crayola kids: an underground music scene (short documentary)

i thought i'd post this brief documentary about the current generation of people booking and playing shows at the crayola house in harrisonburg, VA.

a place that holds a lot of memories for a lot of people, the crayola house has been a venue for DIY shows for nearly 20 years (i think..) playing host to bands from all over the US and the world.

Crayola Kids: An Underground Music Scene from Tony Schaffner on Vimeo.

i played and attended many shows there myself years ago and i hope people keep the tradition of the crayola house going for a good long time. a quality presentation ground for the modern folk music of america.

practice records - ghost brush

waking up on a frosty dawn
i'm sad but i'll only be cold
until i start walking

after i saw the first ghost brush
i kept seeing them
all along the rim of the butte

small patches of hoar frost
live in the shadows
cast by the wheat stubble

practice records - deer trails b/w sweat house stones

a quick and lofi experiment with open tuned guitars and a casio. another 'practice records', a demo version of something i'm working on, inspired by the outdoors, the remains of the past, haikus, and the revival in american primitive style guitar that's going right now.

name your own price for it (i recommend $0) here.

slenko & hyde - back roads

pennsylvania's slenko & hyde pump out pleasant, eccentric lofi folk/anti-folk with banjos guitars, and the occasional air organ. i say 'pump out' because the bandcamp site for their loose recording collective, sioux trails records, where this release appears, has 20 + albums on it dating back to 2008. recording everything and releasing it all for free: it doesn't get much more 'modern folk music of america' than that.

download this and some of the other stuff for, you guessed it, free. i'm not gonna go claiming i listened to all of it, but i am gonna embed a highlight or two below.

'an articulated process' is a strange noise/folk excursion i liked quite a bit...

'recreational burials' is longform improvisations with guitar, drums and organ. and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

arlo aldo - zelie

pittsburgh, pa's arlo aldo are an indie folk quartet that draws a sound from the stately and beautiful corner of that palette. their latest album 'zelie' focuses mostly on slow and mid-tempo ballads, with lyrics that put the listener into the dimension of 'americana'.

recorded in a barn, a smooth, velvety reverb saturates the proceedings to just the right degree, causing the tasteful arrangements and lilting vocal harmonies to complement each other. there is no sliding into that ubiquitous 'foot-stomping' nu-folk style so many bands are currently perpetrating. arlo aldo avoids the easy way out for good stories and pretty compositions.

buy the digital album for $9.99 or the CD for $12 right here.

MFOA folksgiving mixtape vol. II

time for another folksgiving mixtape, harvesting quite a crop of music. check out all these new tunes from the past six months of MFOA.

if you like them, go out and do some buying and downloading to support these artists.

l - lukas read - cowboy's  lament
2 - judy's funeral - down deep
3 - saturday city - catch a flame
4 - chilldog - shady grove
5 - francie moon - morning red
6 - jay woodward - howl
7 - DVS - dangerous (produced by yuri beats)
8 - dziecka - bliźniaki koreańskie (zagubione na kwadratowej wyspie)
9 - sam moss - son
10 - abe po' ugly - any more johnny, all i feel is fine
11 - pc worship - cherry
12 - camellia sinensis - pregnant with the day
13 - matt pless - talkin' information blues
14 - daniel bachman - pig iron (live at galerie rademann)
15 - the modern folk - play fair

dancy - stories

dancy is a jaunty folk pop duo from connecticut. dan plays guitar, nancy plays ukelele and they both sing. their debut album, 'stories', is a nice collection of indie folk tunes that brings in other players to feature a swinging, full band sound, but still keep dan and nancy's singing in the forefront. after all, their motto seems to be 'sing for the sake of the sing'. don't always be fooled by the generally cheery vibes though, lyrically dancy isn't afraid to go to some darker corners.

buy a limited edition (100) copy of the first run of 'stories' for $10 or a digital copy for $7 right here.

the rusty pistols - mairzy doats and sailing ships

way back in the early days of this spot i posted april & wayne's version of 'house of the rising sun'...well, half of that act, april, is back here with a new band called the rusty pistols. in 'mairzy doats' her smoky, low pitched vocals, whistling and 'mouth trumpet' skills are well suited to this jazzy old time style number, produced with guitar, banjo, and a little bit of percussion. sounds like it wouldn't be out of place in a speakeasy. 'sailing ships' is a somewhat more rousing tune, sporting a celtic tinged folk-pop feel and summer of love lyrics.

nothing to download right now, so watch some more videos here.

toby hay - guitar II (the st. harmon sessions)

welsh guitarist toby hay's new EP 'guitar II (the st. harmon sessions)' is like wandering and dozing in forests and meadows on a pretty day, where ever those forests and meadows might happen to be. classically influenced instrumental folk fingerpicking, performed with grace.

this meditative EP was recorded in a barn and these surroundings seem to have worked their pastoral energy into hay's playing. 2013 has seen a boom in music along the 'american primitve' spectrum, or at least of unaccompanied guitar music that blends folk and classical styles. 'guitar II' is as fine as any.

buy a digital copy here for 1 british pound, or buy a limited edition CD in a metal case here for 5.

dziecka - polnocna korea EP

some more sounds out of poland on MFOA today, dziecka brings harsh, chilling, deep ambient soundscapes on their brand new 'polnocna korea EP'. the first song is composed of layers of droning feedback, clicks and cracks and reverb ripples, and snatches of radio conversation from submarines.

the second tune comprises most of the albums length and is the definition of a slow build, with barely an audible sound till halfway through it. then we are hit with chunks of guitar and what might be a piano. no wonder it's tagged as 'slow punk'. 

buy this monster of musique concrete here for 10 polish bucks or download a digital copy free right here.

brock and kathryn ginther - anderson's "gross-ry"

check out this whimsical musical cartoon from previous MFOA contributor brock ginther and his wife kathryn. brock does the music, kathryn does the illustration.

find more such videos here.

sleeping on ceilings - pale blue eyes (VU cover, RIP lou reed)

i'm a little late, but here at MFOA, it's safe to say we fucking love lou reed. i had been meaning to post a nice lou cover, but hadn't gotten around to it. i really like this understated, quite lofi version of 'pale blue eyes' (one of my favorite velvets songs anyway) by sleeping on ceilings/tyler mahan coe.

check out more sleeping on ceilings here.

jay woodward - letters we told

jay woodward's debut album 'letters we told' doesn't sound like a debut, and i suspect the reason is that woodward has been honing his craft on unreleased home recordings for years.

'letters we told' is a pretty, dreamy album of quiet, experimental folk music that whispers, sighs, slides and creaks along...understated finger picking, soft self harmonies, found sounds and electronic/ambient touches (drum machines!) wrap the album into a holistic package. woodward conceptualized, performed, and recorded the album himself, and it plays back with a focus that is reflective of that process. recommended.

buy it for $10 right here. check out more of jay's tunes here.

the 1957 tail-fin fiasco - the cruise control EP

steely dan/squeeze worshippers the 1957 tail-fin fiasco are back with a new EP of their unique brand of 'grown-up' rock'n'roll. i guess 'grown-up' isn't an adjective you usually want applied to your rock, but it works for the fiasco. 'the cruise control EP' is a solid effort, refining their take on tightly performed acrobatic, and wryly witty story-song rock, for adults.

buy it right here for just 2 british pounds. (if you are interested, here's where i posted about these guys before...)

chris watkins - picture perfect and viva la resistance

i posted about chris watkins of anchorage, AK earlier this year, at which point he was on a solo/singer/songwriter tip. well, he's back with a couple new songs with more of a full band sound. sonically still mining the 90's (think mid-career REM, counting crows, etc), 'picture perfect' brings a power pop/rock vibe, while 'viva la resistance' tones it down into folk rock territory, with a shimmering pedal steel part adding a nice touch.

find more of chris's music right here.

envision - easy and my girl (video)

envision, AKA taylor hodges, is a college student from grand rapids, michigan who wants you to hear his laid back, modern brand of bedroom hip-hop. production wise, envision rocks an up to the minute style, with 'whoas' and a smattering of auto-tune, reminiscent of chart climbing rappers such as drake. however, unlike drake, whose bad boy posturing rings hollow when you remember his star turn in 'degrassi: the next generation', envision's music is lyrically honest and down to earth. in the lyrics to 'easy' and 'my girl', he simply tells us about HIS life, and that's what makes them solid tunes.

i give him more props as well for the dorm room video/recording setting (honesty really is the best policy). this is the modern folk music of america, ya'll.

there's nothing but the youtube at the moment, but you can also follow him on twitter @hodgeytaylor.

tate toussaint - in the pines

tate toussaint is a london born folk singer living in california. his music is classic, american style troubadour folk, in the tradition of woody guthrie, townes van zandt and early bob dylan. toussaint is comfortable writing original tunes as well as interpreting the rich vein of american folk song, including the two apt choices on this release, 'in the pines', and 'the cuckoo' (two of my favorite traditional folk tunes).

toussaint's voices is deep and weary, spreading the fog of london over these american tunes. his guitar playing is adept, from the simple alternating bass note folk style of 'in the pines', to complex country blues picking in 'california blues #2'.

go right here to pay $5 for the digital release.

JproD - trill shit, i really mean that and a million feelings

JproD is an independent MC and producer with a solid, smooth flow and production skills that range from the streets to the charts.

i couldn't find too much information, but i believe the following two tracks are a taste of an upcoming full-length release. 'trill shit, i really mean that' reperesents the poppier, cross-over side of JproD's production style, with a mellow spacey track featuring reverbed out female vocals that flows like honey blunt smoke, more than it does bang. there is an interesting a capella breakdown in the middle of the tune featuring the hook about chicken wings (you'll see).

'a million feelings' has more of a trap sound, with rapid fire hi-hats, looped minor-key piano arpeggios, and swelling strings. JproD brings it a with a more aggressive flow on this track, but the themes are personal, continuing his mission of keeping it real.

check his soundcloud to here some more tunes.

FYH records - graveyard drug party and judy's funeral

i got a cool email the other day including some good tunes from piotr of poland's FYH records. he tipped me off to two new releases on the FYH imprint, i liked them both so i decided to do a double post.
       graveyard drug party's album 'paint your teeth' is a short angry blast even at 15 songs...most songs come in under two minutes. the music is chaotic noisy post-punk grunge with a rhythmic, riff heavy sonic approach that can't quite be hidden behind the discord. thematically they are working with what i imagine to be a bit of anger, nihilism, and even some whimsy, but i'm guessing, because the lyrics are in polish.

judy's funeral (i'm noticing a pattern here) delivers some solid psychedelic shoegaze on 'down deep' (think BJM's evergreen, not so much MBV) but with a chilly goth/industrial coldness throughout the production. 'lose yourself (in a dream)', the flip side of this release, shows the other aspect of the shoegaze genre, as it is basically feedback/reverb drone piece, ending with the sounds of nature, reminiscent of kevin shield's atmospheric ramblings.

go right here to name your own price for these and many more FYH digital releases or pay a reasonable price for them on cassette.

skribe - less is more

skribe is a down to earth, no frills garage folk outfit out of maryland making solid good time tunes, for whatever good times means to you...on their website they seem to suggest drinking. a somewhat lofi approach with catchy melodies and what i imagine to be a rowdy live show. 'less is more' is their latest album.

get it for $10 right here. check out some demos and unreleased tracks here.

the parmesans - wolf eggs

san fransisco's the parmesans are hard to classify. part folk revival/old time string band, some doo-wop/50's R&B influence, part barbershop trio? whats for sure is the parmesans can play and sing, specifically in ultra tight three part harmony. their latest album, 'wolf eggs', showcases these strengths well due to the fact it is a live album, which is often the best mode for capturing string bands with strong harmonies.

i think the sort of r. crumb/'comix' style album art fits the sound of the parmesans well. name your price for this and a handful of other album over at their bandcamp.

american cave limited edition CD release

i have produced a limited, numbered run of 50 CD copies of the new modern folk album 'american cave'. CD copies are hand assembled and include the tracks from the simultaneously released 'breanne/play fair' EP. select surprise orders will include a copy of my short comic book 'faces with story'.

order one here for $5. as always you also have the option of naming your own price (starting at zero) to download it and any of my other albums right here. while i'm at it, don't forget all the free musical memories available at the MFOA download archive.

pc worship - preach under cooked b/w mellow moon

i've posted a lot about brooklyn psychedelic golems pc worship and it's because they are one of my favorite bands. 'psychedelic' is an overused term in independent rock today, but j. frye and PC worship dig down to the sick pulsing heart of this tradition.

on this latest 7", out now on sophmore lounge records, they choose to embody a folkier, more appalachian side of the psychedelic tradition that they have recently. 'preach under cooked' is an unaccompanied acoustic guitar composition in the american primitive style, recorded with the crust of a cheap peaking microphone and played with a force that causes the strings to rattle and hum against the frets. 'mellow moon' is more typical of PC's style, a droning folk dirge with an ominous backcountry vibe and otherwordly singing.

buy the 7" for $5 right here. listen to and purchase more PC worship music here.

kyle fosburgh - the season of rememberance

grasstops recording, a small, mostly american primitive style record label, has sent me a few un-earthed robbie basho recordings i ended up posting elsewhere. i'm happy to present today their release of kyle fosburgh's 'the season of rememberance', a dreamy, meditative new EP of finger plucked guitar accompanied here and there by subtle touches of production...a little slide guitar, bowed bass, and even singing are interspersed throughout the proceedings.

name your own price for the digital album right here.

sam moss - no kingdom

'no kingdom' is the haunting and beautiful new release by prolific vermont based folksinger and string player sam moss. this album of shimmering strings and high lonesome singing takes the listener off to a chilly misty meadow on the side of an appalachian mountain at sunrise. sam moss handles the instruments of folk music deftly. fiddle, banjo, guitar, and mandolin sing out all over this album. with timeless lyrics, sung in a high, tired voice, this album would sound just as at home behind the crackle of alan lomax's suitcase tape machine as it does in the relatively crisp fidelity you hear here.

you can get the digital album for $7 or a limited edition CD for $12 right here. and when i said 'prolific' earlier, i meant it...look here to listen to any of the 11 other albums, EPs and 7"s moss has released since 2008.

D.I.V. - O.D. 2 the gravesite (video)

yonkers, NY based D.I.V. (destiny in vision) is a hard working rapper and half of the duo so O.D. with his brother nuf sed. D.I.V. possesses a street-sharpened, hustle-weary flow that sounds like new york hip hop...the grit that you hear in the voices of NY rappers, whether they are rhyming about video games and comic books or selling yellow tops and blue tops. like many in the NY hip hop tradition, D.I.V.'s lyrics tell the story of triumph over struggle, in life and as a musician. musically, the production draws from mutliple styles, some of his tunes are sparser, while others, such as 'O.D. 2 the gravesite' feature the dramatic bells and machine gun hi-hats of southern "trap" style.

find out more on his website, see more videos on his youtube channel.

o grande ogro - robert garcia and metal frio

o grande ogro (rough transation: the big ogre) is an instrumental rock band from sao paulo, brazil. due to my lack of comprehension of portuguese, i don't know much else about them. google translate can be a little impressionistic. good for everyone that music can bridge this linguistic divide, so i can describe the sound. the uptempo tunes blend elements of funk, metal, prog and post punk to create a riff heavy instrumental grind, avoiding the long form drone territory that many instrumental rock bands meander in. the playing is precise and intense, with a very solid rhythm section, involving two bass guitars (it works!), forming the backbone.

find out more on their website, sample a few more tunes on their soundcloud.

brendan tiernan - storm

irish musician and songwriter brendan tiernan sent me a sparse email with the song below and little else to introduce MFOA to his talents. 'storm' is a quiet and pretty finger-plucked ballad, with a medieval-meets-eastern sound that reminds me a little bit of late 60's british folk explorers like C.O.B. and the incredible string band.

there are a few other songs on his youtube channel, 'weaver', electrified and with a bit more percussion, i liked quite a bit. there is a range of sounds expressed in tiernan's music, painting a varied picture of hushed and stately psychedelia.

i couldn't find any other links for brendan's tunes, so enjoy them on youtube for now.

satellite high - new tune PUSH/PULL and MFOA interview

san fransisco rapper satellite high has just released a dark and excellent new track called PUSH/PULL, and was kind enough to agree to do an MFOA interview. lyrically PUSH/PULL is a brooding introspective journey, sonically the song is a heavily experimental meditation on what rap can be...recorded with analog instruments and avoiding samples and synthesizers (the lack of sampled vocals that are present in many rap hooks adds to the sense of isolation in the tune), the verse part grinds forward with a distorted low end over high ptiched woody percussion, while the chorus blooms with an ominous psychedelic style guitar figure. as with the best rap songs, the track creates the perfect atmosphere for the lyrics.

while you are listening to that, check out the interview below:

MFOA - what is your recording setup like? why do you value recording alone at home as opposed to in a "real" studio?

SH - my recording setup is pretty elaborate at this point, the core of it is my mac and logic, that's where everything ends up most of the time (unless i'm recording to 4-track cassette, which happens sometimes too). From there, it's an MPC-2500 and a battery of old synths and 'analog' instruments like upright bass, hand percussion, guitars, various noise-makers, etc. about the only thing i'm not tracking live these days are drums -- i'm a drummer, and eventually i do want to start getting into tracking my own breaks, but recording in an apartment can put the damper on those sorts of goals.

i value recording at home, and working mostly as a solo act, mostly because of personality dynamics, i guess. i have very clear ideas and visions of how i want stuff to sound, but i'm also not the type of person who enjoys arguing about that stuff, or struggling to make my voice heard, so working this way allows me to have complete control out of what goes in to the process and what comes out. and of course, the financial aspect of it is huge -- i'm a pretty prolific songwriter and if i were limited by the financial constraints of 'professional studio time' i don't think i'd be able to record half of the ideas that i have

MFOA - some people may have (very) inaccurately labeled your tunes "nerdcore", possibly due to your heavy internet presence, appearances on (ironically one of which was making fun of "nerdcore") and large amount of twitter followers. while that label is obviously incorrect, another that you have been given, "internet rapper", seems to apply a little bit more, for better or worse. how do you feel about interacting with/gaining fans/releasing music online? do you feel the internet/self releasing has given you more power to reach fans on your own terms?

SH - the 'internet rapper' thing is weird. obviously everybody's an 'internet musician' at this point, if you want to achieve an audience to some degree, but it also feels kind of dismissive when people imply that what you do is somehow disconnected from the real world. i play shows, i go on tour, i make physical product, i do all the things that rock bands do and that people have been doing for decades. the internet is just another place to connect with people but i don't think it defines my output in any legitimate way.

however, yeah, i recognize that the internet (and twitter/tumblr especially) have been somewhat instrumental in building a fan base and that can't be ignored. i know a lot of people who seem to think that there's a specific way to 'game' social media and catch a small following; i'll frequently have people ask me "how to get followers" or whatever, and that's silly. the small amount of notoriety or whatever i have comes almost entirely from just being a human being with people. i'm lucky in that i am naturally an internet loudmouth, i would be part of this whole conversation whether or not i had music to promote, and i think that's the "secret".

i do definitely feel a lot more agency from self-releasing on the internet for sure; i grew up self-releasing music in the pre-web days and sometimes it amazes me to realize that there are more people have probably listened to a single satellite high song than people who encountered any of my other musical projects combined. so yeah, the power for outreach can't be denied. mostly, though i just feel that i'm a much more effective promoter there than in person, so it's an avenue i've pursued pretty consciously.

MFOA - on a similar note, you recently opened up for a live performance by the folks behind the very popular welcome to night vale podcast, which also has a large twitter following. how was the show? do you like the idea of a live show mixing genres and mediums like this one did? did that situation make for an inviting, welcoming performance/audience for you?

SH - the night vale show was great! it's obviously a pretty new audience for me, and i don't really come from a world that intersects with 'fandom' frequently, but the fans are really positive and energetic and they've really sort of adopted me as part of that world and i'm very very thankful for it. the show itself was also really weird and fun; playing in a brightly-lit bookstore to a seated audience is not the typical 'hip hop experience' but it was also a great chance to play for people who were really excited to see the whole affair. probably one of the most receptive audiences i've encountered and a far cry from the arms-crossed "prove yourself" audiences that tend to dominate indie hip hop shows around here.

MFOA - you grew up in florida, playing in hardcore/punk bands in and around the scene that gave rise to such acts as against me and hot water music (aside: please correct me if i'm wrong about these bands). many musicians from this scene have gone into an alt-country phase or other different directions as the years have worn by. what led you from hardcore and punk to hip hop? have you always loved hip hop, and kept it on the back burner, or did you discover it later in life? what are a few records that helped bridge the gap (not that it is necessarily a huge gap) between punk and hip hop, and influenced you to make this music? how does your background in punk/hardcore inform the tunes you make currently?

SH - [side note - you are right about those bands, i went to high school with HWM and against me's drummer and i were very good friends and bandmates in high school]
hip hop has definitely always been my first love, really. the first albums i ever bought were these weird compilation rap tapes, one of 'em i got specifically because it contained 'the superbowl shuffle' but it also had tracks by doug e. fresh and the symbolic three and a bunch of pretty legit old-school tracks. i got into punk and hardcore based more on ideology than music, really, and i think i probably would have started rapping much earlier if i had the confidence to do so. i was a very self-critical kid and the punk/hardcore scene back then was very inwardly-focused in a way that really connected with me. rap sorta felt like this 'other world' that i didn't have an entry point into.

i got into writing rhymes and shit when i was wicked young but i dont think i ever rapped in public until i was in college and starting freestyling with other dudes at parties and shit. i got pretty into the whole freestyle/battle scene in florida in the early 2000's for a bit, but kinda soured on the hypermasculinity and faded out and went back to rockish music. it wasn't really until i moved to california in 2006 or so that i decided to 'get serious' about hip hop. think a lot of it was just not knowing people at the time and not having anybody i'd have to explain my gear-shift to, and the realization that i enjoy making music a lot more than 'being in a band.' i'm kind of naturally controlling with music (as mentioned above) but i’m also not a 'leader', so band environments lead to a lot of unwilling compromise and eventual resentment.

as far as how that background influences my music, it's tricky. for the first couple years (and releases) i was making a concerted effort to channel that hardcore spirit in a way that i think may have been a little forced. i definitely tended to write about issues from a very heavy-handed lecture-focused punk rock mindset and i find those tracks a little difficult to listen to now. i think i also came at rap with a pretty typical snotty punk attitude of "TEAR IT DOWN AND START AGAIN" until i discovered the 'right way' to break the rules without pissing all over an art form. nowadays, i think the biggest visible part of that punk/DIY/hardcore mentality is evident in the way i work, and my commitment to doing things as independently as possible. and dumb lyrical references to samiam records and shit.

downlaod a bunch of satellite high albums for name-your-price right here.

saturday city - saturday city EP

norwegian contemporary folk band saturday city is made up of brothers magnus and stian gulbrandsen, both veterans of the norwegian rock scene. saturday city grew from the fact that each brother had written a bunch of softer material that didn't fit well with their harder rocking bands. to their surprise they found that saturday city was better received in norway than their previous projects, and now they've released a new self titled EP to give the people what they want.
the tunes themselves are nice romantic folk numbers, augmented by light percussion, mandolin, piano and synth pads, with fine, hushed voices and brother-harmonies taking center stage. a favorite of mine is track two, the quietly electric and fairly maudlin 'i'll be fine'.

stream and download this bit of americana by way of norway, free of charge, right here.

matt pless - tumbleweed

baltimore, MD's matt pless hit me up from the middle of a cross country tour to ask me to write a little about his latest album. 'tumbleweed' is a solid, no frills collection of emotionally confessional folk punk songs. there isn't any production aside from guitar and the occasional harmonica, but the playing/singing is solid throughout, there is even a traditional 'talking blues', in the mode of woody guthrie, about the information age, in which matt name checks william blake, which if you've followed this spot for awhile you know won me over. there is a good mix of uptempo, snotty type punk songs and softer more reflective finger plucked ballads.

matt's in the middle of his tour so check here for show dates and maybe help him fill in some gaps. name your own price for this album, as well as several other ones, right here.

the westies - hell's kitchen

the westies are a contemporary folk/americana band out of new york city that sing about the street gang culture of early 1960's new york...apparently one of these gangs was known as the westies. although this conjures up images of west side story, the tunes are more along the lines of late career bruce springsteen, john mellencamp, or the quieter, more reflective moments of tom waits than they are like show tunes (although tom waits does do a great version of 'somewhere'). think humming brushes, quiet guitars, and gravelly baritone vocals singing story songs about living, dreaming and dying on new york's mean streets.

find out more information about the westies, including show dates and releases, right here.

julian fulton - two little thieves

julian fulton of new jersey brings and eclectic mix of genres on his latest tune 'two little thieves'. if i had to say it, i would call it something like 'noir-caberet-chamber-jam-rock'. julian and his band have been steadily playing around the new york/new jersey area and building quite a reputation, including being named the #1 unsigned songwriter by deli magazine. so check this tune out and get in on the ground floor.

buy a digital copy of this tune, as well as some older ones (some of which are free) here. head right over here to purchase merchandise and physical albums. check here for info about new releases and shows.

ryley walker - live at galerie rademann (video)

ryley walker is arguably the most mysterious of the burgeoning new generation of american primitive guitarists, having a fairly minimal online presence, despite a growing reputation, until the very recent release of his single 'the west wind' on the tompkins square label. his guitar picking is quite impressive, but despite being labeled american primitive, his sound is a little more jansch than fahey and 'the west wind' features full band arrangements. the ever excellent dying for bad music had him and daniel bachman up to their sleepy little mountain town in germany and the following performances resulted.

if you like what you see, grab the bootleg recording right here from DFBM... guess what, you can score the daniel bachman set as well. both are name your own price downloads. ryley walker's full album 'the west wind' will available from tompkins square on black friday

bognor - river hymn

another bedroom symphony from bognor, called 'river hymn', about floating on rivers and being lost in the woods. this time around, it is much more guitar oriented, and the bedroom it was recorded in happens to be right across the hall from mine. layers of guitars accumulate over the nearly 7 minute length of this spaced out ballad, dreamy vocals reach for the stars at the big ending.

listen to more bognor here. observe the other artistic endeavors of the man behind bognor here.

keith kenny - and the light came blaring in

keith kenny of new jersey is bluesy singer songwriter who gets the most out of his acoustic guitar. the tunes on his latest album, 'and the light came blaring in', vary from mellow, finger-plucked ballads to louder hendrix-inspired blues rambles where distortion is applied to his acoustic axe. the approach of this album in general reminds me of a recent neil young album, 'le noise'...just a man and his guitar, filled out at times with swirls of distortion and solidly rhythmic playing.

buy this album and his two previous albums here. this november, keith will be headlining a benefit concert in loas, called 'we are kind', for victims of unexploded ordinance (bombs and landmines) left over from various wars in that region. a good cause. here is a video advertisement for it, in laotian.

jom rapstar - autobiography of joseph keith graham miller

i saw jom rapstar for the first time last night at the eclectic open mic might at the firkin tavern in inner SE portland. he is portland born and raised and is becoming well known through small shows and open mic's around town. but i think the best way to introduce him is to let him introduce himself, through the bio from his website:

"Jom Rapstar is an underground Hip Hop artist from Portland, Oregon. His style and dilivery are very unique in many ways. He lets his imperfections shine thru just to show you he’s human. He also suffers from asbergers syndrome, a miner form of autism. Jom was born 4/21/1985 OHSU Hospitial in Portland, OR. his dad left his mom when his brother was born, so He was raised by his mom until he was 3 when she was homeless, so his great aunt took him in raised him til he was almost 9. During that time, he attended Beech Elementry sheel til the schoolyear ended in 1992 than Woodlawn elementry the following year & was always rowdy & got into trouble in school when he was going to Woodlawn Elementry School. Over a month b4 he turned 9, his father took him & his brother (Steven Michael Graham miller) from his great aunt & Grand parents & took them to Everette, WA. He still got in trouble in school, but he cooled down some on that as he got older. 3 months later, his dad started abusing & molestin him “I’m not going into any detail on that even tho” says Jom Rapsar. he never spoke publicly about being molested by his dad except in July1998, “But the same thing happened in june 1998 & june 1994) My dad also beat me with a fishing pole & made me stand in a sitting potition. My dad’s xwife’s parents always hit me in the face & just like my dad, they made me go without food as a punishment for bad behavier. (Don’t judge me) ” he explains. He got an interest in Hip Hop in 2001 when his brother plaid Eminem’s “Marahal Mathers LP”. It was a song he did about a fan wno writes him 3 letters then drives off a bridge. “I thought thas was funny to watch” says Jom Rapstar. That was when he lived in Ohio. After the first year of rappn, heI got better @ it tho he wasn’t eble to record or rhyme over beats until he came back to Portland, Oregon (his birth place) He was rhymin on micro cassettes aftes someone stole the first tape he recorded over cassio beats. His raps were about evil until 2006 when he stopped recording on cassettes & started puttin his songs on CDs & mp3s. He graduated High School from Marshall in June 2004 & Finish a Transition Porgram in 2006 in Portland, OR. he worked @ New Season Market 7corners from 2006 til 2010 (January that is) sorting bottle returns & Georgia Pacific stocking papertowels & tp. 4 2 months & he’s now on SSD due to his disability. Meanwhile he finished his debute album “Jo Miller Xposed” ‘which feature’s the lead single “it’s Gonna Be Alright” late 2010. This is just an overview of Jom Rapstar & the musical history. he also appeared on The Showcase 79 mix tape mixed by DJ Smoke & coast2coast Djs & The Showcase 143 staring Slip & Slide recording artist Duece D & mixed by DJ RPM & The Underground fix Volume 24 all 3 courtesy of coast2coast mixtapes. He played shows @ The Wounder Ballroom, Satyricon, Liberty Hall, Jade Lounge, Rock Around the Clock, Watershed PDX, BC’s Bar & Grill, & The Backspace in Portland, OR. He also did countless open mics in Portland OR over the course of His career: That’s Pub At The End Of The Universe 40+ times, Airplay Cafe 5+ times, Ladd’s Inn 100+ times, Hawthorne Theatre 30=times, & Alberta St Pub 3 times. he got a fanbase exceding 2,000 & his live performance attendences range from about 5 to 40+ audience members present during his set. Jo Miller Xposed was released December 21, 2010 through Miller Entertainment, a label he owns. He’s currently working on promoting his debut album & just finished his sophmore LP “My Journey Thru Life. & is now getting ready to promote it with the lead single “Ailianated” He has also finished the videos for “Neva 4Get U & “How We Get Down. My Journey Thru Life Was Released on 12.06/11. He has also released the second single off “My Journey Thru Life” titled “My Recumbent Late July 2012 He has released his 3rd album “Autobiography Of Joseph Keith Graham Miller” December 8, 2012 following the lead single, "Made Me Stronger" & followed by the 2nd single, "To Be Remembered", Which was released in December 2012.. . All Jom Rapstar music videos are now on except “Neve 4Get U”.The music videos for Jom's 2012 singles have been finished & put up for public view by mid 2013. He is now working on the music video for his 10th single, "I'm Shinin Bright" which is the 3rd single off "Autobiography Of Joseph Keith Graham Miller". He is also working on his 4th album title "Finding Inner Peace", which is due out December 2013 following the lead single"Call On Me" through his new label "Microphone Destroyer Records"."

so, there you have it. check out his latest album "autobiography of joseph keith graham miller".

hear his two previous albums and throw him some $ to download them right here. below, check out a video for the single 'made me stronger'

find quite many more videos on his vevo. find jom rapstar himself at an open mic near you if you happen to live in PDX.

made of ants - rusted sky dub

made of ants out of chicago pumps out some serious ambient/drone/techno vibes. one my favorites on his soundcloud is 'rusted sky dub', (i'm a sucker for anything that is spacey and dubbed-up) a gritty, dubbed-out, long form ambient take on 90's techno subgenres. he seems to be a bit of a technique/gear head, and offers a detailed explanation of his process, which i'll add here:

"i had some critical issues with my studio computer so i decided to work with only things and equipment i had laying around. this led to me recording the two slabs of audio that would eventually be the final product.

the first slab was a sample i hobbled together in my SP202 and then ran through a decaying delay line on a weird bass multi effects pedal i had laying around. i recorded this to four track and allowed it to decay for a while creating a lot of neat artifacts and rhythmic distortions.

the second slab was a little more complex, it started out as a bass hit i lifted from an old house tape i found in an alley, which i supplemented with my PSP (using PSPSEQ as a drum machine). after recording these to four track i setup a send that was again the bass multi effect pedal (i forget the exact effects i used and while i seriously doubt it's important feel free to ask and i'll dig it up).

around this time i got my computer situation fixed and promptly recorded both of these into reaper, which if you don't know is a really rad and super affordable DAW. At this point i decided i could only use a handful of VSTs i knew really well and the sounds i had already recorded.

the rest of the process was simply cutting and placing audio chunks then EQ and compression. for the curious this is the ninth draft, using 3 versions of the original bass slab (3 different frequency bands), 3 versions of the melody slab (left, right and center panning). all this is accompanied by various LFOs and envelopes and stuff that i normally don't mess with but i really wanted to do a proper multitrack hence working within different restrictions."

this process led to an interesting result.

listen to a bunch more made of ants right here.

the loomis fargo gang - the prettiest shade of blue

the loomis fargo gang, of norfolk, VA, deliver smooth honey coated indie folk on their newest album the 'prettiest shade of blue'. shimmering guitars, tight harmony vocals and laid back, dandelion field melodies recall the "canyon rock" vibes of late 70's california. some moments are 'pure' pure prairie league, at other times the album drifts more into beach boys-meets-burrito brothers territory. a solid listen.

this slab is not available for download at this point, so stream it for now. you can also check out their older album, 'humans, nature, and human nature'. below check out this hazy drift of a video for their tune 'hazy lazy blue'. purchase these tunes at cd baby or itunes.

francie moon - morning red

thanks to a new correspondence with the fellow eclectic music chronicler over at popa's tunes i was introduced this morning to new jersey singer/songwriter and somewhat badass guitar player francie moon. her bluesy tunes are recorded in a bit of a haze of distortion and reverb, making for rough around the edges, DIY style sound that works perfectly for her spot on performances. what stands out for me is some unique and artful guitar playing, and good singing all around.

name your own price for it today on the bandcamp.

according to her facebook page, she seems to be on a long tour of the whole country, so look there to see where you might catch her live.

fin-folsom - tell-tale

new york's fin-folsom apparently moved back in with their folks in order to fund the recording of this EP and i reckon it was worth it. tell-tale is a quick blast of somewhat anthemic guitar pop/rock, with moments of pleasant instrumental, surfy digression.

name your price for it right here. below is a video for the lead track 'yellow stone'.

dizzy bats - angry eyes and these kids i teach

dizzy bats, of brooklyn, ny, are back with a decidedly louder sound than when i last featured them here. they've taken their pop punk/90's power pop inclinations, electrified them to a greater degree, and produced two slightly bitter, perfectly snotty and heavily infectious jams.

listen to more dizzy bats here and here. pick up the EP these tunes are on, titled 'appendectomy', released yesterday, on bandcamp and itunes.

brock ginther - the breakfast cowboy

brock ginther, newly transplanted to portland, OR, by way of boston, brings a 22 song smattering of lofi indie-pop bedroom gems on his album 'breakfast cowboy'. with clever lyrics, occasional anti-folk style rambles, and noisy bursts of experimentation in between the catchy melodies, the album is reminiscent of of montreal, guided by voices, and adam green/moldy peaches. no wonder that brock hails originally from ohio, a known breeding ground of quality lofi pop. the GBV comparison has an interesting side note...brock's former band, king pedestrian, recorded with late career GBV producer todd tobias.

download this thing for 7 bones right here. find more of brock's tunes, some of which are free, here.

abe po' ugly - ghost tracks

very happy this morning to present three 'ghost tracks' from my brother abe po' ugly. these songs are about grudges i think, from small town to interplanetary in scale. they are presented in a pretty stripped down manner, recorded on an ipad i think, but contain an vague air of psychedelia.

hear more of abe's music right here.

jim mucko - songs and videos

jim mucko is a portland, oregon film-maker and musician. his tunes tend towards ambient, mellow guitarscapes, some with sampled bits of conversation (in an interesting touch, some of the conversation samples are from a found answering machine tape). his films are lego animation, but more robot chicken than michel gondry. mucko makes characters of the lego people and focuses on themes of humorous satire.

tunes -

and the lego film 'origins: the movie' -

check out the rest of his youtube channel for more.

salvaticus - live at the attic (video)

here is a video of brutal blue ridge mountain black metal band salvaticus shredding it up at the attic in (i'm guessing here) luray, VA. haven't heard much from these dudes since posting about their demo 'hidden manna' quite awhile ago.

find out more about shows and upcoming releases from these grim mountain folks here.

american cave and breanne/playfair

i am happy to present this morning my newest album, 'american cave'. as with all my music, it is a free download, i only want you to listen to it and enjoy it. i put a lot of work into it.

recording 'american cave' was a really long process and towards the end i took a break and recorded this other short EP called 'breanne/play fair'. enjoy that for free as well.

get it all plus my old stuff here. the modern folk music of america.

aaron tinjum - american road (video)

DC by way of austin, TX singer song-writer aaron tinjum brings us this dylan-esque blast of lyrical topicality that is quite timely at this juncture where the politicians we have put our trust in are behaving in such a disappointing manner. 'american road' chugs along much like something off of 'highway 61 revisited' but with a totally acoustic arrangement that includes some ripping lead guitar and fiddle playing.

find out more about aaron tinjum here, and pick up his latest EP 'mirrors in the dark' on itunes.

wes tirey - false idols

wes tirey of asheville, north carolina has had a good year. his excellent album 'i stood among the trees', initially released early in the year, has received good reviews from spots like hearth music and no depression and a second edition was released today in a limited, handmade run with a few bonus tracks on the dying for bad music label. the release i'm featuring here today, false idols, is a short three song collection, made in classic apartment style on a small tape recorder, replete with a heavy hiss and a distant sound. tirey's guitar picking ebbs and flows, accenting the spaces between his often sad and literary lyrics, rich with sacred and profane imagery, like a high catholic mass inside the muddy canvas tent of an appalachian revival meeting.

the proceeds from the $1 purchase of this dire little EP go to fund wes's upcoming european tour. pick it up here and help him out. check out his other music as well, its all worth a listen. grab the newly released second edition of 'i stood among the trees' DFBM limited edition here.

sean proper - design engine

from the always excellent dying for bad music comes this amazing release by florida's sean proper. design engine is an album length maelstrom of american primitive fingerstyle storm clouds and sunbeams. the eastern and american folk inspirations that are key to the genre are discernible, but the intensity of the playing gives the impression that there is some metal or other heavy guitar music leaning in sean's ear. these waves of steely picking crash down in both a 6 and 12 string delivery.

pre-order it now for nine euros in a limited edition (50 copies) handmade CD release. Release date is 10/6.

dead professional - pillow talk + MFOA interview

virginia's dead professional has just released another of his studies in artful pop restraint, called 'pillow talk', and for the occasion, i thought i would ask him a few questions about the methods and plans that help achieve his brand of catchy musical asceticism.

MFOA - what is your recording setup like? i know that you have a lot of experience recording in real studios, like with the wolf parade folks. do you find that now with dead professional you have hit your mark with your home setup? a certain 'perfectionism' and cleanliness seems to be a big part of your aesthetic in dead professional and formerly in the cinnamon band. how do you feel about the differences between recording alone at home versus with a band in a conventional studio setting? does home recording help you achieve the aesthetic you are going for?

DP - yeah perfectionism is a good word for it. i can’t afford hours and hours of paid studio time and i hate subjecting other people to my endless tinkering and indecisive experimenting. so i really love being able to record alone. i’ve got an old low-end pro tools setup and i just record, edit and mix on my laptop until I’m satisfied. it think it works to a point but i’m not much of a techy. so i’d still love to get together with the right experienced engineer to really get it how i’d like it.

MFOA - i happened to observe some of your struggles trying to get a full length album 'right' by your own standards with the cinnamon band. i have noticed that with dead professional you have been releasing things one song at a time on soundcloud. is this going to be the dead professional way, or do you have plans for a full length record or physical goods in the near future?

DP - i’ve had a couple of theoretical albums that never saw the light of day with previous projects. it would be easy for me to disappear and work on some full-length dead professional opus for 10 years. but doing these small releases on a regular basis keeps me connected while i work on getting this new project off the ground. I do want to do a longer more traditional release soon. i’ve got songs. i’m just trying to get the stars to align a little first.

MFOA - you have said in other interviews that you strive to be a "songwriter's songwriter" along the lines of nick lowe or john prine. what aspects of the song do you focus on most when you sit down to write, in order to achieve this end?

DP - well, i love listening to songwriter’s songwriters. but striving to become one myself isn’t necessarily my primary goal. musically, i don’t think i ever do anything very surprising or sophisticated. i do aim for elegance i guess and some of my lyrics are clever. but i’d rather the listener be engaged by the content than impressed by the mechanics. i guess it comes down to tasteful editing. Nick Lowe and John Prine are certainly masters of that.

now on to what you all are waiting for, the new dead professional; a harmony laden, ronnettes 'be my baby' drum beat driven bittersweet confection 'about making a mess of things'. here's 'pillow talk'.

barry walker and the tanks - LTD

barry walker and the tanks are aptly named...this pacific northwest country rock quartet barrels through your speakers like a tank. the first song on this release, an original tune called 'LTD', is whistful yet full bore southern tinged rocker, reminiscent of the replacements or the drive by truckers and with a lot of noisy soloing ala tonight's the night era neil young. the second tune here is a similarly gritty version of 'no regrets', a tom rush song made famous by the walker bros. last is a live recording of townes van zandt's 'white freight liner'.

you can buy a full LP by the tanks for $15 from barry's own snake handler recordings, as well as a bunch of other interesting tunes, including the current project SPUR!. you can catch barry playing pedal steel in country band at portland's laurelthirst pub all october during saturday happy hours.

the barefoot band - the should've been tapes 9/25/13

i've posted about wyoming's the barefoot band before, and now this one-man-band is back with a solid live recording in the tradition of a bootleg tape that showcases his blend of hippy-styled acoustic folk with some loop pedal gymnastics. i enjoy the vocal melody of the original tune 'downtown' as well as the inclusion of the traditional number 'walkin cane'.

check out some more tunes by the barefoot band here.

summer blues

summer is ending i reckon. i haven't posted anything on here of my own doing in quite awhile so here are some blues songs a few friends and i recorded a month or two ago. they are about the two most coherent songs that came from a couple hours of fiddling around.

this post is kind of in the tradition of the "internet 45's" i used to post in the earlier days of MFOA. i also wanted to post this heavily "dylan-esque" song that i recorded quite awhile ago but kind of forgot about.

the modern folk music of america.

m mucci - dangerous summer

on 'dangerous summer', m. mucci of ontario, canada, creates extended explorations on 12 string acoustic guitar that explore the territory between american primitive, classical composition, and drone styles. with long songs or song suites and repeated themes, there is an eastern feel and ambiance that lends itself to meditation and reflection. the recording stands out due to the accompaniment of the archaic hurdy gurdy, a medieval stringed instrument that lends to the drone. it isn't surprising to find out that mucci has a day job tending to exotic plants in a university greenhouse. reminiscent of little known american primitive 12 string player suni mcgrath.

pick up this pretty album, as well as many older recordings, for $20 for the vinyl or $6 for the digital download (prices canadian) here. check out other m mucci projects and his radio show here at tall house recordings.

camellia sinensis - pregnant with the day

the latest track from new jersey folk singer camellia sinensis is a quiet, whistful lamentation moaned over subtle nylon stringed guitar. it represents the title track to a new album length project that should be done shortly. look forward to it.

get the previous camellia sinensis recordings here.

satellite high - stan spudowski (video)

satellite high's newest song and his music video debut. one of my favorite of his tunes yet, featuring his trademark wit and verbosity.

download satellite high albums for name-your-price here.

nick szydlowski - past the road

boston's nick szydlowski's (who also makes music under the name hotel universe) newest album 'past the road' is a heartfelt, urgently sung record of classic bedroom folk, in the tradition started by the likes of skip spence and nick drake and carried on by generations of four-trackers. the sound includes sparse fingerpicking, slight stabs of banjo, and electronic touches. the lyrics range from post-modernist rants to personal confessions but are always clever and thoughtful.

get it now as a name-your-price download here. check out some old recordings and other stuff from nick here.

lukas read - ramble man, ramble

lukas read's 'ramble man, ramble' is an amazing album of 'cosmic' country/americana...self produced and released, the album starts with two excellent, reverb and steel drenched lee hazlewood meets the byrds eccentric country ballads, then abruptly switches gears and delivers two cleanly plucked american primitive guitar meditations in the tradition of john fahey. the album veers back and forth between these two pleasant territories for the rest of it's 9 track length. despite the 60's icons i have compared it to, read's album has a contemporary edge as well that you will have to appreciate for yourself. highly recommended.

lukas read is based in austin, tx (that's really been a trend for MFOA lately) by way of pittsburgh, pa, so if you are in the lonestar state, look for him performing live. buy that thing for $5 on his bandcamp site and check out his tumblr for more info.

ben petersen - sandpaper

rarely have a i gotten such a low key email to let me know about a music video/song with such high production values. australian singer/songwriter ben petersen brings a melancholy love song with a whistful video to match, both of which are well put together.

considering these information drenched times, there is not much info to be found about ben petersen, and the rest of the youtube channel hosting this video seems to be comedy sketches. although the song seems sincere to me, it's ok if the joke's on MFOA, i'm happy to post this tune either way.

chris watkins~drunk poets

anchorage, alaska based chris watkins~drunk poets performs introspective singer/songwriterish acoustic rock, with a deep voice and a stirring strum, in the tradition of mid 90's folk-grunge. his latest album is called winter birds. check out the title track here.

head over to his soundcloud to check out the rest of the album and several others.

chilldog - shady grove and rosa lee mcfall

chilldog (@chilldog) is an entertaining tweeter, jam band enthusiast, and as i just found out, the producer of some pretty good versions of a selection of classic traditional appalachian folk songs. these are thrown down simply with garage band, a guitar and a well played mandolin. i'm a sucker for any rendition of shady grove, so i had to share these with you here on MFOA.

browse the rest of the chilldog's soundcloud for some other good covers including some choice grateful dead tunes as well as jimmy cliff's "the harder they come". interestingly, this is the third texas based musician i've posted about today.

sam hadfield - livin' with free livin' on my mind

sam hadfield is a somewhat laid back austin based singer/songwriter with a brand new album out for your listening pleasure. "livin' with free livin" on my mind" sounds like easy back porch pickin' type music, with minimal production that moves the proceedings right along under somewhat nasal yet pleasant singing and classic country themes, such as drinking and travelling.

buy the thing for $10 on the bandcamp as a download or a limited edition CD.

jones street station - perennials

jones street station created a cool story around their unique album perennials. recording a song a week for an entire year from separate locations, collaborating remotely, the band put together this massive 52 track monster which is available for free on their website. if listeners feel inclined to pay, the funds go to one of twelve charities. good music, good causes, massive effort. check it out below.

as for what the sound is like, hey, i've got a real job too, and this is a lot of songs to listen to. basically it's folk/rock/pop. check it out.

havilah tower - out to sea

out to sea is the debut recording from texas "classacoustic" (not my word haha) three piece havilah tower. sparse instrumentation allows the vocals and personal/confessional lyrics to take center stage. the music doesn't lack however, a cello and djembe provide a nice coffeehouse type setting for this tune.

look for the full album, "behind the curtain", to be released at some point this year.

pc worship - toxic love

brooklyn based pc worship's 2012 record toxic love is a catchy grunge folk masterpiece, with the perfect blend of pop song structures, rusty desert shack noise texures, swamp stomps, weed ghost vocals and ornette coleman sax freakouts. i love this album. i just became aware that they have a bandcamp where you can download it for $7.

you can download a bunch of their other albums there as well.


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