Stream Divine Fits and Yeasayer @ NPR

NPR has full album and track-by-track streaming of Yeasayer‘s Fragrant World and Divine FitsA Thing Called Divine Fits (see pics form the first official show here). These are two of the late summer’s, early fall’s most anticipated releases, so you now have something to wrap your ears around and make the decisions as to whether or not the limited edition vinyl you have on preorder is worth it.

Get your Fits fix here.

Get your Fragrant on here.

New Single from Megan Reilly

I’m sure that I’m probably thought of as the punk rock/twee specialist of this here site, but I definitely like to dabble in other arenas, particularly those realms influenced by folk traditions.  Megan Reilly caught my attention when she recently released The Well a bit ago, and I’m glad that she’s getting some attention from the likes of NPR and others.  She’s got a great way of telling personal stories, and I appreciate the familial link on this number.  Plus, there’s a bit of haunting effect created by the slide guitar, as well as the other instrumentation, that accompanies Megan on this song.


Download:Megan Reilly – Lady of Leitrim [MP3]

The Bulletin Board: Music Ownership

We have a vendetta to quell cell-phone cameras and non-stop talkers at shows, but another underlying message we sometimes don’t vocalize loudly enough is to support the artists. A recent blog post at NPR and rebuttal by a musician are making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter sparking discussion on the notion of music ownership and what is “stealing” music.

This is the digital age. What constitutes ownership or is it all “Free Culture” once sent up into the ether of the cloud?

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New (ish) Music from Howler

Every once in awhile the Brits steal our homegrown bands beneath our noses, promoting some of the best in America without us even knowing.  It happened with the Strokes, and now it’s happening with Howler, a Minneapolis group.  They’re record America Give Up comes out next week via Rough Trade, and it’s a pretty solid collection of pop tracks.  NPR even praised it as an album full of stand alone singles, so I had to give it the good old college try. The number below is definitely one of those tracks with hooks galore, giving listeners a bottle full of fun. Surely this tune will make your day just a little brighter.


Download: Howler – Back of Your Neck [MP3]

Son Lux – We Are Rising

Rating: ★★★★½

Son Lux (AKA Ryan Lott) is still relatively unknown despite a strong underground following and well-established name in the music theatre production circle. Even his stops through SXSW in 2008 and 2010 were less than minor blips on most blogger’s radars. However, after a solid debut in At Wars With Walls and Mazes via Anticon in 2009, Lott is front and center in the outsider music world. That stunning, yet polarizing debut consisted of randomized yet painstakingly set, modern classical arrangements and chopped hip-hop blended into a striking pattern of delightful vocal imagery.

After taking note of that record, NPR decided to up the ante and proposed a pseudo-dare. Could Lott, whose prior methods of creation consisted of long, drawn-out thought processes, complete his follow-up in 1 month (February no less)? Surely, you jest. Like most musicians, Lott scoffed at the thought of modifying his creative process so blatantly. Especially considering his new material was already taking a general form.  By listening to his gut, Lott tossed that work aside and stepped up to the plate and hit a home-run. The finished product in the NPR RPM challenge, We Are Rising is a subtle wave at the meticulousness of his prior release, but with a strong foothold in the spontaneous and improvised.

What emerged is a record that takes the listener on a ride traveling multiple directions and varying speeds. ‘Flickers’ begins the voyage by the literal and metaphoric lighting of the candle. It’s the first glimpse of the light and dark, contrasts used intermittently throughout to great effect. The pseudo-title track ‘Rising’ is a powerful modern classical piece with pounding rhythms and playful winds. This dichotomy of contrasts is viewed has become more or less a signature of the young songwriter. What has also remained is a wonderful way with words, as seen on ‘Leave the Riches’. Toying with the idea of attachment, ‘Claws’ is a turn back to the slower drive, employing a rich bass heavy soundtrack contrasting with Lott’s airy vocals, while ‘Let Go’ is a direct shout out to his debut in the same vein as ‘Stand’ in tone and structure.

When an artist fully emerges themselves in a project and produces at a rapid pace, the result are often striking, if not unrecognizable. Such is the case here. The creativity that flowed in this month long session shows a deep rooted discipline, passion, and mental fortitude, not seen today in many artists. I find that refreshing, especially from such a relatively new artist. Son Lux took the best of his creative process and composed what many will argue is the best album of the year.

ACL Spotlight: The National

If you’re searching for background information on The National, you’re bound to find enough valid information dominating their Wikipedia page, but we’re not here to focus on a bland press release that will give you meaningless insight into the band’s History, Political/Social Support and Discography.  We’re here to offer up a look at music as literature, music that provides meaningful views into the modernity in which we live.   This is The National, ladies and gentleman.  Follow the jump for more.

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Hear New MGMT Album On NPR

Now I know some of you may have already gotten your hands on a leaked copy (you wouldn’t do that would you?), but you can check out a full streaming version of MGMT’s upcoming Congratulations over on NPR.  Being as this record may be one of the most hyped of the year, we’d love to hear your first take on the band’s sophomore effort.  We will of course offer up a proper review closer to the planned April 13th release date.

Update: They are also streaming each song on their very own website.  Thanks dudes

Free SXSW Sampler From NPR

If you aren’t indulging yourself in our March music sampler (you better be), NPR music has another worthwhile SXSW music sampler available for download.  The 11 song sampler features top notch ATH favorites like Spoon, The Walkmen, Local Natives, and more.  You can read more about it on NPR or download the sampler straight from itunes.  Until then, check out the standout sampler track “Airplanes” from Local Natives.  For those of you who have yet to pick up their new album, we aren’t friends anymore.


Download: Local Natives – Airplanes [MP3]

Stream the new Spoon @ NPR

Sorry I didn’t throw in a picture, but you know what Spoon looks like by now, right?  Anyways, their new album Transferrence, which hits stores next week is now being streamed over at NPR.  I suggest getting a good listen there because word on the streets is that those leaks you’re stealing from the net are poor quality, and who wants to listen to that? So check it here.

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