Free music Friday

Shunda K – “First Encounter”
Yo! Majesty leader Shunda K collaborates with Kotchy on the new EP Le Passion, Yo!

Of Montreal – “First Time High(Reconstructionist Remix of “An Eluardian Instance”)”
Jon Brion’s reinterpretation of the songs takes the basic tracks and adds more instrumentation and backing vocals – including the work of Nickel Creek vocalist and mandolin-player Chris Thile

Tara Jane ONeil – “Drowning”
There’s compassion and concern, wisdom and heartbreak, moving on and waking up in these songs.

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band – “Anchors Dropped”
UK magazine Uncut had this to say about the album, “an appealing piece of go-ahead indie pop, with a certain charismatic bagginess and wit (the call-and-response safari anthem, “Going On a Hunt”) that points to a bright future.”

Human Highway – “The Sound”
Spin calls it a “catchy-as-hell, jingle”

It Hugs Back – “Now and Again”
dreamlike soundscapes and experimental guitar feedback into sublimely melodic pop-perfect indie tunes, that has inspired some to compare them with My Bloody Valentine, Teenage Fanclub and Yo La Tengo

EAR PWR – “Future Eyes”
Blistering thumpers with infectious melodies, Disco chants with wild-eyed electro anthems

The Picture – “Deer Crossing”
Taking cues from bands as diverse as Jesus & Mary Chain, Love and Rockets, and The Cure, these heavily-buzzing rockers combine the expansiveness of early 90s rock with a timeless melodicism that sounds perfectly at home on a pair of headphones as they do in an arena

The Library
“You Don’t Need No Doctor, Sugar”
dance hooks and flair for dramatics

Bell – “Magic Tape”
skittish, bumpy half-time verses (smacking slightly of Timbaland’s early work with Aaliyah) shimmy, simmer and eventually set off a confetti mushroom-cloud floor-slammer of a chorus, with 808 bass and heroic keytar designed to eradicate personal anxiety and (by proxy) economic strife.

Bricolage – “Turn U Over”
distinct breed of extraordinary pop

Caroline Weeks of Bat For Lashes – “Elegy”
full of insight, sensitivity and intimacy and do justice to a poet whose love sonnets are undeservedly slighted in our day

Jukebox the Ghost – “Victoria”
highly-addictive,  ebullient mix of piano/guitar/drums based pop

Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele – “Meet Me In The Garden”
cheeky lo-fi tunes

Old news travels fast – Faith No More to reunite

Saturday afternoon the wife calls and says a friend has invited us over for a Thanksgiving dinner in February. Crazy talk, even crazy considering that while I was out running errands I was going to stop by the grocery store and pick up a turkey and mashed potatoes. Coincidence? I don’t know.

Then, last night, I dropped Faith No More’s Album of the Year onto my iPod, a CD that I haven’t listened to in years but had a hankerin’ to hear. Woke up this morning to see my Google Reader filled with links to sites announcing that Faith No More (no word on the line-up) is reuniting to play some summer shows in Europe. No word on U.S. dates. I wonder what size venues they could play? I’m thinking the same 1,500 – 3,000 seaters they were playing when they broke up 10 years ago.

“Stripsearch” was the song I had in my head which inspired me to put Album of the Year on my iPod. Kind of a different sound for the band but great nevertheless.

Spring tour dates for Mogwai / Crippled Black Phoenix

Scottish noisemasters Mogwai have lined up tour dates in the U.S. this spring in support of their latest release, The Hawk is Howling.

04/20 Houston, TX- Numbers
04/21 New Orleans, LA- Republic
04/22 Birmingham, AL- Workplay Theatre
04/23 Asheville, NC- Orange Peel
04/24 Carrboro, NC- Cats Cradle
04/25 Philadelphia, PA- Trocadero
04/27 Brooklyn, NY- Music Hall Of Williamsburg
04/28 Brooklyn, NY- Music Hall Of Williamsburg
04/29 Brooklyn, NY- Music Hall Of Williamsburg
05/01 Boston, MA- Wilbur Theatre
05/02 Northampton, MA- Pearl Street
05/03 Montreal, QUE- Metropolis
05/04 Toronto, ON- Phoenix
05/05 Buffalo, NY- Tralf Music Hall
05/06 Pontiac, MI- Crofoot Ballroom
05/08 Chicago, IL – Congress Theatre
05/09 Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall
05/10 Minneapolis, MN- First Avenue
05/11 Omaha, NE- The Slowdown
05/12 Denver, CO- Bluebird Theatre
05/13 Salt Lake City, UT- In The Venue
05/15 San Diego, Ca- Belly Up Tavern
05/16 Los Angeles, CA- Orpheum Theatre

Mogwai bassist Dominic Aitchison will beat the rest of his band to the U.S. in order to play a few weeks worth of shows with his other band, Crippled Black Phoenix.

4/2 – Beat Kitchen (Chicago IL)
4/3 – Magic Stick (Detroit MI)
4/4 – Ravari Room (Columbus OH)
4/5 – Thirty First Street Pub (Pittsburgh PA)
4/7 – Great Scott (Boston MA)
4/8 – Soundlab (Buffalo NY)
4/9 – Sneaky Dee’s (Toronto ON)
4/10 – Zaphods (Ottawa ON)
4/11 – Katacombes (Montreal QC)
4/12 – Mercury Lounge (New York)
4/14 – Kung Foo Corner (Philadelphia PA)
4/15 – Talking Head (Baltimore MD)
4/16 – Soapbox Laundro-Lounge (Wilmington NC)
4/17 – Music Farm (Charleston SC)

New Superchunk EP coming soon!

Good news in the form of a press release sent by Merge Records – Superchunk will be releasing a new EP in April, Leaves in the Gutter, their first set of new material in 8 years. The seminal indie rock band has played a handful of shows over the past few years and the tracks included on the EP were written during this time.

The most promising part of the press release is the indication that Superchunk is working on songs for a new full length. Mac McCaughan says, “We kind of felt like if we’re going to get to work on a new album we need to clear the decks of these songs first. A couple of them I really like but they already feel like they’re from another era and wouldn’t fit on a new album anyway, and the newer ones are from the new era but we’ve recorded them and they sound good so here they are.”

Leaves in the Gutter will be in stores and also available in digital format on April 7. Eleven days later Superchunk will be playing at Coachella.

Here’s “Misfits and Mistakes,” one of the songs slated to appear on the EP.

Track Listing:

1. Learned to Surf

2. Misfits & Mistakes

3. Screw It Up

4. Knock Knock Knock

5. Learned to Surf (acoustic demo)

Interview: Jason Isbell

This week ex-Drive-By Trucker guitarist Jason Isbell and his band – The 400 Unit – release their self-titled album. It’s Isbell’s second post-DBT release but the first where he’s put a name to the guys backing him up. And it’s with good reason that he gives credit where credit is due – the 400 Unit brings a consistency to Isbell’s sound, a consistency that was lacking (a bit) on his 2007 debut, Sirens of the Ditch. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that album and went so far as to call it one of 2007’s most “outstanding country-influenced rock albums” but it sounded exactly like what it was – a culmination of years worth of songs that had been brewing in Isbell’s head.

With less time to write, and more input and influence from his band, Isbell’s latest sounds like the fully realized vision of an accomplished Southern songwriter and contains some of Isbell’s strongest compositions to date (“Sunstroke,” “Good,” “No Choice in the Matter” and “The Last Song I Will Ever Write” are personal favorites).

Preview Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit CD.

I sent Isbell some questions via his publicist a few weeks ago. Read the interview after the jump.

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