Ehren Starks returns! "Cry Wolf" on Magnatune

Last year when I did my 100 favorite albums, I put Ehren Starks' The Depths of a Year at number 74. It had been 11 years since his last album, Lines Build Walls, and there were no signs of a third album in sight.

And then Cry Wolf dropped out of the sky unexpectedly. It was actually released in June of this year, but I hadn't caught wind of it until recently. I've given it a few good listens, and I do believe it's every bit as good as Depths.

It's really great, powerful instrumental music. It's not just background noise – it's worth, and rewards, sitting down and just listening. (A habit, I'm afraid, people have gotten out of.)

Go give it a listen, you'll be very happy you did.

Instrumental Super Funk / Pop from The Traffic

Friday's jam is another Bandcamp discovery, a "single" with "Super Freak" as the A-side, and "Like I Love You" as the B-side. This is a lot of fun, and I'm bummed I missed out on the limited pressing of the 45.

The band is The Traffic, an Aussie outfit from Melbourne. Looks like they're just putting out the occasional single rather than full albums, but they have some tasty stuff on Bandcamp. Give 'em a listen!

[bandcamp width=400 height=208 album=763350226 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 artwork=small]

Today's Album Pick: Dynamics by Secret Drum Band

This is another Bandcamp win, Secret Drum Band's Dynamics. Based in Portland, Oregon the band describes the album thusly: "Dynamics sees composers Lisa Schonberg, Allan Wilson, and Heather Treadway delving headway into creating living, breathing soundscapes, rich in rhythmic textures. Driven by five drummers, each song also employs an array of affected vocals, guitar, and synthesizers from noise musicians, often mimicking sounds found in nature."

I'm on my third or fourth listen to the album, and I'm still finding new things to enjoy. If a hard, driving beat and textured sounds appeal to you, you really should give it a listen or two.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2378566956 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

Halloween Music: Gorilla vs. Bear's 2017 Halloween Mix

You just know that Christmas music is around the corner. Waiting. Lurking. The insufferable and treacly tunes are just lying in wait, ready to spring on November 1st. But! Until then, we can fend them off with spooky sounds.

Want a ready made playlist of moody, dark, and apocalyptic sounds? Of course you do! So check out Gorilla vs. Bear's 2017 2017 Halloween Mix. I put this on the other day and thoroughly enjoyed it – particularly "We Shouldn't Have to Wait," by Carla Dal Forno off her The Garden EP.

Check it Out: Death to the Planet by The Comet is Coming

Don't recall how I stumbled on this one, exactly, but one of my Saturday morning music searches led me to a post on Bandcamp's blog about The Comet is Coming.

If you like instrumental music in the vein of Material, or early trippy Pink Floyd, I'd recommend checking this one out.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=3084023840 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

Song of the Day: "Not Too Soon" (Throwing Muses)

Not too soon album coverNot sure if it's the Tanya Donnelly's singing, the drums, or the incredible guitar on this piece that keep me coming back for more, but "Not Too Soon" is not to be missed.

This was Donnelly's single off The Real Ramona, the last Throwing Muses album before Donnelly parted ways and formed Belly.

This song has some real buzzsaw guitar going on, right at home with the rest of alt-rock college radio in 1991. But the drums and chorus take me back to the sound of 60s girl groups. Check it at about 1:30 in, there's definitely a throwback there. But the guitar sound is totally modern and just completely delicious.

The Real Ramona is a fine album from start to finish, but "Not Too Soon" deserves special attention. If you want more like it, check out Donnelly's work with Belly. Not sure any of their songs quite match up with this one, but there's some solid stuff there.

After tackling the 100 Albums of All Time project, I didn't want to lose the momentum of posting daily. But I'm not quite ready for another major project. Instead I thought I'd just look at posting some amazing songs that I think other folks would enjoy. Suggestions? Post 'em in the comments!

Amazon Adds Vinyl to AutoRip

Got a PR blast from Amazon today saying that they've added vinyl to the AutoRip program (where you get MP3s automagically via their Amazon MP3 downloads of music you buy on physical media).

That's pretty damn sweet, I have to say. I hope that record companies are doing this independently so that if I buy a record at, say, Vintage Vinyl, I get the same thing.

Pretty appealing. I've thought about collecting Vinyl before, but that would leave me needing to find MP3s or something for travel. If I recall correctly, Yep Roc records (Robyn Hitchcock's label these days) has done this with some of his stuff.

To sum up: Buy a record on Amazon, get a free (and immediate) digital copy you can slap on your MP3 player and a vinyl copy you can spin on the record player occasionally when you want to be all old-timey. (Or just keep it pristine, and hope that it might be something that becomes a collector's item someday.) Smart. As terrible as Amazon has been for local businesses, they do have a habit of offering what users want – when there's competition and they have to make a case for your business.