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  • Following a string of brilliant thematic album releases, numerous outtakes, singles, demos, collaborations and the four LP Songs for Christmas boxset - arguably the best indie-alternative Christmas song collection ever - it seemed Sufjan Stevens was unstoppable.

    But over the past couple of years, there hasn't been really any new, original material from Sufjan. This is disappointing because he had suggested that he was going to attempt to write and record an album about as many states as possible. (Update, Nov 2009: Sufjan Stevens goes on record to say his idea of doing a "50 States" album release was a "joke"; therefore we will continue the State of Music playlist series indefinitely. Not only is there a great interest in this series from music lovers, but there is so much fantastic music about the states, their cities, characters, histories, cultures, landmarks and so on).

    A big part of the believability factor, and the anticipation, was that Sufjan had already recorded two brilliant albums that were, in concept, full of songs relishing in the character of two states, on 2003's Greetings From Michigan and 2005's Come On Feel The Illinoise!

    With songs like "Pittsfield" (Michigan; not the other Pittsfield, where I grew up), "Chicago", "Decatur", "Jacksonville", "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts", "The Seer's Tower", "Flint", "Say Yes! to M!ch!gan!", it looked like Sufjan was serious by his unique and exciting question. At the time it was questionable - can this guy really write 48 additional albums, each about a different state?

    It appears it might not happen. If any indie artists and bands are reading this, think about it. Even if Sufjan is not going to pursue the path he set down, I really hope other indie and alt artists will, while preserving the story-telling quality and superb musicianship that are found on Illinoise and Michigan LPs.

    In all fairness to Sufjan, he has been busy with other music projects, running a record company, babies and what have you, so it's not that easy. I think it's brilliant, and who doesn't love songs about their state; you know, like peaches in Georgia, lighthouses in Maine, the Alamo in Texas, great weather and surfing in California, bison in Wyoming, the cowboy life of Montana and so on.

    Therefore, I decided to start a playlist series about each state in the country featuring songs from a whole range of artists and bands, from indie to alternative and folk to pop and spanning the history of music, starting with the 1950's right up to today.

    To get our toes wet, so to speak, for what will be an ongoing playlist series all about the states of this vast country, I decided an introductory playlist that is not specific to one state, but all of the states, and to give you an idea of what the state-by-state playlists will be like as they are published throughout 2009, 2010 and onward. I'll be publishing more of these playlists in 2010 as I am still working on creating them and focusing on only the best songs.

    Most of all I just hope you will enjoy this new playlist series and give some well deserved attention to bands, artists, songs and albums that are worthy.

    "Decatur" - Sufjan Stevens from Come On Feel The Illinoise

    "Washington DC" - Magnetic Fields from 69 Love Songs (1999)

    "Chicago" - The Uglysuit from The Uglysuit

    "Fasting in San Francisco" - Y La Bamba from GypsyPop (2009)

    "We Can Win Missouri!" - Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin from Grace & Gwyn EP (2008)

    "Revelation Big Sur" - Red House Painters from Songs For a Blue (2000)

    "Cape Fear" - The Rosebuds from Life Like (2008)

    "So Long Savannah" - Eric Bachmann from To The Races (2006)

    "Hard Times in America" - Willie Nile from Live From The Streets of New York (2008)

    Access the second installment of State of Music playlist mix featuring The Low Anthem, Essex Green, The A Side, Sufjan Stevens and Tapes N Tapes.


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       April 29, 2009    5 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    It's been almost two months since the first installment of the "Cover Me Playlist Series," and from looking at the numbers, many people seemed to enjoy it enough to make this an on-going playlist series. Who doesn't love a great cover song? There are thousands of them, many that a lot of people don't know about.

    This playlist features just released, and recently released, cover songs from some of indie and alternative rock's most popular artists. In fact, on The Killers' new EP, Spacemen, the band covers "Four Winds" by Bright Eyes. The Chairs perform a popular Bon Iver song. The Black Keys do a take on a long lost track from The Kinks.

    Also, check out Slaraffenland's cover of a classic new wave hit from the 80s and Serena Ryder's heart-felt cover of Band of Horses' "The Funeral." Ryder's music is not my kind of stuff, but she does a nice cover of one of my favorite recent songs from one of my favorite bands of this decade.

    "Four Winds" (Bright Eyes) - The Killers
    The Killers website

    "Flume" (Bon Iver) - The Chairs
    The Chairs on MySpace

    "Act Nice and Gentle" (The Kinks) - The Black Keys
    The Black Keys website

    "Take On Me" (A-ha) - Slaraffenland
    Slaraffenland on MySpace

    "The Funeral" (Band of Horses) - Serena Ryder
    Serena Ryder on MySpace

    See the first playlist installment for this series

    Popular posts this week:

    New Remix from Metric
    Deleted Scenes Release New Album
    New Songs from Trainwreck Riders, Sonic Youth, The Von Bondies and Super Fury Animals

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       April 28, 2009    1 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    Metric is a Canadian-based new wave/indie rock band originally formed in New York City in 1998. In recent years, they have gained a loyal following and performed at many summer music festivals worldwide.

    Metric's first LP, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?, wasn't released until 2003, but earned the band a Juno Award nomination for Best Alternative Album. They just released their fourth studio album, Fantasies, last week.

    "Help, I'm Alive" (Twelves Remix) - Metric from Fantasies (2009)
    Metric official website

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    deleted scenes bandCatching up is hard to do. With so much stellar music coming out all the time, it's not easy to keep up with it all. So, let's do a bit of catch up on some worthwhile 2009 releases all this week.

    Let's kick it off with an east coast band that more and more folks are tuning in and turning on to recently. Deleted Scenes is a fairly new discovery for me, and would be cross-referenced into the 'news to me' sub-category. I love 'discoveries' like this; and they happen all the time.

    Deleted Scenes' sonic signature has been described as hazy, trippy and glazed. Indied. But as video from the BYT Sessions demonstrate, the band is diverse - here frontman Dan Scheuerman plays a "One Long Country Song" on the famous Washington, DC Metro red line to Shady Grove (ah, memories). Sure it's not the best sound quality, but it's interesting to see an acoustic performance during rush hour on the DC 'subway' (everyone calls it 'The Metro'). What do you think?

    Comprised of band members from Washington, DC and Brooklyn, Deleted Scenes have been compared to bands like The Handsome Furs and Here We Go Magic and they attribute their influences to legends like Bob Dylan and The Velvet Underground.

    "Fake IDs" - Deleted Scenes from Birdseed Shirt (2009)
    "Ithaca" - Deleted Scenes from Birdseed Shirt (2009)
    Deleted Scenes official website
    Deleted Scenes MySpace page

    More new songs coming this week. But first, look for tomorrow's new playlist series feature called 'State of Mind', songs related to states of the United States - sort of taking Sufjan Stevens' brilliant, but apparently abandoned, idea of making an album about every state and doing an IRC version of it.

    Note: Feed and email subscribers: You may see a duplicate of this posting due to some server issues. I apologize for the inconvenience.

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       April 26, 2009    1 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    It's nearing the end of April already, and time to catch up with some fresh new songs from popular indie bands like Sonic Youth, Trainwreck Riders, The Von Bondies and Super Fury Animals. We are digging these songs and the recent or upcoming album releases they are found on. These are definitely picks of the month for your music collection.

    "Chug Along" - Trainwreck Riders from The Perch
    "Safety of a Back" - Trainwreck Riders from The Perch (out May 12 on Alive Records)

    "Sacred Trickster" - Sonic Youth from The Eternal (out June 8 on Matador Records)

    "Pale Bride" - The Von Bondies from Love, Hate and Then There's You (2009)

    "Inagural Trams" - Super Fury Animals from Dark Days/Light Years (2009)

    The next listening playlist of new songs features Deleted Scenes, Odawas, BLK JKS and Operahouse.

    Voxtrot, Pomegarantes, Neko Case, YYYs and The Grates

    The Acorn, Coltrane Motion and The City and The Horses

    Continue reading and listen to songs

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       April 25, 2009    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    Each year on April 22 since 1970, millions of people worldwide celebrate Earth Day. However, many cities across the world celebrate Earth Day on different days throughout this week with many events occurring this weekend.

    The following is a list of songs related to the earth. You can do your part for Earth Day by lessening your impact on the planet - change to energy efficient light bulbs, turn of power when not being used, drive less and walk or bicycle more, recycle and so on. If everyone one of us did these simple things year round, year after year, we can make tremendous change.

    "The Shaded Forest" - Deastro from Keeper's (2008)

    "Snakes and Lions" - Melpo Mene from Bring The Lions Out (2008)

    "Earthworm Song" - Winter Sounds from Porcelain Empire (2007)

    "The Nature Anthem" - Grandaddy from Below The Radio (2004)

    "Forgotten Garden" - Peter Von Poehl from May Day (2009)

    "The Alps & Their Orange Evergreen" - Akron/Family from Set Em Wild, Set Em Free (2009)

    "Meadowlarks" - Fleet Foxes from Fleet Foxes (2008)

    "Niagara Falls" - Sufjan Stevens from Greetings to Michigan (2003)

    "The Gardener" - The Tallest Man on Earth from Shallow Grave (2008)

    "Waiting for the Flood" - Love and Rockets from Earth Sun Moon (1987)

    "Sweet Love For Planet Earth" - F*ck Buttons from Street Horrrsing (2008)

    "Crystal Canyon" - R. Carlos Nakai from Earth Spirit (2000)


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       April 22, 2009    1 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    Rosie meet Edward Scissorhands (aka Robert Smith - photo:

    Classic rockers The Cure played and played a marathon performance Sunday night-Monday morning in what has already become one of the most memorable sets at Coachella ever.

    Whether you were watching the show at Coachella in Indio, California, in the dripping heat of the desert night, or watching in the comfort of your home via the web, it was a rare and special treat. That's until Coachella organizers pulled the plug at 12:34 am, 33 minutes past the 12:01 am curfew.

    Beatle Paul McCartney played some 50 minutes past curfew on the opening night of Coachella. Indio police said the organizers are charged $1,000 per minute after the curfew time.

    The Cure, led by front man Robert Smith, played mainly slow jam rock for the first hour with songs like "Underneath the Stars" and "A Strange Day." Almost as if it were perfect timing, the band broke out into a nearly two-hour long, blissful and frequently 'jam-like' set of songs including "Love Song", "Pictures of You", "Lullaby", "In Between Days," "Just Like Heaven" and on and on.

    On their third encore performance, past 12:30 am Monday, The Cure played "Grinding Halt" until the main speakers and video screens were shut off (notice the irony in the song title). Even when the field lights went up, and the main amp was cut off, the band kept playing "Boys Don't Cry" with just the sound from their onstage monitor speakers. See The Cure's full set list, including three encores, at Cure-Concerts.

    There is little doubt that The Cure's epic two and a half hour set will go down as one of the longest, most memorable, perhaps 'best', performances in Coachella history. The Cure did accomplish one major feat at Coachella - they proved to their cynics, critics, and even loyal fans, that the band is not washed up as chatter of late has implied.

    In past years, AT&T (who edited out Eddie Vedder's comments about Bush at Lollapalooza 2007) has made many Coachella sets available in video archival format after the festival. If so, you'll definitely want to see The Cure set. A few questions remain. One is, how many fans missed the band because they had to be at work in the morning. Someone else mentioned that Robbie might want to tap Perez Hilton for some makeup advice. Either way, The Cure threw it down!

    "Friday (I'm in Love)" - The Cure from Wish (1992)

    "Just Like Heaven" - The Cure from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987)

    "A Forest" - The Cure, live in concert (1984)

    "A Forest" (The Cure) - Bat For Lashes cover

    My Bloody Valentine Screams Bloody Earshot

    my bloody valentine

    Right before The Cure set, My Bloody Valentine 'played'. Some described it more as an 'assault' complaining that the gigantic amps were cranked up way too high.

    So, for all you who had to literally leave during My Bloody Valentine's set because the volume was essentially bursting your eardrums (including people wearing ear plugs!), you might be interested in seeing the band's performance on the AT&T video archives (if it's posted) where you control the volume.

    Loud music at a rock concert is nothing new, but people standing one hundred feet away were blocking their ears or heading for the other end of the venue or to leave altogether when My Bloody Valentine came on. Even hard core rockers were running for cover. Still, for those who braved the amplitudinous wall of noise, MBV did not disappoint. The ringing should stop in a week.

    All joking aside: If you experience persistent ringing in your ears, for whatever reason, please see a doctor - it could be serious. Many people, including the greatest rockers, have permanent hearing loss. Speaking from personal experience, I lost 30% hearing in one ear because I was stupid and young enough to stand by a towers of amps at a U2 concert without ear plugs. The organization H.E.A.R., co-founded in 1988 by Dr. Flash Gordon - really that's his name - has tons of information to read about hearing loss and prevention.

    "Only Shallow" - My Bloody Valentine from Loveless

    "Only Shallow" (My Bloody Valentine) - Japancakes, cover version

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       April 21, 2009    1 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    Trouble-maker, rebel-rouser, super model dater, self-described hell raiser and recovering drug addict. Whatever you think of one of the UK's most talked about rockers, Peter Doherty makes fine music. Doherty's new release Grace/Wastelands is out and it's a keeper. It's heavy on misery and pain. Hopefully this is his way of overcoming his life-threatening drug habit and some day he might write some 'brighter' songs.

    "Arcady" - Pete Doherty from Grace/Wastelands (2009)

    "New Love Grows on Trees" - Peter Doherty from Grace/Wastelands (2009)

    When an artist or band gets a lot of praise from critics, and love from fans, one of two things usually happens: it goes to their heads, or it goes to their hearts. St. Vincent, the moniker of Annie Clark, looks like she taking it to heart as evidenced by the brilliance of her new release Actor.

    "The Strangers" - St. Vincent from Actor (2009)

    This unusual band from London whose music has been described as 'kitchen sink avant pop' made quite a splash at South by Southwest this year and have since garnered the oh-so lovely 'blog buzz'. From the blog Earfarm: "[Micachu sounds like] Deerhoof mixed with Captain Beefheart, The Bug, and the board game Chutes & Ladders...Mick Jagger swagger, worn by a puppy."

    "Lips" - Micachu & The Shapes from Jewellery (2009)

    "Calculator" - Micachu & The Shapes from Jewellery (2009)

    Note about posting new songs

    When you have a limited staff (literally three people) and you're getting up to 50 music submissions a week, plus plenty of music to review that isn't sent in, there will be a backlog. Those of you who sent music for review, keep checking back because you never know - your music could be posted at any time.

    That's exactly what I am currently working on; I wish there was more time to write full reviews of all the great music I hear, but there simply is not. But I do my best to keep you all up on the best of the best (IMO) of new and classic indie, alternative, rock, folk, pop and electronica.

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       April 20, 2009    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    Lima Research Society is a three-piece prog pop band from New Jersey consisting of the mysterious 'researchers' Ellen, Michael and Lima (last or real names? No idea).

    LRS creates tightly-woven, energetic pop rock nugs that adventure into experimental and indie rock territories with raw talent and fascinating results. According to the band members, their music is "experimental indie pop with some prog moments, like The Flaming Lips listening to too much Queen".

    Their debut album Don't Give Up, Don't Get Down was released on the Preemie Unicorns Attack! label in February. Since then it has grown on me. In fact, it is one of the best 'new comer' indie albums of 2009.

    Although I like just about every song on this album, some of the stand out tracks include the catchy, driving pop song "Our Nature is Relentess", the Black Sabbath-sounding rocker "Giant Moth - The Beauty of Things" and the jangly track "A Boy and His Genius" - that for some reason I think would be awesome for Conor Oberst to cover.

    The song "Rejoice" sounds almostly exactly like an original Flaming Lips' tune. Anyways, the bottom-line: If you like these two songs, you're probably going to enjoy the entire album. This band could spark a buzz in the 'indie scene' if the right people are listening and spread the word. And that's why I think they are a band to watch in 2009.

    "Our Nature Is Relentless" - Lima Research Society from Don't Give Up, Don't Get Down (2009)

    "A Boy and His Genius" - Lima Research Society from Don't Give Up, Don't Get Down (2009)

    Lima Research Society on MySpace

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       April 19, 2009    2 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    record store day 2009

    One of the things that I am really committed to is supporting the artists and bands whose music I enjoy, and advocating for others to do the same. Whether it's something as simple as adding a band you enjoy to your social network of choice or going to shows and buying their albums, you are, in essence, each time voting and thereby taking part in a larger movement that is now instant, global and powerful in large part because of the Internet.

    But there is one thing I hope will never change. The record store, or as I prefer to say, the record shop, especially the locally owned establishments. There has always been something special about going to a record shop, browsing the collections, hearing new music, finding out what others are digging, meeting people and building up the CD collection.

    All this and more is why supporting your local record shop is so important. Everyone knows record shops have been hit hard in the past decade by record store chains (we all know their names) and the ability to purchase music online. Still, it's nice to see so many music lovers of all ages and tastes promoting and supporting their local record shops on this special day.

    Record Store Day - Find your local stores


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       April 18, 2009    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    This is the second installment of The Great Unknowns featuring awesome songs from relatively unknown independent, unsigned or largely obscured music artists and bands. Showcasing relatively unknown but talented artists and bands lies at the core of the mission for Indie Rock Cafe.

    The songs in this playlist mix series come from all types of sources - music sent by email and post, suggestions from regular readers and discoveries from other blogs and an enormously gigantic hard drive. Over the past year or so, I have been creating a massive playlist called The Great Unknowns. The first set of relatively unknown great indie songs featured Eric Bachman, Bill Ricchini, Aqueduct, Slowdive and American Analog Set.

    For those of you who are well informed on indie and alternative music, some of the bands and songs featured in these playlists will not be unknown, but hopefully you'll agree they are great tunes.

    "Stanley vs. Hannah" - Alamo Race Track from Black Cat John Brown (2007)

    "Night After Night" - The Sounds from Dying To Say This To You (2006)

    "Imaginary Girl" - Silver Seas from High Society (2006)

    "Sisters at the Sound of Dawn" - Virgins of the Birds from Mixed Choir (2007)

    "Crooked Legs" - The Acorn from Glory Hope Mountain (2007)

    Stay tuned. More from this series, plus music from the Coachella line-up and much more great new music to tell you about in the pipeline. See a previous installment of The Great Unknowns.


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       April 17, 2009    1 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    sin fang bousEccentricity, creativity and raw talent all mixed together sometimes reveal pure artistic brilliance that is immediately addictive. If you haven't heard Sin Fang Bous yet, now's the time. Sin Fang Bous is the moniker of the young musician Sindri Mar Sigfusson from Reykjavik, Iceland.

    Whatever the case, his debut album Clangour is a brilliant treasure chest full of musical treats, and thus far, one of the best indie releases of 2009, yet the album has not received the attention you would expect.

    Maybe Sigfusson should join the growing Animal Collective family? Well, maybe not; he's doing well on his own as evidenced on Clangour. The music is rich with textures of 'noise' synth pop layered with choruses, orchestrated embellishments, lo fi and hi fi weaves, sunny and watery sound effects found on songs like "Lies" and "The Jubilee Choruses".

    Other tracks like "Poi Rot" suggest an intrinsic gift to create lush ballads with gorgeous vocals, interspersed with whistling and string plucking similar to Andrew Bird's signature sound. Yet other songs like "Fa Fa Fa" mix lo fi with rock elements and acoustic guitar before reaching a climax of "oh oh ohs" that soar higher with each note.

    One of things that is magnificent about Sigfusson's musical abilities is his penchant for creating songs that stand on their own, and with the exception of some commonalities, are individualistic in style, delivery and content. An example of this is the song "We Belong" full of xylophones, echoed vocals, driving beats and electronica pop influences. Another good example is the noise pop track "Melt Down The Knives", one of the album's standout songs.

    Sigfusson is not a newbie to the indie music world. In fact, his previous band, Seabear, established themselves as a buzz band with their magnificent debut The Ghost That Carried Us Away in 2007. As of today, Seabear's MySpace page has over one million views - that's no small accomplishment.

    By comparison, popular singer-songwriter M. Ward has 700,000 more views but has had his MySpace account twice as long as Seabear. Sin Fang Bous MySpace page, opened in January of 2008, has had slightly over 107,000 views.
    Read more and listen to songs.

    The following YouTube video of the song "I Sing I Swim" has been viewed nearly a quarter of a million times and has 4.5 stars. So, clearly, Seabear is not unknown in the indie music world.

    After parting ways with Seabear, Sigfusson cut out on his own to develop his musical career on his own terms. What came of that brief time with a full band was the seeds for his new solo release under the unusual moniker Sin Fang Bous. It's hard for me to see this album not being in my personal list of the best indie albums of 2009 at the end of the year.

    "Melt Down The Knives" - Sin Fang Bous from Clangour (released in Feb. 2009)

    "Poi Rot" - Sin Fang Bous from Clangour

    "Nothings" - Sin Fang Bous from Morr Music compilation Not Given Lightly: A Tribute To The Giant Golden Book Of New Zealand's Alternative Music Scene (out May 25)

    "I Sing I Swim"
    - Seabear from The Ghost That Carried Us Away

    Sin Fang Bous on LastFM

    Sin Fang Bous on MySpace

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       April 15, 2009    3 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    It's been some time since I've had a fix of new indie and alternative rock from the UK. Here is what I have been listening to lately, most of it sent directly to me, even though the official release was in 2008.

    A London band, KAV, creates blistering indie rock but their EP last spring, Blaggers and Liars, slipped under the radar in the U.S, but the UK coverage has been a virtual love affair: The UK Guardian said of KAV: "This Blagger is A Latterday Jagger." That's a bit of an over-statement, but if you like rock with attitude, you'll probably like KAV.

    KAV was a guitarist and songwriter for The Happy Mondays (2004 to 2007) and wrote the title track "Playground Superstar" for Hollywood film Goal. KAV is also the man credited with creating the UK rock fest Get Loaded in The Park. This is his first solo effort backed by his 'band of pirates' that includes Dan Gulino (bass), Bobby Angels (guitar) and Jim Portas (drums). What do you think?

    "Get It Done" - KAV from Blaggers and Liars EP

    KAV on MySpace


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       April 14, 2009    1 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    Santa Cruz, California is known more for its natural beauty, great weather, beaches, progressive civics, 'weirdos', pop culture (surfing, The Mystery Spot, the boardwalk, The Lost Boys, etc.) and as a university town (UCSC) - not necessarily as a place popular indie and alternative rock bands come to play.

    Well this week, music fans in Santa Cruz have plenty of stellar shows to choose from. In fact, Tuesday night, The Crepe Place on Soquel Drive in Santa Cruz, will host an amazing three-bill concert featuring Menomena, SXSW favorite artist Wavves and 'indie newbies' Vampire Hands - who have a sweet new album out right now. That's an impressive bill for one, rather modest venue with a ticket price under $20.

    Next up, one of my personal favorite bands of recent years (even though they have only two LPs in the last five years) - Band of Horses will be playing The Catalyst in downtown Santa Cruz this coming Wednesday night. The Drones, big in the UK, not so much in U.S., will be opening.

    Over a two year period, from 2006 to 2007, Band of Horses released two stunningly brilliant albums - Everything All The Time (the breakthrough album) and Cease to Begin (a magical follow-up).

    Both albums are among two of my favorite albums by the same band for this decade - without question. If you haven't heard Band of Horses' complete works, start with Cease to Begin. These guys ooze with talent and have a remarkable gift to deliver one memorable song after another; waiting 'patiently' for a new release.

    Perhaps the most anticipated of all the big shows in Santa Cruz this week is the Fleet Foxes show at the historic Rio Theatre. While ticket prices were steep, up to almost $80, the show is reported on the Rio's homepage as sold out, even though some have still been able to grab tickets. Sounds like Stub Hub might be on the line of price gouging?

    Afterall, Fleet Foxes are one of the biggest buzz bands of the past year and stir music lovers to flock wherever they go. Not to mention that another big player in alternative rock Blitzen Trapper are opening for Fleet Foxes. Makes the hit of the ticket price a little less brutal, but still (and you too Ticketmaster).

    Interestingly enough, both bands, and Band of Horses, are making Santa Cruz their last stop before they head down to play Coachella.

    "Mykonos" - Fleet Foxes
    Fleet Foxes on Subpop

    "Furr" - Blitzen Trapper
    Blitzen Trapper official website

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

    "Wet and Rusting" - Menomena
    Menomena official website

    "Beach Demon" - Wavves
    Wavves on MySpace

    "Paradise Knife Fights" - Vampire Hands
    Vampire Hands on MySpace

    Music Venues in Santa Cruz

    The Crepe Place - Menomena, Wavves & Vampire Hands, Tuesday, April 14
    The Catalyst - Band of Horses & The Drones, Wednesday, April 15
    Rio Theatre - Fleet Foxes & Blitzen Trapper, Thursday, April 16

    When I look at that lineup for a small city like Santa Cruz, it looks like a mini SXSW or Noise Pop Fest, or more realistically, a set of Coachella pre-shows. The following week, at a post-Coachella show of sorts, Abe Vigoda and Vivian Girls will be playing The Crepe Place, Thursday, May 23.

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       April 11, 2009    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    The love fest for music released in 2008 continues on in part because the weblogs show that some of the most popular pages on this site continue to be related to music from 2008. And, no wonder. As it turns out 08 was a great year for indie and alternative music.

    So let's dive right in. You can also browse through entire playlists of 'keeper tracks' from 2008 in IRC best of 2008 series and Best Indie Albums of 2008.

    High Places kicks off this installment of top indie songs of 2008 with the light electro pop of "Stardust to Sentience".
    The Brooklyn duo of Mary Pearson and Rob Barber serve out heavy loops, layers of sounds and lo-fi vocal arrangements not much unlike their superstar neighbors Animal Collective.

    "From Stardust to Sentience" - High Places from their self-titled 2008 debut

    "Good Lies" - The Notwist from The Devil, You and Me

    "Factories" - Winter Gloves from About A Girl


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       April 10, 2009    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    It's been a busy week so far with stories about, and songs from, Melpo Mene, Klum, Fearless Vampire Kills, Pope Joan, downdime, L'Avventura, Curvise and many others. During that time the queue with more new indie and alternative songs has filled up again. If you like any of the bands, check out their web sites.

    Songs featured today include newbies from Texan singer-songwriter Robert Gomez, Georgia's King Khan and The Shrines, Portland's Tara Jean O'Neil and Brooklyn electronic DJ Throcke. But first up, let's start with two bands that released new music today, London's The Veils and alt-indie legends Superchunk.

    "The Letter" - The Veils from Sun Gangs, out today, April 7
    The Veils Website

    "Misfits & Mistakes" - Superchunk from Leaves in the Gutter EP, out April 7
    Superchunk Website

    "On This Day" - Robert Gomez from Pine Sticks & Phosphorus, out April 14
    Robert Gomez on MySpace

    "Land of Freak" - King Khan and The Shrines from From What Is?!, out on April 21
    King Khan and The Shrines on MySpace

    "Drowning" - Tara Jane O'Neil from A Ways Away, out May 5
    Tara Jane O'Neil on MySpace

    "Starry" - Throcke from Sometimes Not Unpointful, out now
    Throcke on MySpace

    You can grab our RSS 'Feed Me Indie' so you never miss a beat, follow IRC on Twitter to get cool stuff that is sometimes not featured here or friend us on IRC's MySpace page.

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       April 7, 2009    1 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    His name is proudly not a marketer's dream, but Sweden's Erik Mattiason, better known as the man behind the band Melpo Mene, is a dream of a songwriter and musician.

    Melpo Mene enjoyed a spike of indie blog love last year with the release of the gorgeous and delightful love song titled "I Adore You." Although many people know the song because it was featured on a popular Volvo TV commercial last year, most of them could not tell you who sang it. Nevertheless, the commercial helped fuel Mene's brush with fame. The song reminds me very much of another gorgeous song, "Such Great Heights" by Iron & Wine (one of my favorite artists).

    While some indie purists might cast Mene's music aside simply because it was featured in a popular television commercial, the fact is that Melpo Mene is one of the best indie singer and songwriters of our time. The proof is in the pudding.

    With rich, soothing vocal arrangements, Paul Westerburg-style melodies, pop, country and rock infusions, Melpo Mene created one of the best under-rated releases of 2008. His songs are sad, introspective, heart wrenching and purely delightful from start to finish.

    While "I Adore You" is a magnificent, even addictive, song that will likely be played years from now at high school reunions, it's surprising that the album which hosted the track - Bring The Lions Out - received such little praise, making it clearly one of the most overlooked albums of 2008. In fact, it could be one of the most under rated albums of the past decade.

    The album is a breath-taking accomplishment of magnificently composed and produced songs featuring piano, guitar, flutes and perfect percussions on songs like the endearing "We Were Kids" and the alt-indie psychopop of the dreamlike "Snakes and Lions".

    Melpo Mene's music oozes with rich choruses, breath-taking musicianship and tinges of electronica throughout. One intoxicating track after another easily makes Bring The Lions Out one of those must-have albums I sometimes recommend strongly.

    The song "Klick Klack Clock" sets out on a musical journey lush with layers of instruments and a driving melody reminiscent of chamber pop mixed with folk rock. On songs like "Under The Moon", Mene turns to a lo-fi country rock ballad with near-whisper vocals - think of Mojave 3.
    In 2007, Mene released his stellar debut LP titled Holes (listen to featured songs below), a potent example of an artist that would become heard, if not by name, around the world.

    Fans of Sufjan Stevens, M. Ward, Bill Ricchini, Andrew Bird and other comparable contemporaries, are most likely to enjoy Melpo Mene's music. And, if you're like me, you'll find yourself going back to it again and again.

    It's frustrating when music this good doesn't receive the huge buzz it so much deserves. However, on the other hand, it's good, as alluded to above, because it's kind of like our little secret. But this is a secret we don't mind sharing with others: Melpo Mene is simply brilliant!

    "I Adore You" - Melpo Mene from Bring The Lions Out
    "Jedi" - Melpo Mene from Bring The Lions Out
    "Snakes and Lions" - Melpo Mene from Bring The Lions Out
    "Don't Save Me" - Melpo Mene from Holes (2007)
    "Wait Up" - Melpo Mene from Holes

    Lyrics to "I Adore You"

    Lost in a daydream of blue
    And I feel so free
    And then It's like I fall from the sky
    Everything that I see is you
    And you should know that I'm
    Thinking about what you said
    When you held my hand

    Oh I adore you

    Now we are older and
    Things disappeared somehow
    And I was thinking that maybe
    We'd stand a better chance If we met today
    I find myself talking to sharks
    On my way to an island and still

    I adore you
    I adore you
    I adore you

    I was young I was old
    And we were in we were out
    I wanna see I wanna see it all
    I wanna die I wanna die
    Sweetheart sweetheart
    I thought I saw I thought I saw a light
    See it now see it now

    Melpo Mene on MySpace
    Buy Melpo Mene's music

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       April 6, 2009    1 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    A band that sent me their music a couple of months ago makes seductive music that has grown on me during this time. They are called Klum from the Los Angeles area town of Monrovia, California.

    Their new release We Carelessly Turned Amazingly Into Nothing is bound to be a big deal if the right people pay attention. Mixing lush layers of horns, keyboards, accordions, guitars, drums, bass and memorable vocals, Klum pumps out masterfully celebratory tunes with clear overtures to bands like Arcade Fire, Beirut and others. But no matter how many comparisons are made, Klum's musicianship, it still will not do justice to their potential impact on the 'indie scene.'

    How is it possible that Klum isn't occupying major space on blogs and mainstream music sites? From the first listening to now my tenth or so listening of Carelessly, I and others at the cafe are baffled how these cats slip under the indie radar (for the most part).

    Imagine: take all the most amazing sonic experiences you can think of and roll them up into one fat 'on-repeat' album. It's a musical adventure, a tour de musica, a trip of a lifetime. Tune in to these sample tracks from Klum's fresh release We Carelessly Turned Amazingly Into Nothing. This is good stuff.

    As they say in their own profile: "Klum is constantly compared to many indie bands, but there has never been one distinction of who or what they sound like." Yup.

    "Bashing For The Kids" - Klum from We Carelessly Turned Amazingly Into Nothing (2009)
    "Give Em Something To Die For" - Klum from We Carelessly Turned Amazingly Into Nothing (2009)
    "NonBeliever" - Klum from We Carelessly Turned Amazingly Into Nothing (2009)

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    Yesterday we featured new songs from London bands downdime and L'Advventura. Today we introduce you to another London band called Fearless Vampire Killers and a Brighton band Pope Joan.

    The band has a dynamic, more classic pop rock sound, noting influences such as The Kinks, David Bowie and Green Day. There is promise with this band and with time they should get better and better.

    "Fearless Vampire Killers" - Fearless Vampire Killers, newly released single
    Fearless Vampire Killers on MySpacePope Joan is an indie pop quartet from Brighton, England with a sound that has been described as "ambient walls of processed guitar noise, furious drum lines and quirky 8-bit synth keyboards." Nicely put. This is some really good stuff - sort of like Editors mixed with The Cure. Guys: Don't forget to send the LP when it's done. Very promising.

    "Centurions" - Pope Joan, newly released single
    Pope John on MySpace

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       April 4, 2009    1 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    It's been a while since I've shared any UK-specific music with all of you. The UK is the source of so much of the music I love starting with The Beatles, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and so on, up to more modern day, most notably bands like Radiohead, Interpol, The Arctic Monkeys and many others.

    I like to stay up with what is coming out of the UK on the indie and alternative rock fronts. All of the bands featured in this post are from England and sent their music to me unsolicited, so it makes it a little more special to share with you.

    First up is a psychedelic indie pop band from Leeds, England called downdime. Originally formed in 2004, the band has a sound based on the C86 movement of the 1980s, spurring instant comparisons to bands like The Wedding Present and My Bloody Valentine.

    The band’s popular reputation for playing live scored them a number of great gigs, including opening for The Black Lips and The Clientele among others. Despite having released 7" recordings and an EP, the band just released their debut LP, titled Knowing Too Much, on Squirrel Records.

    "Lessons" - downdime from Knowing Too Much
    "Any Good Reason" - downdime from Knowing Too Much
    downdime on MySpace

    Another relatively unknown band from the big city of London is the 7-piece outfit known as L'Avventura, a band that mixes influences of T. Rex, Roxy Music and Nick Drake into their tight, layered UK pop rock sound.

    UK blogger Mojophenia wrote of the band's new debut, Your Star Was Shining: "exceptional.. An audacious release, a scrumptious collection of laid back T-rextasy."

    "Rocket Sue" - L'Avventura from Your Star Was Shining
    L'Avventura on MySpace

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       April 3, 2009    1 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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    The new release from Cursive proves to become one of the best album releases of the spring, and likely to also be among IRC's favorites albums of 2009 come the end of the year.

    Last week, Cursive performed the song "From The Hips" on The David Letterman Show and it reminded me how fricking good they are. So, I got the new album right away. Verdict: Mom, I'm swollen with affection for the band's new release Mama, I'm Swollen. Except in this case, it's a good kind of swollen. Swollen with loving music juice.

    It must have been tough for the band to pick one song to play on Letterman but "From The Hips" was definitely a good choice. Just a few of the other killer tracks include the title track "Mama I'm Swollen", "What Have I Done?", "Donkeys". It might just be me, but sometimes these guys really sound like The Cure.

    "From The Hips" - Cursive from Mama, I'm Swollen
    "Mama, I'm Swollen" - Cursive from Mama, I'm Swollen

    Get the new album from the band's label Saddle Creek Records and check out the Cursive MySpace page.

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       April 2, 2009    1 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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