Every month, Utne Reader presents free, downloadable music gleaned from current and upcoming releases on independent music labels. This sampler was curated by editor-in-chief Christian Williams and associate editor Ben Sauder.
Artist: Bobby Sauder
Location: Lawrence, Kansas
Record label: Whatever Forever
Latest album: Dark Empire Fairgrounds (out February 24)
Featured song: “1912 World’s Fair”
Why we like this song: A light acoustic guitar and B3 organ drift beneath psychedelic vocal harmonies. A song that “feels like summer and smells like rain.”
Artist: Richard Osborn
Record label: Tompkins Square
Latest album: Endless
Featured song: “Laredo Pastorale”
Why we like this song: A student and contemporary of first-generation American Primitive guitar picker Robbie Basho back in the 1960s, Richard Osborn finally gets the full-album attention he deserves for his unrushed take on the art form. His deliberate but easy-going style is evident on tunes like this “Laredo Pastorale,” and offer a glimpse of the player that Basho himself said is, “ … better technically than me or Fahey.”
Artist: Ela Minus
Location: New York, NY
Record label: YEBO Music
Latest album: Adapt. (out February 17)
Featured song: “Ceremony”
Why we like this song: Gabriela Jimeno’s voice glides lightly over a crunchy snare beat and poppy synth riff.
Artist: Bill and Joel Plaskett
Record Label: Pheromone Recordings
Latest album: Solidarity (out February 17)
Featured song: “Dragonfly”
Why we like Solidarity: Bill and Joel Plaskett’s new album is steeped in the tradition of British folk guitar music like that of Bert Jantsch, but the father and son duo reach beyond those traditional sounds to achieve something contemporary and exciting.
Artist: Idle Bloom
Location: Nashville, TN
Record Label: Fraternity as Vanity
Latest album: Little Deaths (February 17)
Featured song: “Hive”
Why we like this song: This guitar-driven fuzz pop track comes quick out of the gate and doesn’t let up.