OnlineRock Blog

05 January 2012

Free Music Friday - January 6, 2012

Oh, baby, watch out, we're entering 2012 full steam ahead - or, rather, in these technologically advanced days, with all gigabytes aimed forward. Welcome to the new year, and the first day of the rest of your life. I am jittering with excitement about these 5 artists below, all with a distinctive take on how music should be made. 

 If this is the end, let's go out in style!

From the world of electronic pop stardom, we proudly present Grimes, a siren-like synth-driven singer who sounds like she could be from another world. And to boomerang completely around to her musical foil, we also present Kae Sun, with traditional African folk tunes that aim to reconnect people with their earthy beginnings. Also throwing some interesting curveballs into the mix, we've got a 1970s reissue of a spectacular psychedelic tune from WITCH, a full-length album from Deek Hoi, an artist who combines homey folk with futuristic synth (seeing any themes here?), and finally, a truly wonderful and slightly sinister song from Mr Fogg that is currently trying to crawl out of the underground - in more ways than one. So let's get started.

-Nancy Woo

1. Grimes - "Genesis"
(free download from Gorilla vs. Bear)

LP: Visions

If Canadian-born electronic cutie Grimes hasn't blown your way yet, be prepared to sit down and let her wispy, tendril-like vocals whip across your too-clean face, as a full-blown electric whirlwind slowly cascades into the foreground behind her. She's like a one-woman siren, singing, echoing, layering and mixing, and there's something definitely special about her vaguely 80s but decidedly modern style, characterized by her uniquely alluring yet childlike, high-as-the-clouds vocals and a rich electronic pop soundscape that twirls and writhes like a dragon on ecstasy behind her, perfectly in sync with her singing and never ceasing. If you haven't already, definitely take this opportunity to grab her latest, "Genesis," which is forthcoming off her new album, Visions, set to be released in February via 4AD.

Bonus: Also download "Oblivion" from the same page. It's a twofer!

-Nancy Woo

2. Kae Sun - "Weh Weh"
(click to stream or right click to download)

EP: Outside the Barcode

If you could think of any artist pretty much doing the exact opposite of Grimes (using advanced technology to create music), it would be this artist here. Kae Sun is a Ghannian-born acoustic musician who, after living in Canada for nearly a decade, returned to his home country, reacquainting himself with the raw, un-commodotized experiences of the native farmland that informed his artistic sensibility. In these unadulterated African folk tunes, he hearkens back to the simple act of sharing music in a small community setting, using a guitar, his voice and communal chanting and clapping. Both relevant in different ways, Kae Sun and Grimes remind us of where we came from and where we are going. Following an EP from 2007 and a full-length from 2009, Kae Sun offers his latest EP, Outside the Barcode, from his website.

Bonus: Download the entire EP for free, in exchange for an email, from that link above.

-Nancy Woo

3. WITCH - "Strange Dream"
(click to stream or right click to download)

LP Reissue: Lazy Bones !!

All the way from Zambia in the 1970s comes "Strange Dream," a wonderfully off-kilter tune by the group WITCH. Members of the so-called "Zamrock" scene, WITCH has received the reissue treatment courtesy of Now-Again Records, who deserve a lot of thanks for bringing songs like this to light. It's a psychedelic folk ditty driven by bright, funky guitar plucks. Ramshackle and sincere, it strikes an emotional chord with deeply earnest vocals and a touch of real sadness despite the overall jaunty mood. Absolutely don't miss it! Learn more here.

-Tomi Mendel

4. Deek Hoi - The Golden Country
(full album download from Bandcamp)

LP: The Golden Country

Although Deek Hoi's The Golden Country was released five years ago, there is no reason to let its age make it less noteworthy. Tennessee-based Deek Hoi, the main musical endeavor of musician Daniel Coy, is one of those bands that can blend the new, old, traditional, and weird. Typical folk and bluegrass riffs and tinkling vintage synths stand side by side in this release. So, grab your nearest flannel shirt and take a small trip back to the simpler time that was 2007.

-Ana Diaz
5. Mr Fogg - "Stay Out of the Sun"
(free download with email)

Single: "Stay Out of the Sun" 

Oooh yes. I'm loving this one SO HARD right now. Click this link to listen to the song on Soundcloud before you download it, if you so desire, and open yourself up to a world of dark synth that waits until you're complacent to explode with alarming fuzz right in your ear. With nonchalant, almost sinister vocals, this song paints the picture of a cloaked crusader dragging bags of bones down to a dungeon, the anxious heartbeat in the background pulsing the song forward. "I've got the key if you want it/ I've got your throat in my hands" - delicious. You'll want to listen again, and check out this artist for more. Following his debut release, Moving Parts, this is a special pre-release of this single, not set to officially clasp hands with the world until February 28th. So get it before it's on your grandmother's radar!

-Nancy Woo


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