Welcome to Daytrotter

Community is really important to us at IndieMuse, and I wanted to take a minute to feature one of our favorite websites that does a stellar job bringing together music lovers and keeping the independent community strong: Daytrotter.com.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Daytrotter is a recording studio/website run out of a small midwest town, along the Illinois/Iowa border, called Rock Island. Most local residents there are unaware that Daytrotter exists, and have absolutely no idea that amazing bands from around the world go out of their way to visit their small town to record a live, studio session (everything is recorded to analog tape and released for free digitally on Daytrotter’s website). Their studio, called the Horseshack, can be found on the third floor of an unmarked building, over a pizza joint, in an otherwise pretty dead downtown area that hovers over the Mississippi River (or sadly, sometimes under when the river floods).

We’re experiencing a time in the world where everything moves faster than it probably should, and it’s easy for a sense of community to get lost in the shuffle. The down-to-earth folks behind Daytrotter are a diamond in the rough in that regard, as they are on a mission to preserve culture just as much as they are to release great music.

For example, Wednesday night I had the pleasure of attending Daytrotter’s 4th Barnstormer tour in the Chicago area. It’s a chance to see a handful of indie bands, such as Sondre Lerche and Hellogoodbye — who are mostly accustomed to playing loud, large clubs — play music in a small barn. This intimate environment is a complete, almost cleansing-like, change of pace for everyone involved. And the genuineness completely shines through.

Thanks to Daytrotter, I was able to be part of a gathering of true, respectful music lovers who just wanted to appreciate the moment.  I didn’t see the wave of smartphones documenting the event that I normally do at shows, and there was complete silence from the crowd as bands played. It was basically a rare opportunity for everyone to let their guard down and hang out for a couple of hours.

Maybe it’s the perspective that comes along with living in a small town, where the pace of life is a bit slower, that gives the guys (and girl) behind Daytrotter the ability to follow through on their vision so well. But the part that is truly inspiring for me is the way that they’ve been able to share those values with the world, and create and curate these bright spots for other people who are looking for the same things out of life. It leaves a lot of hope for what the future can bring.



Sondre Lerche – Domino by sondrelerche

The Olivia Tremor Control – Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One (1999)

Last week, I saw members of the Elephant 6 collective play a show at Lincoln Hall in Chicago as part of their Surprise Holiday tour. For those who aren’t familiar with Elephant 6, it’s basically a collective/label that formed in the 90s that includes bands such as The Apple in Stereo, Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal, and… too many to list here.

I’m a big fan of most of the bands who are part of E6, so seeing some of them live was kind of a dream come true. The Surprise Holiday tour basically consists of a lot of members from different E6 bands getting on stage together and playing each others songs.

This feature is about one of the founding bands of E6, in particular: The Olivia Tremor Control. Before seeing them at the show it had been years since I had properly listened to their music. After the show, I immediately went back home and put on their 27 track album released in 1999, called Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One. It’s weird and pretty awesome.

If you’re a fan of experimental/psychedelic,  indie rock, kinda like the bands I listed above, definitely check out the album. If you took Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and upped the experimental level by about 160%, you would have something close to the lines of The Olivia Tremor Control. I’m glad I took the time to re-visit this album.

Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One (1999):

The Olivia Tremor Control – Hideaway (mp3)

The Olivia Tremor Control – I Have Been Floated (mp3)

Amazon | iTunes | Elephant 6

Photo credit: John Kendelhardt (not from the show I went to… Jeff Magnum unfortunately wasn’t there)

Iron & Wine @ Riviera Theatre, Chicago IL (03/04/11)

Last night Iron & Wine played to a packed crowd at the Riviera Theatre in Chicago. The show ended up being quite good, despite one potentially devastating setback: lead singer Sam Beam was battling what appeared to be a mild case of laryngitis.

At first many people in the crowd were noticeably worried that this was going to compromise the show, which is so dependent on Beam’s vocals. However, after a few soundboard adjustments, and him putting in everything he had, most people quickly realized they were still in for a great show. Members from local band, Califone, backed him on stage, and all the instrumental work was fantastic, and included some fun saxophone and jazz flute.

Iron and Wine is touring on their new album, Kiss Each Other Clean, but made sure to get in a bunch of older fan favorites, as well. They also performed some cool renditions for their popular older songs, such as “Love And Some Verses,” and “Naked As We Came.” The full setlist and photos are below.

Despite Beam’s voice not being quite as present as it typically is, Chicago still witnessed a great show. Sure, it most likely won’t be a contender if they ever release a live album, but so goes life. I highly recommend trying to catch an upcoming show if you have the chance. It’s well worth it.

Kiss Each Other Clean (2011)

Iron & Wine  – Tree By The River (mp3)

Endless Numbered Days (2004)

Iron & Wine – Naked As We Came (mp3)

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Young Man – Boy (2010)

I never properly introduced Colin Coulfield, who goes by the moniker Young Man, on IndieMuse. Given I put his EP, Boy, on my Top 10 albums list last year, this seems like as good a time as any to feature him on the site. I highly recommend his music, especially if you are a fan of Iron and Wine, Avi Buffalo, or Animal Collective.

Colin does an amazing job mixing together folk, lo-fi, and indie pop to make Boy one gem of an EP. I get completely absorbed by the memorizing melodies and Colin’s incredibly chill, layered vocals. A few of my favorite tracks on Boy are “Five,” “Home Alome,””Playtime,” and “Up So Fast.” I enjoy this album so much though that I can’t help but listen to it from start to finish.

Colin is originally from St. Paul, Minnesota and currently goes to school in Chicago (believe it or not, he’s only 21 years old). He now plays with a full band and is in the process of recording his first full-length LP. While we wait for that to release, it’s worth keeping up with his Facebook page where he sometimes releases covers and “idea” tracks.

Boy (2010):

Young Man –  Home Alone (mp3)

Young Man – Five (mp3)

Strangers (single)

Young Man – Strangers (mp3)

Site | iTunes| Youtube | Daytrotter

Light Pollution – “Oh, Ivory!”

Recently I’ve been posting a fair amount of folk music, because let’s face it, folk is awesome. But it’s time to change things up a bit (at least for this post).

I’ve really been digging Light Pollution’s song “Oh, Ivory!”. Definitely worth your time to check out.  Their debut album Apparitions is releasing June 15 on Carpark Records.

Light Pollution is based out of Chicago and has that shoegaze, psychedelic, Animal Collectivey sound. Band members include James Cicero, Matthew Evert, Nick Sherman, and Jed Robertson.

Apparitions (2010):

(mp3) Light Pollution – Oh, Ivory!

myspace | carpark

continue for tour dates…

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Stream Wilco (The Album)


As of today, Wilco’s new album, Wilco (The Album), is available for stream on the band’s official website. I already listened through the album once, but think we all need to listen a few more times before passing any real judgment. As we already knew from the songs that Wilco has performed live, the album drifts towards Sky Blue Sky as opposed to their older more experimental works like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. All that I’ll say about the album right now is that I absolutely adore the song “You And I,” featuring none other than Feist on shared vocals with Jeff Tweedy.

I’m also incredibly impressed by the band’s email that they just sent out. Streaming an album before it has released has become a norm these days, but promoting the fact that the album has leaked is far from standard practice. It shows a certain understanding and maturity you just don’t see in the music industry yet. Hats off to you, Wilco.

Well, we made it nearly a month with copies of Wilco (the album) floating around out there before it leaked. Pretty impressive restraint in this day and age. But the inevitable happened last night. Since we know you’re curious and probably have better things to do than scour the internet for a download (though we do understand the attraction of the illicit), we’ve posted a stream of the full album at http://wilcoworld.net/records/thealbum/ . Feel free to refer to it as “wilco (the stream)” if you must.

We also have our usual guilt abatement plan for downloaders. If you have downloaded the record, we suggest you make a donation to one of the band’s favorite charities, the Inspiration Corporation — an organization we’ve supported in the past & who are doing great work in the city of Chicago. Information and donation button here: http://inspirationcorp.org/.

That’s all. Enjoy the stream. Tickets for summer shows, etc. http://wilcoworld.net/tours/ Note that we’ll be holding a free online midnight screening of the “Ashes of American Flags” film this Friday night (at both midnight US Central time and again at midnight Pacific). So get the popcorn or whatever together and be sure to log on and tune in on Friday.

Wilco (The Album) (2009):

Wilco & Feist – You and I

Site | Myspace

Andrew Bird – Noble Beast (2009)


As much as I support the hype around Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, I’m a bit surprised that more people haven’t been talking about Andrew Bird’s superb new album, Noble Beast.  It releases today, and is likely going to be my favorite of this year–Noble Beast displays Bird’s progression as a musician, both instrumentally and lyrically.

It’s hard to pick only a few favorites off the album,  but some tracks that I do find myself seeking out are “Oh No” “Masterswarm,” “Effigy,” “Not A Robot,” But A Ghost,””Anonanimal,” and “Natural Disaster.” Although I still think Mysterious Production of Eggs is Andrew’s best album to date, Noble Beast is definitely a close contender.

I find it really interesting that Bird maintains a column on New York Times’Measure by Measure” blog, where he writes extensively about his process, both in his head and the studio from before, during, and after the recording Noble Beast. For those who are interested in music, his posts are a must read. It feels like we sometimes take for granted the production side of things and only care about the finished product–whether it be a movie, album, book or any other form of art that stems from ones imagination. The inside access Bird provides on this album makes me appreciate his music on a whole new level.

Here is an except from one of his posts:

We [Martin Dosh] discuss a lot of things to help us get the songs just right — like not hitting cymbals because the crashes can be “cheap thrills.” Instead we favored the dark, walloping sound of the toms. Often times the choice becomes: Do you give the song what it wants? Or do you go against its demands? “Oh No” seemed to be asking for a 1970s Jackson Brown or Fleetwood Mac type of dead snare drum sound. That “everything’s gonna be just fine” sort of beat. The pitfall of approaching it like this is that your song can get hijacked by someone else’s record collection. I personally feel that the world has had its fill of 70s light rock. So we’re forced to be more creative. Not a bad alternative, though sometimes, you just say, “Why fight it? This just feels too good.”

Noble Beast (2009):

(mp3) Andrew Bird – Masterswarm

(mp3) Andrew Bird – Effigy

Useless Creatures (2009):

This is an instrumental record that Andrew worked on during the recording of Noble Beast. He calls it his “indulgent” record, and it comes with the deluxe edition of Noble Beast. He says in his latest post, “The piece on Useless Creatures I’m most excited about is called ‘The Barn Tapes.’ Three summers ago I had an engineer friend come out to my barn in western Illinois with an old quarter-inch tape machine. We opened all the doors and windows, hooked up my violin to six amps placed throughout the barn, put microphones inside and out and made four hours of ambient loops

(mp3) Andrew Bird – The Barn Tapes

Website | iTunes | Amazon (Useless Creatures) | Myspace (stream entire album)

Andrew is incredible live. See him if given the opportunity.

Jan 25 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of the Living Arts
Jan 28 – New York, NY – Carnegie Hall
Jan 30 – Boston, MA – Orpheum Theatre
Feb 3 – Washington, DC – 930 Club
Feb 4 – Atlanta, GA – The Variety Playhouse
Feb 6 – Orlando, FL – The Plaza Theatre
Feb 7 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues
Feb 12 – Austin, TX – The Paramount Theatre
Feb 13 – Albuquerque, NM – The El Rey Theater
Feb 14 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theater
Feb 15 – San Diego, CA – SOMA
Feb 18 – Los Angeles, CA – The Orpheum Theatre
Feb 19 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Feb 20 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Feb 21 – Portland, OR – The Roseland Theater
Feb 23 – Seattle, WA – The Moore Theater
Feb 24 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
Feb 25 – Murray, UT – The Murray Theater
Feb 26 – Denver, CO – The Ogden Theater
Feb 27 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
Mar 15 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
Mar 17 – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom
Mar 21 – Houston, TX – House of Blues
Mar 22 – Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
Mar 23 – Oxford, MS – The Lyric Oxford
Apr 3 – Toronto, ON – Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Apr 4 – Montreal, QC – Le National
Apr 5 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
Apr 7 – Pittsburgh, PA – Carnegie Music Hall
Apr 10 – Chicago, IL – The Civic Opera House
Apr 11 – Minneapolis, MN – The State Theater

Roommate – We Were Enchanted (2008)


Over the past few weeks I’ve been listening on and off to Roommate’s 2008 release, We Were Enchanted.  The album is a little on the darker side, and reminds me somewhat of John Vanderslice’s albums, such as Time Travel is Lonely and Emerald City. Both artists give off a paranoid feeling at times, but Roommate is even more eerie.

Truthfully, I’m a bigger fan of their lighter toned songs like “Day After” (half way through)  and “Night (Rhombus Cover).” Some of the songs that are more rigid are less appealing to me, similar to how I feel about some of Vanderslice’s work, but overall I would still recommend you check out the album.

Kent Lambert originally started Roommate as a solo-project in 2000, and after moving from Iowa City to New York, recorded an EP, Celebs. Soon after 9/11 he relocated to Chicago, and has been there ever since. In 2004, Lambert formed a live band with a variety of members–you can see the list on their Myspace. Members of the live band change based on availability, playing instruments such as musical saw, banjo, violin, theremin, Buchla Music Box, and bassoon, as well as hand percussion and traditional rock instruments.

For more on the band and recording check out Chicago Reader.

We Were Enchanted (2008):

Roommate – Night (Rhombus Cover) – This doesn’t represent rest of band’s music.
Roommate – Day After (wait through intro)

Songs The Animals Taught Us (2005; re-released 2006):

Roommate – Tuesday

 Site | Amazon | iTunes | Myspace


Emerald City (2007):

John Vanderslice – Kookaburra 

Wilco at Lollapalooza 2008


Credit: wbru.com

“Who are you gonna see, Wilco or Rage Against the Machine?” was the big question at Lollapalooza this year. It wasn’t a hard question to answer for many, as the two bands are, for the most part, on different ends of the musical spectrum, but it was still probably the biggest schedule conflict at the Festival. Even though I’ve seen Wilco perform plenty of times before, I couldn’t pass up seeing them again.

Wilco didn’t rock out at Lollapalooza nearly as much as when I saw them at the 9:30 club in DC earlier this year, but it was a great show nonetheless. The band wore awesome coordinating nudie suits that you can see in photos and videos I’ve linked to. They even played a new song, “One Wing,” which you can listen to below.


I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
You Are My Face
Impossible Germany
It’s Just That Simple
Handshake Drugs
Pot Kettle Black
One Wing
Spiders (Kidsmoke)
A Shot In The Arm
Jesus, Etc.
Hate It Here
Can’t Stand It
Outtasite (Outta Mind)

To stream/download Wilco’s set at Lollapalooza, check out You Ain’t No Picasso. Listen to Wilco’s new song below.

Wilco – One Wing (Live at Lollapalooza ’08)

Video: “Impossible Germany” Live at Lolla ’08:


For more videos of Wilco at Lollapalooza, check out The Set List.

For more lolla coverage, visit my Examiner column.