February 28, 2014

I received an email this week from Luaka Bop (David Byrne’s label, he of Talking Heads) about a 30 minute documentary on William Onyeabor, the Nigerian musician. It’s called “Fantastic Man-A Film About William Onyeabor”. Onyeabor, who recorded 8 albums between 1978 and 1985 and then stopped has become a cult hero of sorts after compilation albums were released in Britain (on Rough Trade) and the US (on Luaka Bop) last year. The documentary doesn’t paint a complete picture of the elusive musician who refuses to discuss his music or himself, but it does answer some questions. Here’s a link to the documentary. It’s fascinating. Click here. And for a free download of a song from the compilation for giving your email address, click here.
A couple of free sampler albums you need to grab:

The End Records Free Sampler 2014: Download this at Amazon.com. “Animal Heart”, the title song from Nina Persson’s new album (she was the lead singer of the Swedish band The Cardigans) is worth it. Click here.

Hangout Music Fest Mixtape 2014: The festival May 16-18 in Gulf Shores, Alabama is fast becoming one of the major music events of the year (even Chevrolet is a sponsor). This 23 song free download includes music by jack johnson, Dugas, Bad Suns, Soja, Los Lobos, and The Avett Brothers for starters. It’s available at NoiseTrade. Click here.
And here are some free mp3s to tide you over until we return from vacation:

David Bronson: “One Simple Myth”. Don’t know much about the guy, but do like his music. A talented singer-songwriter. Here is a SoundCloud link.

The Appleseed Collective: “Pumpkin Pie”. The Ann Arbor collective plays a “blend of Americana, folk and gypsy jazz”. Here’s a link to the download at Magnet.

John The Conqueror: “Waking Up To You”. One of my favorite new albums of 2014. Nothing fancy here, just a Philadelphia-by-way-of-Memphis-and-the-Delta trio. This is from “The Good Life”. Call it “garage-blues”. Here’s the download link at Rolling Stone.

Drowners: “Luv, Hold Me Down”. This from a New York foursome with a great sense of what makes good pop music. Grab the download at Sound Cloud. Here’s the link.

The Mirror Trap: “Future Lionheart”. The Dundee, England 5 piece collective plays it loud and you should too. The spoken word intro is a nice touch. Here’s the link at SoundCloud.

Amy Ray: “Duane Allman”. This is from Amy’s (Indigo Girls) new album “Goodnight Tender” and it’s fantastic. A beautiful tribute to one of the greatest guitar players of all time. Just a quick note, this is more of a country record than you might expect. Here’s the download at Rolling Stone. Click here.

Mezzanine: “King of the Ring”. Pop meets grunge. Great hooks. From their debut album “Strange Paradise”. Click here for the download at SoundCloud.

Bright Light Bright Light featuring Ana Matronic: “West End Girls”. An updated version of the Pet Shop Boys’ 1984 classic from Welsh producer Rod Thomas and Ana Matronic of Scissor Sister. Click here for the download at SoundCloud.

Hayley Reardon: “Numb & Blue”.  The 17 year old singer-songwriter has a lot going for her, including being named “Bostonian of the Year” in 2012. This is from her new EP “Wayfindings”. This winter gives the song title a whole new meaning. Click here for the download at SoundCloud.

Penny Penny: “Dance Khomela”. This from the folks at Awesome Tapes From Africa. The song is from the 1994 album “Shaka Bundu”. It’s described as “South African house music”. Click here for the download at XLR8R.

New Electric Ride: “Lovers”. This is from the UK band’s just released full-length debut album. The influences are obvious. Love the album cover. Click here for the download at SoundCloud.

Solander: “All Opportunities”. From the Swedish duo’s new album “Monochromatic Melodies”. Magnet says it has a “fleeting industrial-rock vibe”, whatever that means. Click here.

Federico Aubele: “Laberinto del Ayer”. This is from his 5th album which came out In Argentina last fall. The link is to Indie Rock Cafe. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and while you’re at it download free mp3s from Paul McCartney, Gary Numan, The Chills and The Avett Brothers. Click here.

Gang of Brothers: “Get Up On Ya Feet n Testify”. You probably wouldn’t expect to find a funk/rock band in Australia. Guess again. Here’s another offering from Indie Rock Cafe. Click here.

Bing Ji Ling: “Every 1’s A Winner”. Another remake, this time a Hot Chocolate classic. If you missed it the first time around, get acquainted. Click here for the download from Rolling Stone.

Ben Fuller: “Love Song For The People”. This is one of my favorite songs from 2013 and the kind of music one might expect from a kid from Newport Beach. Love the reggae vibe. Click here for the download at Largehearted Boy; second song down the page.

and finally some comments about 2 superb albums you need to hear and buy. The first is “The Outsiders”, the latest from Eric Church. I could go into a lengthy explanation about why I like it, but the Rolling Stone review probably said it best (click here to read the piece). And if you think some of his fans hate the album: his mega-hit album “Chief” had less than 3% of Amazon reviewers give it 3 stars or less. For “The Outsiders” it’s over 18%. That alone is reason enough to buy it. Another album you need to purchase is the latest from Rosanne Cash, “The River & The Thread”. Of the new albums reviewed this year at MetaCritic, only 5 have scored higher and 3 of those were reissues. This is an album that will be on my list of the “best of 2014”.

till I return from vacation………