the sound of shellac - scandanavian shellac

norwegian folk musician, traditionalist and archivist c. strom has been hard at work, because it has only taken him a few weeks to release another installment of his project 'the sound of shellac', analog recordings of him playing back his personal collection of 78's on his 50's era phillips radio cabinet (i wrote a bit about how cool i think that is here).

note: this might not be exactly what c. strom's record player looks like

this collection, 'scandanavian shellac', presents a group of records originating from his northern european home region and makes for a cool, eye-opening listen, especially for those of us, like me, who have never heard any music like this before.

name your price for it here. grab some of c. strom's original music (recommended) over at the wonderful free music archive or in physical form from dying for bad music records.

tito mendoza - war paint

the music of florida-based producer/songwriter tito mendoza is pretty unique for an MFOA contribution in that it is stylistically along the lines of modern pop, but it is self produced and not without it's stranger moments.

the latest release, 'war paint', begins with a short, hazy soundscape, before unveiling its series of smooth, somewhat minimal tracks that exist in a space between singer/songwriter pop and neo-soul/r&b. the result is helped along by the appeal of tito's voice, although there are other cool instrumental tracks on the album, a favorite of mine being the very chill 'dandelions'.

get it here.

robby fischer - you've changed

robby fischer is a grand rapids, michigan based home recording artist who deals in crunchy, lofi garage rock with a some surfy vibes that seem to originate in a locale much more southern and coastal then where he is actually from.

the tunes are generally short and catchy and bathed in a wash of garage fuzz and feedback, but not enough to cover the wild guitar playing and drywall rattling drums.

get it here on cassette or digitally.

crown larks - blood dancer

crown larks are a chicago experimental/art rock band that create swirling, sprawled out psychedelic songs that drone and moan. their new album 'blood dancer' is due out april 15th, but a preview track, 'blood mirage', is streamable now.

it begins with a hazy stoner dirge, underpinned by impressionistic saxophone wailing, that gives way to a kraut-rock inspired freakout with the uptick of a classic 'motorik' drum beat. this is a good indication that the rest of the record could be a real barn burner.

you can pre-order it on vinyl, cassette, or CD here. i feel like this one would sound hot on the deluxe 150 gram vinyl that is being offered. it seems like chicago has no shortage of great bands pumping out heavy, psych tinged, expansive rock and roll these days.

out of system transfer - same rat, different hat

out of system transfer is an anarchistic folk punk band from brooklyn. they add clarinet and trombone to their frantic strumming and drumming, but the effect is more old-timey than ska oriented, which makes for a unique sound.

the vibes can go from an urgent stride to a woozy sway, and the lyrics deal angrily with political/social/economic issues that rightly inspire anger. their latest album is called 'same rat, different hat'.

get it for a dollar here. check out a video for the tune 'new train blues' below.

slow turismo - corners

slow turismo are an australian band who create what they call 'big speaker indie pop'. their new song 'corners' makes this description sound right.

the song has a huge rhythm section, echoey guitars, lush synths, and vocals reaching for the heights.

find out more about slow turismo here.

fadey shades - kill yourself at my house

fadey shades is the moniker of california singer and guitar picker pancho morris.

on his latest album 'kill yourself at my house', he weaves folky personal tapestries from his own twisted headspace/dreamscapes accompanied by his guitar, occasional harmonies and the odd touch of psychedelia provided by reverb or just a general atmosphere of weirdness.

get it digital or CD here.

billy mack collector - city without limits theme song

billy mack collector recently engaged in a pretty cool project that is right up the MFOA alley and makes him live up to the 'collector' in his name: he wrote a song, and before he ever recorded it, he solicited covers from every other DIY/lofi/folk/bedroom recording/travelling punk band he could think to get in touch with. he ended up collecting a total of 95 cover versions of a song that none of the bands/artists covering it had ever heard...a really fun example of one of my favorite phenomenological concepts, simulacrum...a copy without an original.

needless to say, this is just the kind of project that the modern folk music of america exists to promote. i'm gonna be honest and say that i have not listened to all 95 songs on this collection at the time of this post, but i can assure you there is a lot of variety. it isn't just lofi guitar guys at early as the third track we are treated to a rap song that expands extensively on the concept. there are techno versions, spoken word. found sound collages? fuck yeah. and stuff i didn't get around to that you can discover yourself.

it's free, get it here. i encourage you to read what billy wrote about it at the bottom of the bandcamp page.

ant dolla - a few jams

ant dolla is an extremely prolific MC and producer out of las vegas, nevada, who posts a new track to his soundcloud every week.

ant works with a number of producers as well as producing his own tracks, so the tone of his music varies, but he has a distinct style as a rapper that carries from struggle songs to party jams. the tune 'up' has a nice old school feel to the production.

'golden casket' has dark atmosphere and storytelling.

'X' shows the slow burn

listen to a ton more ant dolla here.

attic fowler - bradford beach

i wrote about attic fowler's tape on fall break records recently, which i am big fan of. the album was released digitally in 2013 and i think if the 'indie' music industry was a meritocracy and not a game of chance, attic fowler would be giving mac demarco a run for his money, with his southern-inflected hazy atmospheres and rubbery, psychedelic power-pop melodies.

attic fowler has jangly, shimmering new tune out called 'bradford beach'...if this tune is a sign of what's to come, i'd say he has a great record on the way.

check out more attic fowler here.

jesse and the revelator - northern liberty blues

jesse and the revelator are a folk duo from pennsylvania, 'former outlaws' who found religion and are now simple working people who make simple, working music. their music has a humble beauty, scratchy guitar and down home harmonies.

their new song 'northern liberty blues', is a tune of frustration with the modern world, the struggle of two people against the overwhelming forces pushing the opposite direction, and it's pretty charming, and also sad.

name your price for it and a few other tunes here.

grandpa was a lion - mona lisa apple

grandpa was a lion is the nom de tape of a one man lofi recording project out of brooklyn. the music has a very ambient feel, with atmospheric haze, experimental passages, heavy reverb, electronics, and whispery vocals, but it is anchored somewhere in the folk realm, as evidenced by the guitar plucking styles that can be heard through out.

the latest effort, 'mona lisa apple', is a lengthy, rambling album that is easy to sink into and drift from song to song.

it's a free download right here.

al mirabella - cushions

you might be able to call florida songwriter al mirabella's music 'anxiety folk'...he mentions it in his bandcamp bio, and references it cleverly in the funny, personal emo-punk-folk tunes on his new album 'cushions'.

honestly, i find it pretty relatable, and i think a lot of people would, to some degree or another. his tunes are simply recorded, but they are catchy, with some self-dueting flushing out pop-punk melodies.

name your price for it here.

chloe march vs. markus mehr - to set the river on fire

i post a lot of things from the australian imprint hidden shoal, because i like the way they work (they are super open minded and helpful to artists) and the dreamy, high quality music they consistently release. this project is interesting as it is a classic 'vs' EP...two artists in the hidden shoal stable remixing each other's tunes.

here, singer chloe march takes on ambient soundsmith markus mehr, and it's an auspicious pairing. his feel for sonic textures is a great match to chloe's instrumental sensibilities and gossamer voice, which is unique and beautiful (i've written about chloe a few times and i think i'm running low on adjectives for her special instrument). especially cool is when she steps into markus' tune 'bouy'. her voice inhabits the spaces he creates.

the EP comes with the original versions as well. get it now from hidden shoal.

mike meagher - society falling

mike meagher is a singer, guitarist and home recorder from massachusetts. his tunes are on the heavy, grungy side, he wears the influence of the 90's boldly on his sleeve (i hear a lot of nirvana and solo ozzy), but there are fresh melodies to be heard.

on his bandcamp page, he states 'i'm not trying to wow the world with technical ability and too cool for the room pretentiousness. i write what i consider good rocking tunes and hopefully people enjoy what i create.' technically speaking, he's got some chops, and that lack of pretentiousness shows and is very refreshing to me.

check out a few more tunes here.

practice records debut cassette release: low hum by joplin rice

i am very excited to announce the very first cassette release by the modern folk music of america's off-shoot label, practice records, in the form of the new long player from kentucky lofi song maker joplin rice, low hum. this album is full of melancholic lofi bedroom folk-rock jammers with a spaced out psychedelic edge, that, if i was forced into making a comparison for promotional purposes, i would say reminded me a lot of the catchy sorrow of the late great elliott smith.

i believe in this album, and now you can score it on cassette for the low price of $5.

it's a limited run of 50 tapes, so get one here now!

the sound of shellac - my blue heaven

i was extremely excited when i got an email from norwegian folk musician and music archivist c. strom (check out some of his tunes here) detailing his latest project, 'the sound of shellac'. the recordings you hear here are from his private collection of 78s, and they aren't digitized or 'ripped' as these things usually are. these are tape recordings of strom playing the discs on his 1950's era philips radio cabinet.

this subtle distinction is really something, as in some ways this process re-creates these old songs as entirely new objects, similar to the experiments attempted on john fahey's knotty psychedelic masterpiece, 'voice of the turtle'. strom's work, however, does not include the obfuscation and mystification that fahey employed when using old recordings within his own. while c. strom recreates for us the experience of listening to these artifacts of shellac in the form of new objects, WAVS (mp3s is what you'll receive if you download it), he is completely open about the process, and the result is delightful. i recommend this very highly.

name your price for it here.

cry ruth - clutter

connecticut band cry ruth grew out of a project i wrote about before, stars and streams (bandcamp for that is empty, but you can check a video here), the bedroom recording identity of songwriter c.ward.

he added a collaborator to provide drums and harmonies, and i pressed play and i was quickly transported to lofi heaven. ghosty pop-punk melodies over minimalist acoustic strumming and beating in short sweet packages. this one was hitting a lot of spots for me on the first few listens. also has a funny song about a friend of theirs that shits in hotel showers.

name your price for it here.

pulco - innovation in the trade

pulco is the project of staggeringly prolific UK based songwriter, bedroom recording artist and general purveyor and promoter of all things lofi music, ash cooke. ash had a measure of success in the music business with his band derrero, touring with a number of notable indie acts, but for the past ten years, he has just released his 'sketchbook' of recordings under the pulco moniker, and i'm sorry i haven't written about him sooner.

his latest album, 'innovation in the trade', features a trade off between bedroom power-pop jammers with urgent, beautiful choruses and stranger, more experimental songs with spoken passages and eccentric drum loops, and both side of the coin are solidly polished. highly recommended. i'll have to spend some time digging through his extensive back catalog.

name your price for it and a lot more here.

the transcendants - s/t

the transcendents are an experimental/lofi band from christchurch, new zealand. their self-titled album features glitchy, distorted, spacey soundscapes anchored with rhythms and melodies and overlayed with abstract spoken word poetry.

it's an extremely unique approach that combines elements of trance, techno, and hip hop with punk rock textures and psychedelic-outsider-gutter poet imagery. in order to enhance this effect, they have made videos for 6 of the 10 tracks on the album, which you can check out either on their bandcamp page or youtube channel. i'll include my favorite here, the creepy cut for 'visitation rights' (aliens freak me out).

the self titled album is available digitally or on lathe cut polycarbonate, which is pretty cool and something i'd never heard of.

get it here.

roland k. smith - sailing by the stars

roland k. smith is singer/songwriter from australia. his latest album, 'sailing by the stars' is an alt-country flavored selection of songs about loss and redemption, colored by some troubadour harmonica, woody drums and bluegrassy strings and bouncy piano.

i like the band on this a lot, they have a good measure of honky-tonk-soul-swing and old time haunt to throw in behind roland's tunes. it's obvious that roland and his band have been luxuriating in the best that american roots rock of the 60's and 70's has to offer.

get it here.

josh brooks - tall tales

josh brooks is a folksinger from vermont. he has a friendly storytelling sensibility, and that makes sense, because he is an elementary school teacher and father of three. some of his tunes are funny and charming, and would be good for kids, but others are sad, some are topical, and some are funny in a way that might not be so good for kids...

his latest album 'tall tales' features minimal man-and-guitar production, but the songs are intricate stories, and they are performed very tightly, with clean singing and playing and just a touch of reverb.

get it here.

chloe march - orpheus head

london based dream pop chanteuse chloe march has released a second spaced out music video from her excellent current album, 'nights bright days'.

this new tune, 'orpheus head', is a crystalline ballad of obsession that has chloe creating strange sonic spaces with deep synthy instrumentals and many layers of her mesmerizing voice that sounds frosty and warm simultaneously. her music is a signature blend of classic pop, electronica, and psychedelia that you are unlikely to hear elsewhere. the music video that accompanies it is suitably impressionistic.

you can grab 'nights bright days' on CD from hidden shoals recordings, or stream it below.

p.k. workman - utah sky

i've posted a couple individual songs from p.k. workman's EP 'utah sky' in the months leading up to its release, and now it is here.

a mellow, whistful, and pretty five song trip through a world of desert folk singing and songwriting. the recording has an atmospheric feeling at times, recalling the wide open space of the utah sky. alt-country production touches add to the lushness.

get it here, on CD or digitally.

cutfuck - bleeech bottle

cutfuck is a side project of greg twail, who i wrote about a little while ago. the only have one song, a lofi garage ripper that edges on emo territory, prefaced by a sample of dialog from the late, lamented cartoon show 'home movies'.

 possibly recorded on a cell phone.

get it here.

darren cross - no damage

darren cross is an australian singer/songwriter who "sleeps in denim" and is inspired by the great songwriting traditions of the american south.

his new EP 'no damage' was in fact written during a sojourn in the southern US, then recorded back 'down under' in tasmania. the EP's spares production puts the melancholy, alt-country flavored songwriting at the forefront, carried by darren's comforting, world weary voice.

get it on CD or digital here.

reid karris - lanificus

reid karris is an experimental musician and composer from chicago, working with the pan y rosas discos netlabel i wrote about a few posts back. his latest album, 'lanificus', features short improvisations on percussion and zither, that stretch the boundaries of sound for the instruments he is using.

bowed symbols, clanging metal and wood, ringing overtones. it would be easy to think of music like this as intimidating, atonal or academic. but what i hear first and foremost is the playfulness that is inherent in the approach and is captured in the recording. this would be fun music to make, and to my ears, it is fun to listen to.

you can get this and another experimental/improvised album called 'ambiens sonitus' (which is an interesting counterpoint to 'lanificus', featuring prepared electric guitars and field recordings worked into two long form improvs, as opposed to the short flights of fancy of the other work) by reid from pan y rosas discos. you can also check his extensive bandcamp page for more experimentations and for more conventional music from earlier in his life as a musical explorer.

greg twail/brother - everything is fine

i have received thousands of emails for MFOA, but greg twail sent the sparsest yet. it was just his bandcamp links, and the subject line said something like 'hey, this is stuff i made'. and i liked that. it does get old reading through flowery, obviously self written bios/fluff jobs detailing some songwriter's trip to california (why is that always what they write about?). remember, i post everything i get as long as the person who made it sends it, so don't strain yourself writing about your time in the desert or whatever. maybe that's what it takes to get other sites to write about you, but MFOA is not other sites...that's the point.

greg's tunes are down the classic line of MFOA contributions. lofi, one-man-band, bedroom indie folk with a bit of a psychedelic edge and some pop hooks here and there. greg is from lexington kentucky and is friends with fellow lexingtonian and MFOA favorite joplin rice.

greg also records under the name brother, a project for which he has a self titled full length available.

everything by greg is name your price. get brother here, get his solo stuff here.

kolas - presence EP

kolas is a dobro player from quebec who injects a little bit of the deep south into his sparse sound, despite being from the great white north.

his tunes are arranged simply with cajon, harmonica, dobro, and tambourine, played one man band style, in the tradition of jesse fuller, abner jay and medicine head, leading to a stark modern folk/blues feel. despite his mastery at playing several instruments simultaneously, kolas' fingerpicking on his handmade dobro is the star of the show.

name your price for it here.

candidate demo - let your agony bells ring

the musical work ethic of billy brett seems to be inexhaustible, from his work with buck gooter, his solo material, releasing albums by other artists, and with this band, candidate demo.

candidate demo features his signature dark, isolated poetry and minimalist industrial/electronic percussion, but couples it in this case with the psychedelic, atmospheric, shoegazey and at times doom-metal guitar stylings of john sgroi, which might make this the mellowest music in his canon, not to say that it is mellow at all. but you should still chill to it.

name your price for the new one, 'let your agony bells ring', here. you can get the 1st candidate demo album, 'the curtain', on red vinyl here.

clara de asis - nununu

clara de asis' 'nununu' is a long form improvisation on prepared guitar, more accurately described, probably, as a sound sculpture than as a song.

recorded in a home studio in france 'with no interventions' other than panning the left and right channels, it is a spatial listening experience and the artist recommends using good stereo reproduction equipment. after listening to it, i'd say it's worth it to sit down with it and plug it in to your system if you have the chance!

the recording is available in digital form from pan y rosas discos, a small chicago based 'netlabel' specializing in this type of music. they are a pretty unique operation, i'd recommend reading their about page if any kind of experimental art is your thing.

noah derksen - the man that i am

noah derksen is a british columbia based singer/songwriter specializing in mellow, contemporary folk.

his debut album, 'the man that i am', showcases his smooth voice and honeyed harmonies in whistful, emotional ballads floating on tranquil alt-country seas.

you can get it right here.

los demolirs - EP. 1

i received an email from los demolirs and i was like...'hm, that looks familiar' wasn't until going to their bandcamp page to check out their new release, 'EP. 1', that i remembered reviewing their first recording, a tune called 'jet', which also makes an appearance on this release.

'EP. 1' is a four song effort by the florida rockers, and it plays to their strengths of tight, poppy melodies housed in fuzzed up garage rock structures. some of the tunes remind me of the more kinetic examples of the 90's wave of brit-pop, like blur and elastica, especially the taught, edgy 'lip locked'.

name your price for it here.

anielle reid - someday

anielle reid is a singer/songwriter who has made the somewhat uncommon choice of making the banjo here primary axe, and using it in an innovative way to fuse folk twang with upbeat pop production.

the glue that holds this experiment together is her solid voice, but it can't hurt that her lyrics are clever and that her backing band seems to be on the same page in terms of this unique blend. 'someday' is the lead single from her debut album, 'ain't like em', and it showcases how well the different elements she brings to her songwriting can come together.

'ain't like em' will be available here in may.

monika cefis - pineapple shakes

monika cefis is a uke-swingin' singer/songwriter from montreal, who seems to be equally comfortable at the piano. her songs feature clever lyrics, bouncy indie-folk production, and her bubbly voice. her debut EP is called 'pineapple shakes'.

i've noticed, having received a few contributions from quebecois artists in the past few weeks, that they seem to favor sounds that at least in part originate from warmer climates. is it because it is so cold up there?

get it here.

bridge under fire - i got a guy for that

bridge under fire is a hardcore band out of syracuse new york that churns out heavy, nuanced music that is not afraid of guitar riffs and musical complexity or maintaining its basic punk brutality. they mix other motifs as well, slam-dance break downs and new jersey misfits style pop-punk 'oh-oh-ohs' hang out together without even a busted lip.

the band balances these impulses well on their EP 'i got a guy for that', a four song blast of angular, raw throated punk that'll make you want to jump into the pit.

you can get 'i got a guy for that' on 7" vinyl from orange sls records right here.

the podunk throwbacks - live on time out with kevin gallagher

this is an MFOA first...i'm posting connecticut band the podunk throwback's entire half hour set on a cable access program (i was not sure this still existed) called 'time out with kevin gallagher'. pretty cool.

the podunk throwbacks are a guitar/fiddle duo that describe themselves as 'classical-grass', which is a decent description. the fiddle playing is more concert hall than hoe-down, but it accompanies the singer/songwriter stylings of their storytelling songs beautifully. check out the show below!

check out more of the podunk throwbacks' music right here.


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