Archive for the Matt Pond PA Category

Free EP from Matt Pond PA

Posted in Matt Pond PA on December 1, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

Very quick post this morning because I wanted to share something that I found out about last night.

You may remember that I mentioned a band called Matt Pond PA a few weeks ago in my post about great bands I had discovered through other music blogs. Well, last week the group released a free EP online called Freeep. The EP contains nine songs (three instrumentals) and clocks in at just over 31 minutes of music. If you were intrigued by the earlier Matt Pond PA songs I posted here or are just a fan of the band in general, I highly suggest taking the time to download this disc.

You can read a bit about the project (and watch a video for “People Have a Way” from 2007’s Last Light) here. The entire EP is available for download here. If you like what you hear on the freebie, you can purchase more of Matt Pond PA’s music (and other stuff) from their online store.

Here’s a taste of the Freeep.

Matt Pond PA: Hearts and Minds (Download EP)
Matt Pond PA: Imperfect (Download EP)

Friday Top 5: Blog Finds

Posted in Andrew Bird, Let's Active, Matt Pond PA, Okkervil River, The National, The Weepies, Top 5 on October 31, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

There’s been a lot of talk around the blogosphere lately about the rash of takedown notices that were issued to several mp3 blogs last week. It seems as though certain labels have targeted blogs, and hosting sites such as Blogger have been removing entire posts without the knowledge or consent of their authors. At least one of my favorite blogs has called it quits over this… and others seem ready to follow suit.

Paul at Setting the Woods on Fire said it best when he said he always assumed he was doing the music industry a small favor by serving as an avenue of exposure for music and artists that might not otherwise have that exposure. I agree with that logic. I know that I have purchased music from artists that I would not have known simply because I found their music on one of the many blogs that I now enjoy. I also have anecdotal evidence to support the fact that people are going out and buying music that I feature here on A Fifty Cent Lighter and a Whiskey Buzz. The pie chart posted above (I have no idea where it came from or how statistically significant or valid it is) would seem to support the argument that responsible mp3 music blogging can be beneficial to the music industry and its artists. Some labels, obviously, don’t see things that way.

This week for the Friday Top 5, I thought it would be nice to take a look at five bands/artists that I have discovered through music blogs over the past year. These are all acts that I heard for the very first time after reading about them on-line and downloading a track or two from the blog where they were featured. I have since supported all of these artists by buying, either through itunes or at an actual music store, one or more of their records. I don’t think I would have bought any of their music had I not sampled it first through the efforts of my fellow bloggers.

Before I begin the Top 5, however, I feel the need to mention once again the band, The National.

I did not discover The National through music blogs. Rather, I discovered music blogs through The National. When Paste Magazine named The National’s Boxer as their top album of 2007, I had never heard their music before. My wife and I decided to do a quick google search to see what we could find. We found the blogs, and we found a whole new world of music.

The National: Slow Show (Buy Album)

Now… on to the Top 5. The time of year that I discovered mp3 blogs was the time of year when a lot of people were posting their “Best of” lists for 2007. Consequently, most of these acts are artists who appeared on multiple 2007 lists. For all of these artists, I will post one of the first tracks that I found online and one track that I purchased after the fact.

We’ll start with Andrew Bird. Andrew’s Armchair Apocrypha was seemingly on everyone’s list for 2007, and I was eventually tempted to test him out. As I mentioned last week, Apocrypha is a nuanced album that reveals something new on every listen. A dip into Bird’s back catalogue uncovers an artist who isn’t afraid to draw from a myriad of influences such as swing, jazz, folk, pop, and even ragtime. He is a former member of The Squirrel Nut Zippers and also teaches classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Here’s one track from Armchair Apocrypha and one from 2001’s The Swimming Hour.

Andrew Bird: Imitosis (Buy Album)
Andrew Bird: Core and Rind (Buy Album)

Next are Austin, TX based alt-rockers Okkervil River. Led by songwriter Will Sheff, Okkervil River is another group that just kept showing up on year end list after list with their sprawling 2007 effort The Stage Names. Unlike the “fake masterpiece” referenced in the first song I’m offering here, The Stage Names quickly became one of my favorites as well. It was a no brainer when the band released their follow up/companion album, The Stand Ins, in September of 2008… I had to have it.

Okkervil River: Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe (Buy Album)
Okkervil River: Pop Lie (Buy Album)

From there, we move on to Philadelphia’s Matt Pond PA, a band with a sound that infuses a healthy dose of pop into its indie-rock base. I was introduced to Matt Pond PA through the 2007 release Last Light and was instantly drawn to the buoyant sound and bouncy melodies on tunes like “Giving it All Away.” I later picked up a used copy of the 2005 effort, Several Arrows Later and found more of the same. From that album I’m offering an appropriate song for today… one called “Halloween.”

Matt Pond PA: Giving it All Away (Buy Album)
Matt Pond PA: Halloween (Buy Album)

On the more sensitive side of the spectrum is a husband and wife songwriting pair called The Weepies. I didn’t know it when I first found a few songs from their 2008 album Hideaway, but I had actually heard The Weepies before. It seems their music had been featured in television adds for The Gap and JC Penny as well as one of my favorite TV shows, How I Met Your Mother. The Weepies aren’t anything fancy, but I find myself comforted by their catchy folk-pop arrangements.

The Weepies: Hideaway (Buy Album)
The Weepies: Gotta Have You (Buy Album)

Finally, the only band on this list that is no longer active… jangle popsters Let’s Active. This is a band I’ve been aware of for some time due to lead singer Mitch Easter’s work with R.E.M. as the producer of some of their early albums. I had just never heard them before. Thank God for Setting the Woods on Fire‘s series on jangly music from the 80’s. I’m still searching for a copy of the 1983 EP Afoot that contains “Every Word Means No,” but I have found two of Let’s Active’s other albums. They’re both full of jangly goodness.

Let’s Active: Every Word Means No (Buy Album)
Let’s Active: Every Dog Has Its Day (Buy Album)

Again… this is just a small list of artists I’ve discovered through this wonderful community of music bloggers that I’ve recently become a part of. On the right hand side of this page you’ll find a blogroll with a list of other blogs that I enjoy reading. Each blog on that list has exposed me to something new or helped me learn something new about an artist I already enjoyed. Please take the time to check some of them out.

Bloggers are music lovers who simply want others to enjoy and experience the songs and artists they love. We aren’t out to wreck the system or destroy the artists we love. We just want to spread the word and spread the music. As always… If you like what you hear, please find some way to support the artists you’re finding on these blogs.

To help me support my earlier theory about people actually buying music they find out about from mp3 blogs, please leave a list of some of your favorite “blog finds” in the comments section. If you’ve purchased any albums you found out about on this site… that’s even better.