buck curran - standing rock plain

singer/songwriter and guitarist buck curran has released a song to benefit the water protectors of standing rock, north dakota, who, though the story has dimmed in the collective consciousness since a victory in december, are still fighting against the installation of an oil pipeline through sacred lands.

needless to say, all the proceeds from the purchase of this song (you get a few versions of it along with a beautiful instrumental piece called 'zitkala-sa' for a $4 donation) will be passed on to that effort. if you want to donate directly to the water protectors, go here and/or here (those are the official water protector links).

get it here. keep this cause in your mind, at the very least. this is a fight that has been going on for centuries and is nowhere near being over, and the continued existence of human beings on earth is at stake.

skin arrangement - favorite enzymes

skin arrangement is the solo recording project of minneapolis singer/songwriter steven lamfeer. the songs collected on the debut release, 'favorite enzymes' sound somehow like 'skin arrangements' (which is apparently an english translation of the latin in 'taxidermy')...dryly recorded, ethereal fingerstyle guitar and high, fragile singing, with lyrics full of stark imagery and dire warnings.

these are intriguing songs in the classic dark tradition of loner, downer folk. occasional overdubs of vocals or other guitars add brief moments of enhanced psychedelia and strangeness. recommended.

name your price for it here.

where the flowers grow (contron is dead)

contron is a bedroom recording project from georgia with a deep bandcamp discography from the past few years. the latest contron release is called 'where the flowers grow (contron is dead)'.

the album begins with the interesting move of using bandcamp to make the last song, which is the title track, the 'featured track', so if you just hit 'play', you hear that and it stops. i always find it interesting how artists make use of bandcamp's parameters to influence the experience of the album. in this case the artist has used it to force you to experience the end at the beginning, whatever that might mean to you. the album has an overarching theme of sleep and death, and the simple, lofi guitar/vocals bedroom pop arrangements sound as if performed from a trance. despite that affectation, the sense of melody and experimentation is apparent. recommended.

name your price for it here.

greg mahan - mountain boy

greg mahan is a cincinnati, ohio singer/songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist. his most recent album is called 'mountain boy'. it's a song cycle of 'pessimistic children's songs', themes which were apparently brought to greg's mind by the process of raising children in an uncertain world.

the songs are rich and evocative in their lyrical imagery, and they twist and turn in their arrangements and melodic sensibility. the guitar playing is excellent and exciting, showcasing a fluid fingerpicking style in a variety of exotic tunings. greg could definitely pull off a guitar soli style album, but in this case he has something to say.

get it here.

swain - s/t

swain is a dreamy rock recording project from sacramento, california. they have recently released a full length, self-titled debut. the music is lilting, slow, and reverb heavy. gauzy spaced out guitar pop with maximal guitar layering, light touches of shimmering electronica and whispery, intimate vocals.

the album includes a good cover of the b-side to big star member chris bell's lone officially released solo single, 'you and your sister' (i love that song). the slowed-down-power-pop jam 'suburban kicks' is a favorite. to me, 'swain' contains the laid-back sounds of a late summer album, it brought a little heat to my frozen january.

name your price for it here.

michael wohl - windblown blues

michael wohl is a seattle based guitarist whose previous releases have been in a takoma school guitar soli style. his latest album, 'windblown blues', out now on self released cassette and CD, showcases his proficiency in that mode while moving beyond it into country/rock singer/songwriter territory.

the album opens with an american primitive guitar rag accompanied by a grinding cello called 'animals'. the next jam however, a traditional interpretation of the leadbelly song 'in the pines', reveals laid-back vocals and old-time string band production. the featured track, an original called 'if i could', is full on harvest-era neil young country rock, with a loping rhythm section, harmonies and weepy pedal steel. the rest of the album visits spots up and down this range of styles with a consistent commitment to musicianship and folk traditions. one exception the the aesthetic is stand out number 'ribosome', which is an unexpectedly heavy psychedelic latin infused instrumental rock jam with a juicy solo. recommended.

get it here, in your format of choice.

ak'chamel, the giver of illness - transmissions from boshqa

'transmissions from boshqa' is the latest album from shamanic world/punk/folk band ak'chamel, the giver of illness. the idea behind this release is that it contains shortwave radio transmissions from exotic locations that don't exist. the music blends eastern scales, stone age vibrations, and ennio morricone flourishes with western psychedelia, improvisation and lofi sound collage techniques.

i believe this band caught an endorsement from alan bishop, which makes all the sense in the world. recommended. the cassette is out now on italian label artetetra.

get it here.

timed egg - atmosphere document

billy brett, the vocal/percussion half of well-known noise/punk/industrial/blues band buck gooter, cannot contain his musical experimentation to just a few different acts. his latest solo project, under the name timed egg, is an effort to push the boundaries of creativity by imposing strict limitations on the physical processes involved in making music. the album, 'atmosphere document', was recorded using only drum machines and effects pedals triggered with vocals and vocal loops. the performances were improvised and recorded on tape. i'm not exactly sure how that triggering process would work, but it reduces the distance between performer and result to create an intimate immediacy that billy seems to strive for in all his work.

this music is atmospheric, as the title suggests, but it brings to mind relativity, as in the atmosphere contained in a single breath, coexistent with the atmosphere of an entire world. spaces big beyond imagining and extremely tiny. this coexistence is invoked as waves of ambience flood on top of minimal, plopping hits and negative space. the lengthy improvisation of 'AD 3', at nearly 8 minutes, manages to work the drum machines into synth-like territory towards its climax, for a sound like a chorus of dancing space creatures.

name your price for it here.

hartley c. white - something better

hartley c. white is a new york/jamaican musician who invented his own style of music called 'who-pa-zoo-tic' (explanation: "a non-classical music utilizing a broken rhythm; 'who': indicating a lack of restrictions and ability to change while still remaining unknown, 'zoo': indicating life in its various forms and conditions"). his latest album 'something better' sounds like a lofi blend of poetry, free jazz, punk and industrial music, with the looming influence of dub reggae and funkadelic. if you think of most rock/pop type bands as being oriented around the rhythm of the drum kit, think of hartley's music as being oriented around the fragmented beat of his poetry, which manages to be both forceful and laid back in its delivery.

the themes are life-affirming, in the sense of being protective of all life against the forces that might favor other priorities, and revolutionary. the backing band/production team consists of the folks behind the can't-say-enough-good-things OSR label, including founder zach phillips and singer/songwriter christina schneider, who have been tending the fire of hartley's music over a series of albums. the release of 'something better' unfortunately marks the end of OSR. everything in their catalog is on deep sale, and the whole digital catalog is less than $30 at the bandcamp. goes for good in june. act now. this hartley c. white record is highly recommended, and everything on OSR is great.

get it here, while you can.

joplin rice - nine songs

dedicated readers of MFOA might know kentucky singer/songwriter joplin rice as a repeat contributor and from his cassette release on practice records. late in 2016 he returned with a new album called 'nine songs', a collection of stately, melancholy compositions that are perfect for the reflective vibes of a bitter cold january morning.

the production on 'nine songs' is lush in it's restraint, featuring tightly doubled vocals and the interplay of two acoustic guitars, with the occasional piano. this intimate combo makes it hard not to think of elliott smith when it's done this well. joplin's guitar playing is as deft and acute as the emotional tenor of his songwriting across these nine heartbroken stories. i can't get enough of the silvery solo for classical guitar that opens the final track, 'over again'. highly recommended. while you're at it, go to practice records and buy a cassette of his older album 'low hum', there are a couple left.

name your price for 'nine songs' here.

johnny chastain - plot points to nowhere

'plot points to nowhere' is the most recent album by chicago singer/songwriter johnny chastain, who also produced and handled most of the instrumentation on it.

the music occupies that niche between punk and the american songwriter rock tradition carved out most memorably by the replacements...it's hard driving and has an edge, but it has audible roots in classic forms of americana and early rock'n'roll and a personal, confessional vibe. it's well done and the songs range from straight up rockers to heartfelt ballads.

get it for free here.

dusken lights - in the service of the spring

dusken lights is an australian folk/pop/rock band. their debut album is called 'in the service of the spring'.

the band has a rich sound to match their complex songwriting, fleshed out with layers of percussion, lush strings, and voices in a smooth chamber folk style. the lyrics tend towards the mysterious and romantic.

get it here.

flower politics - new beginnings

flower politics is the new name for a houston, texas singer/songwriter who has contributed here a few times under the name kill the intellectuals. her new album is called 'new beginnings', an appropriate title for her new nom de plume and a new approach to recording.

the songs remain intimate and sparse in a folk/punk style, her lyrics stripped to the bone of her emotional reality, but the production is a bit less lofi than in the past, which enhances the deeply personal and unflinchingly introspective qualities of her songwriting.

get it here.

reid karris - lacrimis de ex arborum

'lacrimis de ex arborum' is the latest album by chicago experimental composer reid karris. i think the title means 'the tears of the trees'. each song is an improvisation for percussion and prepared guitars, named after a different species of tree.

i hear each free/noise/jazz jam on this album as a meditation on the suffering of trees under the anthropocene regime. worth listening to, worth thinking about. the album is available from the greek netlabel plus timbre.

get it here.

c.strøm - home sweet home

if you know MFOA you know i love c.strøm, he had a song on the practice records best of MFOA comp, and his retrospective release for dying for bad music featured in a piece on my favorite albums of the year i wrote for fellow-travelling-website i heart noise.

c.strøm's latest just went public, so here it is. 12 more tracks of his signature lofi take on american folk music, as informed by a life on the remote coast of norway. includes an excellent version of 'angels laid him away'.

get it here.

the moonage shine - catacombs EP

texas based band moonage shine creates music that, to use a very cliche description, would work great as a movie soundtrack.

i normally wouldn't use such a tired way of describing music, but it fits moonage shine, because the sonic textures and evocative lyrics of their washed out psychedelic ghost country jams tend to make you imagine a movie in your head: a slow road movie full of deserted highways, haunted motels with faded neon, abandoned churches and old farm homesteads, all in soft focus. that's what their latest release, 'the catacombs EP', feels like. check it out.

get it here.

sundog - dead stops symmetry

sundog is one of several names used by boston musician jonathan nankoff. his latest album for this identity is called 'dead stops symmetry'. it features some songs you might recognize if you were a fan of jonathan's live album, released earlier this year on dying for bad music. on 'dead stops symmetry' jonathan takes his eccentric and personal songs and twisted avant garde guitar playing and fleshes it out with sparse overdubs. the concurrent parts are often very similar, perhaps a nod to the 'symmetry' in the title.

the music is reminiscent of jandek but a lot more deliberate sounding and oriented around unique song structures. jonathan nankoff has a one of a kind guitar style, which you can hear expressed by itself on another bandcamp where he keeps his guitar soli work. all his stuff is recommended.

get it here.

jungle h. green - eight doo-wop gems

'eight doo-wop gems' by chicago musician jungle h. green is the kind of thing i really love to find in the MFOA inbox. with the exception of a cover of bobby darin's 'dream lover', the doo-wop gems here are all original, mostly recorded lofi style with and air organ, snare drum and handclaps.

there are exceptions, such as 'oh, mary' and 'all my love is gone', which seem to be recorded over other existing songs, making for a spectral, post-modern effect. for the final track, 'you ran away with my heart', jungle enlists the help of a few other musicians and a studio to produce the track a little smoother, making for a gentle end to this beautifully strange and anachronistic piece of art.

get it here.

woodsy pride - live at the all hands house

brooklyn based rock band woodsy pride sent me their christmas album to share, but i have trouble getting a handle on a band's sound based on holiday music so i'm sharing their latest non-christmas release, 'live at the all hands house'. the live setting is good for woodsy pride, the subtle interplay and musical connection between this power trio is immediately apparent.

the music has that classic quality of being tight and loose, soothing and exciting, at the same time, and the tones sound great captured live into a tape machine. there is a timeless quality that lands somewhere between jam band chops and weirdo folk charm. recommended.

get it here.

mr. mom/teflon beast - present tense (raw sounds #3)

mr. mom is an austin, texas based musician who uses his 'teflon beast' bandcamp page to host weird sounds from him and a variety of collaborators. i figured i'd share the latest mr. mom release that was not christmas themed, which is called 'present tense (raw sounds #3)'.

it's a lengthy collection of instrumental hip-hop beats built out of keyboards, drum machines and an eclectic bunch of samples. the samples are listed and range from bach to seinfeld. the beats flow together well, the lengthy collection of short compositions reminds me of listening to a j dilla beats record, like 'donuts'. highly recommended.

check it all out here.

lucas biespiel - tired of singing love songs

lucas biespiel is a portland, oregon based singer/songwriter and violinist. he works solidly in the realm of americana and roots music. his latest EP is called 'tired of singing love songs'. it's a collection of melancholy, blues inflected folk songs.

the delicately finger picked guitar has a dusty tape warble to it and lucas's high, clear voice has a warm reverb, giving the production a late night living room feel.

name your price for it here.

roy peak - all is well

roy peak is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in jacksonville, florida. he sent me a cover of gillian welch's 'look at miss ohio' to check out, but i'm more inclined to share his 2014 album of original songs, 'all is well'.

it features some pretty great, dark, sad-luck songwriting, shack shaking cow-punk production, and desperate, heart-on-the-sleeve, paul westerberg-esque singing. i recommend it. the gillian welch cover is the lead single for a new album, coming soon.

get it here.

the 1957 tail-fin fiasco - the 3 song drive EP

it's very hard to describe the 1957 tail-fin fiasco without mentioning how much they sound like steely dan. they sound quite a bit like steely dan. these british rockers have the accomplished chops it takes to pull off that sort of sound.

their new EP is called 'the 3 song drive'. despite the title, it's four songs of witty, jazz inflected rock propelled by funky guitar and bouncy e-piano.

get it here.

old nobodaddy - gun is coming

old nobodaddy is a baltimore based singer/songwriter who specializes in gritty, twangy, religious revival vibes.

his latest single, 'gun is coming', is an ominous gospel-noir chant with snaky banjo and guitar that flips the script on the idea of the rapture. something is coming back, but it's not gonna be good for anyone.

get it here.

peltier - mitakuye oyasin

peltier is a spanish world/rock band. their sound blends various types of folk music from around the world with the vibes of the american west and an activist ethos.

they take their name from wrongly imprisoned american indian movement (AIM) member leonard peltier. their latest release is called 'mitakuye oyasin'.

get it here.


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