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Skinny Lister Appear on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts

SideOneDummy favorites Skinny Lister have developed a strong reputation for being one of the most entertaining live bands out there. Their pub-bred take on classic folk songs and homespun originals  has captivated music listeners around the world in the months since their debut LP, Forge & Flagon, arrived in stores. Now, the group has taken their fun sound to one their biggest (and, er, smallest) stages to date: NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts.

Filling out the tiny space allotted for one of NPR’s most popular music programs, Skinny Lister’s time on Tiny Desk Sessions is jam-packed with joy. The group run through a number of album cuts, dancing and shouting along the way. We’re unable to embed the performance here, so head over to NPR’s official site for the full concert stream.

Forge & Flagon is available now wherever music is sold. And unconfirmed rumor has it that the band is already set to begin work on their next release.

The Avett Brothers: New Album “The Carpenter” Streaming On NPR

If you like truly heartfelt folk-rock, then check out The Avett Brothers‘ new album The Carpenter streaming for a limited time on NPR. Followup to 2009′s breakthrough release I And Love And You, this new album carries on the band’s natural tendency to write passionate heart-on-sleeve romps and lullabies with dynamically diverse folky instrumentation. Despite reaching recent stardom the brothers and crew have not lost their knack for soothing honesty. While touching on many of life’s more trying tribulations, they still keeping those catchy feel-good melodies and rhythms alive.

The Carpenter is due out on September 11th, followed by a full U.S. tour starting on the 12th.

Superlatones: Most Likely to Be Found at Your Local Jazz Lounge

Picture the scene: red velvet curtains, dim lighting, the smell of whiskey and cigar smoke static in the air. A spotlight comes on. On the stage, a band begins to assemble, hands and instruments at the ready. Music begins to play. A slow dance begins. With their strong jazz influences and sultry voices, this is the perfect setting for a duet between Renee Olstead and Justin Thompson, this week’s dynamic duo.

The Dynamic Duo:
Renee Olstead and Justin Thompson

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Colin Stetson Premiers “Judges” On NPR

Know what the most indie instrument is these days? Saxophone. Some of you might say electric triangle, but I bet I could get sax man Colin Stetson to agree with me. And he has the pedigree to back it up no less. Stetson has been kicking around for a few years, having earned a place in the album liner notes for folks like Tom Waits, TV on the Radio, Bon Iver, Kevin Devine and Yeasayer. On top of all that, he’s part of the touring band for Arcade Fire and the aforementioned Bon Iver. He’s also been tapped to open a few shows in Europe this year with none other than post-rock godheads Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Suffice it to say he’s a busy man.

Colin Stetson - New History Warfare, Vol. 2To cap off a month that would stand as a banner year for most, Stetson is releasing his new album, New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges on Feb 22ndthrough Constellation Records.  Judges has already gotten the premiere treatment this month on NPR’s All Songs Considered. The new record features Stetson and his avant-garde sound, recorded live with no overdubs. His work is characterized by a layering of melodic lines, a stacking of melodies on top of each other. If that sounds too inpentrible for your uncultured ass, the record does feature guest vocals from Laurie Anderson and Shara Wooden of My Brightest Diamond. Judges was recorded by none other than Efrim Menuck of GSY!BE and, if that’s the kind of tidbit that gets you excited, then you have no reason not to check the record out. You can listen to excerpts from the album here or purchase it here.

Download of the Week: Sydney Wayser

Blending elements of French and American culture, we have the smooth sounds of Sydney Wayser as this week’s Needle in the Haystack.  The New York City-based singer/songwriter has been praised by many publications including Daytrotter and NPR Music.

Having recently wrapped up US and French tours and having released her new album, The Colorful, in France, Wayser is currently hunkered down in practice spaces in NYC (the cheapest are boiler rooms, as she has found out) working on her new album.  This week, Wayser will be giving away her single, “la di da, as our free download.  Keep an eye out for more from her during the rest of the week!

Tour De Force: Amber Rubarth

Let’s be honest. There are tons of singer/songwriters out there, and the majority of them more or less sound the same — somber guitars, soft-spoken vocals, cliché lyrics, nature metaphors. However, when you come across an artist who actually has something to say and can say it well, the result can be powerful and moving. It is absolutely incredible what a singer/songwriter can accomplish with only their words, their voice and their instrument. Amber Rubarth is one of these artists. Her songs are hilariously candid and painfully poignant, often all at once. Her fearless songwriting and unique voice lend a palpable air of sincerity to her music.
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The Next Big Thing: Josh Fix

Hailing from the streets of San Francisco, Josh Fix is a rocker with a knack for songwriting.  Josh’s song, “Barely Insane,” was recently featured on an episode of 90210. He’s also graced the pages of publications such as Paste and The New York Times. With additional features on NPR as well as being picked as the download of the day on iTunes, it’s clear Josh is fixin’ to get his name out there. He even wrote the official theme for the third installment of the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy.

Josh is currently working on a new full length album, slated for release this summer. Keep an eye out for more from this artist as he carves his own niche within the music industry!

Tour De Force: The Antlers

The Antlers are a perfect example of one of those bands that fly under the radar for years, but completely take off once their music sees the light of day.  Robin Hilton of NPR Music recounts his introduction to the band a year ago: “All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen came by my desk holding a rare copy of the then-homemade Hospice CD by The Antlers. ‘You’ve got to hear this,’ he said. We trotted off to one of NPR’s studios — a dark, cavelike space with an unusually good surround-sound system — and popped in the album. As the opening notes crept from the speakers, along with the eerie, ambient rhythm of a hospital respirator, I was transfixed.” Thus began a cascade of NPR, SXSW and label support from Frenchkiss Records/Mom + Pop Music.  Peter Silberman, frontman and founder of The Antlers, had been writing and recording songs in his Brooklyn apartment since 2006, but it wasn’t until about a year ago that people really began to take notice.
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Tour De Force: Freelance Whales

Freelance Whales have made a name for themselves as a band “Busking to the Big Time.” However, this is not your average busking band. True — they can often be seen playing on street corners and in subway stations around hipster’s paradise (a.k.a Williamsburg), but they also get pretty creative. They’ve been spotted playing in dark abandoned warehouses, roof-tops,  “culturally significant Williamsburg house parties”, and other various nooks and crannies around Brooklyn, NY. Their unconventional methods and somewhat unusual sound caught the attention of many leading voices in the media. They’ve been featured artists on NPR’s World Café and, taken the blogosphere by storm on respected pages such as Brooklyn Vegan and HearYa and recently nabbed a spot on Grey’s Anatomy — which some may hate to admit is a band’s one way ticket to indie fame and fortune.
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Tour De Force: Jukebox the Ghost

When did you guys start touring?
We booked our first tour on our own in 2005 — It was unbelievably bad.  Our manager, Seth, got us touring seriously in the summer of 2007, right after we all graduated college.  That was a lot better.
How often do you tour?
There hasn’t really been a pattern so far, but we’ve played over 250 shows since 2007, and no signs of stopping.
What’s your general mode of transportation?
Our E-150 Econoline van.
Who are some of the artists you’ve toured with?
Ben Folds, Via Audio, the XYZ Affair, The Winter Sounds, Pretty and Nice, Say Hi, Jenny Owens Young…..There’s more, but those are the ones we toured with the longest.
Are there any songs you only play live that you haven’t recorded?
Quite a few.  There were about ten new songs that didn’t make the record we just finished, some of which we played every night for awhile…Hopefully we’ll get the chance to record everything we’ve written at some point.
What are your favorite songs/bands to cover?
This year we’ve had a lot of fun covering “Temptation” by New Order.  We’ve used it a lot of times as our ‘hail mary pass’ if we’re not sure people are having a good time — Dance songs never fail.  At special shows in the last year or so we’ve also done a cover of the ending sequence from Abbey Road, which is always a blast.  We’ve covered a lot of artists in the past — The Cure, The Clash, Queen, Rage Against the Machine, Danny Elfman, They Might Be Giants, and the Smiths, just to name some off the top of my head.
What is your favorite region/city to play in?
The west coast is always exciting — The scenery is always exciting after being on the east coast for so long.  But as far as shows and fans are concerned, it’s hard to beat NYC and DC.  Our fans on the east coast are amazing.
Sketchiest hotel you’ve ever stayed in?
Sort of difficult to say, since we’ve stayed in dozens and dozens of gross motels all over the country.  We’ve had our share of strange-smelling rooms.
Which city has the most enthusiastic crowd?
DC, hands down.
Any crazy/funny tour stories you’d like to share?
Hm, so many to choose from…..The first one that comes to mind is tne time we went rock-climbing off the highway in some desert mountains in southern California only to be apprehended by the US border patrol — Apparently we were hiking around in a major drug trafficking spot on the Mexican border.  Whoops.

OSBlog02_TourDeForce_01Jukebox the Ghost has been compared to everyone from the Ben Folds Five to a “muted incarnation of Queen.” While these comparisons are both flattering and overall pretty accurate, the description NPR offers is spot on; “If School House Rock morphed into an actual band, it’d be Jukebox the Ghost.” Like School House Rock, their lyrics are witty and thought-provoking and the piano hooks and memorable melody lines prove that catchy and superficial don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. I mean who hasn’t had “Conjunction Junction” stuck in their head at least once in their lives.

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