The inbox was full of quality music this week, but the most impressive submission was sent by Jake Zavracky of The Cyanide Valentine. Impressive not just because the bands second album is available for free download, but I was overwhelming impressed by the quality and complexity of their music. This album, The Three Side of Cyanide Valentine, shifts gears rapidly, while taking the listener on a complete adventure through as many genres of music as possible. Traditional rock/indie rock gems suddenly explode with electronic grandeur, and just as the beat is about to explode in a chaotic mess the beautiful pop ballad emerges. Well-written, well-produced, and completely free, I don't know what more you could possibly ask for! Listen to: Neanderthals (mp3) and The Supervillians (mp3)
Paper Bag Records recently announced the addition of Toronto artist Laura Barrett to the label’s impressive roster of artists and the release of her Earth Sciences EP on February 26. Melding the vibrant, effervescent tones of the kalimba (an African thumb-piano, literally translated as “little music”) with her earnest and intimate voice, Laura has crafted a stunning debut EP - garnering both national radio airplay and critical acclaim. "Deception Island Optimists Club," (mp3) a single from this EP, was a finalist for SOCAN ECHO songwriting prize, a prize known for identifying upcoming talent in independent music in Canada.
Also known for playing and touring internationally as a member of The Hidden Cameras, Laura composes songs that run from the childlike to the funereal. She is known for engaging her audiences with oftentimes sci-fi lyrics that tease out unconventional themes like taxonomy or techno-babble. After beginning her career with a single cover performed at a playful Weird Al tribute night (also included on the EP), she has since found the time to contribute music to apocalyptic stage plays ("The Rat King"), nerd-core documentaries ("Freeware Rebellion"), and experimental multimedia extravaganzas (Worldwide Short Film Festival).
On February 26, Sunny Day Sets Fire will release the Stranger / Remix EP (IAMSOUND) featuring remixes by CSS, XXXChange from Spank Rock, Diplo and Chicago's very own The Cool Kids. The main track, "Stranger," is a sneak peek from their forthcoming full-length, coming out later this spring, and you can check it out here: Stranger (mp3)
When you are a fan of magazines like myself and you receive an e-mail with "Music Magazine Mashup" in the title... well your afternoon is pretty much set. Idio is a very cool, very high tech site that pulls article, images, and sounds from some of the biggest music sites around (last.fm, Pandora, myspace, etc.), and puts it into a magazine form that you can read on-line. My only issue is that they do not seem to dig deep enough. Many of the the artists that I tried to type in didn't register in their database. Regardless, I enjoyed the magazine they created for me, and I look forward to tomorrow's issue.
The Peel Back: J Mascis "Martin & Me" (1996)
This album seemed to be a gift to all of the life long Dinosaur Jr fans, it was a fun and honest look at the stripped down sound that can be created by J and his martin. With covers and new renditions of old songs, it was almost like the quiet, extremely reserved Mascis was saying "thank you". Or maybe I am reading to much it this acoustic tour album with a tremendous Smiths cover. Regardless, it is one of my all-time favorites.