The Hudsons

Label: None
Genre: Country, Folk

The Hudsons often describe themselves as a hard-working band, making this an appropriate Labor Day post. Offering up a solid blend of folk & country, I ran across this Austin trio while researching Texas bands for my friend Tim. He's got a friend moving there, and wanted to clue him in to the scene (which is probably pretty big, considering the size of the state and all that). I was hooked on the clean sound and classis lyrics of the Hudsons from "It Just Takes One"; that is, after all, all it took. If you like what you hear — and this goes for you too, Tim's friend — head over to the band's website for a half dozen live tracks, or to Sonicbids for more studio recordings.

It Just Takes One [MP3, 6.6MB, 256kbps]


Posted by joe on 09.03.07 | Buy from Amazon, Insound
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Deer Tick

Label: Feow!
Genre: Country, Pop, Slowcore

My first experience with Deer Tick was a prime example of the "please listen more than once phenomenon". Upon first listen, I was impressed by the intro's twangy vibe... and then singer John McCauley's voice began to sing. My heart sunk. "Too raspy," I thought. "Discordant!" I proclaimed. Then I gave it another shot. And another. By the fourth play, I was not only digging the delicious twanginess behind the singing, but I was swooning on McCauley's gritty voice and stylistic odes to a day long gone. I got on board whole hog--music, lyrics and voice. I was passing the song to friends. I was soliciting Shan's advice. (He said of "Art isn't Real"--"its a great summer twilight tune" but then wanted to make sure "Art isn't Real" wasn't the band name. It's not.) And so in this, the twilight of our summer, the 'Hive gives you summer twilight tunes to ride out on the August wave to. Do me proud and listen no less than three times.

Art Isn't Real (City of Sin) [MP3, 4.2MB, 192kbps]
Diamond Rings [MP3, 4.2MB, 192kbps]

Posted by lisa on 08.22.07 | Comments (2) | Buy from Amazon, Insound
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Easy Anthems

Label: None
Genre: Country, Pop

I sometimes wonder how couples who do their art together pull it off. I mean, it seems like the creative tension would lead to realtionship tension and it would all be so... personal. Easy Anthems, Vanesa and Philip Jimenez, sort of exemplifies what I'm talking about. From their website: "We broke up, and we made music, and we got back together, and we made music, and we got married, and we made music, and we broke up, and we made a kid, and we got back together, and we made music." Yeah, I just don't think I could handle all that. Thankfully, all that matters is that the Jimenez family can, and do, and make some fine music to narrate the saga. Their entire debut album of country-tinged, pleasantly melodramatic, ear-friendly pop therapy sessions is available as one big old free download on their aforementioned website; the four songs below are a nice sampling of what you'd get.

BB Shooting [MP3, 4.9MB, 192kbps]
The Great Race [MP3, 4.2MB, 192kbps]
Concrete Star Signs [MP3, 4.9MB, 192kbps]
Old Suitcase [MP3, 5.9MB, 192kbps]

Posted by joe on 08.02.07 | Comments (1) | Buy from Amazon, Insound
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Label: None
Genre: Country, Rock

I can't write about Space Needle without plugging Anders Parker's Varnaline with equal, if not greater, vigor. It's almost easier to do, given Parker's more prolific output—whether as Varnaline through 2001 or his subsequent eponymous work for Baryon Records. Sadly, Varnaline's music received limited notoriety in their time due in part to their now defunct record labels, Zero Hour and Artemis, neither of which were really a perfect fit for Varnaline's sound. The Varnaline take on alt country was blistering, raw, and true, with really excellent texture and sobering lyrics for those left standing.

from Man of Sin (1996):
The Hammer Goes Down [MP3, 3.0MB, 128kbps]
lbs. [MP3, 2.8MB, 128kbps]

from Varnaline (1997):
Lights [MP3, 3.9MB, 128kbps]

from Sweet Life (1998):
Gulf of Mexico [MP3, 3.5MB, 128kbps]

from Songs in a Northern Key (2001):
Song [MP3, 3.5MB, 128kbps]

Posted by sam on 07.14.07 | Comments (1) | Buy from Amazon, Insound
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Chris Bathgate

Label: Quite Scientific
Genre: Country

With the exacting diction of Flannery O'Connor Chris Bathgate sets up a haunting scene in "Flash of Light: "There was a flash of light / followed by chaos / all the night the moon struck my backyard." He sets up the scene again and again, each time adding different details, each time greasing our anticipation. But like a good storyteller should he never fulfills our expectations. The listener is left to fill in the details. Whichever outcome you choose is accompanied by reverberating instrumentation as feedback leaks in and additional guitars and trumpets join Bathgate's ever forceful chords. Such crafting of songs lifts Bathgate out of the "singer/songwriter" pigeonhole. Comparisons to Will Oldham and Jeffy Tweedy do not misguide, but I would posit, based on "Every Wall You Own," that Bathgate is also the country cousin to Eric Matthew's smooth, orchestral pop sound.

Bathgate spends the next few months saturating his home state of Michigan (Sam, Joe I expect you'll be making plans to attend as soon as you hear this stuff!) with his sounds. But with the exception of New York City, there are no signs yet of Bathgate making his way beyond his state borders. Looks like you'll have to bring him home yourself. And oh! what timing! His new album "A Cork Tale Wake" is out today.

I stand corrected. I just discovered he spent the month of May in Europe with Saturday Looks Good To Me...

Flash of Light [MP3, 3.4MB, 160kbps]
Every Wall You Own [MP3, 2.9MB, 160kbps]
Buffalo Girl [MP3, 4.0MB, 160kbps]

Posted by sean on 06.26.07 | Comments (5) | Buy from Amazon, Insound
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The Loose Salute

Label: Graveface
Genre: Country, Pop

Any friends of Mojave 3 are friends of mine. The Loose Salute is both: Ian McCutcheon, Mojave 3 drummer, and friends. Built around McCutcheon and newcomer Lisa Billson, The Loose Salute continue the tradition of modern-day Brits singing about California, its coast, sunshine and surf like it was 1973. A little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll. A lot of summertime gems just in time for the impending solstice and bbq's.

Deathclub [MP3, 3.0MB, 128kbps]
The Mutineer [MP3, 7.8MB, 320kbps]
Turn the Radio Up [MP3, 7.3MB, 320kbps]

Tuned to Love ecard

Posted by sean on 06.19.07 | Buy from Amazon, Insound
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Pernice Brothers

Label: Ashmont
Genre: Country, Rock

Pernice Brothers is one of those bands I assumed we'd already posted, but no, we haven't, so behold "Somerville." Fronted by ex-Scud Mountain Boy Joe Pernice, this collection of "breathy Massachusetts sad sacks" took first place in's "25 Most Exquisitely Sad Songs in the Whole World” contest. And while "Somerville" wasn't the winning tune, you can hear in it the qualities that would lead to such success with despondency. If you're looking for another good (but not free) Pernice Brothers download, and one that's not necessarily sad, grab "Water Ban," the second song from Yours, Mine and Ours (2003). In my mind, that would be a contender in the "Totally Shimmery and Transcendentally Beautiful" contest. Maybe we should host that one here at 3hive?

Somerville [MP3, 4.2MB, 163kbps]

Posted by joe on 06.14.07 | Buy from Amazon, Insound
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The Utah Carol

Label: None
Genre: Country, Pop

Joe is reigning king of the mix tape. While most of us have grown lazy (just look at our sporadic podcast output), Joe still makes mixes — most often on CD-R these days — with little more impetus than capturing a theme or mood: spring songs, road songs, grading papers songs, cooking songs, songs featuring a particular girl's name... The latter prove to be the most difficult (unless your name happens to be Baby), which is why Utah Carol's latest album, Rodeo Queen, reminded me of Joe. Among the 13 rich country pop songs we have "Kimberly Smiles," "I'm Sorry Maria," "Sam's Ranch," and, featured here, "Ruby" and "Come Back Baby" (see, they even have Baby covered). Utah Carol, named after a traditional song about a cowboy who dies trying to save his friend from a stampede, are in fact the Chicago-based JinJa Davis and Grant Birkenbeuel. They take country and pop influences with equal weight, producing precious harmonies, delicate instrumentation, loping rhythms, and memorable lyrics. Hit record, Joe.

Come Back Baby [MP3, 6.5MB, 192kbps]
Ruby [MP3, 3.3MB, 192kbps]

Posted by sam on 04.21.07 | Buy from Amazon, Insound
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