The Californian Band

The Californian’s “Billion Grains Of Sand”

The Californian Band

The Californian are an LA-based band of five who’ve just put the finishing touches on their debut Kickstarter-financed album. ‘Cuz they’re a fine bunch of gentlemen, they’ve given up a track from the collection you can have for free.

We can’t tell you much more about these alien beings from Los Angeles (whose website promises they’re not here to do us any harm) except to say the troupe consists of John Graney, Jonathan Price, Darren Robinson, Michael Hopkins and Jake Gideon and that they like — in no particular order — Cinderella Hotel, Anna Calvi and Charles Mansion.

They don’t say anything about 1979-era R.E.M.Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen, the criminally underrated Volebeats or the legendary Ventures so we figure they’ve never heard of them (being that they come from L.A., isolated that it is.)

But they sure sound a lot like them and we think that’s pretty brilliant.

Download. Dance fast. Repeat.

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Free MP3: Junkie XL’s “Molly-E”


For today’s Free MP3 of the Day, I drop on your drive a new instrumental mix of the single “Molly’s E” from Junkie XL.

Junkie XL is the Dutch-born musician, remixer and producer Tom Holkenborg who busted onto the scene more than ten years ago with his debut solo set, Saturday Teenage Kick.

Along four additional solo collections, including a 2003 set that included guest collabs withDepeche Mode‘s Dave Gahan, the Cure‘s Robert Smith and Public Enemy‘s Chuck D., XL has also kicked remixes for ColdplayBloc Party and Justin Timberlake.

For this piece, taken from a four-song EP, Holkenborg turns over the controls to Toronto-based remixers Azari & III, recent purveyors of their own long-player Into The Night. From the opening beats, which are straight-up old school disco dance, A & III begin with a layer of hypnotic bass and slather the synths on the top and sides of sound culminating in a dizzying space-out at the very end.

Along with this mix, the Molly’s E EP (out on Nettwerk) includes an Azari vocal remix as well as a remix by French producer Canblaster.

Buy his stuff on iTunes

Junkie Xl – Molly E

LeVar Thomas

Free MP3: LeVar Thomas’ “Lovin’ Alone”

LeVar Thomas

“Surrounded by a family with a great love for life and music, it must have been the destiny of South Carolina raised LeVar Thomas to become a singer and songwriter.” So opens the biography of this talented singer and songwriter.

“As a child LeVar spent his afternoons at his grandparents house,” his story continues. “He would hear his uncles blaring hip-hop in one room, his grandmother listening to gospel records in another room and his grandfather singing while tending his garden. While at home he grabbed every record his mother and father had around and listened intently to each one of them.”

It’s the variety of influences LeVar drops into his cut “Lovin’ Alone” that impresses us. We hear the 60s gospel-flavored of Aretha in his voice, we love hearing the harmonies of the great 70s standup soul groups like the Chi-Lites and the electro-pop beats of 80s-era Hall & Oates all wrapped around lyrics that could’ve been nestled into a Boyz II Men jam.

Take a minute to read the full biography of Levar Thomas, dig his free download and make sure to support this good man’s music.

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Buy LeVar Thomas’ music on iTunes

Levar Thomas – Lovin’ Alone


Best Sellers From The 90′s: U2′s “Achtung Baby”

U2 Achtung Baby Album Cover

With their regular producers in tow, U2 retreated to Berlin in 1991 to re-imagine their sound in the form of Achtung Baby.

The eighth album in their repertoire, Achtung Baby was produced by U2 regulars Steve Lillywhite, Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, the latter of which was key to transforming David Bowie‘s sound on the Berlin trilogies.

Transformation is the name of the game here, as well, as the band’s knob turners soaked Bono’s vox in gallons of distortion, ran yards of 40 grit sand paper over The Edge’s guitar and submerged the group’s rhythm section in a mound of heavy beats.

The resulting dozen songs yielded tunes experimental (“Zoo Station”), riff-laden (“Even Better Than the Real Thing”) and downright funky (“Mysterious Ways”). It also spawned a half-dozen singles that hit the pop charts, including the US #1 (“One”) and the UK #1 “The Fly.”

Since it hit shelves 20 years ago in November 1991, Achtung Baby has sold 9 million copies.

El Sportive and the Blooz - Nights and Weekends (White Iris, 2013) Album Cover

El Sportivo and The Blooz’s “Waking World”

Found this viceo on one of my new favorite blogs, Buzzbands.LA.

El Sportive and the Blooz - Nights and Weekends (White Iris, 2013)

El Sportive and the Blooz – Nights and Weekends (White Iris, 2013)

According to BB/LA, the guy seen in the flick is Isaac Ravishankara, a fellow filmmaker and friend of director Carlos Lopez Estrada. Filmed in Morelos, Mexico, this is like a 3 minute walk through a Breaking Bad dream sequence (without the exploding turtles).

“I see it as an allegory about how beautiful things can sometimes come from dark places,” Estrada is quoted as saying. The band’s Darren Hollowell added: “The wandering and wounded hero is an apt metaphor for the lyrics.”

White Iris will release El Sportivo’s first album, Nights and Weekends on February 26th.