The tracks for the August 2010 sampler are no longer available. Please visit the latest sampler for more tracks! www.utne.com/sampler
Every month, Utne Reader presents free, downloadable music gleaned from current and upcoming releases on independent labels. This sampler was curated by senior editor Keith Goetzman, with assistance from Will Wlizlo.
It’s tough to resist the earnest, uplifting, folk-tinged Brit-pop of Stornoway, whose Beachcomber's Windowsill comes out August 10 on 4AD.
Track: “Zorbing” by Stornoway
Elf Power is often tagged as a psychedelic band, but their new self-titled album, coming out September 14 on Orange Twin, showcases the mellower folk-rock sound that has always lurked beneath their trippy sonic flourishes. It’s a comedown with a sweetly soft landing.
Track: “Stranger in the Window” by Elf Power
Lost in the Trees
The precocious Chapel Hill ensemble calls its sound “orchestral folk music,” bringing a symphonic sensibility to pop song structures. Their All Alone in an Empty House comes out August 10 on Anti.
Track: “Fireplace” by Lost in the Trees
Two years ago, the Laya Project compiled music from areas ravaged by the 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami. Now, a team of global DJs like Cheb I Sabbah, MC Yogi, and Bombay Dub Orchestra have turned those tunes into an electronic feast for the ears on A New Day: Laya Project Remixed, which comes out August 17 on Earthsync.
Track: “Farihi (Fabian Alsultany Remix)” by Shaheema
A much-lauded jazz pianist, Iyer plays nimbly in many ensembles and settings—but he really shines on Solo, his first unaccompanied recording, which comes out August 31 on ACT Music + Vision. Bursting with both emotion and intelligence, this album is a dispatch from the vibrant forefront of jazz.
Track: “One for Blount” by Vijay Iyer
The large musical collective Cloud Cult has always had a metaphysical bent, and they indulge it fully on the epic-sounding Light Chasers, which comes out September 14 on their own Earthology label. Inspired by the birth of bandleader Craig Minowa’s child, this music sends out pulsing rays of hope.
Track: “You’ll Be Bright (Invocation Pt. 1)” by Cloud Cult
3 Leg Torso
Folk, classical, jazz, and the avant garde intermingle in the passionately sophisticated music of Portland ensemble 3 Leg Torso. This leadoff track from their new Animals & Cannibals (August 10, Meester Records) is named after one of the band’s favorite Japanese composers. www.3legtorso.com
Track: “Akiko Yano” by 3 Leg Torso
The Chapin Sisters
A little bit spooky and a little bit charming, the Chapin Sisters apply folk-style harmonies to songs with pop and rock underpinnings. Originally a trio, they are a duo on Two (September 14, Lake Bottom Records) while their sister stays home with a new baby.
Track: “Palm Tree” by the Chapin Sisters
What is the sound of a popsicle melting in the summer sun? Young neoclassical composer Goldmund tries to answer that question on his forthcoming release Famous Places (Western Vinyl), on which icy piano gradually melts into warm pools of sticky-sweet ambience. The album will be out August 24. —Will Wlizlo
Track: “Alberta” by Goldmund