Category Archives: FREE MP3s

MP3 At 3PM: Eyelids

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Portland’s Eyelids hold more than meets the eye. Not only were they the main instrumentalists on over eight releases for Robert Pollard’s Boston Spaceships, but they have also worked with big indie names such as Stephen Malkmus, the Decemberists and Elliott Smith. With new record 854 on the way, Eyelids premiere a new track called “Forget About Tomorrow.” The song is short and sweet, and in accordance with their previous work, it’s also beautifully and expertly composed. Download it below.

“Forget About Tomorrow” (download):

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Normal History Vol. 291: 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.

7. “I’m A Bit Confused” (Calico Kills The Cat, 1989) Jobs have an unpleasant capacity to plunk the tedium of conventional life right under my nose. If it isn’t the general public sniffing around for bargains on consumer goods, it’s the co-workers who have not dared to dream beyond dental plans and annual vacations. I was in my 20s when I wrote this song. I had already opted out of the work force to spend 15 years making music, travelling, touring, writing and creating art. After that, at 40, I began a succession of dumb part-time jobs through which I have learned how to protect my creativity while vehemently disallowing banality to destroy my happiness.

7. “Naked And Ticklish” (Empathy For The Evil, 2014) The lyrics are directly out of my novel Obliterating History – a guitar-making mystery, domination & submission in a small town garage, in which the female protagonist tells a story about her online dating adventures. While the song is fictional, aspects of it are from my experience online dating, where, like working at various jobs, I felt exposed to people I never would have met otherwise. For the most part I encountered selfish liars seeking self-gratification. In the song, and in the novel, the protagonist attempts relationships with men she has little in common with, but eventually her inability to trust them is, for her, impossible to ignore.

In my early years as a lyricist, I was more apt to express anger, whereas, in recent years, I’ve found my way back into storytelling with humorous overtones that resonate with audiences. As an anarchist currently working in retail—and a former participant in online dating—I am truly grateful that a good chunk of my life has been spent with likeminded people who continue to inspire me with their ability to sidestep what is apparently regarded as normal behavior.

“I’m A Bit Confused” from Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1989; Matador, 1991; Smarten Up!, 2003) (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Field Guides

Brooklyn quintet Field Guides explores interesting new musical territory with debut LP Boo, Forever, out November 11. “Jon Says,” a track off the forthcoming album, is a strong example of the diversity of this music. It’s hopeful and triumphant while also laid-back and simple. The female vocals give the chill sound a new, fresh feel, and the layered vocal parts toward the end are quite impressive. We are proud to premiere the song today on magnetmagazine.com. Download the track below.

“Jon Says” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Just Walden

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Singer/songwriter Danny Ferraro quit his job at Goldman Sachs to pursue a career in music, and he’s off to a great start. Now with a full band, Just Walden, he recently released “Summer Day Charade,” a moving and emotional track from his second album, out now. The song was apparently inspired by an “alcohol-tinged, day-time party this summer that quickly turned into a charade of sorts,” which reassures his audience that he’s just another normal person like us. Download the track below.

“Summer Day Charade” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Raiders Of The Lost Art

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Chicago’s Raiders Of The Lost Art take a different approach to writing music. Material is not brought to the studio; it is made there. No discussions or conversations go into the crafting of its music, and latest album Wabi Sabi, due out October 21, was written in two short 45-minute bursts. However, listening to “We Got Away (This Time),” the first single from the new LP, it’s hard to believe the band can write music this good on whim. Download “We Got Away (This Time)” below.

“We Got Away (This Time)” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Zak Smith

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Americana singer/songwriter Zak Smith just released new album Signs Of Life. The LP is an acoustic rework of old songs from his six previous releases. Now, he offers the soulful title track from the album for free download. The song has light, airy drums and a memorable tune, full of energy and emotion. Download it below.

“Signs Of Life” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Skye Steele

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Singer/songwriter Skye Steele‘s new album, Up From The Bitterroot, was the result a struggling marriage and was born out of his forced seclusion. Steele’s pain can be felt in the simplicity of the music, especially on newly released track “Hiromitsu & Yuko.” The lyrics speak his mind, but the violin, piano and guitar reveal his true emotions.

“Hiromitsu & Yuko” (download):

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Normal History Vol. 290: 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.

6. “Don’t Shoot” (Calico Kills The Cat, 1989) I wrote this song when I disappointed with a general level of apathy. If there was going to be a political confrontation—or an occasion that warranted being prepared for—would anyone actually be ready and able to step up and deal with it? It seemed like work and partying were the priorities.

6. “One Man’s Anger” (Empathy For The Evil, 2014) The lyrics are directly out of my novel Obliterating History—a guitar-making mystery, domination & submission in a small town garage, in which the parents and siblings of various characters come into focus from time to time to indicate how behaviors may shape personalities while they are forming. In the novel, this is from a section where a mother talks to her son about the anger that his father seems unable to control. She explains that anger is often the manifestation of pain. I suppose she understands that boys are socialized not to show pain or fear, but she stops short of passing along that information to her son.

The connection between the two songs is the willingness to abdicate responsibility in difficult situations. To me, this is a form of cowardice. The characters in “Don’t Shoot” are perhaps intentionally ill-prepared and pre-occupied—in avoidance mode. In “One Man’s Anger,” the man experiencing pain and fear lashes out in anger, blaming others for what he is unwilling to deal with in himself. In the novel, this cowardice extends to the mother herself, who does not explain more about the expression of emotions to her son.

“Don’t Shoot” from Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1989; Matador, 1991; Smarten Up!, 2003) (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: The March Divide

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It seems an emo revival really is taking place, and the March Divide is a strong contributor. As the duo prepares for the release of new album Billions, it’s released a single off the LP titled “I Told You So.” The song is upbeat and verges on more of a pop/punk style, making for a fun and memorable track. Download it below.

“I Told You So” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Bear Arms

Glasgow-based emo/math-rock quartet Bear Arms prepares for the debut of their new album, Strength and Conviction, by releasing a single from the album titled “Innate.” The music harks back to late 90′s emo and post-hardcore, especially vocally, but the music is heavy and brings a feeling of nostalgia for fans of older bands like Thursday and Texas Is The Reason. Download the track below.

“Innate” (download):

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