Sunday, April 30, 2006

Magnolia Summer

Undertow Records never seems to let me down. An unexpected package showed up in the mail on Friday and by Friday night I had determined that the new Magnolia Summer CD, From Driveways' Lost View, (one of the 2 CDs in the package) would pretty much be guaranteed a spot in my year end "Best of" list.

My wife is tired of hearing me say this, but I could listen to (as long as it's GOOD 24/7 and when I hear a band like Magnolia Summer, I imagine myself sitting in the grass on the riverfront, a six-pack of beer by my side, watching this band play on a small gazebo stage. It's perfect lounging around music and also perfect driving music.

From what I can tell, Magnolia Summer started off as a project for Chris Grabau (who plays in a few other bands, including Waterloo). It's progressed into more than that with this second album. I haven't yet listened to Magnolia Summer's debut, Levers and Pulleys, but plan to snag it soon from eMusic.

Check out these Son Volt-meets-Ryan Adams songs from Magnolia Summer.

MP3: Once in a While (from From Driveways' Lost View, due in stores May 16)
MP3: Levers and Pulleys (from Levers and Pulleys)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mute Math

Mute Math's publicist was bombarding my inbox prior to the band's appearance in Columbus a few months ago. I didn't know anything about the band, hadn't heard any music, so basically blew off those emails. The week of the show I find out that Bel Auburn is opening the show but even that isn't enough to get me out of the house or even to check out Mute Math's music. Eventually I gave in and decided to check out the band and ... of course ... turns out that I love them. The

comparisons to The Police are totally accurate in my opinion and as someone who truly loves Sting's stuff - even his most recent solo material - I can't tell you how happy I was to "discover" Mute Math even though somebody had been trying to shove them down my throat just a few weeks earlier.

This summer the band will be playing on, get this, the Warped Tour, the Bonaroo Festival AND Lollapalooza (too bad WOMAD isn't still around; Mute Math would have been a shoe-in). Watch the band's performance of "Chaos" on the Craig Ferguson show (above) and then listen to the studio version of the song (below).

If you dig it, make sure to pick up a copy of the band's self-titled and (currently) self-distributed debut (the CD was supposed to be released by Warner Bros. but that's a whole can of worms that I don't want to open).

MP3: "Chaos" - Mute Math

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

In My Ear Podcast #6

00:00 Miranda Sound – Jackson Milton from Western Reserve
03:13 Silversun Pickups – Kissing Familes from Pikul (EP)
08:00 The Flairz – Black Fox from Rock N' Roll Ain't Evil
11:13 New London Fire – Different from A Wave Form (EP)
15:34 Gil Mantera's Party Dream – Shadow Grip from Bloodsongs
21:05 Branks – Gingham Hammer from Self-Titled
24:21 Barzin – Just More Drugs from My Life in Rooms

MP3: Download "In My Ear Podcast - Episode 6"

Monday, April 03, 2006

Bel Auburn

A few years ago I get an unsolicited email, as I often do, from a band that wanted me to check them out because, heck, they are sure I've never heard anything like them before. Most of the times I get these emails I'll hit up the band's website, read some press reviews and if the band is compared to other bands I like, I'll check out an MP3 or two. Bel Auburn's website allowed visitors to listen to their album, Catherdals, in it's entirety so I thought I'd check out a song or two. About 30 minutes later I realized that I'd made it through most of the album and so I responded to the email and begged Jared (composer of the email) to send me a CD.

Turns out Bel Auburn was from Ashland, Ohio, only about a 75 minute drive from my house and I'd later find out that they were well acquainted with my wife's cousin Joel. So, if you've never been to Ashland, it's a small college town in mid-Ohio that is surrounded by farm country. Granted, it's not in the middle of nowhere and I'm not saying it's in the sticks, but I was shocked to hear a band from Ashland sound like a mix of Jimmy Eat World and Coldplay. Catherdals was as good as any national release I heard in 2004 and it earned a spot in my Best of 2004 list.

In 2005, we had our third child, a daughter that we named Piper. Two days after we returned from the hospital, we found a "congratulations" card from Bel Auburn and inside the envelope, a CD with a song that the band wrote especially for us to celebrate the birth of our daughter. I don't think I've ever received a most thoughtful gift. That's the way Bel Auburn operates. Thoughtful guys who make great music.

Right now they are sitting on their second album, trying to find someone to finance the release. If you happen to have some spare cash laying around or run a small label that is looking to put out an INCREDIBLE record (I say that only out of speculation ... I've only heard a few demos), let me know and we'll make this work.

MP3: Piper
MP3: Burn Unit
MP3: Sing What You Mean
MP3: The Speed of Thought

You can download demos from the new CD on the band's MySpace page and while you're at it check out Jared and Scott's electro-synth-pop side project, The Scareds.