The constant stream of good-to-great music coming to us every week in the mail – both email (mostly) and ‘regular’ mail – is overwhelming; yet, there are songs and bands we think more people should hear. You might just find some jems in the mix. We’d love to read your comments about the artists and bands in this mix; your feedback is important to us. We read the comments and sometimes we will pick an insightful comment to win a free CD, gift card and other rewards.
This In Dee Mail mixtape features the following artists:
- Kenny McAlester (Skeleton Jones) – Dublin, Ireland
- Frame The City – Portland, Oregon
- Facts on File – Los Angeles, California
- Roadside Graves – Metuchen, New Jersey
- Air Conditioning School – Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Ulysses Campbell – St. Petersburg, Florida
It was rather surprising to find out that Irish indie rock singer, songwriter, and musician Kenny McAlester, formerly a member of the Dublin band 8Ball, recently embarked on his own musical journey, using the moniker Skeleton Jones.
Armed with a SP404 and a Micro BR, McAlester home-recorded a number of songs for a project he calls Barebones. After completing the recordings late last year, McAlester sent the final mixes to us a while ago. Perhaps you’ll agree this is one artist we should have featured earlier in the year.
On “The Great Escape,” McAlester wonderfully layers guitars, keyboards, tambourines and other instruments with an unmistakable Celtic rock sound somewhat reminiscent of The Pogues crossed with My Bloody Valentine, but with much more experimentalism, including reverb-heavy vocals and an invigorating chorus of dubs that has a beat and melody begging to be loved.
“The Great Escape” – Kenny McAlester
“Hooray for Airbags” – Kenny McAlester
Frame The City came as a surprise when we opened up the email and clicked on the MP3 links the band provided from the We Were Wolves EP. The quality of the writing, singing, and overall musicianship has the footprint of a veteran rock band. Yet, from all we could gather, FTC are a virtually unknown band outside of Portland, Oregon. Would love your feedback on these songs.
“We Were Wolves” – Frame The City
“Wearing Jeans to Bed” – Frame The City
In Los Angeles, the indie pop/post punk band Facts on File released the title track, “Keep It Together”, of their debut album, released on April 13th. The single sounds like Devo meets the Talking Heads. We haven’t heard the full album, but look forward to doing so sometime soon. Facts on File have opened for Pleasure Kills, Death of a Party, Maldroid, and The French Semester. Last year, the band placed third in the Dickie’s Battle of the Bands competition at SXSW.
“Keep It Together” – Facts on File
Roadside Graves‘ digital re-release of their debut album If Shacking Up Is All You Want to Do (with bonus material) dropped in February without much fanfare. We’ve heard the singles below, but not much else. Stereogum wrote recently: “Lyricist/vocalist John Gleason pens some of the prettiest and smartest lyrics this side of Matt Berninger and these older tracks are quieter than the newbie, providing ample space for catching onto his storytelling. Definitely lean into ‘Song For A Dry State’ and ‘Junk On The Highway.’”
“Jenny Jump” – Roadside Graves
“14 Lot Lizards” – Roadside Graves
Based in Minneapolis, the one man band project of Chris Heidman (formerly of Sukpatch), called Air Conditioning School, was created as an outlet for his desire to does most of the work behind the scenes of ACS and also helps to run local label S0-TM (whose roster includes Ultrachorus and Total Babe). The result is a range from minimalistic electronica to Paul Weller-style pop. Air Conditioning School has the elements that appeal to a wide cross-section, so it’s surprising that he doesn’t have more plays on this MySpace page.
“Wake Me Up” – Air Conditioning School
Bonus: “Busymore” – Air Conditioning School
Zachary “Ulysses Campbell” Wilson is a product of the DIY generation and proud of it. He records primarily on an 8-track, edits with freeware, and performs at parties, sometimes with other musicians, but usually as Ulysses Campbell. With a natural inclination to create pop songs, Campbell also weaves elements of electro, drum and bass, dub step, and rock. The song featured here was reportedly written only hours before a departure on a six month journey around South Africa.
“Dinosaur Hunting” – Ulysses Campbell
“Hunter Gatherer” – Ulysses Campbell
Editor’s Note: If you enjoyed this mix, I encourage you to browse the archives to see past editions of In Dee Mail; there really are many jems in them there archives. As well, stay tuned because we already have about five additional IDM mixes 90% ready to go in the coming weeks. To submit your own music for review and possible feature on IRC, please fill out the form on the About page.