Me, Myself, and iPod: ESDMusic’s weekly free downloads

esd ipod

We receive roughly 6,000 press releases per week that include links to mp3s that we are allowed to post for your downloading pleasure. Why haven’t we been posting more than one or two a month, you ask? Quite simply, by the time we get through all of the press releases, we’ve received another 6,000 emails with newer, “better” songs to run instead. It’s the kind of thing that can get away from someone if they’re not right on top of it.

This is our attempt to rectify the problem. Each week we will run a list of songs for your DRM-free downloading pleasure. And in the time it took us to type that last sentence, 15 more songs just came in. Geez.

The Futureheads – Struck Dumb
The band’s second album This Is Not the World was a bit of a non-starter, despite the fact that it should have appealed to anyone who liked the band’s post-punky debut. “Struck Dumb,” from the band’s upcoming third album The Chaos, still showcases the band’s trademark angular pop, but the edges are smoothed out a bit.

Deluka – Cascade (Acoustic Version)
This synth-pop band’s debut is set to drop later in the year, and this acoustic take on their self-titled EP’s best song is damned good. Usually we wrinkle our noses at acoustic versions of electronic songs, but this one works, and works well.

SPEAK – Digital Love
Everyone loves a cover, and this ultra-sheen pop rock band (think Cash Cash) surprised the crowds at South by Southwest with a faithful take on a track from Daft Punk’s seminal Discovery album. Sure, the keytar solo could have been handled a little better, but we bet this was fun to watch when it happened.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Round and Round
Rare is the song that carries both a haunted, gothic feel (think Joseph Arthur gothic, not Bauhaus gothic) and a sunny, ’70s mellow gold vibe as well, but this song does just that.

In Tall Buildings – The Way to a Monster’s Lair
We’ll be honest: this is the first we’ve heard of either NOMO or Erik Hall. But one spin of this moody but driving track has us wanting more. Anyone looking for a good breakup song would be wise to check this out.

Kaiser Cartel – Ready to Go
Boy/girl duos: they’re the new animal band name. Still, as trends go, this boy/girl thing is a pretty damn good one (The Bird and the Bee, Mates of State, Codeine Velvet Club, Matt & Kim, She & Him, the Ting TIngs), and now that it’s become a movement of its own, perhaps Kaiser Cartel can seize the opportunity to jump to the next level. If “Ready to Go” is any indication, they are poised to pick up a lot more fans when their album Secret Transit drops in June.

  

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti readies new album

A while back, I was introduced to Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti by my friend Aaron Olson, a veritable rock historian and badass bassist (badassist?) of Cyrptacize. The song in question was “Helen,” and I instantly disregarded it because I didn’t understand it. What was with the flange overload and the yelping? I couldn’t instantly buy into this concoction of spooky baroque sounds. Gradually, I was won over by the chorus, which is so fun at face value. I almost want to strip the song down of all its embellishments, because I think whats hidden underneath is just solid pop song.

So, I’m excited that 4AD will release their new album, Before Today, on June 8.

Six months in the making, Before Today was recorded in part in Encino at the House of Blues (once Tito Jackson’s home studio) with Sunny Levine (Quincy Jones’ grandson) and Rik Pekkonen (Bill Withers, Seals & Crofts, Bread) as well as at the band’s home studios. The result is a beguiling mix of glam rock, West Coast funk and Merseybeat harmonies with a high-production sheen; a contrast to the corroded bedroom recordings that have fomented a fervent cult following over the past decade.

Give them a chance if you like your pop with a dose of strangeness.

  

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