Mailbox Music: Digital Edition….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, mailbox music | Posted on 07-15-2009

Lately I’ve really been trying to give a listen to more of the music that gets emailed to me. It’s a rather astonishing amount, so to make the process feasible, I tend to skip (delete) anything with the words ambient pop, electro, new wave, or hip-hop. Still, that leaves a lot to sort through. Good thing for me, I’ve always been good at making quick, impulsive, and very rarely wrong musical approval decisions.

Here are some recent press-released songs to come through my inbox that made the grade.

The Duke and The King – The Morning I Get To Hell

First off, one that didn’t take me long to download. I’ve mentioned Simone Felice and Robert Chicken Burke’s new project The Duke and The King before. I was emailed this track along with some news on the band’s album, Nothing Gold Can Stay. Ramseur Records will release the album August 4th.


The Medders – Gunslinger

Nashville bands that toe the line between country and rock are a dime-a-dozen, but The Medders stand out, if only from this one track I’ve gotten my hands on. No doubt more will follow. This band – 3 of them brothers – is made up of the musically-infused offspring of songwriter Jule Medders. Look for their self-titled debut September 1st.


The Do – Tammie

This French-Finnish band The Do (pronounced ‘dough’ as in do-re-mi) is nearly undeniably pop, but something about them is very alluring. Lately, I’ve seen their name show up all over the place, and I bet that trend will continue.


These next few tracks come courtesy of They sent me a link to a free folk-based playlist of new artists to check out, and these are the best surprises from it.

Dr. Dog – The Old Days

I caught wind of this band when this memorable album cover could be found on numerous ‘best of the year’ lists. Dr. Dog has been kicking around since ‘01, but are just recently gaining the notoriety they deserve. With it’s catchy, constant piano riff, I’m surprised this song hasn’t been snatched up for an Apple commercial.


Motel Motel – Coffee

I now have a couple tracks from Brooklyn indie-rockers Motel Motel. They sound a bit like a rootsy-er Kings of Leon, but for the simple fact that they’re not, I like ‘em more. After looking around the blogosphere for some more info on them, I realized I missed the bus on this band sometime last year. But, hey, it’s never too late for music like this.


Elvis Perkins in Dearland – Shampoo

Folk music generally employs simple, traditional stringed instruments, but Elvis Perkins in Dearland doesn’t follow any rules. They overlay these elements with huge horn sections and ramshackle flow. Elvis Perkins and his band have a slew of tour dates in the near future, including an appearance at the Newport Folk Festival.


You can still download the entire free playlist from AmieStreet here. While you’re there, go ‘head and load up some funds in your account – if you don’t know, AmieStreet has a demand-based pricing system. That is, albums and songs are super-cheap when they’re first added and the amount of downloads they receive drives the price up gradually. Songs cap out at 98 cents.

Most of these tunes, I checked out only while writing this post. As you probably are, I’m pleasantly surprised at what I just heard, so I’m off to use up my eMusic downloads (which by a glorious coincidence re-upped today) on more music from these folks. As always, I suggest you do the same.

More Mailbox Music on This Mornin’ I Am Born Again…
Bomb, Bomb, Bomb – Bombadil II 6.2.09
Christmas Edition 12.14.08
Bomb, Bomb, Bomb – Bombadil I 4.15,08
Mailbox Music I 4.9.08

Mailbox Music: Bomb, Bomb, Bomb (not a repost)

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release, album review, mailbox music | Posted on 06-02-2009

Tagged Under :

If you take a look back at the archives – or at the Mailbox Music feature link – you’ll see back in April of 2008 I had a post with this same title. Ramseur spark plugs Bombadil had contacted me and shot over a copy of their debut full-length, A Buzz, A Buzz. I immensely enjoyed the freshness and originality of the album – and band for that matter.

Well guess what? The guys from Bombadil were generous enough to contact me saying that they had a copy of their newest disc, Tarpits and Canyonlands (out on Ramseur July 7th) with my name on it. How thoughtful. Last weekend, I picked up my care package (complete with personalized note).

Tarpits starts where A Buzz left off, building upon an already strong base of inventive folk music whose influences span the dial and the globe. Not only has the Peruvian flute returned on this new album, but one song is sung entirely in Spanish – and beautifully done, by the way. They move on to pay tribute to the capital of Malaysia in a groovy tune called ‘Kuala Lumpur.’ This world-traveling theme is echoed in the artwork for Tarpits. The album title was taken from a short narrative written by Matthew Swanson (art by Robbi Behr) that is reproduced along the folds of the album case. Buy the album for this inspiring artwork alone and you won’t be disappointed.

I’ve often thought that while lyrics have the ability to evolve along with the human race, melodies and structures are a non-renewable resource bound to one day run out. I still don’t know if that’s quite true, but if it is, Bombadil has gotten us much closer to that day. The band has used way more than their fair share of original melodies, tempo changes, and out-right ‘what just happened’s’ on their two albums. As long as we have fresh minds like theirs behind the controls, we should be good for another couple eons.

What surprised me about Bombadil’s first album was an element I looked forward to on this new one: a band that obviously shines when multiple elements are working together at a lightning pace can downshift so effortlessly and provide us with a beautifully simple love song.

Bombadil – Reasons

But as I said, you can’t speak of Bombadil without mentioning the barrel of fun that is their controlled chaos.

Bombadil – Oto The Bear

Pre-order Tarpits and Canyonlands (7-7-09)

Purchase A Buzz, A Buzz
Also get their self-titled debut EP

I got quite a chuckle when I imported the disc into my iTunes as the suggested genre was set to ‘unclassifiable‘ – I couldn’t agree more. I’m never quite sure what it is I’m listening to with Bombadil, but I don’t care.

~I would like to send well-wishes out to the band, Daniel in particular, who is suffering from tendinitis that has caused the band to cancel their tour until he can recover. Get well soon, then come play some shows in Texas.~

Check out Mailbox Music: Bomb, Bomb, Bomb (original)

This post will hopefully begin a resurgence of those feature posts I initiated last year; Mailbox Music being severely neglected. I don’t get discs in the mail every week, but I DO get songs in my email every day. So I will make more of an effort to give these a try and share them with you.

Mailbox Music: Christmas Edition…

Posted by Payton | Posted in christmas, mailbox music | Posted on 12-14-2008

Tagged Under : ,

Free music has been a rising theme in the world lately – at least the one i live in. Bands have been experimenting with giving away creations in order to simply get their music out to more people. And what better time of year for this generosity than the Christmas season. i got a few leads in my inbox the other day that lead me to some free holiday downloads:

Frontier Ruckus – Driving Home, Christmas Eve
and a video

The Gougers – Just Because It’s Christmas
here’s the page link

Also, Hayes Carll’s folks sent word that if you join his Lost Highway mailing list by December 17th, you’ll get a link to download his festive tune I’m Grateful for Christmas This Year (on the 17th, naturally).

And while we’re in the spirit here, i thought i’d share a few more Christmas tunes with you. i, of course, have many more… traditional Christmas songs in my collection, but just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean i will forgo my usual posting standards nor step too far out of my preferred genre realm.

Randy Rogers Band – Please Come Home For Christmas
Old 97’s – Here It Is Christmas
Fire Apes – Last Christmas
Asylum Street Spankers – Mele Kalikimaka
Bright Eyes – Blue Christmas

Merry Christmas

Mailbox Music: Bomb, Bomb, Bomb…..

Posted by Payton | Posted in album review, mailbox music | Posted on 04-15-2008

Tagged Under : ,


“teach me your alphabet so i can break your code”

In My Mailbox Today — A Buzz, A Buzz from North Carolina’s Bombadil.
The coolest part == it doesn’t come out until April 29th!

These guys contacted me about a week ago, asking if i would be interested in an advance copy of their first full-length release. Uhh, i guess i’ll take a free CD…….
Bombadil has recently been signed to Ramseur Records (The Avett Brothers, The Everybodyfields) – whom, upon the aquistion of this new record, i’ve decided is the best emerging record label in the country. They sign unique, energetic, and super-talented acts from around their home base of NC.

i decided not to download any Bombadil tracks off The Hype, nor did i stream anything from their MySpace – i wanted to hear the album with no preconceptions at all – all i knew about ‘em was the description given to me via their e-mail:

“We are proud of our folk roots, but we also like to incorporate elements of everything from bolivian folk tunes to psychedelic rock.We’ve been described recently as ‘A long-lost Elephant 6 band who spent the last 10 years listening to mid-60s Dylan.’”

Popped the CD in on my way to school this morning, and what i heard was like a surprising, but well-needed water balloon to the face. It broke me out of the monotony that is this semester, and put me in an energized, good mood. This fearless, inventive four-piece band from Durham, NC employs a gaggle of instruments including: guitar, piano, mando, banjo, organ, xylophone, trumpet, flute, and some pretty interesting percussion. The vocals wander throughout the members of the band and are, at times, as spontaneous as the music. But somehow, through all the chaos, you come away with some pleasing indie-folk tunes. The opener is the calmest effort on the disc – a simple, but engaging little piano song:

mp3: Bombadil – Trip Out West

Bombadil’s utter disregard for conventional song structure causes them to exude a certain type of confidence and bravery that seems to be a running theme in everything Ramseur puts out:

mp3: Bombadil – Rosetta Stone

Just for fun, and to feed my wandering mind, i Googled Bombadil, and found out that Tom Bombadil was a character in The Lord of the Rings (book, not movie). i am, by no means, a sci-fi fan, but apparently he was some sort of hobbit:

“Tom Bombadil is a spry fellow, with a quick, playful wit. He has a jolly, carefree attitude, and very little seems to concern him”

Whether or not the guys in Bombadil knew that, the description of Tom is equally a perfect depiction of their musical style.

mp3: Bombadil – Cavaliers Har Hur

pick up A Buzz, A Buzz on April 29th…

Mailbox Music….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, album review, mailbox music | Posted on 04-09-2008

For the first time my blog writing has paid off in a tangible form – other than the simple satisfaction i get out of completing a post and feeling like i’ve accomplished something. This payoff is as good as free money, maybe better: Free Music.


i mentioned the other day how an artist out of Brooklyn contacted me and wanted to send me some of her music to see if i liked it. Well, her name is Sharon Van Etten, and i do like it. Sharon hand makes each cd and she definitely puts some effort into them. With mine, i got a personalized note from Sharon, the cd (with a handmade label), and a very rustic-looking insert with song lyrics that looked to be printed off a typewriter. Pretty cool.

My first impression was that Sharon sounded like a contemporary Joan Baez – Folk music with simple instrumentation that allows haunting vocals to carry the song. Maybe simple instrumentation isn’t the right choice of words. It is just her and a guitar, but by no means is it simple guitar work. With each listen, i feel transported to some damp, dark basement coffee house in The Village in the 60’s. i wish i had half the confidence that Sharon does – to put yourself out there uncovered and unaided. That’s the biggest problem with commercial music these days. No one knows what anyone really sounds like. Well i now know what Sharon Van Etten sounds like.

The bad news is that, although i dig what she’s doing, and she may very well make a name for herself in circles of people that enjoy real music, there just isn’t a market for this kind of style today. And that’s a shame. i feel like we’re making progress getting the music out to the general public, and then i go out a have a conversation with someone about what music they like. i’m consistently disgusted by, not people’s tastes, but people’s musical ignorance. i overheard a friend of mine saying that there is absolutely no good new music out there today. Of course you would think that if you only listen to the radio or watch MTV. Jesus, just give me like a 6 hr road trip with you and my toolbox of CD’s and i’ll change your mind, i promise.

Sorry. i had to let that out – but heres Sharon Van Etten:

mp3: Sharon Van Etten – Damn Right
mp3: Sharon Van Etten – It’s Not Like

mp3: Sharon Van Etten – For You

If you like what you hear, be sure to let me know. Or better yet, let Sharon know by way of her page or MySpace.

If you’re in the NYC area, check out Sharon in April and tell her i sent you…..
April 10 – Galapagos w/ Darren Weiss and She Keeps Bees – Brooklyn, NY
April 11 –
Silent Barn w/ Nickyboy, Gatling Gun, Psycho Thriller, & DJ Nikolai – Brooklyn, NY
April 14 –
Union Hall w/ Marla Hansen (from Sufjan Stevens/Jens Lekman) and Cat Martino – Brooklyn, NY
April 15 –
The Cake Shop w/ Naked Hearts, Hologram, and Werewolves – NY, NY
April 21 –
Monkeytown w/ Forest Fire and Shilpa Ray (of Beat the Devil) – Brooklyn, NY
April 25 –
Parkside Lounge w/ Johanna and the Dusty Floor – Brooklyn, NY
April 26 –
Collision Machine – Brooklyn, NY
April 29 –
Pianos w/ Jae and Jessica Larrabee (of She Keeps Bees) – NY, NY


My second piece of free music came from the PR rep of the South Austin Jug Band. She said she saw my post about the band’s newest album Strange Invitation and would like to send me a copy so i could review it. This is really cool, cause not only do i get free music, but this means that bands (or at least their people) realize the emerging importance of the Music Blog. They obviously think that the attention generated from people reading this will outweigh the $15 or so bucks they gave up by sending me a copy.

Strange Invitation definitely has a mellow-er feel than previous work from band. While they retain a sort of bluegrass feel (James plays a resonator guitar, Brian and Dennis trade off on both fiddle and mandolin), the breathy, comforting vocals from James Hyland make you wanna sit back and enjoy – rather than dance a jig. For the record’s purposes, they added stand up bass and drums.

To prepare for the new album, the three guys left the comforting confines of Austin and put themselves up in NYC at the famed Chelsea Hotel. They were seeking a new kind of inspiration and an escape from the Bluegrass stigma they held in Texas.

“New York’s such a great place, because if you’re stale,
you just go outside. You can find inspiration anywhere
in that city. If you can’t, you just cut your head off.” –

mp3: Avenue of The Americas

SAJB’s influences, at least for this record, are all over the map. From the understandable Todd Snider to surprises like Nine Inch Nails, Stevie Wonder, and Beck. The only cover on the album is Beck’s Jack Ass. I would never have guessed that with the amazing mandolin/fiddle combo on the tune:

mp3: Jack Ass

So where is the South Austin Jug Band headed from here? It all depends on how far from their traditional sound they want to go, and from where they draw their next batch of inspiration. The description the band most readily accepts is ‘Progressive Acoustic’, and i think it fits well.
mp3: Come To Me

Buy Strange Invitation here, or find out more from their site or MySpace.


Send me a line if you want to be part of the next installment of Mailbox Music.