John Vanderslice

When she graduated last year, Martha gave me a mix CD without a track list. For some people, this would be considered a form of psychological abuse as opposed to a kind gesture. For others, like me, it’s a pleasant excuse for wasting an hour playing on Google. Investigating “Me and My 424” (one of my favorite songs on what turned out to be a great road trip mix, with the likes of Iron and Wine and Nick Drake) led me to John Vanderslice and about a dozen MP3s, half of which are provided for you below. The marriage of his macabre narratives and nasal vocal whine is infinitely better than the description sounds — trust me. Also, if you’ve got the time, check out Tiny Telephone, his SF recording studio. Thanks, Martha!

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Best start off your introduction to Aqueduct with the thrift store gangsta stance of “Hardcore Days, Softcore Nights,” just so you know not to mess with frontman Dave Terry. Sure, it’s wry bedroom pop on the surface, but I think he’s only half-joking about “pulling heat” if you ask him where he’s from (Tulsa, by the way, which might explain the defensiveness). But the fun only begins there… Song to song, Terry recalls any of the nerd-music-for-the-masses elite — from Ben Folds (without the Elton John fixation) to Ben Gibbard (after a few sleepless nights) — though he’s well on his way to earning his own seat at the table. At least that’s what I’d say to his face, lest I get on his bad side.

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Travis Morrison

Travis Morrison, the artist formerly known as 25% of The Dismemberment Plan, drops his first solo record just a year after the demise of TDP. A glimpse into Travistan (the first three tracks offered here) reveals PETA-inspired pop, an eager, piano-driven morality play, and a sing-song memoir cluttered up with live studio audience effects and Defender(TM) samples. Lick off Ben Fold’s sugar-coating, but don’t go as dour as Elliott Smith, and you got Mr. Morrison here.

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Death Cab for Cutie

Note: Thanks to our MANY astute readers, it came to our attention that these links don’t work from an outside source. You have to cut and paste the links into your browser window. We’re all about hassle-free here at 3hive, so grab these while you can. They’ll be pulled down shortly.

An astute 3hive reader, Si, suggests we don’t overlook the obvious and feature one of the current kings of the indie world. Emo, in the hands of mature, keen songwriters instead of boy bands, whose first concern is their hair-do’s, turns out to be a really, really good thing.

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