Category Archives: FREE MP3s

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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MP3 At 3PM: Tabah

MAGNET recently introduced you to Minneapolis’ Tabah with “Curtain Call.” Now, we’re making sure you’ve checked out the band’s newly released Symmetry Somewhere by bringing you the opener, “Lucid State.” This track is a little more immediate than the last, a jittery rhythm section flowing into some cutting guitars and some more intense vocals. Download or stream the track below.

“Lucid State” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Fawns Of Love

Fawns Of Love recently put out Who Cares About Tomorrow, and today we’re giving you a little glimpse of their woozy, light-as-air shoegaze. Fans of Beach House will want to take note of “That’s What We Do,” which drifts along dreamily and somewhat eerily. Check it out below.

“That’s What We Do” (download):

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Normal History Vol. 418: 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.

In 1989, on the return leg of a West Coast tour, we drove the 640 miles from San Francisco to Olympia, Wash., and played two shows in one day. We opened in Eugene, jumped back in the car, my 1972 Impala, and made it to the Portland show, after which we drove a couple more hours to Olympia to sleep.

Back in the ’80s, we toured various sections of North America three and four times a year, but this crazy plan was an anomaly. Typically we steer away from super long drives—and we make tours enjoyable by including interesting stops (art museums, thrift stores, the Tabasco Sauce factory) and good food (olive tasting at Granzella’s in Williams, Calif.)—so I’m not sure how a 640-mile drive ever got booked, since we do all our own booking.

I’m also not sure whether the two album reviews below appeared before or after this particular tour, but considering Calico was our second album (and our first on a label other than our own), it was truly exciting to read these. I don’t think we’d heard of Gerard Cosloy yet, and we certainly didn’t know we’d be moving from K Records to Matador Records within a year or so.

“Jean’s the one with ‘that voice,’ a completely riveting presence that’s only more powerful when backed solely by Lester’s guitar. Zero star potential, they’d sound totally incongruous coming out of your radio, but so would Woody Guthrie, so don’t worry about it.” –Conflict, 1989, by Gerard Cosloy, who joined Matador Records the following year

“This is quite powerful stuff. Jokers like Bono and Bruce could certainly learn a few lessons from this.” –Vicious Hippies From Panda Hell, a Portland zine

“Don’t Shoot” from the album Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1989) (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Atlas Road Crew

Atlas Road Crew is following up 2015’s Halfway To Hopkins with a new single, “My Own Way,” a true tour-de-force of open-road rock ‘n’ roll. This track is huge and undeniably fun, perfect for fantasizing about all the things you’re going to do when the snow finally stops falling. Check it out below, and keep an eye out for more from Atlas Road Crew in 2017.

“My Own Way” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Treehouse Sanctum

Folk-pop act Treehouse Sanctum will release Vivere on May 5. “Chacala” is somehow both vibrant and wounded, waltz-y horns opening up this impassioned, sad piece of Americana storytelling. Check it out below.

“Chacala” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: That One Eyed Kid

That One Eyed Kid will release a new EP, Crash And Burn, in May. For now, we’ve got the opening track, hands-in-the-air synth-pop tune “Burn Out Right.” Josh Friedman combines a silky-smooth voice with a bursting, effervescent synth soundscape to bring us something that truly does sound radio ready. Check it out below.

“Burn Out Right” (download):

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