Utne Reader Music Sampler March 2012

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 was curated by editorial assistant Will Wlizlo, senior editor Keith Goetzman, and editor Christian Williams.


A. Wolf and Her Claws
A gentle electronic throb makes a cozy bed for the mellow, whimsical, resonant pop of Aby Wolf and Her Claws. The band’s self-titled debut is set to drop April 17 (self-released).

Listen:“Zero to 60” by A. Wolf and Her Claws (To download, right click–or control click for Mac users–on the link and “Save Target As)



Baba Maraire

One half of the hip-hop duo Shabazz Palaces, Baba Maraire takes a side trip into his Zimbabwean heritage on Wona Baba Maraire (Maraire Enterprises), which brims with upswelling voices and burbling thumb piano lines. “Rhodzi,” about a struggle against British colonialism, slathers its rebellious message with aural honey.

Listen:“Rhodzi” by Baba Maraire (To download, right click–or control click for Mac users–on the link and “Save Target As)



Screaming Females

Not exactly riot grrrl, hair metal, alternative, or noise rock, New Jersey’s Screaming Females write loud, vitriolic rock that just as easily dips into sentimentality and anthemic choruses. The trio’s fifth album, Ugly (Don Giovanni), is out April 3.

Listen:“It All Means Nothing” by Screaming Females (To download, right click–or control click for Mac users–on the link and “Save Target As)



Black Breath

Black Breath’s new album is the perfect soundtrack for razing a quaint village or beheading a nemesis after a 10-year-long rivalry. Sentenced to Life is out Mar 27 on Southern Lord.

Listen:“Mother Abyss” by Black Breath (To download, right click–or control click for Mac users–on the link and “Save Target As)



Mairi Morrison and Alasdair Roberts

Named after the celebratory dram of whisky Gaels drink upon the birth of a child, Mairi Morrison and Alasdair Roberts’ new album Urstan is a beautiful melding of traditional Gaelic lyrics and contemporary sounds. It’s available on March 27 from Drag City.

Listen:“Mìle Marbhphaisg air a’ Ghaol” by Mairi Morrison and Alasdair Roberts (To download, right click–or control click for Mac users–on the link and “Save Target As)



Justin Townes Earle

Earle’s brand of roots music is finely crafted, yes, but also raw and powerful. The title track from his new album Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now (Bloodshot) sets the tone for another collection of songs steeped in hard-won experience.

Listen:“Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now” by Justin Townes Earle (To download, right click–or control click for Mac users–on the link and “Save Target As)



The Honeydogs

Head Honeydog Adam Levy is a sly, sophisticated songwriter, penning vignettes that often seem they should be modern standards. The Honeydogs’ new What Comes After (Grain Belt Records) is one of their best albums yet, nodding to Attractions-era Elvis Costello and other shimmering pop touchstones.

Listen:“What Comes After” by the Honeydogs (To download, right click–or control click for Mac users–on the link and “Save Target As)



Sankofa

Carolina Chocolate Drop Dom Flemons and his friends are helping breathe new life into old Americana again, this time with Sankofa, a modern jug band that covers a lot of musical ground in its debut album The Uptown Strut. The album is available on March 27 from Kingswood.

Listen: “If Wishes Were Gold” by Sankofa (To download, right click–or control click for Mac users–on the link and “Save Target As)



Alcoholic Faith Mission

Already a big deal in Europe, Alcoholic Faith Mission is poised to add a lot of new fans this year with their fourth album Ask Me This (March 27, Old Flame).So what does a Danish band that started out by recording their songs drunk by candlelight sound like? Surprisingly beautiful and complex.

Listen: “Ask Me This” by Alcoholic Faith Mission (To download, right click–or control click for Mac users–on the link and “Save Target As)


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