Golden Bear: Everest EP

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Awhile back we featured a song by Golden Bear in our weekly Top 5 Most Played Songs from Swap’s iTunes series, and it caught me by surprise when it came on. To quote myself:

“Here’s another song that I had no idea I possessed. Golden Bear’s “Night Lights” was a surprise for me. I remember sitting at my desk when it came on… my ears perked up and I said, “What IS this?”

Golden Bear has been called “Completely original and instantly memorable,” by The Onion, A blur of frenzied dancing and fist-pumping excitement,” by, and now I will throw in my two cents with “Outtasite!”

Perhaps my commentary is not as deep as the others, but I think the message gets across. I totally dug the song and wonder where the heck it came from.

My guess is that Sherman snuck it into my iTunes.

I look forward to hearing more from Golden Bear. VERY cool find.”

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Well, now I’ve had the chance to hear more from Golden Bear, as I got my hands on their new Everest EP the other day, and I can once again say, “OUTTASITE!”

Golden Bear, who uses the term “Galactic-Forest Rock” to describe their sound, comes to us from Austin, TX, and their new Everest EP is now available for download. Consisting of members Chris Gregory (Guitar/Vocals), Matt Gardiner (Keyboards), Grant Van Ambergh (Percussion), Austin Jenkins (Bass), and Andrew Gregory (Keyboards), the band has made, and continues to make, their name and sound known both in their studio releases and in their live shows. Their sound has drawn comparisons to The Flaming Lips, My Morning Jacket and Arcade Fire, and has earned them a reputation as a force to be reckoned with.

Golden Bear built a loyal fan base before releasing its debut self-titled LP in August of 2006. The record was met with much praise around Austin, in several media outlets, and across the music blogging community. Almost immediately after their first release, the group began work on their second, To the Farthest Star, which dealt with the themes of good, evil, hope, and dread. The album was released in April of 2007 and once again won the praise of many. The band toured in support of their release the following summer, and after some time off and some personnel changes, they are now back with the wonderful five song EP, Everest.

You can check out two tracks from the EP in the Dig-It section below. The first song, “Night Lights” is the track we featured previously. The second track “All The Stars” is another excellent track, and between the two, you should get a nice taste of the band and hopefully be encouraged to check out the rest of the EP. According to a MySpace blog late last year, the band is back in the studio recording their next full length album and are hoping for a release by the end of 2009.

Your Dig-It Downloads:

Download: Night Lights

Download: All The Stars

Golden Bear on MySpace
Golden Bear on C-Side Records
Golden Bear on Amazon
Golden Bear on iTunes

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Whiskeytown: Live @ Bottom of The Hill, San Francisco 1997

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It’s about time I posted a Whiskeytown bootleg. For those that are unfamiliar with Whiskeytown, it’s the band that Mr. Ryan Adams started way back in 1994 after he discovered that “punk rock is too hard to sing.” Adams hooked up with Caitlin Cary (a fine solo artist on her own) and went through various versions of the band until they called it quits in 1999.

This bootleg finds the band in 1997, supporting their second album, Strangers Almanac. It opens with one of their best, “Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart,” and contains a great mix of songs from their catalog at the time. I loved this period of Adams’ writing, as it was just a touch more country-flavored than his more recent material.

One of my favorite Whiskeytown songs, “Drank Like A River,” makes an appearance here, and I totally dig how Adams sings it even more so than what’s on the album cut. I have no idea if Adams is inebriated during this performance, but his slur and his drawl are quite evident here, making the title the song that much more fitting.

The quality of this bootleg isn’t soundboard quality, but it’s definitely worth picking up if you’re a fan of Adams or Whiskeytown. This is the sound and style that made me a fan of Adams, and I can’t get enough of it. In my opinion, his strength will always be in this rock/punk/country mixture. Whiskeytown is considered one of the more important bands of the Alt.Country genre, and I hope through this bootleg you can hear how big of an influence they’ve had on countless bands to surface from this scene.

Pick up Strangers Almanac if you haven’t already. “Inn Town,” which unfortunately wasn’t a part of this bootleg, is simply one of the most gorgeous songs ever committed to tape.

Your Dig-It Downloads:


Download: Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart
16 Days –> Highway 145
Midway Park –> Too Drunk To Dream
Drank Like A River —> Just One More Time
Yesterday’s News —> Waiting To Derail
Download: Losering
Everything I Do
Download: Breathe
Nurse With the Pills

Whiskeytown on Amazon
Whiskeytown on iTunes

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Today Only: Free Download of Bob Dylan’s “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'”

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Bob Dylan is offering the first track, “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” from his forthcoming release, Together Through Life, for free on The song will be available for free from midnight, March 30th through midnight, March 31st both on his site, so grab it while you can. At the time of this posting, you’ve got about a half a day to go!

Together Through Life was produced by Jack Frost, and was prompted by the composition of a new song, “Life Is Hard,” which was written for a forthcoming film by French director Oliver Dahan (La Vie En Rose). This will be the 46th release from Dylan, following his Platinum album Modern Times, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart in 2006.

With a release date of April 28th, Together Through Life is also available in a 2CD/DVD deluxe edition and a vinyl edition, which includes the 10-track CD version as a bonus.

Your Dig-It Downloads:

Download: Lonesome Day Blues (live 7.27.07, Tucson)

Download: Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ – Grab it at

Bob Dylan on Amazon
Bob Dylan on iTunes

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The Art of Sampling

Sometime late last year, I was looking through the new releases when I came across a sincere tragedy. Hilary Duff was back, and THIS time, it was personal… “Personal Jesus”-personal. It seemed that, for her “Best Of” album, she needed a new song and thus decided to sample Depeche Mode’s 1989 hit “Personal Jesus” for her single, “Reach Out.”

At first I couldn’t believe it because I consider Depeche Mode music sacred ground, but then I found a link to the music video and decided to see if it was true. For those of you that have been lucky enough to miss this, consider yourself very unlucky right now:

This song brings up a musical practice that, unfortunately, is apparently here to stay: sampling. According to Wikipedia, sampling is “the act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a different sound recording of a song.” To me, “sampling” is another word for “ripping off.” I understand that in most cases the original artist gives their approval for the sample, but in some cases, the artist goes uncredited. Famous songs that have exercised this practice are Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” (Queen/David Bowie’s “Under Pressure,” uncredited), Ton-Loc’s “Wild Thing” (Van Halen’s “Jamie’s Cryin,” uncredited), and MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” (Rick James“Super Freak”).

What was first a novelty (as with those songs mentioned) has become commonplace to the point where I honestly don’t believe people think twice about it anymore. For me, though, I think it’s a sad, sad message that the music industry is sending: WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF IDEAS.

To emphasize this point, I’m going to step away from Hilary Duff for a bit and focus on a song that has angered me to the bone: Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long”.

This absolute abomination of a song samples two classic songs that SHOULD forever remain untouched: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London”. If you are SUCH a fan of the music, then you should respect it enough to LEAVE IT ALONE.

I can recall the first time I heard this song… I was driving down the 210E here in Cali… I swear I almost killed myself because I was in such a rage. The whole song is just the same three chords anyway, so how hard would it be to figure out a different way to play it? Bands do it ALL the time, EVERY SINGLE DAY. In fact, right now, there’s a garage band somewhere that is writing a song with those three exact chords (D, C, and G), played in the exact same progression… and amazingly enough, it sounds completely different than “Sweet Home Alabama”.

No, in my opinion, sampling is just laziness and lack of creativity. It’s a poor excuse for “song writing,” especially when the whole song sounds exactly like the original. I mean, come on… you write lyrics, a melody, everything… but then you can’t go that extra step and make the music underneath your own? LAZY… and trying to make a quick buck. It’s one thing to sample a drum beat, but it’s a whole new ball game when you take the exact structure of a song and put your name on it to claim it as your own.

A nice argument in favor of sampling is that it gives a “second life” to the sampled songs. Take “Personal Jesus”, for example. It’s been almost twenty years since that song’s release, and Duff’s reworking of it presents it to a new generation. Perhaps this new generation will enjoy Duff’s reworking and go seek out the original. Sure, that may be a nice argument, but why not just cover the bloomin’ song? She’s basically covering the song anyway, so why not find other ways to get exposure that would retain the integrity of the song? Show your fans that you REALLY respect the music… wouldn’t THAT be a novel idea????

And while I’m on this point, is “Sweet Home Alabama” SO obscure now that it NEEDS to be sampled and introduced to a new generation??? I think not.

Another argument can be that sampling is “paying tribute” to the sampled song, but THAT can be thrown out the window because if you want to “pay tribute” to a song, then do as I mentioned above: COVER the song, don’t tear it apart and then slap your name on it. There is no shame in recreating a song and making it your own, like what Joe Cocker did with “With A Little Help From My Friends”, or “Feelin’ Alright”. He did such a fine job with those covers that his versions have become the quintessential recordings of that song.

Just for a moment, let’s give these two arguments a leg to stand on. If what they say is true, then wouldn’t it make sense that everyone would know James Brown’s song, “Funky Drummer”? What? You don’t know that song? It just happens to be the most sampled song in history.

So that pretty much kills the arguments… which brings me to the question of whether there is ever a good reason to sample that does not end up being “Cuz I’m lazy.”

Sure, one may say that if the original artists didn’t sign off on allowing the sample, then sampling wouldn’t be allowed… but there are those cases (as explained before) that those artists weren’t even recognized for their work. No wonder they allow it right now… of course they want to lay claim to their legacy. I don’t blame them for laughing all the way to the bank.

What’s really sad is that, like I said before, sampling is here to stay. I’ll admit that bands that I love are guilty of sampling, most notably The Beastie Boys. Some may argue that Rick Rubin (one of my favorite producers) built his entire career on sampling… and many rap artists that I respect as well have sampled their way into the charts. I absolutely HATE saying anything negative about these artists because I usually buy whatever they release, but I must take a stand here.

I still say it’s a clear message that some artists are running out of original ideas. As a music listener, I can say that I would have much more respect for artists if they would spend the time to create a new sound, a new groove, a new SONG, instead of ripping another one off. If you’re truly an artist, then be original… or at least TRY to be original. Good or bad, it’s ok… just show me that you’re trying.

Maybe that’s the bigger issue, though, that “originality” is not welcome in the current state of the music industry. Gone are the days of artist development. Gone are the days of giving an artist a few albums to find their voice, their stride… in today’s need for the immediate hit, all we hear are artists trying to jump on the current bandwagon. How many Nickelback-like rock bands are out there now? Country radio is just the same song done over and over and over and over again to the point that all you really need to do is hear the top 10 songs and you’ll get the gist of what country music is about.

And now Hilary Duff jumps in the pool to add her stamp on the sad state of music.

Understand, I am not saying that there are no original artists out there… I am just saying that what the big labels are shoving down our throats are the same nonsense over and over again. Indie labels and DIY artists are presenting us with some compelling music that, given the chance on radio, could reshape what is popular… but that’s not going to happen as long as we keep getting material like Duff’s “Reach Out” or Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long”. Both of these songs hit the Billboard charts. Wow.

It would have been so much better if the original songs recharted.

So after all that, I’m presenting you with the top 5 songs that have pissed me off because of sampling.

All Summer Long (Kid Rock) [Amazon] [iTunesicon]

I’ll Be Missing You (P. Diddy featuring Faith Evans) [Amazon] [iTunesicon]

Come With Me (P. Diddy featuring Jimmy Page) [Amazon] [iTunesicon]

Reach Out (Hilary Duff) [Amazon] [iTunesicon]

Right Round (Flo Rida featuring Kesha) [Amazon] [iTunesicon]

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Featured Artist: Bojibian

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For any musician, your attitude defines you. You either believe in your craft or you don’t… sometimes it’s that simple. Musicians have to prove themselves on stage, night after night, in front of people who either adore them or are indifferent to their music. Let me speak from experience: the worst audience is not one that hates you; it’s one that couldn’t care less about what you’re doing.

But sometimes one comes across an artist that carries with them a confidence that is so evident that it make you want to listen to them, even if you have no clue as to who they are. It’s not a confidence that shakes you into submission, it’s one that attracts you because they believe in their music so much that it somehow reaches you and makes you believe in it too. This week’s Featured Artist, the Philadelpha based Bojibian, has that intangible quality that’s hard to put a finger on, but whenever I hear their music I’m further convinced of it.

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Self-Titled EP

Taking their name from singer Stephen Lorek’s sister’s way of saying “jibberish,” Bojibian has done quite a bit in the short year they’ve been together. They’ve secured management, they’ve been a finalist in the World Café Live’s “Philly Rising” competition, they’ve been able to tour the northeast extensively and will be expanding their reach come summertime, and they’ve released two EP’s. ” To be honest we could have made 8 EP’s this year if we had the means,” says Lorek. For any start-up band, that’s a LOT to accomplish in a year’s time.

I guess confidence does pay off.

The roots of the group come from singer Lorek and drummer Dylan Mulcahy. As Mulcahy tells us, the two met after a gig with his old band, Rhymes With Orange. Lorek approached him and said, “Hey, I’m Stephen Lorek, nice to meet you, and you’re gonna be my drummer.” The two connected instantly at the first rehearsal and after recruiting the rest of the members at college, formed Bojibian, the “band we always wanted to exist,” as Mulcahy states.

They just released their second EP on March 9 titled All Night, All Day. ”We recorded six songs all in one night, live, to two inch tape,” says Lorek. The results were a collection of infectiously catchy rock/pop songs that do their job in grabbing the listener and keeping them until the last note.

Take a listen to “Voodoo Magic” in the Dig-It section below. I was hooked in right from the start, and was surprised to hear that it almost didn’t make the album. As Lorek relates to us, “Niles started strumming some chords one night in my apartment after we had already decided which songs would go on the new EP. Next thing I know I’m singing the ‘Voodoo Magic’ melody. We thought. ‘Damn, this tune is pretty good! If we don’t record it tomorrow, we probably will never record it.’ So the next day, I jotted down some lyrics in my Art History [class]. That night we went into the studio, hit record, and played ‘Voodoo Magic’ for the first time.”

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All Night, All Day EP

Bojibian seems to thrive in the studio. “It’s fun, it’s in the moment. It gives you that golden chance to just react,” as Lorek explains. “We love to work. I love writing songs,” he continues, “I am utterly compelled to write. I love to build. I love to see these songs come together. I love to be in the heat of work. It’s very satisfying. Building is such a positive thing.”

I thoroughly enjoyed spinning All Night, All Day, and discovered that the songs held a deeper meaning within the good-times nature of their sound. A good example is the second track, “Go Out.” One line caught my eye in particular: “She told a priest that religion was fear of the unknown.” When I asked the band about the meaning behind the song, Lorek answered with, “The bravest thing to do is to bare the burden of the unknown and to inductively uncover objective answers. This song is about a smart guy who finds himself awake at 4AM in a messy room, drunk, listening to music, who needs one last dance with his whimsical behavior before he becomes a rational person. He is taking refuge in tomorrow. Evading his responsibility to himself. He is a complete contradiction. Perhaps religion is a way of evading the glaringly evident responsibly we have to ourselves.”

Bojibian may have a name that means nothing, but their music says differently. Their sound is surprisingly refreshing, making me want to see their live show (which is a sign of a good record). Although I was initially surprised to hear that they have only been around since early 2008 because of how confident they come across, it all makes sense now, based on how they approach the band. “What makes this group work successfully is that we understand we can’t all do the same job,” says Mulcahy. “Besides actually playing the music, which is the piece of Bojibian that we love and want to do all the time, there is a lot of other work that goes on to keep us running. Everything else [aside from booking shows] is done by the band members. There’s a lot to do everyday.” It’s this kind of group effort that will undoubtedly pour over into every part of their work, from writing to performance.

Two releases for a young band is impressive enough, but with a head turning record like All Night, All Day, it makes me wonder where they’ll be in another year.

Drummer Mulcahy sums it up well for Bojibian: “It’s a funny thing to me, this is not the first time we’ve heard that we emit a confident vibe. It’s funny because this group is one that is very self critical – not in a defeating way, but more of a unit that feels its only action is to improve, to discover more and more and never for one second think that we have ‘arrived’ somewhere or done something too great. I think from day one this group has felt like an underdog. We will always feel we have something to prove. I think that’s why we come off as confident during our sets… there’s no space to chill or relax. It is our 45 minutes to show you how much we love this.”

Here are their show dates. Check their MySpace page for updates.

Mar 28 2009 @ 8:00P – MilkBoy Coffee w/ The Moxy (ALL AGES) in Ardmore, Pennsylvania
Apr 3 2009 @ 8:00P – The 8×10 (ALL AGES) in Baltimore, Maryland
Apr 6 2009 @ 8:00P – The Trash Bar (21+) in Brooklyn (Williamsburg), New York
Apr 7 2009 @ 10:00P – Doc Watson’s (21+) *93.3FM WMMR’s Local Shots Live!* in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Apr 17 2009 @ 6:30P – Marion Court *Launch Music Conference Showcase* in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Apr 18 2009 @ 11:00P – Rusty Rudder *Dewey Beach Popfest* in Dewey Beach, Delaware
Apr 20 2009 @ 8:00P – University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg (ALL AGES) in Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Apr 25 2009 @ 6:00P – House of Wing (ALL AGES) in Herndon, Virginia
May 2 2009 @ 10:00P – Triumph Brewery (21+) in Princeton, New Jersey

Pick up the album, buy some swag, spread the word…

**** Special thanks to Bojibian for answering my questions! ****

Your Dig-It Downloads:

Download: Voodoo Magic
Download: Go Out

Bojibian on MySpace
Bojibian on Amazon
Bojibian on iTunes

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My Dear Disco Remix Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” // The Killers Cover Bright Eyes’ “Four Winds”

Just a quick post with some music that’s sure to get you up and moving on this fine Sunday afternoon…

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My Dear Disco/Kanye West – Love Lockdown

Earlier this month we included a remix of Franz Ferdinand’s “Ulysses” done by My Dear Disco in our SXSW Mix post. If you missed it, you can grab it, along with some other great music, here.

For those of you not familiar with the band, their debut Dancethink LP was released late last year to much critical acclaim, and their unique sound and style have begun to make waves nationwide. We plan to post more about them in the future, but for now, check out their remix of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” that we were sent a couple days ago.

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: Love Lockdown (Kanye West/My Dear Disco – My Dear Disco Remix)

My Dear Disco on Amazon
My Dear Disco on iTunes

The Killers – Four Winds (Bright Eyes Cover)

I know we’ve got some fans of The Killers out there, so we wanted to make sure to share their cover of Bright Eyes“Four Winds” we came across the other day. This cover will be the B Side to the band’s “Spaceman” single, which will be available April 14th. To hear the original Bright Eyes version, stop by Stereogum and grab the mp3.

The Killers on Amazon
The Killers on iTunes

Eric Clapton: River of Tears (live)

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I’m a sucker for live Eric Clapton recordings. Lately I’ve preferred his live material over the studio takes because I’ve found his studio work to be too crisp, too clear, and too pristine. Although I enjoyed his Me and Mr. Johnson album, I found myself yearning for the scratchy, raw, and lo-fi sounding recordings of Robert Johnson himself. This is not to say that Clapton isn’t a phenomenal player… I’m just saying that when it comes to the Blues – the rawer, the better.

Which is probably why I love Clapton’s One More Car, One More Rider live release. I consider this double-cd set a “must-have” for any collection. Clapton does it all here: acoustic, electric, ballads, rockers, traditional blues, Jazzed-up blues, and even a bit of Judy Garland via “Over the Rainbow.” His band is top notch… Billy Preston and David Sancious on keyboards, Steve Gadd on drums, Nathan East handles the bass, and the ever-solid Andy Fairweather-Low on guitar. WOW. All it needed was me on triangle and Clapton would have assembled the greatest band in the history of music. EVER.

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The track I’ve been hooked on lately (and pretty much ever since I picked up the album in 2001) is “River of Tears.” This epic (and I mean EPIC) slow blues song is as emotional as music can get. If you’re familiar with the song from Clapton’s Pilgrim, then you already know the sheer quality of this song… but put it in a live setting with these stellar musicians… man ALIVE the song kills.

And when I say “kills,” I mean destroys, maims, conquers, slays, slaughters, annihilates, decimates, massacres, un-revives… it KILLS.

I clearly remember the first time I heard this live recording… I was sitting in my apartment in San Diego, my jaw dropped to the floor, and I believe I wept. Like a baby. Like a baby that has a wet diaper. Like a baby with a wet diaper who hasn’t been fed for fifteen hours. Like a baby with a wet diaper that hasn’t been fed for fifteen hours who has been left alone in the back seat of a car with leather interior that has been baking in the desert sun for hours.

All that from a recording. When I finally saw the video from the DVD release under the same name, I considered hanging it all up because frankly, it don’t get no better than that.

Even the lyrics are painful to read…

It’s three miles to the river that would carry me away,
And two miles to the dusty street that I saw you on today.
It’s four miles to my lonely room where I will hide my face,
And about half a mile to the downtown bar that I ran from in disgrace.
Lord, how long have I got to keep on running,
Seven hours, seven days or seven years?
All I know is, since you’ve been gone
I feel like I’m drowning in a river,
Drowning in a river of tears

And that’s just the first verse.

Take a listen to the song below in the Dig-It section. The rest of the album is just as good, so if you like what you hear, I wouldn’t hesitate on picking it up. I just listened to the song again right now, and… where’s that box of tissues???

**** The note Clapton hits at 6:34 is AMAZING ****

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: River of Tears (live)

Eric Clapton on Amazon
Eric Clapton on iTunes

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One for the Team: ‘Build A Garden’ EP out March 31st // New Single

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Indie rock band One for the Team is a Minneapolis based rock band consisting of three members, Grace Fiddler (vocals and synth), Ian Anderson (vocals and guitar), and Elliot Manthey (drums). The band’s founder, Ian Anderson, is one busy and ambitious guy. He started the recording label Afternoon Records after high school, has signed and promotes a number of bands, is the editor of the ever popular and influential music blog MFR, and founded One for the Team in 2006.

Since its inception, One for the Team has released two full-length albums, Good Boys Don’t Make Noiseicon (2006 on Afternoon Records) and Build It Upicon (2008 on the Militia Group and Afternoon Records), and is set to release their new EP, Build A Gardenicon, on Tuesday (3/31). This EP includes four new songs, as well as four from Build It Upicon that were rearranged and re-recorded. The album was recorded entirely in the band’s apartment and engineered, mixed, and produced by Anderson in his bedroom.

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To add a personal touch to your purchase, each order of Build A Gardenicon will be filled by the band members themselves and will include unique items sent to you directly from the band. Very cool. This is a Limited Edition release, as only 500 physical copies were pressed (each numbered by hand by the band), and along with the physical format, the album will be available as a digital download via online outlets such as iTunesicon, Emusic, and the AR store.

The band has received some much deserved buzz around the web. You Ain’t No Picasso summed them up in one word – “Awesome,” as did NPR with their description – “Irresitible.” The 2008 release of Build It Up received critical acclaim and was featured on not only the above mentioned sites, but on MTV, Spin, and several other music sites. The band toured extensively after the release, visiting 38 states with over 180 tour dates. Their song “A Better Job” from Build it Up was featured on MTV’s “The Real World: Brooklyn” in January, and the band was featured in a Daytrotter session last month. Definitely check out the session and grab four free downloads of both released and unreleased material from the band.

You can preview tracks from the upcoming release as well as tracks from previous releases on the band’s MySpace page. I’ve posted the new single, “Best Supporting Actress”, from Build A Gardeniconin the Dig-It section below.

One thing you’ll notice with the band’s music is that Anderson and Fiddler share vocal duties almost equally, singing in unison. Check out this video of them performing in the offices of Spin Magazine:

Like I said, Build A Gardenicon will be released on Tuesday (3/31). Make sure to grab “Best Supporting Actress” below. The chorus is instantly singable… once you sing along, you’re hooked. If you dig what you hear, grab the album, catch a show, spread the word…

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: Best Supporting Actress

One for the Team on MySpace
One for the Team – AR store
One for the Team on Amazon
One for the Team on iTunes

Tour Dates:

Apr 10 2009 – McCardle Theatre in Houghton, Michigan
Apr 11 2009 – Rockwater in Wausau, Wisconsin
May 16 2009 – Art-A-Whirl in Minneapolis, Minnesota
May 18 2009 – Waiting Room in Omaha, Nebraska
May 19 2009 – Hi Dive in Denver, Colorado
May 20 2009 – The Sho in Salt Lake City, Utah
May 21 2009 – University of California – Davis in Davis, California
May 22 2009 – The Retox in San Francisco, California
May 25 2009 – The Phix in Phoenix, Arizona
May 26 2009 – The Telos in Albuquerque, New Mexico
May 29 2009 – Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines, Iowa

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This Week’s Top 5 Most Played Songs From Swap’s iTunes

The Rules: I reset the play counters for all the songs currently on my iTunes. Then at the end of every week, I check to see what the top five most played songs are. Whatever happens to be in this top five are then presented in order here from most played to least. If I have posted a particular song in the past, then I will bypass that song and post the next in line. If one artist dominates the list, then I will write about that artist in lieu of a Top Five list.

Monsters Vs. Aliens opens today!!!! I’ve been waiting for this movie for months… ever since I saw the trailer on the Kung-Fu Panda DVD, I’ve been hooked. What a great premise: monsters fighting aliens! It just don’t get no better’n that, folks.

Just like last week, this week’s Top 5 list has NOTHING to do with the movie… here are This Week’s Top 5 Most Played Songs From Swap’s iTunes

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I Want Some More – Dan Auerbach

Dan Auerbach is best known for his work with The Black Keys. With The Black Keys, Auerbach released five albums, all of which are worth picking up on any given day.

When I first heard Auerbach’s first solo album, Keep It Hid, I was glad to hear that although it did keep in the same tradition as The Black Keys’ sound it did not maintain the same style of music. Auerbach showed that his talents are as diverse as his influences.

I’m all for artists who aren’t afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves. I think it’s a way of showing tribute to what inspired them, and a wonderful show of respect to the past. The sound of Auerbach’s guitar, the style of his vocals, and his song writing show these qualities that I love… maybe someday he’ll write a concerto or something.

I played “I Want Some More” 13 times this week. Man alive the guitar tone alone is enough to make a man fall in love with the blues again.

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: I Want Some More

Dan Auerbach on Amazon
Dan Auerbach on iTunes

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Forgiven – Denison Witmer

I first came across Denison Witmer through his cover of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt. I thought he did a bang-up job and did a great job of making it his own. Ever since hearing that cover, I couldn’t help but pick up some of his older material.

His second full album of material, Of Joy and Sorrow, filled out his sound with a full band, but didn’t lose the intimate nature of his style and performance.

“Forgiven” opens the album and is this week’s second most played song from my iTunes. “Do you think I’ll be forgiven?” Witmer asks throughout the song. I think I listened to this song over and over again in one sitting because it did the simple thing of making me ask the same exact question… we all have things we push down deep inside of us that we hope will never see the light of day. Songs like “Forgiven” show me that we’re never alone in what we do, say or feel.

I love songs that do this to me.

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: Forgiven

Denison Witmer on Amazon
Denison Witmer on iTunes

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Spaceman – The Killers

The Killers exploded onto the airwaves with their explosively explosive album, Hot Fuss. I remember listening to it and thinking to myself, “That was money WELL SPENT.”

I loved their throw-back sound to the 80’s and their extremely explosive hooks. Each explosive song contained an explosive hook that, when heard properly, was explosive. The three singles were all explosive, and the success of that album led to two other explosive releases. (Sawdust was more a compilation that a full-on album)

“Spaceman” is the second single off their latest record, Day and Age. It was voted into the #17 slot in Rolling Stone magazine’s Best Songs of 2008 list… I don’t know how The Killers do it… their music is so extremely catchy and appealing… definitely one of the better bands to come out in the last decade. I hope they remain explosive. It’d be an explosive quality to lose.

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: Spaceman

The Killers on Amazon
The Killers on iTunes

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Great Expectations (acoustic) – The Gaslight Anthem

When I first heard this song by The Gaslight Anthem, the first thing I thought of was Mr. Bruce Springsteen. That would make perfect sense because they are from New Jersey, and according to a interview with guitarist Alex Rosamilla, they sound “like Bruce Springsteen singing for a Cure cover band, with a tinge more aggression.”

Their second album, The ’59 Sound, was met with much critical acclaim and praise. It’s got a great punk feel to it that doesn’t let go until it’s all over. The energy on the record is incredible, and that’s the first thing I noticed with the record… but that’s not to say there aren’t some excellent songs within this blast of adrenaline. I think there are only two songs that lean towards the mellow side of life.

Anyhow, here’s an acoustic version of the second track, “Great Expectations.” It was my first taste of The Gaslight Anthem, and remains my favorite recording of theirs on my iTunes. I enjoyed this song nine times this week.

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: Great Expectations (acoustic)

The Gaslight Anthem on Amazon
The Gaslight Anthem on iTunes

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1979 (live) – The Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins massive double-album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, is by far my favorite Pumpkins album. It’s got the one thing I’ve always wanted from a Pumpkins album: a LOT of songs. It’s epic, it’s epic, and it’s even more epic.

The album debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and has sold over 9 million copies in the United States alone. It was the biggest selling double-album of the 90’s and garnered seven Grammy nominations. I consider this the last great Pumpkins album… it’s a must-have for any fan of the alternative scene in the 90’s.

“1979” was the second single from the album, and climbed into the top 20 on most every Billboard chart. On this live performance of the song, writer Billy Corgan states that he wrote the song when he was 12 years old. According to an interview Corgan gave to, “1979” is the most important cut off of Mellon Collie. I’m not sure if there’s a correlation between the two, but if you wrote a song at the age of 12 and it became a hit song after a great number of years, I’d probably vote that as the most important song off the record as well.

If that happened to me, I’d totally go up to my parents and say, “Remember when I was 12 and you told me to stop writing songs and study my Algebra and I didn’t? Well, I was right, for a change!”

Yeah, that wouldn’t go over with them too well. Neither would the fact that I listened to this live performance eight times in a row this week instead of studying the 12 cranial nerves of the human body.

Your Dig-It Download:

Download: 1979 (live)

Smashing Pumpkins on Amazon
Smashing Pumpkins on iTunes

Ok… now just to see if anyone actually reads the endings to these posts… if anyone out there can tell me what movie this synopsis describes, you get a gazillion Scooby snacks.

“A millionaire superspy saves the world from Medusa and her army of attack animals.”

Good luck!

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