Category Archives: FREE MP3s

MP3 At 3PM: Russell Swallow

Russell Swallow is a self-described “ambient soul pop musician.” Add “folk” to that, and he’s pretty much got it right on. A veteran of duo Swallow And The Wolf, he makes his solo debut with the A.M.-B.P.M. EP. Second single “Don’t Sleep Through The Flood” is a prime example of the way Swallow combines his singer/songwriter roots with electro elements, delivering poetic lyrics in his hushed, moody, melodic voice over this entrancing musical hybrid. Says Swallow of the track, “I wrote ‘Don’t Sleep Through The Flood’ after being sat in my kitchen in Dalston, London, watching the rain tear down in sheets for the third day. It describes the city of London drowning in a never-ending rain, ‘making islands of our homes’ as we row through Leicester Square and sharks swim through the halls of Parliament. It’s a snapshot of how we might be forced to live if we don’t confront the issue of climate change, and it stands as a metaphor for ignoring signs of danger or challenges we face in our own lives.” We are proud to premiere “Don’t Sleep Through The Flood” today on magnetmagazine.com. Download and/or stream it below.

“Don’t Sleep Through The Flood” (download):

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Normal History Vol. 453: 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.

When I arrived at my parents’ (mobile home in a mobile home park) to drive them to my brother’s for dinner they were sitting in the living room. Mom (97) asked Dad (92) who it was, and Dad said, “It’s Jeannie!”

I’d just talked to her on the phone as I was leaving to drive the 45 minutes out there and she said she hoped we’d have a nice time at my brother’s and there wouldn’t be any arguing. There’s never any arguing, so it was weird (in a way that I’ve come to understand more about over the last few years). It is meant to get a rise out of me. A reaction. In the same way that asking me if I’ll come and live with them instead of them going to an assisted-living facility intends to get a reaction. I tried to leave it at “no” but elaborated, saying how much I like my life, how happy I am.

I’m standing just inside the door. It’s not like she doesn’t recognize me because it’s been so long. I saw them about two weeks ago. Somehow she’s surprised that it’s me. I know she knows it’s me, but she asks Dad if it’s the lady who comes to give them their baths. This is to prove that she’s muddled up, which she may be, but this is also something else. Dad assures her it’s me. I’m standing right there. She has excellent eyesight and … she knows it’s me!

She says, “Why do you look like that?”

“Like what?” I ask. I’m wearing red pants (from H&M … not freakish red … nice orange-y red) and a sweater that’s a great murky red with a black pattern.

She says, “You look terrible!”

I laugh and get on with the things I’m there to do. Hem the pajamas I got Dad and take a look at sweat pants I got Mom in May that she claims are too big for her. I show her the drawstring at the waist and the elastic at the ankle. I help her put them on and she seems to like them. They fit. She’s been living in light-blue (deeply filthy and torn) sweat pants I gave her some years back, so this is a big deal.

In the summer, she gave me a bag of clothing to drop off in a charity bin. “Don’t look!” she warned. Of course I looked. There was the colorful top I gave her for her last birthday when she said she wanted a colorful top, and the loose cotton trousers of mine that I figured I see again one day, and several other things she’d indicated she needed. Wow! It kind of did hurt my feelings, and it’s deeply symbolic of the whole thing. Zero validation has been her longstanding m.o. with me. How I look, my “little” band, my friends—she doesn’t like any of it. She does, however, like my paintings, although she can’t work out why anyone is buying them.

“Are they Mecca Normal fans?”

“No, not really,” I say.

“Are you getting paid in real money or internet money?”

“Yes, Mom,” I say. “It’s real money.”

“How Many Now?” from Jarred Up (K, 1993) (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Brother Roy

New York City’s Brother Roy just released debut solo album Last Man Standing, and we’re please to bring you the second track on it, “Mary,” today. Roy spent a number of years touring in various bands before planting his roots in Brooklyn, only to leave to study classical Indian music in India, only to return back to NYC hell bent on cutting his own rock ‘n’ roll record. Paid for with $50 local gigs, the 11-track Last Man Standing was made with a group of devoted friends, and despite the modest budget, features strings, horns and the like. Download and/or stream “Mary” below.

“Mary” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Moonsville Collective

On December 8, Moonsville Collective will release Moonsville IV, which will mark the final installment of the Southern California band’s four-volume EP series. Moonsville Collective’s 2017 endeavor led to the release of 20 new songs that enter into the band’s self-described “California good-time” canon, though IV, says multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Ryan Welch, “is different than the rest in that we really relied and leaned on our acoustic instruments to guide the sound and feel.” We are proud to premiere IV track “Bright Eyed Stranger” today on magnetmagazine.com. Download and/or stream it below.

“Bright Eyed Stranger” (download):

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Normal History Vol. 452: 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.

Continued from last week

In 1986 some of the women who co-founded Riot Grrrl saw Mecca Normal perform in Olympia. Which is also when we met Calvin Johnson of K Records, who ended up putting out quite a few of our records. Here’s the first Mecca Normal show in Olympia where a future member of Bikini Kill—drummer Tobi Vail—first saw us. I think she would have been about your age at the time—or younger! I was in my mid-20s.

We hadn’t done many shows at this point, but as we continued on with songs about feminism and social justice, I spoke more from the stage—and in interviews—to encourage young women to get together with their friends and start bands, to write lyrics about their experiences in the scene and in society. There weren’t very many women in bands at that point.

Our first album was out at that time (on my own label), and one of the main songs on it was “I Walk Alone”—which we still perform at our live shows to this day!

It seems there is a lot on the internet about Riot Grrrl. Maybe check out this series of videos put out by the EMP museum (Experience Music Project) in Seattle. If you search through their material on YouTube you’ll see other Riot Grrrl interviews that should be of interest to you.

Here’s Mecca Normal opening for Kathleen Hanna’s band the Julie Ruin in Portland last year. A new song about feminism.

Good luck with your project, and I hope this helps!
Jean

“It’s Important” from Jarred Up (K, 1993) (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Dream System 8

Los Angeles duo Dream System 8 will release its debut album in February via Minty Fresh, and today we’re bringing you a sneak preview of the band’s retro-future style. “Losing All Of You” was made using all vintage keyboards, and it beeps and whirrs cosmically into a beautiful dream pop tune. Check it out below.

“Losing All Of You” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: MOTORCADE

MOTORCADE—whose members have played with the likes of St. Vincent, the War On Drugs and the Apples In Stereo—will release their self-titled debut in January via Idol. “Recover,” which comes from said first LP, is a charming piece of indie rock that recalls Phoenix and Tame Impala, a thick mass of guitars and synthesizers from which a sharp hook emerges. Check it out below.

“Recover” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: ATTEMPT

Set aside a little time for ATTEMPT today—you probably deserve it. The Lexington, Ky., band’s “Against The Light” is a 10-minute tune that feels much shorter, a shockingly approachable and bare bit of psych pop. The first five minutes revel in blissful emptiness, relying on soothing harmonies and gentle percussion before emerging into guitar-solo territory. Download and/or stream “Against The Light” below, and make sure to check out their EP of the same name that’s out now on Desperate Spirits.

“Against The Light” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Matt Hectorne

Matt Hectorne’s Americana is a breezy good time. “Only Way Into Your Heart” goes down easy with the help of Hectorne’s laid-back vocals and an effortless hook. The song comes from Hectorne’s upcoming album, Work, which will see the light of day in January. Until then, check out “Only Way Into Your Heart” below.

“Only Way Into Your Heart” (download):

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Normal History Vol. 451: 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 haven’t had any riot grrrl queries for a long time, but maybe there’s another round of new interest from what seemed to be new interest a few years back. I got a Facebook message from 17-year-old Julia in Germany saying she’s working on a school project about riot grrrl, hoping I’ll answer questions.

“As I want it to be as authentic as possible and mirror the mindset of Riot Grrrl and show what it really meant for all those girls, I’m trying to reach out to as much people of the movement as possible. You are one of them.”

Well … here’s my message back, which intends to make a connection between “all those girls” and present-day activities connected to riot grrrl as opposed to simply looking back at it as history. Done. Past.

Hi Julia!
Mecca Normal (my band) is frequently referred to as an early inspiration to the co-founders of Riot Grrrl, but we weren’t a Riot Grrrl band. We’d already been playing, touring and recording since 1986. We had our own thing going called The Black Wedge—anti-authoritarian poets and minimalist musicians on tour in an old school bus.

To be continued

“Follow Down” from Jarred Up (K, 1993) (download):

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