Happy weekend before Halloween, my friends! May the skittles be ever in your plastic pumpkin bucket. We’ve made some great new updates around here recently and if you haven’t signed up for your own NoiseTrade fan account, then get on it! After creating your own fan account you’ll have access to immediate downloads, saved download histories, and you can even safely store your credit card information for quicker, easier tipping. No more having to enter your email address and zip code for each download and no more having to enter in your information while tipping. It’s super easy, super helpful, and super free! Just click the “SIGN UP” button on the NoiseTrade homepage and you’ll be the proud owner of a brand spankin’ new fan account in minutes.
Oh yeah, here are some great musical recommendations for your weekend as well!
I first got connected with SerialBox back when they released their Thad Cockrell session back in 2011 and since then I’ve often found myself listening back to the stunning live session they created together. SerialBox Presents captures equally impressive audio and video of single-take, multi-cam performances and their taste for artists is impeccable. Along with a laid-back take on “Rosalyn” from Cockrell’s don’t-miss session, true-to-the-moment tracks from Noah Gunderson, Fiction Family, David Ramirez, and more are available here in The SerialBox Collection. Compiled from sessions from the first two seasons of SerialBox Presents, this sampler will have you jonesing for the third in no time.
Pardon a little geographic favoritism here as I show a little hometown love to Atlanta, GA’s Death on Two Wheels. Deep in the vein of good and greasy rock ‘n’ roll, Death on Two Wheels plays raw, no frills twin guitar rock that they describe as having a “less twang, more bang” approach. This sampler features 5 raucous tracks from their self-titled sophomore album that was released last November. “Hey Amariah” has been my go-to repeater and its full-voice singalong chorus, killer bass line, and (I think) subtle shout-out to Offsping’s “Self Esteem” in the second verse have endeared me to its sonic fury. The organ-led slink of “Death Wolf” is pretty fantastic as well.
Service Unicorn is back with a brand new single entitled “Watercolor Warpaint” and it’s as synthfully delicious as their “A Single Thread of Silver” single I featured a month or so ago. The bubbling synths and disembodied echo-drenched vocals of “Watercolor Warpaint” provide an interesting dichotomy of cold-warm, human-robot atmospherics and it makes the song feel crazily entrancing. A couple listens are required if you want to pick out all the interesting bits of what’s going on in the background, but only one is needed to get you immediately hooked.
Mixing feel-good sonic sunshine with wonderfully raspy vocals seems to be the perfect combination for Irvine, CA’s Work Friend. They’re offering their debut album Slouching here in its entirety and I can’t stop listening to this unassuming stunner. Their songs move along at a relaxed clip, feeling like they’re building to something that they’re never really in a rush to get to. The result ends up being a really chill listening experience that will have you hitting repeat once the last song ends. Album opener “Any Good” is the perfect open road song to help soundtrack your summer-to-autumn transition in style.
When writer Will Hodge isn’t waiting until two and then turning out the light, you can find him running off at the keyboard about music, concerts, and vinyl at My So-Called Soundtrack
How’s YOUR weekend going? After a fun-filled whirlwind of a fall break in Chicago last weekend, I’m really looking forward to a wonderfully relaxing weekend full of weeping and gnashing of teeth as I jump back on the thesis horse. To help drown out the sounds of a grown man questioning his ability to form intelligence thoughts and mold them into complex arguments and logical sentence structures, I’ve got some new tunes for you! This week’s recommendations feature a rootsy solo acoustic set, slick hip-hop backed with live instruments, garage-meets-Motown Americana, and lush electro-pop remixes. Enjoy the songs and remember there are only 13 more shopping days until Halloween, so don’t Charlie Brown that mess!
Justin Townes Earle released his phenomenal new album Single Mothers last month and we were lucky enough to get him to drop by for an intimate solo NoiseTrade Eastside Manor Sessions. Armed with just an acoustic guitar, his wonderfully resonant rasp, and a batch of new songs, Earle delivered one of the most intimate and intuitive sessions we’ve ever captured. If you hone in on the Billie Holiday-influenced “White Gardenias,” the soulful sweep of “Worried ‘Bout The Weather,” and the bluesy, retro-slink of “Single Mothers,” you’ll see that Earle has more than few new songwriting tricks up his sleeve left to play. Be sure to check out the accompanying videos on our YouTube channel to catch a video-only performance of his cover of Billy Joe Shaver’s “Georgia on a Fast Train” as well.
I profiled ALERT312’s newest album Singular Vision over the summer and I figured now was a good time to also point back towards the equally awesome album that came before it. Of Vice & Virtue is the debut offering from the Chicago-based hip-hop duo and it profiles the sick, percussion-laden beats and analog instrumentation that they employ so well. Boogalu’s rhymes of real-world grittiness threaded with hope and truth are artfully elevated by Moral One’s organic, deceptively simplistic instrumentation loops. Listen to the bass drum bounce of “Vice Versa” and the slinky guitar riff of “Kill the Elephants” as entry points to ALERT312’s unique sonic mix.
Rolling Stone described Nikki Lane as “if Kris Kristofferson and Loretta Lynn had a baby; raised her on Motown, Leslie Gore, and the Clash; then let her join an all-girl hotrod gang at 15” and truer descriptors were never written. This digital single features “Right Time” and “Wild One” from Lane’s most recent album All or Nothin’ and both songs thoroughly embody the musical melting pot of her sound. The swampy garage rock stomp of “Right Time” and the late night diner shuffle of “Wild One” are pitch-perfect introductions to the Dan Auerbach-produced album of her modern-traditionalist musical mix.
While Colleen D’Agostino can usually be found fronting LA-based rock outfit The Material, she’s also got an incredible electro-pop side project under the moniker With Beating Hearts. This remix EP features three tracks from her debut release reworked by Blake Harnage (VersaEmerge), Blake Miller (Moving Units), and Joel Piper. While the remixes certainly show the individual identities and tastes of the remixers, I think it’s important to note how the songs still sound wholly and completely D’Agostino’s thanks to her powerfully identifiable vocals.
When writer Will Hodge isn’t all about that bass (no treble), you can find him running off at the keyboard about music, concerts, and vinyl at My So-Called Soundtrack
Greetings and salutations from Chicagoland, NoiseTraders! My lovely and I are spending a nice mid-semester weekend in Second City where much frivolity will be had and much Giordano’s will be consumed. While I’m away, I leave you with four top-notch recommendations for the weekend and I promise that you can trust me on each and every one of them. It never ceases to amaze me what sonic gems have been uploaded to NoiseTrade over the years and what new ones continue to pop up every day. This week’s foursome features a live concert from a former Swell Season-er, a wonderful new pop singer, an old-time string band troubadour, and a rejuvenating, meditative batch of acoustic hymns. So it’s a 106 miles (give or take a few hundred) to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it!
With the recent release of Marketa Irglova’s second album Muna last month, what better time to refresh yourself with this incredible live album from a few years back? Live from San Francisco captures Irglova while she was touring behind her debut album Anar and the 15 song set is overflowing with her delicate vocals and storytelling style songwriting. Irglova’s original songs really shine through, with “Let Me Fall in Love” and “Crossroads” eloquently highlighting her unassuming and uncluttered performances. Her duet with troubadour Sean Rowe on “Old Shoes” is another amazing standout. Fans of The Swell Season will appreciate the nods to her previous band with her solo versions of “I Have Loved You Wrong” and “Falling Slowly” presented here as well.
Lenachka just released her debut self-titled EP a couple of weeks ago and “Good Luck” is the super strong Charlie Peacock-produced lead single. The sickly sweet thump of the chorus will be stuck in your head for days and Lenachka’s smooth mid-range is such a refreshing breath within pop music’s current overabundance of over-singers. This digital single also includes a handful of exclusive, unreleased tracks including a remix of Kris Allen’s “Prove It To You” featuring Lenachka’s vocals, “Hard Target” (co-written with Andy Davis), and my favorite track on this release “Play It Slower” – a syrupy slow ballad that was co-written with NoiseTrade favorite Matthew Perryman Jones.
As part of The Carolina Chocolate Drops, multi-instrumentalist Dom Flemons help contribute to the old-time string band revival of the last decade or so (and thankfully gave us their crazy cool version of Blu Cantrell’s “Hit “Em Up Style” too). His timeless voice, astounding instrumental ability, and impressive catalog of traditional folk and blues music all mix together to create what makes Flemons so special. His new solo album Prospect Hillwas released over the summer and Til’ the Seas Run Dry contains a tasteful mix of songs from that release and a few traditional standards thrown in as well. Give Flemons’ take on “Stackolee” a spin and see what all the (much-deserved) fuss is all about.
Speaking of Matthew Perryman Jones… As someone who is quite fascinated with hymns both old and new, I love the work of Indelible Grace and their incredible collection of hymns albums. Matthew Perryman Jones appears on this release lending his inimitable vocals to his version of Sandra McCracken’s “Rock of Ages (When the Day Seems Long),” while McCracken herself appears with a beautiful piano-led take of “Lo The Storms of Life are Breaking.” Also contributing to this release are Andrew Osenga, Emily Deloach, Matthew Smith and more, creating a stunning collection of acoustic hymns that functions as both reminder and refresher.
When writer Will Hodge isn’t going back to that same old place, you can find him running off at the keyboard about music, concerts, and vinyl at My So-Called Soundtrack
Hey there, NoiseTraders! As I turned my favorite Norman Rockwell calendar over from September to October this week, you couldn’t have knocked the smile off of my face with a pumpkin scone. I mean, not only was Rockwell the foremost artistic reflector of 20th century American culture, but October is pretty great too, right? Fall is here, some really incredible music is being released right now, and it’s almost time to bust out Fat Albert’s Halloween Special and see if this is the year that Devery decides to finally join the gang inside of old Mrs. Bakewell’s spooky old house. Until then, enjoy this week’s recommendations from some incredible artists you may already be familiar with and some that are hopefully brand new to you.
During the last days of the mighty reign of music videos (i.e. the late 90s), I remember coming across a video of a young woman with an old-soul voice that stopped me in my tracks. The video was for Jennifer Knapp’s “Undo Me” and it immediately caused me to seek out (and wear out) her debut-to-me album Kansas. After an all-too-long self-imposed hiatus from the music business in the mid-2000s, Knapp returned with the phenomenal Letting Go in 2010. Her newest album Set Me Free is being released October 14 on Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records and this sampler features “Remedy” and “Set Me Free” from the record. Knapp is certainly an artist worth delving into and you can find out more about her incredible story in an excerpt form her book Facing the Music, available here on NoiseTrade as well.
While there is certainly no shortage of husband-and-wife acoustic duos roaming through the current musical landscape, the ones that stand out the most have the kind of unique chemistry – both sonically and relationally – that is present in Lowland Hum. Daniel and Lauren Goans released their debut album Native Air last August, and the songs “War is Over,” “Pocket Knife,” and “How Long” from that stellar record are available here in this sampler. With the gorgeous mixture of their combined vocals and joint songwriting pen, Lowland Hum are strong contenders to fill that Civil Wars-shaped hole in your musical heart. Also included on this sampler are bonus tracks “Brother Stranger” and “57” as well. Give Lowland Hum a listen and be sure to keep your ears open for their follow-up EP Four Sisters coming out on November 4.
Kye Kye released their sophomore album Fantasize in January of this year and by the time summer hit, they were already experimenting and reinventing some of the songs for a remix EP. Fronted by the ethereally wispy vocals of Olga Yagolnikov, Kye Kye produce some of the coolest, lush electro-wave this side of Washed Out and M83. This digital single for “Introduce Myself (Remix B)” pulsates on the back of quite a few gorgeous keyboard loops and it feels like the perfect kick-off to a mixtape soundtracked with the weekend in mind.
If you dig the melodic, new wave side of alt-rock (with a heavy dash of quirky charm), Captain Wilberforce just might become one of your new favorite bands. Much like Elvis Costello and Randy Newman, Captain Wilberforce pairs cheery, upbeat musicality with darker, acerbic lyrics. While a song title like “The Johnny Depp Memorial Cafe” alerts you to the fact that this isn’t exactly some run-of-the-mill band, you’ll find that the song themselves are so great that there’s no fear of novelty. Distance is the first of three planned EPs that will comprise Captain Wilberforce’s next album, with the second EP set for an early 2015 release.
When writer Will Hodge isn’t gonna have a good time (hey, hey, hey!), you can find him running off at the keyboard about music, concerts, and vinyl at My So-Called Soundtrack
Happy first official Saturday of Fall, my friends! I’m still trying to find the sleep I seemed to have misplaced last weekend covering AmericanaFest but thankfully I’ve been able to hang on this week by riding out the hangover buzz from The Avett Brothers show last Saturday night. If you’ve never seen them live, you should do everything within your power to remedy that, as there is no one in the game doing everything that they do. I tried to mirror a little bit of that same spirit of aural uniqueness in this week’s recommendations. In the picks below you’ll find Canadian soul-folk, raw garage rock, ambient instrumentals, and some jazzy acoustic R&B. But don’t take my word for it, check them out for yourself!
I first heard Frazey Ford’s wonderfully inimitable vocals via one of my favorite cover songs of all time. Ford’s band The Be Good Tanyas ran Prince’s “When Doves Cry” through their Canadian alt-country filter for their 2006 Hello Love album and the results were mesmerizingly fantastic. Ford put out her first solo album Obadiah in 2010 and her follow-up Indian Ocean will be released on October 14. While she still has an authentic folk slant to her music, Indian Ocean is pure vintage soul courtesy of her backing band, Al Green’s The Hi Rhythm Section featuring Charles Hodges (organ), Leroy Hodges (bass), and the late Teenie Hodges (guitar). This sampler EP features two tracks from Obadiah and three tracks from the upcoming Indian Ocean. Give “Weather Pattern” a spin and then carve out some time on October 14 to listen to one of your new favorite albums.
Blending together a soulful sonic landscape of greasy rock riffs, singalong vocals and raw energy, Delta Spirit seem to just plug in and go for it each time they play. They just released their bombastic fourth album Into the Wide earlier this month and lead single “From Now Own” is presented here on this collection. The other six tracks available on this release comprise the band’s 2006 debut EP, I Think I’ve Found It. From the Stones-swagger of “Streetwalker” to the punk-stomp of “Crippler King” to the saloon-soaked piano of “French Quarter,” Delta Spirit smartly offers a simultaneous peek into themselves and their record collections. By cleverly packaging their first release with a track from their most recent, you’ll be able to get a pretty good gauge of just how special Delta Spirit is.
As a big fan of Explosions in the Sky, my ears have fallen in love with the instrumental sonic majesticness that Those Who Ride With Giants have achieved on their self-titled debut EP. While the “band” is really just one man – Sydney, Australia’s illustrator/animator/instrumental art rocker MJ Callaghan – the multi-layered instrumentation and spacious atmospherics make these performances feel like a full band playing off each other in the same room at the same time. So far, my favorite track on the EP is “The Mountain Seed” but “The Warmth of the Old Tavern” is fighting hard to overtake that designation.
If you put both Maxwell and Sharon Jones in your “for fans of” section, I can guarantee you’ll get a listen from me. Kellylee Evans voice has the same smooth timbre of 1960s-era R&B and jazz records, while the soulfully simplistic instrumentation backing her for these three live tracks help to showcase her fluidity and spontaneity within the musical moments she creates. Her acoustic cover of John Legend’s “Ordinary People” is spot on and acts as a wonderful introduction to her dynamic delivery. She also takes Kanye’s “Amazing” to another level in her stripped-down rendition available here as well.
When writer Will Hodge isn’t whenever, wherever, whatever, you can find him running off at the keyboard about music, concerts, and vinyl at My So-Called Soundtrack
We did it, you guys! Another wonderful week is in the books and the weekend lays before us like blank canvas just waiting for shenanigans to fill it from corner to corner. I’ve been a bit sleep deprived this week covering the amazing goings on at AmericanaFest – including a killer show this afternoon I’m really looking forward to featuring The Avett Brothers, The Lone Bellow, Shakey Graves, and Angaleena Presley – so this is gonna be short and sweet. This week’s recommendations are a bit theme-based, as every artist in this foursome turned in an unbelievable set during their AmericanaFest showcases. While I try to find the nearest place to take (another) nap, dive in and sample some of the best voices and songwriters in the rootsy Americana game. Onward and upward, my friends!
If you like the slink-and-thump of 1970s-era classic country, you’re gonna love Sturgill Simpson. Channeling a modern day Waylon Jennings, Simpson’s deep drawl and conversational storytelling style of songwriting is a truly fresh take on the unpolished outlaw country of decades past. The self-description of “bonafide mountain hillbilly soul” accurately hits the nail on the head like few others do. This sampler features four tracks from his stunning debut album High Top Mountain, and they are all worth a listen. “Railroad of Sin” and “Some Days” are the standouts here, but give “You Can Have the Crown” a spin and you’ll see why Simpson still introduces it as “the song I wish I had never written. If you like Simpson’s sound, he also just released his fantastic follow-up album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music this year as well.
I’m still buzzing from Amy Ray’s untouchable Thursday night showcase at Mercy Lounge, so I thought I’d pull this one from the vault and shine another light on it. It’s been available here on NoiseTrade for awhile and you owe it to yourself to pick it up if you’ve not done so already. Featuring 12 catalog cuts from Ray’s solo material – including tracks from Stag, Prom, Didn’t It Feel Kinder, and Lung of Love – and a few bonus live tracks as well. This is a rich retrospective from one of the best voices and most gifted songwriters in all of music. Sure, I may be a little biased since those of us that grew up in Georgia where pretty much raised on Amy’s voice. But even if you aren’t already a fan of hers, I’m sure you’ll find my fervor well deserved when you dig in to this incredible collection.
Back in 2010, Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band traveled to Iveagh Gardens in Dublin, Ireland and recorded a two-hour show spanning his entire career. It was the first rock show ever performed there and the 21-songs presented here accurately capture the aural atmosphere of that magical night. Ritter’s beautifully wistful take on “Moon River” and the frenetic funk feel of “Rattling Locks” are gorgeous entry points. As a bonus, there are also two tracks from Ritter’s The Beast In It’s Tracks from last year. I’ve always felt Ritter’s voice fits somewhere between the passionate tone of Glen Hansard and the wiseman whimsy of Tom Waits, so if you are into either one of those legends, give Ritter a spin.
For Joe Pug’s AmericanaFest set, he straight knocked the walls out of High Watt with his booming voice and his modern folk masterpieces. I promise you it would not be overstated hyperbole to say that he has one of my all-time favorite voices. The fact that he is an unquestionably brilliant lyricist just sweetens the pot. Most ears will impulsively try to attach the Bob Dylan tag, but a closer listen will show that influence as a starting point and not a destination.
I’ve come to be untroubled in my seeking and
I’ve come to see that nothing is for naught.
I’ve come to reach out blind, to reach forward and behind.
For the more I seek, the more I’m sought. – “Hymn #101”
I mean, c’mon. Download the intro sampler, go buy everything he’s ever put out, and then tumble sweetly down the rabbit hole.
When writer Will Hodge isn’t closer to fine, can find him running off at the keyboard about music, concerts, and vinyl at My So-Called Soundtrack
Happy weekend to you, NoiseTraders! While I’m sure most of you have already grabbed some free tunes this week from those young Irish upstarts in U2, I hope there’s still a little room left in your gratis music playlists for a few more releases. Not only do we have a fantastic new NoiseTrade EastSide Manor Session from Justin Townes Earle, but I’ve got four more recommendations to add to the mix. All in all, I’d say this is a pretty standout week on the free music front. Get into it!
I’m a huge fan of Humming House and I’m so excited that the folksy fivesome have captured their unparalleled mix of energy and chemistry in their new live album Humming House Party. They’ve put an appetite-inducing sampler here on NoiseTrade that features 6 of the 13 tracks found on the full length record and I guarantee you it’ll be enough to make you go and pick up the whole thing. Check out their rowdy folk-punk take on the old English traditional “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye” and their slightly more recent Justin Timberlake cover of “My Love” for just a taste of what this incredibly talented band can do with just a guitar, mandolin, fiddle, stand-up bass, and gorgeous gang vocals.
While Americana has become an ever-expanding musical category in the past few years, Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line are one of the recent groups that maintains many of the more traditional aspects of the genre. Valuing vintage aesthetics, acoustic instruments, rich storytelling, and high lonesome harmonies, Nora and the guys sound like they’re coming straight out of a greasy truck stop diner jukebox circa 1973. “Used to the Noise,” “We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds,” and their cover of The Everly Brothers’ “(‘Til) I Kissed You” are just three of the highlights on this tasty sampler that features three tracks from their newest Country EP No. 1 and five tracks from last year’s Carnival.
Amena Brown’s spoken word poetry is an iron fist of real-world truth wrapped in a velvet glove of serenely smooth delivery. Lyrically, Brown pulls no punches in her poetic portrayal of where she comes from and where she is headed. The mid-album triptych of “House Full of Women,” Dear Grandma Sudie,” and “Baggage Check” provides a stirring storytelling arch of the past, present, and future of Brown’s life. However, listen closely all the way through Breaking Old Rhythms and you just might find a surprising amount of relatable and redemptive elements within your own story as well.
Ahead of Tuesday’s release of their new album Just Enough Hip To Be Woman, Oklahoma’s own BRONCHO have thrown together a franticly fuzzy introductory sampler worth giving a listen. Along with two tracks from the new album (“Class Historian” and “It’s On”) are two standouts from their 2011 album Can’t Get Past The Lips (“Try Me Out Sometime” and “I Don’t Really Want To Be Social”), as well as a previously un-released acoustic b-side “Please Try Me.” If you’re in the mood for a little no-rules ruckus rock, BRONCHO is a really great place to start.
When writer Will Hodge isn’t telling your mama that you’d be in by ten, can find him running off at the keyboard about music, concerts, and vinyl at My So-Called Soundtrack
Friends, Romans, NoiseTraders, lend me (and these worthy bands) your ears and I promise to give them back in somewhat adequately working order. (That buzzing will eventually go away, I swear). As the last few weeks of summer lazily fade away (or outstay their welcome, depending on where you stand on the matter), I hope that there’s still room in your windows-down, fun-in-the-sun playlists for a couple more rambunctious recommendations. I’ve got some tasty tunes on tap for you this weekend and if you don’t find even one song you dig, I promise you a money-back guarantee on your free download. I hardly think you’ll run into that predicament though because these four albums are so top-shelf goodness that you’ll be surprised if you haven’t snatched them up already. As a bonus, I challenge any church-goers to try and sneak Lucius’ killer version of “Power in the Blood” somewhere into your Sunday service. It’s a divine dance party waiting to happen!
As a huge fan of both The Rentals and Tweedy, I’ve come to really love the bewitching joint-vocal stylings of Lucius even more after hearing them paired against some of my favorite singers. However, the fun and energy of their own indie-pop songwriting is really, really fantastic as well. Lucius Gets Noisey is an interesting 6-track EP that features the “triple threat quintet” in a live setting during their pre-Wildewoman days, along with the album version of “Hey Doreen” that fans have come to know and love so well. I promise you that the flawless vocals and tight percussive thump of “Don’t Just Sit There” and “Turn It Around” will have you double-checking that they are live versions and not over-dubbed studio recreations. As a bonus, do not miss their retro-electro version of “Power in the Blood” as it’s one of the hands-down-coolest versions of the hymn I’ve ever heard. It was written exclusively for WNYC’s Radiolab program and it is available on this must-grab EP.
Anyone who self-identifies as a “modern day hobo” – and has actually earned the title by living on the road in a van – is guaranteed to get at least a curious listen out of me. In the case of Caroline Rose, I’m all the luckier for it. While Rose’s fearless Americana-based instrumental experimentation, enticing vocal rasp, and road-dog storytelling defies her 24 years, the authenticity that flows through each performance allows her songs to feel genuine and uniquely singular to her wander-fueled experience. Featured on this sampler are seven tracks from Rose’s debut album I Will Not Be Afraid and the garage-blues pulse of “At Midnight” and the squiggly-keyed folk of “Tightrope Walker” are fantastic entry points. Existing somewhere in the space between the uninhibited vocals of Janis Joplin and the feisty younger sister of Shovels and Rope, Rose is playing by her own rules and thankfully we’re invited to the game.
The Orwells decided there’s no better way for them to prove their well-deserved “best live band in America” NME-bestowed moniker than with an EP capturing their incendiary live performance. Recorded at the legendary London punk club Dingwalls, Live from Dingwalls features The Orwells at their abrasively melodic best. This is unrefined rock & roll from its embryonic American incarnations and the raucous ruckus in the room is palpably felt through the all-too-short 4-song EP. Come for the “Dirty Sheets” and stay for “The Righteous Ones,” you’ll be glad you did. Don’t miss them if they come through your town and if you get the chance to catch them, bring a dry shirt to change into for after the show.
If you know of another sampler on NoiseTrade that highlights bands featuring folks like Pete Yorn and Liam Gallagher, as well as former members of Oasis, The Las, and World Party, please point me in that direction. The roster for Harvest Records is an embarrassment of sonic riches that features the aforementioned Yorn and Gallagher bands (The Olms and Beady Eye, respectively), as well as a ton of new bands that are mind-blowingly great. Take a listen to the soulful dance-groove of “This Is What It Feels Like” by BANKS or the expansive indie-rock sweep of “Sleeping Giant” by Bootstraps and I guarantee you’ll be enticed to just dive into the whole mixtape.
When writer Will Hodge isn’t right here, right now (d’you know what I mean?), you can find him running off at the keyboard about music, concerts, and vinyl at My So-Called Soundtrack
Being that Nashville is a town built on the monetization of music, it’s remarkably refreshing to watch talented songwriters who are more concerned with community than commerce. A roomful of lucky listeners got to experience that very thing last night at the inaugural kick-off of The Local Show – a recurring songwriter showcase series put on by Andrew Peterson and his creative collective known as the Rabbit Room. From the opening reading of a Wendell Berry passage that spoke of broadening the membership of your life, to the partnership with local non-profit Show Hope, to the borrowed capos and guitars on stage, the theme of community ran deep throughout the night.
The first night of The Local Show featured some of Nashville’s best kept singer-songwriter secrets: Sandra McCracken, Don Chaffer (Waterdeep), Randall Goodgame, and Eric Peters. What was immediately noticeable about this foursome – and what makes The Local Show such an immediate standout from the typical songwriter rounds that take place all over the city – was the spirit of creative camaraderie between all of the artists. Not only are they all professionally intertwined through a variety of album recordings and concert appearances, but they are all friends and fans of each other’s work as well. This was none more evident than on the constant chorale of “ghost harmonies” that wandered in and out of every song – even the new, unreleased ones. The friendly interactions that took place before, after, and during the songs showed evidence of a group of people that were fluent in each other’s lives. During normal songwriter rounds, you can usually spot the feigned interest of the performers as they wait for their spot to come back around. Whether they are thinking about their next song or the errands that they need to run the next day, the vacant gaze and forced banter always give them away. However, this was not the case at The Local Show, where each artist was fully engaged during each other’s songs – possibly even more so than during their own offerings.
From a musical perspective, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more entertaining and enriching collection of songs packed into a single setting. There were lyrics crafted from the perspective of an abandoned, rusty Schwinn and a pre-suicidal cancer patient, as well as hymns of timeless modernity sung alongside humorously instructional odes on how not to get eaten by bears. The songs were all beautiful, haunting, resonant, accessible, and undeniably life-affirming in equal measure. These were not three-and-a-half minute pop ditties ephemerally meant to lighten a moment, but instead were carefully crafted refrains meant to help soundtrack a lifetime’s journey. With meditations like “Will we choose the noise of our desire or the hope that makes no sound” and simple reminders that “the sky must be enjoyed,” The Local Show reminded that there are good musical companions to walk with you along the way.
Being a fan of all four artists, it was really nice to hear familiar songs in such a relaxed, intimate setting. The Well Coffeehouse provided an incredible atmosphere for the songwriters to sing their songs and tell their stories, while the lightening storm flashing through the wall of windows provided an arresting backdrop. At a point where technical glitches threatened to sidetrack the mood, Don Chaffer simply unplugged his guitar, rested a foot on the front row of chairs, and sang a gorgeous break-up ballad to a pin-drop quiet crowd. One of the bonus benefits to relaxed settings like this is that new songs usually see their first light of day. On this night, Randall Goodgame debuted a new song called “Cellphone Jones,” Eric Peters introduced “Nobody,” and Sandra McCracken played “God’s Highway,” “We Will Feast,” and “Gracious Light” from her recently-recorded-but-not-yet-released next album. Don Chaffer even read a stunningly wistful prose poem of his called “On the Iron Bar and the Price You Pay, James Dean” that had everyone simultaneously laughing and introspecting at the same time. All four artists set the precedent that you never know what might be in store for you at The Local Show but you can rest assured it’s going to be good.
The Local Show will be looking to recapture the communal spark every other Tuesday in September, with plans to move to every week in October. The next show will be September 16 and will feature Jill Phillips, Andy Gullahorn, Andrew Osenga, and Jeremy Casella – another foursome whose professional/personal DNA mix together in a way that should provide the same uniquely communal atmosphere as the first show.
You can find out more about The Local Show and purchase advanced tickets for the next show here:
THE LOCAL SHOW
September 16 @ 8pm
Andy Gullahorn, Jill Phillips, Jeremy Casella, and Andrew Osenga
The Well Coffeehouse
690 Old Hickory Blvd,
Brentwood, TN 37027
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the door
Howdy, howdy, friends! I hope you were able to join in the festivities this week as fun. celebrated the fifth anniversary of the release of their debut album Aim & Ignite with a 5-day-only-limited-time download of the album in full. I hope other bands join in the tradition and a “free album download” takes over for wood/silverware in the traditional fifth anniversary gift department. Someone get Hallmark on the phone! For the celebratory party punchbowl, this week’s picks create a raucous cocktail of explosive alt-rock, R&B-fueled pop, infectious hip-hop, with some laid-back acoustic folk to provide a smooth finish. Bottoms up!
There’s no better way to continue the 5-year birthday celebration of fun.’s debut album Aim & Ignite than spinning their 4-song companion EP Selections & B-Sides from Aim & Ignite. While the EP features “All the Pretty Girls” from Aim & Ignite, the other three tracks are pure b-side/rarity/remix goodness. There’s a remix (“Walking the Dog (RAC Mix)”), a live track (“Take Your Time (Coming Home)”), and a non-album track b-side (“Stitch Me Up”), all of which prove to be a nice continuation of Aim & Ignite’s inventive and playful sonic environment. If you still can’t get your fun.-fix, they’ve also got their Before Shane Went to Bangkok live EP available on our site as well.
You may recognize the name and voice of Mikky Ekko from his appearance on Rhianna’s “Stay” from her Unapologetic album. Just 3 short years before the quadruple-platinum single was released, Ekko put out his debut EP Strange Fruit. Available here in its entirety, Strange Fruit showcases Ekko’s otherworldy vocals and his uniquely creative sonic touch. “Only In Dreams” floats in and out before your ears know what hit them, leading into “Sedated,” the song that got Ekko his first exposure. Give it a listen and you’ll see exactly why so many artists have tapped Ekko for collaboration and why he has been able to rise so far, so fast.
This self-titled EP from Shopé isn’t his first foray into music-making (he used to rap under the name Spoken), but it is his first under the Shopé moniker. So because of that – and because it’s an introduction to his new sound – consider this a well-earned debut. Opening track “Cinema” brings you right up to speed with Shopé’s overflowing bag of songwriting and production talents. The song opens with a piano-flavored mid-tempo groove, changes direction half-way through with layered ornamental beats and aggressive tongue-twisting lyrics, and then returns to the laid-back feel for its closing. Pretty cinematic indeed.
With his unpretentious vocals and unassuming guitar-playing, Americana singer-songwriter Luke Brindley inhabits a beautiful cross-section of classic country balladeering and modern folk songwriting. With a little vocal help from Laura Tsaggaris and some banjo/mandolin accompaniment from Mike Meadows (Taylor Swift), Brindley has crafted The Whiskey Switch to be sonically relaxed and emotionally resonant. I recommend “Cold Hearts” for its melancholy musings and “Minnesota” for its Springsteenian storytelling.
When writer Will Hodge isn’t five minutes in and bored again, you can find him running off at the keyboard about music, concerts, and vinyl at My So-Called Soundtrack