Bradley's Almanac

Free Songs On A Stormy Sunday

Posted on March 14, 2010 at 8:30 pm | No Comments

An end-of-the-wet-weekend post to share all sorts of free n’ legal MP3s that have been bouncing around my headphones and brain lately, most of which you’ll be able to hear played live in the Boston area sometime soon, and a couple of which are world premieres. Kinda. Maybe. Release and show info included…

[MP3]: TravelsSmile

Stunning preview track from the Somerville, MA duo’s forthcoming third full-length, “Robber On The Run”, due out on June 10th from Own Records. I’m fortunate to have heard the whole thing, and whenever I’m sure they can’t top themselves, well, they go ahead and do it.

Travels‘ next live appearance is on Friday, April the 16th at PA’s Lounge in Somerville with headliners Guillermo Sexo, Freddie T & the People (ex-Hoover/June of 44/The Crownhate Ruin), and Ghost Box Orchestra. Now there’s a lineup for ya.

[MP3] The Consulate GeneralWhat Time Is Now

Another preview track, this one closely connected to another (former) Boston-area duo. The short story: Alex Chen is 1/2 of wonderful electro-pop twosome Boy In Static, who after leaving Boston for a brief stay in San Francisco, headed to Sweden and recorded a solo project as The Consulate General, recruiting guests stars like Antoine Bedard (of Montag), John Chao (of Misha), Ryan Fritch (of Sole & The Skyrider Band), and former Slowdive drummer Simon Scott (yes, Slowdive). The resulting album, “Person Number”, arrives on April 6th courtesy of Circle Into Square / Fake Four Records.

[MP3] The CushThe Vigilant Ones
[VIDEO] The CushThe Vigilant Ones

As someone who lived and breathed everything Burlington, Vermont for most of his life, and left because of a lull in good bands and a rock-show scene (ok, and for a girl), it pained me that The Cush showed up in town after I left. Were I still there, it’s a band I would have seen often, and trumpeted throughout the land. But having fled the BVT to the BOS in 1998, it took a hometown visit a few years later to discover them in an upstairs Winooski apartment space early in the decade. Instant love. Here we are almost ten years later, and the band (at the core, a married duo) is releasing their third full-length (out April 20th) titled “Between The Leaves”. I absolutely adore this first taste. They make me miss Burlington, where this album has been available for months.

The Cush plays next at The Living Room in NYC on April 2nd. Be there on my behalf.

[MP3] Slowest Runner“A Blind Captain…”

One of those bands that forces you to abbreviate in order to maintain proper line justification (I’m looking at you, “Tim and Sam…”), the above should actually read as follows: (The) Slowest Runner (In All The World)A Blind Captain, A Whispered Portent, An Infirm Navigator. Thanks to an introductory email and a wonderful session on the indispensable Band In Boston podcast (shout-out to Jen + Andy!), I have fallen hard for Montreal/NYC instrumental combo TSRIATW (easier, right? nope.).

I know bands generally bristle when compared to other bands (and I always hesitate to do so), but there is such a Rachels vibe here that I cannot resist the mention. It’s absolutely beautiful, and so worth hearing, especially given its total freeness. Yes, it’s free to stream at the BiB site, and even if it wasn’t, I would pay muchly. Own it officially by visiting the Grinding Tapes site. The above song is my favorite track from the their “Flophouse Session” EP.

[MP3] Ted Leo + the PharmacistsThe Mighty Sparrow

I’m going to assume you’ve already heard this, right? Multiple times, at least. Ted + his company’s latest notch in their rock-n-roll belt, “The Brutalist Bricks“, came out last week, so it should already have gotten several dozen spins on your iPod/Turntable/Winamp/Boombox/whatever. No?! Well, if you’re not already on board, there’s not a lot I can do for you. Please, seek help.

Ted and his Pharmacists will headline the Paradise in Boston on Saturday, April 10th with Screaming Females (!) and Obits (!!) opening. Hello, sell out (buy tix, seriously). I mean, jeez.

[MP3] Wye OakI Hope You Die

Is it possible to have a crush on a couple? If I wasn’t already married, I’d totally ask the Baltimore-based duo known as Wye Oak to marry me. A musical marriage. Because I love them. Truly. I fell with the first note, but harder when I got to know Jen + Andy a little bit. Despite the fact that they write better songs and play better shows than most of today’s so-called ‘rock stars’, they are anything but. So refreshing.

Instead of over-hyping a new release that could not possibly be over-hyped, they sprang a brand new EP on us a few days ago with no warning whatsoever. The very definition of a surprise present. Download the “My Neighbor / My Creator” EP from Merge, or pre-order the CD if you’re (like me) into the physical thing. They’ve been playing lead-off semi-title track “My Neighbor” live since last summer, and all I could think was “Oh, I can’t wait until this is released“. Well, that time has come.

[MP3] The New PornographersYour Hands (Together)

Not a lot I can say about this song… it’s Canadian superstars The New Pornographers. And it’s rockin’. It may, in fact, be more rockin’ than anything on their entire last album, which is no small statement. Their new long-player, “Together”, arrives on May 4th, 2010. And I want to hear the whole thing. Right now.

[MP3] Serena ManeeshI Just Want To See Your Face

It’s been almost four years since Sweden’s S-M gave us their self-titled debut (and since they blew my mind with a 2006 TT the Bears live set), but if you were worried they’d switch gears for the follow-up, have no fear. “S-M 2: Abyss in B Minor”, which comes out on March 22nd from the esteemed 4AD record label, has all of the MBV-inspired vocal and guitars, and throws a serious dose of Moonshake-style rhythm action. For those familiar with Moonshake, this should trigger some excitement. The fact that they are returning to the confines of TT the Bears on Sunday night, April 4th (with PoBP@H pals The Depreciation Guild and Black Fortress of Opium) should trigger more of the same.

[MP3] Nada SurfElectrocution” (Bill Fox cover)

A couple of things you should be aware of from the onset: The new Nada Surf album, “If I Had A Hi-Fi” is all covers. And if you want it, you need to go see them live. Severe punishment, I know. Oh, and it’s also a palindrome. The merch table of their upcoming tour, which kicks off with a sold out show on March 25th at NYC’s Bowery Ballroom, is in fact the only place you can grab that all-covers disc (which includes songs written by Depeche Mode, the Go-Betweens, Kate Bush, Spoon, and more). So be there, or hang tight for details on where you can buy it later. The trio hits the Paradise in Boston on April 3rd (tickets here) with Dawn Landes & the Hounds.

[MP3] Walter SchreifelsArthur Lee’s Lullaby

While we wait for a brand new Rival Schools album (yes, it’s happening), we’re given lead-guy Walter’s first official solo effort, “Open Letter To A Scene” (out May 4th on Academy Fight Song) which most-resembles 2004’s Walking Concert full-lengther. It’s essentially a way for Mr. Schreifels to get his pop-rocks off, his more low-key troubador side. That’s not to say it’s all-acoustic, for there are a couple of fairly rockin’ numbers on here, but for the most part these are catchy, strummy diversions along the lines of WC’s “Audrey“. And that’s not at all a bad thing. It should tide us over quite well indeed.

For those heading to Austin with a hankerin’ to see Walter in person, he’ll be playing solo on Friday, March 19th at the AFS/Dine Alone SxSW Party at the Iron Gate, and with Rival Schools on Saturday, March 20th at Red 7 Patio. And I’ll only be a couple thousand miles away. Sigh.

Ok, that’s about enough for now. Let’s end this with a “to be continued…“, and a hat tip to Deep Ellum for the coffee and beer that fueled this entry…


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  • About the ‘Nac

    This is Bradley's Almanac. I'm your host, Brad. Barely holding it together since February 2000.

    "I love this song. It's so true. I wish this song was a whole day long. Man, I would have the best day that day."
    - The Kids In The Hall
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