For August, I offer ten songs to enhance the enjoyment of your summer nighttime activities. I discovered these edgy tracks during recent late-night research forays for the Fringe Toast radio show. The sequence moves from upbeat to downbeat, a perfect pace for the setting sun as it welcomes the cool of the evening.
1. “Porque (Because),” by Pochill, a.k.a. Marco Soncini, an Italian guitarist and producer who draws inspiration from Pat Metheny and Marc Knopfler. On this track, Marco’s distinctive acoustic guitar is complemented by Brazilian singer Janaina.
2. “The Way It Goes,” by Gillian Welch, from her 2011 CD, The Harrow and the Harvest. Written with classic folk music flair, Gillian tells the story of Becky Johnson, “who bought the farm and put a needle in her arm.”
3. “John Q Public,” by Anomie Belle. The Portland classical violinist is known for haunting down-tempo vocal melodies layered with strings, electric guitars, and synthesizers. This 2008 track comes from her Sleep Patterns CD. Anomie has toured with The Album Leaf and trip-hopper Tricky.
4. “Tragedy,” by Christina Perri. The 25-year-old Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter splashed upon the national stage in 2010 with her CD Jar of Hearts. “Tragedy” seems to reflect again on a relationship that ended badly. The impassioned melancholy melody carries us forward, yearning for more music from this rising young talent.
5. “Breathe,” by Alexi Murdoch. Born in London and raised in Scotland, Greece, and France, German-based Alexi spins charming folk songs with well-crafted lyrics such as found on this track: “And the answer that you’re seeking, for the question that you found, drives you further to confusion as you lose your sense of ground.”
6. “I’ve Got This Friend,” by Civil Wars, reveals the delicious talents of duo Joy Williams and John Paul White on their recently released CD, Barton Hollow. The best parts come with the choral harmonies: their voices fit like good friends.
7. “Soft Eyes,” by Roommate, features the songwriting magic of Ken Lambert, whose band recently played at the Iowa City Ped Mall. During that concert, they played an extended version of this track that ends with a dreamy instrumental reminiscent of early Zero 7 improvisations.
8. “Melodic,” by Velours Perfect, features the Swedish Dufwenberg brothers, who began playing music in the early 1990s to avoid sports. This typical VP track blends electronics, vocal sampling, and themes that swing between hip hop and soul. You gotta get up and dance!
9. “Rome,” by Emou, pays homage to the great city through the exotic electronic music expressions of Germany’s prolific composer/producer Mario Reinsch. The singer reminds us that “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
10. “Eastern,” by Ror-shak, from the CD Deep, took 12 months to produce as a collaboration between electronic music wizards DB and Staaka. Their goal with this 2007 release was to make electronic music that could be appreciated by the mainstream. The instrumental track “Eastern” rings true to its name by employing Indian tabla percussion to set the pace early. The duo’s electronic keyboard textures and strong bass lines build and roll into a satisfying adventure across Eastern landscapes.
So now you’ve read about ten talented artists from the outer edges of the music scene. Take the next step to sample and download these tracks. And if you seek more hard-to-find yet deliciously satisfying tracks, then consume a regular dose of the “best music you never hear” on my Fringe Toast radio show, available Wednesdays from 8-10 p.m. Central Time at www.kruufm.com or on 100.1 FM in Fairfield.
To acquire an audio file of this review, go to www.kruufm.com. Join Andy Bargerstock’s Fringe Toast radio show every Wednesday from 8-10 p.m. on KRUU-LP 100.1 FM in Fairfield, and available worldwide via www.kruufm.com.
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