Category Archives: FREE MP3s

MP3 At 3PM: Adventure Set

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Mark Pothier and Ken Scales started electronic pop band Adventure Set back in the ’80s, and after a 20-year hiatus, the two men have returned. They recently released their latest album, Gazebo, and now they share new track “Witness.” As the duo had wanted to create a classic sound with its new material, “Witness” is a testament to the duo’s success. The electronics are bold and in your face, but it never gets too rowdy, and it stays at a smooth pace throughout. Download the track below

“Witness” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Andrew St. James

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Andrew St. James recorded his debut album at the age of 17. Now, at 19, he readies the release of his second solo LP, The Shakes, on October 21. “Tapes,” a track from the new album, exemplifies the masterful musicianship of this young man. The song is bright and beautiful with simple instrumentation but packed with true sentiment. Download the track below

“Tapes” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Negativland

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Negativland’s new double album, It’s All In Your Head, arrives October 28, and in preparation, the band has released an interesting new track from the LP titled “Right Might.” This is actually not a song but animatronic audio obtained from a “rogue” Disney employee, and it’s all dialogue. The story goes that the guys in Negativland were contacted years ago by a Disney corporation insider who loved their work and asked if they wanted to use anything from the Disneyaudio archive. This is what they chose. Download it below.

“Right Might” (download):

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Normal History Vol. 288: 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 30-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

In this week’s column, I continue to compare songs on Calico Kills The Cat with songs on our new album, Empathy For The Evil, from start to finish. See notes from Sept. 6, 2014.

4. “My First Love Song” (Calico Kills The Cat, 1989) I think this is the only song of ours with the word “love” in it. It was awkward to sing a song about writing a song about love. I opted never to do that again.

4. “Between Livermore And Tracy” (Empathy For The Evill, 2014) This is the first song we recorded once we got set up in the studio. David played a piece of music he’d worked on, but I’d never heard. I played piano to this and then sang sections from six pages I’d compiled about my father, who was in the hospital recovering from a heart attack when we left Vancouver. Actually, his heart wasn’t the problem at that point; it was the delirium that had set in during his hospital stay. The song’s title is the second reference to the Rolling Stones after the album’s title. Altamont Speedway—the site of a free Stones concert where an audience member was killed by a Hell’s Angel in 1969—is between the towns of Livermore and Tracy in Northern California. The film Gimme Shelter documents the concert and, of particular interest to me, Mick Jagger’s reaction to the murder as he watches film footage at some point after the show (keeping in mind that, in those days, film had to be processed). I found there to be something very ominous about the way the hyper-reality of a killing collides with and alters the intensity of an ego-based exercise in rock showmanship. I suppose I drew a parallel between my father’s temporary dementia—a completely unexpected reality that seemed like it could change things forever—and the sense that Mick had perhaps noted his own mortality on that day between Livermore and Tracy, and then again while he watched the film footage of the disconnect between his persona and a murder right in front of him.

In comparing these two songs, I look back at what seemed like two monumental turning points at the time—love intensifying and madness looming—but these eventually softened and fell into place within a continuum that can be examined from many different vantage points in an ever-expanding past. Specific love ends, sanity returns. Life goes on, albeit somewhat differently.

“My First Love Song” from Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1989; Matador, 1991; Smarten Up!, 2003) (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Anabot

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As Analise Nelson’s name is a combination of “Ana” and “Elise,” Nelson also created Anabot by combining “analog” and “robot,” which is quite fitting when paired with the sound of her music. Now Anabot releases new single “Candy-Eyed” from upcoming EP, Kiss Like A Knife, out December 2. “Candy-Eyed” has a strong electronic base, as an electric cello can be heard booming in the background, and it’s altogether a very catchy and well-composed song. Download it below.

“Candy-Eyed” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Cult Of Riggonia

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Macon, Ga., collective Cult Of Riggonia readies for the release of debut album Nematode Rodriguez Presents on October 28. In accordance with its name and album title, the music is also a bit strange. It’s a noisy brand of psych rock that soars through different hypnotic passages. “Dwell Neo Dwell” exemplifies the oddity that this music aims to represent. Download the track below.

“Dwell Neo Dwell” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Salme Dahlstrom

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Singer/songwriter Salme Dahlstrom not only produces, performs, edits and mixes all of her tracks herself, she also licensed every song from her 2008 album, The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade, to various ad campaigns and television programs. Since then, she has successfully broken into the pop-music scene with ease, and rightfully so. Now she releases “Love + Shine,” from new album Pop Propaganda Volume 2: Retro Funk Soul Junction. The track is powerfully energetic, and it’s as enjoyable as it is musically strong and coherent. Download “Love + Shine” below.

“Love + Shine” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Dry The River

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London’s Dry The River released its second full-length, Alarms In The Heart, in August. The album was produced by Charlie Hugall (Florence And The Machine, Ed Sheeran), Paul Savage (Mogwai, Franz Ferdinand) and Peter Miles (We Are The Ocean, Futures, King Blues) with arrangements and strings from Valgeir Sigurðsson (Sigur Rós, Björk.) “Everlasting Light” is a single that displays the evolution of the band since its last LP. The song is driving, yet never leaves the bounds of its quiet simplicity and groove. Download the track below.

“Everlasting Light” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Dive Index

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Dive Index, started by songwriter/producer Will Thomas, is an electro-acoustic outfit incorporating piano, cello and guitar, as well as live and electronic percussion. Its latest album, Lost In The Pressure, was recorded in both L.A. and NYC. “Pattern Pieces” is a beautifully laid-back track from the LP. The female vocals are soothing and comforting, and the song remains entertainingly simple throughout, bringing in some subtle, sparse electronics for flavor. Download the track below.

“Pattern Pieces” (download):

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Normal History Vol. 287: 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 30-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

In this week’s column, I continue to compare songs on Calico Kills The Cat with songs on our new album, Empathy For The Evil, from start to finish. See notes from Sept. 6, 2014.

3. “One Woman” (Calico Kills The Cat, 1989) This song intends to reduce political activism down to specific elements, to demystify how change occurs. One woman made a decision and took action. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.

3. “Wasn’t Said” (Empathy For The Evil, 2014) I wrote the lyrics during a break in communication with someone I had been emailing back and forth with—someone I’d never met. When communication stopped, I became very aware how unavailable that person was and how my brain hadn’t made a distinction between an internet connection and a tangible person right in front of me. Such emotions can be very powerful, and I think it’s difficult for people who haven’t experienced internet connections to understand how that can be. For a time, I was quite fascinated by what the brain was doing that encouraged intensity without a physical presence. The lyrics are from my novel Obliterating History—a guitar-making mystery, domination & submission in a small town garage in a scene after a couple splits up and the woman moves to another city, lamenting what was never said between them. She didn’t anticipate the confusion it would cause her not knowing if he’d loved her.

Comparing these two songs brings to mind the idea that stereotypes need to be challenged by acknowledging that women in music—or other forms of self-expression—are not one-dimensional entities we require to stay in character to be understood or believable. Women are many things all at the same time: powerful, smart, funny, intense, sexual, vulnerable and everything in between. It’s utterly tedious to keep having to digest the image of a one-dimensional woman as an object that men feel entitled to define and use. That this spills out into the lives of actual people is a ridiculous travesty.

“One Woman” from Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1989; Matador, 1991; Smarten Up!, 2003) (download):

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