The combination of politics with folk music has become almost a cliché. Folk was foremost among the musical voices that heralded ardent protest against the Vietnam War, conservative values and an oppressive mindset. Some of it was certainly overly preachy and some of it was downright bad; as if any yokel with a guitar and a left leaning ideal could be a folk singer. However sometimes the mix was much more effective, and the results were not only palatable, they were extraordinary.

Pearls Before Swine - Balaklava
Tom Rapp's folk project Pearls Before Swine redefined the idea of a protest record with Balaklava; a mix of melancholy folk and subtle psychedelia. Long considered the band's finest work; the record is not entirely consistent, as it does mix
in a few tangents that stray from Rapp's solid originals. The protest nature of the record is subtle though, surrealist lyrics paint a picture of a disquiet world and the harmful nature of man. Natural sounds mix with standard guitar and lush orchestration giving the record surges of emotion and a great cinematic feel to it. The record has gone on to influence a whole resurgence of psych folk musicians who have used Rapp's formula to great effect.

[MP3] Pearls Before Swine - Images Of April
[MP3] Pearls Before Swine - I Saw The World

Buffy Sainte-Marie - It's My Way!
Buffy Sainte-Marie became a strong voice in folk music as time wore on but her debut record still stands as one of the most direct, focused and scathing condemnations of war and the mistreatment of Native Americans. Though the original
songs, with the exception of a reinterpretation of the traditional "Cripple Creek", were all very topical none of them seemed to stray into the unfortunate territory of whiney protest music. She sang with a conviction that rang from her very soul. Not a word was sung that you didn't think she believed to the very core. With all of folk's resurgences and reinterpretations there should be more mining of such a talent.

[MP3] Buffy Sainte-Marie - Cod'ine
[MP3] Buffy Sainte-Marie - The Universal Soldier

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posted by dissensous at 10:34:00 AM 1 comments


Johann Johannssen

Icelandic composer Johan Johannssen has created a touching ode to both his father and one of the century's first personal computers. Johanssen's father was the chief mantenence engineer for the IBM 1401 Data Processing System. The album is a composite of an audio tape made by Johannssen's father reading the usuer's manual for the system, recordings of electronic emissions from the machine and a sixty-piece string ensemble. The electronic emissions were reportedly figured out by Johanssen's father, and involved using the machine's electromagnetic emissions to manipulate a radio receiver. Johannssen collaborated with choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir who created movements to accompany the piece. The end result is a lot more organic than it can possibly sound here. The orchestration is lush and emotional and nicely counterbalanced by touches of electronics and voice that float in and out of earshot. Feelings of man vs. machine fade into man commiserating with machine; the fate of becoming obsolete an all too realistic fate for both of them. Johannssen has created a stirring tribute to the passage of time, the idea of mortality in both organic and non organic entities and history as it is remembered by those who take the time to document it.

[MP3] Johann Johannssen -Part 4 - IBM 729 II Magnetic Tape Unit
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posted by dissensous at 10:40:00 AM 1 comments


TK Webb

Normally I tend to write off blues singers who seem too young to have really earned the right to sing the style. I can't say I have any real respect for Johnny Lang, even if the kid can play, and this is mostly because his playing lacks the real heart of the blues. Despite his age, TK Webb has channeled this spirit and I'll be damned if he isn't the reincarnation of a true old soul bluesman. His songwriting and gnarled bourbon rasp channel the likes of Leadbelly and Robert Johnson for a newer generation. When this rasp is most prominent, TK can charm a whisky off the barmaid with the best of them. His new album Phantom Parade is a bit cleaner and warmer than his previous offering but it doesn't entirely suffer from the polish. The album is honest and captivating, the new shine can't really hide the tatters that peek out at the edges; tatters that give character rather than shame. Phantom Parade is out November 22 on The Social Registry.

[MP3] TK Webb -Phantom Parade
[MP3] TK Webb -Wet Eye'd Morn
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posted by dissensous at 10:20:00 AM 0 comments


Tia Carrera

Austin's Tia Carrera pull off some incredible psych rock sludge that's a nice balance of Cream and the Melvins. Reportedly foregoing the traditional practice and rehearsal approach and instead choosing to base their live show on a feeling of spontaneous jams, the band creates improve psych metal that's as much in tune with the ethos of 70's heavy rock as it is with the current indie metal outpourings of labels like Southern Lord. I can't even begin to speculate on how a band that creates face searing, amplifier worshiping jams could take their name from a borderline b-movie starlet but eh, who cares right? Strange name, good band. Their latest record is out now on Australian Cattle God Records.

[MP3] Tia Carrera -Carrera!
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posted by dissensous at 10:00:00 AM 0 comments


Larkin Grimm

I'm so glad that Larkin has another record out. Harpoon Baptism was one of the great records of last year and I think I may have included "Pigeon Food" on almost every mix tape I've made since then. She has an uncanny ability to mix melodicism and dissonance in just the right proportions. Her strong folk songs never drip with too much sweetness but enough of folk's traditional structure remains within her experimentalism to keep them shy of the acoustic noise style. Like many of her contemporaries in the new female folk tradition her voice is strong and resilient. She plays and sings with the kind of conviction that used to lift spirits and strengthen the resolve of all who listened. Depending on her octave range she sings as mother, friend and child all in one. Combined with her use of multitracked vocals and the addition of bouzouki, bells and various other noise makers, her songs are a gentle way to rip down the barriers of your consciousness. Her new record The Last Tree is out this month on Secret Eye.

[MP3] Larkin Grimm -Link In Your Chain
[MP3] Larkin Grimm -Rocky Top
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posted by dissensous at 10:18:00 AM 0 comments


Sometimes, no matter how much a band seems to possess the ability to break out, incredible hindrances will keep them from realizing their potential. Most bands that get relegated to the nuggets bin have some sort of tale of hardship or bad luck behind them but what I'm talking about here is more than mere band squabbling or that missed opportunity when the label came to town. These bands certainly had the talent to make an impact at the time they were released but it seems that it just wasn't meant to be.

Fat were a great Massachusettes band with a sound that balanced the bluesy rockers on the East Coast with a bit of West Coast psych akin to Quicksilver Messenger Service. The band seemed pretty well on course. They toured with the
Allman Brothers, recorded their first album under the production of Felix Papallardi and garnered a deal with RCA. They even had a follow up scheduled but fate struck them down in the form of a drug bust that resulted in their dismissal from RCA. The band was not able to obtain another deal following the arrest even with two follow up records that were both helmed by Pappallardi.

[MP3] FAT - Shape I'm In
[MP3] FAT - Country Girl

Mountain Bus - Sundance
Mountain Bus' tale rings ominously today in a time of Major Label consolidation and independent labels gaining more attention. Coming out of Chicago in the early 70's, Mountain Bus' debut was put out by local independent, Good Records.
Their sound was decidedly West Coast with overtones of the Grateful Dead marking most of their work. Good Records and Mountain Bus were sued by Columbia Records over copyright infringement with the band Mountain. Columbia claimed that the names were too similar and that they were diverting revenue from the larger band despite the fact that Mountain Bus formed four years prior to Mountain and was largely unheard of outside of the Chicago area. Columbia's actions are mostly attributed to their seeing Good Records as a threat, being a small label who were releasing records cheaper than the Majors. The lawsuit pushed the label into bankruptcy and the band sunk with it.

[MP3] Mountain Bus - Rosalie
[MP3] Mountain Bus - Sing A New Song

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posted by dissensous at 9:31:00 PM 0 comments

Julie Sokolow

Julie Sokolow writes sparse lo-fi anthems that have such a personal feel to them its as if you've stumbled across someone's musical diary. Recorded straight into the mic in line on a powerbook, the tight strum of guitar and occasional piano are constantly awash in a slight hiss that gives you a feeling that Sokolow puts no barriers between herself and the listener. The sounds pour directly from her soul and into your ears. Wryly self deprecating and heart wrenchingly honest, she's able to remind you that often the greatest moments in your life are those that you cringe to remember. Julie's latest album Something About Violins is out soon on Western Vinyl.

[MP3] Julie Sokolow -Your Wrists
[MP3] Julie Sokolow -Pictures
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posted by dissensous at 10:15:00 AM 0 comments



Justin Vollmar bangs out skewed folk songs in the vein of Phil Elverum and Kyle Field. His songs are stripped down and lo-fi but with a playful edge of experimentation and apparent lack of respect for the normal methods of recording. His latest record Okay which comes out in November on Blue Sanct, is a haunting portrait of interpersonal relationships with the most interesting tracks centering around a character named Sue. Some songs are intrinsically melodic while others bury those feelings under restrained feedback and tape scratch. The latter tracks plunging the record into darker more emotionally charged territory echoing a feeling of sorrow and regret under the fray.

[MP3] Vollmar-Jealous of Sue
[MP3] Vollmar -Abby
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posted by dissensous at 11:40:00 AM 2 comments


Tom Brosseau

Tom Brosseau sings songs that not only evoke a simpler and more quaint time, they sort of transport you there for the moment. Much like the music of Matt Bauer and Jolie Holland, Brosseau's music is wrapped in the nuances of vocal jazz and early pre-war folk but filtered through a modern singer-songwriter point of view. His croons feel as if they could ease your pain, distract you from hours of toil or maybe just provide a little light entertainment in a time before too many distractions called at your attention every waking moment. Plaintive first person narratives about life and love and all the little things in between. Tom's album Empty Houses Are Lonely is out now on Fat Cat Records and he just wrapped up a tour with label mate Nina Nastasia.

[MP3] Tom Brosseau -Lonesome Valley
[MP3] Tom Brosseau -Dark Garage
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posted by dissensous at 10:20:00 PM 0 comments


The CMJ schedule is up.
8,000 new file sharing lawsuits to be handed out in an attempt to end illegal file sharing. [link]
Insound launching digital store to become the only indie retailer serving up CDs, Vinyl, and Digital Downloads. [link]
Wolf Parade/Ex-Hot Hot Heat member releases new "folk rock" LP next week as Johnny & The Moon. Tracks we heard are amazing. [link]
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posted by pitchblack at 11:18:00 AM 0 comments

The Sharp Ease

I caught wind of this band after reading an interview with them in the recent issue of Arthur Magazine. The Sharp Ease have been tearing it up around L.A. for a while now but it seems that they are sorely underappreciated outside of their native city. Running in the same vein as Love Is All only much more consistent, they bang out energetic, political riot grrrlesque pop anchored by the powerful and pleasing vocals of singer Paloma Parfry. Their album "Going Modern" was released last year and again I'm amazed I haven't heard about this until now. They've just released a new EP "Remain Instant" on olFactory Records and hopefully they'll spread some love and tour. If you're in the L.A. area and as if you didn't need one more reason to go, check them out at Arthur Nights.

[MP3] The Sharp Ease -Patio Chair
[MP3] The Sharp Ease -Going Modern
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posted by dissensous at 10:22:00 AM 0 comments


Well I've come to the realization that while there are so many great overlooked albums of the sixties and seventies, it was still a time that was driven by the single. So many bands could write a great song but far less could sustain it for a whole album. With that in mind I've decided to start the Re-released into the Wild Perpetual Jukebox, which I'll substitute in for our regular smattering of reissue love every so often. Five slices of perfect garage, pop or psych from bands that may not have dropped an essential album but for 2-3 minutes they were still geniuses.

[MP3] The Nazz -Open My Eyes
Say what you want for the songwriting talents of Todd Rundgren. His later works produced many a great song but try as I might I couldn't get into the bulk of The Nazz' output; the exception being this song. Sharp stabs of organ crack the beginning, and once that fuzz guitar comes in its all over. To top it all off they hit you halfway through with a heavy dose of phasing that brings it into a great psych pop territory and complete it with a catchy chorus. One of Todd's finest.

[MP3] The Guess Who -It's My Pride
The Guess Who are by no means a band that strayed into the territory I discussed above. As a long running staple of 70's radio they cut many a great record. However most of that output is a great deal tamer than this cut. 'It's My Pride' was an early single that comes right out of the gate with an incredibly propulsive fuzz bass riff that shakes the speakers. The band would never really sound as raw and powerful as they did right here.

[MP3] Goldrush -Somebody's Turning on the People
Recorded at Apple studios, this song kinda co-ops the counterculture message but the hooks are so huge and laden with a nice swirl of 60's effects that it doesn't really matter. Bordering on bubblegum psych territory the song is one of the better examples of the output from the lesser bands of the scene that birthed The Iveys and Badfinger.

[MP3] Sarofeen and Smoke -It's Love
Hailing from the illustrious stable of Pye Records artists, Sarofeen and Smoke lay down a track that befits their name. The track runs the borderline of the psychfolk sound with a constant acoustic strum supported by eerie organ and a witchy vocal delivery. This track drips with the sort of mysticism that emanates from dark moors and vacant manors. A great example of the Pye sound... well except in English.

[MP3] Shaun Harris -Today's a Day
This solo track from Shaun Harris, member of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, is dripping with melancholy. A total assertion of the malaise that sets in right about a quarter of the way through life; this song sums up the complete pessimistic world view. The only real disappointment for me is that Shaun didn't keep this up for a whole album. His father contributed lush orchestration to his album, giving it a great overall sound but aside from this song the output is rather lackluster. One true gem from a great dour songwriter.
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posted by dissensous at 10:00:00 AM 0 comments


White Magic

Their first full album finds White Magic sounding more cohesive than ever. Their preceding EP, while an absorbing release, was stylistically all over the map. The styles melded well and were always tied together by the powerful force of Mira Billotte's voice, but it still felt a bit disjointed. Her voice is still first and foremost the thing that grabs your attention but their new album, Dat Rosa Mel Apibus is backed by an able body of intricate songs that border on the edges of the new folk movement but stray much farther into a sort of baroque pop. The songs swell with powerful rolling piano lines and undercurrents of guitar twang. The entire album is swaddled in a dark current of lyricism and washes of minor chords, making their mystical namesake applicable but never so much as venturing into any renaissance fair drivel. Their new album will be out November 14 on Drag City in beautiful gold inlaid packaging.

[MP3] White Magic -Sun Song
[MP3] White Magic -Katie Cruel
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posted by dissensous at 10:40:00 AM 0 comments


The Skygreen Leopards Sing Vol. 1

Glenn and Donnovan have begun a new project in which they are pressing up homemade CD-rs of themselves covering artists that they fancy. The first of which is The Skygreen Leopards Sing the Songs of the Lindner Brothers. The SGL's cover the songs of both their compatriot Cayce Lindner and his brother Sidney; choosing their favorite songs from the brothers' Golden Hotel project and Sidney's Hotel Alexis. They paint an apt tribute to two of the new class of folk's overlooked troubadours. Both brothers' catalogs are rife with lonesome outsider anthems that lend themselves easily to the Leopards' sparse delivery. These are done sans the Skyband, pure SGL in its truest form. The release is bound in signature Skygreen collage work and is now available at their site with the promise of more in the series yet to come.

[MP3] The Skygreen Leopards -Broken Sparrow (Hotel Alexis)
[MP3] The Skygreen Leopards -Palisades (Golden Hotel)
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posted by dissensous at 10:29:00 AM 0 comments


Colleen Et Les Boites À Musique

Cécile Schott, better known as Colleen to the world, is no stranger to using unorthodox sources to create her delicate worlds of sound. So, when the France Culture’s Atelier De Création Radiophonique comissioned her to create a special broadcast using only music boxes in various forms she was apparently so delighted with the results that she allowed it to be released as a formal EP. As with much of Schott's music it is delicate and feels very personal. Remnants of childhood float into vision and Schott dances with them a while. She blows smoke over the lens of the camera a bit, then recaptures the images. The results feel so familiar and yet completely different from anything you've ever known. As she is known for her work with instruments of rare qualities, not only ordinary music boxes were used for this grand experiment. Mechanisms ranging from musical inserts from 40's birthday cards to antique Victorian pieces were all incorporated into the session. The results are nothing short of stunning, but at the same time completely natural for someone of Schott's talent. The EP prefaces the release of her formal 3rd album due out in early 2007.

[MP3] Colleen -Your Heart Is So Loud
[MP3] Colleen -What Is A Componium? - Part 2
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posted by dissensous at 1:50:00 PM 1 comments

Peter & The Wolf sign to The Worker's Institute (Sigur Ros, Amiina); release first official release, Lightness; free mp3. [link]
Moon & Moon (Devendra Banhart & Jay Hudak) play CMJ w/ Miguel Mendez & Blue Cheer. [link]
Arthur magazine to throw greatest 4 day music fest ever at The Palace Theatre in downtown LA. [link]
Daytrotter Sessions with the great Langorne Slim. [link]
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posted by pitchblack at 10:25:00 AM 0 comments


The best garage bands had a sense of rawness and urgency. Many were the local touchstone of the ideals that rock n' roll embodied. Many bands gave their stamp to a host of garage standards but the best were also able to add at least a nugget or two of original material to their sets and thus set them apart from being just a great cover band.

The Other Half - The Other Half
The Other Half straddled the line between the waning of garage and the onset of psychedelia. Randy Holden's fuzzed out leads tearing over the thunderous bass of Larry Brown made for a heavy combination. At the time it
was recorded their record received modest attention but with the inclusion of a later single, Mr. Pharmacist on the Nuggets compilation, their popularity was revived. The single brought them further notoriety after being covered at the time by The Fall. Of course by the time this occured the band was long disbanded. Following the demise of The Other Half Randy went on to form play in Blue Cheer.

[MP3] The Other Half - Oz Lee Eaves Drops
[MP3] The Other Half - Flight of the Dragon Lady

The Remains - A Session With The Remains
The Remains recorded this session as a demo to audition for Capitol Records. Following their massive success in their native Boston they recorded a few singles for Epic records and then decided to
pound out a incredibly raucous and candid session. The session included a slew of covers and their always high energy original "Why Do I Cry." The live session's electricity comes through and makes this a great portrait of a band at the top of its form.

[MP3] The Remains - Why Do I Cry?
[MP3] The Remains - Hang On Sloopy

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posted by dissensous at 11:34:00 PM 2 comments

The Dirty Projectors

Dirty projectors new EP New Attitude is an wonderful mix of sweet soulful vocals delivered over a palatte of beats ranging from shuffling calypso to thick dub inflected bass and fractured synth lines. This is honestly the kind of thing I expected to hear when I first heard the term experimental doo wop applied to TVOTR. Not to say I was all that dissappointed with their actual output but I think Dave Longstreth and his cohorts may be a bit more deserving of the title. The whole record fights itself between seeming sweet and endearing and then swinging to disconcerting musical moments that you'd swear weren't meant to be juxtaposed You'd swear they were'nt meant to if longstreth didn't make it seem so ridiculously natural.

[MP3] The Dirty Projectors -Imagine It
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posted by dissensous at 12:41:00 PM 0 comments


Las Malas Amistades

Las Malas Amistades hail from Columbia. The group of art students, who prior to their recordings didn't really consider themselves musicians, have created music that is urgent and completely unrestrained. Their method is simple: write a song, record it and never mess with it again. The melodies are basic but have a sense of humor about them; not really joking but not completely serious. The arsenal above best speaks for how the record sounds. Four stringed guitars, casios and thrift shop finds butt up against each other in tape-experiment-folk-disco-fusion. The songs are snapshots. They are ideas; moments captured under glass and put on display. The audio accompaniment of visual art. Their last record Jardín Interior was recorded in Bogata and put out via Psych-o-path records. Apparently they are preparing more material for release later this year.

[MP3] Las Malas Amistades -Hay Zombies En La Playa
[MP3] Las Malas Amistades -Jet Lag
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posted by dissensous at 10:20:00 AM 2 comments


Pete & The Pirates

Why are Pete And The Pirates so good? Is it their childlike aloofness or perhaps their interminable prowess. Maybe it’s the confidence with which they play, or the surefire indie trash rock songwriting that made The Unicorns such a commodity and unique voice in the independent community. Maybe it’s just that they are making undeniably great, fist clenching, body shaking, thoughtful music. Whatever it is, I like it, and it's been awhile since I've enjoyed listening to a new record this much. These tracks are taken from the Get Even EP, their new EP, Wait.Stop.Begin. is available at Insound.

[MP3] Pete And The Pirates - Nuana
[MP3] Pete And The Pirates - Toe

Visit their website or their Myspace page.
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posted by pitchblack at 10:32:00 AM 0 comments


Risto are an interesting fit for the Fonal label. They don't even scratch the surface of folk. Quite literally they are the most rock oriented thing I've heard come out of that camp. Their style varies from flat out hard rock to disco bounce to a bit of tenderness, albeit some awkward tenderness as the entire record is evened out with their never wavering flatly delivered vocals. These are apparently (or so I gather) a bit of an homage to Finnish band Levi & the Leevings. They certainally add a bit of humor to the record, but not so much as to make it feel silly or cheapen the impact. The mish-mash of styles actually comes out quite cohesive and when Risto do decide to rock they really let go with some icy cool 70's glam/ punk style rockers that make you stand up and take sharp notice. Risto's latest record Aurinko Aurinko Plaa Plaa Plaa is out now but for some reason not on many a U.S. internet retailer right now. Go bug your local record store.

[MP3] Risto -Rakkauden Rock
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posted by dissensous at 10:05:00 AM 2 comments


The 60's and 70's saw the transition of the female's role in music from the passive voices present in early female folk and girl groups to her rightful place as a powerful driving voice on par with any male counterpart. This transition ushered in a whole host of female led rock outfits, some of which were sorely overshadowed. I give you two such fine examples.

Affinity - If You Live
Affinity were a short lived group who signed to Vertigo Records for one album in 1970. Combining the incredibly powerful voice of Linda Hoyle and the progressive jazz organ of Lydon Naiff, Affinity were able to fuse influences from
psychedelia, jazz and even a little folk without feeling too deserving of the prog rock moniker. Their eponymous debut is most well known for their searing rendition of "All Along the Watchtower," but I have long been intrigued by this collection, If You Live which gathers some unissued singles and rarities from the period. By no means as essential or influential as their album, it does however contains some great evidence of their power, along with some of the decade's more intense covers. Included among these is an inventive perspective on The Beatles' "I am the Walrus" and Stevie Wonder's "You've Met Your Match" along with some studio outtakes that display their jazz inflection and unique style.

[MP3] Affinity - I am the Walrus
[MP3] Affinity - You Met Your Match

The United States of America - The United States of America
The United States of America were a ground breaking band on many fronts. Not only did they showcase the strong female vocals of Dorothy Moskowitz but their success was also aided by the incredible
songwriting of group leader Joseph Byrd. Byrd had a gift for weaving psychedelia and jazz while utilizing the unique addition of violin and ring modulator, the latter making it an influential album for electronic composers to come. The tones are decidedly dark and a little pessimistic but then again what great 60's psych album wasn't. They did however undercut their darkness with a great sense of humor on songs like "I Won't Leave My Wooden Wife For You" and "The American Way of Love" This is truly one of the essential albums from this period. Utterly original to this day.

[MP3] The United States of America - Hard Coming Love
[MP3] The United States of America - The Garden of Earthly Delights

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posted by dissensous at 9:50:00 AM 0 comments


Langhorne Slim

Langhorne is an honest troubadour, or maybe that's not the word. He's not polished enough to be a troubadour. He's a roadside minstrel, with tales of love and sorrow and a smile to brighten your day. His songs are exuberant but with just the right amount of plaintive emotion that betrays their tone to display their message. To really enjoy Slim's music though is to see him in a live setting. He's definitely one of those artists who can't translate his affable character to tape. The Engine EP, released in expectation of a full album to be released early next year comes close to capturing the live feeling more than he has been able to in the past. Four great songs from a great artist who for his age has already built himself an incredible reputation to stand on.

[MP3] Langhorne Slim -Sweet Olive Tree
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posted by dissensous at 10:10:00 AM 1 comments