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Friday, July 30, 2010

Altered Freebies: Smashing Pumpkins; Les Savy Fav; Junip Rope

What's better than music? Free music. Producer Nick Jackson has scoured the Interwebs to bring you the best free downloads featured on this week's Altered Fridays, 4-7 p.m.

The Smashing Pumpkins: Freak
Billy Corgan returns with a patch of hired Pumpkins. "Freak" marries the swirling guitars of the Siamese Dream era with a modern-rock sheen.

Les Savy Fav: Let's Get Out of Here
This Brooklyn band wants to get to know you better on this track from their upcoming album, Root for Ruin.

Junip: Rope and Summit EP
Most bands offer no incentive to signing up for thieir mailing list, but acoustic industrial outfit Junip is giving away an EP. That's worth filling out a form, right?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Villains Take Over Morning Sessions

As we count down to next week's First Thursday Concert in West Mount Vernon Park, The Villains bring their country-fried rock to Morning Sessions at 9:20 a.m. Friday. The Atlanta-based band is touring in support of their debut album Just Another Saturday Night--and destroying preconceptions with each set.

"When the record first came out a lot of reviewers were fooled, thinking this would be a punk act, or a metal act," says bassist Dan Call. "But we like the fact that there’s something a little dangerous; great songs and great bands, there’s always a hint of that and the name fits us."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pale Stars Shine on Baltimore Unsigned

Pale Starsfirst attempt at following up their 2006 self-titled release resulted in a creative black hole. "We started working . . . with the original four member lineup. It wasn't a great studio experience, and things kind of dwindled out," says vocalist Brandt Huseman. "A year and a half later, I had some songs that were Pale Stars songs in my mind," he says. "I started sending some demos to [guitarist/producer Nat Bradley], and he sent back some finished tracks. Three tracks in, we realized that we weren't a four-person band."

Huseman is a staple of the Baltimore music scene as a member of The Greenberry Woods and Splitsville.  His partnership with Bradley has allowed them to expand the indie power pop palette on the new release, How Much is Enough. 

"One of the great things about technology today is that you are in control of your own destiny," Huseman says. "Nat spends the time exploring all those choices and uses conventional things in unconventional ways. He's like a mad scientist."

Tune in at 8 p.m. Tuesday, with an encore edition at 9 a.m. Saturday, to discover Pale Stars on Baltimore Unsigned.

CD of the Week: Street Songs of Love

Alejandro Escovedo's tenth studio album, Street Songs of Love, was created on the stage. The influential singer-songwriter set up a weekly residency in an Austin club for two months, previewing three works-in-progress each week and testing them out on his willing audiences. 

“It was interesting to see it grow and blossom," he writes. "It started with the room half full, but it built until the last one sold out. Every week it became more intense with the album taking shape in front of us organically." 

The resulting collection continues Escovedo's arc as a vital songwriter, from his punk days in the '70s and '80s to his critically acclaimed solo career that took off in the '90s. Standout tracks "Anchor" and "Tender Heart" are a great introduction to Escovedo's work.