Category Archives: FREE MP3s

Normal History Vol. 422: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Every now and then, an unmistakable arc positions itself from the song in question to a more recent song. In this case, “Smile Baby” calling out street harassment 30 years ago connects to “Anguish / Misogyny,” an unreleased song I wrote about the sense that not much has changed.

“There’s a desperation. Tell me you don’t feel it.
This hopelessness coming down, coming down.
These times demand a reprieve from the anguish.
These times like no other before us. Like no other to follow.

In the anguish of uncompleted missions, disappointment and futility.
I knew you then and I know you still.
The anguish of nothing being resolved. It didn’t get resolved at all.
And I call this anguish—misogyny.

We hide the anguish not too well at all—not too well at all.
Why should we hide the anguish of misogyny.
The disappointment of all that’s unresolved.

All those times we thought there was a future built on words and actions
swept away.

I call the violence, malicious behavior, anger and misogyny
that rules the streets, rules the days and rules the nights—misogyny.
l call this lack of empathy my personal anguish.
Your violence and aggression—this misogyny.

The perpetration of aggression against all women.
I call our failure and disappointment—anguish.
I’m electrified, repulsed and angry at all that’s unresolved.
I call our failure—this misogyny.
For all the time we put into everything we ever tried to do,
to accomplish, to resolve, to make better, to happen.
We failed.

I call it a hidden anguish—this misogyny.
Anguish I share with you—misogyny.
Misogyny.

“Smile Baby” from the album Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1989) (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Tree Machines

2017 might very well be the year of Tree Machines, a pop duo from Lawrence, Kan., who plan on releasing their debut LP Up For Air soon. In the meantime, we have “Waiting On The Sun” to share with you, a glimmering pop tune that glides along with a heart-quickening sentimentality. Check it out below.

“Waiting On The Sun” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Calan

Calan is a Welsh folk band quickly approaching a May 12 release date for new album Solomon. “Apparition” is a fantasy of fiddling and harp, a downright theatrical piece of traditionally stylized folk music with some gorgeous, sparkling moments. Check it out below.

“Apparition” (download):

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Normal History Vol. 421: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

It used to be that print media interviews were conducted in person or over the phone. Then email interviews took over. This is where a well-meaning journalist sends some questions for you to answer, and while that sounds reasonable, it can often go wrong—often because each question is jammed with a dozen or so sub-questions, and you end up feeling like you’re setting aside way too many hours to answer questions that took the journalist a few minutes to ask. All of which is fine, until you see the final version and they’ve only used a few quotes from the answers you gave.

Late last year I had the luxury of doing a phone interview about my painting with a journalist in Chicago who usually writes about art, but she’s a Mecca Normal fan, so the fact that I’ve been painting for the past year was interesting to her.

Because I’m not going to a job, I don’t talk to people much, so I went long on everything, trying to keep in mind that she was going to have to transcribe it, but I had a lot to say. I wasn’t sure what form her transcription would take. Maybe she’d just write out the sections she wanted to use for the piece. A month later, before the piece appeared, I decided to ask if I could get a copy of whatever she wrote out, and it turned out to be the entire conversation. Totally one-sided, but a document of where things were at the end of 2016.

“12 Murders” from the album Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1989) (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Whetherman

Whetherman will release This Land Album on June 16. The harmonica-adorned “What Am I Supposed To Think” is below, a simple and direct folk tune that saunters along charmingly. Check it out.

“What Am I Supposed To Think” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Round Eye

There’s something strikingly accurate about the name of Round Eye’s upcoming LP Monstervision. “Billy” delivers on that prickly, slightly off-kilter image with a memorable, breakneck punk tune. The Shanghai band’s LP will be out May 26. Check out “Billy” below.

“Billy” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: The Ferdy Mayne

The Ferdy Mayne, solo venture of songwriter Shane O’Malley Firek, is riding high on the release of its self-titled album last month. To join Firek in his celebration, we’re bringing you “Define My Name,” a rambling tune that balances intensity with a spacey distance. Check it out below.

“Define My Name” (download):

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Normal History Vol. 420: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

On International Women’s Day, I edited, uploaded and shared a snippet of a new song on Facebook. The key phrase in the middle of the song is, “Feminism was not a phase or a failed experiment. We are here!”

Mecca Normal performed “I Am Here” at the three shows we opened for the Julie Ruin in October, 2017.

“Joelle” from the album Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1989) (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Tow’rs

Tow’rs is releasing new record Grey Fidelity this month, and we want to make sure you’re here for it. Below we have “Liminal,” a gentle and downright gorgeous piece of Americana. The sweeping track just sounds like it belongs in a movie. Listen (and download) for yourself below.

“Liminal” (download):

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Normal History Vol. 419: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

I’m never crazy about reviews and articles that say no one knows who Mecca Normal is just because the journalist writing the piece doesn’t know who we are. Granted, she’s into Alanis Morissette, so I can see how we weren’t on her radar. Although, some people quietly asserted that Alanis basically swiped my look and stage moves, but whatever. I’m happy to be included in the appendix of CBC radio personality Andrea Warner’s 2015 book about Canadian women in music in the ’90s within which she claims that our two key songs from that era are “Vacant Night Sky” and “Waiting For Rudy.” Good choices, yup, but neither is about feminism, so, that kind of bugs me, too.

“I’m ashamed to admit that up until last year, I barely knew them either. They’re a hometown band and I’m a feminist who writes about music and still I never came across Mecca Normal until someone alerted me to their existence after I wrote an essay about how much I missed the political fire of music from the ’90s. Mecca Normal were riot grrrl and DIY before those movements existed, and they were tireless in their commitment to their art, releasing seven records in the ’90s alone. In fact, Mecca Normal were basically doing the ’90s in the ’80s.” —Andrea Warner appendix excerpt from We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled The ’90s And Changed Canadian Music (Eternal Cavalier Press, 2015)

“I’m A Bit Confused” from the album Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1989) (download):

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