Cloud Cult / “Help” from Minnesota Beatle Project, Vol. 3 (Buy at CD Baby)
For the third year in a row, Vega Productions has assembled an incredible collection of bands and musicians to cover Beatles songs with album sale proceeds benefiting music education programs around Minnesota. This version of “Help” by Cloud Cult is a standout on an album of standout tracks. When you buy from CD Baby, we’ll contribute half of our proceeds to Vega Productions as well!
Porcelain Teeth / “War Mouth” from Underbite (Buy at CD Baby)
Well, we tried. This band or individual is completely ungoogleable. But these songs are great — some pretty ambient, yet a bit out there sounds. Reminds us of a slightly more adventurous Album Leaf. Whether intentionally obscurist or merely accidentally hard-to-find, we’re glad we stumbled across it.
Jeffrey Foucault / “Real Love” from Real Love – Single (Buy at CD Baby)
Fast on the heels of this year’s excellent Horse Latitudes comes this new single from the prolific Massachusetts-based singer/songwriter. Perhaps signaling a slight change in direction from his previously somewhat mellow material, this is a stomper.
Toby Goodshank / “The Battle of Ron LaPierre (Feat. The Heat Whispers)” from Preston Spurlock / Toby Goodshank Split (Buy at CD Baby)
One third of an incredibly great collaboration by some of New York City’s most important avant/low-fi art luminaries. Preston Spurlock (animator and illustrator extraordinaire) and Toby Goodshank (of Moldy Peaches) have teamed up on this 3 song 7″. We’ve got a few copies on pink vinyl — get yours while you can!
Wizdom & Epidemmik / “Funnel of Love” from Unearthed (Buy at CD Baby)
The lead single from Seattle MC Wizdom’s new full-length is called, appropriately enough, “Patience.” He’s been at it since 1997, paying his dues and making a name for himself in what has quickly become one of the hottest underground hip-hop scenes in the country. With it’s twisted Wanda Jackson sample and storytelling like you haven’t heard since the best parts of the 90s, this track had us hooked instantly.
The Magnolias / “Torture Yours” from Pop the Lock (Buy at CD Baby)
One of the most prolific bands signed to the legendary Twin/Tone records in the 80s and 90s, The Magnolias sprung from the same Twin Cities scene that spawned the Replacements, Soul Asylum, Hüsker Dü and others, and released 5 albums between 1986 and 1996, when they disbanded. Since then, they have reformed, realigned and reconfigured more times than we have room for here, but those interested in their “complicated” history (their words) can read more on their website. To us, it’s enough that this album rocks hard and delivers hook after hook.
Heywood / “The Weight” from Skills for the Long Emergency (Buy at CD Baby)
Ben Heywood is something of a man about town in Los Angeles, fronting the long-running Summer Darling, and playing in numerous other projects. He’s also married to Heather Heywood, of all-girl rock group Kissing Cousins. Although Skills for the Long Emergency is his first solo effort, he doesn’t miss a beat — crafting sharp and catchy pop songs around lyrics that sneak up on you with their poesy and moments of bombast that sneak up on you like a velociraptor.
Hearts + Horses / “Delta + Dawn” from The Hearts + Horses Method (Buy at CD Baby)
This Sacramento wife and husband duo (plus super talented third-wheel drummer) create fascinating bubbly acid jazz that would feel equally at home in a smoky bebop club or a futuristic dance party. The musicianship is stunning, especially when you consider that much of what you’re hearing is improvised.
Medicine Hat / “Ships”from Medicine Hat (Buy at CD Baby)
Sometimes you can’t say it better than the band themselves: “Medicine Hat is the sound of falling in love: magical, uncompromising, and a bit ridiculous. Born in a cold basement after folk songstress Nabi Loney and her young lover Tyler Bersche realized that they had written enough songs about each other to make a record, Medicine Hat became the soundtrack to the first of hopefully many love stories.”
Seznec Bros / “Mother’s Last Word to Her Son” from Jagged Land (Buy at CD Baby)
Jagged Land, the just-released sophomore album from Franco-American brothers Cory and Yann Seznec, has a perfectly descriptive title. Over these 11 tracks they range from fairly straightforward folk/americana to funk, jazz, and world-influenced sounds. Jagged, and disjointed it may be, but never off-putting.