Don’t Sleep On | Givers

During half-time in the Green Bay Packers opening game, I decided to do some real music discovery by checking out some of my favorite blogs and see what they writing about.   I stopped over at Stereogum and came across this Lafayette, Louisiana band called Givers, and I was pleasantly blown away.  The band reminds me of a cross between The Dirty Projectors, Vampire Weekend and Edwarde Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.  Ironically, they have opened up for The Dirty Projectors on part of their tour in the south.  Think of them as sonic gumbo. You can hear African, electronic, and pop influences with a slight hint of Zydeco. Listen to these standout tracks.  I guarantee you will here more about Givers in the near future.

Givers – “Up Up Up” (download)

Givers – “In My Eyes” (download)


Don’t Sleep On | James Vincent McMorrow

A few months ago, I featured a singer/songwriter from Ireland by the name of James Vincent McMorrow on Are You Feeling This. He has been Ireland’s answer to Justin Vernon’s Bon Iver, but he is more than that. One one note, both James and Justin recorded their albums in an isolated house. Justin recorded his album in the woods of Wisconsin, while James recorded his by the sea in Ireland. The one thing I find amazing about his album is that he produced the entire album himself.  He recorded his album “Early In The Morning” with one mic, and some old instruments. Even though you would consider this a folk/pop album, I can’t help think of artists such as Otis Redding, and Sam Cooke. By that, I do not mean the sound of Otis or Sam, but the passion and soul that these artists brought to their music.

I’m not the only one to think that James Vincent McMorrow is an artist that should not be slept on. Artists such as Al Green, Tracy Chapan, Mark Ronson, Iron and Wine, and the forementioned Bon Iver have invited James to play alongside them. Unfortunately, his album was only available as import or from his website, until now.

In an email he sent to his fans yesterday, he has signed a label contract with Vagrant Records.

“I’m so excited to be able to officially announce that I have signed to Vagrant Records in North America, and they will now be re-releasing my album in The US and in Canada. I don’t have any specific dates for the release just yet, I only put pen to paper on this late last night, but we’ve been working incredibly hard over the last couple of months putting this together, so I wanted to share the news!

Having met and talked with a lot of different labels over the last few months trying to find the perfect home for me and my songs, as soon as I spoke to the guys at Vagrant I was completely sold, their commitment and passion for what I do is incredible, and I cannot wait to get working with them.

You might have not of heard of the label, but I bet you know their artists.  Vagrant is home to such artists as Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Pete Yorn, The Hold Steady, and STARS to name a few. So he is definitely in good company.  Vagrant plans to re-released his album “Early In The Morning.” There is no release date as of yet, but I’m pretty sure you are going to hear a lot about Mr. McMorrow in the near future.

In the meantime, check out these videos of James Vincent McMorrow, and then download his song, “Early In The Morning” via RCRDLBL.

Don’t Sleep On… Space Invadas

Seriously folks, this one may be my favorite of the entire year. While I rarely use that category, I have been listening to the latest project from The Space Invadas, Soul:Fi, an awful lot; in the car, at home, on long bike rides and yes, I’m grooving to it even now.

Space Invadas are a collaboration between Sydney-based artist Katalyst and singer Steve Spacek (whose song “Dollar” is already on our playlist btw). Katalyst’s cutting edge beatsmithing has earned him a name on the Sydney scene’s vanguard while Spacek is the definition of a modern soul singer. Spacek in particular has been killing it, having worked with J Dilla, Mos Def, Q-Tip, Slum Village and Common. He’s got that Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye thing going on and has been championed by everyone from Entertainment Weekly to Mos Def.  For good reason, his voice is superb and can find range within the whole soul music idiom and take the sound beyond its conventions.

Soul:Fi, the album that the pair produced together, has a lot to love on its eleven full songs. Funky, old-school grooves with sweet voiced contributions from Jade McRae and Fantine on “Life” and “Super Sweet.” Digital space funk thumpiness on “Rise”(which won Tarik’s Are You Feeling This? last week) and “See Em Hear Em.” Trance-like funk-mantra mysticism on the lovely “So Strong,” and a ‘Quiet Storm’ of sexual steaminess on “Give Me The Love.” Beat driven soul sounds nice with Spacek crooning on a gems like “Imaginist” and “Closer.” They even get in a bit of electro edginess on “Recognise.” Afrobeat finds flavor in the heat of “Done It Again” while “Originality,” the album’s first single is a cut with broad appeal.

Rarely do I take the time to listen listen to an album, rarely do I ever review an entire album, rarely is the effort even worth it– this album however, is definitely worth it. I personally like every song here and I think you might as well. Don’t believe me? Checkit out yourself…

…if you like it, pick up their free Follow The Signs mixtape

Don’t Sleep | Sleigh Bells + Free Song + Live in Madison Tonight

There are a few bands, and artists that don’t live up  to the buzz they deserve. Sleigh Bells is not one of them. The Brooklyn based duo have been creating quite of bit of hype since last year’s CMJ festival. The hype continue throughout SXSW.  Unfortunately, I seem to keep missing them in Austin when I was there. When I first heard the track “Rill, Rill” while I was deployed, I couldn’t get the song out of my head.  Then other tracks appeared on the internet and it was just amazing crunchy goodness.  Even M.I.A. took notice and signed them to her N.E.E.T. imprint and had them produce a couple of her songs on her forthcoming album.  Their album entitled “Treats” is due out on May 11th.  If you don’t want to take my word on these guys, you can catch them tonight in Madison at the Majestic Theater opening up for Yeasayer.  You can download their single called “Tell ‘Em” from their forthcoming album Treats straight from their website.

Sleigh Bells – “Tell’ Em” (Download)

Listen to other tracks from Sleigh Bells here.

Watch ABC tell the story about the duo Sleigh Bells

Here is the tracklisting for “Treats”

The tracklisting for “Treats” is as follows:

  1. Tell ‘Em
  2. Kids
  3. Riot Rhythm
  4. Infinity Guitars
  5. Run the Heart
  6. Rachel
  7. Rill Rill
  8. Crown On the Ground
  9. Straight A’s
  10. A/B Machines
  11. Treats

Don’t Sleep On | Jake Troth

I recently got an email about this artist by the name of Jake Troth. I don’t really know that much about of them other than that he is originally from North Carolina and apparently he made a buzz with his remix of Kanye’s “Love Lockdown” almost two years ago. Troth is a singer/songwriter that just dropped a catchy single called “Material Things” produced by designer Alex Goose who is best know for his Blueprint III outakes mixtape. Check out the video and let me know what you think.

Don’t Sleep On | Secondhand Sureshots: Putting New Life in Old Vinyl

There is something really special about going to a thrift store, or used record store and finding something really special that you would never think you would buy.  The art of crate digging is skill that requires a whole lot of patience and love for music.  This skill is a very important skill to have if you want to be a good DJ and/or producer.  Just like a graphic designes uses art and other designs as inspiration for their work, a DJ uses older music for inspiration for their work. It is very hard to show you the importance of crate digging until now.  The cats over at Dublab put together this amazing short documentary called “Seconhand Sureshots”.

The premise is simple.  The director asked three producers – Daedelus, J-Rocc, Nobody and Ras G to go to a thrift store with only five dollars and purchase five used records (a $1 a record). Then once they have selected the vinyl, come back to their respective studio and construct new song out of the records they selected.  The film shows the creative process of each producer from the initial selection of the records to the production process.  Once the tracks were done, the directors asked the producer to meet up and present they creations to each other.  Then their creations was pressed on to three dubplates.  Plus some amazing artwork was created to go along with the dubplates.  The directors asked the producers to take these dubplate back to the respective thrift stores where they originally purchase the five records, and place the dubplates back in the bin.

The folks at Dublab and Stones Throw have decided to release the film and the music that was created on vinyl, dvd, and cd. They have created limited edition Dexluxe set. The packaging was created similar to the way the music was created:

Secondhand Sureshot

The Deluxe Super Set is a true sound and vision experiment. Dublab scoured Southern California and rescued 500 gatefold LP covers from dusty thrift store bin obscurity. Our graphic friends at Hit+Run took the covers and screen-printed them by hand, making new visual masterpieces to house the first public release of Secondhand Sureshots. Stuffed in this package is all-exclusive material sampled and shredded into new forms fine-tuned to blow your mind. We hope it inspires you to make your own creative gems and jams!

The deluxe package will be available on March 9th, 2010.  Check out a bonus mp3 from J Rocc

J Rocc – Seconhand Sureshots

Here is the trailer for the mini-documentary

You can also watch the documentary in its entirety for a limited time via Pitchfork TV

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Don’t Sleep On | Lou Rhodes

Sometimes you come across music, you don’t think you would go for, but when it happens, it is something very special. Lou Rhodes is not a new artist by a long stretch. Originally part of the band Lamb, which fused electronica, trip hop, jazz, and elements of hip hop, Lou Rhodes is an English singer/songwriter that has released two solo albums on her own label Infinite Bloom. She has even worked with such artists such as Cinematic Orchestra, A Guy Called Gerald, 808 State and others. Her solo releases were a departure from the sound of Lamb, and other collaborations. She stripped down all the electronics to embrace the seemingly simple, but the very complex sound of folk music. She is now about to release her solo third release in March on Motion Audio Records called ‘One Good Thing’. Motion Audio Records is a label started by Jason Swinscoe, frontman of the British jazz-electronic hybrid Cinematic Orchestra, Ninja Tune records, and and his A&R rep Dominic Smith. You can download a track from the album for free.

Lou Rhodes – “There For The Taking” (download)

Check out this mini-doc on Lou Rhodes.