Monday, April 30, 2012

[Interview] The Glass Child Talks Music, Tears, and Ghosts

Meet Charlotte Eriksson. She's based out of London, but only after she decided to pack up and leave everything she owned and knew. She grew up in Sweden and has never been completely comfortable in her own skin; that is until she starts singing. She goes by the name, The Glass Child, and she has managed to build herself a career around music without any help. I recently had the privilege of talking with this determined young woman and had the chance to ask a few questions - some serious, others not so much. Hit the jump below to read through our conversation and hear an incredible voice from across the pond...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

[Download] Theme Park's "Two Hours" Remixed By RAC

It's a little poppy, but it's mostly funky and that's what sold me. I don't know much about the band Theme Park, but I've featured RAC numerous times. I'm well aware that the music these guys remix and produce is always worth a listen. They make songs bigger, better, and catchier - all without obnoxious bass drops or screeching synths. It's mellow and it's perfect. They took on Theme Park's song Two Hours last month and consequently created a pop-funk tune that is currently stuck playing over and over in my head. They say it best themselves as they "make it work." If you've never heard of RAC, an acronym for Remix Artist Collective, then you've been missing out for a while now. Improve your sub-par music collection with this one and jog on.

Two Hours (RAC Mix) - Theme Park

Download more of RAC's remixes HERE

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

[Read & Listen] Fitz & The Tantrums - Where Have I Been?

There have been times when I discover an artist farther down the road than I should have - largely uncontrollable, yet still embarrassing (Tommy posting about Michal Menert's new album literally hours after its debut is salt in the wound). This feature is example A; I'm just now getting my ears pleasured by the rock and soul group, Fitz & The Tantrums, and it's been two years since their latest album. Scold me all you want, but at least I'm not letting them slide under the radar completely.

Mayer Hawthorne fans will be over-the-top excited with this one. Fitz & The Tantrums are rocking the whole vintage soul sound well and have seemed to embrace it completely. What's their key to success? A badass vintage organ that gets worked in just about every song; that, and their dress is straight out of a time machine or the nearest Goodwill (basically the same things). But this organ, man does it make this band special. Call it fate: Fitz acquired it when his neighbors moved away, selling everything they owned. By a show of hands, who would take credit for this band's sudden rate of success if that had been your organ? Hell, I would, I'd be gloatin'.

Don't be fooled, however. Fitz & The Tantrums have the whole package with the following highlights: silky vocals from Fitz and Noelle Scaggs, a pivotal saxophone player in James King, and of course the mastered vintage organ played by Jeremy Ruzumna. So long story short, don't be like me and be behind on music you clearly shouldn't be. Listen up now, and develop a new favorite in Fitz & The Tantrums. A big shoutout to Mary Frances and Cliff for this one, you're keeping my head on straight. Oh and did I mention I'm making their entire album, "Pickin' Up The Pieces," available for full stream below? Yeah I'm late, but damn do I deliver.

Purchase more of Fitz & The Tantrums HERE

[Read, Listen, & Download] Michal Menert: The Next Big Thing

Michal Menert, an electronic artist under the Pretty Lights Music label, just released his second studio album a couple of hours ago, and damn is it good. “Even If It Isn’t Right” is a non-stop collage of beats and sounds that will keep you rocking all the way through. Menert starts off with a track simply called Hi where he introduces himself and the album that he plans to blow you away with. Every track is different, but the album completely merges all 27 of them all, mixing the tempos and effects perfectly.

Menert is currently in the middle of an eight-show tour, but I can almost guarantee that more shows will be added after this release. The dates of his remaining shows can be found here.

"['Even If It Isn't Right'] is emotionally moving throughout, while maintaining a style that can rock the hell out of a party."
- Pretty Lights

So whatever you’re doing right now, stop for a second and download “Even If It Isn’t Right” (and his first album, “Dreaming of a Bigger Life” while you’re at it) at the price you name. And be sure to keep up with Michal in the coming months on his facebook, because I’m sure that we’ll be seeing a lot of him in the near future. Enjoy.

Michal Menert - In the Clouds

Michal Menert - After the Rain

Download Michal Menert’s Music HERE

[Listen & Read] Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons

Sometimes you run across an artist or band who you may never have heard of, but come to find out that some of your favorite songs are actually covers of that very band’s originals. I had this little “slip up” when I came across Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons. Joseph is a 51 year-old who has been playing the guitar since the age of 15. Since then he has played with two accomplished bands: Little Women, who broke up back in the early 90’s, and his current band, Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons. 

The Jackmormons have had some great success in their years so far. Some of you, like me, may only know these Portlandians from the many covers that have been done by Widespread Panic including Climb to Safety, Chainsaw City, and North

 “After 17 years, this album brings together a lot of things 
I’ve always wanted on a record.” -Jerry Joseph

The band just released a new album last month and it is already turning out to be a hit. Although Joseph has released numerous albums by himself or with other artists, “Happy Book” is the sixth album out featuring him and the Jackmorons. The band’s facebook page describes the new album as the trio’s “most diverse and confident.” It has a wide spectrum of sound that is bound to keep you guessing. Below are a couple of tracks that capture some of what I am talking about, but in order to get the full experience, you’ll have to listen to the entire album here. Enjoy. 

Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons - Radio Cab

Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons - Happy Book

Check out more of Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons HERE 
Or you can see Jerry’s solo work THERE

Monday, April 23, 2012

[Listen] Reptar Releases New Album For Streaming

Awwww hell yeah. Reptar has done us an incredible favor by leaking their entire upcoming, debut album for streaming on their YouTube channel. Given it's an incredible tease, the streaming album, entitled "Body Faucet" is a brilliant marketing ploy. It worked for me at least, as I fully anticipate taking $7.99 out of my pocket on May 1st and clicking the order button on iTunes. Brilliant stuff that is making me want their distant, second album already - I can't get enough. 

They're an acquired taste for some, I'll be the first to admit it. In my opinion, it's wise to listen to their internet sensations, Sebastian and more recently, Orifice Origami. Both are upbeat anthems that make strong cases as to why Reptar is quickly becoming the indie powerhouse this year. From there, listen to the new album in its entirety and see how the band is able to pull off vibes that resonate a hipnotic Paul Simon. These guys are a weirdly awesome band; you may not understand what you're listening to at the time, but that feeling is pushed out of your tiny little brain and replaced by an impulsive urge to listen more and more. I'm telling ya... 

But for those quick to judge, here are the hot spots: Sebastion, Orifice Origami, Houseboat Babies, and Water Runs. Stream the whole thing after the jump below and grab the whole thing for your personal collection on May 1st.

Friday, April 20, 2012

[Spotify] Twang Records: Vol. 2

Well, it’s time for another volume of the Twang Records to get y’all ready for the weekend and all the festivities that may be in play. This week I tried to get some more variety for everyone and introduce a name or two that you might never have heard of. I’m always amazed at how wide of a spectrum the sound of bluegrass can have. From a song such as Dueling Banjos, which illustrates the sort of “call and response” many bluegrass tunes carry, to a rendition of a Modest Mouse song, which can be found below (For the rest of Iron Horse’s Pickin’ On Modest Mouse, click here).

It’s Friday, and the weather is looking promising; so here it is, The Twang Records Vol. 2 for your enjoyment. Plug this in, grab a chair, kick back, and enjoy.

UPDATE: We apologize for the broken tracks that were embedded. Due to technical difficulties, also known as copywrite laws, we couldn't successfully upload them to HulkShare or Soundcloud. So, we're doing the next best thing and turning the second volume of The Twang Records into another Spotify playlist. If ya got it, have at it below. If not, download it and commence with the streaming.

The track list is after the jump in case you have some stupid reserve.

[Download] The Preachers

The Preachers hail from Sydney, Australia and just released a really good song. This ain't no gospel, though, as The Preachers showcase a dirty, vintage rock & roll vibe on Take A Card. It's hard for groups to pull off the male/female duet well (at least in my opinion), but these guys have hit the nail on the head. Gideon Bensen and Isabella Manfredi - the vocals behind The Preachers - are brilliant together, and as a whole, the band emits a fun, foot tapping sound. 

But hey, wanna know the best part? They're giving some of their music away for free on their SoundCloud page, including this new bad boy. Have a gander after listening below, and if you're really digging The Preachers sound, you can buy their EPs on iTunes. Put down the cocktail, or have another, and listen to tha sermon...

Take a Card - The Preachers

Download The Preacher's music HERE
Purchase even more THERE

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

[Download & Listen] Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros Anticipate New Album

We all know the infectious whistle stampede that is Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zero's hit single, Home. It's literally impossible to refrain from whistling while listening (say that ten times fast). That is of course if you can't whistle, in which case it is impossible to refrain from thinking about whistling along. Long, and probably confusing sentence short: everyone loves Edward Sharpe's whistling music. I'm all over the place tonight (kinda like Sharpe's hair), so bear with me while I try and sell you on this band's upcoming album, "Here." 

Chances are you've become so wrapped up in Home's addictive sound that you have failed to notice how great the band's other music is. If that's the case (hopefully not), then we're in obvious need of counseling. I'll go ahead and put you down for an appointment on May 29th - pure coincidence that this just so happens to be the release date for the band's next album. This project, song by song on their SoundCloud profile, is being leaked to the public. Don't get your hopes up - if you want a download, you're gonna have to wait until May 29th, credit card in hand. I promise, however, that you will not only expand your appreciation for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, but you will also be purchasing one of the sure-to-be great albums of 2012. Cross my heart, hope to die. 

To tease your earbuds, I've included the leaks as of date from the new album, but in case you have the patience of a flea, you can download your little heart out on the band's community website. Get pumped, it's folk at its finest.

Download live tracks from 
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros HERE

[Listen, Read, & Watch] Old School Freight Train

Old School Freight Train is a band that many of you may not have heard of, but should all add to your music library and spread around. This five-man band is from my hometown in Charlottesville, Virginia. They're all the hype up there, and have quickly spread their sound to more listeners across the country. 

With standard bluegrass-based instruments, OSFT definitely covers the genre, however, they are also able to add that “new sound” that makes the band’s true sound harder to put a finger on. Nevertheless, Old School Freight Train isn’t trying too hard to be definable; rather, as lead singer, Jesse Harper, said, 

“We want to make good records that last, 
that you want to listen to more than once.” 

And I will vouch for them and tell you that they have done just that. With three studio records and several tracks including their covers of artists such as Wilco, Coldplay, and John Mayer, Old School Freight Train has left a big footprint in music history. 

I’m sad to say, however, that this group of talented musicians is not together anymore. After their album, “Six Years,” my personal favorite from their three, the band decided to pack it up. But be on the look out for the guys who have decided to continue their careers alone...Jesse Harper has already gotten a lot of publicity and shouldn’t be going away anytime soon. To listen to Old School Freight Train....

Check them out HERE
or watch "Heart of Glass" after the jump...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

[Survey] Help Make Beat Dropping Better

Here at Beat Dropping, we're dedicated to promoting new music from new artists. We're also here to entertain. Obviously, while Tommy and I are stooped in front of our computers, we enjoy what we feature. Without feedback, however, we really have no way of telling if we're doing things right. For example, my off-the-wall rants may bring a smile to my face, but for all I know, you could be scratching your head in confusion. We want to know what you like and what you don't like, what you want and what you don't want. It's simple really, and comes in the form of a survey that will take no more than 2 minutes. So help make Beat Dropping better and your experience greater by filling out the survey below... 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

[Listen] Sunday Lane's New Album, "From Where You Are"

Graceful, yet powerful - Sunday Lane's new album, "From Where You Are," is a dynamic showcase of talent from one of Beat Dropping's favorite singer-songwriters. I had the pleasure of asking Sunday a few questions a couple of weeks ago, and discovered she was anticipating a new project to debut soon. That day has come. 

Now I may be a little biased towards Sunday - I caught myself developing a crush last time we talked (the non-obsessive, purely admiring kind). Regardless of how I fancy this 22 year old singer-songwriter, it should become evident very quickly that she is special. She's classically trained on the piano, has hints of deep soul in her sweet voice, and carries herself in a happy-go-lucky manner. That combination carries through all 11 tracks. 

"I am most in my element when my hands are on the keys..." 

That statement seems to ring true on "From Where You Are." With the help of Zach Annett, who mixed and helped produce the project, Sunday's songs have a new feel to them that slightly (and positively) differs from her debut EP. It comes off rustic and at times muffled, but that is clearly part of the album's charm as each song tends to shake off the preceding vibe and breakout out into a beautifully produced and performed album. Either I'm speaking eloquently or I'm not making any sense; it's a fine line. So to play it safe, I'll give it to you like this: Sunday Lane is a 22 year old vocal wonder who has just released a great album. Go buy it.

Let Me Go - Sunday Lane

Purchase "From Where You Are" HERE

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

[Download] Riley Etheridge Jr.'s "Better Days"

Rock Ridge Music noticed we covered Tony Lucca and his NoiseTrade album last week and quickly let us know that his label mate, Riley Etheridge Jr., would be doing the same. Well, that day has come (technically it happened a few days ago but due to this thing we call institutionalized education, we fell behind a little). Regardless, Etheridge released the 4 track EP titled "Better Days" a couple of days ago on NoiseTrade, and by doing so, gave us a tiny glimpse of how talented he is. Respectfully, Etheridge opted out of the full band route and decided a trio lineup would better showcase his songwriting and vocal charm. In our opinion, as well as in his, he made the right decision:
"I am really pleased with the ‘live’ and spontaneous approach that we took. It was a completely different experience for me, which I enjoyed. I met Dan [Rieser, drummer] and Tim [Luntzel, bassist] after seeing them perform in NYC, and, on just a few days’ notice, they agreed to meet and track these songs with me at a studio in Brooklyn. It was done live over two brief sessions. I love how simple the arrangements are."
Now based out of New York, Etheridge originally began his music career in South Carolina, where he draws from musically. Etheridge's songs, both in this EP and his previous one in 2010, show hints of a blues and country fusion - an acquired taste to some, but undoubtedly infectious. Listen in on my favorite track (coincidentally the title track), Better Days, and then make your way to his NoiseTrade profile to grab this one free of charge (tip optional, friends). 

Better Days - Riley Etheridge Jr.

Download the "Better Days" EP HERE

Sunday, April 8, 2012

[Listen, Download, & Watch] Matthew Mayfield Records New Song, Announces May Tour With Ramirez

Matthew Mayfield, a singer-songwriter we've featured a few times before, has recently announced he's recording a new album and embarking on a May tour with fellow friend and Beat Dropping favorite, David Ramirez. That's some exciting news for us, and hopefully for you as well. Mayfield is one of my favorite artists in the folk game mainly because of his incredibly smokey voice and the passion he pours into each recording. 

His latest recording is no exception. Heart In Wire is a powerful performance - Mayfield has "been in the studio for the past few months carving away at new songs. It's evolved into something truly special and is by far the most personal and intimate record to date. [Mayfield] cut this one late one night--no headphones or metronomes--just a raw performance." To help the making of his new album, you can pledge however much you'd like here while you listen in and watch the live recording of Heart In Wire after the break below

As for the May tour, the east coast and midwest will be treated to two guys playing their hearts out. Traveling from state to state in a van, Mayfield and David Ramirez will play 18 shows, with some shows still to be announced. Check out the schedule here and see if you're lucky enough to be close to one of these acoustic duo's intimate performances. 

Purchase Mayfield's music HERE
Download music from Ramirez THERE

Saturday, April 7, 2012

[Listen] Hot Bodies In Motion's Debut EP

We've been finding and featuring more and more soulful rock lately; hopefully you're enjoying it, because we certainly are. The trend continues with a band that calls themselves Hot Bodies In Motion. They're a little over a year old, but with their debut project back in 2011, you'd never know it. Their music reminds me a little of Vintage Trouble, a band of similar style that we recently posted about - energetic and powerful. This four man band has a fun delivery and by all means that seems to be their goal. After all, they are in the entertainment business. Let's get you acquainted...

Ben Carson aka "The Medic," guitar and vocals - Ben is a full time student studying pediatric primary care. When he's not nursing wounds he can be found crooning in a stairwell somewhere with a brown-bagged PBR. He's standing second from the left.

Zach Fleury aka "The Diplomat," bass and vocals - After studying bass with Victor Wooten in Nashville, Zach moved back to Seattle to bring the funk into HBIM's sound. When Zach isn't horse-whispering, he's playing several shows a week and sponsors a child named Tim LoPresto. He's hanging out on the far right.

Scott Paul Johnson aka "The Guitar Tech," guitar and vocals - HBIM is Scott's first attempt at a band. With too much creative and sexual energy to keep inside, Scott found solace in crafting infectious baby-making jams. Scott Paul Johnson is a luthier, building and selling guitars for his livelihood. He's the one with the lion's mane hair. 

Tim LoPresto aka "The Mechanic," drums - Tim is a long-time friend of Zach's and spent several years touring the nation with his previous band, Byword. Not willing to admit HBIM is his rebound, he continues to whisper sweet-nothings into Scott's ear to assure him that HBIM is his one and only. He's the one I haven't pointed out yet.

Cool guys, cool music, an easy purchase for just $6. Stream their debut EP below and then head on over to their website to pick it up.

Purchase HBIM's debut EP HERE

[Listen] Michael Kiwanuka's Home Again

Michael Kiwanuka hails from London and is rocking this whole Otis Redding, Randy Newman vibe well. He's just 24 and he's more or less a blues and folk superstar overseas. He's currently on tour and coming to the States in June in order to spread his soulful jams further and further. 

Being so young and in the blues game, it's hard to imagine the guy having much success - success comes from hardship and wisdom in that neck of the woods. Kiwanuka's got plenty of both, however. His family escaped the Amin regime in Uganda, finally finding residence in Muswell Hill, London. Since then, Kiwanuka's been pursuing music and making a name for himself. His breakout album debuted in 2011 and it's only been a blur of success after: two EP's, supported Adele on her 2011 tour, signed a record deal, and won BBC's Sound of 2012 contest. Well hot damn, we've got a winner. Hang out this Easter weekend and relax with our personal favorite, Home Again. It's soulful, it's folksy, it's Michael Kiwanuka.

Home Again - Michael Kiwanuka

Purchase Michael Kiwanuka's 
music HERE

Monday, April 2, 2012

[Listen] Alabama Shakes' Debut Album

It's a grungy rock and blues played back in the 60's. It's Aretha Franklin with a better band that's more focused on the darker parts of life - but in a good way. The Alabama Shakes, which many of you may already know about, is a band based out of, as you would have guessed it, Alabama. The group members understand the preceding description, yet they want their music to reach new areas: 
“Retro soul is not what we’re going for, though it’s understandable why people say it. We take inspiration from that, but we all understand Black Sabbath, too. On the record, we left a lot of room for whatever we want to do in the future.” 
"Boys & Girls," the album and consequently the focus of this feature, is amazing. The band is expanding their potential by challenging critics' opinions, putting it in the form of music, and packaging it up as a 12 song album. This identity seeking album debuts tomorrow exclusively on iTunes, but the Shakes have been kind enough to give us a sneak peak on NPR's First Listen

The band's most popular track, Hold On, has been circulating the internet for a while now and serves as the catalyst for their success. Knowing that, it makes sense that "Boys & Girls" opens with the track. Call it strategy - listener hears a familiar, and most likely favored song first, and the listener is immediately pleased. The only place for the audio experience to go is down right? Nuh uh. Brittany Howard's voice is brilliantly nostalgic, and the band's musicianship is wildly entertaining. This one is a guaranteed top seller for 2012. Treat yourself right today and stream "Boys & Girls" over on NPR's site, then grab yourself a copy tomorrow on iTunes.  

Hold On - Alabama Shakes

Stream "Boys & Girls" HERE
Pre-order the album THERE

Sunday, April 1, 2012

[Download] The Delta Saints - Bourbon Fueled, Bayou Rock

Fast paced, bluesy, and downright soulful. The Delta Saints, not to be confused with Delta Spirit, are based out of Nashville, Tennessee. They've made a name for themselves; their style is somewhat contagious. They're gaining so much momentum in fact, that after bouncing around from show to show in the southeast (most notably, they'll be part of the Wakarusa Festival lineup), they'll be crossing the pond and playing in various countries such as Spain, Germany, and Belgium. 

My personal favorite from their collection is A Bird Called Angola, which showcases the band's ability to lay down some serious harmonica lines "that simultaneously tie the group together and threaten to tear it apart." It's an interesting dynamic that encompasses bluesy rock and funk. The end result, consequently, is a rambunctious sound that infects the ears, leaving you wanting more after every listen. So go on and get addicted...

Purchase The Delta Saint's music HERE