lovebyrd - s/t

the guys at ongakubaka records are keeping the pace fast, with their second cassette release, the self titled debut by german psych rockers lovebyrd, becoming available 1/9/15. their taste in psych rock has not faltered. lovebyrd is a woman fronted outfit featuring laid back rhythms, jangly, spaced out guitars, and enveloping harmonies. german accents have never sounded sweeter.

this short tape contains serious lysergic riffs worked into catchy sunshine-pop frameworks, and those passages you want from psychedelic rock songs that sound like they are flying you into outer this rate i'm gonna want to get every tape ongakubaka records releases!

get it on tape or digital here.

sweet bump it - slow down

LA band sweet bump it features retro rhythms and a strong compliment of female voices stacked up in classic pop/soul arrangements.

their latest song, 'slow down' shifts between the sounds of the 60's and 70's, with a slinky, single coil, reverby guitar melody in the verse giving way to a wah-wah driven boogy-woogy chorus fleshed out by those ronnettes-meets-b-52's vocal flourishes.

get the tune here.

kelly zullo - when we get there and gypsy

kelly zullo has a unique and i imagine inimitable style of playing acoustic guitar: lightning fast, funky, somewhat jazz influenced. a method that kind of makes you wonder 'is she really doing that?' when you listen to it. her playing is so fast it could seem like a parlor trick, with the sterility that can come with virtuosity, if it wasn't worked into clever, personal, fully realized songs.

kelly zullo swings her axe wisely, tempered by years of working at songwriting, and she delivers these songs in an acrobatic voice, at times backed up by a fiddle and upright bass. she has gained some notoriety for her style, particularly among the guitar community. check out a few tunes below.

get her latest album, 'live at natalie's', right here.

johnny yuma - beginning to blur

'beginning to blur' by massachusetts folk songwriter johnny yuma is an album in the troubadour tradition, consisting of bitter sweet story songs from under the street lights, recorded in a strummy man-and-guitar style.

the album also includes an instrumental that focuses on johnny's lead guitar work and a rendition of the folk revival classic 'worried blues', performed in a quieter finger-picked style.

name your price for it here.

ben clabault - angelita cry

a few months ago i wrote about a singer/songwriter from massachusetts named ben clabault, whose earnest, melodic songs, recorded with stark simplicity into a laptop, kind of blew my mind. he had a minimal internet presence compared to the average MFOA contributor, and i saw the opportunity to spread awareness of ben's songwriting by making a selection of his songs the first physical release on the modern folk music of america record label, practice records.

i'm happy to say ben liked the idea, so i can present PRCD001, 'angelita cry', a collection of 12 of ben clabault's songs available in limited, numbered edition of 20 hand printed CDs or as a name-your-price download.

the songs on 'angelita cry' have a deep honesty about them and artists like ben clabault are the reason that i started MFOA and practice records in the first place. stream the album below and if you like it consider picking up one of the CDs.

get it here. CDs will ship out around 1/1/15. go here to check out some more of ben's tunes that aren't on 'angelita cry'.

the lucies - it's not cold enough

the great thing about being a lofi/bedroom/basement recording artist is that as soon as you have an idea, you can lay it down. this can make for some fairly prolific release schedules among this type of musician. a case in point is the new EP by the lucies, who's last one, 'anna cassidy' i featured here just a little while ago.

'it's not cold enough' is simple, lofi psych folk with sonic elements that give it a cohesive, homespun vibe. a sort-of distant sounding fuzz bass has an almost cello like feel, washed out electric guitars and over-dubbed harmonies reinforce the sense of loneliness that inhabits the tunes. recommended.

name your price for it here.

matt confusion - satori, take me away

matt confusion is an italian singer/songwriter working in lofi bluesy formats. his recording style and electric guitar playing lend a touch of space and psychedelia to his stripped down tunes.

his latest album, 'satori, take me away', includes a cover of the classic blues standard 'st. james infirmary', which is one of my favorite songs in that tradition.

get it for free here.

william csorba - songs

i covered guitar soli artist william csorba's last album 'the bear creek child cemetary' just a little while ago, and was charmed by his loose jointed, cosmic sounding style of playing. the same can be said of his new collection, 'songs'.

on 'songs', csorba adds to the atmospheric nature of his picking style with touches like shimmering gongs and a recording of a running stream. he also does a cover on this album of the sam mcgee classic 'buckdancer's choice', a touchstone for guitar soli players.

get the album here.

kill the intellectuals - something about a new exciting future called promising untold happiness

on her latest album 'something about a new exciting future called promising untold happiness', houston, TX songwriter kill the intellectuals delivers more of her super emotional, stream of consciousness diary-style lofi anti folk.

the songs are cathartic and seem to just flow out of her, and the recording style reflects that, some sounding as if they were captured on the fly, with very expressive performances.

name your price for it here. tapes of her previous effort, 'sad grrrl eats oatmeal and stares into the vanishing point', (which i also covered) will be available soon from tyburn woods collective.

axle creek - the journey home

axle creek is a hard rocking band that blends the sounds of classic arena rock and modern country. gritty vocals, big guitar solos and bar-room rhythms. their harmonies are reminiscent of the giants among the canon of manly country duos. their latest album is called 'the journey home'.

check out a few tunes from the album below.

get 'the journey home' here.

josh woodward - the beautiful machine

josh woodward, of ann arbor, MI, makes upbeat singer/songwriter folk/pop with a modern edge and big, memorable choruses. homemade, and very skillfully produced.

his latest album, 'the beautiful machine', is full of catchy tunes with heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics. there is a classic emo-pop influence to some of the tunes that is not heard frequently on MFOA.

get all of josh woodward's music here.

saturday city - she's the one

norwegian folk pop duo saturday city is back with a 'teaser' for the newest album, an intimate youtube clip of them performing their lilting new ballad 'she's the one' in the studio.

the new album will be out soon.

sapat - a posthuman guide to the advent calendar origins of the peep show

kentucky collective sapat is made up of a bunch of musicians from lousiville's fertile underground and their sound reflects a wide range of influences filtered through a very strange lens. there is a lot of eastern european elements, from krautrock guitar explorations to gypsy-jazz-folk woodwinds and old world operatic vocal flourishes.

there are also elements of prog rock and doomy sludge, strange chants and mystical incantations, psychedelic freakouts, yelps, howls, weird samples, and tons of energy. the more louisville bands from this scene (such as phantom family halo) i am exposed to, the more i wish i could catch a show down there...i imagine a sapat show would be like some kind of psychedelic pagan proceeding. recommended, this is experimental rock at its finest.

get the LP from sophomore lounge records.

azzuro peaks - you're so cool

azzuro peaks is a one-man lofi/bedroom/psych/pop/rock project from derby, UK. his latest release, 'you're so cool', features sun-shiny reverb guitars, synth strings and high-pitched self harmonized vocals that give the tune and almost baroque vintage psychedelic pop sound.

as you listen, you can almost feel yourself floating over the verdant english moors pictured on the cover art. a good song for a cold winter morning.

get it for free, along with an EP from earlier this year, here.

peter jens - ain't no manhattan for me

another in today's crop of contributions from singer/songwriters, peter jens tune 'ain't no manhattan for me' recalls the down-and-out-with-a-smile attitude of classic talking blues tunes, and it covers a similar topic, that of the wandering troubadour arriving in new york city.

peter jens' version gives the story a different twist, telling of the jealousy experienced when his friend has better luck than him; he's the dave van ronk to his buddy's bob dylan.

check out more of peter jens' music here.

p.k. workman - farewell old friend

utah based singer/songwriter p.k. workman trades in earnest, americana tinged folk-pop, with finger plucked guitars and soft vocal harmonies.

'farewell old friend', a quiet tune of love and loss, serves as preview for the EP that workman has on deck for release in 2015.

listen to more p.k. workman here.

all those ships - from far

another in off-kilter bedroom pop act all those ship's series of songs put out one by one, intended to gauge which tracks should make the final release, 'from far' is a non-traditional banjo based tune, propelled by shuffling lofi snares, with a big ending.

get it, and the others in this series, here. check out an all those ships video for the holidays below.

david rybka - look at yourself & lowdown

david rybka is a singer/songwriter from manchester, UK. his tunes go from dark, atmospheric and introspective to rocking brit-pop in their sound, which makes sense, because he also fronts a rock band called victorian dad.

i'm featuring two tunes below that show the spectrum of rybka's sound.

check out more of david rybka's tunes right here.

angela james - way down deep

'way down deep', the second album by chicago based singer/songwriter angela james has a fresh sound but harkens back to a classical era of american roots music.

recorded live with a band that was obviously feeling her vibe, the production is sparse and alt-countryish, with brushed snares, lilting steel guitars, some jagged, moody solos and mournful back-alley horns. angela's voice is the real star, a subtle instrument that carries a heavy sorrow somehow lightly through the misty places created by the music.

get it here on CD or on a limited edition vinyl pressing. below, check out a video for the lead single 'drink and try not to cry'.

recommended for 2014

i try to keep MFOA as different from your typical 'music blog' as i possibly can, which in the past three year-endings of it's existence, has meant ignoring the tradition of the year end round up of 'best' albums. i covered over 250 great artists this year and in an ideal world you would be listening to all of them and they would all be making a living doing what they love and feel passionate about. but that isn't the world we live in. anyway, this has been hands down MFOA's biggest year, and for that i thank everyone who visits the site, shares the links, buys/downloads the music, and especially all the musicians who send me their work. so, below are some of my most recommended albums from the past year of submissions, in no particular order.

-steve palmer - the unblinking sun-
in a year that was full of releases floating around the genre 'american primitive' (there will be more in this round up!), this was my favorite. at times contemplative, at times mind-blowing, heavy and psychedelic, steve palmer's 'the unblinking sun' combines influences of kraut rock and psych with the fahey-isms and in the process expands the possibilities of this resurgent genre. get it on cassette or digitally from dying for bad music records.

-buck gooter - the spider's eyes-
there is little i can say about harrisonburg, virginia's resident industrial blues demons buck gooter that henry rollins hasn't already. i love these guys and their band and i think that any other band calling itself 'punk' should probably be ashamed. 'the spider's eyes' is a pummeling, cathartic trip that is not afraid to confront the ills of the world head on, both sonically and lyrically. i did an interview here on MFOA with billy of buck gooter recently. get 'the spider's eyes' on sophomore lounge records or feeding tube records.

-nate henricks - apple juice-
nate henricks is a master of bedroom power-psych-pop. his latest album, 'apple juice', builds on his excellent 'neon for no one' (also from this year) with masterful pop melodies buried in weirdness and moments of heaviness that will rattle your bong. get it digitally here.

-pc worship - social rust-
pc worship did not submit 'social rust' to MFOA; this dark, free jazz inflected art-grunge record was coming out of the gate with love from major indie-rock publications. however, i have been posting about pc worship since the beginning of this spot and this record is among their best. 'social rust' shows another step in the progression of pc worship and their mastermind justin frye from freak-folk/improvisational noise collective to 'mutant soul' punk jam band to taught, pounding modern art-rock that sounds like this minute. get it on northern spy records or dull tools records.

-sarah louise - field guide-
north carolinian guitarist sarah louise released another one of my favorite american primitive/guitar soli albums of the year. 'field guide' is a meditative record that carries the musical genes of the hills and hollers of the appalachian mountains in which it was recorded. what made this album stand out sharply for me are the numbers where sarah sings...haunting, droning, dirge like renditions of traditional appalachian hymns that seem to hang in the air like a thick fog in the smoky mountains. get it here. 'field guide' will also be released on cassette sometime in early 2015 on scissor tail editions.

-jay satellite - a record-
the bay area mc formerly known as satellite high put out what i think is his best album yet this year in the form of 'a record'. the album builds on developments from the final satellite high release, including innovative production, recorded bedroom-style with organic instruments, a lot of non-drum kit percussion, and influences varying from prog-rock to metal to ambient, noise and drone. not to mention his agile flow and sharply witty, deeply introspective lyrics that inhabit the atmospheric music fully. get it digitally here.

-dead professional - hard hard hard-
dead professional has grown this year, from a one-man-band to a power trio, and they have released a long awaited EP, 'hard hard hard', the desire for which has been built through a workmanlike live schedule, including opening slots for the likes of ryan adams and bobby bare junior. this is power-pop that effortlessly blends the british wit and coolness of classic period stiff records with the warmth and heart of 1970's american songwriting in the vein of tom petty and bruce springsteen. get the EP here.

-c.m. slenko - moonlight veneration-
i love the approach over at sioux trails records, if i've said it once i've said it a million times, they are fellow travelers. my favorite release over there this year was c.m. slenko's 'moonlight veneration', an atmospheric album of acoustic and electric guitar soundscapes that sounds like it's title. a hazy, mystical dream throughout. get it here.

-salvaticus - hidden mana-
i don't get all that much metal through my figurative door, but i am glad when i do. 'hidden mana' by virginia's salvaticus is a crusty, hill country, black metal bludgeoning. long form, norway-by-way-of-appalachia-sounding compositions that at times settle into moments of acoustic serenity before revving up again to blast the fuck out of you. in terms of the black metal genre, salvaticus manages to bridge the gap between technical prowess and atmospheric gloom. get it on CD on lost apparition records or on cassette on eternal reign records, or digitally right here.

-daniel sage - wildlife-
'wildlife' by daniel sage is a mature sounding debut release, auteur power-pop and song craft with some rougher psyched out edges that seem to owe a debt of influence to the big muff pop-rock of the 90's. i also hear echoes of one of my favorite records, big star's 'third' in some of the pockets of controlled chaos, which makes sense, as 'wildlife' was recorded at the legendary ardent studios in memphis, tennessee. despite that fact, it remains a self-released effort. name your price for it here.

well, that's ten. making a list like this was hard. this is as close to any 'curation' you might ever see here. i could do a top fifty, but i don't get paid for this. you should listen to all wonderful homemade music i post here, and if you hear something you like, support the artist.

wett nurse - hissy fit

i was happy to observe this morning the first release by fellow music blog ongakubaka's foray into the label game...'hissy fit' by portland, oregon's wett nurse, is a swingin' garage/psych jammer from front to back. the guitars crunch, the organs swirl, and the drums pound and take you for a spin on the psychedelic dance floor. dark, swaggering amphetamine vibes throughout.

support this release, cause the dudes over at ongakubaka have great taste and will be sure to put out more solid releases if given the opportunity.

get it digitally or on cassette on ongakubaka records.

chris stringer - the rooted sessions (video)

singer-songwriter chris stringer of swansea, UK, writes intimate, confessional tunes characterized by his agile singing voice and guitar picking. he recently made some stripped down live videos of tracks from his upcoming EP 'sinking ships' for the rooted sessions, a welsh live video project for independent musicians.

download a couple of his older EPs for free here.

the hills and the rivers - the world

the hills and the rivers, of pittsburgh, pennsylvania, describe themselves as 'post apocalyptic river folk'...listening to their bittersweet, homespun full-length debut 'the world', it seems like an apt description to me, as i could picture them, from their sound, as a rag tag group of wanderers bringing comfort in the form of burlap harmonies and soothing acoustic sounds to the starving remnants of humanity in some sort of blasted wasteland.

they stray from the typical string band sound with touches of world music percussion, horns and a contemporary flair for songwriting, which works with their big, folk-ensemble sound.

get 'the world' right here.

laurence made me cry - the holly and the ivy

for the holiday season, welsh chanteuse jo whitby, who records under the name laurence made me cry, has dropped this dreamy rendition of the traditional christmas tune 'the holly and the ivy'.

it must be more of a british isles thing, because i am not familiar with the tune, but whitby's version is beautiful; a simple guitar, piano and jingly percussion (necessary to be festive) arrangement provides a great background for her angelic sounding voice on the lead vocal and self harmonized back-up melodies.

download it for free here. i also highly recommend her latest non holiday track, 'bellgrove'.

king pedestrian - new outdoors (video)

king pedestrian's self titled album, produced by todd tobias, is tour-de-force of idiosyncratic independent power-pop, with big guitars, catchy melodies, urgent vocals, weird lyrics, and concise tunes. the band has just completed a video for one of the stand out tracks, 'the new outdoors', which happens to feature all of the elements of their sound i mentioned above. check it out.

grab 'king pedestrian' digitally right here.

wishgift - folk twain EP

'folk twain EP' by chicago's wishgift is a knotty, prog influenced blast of aggressive, weirdo post punk, with an angry angularity that brings to mind some of the great bands of the touch and go records hey day in their hometown.

moments of sonic anarchy are included as well, with peals of nasty saxophone and other arty touches finding their way inside the corners of these tautly arranged songs.

get the EP on 12" vinyl on sophomore lounge records or digital right here. below, check out an 'unofficial' music video for 'pretty jenny', a song from their 2010 7" release.

odessey & oracle - odessey & oracle & the casiotone orchestra

odessey & oracle is a french band that takes their name from the seminal 1968 baroque/psych/pop LP by the zombies. a brief listen to their debut effort 'odessey & oracle & the casiotone orchestra' reveals that they draw from a similar source for their musical influences and that they have done their homework.

the music is sinuous, atmoshperic, psychedelic, and heavily baroque spaced out pop that i reckon you will be wanting to listen to more than once. it sounds like classic american and british psych filtered through a french, although i try to avoid comparisons, throw some stereolab in with those zombies and that free design. despite these comparisons, this album has a very fresh sound. i recommend this one.

get it here.

unqualified nurse - the weird

derby, UK noise punk act unqualified nurse is back with a sequel to 'medicine music' their release from a week or two ago. 'the weird' delivers more of the same raw, angry, lonely guitar punk aggression, but seems to have a slightly different personality to it.

the music is also delivered in the same quick burst...the eight songs that make up 'the weird' and 'medicine music' come in under ten minutes.

get it for free here.

a big silent elephant - sonne

a big silent elephant is the solo effort of italian artist mauro da re, who is also involved in numerous other bands. his first album under this moniker, 'sonne', is an excellent off kilter pop bag of tricks, recorded in classic eccentric one-man-band style in a cabin out in the country.

its full of jangly, catchy, homebrewed psychedelic tunes, characterized by spaced out guitars and far off, reverb drenched melodies, and carnival-esque soundscapes.

get it on limited edition CDR on resonating wood recordings.

abe po' ugly - flat foot prairie

my brother, abe po' ugly is back (check out some older stuff here) with an atmospheric drone-folk concept album about the various forms taken by war in the history and future of the american experience.

the album builds a cast of character's through who's eyes the listener can experience war from different angles and at different historical junctures, in an atmosphere of lofi fuzz, nylon string guitar, keyboard strings and sparse drum machines. i've made it the latest practice record for easy access.

get it for free here.

the plodes - high five every animal

the plodes, of vancouver, BC, are a high energy pop/garage type punk band that have the unique 'accordion factor' not too often seen in this genre. the squeeze-box here is employed in a droney fashion that fits the music very well, as opposed to attempting to cram polka breakdowns into the punk tunes.

the lyrics are kind of funny and sarcastic and high pitched and snotty, making me think a little of the more tongue-in-cheek side of classic punk when i listen to these guys, such as dead milkmen or early B-52's. as an animal lover (who isn't right?), i also enjoy the animal focused theme of this EP.

name your price for a download or get a 7" for the extremely reasonable price of 5 bucks right here.

brother earth - sunny side of the street (video)

i have covered 'positive haywires', the debut from brother earth, here before. brother earth is an exciting collaboration between two indie rock luminaries, todd tobias of bob pollard/gbv/circus devils fame, and steve five of the library is on fire. i'm happy to feature this whimsical/edgy jim henson-inspired video for what was actually my favorite tune off of 'positive haywires', the short, sweet, power-poppy snippet that demands to be played again, 'sunny side of the street'.

get the album, out now on hidden shoal recordings, here or here.


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