Katie Davis: Free EP Download

As I said when I posted her “Fisherman” mp3 last summer, independent singer-songwriter Katie Davis makes pretty, atmospheric folk and pop music. Katie recently emailed me to share the following link for a free, legal download of her new EP Terrible, Terrible.

Katie Davis – Terrible, Terrible EP (Bandcamp page)

BUY CD @ AMAZON

Mutts: We Float EP

Muruch‘s occasional Chicago reviewer Chelle caught the attention of Mutts with her recent Empires/The Whigs review and Mutts lead Mike Maimone submitted the band’s We Float EP for her consideration. Following is her take on the EP….

Chicago-based trio Mutts are just over a year old, and much like the hodgepodge suggested by their moniker, members Mike Maimone (keys, vocals), Chris Faller (drums), and Bob Buckstaff (bass) punch in off the clock from more pedigreed projects (Company of Thieves, The Hush Sound). And like a zealous, unruly year-old puppy, their EP We Float runs the rambunctious gamut of influences, spanning jazz, blues, grunge, metal, industrial and rock, never quite deciding which one to take by the throat and throttle.

Considering the juxtaposed jumble of components, however, Mutts’ combined output is a cohesive sound; it’s evident they’ve done the work of deciding what they want to do, and forging ahead with it confidently. If you possess any manufactured pop sensibilities, delicate or otherwise, you may not immediately find too much to latch on to amidst the stripped down production and frenetic, raw vocal stylings. But there’s a brutal honesty buried in the roughness, and the moments where the melodies begin to surface and take hold add just enough suggestion of shine to keep you listening.

Mutts have a forthcoming release, The Tells of Parallels EP, available on October 1st. They will also be playing at legendary Chicago venue Schuba’s on Monday, August 30 at 8:00PM as part of the Betta Promotions Showcase. The show is $6, 18+ and tickets are available here. Also appearing are DJ Caural, The Sacred Robe of the Ancient Psychedelic Monks, Scott Lucas & The Married Men, and Volcanoes Make Islands.

Mutts – Beggar (mp3 removed)*
Mutts – We Float (mp3 removed)*

All Mutts music, including We Float and their previous Pretty Pictures EP, is available as free downloads on their website. You can also purchase them on CD at the band’s shows or Amazon…

Buy @ Amazon

*mp3s provided by & posted w/ permission of band

Antony & The Johnsons: Another World EP

Antony & The Johnsons will release the five song EP Another World on October 6th in the UK (Rough Trade Records) and October 7th in the U.S. (Secretly Canadian). Their previous release I Am A Bird Now claimed 2005 entirely for me, and I also loved their self-titled debut. I generally despise EPs, as I prefer to listen to full albums or single mp3s and EPs seem to be an annoying in-between. But it is nice to have this brief – albeit partially disappointing – taste as I eagerly await Antony’s full-length release The Crying Light in 2009.

“Another World” is a quiet, elegant lament over the decline of the environment that fits beautifully with Antony’s unusual voice. I always believed that Antony’s voice could carry any tune, but I think “Crackagen” and “Sing For Me” either need more punch to their instrumentation or Antony needs a bit more emotion in his voice. Neither song produces the kind of chills I’ve come to associate with the band’s music.

However, the sparse arrangement of the first half of “Shake The Devil” only serves to make his vocals that more haunting…though the retro beat and brass of the second half disrupt the song’s spell for me. The pretty piano finale “Hope Mountain” – a tale set after a flood when a group of people gather on a mountainside to witness a girl walking on water – also recaptures some of the old magic. The EP increased my excitement for the new album, but also lowered my expectations for it.

Anthony & The Johnsons – Another World (mp3) *

*Click link to download at YouSendIt. Mp3 uploaded by & posted with permission of Girlie Action PR.

Antony & The Johnsons – Another World (video)

Antony & The Johnsons Official Site

Buy @ Amazon

The Paper Raincoat: Safe in the Sound

The Paper Raincoat is a project led by singer-pianist Amber Rubarth and multi-instrumental wizard Alex Wong, who accompanied Vienna Teng on her recent Mountain Stage performance. The two share vocal duties on their four-song Safe in the Sound EP while Wong plays guitars, percussion, glockenspiel, and synths. A backing band of musicians provide the duo a full-bodied orchestral sound.

The songs reside in the same NYC fantasy world that centers on the fictional character Grace as she looks back on her life during her 50th birthday celebration. Grace soon returns to her childhood home to settle her recently departed inventor father’s estate. In doing so, she discovers her father’s plans for a paper raincoat. It was the failure of said invention that resulted in Grace’s estrangement from her father and the abandonment of her artistic dreams. Finding her father’s sketches reawakens Grace’s longing to writer and she begins a novel called The Paper Raincoat.

A standard flight attendant announcement introduces “Sympathetic Vibrations”, which is a peppy indie-pop ode to travel replete with happy handclaps and warm hums. And the finale “Safe in the Sound” is a charming, tinkling duet.

The stand out track is “Brooklyn Blurs”, a pretty ballad that captures the mood of a romantic New York night. Alex performed the tune during Vienna’s set at Mountain Stage, and his studio recording is just as lovely.

The Paper Raincoat – Brooklyn Blurs (mp3 expired)

The Paper Raincoat MySpace

Buy Mp3s @ Amazon

Serena Ryder: Told You In A Whispered Song EP

Serena Ryder followed up her brilliant major label debut If Your Memory Serves You Well with the 5 song EP Told You In A Whispered Song. Though the new collection isn’t as dazzling as the covers on her debut, it does serve to show off Serena’s voice and songwriting. And it’s a nice teaser for the full length she is apparently hoping to release later this year.

“Told You In A Whispered Song” and “Hiding Place” place bare bones acoustics under Serena’s vocals, which dig into a Lizzie West throatiness. But it’s the harder strum of “Brand New Love” and “Blown Like The Wind At Night” that unleash the richly unique tone and power of Serena’s voice.

“Weak At The Knees” was originally featured on If Your Memory Serves You Well, and the heartfelt ballad is the stand out track on the new EP.

Serena Ryder Official Site
Serena MySpace

The EP is available on iTunes, which you can access through the links above. iTunes doesn’t work with my system (Windows ME) and I don’t own an ipod, so I’ve never used and cannot recommend the program.