March 31, 2012

HAIM



Siblings who can sing often can create harmonies that are greater than the sum of their parts. The fact that voices can be literally related, while still different, can create the underpinnings of a great band (See The Belle Brigade and The Avett Brothers). After getting a huge amount of buzz with a little help from a tweet by Kesha, LA group HAIM added to their hype by ending up on quite a few Best of SXSW lists. The band, made up of three sisters, mixes R&B vocals with old school rock sounds to create something familiar, yet very intriguing, and stunningly simple. Their debut, Forever EP, is available for free download below. Watch out for these girls; they are still young and have plenty of time to take over.

HAIM-"Forever"

Field Report


Before Bon Iver, there was DeYarmond Edison, a band based in North Carolina, led by the one and only Justin Vernon. While Vernon has moved on to bigger and brighter things, and the rest of the group formed Megafaun, one member of the group got left behind in Wisconsin, before the move south. Chris Porterfield, also known as Field Report, will release his debut album in July and has given us two songs in advance. The tracks are beautiful, quiet, and acoustic, not unlike Vernon's, but with their own twist on the sound. For fans of relaxing, woodsy, folk music, these tracks are highly recommended.

Field Report-"Fergus Falls"

Field Report-"I Am Not Waiting Anymore"

March 30, 2012

Submission Of The Week - John Vietnam

This Submission of the Week comes to us from a young rapper from Chicago, currently attending University of Wisconsin-Madison. John Vietnam (born John Nguyen) has a unique flow and some serious wordplay skills. His videos combine honesty and modesty with old school beats and strong collaborators. The strongest of his videos, a collaboration with Smiley Gatmouth, is supposedly off an upcoming mixtape. We can't wait! As he says in a warning to other rappers, he doesn't "need a stepping stool to snatch you off the pedestal."





Want to have your music featured as a submission of the week? Send your music, or music you recommend to writetothebeat@gmail.com

March 28, 2012

Delta Spirit at The Paradise



Matt Vasquez's trademark howl was in prime form last night as he led Delta Spirit on stage at The Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Making the small venue feel even more intimate, the group powered through a concise, electrifying set. Focusing on their extraordinary new album, Vasquez and crew took their most raucous material and turned it up a notch, demonstrating exactly what a great live show should do. Set opener "Empty House" proved early on how exciting their new material is, and they kept the energy high all night with classics like "People, C'mon," and their latest single "California". With an immense stage presence, the San Diego-based five-piece projected their energy into every corner of the venue, to every fan in the sold-out crowd. All in all, an excellent night. Check out their video for "California" below, along with their upcoming tour dates.

Delta Spirit-"Empty House"

Delta Spirit-"Time Bomb"



March 27, 2012

Alabama Shakes - "I Ain't The Same"

Do you feel like you have changed a lot since being a child? Alabama Shakes certainly do and they wrote the song "I Ain't The Same" about that very feeling. Luckily for us, that change has provided us with an excellent tune from the group! They recently stopped by Guitar Center to perform an acoustic version for Rolling Stone. Their debut album, Boys & Girls, will be released on April 10th. Enjoy!

Shower Hour - Spring Show #21

Last night I had another great hour on the air. I played lots of new music from The Shins, Delta Spirit, Yellow Ostrich, and more! Take a listen here!

The Tallest Man On Earth Announces New Album


Swedish folk god Kristian Matsson, The Tallest Man On Earth, will be releasing a new album, There's No Leaving Now, on June 12th. As you might imagine, we are beyond excited. While his last release, The Wild Hunt, is awfully hard to follow, we have faith that he will not disappoint.

There’s No Leaving Now Tracklist:
01. To Just Grow Away
02. Revelation Blues
03. Leading Me Now
04. 1904
05. Bright Lanterns
06. There’s No Leaving Now
07. Wind and Walls
08. Little Brother
09. Criminals
10. On Every Page

March 26, 2012

New Verse From Macklemore in XXL Cypher

Hip-hop magazine XXL, along with an issue devoted to the best new artists in the genre, has organized a series of cyphers, designed to showcase some of the highlighted rappers. In the latest video, Macklemore is joined by Kid Ink, Don Trip, and Iggy Azalea. While the latter three MCs didn't particularly stand out to me, Macklemore drops yet another incredible verse about his upbringings, Seattle, and his unique story. His verse begins at 46 seconds in. He cannot be stopped!

Tenacious D Returns "To Be The Best"

Famed comedy duo Tenacious D have finally returned for the first time since their film, The Pick Of Destiny, flopped in theaters. The first taste of their upcoming album, Rise of the Fenix (due May 15th), comes to us in the form of a mockumentary music video, detailing the triumphant return of the D. Enjoy the bromance-filled video and catch them on tour soon!



Of Monsters And Men Album Streaming

Of Monsters and Men will be releasing their highly anticipated U.S. debut album, My Head Is An Animal, on April 3rd. Until then, NPR has the whole album streaming for free! Listen here!

March 25, 2012

Town Hall - "Didn't Leave Nobody But The Baby"

Town Hall, the charming folk trio behind the Sticky Notes & Paper Scraps EP, have been releasing a bunch of cover videos leading up to their debut album release on April 15th. The latest video is a beautifully sparse cover of "Didn't Leave Nobody But The Baby," a track from O Brother, Where Art Thou? Take a look!

Reviewed - Bowerbirds

Paradise Rock Club - Boston, MA

Last night I headed to the Paradise Rock Club to see Bowerbirds live for the first time. After their recent release, The Clearing, turned me from a casual fan into a passionate one, I had high expectations for their live show. The fuller sound of the album was present immediately on stage, as the group (now including a cellist, second guitarist, and drummer) ran through the majority of their latest disc. Aside from a few past favorites, including "House of Diamonds," "Northern Lights," and "In Our Talons," the set was very focused on displaying new material. And thank goodness, their new sound translated extremely well live. Especially on set closer "Tuck The Darkness In," the building energy on the record was expanded and made even more powerful. The group even started a few songs over due to little mistakes. One may think that would detract from the performance, but it in fact made the show more genuine and raw. I urge fans of the folk group to see them live, hopefully while they still play a great deal of the new album. It is exquisite. 

Bowerbirds-"Tuck The Darkness In"

Bowerbirds-"Walk The Furrows"

The Morning Benders Change Their Name


The band formerly known as The Morning Benders, the group behind the catchy jam "Excuses," has changed their name to Pop ETC. In light of the name change, the group has released a free mixtape on their new website. Download it here! Also, read their reasoning behind the change here.

March 24, 2012

The Belle Brigade - "Where Not To Look For Freedom" Music Video

The Belle Brigade, fronted by siblings Ethan and Barbara Gruska, have always had a sense of humor about their relationship. The Gruskas have always been close friends and are now creative partners as well. In their latest music video, for "Where Not To Look For Freedom," they poke fun at their friendship, portraying Siamese twins. Take a look!

March 15, 2012

Alabama Shakes at SXSW


Alabama Shakes has been on everybody's "Bands to Watch" lists, and with good reason. The group's unique blend of soul, rock, and indie styles carries a huge amount of energy. But being a very young group, there has not been much evidence of Brittany Howard and crew's live show. Until now. Their performance at Stubb's at SXSW, has been called "the birth of a legend". And thank goodness, it was all caught on tape. NPR recorded the show and is streaming it on their website, along with a free download link! Enjoy!

Yellow Ostrich at SXSW

The other day, Yellow Ostrich stopped by the Spotify house at Austin's SXSW to perform on the porch. Their acoustic rendition of "The Shakedown" was a lively one, inspiring the casual crowd to even ask for an encore. Take a look!

March 14, 2012

Jack White - "Sixteen Saltines"

Jack White, after playing "Sixteen Saltines" on SNL a few weeks back, he has now released the studio version of the song for our listening pleasure. Stream it below or pre-order the album or vinyl single here. Enjoy!

Delta Spirit Perform "California"

Delta Spirit, after releasing their fantastic self-titled album yesterday, headed down to SXSW for a round of performances. One of these, a lovely, outdoor, acoustic rendition of "California," was caught on film by Rolling Stone. This makes us even more excited for their tour! Check out the dates below.



Shower Hour - Spring Show #20

I had a lovely show last night (my 40th ever in fact!) filled with new tracks from Delta Spirit, Yellow Ostrich, Good Old War, and Baobab. Take a listen!

Stream Shower Hour - Spring Show #20

March 13, 2012

Stream The Shins New Album


The Shins will be releasing Port Of Morrow on March 20th. Luckily for those of us who don't want to wait, the album is streaming in its entirety over at iTunes. Enjoy!

Recent Releases - 3-13-2012



Delta Spirit - Delta Spirit
Delta Spirit-"Empty House"
Buy on iTunes

The Decemberists - We All Raise Our Voices To The Air (Live Album)
Buy on iTunes

March 12, 2012

Watch Jay-Z Live at SXSW


Tonight, Jay-Z will be performing at SXSW, and luckily for fans, the show will be streaming live on YouTube! You can even vote for his setlist via Twitter, and choose between various camera angles. It starts at 8 PM EST.

Delta Spirit - "Yamaha" Teaser

Delta Spirit has released yet another teaser for their upcoming self-titled release, out tomorrow. The other day they showed us the first sneak peek at "Money Saves," and the album is shaping up to be a great one. You can stream the album on Rolling Stone here.

The Shins on SNL

This weekend, The Shins stopped by SNL to promote their upcoming release, Port of Morrow, out March 20th. Watch their performance of  "Simple Song" below.

March 10, 2012

Submission of the Week - Baobab



Our very first submission of the week comes to us from North Carolina musician, Phil Torres. Under the name Baobab, he has self-released his debut album on bandcamp, as has been getting quite a bit of positive feedback, for good reason. The album is a lovely, calming collection of tracks that bring to mind a less Spanish Devendra Banhart. With quite a bit of classical guitar expertise, Torres manages to show off his licks while writing simple, often tribal-influenced tunes. The instrumental "Music for a Movie" showcases a well-balanced mix of electric and acoustic sounds that is found on the whole album. Baobab has plenty of room to grow into his unique tribal-electro-folk sound, and it looks like he'll need it. Take a listen!

Baobab-"Spring Forward"

Baobab-"Music For A Movie"

Want to have your music featured as a submission of the week? Send your music, or music you recommend to writetothebeat@gmail.com

March 09, 2012

Yellow Ostrich Couch Session

The folks at Big Ugly Yellow Couch have recorded a wonderful acoustic session with our good friends, and WTTB favorites, Yellow Ostrich. The band's new album Strange Land is excellent, as are the versions here. The set includes "Marathon Runner" and "The Shakedown." Enjoy.


The Lumineers - "Ho Hey" Music Video

The Lumineers, the Denver folk trio that has caught our attention with beautiful tunes like "Slow It Down" and "Flowers In Your Hair," has released their first music video, for "Ho Hey". The video is a sweet clip to accompany the foot-stomping tune. Enjoy!


March 08, 2012

The Shins In Concert

The Shins performed a whole bunch of new songs at a show last night in New York, put on by NPR. Check out the video of their whole set!

Reviewed - The Black Keys

TD Garden, Boston, MA

Last night, I had the pleasure of heading to the TD Garden to catch The Black Keys as they made their way across the country in support of El Camino, one of my favorite albums of 2011. I must first admit, after having them blow me away at Coachella last year, my expectations were high, especially now that they had a whole new album of material to showcase. Luckily, Mr. Auerbach and Mr. Carney rose to the occasion. Not once during their hour-and-a-half set did the energy level drop. From the first note of "Howlin' For You," to the last cymbal crash of "I Got Mine," the sold out crowd was jumping up and down, singing along to every word. Check out the hit-packed setlist here

The Keys had a fuller sound than ever, thanks to two backing musicians, and sounded right at home in the enormous arena. In a music industry currently dominated by pop music, it was refreshing to see how many fans the Keys have managed to make in the past few years with their hard-hitting blues rock. Last night, nobody at the show would have wanted to hear anything besides Auerbach's soulful croon and Carney's frantic, powerful beat. It was as if, for one night, one again, rock 'n' roll ruled the world.

The Black Keys-"I Got Mine"

March 07, 2012

Delta Spirit - "Money Saves" Teaser


Just a quick taste of the boys' new self-titled album, out March 13. You can preorder here. Couldn't be more excited!

March 06, 2012

Free Energy - "Electric Fever"

Philadelphia rockers Free Energy released an album in 2010, Stuck on Nothing, that relived a classic 70's rock 'n' roll sound that hadn't been heard in a while. Their sophomore release, Love Sign, is sure to be just much fun as ther last, with songs like "Electric Fever," the lead single. Take a listen and go back in time.

Recent Recommended Releases - 3-6-2012


Bowerbirds - The Clearing
Bowerbirds-"Tuck The Darkness In"
See our review / Buy on iTunes

Andrew Bird - Break It Yourself
Andrew Bird-"Eyeoneye"
Buy on iTunes

Yellow Ostrich - Strange Land
Yellow Ostrich-"The Shakedown"
Buy on iTunes

Good Old War - Come Back As Rain

Family Of The Year - St. Croix EP

White Rabbits - Milk Famous

Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball
Buy on iTunes

Said The Whale - Little Mountain
Buy on iTunes

Bowerbirds - "Tuck The Darkness In" Music Video

Bowerbirds today released a lovely heart-warming video for their excellent song, "Tuck The Darkness In". The video shows a child who, through fishing, learns about life and death. Also, check out our review of their excellent album, The Clearing, out today.

Shower Hour: Spring Show #18

Last night, another lively Shower Hour was on the air on WMFO. I played a bunch of new material from Andrew Bird, Delta Spirit, Bowerbirds, and many more. Take a listen!

Stream Shower Hour: Fall Show #18

March 05, 2012

Soundset Lineup Announced


Soundset, the independent Hip-hop festival held every year in Minnesota, has announced their lineup for 2012. The star-studded bill features Atmosphere, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Lupe Fiasco, Aesop Rock, P.O.S., Bambu, Action Bronson, and many more. Get more info about the festival here.

Town Hall - "Small"


Town Hall, the group that has been recording delightful covers like this one, has released a charming single from their upcoming album, Roots & Bells, due out in April. The song, "Small," sticks in the group's quiet, adorable, folk niche, yet seems to realize their potential even more than their previous work. Also, for a good introduction to the band's music, check out their free Sticky Notes & Paper Scraps EP. Enjoy! 

March 04, 2012

Portland Cello Project Goes H.A.M.



Renowned cello group The Portland Cello Project, or PCP as fans call them, are known for their genre-bending classical performances. Having covered everyone from Pantera to OutKast to Britney Spears, they are not your typical classical group. In fact, they have just announced that their upcoming album, Homage, due out May 1st, will include covers of many hip-hop favorites. Among the tracks will be "H.A.M.," a cover of the brutally heavy song by Jay-Z and Kanye West. Check out the track below and head to their website to hear their beautiful rendition of "All Of The Lights" by Kanye West. Enjoy!

Portland Cello Project-"H.A.M."

Jack White on SNL

Last night, Jack White made his solo debut on Saturday Night Live, performing "Love Interruption" and "Sixteen Saltines". Enjoy!



March 03, 2012

New Multitudes


New Multitudes comes to us as an interpretation of the work of icon and musical legend Woody Guthrie. Jay Farrar (Son Volt), Will Johnson (Centro-matic), Anders Parker (Varnaline), and Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket) come together to present 23 sets of previously-unrecorded Guthrie lyrics. The album, though possibly billed as a tribute, feels like so much more. It seems, in this day and age, the sure embodiment of all the emotions Woody conveyed through his words. It is excellent, if only for its ability to capture these emotions. The men's voices blend beautifully, and the subtle layering added to many of the stripped down guitar ballads works tremendously well. Listen now!

Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker & Yim Yames--"Hoping Machine"

Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker & Yim Yames--"Talking Empty Bed Blues"

Wildlife - "Sea Dreamer" Music Video

Canadian rockers Wildlife, the guys behind the irresistible tune "Stand In The Water," have released their debut music video for "Sea Dreamer"! The hilarious clip shows the band in a series of conflicts with an evil rival gang! Check it out!

Wildlife-"Stand In The Water"

March 02, 2012

The Shins - "Bait and Switch"

The Shins have released another video from their upcoming album, Port of Morrow, due out March 20th. The video, for "Bait and Switch," shows the band rehearsing in a Portland log-cabin. Enjoy!

March 01, 2012

Bowerbirds - The Clearing


Is it too early in the year to nominate an album for my Best of the Year list? Bowerbirds certainly don't think so. With their previous albums, Upper Air and Hymns for a Dark Horse, I was made a fan and it was clear that the group had a huge amount of potential. The Clearing, however, realizes every last bit of that potential. The folk group from North Carolina skyrockets past their previous efforts, and, I think, makes the best album they possibly could have. 

From the first track, I knew things were different. The melodies of "Tuck The Darkness In" have been wandering around my head for weeks and the beautiful instrumentation reveals further subtleties with every listen. The song builds and builds, showing that when the group gets loud, their whole effect is more powerful. The second single, "In The Yard," surprises yet again, with soaring fuzzy guitar lines and yet another catchy melody. 

I could go on and on like this about every single track, but this piece of folk genius is best experienced firsthand. Not a single track stood out as being weak, although "Walk The Furrows" and "Now We Hurry On" were additional highlights. 

With The ClearingBowerbirds expand their sound, from almost exclusively slow acoustic ballads, to fuller arrangements with distorted guitars, more present drums, and strings. The vocals are stronger, less hushed, and more powerful. This album is everything Bowerbirds should be. 

Enjoy the video below of the Philip Moore and Beth Tacular discussing the making of the album. 

Bowerbirds-"Tuck The Darkness In"

Bowerbirds-"Walk The Furrows"



Newport Folk Festival Lineup Announced


The Newport Folk Festival, around since 1959, has been one of the most consistent and groundbreaking music festivals of the 20th century. Well for 2012, they are continuing the tradition. The lineup features some of the best folk acts around and is truly amazing. The festival, running July 28-29 in Newport, RI, will feature performances by My Morning Jacket, Jackson Browne, Conor Oberst, Iron & Wine, Dawes, The Head and the Heart, City & Colour, The Tallest Man On Earth, Alabama Shakes, Blind Pilot, Of Monsters & Men, First Aid Kit, and many many more. Check out all the festival info here!