The July Mixtape

Stream :: Got Nuffin’ - Spoon (original post)
Stream :: All For The Best - Thom Yorke (original post)
MP3 :: Walkabout - Atlas Sound (ft. Noah Lennox) (original post)
MP3 :: Sun Was High (So Was I) - Best Coast (original post)
MP3 :: Tell It (In My Ear) - Fergus & Geronimo (original post)
MP3 :: Dream City - Free Energy (original post)
MP3 :: Blank Passports - Hallelujah the Hills (original post)
MP3 :: Something Hiding For Us In The Night - The Wooden Sky (original post)
MP3 :: 1,2,3 Partyy! - Mission of Burma (original post)
MP3 :: No Time, No Hope - Times New Viking (original post)
MP3 :: The Show Goes On - Bruce W. Derr (original post)
MP3 :: Give Blood - Rain Machine (original post)
MP3 :: Overnight Religion - Kurt Vile (original post)

I’ve been out of town this week visiting family & friends, but back just in time to get a July mix together for you. This is one of my favorites of the year so far - just top notch from top to bottom. Goes best with some sun and a few cold ones. Previously:


Bruce W. Derr - Python

Bruce W. Derr, one of the most prolific songwriters in all of Lewisburg, PA, has recently released Python, his second new album of 2009. This is following a 2008 in which Derr was a part of three top-notch records - his own The Time of Day and Mr. Personality and as co-front man with Earl Pickens on The Sweetbriars’ Please Pass the Revolution! Python follows the acoustic Sigh by just a few months (not to mention an EP called Weeds that is comprised of leftovers from the fruitful Python sessions), and while there are a handful of quieter moments scattered throughout the new one, for the most part Derr seems intent to rock out like nobody’s business. With their wordy, earnest sentiments and brash electric guitar-driven arrangements, “The Show Goes On” and “I Can’t Take Any More Of It” are both fine introductions to the type of gutsy, heart-on-his-sleeve homemade rock & roll Derr has been bashing out for a while now. Get some.

MP3 :: The Show Goes On
MP3 :: I Can’t Take It Any More Of It
(from Python. Buy here)

Previously on PHW:

Introducing: Bruce W. Derr
[mp3] Bruce W. Derr - “Mr. Personality”
2008 In Review, Vol. 1 - Bruce W. Derr

[mp3] Best Coast - "Sun Was High (So Was I)"

With the glut of lo-fi outfits doing the whole “equal parts sun-drenched pop and skuzz-drenched noise” thing these days, picking the worthwhile tracks out of the bunch can be a somewhat daunting task. It’s nice then that Best Coast, the recording project of Bethany Cosentino (also/formerly of Pocahaunted) and Bob Bruno, make it very easy on the garage-pop gem “Sun Was High (So Was I)”. The song’s been a fixture on virtually every playlist/homemade CD I’ve made for people over the past few weeks, yet for some reason I’m only getting around to sharing it with you all now. I think I was waiting for some kind of news regarding an LP or something official from the band, but I guess Best Coast as a band is still in their infancy - trying to figure shit out and decide what to do next. Here’s the scoop - Art Fag Records will be releasing this song on 7” vinyl (album art above) in the near future backed by 2 other songs - “So Gone” (streaming at myspace) and “That’s The Way Boys Are”. More news when it comes, for now just enjoy one of the summer’s best jams.

MP3 :: Sun Was High (So Was I)
(from Best Coast 7”. Buy here)

Old School Vid :: Frank Black - "Headache"

For no other reason than wow, what a great great song. From his second post-Pixies album, 1994’s Teenager of the Year. Buy here.

[mp3] The Octopus Project - "Wet Gold"

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything from Austin’s The Octopus Project. Their awesome 2007 single “I Saw The Bright Shinies”, from Hello, Avalanche, was one of my very favorite songs of 2007. The eclectic electro-rockers are now readying Golden Beds - an enhanced EP featuring 5 new songs and 7 music videos. The band is also getting set to embark on a rather large North American tour to support it. Golden Beds will be released by Peek-A-Boo Records on July 28, and the first single, “Wet Gold”, has been designated as a free and legal download by the label:

MP3 :: Wet Gold
(from Golden Beds. Buy here)

Stream :: Golden Beds EP

MP3 :: I Saw The Bright Shinies
(from Hello, Avalanche. Buy here)

The Octopus Project On Tour!

07/24 - St. Louis, MO @ Luminary
07/25 - Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
07/27 - Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
07/28 - Toronto, ON @ Lee's Palace
07/29 - Montreal, QC @ Il Motore
07/30 - Boston, MA @ TT the Bears
07/31 - Providence, RI @ Jerky's Live Music Hall
08/02 - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
08/03 - Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
08/04 - Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
08/05 - Chapel Hill, NC @ Cat's Cradle
08/06 - Atlanta, GA @ Starbar
08/07 - New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jack's
08/08 - Houston, TX @ Free Press Summer Fest
08/13 - Tucson, AZ @ Plush
08/14 - Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
08/15 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
08/17 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
08/18 - Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
08/21 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
08/22 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge

The Wooden Sky - If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone

Maybe I’m putting my ignorance on full display here, but when I think of geographical locales where top-notch Americana is being made, Toronto doesn’t immediately spring to mind. The Appalachian Mountains, yes. The Midwest, oh sure. Austin, TX, fuck yeah. Toronto….not so much. That’s not stopping The Wooden Sky from trying or from succeeding quite handsomely. I read about the Toronto band on 3 separate Canadian (go figure) music blogs (Chromewaves, Herohill, & Quick Before It Melts) within the past few weeks, liked what I heard quite a bit, and had my people contact their people (I sent ‘em an email) all in an attempt to get my paws on a copy of their forthcoming album If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone. After a handful of listens I can say that I’m really digging what I’m hearing, and feel compelled to recommend you all check them out as well.

If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone is full of organic, passionate, earnest folk-rock songs that occasionally swell into cathartic anthems but are mostly happy to sway and pluck and amble along with the breeze. The song I’m loving immensely is the album’s centerpiece and it’s beating heart of darkness - “Something Hiding For Us In The Night”. It and “(Bit Part)” have been released as free downloads from the band and should not be missed. Other highlights include the soulful sing-alongs “The Late King Henry” and “Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot To Me)”, the dusty rocker “While We Were Young”, and the quiet, introspective harmonies of “Oslo”. The album comes out August 25 through Black Box Music.

MP3 :: Something Hiding For Us In The Night
MP3 :: (Bit Part)
(from If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone. Info here)

Here’s a video for “Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot To Me)”:


[mp3] Rain Machine - "Give Blood"

Kyp Malone (he of TV On The Radio and that wicked beard/afro combo) is getting set to release his solo debut record under the Rain Machine moniker. The first single, “Give Blood”, was debuted over at Pitchfork today and isn’t so much a radical departure from the sweaty indie-funk/soul of last year’s excellent Dear Science, as much as a more aggressive, stripped down version of it. And who doesn’t like to strip and get aggressive? Rain Machine drops on September 22 from Anti.

MP3 :: Give Blood (via Pitchfork)
(from Rain Machine. Info here)

[mp3] Fergus & Geronimo - "Tell It (In My Ear)" & "Harder Than It's Ever Been"

There’s a ton of really exciting new songs going around right now that seem tailor-made for summertime listening. My June Mixtape started to touch on a few of them (Smith Westerns, Real Estate, Zach Vinson), but July has kept them coming at a steady clip (Atlas Sound, Times New Viking, Hallelujah the Hills, Free Energy - just scroll down). Add the Motown-influenced garage-pop Denton, TX band Fergus & Geronimo to the list. I’ve recently come across their songs over at a few trusted blogs and so far I love what I’m hearing. At this point it looks like F&G only has a couple of 7” releases to their credit, but according to their myspace a full length is presently in the works.

The drums that kick start “Tell It (In My Ear)” sound like The Foundations classic “Build Me Up Buttercup” for about 2 seconds, and after that I keep expecting it to break into “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”. It’s equally as joyful as both songs despite sounding like it was recorded with the garage door half-closed - amazing what can happen when a promising band takes a Phil Spector wall-of-sound approach to lo-fi recording.

MP3 :: Tell It (In My Ear)

“Harder Than It’s Ever Been” is another fuzzy, old-time pop nugget. It’s available as a 7” A-side from Woodsist. You should check these guys out now before they explode.

MP3 :: Harder Than It’s Ever Been
(from Harder Than It’s Ever Been 7”. Buy here)

[mp3] Atlas Sound - "Walkabout" (ft. Noah Lennox)

Though you may enjoy them all year long, some songs just seem made for summer listening. “Walkabout”, the first single from the upcoming Atlas Sound album Logos (Kranky, October 20), is completely sun-drenched. It’s a hypnotic, eyes-closed pop song filled with childlike wonder and totally blissed-out melodies. Built around a sample from an old song by The Dovers called “What Am I Going To Do”, “Walkabout” prominently features Noah Lennox from Animal Collective - so much so that a casual listener would very easily mistake the song for one of the dreamier moments on Merriweather Post Pavilion or Person Pitch. Regardless, it’s quite a welcome departure for Bradford Cox. In the past Atlas Sound has been a vehicle for his bedroom recordings and an escape from his primary band, Deerhunter. While last year’s Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel had some memorable moments, nothing I‘ve heard from this project has been as fully developed or exciting as “Walkabout”. This is truly one of the summer’s finest songs.

MP3 :: Walkabout (ft. Noah Lennox) (via The Fader)
(from Logos. Info here)

Cox had this to say recently when describing Logos: “My last album was a bedroom laptop type thing. Very introverted. Logos is an album that was recorded all over the world. It’s not about me. There are collaborations with other musicians. The lyrics are not autobiographical. The view is a lot more panoramic and less close-up. I became bored with introspection. This was also the case Deerhunter’s ‘Microcastle’ LP, which was written during the same period.”

An early version of “Walkabout” from NYE in Atlanta:


Thom Yorke & The National record songs for Mark Mulcahy tribute album

Mark Mulcahy is not a household name, or at least it isn’t one in my house. Before very recently I had never even heard of the man or his former band, Miracle Legion. That all changed in a hurry though with the recent news of the forthcoming tribute compilation Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs of Mark Mulcahy (Shout Factory, September 29). It’s heartbreaking that the album needs to be released at all - Mulcahy recently lost his wife and has been left alone to raise his young twins. As a new father of twins myself this news really hit home, and I probably would have written something up for the record regardless of the music it contained.

As it is though I have two reasons to help spread the word on this one - Ciao My Shining Star’s tracklist is jampacked with indie-rock notables both old and new, all taking on Mulcahy‘s songs for the sole purpose of helping out a fellow songwriter in need. How do selections from Frank Black, Dinosaur Jr., Michael Stipe, Vic Chestnutt, and Mercury Rev sound? Not enough for you? Maybe you should check out the songs contributed by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke or The National

I’ve just heard Miracle Legion’s original version of “All For The Best” and I have to say Yorke’s re-imagining is truly arresting - the original’s college-rock jangle is replaced with icy electronic beats, the occasional stab of squalling electric guitar, and typically emotive vocals from Yorke. You wouldn’t expect Yorke to just turn in something run-of-the-mill, but this song is simply beautifully done. Have a listen:

Stream :: Thom Yorke - "All For The Best" (via Stereogum)

The National (whose follow up to Boxer is coming along nicely according to guitarist Bryce Dessner) tackle “Ashamed Of The Story I Told” - a song originally done by Miracle Legion side project Polaris, the house band for the children’s show The Adventures of Pete & Pete. The song’s dark, elegant structure is a perfect fit for the band. Like Yorke, the band make the song their own, and in doing so nail their second terrific compilation song of the year.

You can also head over to Mulcahy’s myspace to hear Josh Rouse’s version of “I Woke Up In The Mayflower” or sample Mulcahy songs from throughout the years:

MP3 :: If She Could Cry
MP3 :: Even Better
MP3 :: You’re The One Lee
(from the Miracle Legion album Me And Mr. Ray)

MP3 :: Hey Self Defeater
(from the Mark Mulcahy album Fathering)

MP3 :: We’re Not In Charleston Anymore
(from the Mark Mulcahy album SmileSunSunSet)

MP3 :: Be Sure
(from the Mark Mulcahy album In Pursuit Of Your Happiness)

[mp3] Kurt Vile - "Overnight Religion"

I think they think it’s the Summer of Love over there at Matador. So far this month has seen a constant stream of excellent new tunes from the label, several of which you can find simply by scrolling down right now, and today is no different. Kurt Vile, he of side duties in The War On Drugs and the solo album Constant Hitmaker from 2008, has been riding a wave of critical goodwill so far this year. It seemed that everyone finally caught up to him when “Freeway” started going around back in March/April, and the attention no doubt helped land him a deal with Matador. Childish Prodigy will be his first full length release for the label, due October 6, and “Overnight Religion” continues the hazy, ethereal folk-rock vibe that Vile has been such a part of (on last year’s Wagonwheel Blues and his own solo stuff) in the past. It’s an arresting, hypnotic track that sort of demands repeat plays to fully sink in, but when it does get ready - you may find yourself listening over and over, getting lost in the song’s looping sense of weightlessness.

MP3 :: Overnight Religion
(from Childish Prodigy. Info here)

Prior to Childish Prodigy’s release, Matador is planning a 7” single, due September 8, featuring album track “He’s Alright” backed by 2 non-album cuts.

Wilco @ Keyspan Park, Coney Island, 7-13-09

(photo not from Keyspan)

As I’ve done the past two years after seeing Wilco live, here’s a bunch of the (many) highlights of Monday night’s amazing show at Keyspan Park in Coney Island. In list form no less.

1. Yo La Tengo opened and ran through about an hour’s worth of material, much of it I enjoyed without being very familiar with. I was catching up with some old friends (re: annoying the people around me who were paying close attention) for much of their set, but am pretty sure I heard “Autumn Sweater” from I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One and “From A Motel 6” from Painful. They also played “Periodically Double Or Triple” from their upcoming album Popular Songs. It was a raucous, feedback-heavy set that was well-received by the crowd.

2. Wilco held absolutely nothing back on Monday night - after opening with a crowd-warming “Wilco, The Song” they played classic after classic with a few new songs thrown in there. There’s a reason why war horses like “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”, “A Shot In The Arm”, and “Handshake Drugs” are played almost every night - they fucking rock.

3. There was a nice balance of songs from Wilco‘s entire career, save A.M. Being There could have gotten some more love (just “Misunderstood”), but who cares with a mid-set “I’m Always In Love” and “Can’t Stand It”.

4. The new songs sounded really good and fit into the set nicely. I think they played the first 6 songs from The Album plus “Sunny Feeling”. “Bull Black Nova” was snuggled in between the war horses early in the set and fit right in, and I thought the intricate “Deeper Down” came across really well despite being quite a bit mellower than much of the rest of the songs played.

5. The set was light on Sky Blue Sky songs. No “Side With The Seeds”, which was appreciated by yours truly. Only “Impossible Germany” (with another incredible guitar solo from Nels Cline), “You Are My Face” (nice), and obligatory versions of “Hate It Here” (eh) and “Walken”.

6. I was really surprised that Jeff didn’t do more to acknowledge the real Mermaid Avenue being, like, literally right across the street from Keyspan Park. Before a set closing “Hoodoo Voodoo” (with dueling guitars from Nels and Pat!) he mentioned the song was written “a half mile from here”, but I really thought they’d tip their collective hats to Nora Guthrie and play maybe “Airline To Heaven” or “Hesitating Beauty” or “Remember the Mountain Bed” or something. “California Stars” was in there as well, but there was no other mention of a very important part of their catalog when they were in the very place where many of those songs originated. Weird.

7. It was cool to see Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear come out to sing back up (and Wilco acknowledge a band who’s probably at the same point of their career that they were 10 years ago), but you couldn’t hear him at all, and at one point on the video monitor it looked like he didn’t even know the words to “California Stars”. It was a big surprise though, and he got a pretty good reception from a crowd full of aging hipsters many of whom probably had no idea who he was.

8. Feist came out to sing “You and I” and that was great. I know it wasn’t the first time she’s joined them on stage on this tour, but it was still a welcome surprise, she sounded great, and the crowd ate it up. See the video below.

9. Wilco + Yo La Tengo + “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” = INSANITY!!!! (See video below)

10. I may be a little hard on Wilco at times, but it’s certainly more tough love than discontent. My friends gave me some flack for that the other night, and it’s probably deserved. Wilco is my favorite band (probably of all time) and it can be frustrating at times to watch them put out albums that don’t match the creative heights of their recent past, especially knowing what they are capable in the live setting. But, by all means, see Wilco live if you have the opportunity. This line-up is capable of some sick shit on stage. Keyspan was my 8th show, and was, arguably, the best yet.

Here are some of those fan videos that have been circulating of the all-star jams of the legends of indie-rock- past, present, and future:

“You and I” (w/ Feist):

“You Never Know” (w/ Feist & Ed Droste)

Most of “Siders (Kidsmoke)” (w/ Yo La Tengo):

“Hoodoo Voodoo” (w/ dueling guitars from Nels and Pat):


[mp3] Mission of Burma - "1,2,3 Partyy!"

80s post-punk icons Mission of Burma are gearing up for the release of their third album (and 4th overall, plus their seminal debut EP) of new material since reuniting a few years back. The Sound The Speed The Light will be released by Matador (busy month over there) on October 6. “1,2,3, Partyy!” is another bristling rocker from this band who, along with Dinosaur Jr., are picking up like the past few decades never happened.

From Matador: “Of course, all the Burma trademarks are also present: the military snare drum, the melodic basslines high up on the neck, and the furiously experimental guitarwork, refracted and changed back into the songs via tape loops – all punctuated by the hoarse shouts of drummer Peter Prescott. This controlled chaos, this disciplined letting go, is the heart of what they do and it remains as exhilarating and fulfilling as ever.” Amen.

MP3 :: 1,2,3 Partyy!
(from The Sound The Speed The Light. Info here)

Japandroids to re-release Post-Nothing on Polyvinyl

I’ve said this before, but JapandroidsPost-Nothing is rock n’ roll at its most raw, direct, and exhilarating - easily one of my favorite records of the first half of 2009. Unfortunately, if you want to get your paws on a physical copy of it right now at this very moment, it may be next to impossible. Most retail outlets (including Insound, where I picked up my vinyl copy last month) have it listed as a pre-order. Never fear - the Vancouver duo has recently signed on with Polyvinyl and will be re-releasing the album this September. Until then….

MP3 :: Young Hearts Spark Fire
(from Post-Nothing. Info here)

Bowerbirds - Upper Air

Bowerbirds’ gorgeous new album Upper Air is filled with pastoral folk songs that focus on love, nature, and the way the two intersect with one another. It seems lead-birds Phil Moore and Beth Tacular have a deep connection with Mother Earth and all of the beautiful things that make it, like, totally the best planet in the solar system. This connection is used as an extended metaphor that inhabits the album’s 10 songs, giving Upper Air a thematic unity to complement the simple, organic arrangements and delicate melodies of the tunes. I’ve already written about “Northern Lights” and “Beneath Your Tree” - the former is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard this year, and the latter is another highlight that features lots of fine accordian work and Moore and Tacular trading lead vocal duties. The rest of the album is equally as rustic and beautiful - truly a set of songs made of and for the great outdoors. I’d recommend Upper Air to any fan of folk music, but fans of Harvest-era Neil Young especially should check this out.

MP3 :: Northern Lights
MP3 :: Beneath Your Tree
(from Upper Air. Buy here)

[mp3] Times New Viking - "No Time, No Hope"

Along with this kickin’ new tune from Times New Viking came a very tongue-in-cheek press release - “Times New Viking delivered the master recordings to their forthcoming LP/CD/digital album ‘Born Again Revisited’ (OLE 860) on a Video Home System cassette. Addressing the mountain of constructive criticism they’ve received from self-styled musicologists wanna-be producers and persons with my initials, the Columbus based trio promise their 2nd Matador album (and 4th overall) features “25% higher fidelity”, a percentage our own engineering staff has confirmed after hours of exhaustive laboratory tests.”

Though full of the fuzzy abrasion that the band is arguably best known for, “No Time No Hope” yet again displays why TNV have been at the fore of the lo/no/crap-fi movement of the past few years - underneath all the hissing, the screeching, the high-end treble, and the apparent tape glitches is a song filled with absolutely killer hooks and a melody that will stay on repeat in your buzzing skull. Just go on over to their myspace and listen to “My Head” for further proof. Matador releases Born Again Revisited on September 22.

MP3 :: No Time No Hope
(from Born Again Revisited. Info here)

[mp3] Magnolia Electric Co. - "Little Sad Eyes"

“Little Sad Eyes” is the latest song to be released from the upcoming Magnolia Electric Co. album Josephine, which drops July 21 from Secretly Canadian. It’s a bluesy, organ-led tune that furthers the album’s theme of loneliness and loss in the wake bassist Evan Farrell’s death in late 2007. Pre-orders come with a free digital download of the recent 7” It’s Made Me Cry.

MP3 :: Little Sad Eyes
(from Josephine. Pre-order here)

[mp3] Hallelujah the Hills - "Blank Passports"

Hallelujah the Hills had a self-titled song (but didn’t include “The Song” in the title, oddly) a few years back that I really enjoyed. The band is gearing up for the release of their next album - Colonial Drones - due from Misra on September 22. Check out the first single, “Blank Passports”, which has me thinking of those one or two times per album when Spiral Stairs led Pavement.

MP3 :: Blank Passports
(from Colonial Drones. Info here, Pre-order here)

Califone sign to Dead Oceans, prep new album

Pitchfork is reporting today that the perennially underrated Califone will be bringing their unique blend of folk, roots, and experimental music to the Dead Oceans label for the follow up to 2006’s excellent Roots & Crowns. The new one is to be called All My Friends Are Funeral Singers and drops October 6. Hopefully with a new label the band will get a little more (much deserved) exposure.

Here’s a sampling from throughout their career:

MP3 :: Spider’s House
MP3 :: The Orchids
Video :: Spider’s House
Video :: A Chinese Actor
(from Roots & Crowns. Buy here)

MP3 :: Wingbone
(from Heron King Blues. Buy here)

MP3 :: One
MP3 :: Horoscopic. Amputation. Honey
(from Quicksand: Cradlesnakes. Buy here)

MP3 :: Pastry Sharp
MP3 :: Electric Fence
(from Sometimes Good Weather Follows Bad People. Buy here)

MP3 :: Trout Silk
(from Roomsound. Buy here)

[mp3] Riceboy Sleeps - "Boy 1904"

Just a few short weeks after some exclusive live material comes the latest offering from the Sigur Ros camp. Riceboy Sleeps is the name of the side project of Sigur Ros lead singer Jonsi Birgisson and his boyfriend Alex Somers. You may recall their contribution to the Dark Was The Night compilation earlier this year. The pair are offering the calming, ethereal ambiance of “Boy 1904” as a free download (just give the email address) from their album coming out July 21 from XL.

MP3 :: Boy 1904
(from Riceboy Sleeps. Pre-order here)

Forest Fire's Survival gets U.K. release/limited edition vinyl single

Forest Fire’s debut album Survival, with its fuzzy, warped brand of lo-fi folk, made a big time impression on me about a year ago. Album closer “Slow Motion” even topped my Year End Favorite Songs list (which has since been courteously deleted by Blogger). Broken Sound and the band are gearing up for the U.K. release of Survival on July 20, and to celebrate they will be releasing “Fortune Teller” & “I Make Windows” as a double A-side on hand stamped and numbered vinyl on July 6th, strictly limited to 300 pressings. Both album and single can be pre-ordered here.

MP3 :: Fortune Teller
(from Survival. Buy here)

Dinosaur Jr. - Farm

Whether or not the middle-aged slackers of Dinosaur Jr. performed their own stunts for the “Over It” video is debatable, but what’s not is how awesome it is to have the band back in peak form. 2007’s Beyond was a huge surprise after however many years it had been since the original DJr. lineup played together, not to mention how long it had been since Mascis had released something worthwhile. The 60-minute Farm goes a long way to prove the band’s second coming was no fluke. Mascis’ vocals are as drowsy, his guitar as wicked (you‘ll lose count of the solos by track 4), and the band as tight as ever - and the songs themselves are top notch throughout. People tend to lean towards the classic early run of albums (You’re Living All Over Me & Bug specifically) when talking about the band at their best, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Where You Been, and Farm gloriously recaptures a lot of that album’s huge rock sound. Farm is not their most diverse album (there are a lot of 4-6 minute mid-tempo crunchers), but it sure is a rip hearing these guys rock like the past 20 years never happened.

MP3 :: I Want You To Know
(from Farm. Buy here)

Spoon release new single - "Got Nuffin"

By now you’ve no doubt heard that Spoon tried to pull one over on the internet (nice try, but seriously) and sneak a little 3-song EP unto the world with no one knowing until release day. Well, they almost succeeded. News of Got Nuffin started spreading late last week, but what I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere was this little tidbid over at the Merge site: “Spoon will return to its birthplace to commandeer Austin’s Stubbs Amphitheater July 9, 10 and 11 for SPOONX3, which will feature the live debut of new material from the band’s forthcoming album”. Um, shit yeah. I kinda liked Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. No word yet on a release date or track list, but you can be sure when there is you can read about it here a few days after you've read about it in other places.

Got Nuffin is more of a single than an EP, but whatever. The b-sides are “Tweakers”, a noisy, rhythmic (and rather pointless) instrumental, and a jagged rocker called “Stroke Their Brains”. The highlight though is definitely the title track. “Got Nuffin” is Spoon getting back to basics with a tense, razor sharp rock song like the days of old (sounds a bit like “Jonathon Fisk”, but not too much). Listen:

Stream :: Got Nuffin
(from Got Nuffin. Buy here)

[video] Dirty Projectors - "Stillness Is The Move"

Llamas are so hot right now. “Stillness Is The Move” is too. Dave Longstreth just enjoys the Vermont view as he lets the ladies carry this one. From Dirty Projectors new record Bitte Orca, which is an absolute must hear in a year full of them.

[mp3] Free Energy - "Dream City"

More often than not, the chorus is the part of the great pop song with the huge payoff - the moment you wait for to shout along with. Not so with Free Energy’s “Dream City”, the first single from their forthcoming DFA debut, Stuck On Nuthin'. These throwback Philly rockers don‘t waste time with shit like that. The best part of “Dream City” are the verses, which strut their stuff with full-on 1976 Thin Lizzy-like riffs blaring all around them. It’s all carefree, teenage summer nights, with nothing’ much to do but dream’ about the future with your cars and your friends and your nah-nah-nah’s.

MP3 :: Dream City
(from Stuck On Nuthin’. Info here)