This is an expired sampler, but it was awesome. Check out the current sampler athttp://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.
Trampled by Turtles
Trampled by Turtles inhabits a fertile area somewhere between bluegrass and rock, often playing at warp speed on guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, and fiddle but never forgetting that the song is the thing. Read a review of the band’s new album Palomino (Banjodad) in the May-June Utne Reader.
Balkan Beat Box
Punk, hip-hop, techno, gypsy, ska, and more collide in the joyous global dance music of Balkan Beat Box on Blue Eyed Black Boy, which comes out April 27 on Nat Geo.
Rock and roll is alive and well in all its fuzz-toned glory on Reasons (Grain Belt), the debut album by Red Pens. They’re a duo–guitar and drums–but the sound is big and bold and, in its own feedback-drenched way, beautiful.
Phosphorescent has evolved from a bent and introverted indie band to a big roots-rock outfit. The horn section and lap steel on Here’s to Taking It Easy, which comes out May 11 on Dead Oceans, are natural extensions of the sound of their previous disc, a Willie Nelson tribute album.
Kronos Quartet With Alim and Fargana Qasimov
The string quartet with the adventurous aesthetic collaborates with musicians from the Central Asian countries often known as “the Stans” on the new album Music of Central Asia Vol. 8:Rainbow (Smithsonian Folkways). The translated lyrics from this Azerbaijani song are packed with passion: “If you leave this garden/Flowers will droop/Nightingales will drop bloody tears/Still singing sweet songs for you.”
Dave Holland Octet
Jazz bassist, bandleader, and composer Dave Holland plays in many different sizes and types of ensembles. Here his octet stretches out and shows off its post-bop chops on a tune written by band member Alex Sipiagin on the new release Pathways (Dare2). www.daveholland.com
The small but passionate world-music label Kanaga System Krush roots out some of the most talented musicians in Western Africa, then records them on high-quality field equipment and gives them a fair-trade share of the profits. Readjust your Westernized ears and revel in the sounds of Zoumana Tereta playing the fiddle-like soku on the album Soku Fola.
Roky Erickson With Okkervil River
Psychedelic survivor Roky Erickson completes another chapter in his tumultuous career by recording an album with indie roots rockers Okkervil River. This haunting song is one of the more mesmerizing moments on True Love Cast Out All Evil, which comes out April 20 on Anti.