Old-time bluegrass over modern electronics. Fits together surprisingly well!

Download the entire album from the link here.

Hazel Dickens/”Little Pretty Bird”


Awesome in both size and grandeur, this 25-track, nearly 2-hour-long compilation, while intended to introduce listeners to some of the bands performing at next month’s Deep Heaven Now 3 Ambient/Psych Festival, serves just as nicely as a monument to celebrate the achievements thus far of this new, vibrant, and still rapidly-expanding local scene.

With outstanding contributions from Autochrome, Sharp Dots USA, The Sunshine Factory, The Sky Drops, Sri Aurobindo, Mmoss, Hadoken, Roh Delikat, Concord Ballet Orchestra Players, and This Car Up. Plus old favorites from To The Wedding and Ghost Box Orchestra, and a totally new track from 28 Degrees Taurus. And, since I haven’t mentioned all 25 yet, much, much more!

Best of all, it’s a free download from bandcamp.

Julianna Barwick composes loop-based vocal compositions in real time the way Robert Fripp used to on guitar. The results are much the same: mesmerizing soundscapes that unfold before your eyes and ears.

Her new and excellent lp, “This Magic Place,” just came out on Asthmatic Kitty records. You can stream it there or at her bandcamp page, and download the title track for free.

Also, check out the interview and live performance, below!

Wire – Red Barked Tree

January 15, 2011

It’s not just the amount of snow on the ground that’s reminding me of the winter of 1977-78. Wire has an new lp just out, and it’s really, really, great.

Of course, it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect the band’s latest work to repeat the stylistic and philosophical innovations achieved with their first three records. Instead, what makes the new album so outstanding are the songs themselves: the first four, culminating with the astonishing and appropriately-titled “Two Minutes,” rank up there with any of the tracks that Wire has ever produced.

Equally important are the lyrics. The members of Wire have always been ones to say what needs to be said — nothing more and nothing less. And so, not surprisingly, those first four songs, as well as “Bad Worn Thing” and the closing, title track, speak directly to the bankruptcies — financial and moral — of our time and lament the stupidity and greed that blocks even the most modest steps towards solution.

“Two Minutes” can be downloaded for free, from the listen page of the band’s website. But don’t stop there — “Red Barked Tree” is a masterpiece in its entirety.

Small Black – New Chain

November 5, 2010

“New Chain” is Small Black‘s first full length, an even better follow-up to an excellent ep from earlier this year. The Jagjaguwar webpage puts it best:

A thinker’s party record? A party-hardy thinker’s record? Not sure. All we know is that New Chain is one of the most involved, intriguing and effortlessly human collections of organic pop music you’re likely to hear this or any other year.

“Photojournalist,” one of the best tracks, can be downloaded for free from the same page.

Seems like the Devil’s been doing a lot of dancing lately. But then again, I guess it’s always been that way. Brown Bird is a Rhode Island-based band that play timeless music, blending elements of old-time folk and country with a little bit of the blues, to address exactly that timeless theme.

Your can download two of the best tracks, “Danger and Dread” and “Muck and Mire,” off their latest lp “The Devil Dancing,” from the Peapod Recordings webpage. Further evidence that Peapod releases nothing but the very best.

“Goodbye, Killer” presents the strongest set of songs recorded yet by Joe Pernice. Blasting through ten tracks — and not a bad one to be found among them — in just over 30 minutes, Joe and Bob Pernice, Ric Menck, and James Walbourne do without the bells and whistles, literally and metaphorically, and prove once again how less can be more.

Plus there is, as always, the poetry of the lyrics. Whether he’s singing about the beginning, as in “Jacqueline Susann” (which you can download from the Pernice Brothers’ website), the beginning of the end, as in “Something for You,” or the end, as on, actually, most of the other tracks, Pernice captures the essence of a comically/tragically horrible situation like no one else can.

The girl in “Jacqueline Susann” reads Ford Madox Ford, too, so it seems fitting to close with this quote, from “The Gold Solider,” though it could just have easily come from Joe Pernice himself:

She asked him perpetually what he wanted. What did he want? What did he want? And all he ever answered was: “I have told you” … But just once he tripped up. To Leonora’s eternal question he answered that all he desired in life was that–that he could pick himself together again and go on with his daily occupations if–the girl, being five thousand miles away, would continue to love him. He wanted nothing more; he prayed his God for nothing more. Well, he was a sentimentalist.