Time to Vote – Band of the Month May 2012

Time to get your vote on… man that sounds soooo wrong coming from me.  Okay, time to vote for Ear to the Ground’s Band of the Month for May 2012.  As stated before this will not the last Band of the Month poll, but it will be the last featuring Bands of the Week.  Tune in tomorrow to see what we have in store for June and forward.  In the meantime, here’s a recap of the three bands up for the honor.

As usual, the poll is located on the left side bar.  You can vote once per computer.  Voting will end at 8:00p.m. (Central Time – I think) on Tuesday June 5th.  Good luck to all the bands. 

WEEK 1:  The Joy of Painting (Nashville, TN) – Website, BOTW Feature

WEEK 2:  Sci-Fi Romance (Los Angeles, CA) – Website, BOTW Feature

WEEK 3: South of Ramona (Salt Lake City, UT) – Website, BOTW Feature

MP3: Lightouts – "Stray Boy"

 Critical Praise for Lightouts:

“Gowanus duo Lightouts resurrect the melancholy chug and darkly sexy swagger of bands like The Cure, Girls Against Boys, JAMC and Afghan Whigs and impolitely jam it into the drum machine crunch of contemporary locals like Sleigh Bells, Year Of The Tiger and the Death Set.”

– Chris Weingarten, The Village Voice

“I require precisely no convincing that Lightouts are brilliant, but if you’re in any doubt then by all means check out their new single, ‘The Cure For Shyness.'”
– Listen Before You Buy

“Best New Release”

– Indie Rock Cafe

The Song:

What happens when you mix an Is This It? -era Strokes verse with an anthemic Arcade Fire chorus and channel it all through The Shins? You get “Stray Boy,” the latest tune from Brooklyn’s Lightouts. The boys from Gowanus are back with the b-side to The Big Picture maxi-sinlge, out on 6/26.

The track was premiered yesterday by Filter, who had this to say: “Displaying their influences of The Cure and Guided By Voices proudly in their track, ‘Stray Boy,’ Greg Nelson and Gavin Rhodes deliver an upbeat song that’s fit for a windows down, slow driving summer day. ” While the deceptively slow intro may make you want to drive slowly at first, when the fast, punky, verse kicks in we think you’ll be punching it into overdrive.

Download “Stray Boy” here: http://media.audibletreats.com/Lightouts-Stray_Boy.mp3

Check out the premiere at Filter: http://bit.ly/L3wX93

via Audible Treats

Thursday Morning Music Shuffle – Colloid Suspension Mix

Hey ho! It’s the final day of May.  Remember tomorrow we will introduce a new feature on Ear to the Ground which will take the place of the ever popular Band of the Week, and hopefully move us forward in our mission to introduce you to the many talented artists putting out music around the world.  In the meantime, stay tuned today, I’m going to be posting our Band of the Month poll for May, and I also have a free MP3 of a brand new song.

Back to a real live music shuffle – the air felt good this morning, but there was definitely quite a bit of humidity in the air.  Storms are forecast for this afternoon, and as per usual, I am sans umbrella (did I ever mention that I hate umbrellas?) so I’m looking forward to the possibility of walking through a downpour this afternoon!

On to our shuffle:

First up:

I presented this song a couple of weeks ago in my post about The Bluefields.  Bluefield, Joe Blanton, before he was in Royal Court of China, was part of a local Nashville Thrash band called, The Enemy.  Today’s song is by The Enemy and according to the tag information on the download I got from Nashville 80s Rock – dot – net  , it is from a Cassette release called Tijuana Go! which was also the title of a song on Royal Court of China’s second album, Geared and Primed. Anyway, the song is Jesus Rides a UFO and I must say hearing this song always brings me back to the mid-80s.

Get the MP3 for Jesus Rides a UFO 

Bonus: Here’s the video for Take Me Down from Royal Court of China

Next you we offer you another track from the fabulous Jo Wymer, a bluesy, rockin’ lady from New Jersey.  That Kiss is on Jo’s 2011 album Living with Scars.

Bonus Video: Here is Jo Wymer doing Dirty Secrets another track from the album
Finally, we present the title track to the latest album by an amazing singer/songwriter who happens to share a first name with one of my daughters.  Young Man in America– the song – is sprawling, captivating and memorable.  Young Man in America  – the album – is a remarkable achievement.
Affiliated Links:

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Wednesday Morning Music Shuffle – Synthetic Mix

Took car for service = Got ride to work = no morning walk = no morning shuffle = a theoretical shuffle = sweet mix for you

First up is a Detroit band from the early part of this century. Ko and the Knockouts were signed to the Sympathy Record label and our track today, Black and Blue, actually comes from the compilation The Sympathetic Sounds Of Detroit which also featured a band called The White Stripes.  Ko Melina is now a member of The Dirtbombs and she is also a DJ on Little Steven’s Sirius XM Channel, Underground Garage.  Black and Blue rocks pretty damn hard…  Below you can hit up Amazon for the self-titled album  by Ko and the Knockouts.

Here is another Ko and the Knockouts song from the album.
Next up with a Brooklyn band called EndAnd.  The album is called Adventures of Fi in Space, and the song is Far in Between.

Next we have an acoustic version of We Can Make it Here by James McMurtry which was on his 2005 album Childish Things. A new version with Joan Baez and Steve Earle is out on a new 5 CD release called Occupy This Album which we have linked below. 
And finally, we have Peter Case covering Charlie Poole’s 1926 classic Leavin Home which comes from his landmark 2001 album Thank You St. Jude.
Charlie Poole’s original
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Angel Snow – Live at Eddie’s Attic – Free Download from Noisetrade

We recommended Angel Snow back last year sometime.  She is an amazingly talented singer/songwriter who my wife knows. Now is an excellent chance to catch up or catch on to her music. The folks at Noisetrade.com have a free* download from a performance at the legendary Eddie’s Attic (near Atlanta, GA).  Use the widget below and for the price of an e-mail address* the 6 song download will be yours.
*as with all Noisetrade offerings, the download is free, but if you like what you hear, and are able, please leave a tip to support the artist.

Tuesday Morning Music Shuffle – Too Shy to Two Shy Mix

Good morning, we are back after a three day holiday weekend. We’ve reloaded the May playlist with about 30 songs, and we have four songs today.

Before we get to the shuffle – some reminders, we announced last week that with our Band of the Week post about South of Ramona, we are discontinuing the Band of the Week feature which has been a staple on this site almost since we began.  Stay tuned because on Friday, we will unveil what comes next – hint: I think it will be a good thing both for the blog and for the bands we spotlight. 

To the shuffle:

  First up we dig deeper into the Resurrection record by our good friends The Dead Exs. Come Down Easy is another rough and ready bluesy rock number by this outstanding band.

 Here’s The Dead Exs doing All Over You & Nolita Stomp

Next, we go deeper into the Asterisk EP by recent Band of the Week, The Joy of Painting with a track called The Bird.

 Here’s The Joy of Painting doing The Bird live:
Next we have Rhode Island band, Brown Bird with a track off of 2011s The Sound of Ghosts called Ragged Old Town.
 Here is a performance of Ragged Old Town from the classroom

And, we close things out with a track off of Sondre Lerche’s 2002 album Faces Down. The song is called, You Know So Well. It is early 21st Century European Alt-Rock at it’s finest.

Affiliated Links:
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This Sondre Lerche download is available in DRM-free, MP3 192kbps format. Sondre Lerche MP3’s will play on iPod? and all MP3 players. Individual tracks and samples of the songs from this album are available by clicking on the product image on the left. Need help? Click here and search for “downloads” to learn more.

Band of the Week (Final Edition)- Year 2: Month 6: Week 3 – South of Ramona

Well this is it folks.  Band of the Week has been a huge success for Ear to the Ground, and has really helped up to connect with some really amazing people. You’ve probably noticed over the last couple of months that the weekly aspect of this feature has been lacking. Rest assured it is not from lack of suitable bands, in fact, it has been the opposite problem – the best kind of problem to have. The number of bands who have approached me to hear their music has increased, and trying to narrow down all the great music to one band of the week has been difficult. And so, it is mixed feeling, but a great sense of hope that I announce that this will be the final Band of the Week feature on Ear to the Ground (at least until I decide to revive it 😉 )  But don’t worry, as always, Ear to the Ground is dedicated to featuring bands on the rise, on the verge and on the edge. Next week, we will introducing a brand new feature which I think you will enjoy.  Meanwhile, Band of the Month polling will continue (details to be announced soon as to how this will work) and around the first of December we will be unavailing our Second Annual Band of the Year Poll to see who will follow in the footsteps of The Mobbs.  All 12 Bands of the Month (so far that is In Cages, MAKAR, The Gypsy West, Northbrook Garage and The Disappointment) will be up for Band of the Year, plus I will select up to 8 “Wildcards”.
But enough, we have one more Band of the Week to introduce.  South of Ramona are young band from Salt Lake City, Utah.  The band features: Keith Araneo on banjo, Michael “Thom” Brown on drums, Richard Dean on vocals and bass, and Eric Lo on guitar. 
South of Ramona – Demo
The opening notes of The Curse of Queen Laveau (which is the first song on the band’s Demo which they are offering for free on Bandcamp) are a haunting foreshadowing of the music to come.  The use of the banjo as lead on thee five song demo sets a plaintive – sometimes melancholy and sometimes wistful – tone.  Richard Dean’s vocals – especially when it stretches into a high register – sends a shiver down my spinal column).  
The second track is called Westward Souls. For some reason, I imagine the ghosts of the early settlers who died on the passage to California moving silently but surely through desert canyons and across vast mountain ranges toward their destination.  I’m not sure if that image is really what the song is about, but it’s the emotional response I receive from the music.
The next track Misery actually brings the tempo up in a cathartic dance of release. Despite the slight up-tick in tempo, Misery lives up to it’s title as the despair is clearly evident even in the midst of the lively folk dance around a smoldering campfire.
Robber’s Roost is a classic folk music story song. It keeps the tempo of the previous song, but the dance has ended, and the dancers have sat at the feet of the band to listen to the tale being woven through the bands unique layers of sound. 
Forgotten Memories‘ rollicking sound gets the dancers toes a tapping, and I found it hard not to move to the music. I really love the way the guitar and banjo interact and react to each other on this tune. The song and the demo end with an instrumental break which comes to an abrupt close which left me wanting more, which I suspect is just what the band had in mind.
South of Ramona are on Facebook and Twitter so go check them out. Like and Follow.  This is a band with a unique sound and bright future. They are in the studio working an album, and we will definitely fill you in on the details when they become available. South of Ramona will be playing a show in SLC at The Dawg Pound.  If you happen to be in Salt Lake tomorrow night be sure to check them out live and tell them hello from Ear to the Ground.
Will close with a video of the band covering the classic House of the Rising Sun, followed by the Bandcamp widget to grab the band’s Demo for free.

Later Days!