Thursday, August 30, 2012

[Look & Listen] Gary Clark Jr. Reveals Cover Art for Debut Album

[Sounds Like: Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Sheepdogs]

One of my favorite rockers, Gary Clark Jr., revealed the album cover (shown below - click to enlarge) for his upcoming debut full-length album this afternoon. I opened up the email carrying the news and thought one thing: Hendrix. Although the album's title and track list are still unannounced, we're catching major Jimi vibes. His music alone is fairly reminiscent of the rock & roll legend, leaving us in full anticipation for his first full-length effort that's set to debut on October 23rd via Warner Bros. Records. 

Your guess is as good as ours as to which songs will show up on Clark's debut album, but that's not to say we're gonna try and predict a few. You'll certainly see his recent hit, "Bright Lights," as one of the staples of the project, but as for the others, we're hoping to see "When My Train Pulls In" and "You Love Me Like You Say." Regardless of what ends up on the untitled album, though, be prepared to hear Hendrix in a new, soulful form.

Click to Enlarge Album Cover

Buy Gary Clark Jr.'s music HERE

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

[Listen & Remember] The Recycling Bin: August 2012

[Sounds Like: William Elliott Whitmore, The Oh Hello's, Matt Moberg]
See last month's Recycling Bin HERE

For this month's Recycling Bin, we chose to revisit three of our all time favorites (which really isn't saying much since we've fallen in love with every song on this website): William Elliott Whitmore, The Oh Hello's, and Matt Moberg. Each band and musician has incredible talent - some of it noticed throughout the states, while the rest is still widely undiscovered. Regardless of their level of fame in the music game, however, all three bring incredible works and attributes to the table. Hit the jump below to rediscover these guys and see what we're talking about...

[Listen] Tigers On Trains, Grey-Haired Dental Demons

[Sounds Like: a happier Bon Iver, a male Feist]
Post written by contributing writer, Rachel Rosenson

"And I realized the spirits/they lived in my feet/how they 
itched/and made me sane" -"Sea Weed"

Why this band is unsigned is a mystery to me, because stumbling across their albums brightened my day ten fold. After all, it's lyrics like this that make me love music. Simple but not obvious, poetically prophetic but not pretentious, a chant-able mantra but not overly catchy.

Tigers on Trains is an acoustic Indie-Folk band formed by Christian Van Deurs and Mason Maggio in 2006, backed by a band of a haunting harmony of vocals, trumpets, violins, and percussion. Individually the music itself is serene, the lyrics stick with you, but how they intertwine and create a soothing sound perfect for lazy Tuesday mornings makes them a favorite. Haven't fallen in love with them yet? On their Facebook page, the band describes themselves by saying, "There are grey-haired demons living behind our teeth; when we open our mouths they sing, mostly in imaginary keys." Their debut album, Grandfather, can be streamed below and their sophomore effort, Foundry, is now available for purchase.

Check out more of Tigers on Trains' music HERE

Monday, August 27, 2012

[Download] Spencer Hannemann & 40 Free Songs

[Sounds Like: William Elliott Whitmore, The Wood Brothers, Ryan Bingham]

This one blows my mind. Spencer Hannemann, a native of Irvine, California, is a singer/songwriter who has a quivering voice hand molded by folk angels. It's raw and emotional, but most of all, when accompanied by his acoustic guitar, it's irresistible. Hannemann released his full length album, 10 Songs, a week early (originally set to debut September 1st), and needless to say, he has my iTunes library working like a broken record. This freebie isn't Hannemann's first project, however. In fact, there are currently 40 songs spread out over 9 released projects that you can greedily grab for no charge (this would be the appropriate reaction). Don't ask me why. With his voice, each one of these projects could be bringing in the big bucks. But thankful we are, and complain we shall not. There's no better feeling than finding a few great songs (or 40) for free.

Oh, did I mention all 9 projects, including 6 EPs, and the full length album have been released in just the past two years? He doesn't know it yet, but Hannemann became our best friend today. Stream and download his new album below, then head over to his bandcamp page to download the new album and EVERYTHING else.

Download 40 of Spencer Hannemann's songs HERE

[Listen] The Mysterious Depressions of Nashville, Tennessee

[Sounds Like: Phil Collins, Steve Forbert, The Police]

It is extremely difficult to fail at finding something on the internet. Google alone has kept inquisitive minds at ease by compiling endless lists and finishing our sentences. But tonight Google, the internet, and myself stand relatively in the dark. I found The Depressions by way of their Bandcamp website, but any information further than their streaming album, Pas Tout La, seems to be fairly evasive. I've exhausted the search bar and completed their album. Despite finding next to nothing on the band, I came away with two impressions. First, they give Phil Collins a run for his money while instilling a youthful, funky vibe simultaneously. Secondly, the album cover for Pas Tout La seems to be a montage of the Carolina Cup, Boy Scouts, and a shady drug deal. Needless to say, I had high hopes before hitting the play button. Those hopes were just confirmed...

Stones // The Depressions

Rita // The Depressions

Purchase The Depression's debut album HERE

Sunday, August 26, 2012

[Listen] Jessie Ware, Another British Bomb Shell

[Sounds Like: Ellie Goulding, Donna Summers, Amy Winehouse]
Post written by contributing writer, Rachel Rosenson.

I don't know what's in the water across the pond, but these British women really know how to crank out some good stuff. Jessie Ware's debut album, Devotion, hit the streets running on August 20th, and her performance at the Oya Festival in Oslo shows it will only be picking up speed. Jessie Ware has a gliding voice that seems to be the unique conception of an Ellie Goulding meets Donna Summers circa 'Love to Love you Baby.' The voice in itself is angelic, but has a little kick in it (like her Brit counterpart Amy Winehouse) giving her a distinct sound that while it sounds sweet, lets you know Ware is not daddy's-little-girl. Her voice is paired over seemingly misplaced techno-influenced beats, but it is a Dorito's in peanut butter & jelly sandwich scenario - sounds wrong in theory, but it is so right in practice. "Running" may be her official single, but I have been playing the track "Strangest Feeling" on repeat. My suggestion? Put it on and bliss out. 

Strangest Feeling // Jessie Ware

Purchase Jessie Ware's music HERE

Thursday, August 23, 2012

[Download & Watch] Shakey Graves: Keeping Austin Weird

[Sounds like: Bon Iver, Ray Lamontagne, Railroad Earth]

If you take one part Bon Iver, two parts Ray LaMontagne, and add a little more soul and fire inside his twanging guitar, then what you have is singer- songwriter, Shakey Graves (formerly known as Alejandro Rose-Garci), from Austin, TX. This man is full of talent and may be a new favorite of mine. His rhythm flows, but in a speedy manner that brings along with it simply good ole’ southern music. Accompanied by a raspy, yet pure voice, Shakey Graves’ music is that which you will enjoy. 

With his recent album, Roll The Bones, Shakey Graves delivers music that really hits the nail on the head. And not only does he have that going for him, but Shakey Graves is also the kind of guy you’d like to sit down and have a beer (or two) with. And to back that opinion up, attached after the jump is a short clip with Shakey Graves on how he got his name and giving you a taste of what he is all about. Enjoy

Shakey Graves - Built to Roam 

Download the Rest Of 
Roll the Bones HERE

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

[Download] Trails And Ways, An Infectious Sound

The dream pop, electronic folk, and sometimes foreign speaking group known as Trails and Ways released visuals for their latest song, "Mtn Tune." For your personal well being, we feel compelled to let you know that the sounds you're about to hear are highly addictive and may result in the desire to climb a really large rock or run through a field with a bunch of your friends. It's not just "Mtn Tune," which debuted earlier this month, that will do this to you. It's the band's entire collection of enchanting dream tracks that will have you up and running. Sure, Play 60 is doing wonders for all the chubby kids out there, but Trails and Ways have something really special here. Hit the jump after listening to "Mtn Tune" below to watch the new music video... 

Mtn Tune // Trails and Ways

Download more of their music HERE

Saturday, August 18, 2012

[Preview] 5th Annual Music On The Mountaintop: Part 4 of 4

[Sounds like: Naked Gods, Rose's Pawn Shop, Monroeville, Salem Speaks]

The promotional madness that is the 5th annual Music on the Mountaintop preview that's unfolded over the past three days is sadly coming to a close. We're nearing a new type of chaos next week, however. Bluegrass, folk, jazz, and almost everything in between will flow from the mountaintops of Boone, North Carolina. It'll be quick - just three days - but it will almost certainly be perfect. Chaotic perfection: only obtainable by music itself. 

We only need to cover four more bands in order to complete our 16-band preview of this year's MOTM lineup. We'll be closing out with Naked Gods (they're far from the reality), Rose's Pawn Shop, Monroeville, and Salem Speaks. I swear, if you haven't already bought tickets to this music festival by the time this preview is over, I will kick a puppy. Hit the jump below to prevent such an atrocity...

Friday, August 17, 2012

[Listen] Lucy Rose, Giving Ellie A Run For Her Money

[Sound like: Ellie Goulding, Birdy, Florence + The Machine]

Lucy Rose, a London based singer/songwriter, has a voice that'll make you feel like staying in bed on a rainy day. It's reminiscent of fellow Brits Ellie Goulding and Birdy, so it's no surprise she quickly caught my ear. I don't know much of her music, but her song Middle of the Bed (ironically enough) is one that makes me wish I had discovered her long ago. 

There must be something in the water over in Europe because time and time again we've seen ladies with amazing voices spill their emotions out. Her music is fairly delicate; most songs and videos seem to revolve around self reflection and relationships. There's nothing wrong with that, and in fact, it's probably the most relatable subject matter for songs nowadays (just ask Adele). Don't think I'm complaining, though. Great music is great music, and Rose seems to have found the key to producing just that. We're anticipating her new album, "Like I Used To," to release on September 24th. You can go ahead and pre order the album now on iTunes, but for a sneak peak of some of its songs, hit the play button below. Enjoy

Thursday, August 16, 2012

[Preview] 5th Annual Music On The Mountaintop: Part 3 of 4

[Sounds like: Holy Ghost Tent Revival, The Black Lillie's, Natural Bridge, River Whyless]

I'm sure you've already bought tickets to this year's Music on the Mountaintop festival. I mean after the first 8 acts we've featured, the decision to go should be a simple one. It's chalked full of amazing talent and to add icing to the cake, Railroad Earth is hosting (and teaching). The enhanced focus on musician and fan interactions makes the 5th annual MOTM a special one. But, if for whatever reason you need more convincing, here are four more bands that will be strutting their stuff on stage in Foscoe, North Carolina August 24th-26th. Hit the jump below and learn a little bit about Holy Ghost Tent Revival, The Black Lillie's, Natural Bridge, and River Whyless...

[Download] Wheeler Brothers, Solid Southern Rock

[Sounds like: The Dirty Guv'nahs, Eastbound Jesus, Futurebirds]

It's been a while since we've featured some good ole southern rock. The Wheeler Brothers, based out of Austin, Texas, are filling that void. These guys are an all American band with an all American story - the majority of the band was formed in a bar at LSU. Yeah, a couple of guitars were picked, but mostly they joined forces out of sheer appreciation for each other and beer. In return, the band has formed a tight bond that has allowed them to tour relentlessly. They've dedicated their lives to a sound we're growing in love with. That isn't to say it's been hard for us. The Wheeler Brothers have an easy listening, soft rock appeal to them. Think of a more subdued Dirty Guv'nahs (who just released their new album, by the way). 

These guys released their first album last year under the title Portraits, and it's a must listen if you are even remotely intrigued by the tracks below. We're pretty confident you will be. So go ahead and stream (and download) a few songs from the album below, then head over to their website to purchase the physical album for just $10. No brainer...

Purchase a physical of Portraits HERE

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

[Preview] 5th Annual Music On The Mountaintop: Part 2 of 4

[Sounds like: Greensky Bluegrass, Futurebirds, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Hackensaw Boys]

If for some ridiculous reason you were not sold on the 5th annual Music on the Mountaintop by the first four artists and bands featured, then here are four more to continue the persuasion. We're taking a look at Greensky Bluegrass (one of our favorites), Futurebirds, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and The Hackensaw Boys this time around. The more and more time we spend talking about this year's MOTM makes us that much more excited. Join us in our puddles of drool by hitting the jump below...

[Download] Robert Francis Eases Us Into His New Album

[Sounds like: Iron & Wine, Joshua Radin, Griffin House]

You're driving along a winding highway chiseled out along a mountain's rocky, blue-tinted side. Let's say you're behind the wheel of a Jeep Cherokee with wood paneling (product placement? I wish). You've got your lab in the passenger seat, his head out the window, tongue flailing in whichever direction it chooses. Oh, and you're wearing flannel and have an awesome, poorly groomed beard (it's just a phase). It should be noted, also, that this whole scene is being filmed in somewhat-slow-motion. 

This short film has to have music, right? Shit. What do we use? Robert Francis, that's who. 

Robert Francis goes along with the above scene like a kid goes with Elmer's. It just works, and once you listen to Francis's new album, Strangers In The First Place, you'll certainly feel the same way. The guy hails from Los Angeles and he's been playing the piano before his feet could touch the pedals and the guitar since he was 7. It's no secret he's talented, but a little promoting never hurt. Stream three songs from his new album below and then head over to NoiseTrade to grab a few tracks for free plus an optional tip (leave a tip). 

Download the NoiseTrade sampler HERE
Purchase the whole album THERE

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

[Preview] 5th Annual Music On The Mountaintop: Part 1 of 4

[Sounds like: Railroad Earth, Sam Bush, JJ Grey & Mofro, Dr. Dog]

In a summer that has seen its fair share of chaos - from Frank Ocean's controversial confession to Carly Rae Jepsen's some-how hit - it's nice to know there is some element of stability we can rely on. I'm talking about Music on the Mountaintop (MOTM), a festival located in Foscoe, NC (just outside of Boone) that is dedicated to a greener world and great music ranging from funk to bluegrass and everything in between. This year, come August 24th-26th, marks the fifth year MOTM has been in operation. Recently partnering with the newgrass powerhouse, Railroad Earth, MOTM is headed in a slightly more defined direction this year.

There seems to be a large focus on the musicians' relationship with the fans; countless workshops and band interactions appear to be the driving force. From "Zen and Art Improvisation" to "Mandolin 101" (notably taught by the likes of Sam Bush, Andy Goessling, and John Skehan), the 5th annual MOTM is not only set up to be the greatest yet, but also the most unique. 

In order to get you up to speed on this year's lineup, Beat Dropping has decided to preview a heaping portion of the artists and bands involved - 4 a day for the next 4 days. We're kicking things off tonight with the festival's headliner Railroad Earth, then on to the likes of Sam Bush, JJ Grey & Mofro, and Dr. Dog. Hit the jump below to start your virtual meet-and-greet with the 2012 Music on the Mountaintop lineup...

Monday, August 13, 2012

[Download] Shovels & Rope Make A Knockout Pair

As far as male-female duos go, Shovels & Rope rank pretty highly. They give Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros a run for their money as their harmonized banters quickly infect ears. The attraction is deeper than a meant-to-be Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, though. Shovels & Rope keep it simple with their "sloppy tonk music" - a couple of junkyard instruments and the handkerchiefs holding them together. It's this last minute folk romping that makes them so addicting. They bring about the childhood ambitions of being rockstars we all shared once (or still do). 

There's a very quick way to become addicted to Shovels & Rope: listen to their single, "Birmingham," from their latest album, O' Be Joyful. Click. Boom. Addicted. Once you've checked that off your list, go ahead and spin the entire album, which debuted on July 31st. The whole project is a rowdy folk rock parade that is a little bit of rustic perfection. So go ahead and begin the addiction by listening to and downloading "Birmingham" below. You'll be purchasing one of the best albums (and possibly an attractive tee) of the summer shortly after... 

Birmingham // Shovels & Rope

Download "Birmingham" HERE
Purchase the entire album THERE

Sunday, August 12, 2012

[Watch] Willy Moon's "Railroad Track"

[Sound like: Jack White, Lana Del Rey, Vintage Trouble]

Willy Moon is slicker than Danny's hair at prom. He's soulful, he's edgy, and he never smiles - Moon belongs in the 60's. The New Zealand born and London based rocker has recently partnered with Jack White's Thirdman Records and is set to release his new single "Railroad Track" on August 20th. 

The song itself is a perfect collaboration of Moon's soulful voice, a catchy whistle, and an even catchier beat sampled from Kanye West's "Jesus Walks." Add in fleeting images of a rundown town, the grim reaper, and fireworks, and we have a very peculiar work of art. A little bit spooky, but much like Moon himself - edgy. Anticipate "Railroad Track's" release later this month, but for now, hit the jump below to watch the music video...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

[Download] David Wax Museum Set To Release New Album Next Month

[Sounds like: Mandolin Orange, Mumford & Sons, Frightened Rabbit]

Every time I listen to or see the David Wax Museum live I get an image of riding a train's caboose and  jumping off the back into a wheat field. It has something to do with the band's infectious high energy level and their playful interactions with the audience. It's no surprise that when the David Wax Museum plays, they have every willing ear stomping their feet and clapping their hands. Being able to rally a large group of strangers is a valuable skill in the music world, especially when trying to build your fanbase. Just ask bands like Mumford & Sons - it helped place them on top of the world overnight. And this evening, David Wax and Suz Slezak, the faces of David Wax Museum, will be playing in front of 12,000 festival heads on the main stage at the Edmonton Folk Festival in Canada. Performing numerous songs from their new album, Knock Knock Get Up (set to release on September 4th), Wax and Slezak hope to make their mark. 

Their music draws from numerous influences but they label their sound as Mexo-Americana - a mix of Mexican folk and American root music. It's unconventional, but it's also entertaining: we have a wirey, dark eyed Missourian strumming a ukele to our left and a "Southern Belle rattling the jawbone of a donkey" on our right. Sounds good to me. Listen to a track from Knock Knock Get Up below, then head over to NoiseTrade to grab a free sampler

Born with a Broken Heart // David Wax Museum

Download the album sampler HERE

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

[Watch] Mumford & Sons Up Our Heartbeats With New Single

[Sounds like: The Avett Brothers, Of Monsters And Men, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros]

We're counting down the days until Mumford & Sons release their long anticipated sophomore album, Babel, on September 24th. We've gotten sneak peaks at the project in various formats - some of the new songs have worked their way into the band's set lists as far back as the Pinkpop Festival in late May. Needless to say, our mouths have been left slightly ajar ever since, drool building up on our keyboards. These puddles of drool are only getting worse as the band released "I Will Wait," the first single from Babel, today. It's every bit Mumford as you'd expect - the band has verbally shared their intentions of staying true to their world famous, foot stomping, singalong sound. 

"The ingredients are very much the same; the four core instruments and a lack of a drummer, which can give it that strange, simple, unique sort of sound, " Ted Dwayne (string bass, vocals) says. "I don't think we were looking to be too crazy and experimental." 

The themes, however, seem to be more focused on heartbreak and longed companionship. The band has been touring relentlessly around the globe since releasing Sigh No More three years ago, and the second album seems to be a symbol of the homesickness involved in the tour. Homesick or not, Mumford will no doubt deliver a remarkable second project. It's like the album's producer, Markus Dravs, says: "If it ain't broke, why fix it?" Hit the jump below to watch the video for "I Will Wait" and let the drooling commence...

Monday, August 6, 2012

[Download] John Butler Releases 2012 Version of 'Ocean' for Free

This song is why John Butler is my favorite musician. Today he released the 2012 version of his ever changing instrumental masterpiece known as Ocean. In addition to giving us a mesmerizing video capturing Butler in his own home recording studio, The Compound, Butler is giving the track away free of charge. The gesture comes as a simple thank you to his fans for their continued support.

"Ocean is a very interesting aspect of my life," says Butler. "It's part of my DNA. It conveys all things I can't put into words. Life, loss, love, spirit. As I evolve, so too does Ocean." 

First recorded when Butler was distributing cassette tapes as albums while street performing, Ocean is simply a work of art (over 25,000,000 views of the song in various formats on YouTube is a testament to this). From a relentlessly dented guitar to his grimy hair, John Butler is a nothing short of a modern day legend. Hit the jump after streaming the newly recorded version below to see him in action.

Download Ocean (2012 Version) HERE
Purchase Butler's music THERE

[Watch & Download] Space Out & Get Lost

There's a difference between a slow song and a song that you can get lost in. A slow song plays at the end of a middle school dance, your hands inching closer and closer to the girl's hips - leave room for Jesus. A song you can get lost in however, has the ability to wrap its notes around you, throwing you into the depths of ambient, echoing sounds. This kind of music sometimes gets overlooked. Bon Iver is a prime example: absolutely beautiful music, but can easily be disregarded because of their stripped down (and consequently unfamiliar) style. 

To hell with the norm, though. Space out and get lost in music that is neither mainstream nor energetic. It can be sad, it can be calming, and it can be some of the most moving music you ever hear. Here's to losing yourself in sound. Hit the jump below.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

[Look & Listen] The Best Gig Posters: YMSB, The Avett Bros., & The Black Keys

Without a doubt you've heard of the following three bands: Yonder Mountain String Band, The Avett Brothers, and The Black Keys. They all have something in common besides great music, however - great concert posters. We meticulously combed through hundreds of them in order to bring you each band's top 6. Chosen simply because they caught our eye, these gig posters are some of the most beautiful around. Hit the jump below to see which ones made the cut... 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

[Download] New Group, Misun, Releases First EP

[Sounds like: RAC, Florence + The Machine, Adele]

Whoa. This is kind of cool. It's like (try and stay with me) if you went to a Laser Quest with a bunch of your friends. You're running around in the dark trying to shoot everyone when you finally lock onto your fattest friend. You're closing in on him when you round a corner and there's Florence Welch joining in on the chase but she has an acoustic guitar instead of a gun. Regardless, it still shoots lasers. Right when you think you can tag both of them, the floor opens up and everyone falls into a lukewarm pool. All you can think to say after you come up for a breath of air is, "Whoa. This is kind of cool." 

That, as far as we're concerned, is the most accurate visual representation of what Misun, the newly formed band from DC, sounds like. So what are their choice of words for their sound? Just two: Aqua Wave. I like our description better, but either way, Misun should have no trouble grabbing attention if people just give it a listen. The band, comprised of Misun Wojcik (vocals), William Devon (guitar), and Nacey (keys and production), released their first project as an official group back on July 7th. Luckily for all the stingy folk out there, it's free. I shouldn't even have to say this, but be sure to follow these guys; they have the potential to go somewhere (coming to a Laser Quest near you?) Stream and download the entire EP via T&A Records below.