Utne Reader Music Sampler August 2011

By Staff
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Every month, Utne Reader presents free, downloadable music gleaned from current and upcoming releases on independent labels. This sampler is no longer available. Please check back tomorrow for the September independent music sampler.

Ghost in the Water
This is electropop doing what it does best: sclerotic fuzz-riffs, adorable male-female vocal duets, and a beat that booms like a room full of computers exploding in quick succession. GitW self-released Shooting Stars and Battle Scars in July.

“Cold Hands / Warm Heart” by Ghost in the Water

Hanni El Khatib

As raw and passionate as an argument, Hanni El Khatib’s music combines bluesy bluster and punk spirit on Will the Guns Come Out, which comes out September 27 on Innovative Leisure. He says it best: “These songs are for anyone who’s ever been shot or hit by a train.”

“Build. Destroy. Rebuild.” by Hanni El Khatib  

Glenn Jones

Jones plays acoustic guitar like no one you’ve ever heard, save perhaps for John Fahey, the late, legendary innovator who was his friend and peer, on The Wanting, which is being put out by the ever-adventurous Thrill Jockey in September.

“Of Its Own Kind (edit)” by Glenn Jones  

Fruit Bats

There’s a story about a wandering soul named Tony the Tripper at the core of the Fruit Bats’ new album (Sub Pop), but you’ll have to subject yourself to some astonishingly pretty, jangly folk-pop to get to it.

“You’re Too Weird” by Fruit Bats

The Stepkids

There’s been something of a space-funk revival lately, and The Stepkids want to take you on a tour of intergalactic grooves. “Shadows on Behalf”–the first single from the self-titled album (out September 27, Stones Throw)–is psychedelia for the 23rd century.

“Shadows on Behalf” by The Stepkids

Jellyfish Brigade

Jellyfish Brigade is the nom de rhyme of a new, grimy Portland-based hip hop duo. Download the rest of Gills and a Helmet–their debut, self-released EP–here.

“Dance in the Dungeon” by Jellyfish Brigade


Caroline Lufkin’s bittersweet, minimal vocals are like a full head of dandelion seeds waiting for the next strong breeze–beautiful, idyllic, and fleeting. Her second full length, Verdugo Hills, is out on Temporary Residence.

“Gone” by Caroline

Meredith Bragg

Bragg is adept at the arresting musical understatement, crafting his winsome indie-pop with electronic flourishes and impressionistic turns of phrase on Nest (The Kora Records).

“Second Golden Age” by Meredith Bragg  


Weaving together strains of swilly bar rock, plodding No Wave, and Queens of the Stone Age-style psycho-roots, Indiana’s music collective EDM are your antidote to milquetoast indie-rockers and hackneyed singer-songwriters. Night People is out on Western Vinyl.

“Terrestrial Rooms” by EDM

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