Every month, Utne Reader presents free, downloadable music gleaned from current and upcoming releases on independent labels. This sampler is no longer available. The new sampler will be posted on Friday, July 1.
Recorded over six weeks in London, Wild Beasts’ latest album Smother (Domino) thumps, throbs, washes, wails, croons, echoes, and reverberates like an anachronism. You’ll hear influence from Joy Division, Morrissey, and Culture Club if you listen closely.
“Bed of Nails” by Wild Beasts (To download, right click on the link and “Save Target As.”)
First, make a supergroup with the new age-y mystics of Dead Can Dance and the krautrockers of Neu! Second, cast all of them in a sci-fi/horror B-film. Finally, play the flick in a busted VCR. Voila! You’re listening to Zombi. Escape Velocity is out on Relapse.
“Shrunken Heads” by Zombi (To download, right click on the link and “Save Target As.”)
Garage á Trois
A supergroup that includes saxophonist Skerik and keyboard master Marco Benevento, Garage á Trois plays snappy, muscular, and lyrical music that gleefully incorporates rock and jazz elements on the new album Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil.
“Omar” by Garage á Trois (To download, right click on the link and “Save Target As.”)
Even when they’re channeling Simon and Garfunkel or Crosby, Still, Nash and Young, Fleet Foxes manage to firmly stamp their ownership on their delicately woven, harmony-laden indie folk. Helplessness Blues is the name of their new album, but in fact it’s simmering with sweetness and joy.
“Grown Ocean” by Fleet Foxes (To download, right click on the link and “Save Target As.”)
Big-band music hasn’t sounded this hip or vital in decades. Seattle’s Zubatto Syndicate injects new energy and influences—including funk and punk—into the form on its self-titled debut, now out on Boscology.
“Mechas Over Manhattan” by Zubatto Syndicate (To download, right click on the link and “Save Target As.”)
The Sea and Cake
Having abandoned most (but not all) of their post-rock ambitions, The Sea and Cake revel in jangly surf-rock and breathy pop on this year’s The Moonlight Butterfly (Thrill Jockey).
“Up on the North Shore” by The Sea and Cake (To download, right click on the link and “Save Target As.”)
Kronos Quartet, Kimmo Pohjonen, and Samuli Kosminen
Kronos Quartet continues its globe-hopping ways on a fiercely powerful collaboration with two Icelandic musicians titled Uniko. Drama, wonder, and intrigue all merge in this gripping music.
“Plasma” by Kronos Quartet, Kimmo Pohjonen, and Samuli Kosminen (To download, right click on the link and “Save Target As.”)
Water sounds fascinate Scott Morgan, who drums for indie-rock band Destroyer and—in his spare time—composes bottomless ambient under the name loscil (short for “looping oscillator”). coast/range/arc is out on Glacial Movements.
“fromme” by loscil (To download, right click on the link and “Save Target As.”)
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