Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween MP3s | The Soft Moon + Indie Folker + Lucy Schwartz

The Soft Moon

The Soft Moon - Tiny Spiders

The Soft Moon's self-titled debut full-length is out on November 16th on Captured Tracks.

Indie Folker - Monsters in Rome

Indie Folker's album of the same name, Monsters in Rome, is available now.

Lucy Schwartz's new album, Life in Letters, is out now. Grab the track, "Graveyard," for the exchange of your e-mail addy.

Halloween Jam of the Day | Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Fright Night (Nevermore)

Photo Credit: SF Weekly Blog

If you're looking for a fresh and freaky addition to your Halloween party playlist, a track to get the hipster ghouls and goblins swaying while they sip their PBR, look no further than "Fright Night (Nevermore)" by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti. Before you even get into the tune, from the recent 4AD release Before Long, you have "Haunted," "Fright" and "Nevermore." Classic linguistic creepery in the band's name and track title.

The jam is a synth-fueled groove starting with lyrics straight out of Steven King's nightmares. "Sleep walking in the dead of night / Ooooooh... / Black cat crosses your path... / Until you petition the Lord" / "...I used to talk to demons with my ouija board but / Not anymore..." The Halloween imagery doesn't let up as the track stalks on... "I'm a necro-romantic / I'm-a suck on your blood / Are you ready for Freddy / Yeah, knock on the door."

The lyrics stand out to achieve a distinctively creepy theme, but they don't reach the level of seasonal novelty. This is a jam suited for anytime of year, Halloween or otherwise. Nevertheless, this weekend in particular, throw on your costume and throw on some Ariel Pink... You won't be disappointed.

Listen to "Fright Night (Nevermore)" below. Buy APHG's Before Long HERE.

Have a safe and happy Halloween weekend. Boo.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jam of the Day | Silje Nes - The Grass Harp

Nearly a year and a half in the making, Iceland's Silje Nes' gently enchanting new record Opticks, while once again home-recorded, dramatically upgrades the sound from her acclaimed 2008 debut, Ames Room. Intricately constructed, warm and brimming with melodic hooks, Opticks is a record full of wonder, unfurling a series of increasingly accessible and catchy little songs.

The opening track of Opticks, and our Jam of the Day, "The Grass Harp," coyly invites listeners into a different world. The song's many layers reveal themselves in a slow motion textural deluge as organic instrumentation, found sounds, and electronic patterns intertwine.

It's more melodic and a little less experimental that what we've previously heard from Silje Nes but creates the same beautiful combination of sweet hooks and lush, intricate textural detail that frames her intimately recorded voice.

Download or play below. I highly recommend picking up the entire new album, though. You can do that here. It's out now on the ever-strong Fat Cat label.

Silje Nes - The Grass Harp

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

MP3 | Franz Nicolay - Have Mercy

Photo credit: Miles Kerr

Last January, we reported that Franz Nicolay, one of the founding members of Brooklyn's The Hold Steady, had left the band. So, perhaps a lyric from the brand new track, "Have Mercy" is very fitting: "It's who you leave behind, it's not who you save / That you'll be judged by."

Yet, there is no looking back. Nicolay, an insanely talented multi-instrumentalist and composer, is set to release Luck and Courage on October 12th, and the effort is inspired by an eclectic group of influences: Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night, Lyle Lovett's I Love Everybody, Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic society... Yeah, we said eclectic.

Today, we present to you "Have Mercy," an operatic, punked-out orchestration of epic proportions. 

Franz Nicolay - Have Mercy

Luck and Courage is out October 12th on Team Science Records and Sabot Productions.

MP3 | U.S. Royalty - Equestrian

If you are a Local Natives fan, you must give U.S. Royalty a listen. The band combines the same kind of southern, sweet tea harmonies with gobs of beautiful nature imagery a la Fleet Foxes. In fact, the vocals on the intro of "Equestrian" quite remind me of a hooting owl. And that's a good thing.

The D.C. boys are getting ready to blow up somethin' big. I'm placing my bet now.

U.S. Royalty - Equestrian

The debut album, Mirrors, is set for an early 2011 release.

Pajammy Jam of the Day | The National - Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

Photo Credit: Keith Klenowski
I have no idea what this song is about. I don't care. I don't want to know. Kinda like I don't want to know what Bob Dylan really meant in "Gates of Eden." Or why Liz Phair wrote "Black Market White Baby Dealer."

Sometimes, I just don't want to know why.

Do you get that way? Does it even make sense when Matt Berninger sings "Vanderlyle, cry baby cry" or "I'll explain everything to the geeks"? Sure, you could Google it. I'll give you that. That's easy.

But, that's besides the point. The point, in my opinion, is soaking up the beauty of today's PJOTD without having to think. Don't think. It's more beautiful that way, I promise.

The National - Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks by Ragged Words


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10 to Spin | Matthew Ryan

To me, the best Matthew Ryan songs are the ones where you’re left feeling exposed, like he’s written something about you, something secret. Ryan is one of my favorite songwriters because of songs like “3rd of October,” “Your Museum,” and “It Could’ve Been Worse” – songs that are courageous because they tell the truth, even if it means admitting a mistake or two. And that’s okay in Ryan’s world; mistakes are what make us human.

Ryan’s last album, Dear Lover, has been on my mind lately. There are ghosts in that album, and there is a hint of regret. There’s a sense of urgency to say what you need to say before it’s taken away from you. It’s a little like autumn, the season before everything freezes up and dies, with hope, of course, of starting all over again.

Yes, revival is important to Matthew Ryan. Please enjoy his 10 to Spin picks below.

The Autumn Playlist

My first thought when asked to do this was that my favorite time of year is nearly here. My favorite music almost always has an autumnal feel to it. So I'll offer you the perfect collection for that new brisk air that's on its way in. Perfect for deep browns and reds, sharp gloamings and those crisp stars in those bluish black nights. Generally, these songs will be even more immersive in a car with a blur of rustling leaves floating around. This really is an abbreviated list just off the top of my head, and in no particular order. - Matthew Ryan

While Thinking About Her Again (from The Cinema Paradiso Soundtrack) by Ennio Morricone - This piece always moves me.

Bob Dylan's Dream by Bob Dylan - As I go further into life this song means more and more to me.[listen]

Amnesia by Kevin Salem - Holy rock song, Batman! I've met Kevin a few times, he's a great guy. Soma City influenced me quite a bit when I was making May Day.

Take This Waltz by Leonard Cohen - He's 1000 floors above me in the tower of song.

Wake Up by Arcade Fire - Great anthem.

Love To Be Loved by Peter Gabriel -  Just love how this track moves. Really cinematic and honest stuff.

Miss Sarajevo by U2 - One of my favorite songs ever and Pavarotti to boot.

Essence by Lucinda Williams - Just a pure song that feels like autumn lust to me. [listen]

Take It With Me by Tom Waits - Such a great song, romantic in such an honest way.

Darklands by The Jesus And Mary Chain - Will always remind me of the autumn in the 80s when I discovered this record. [listen]

Jam of the Day | California Wives - Blood Red Youth

Chicago band, California Wives, has already been compared to the likes of Joy Division and The Police. Say what?

Yet, on the first single from the band's new Affair EP, the band channels the dreamy pop landscapes of Phoenix, with juice-box fizziness. But, this isn't copy cat stuff; California Wives also dips into shoegaze territory. And the end result is an intensely pleasing combo of rise and fall, past and future.

After all, it's hard to forget "what those people did to you, in your blood red youth" no matter how hard you try.

California Wives - Blood Red Youth

The Affair EP is available now. Check it out. The boys are also gearing up for a Daytrotter session in mid-November.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Video | Pearl Jam & Neil Young - Walk With Me (at Bridge School Benefit)

I lost some people I was traveling with
I miss the soul and the old friendship

How beautiful is this song?

I thought I knew, but after watching this video of Pearl Jam performing "Walk With Me" with Neil Young at this past weekend's Bridge School Benefit Concerts, it's taken on a different meaning.

Walk with me. Shine me a light.
We can't do this alone.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Jam of the Day | Daniel Pujol - Mission From God

Photo credit: Nashville Scene

Daniel Pujol is a young up and comer in the Nashville music scene...the punk scene. Not too much is known about Mr. Pujol, other than he has played with Nashville bands such as MEEMAW and Denny and The Jets, and he has a certain mount of disdain for musical packaging.

What is known about Mr. Pujol is that he rocks hard. If you dig Wavves, you'll probably dig Daniel Pujol. And you'll be in on the ground level when he breaks out of Nashville. You can tell your friends in 2012, "Oh I know that guy, his 2010 work is so much more... raw." I digress. "Mission from God" comes from his 2010 digital EP, appropriately named 2010, released on Infinity Cat Records. Check it out below. We hope to hear more from Mr. Pujol in the future.

Buy some of his music HERE.

Grab a couple of free songs HERE.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jam of the Day | Eliza Doolittle - Rollerblades

Photo Credit: Valerie Phillips

There's an internal struggle that pulls my musical soul apart when I hear songs like our Jam of the Day, "Rollerblades," by Eliza Doolittle. I'm not sure what happens - I question what I've always known to be my musical taste. I question what my friends would think if they saw me bobbin' my head to it in my car. Ultimately, I question my manhood.

But you know what?  Eff the man - I'm getting my pogo on.

I mean she's a cute, British pop singer mining sounds from the ’60s and ’70s, while bringing her own undeniable unique spin on the music. What could possibly be wrong with that? Am I THAT much of a music snob or genre whore that I can't branch out and feel like a 16 year-old girl every once in a while? Hells-to-tha-no. Those sassy-ass lyrics, British accent, and peppy melodies fit so nicely alongside the sharp production, splicing ska, funk, jazz and soul.

She's already thrilling fans across the Atlantic, so I'm going to follow suit. Listen below, and if you like it you can pick up some of her stuff here, or wait for her U.S. debut in early 2k11.

Now where is my Caboodle, bitches?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

10 to Spin | Hayley Taylor

In August, I wrote about Hayley Taylor's "No More Wishing," and how I admired her for defining her idea of a true love. I'm also quite fond of her latest release, One Foot in Front of the Other; Taylor's given us an album full of honest tunes that play well to her strengths: thoughtful songwriting, strong melodies, and a dreamlike voice.

If you're a fan of Ingrid Michaelson, Taylor's songs should fit right in with your music library. Her passion comes through on every song she sings, making One Foot in Front of the Other a joy to listen to while you're relaxing, or maybe driving down the back roads late at night.

Dreaming is the subject of our latest 10 to Spin, and we're thankful that Hayley has joined in our little quest to find that perfect set of songs. Please enjoy!

"These are songs for dreaming: of far away lands and true love, sailing across the deep blue seas, living in a tree house on an island, and memorizing the pattern of the stars." - Hayley Taylor

"Big Bird In A Small Cage" by Patrick Watson (Wooden Arms)

"Goin' To Acapulco" by Jim James & Calexico (I'm Not There Soundtrack)


"Suzanne" by Leonard Cohen (Songs of Leonard Cohen)


"St. Augustine" by Band of Horses (Everything all the Time)


"Far, Far Away" by Wilco (Being There) [listen]

"Mykonos" by Fleet Foxes (Sun Giant)


"Love is all I Am" by Dawes (North Hills)


"Cello Song" by Nick Drake (Five Leaves Left)


"Lay Your Head Down" by Keren Ann (Keren Ann)


"Zebra" by Beach House (Teen Dream)

Jam of the Day | The Dive Poets - Austin

The Saint Louis alt-country band, The Dive Poets, is set to release its debut EP, The Good and the Light, in just a couple of weeks. Opening for SIC faves Futurebirds at Cicero's over the summer, the fivesome threw down its scrappy, foot stompin' flare and won the crowd's heart.

Now, it's The Dive Poets turn to take the spotlight with its new single, and our Jam of the Day, "Austin." Despite mentions to a legion of Texas cities, this song is truly a love song to the titled town. And geez, who can't understand that kind of love? It's magnetic; some cities just keep pulling you back.

The lyrics weave a narrative about a "wayward son" backed against giddy-up guitars and feverish drumming. Around two minutes in, Anna Moffatt's vocals add a June Carter dimension to this track, and that's when it really hits its stride. Yeehaw!

The Dive Poets - Austin

You can catch The Dive Poets this Friday at Off Broadway when the band supports another of our local faves, Via Dove, at the band's record release party. Union Tree Review and Old Lights will also open.

The new EP will be available for purchase (after November 2nd) at live shows and online.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MP3 | Blank Dogs - Northern Islands

Mike Sniper never meant to be one of Brooklyn's most mysterious musicians. Things just ended up that way, as the singer/multi-instrumentalist released a steady stream of singles and EPs without ever truly attaching himself to the Blank Dogs moniker.

Well, mystery time is over, and if all his new work sounds as good as "Northern Lights," he will be very well-known instead.

See what you think below!

Blank Dogs - Northern Islands

Pajammy Jam of the Day | Sharon Van Etten - Love More

Photo Credit: Allison Kaye
Guess what? I've got another awesome, sad tune for ya. Autumn makes me this way. The air gets crisp, the days grow shorter, and my mind often settles in on songs with deep meaning. I'm pretty sure I'll always be this way.

Sharon Van Etten's music is new to my ears this particular autumn. Her voice fits my mood on the days when I start thinking about winter, and how it will change my life for a few months. Today's PJOTD, "Love More," makes me reflect on the year I've had - a year full of learning and deep thinking. For the first time in eight years, I've spent most of my days alone. That might sound depressing to you, but it's time I've needed to figure a few things out. I'm getting there.

Living alone convinces you that, even though things don't always work out the way you wanted them to, there is no such thing as wasted time. The things you can't change, they make you love more.

They make you love more.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jam of the Day | Savoir Adore - The Garden

Savoir Adore brings something entirely unique and exciting to the table with its addictive lush slant on pop - even in a scene as vibrant as the current one in Brooklyn. In the Wooded Forest, their exuberant debut album, showcases the strengths of this exciting, young band. Soaring melodies. Infectious beats.

Today's Jam of the Day, and the album's meditatively gorgeous closer, "The Garden," displays a potent combination of raw talent and musical maturity that is extremely rare in a debut release. With its unique blend of indie influences and infectious dance beats, it's no wonder the group has garnered comparisons to such artists as Phoenix, Jens Lekman, and Bishop Allen.

Give it a whirl below!

Savoir Adore - The Garden

Living Room Concert | Annie Stela

Photo Credit: Mark Philip
Yeah, that is a picture of Annie Stela playing in my living room. I'm still at a loss for words at how I go about explaining what went down Saturday evening. Let me try.

Although I've only been listening to Stela's music for a little over a year, her songs have meant the world to me - you could say they've been the soundtrack to some of the toughest moments I've had to face in the last 14 or so months. So when she put out the call asking to play living rooms across the U.S. this autumn, I simply told her, "Yes, please come play my at my house." And she showed up. It was really that easy.

Photo Credit: Rachel Demsick
 Of course, I was a bit nervous in the days leading up to the show. My house was a bit of a dog-hair-on-the-floor mess. And I sort of started to freak, thinking that no one would show. But, my friends came out in a big way, and I thank them for doing so.

When Annie showed up (with her awesome friend, Rachel), it hit me: this was really happening. She quickly set up her keyboard and sound system (thank you, Matt!), and she did a brief sound check, asking if I wanted to hear my favorite song of hers, "Clean It Up." I gotta say, this Annie Stela is a cool gal.

Photo Credit: Rachel Demsick
 What I'll remember the most? The way she stomped on the floor during her opener, "Little House." Her voice during "Breathe Through" (soooo sad). Her ability to rock out during "Those Kind of Guys." Her two-song encore, which we made her do (ha). The way she conversed with everyone in the room, before and after the show.

Oh, and Annie's smile. You can't forget a smile like that, especially when it's live in your living room.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jam of the Day | Twin Shadow - Slow

Brooklyn's Twin Shadow, AKA George Lewis Jr., is a throwback genius, and it took him only one record to achieve this status. His debut LP, Forget, calls on, nay commands, the listener to remember (and desperately long for) the late seventies / early eighties heydays of the new wave and post-punk genres. Twin Shadow channels these periods (as well as Morrissey's voice) expertly to craft something unique, something nostalgic, but somehow still modern and fresh at the same time.

The new-wavey jam "Slow" is a perfect exemplar of Twin Shadow's sound. This offering is a danceable one, accentuated by synth notes, but paced and pushed forward by the steady drums and racing guitar. And then there is George's voice... Again, when he croons the verses, he evokes that signature Morrissey depth. It is during the chorus and the final run of the jam that George's unique vocals take on a life of their own. He sings softly, then howls; "I don't wanna, believe, but be, in love / I don't wanna, be, believing, in love." This sentiment, this sound, it kind of makes you want to put your hood up, pull your sleeves over your hands, stare at the floor, and dance like there is no tomorrow.

Watch the creepy (in a banned Calvin Klein commercial sort of way) video below (not really NSFW... just really creepy).

Grab a free (it will cost you your e-mail address) download of "Slow" HERE.

Buy the impressive debut LP Forget HERE.

Chat with Dar Williams. Today!

That's right, this is your chance to chat with singer-songwriter Dar Williams. She'll be doing a live streaming session with Q&A starting at 12:30 EST. Just click "chat" below to ask your question.

Dar is currently on tour supporting her new album, Many Great Companions. Have a listen to “If I Wrote You” (with Gary Louris of The Jayhawks).

darwilliams on Broadcast Live Free

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Concert Review | Band of Horses at the Pageant in Saint Louis

Photo Credit: Philip Andelman
  A good friend of mine once told me to not have any expectations before a concert. A great concert, he said, isn't weeks in the making for the fan. A great concert should just happen in the moment it's presented, not in your head days before the show, dreaming about what the songs might sound like live, or what the band or artist might choose to play.

My friend also told me that, more times than not, you won't get to see something wonderful, something that will affect your life. Of course, that's why you go, why you pay a great amount of money - to take a chance and live in the moment to find greatness. But, it doesn't always happen.

It took me a long time to understand this. I always want live music to change me, to make me feel like I'm alive in a world in which I want to fully participate. I want to feel like Andy Dufrense in The Shawshank Redemption, breaking out of prison, throwing up my hands, enjoying freedom in the pouring rain.

Wednesday at The Pageant wasn't one of those nights for me.

That's not to say Band of Horses didn't deliver - Ben Bridwell sounded feisty on "The Funeral," "The Great Salt Lake," "Ode to LRC," and "The General Specific." The tunes from their latest album, Infinite Arms, especially "Laredo" and "NW Apt.," were fabulous. Whenever Ryan Monroe picked up a guitar, he looked like the happiest dude on the planet. The show closer, "Is There a Ghost," probably did damage to my hearing. The show was loud and engaging, at times.

But damn, there was something missing.

Every time I thought the show was about to take off and find a new level, it took a few steps back. Too many mid-tempo chill moments paired together, perhaps. Normally, I wouldn't mind this - I'm the guy who likes sad songs, harmony, and cruel reality when it comes to music. But as beautiful as "Marry Song" and "No One's Gonna Love You" are as studio songs, they didn't quite compare with a live rocker like the aforementioned "NW Apt.," which was delivered early in the set. I'll be honest, I wanted more of that.

But so what if my life didn't change. I still live for live music. I'll still keep attending concerts at a furious pace. And I'll still listen to Band of Horses. No one's gonna believe that more than I do.

Pajammy Jam of the Day | Lower Dens - Blue and Silver

Swarming guitar fuzz, bass waves, and insistent drum throbs are just a few of my favorite things on an early fall morning. And luckily they, along with some mellow-ass lyrics, are core musical components of the work of Baltimore's Lower Dens.

Sometimes known for intimate, ghost-heavy weird-fi, the band's leader, Jana Hunter, is now writing and playing with a group that might get filed as new wave, or drone-pop, or post-punk. Whatever the musical label, we're very glad she's working to fill our slightly cool fall Thursdays with love.

So check it out below, and pick up the debut LP Twin-Hand Movement if you can. They spent most of the year sweating in attics and basements recording it, so they earned it.

Lower Dens - Blue and Silver

Contest | School of Seven Bells Giveaway Package

School of Seven Bells, the buzzworthy side-band of Benjamin Curtis from Secret Machines and Claudia and Alley Deheza of On! Air! Library! fame, is on a cross-country tour in support of its sophomore album, Disconnect from Desire. Exciting news in itself, but what's even better is they want YOU to have a copy of the album for FREE and come see them live as a special guest at their Local 506 show in Chapel Hill  the evening of October 19th!

You're just going to have to be a tad-bit lucky and be the one chosen out of the proverbial hat. See below, friends!

You have two simple ways to enter:
1. E-mail me at with your full name.

2. Post this on Twitter: "I entered to win a pair of tickets to see @SVIIB at @local506 on @speakersincode. You can, too - just RT this."

The winner will be selected on Friday, October 15th at 2:00 PM EST and notified later in the day via e-mail or DM on Twitter.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10 to Spin | Cotton Jones

A few weeks ago, I swooned over the Cotton Jones Pajammy Jam of the Day, "Somehow to Keep It Going." The track gave me "relentless chills," and I. fell. in. love.

Now the duo has put together a 10 to Spin playlist for us, offering up its favorite artists for a much-needed, Cotton Jones-scheduled, mental health day. (Aren't those the best days to take off)? As a sidenote, we're thrilled to see the inclusion of These United States, who put together a very popular 10 to Spin for us over the summer.

Cotton Jones' Tall Hours In The Glowstream is out now. It's a must-have album for 2010.

"Houston to New Orleans (Scheduled Day Off Mix)" 
AKA: Great Songs by Great People

Possessed By Paul James - "Color Of My Bloody Nose" [listen]

Possessed By Paul James - "We Welcome You Home" [listen]

Pepper Rabbit - "Red Wine" 

Pepper Rabbit - "Harvest Moon"

Frontier Ruckus - "The Upper Room" [listen]

These United States - "The Great Rivers"

These United States - "First Sight"

Strand Of Oaks - "Daniel's Blues"

Strand Of Oaks - "Bonfire"

Jam of the Day | Josh Ritter - Lantern

When I think of Josh Ritter's greatest songs, "Snow is Gone," "Girl in the War," and "Thin Blue Flame" immediately come to mind. I have no problem adding, "Lantern" off his latest album, So Runs the World Away, to that list.

"Lantern" is one of those songs that doesn't need a minute to warm up; its heart beats from the start. If you've seen Ritter live, you know he's always freakishly smiling. I would imagine he was also beaming when he wrote today's JOTD - it's a tune that can carry an album and a career. Put it on an episode of any popular TV show, and you've got yourself a hit.

Turn this one up, and hold it high. 

I’ll hold it high for you cause I know you’ve got
I’ll hold it high for you your own Valley to walk
I’ll hold it high for you though it’s dark as death
I’ll hold it high for you and then gets darker yet
I’ll hold it high for you though your path is blocked
I’ll hold it high for you through the thieves and the rocks
I’ll hold it high for you keep you safe from harm
I’ll hold it high for you until you’re back in my arms

Josh Ritter - Lantern

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jam of the Day | La Sera - Never Come Around

Photo credit: Marya Zoya

Here in Saint Louis we are currently experiencing what I like to call "Summer (Reprised)." With temperatures in the eighties during the day, the cozy autumn sweaters have been shelved for the time being. And even though this weather technically calls for a functioning air conditioner, it is almost the middle of October. An open window will have to do.

Today's Jam of the Day, La Sera's "Never Come Around" hauntingly whispers of that surf rock trend that surged last spring and then crested on the summer festival circuit. More so, it contains 1950s sweet-as-pie chord changes, a la The Drums' "Down By The Water," yet it's satisfyingly vandalized by a little lo-fi grit. Think of it as the couple that prefers the dark corner parking spot of the drive-in versus the corner stools at the milkshake counter. You know those kids I'm talking about.

Most importantly, it's the perfect track for "Summer (Reprised)." "Never Come Around" is transient, a fugitive on the run from warm weather, yet a stranger not welcome in fall. Turn it up at high volume when the sun starts to set and you open your windows for the evening.

La Sera - Never Come Around

La Sera is Katy Goodman's (Vivian Girls) new band, and she's joined by Jenn Prince on guitar and Brady Hall on vocals/keyboards/drums. Look for a 7" coming out on November 16th (Hardly Art) with the PJOTD and a track called "Behind Your Eyes." The band will also cover "Watch Me Jumpstart" for an upcoming Guided By Voices tribute album.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Contest | Win Mt. Desolation's Debut LP on Vinyl!

Indie supergroup Mt. Desolation, which features members of Keane, Mumford & Sons, The Killers, and Noah and the Whale, is pretty darn stoked, as we are, to announce the release of their eponymous debut album on October 19th.

So stoked, in fact, they want you to have a copy of the glorious vinyl LP for FREE! Good lawd, what could be better than THAT?

You have two simple ways to enter:
1. E-mail me at with your full name.

2. Post this on Twitter: "I entered to win the debut LP from @mtdesolation on @speakersincode. You can, too - just RT this."

The winner will be selected on Monday, October 18th at 12:00 noon CST and notified later in the day via e-mail or DM on Twitter.

Cee Lo + Band of Horses Swap Covers

Inspired by Cee Lo's recent cover of the friggin' gorgeous Band of Horses' track, "No One's Gonna Love You," the South Carolina boys have reciprocated with a cover of Cee Lo's "Georgia." And oh yeah, they got the UGA Redcoat Marching Band to back 'em up.

Lead singer (and the preferred voice to the soundtrack of my life), Ben Bridwell explains how the cover came about: "This began as a very random idea I had on my dad's patio after we watched our beloved Georgia Bulldog football team get robbed of a win at the hands of the referees and LSU last year. I knew I wanted to pay homage to my favorite team in song but didn't have any idea how to begin. Once I heard Cee-Lo's 'Georgia,' I was immediately smitten and figured that's as good as any tribute to any state I've ever heard."

You be the judge!

Band of Horses - "No One's Gonna Love You"

Cee Lo - "No One's Gonna Love You"

Cee Lo - "Georgia"

Listen to the BoH cover of "Georgia" here. Buy the track here.

Catch Band of Horses as the band gallops through Saint Louis on October 13th at The Pageant.

Jam of the Day | Allo Darlin' - My Heart is a Drummer

Speakers in Code Monday Morning Listener Proclamation:
“I, [Insert Name Here], am not happy it is once again Monday morning, and my weekend is officially over. It sucks – and I know everyone else feels the exact same way. However, I will rise above this dreary and forlorn feeling by using my relationship with this blog, and the Jam of the Day, it offers me.

I will be upbeat and happy. This song will be my guide.”

Now please press play below to complete your proclamation and improve your day in the process. Australian-born, London-based songwriter Elizabeth Morris and her happy band known as Allo’ Darlin will provide today’s inspiration.

And if you’d like to hear more and feel even better, make sure to check out the stellar debut that is out now on Fortuna Pop! Records.

Allo Darlin' - My Heart is a Drummer

Friday, October 8, 2010

(REMIX) Pajammy Jam of the Day | Deerhunter - Helicopter

Last week, we brought you Deerhunter's "Helicopter." Well guess what? It's back. This time, reworked and remixed by uber-talented producer Diplo (along with Lunice, a remix master and pop-lockin' savant out of Montreal, Canada). The re-imagined "Helicopter" now has a bit of a street swagger and a synth-driven gangsta lean in the hook. It might just be better than the original... we'll call it a tie.

Grab the remixed track over at Lunice's SoundCloud page by clicking HERE. Reeeeeee-miiiiix! Much love to our friends at Gorilla vs. Bear, a site we HEART, for the heads up on this one.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Concert Review | Cowboy Junkies at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon

"Sad songs, they make me happy," Margo Timmins said midway through Cowboy Junkies' set on Wednesday night, one of her many references to sad songs throughout a performance that featured Junkies favorites like "Misguided Angel" and Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane."

If you've been to a Junkies show, you know it can often go one of two ways: the guys and gal from Toronto can play a more uptempo rock set, usually set aside for festivals or crappy GA rock clubs, or they can take a step back and rattle off an evening of blues and mid-tempo selections from their vast catalog, which is what they decided to do in Portland.

Personally, I have come to happily expect this from a Junkies show (especially at a seated venue like the Aladdin). If you are familiar with most of their songs, you know the themes: darkness with a touch of hope, murder, dreams, relationships gone sour. Basically, real life.

For some, though, I would also expect that this could be too much to take in at a concert. Unless the Junkies bust out "Anniversary Song," which Margo Timmins often jokes about as the only time her brother, Michael, has written a happy song, you really get no "happy" break when they deliver a pulsing, bluesy set of tunes. It's pretty much a direct kick to the part of your brain where all the darkness lurks and will always exist.

Last night's show in Portland mostly focused on the Junkies' wonderful new album, Renmin Park, their upcoming Vic Chesnutt cover album, Demons, the album that made them popular, Trinity Session, and a healthy dose of cover songs like Townes Van Zandt's "Rake" and Neil Young's "Don't Let It Bring You Down," which were both highlights.
Renmin Park is a bit of an experiment when delivered live. Some of the songs are played along with the field recordings that Michael Timmins captured while in China, resulting in multi-instrumentalist Jeff Bird to accomplish many things at once, which he is used to doing, and doing well. "Cicadas" and "Sir Francis Bacon at the Net" were the two that captured Renmin Park's organic beauty, while the title track was gorgeously delivered during the Junkies' short acoustic set.

The tunes played from Trinity Session, outside of the aforementioned "Misguided Angel" and "Sweet Jane," were mainly what gave the set that dark, brooding feel. Waylon Jennings' "Dreaming My Dreams" was especially somber (Margo Timmins voice never sounded better), and the lengthy "Working on a Building" allowed guitarist Michael Timmins to stretch the sound of his fractured solos. His guitar work was also top notch during a psychedelic take on Robert Johnson's "Me and the Devil Blues."

When the show concluded, I remained affected by "Hold On To Me," the only song of the night performed from Lay It Down, the most. Something about that tune sums up the Junkies live experience for me: they ask a lot of their fans - to go down dark and haunted roads, to trust that it will all work out in the end, and to always hold on to them, no matter the request.

"I'll hold on to this gift we share, it is as slippery as it is rare."

Can a gift be more beautiful or real?

Cowboy Junkies - Hold On To Me

MP3 | Murder Mystery - Change My Mind + I Am (If You Are)

Brooklyn synth-pop four-piece, Murder Mystery, is spearheaded by brother-sister combo Jeremy and Laura Coleman and punctuated by Adam Fels and Graham Roberts. You might remember their much-loved 2008 debut LP, Are You Ready For The Heartache Cause Here It Comes, and the snazzy single "Love Astronaut."

Now the foursome is back on the scene to self-release some new material, and it sounds funky fresh. It'll take you back, way back, way back in time - until you stop at 1984 and dance like you're on an episode of Solid Gold.

Murder Mystery - Change My Mind
Murder Mystery - I Am If You Are

Jam of the Day | Field Music - All You'd Ever Need to Say

Following a self-imposed three year hiatus, Sunderland England's Field Music returned in a major way earlier this year with a gluttonous new 20 track double album. And as things do when on hiatus, their sound apparently gained a few pounds while brothers and co-frontmen Peter and David Brewis took their rest.

Our Jam of the Day, "All You'd Ever Need to Say," sounds girthy and happy - layering textures, guitars, and vocals together to create some modern day progressive-rock that hearkens to finer Pinback and less-poppy Apples in Stereo.

Drop the e-needle below and make sure to grab their new record, Field Music (Measure), which was released by Memphis Industries/Revolver a few months back.

Field Music - All You'd Ever Need to Say

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Contest | Margot and the Nuclear So and So's Giveaway Package

Rock! We've got two tickets to see Margot and The Nuclear So and So's PLUS a copy of the band's new album, Buzzard, to give away to one lucky, Speakers in Code reader. The show is October 13th at The Firebird in Saint Louis with openers The Lonely Forest (grab the band's past JOTD here) and Cameron McGill and What Army. That is a HELL of a line-up, so you'll wanna get there at doors for prime real estate.

You have two simple ways to enter:
1. E-mail me at with your full name.

2. Post this on Twitter: "I entered to win a pair of tickets to see @MargotNuclear at @thefirebirdstl on @speakersincode. You can, too - just RT this."

The winner will be selected on Monday, October 11th at 12:00 noon CST and notified later in the day via e-mail or DM on Twitter.

Margot and the Nuclear So and So's new album, Buzzard, is out now on Mariel Recordings.

Jams of the Day | Yuck - Georgia & Rubber

Yuck is a fledgling UK band that has been together for the really long time period of just over a year. Yeah, they're young both in age and duration as a band, but they've already been picked up by red-freakin-hot Fat Possum Records and will release their debut full-length early in 2011.

Not too shabby for a bunch of newborns!

The band will also make two appearances at CMJ this year and have a couple other U.S. dates with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart all lined up.

Check out the MP3s and then the tour dates below.

Yuck - Georgia

Yuck - Rubber

10/20 - Boston, MA @ Paradise *
10/21 - Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn Vegan CMJ Show) *#
10/22 - Philadelphia, PA @ Pi Lam *
10/23 - Brooklyn, NY @ Glasslands (Popgun CMJ Party) ^

* = w/ The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
# = w/ The Blow, Screaming Females, Young Man
^ = w/ Dominant Legs

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Concert Photos | GAYNGS at Metro in Chicago

GAYNGS absolutely lit it up last Thursday night in Chicago. Justin Vernon and Ryan Olson led the groove session as the band made its way through most of the outstanding tracks on the group's debut LP, Relayted. Highlights included the show opening "Gaudy Side of Town," the electrifying "Faded High," and the one song encore, a cover of Alan Parsons' "Eye in the Sky."

Jam of the Day | Sonny and the Sunsets - Lovin' On An Older Gal

Photo credit: Graeme Flegenheimer
Back in July, Sonny and the Sunsets magically appeared on my radar, courtesy of fellow SIC blogger, Matt. He wrote about "Too Young to Burn" and its ability to transport him to the west coast, the land of mild summers and easy livin'.

Well, now it's October, and I am welcoming the season of fall with open arms (and maybe a little ass grab), but today's JOTD, "Lovin' On An Older Gal" still sounds right. With a boy-girl spoken intro that reminds me of the opening verse of The New Pornographers' "Myriad Harbour," this track isn't as sparse or melancholy as "Too Young to Burn." Its loosey-goosey guitars, staccato handclaps, and filling percussion make it perfect for that final barbeque of the year.

Sonny and the Sunsets - Lovin' On An Older Gal

The debut LP, Tomorrow Is Alright, is now available in CD format and digitally on Fat Possum Records and on vinyl courtesy of Soft Abuse Records.

Monday, October 4, 2010

MP3 | The Twilight Singers feat. Ani DiFranco - Blackbird and the Fox

Happy Monday to all! It's definitely not every day we receive new music compliments of Greg Dulli and his band The Twilight Singers - so put those hands in the air and waive them bitches like you don't care!

I hope you all take the time to enjoy this free download of the spankin' new song, "Blackbird and the Fox," from the forthcoming Twilight Singers album which will be out early 2011 via Sub Pop. It features a duet between my personal hero, Greg Dulli, and SIC favorite, Ani DiFranco.

You'd literally be insane for not entering in your email addy below.

Jam of the Day | The Parting Gifts - Keep on Walking

What began as a just-for-fun split-45 by a couple of seasoned songwriters, quickly evolved into something that's pretty damn exciting to hear. The Parting Gifts, whose core consists of Greg Cartwright of North Carolina's Reigning Sound and CoCo Hames of The Ettes, have given us a little Monday mornin' present, and it's the kind that makes that toe tap even if you're all bummed to be back in Cubeland for another week.

"Keep on Walking" is the first single off their upcoming debut LP Strychnine Dandelion, and it's a classic late summer jam featuring jangly guitars, a handful of handclaps, and a repeating chorus that's catchy enough to annoy the people around you all day, given you'll be humming it incessantly. I recommend warning the people you share a wall with - you're going to have some people prairie-dogging that ass all day until you leave the office if you don't.

And as if the initial song and credentials of Cartwright and Hames weren't enough to get you interested, the album features intense performances from Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and Patrick Keeler of The Raconteurs. The result is an impressive set of 14 original songs, as well as a haunting cover of The Rolling Stones' "Walkin' Through the Sleepy City."

Give it a listen below and make sure to catch The Parting Gifts' debut on In The Red Records coming up on November 9th.

The Parting Gifts - Keep on Walking

10 to Spin | Cowboy Junkies

Cowboy Junkies' music has been a big part of my life now for almost 10 years. While some of my friends shrug them off as being a band who play simply some sad songs, I hear a lot more. Sure, there's darkness. But there is a lot of light, too. The truth is, the words that songwriter Michael Timmins writes, which in turn his sister, Margo, sings, hit home so real that you would be hard pressed not to find a few of their tunes that connect with your life.

This year, they released an album called Renmin Park, and it's a keeper. Amazingly, the band from Toronto is set to release another album, a set of Vic Chesnutt covers called Demons, in November. And after one listen to "Wrong Piano," which you can listen to below, I'm already excited.

I'm also a firm believer that their live show is one of the best around - it rocks and soothes in all the right places. Luckily, I'm going to see them in a few days in Portland, Oregon, and I couldn't be more pumped, as it's been almost three years since I've had the chance. Please check back later this week for a review.

If you have been to a Junkies show, you know that the bassist, Alan Anton, is one of those guys who lurks in the background, seemingly going about his business without a care in the world. He's a central piece to many of their songs, like "Dragging Hooks" and "Lay It Down." He's also the cool cat who has given us our latest 10 to Spin, a collection of songs to enjoy while relaxing with a few drinks. We certainly applaud his choices.

"It's 5:30 on a Monday Afternoon on the patio and time to get my drink on.  The sunset's gonna be psychedelic, so I'm gonna need some psycho-poppyness in the outdoor rock speakers.  The speakers that look like rocks but they're actual speakers. Sound pretty good, too.  We're gonna start off slow and end a bit heavy.  Refresh your cocktails every third song and enjoy the view." - Alan Anton

Radar Bros. - Dear Headlights

Spoon - Stay Don't Go

Television - Marquee Moon

Lou Reed - Coney Island Baby

Eels - Love Of The Loveless

Mark Lanegan - Strange Religion

Patti Smith - Ain't It Strange

Rolling Stones - Ventilator Blues

Local H - California Songs

Nirvana - Love Buzz