 2008 Sichuan earthquakes) traditionally dances around the fire while singing this song. The words contain no meaning and are simply meant to inspire dancing.

itunes | myspace |afterquake site

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Leif Vollebekk – Inland (2010)

First feature by Alie, our new IndieMuse contributor.

I have an unabashedly soft side for The Hits of Today: the Cyruses nodding their respective heads like yeah and all those single ladies (wuh uh oh). But after an extended session of top forties, I realize that the radio has really just been rhyming at me in glorified baby talk laid over sick beatz. And I’ve been singing right along with every ga-ga-ooh-la-la, because that is exactly what I’m supposed to do.

But what about words? What about Scrabble-acceptable words used in beautiful, surprising ways? For these and other, non-linguistic reasons, I turn to musicians like Leif Vollebekk. It’s obvious that the guy has some sort of timeless troubadour quality, but what really warms me is his style of songwriting that is more hint than statement. Inland unfolds like a subtle run-on sentence, both musically and with inexplicably satisfying lyrics (The coming and going spirit’s in the door hinges / And I’m sitting peeling Suzanne’s oranges) that explode from nowhere, only to settle in quick and get comfy.

So Leif Vollebekk, if you’re reading this, you’re triple-word score all the way.

Inland (2010):

(mp3) Leif Vollebekk – You Couldn’t Lie to Me in Paris

(mp3) Leif Vollebekk – Northernmost Eva Maria

Site | iTunes | MySpace

Field – Be Brave (2010)

You know those people who are somehow good at everything they do? Yeah, those ASSHOLES. Well, Spencer Berger is one of them. He’s the screenwriter and lead actor in the award winning film Skills Like This, and now he’s taking a stab at music under the pseudonym Field. He’s an extremely talented musician, and even worse, a really nice guy.

Field’s debut, Be Brave, is still in the process of being mastered, and will be released this year. The unmastered version is a sign of good things to come. Field’s music is among the most creative being produced today–a truly engaging sound that can’t be categorized in a genre other than saying it lies somewhere between Bowie and Flight of the Conchords.

I’ll definitely keep you posed on the release date. In the meantime, check out the below tracks and music video, which will undoubtedly brighten your day.

Be Brave (2010):

(mp3) Field – Sunday

(mp3) Field – I’m the Enforcer

myspace | skills like this

“I’m the Enforcer” music video. One of the best videos I’ve seen in a while.