c. strom - i have heard of a land

the second of two dying for bad music releases i am featuring today, c. strom's 'i have heard of a land', available on a limited edition of 50 cassettes packaged in recycled tourist maps of america, is a mysterious and lo-fi message from norway.


it reminds me of the novel 'amerika' by franz kafka, which he wrote after looking at a postcard with a picture of america, having himself never left prague. i don't know the extent of c. strom's travels but 'i have heard of a land' sounds like the american folk tradition filtered through distance and dusty re-discovered documents. lonely, lofi recordings, with that upright church vibe you get from the carter family, and dark, scandanavia meets appalachia explorations on the autoharp. complete with the sound of the tape machine being turned off.



pre-order it here.

steve palmer - unblinking sun

minneapolis based guitarist steve palmer's new album 'unblinking sun' blends the ideas of american primitive style music as explained by john fahey with the sounds of kraut-rock in a cosmic manner unlike any i have ever heard. fitting that this album is due out on homemade CD on the label dying for bad music, and MFOA favorite and fellow traveler out of germany with a keen ear for the weird tentacles of the american folk tradition.


the first of two preview tracks, 'cassini', i imagine named for the satellite, sounds like a cosmic journey to end all journeys. starting with an incessant drum beat and guitar drone very reminiscent of NEU!, it builds into an interstellar swirl of reverbed-out finger-picked madness. the second track, 'six dollar sunglasses' is a more reflective acoustic fingerstyle number, with a large amount of overdubs creating a psychedelic atmosphere.



the album is due out 9/11/14. pre-order one of the limited edition of 70 or so right here.

kory quinn - at the end of the bar

kory quinn's new album 'at the end of the bar' is classic portland, oregon roots music/folk rock. the impression begins with the cover, picturing the interior of the laurelthirst public house, a well known little bar in southeast portland where just about every day you can hear quality, live americana, bluegrass, blues and jazz from afternoon til late in a great atmosphere while slammin' a few beers and dancing.


the production for the solid, classicist tunes on 'at the end of the bar' varies from mounrful steel guitar tinged country weepers to up-tempo fiddle sawing, harmonizing boot-scooters. the cajun sound is represented by the joyful 'chaille-au-pied'. many of the players on the album are familiar faces in the scene of working portland musicians of the rootsy persuasion.



get on vinyl or digitally right here.

crow moses - horse heaven hills

chicago's crow moses (recently playing under the name musikanto) is a lively band who's thoughtfully written tunes range from dark folk to full on americana rock with woody snares and flowing organs. their new album 'horse heaven hills' is produced by gary louris of jayhawks fame, and it sounds great. it also features some acrobatic singing and pretty weird cover art.


check out the title track below as a preview.



the whole sha-bang is due out on september 9th.

anie - lovekill EP

los angeles based anie seems to be an intentionally mysterious artist (or group of artists?). mystery aside, the 'lovekill EP' is solid music. dark, brooding, lushly produced music that is hard to classify. touches of chamber pop, freak folk, classicist pop, and ultra modern sounds.


lush strings, strange noise touches, spatters of percussion, vocals that switch from warm intimacy to cold androgynous harmonies, delivering dark, sad, romantic lyrics. i don't know what to say about it except that i like it.



oh yeah, and it's free. get it here. the band's website is kind of confusing, but if you sit on the first page, you can see an artsy video project.

dirtpond - live at the meridian, williamsburg, VA

nearly ten years ago, a band i was in with my best friends, called dirtpond, played a show at a small independent venue in historical williamsburg, VA called the meridian coffeehouse. if you are in a DIY band and want a show in SE VA check them out.


we smoked bad weed and drank a case of busch beer in the bushes behind this no-booze joint, and then we played. someone recorded it and gave it to us, and all these years later it has come back in to my possession, so i did what i always do: post it on the internet and try to get ya'll to listen to it. it includes the song 'cowboy (yippe ki-yay mother fucker)' which was a great song written by our bassist brian that up to this point there has not been a recording of.



this is a free download just like everything else on practice records. check that stuff out.

jimmy hickmott - nice try sunshine

i posted singer/songwriter jimmy hickmott's video for his tune 'teacher' awhile back, a nice sun-shiny indie folk tune taking a bit of that kitchen sink instrument approach, and visual homage to paul simon. jimmy has now released another single 'follow me', from his upcoming album 'nice try sunshine', due out shortly (september 3rd) as a smart looking homemade CD on marketstall records.


the album contains more of jimmy's brand of melodic, bouncy folk pop, with lyrics that transmit a kindness and gentleness inspired by his experiences as a school teacher.



pre-order it right here. observe below the video for 'follow me'.

rom b - drum machine dreams

rom b is the solo project of billy brat, the hard working and prolific front man of enduring virginia based noise/blues/industrial duo buck gooter, favorites here at MFOA. his latest effort is called 'drum machine dreams'. the album is repetitive, harsh and cold. most songs take the form of chanted/screamed incantations an exhortations over maximally crunchy lofi guitar and synth chords.



despite the title and billy's known love of drum machines, it was three tunes before i heard one, and it crunched as hard as the guitars. the dark, lonesome vibes in the lyrics go well with the alienated feel of the music. this album is recommended.



name your price for it right here.

the moonage shine - devil on his tail EP

sun damaged texas psych/country/folksters the moonage shine are back with a new EP, called 'the devil on his tail'. a series of spectral tunes characterized by lush, drony guitar atmospheres with distant strumming inhabited by lost, wandering lyrics and vocals. the whole EP has a spooky vibe, shack-in-the-desert vibe.



name your price for it here.

a few of my own releases

august has allowed me to squeeze out the time to finish a few things i have been working on over the past few months. the main project, 'american mountain', is an album that is close to my heart and one that was a struggle to record. it represents my effort to pay homage to the american folk tradition.


the other project, 'small star', is an album of cover tunes, paying homage to other songs and singers we in the modern folk love.





name your price for 'american mountian' here. get 'small star' free here.

pulcher fight - a place to die face to face

pulcher fight, AKA andrew seymour, is one of the growing number of contributors who got at me through my monthly ad in the 'back' of harrisonburg, VA webzine worst week ever. his album 'a place to die face to face' is some pretty infectious medium-fi indie pop/rock/folk. i was interested to see that the album was produced by nathan granofski, who's excellent album 'yes soliciting' i featured here before. there is a lyric somewhere in there about being an english major that hits close to home.



name your price for it here.

michael daniels - demo

i recently helped to record a demo of two original songs by my friend michael daniels, that i thought turned out pretty well. it was practice for a possible longer recording to be made in the future, hence the fact it appears on practice records.


'mountain/valley' is whistful folk ballad, 'rotten' is a sort of nihlistic laid-back rocker.



get it for free right here.

shenandoah alley - s/t

i am very happy this morning to feature the full length debut from shenandoah alley, the hard driving, good time 'finger lickin, chicken pickin, mother fuckin' bluegrass band out of harrisonburg, va. this band is made up of some of my best friends. they have been together awhile keeping up an ambitious live schedule before finally recording this album.


the album has a perfect mixture of momentum and sentiment, with down-home songwriting and fast, rollicking traditional bluegrass musicianship, and listening to it has been making me a little misty to be honest, hearing familiar voices sing about the blue ridge mountains and where i'm from. there is a song on here sung by my actual brother, and a cover of a song by some other old band.



i might be a little biased but i recommend this one highly, especially if you are predisposed to like traditional bluegrass. get it here.

yuzima - sex city

new york musician yuzima is somewhat mysterious. the email he sent me was kind of flashy. then i hit play on his new single 'sex city'. a lofi rock anthem with a catchy, somewhat springsteenish chorus, some wailing guitar noise and some weird vocal flare-ups. the digital 'b-side' to 'sex city', 'heirarchy', is even more surprising. glitchy repetitive, industrial drone. yuzima is worth checking out for sure, he has many tunes available on his soundcloud. not easy to decide which tags to use...





check out more yuzima here. below, observe the music video for 'sex city'.

bud petal - wissotsky in the night

bud petal is an australian-based singer and songwriter and visual artist. 'wissotsky in the night' is the lead single from his forthcoming album 'fabric cordial'.


written during travels throughout europe and petal's homeland of the levant, the music has rich, personal feeling of being steeped in internationality, history, and family, along with a dose of dark humor.



find out more about bud petal here.

nathan golub - ellerbee river blues

north carolina based guitarist nathan golub's new album 'ellerbee river blues' is an assured collection of fast and furious kottke-style american primitive ripping blended with some slower-paced long form electrified wanderings and rambles.


the quicksilver picking of a tune like 'wedding boots' demonstrates golub's mastery of fingerstyle, but a piece like 'poison quarter' lets the listener in on his feel for tone and experimentation.


get a digital copy here. grab a cassette on good friends tapes right here.

brother earth - out like a lion

another in the list of MFOA submissions that happen to be on the formidable hidden shoal imprint, brother earth combines the talents of producer and multi-instrumentalist todd tobias with the singing and songwriting of steve five of the library is on fire fame. i must admit that i was a little star-struck to receive an email from todd tobias, as he is known for producing several bob pollard/guided by voices records (as well as a record by my friend and MFOA contributor brock ginther's band king pedestrian)!


but enough about that stuff, this post is about this new effort. moody and atmospheric, 'out like a lion', the lead single from the forthcoming brother earth LP 'positive haywires', simultaneously drives forward while it oozes out around the edges. the song is anchored by an insistent clicking percussion track punctuated by swelling cymbals and a plucked classical guitar, fleshed out by various ambient touches, creating a dark mysterious room for the sleep-talking, trance-like vocal. a mystical freak folk trip. i am excited the hear the full LP, available from hidden shoal september 16th.


download 'out like a lion' for free right here.

wayne william - don't fade away (video)

maltese singer/songwriter wayne william brings smooth, anthemic radio-friendly pop on 'don't fade away', the lead single from his solo debut, 'the parade'. the slick sound belies the hardworking artist behind it; 'the parade' was completely self produced in william's own studio. i have been trying to stay away from making band-to-band comparisons here, but this track really reminds me of early coldplay.



find out more about wayne william here.

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