WTMD is listener-supported radio from the campus of Towson University.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Altered Freebies: Delta Spirit; Buke & Gass; Robyn

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.

Delta Spirit: Bushwick Blues & White Table (live)

WTMD favorites Delta Spirit check in with a pair of live tracks. "Bushwick Blues" has a slower tempo than the original, which amplifies the folk influences, "White Table" begins with a solitary slide guitar and builds to an explosion of twangy feedback. Be sure to enter their contest, you could win a signed maraca!

Buke and Gass: Your Face Left Before You

Buke and Gass is another boy-girl duo from Brooklyn, like a less abrasive Sleigh Bells. "Your Face Left Before You" is noteworthy for its shifting tempos, which divides the song into several mini-suites. The pounding drums are the glue that holds everything together.

Robyn: Hang With Me

Three things Sweden is known for: Blondes, beauty and immaculately made pop music. "Hang With Me" reaches an ABBA level of catchiness and sophistication. The web of happy synthesizers mask the meloncholy of the lyrics. Robyn wants to be just friends, but she sounds tentative, as if she knows it won't work out. In a perfect world, Robyn would be the biggest pop star of them all, but America wants Ke$ha.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Big Head Todd, sans Monsters, on Morning Sessions

With more than two decades on the music scene Big Head Todd and the Monsters have developed a loyal following based on building relationships with fans. "The more albums that we put out, the more songs people connect with, " says frontman Todd Park Mohr. "We do cruises, we sign autographs after shows. We do a lot of things that acknowledge that relationship and look people in the eye and say, 'howdy.'"

Tune in at 9:20 a.m. Friday
for Morning Sessions as Mohr introduces you to a batch of new songs from the band's ninth album, Rocksteady. The solo performance strips down an album that exudes a Caribbean and R & B vibe. "We started out going into the studio with over thirty songs, and we decided somewhere in the middle decided we need to split these out into a couple of different records," Mohr says. "We've never really done a focused record--we've been kind of an eclectic group. So, it was really fun for us."

Big Head Todd and the Monsters perform at the
9:30 Club on Thursday, September 23rd.

Hot August Blues Live Broadcast

As true as a crab feast or going down the ocean, Baltimore’s Hot August Blues is a summertime tradition for music lovers of all ages. Now in its 18th year, the festival returns to Oregon Ridge Park on Saturday, August 21st, with a must-see lineup taking over two stages. 

Highlights include
Keb' Mo's soulful roots blues; Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears' frenetic, hard-driving R & B; and Lyle Lovett and His Large Band's unique blend of blues, rock and western swing.

Tune in from 12 to 6 p.m. Saturday
  as John Mathews delivers a live broadcast with artist interviews and festival updates. Plus, if you're at the festival, you'll have a chance to meet our staff and volunteers when you stop by the WTMD tent.

Hot August Blues advanced tickets are $40
; kids 12 and under are free. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sri Aurobindo's Expanded Consciousness on Baltimore Unsigned

The Baltimore-based psychedelic rock band Sri Aurobindo takes improvisation to a higher level on their new full-length album Cave Painting. The group bases its name and musical philosophy from the Indian poet, philosopher and yogi who fought for India's freedom from British rule in the early 20th century.

"I got a book about Sri Aurobindo twelve years ago called Adventures in Conciousness," says lead singer Brandon Arinoldo. "Our band name goes beyond the person. Our band is about the mixture of transcendence and rock n' roll." 

The road to musical enlightenment started with recording bi-weekly improv sessions for two years. At that point, they felt ready to start recording. But even formal compositions have room to explore wherever the music leads them. "
Every song has improvisation, even the ones that are thoroughly written out," says Arinoldo. "It's fun to have that as an option because it keeps things spontaneous."

Tune in at 8 p.m. Tuesday, with an encore at 9 a.m. Saturday, as Sri Aurobindo visits Baltimore Unsigned.
Sri Aurobindo performs at Golden West CafĂ© on September 15th. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

CD of the Week: The Suburbs

Suburbia is a world of picket fences, apple pie, desperation, and paranoia. Arcade Fire explores this uniquely American landscape on their third album, The SuburbsLargely inspired by brothers Win and William Butler's Texas childhood, the album is an art-rock record with arena rock sensibility.

Win Butler sings of spending time driving around with nothing to do, staring out the window dreaming of the world beyond. Although these sentiments are framed as distant memories, Butler cannily notes that not much has changed: "You watch the life you are living disappear / and now I see, we're still kids in buses trying to be free."

The dark tone of the lyrics is balanced by music that pushes the band's anthemic tendencies. It's a new dimension to the band that expands Arcade Fire's compelling live show. Even if you missed the sold-out rock spectacle at Merriweather Post Pavilion earlier this month, there's still a chance to dive into one of the best albums of the year.