Jennifer O’Connor

For some reason, I thought I’d already posted Jennifer O’Connor. I remember looking at her website, and the older songs she has available for download there were already on my iPod. Ah well, my apologies to Jennifer and her fans, and here you go. If you work her song selection from the bottom up, you can see O’Connor’s development from girl-with-acoustic-guitar to full-on rocker, especially with the track “Exeter, Rhode Island,” off her next album, Over the Mountain, Across the Valley, and Back to the Stars, due in August on Matador. Until then, she’ll be touring through July with 3hive faves Hotel Lights and Liz Durrett.

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Brightblack Morning Light

A few helpful things to know about Nathan Shineywater and Rachael Hughes, aka Brightblack Morning Light: 1) They live in tents in the summer, a small cabin in the winter. 2) They’re from Northern California via Alabama. 3) They pal around with Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom. 4) They care about the world around them. 5) They roll out amazing, narcotically tempered grooves. 6) If only “punkers” were as punk as these hippies…

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We at 3hive like a lot of the same artists. So we have abided by a simple by-law to help preserve our friendship: first come, first served. If you want to write about someone, do it. If you don’t, they’re fair game. What this has led to though is a sort of squatting technique where one of us will create a post with the band’s name (and not much more) and save it as a draft. That’s our way of saying “dibs.” And the system works…until you dibs so many artists that you can’t remember anymore who dibsed what. So, when we got word of Mogwai’s new album, Mr. Beast, Sean had to remind me that I’ve been sitting on Mogwai since early 2005. Here are two new instrumental tracks (“Folk Death 95” and “Auto Rock,” remixed by Errors), alongside a couple of vocal classics taken from the band website — the frenetic “Lower,” from their first ever single, and a cover of The Fall’s exquisite bummer “Bill Is Dead.” I’m glad to say I love Mogwai as much now as I did a year ago.

Oh, and check out their fancy tour site for a fun “Where’s Mogwai?” Google map hack and more.

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Belle and Sebastian

Look, we don’t worry ourselves with being “first” on anything. 3hive’s about sharing, not competing for some cool trophy. But damn are we late on this one! Shame on us! I know Clay’s gonna be kicking himself for missing this. Sam too. If you were unaware of the forthcoming Belle and Sebastian album (The Life Pursuit, in stores February 7th), enjoy its first sounds. If you’ve already got your hands on the whole thing, memorized all the words, and saw them in Scotland last week, or this week in England, well, you’re cooler than us. Believe me, that ain’t hard.

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Early Man

Those of you already familiar with Early Man, “two Pentacostalists from Columbus,” might find it strange to hear them called “quaint.” But that’s what comes to my mind when when listening to the monster, and unapologetically analog, riffs blaring out of these digital speakers. The song names could have come from Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, or early Metallica records, and so could the angry guitar and manic drums. The whole thing takes me back to those Halcyon days when my skater friend got me off the Depeche Mode with an interventionist helping of Ride the Lightning. In fact, Early Man are so earnest about their music that listening to them really is infectious, even if they’re telling me to die a slow, horrible death.

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Cat Power

Cat Power’s been napping. By the time her new album, The Greatest (not a greatest hits record — boy I’m sure her label friends will tire quickly of repeating that mantra), hits stores in January three years will have passed since her last album. Not bad really. The space between her last albums lasted about four years. I should cut her some slack. The wait is always worth it. This time around she taps the Memphis soul scene for her backing musicians, with, among others, Al Green’s boys, Teenie Hodges (who co-wrote “Take Me to the River” with Green) on guitar, and Leroy “Flick” Hodges on bass. Judging from the small sample offered, Chan Marshall may be on her way to creating a timeless work of art.

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Laura Cantrell

Laura Cantrell’s third album came out about a month ago, and I finally got around to ordering it. I’m excited to hear her latest collection of genre-crossing originals and well-chosen covers (check out her version of Elvis Costello’s “Indoor Fireworks,” available on her website along with many more downloads). I’m guessing it will be rich and subtle, if “14th Street,” the first MP3 released, is any indication. If you’re looking for a bit more twang, check out earlier tracks like “Roll, Truck, Roll,” released alongside albums full of trucker songs on the Diesel Only label. Finally, if you really enjoyed Ballboy (posted on 3hive in May), you might enjoy the gentle ballad “I Lost You,” recorded live and loose with Ballboy-er Gordon McIntire for John Peel.

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Mission of Burma

I swear the punk rock kid in high school — the big one, John (?), not the skinny one, Adam (Sam might remember this better than I do) — had “Mission of Burma” stencilled on the back of his black leather jacket. Naturally, I thought it referenced World War II in some way. And so, with thoughts of John and the ’80s in mind, I’d like to dedicate this post to Jared, fan of bands that were around long before he was conceived. Although his Favorite Song Ever, Mission of Burma’s “Academy Fight Song,” isn’t available in the free and legal MP3 form (a video of this song is, however, on the band’s homepage), these tracks from, oh, last year, when Jared was 17, are pretty kicking too. Enjoy.

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Since Stephen Malkmus and Preston School of Industry have both been posted on 3hive already, I thought we might as well toss a few Pavement songs up too. The Peel Sessions version of “Here” is a special treat. Ah, the ’90s…

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