The tracks for the July 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, curated by senior editor Keith Goetzman.
Folk, pop, rock, prog, and who knows what else collide in the unlikely but very likable music of Portland’s Blitzen Trapper on Destroyer of the Void, coming July 8 from Sub Pop.
Track: “Dragon’s Song” by Blitzen Trapper
Bryan and the Haggards
Country music transformed into jazz? It worked for Sonny Rollins with “I’m an Old Cowhand,” and it works for Bryan Murray and his New York crew as they take Merle Haggard’s music downtown for some fun on Pretend It’s the End of the World (Hot Cup).
Track: “Silver Wings” by Bryan and the Haggards
Peru in the 1960s was captivated by the pop-folk music called cumbia, and the two-disc set Cumbia Beat Vol. 1 (Vampisoul) traces the genre’s bright arc, including its transformation in 1968 by “the electric shock of rock guitars.” Los Destellos was among the bands that expanded their sonic palette in this creative eruption.
Track: “Guajira Sicodelica” by Los Destellos
When he’s not playing horns for Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings or the Broadway musical Fela!, Cochemea Gastelum is dreaming up tunes that touch on funk, soul, and Afrobeat, often with a sunny ’70s vibe. His album The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow comes out July 20 on MoWo.
Track: “Dark City” by Cochemea Gastelum
Melora Creager’s cello-driven chamber pop was an anomaly when she founded Rasputina, but nearly 20 years and six albums later, many bands ply this territory. Few are as relentlessly creative and delightfully idiosyncratic as Creager remains on Sister Kinderhook (Filthy Bonnet).
Track: “Holocaust of Giants” by Rasputina
In the guise of Clothesline Revival, Conrad Praetzel reimagines American roots music, combining rustic sounds and modern atmospherics. This tune from They Came from Somewhere (Paleo Music) brings back the traditional chestnut “John Henry.”
Track: “The Resurrection of John Henry” by Clothesline Revival
Caterina Lichtenberg and Mike Marshall
These two musicians are among the best mandolinists on the planet, she from the classical world and he from folk, and they traverse both traditions with nimble grace on their eponymous disc of duets, Caterina Lichtenberg and Mike Marshall (Adventure Music). This is a traditional Bulgarian tune given a mesmerizing lilt.
Track: “Gankino” by Caterina Lichtenberg and Mike Marshall
Violinist and composer Billy Bang pays tribute to his forebear Stuff Smith on this Smith tune from Bang’s heady new album Prayer for Peace, which comes out July 20 on the Finnish jazz label TUM. It’s a convincing rejoinder to any claim that jazz and violin don’t mix.
Track: “Only Time Will Tell” by Billy Bang