I Remember You by Nature

Combing an enticing mix of modern jazz and funk, Nature, is a free groove-jazz quartet formed in Dublin, Ireland. The group consists of bassist/composer Kevin Higgins, vocalist Georgia Cusak, guitarist Chris Guilfoyle, and drummer Tommy Gray, all of whom met at Newpark Music Centre – Ireland’s Top Jazz Institution.

I Remember You is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NonDerivatives License. In plain English, this means that there are three things that must be done if you intend to copy, distribute, or transmit this track. First, you must credit this work to Nature by including the attribution code on this page.

Once embedded, the following text will be displayed:

Forget The Theory (Nature) / CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

Additionally, users must agree to not alter, transform, or build upon this work.  Finally, “I Remember You” or any of the tracks in Forget the Theory are not approved for commercial use (i.e. trades in which other copyrighted works are exchanged or any transaction that results in financial gain). Of course, it should be noted that if you are so inclined and decide to request prior permission from the copyright holder, any of the above limitations may be waived.

Download the rest of Nature’s music here.


Working Class Boyfriend by Toussaint Morrison

Toussaint Morrison is a three-time competitive slam poetry champion, youth mentor, actor, and musician with some serious chops. What is slam poetry you ask? Simply put, it’s a sub-genre of poetry that places equal emphasis on both the content and performance of a poetic work in competition. Morrison’s music reflects an intensely interesting mix of eloquent lyricism and innovative and creative use of various musical samples from a variety of genres.

Working Class Boyfriend is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial License. In plain English, this means that there are two things that must be done if you intend to copy, distribute, transmit, or remix this track. First, you must credit this work to Toussiant Morrison by including the attribution code on this page.

Once embedded, the following text will be displayed:

Toussaint Morrison Is Not My Boyfriend (Toussaint Morrison) / CC BY-NC 3.0

Finally, users must agree to not use this work for commercial purposes. Of course, it should be noted that if you are so inclined and decide to request prior permission from the copyright holder, any of the above limitations may be waived.

Download the rest of Toussaint Morrison’s music here.


Hey Dude by New Waver

I don’t particularly care for the music of The Beatles, which to some extent probably explains why I wasn’t blown away by this recording. It’s not that I don’t value their contribution to music, but eventually enough is enough. The Beatles were innovating and changing the face of music at a time when society was ready to move with it, and for that, they have my gratitude. If you’ve stuck with me this far, let me commend you for having the decency in your heart to not condemn me because of music preferences alone (you’re more than welcome to condemn me based on other stuff. I’m a liberal unemployed jazz musician who’s trying to join the vast ranks of law graduates in an economy that’s well… not great. Pick your poison.).

New Waver is a comedic pop and nerdcore group that met in the early 80s as fellow pop enthusiasts and employees to the Canberra headquarters of the Australian Tax Office. After purchasing a set of instruments (and learning them), the group set out to perform the hits made famous by their musical heroes. What followed soon after was a myriad of humorous arrangements including: “Party Like It’s 1979,” “Media I Gave You All the Best Years of My Life,” “Too Sober To Fuck,” “My Memory-Stick Weighs a Ton,” and finally, “Hey Dude.”

“Hey Dude” is a parody by New Waver of the Beatles’ wildly popular track “Hey Jude.” Unfortunately, the similarities between the two tracks stop at the use of the same chords and melodic figure. I found it extremely difficult to tell whether or not the amateurish musicianship was intentional or due solely to inexperience. It’s not that an amateur level of musicianship would have necessarily made the recording bad, but the constant fluctuation between what appeared to be intentional mistakes and what appeared to be unintentional made the entire recording difficult to gauge. Upon my first listening, I assumed that nearly all the mistakes (missed notes in the vocals, messy guitar work, and a general lack of rhythmic togetherness) were all part of the parody. Now, however, I’m not so sure. Additionally, I was disappointed by New Waver’s additional vocals. Whereas in most Nerdcore tracks it’s common to have sharp and witty nerd related vocals, these appeared to be rather dull and uninviting.

Unfortunately, I’d recommend not downloading this track. While I was genuinely excited to see what the Nerdcore genre could potentially do with a take on the Beatles, this track ultimately left much to be desired.

Download and/or listen to the album here.

This song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

This means you can have it, you can give it to everyone you know and/or don’t know, you can remix it, and everyone you know and/or don’t know can remix it.  You can’t make money off of it and you have to attribute the band with a link.  Finally, if you do remix it and you release it into the wild, you have to use the same license.

To read the full license, click here.


Han Solo by Captain Stu

When I first spotted this track in the Free Music Archive‘s boundless index of digital recordings, I picked it solely because of the title. Little did I know this track had absolutely no relation to the sometimes egotistical and eccentric Rebel smuggler Han Solo nor was it written in homage to the Star Wars franchise (though in retrospect this should have quite been obvious). What it did have, however, was the kind of underlying complexity commonly found in the Star Wars series (whether this intricacy was present in the character transformation of Han Solo from “a loner who realizes the importance of being part of a group”, a ideological battle of good versus evil or the terrifyingly dismal state of a future shaped by slavery and robotic sentience). In the case of the song Han Solo, this complexity can be found in the form of atypical rhythmic figures, memorable melodies, edgy yet slick vocals, killer horn lines and some equally impressive bass lines.

Captain Stu, consisting of James Klopper on vocals and electric guitar, Ryan McArthur on electric bass, Jon Shaban on saxophone and guitar, Matt Willis on trombone and keyboard, and Ryk Otto on drums  is a South African Ska band notorious for juxtaposing jazzy and reggae sounds with native African influences to create an upbeat and refreshing sound. Immediately after stumbling upon Captain Stu, I was puzzled to discover that they had been listed in nearly 10 very different genres, ranging all the way from folk and blues to funk and jazz. The more I listened to their sole track, however, the more I began to understand the reasons behind their strangely broad classification. Much like with my last post on The Fulminate Trio, the track was very difficult to define. It’s an intensely interesting group unlike any other ska band I’ve ever heard. While their horn lines and rhythmic guitar parts are reminiscent of some of the more popular ska groups like Reel Big Fish and Catch 22, the bassist and drummer lay down a groove far more similar to that of a punk/funk hybrid. Even the vocals seem more closely tied to the rough and quick vocal delivery present in both hip-hop and rap.

All in all, I’d definitely recommend giving this song a bit of your time and some space on your hard drive.

Download and/or listen to the album here.

This song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

This means you can have it, you can give it to everyone you know and/or don’t know, you can remix it, and everyone you know and/or don’t know can remix it.  You can’t make money off of it and you have to attribute the band with a link.  Finally, if you do remix it and you release it into the wild, you have to use the same license.

To read the full license, click here.


Set 1 by The Fulminate Trio

For the sake of full disclosure, I’ll reiterate that I have an unnatural love for jazz music– I even have a blog entirely devoted to it. This means that I can frequently be seen at clubs and bars listening to music that most would scoff at the very thought of it being labeled ‘music.’ However, before this post escalates into a philosophical debate on what really constitutes music, let’s move on.

Infusing extended improvisational techniques with melodic ideas reminiscent of some early 90′s heavy metal bands, the Fulminate Trio, made up of Anders Nilsson on electric guitar, Ken Filiano on double bass and Michael Evans on drums, comes together to create an intensely interesting musical landscape. To pinpoint the exact genre in which the Fulminate Trio lies would be absolutely impossible, and at best guess I’d say it’s a cross between free jazz and experimental improvisational  music mashed with heavy metal and hardcore rock (though to say I’m especially skilled at nailing specific musical genres would be a farce considering a significant majority of my listening is focused around one single genre and a select group of artists who are well, to put it lightly, quite dead).

Set 1 is the first set of the Fulminate Trio’s two-part live radio session recorded by WFMU in December of 2011. Not only is their technique virtually unparalleled but the entire group is also doubling on electronics. The group utilizes ambiance, electronically generated noise, distortion, poly rhythmic figures and other more  extended techniques to create a mixture of both tonal and atonal melody. Though some listeners may express frustration in determining when one particular song ends and another begins, the intent is clearly to create an overarching and intersecting musical work that combines pieces of each section together to create a sort of improvised yet structured sonata.

Personally, I loved this live track and as with anything that could be considered slightly avant-garde or experimental, I’d ask you to at least give the musical work a chance. If listening to the entire track, a brisk (in my opinion) 20 minute session, is too much try checking out the first 5 minutes to get a rough (but not nearly as accurate) account of the work in its entirety. Though the label experimental and avant-garde frequently some send music listeners running in the opposite direction, I cannot stress the importance of listening and judging a music work for yourself. We all have differing music tastes and opinions when it comes to categorizing  genres. Both good and bad are subjective terms, especially when it comes to music. Ultimately, most experimental improvised music is all about the freedom of expression and ability to create a navigate new and interesting musical landscapes together as a group, not just making a lot of noise (though that’s often quite important too).

Download and/or listen to the album here.

This song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDervs 3.0 License.

You’re free to share this work (that means no money) as long as you give the author credit. You cannot modify (remix) the work or use it for any commercial purposes (again, no money).

To read the full license, click here.


Good Night Heart by My bubba & Mi

In all my reviews to date, I don’t think I’ve ever been more impressed with a group than I am with My bubba & Mi. A couple weeks ago, I reviewed a Wesley Willis cover of “Rock N Roll McDonalds” performed by The Shut-Ins. In that review, I mentioned (quite briefly) my love for harmonized vocals. Well, this week might I be the first to present the first ever a capella performance to be reviewed on the Free Music Revue: “Good Night Heart” by My bubba & Mi.

My bubba & Mi is made up of two absurdly talented women, Bubba and My, along with a troupe of other equally talented sidemen women, who represent the ‘Mi’ in My bubba Mi. Bubba is quite fond of both the guitar and banjo, while My has a really old table harp that is brought out occasionally. The two are phenomenal singers and musicians who met by chance in Copenhagen a few years ago. What began as an evening ritual to pass the time soon led the girls to Italy to record their first album. Since then they have been touring around Europe, impressing and charming at Iceland Airwaves and Eurosonic, Into the Great Wide Open in Vlieland and The Band Room in Great Britain.

My only grudge with Good Night Heart is that it is far too short (run time is just about a minute). That being said, the beauty and jaw dropping talent demonstrated in Good Night Heart easily make up for the limited duration. Within seconds of pressing play, I had goosebumps running straight down my arm. The harmonies are stunningly beautiful. Simple and yet sophisticated, with a hint of something old and something new.

As warm and sweetly sung as this track is, you’d be crazy not to download it. This daringly sweet pair of ladies is going nowhere but up and you’d be foolish not to join them along the way. I’d dare say that if this track doesn’t send a chill straight down your spine, you’re likely incapable of feeling emotion.

Download and/or listen to the track here.

This song is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license.
Feel free to share the song and remix it as long as you credit the artist with a link, take no money and if you release your version, you have to use this very same license. 

To read the full license, click here.



Alps by Motorama

Born in the mid 1980s, Jangle pop represented a return to the “chiming or jangly” electronic guitar sounds of the 1960s, combining pop melodies and chord structures with twelve string electric guitars. Typically used to describe bands like R.E.M. and Tom Petty, this week’s review features a five piece jangle pop band from the southern river-port of Russia named Motorama. In 2010, Motorama released Alps via the web for free download.

Motorama makes guitar heavy music inspired by the “80s new wave and independent dance scene.” Bringing together thick bass lines and the harsh sounds of a relatively inexpensive sounding drum kit in near perfect harmony, they’ve created an interesting musical dynamic that makes you want to stand up and dance. Jangle pop praises DIY production value, pursuing a raw and intentionally amateurish sound that ultimately makes or breaks the recording itself.

As a whole, Alps is an awesome collection of tracks. While unbelievably unqiue, it’s also strangely familiar with hints of The Police and other long since forgotten 80s pop bands. Its shiny yet muted, happy and upbeat yet dark and brooding. The high points of the album include “Northern Seaside,” a pop song with an interesting contrast between heavy guitar melodies and dark haunting vocals, “Ghost”, a driving and powerful indie-rock ballad, and “Alps,” a strange combination of the musical elements of both “Northern Seaside” and “Ghost.”

If this album doesn’t make you immediately want to stand up and dance, it’s probably not your cup of tea. Personally, I’d give this album a “yes, you should listen to it” and a  “yes, you should definitely download it.” Everyone needs something they can just dance away their troubles to, so why not listen to a band with thick Russian accents to make you feel better.

Download and/or listen to track here.

This song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license. You can give the song to whoever you so choose as long as they don’t give you money for it and you give the band credit with a link.  Also, no remixes.

To read the full license, click here.


Optimist by Zoë Keating

This weeks post comes from a curator near and dear to our hearts here at the Free Music Revue: CASH Music.

CASH Music is a nonprofit organization committed to providing open and freely available digital tools for musicians and labels alike. Responsible for leading CASH Music is a board of talented music industry and tech entrepreneurs, one of whom is the subject of this weeks review.

Zoë Keating is a brilliant musician and composer, whose creativity is matched only by her passion and drive for pushing the musical envelope.

Zoë represents a new breed of DIY artists. She’s managed to succeed using a grassroots, label-less approach that resulted in the sale of over 45,000 copies of her self-released albums and allowed her to acquire an extremely loyal social media following.

Equally competent in technological skill and virtuosic performance, Zoë is a musical force to be reckoned with. Frequently seen performing with a cello and a foot-controlled laptop, she records layer upon layer of cello, creating a dense musical backdrop that’s equal parts, “haunting and compelling.” Additionally, she’s managed to create a completely unique sound by combining the traditional acoustic nature and sound of the cello with the more modern digital signal processing practices of sound manipulation.

The “Optimist” begins with what appears to be Zoë tapping out quarter notes on the bridge of the cello, once every four beats. As the piece progresses, in both duration and complexity, Zoë adds a tremolo performed in a near ponticello style, an indication to bow or sometimes to pluck very close to the bridge, producing a characteristic glassy sound. The tremolo is somewhat digitally manipulated, though it’s so minimal that it’s hardly noticeable. It’s just enough to give the tremolo a more eerie glow.  Zoë continues to build upon the stereophonic field adding layer after layer. Alternating between bowing, plucking, and strumming  she creates a variety of completely different and unique melodic ideas, each playing off the others’ rhythms.

I can’t praise this track enough. I’d definitely give this track a “yes, you should give it a listen.” After listening to “Optimist” half a dozen times during the course of this review, I even went out and bought the entire album (Into The Trees).  I’d recommend you do the same, or at the very least download it.

Download and/or listen to track here.

This song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported license.

You can give the song to whoever you so choose as long as they don’t give you money for it and you give the band credit with a link.  Also, no remixes.

To read the full license, click here.


Rock N Roll McDonalds by The Shut-Ins

I’ll give you two hints about this week’s review:

1. If you take it to heart, it just might save your life.

2. It’s certainly one of the most interesting songs I’ve reviewed yet.

Though I’m completely unsure as to how I stumbled upon this musical masterpiece, I did. It’s rare to find a work that’s both educational and intended to pay tribute to an artist taken long before his time (oh yeah, and don’t forget the S&M references).

Rock N Roll McDonalds” is a track off of Loved Like a Milkshake: A Tribute to Wesley Willis, an utterly unique and creatively organized collection of cover songs recorded in honor of Wesley Willis, a Chicago based musician and artist who until 2003 had released hundreds of songs with his own unique sense of humor. Willis’s work, frequently considered to be a stone’s throw from both the bizarre and obscene, can be described as “simultaneously disturbing, hilarious, blunt, and intoxicating.” Willis’s “excitement and unaffected honesty about every cultural phenomenon, defined his music as truly individual, and truly punk rock.” And for this, he received both wide acclaim and a cult following.

In late 2002, however, Willis was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, ultimately succumbing to the disease only a few months later. Producer, musician and friend Hiji, a.k.a. M-Halo, immediately set out to organize a tribute album, the result of which I’m now reviewing.

“Rock N Roll McDonalds,” as performed and recorded by the Shut-Ins, is an up-beat and driving blues and country western that warns of the health dangers in eating from fast food restaurants (specifically McDonalds). The Shut-Ins’s interpretation of Willis’s fabled recording presents an interesting contrast to the original version. While Willis’s arrangement appears to have been recorded using only an electronic keyboard (with the addition of some cheesy built in drum beats) and a relatively low quality microphone, the Shut-Ins’s version features  a small ensemble consisting of guitar, bass, drums/percussion, vocals, and banjo, a musical combination that immediately peaked my interests.

Ultimately, I was impressed with The Shut-Ins; they were an extremely tight sounding group. Minus one noticeable rhythmic hiccup, the group sounded very solid. Whereas Willis’s composition was relatively simple, the Shut-Ins interpretation added harmonic complexity in the form of both harmonized vocals and the addition of a completely original spoken word interlude. I’d give “Rock N Roll McDonalds” a “yes, you should listen to this” and “maybe you should download this.” The lack of additional tracks for the Shut-Ins is disappointing, but their cover of “Rock N Roll McDonalds” is certainly worth listening to for a couple good laughs.

Download and/or listen to the album here.

This song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDervs 3.0 License.

You’re free to share this work (that means no money) as long as you give the author credit. You cannot modify (remix) the work or use it for any commercial purposes (again, no money).

To read the full license, click here.


Computer by State Shirt

Today I did something I typically never do, I went straight to Pop. And I’m so glad I did because had I not, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon State Shirt.

I like to consider myself an impartial music consumer (the little lies don’t matter, do they?), but that’s just not true. I’ll admit it, I’m anti-pop. And I’ve come to this bigoted position not by analyzing and enjoying everything this varied genre has to offer, but by instead closing myself off to an entire genre on the flawed notion that all music is created equal; That the dull and lifeless ‘music‘ thrust upon us by mainstream music outlets and portrayed as Pop, accurately reflects the genre in its entirety.

Note: This is not to say that all “mainstream” outlets suffer from a serious lack of deep and meaningful recording acts, just that there are very, very few out there.

State Shirt, or Ethan Tufts, by his own admission, is a man who loves making music. He spends as much time as humanly possible writing, recording, producing, and creating videos for his music. Apparently Tufts also spends much of his time being a nerd, a fact that makes him instantly more awesome. On more than one occasion, Tufts has heard his music described as the peaceful resolution following a bar fight between The Postal Service, Radiohead, Beck, Elbow, and Folk Implosion over some frosty Newcastle Ales. Oddly enough, that description is quite fitting.

When I sat down to write this post, I had no clue I’d be listening all of Tufts’s music. However, something about it was oddly intoxicating. I ultimately settled on a single from Tufts’ previous album This Is Old, entitled Computer. Overall, it’s definitely an interesting listen. It has everything you’d expect in your typical indie-rock song: hauntingly distant vocals, a thumping bass mixed with an sharp electronic drum beat, and a catchy but repetitive melodic figure on acoustic guitar. And while the instrumentation and composition may have resembled some of what’s already out there, I found the arrangement and melodic structure to be strangely compelling.

I was also quite enamored with Tufts’ Buy/Steal option come checkout. Sure, he’s not the first to use it, but there is something so very noble about the entire thing.

I’d definitely recommend giving this song a listen. I’ll be downloading both albums. Additionally, expect a full album review in the coming weeks.

Download and/or listen to the song here.

This song is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0  license.

You are free to share this song as long as you give the author credit in the form of a link.  You are also allowed to modify (remix) the song as long as your modified work is released under the same license as this song.  No matter what you do, you cannot use this song to make money.
To read the full license, click here.


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