The National guitarist Bryce Dessner is a man of many talents, one of which is evident in “Lachrimae,” which is being offered as a free, legal mp3 download from his website. Inspired by John Downland, Benjamin Britten and Bela Bartok, this symphonic string composition is especially reminiscent of the latter’s String Quartet No. 3. I was also reminded of some Michael Nyman and Phillip Glass pieces. This particular performance is by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, conducted by Andre de Ridder. An alternate version by the Copenhagen Phil was recently released on CD, along with two other Dessner compositions and a suite from There Will Be Blood written by Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood.
Bryce Dessner – Lachrimae (mp3 download page)
It was just over a year ago when we first introduced you to “Classical Dub-step” duo Dysphemic & Miss Eliza. The duo is offering a free, legal mp3 download of “Hungarian Dance,” one of the tracks on their Synthetic Symphony EP, as well as their futuristic new video for the song…
Jena Malone is best known as the young actress in movies like Stepmom, Donnie Darko, Four Last Songs, Into The Wild and, more recently, The Hunger Games, but she is also a singer and musician. Her latest music project, The Shoe, will release their debut full-length album, I’m Okay, on June 3rd. The Shoe is comprised of sweet-voiced Jena and pianist-producer Lem Jay Ignacio and they are named for Jena’s musical instrument creation “The Shoe” – an old streamer trunk filled with electronic instruments. You can stream and download a free, legal mp3 of the album’s first single, “Paper Cup,” at SoundCloud.
Buy @ Amazon (Available June 3rd)
Here it is folks, my favorite album of 2014 so far: St. Paul & The Broken Bones’ debut full-length album, Half the City. This six-member Birmingham ensemble plays a vintage brand of gritty, bluesy, brassed up soul with a sound so authentic you’ll think it was recorded decades ago. I cannot overstate how spectacular this album is, it should be required listening to qualify as human.
Lead singer Paul Janeway’s exquisite, gut-wrenching voice falls somewhere between Otis Redding and Mike Hucknall, and the band puts modern Garage Rock energy into their classic soul instrumentation.
“I’m Torn Up,” “Don’t Mean a Thing,” “That Glow,” “Dixie Rothko” and “It’s Midnight” are the stand out tracks, but the entire album is truly mind-blowingly magnificent.