OnlineRock Blog

15 December 2011

Free Music Friday December 16, 2011

Welcome to the windy edition of Free Music Friday. (Here in Los Angeles, the Santa Ana winds are kicking through like crazy, blowing down power lines and trees and swirling those leaves around American Beauty style.) So here we are, blowing in with a gust of awesome new tunes, whipping up the fantastic with this batch. No, really, we are. I think you're going to love these 5 hand-picked songs, so go ahead and grab a few balloons and a stereo, and let yourself get carried away.

-Nancy Woo
1. The Spinto Band - Biba! One Island, 879 Votes
(free download with e-mail)
Soundtrack: Biba! One Island, 879 Votes
The first free download this week is a new album from The Spinto Band: their soundtrack to the documentary Biba! One Island, 879 Votes. The film is apparently about an election in 2007 on the tiny island of Tinian (a commonwealth of the United States -- I bet you didn't know that), and the soundtrack takes the island spirit to heart: slack-keyed guitars abound. But beyond that, there are pieces that would sound at home in a Sergio Leone film or in a 60s-era tiki lounge. It's an entirely instrumental affair and these are the sort of songs you'd expect to hear during This American Life. The 10-track album is free in exchange for your email address, though you'll get an extra four tracks if you assent to them emailing you slightly more often.
-Andrew McNair

2. Jessie Baylin - Pleasure Center
(five free tracks from Soundcloud)
EP: Pleasure Center

Keeping with the slightly retro sound theme, I've found an EP from Jessie Baylin. Pleasure Center oscillates between the echoey Phil-Spector-wall-of-sound sound popular with groups like The Raveonettes (the third track, "White Noise," wears the Phil Spector influence on its sleeve with its use of the Be My Baby drumbeat) to a more 70s-era singer-songwriter feel in songs like "Storms" where Baylin sounds like a young Stevie Nicks. It's a nice, quiet EP, recorded at Baylin's own home in 5 days on a 4-track recorder. You'd never know it to hear it.
-Andrew McNair
3.  Laura Gibson - "La Grande"
(free download from Barsuk Records)
LP: La Grande

The sincere ache of a gentle folk lull and an almost whispering voice have always been mainstays of Oregon native Laura Gibson’s music. In her upcoming album, La Grande, Gibson aims to incorporate her physical and artistic journey as well. More specifically, she hopes to capture a place “people usually pass through on their way to somewhere else, but which contains a certain gravity, a curious energy.” La Grande, her Barsuk Records debut and fourth album on a label, will be released on January 4th. While we wait for her album to arrive and take us all away, her first single, the title track, is already here to act as our itinerary.
-Ana Diaz 

4. Peepholes - "Tunnels" 
(free download from Soundcloud)

Mini-LP: Caligula

Bonus OLR points for referencing the insane, incestuous Roman emperor of antiquity.

For all the synth fans out there, we bring you Peepholes, a British duo who creates dark, throbbing rhythms with the song "Tunnels." The tune combines yelping vocals with a meaty synth part that seems to bounce back and forth off the walls of a rotting house. With it's thumping drumbeat, it becomes an unlikely dance song, recalling the sinister-but-fun sounds of German New Wave acts like D.A.F. Their latest mini-album, Caligula, came out earlier this week on December 12th. Find out more about Peepholes here.

-Tomi Mendel 
5. Dizzy Balloon - "Typical Night" 
(free download from Pure Volume)

Single: "Typical Night"

Oakland-based band Dizzy Balloon specializes in energetic, upbeat tunes, and their most recent single, "Typical Night," is no exception. Like much of the band's earlier fare, this song encapsulates everything that is really great about being young and having near limitless freedom but no real responsibilities. College, in a nutshell. "Yeah we're throwing a party let's go, darling we're just wasting time sitting here all alone, you don't need no makeup, put on your shoes and let's roll, everybody's gonna go!" Petros, the band's vocalist, delivers the lines slightly hurriedly, conveying that feeling of impatience we've all felt at one time or another--you know the one. It's Thursday night, classes are de facto OVER for the week and it's time to go out, and you're waiting for your friends to get ready, but they're just. taking. forever. "Typical Night" is about that impatience, excitement, anticipation, possibility--and it's just a pretty all-around fun song.

-Elaine Mao


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