New Amsterdam kicks off 2011 Fundraiser

New Amsterdam Presents 2011 Funding Drive from New Amsterdam Records on Vimeo.

New Amsterdam Records started its 2011 Fundraiser today.

In addition to giving listeners the opportunity to contribute to the continuing vitality of an imaginative imprint, NewAm is also offering free downloads. Every day from December 5-9, a different release from their catalog will be available for free download. Below is an embed of today’s offering: Sarah Kirkland Snider’s beguiling Penelope.

New music from J.C. Combs

A friend to Sequenza 21 and Improv Friday contributor, J.C. Combs composes electronic music that traverses between experimental and ambient terrain. He has a new release, The Chrome Castle and an Overgrown Lawn, available on his Bandcamp page.

NPR shares Oneida’s marathon set at ATP

Oneida plus Chavez at ATP

One of the many reasons to love NPR: their stellar coverage of this year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival. A highlight at ATP 2011 was Oneida’s marathon free improv set. Titled “Ocropolis III” and clocking in at nearly eight hours in duration, the event featured a number of indie luminaries joining the band onstage: members of Yo La Tengo, Chavez, Portishead, Boredoms, and more.

In a generous gesture, NPR is sharing the entire set as a free download on their website.


Oneida’s Absolute II is out now via Jagjaguwar.

Sophia Knapp 7″ Single (Vinyl review)

SophiA Knapp

Nothing to Lose

Drag City DC456 (7″/MP3/FLAC)

Sophia Knapp is probably best known for her work in the band Lights, a group that has recently morphed into Cliffie Swan (their debut was released a couple weeks ago on Drag City). In the midst of this transition, she recorded a single, “Nothing to Lose,” which is also recently out on Drag City. Those who think that vinyl’s audiophile reputation isn’t all that and a bag of chips need to spin this clear 7″ disc. Eugene Wasserman’s 5-string bass lines provide an earthbound anchor for Knapp’s ethereal singing, which breaks into supple harmonies during the hook. Keyboardist Jay Israelson lays down undulating, slightly bluesy, Wurlitzer licks to complete the package.

The b-side is a remix of the song by Caroline Polacheck. She employs a gentle hand here, supplying additional synth halos and tweaking the vocals here and there. But mostly, she rides the golden bass-line and entrancing singing that are already present, pointing up the single’s virtues rather than, as so many remixers sadly are wont to do, obscuring them.

Are 7″ singles still relevant in the MP3 era? If “Nothing to Lose” is the yardstick by which we consider this question, the answer is a resounding yes!


Note: We review lots of CDs and videos at File Under ?, but we’re always interested in alternative formats. So, if you are pressing a vinyl recording – be it 7″, 10″, or 12″ – for release, or if you’re putting out a cassette or a 3″ CD, please keep us in mind!

Thank You: Birth Reunion (Video)

No matter you method of music consumption – vinyl, CD, or digital – Tuesdays, happily, still mean the same thing: there’s new stuff our to be heard. And today (1/24) is a particularly big day for record releases.

One recording I’m eagerly anticipating is Golden Worry, Thank You’s new LP for Thrill Jockey. Check out the video for album track “Birth Reunion” below.

Thank You – Birth Reunion from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.

Free Christmas Album from … Banjo or Freakout

Banjo or Freakout ... for the Holidays

Alessio Natalizia is an Italian multi-instrumentalist/producer living in London. He records under the catchy moniker Banjo or Freakout. This year he’s released a collection of Christmas songs, XA2010, as a free download via BandCamp (free for the first 1,000 downloads).  See the embed below; for coughing up an email address, you’ll get some intriguing avant electronica renditions of holiday classics.

Banjo or Freakout’s s/t debut LP will be released on Rare Book Room in Feb. 2011.