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)”

Song of the Day – 6/23/09


I’m on my way out the door, but I just heard a song I’d love to share with you. A short song by Philadelphia’s Grubstake. From what I understand, these guys are just about to release their fifth album and have a serious local following. Grubstake are huge proponents of dirty, folky blues. I can hear Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Woodie Guthrie, Lou Reed and the White Stripes all at once, just from their MySpace. They are certainly unattended on the edges, but no song has made me want to drive a truck so badly. No bullshit.

MP3: Grubstake – “Recession Blues 2001”

Alright, here are a few more, at random.

MP3: Grubstake – “Whispering Blues”

MP3: Grubstake – “Musicians”

Let me know what you think, or if you know anything about these guys that I don’t. PEACE.

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.

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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.


Song of the Day – 9/8/08

Hey everyone. It’s been crazy as always. Good to see you again.

photo credit: Bowen Rodkey

A few weeks ago, I got a chance to listen to the On the Tail of the White Donkey EP, the debut release from folk-singer Vikesh Kapoor. His music always brings me to the same conclusion. We must return to this tradition. There is so much to be had here–so much that real folk music can do for the industry and all the places it reaches.

I can just imagine Kapoor (recently off a successful tour with staff favorite Nicholas Beaven) moving along, each song gracefully falling from his back pocket. Travelling through the heart of an unnamed area,  almost ignoring the complications of musicianship and poetics, he sings his stories. I remember my first experience with his music, sitting cross-legged on the floor of a discreet second-story Allston apartment. There were no chairs, no posters, no amplifiers and absolutely no bullshit.

An Indian-American traditonal folk singer is something to turn your head to at first. His influences are part of a strong force of writers and players that do not share common ground in style, but share a similar need to create this long-forgotten escape that doesn’t have any room for the pitfalls of popular music today. I’ll spare all of you comparisons to others in his genre and simply say this: Everything in his music that at first sounds tired quickly becomes an understanding–that in order to create a piece of intellectual, poetic tradition one must come to terms with both who they are and what they have learned along the long, hard path. Kapoor’s feet are on their way to becoming tough and leathery and we’re lucky enough to catch him so soon.

Over the course of the EP, this truly became clear. Deciding which of these songs was going to be your Song of the Day was tough. Just as important as the individual tales, the whole EP is a coherent, imaginative collection of songs that describe a shared need for honest human connection. If that isn’t the point of this EP, then I would have to say Vikesh Kapoor as succeeded in creating something that, while sometimes inconsistent and unsteady in its footing, is in a way universally relatable–the way it should be.

Some major moments for me occur on the unnervingly beautiful “One Woman Man.” It’s those moments of folk glory where the song sounds as if it is from 1950 until he includes a line with a turn-of-phrase or euphemism that jarrs the listener back into the present. All of a sudden we have something that exists outside of the system. Later on, Kapoor hits what I consider to be a masterpiece, “Willy Robbins.” A traditional folk tale (no chorus, just the adamant painting of a harrowing picture). He sings lines like “then like many working men, he’d shower, watch TV.” and their gravity is unreal. It is truly brilliant.

However, neither of these songs I chose to share with you today. I think you should grab the EP and spend a moment to hear what an honest artist sounds like.  The songs discussed above are even better in context. One song, however, you should definitely hear. “Till the Fields” is a happy, catchy tune with many simple parts working together. Truly, Vikesh Kapoor’s poetry is the most obvious talent, but as a guitarist he supports himself in admirable fashion.

MP3: Vikesh Kapoor – “Till the Fields”

MP3: Vikesh Kapoor – “Down by the River”

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Support Vikesh Kapoor: Buy On The Tail Of The White Donkey EP

Vikesh Kapoor is performing at TT the Bears in Caimbridge on Thursday, September 25th. It’s his only show for a little while so GO THERE.

Pick up an album and meet the guy. It’s all possible with real music.

I leave you with an intimate performace by Kapoor at Firehouse 13 in Rhode Island


Song of the Day – 8/22/08


Being in a band is not the easiest thing in the world, especially when you’re young. It can seem stupid and foolish to pursue something with such vigor and intensity knowing well and good that you could fail at any moment. Regardless, one must accept that their innate connection to the art will keep them satisfied and must remember where it comes from. With years of practice, you can finally come out of your cave and share your work with the world–and hope that that child-like energy isn’t gone. But how can you be certain? Thus a band is born in tension, irony, anxiousness and excitement.

Today I listened to an album by New York’s Ravens & Chimes. A group of wonderful musicians who fight against the all-too-common outcome of a band losing track of what’s really important. These are people truly singing of what they know and are well aware of what they tend to project. I’m a sucker for layering, and these guys layer themselves musically as well as poetically. The results could not be a finer debut album–one full of peaks and valleys but is all tied together by a sense of proud urgency. I haven’t taken a lot of time to get into the album, Reichenbach Falls, but I will tell you, after my first listen I’ve had numerous hooks and imagery stuck in my head.

It’s a grunge at times–at others it’s a folk explosion. In an attempt to disassociate with the tendency to simply describe an artist in terms of others, I suggest you take these beautiful pop songs as they are. If you are interested in these emotion behind these tracks, you will love their album. Buy it. Now.

Today’s SotD were two chosen at random. Almost every song on this album has some truly fine quality and to decide on a definitive description would be unfortunate for the creative and talented members of this band. Please, let me know what you think. It’s been a little while since I had the time to listen to music, so I’m excited to get back to it.

MP3: Ravens and Chimes – “Far Away Sound of Cars”

MP3: Ravens and Chimes – “Saint Jude in the Village Voice”

MP3: Ravens and Chimes – “…and I Came Upon It in the Clearing”

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Support this band: Amazon | iTunes | InSound | Better Looking Records

Check out this beautiful intimate performance on Brightest Young Things: [youtube][/youtube] Awesome.

Go See A Folk Show.


The other night I had the brilliant chance to catch a folk show at a good friend’s apartment. Seated cross-legged on the floor I was witness to a spectacle that shone with a respect to new art as well as a time honored tradition.

I met Vikesh Kapoor through a friend and am truly proud to bring his music to IndieMuse. He and his good friend Nicholas Beaven are ridiculously talented musicians and songwriters as well as honest members of the folk institution [sic].

From their press release:

Kapoor’s lyrics draw from the poetry of Whitman and from the melodic intonations of Woody Guthrie. He is a true wordsmith. Kapoor creates story-songs that while new, seem to have originated from archetypal American tales. And, like any classic tale revisited, his quirks (his vocal vulnerabilities and off–beat humor) cement his appeal.

MP3: Vikesh Kapoor – “Down By The River”

Beaven too can turn a skeptic into a true believer with his clear, almost haunting voice and fanciful guitar melodies. He sings of heartache and jubilation with constant references to nature, which is a prevalent motif throughout his work. Beaven’s lyrics are simple in format (in the style of Neil Young), but he has a knack for saying a lot by not being bogged down by complexities.

MP3: Nicholas Beaven – “Midnight Moon”

I was delighted to find that these guys would be going on a small tour through the northeast. If you guys have a chance and are willing to take our word, go see them. You won’t regret it.

I should be getting their EP’s in the mail soon and will have a review fer y’all soon.

Vikesh Kapoor | Nicholas Beaven

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Songs of the Day

Friday always reminds me to live in the moment, today I bring you a small mix of songs that I am listening to right now. Now, I’m not going to tell you that  these bands are gonna blow up. I won’t say that they are the next big thing. But in this moment, it’s all the music I need. There is no particular structure or mood, but hopefully one of these songs makes it onto your soundtrack. These songs are all fantastic in their own way.

MP3: The Do – “Stay (Just A Little Bit More)”

This song does not leave once it’s in my head. Give it a listen. If her voice doesn’t turn you into a pile of mushy smiles… well, I just don’t know about you. The Do hail from Helsinki, Finland. Their latest album, A Mouthful, is out now.

MP3: The Dodos – “Undeclared”

Okay, I’ll admit, The Dodos come almost directly after The Do in my iTunes library, but that does not detract from the fact that this song is a wonderful stripped pop song.

MP3: Al Green – “Just For Me”

This ?uestlove produced album dropped about a month ago. When I first heard it I thought it came out thirty years ago. If anything, the mood and atmosphere created on this album hearkens to a greater movement to music that is just a little more pure than the rest. Buy this album. Enjoy it. Make love to it. You won’t regret it.

MP3: Nomo – “My Dear”

Oh my god. Nomo is so sick. Honestly. We caught em at Bonnaroo on the first night in some beer tent and they were unbelievable. The lights weren’t working so they played in the dark for a while. They didn’t fuck up, just so you know. They played at the Middle East in Boston last night and from what I hear (Doty was there), they killed it. Their afrobeat explosion, Ghost Rock, is ready to be bought right now.

MP3: Ratatat – “Mumtaz Khan”

If any Ratatat song was ever your anthem you are not alone. This track, off their newest LP, is for the rest of you. LP3 dropped 3 days ago. Ratatat is cooler than you, and they never said a word.

MP3: The Acorn – “Low Gravity”

I really enjoy this band… if you didn’t know. Saw em a few weeks back at a small venue in Boston and will continue to support them for as long as possible. They are some of the most honest entertainers I’ve seen. Their music brings me a lot of joy.

MP3: The Peasantry – “Tie Off Before You Go Out”

MP3: The Peasantry – “The Ballad of Dean Jiggo”

The late greats, The Peasantry, were a fantastic band killed by circumstances. I caught their last show two weeks ago and it was unbelievable. I will miss them dearly and follow their individual work because frankly, I know it will be fucking awesome.

MP3: Towa Tei – “Last Century Modern”

I’ve been getting back into Towa Tei again. Listening to his 1999 release, Last Century Modern is a true testament to his status as a pioneer DJ. Releasing LCM just after his breakthrough, Sound Museum made us understand just how smart he really is.

MP3: Estelle feat. Kanye West – “American Boy (Kill the Noise Remix)”

I was going to post the version with Busta instead of Kanye (who is a bitch, btw) but I just couldn’t find it. I still think he’s clown shoes, but this song is hot.

I hope y’all have a great weekend. Enjoy the summer. Go outside.

The New Amerykah…

(Song of the Day – 3/28/08)

I was hangin with a friend of mine the other day when he mentioned the new Erykah Badu album (New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War). I realized that I completely forgot. Actually, I’m about a month off…

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, can let her soul out onto a recording like Badu. Her raw and unfiltered inner voice is shared with every listener creating an intimate, soulful and real connections.
Badu, while definitely holding her place within the music community has released an extremely strong set of albums that have been, in my opinion, grossly overrated over the past 10 years. Since Baduizm, her power as a poet and musician has grown. Badu exudes powerful feminine energy and continues to be a symbol of the strength of her community, be it women, black or simply a child of this world. Listening to her music does not make me feel better as a critic, but rather, it brings me to the level… and the connection is real.

For her latest masterwork, Badu strays away from the live soul setup to favor a studio approach, bringing in a wide variety of talented producers from across the spectrum. Personal favorites like Madlib, 9th Wonder and ?uestlove are joined by trip-masters Sa-Ra to create what is both real and other-worldly all at once. Dealing with “the issues”with such grace and integrity, Badu has it all contained. Never afraid to be progressive, Erykah Badu brings it once again. Syncopation and downtempo grooves flood the deep and layered tracks in such a way that many have been turned off by its esoteric nature, but the more time you spend with it, the more interesting it becomes.

MP3: Erykah Badu – “The Cell”

MP3: Erykah Badu – “The Healer/Hip-Hop”

MP3: Erykah Badu – “Soldier” | MySpace | HypeMachine

Pick up New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War: BandWear | iTunes | Amazon | Insound

After listening to the album I was truly hooked on her feel, her sound and her attitude once again. Then a friend of mine turned me on to her latest VH1 SoulStage performance I was totally in love. If you can treat yourself to one music-related activity today, hang out with this show. Back again in the live situation Badu explains that recording is “perfecting a moment” while live “is creating a moment.” You can feel the energy and the group is soooo tight that they shift tempo and structure on the fly, all in stride. It is one of the best performances I’ve seen online and makes me want to do whatever it takes so see her live. Please, PLEASE check it out. It is nothing short of beautiful.

If Erykah Badu is proof of anything, it is the power of real, honest music. Enjoy.


Check out the rest of the set HERE.

She is, without a doubt, one of the strongest, sexiest women alive… fake fro and all.

Song of the Day – 3/21/08

WORD: “Hi this is Carl from Arrah and the Ferns. Thanks for the kind words, i’m glad you liked it. I just wanted to let you and everyone know that, sadly, we just broke up and will not be releasing a sophopmore album. We’re all continuing to make music in various other projects. Check out our myspace blogs for more info.thanks again, it means a lot

Looking at upcoming releases this year, I realized that the sophomore album by Muncie, Indiana’s own Arrah & the Ferns would be dropping in just two months. It was good reason to get their 2006 debut, Evan is a Vegan, back out and give it a listen. I forgot how happy this is.

Arrah & the Ferns enjoyed limited commercial success afterwards, but maintained a satisfying impact on the music community with their upbeat indie-pop. Co-Lead singer Arrah Fisher’s voice is exactly that sound whose sonic structure makes the corners of your lips curl and injects a bit of sunshine in yr step.

The sound of a Rhodes is the perfect accompaniment to Fisher’s poetic lyrics as well as the swelling mandolins and guitars that bring the folk element cleanly into the mix. Not to be understated, Arrah and the Ferns are more than just a pop group. Pay attention to the subtleties and be rewarded. On the whole, Evan is a Vegan is not the contemplative, philosophical breakthrough that the world needs to hear, but its optimism, energy and wonder make it the perfect album to fill that “Boner Jamz 08: Happy Sunshine Rainbows” mixtape you want to give to your cute quazi-indie hipster girlcrush who works at that one coffee shop…

I loved Evan is a Vegan and can’t wait for May 2008’s All The Bad In One Place.

MP3: Arrah and the Ferns – “Science Books”

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MP3: Arrah and the Ferns – “Bernadette”

MP3: Arrah and the Ferns – “Emo Phillips”

Here’s a video of em on Letterman:


Song of the Day – 3/14/08

Hey everyone, sorry about yesterday’s “Post.” The Internet went out here and I couldnt Upload this post. Sorry about that. I love you all.

Hailing from The U.K., the Matinee Orchestra were a nice treat today. As I’ve come to find, this band has been the subject of a lot of critical praise, though no one really knows where they stand.

Aurgasm classifies them as “Laptop Folk” or “Avant Pop,” Now, if you’re like me and confused as all hell by the systematic genre-ization (?) of EVERYTHING, then let this be an undefinable curveball in your musical batter’s box.

“Fusion” is the best way to describe The Matinee Orchestra’s adventures into the world of sound. Combining pretty much everything from orchestral nuance to layers of echoing tape static, they could just as well be considered electronic and acoustic, progressive and traditional. A musical-impressionism of sorts, the group definitely “Makes it New.” I had a little trouble digging up substantial info on the guys, but leaving them as an enigma is just as good. I would recommend this for fans of everyone from the Album Leaf to Bjork. Take a nice long listen:

MP3: The Matinee Orchestra – “Imagination of a Watermelon”

MP3: The Matinee Orchestra – “Hide & Seek”

MP3: The Matinee Orchestra – “Run For Cover (It’s Going To Rain)”

Buy their Self-Titled Album | MySpace