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Mumford & Sons caught me by surprise because I never saw a folk revival coming (not that I’ve been vigilant).  I’m torn over how popular they are (yes, it’s pretentious) and how catchy their tunes are.

At any rate, there’s this OCDeliciously organized tumblr maintained by an extremely dedicated fan that has all sorts of touring archives, photos, and best of all, radio/festival recordings for FREE download!  I’ve learned to love these types of recordings because they’re live, they’re unprocessed, they have great sound quality, and every now and then the band sneaks in a rare song or cover.  Someone really should pay this person because their site is much more pro than some bands’ actual websites.  It’s a virtual goldmine of Mumford & Sons digital stuffs, and they keep it legit by avoiding files that are commercially available.  If only there was a database like this for every band I love…  They even have “best of” compilations from each year of live recordings.

Their wonderful catalog of audio downloads:

The Red Rocks performance is copyrighted and sold, so I’m making do by listening to it on spotify for now.

If you’re looking for a lesser-known song, Timshel is beautiful.

He Is We - “Lead the Fight On”

I remember writing a couple blurbs on He Is We a few years back and at that time they were a really promising unsigned band.  Since then they’ve been signed and only become even more listenable, it seems.  The chorus of this song suddenly popped into my head today, and I wasn’t surprised when I finally tracked it down.  He Is We has released an acoustic version of “Lead the Fight On” that is available on purevolume for FREE.  Any song that pops into my head unprompted is definitely downloadworthy in my opinion.  The strong vocals and anthemic chorus are sure to leave an impression at the very least.

We are
broken hearts with a motive to move the world.
Doesn’t matter your past all my boys and girls.
With our stories held tight in our hands…
Lead the fight on.

The Mix: The Austin 100 : NPR

@nprmusic: This is it, people: your last day to download The Austin 100, a FREE bundle of 100 MP3s.

NPR First Listen: The Music Is You: John Denver Tribute

Edit: NPR audio is no longer available.  You can listen the album on soundcloud here.  Brandi Carlile & Emmylou Harris’s cover is included in this FREE ATO sampler.

I remember hearing John Denver’s songs growing up.  My parents were more into the Beatles and Korean pop ballads of the 60’s and 70’s (that’s the spot in the hairdo timeline that these artists fit), but I know I heard John Denver’s songs somewhere in there (probably covered by those same Korean artists).  When that great 1998 movie, Armageddon came out, they had one of the first movie soundtracks I remember listening to on repeat (I’m pretty sure some elementary school crush influenced this), which included a cover of that John Denver classic, Leaving on a Jetplane.  It’s come full circle with my season-spanning affair with the folk/Americana genre.  In addition to Peter Paul and Mary’s classics, I had to revisit John Denver.  So you can imagine my excitement when I heard about ATO records releasing a John Denver tribute record. They’ve got an interesting mix of artists as you can see below.

Click the title link to listen to the whole album before its release on April 2, 2013.  You can download Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ cover of Wooden Indian for FREE here.

Track listing:
1. My Morning Jacket – Leaving on a Jet Plane
2. Dave Matthews – Take Me to Tomorrow
3. Kathleen Edwards – All of My Memories
4. J. Mascis & Sharon Van Etten – Prisoners
5. Train – Sunshine on My Shoulders
6. Old Crow Medicine Show – Back Home Again
7. Lucinda Williams – This Old Guitar
8. Amos Lee – Some Days Are Diamonds
9. Allen Stone – Rocky Mountain High
10. Brett Dennen and Milow – Annie’s Song
11. Evan Dando – Looking for Space
12. Emmylou Harris & Brandi Carlile – Take Me Home, Country Roads
13. Blind Pilot – The Eagle and the Hawk
14. Mary Chapin Carpenter – I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado
15. Josh Ritter and Barnstar! – Darcy Farrow
16. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Wooden Indian

Firefly Music Festival

I heard of this festival through twitter, and I normally don’t check out random festivals I wouldn’t be able to go to (it’s in Delaware sometime in June), but I’m glad I did.  They have a pretty neat lineup with what looks like a good mix of well known and lesser known acts including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Passion Pit, Ellie Goulding, Lumineers, Vampire Weekend, Matt & Kim, Capital Cities, and Silent Film, just to name a few.  The even neater thing is you can listen to a song from almost every band on their lineup list, and it seems that they picked the more popular songs, which I appreciate for bands I’ve never heard of.  

I’d suggest just hitting play on the top of the page and listening through the entire playlist because again, it’s a good mix of songs you’ve most likely heard and many songs you probably haven’t.  If you’d rather not risk listening to stuff you may not want to hear, you can click on individual artists to hear their song.

Some featured songs:

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll Zedd - Clarity

Matt & Kim - Daylight

Ellie Goulding - Anything Could Happen

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Home

Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks

Passion Pit - Take a Walk

Calvin Harris - Sweet Nothing (feat. Florence Welch)

LP - Into the Wild

Dragonette - I Get Around

Youngblood Hawke - We Come Running

Alabama Shakes - Hold On

MGMT - Electric Feel

White Panda - Firefly Festival Mashup

Blondfire - Where the Kids Are

Lord Huron - Time to Run

Leagues - Mind Games

Listen to OneRepublic's 'Native' before it comes out

OneRepublic’s new album ‘Native’ is available for legal streaming before its release.  For some reason I’m unable to embed the player here, but Cities 97 has it on their site (click above link).  Anyhow, sounds good so far, may need to listen again since I was reading during the first listen.

And if we only die once, I wanna die with you

"He was a million miles from a million dollars but you could never spend as well" (I think that’s what he’s saying?)

Page CXVI | The Autumn Film - Til Kingdom Come (Coldplay Cover)

I download music from a lot of the featured artists on Noisetrade without really expecting much.  This group has been featured for a while so I downloaded a bunch of Page CXVI’s albums (all the ones on Noisetrade are free at the moment) today during class, and started listening about 30 minutes ago.  I am loving these renditions, especially Be Thou My Vision, and Come Thou Fount, which I came to love through Kassi Hemerka’s covers.

This group is extremely listenable, and if you’re always looking for more Christian Rock, I would definitely recommend you add this to your collection.  I didn’t see the above Coldplay cover on any of the available albums, but Be Thou My Vision and Come Thou Fount are among the tracks available for free download.

Get your FREE album downloads here.

Blitzen Trapper - Furr

I would not have heard of these guys if they hadn’t been on tour with Brandi Carlile for part of last year. Without listening too closely the one song that really stood out to me was “Furr,” partly attributed to the tambourine player’s literally full-bodied enthusiasm (kind of like this, but imagine arms like in jumping jacks).  I didn’t go out of my way looking for this song though until I heard it again covered by Damien Suomi when he opened for Man Man and Murder by Death.

Download it for FREE through this NoiseTrade tour sampler:

I haven’t listened yet to Dawes, the other band featured on the sampler.

Walk the Moon, Feb 6, 2013, Altar Bar

I first heard Anna Sun by Walk the Moon in a shop and it was so catchy that I shazam-ed it and posted about it.  When I heard they were playing at the Altar Bar, I was pretty excited since I’d never been before plus my friends were going as well.  So after some last minute ticket troubles I made it to the concert in time to see them.  First thing I was not expecting was how young the crowd looked.  Granted, I was standing in the under 21 area, but there were parents standing in the back.  The facepaint (I missed this memo) didn’t help either.  Despite the extreme crowdedness, and the youthful exuberance of the audience (there was some super enthusiastic jumping), it was an enjoyable concert.  These guys can sing!  Their harmonies matched perfectly the entire time regardless of their volume, which blew me away.  It was solid performing, but I’m not sure I’d make it out if there was a second time mostly because of how claustrophobic and sweaty it got (or I should just stand further back).  Only a couple songs really stuck with me (I’m maybe overly preoccupied by the folk genre at the moment), but these are definitely worth a listen.

Songs that stood out: Anna Sun, Tightrope

The Lumineers, Feb 5, 2013, Stage AE

I’ve been on a folk kick since October, so it was a no-brainer when my friend suddenly acquired tickets to a Lumineers concert the night before my exam a few weeks back at Stage AE.  I think I first heard about these guys because they were opening for Brandi Carlile in Pittsburgh back in June 2012.  Today, I hear “Ho Hey” on the radio sandwiched between Bruno Mars and Rihanna, which is awesome for the genre.  With sounds like Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men becoming mainstream I’m hoping it’ll only get easier to find great folk bands and music.  At any rate, I went into the Lumineers concert knowing only one song.  This was also my first concert at Stage AE so I had no idea what to expect.  What I did not expect was to have bits of their songs echoing in my head, or for them to come out in the middle of the audience to sing Ho Hey, or to leave with a vinyl in hand.  The audience was very enthusiastic, and the band was very energetic.  The cellist also participated in a significant amount singing, which the audience audibly appreciated.  This was one of those concerts that really solidified the band and album’s merits in my mind which would’ve otherwise remained amorphous.  I credit the Lumineers for miraculously breaking my season long addiction to Brandi Carlile’s songs.  This album is definitely worth a good listen (or several).  And by the way, I did just fine on the exam.

Some of my favorites (entire album is quite good):

Stubborn Love (this was excellent live), Submarines (this too), Flapper GirlClassy Girls, Dead Sea, Charlie Boy

There’s an entire live performance on kexpradio, and of course, the album’s on spotify.

Foster the People - Houdini (AllSaints Basement Sessions)

I didn’t think much of Foster the People’s song, Houdini, until I heard this acoustic version.  I love how different it sounds from the original, but how it still works so nicely on its own.  That opening guitar riff has been very stuck in my ear and I wish I had the dexterity to play it.  The music vid of the original is really awesome and worth watching too.