May 13, 2006
The other day I blogged about the grassroots organization The Invisible Children which is trying to bring attention to children in Uganda who are the victims of rebel fighting.
Not only is Invisible Children a cool charity, but they've got a great soundtrack. While watching their various videos and commercials I found three great tracks, two of which I downloaded immediately (the third one I already owned):
- "Always Love" by Nada Surf
- "For the Widows in Paradise, for the Fatherless in Ypsilanti" by Sufjan Stevens
- "Rescue is Coming" by David Crowder Band
November 29, 2005
It must be Christmas in Nashville as the Christian Music crowd is cranking out Christmas singles:
- "Feliz Navidad" - David Crowder Band
- "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" - Bethany Dillon
- "What Child Is This" - ZOEgirl
It's all from the requisite Wow Christmas 2-CD set. For a little more edge to your Christmas dance party you can turn to Tooth & Nail's Happy Christmas Vol. 4, which includes Switchfoot (again), Relient K, Eisley, Mae, Hawk Nelson and more.
October 25, 2005
You can get an early taste of the new Yellowcard album, Lights and Sounds, which comes out in January, with the first single, "Lights and Sounds". The new album is supposed to be a departure from their Ocean Avenue sound, supposedly more rock and roll.
"We kind of got grouped into a certain thing with the last record, and whether it's good or bad, who knows?" Pete Mosley told MTV in August. "But we don't want to walk around and go, 'Hey, I'm in this pop-punk band called Yellowcard' for the rest of our lives. So we made a record that's not like Ocean Avenue. It's not bouncy â€” it's rock and roll."
October 20, 2005
The indie band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah has sold 17,000 copies of their self-released debut album. They make $8 per copy mailing the CDs to customers themselves (a lot better than the $1 per copy most record companies offer), which amounts to $136,000. Granted they have bills to pay and have to divide up the earnings, but that's not too shabby for a band, considering they also have merchandising and concert income.
You can download a few tracks from their site (check the sidebar) and they're now available on iTunes. They have an odd sound that I have a hard time describing, but I'll say that it's catchy enough that I like it, though the vocals are odd enough that my wife can't stand it. It's kind of like musical noise.
October 17, 2005
If you're looking for some soulful Americana music, the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown is worth checking out. The soundtrack itself is packed with folks like Tom Petty, Elton John, Ryan Adams, Patty Griffin and more, but the real treat is the original score by Nancy Wilson. The instrumental strumming is so atmospheric and Kentucky-ish. Head over to the Elizabethtown web site for a sample. The music player cycles through samples from both soundtracks, with lengthier bits from the original score. Even if you're not interested in buying it, the web site is a great way to take in the sounds while you work.
September 17, 2005
You can also check out next week's (?) Sounds Eclectic for a live performance from Arcade Fire. Their five-song set starts about 30 minutes into the show and looks to include two new songs.
Check out this week's Sounds Eclectic for a live performance from Sufjan Stevens, the guy who seems to be tackling the monumental task of writing an entire album about all 50 states. So far he's got Michigan and Illinois.
September 13, 2005
- The long awaited new album from Switchfoot is finally out: Nothing is Sound. If you buy the album from iTunes you get the digital booklet and an extra track, an acoustic version of "Stars". You'll also want to check out "Happy is a Yuppie Word".
- Calexico and Iron & Wine release their In the Reins EP, packed full of melodic folky goodness. "History of Lovers" sounds like the best track.
- Last week the Cary Brothers released their Waiting for Your Letter EP. The Cary Brothers are perhaps best known for their track "Blue Eyes" from the Garden State soundtrack.
- And if you need a reason to cry, last week Carman released Carman: Live & Reloaded.
August 31, 2005
This week on iTunes new stuff includes:
- Kanye West's new album Late Registration, which includes the #1 single on iTunes, "Gold Digger".
- Death Cab for Cutie's Plans, which I hyped more than a month ago.
- The 10:1 EP by Rogue Wave. "Interruptions" is the big song, but I love "10:1"—it has a nice, high-speed vibe. "Wait for It" has a nice creepy vibe, too. I originally checked out Rogue Wave because they did a fun cover of U2's "Seconds".
- You can also finally get the new Audio Adrenaline: Until My Heart Caves In. Lead singer Mark Stuart's voice is showing some serious signs of aging, but a few songs really stand out (mainly the ones that prominently feature guitarist Tyler Burkum on vocals), including "Starting Over," "King" and the title track.
August 23, 2005
If you haven't noticed the pattern, new music is generally released on Tuesdays. This week iTunes has a couple interesting tracks worth checking out:
"Here is Our King" - David Crowder Band
"Do You Want To" - Franz Ferdinand
"King" - Audio Adrenaline - This one actually came out a month or so ago, but who's counting? You can also pre-order the new Audio Adrenaline album, Until My Heart Caves In, which comes out next week. Pre-ordering on iTunes will give you two extra songs ("Last Star Shining" and a live version of "Leaving 99") and a behind the scenes video.
August 9, 2005
You can also check out his new blog, which features a whopping one entry per month. It's a part of his new web site, where you can listen to the new single in its entirety (though it's interrupted by an annoying computerized voice announcing that it's a "KirkFranklin.us exclusive").
And you have to wonder if Toby Mac paid him to wear that shirt.
July 27, 2005
But you can get an early taste with their four-song iTunes Live Sessions release, which includes the single "When in Rome," a live version of the "Smoothie Song" and the country waltz "Jealous of the Moon."
July 19, 2005
Update: And now you can snag "Soul Meets Body" on iTunes.
July 9, 2005
Fans of the Christian rock band Audio Adrenaline will want to check out the solo work of guitarist Tyler Burkum. His Myspace site features three songs you can listen to online. All three are slower than typical Audio Adrenaline fare, reminiscent of their recent radio hits "Leaving the 99" and "Ocean Floor".
(link via Knightopia)
July 5, 2005
Read more about Nothing is Sound.
For more on Audio Adrenaline and Until My Heart Caves In, which comes out August 30, check out our interview with guitarist Tyler Burkum.
June 17, 2005
Ted Leo of Ted Leo & The Pharmacists recently performed live (sans Pharmacists) on 89.3 FM The Current in the Twin Cities. You can listen to him play "Me and Mia," "Counting Down the Hours" (my personal favorite) and "Heart Problems," as well as chat with DJ Mary Lucia.
She broaches the subject of cover tunes, and they discuss the Kelly Clarkson hit, "Since U Been Gone," that Leo has covered. His response: "A good song is a good song, and that's a good song." (Jason Kottke called the song an "earworm" and linked to a download of the cover version.)
June 16, 2005
I admit I balked when Hello, Good Friend, the new CD from The Rocket Summer showed up in the mail. Just who is that 16-year-old kid? Turns out that "16-year-old" is 22-year-old Bryce Avary, the one-man band that is The Rocket Summer (have I confessed my inability to guess the age of anyone between 14 and 28?).
That's right, he's behind every emotion-fueled plink of the piano, whine of the guitar strings, crash of the symbols and just about anything else you can think of. And he's pretty darn good. It's achingly positive emo music, which sounds like a bit of a contradiction. This is full-on bubble gum pop, so hold on for the ride. A couple reviews can probably sum it up better than I. But I will say that the jittery "Story" is hands down the best song on the CD. When the chorus hits it's an all out fun-fest.
As an interesting twist, Avary's album is being released to the Christian market later this summer. His JPM count (Jesus per minute) is a little low for Christian radio, but the kids are going to love it.
June 9, 2005
You can hear a clip of a new Switchfoot song over at their web site. The guitar-heavy "Stars" is the first taste of Switchfoot's fifth album, Nothing is Sound, which comes out in August.
Read more about Nothing is Sound
June 6, 2005
Despite the horror of some, punk rock is going 80s with a new compilation of cover songs, Punk Goes 80s. You can hear Relient K covering "Manic Monday," Halifax covering "Straight Up," Amber Pacific covering "Video Killed the Radio Star," and more. It comes out June 7 but you can hear samples on the Punk Goes 80s Music Player.
June 3, 2005
The Astronaut Pushers appear to be a new super-group of sorts, combining John Davis (Superdrag), Lindsay Jameison (Ben Folds/Departure Lounge), Matt Slocum (Sixpence None the Richer) and Sam Ashworth (his solo album is the debut of Charlie Peacock's Runway Network). The band is finishing up their EP, but you can check out a few rough songs on their otherwise defunct web site.
And if you like Sam Ashworth, you can hear songs from his new solo album on MySpace.
June 1, 2005
May 24, 2005
"We're more ready to take on the world than we've been in our whole career," says front man Mike Herrera. "We can follow our own instincts now. All those years, it was like we were chasing a ghost. But back then, I didn't have the knowledge or understanding to realize what was going on. And I didn't have the strength to fight it. I was always second-guessing myself. Above all else, I've learned not to doubt myself. To figure out what I want before it's too late. And once you do figure it out, you just have to go for it."
May 23, 2005
I heard a funky song on The Current yesterday, "Vodka Lobotomy" by That's What You Get, a local Twin Cities band. It had a touch of the Ramones, though you can hear for yourself if you have a PC. Their entire album is available for Weedfile download from their web site, which means you can download it for free and listen to it three times. Mac support is supposedly coming soon.
May 19, 2005
89.3 The Current, the new public radio alternative music station in the Twin Cities has been recording tons of live in-studio performances to air, and you can listen to all of them online. It's a grab bag of the "in" musicians from the indie scene, including Rilo Kiley, Thievery Corporation, Aqualung, Arthur Yoria, The Shins, Phoenix, Low, Olympic Hopefuls and more. Most performances are stripped down accoustic numbers, but plenty of the bands crammed a stage full of musicans into the studio for the sessions.
May 14, 2005
My latest iTunes purchase was the Beta Band's "Dry the Rain" from their Three EPs album. It starts off slowly, and the preview on iTunes isn't much help, but about halfway through it kicks into a massive groove.
The song is probably best known for its role in High Fidelity when John Cusack's character says he'll sell five copies of the Beta Band's Three EPs. He plays the groove portion of "Dry the Rain." Thanks to Neals for turning me on to the song.
May 12, 2005
The Canadian singer Laurell Hubick is definitely worth a listen. And you can hear her entire album online. If like what you can hear you can buy the CD or download individual tracks for 99 cents. It's her own personal iTunes (which is a bit odd, since her previous worship album, Into Your Love is available on iTunes).
Her music is soft and sweet, reminding me of Norah Jones and Mindy Smith. That's some good musical company. "A Dream" and "Storybook Song" are two good tracks to check out.
May 4, 2005
In other Shaun Groves news, his new album White Flag comes out July 12. Over at his Myspace site you can listen to four songs from the new album, including the rocking "What's Wrong With This World?" (I love the lyrics where he answers what's wrong is me), the liturgical sounding "Amen" (in lyrics, not guitars) and what's apparently a new requirement in Christian music, a cover of "Bless the Lord."
May 3, 2005
A quick trip to purevolume lets you download three older tracks and samples from the new album. I haven't heard the new album yet, but the three downloads have been racking up play counts on my iPod.
"Grand Theft Autumn" has a nice emo attempt at decent singing before it really gets started. "Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner" is an acoustic demo version (the real version is available on From Under the Cork Tree), though for me it's better unplugged. "Dead on Arrival" is just fast, fun—and hey, it's free.
The iTunes Discovery Download (brought to you by Carson Daly) for this week is "Don't Walk Away" by Shawn McDonald from his Simply Nothing album. His music is mostly acoustic, though a few songs have a touch of hip-hop reminiscent of Mat Kearney. McDonald has a down and out story of getting messed up in drugs and hitting the bottom before finally coming to God.
April 28, 2005
This three-piece rock band (formerly known as No Tagbacks) released their self-titled debut album this week—and it's worth a listen. You can hear some lengthy samples online and download the single "Serial Sleepers."