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

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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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?

Roundup: Wilco

(Photo Credit: Doug Mason)

(Photo Credit: Doug Mason)

After this year’s Bonnaroo I can safely say that YES, Wilco is a touring band at its prime. The recently released Ashes of American Flags tour DVD gave me new insight into the workings of a group that, in my opinion, has overcome considerable struggle and years of obscurity to finally be standing strong at the peak of their art. After previewing the stream, Wilco (The Album) felt empty without Tweedy’s anxiety and experimental energy–it’s what defined masterpieces like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born. Nonetheless, there are new, beautiful aspects of the band that shine bright this time around–in addition, the new album is also considerably different from Sky Blue Sky. In my obsession of what I consider to currently be “The Great American Band,” I’ve stumbled on a few blog-gems that I will share with you, leading up to the release of Wilco (The Album). First, here’s a few minutes of Wilco (at Bonnaroo ’09) courtesy of Billboard Music.


Recently, The LAist published an extremely insightful interview with Wilco guitarist (and “Guitar God”) Nels Cline. In the article, Nels is approached about the new Wilco album, due out in a week or so. He answers questions about Wilco’s songwriting process as well as thoughts on his own project, The Nels Cline Trio–an avant-garde jazz group. If for no other reason than to learn about a true artist and a dying breed, check out the article. There’s also a fantastic video of Nels’ part on “Handshake Drugs” as well as a link to Nels Cline’s list of his Top 200 Guitarists.

OneThirtyBPM wrote a post a month or so ago that covers all you’ll need to prepare for new Wilco, complete with track lyrics and live versions of many of the songs on Wilco (The Album). After listening to their new songs live, it is fantastic to see how they are adapted for the stage and it’s even more interesting to see how they’ve already improved on songs that haven’t even been released yet. It’s definitely a more time-consuming post, but it’s worth it. ZIP file included.

Finally, just a quick note on the June 30th release of Wilco (The Album), if you order from Wilco World before the album comes out you get a full 256kbs download on release in addition to the physical media. Also, if you pre-order, you can download the track “You Never Know” right away. This track, incedentally, is also going to 7″ for a limited time in honor of Vinyl Saturday (from the creators of Record Store Day). The 7″ will include “You Never Know” as well as “Unlikely Japan,” an unreleased Sky Blue Sky track–a precursor to “Impossible Germany.” Since we all love nerding out on b-sides and rarities… this is welcome. More info on that at Nonesuch Records.

Home | MySpace | NoneSuch Records | Hype Machine | AllMusic | Wiki

Pre-Order Wilco (The Album) NOW: The Wilco Store | NoneSuch Records | Amazon | iTunes | InSound

Don’t Worry, I’ll be posting Wilco’s show from Bonnaroo 2009 soon!

To end, I leave you with a Glenn Kotche interview by Nashville’s Lightning 100 fm. Kinda hard to hear, but it’s funny… just not ha ha funny.


Bonnaroo 2009: Delta Spirit

(Photo Credit: Jay West 2009)

(Photo Credit: Jay West 2009)

Perhaps my favorite story from this years Bonnaroo happened on the first night. The day, spent obtaining press passes and setting up campsites in the rain, was anything but magical. Nervous faces and knotted stomachs were a sign of the apprehension, but people maintained hope for a positive, pleasant weekend.

Poncho on, we headed in to catch the White Rabbits, Chairlift and Passion Pit. The shows did not disappoint and the crowd was just happy to see some music. I’ll expound on those shows later, but the real treat of the night came in the form of California natives Delta Spirit. Originally set to go on at their 7 p.m. slot, the poor guys were stuck in a Dallas airport as their stage time passed. I can only imagine their shock when they found out that they would be going on after Passion Pit–12:30 a.m, This Tent,  in the pouring rain.

Occasionally clarifying their anxious bewilderment with bits of banter that included “thank you for listening,” and “we definitely aren’t the best band out here,” Delta Spirit exemplified raw, honest energy better than any band I had the pleasure listening to all weekend. Though I didn’t catch the whole show, I was assured that their hour long, last-minute set was full of folk-infused, no frills Delta rock. Lead-singer Matthew Vasquez led the band with authority and an ear-to-ear grin, culminating with “People C’mon,” a call-to-arms for wandering souls. As he screamed, “And I’ll be wondering all, for all my years. What I become no one can say!” I was sold. The crowd cheered and fed off their raw energy. I can say, without a doubt, that whatever was lost in inexperience and nervousness was more than made up for with sheer enthusiasm.

What would have been a normal festival run serendipitously turned into a once-in-a-lifetime, Cinderella-story. I can only hope that the press and attention resulting from such a story will bring Delta Spirit closer to being required listening and competing with the best we have to offer.

MP3: Delta Spirit – “People C’mon”

MP3: Delta Spirit – “Strange Vine”

MP3: Delta Spirit – “Streetwalker”

Home | MySpace | Hype Machine | AllMusic| Wiki

Pick up Ode to Sunshine NOW: iTunes | Amazon | eMusic

The only reason I had even heard about Delta Spirit was from a particularly wonderful “Take-Away Show” at La Blogotheque. As I still know very little about these dudes, the video says more than I ever could about the band and their sound. Check it out the whole article here.


In 2010, Delta Spirit will issue the follow-up to their debut, Ode to Sunshine, with an LP entitled Natalie Portman Says This Album Will Change Your Life. (via)

I’m very very excited. Plus: More Bonnaroo reviews, live tracks and pictures coming this week…

Loney Dear @ 9:30 Club, Washington DC (02/03/09)


On Tuesday, I saw Swedish band Loney Dear open for Andrew Bird, and must say, I almost enjoyed their set more than Mr. Bird’s. . . which is  saying a lot, given Bird is one of my very favorite musicians. I’ve been listening to their music for a few years now, but Tuesday night’s live performance gave me a whole new appreciation.

The best part of the set was when lead singer Emil Svanängen asked the crowd to sing along on “I Am John.” It was really beautiful. You can listen to the set on NPR (“I am John” is 20 minutes in), but the recording quality doesn’t really pay justice to the performance. Svanängen is a really personable guy too,  and strikes a perfect balance between being confident (talking a lot to the crowd), and bashful, which can be verified by anyone who saw him putting on a band-aid after his minor guitar string accident. He also called the Black Cat (venue) the “very black cat,” and the 9:30 club balcony “shelves,” which I thought was pretty funny.

The band has a new album that came out January 27th called Dear John. I prefer the lighter tone of their 2007 debut album, Loney, Noir,  but Dear John still has some solid songs on it.

Loney Dear is from Jonkoping, Sweden, and its primary member, Emil Svanängen, first began making homemade recordings of delicate, folkish indie pop in the early 2000s. As Loney, Dear (the band has since deleted the comma from its name), Svanängen self-released three homemade CD-Rs through his website: River Fontana Redux, Citadel Band, and Sologne. As buzz developed through MP3 blogs and other new media manifestations, Sub Pop offered Svanängen a contract in 2006. The first proper Loney Dear album, Loney, Noir, was released in early 2007.

Dear John (2009):

Loney Dear – Airport Surroundings

Loney, Noir (2007):

Loney Dear – I Am John

Loney Dear – I Will Call You Lover Again

Sologne (2006):

Loney Dear – I Fought The Battle Of Trinidad & Tobago

site | amazon | itunes |  myspace

Tour dates & “Airport Surroundings” video after the break.

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The Mountain Goats @ 9:30 Club, Washington DC (11/06/08)


Last Thursday, I had the chance to see The Mountain Goats perform live at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. The show didn’t disappoint at all. I have a weird relationship with The Mountain Goats’ music, and they are one of my go to bands when I’m in a certain mood.  I usually like to listen to them by myself, so with that said, I wasn’t sure what to fully expect or how I would feel seeing them live. That’s probably why I enjoyed the beginning and the end, when the whole band was out, more than when Darnielle played solo, which was much more intimate (and of course, still great.)

Kaki King opened for the Mountain Goats, and played some duo’s with Darnielle, and later the rest of the band.  The two of them paired up recently to collaborate on an EP entitled Black Pear Tree. Darnielle says of the EP, “Kaki King and I, under a cloak of great secrecy, snuck into Baucom Road studios in western North Carolina last month and recorded the six-song Black Pear Tree EP together with Scott Solter producing… People who know how I feel about Kaki’s music can imagine what an honor it was for me to get to work with her.”

Anyone who knows the Mountain Goats well knows that Darnielle is a great storyteller.  The best story of the night was when he was telling the background to “Thank You Mario But Our Princess Is in Another Castle,” which is a song on the EP he recorded with Kaki King. Darnielle’s words don’t give justice to his delivery, but he spoke about the ignorant mushrooms, and how they weren’t going to hurt you, but you just had to kill them…and then you get to the castle and the toad is there and is so grateful to see you, and then tells you that the princess isn’t there, but you’re still really happy because you just saved this random dude’s life (who somehow knows your name, even though you don’t know his). The song is sung from the point of view of Toad, and is therefore possibly the greatest song ever.

The band played two amazing encores, the second of which came after half the venue already left. Oh, and did I mention they covered Morrissey’s song, “Suedehead”? (Fellow Indie Muse writer and Mountain Goat showgoer, Chris, was once quoted as saying he wants to have Morrissey’s babies.)

Black Pear Trees EP:

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

Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco,  March 2, 2008:

(mp3) The Mountain Goats -The Sign (must listen to Ace of Base cover)


(mp3) The Mountain Goats – No Children

(mp3) The Mountain Goats – Peacocks

We Shall Be Healed:

(mp3) The Mountain Goats – Cotton

click through for the setlist & more tour dates

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Born Ruffians @ Rock and Roll Hotel, DC (10/24/08)

This past Friday, I had the pleasure of seeing the Born Ruffians perform at Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, DC. I saw them several months ago, at a smaller venue here in DC, and they are doing a great job of fine-tuning their already solid performances.

The Toronto based trio is one of the best bands coming out of the music scene, and if you have the opportunity to see them live, I highly recommend you do so. The band has a basic formation of guitarist (Luke LaLonde), bassist (Mitch DeRosier), and drummer (Steve Hamelin), but you wouldn’t know it was that minimalist after listening to their album, Red, Yellow and Blue. They incorporate harmonies, hand claps, and doo-wop back-up vocals that bring a whole other element to their music.

At the show on Friday, the band tested out some new songs (after DeRosier got our permission), and they re-arranged some songs, like “Little Garçon,” which was a pleasant surprise for dedicated fans. There is no doubt in my mind that the next Born Ruffians album is going to be really solid, and that their fanbase is going to continue to grow. The band was baffled by how many people came out to the show, and Hamelin said near the end, “it really doesn’t make sense, we don’t get nearly this many people at other cities around here.”

The Indie Muse bump? I think so…

Born Ruffians – I Need A Life

Born Ruffians РLittle Gar̤on

Born Ruffians – Red, Yellow, & Blue (White Williams Mix) — via the leather canary

Nancy – Keep Cooler (Born Ruffians Remix)

site | myspace 

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. 

The Federal Reserve


I wrote this after seeing the Federal Reserve, a collective of established, and like-minded alternative/folk musicians,  perform on June 2nd at Iota in Arlington, VA. They played acoustic sets, and used basic folk instruments (including the chair for percussion). Not gonna lie, I was a little  tipsy when I wrote this, and it’s advisable that you just skip down to the bottom. You’ve been forewarned!

Tonight, I saw the face of music. Music is when a group of friends decide to play together for no other reason then to play. Music is when there are no backstage’s or VIP’s. When there are no tickets or merchandise. Music is when there is no order. When there is no formula.  No sets. No expectations. Just music. Music doesn’t tolerate bureaucracy. It sure knows how to disguise itself, but it’s not music. Not fully.

Music allows for mistakes. It allows you to make a fool of yourself. If it doesn’t, then it’s worth asking why it’s being done. Is it for fame or fortune?

Music is entrapped. It’s asked to be freed. It wants to be listened to. Piracy concerns are concerns of fools.

In today’s world, it’s difficult for music to be music. The demand can’t be that pure. Musicians need to eat. Label execs need to buy luxury cars.  But that doesn’t mean all has been lost. Not after nights like tonight.

Thank you Federal Reserve for showing me the face of music.

 The Federal Reserve collective is made up of These United States, Vandaveer,  Kitty Hawk, Revival, Brandon Butler, Rose, Let’s French, and more. They play the first Monday of every month at Iota, and their tour schedules usually dictate who shows up. Mark Charles Heidinger, of Vandaveer, explains that the idea of a collective formed after “several of us relocated from parts all over and thought a collective of some sort might ground the group in the scene and serve as a mutual launching pad.” Several bands from the collective have been signed to DC’s Gypsy Eyes Records and a Federal Reserve compilation can be purchased from their store.

These United States -  First Sight | Site

Vandaveer – However Many Takes It Takes | Site

Kitty Hawk – Move Me | Myspace 

Brandon Butler – Sparks | Site

Revival – Hollywood | Myspace