Hezekiah Jones – Come to Our Pool Party

I’ve spent quite a bit of time as of recent listening to Hezekiah Jones. For whatever reason I had never checked out their music, assuming they were an Israeli ska rap group or something of that nature (which is what I often default to when I don’t know a band). But turns out they actually make really great folk music!

I highly recommend Hezekiah Jones’ 2007 release, Come to Our Pool Party.  It contains super catchy folk melodies, including my personal favorites “Cupcakes for the Army,””Knives of Summertime,” and “Rain-stars.”  There’s a lot of personality coming through Herekiah Jones’ music, which is one of the reasons why I really like them. The poetic lyrics are cleverly written and clearly the band isn’t afraid to experiment and have a little fun. Their debut, Hezekiah Says You’re A-Ok, is really solid as well.

Hezekiah Jones is based out of Philadelphia and is the brainchild of Raphael Cutrufello. He writes the songs and plays piano, guitar, rhodes piano, harmonica, melodica, slide whistle, vocals, pots and pans!, kazoo, xylophone, and accordion. Raphael is backed by a rotating group of friends, and if you look at it Myspace, you’ll see he has more bandmates than perhaps any artist in the history of music.

Come to Our Pool Party (2007):

(mp3) Hezekiah Jones – Cupcakes for the Army

(mp3) Hezekiah Jones – Knives of Summertime

site | CD Baby | Myspace

Ben Cooper is awesome

On Friday night, Ben Cooper (Radical Face/Electric President), played a house show in Washington DC.

It’s the start of a new “project” where instead of playing clubs, he just connects with his loyal fanbase and plays in cool places. While donations are accepted, he doesn’t charge a cover.

I probably get more mushy over this stuff than most people do, but things like this make me really, really happy. I’m not anti-capitalism,  but I think it’s telling that most of my fondest memories are things that I didn’t have to pay a luxury price for. Whether it’s just talking with a friend, taking a stroll through a park, or making an elaborate dinner (I don’t cook), these are the experiences that I really remember the next day. And I think most people feel the same way.  Sure, I’ve been to great shows before where I’ve paid a lot to get in, but I just think it’s awesome when the artist plays music for no other reason than for the love of sharing his/her music.

Of course, it’s not very sustainable for a musician to play free shows (Cooper told me that the van he had to rent just to get from Florida to DC ended up costing a ton of money… there is no way he broke even). But over the upcoming years, I really hope that with the expansion of technology, the independent community can organize and make things like this happen more frequently. In the meantime, keep up to date with Cooper’s site, as he’ll be adding more tour dates soon.

(mp3) Electric President – Science of Sound

(mp3) Radical Face – Welcome Home, Son

Site | Patients (another cool side project of Cooper’s) | MF (download the Patients album for free)

Johnny Flynn – “Sweet William EP” (2009)

Johnny Flynn

I don’t really know much about Johnny Flyyn, but he strikes me as one of those born-in-the-wrong-era types. The kind of guy who’d be better suited to the sixteenth century, herding sheep with just the clothes on his back and a guitar strapped across his body, sleeping outside every night. Or maybe he’d do alright in the 1960’s, hopping from festival to festival as both attendee and performer, running around barefoot and marking the success of his days by the amount of dried mud caked onto his feet.

There’s an earthiness to his music: the finger-picked guitar, the broad, deep intonation of his accent-inflected voice. And there’s a romanticism to it all, like he’s looking back to some era he’s never been a part of, but one he’d like to give you a glimpse of anyway because he feels an intrinsic connection to it. It doesn’t matter that Johnny Flynn is a modern boy from England. There’s something about him that’s beautifully un-modern, something that he’s embraced and set to music.

But I probably could’ve just summed all this up with a lyric from Flynn himself: “I was born with this story, it’s older than I.”

Sweet William EP (2009):

(mp3) Johnny Flynn – Sweet William

A Larum (2008):

(mp3) Johnny Flynn – Leftovers

MySpace | Website | Buy

SXSW 2010 Music Recommendations

Are you going to SXSW this year? Well, lucky you. Unfortunately, I am not able to attend this year (IndieMuse’s contributor, Nick, is going and will be keeping everyone up to date via IndieMuse and our twitter feed @musicfloss). I wanted to go ahead and include some bands that I highly recommend checking out if you do make it down to Austin. This list is far from complete, but with the overwhelming number of bands performing, we thought it would be a good idea to share some “IndieMuse approved” artists. A lot of these artists are more on the alternative folk side, but if you’re looking for “indie rock” music recs, check out Nick’s post. If we missed anyone, please include them (and a Myspace link) in the comments!

note: some of these artists are playing multiple days so check SXSW.com for venue, dates, and times.


Bowerbirds, Califone, The Veils, Fanfarlo, Frightened Rabbit, Born Ruffians, Joe Purdy, Princeton, Dustin O’Halloran.

(mp3) Bowerbirds – Northern Lights

(mp3) Joe Purdy – Wash Away (Reprise)


Midlake, Centro-matic, Miles Kurosky (Ex-Beulah), Rogue Wave, These United States, Le Loup, Avi Buffalo, Seabear, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Lissie, Cary Brothers Band of Horses, Broken Social Scene, and Amber Rubarth.

(mp3) These United States – Will it Ever

(mp3) Avi Buffalo – Where’s your Dirty Mind?


Dosh, Vandaveer, Twin Sister, Jail Guitar Doors (Documentary showing), Memory Tapes, Tape Deck Mountain, She & Him, Zeus, The Low Anthem, Metric, and Sebastien Schuller.

(mp3) Sebastien Schuller РBalan̤oire

(mp3) Vandaveer – However Many Takes it Takes


Forest City Lovers, Electric President, Pretty Lights, and Hey Marseilles.

(mp3) Electric President – Safe and Sound

(mp3) Hey Marseilles – To Travels and Trunks

Nathaniel Rateliff – “Early Spring Till”

Nathaniel Rateliff

I saw The Wheel open for Laura Marling last month, and were there actually enough space to permit me being knocked on my ass, I would have been splayed out on the ground about a minute into their set. Lead singer Nathaniel Rateliff has one of the most powerful and affecting male voices that I’ve heard in a long while. He can be real quiet, low and grumbling. He can be sweet, lilting, almost Bon Iver-y.

But what really gets me is when he reaches down into himself: beyond the vibrating vocal chords and the bleeding heart, past the lungs taking desperate gulps of hot air, right down into the pit of his hollowed-out stomach. Then he shuts his eyes against the loud haunt of his own voice, and he just bellows. It echoes inside his mouth, tumbling out in a raw rush before colliding, absorbing itself into anyone lucky enough to be within earshot. But Nathaniel Rateliff booms, so in this case, the term “earshot” has a pretty sizable radius.

Rateliff’s upcoming solo album, In Memory of Loss, will be released on April 27th, and if its first released song “Early Spring Till” is any indication, Memory will be another notch in what is fast becoming an impressive musical belt. “Early Spring Till” isn’t really sparse, but it’s certainly not overcrowded either. Instead, it feels decidedly whole, featuring that gale-force howl of his, resonate harmonies and atmospheric electric guitar strums tip-toeing around the song’s edge.

Nathaniel Rateliff’s music is sad and slow and makes me feel like if he didn’t write these songs out, he just might collapse or implode or something equally destructive. And it’s this feeling of essentiality, this feeling that he really needs this music, that keeps knocking me (space permitting) on my ass. So give it a listen. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself splayed out and overwhelmed on your bedroom floor while Nathaniel Rateliff just keeps surging from your speakers.

In Memory of Loss (2010)

(mp3) Nathaniel Rateliff – Early Spring Till

Desire and Dissolving Men (2007)

(mp3) The Wheel – Whimper and Wail

MySpace | Website | Buy

Nick’s Pre-SXSW Playlist

I’m leaving for Austin in a few days to cover South by Southwest for the Boston Phoenix. Before I leave, here is a playlist of ten or so bands I’m really keen to see. (All these bands are playing more times than listed.)


Japandroids are responsible for the best show I’ve ever seen in Boston. Four-chord grunge anthems about drinking too much, falling in love and forgetting about it all the next day inspired the entirety of great Scott to crowd surf and stage dive. I wish drinking actually felt like Japandroids.

(mp3) Japandroids – Young Hearts Spark Fire

3/17 @ Emo’s

3/18 @ Yard Dog Gallery


When I saw DD/MM/YYYY, it was like the Blood Brothers vocals fronting Animal Collective’s rhythm. Shit was epic, totally insane and undeniably compelling. Dueling drum sets beat out schizophrenic rhythms deep within whirlwinds of guitar and bass. It had me reeling for days. I’m not sure whats real anymore.

3/17 – Verge FM Radio Session

3/18 Magic Jewels Party

(mp3) DD/MM/YYYY – Bronzage

The Black Angels

The Black Angels play droney, psyched-out acid rock that sometimes sounds like the Velvet Underground blown through a shit-ton of post-production distortion, sometimes like the smooth descent into a one-way coma. All drenched in reverb, all slightly reminiscent of a punch in the face. But in a good way.

(mp3) The Black Angels – Black Grease

3/17 @ Emo’s

3/18 @ Mohawk

Beach Fossils

I was recently introduced to Beach Fossils at the Butcher Shoppe in Allston. Their song “Vacation” follows sparkling arpeggios along waves of reverb, above choppy, syncopated drums and a tremolo’d vocal melody. Sounds like a vinyl left undiscovered in your parents collection for the last thirty years. Sounds like something recorded in your kitchen yesterday.

(mp3) Beach Fossils – Vacation

3/17 @ Red 7

3/18 @ 2908 Cole Street

Sleigh Bells

Like the Stooges Raw Power, the production behind Sleigh Bells is intended to destroy any and all sound systems it touches. The guitar fuzz on single “Crown on the ground” had me thinking I’d blown my speakers. I was pissed, until the smooth M.I.A. style vocals dropped, rounding out this part club-banger, part basement thrasher.

(mp3) Sleigh Bells – Crown on the Ground

3/17 @ Parish

3/18 Mexican American Cultural Center

Bear in Heaven

Bear in Heaven sound like the reasons why people like the Knife, only way better.  Their most recent release, “Beast Rest Forth Mouth,” is underscored by chugging, minimalist keyboards that somehow evolve into soaring I-want-to-be-drunk-and-seventeen-style choruses. With a fat, drony low-end, and a shrill tenor lead vocal, Bear in Heaven are sure to kill live.

(mp3) Bear in Heaven – Lovesick Teenagers

3/17 @ Emo’s

3/19 @ Red House Pizzaria

Magic Magic

Magic Magic are at the point locally where I’m out of things to say. Smooth, surf-guitar leads, crooning chamber-pop vocals a-la Grizzly Bear/Beach House blah blah blah. They’re sweet, they’re local, they’ll own SX.

(mp3) Magic Magic – Sleepy Lion

3/17 @ Spill Bar

Local Natives

I wanted to not like Local Natives. They play a type of sincerely melodramatic alt-country akin to Okervil River or even Death Vessel and sing choruses like “I want you back” and “I promise not to lose her again“ and “Omg, like so in love.” Ok, so that last one was just me being bitter. Still.

(mp3) Local Natives – Sun Hands

3/18 @ Parish

3/19 @ Emo’s

No Age

By now everyone knows No Age, since they pretty much did for noise rock now what the Strokes did for garage rock in the 2000s. Still, these guys are pretty rock and roll. From their album Nouns, “Eraser” feels like a summer’s day, all swaying guitars under the sun and “Teen Creeps” is a punk epic, distorted vocals over a handful of disgusting, swirling chords. Easy listening recorded at the outskirts of a hurricane.

(mp3) No Age – Eraser

3/20 @ Barberella

School of Seven Bells

Since shoegaze became cool again, School of Seven Bells is the band that most effectively captures the My Bloody Valentine sound without sounding like a total knockoff. Their album “Alpinisms” has all the shoegaze staples: droning guitars, harmonies swirling in the ether, and a female lead to fall in love with.  The songs feel effortless, yet could easily score a John Huges film in that same self-indulgent way as M83’s “Saturdays=Youth.”

(mp3) School of Seven Bells – Half Asleep

3/19 @ La Zone Rosa

3/20 @ Stubbs


I’ll be tweeting from @musicfloss (IndieMuse’s Twitter!) and from the phoenix’s blog (thephoenix.com/sxsw). Interviews with most of the above mentioned to come.

Zeus – “Say Us” (2010)


All I wanna do is clap/All I wanna do is sing/I don’t wanna sing another song in anger sing Zeus on “Kindergarten”, and I couldn’t be happier about all the musical things they do or don’t wanna do, because Say Us is a seriously good time. It’s got hand claps, group singing, parlour piano, bumbling bass lines and enough ooh’s and ahh’s to fill a swimming pool.

Zeus make no attempts to hide the fact that this Say Us is a pop album through and through. Sure, it has some buzzing, straight-up rock moments (“You Gotta Teller”) and sure it can simmer (“Heavy On Me”), and sure Zeus can do the buzzing, simmering thing well, but it’s when they give in to every pop-loving instinct in their bodies that the album comes so vibrantly alive.

Say Us has a grinning approach to music that just reeks of good times, often bringing a very Kinks-esque silliness to the songs that I completely adore.  And I could sit here listening to the album on repeat, pinpointing exact moments where Zeus bring to mind other musicians from yesteryear (because their sound can indeed be described with a lot of sounds-likes), but I’ll leave that to somebody else who’d rather pick apart the origins of Zeus’ hook-laden awesomeness than just enjoy the hook-laden awesomeness for all its awesomity.

And check out the equally a-word video for the album’s first single, “Marching Through Your Head”:


Say Us (2010)

(mp3) Zeus – Fever of the Time

(mp3) Zeus – Kindergarten

MySpace | Website | Buy

Band of Horses set to release new album, Infinite Arms.

Just the other day, I was listening to Band of Horses and this thought swept over me: “When the F*** [yes, I curse in my head] are BOH releasing their next album?!” Then, as if my inner-voice rained down on them from the heavens, they announced their upcoming album. It was magical. Their album is called Infinite Arms, and it comes out on May 18. It will not be released on Sub Pop, which means my April Fools report from a few years ago was dead on.

According to our friends over at Pitchfork, frontman Ben Bridwell said, “in many ways, this is the first Band of Horses record.” I guess we’ll see who makes better music–Ben Bridwell or Ben Bridwell & Co.

(mp3) Band of Horses – Ode to LRC

(mp3) Band of Horses – Monsters

site | myspace

Cool video from Lollapalooza:

‘continue reading’ for Tour dates:

Continue reading

Pomplamoose – “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (Aerosmith Cover)

Pomplamoose (Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn) have tried their hands at covering everything from Beyonce to The Sound of Music, so it’s always interesting to see which wildly unrelated road they’ll travel down next. This time around, it’s Armageddon-era Aerosmith. In true Pomplamoosian fashion, the cover is fueled by the winning combo of Nataly Dawn’s mumble-jazz voice and Jack Conte’s intricate, poppy, multi-instrumentalist experimentation.

If you’re a fan of this rendition, the generous Pomplamooses have made it and all of their covers available for FREE download. Right here. How lovely of them. Don’t forget to check out their original material as well—it’s not to be missed. Ha. Ha. Ha.


Pomplamoose Covers (2010)

(mp3) Pomplamoose – Don’t Want to Miss a Thing

Pomplamoose VideoSongs

(mp3) Pomplamoose – Expiration Date

MySpace | Website | YouTube | iTunes