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ange on 04/22/2014 at 12:30AM

Help Shape the Future of the FMA

This month, the Free Music Archive celebrates its 5th year since it emerged from the Internet-hole. Can you imagine the web without it? In that time, the FMA has helped user generated content flourish, helped artists connect with new fans, and filled all of our personal harddrives to the brim. We are one of the largest collections of Creative Commons music online, reaching 70,000 curated tracks this Spring.

It's time for me to go, and leave this vessel in the hands of a new captain. I've accepted a new position working at Slate, and now it's time to find the next person to lead this project into its bright future.

More info about the job here.

During the transition, continue to share share all your troubles and victories with contact (@), and someone will always get back to you. That person right now is the wonderful Faye.

In my time at the FMA, we've worked together to remix public domain ephemera with the Prelinger Archive, and overthrow the Birthday song. We've welcomed exciting new FMA curators including AS220, Radio BunkerRadiusCKUT and Boston Hassle. We even built an app for iPhone, and launched our own Free Song of the Day Podcast.

I've adored being a part of our parent project WFMU, and learned so much from watching how the staff, volunteers & DJs keep the magic factory full of magic. Thanks to the FMA's founding director Jason for all of his guidance and bottomless enthusiasm for the project. No one has made more mixes on the FMA than my old desk-mate WFMU's Liz B, who broadcasts her favorite FMA uploads every Monday morning on WFMU. Also infinite credit goes to WFMU's stellar volunteers Matt Marando and Mario Santana who masterfully master and upload all the sessions that come through WFMU over the years. Big kudos to Lou Z and Chris M who have led our team of volunteer submission screeners.

Thank you all again! Viva FMA!

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lizb on 04/16/2014 at 09:45AM

Free Music Archive Receives NEA Arts in Media Grant to Support "Re:Invent:Media"

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced today that WFMU's Free Music Archive is one of 886 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Arts in Media grant. The FMA is recommended for a $75,000 grant to support the Re:Invent:Media Project.

Re:Invent:Media is a four-part project that will broaden access to the FMA’s rich and diverse audio library, strengthen public understanding of music in the contemporary digital setting, and foster creativity through hands-on engagement with the arts:

  1. Re:imagine will be our second series of themed multimedia contests and workshops to encourage hands-on engagement through the creation of new works inspired by Creative Commons and the public domain.

  2. An Education Portal and instructional webinars will be developed on the FMA to help educators, audio producers, podcasters, filmmakers, and others navigate the complex rights issues associated with using and appropriating music in new creative projects.

  3. Radio Free Culture is a weekly radio segment/podcast that will explore the changing landscape of music, the arts, and digital technology, as well as celebrate the transformative potential of the digital era.

  4. Mobile Apps will be developed for both iOS and Android platforms, providing mobile and tablet users with full access to the audio works available on the FMA, as well as artist information and music discovery features.

We are honored to be recommended for the NEA's Arts in Media award for the second time, and it's a great way to commemorate the Free Music Archive's 5th anniversary this month. The Re:Invent:Media project will allow us to expand access to the FMA's 70,000+ songs, to cultivate the creation of new multimedia digital arts projects, and to provide better educational resources for navigating rights issues online.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Arts in Media grant support, please visit the NEA website at Here's NEA's official announcement as well as our own press release if you'd like to help spread the word. 

Perhaps a birthday celebration is in order here at the FMA? Take a listen to our winning entry from last year's NEA-funded contest to create new, alternatively-licensed Happy Birthday songs.

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hfayekay on 04/11/2014 at 09:15AM

Ak'chamel, the Giver of Illness Descends Over Hexas Again

Taken from the Ak'chamel Facebook Page.

That sound of Houston's shadow music collective Ak'chamel that has been hovering over Houston has congealed again in a release known as "Pus Ch'en" under net-labels suRRism-Phonoethics & Have You Said Midi?. Like their earlier albums Old Norse Mara & The Divine Vine Tapes, they continue to evoke tribal rituals from abstract hinterland cultures with haunted throat-singing, guitars, percussion, drones, & more-only this time with a heavier (if possible) & more refined sound. The title of track 2-"Underworld Sweat Bath" is a pretty accurate description of the Ak'chamel sonic experience. The occaisional brightness of a chime might punctuate the music now & then but it's perfectly contextualized to simply add detail before the sounds give way to gutteral chant.

Pus Ch'en could be described as psychedelic improv, but there's nothing sloppy or hokey about it-the members of Ak'chamel are skilled at their musical craft & all textures are intuitively organized to create a sincerely chilling soundtrack. Really wish HBO knew about this when they were scoring True Detective. -Faye

More Ak'chamel on the FMA, Facebook, & Bandcamp

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ange on 04/01/2014 at 05:00AM

Hear the Unheard: Trance Music Seeker Arrington De Dionyso

Arrington de Dionyso is interested in blurring the lines between sacred ritual and popular entertainment. A former Old Time Relijun freak-folker, his recent solo work incorporates overtone-singing, shruti-box, jaw harp, and Kadri Gopalnath-inspired bass clarinet, and many of his latest releases feature recordings from his travels and collaborations. Whether it's a 13th century chapel in Italy, a volcanic cave in Java, or his homebase at K Records' Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, WA, his music is influenced by (and influences) his surroundings.

His work also strives to form human connections, both with his fans and musical collaborators. Back in 2011, de Dionyso traveled and recorded music throughout Java, Bali, and Lombok Islands with support from a successful Kickstarter campaign. With help from another Kickstarter push, he went back in November 2013, and is planning another trip for the end of 2014. Many of the concerts and improvised recording sessions are available for pay-what-you-wish on Bandcamp and the Free Music Archive, including his latest in the Unheard Indonesia series.

Many of your releases directly relate to where you were when you recorded them. What's the role of traveling in your music? 

Although I have lived in Olympia, Washington for over 20 years, and I have a wonderful label and studio to work with here. (K Records' DUB NARCOTIC STUDIO, just ten blocks from my house!) I am traveling on tour doing art shows and concerts almost half the year. This puts me in contact with an incredible variety of different people playing all kinds of instruments with different approaches to the music they make. But even when I am working on a solo recording, I think the place in which you choose to make a recording has a huge effect on the kind of result you're going to get, whether it's the specific acoustic properties of a 13th century chapel in Italy, a volcanic cave in Java, or a fancy studio in Berlin—the way I play my music is going to change according to how I respond to being in these places. The music changes even more when other people are involved!

Tell me about UNHEARD INDONESIA VOL. I: The Trance Music of East Java. What did you learn about trance music from your travels in East Java, and from collaborating with other musicians there? 

That's a recording of the very first opportunity I had to perform with Jaranan groups in Java, back in 2011. Jaranan, or "Jathilan" is an incredible living tradition that takes many different forms, sometimes including forms of spiritual possession. People have a lot of different ideas as to what really constitutes "trance" but I approach these experiences as a participant and collaborator with many years of experience with my own versions of "trance music" via the rock and roll tradition (a tradition derived almost completely directly from African trance musics, by the way, this is very well documented).

When I perform with these groups I am joining a shared experience and sharing my own unique contribution to that experience. I guess I am particularly drawn to Jaranan because in this tradition there isn't a clear line between what is "sacred ritual" versus "popular entertainment." It's all mixed up there, as I feel it really should be. Why shouldn't something entertaining also be "sacred"? and what do we mean by "sacred" anyways? In much of Indonesia, musicians are performing to entertain the world of spirits just as much as the world of humans. It happens at the same time, and nobody sees any contradiction there, so why should I?

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ange on 02/28/2014 at 10:44AM

The FMA is Looking for a Developer


The Free Music Archive is seeking a skilled backend engineer, with solid background in modern languages and techniques, who loves going down the rabbit hole to solve difficult problems related to performance, user experience, and long-term structural stability of a modern, high-traffic website (and who doesn't mind working with legacy code).

We're also ideally looking for significant overlap with our current stack:

• Mostly backend: PHP, MySQL, RDS, S3, Redis, Sphinx, Memcached, Chef; REST & API design generally
• And sometimes frontend: HTML5, JS, CSS3, Flash

Along with experience with reasonably modern source control (Git/SVN/Hg) and build practices. Note that we aren't zealots about any of the above; what we're most after is solid engineering chops -- if you're currently working with Rails or Django or Scala but don't mind digging into modern PHP for a good cause, that's fine. We need someone willing to roll up their sleeves and take long-term ownership of the project and address problems holistically. Here you'll have the chance to make valued, long-term strategic contributions to one of WFMU's most important projects.

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ange on 01/20/2014 at 03:30AM

Remember MLK Through Recorded Speeches

Joan Baez and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (RubyGoes/Flickr CC-BY)

Take some time today to listen back to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech at Santa Rita Prison from January 15, 1968. It was preserved by the Pacifica Radio Archives.

In this speech he spoke to the crowd after visiting Joan Baez and her mother in the prison. He reports that they are in good spirits, explaining, "When you go to jail for a righteous cause, you can accept the inconveniences of jail with a kind of innocence of calm and an inner sense of peace. And this is they way they are accepting this experience." He then goes on to explain his controversial decision to mix the issues of civil rights with the anti-war movement.

"There can be no justice without peace, and there can be no peace without justice. People ask me from time to time, 'Aren't you getting out of your field? Aren't you supposed to be working in civil rights?' And they go on to say the two issues are not to be mixed. And my only answer is that I have been working too long and too hard now against segregated public accommodations to end up, at this stage of my life, segregating my moral concerns."

The audience applauds wildly.

"Because I believe absolutely that justice is indivisible. And injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

In this recording, an audience member yells out "Hey!" as if the strength of that statement just knocked him over.

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ange on 12/30/2013 at 03:00PM

Some Auld Lang Synes For You

Since the classic New Years Eve toasting tune Auld Lang Syne is in the public domain (unlike a certain other celebratory song), many of our Free Music Archive artists have shared their own unique versions for you to download and enjoy. Cheers to that!

The phrase "Auld Lang Syne" literally translates into "Old Long Since" but is meant to mean something like "days gone by" or "long, long ago."

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you'll buy your pint cup!
and surely I'll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


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ange on 12/25/2013 at 10:14AM

20 Free Holiday Albums

I'm not your typical crafty DIY dilettante, but I do have a quick recipe for how you can turn these pictures and links into the ultimate gift that won't cost you a thing!

First, click on an album below, download the songs you like, and burn the files on to a CD. Then make your own folded paper CD case, draw a picture of drunk santa on the cover, and give it to someone you like. It's the ultimate way to tell that certain someone you care, and that you're sick of hearing them sing Wham.


XMAS Compilation

Yuletide Entertainments

A Very Badgerland Christmas 

Me and Santa

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ange on 12/06/2013 at 04:00PM

Get the FMA App for iPhone

The Free Music Archive now has our own iPhone app! Download it here (or search "FMA" in the app store), and enjoy our library of 65,000 free and legal tracks on your iPhone. The app lets you explore music by genre, listen to the song of the day, check out hand-picked mixes, and share and download until your thumbs go raw.

The app is compeltely free, but we need your help to spread the word. Please write us a friendly review in the iTunes store. Since this is a brand new app, your review will do a ton to help improve our rankings and discovery so more folks can learn about what we do. We'd also love to hear your candid and technically specific feedback over e-mail. We know the app has its flaws, and we have grand plans for version 2.

If you have any technical questions about using the app, check our our app support page.

Don't fret Android users! We're busy seeking funds to make an Android app possible. In the meantime, one of our fans made you this.

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ange on 11/28/2013 at 12:45AM

Support Free Music Makers & Friends

While scooping generous heapings of food into your plate this Thanksgiving, here are a few more ideas for what to do with all your do-good feelings. A few Free Music Archive artists and friends are amid interesting crowdfunding campaigns worth a quick shout out. Plus, all three offer incredible releases worth discovering here on our site.


Crowdfunding Mission: Save the world! Also, making a new studio album with great songs to brighten your day.

Free Releases: This Barcelona street orchestra offers 2 free albums mixing east european folk music, polka, gypsy music from the Balkans, with a dose of punk-rock.


Crowdfunding Mission: Creating their first first physically released CD, written and produced by sound artist Telegraphy. It will contain 7 tracks of dub techno, IDM and ambient soundscapes.

Free Releases: 15 free releases form a netlabel from Detroit Michigan U.S.A. that focuses on experimental, ambient, sound collage, and electronic music.


Crowdfunding Mission: Creating a sustainable future for music through a series of summits. Summit events bringing together musicians and technologists in ATL, CHI, NYC & SEA for new ideas, conversations, and workshops.

Free Releases: Many! Including Thank You CompCalexico: Live in Nuremberg & Kristin Hersh: Crooked Beginnings 

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ange on 11/06/2013 at 05:30AM

FMA Song of the Day Podcast

Every day is a chance to get a new song stuck in your head. Subscribe to our Song of the Day podcast in Feedburner or iTunes to find out what we're really into every day. Past song selections include Kurt Vile, Deer Tick, Glass Candy, The Relatives, Sharon Van Etten, What Cheer? Brigade, Dan Deacon, and Lonnie Holley.

Suggest your own favorite songs in the comments section below, and see what we feature in the weeks to come!

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ange on 10/31/2013 at 04:30AM

Free Horror Music Versions of Orff, Bach, Stravinsky & Beethoven

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ange on 10/24/2013 at 09:38AM

Interview: Future of Music Summit 2013

My Music Thing/Flickr

The Future of Music Summit is coming up on Oct 28-29 in Washington DC. I’ll be there tweeting updates, but first I wanted to chat with their Interim Executive Director Casey Rae about what topics will be on the mind of musicians, policy makers, and others involved in the music industry at the summit this year.  

Think of this interview as a quick study, so you’ll have smart things to say between summit sessions, or while following along online. In addition to a bit about Casey himself and the history of the FMC, we also discuss low power FM, the economics of cultural production, voluntary agreements in copyright enforcement, preliminary steps towards copyright reform, and the arrival of iTunes Radio in the digital music landscape.

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ange on 09/25/2013 at 01:01PM

Open Source Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier for the Public Domain

How would you put to use a public domain recording of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier?

While Johann Sebastian Bach is already in the public domain, a Kickstarter project called the Open Well-Tempered Clavier is seeking to create hi-quality professional studio recordings of all 48 pieces of the Well-Tempered Clavier. This project comes to us from the same team who released the Open Goldberg Varitions, another public domain collection of Bach works. 

The Well-Tempered Clavier has already had a rich impact on music. A few fun examples include the Swingle Singers a cappella version of Prelude from n.24 in B minor, Peter Coffin's project "Music Interpreted by Brain" featuring a brain listening to the Well-Tempered Clavier pt.1, and Brian Tychinski's marimba arrangement of Prelude No. 22 in B flat major for the O-Zone Percussion Group ensemble. If this project suceeeds, it's exciting to think of all ways the 48 pieces would travel, from remixes to videos to winter nights on the couch.

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ange on 09/06/2013 at 04:24PM

C3S Collecting Society: Crowdfund a GEMA Alternative for Creative Commons Artists

Collecting societies do the work music copyright holders can't do on their own, like tracking and distributing radio royalties. But in Germany there's only one collecting society, called GEMA, and they're known to impose exclusivity over artists who want to share their music publicly. This is why many creators from Germany and other parts of Europe don't have the option to use Creative Commons while also participating in a collecting society.

From this need emerges the Cultural Commons Collecting Society (aka. C3S), an artist-friendly, transparent, flexible collecting society. Wolfgang Senges, one of the project's co-initiators, recently presented about C3S at the Creative Commons Global Summit (slides here), and the project will be legally founded September 25th, during the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg.

So far on their crowndfunding page, C3S has raised over 80,000 € in addition to the 30,000 € already raised for their legal founding. Senges points out that the crowdfunding effort still needs to reach the 200,000 € goal in order to have the resources necessary to meet the requirements for starting a collecting society. Here's where you can pledge your support, and even purchase a "share" to have your music administered by C3S after their launch.

In celebration of C3S, the Free Music Archive is proud to host the C3S Ignition Mix featuring GEMA-free music under Creative Commons licenses.

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ange on 08/09/2013 at 01:30AM

What Content ID Has to Do With Your Content

We've heard that many artists who share their music via the Free Music Archive have received fishy emails from a service called We apologize, and are working to make sure this type of spam doesn't happen again.

As a resource for helping you share your music (or, as some would call it, “content”), we were concerned to see that these emails contained some misleading information, and figured a nice note was in order to answer some questions you might be having.

What’s YouTube’s Content ID?

This is how YouTube identifies user-uploaded videos that include media from other rights holders. To do this, rights holders deliver YouTube reference files (audio-only or video) of content they own, metadata describing that content, and policies on what they want YouTube to do when they find a match (monetize, track, or block). YouTube compares videos uploaded to YouTube against those reference files.

Content ID Helps Track Music on YouTube

YouTube created Content ID for rightsholders like record labels who own exclusive rights to large catalogues. Though you’re welcome to give it a shot using their signup page, so far, they don't seem to have the capacity to accommodate independent musicians. This is unfortunate because we hear from artists who would like to use Content ID to track how their music is used, and identify when this happens without attribution. We're currently looking into additional services we can recommend to FMA artists who want to give Content ID a spin but aren't able to go through to YouTube directly. is Not the Same Thing YouTube's Content ID

Because YouTube's Content ID is hard for indie musicians to break into, there are middlemen services like They are a website owned by the stock music library AudioMicro and that also goes by the name “AdRev.” These middlemen will exploit your copyright by uploading your reference files to their company’s ContentID account, identifying your “content” as their own, placing ads on the YouTube videos, and giving you a percentage. Even though “” is not the same thing as YouTube's Content ID program, their blog is using SEO tricks to be tied to the phrase, and they’re in the process of trying to trademark Content ID.

Is this a good way to monetize my music?

That’s up to you. Some artists have taken AdRev up on their offer, including Open Goldberg Variations, who recently blogged about their decision. We're looking into additional services we can recommend to FMA artists who want to give Content ID a spin but aren’t able to get through to YouTube directly.

For artists who encourage derivative works, it’s important to keep in mind that a service like AdRev may limit the reach of your music. They use ContentID to claim the video's ad revenue, taking it away from the video creator if there's already an ad on it, or adding a commercial if there wasn't one already. Smart video creators steer clear of anything they think might be ContentID-able in the first place, otherwise they get angry.

Another issue is that middlemen services may place ads indiscriminately. If you only wanted ads to appear on commercial uses of your music, or wanted to make exceptions for certain content creators with whom you’ve made an informal arrangement, communicating this to YouTube via a middleman could be tricky.

Watch Out for Trolls

Some FMA artists have run into issues with trolls on YouTube claiming ad revenue from their music. We hear that this is relatively simple to sort out. By making your contact information easily available, it helps filmmakers reach out and get YouTube the info they need to get rid of the claim.

Someone used my music in a video in a way that violates the terms of my Creative Commons license. What can be done?

If you want to stop that video, YouTube provides tools to submit a copyright infringement takedown request, which you totally have the right to do if they didn't follow Creative Commons guidelines you selected. More info here.

Creative Commons is an incredibly powerful way to encourage sharing while also protecting your copyright. Alongside video-makers, there are countless educators, bloggers, podcasters, arts organizations and others who seek to participate in this symbiotic system. Because FMA hosts music under a range of licenses—from download-only to public domain—people will often discover a song that they hope to use outside the bounds of its license. To avoid getting to the point of having to file a copyright complaint, most artist profiles offer ways to get in contact for "more permissions," and we've heard about artists striking lucrative licensing deals as a result. This is why we encourage every artist to make it easy to get in contact by including your e-mail address on your FMA artist page.

Can we please avoid spam like this in the future?

We’re creating a mailform for our website that will help you guys avoid mass-mailings like this in the future.

We hope this information is helpful even though we aren’t lawyers and this isn’t legal advice. Jason and I would love to talk more and hear about your recommendations and experiences with Content ID. You can reach out to us anytime with your thoughts and questions by sending a note to contact at or by posting a comment here below.

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ange on 07/04/2013 at 04:39PM

Free Music for the Fourth of July

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bronwynbishop on 06/20/2013 at 01:49PM

Bryan Lewis Saunders- 87 Dreams of a Sociopath

Psilocybin Mushrooms (2 caps onset). From Bryan's series of self-portraits on different drugs.

On the front page of performance artist Bryan Lewis Saunders' website, the main image, right under his name, features Saunders with a plastic bag over his head. This sets the tone for the majority of his career.

Saunders describes his work as stand-up tragedy. He is the opposite of a stand-up comic- he stands in front of an audience and attempts to make them cry. Starting in 1995, Saunders has drawn at least one self-portrait every single day; the ones which have received the most attention are the portraits he produced while under the influence of a different drug every day. He is generally considered an outsider artist, and lives in an institution-like home for unemployed and disabled people.

In 2003, Saunders began sleeping with a tape recorder and, upon waking, recording descriptions of his dreams. 87 Dreams of a Sociopath, a book of these descriptions transcribed as poems, is the result of this experiment. Along with the book, Saunders released the audio recordings themselves. In a groggy monotone punctuated by yawns, Saunders presents us with his dreams, many of which are gruesome. "The Amputator," in which Saunders is hired by God to amputate people's limbs, is a highlight. Possibly the most disturbing track is "I Killed My Cousin," in which said act is described in meticulous detail: "I stuck a razorblade four inches deep into the side of her neck, and then just pulled down, straight down on it, and cut her throat."

Despite their sometimes shocking content, Saunders' depictions of the peculiar logic of dreams are instantly familiar. Saunders is an avant-garde, troubled oddball, but his dreams could be anyone's. This collection, while difficult to listen to for an extended period of time, is a great find for anyone fascinated by dreams.

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ange on 06/14/2013 at 01:00AM

Birthday Suit: Will These Documentary Filmmakers Set "Happy Birthday" Free from Copyright?

Artwork by Greg Harrison

A new lawsuit being filed today aims to have "Happy Birthday From You" given its rightful place in the public domain. As Eriq Gardner writes for the Hollywood Reporter, the film company Good Morning to You Productions Corp. is working on a documentary about the birthday song, and has filed a suit on behalf of all those who have paid for the rights to use it.

As we follow the case closely, you can always check out our Free Birthday Song Repository of over 140 free birthday songs that are licensed Creative Commons Attribution, and watch a video we produced of birthday song alternatives used in Film and Television. 

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jason on 06/03/2013 at 02:55PM

Tashi Dorji: Bhutanese Guitar via Asheville NC

Tashi Dorji conjures incredible sounds from a prepared acoustic guitar. His spirited improvisations—recorded live without any loops or effects—evoke a composite of influences from Derek Bailey to Mauritanian pulaar to the traditional music of his native Bhutan.

"Growing up in Bhutan with little access to music except random bootlegged cassettes and shortwave radio, I listened to anything i could find," Tashi Dorji writes in an email interview. He learned guitar by ear because "we didn't have music school, TV or internet back then in Bhutan, so we had to use a lot of imagination and improvise what we thought we heard off of a tape player."

Tashi Dorji arrived in Asheville, North Carolina as an international student in 2000. He quickly fell in with the vibrant punk rock community, which flowed into free jazz, noise, experimental and other avant garde music. The Appalachian mountain town has become a real hub for experimental music thanks to longstanding acts like Ahleuchatistas, resources like Asheville FM, the shop Harvest Records, tape distributor Tomentosa, and labels like Bathetic and Headway Recordings.

Guitar Improvisations, released on cassette by Headway last year, sold out quickly but is available to download from the FMA along with his release sêp. This week, the label unveiled Tashi Dorji's self-titled follow-up, and it's streaming after the jump. Tashi Dorji also has a forthcoming release on Turned Word Records out of Belfast ME, and much more on his bandcamp.

Bhutanese traditional music is an oral tradition consisting of many marginal, isolated communities across the country, and much has yet to be documented. But for those interested in hearing some examples, Tashi Dorji points us towards a nascent archive hosted by the Bhutan Broadcasting Service.

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ange on 05/15/2013 at 03:00PM

Songs About Prom

Patrick Q/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND)

In TV prom, there's always an incredible live band up on the gymnasium stage with tuxedos and torn tulle skirts. The entire room is dancing. Most of us are not so lucky, with more Celine Dion slow dances filtered thourgh a bored laptop DJ, and half the room sitting around at tables looking awkward.

In this songs about prom playlist, get drunk and wasted at prom '98 with the Modest Mousey Undynamic Pop Expariment. Hear Grooms sweetly sing "I want to be friends with you." In the last track, enjoy some Twin Peaks-inspired New Wave in "Laura Palmer's Prom" from British Columbia's You Say Party! We Say Die! live at KEXP. All three songs have a feeling of looking back in time, when you looked like a child in those grown up clothes. Prom never had it so good.

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ange on 05/07/2013 at 09:30PM

Megapolis Audio Festival: Remix Workshop

Papercut Artwork by Mayuko Fujino

As part of the 2013 Megapolis Audio Festival, the Free Music Archive taught workshop on finding music for projects legally, including podsafe music, instrumental tracks, and music you can modify, adapt or build-upon. Then participants dug up music tracks and audio elements from Creative Commons and Public Domain resources with which to construct an original 1-3 minute sound art composition.

Check out our shared Google Doc for more online audio resources to use in your projects, and let us know where it takes you.

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ange on 05/06/2013 at 08:29PM

Hollywood Culture vs. Internet Culture: Jonathan Coulton Joins the Glee Club

The TV Show Glee is about a cute group of high school underdogs, who sing sparkly cover songs while dancing through the cafeteria.

But there's another Glee club forming, whose members have no say in joining. They're a ragtag group of underdog musicians who've found their arrangements of cover songs appearing in the hit show without their permission or credit of any kind. One member of this club is independent musician Jonathan Coulton. He's is the Internet's take on a rock star. He was also a recent judge of our Birthday Song contest, and he's currently hosting a highly successful Code Monkey comic book Kickstarter campaign.

For this May's edition of The Organist podcast from Believer Magazine & KCRW, I've produced a story about what's become known as #backgate. It begins about 8 minutes into the program, wedged between James Franco (!) and Tao Lin (!).

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ange on 04/29/2013 at 06:30AM

Francesca Panetta on Radio Free Culture: Is Location Audio the Future of Radio?

On this month's edition of WFMU's Radio Free Culture, multi award-winning producer and sound artist Francesca Panetta joins the Free Music Archive to discuss Hackney Hear, the winner of this year's Prix Europa Radio Production Award. It's a smartphone app that asks you to put it in your pocket as you explore London Fields and Broacway Market in London. As you travel, the app scores your journey with a blend of location-specific interviews, archived audio, music, and poetry.

We'll discuss the future of app-based storytelling, the challenges of GPS accuracy, and learn how Francesca pins two lapel mics to her left and right ears to capture a wide stereo sound.

Then, later in the show, listen back to this past year's Radiovision Festival, where Francesca spoke on a panel with Pejk Malinovski (East Village Poetry Walk) and Ellen Horne (RadioLab). The three super-producers will discuss how they're pushing the boundaries of audio with walking tours, immersive apps, and live events. Plus, the significance of taking risks and experimenting with new methods of storytelling. Jim Colgan (Soundcloud) moderates.

Here's our interview as heard on WFMU's Radio Free Culture:

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jason on 03/20/2013 at 01:20PM

New Aquatic Music from Barcelona's Selva De Mar

Selva de Mar, photo via

Barcelona's Selva de Mar formed as a street duo in 2006, sculpting "aquatic music" from the wooden timbres of the cello blended with the pitched steel percussive frequencies of the hang.

"Música Para Planchar" is a track from their captivating self-titled debut. Their second album, Olas Invisibles, was recorded in a cathedral with guests like the Swedish singer Ewa Wikstrom and African artist Mû (listen to "Gulab Jeman" below). Their third album, Club Eden (listen: "Walking & Talking"), introduced electronic signal processing as they continue to refine their enchanting sound.

The duo is currently raising support for a fourth album that will introduce guest musicians from Spain, Israel, Guinea Bissau, Mexico, Argentina and USA. As one of the many folks who've enjoyed Selva de Mar's previous three releases for free courtesy of the artist here at the FMA, I'm proud to support their next album. This is one of the many projects curated by the FMA on our Kickstarter page.

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ange on 03/09/2013 at 12:29PM

SXSW 2013 Pre-Game Playlist

Photo by kk+/flickr

It's that most hipster time of the year, when bursts of tweets, tunes, and trends aerosol into the Spring air. SXSW has begun, and SXSW Music (March 12-17) fast approaches.

To help you prepare, we compiled a mix of almost 70 artists from the Free Music Archive who will be playing in Austin this year. We recommend listening to this free SXSW 2013 Mix in the van, on the plane, between sets, at the hotel, or while you sit at home and pretend you're there.

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ange on 03/05/2013 at 01:59PM

Happy Birthday Song Contest Winners

Artwork by Greg Harrison

The votes are all in from our incredible panel of judges, and these three winning songs took the cake!

At this party everybody gets a present now that we have this dynamic Free Birthday Song Repository available for your projects. If you explore for a while, you'll find birthday songs that are incredibly touching, starring adorable children, offered in multiple languages, full of every foul word imaginable, and fun to share with your friends. Plus, the special happy birthday song that America just isn't ready for.



After collaborating on the concept album Emergency SongsMonk Turner + Fascinoma weren't sure is they would ever work together again. "I almost killed him a few times," Fascinoma told us. Monk explains that when they collaborate she's the John Lennon and he's the Paul McCartney. She brings a certain kind of melancholy, and he brings a pop sensibility. You can hear how these different styles compliment each other in their winning song. "It's Your Birthday!" captures a feeling of heartfelt well-wishing with a sound so polished you'll want to run out and buy a tablet computer.

Though the winning song lacks the opportunity to shout out the birthday person's name, there is room to build in a call and response element. You can download the sheet music in the key of B (pdf, google doc) or the key of C (pdf, google doc). Also, check out the alternative versions of the song including two piano tracks and an instrumental version.

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ange on 03/05/2013 at 11:00AM

The Real Scoop on Fake Techno

When our excellent new curator Price Tapes joined the Free Music Archive, they suggested we add a new genre called Fake Techno. To explore this new sound, we reached out to the originator of the term Fake Techno, the effects pedal virtuoso David Harms of Mincemeat or Tenspeed. He explains that if you wanna jump on the Fake Techno bandwagon all you have to do is get a holographic eagle. Laptops not recommended.

What is Fake Techno?

Fake Techno's a term I used to describe my music starting back a couple years ago. I was working with a lot of effects and feedback loops trying to approximate the structure and sounds of techno, and it sounded good but without drum machines, synths, music making stuff, it didn't really work. It wasn't noise but it wasn't techno so I decided it was the fake version of techno.

What's your process for getting the sound you want? 

I was accidentally strict when I was starting out and was only using effect pedals to make the music. This meant it was really easy to make the wrong sounds, but now that I'm old and don't care I use shit like synths, drum machines, and midi cables. This means I gotta try extra hard to make sure the music sounds wrong lest I make 'real' techno.  

What would we find if we went into your studio? 

This is a picture of my studio. If you wanna jump on the Fake Techno bandwagon the only thing you absolutely need from this set up is a holographic eagle. Fake Techno, like noise, can be made with any pile of garbage. The only thing I can't recommend using is a laptop 'cause that's the wrong tool. If you use a laptop you're probably gonna end up making techno, or electronic music. Don't use a laptop.  

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jason on 02/23/2013 at 04:00AM

The Changing Relationship Between Radio Airplay, Record Sales, Musicians and Income

This is a guest post by Kristin Thomson, a social researcher, musician and co-director of Future of Music Coalition’s Artist Revenue Streams project. We'll discuss this groundbreaking project on the next episode of WFMU's Radio Free Culture, Monday 6-7pm ET. 

For at least fifty years of the 20th century, the relationship between music and radio airplay was fairly well understood. Record executives knew that if they wanted a hit record, they needed that song to get played on the radio, preferably as many times as possible. In fact, until 2000, radio airplay was essentially a prerequisite to selling significant amounts of recorded music.

Clearly, radio airplay is still critical – especially for genres like pop, country and urban/R&B – but in recent years both radio and the mechanisms for selling music have been upended. Traditional commercial radio, with its limited playlists and regional reach, has been challenged by new forms of radio: webcast versions of existing stations (including WFMU), pureplay webcast stations like Soma-FM or Pandora, and Sirius XM satellite radio. Then there are the interactive services like Spotify, Rhapsody,, and Rdio, many of which mimic radio through playlist options or pre-programmed channels. And there's YouTube, now considered one of the most widely used sources of music discovery in the world.

The sale of recorded music has also changed. Prior to about 2000, the money that a musician could make from the sale or license of a sound recording was pretty simple: you could sell physical copies of an album or a single in a retail setting like a record shop, you could sell them via mailorder, or at shows/gigs. If you were lucky and your music was placed in a movie or TV show, you could make money from the synch license on the master recording. But that was about it. Since about 2000, these options have expanded to include digital sales on stores like iTunes and Amazon, digital performance royalties when sound recordings are streams on non-interactive services like Pandora or Sirius XM, and interactive service payments for streams on Spotify/Rhapsody. And there are more.

The average US consumer now has dozens of low-cost or free ways to listen to and discover new music. What has this done to the relationship between radio airplay and music sales? And, more to the point, are musicians benefiting from this changing landscape?

In 2010, the nonprofit Future of Music Coalition launched Artist Revenue Streams, a multi-method, cross-genre examination of musicians' revenue streams, how they are changing over time, and why. We used three methods to collect data: in-person interviews with over 80 hard-working musicians and composers; an online survey that was completed by over 5,300 US-based musicians and composers, and financial case studies that allowed us to fully examine musicians' income and expenses over time.

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ange on 02/12/2013 at 05:15PM

Mardi Gras Playlist Fodder

While you scarf down king cake and brace yourself for tomorrow's hangover, we have a few suggestions for what belongs on this evening's playlist. These odd ball finds aren't your usual crawfish boil Zydeco. Check out bubbly Spanish street orchestra music from Magnifique Bands dos Homes sen Medo, horn-heavy hippie-sing-along Southern Rock from Dark Meat, the accordion toting Zydepunks live at the OCCII in Amsterdam, and NOLA Electroclash organist and inventor Quintron live on WFMU.

Lastly, don't forget to toast your Hurricane cocktail to the legendary Raphael Saadiq as he performs "Big Easy" live on KEXP.

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jason on 01/30/2013 at 10:15AM

Beatjazz: Onyx Ashanti's 3D-Printed Interface To Create Music From Movement, Now Open Source

Originally a jazz saxophone player, Onyx Ashanti cut his teeth in the 90s rave scene where he imagined how sax-like gestures might control the sound of drum 'n' bass music. Following through on this idea, he harnessed the potential of new open source technology to design his own instrument, the "Beatjazz" system, which is also the term he uses to describe his distinct style of music.

Beatjazz is an open framework for improvisation. The two tracks below are from Recursive Artifact II:Nomadic Summer 2010recorded as Onyx Ashanti road-tested his ever-evolving system and experimented with new techniques. The recordings themselves make for a fantastic listen, but it's the performance that takes Beatjazz to the next level.

The Beatjazz controller includes two hand units and a mouthpiece. The mouthpiece senses breath pressure to instantiate notes, using a lip sensor for added expression. The hand units each have a joystick, four pressure-sensitive buttons, a switch to change modes (i.e. from 'record' to 'loop'), and accelerometers to measure x-y coordinates. Three wifi-equipped Arduinos transmit all of this controller information to a computer running Puredata patches that turn these zeroes and ones into sweet Beatjazz music.

Onyx Ashanti is continually refining his Beatjazz system. For example, the prototype's controllers were made out of cardboard, while the latest iteration is almost entirely 3D-printed. Now you can play a role in the evolution of Beatjazz because Controller v1.0 is officially released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license via MakerBot's Thingiverse. The same CC BY-NC-SA license covers the tracks below.

Onyx Ashanti has many more releases available at, where you can keep tabs on his latest innovations. 

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ange on 01/28/2013 at 12:29PM

Radiovision Keynote: Mark Frauenfelder & Do-It-Yourself Rediscovered

Radio may be old fashioned, but it's still powerful, connected, and intertwined with the dreams and revolutionary power of the Internet. WFMU's Radiovision Festival brings together innovators who are doing things right now in radio, on the internet, and sometimes both.

This year's keynote speaker was one of those innovators, Mark Frauenfelder. He is the founding editor of Make Magazine, the founder of BoingBoing, editor at Wired Magazine from 1993-1998, and the founding editor of He is the author of Made by Hand: My Adventures in the Land of DIY. He also hosts Boing Boing's podcast called Gweek.

Here's the audio of his keynote talk as heard on Radio Free Culture, and a transcript of his talk lightly edited for readability.

Today what I'm going to talk about is do-it-yourself. Do-it-yourself media and do-it-yourself physical things. Making your own media, and making your own 3-D things. And I'm going to talk a little bit about things haven't really changed much in the last hundred years, how they've really changed dramatically in the last two or three years, and, looking to the future, how much more it's going to change in really exciting ways. 

Just a little bit about what I do. I started BoingBoing with my wife as a zine in 1988. The first issue came out in 1989, and the reason that I started it was because I wanted a magazine that I wanted to read. I think that's a really good recipe for creating your own media—imagine getting something drop-shipped to you that is the perfect thing that you want to read, or use, or have be part of your life, and then make that happen.

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ange on 01/24/2013 at 06:30PM

Mix: Musical Impressionism

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ange on 01/23/2013 at 01:15PM

Free Music Archive Now on 8Tracks

Good news, mix-makers! The Free Music Archive is delighted to announce that we've partnered with 8Tracks to make our library available through their lovely mix-making and sharing tools. The basic idea of 8Tracks is making simple and sharable online mixes with at least 8 tracks. Here's a peak at what that looks like: 

How better to celebrate the merging of two awesome music websites than with a mix tape exchange? We shared mixes featuring our favorite Punk Hooks and New Era Dance Pop. In exchange, 8Tracks has made us a mix of hidden indie rock gems

Enjoy this mix, and head over to make your own sometime at

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jason on 01/18/2013 at 08:00AM

Balkan Brass & Beyond: WFMU Live From NYC's Golden Festival This Weekend (Mix)

For much of the last three decades, Zlatne Uste was the singular Balkan brass band on the U.S. eastern seaboard. Their influence has spread rapidly in recent years. Newer groups like What Cheer? Brigade, Raya Brass Band and Slavic Soul Party have not only helped introduce a new generation to the irresistible melodies, rhythms, and timbres of Roma (Gypsy) Music, but infused everything from Bollywood, hip-hop and dabke into a genre that knows no bounds.

They're among the 60+ groups performing at this year's Zlatne Uste Golden Festival, where the spirit of Balkan brass is a jumping off point to celebrate a wide range of traditional music. Bulgarian women's choirs, Turkish folk, Norwegian hardingfele, Egyptian film music, Georgian throat singing, and flamenco are all part of the mix. It's an incredible grass roots event where generations join hands for circle dances in complex time signatures. Traditional food and drink are included with your ticket, with all profits donated to Balkan educational & relief organizations. The 28th annual party kicks off tonight (Jan 18th-19th) at Brooklyn's Grand Prospect Hall.

WFMU's Transpacific Sound Paradise presents a special live broadcast from the Golden Festival's main stage on Saturday Jan 19th, 6-9pmET (91.1-FM NYC | It's the fifth year that WFMU and the Free Music Archive document performances across the festival's multiple stages.

This mix offers a sampling of Golden Festival archives from recent years (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) as well as tracks from artists scheduled to perform at this year's event.

Zlatne Uste kick things off with a Čoček, one of the most common Balkan brass styles, performed live in the WFMU studios for Transpacific Sound Paradise.

Provience RI's 19-piece street band the What Cheer? Brigade play brass music "with the intensity of metal." A crowd favorite whether they're playing a house show, Lollapalooza, or legendary brass festivals like Guca (Serbia) and Sziget (Hungary).

Rooted in the tradition of Bulgaria's a capella women’s choirs, Black Sea Hotel performed "Malo Selo," a song named after the village in Bosnia-Herzegovia, live on Irene Irudel's WFMU program.

Young classical virtuosos The Rosen Sisters perform "Ruchenitsa," a Bulgarian line dance in 7/8.

Toronto's Ventanas meld sephardic, flamenco, and Balkan traditions on "Gusta Mi Magla."

"Merzifon Karsilama" is a bride-meeting song from Merzifon, Amasya in northern Turkey, performed by Turku: Nomads of the Silk Road.

The guitar duo Isra-Alien Band draws on Israeli musical traditions for "Brogez/Sholem."

Rakiya peform an electrified Roma tune "Sa Bas Tute."

Zikrayat, specialize in Egyptian film music's golden era, accompanied by live dancing on stage at the Golden Festival for this rendition of the song "Tahey" by an unknown composer whose song now lives on.

Raya Brass Band put a Brooklyn spin on Balkan brass, take a listen to a room packed with people gettin' down to "Riff Cloud" during last year's Golden Festival, and don't miss 'em this year!

Photos by Oresti Tsonopoulos: Raya Brass Band (top) & What Cheer? Brigade, Golden Festival 2012.

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ange on 01/11/2013 at 12:00PM

The New Happy Birthday Song Contest

Artwork by Greg Harrison

The Free Music Archive wants to wish Creative Commons a Happy Birthday with a song. But there's a problem. Although "Happy Birthday To You" is the most recognized song in the English language and its origins can be traced back to 1893, it remains under copyright protection in the United States until 2030. It can cost independent filmmakers $10,000 to clear the song for their films, and this is a major stumbling block hindering the creation of new works of art.

Intro by Ken Freedman | Judges | Official Rules | Prize 
Submit Your Song | View Entries | Video: Birthday Song Alternatives 

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dvd on 01/08/2013 at 10:00AM

Best of 2012: dvd's Picks

a tough nut to crack

Hey! I'm David - former FMA librarian, admin, and thing-doer. I spent a lot of time this year hunting the virtual stack for lost gems and Creative Commons treasures, and I come to you now with my Top 10 Albums to hit the Free Music Archive in 2012. They're presented below in alphabetical order... enjoy the tunes, and here's to another couple years of free sonic goodness at the FMA!


Hisko Detria

Static Raw Power Kraut

As a sucker for all things Krautrock, this Creative-Commons licensed demo from Finnish psych-rockers Hisko Detria hit all the right buttons for me. Long cuts of interstellar guitar/keyboard explorations, delay-laden vocal outbursts, and a steady rhythm section from a group that doesn't shy away from its influences. Looking forward to hearing them build on this sound in 2013!


Howie Mitchell & Ruth Meyer


If you haven't been keeping up with The Howie Tapes pseudo-label here at the FMA, then you're missing out on some of the, er... freshest archival recordings on the net. David Mitchell, son of famed Hammered Dulcimer player Howie Mitchell, has been methodically digitizing and releasing his father's recordings - so far dating all the way back to this unreleased 1958 tape. They're all excellent!

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ken on 01/01/2013 at 03:15AM

Six Notes to Oppress You: Shake “Happy Birthday” From Its Fortified Cultural Throne!

The song Happy Birthday to You (HBTY) has a story to tell, and it’s not wishing you to have a good one on this, the anniversary of your birth. The most recognizable song in the English language – a simple six notes and words - is owned by Time Warner, who will charge you ten grand to legally sing the four verses in a public place like a school or restaurant. But the history of how HBTY turned into a two million dollar a year corporate earner is the interesting part. It’s a case study in the copyright-by-fiat strategy that has recently proven so popular with corporate minions and robots. They allege intellectual ownership where none exists, and they often get away with it.

There are many ways to right this wrong. You could challenge HBTY’s dubious copyright in court, as long as you’re prepared for a foe like Time Warner. Or you could try to shame Time Warner by urging innocent birthday revelers to request permission for every innocent public “performance” of the song. Both are worthy endeavors, but neither one sounds like much fun.

No, for our purposes here, we’ll encourage you to unseat (or at least unsettle) “Happy Birthday to You” from it’s cultural throne by composing possible replacements. The Free Music Archive Happy Birthday contest seeks a few new Happy Birthday songs that are simple and catchy, with great earworm potential (remember: HBTY uses only six notes!) that can be sung in restaurants, bowling alleys, even in TV shows and movies – free of charge. Together, let us shake “Happy Birthday” from it’s fortified cultural throne, and replace it with a melody that the children can sing without fear of being served.

The three top entries will be all dressed up and distributed to the most powerful media companies on earth with colorful, Ross Perot-style financial incentive charts encouraging the recipients to better their bottom line by using one of these shiny new Happy Birthday replacement tracks.  WFMU will organize and pay for the digital and physical mailings of the three winning tracks to the luckiest people on earth-  any media or public organization who might have need for new birthday songs - movie studios; theater troupes, restaurant chains; sport leagues, scouting associations, youth groups; minor league baseball teams, major league Jai Alai squads, bowling alleys and we’ll also send the track to music journalists, bloggers and radio stations to help get the word out and cement the new songs into the cultural subconscious.

Ready to compose the next great Birthday song for the cake-eating masses? Here's where you can learn more about the judgesofficial rules and how to submit your work.

And here’s more background, if you hanker for more historical details on the very shaky copyright in question. The familiar melody for “Happy Birthday to You” was borrowed from other mid-19th century songs such as Horace Waters' "Happy Greetings to All" and "Good Night to You All," (published 1858) and also "A Happy New Year to All" and "A Happy Greeting to All" (published 1888). All four of these songs had that same six-note melody, and from the 1850’s to the 1880’s those six notes were reapplied to any number of greetings songs, some of which made it into published songbooks of the day.

Two esteemed Kentucky Kindergarten teachers named the Hill Sisters use this same melody with the lyrics “Good Morning to All” and used that version in their classes to greet their students, even publishing it in their own 1893 pamphlet. But over the years, somebody – who, we will never know – modified the lyrics to now public domain “Good Morning to All” with the present birthday lyrics. Were these 19th century wordsmiths The Hill Sisters themselves? Their students?  A class parent? The school janitor? We will never know. But the modified “Good Morning to All” caught on.

If fact, it caught on so much that Western Union used the song for their first singing telegram in 1933. But when the Irving Berlin musical “As Thousands Cheer” made use of the song later that same year, the forgotten Hill sister Jessica sprang into gear like a depression-era Gloria Allred.  Jessica got legal assistance from the Summy Company, who registered for copyright in 1935, crediting the song’s authors as Preston Ware Orem and Mrs. R.R. Forman, whoever they were. Time Warner purchased the Summy Company in 1998, and Edgar Bronfman Jr and friends purchased Warner Music Group in 2004. The song has been scheduled to enter the public domain a few times, but copyright term extensions have now delayed that date to 2030 at the earliest. 

Which is how we got to where we are now – living in a world in which restaurant chains invent their own replacement birthday songs, rather than break the law or pay thousands of dollars in licensing. A world that’s more like a dystopian hellscape, frankly, in which countless movies and TV shows sing “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow” rather than fork over the estimated ten grand in licensing fees. Take a look at the video to see just how bad the problem really is. And then create your own Happy Birthday song, either with a melody of your own creation, or a reworked public domain melody with new lyrics. Keep it simple. And let’s put the Happy back into Birthdays, and take the Cease and Desist out of ‘em.

Contest rules |  How to Submit your Song | Entries

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ange on 12/24/2012 at 12:59PM

Lessons in Authenticity from Makers, Pirates & Occupiers: Guest Post by Alexa Clay

"The Hacker" Illustration by Tom Jennings from Imaginals

Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time in archives reading pamphlets written by 17th century pseudo-scientists: alchemists, astrologers, and hobby scientists. One thing I came to learn was that it was these freaks and rebels, these “deviants” that came to inform the boundaries of what came to be defined as modern science. In a similar vein, WFMU’s 2012 Radiovision Festival seemed to have an analogous logic at work – bring in the folks operating on the fringes and see how they might be able to re-invent or provide interesting musings on radio. So while it wasn’t alchemists and astrologers, the Festival, deliciously curated by WFMU’s Ben Walker, brought together pirates, hackers, occupiers and nomadic storytellers to explore the mighty question, what’s next for radio?

The festival kicked off with maker / DIY extraordinaire Mark Fraunfelder, founder of Boing Boing and Make Magazine. Mark noted that the maker movement was for him, and for many others, primarily about self-reliance, but at a deeper level also about self-expression. While less of an apologist, some of Mark’s comments reminded me of Sociologist Richard Sennett who outlines in his book The Craftsman the intrinsic pleasure associated with the act of making. What Sennett and the modern maker movement have in common is a vision for broadening the realm of DIY craftsmanship. Both also seem to link this renewed maker spirit with an active kind of citizenship. It might sound a bit magical: does a good maker translate into a good citizen? Well, maybe not yet, but it’s the first step really, it’s about people’s empowerment. The empowerment that comes along with do-it-yourself.

Over time, I think the maker movement really will become a force for good in the world. It’s a movement that can provide a new script for how we engage in the economy, not as consumers, but as producers, as active shapers of the economy itself. If makers turn their attention to re-thinking how we create primary commodities and services like food, energy, and healthcare, particularly at a local level, then the force of the movement could be really disruptive. We would not only be able to reduce our dependence on large corporations, but we would be in control of our own economic destiny. It’s an appealing vision, but one that we haven’t yet fully realized.

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jason on 12/17/2012 at 07:00AM

Best of 2012 Mixes: Punk With Hooks, World Wide Folk, Nova Era Dance Pop, Abstract Rhymes

Here are some 2k12 sounds that grabbed me by the ears and said 'listen'. I veered towards the punk with hooks, world wide folk, abstract rhymes & surreal beats, from pure pop to the uncategorizable. I made one mix for four of these styles, and I'll follow this up with another round before the year's out. Enjoy, and I look forward to hearing your picks—use the bestof2012 tag to join in on the mixtape club!

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ange on 10/31/2012 at 04:30PM

The Free Music Archive Now Plays in Mobile Browsers

Now presenting our new HTML5 audio player! It looks exactly the same as it did before, but it can now stream the FMA music you adore using most mobile browsers.

We recommend using it in Chrome or Safari on your iOS (e.g. iPhone, iPad) or Android devices. There are a few exceptions that we're still working on. As of this blog post, the new player doesn't work on mobile Opera (iOS + Android), mobile Firefox (Android), or Android's stock browser. Leave us a comment below if you have specific feedback on how our new player is performing.

If you really, really adore this new functionality, you should send a love letter to the guy who built this for us.

Don't have a mobile device like all the other hip dogs and cats? If you enter our video remix contest with the Prelinger Archives you might just win an iPad! The deadline for entries is November 4th at 11:59pm ET.

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ange on 10/30/2012 at 10:45PM

Start Streaming! Guest Post by Independent Journalist Tim Pool

Livestreaming apps need to be installed on every mobile device before they ship. Recently we started seeing the importance of cell phone video. When Manuel Diaz and Oscar Grant were shot, citizens with nothing but cell phones documented the incidents. And of course there's me, who uses a cell phone to document massive powerful events to the world -- from Occupy Wall Street, to the Anaheim Riots, and even Hurricane Sandy.

A major incident can occur anywhere and at anytime, so it is imperative that you equip yourself and your mobile device with the tools you need. Twitter and Livestream are essentials for any good citizen. You never know if you'll be watching a bank robbery or a world record, but with these two tools you can show the world what's happening.

I use nothing more than a cell phone to broadcast to the world, and here's how you can do this too.

You can learn more about Tim Pool and his work on a recent episode of Radio Free Culture on WFMU. While you're at it, subscribe to the Radio Free Culture podcast, and check out the archives.

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jason on 10/09/2012 at 07:29AM

Interview: Brewster Kahle on Radio Free Culture

As entries pour in for our remix contest with the Prelinger Archives, we thought you might be interested to learn more about where the digitized portion of the Prelinger collection is housed, the Internet Archive. Brewster Kahle, the founder and digital librarian of The Internet Archive (, was our guest on Radio Free Culture June 25th, 2012. He was interviewed by Ken Freedman, WFMU's station manager.

Radio Free Culture is a series on WFMU and the Free Music Archive where we focus on digital culture and issues like net neutrality and piracy, digital rights, archives, libraries in the internet, all with WFMU’s own particular digital viewpoint. The following is a transcript of the program which can be heard over here.

Ken: Welcome to "Radio Free Culture." I’m very, very excited to have with me. Let’s start off by introducing the thing that you do which is, for lack of a better way, trying to get a copy of just about every piece of information in the world.  Is that right?

Brewster:  Yeah.  The idea is to try to build the Library of Alexandria, Version 2.  You can basically build a world where if anybody’s curious enough [they] can have access to the books, music, video, anything that’s ever been produced, anywhere, anytime.  And I think that’s one of the promises of the internet and the Internet Archive is trying to play a role in that.

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dvd on 08/30/2012 at 04:30PM

MP3 of the Day: Sexteto Tabalá de Pelenque, "Maria Palo"

Today we've got some cross-cultural Afro-Colombian Carribean music to whet your international apetite. Sexteto Tabalá de Pelenque plays  a mix of Cuban song and Colombian rhythms like Cumbia, Bullerengue, Porro, and Balie Cantao.

Natives of San Basilio de Pelenque in Colombia, the group began taking traditional Cuban Sexteto rhythms of the 20s & 30s and mixing them with local flavors. In 2005 the town was declared a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO for its unique Afro-Colombian creole language and culture.

This recording comes from a live session they played at WFMU in 2011 on the Transpacific Sound Paradise Program

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dvd on 08/29/2012 at 01:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Chahadé Saadé, "Samaii Hijaz Kar Kurdi"

If you're not already familiar, Excavated Shellac has a wealth of historical recordings from all over the world stockpiled at their FMA curator portal. One of their first contributions was this amazing recording from Chahadé Saadé.

Saadé was a Lebanese musician and this oud solo, probably recorded in Syria circa 1926, was likely composed by the late 19th century Istanbul Armenian composer Tatyos Efendi. This digital recording was recovered from the original 10.5" 78 disc, so you'll hear some accoustic artifacts common to the format. In fact, this is a remarkably high quality recording considering its age, so don't worry about the noise -- that's just the sound of authenticity!


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dvd on 08/28/2012 at 01:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Veena Kinhal, "Haratanaya Sree"

Inspired by yesterday's well-received #FMAmp3 post featuring Balinese Peliatan Gamelan, we've decided to continue highlighting some of the great international music hidden at the depths of the archive for the rest of the week.

Veena Kinhal is a sixth-generation vainika and daughter/disciple of famous Veena guru and musicologist Mysore L Raja Rao. She began her vocal and veena training with her father at the age of five and since moving to California in 1979 has continued to contribute to the carnatic classical tradition.

In this excellent public domain recording she pays tribute to her father, playing one of his original compositions. If this strikes your fancy, be sure to check out this 1930s recording we have of her father and uncle playing together here.

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dvd on 08/27/2012 at 03:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Peliatan Gamelan, "Kapi Radja"

It's not everyday that we unearth an archival Gamelan recording here at the FMA, and today is no different. This track from the Peliatan Gamelan, originally recorded in 1952, was uploaded way back in 2009 by Arbiter Records. I say it's about time we throw the spotlight on it and give some of our great international collection a little love. 

Kapi Radja (Ape King) is meant as an accompaniment for traditional Balinese dancers. This excellent recording is typical of the Balinese style, featuring an assortment of bronze gongs at a fairly upbeat tempo. If you're more of a Javanese Gamelan person, don't fret! We've got you covered. Check out these two albums from Gamelan Nyai Saraswati.

Arbiter Records at: Free Music Archive | Online Catalogue

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dvd on 08/24/2012 at 02:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Ex Cops, "Spring Break (Birthday Song)"

Earlier this Summer NYC band Ex Cops strolled over to the WFMU studios in Jersey City to record a few songs for Duane's Show. This new take on the birthday salute hits me in all the right hazy-pop places but be warned: it is catchy as hell and WILL get stuck in your head. 

With some expert mixing and mastering from Mr. Scott, what we have here is a well-crafted pop gem, or as Duane writes, "an intoxicating blend of the hazy psychedelic dream pop, that combines the best elements of Flying Nun-styled jangle, the dark lucidity of Love, and a heaping helping of dirty lo-fi shimmer."

Ex Cops at:

Free Music Archive | WWW | Facebook

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fmamp3, wfmu, ex cops, dream pop
badpandarecords on 08/23/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: ghostandthesong, "Ou Inme"

Another song + video pairing for your Thursday moods, originally released in March. “Neo-unrealistic-pop” one-man project Ghostandthesong is actually one of the most interesting exponents of the Berlin experimental scene. Matthias Kanik released his first split tape together with Chris Rehm, on DZ Tapes (and also available as a free download).

His new EP is introduced by the Ou Inme video, created by multimedia animation studio hypertrashwonderland - the brain child of director and digital filmmaker Marcus Grysczok (via).

ghostandthesong at: Free Music Archive | Soundcloud

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dvd on 08/22/2012 at 05:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Okey Szoke, "Siren"

Today's MP3 comes from an excellent collection of electronic producers put out by Brother Sister Records. IO is a compilation of six LED-lit dance tracks from artists in the Brothersister stable, extending motifs of constant and rhythmic data flow into spacious, tactile worlds that respond to elements of house, RnB and Jersey club.

We've got two tracks from the compilation here at the FMA, including this slick production (and video) from Okey Szoke. You can stream the whole compilation here, and be sure to check out some of the other great stuff Brother Sister Records is doing at their website

Okey Szoke - "Siren" (04:53)
Okey Szoke - "Siren" (04:53)
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jason on 08/22/2012 at 11:00AM

The Rise & Fall of MP3 Blogs — guest post by Casey Rae

SmahsedcansThe history of the MP3 is one of technological innovation, consumer demand and all-too-persistent litigation, often against those very consumers who embraced the format in the heady post-Napster days. The story of this resilient digital audio file has been recounted many times — from the recording industry’s early wars of attrition to the MP3s role in the filesharing explosion to the bloggers who help curate an oversaturated music marketplace.

What doesn’t garner as much discussion is how the MP3 format — celebrated, reviled or somewhere in-between — has come to define the digital music experience, both for millions of listeners, and for those who help drive discovery. At one point, not so long ago, music bloggers sat near the top of the curatorial heap, using MP3s to help create overnight stars out of teenage indie rockers. Others highlighted niche genres and aural nuggets from decades past.

At first, MP3 bloggers were seen by the industry as freeloading pariahs, but eventually even the major labels came to embrace this segment of the online music community. Seeking a promotional fast track, the PR flaks hit the blogosphere hard, cultivating relationships with known tastemakers. Eventually, the pursuit of musical passion became a business concern, or at worse, a hassle.

I was a full-time music writer back when CDs were the promotional norm. Over the course of time, the padded envelopes slowed to a trickle and my inbox was flooded with MP3s from labels and publicists. It was frankly hard to keep up. The annoyance factor eventually contributed to my decision to do something different with my life.

I know I’m not alone. Looking around these days, you could be forgiven for thinking the “music blogger bubble” has popped. There are likely several reasons beyond inbox fatigue. The rise of “social music” — where friend networks replace curation via instant “recommendations” on platforms like Facebook — surely has something to do with it. But listening habits are also changing. No longer is downloading necessarily the fastest and most convenient way to get your musical fix.

When thinking about the future for MP3 blogging, it’s instructive to consider how younger generations discover and access music. The listening behaviors of those under 20 can tell us a lot about how aspects of our networked world might evolve. A new Nielsen survey suggests that YouTube has overtaken radio and CDs as the primary way American teens listen to music. At 64 percent, YouTube listening is even ahead of iTunes, which comes in at just over 50 percent. YouTube, is of course, a “streaming” platform, which presents a potential challenge to downloading culture.

In other words, streaming access is rapidly becoming a norm. Recent reports show that Warner Music now counts streaming as 25 percent of its overall digital music revenue. This is certainly significant for a sector that has struggled for more than a decade with the implications of online music.

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radio free culture
dvd on 08/21/2012 at 11:15AM

MP3 of the Day: Michael Chapman & The Woodpiles, "A Stranger's Map of Texas"

This latest installment of the NATCH series produced by Black Dirt Studios is a real winner. Michael Chapman, elder statesman of British Folk, is joined by American freeform stalwarts Steve Gunn, Marc Orleans, Nathan Bowles, and Jimy SeiTang. As expected with a group like this, the recordings veer into psychedlic accoustic explorations quickly and stay there.

Tune in for some excellent freeform folk and psych-folk by some of the biggest names on the scene. 

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dvd on 08/17/2012 at 10:00AM

MP3 of the Day: Blue Sabbath Black Fiji, "Hot On The Wheels Of Love"

Glaswegian duo Blue Sabbath Black Fiji create quite an amalgamation of sounds. Using guitars and electronics, the group blasts noisy constructions with hints of disco beats laying just beneath the surface. Their latest release on We Have No Zen! is a bit of a pre-flight departure, "a collection of unreleased psychedlic pre-boogie jam[s]." 

Originally titled Space Satan, the album deals with all things cosmic. This track really stands apart, not only from the rest of the collection, but from the typical BSBF fare -- an ambient voyage that is all too rare in what is usually a noisy universe. 

Blue Sabbath Black Fiji at:

Free Music Archive | Myspace | Facebook | Bandcamp

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lizziedavis on 08/16/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Radioactive Pussy, "Fuck Nukes!"

photoRadioactive Pussy is audio activist performance art at its finest and simultaneously most raw. Utilizing the folk traditions of the past and updating them with current situations, the issues and music they present are intended to activate and generally motivate the listener. (via.) The band includes experimental stalwart Chuck Bettis as well as Yuko Tonohira, cofounder of Todos Somos Japon, a group that communicates political dialogues among people in and outside of Japan through the bilingual website

Radioactive Pussy held their first performance on July 24th, 2012 at NYC's Zebulon. You can find the whole set here on the FMA. Listen to one of the "raw documents" of the political performance below in the form of "Fuck Nukes!"

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dvd on 08/14/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Tyrannosaurus Dracula, "Upsidedown Stars"

Tyrannosaurus Dracula, affectionately known as 'T-Drac' is "a molten melding of Acid Rock and Punk: Blue Cheer, Pentagram VS Black Flag, Birthday Party mixed in a rusty bathtub with beer, sloppy prog-rock and cheap magic tricks." (via

A project from William Hellfire (profiled here), expect dirty 4-tracked psych-blooze with a gut. Be sure to check out the whole compilation, Headphone Hospital, from SLR.

Tyrannosaurus Dracula on:

Free Music Archive | Soundcloud | Myspace 

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dvd on 08/13/2012 at 11:45AM

MP3 of the Day: Aaron Ximm, "Idle Hands"

Aaron Ximm's work as Quiet American showcases an extreme attention to the audible environment with a massive collection of over 90 hours of field recordings available for free download under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. With many more unreleased recordings, these sounds follow Aaron's travels around Vietnam, Fiji, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Nepal.

This release sees Ximm going in a slightly different direction - an album of instrumental pieces played on the Hang, an instrument similiar to a steel drum, made from two sheets of pitched steel. The sound is ethereal and meditative, a unique and fitting addition to his cannon of recordings. 

Aaron Ximm at: Free Music Archive | Quiet American | Twitter

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dvd on 08/10/2012 at 12:30PM

MP3 of the Day: Telegraphy, "Tropospheric Wave Guide"

Richard Sudney is a sound designer, producer, photographer, artist, inquisitive electronics expert, fringe researcher, and eccentric collector of antique wireless communication equipment. Oh yeah, he also puts out beautiful electronic compositions under the name Telegraphy from his hometown in Detroit.

The sole proprietor and artist at Ionosonde-Recordings, his latest release Spiricom hit the FMA last month. Check out the closing track for some blissful ambient waves.

Telegraphy at:

Free Music Archive | WWW | Myspace

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dvd on 08/09/2012 at 01:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Weyes Blood, "Candyboy"

Damaged folk with nods to DIY experimentation, mourning drones, and ecstatic noise. Weyes Blood's output is reminiscent of the work of Grouper, but where Liz Harris' noise-tinged vocal deliveries recall a fallen angel, Weyes Blood (Natalie Mering) has been to hell and back again; and is here to tell us about it through cathartic distortion and dark harmonies. Captivating and emotional, Weyes Blood is not to be missed. 

Weyes Blood at:

Free Music Archive | Myspace | Facebook

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folk, fmamp3, noise, weyes blood
dvd on 08/08/2012 at 12:30PM

MP3 of the Day: Volcano the Bear, "baby photos"

Volcano the Bear have been releasing experimental and improvisational music since the mid-90s. A hiatus 10 years ago saw the group's various members pursue other projects, including Nick Mott & Aaron Moore's Songs of Norway, and Clarence Manuelo's Earth Trumpet.

In 2006 they got back together to release Classic Erasmus Fusion to much praise, and earlier this year they released their newest gem Golden Rhythm/Ink Music. As you can probably tell by the abundance of links in this post, they have made the vast majority of these recordings available for download right here at the FMA. Check out the Volcano the Bear page for a large selection of the group's past releases, and be sure to check out the related artists, where you'll find the many side projects of Aaron Moore and other projects related to the band. For a taste, check out this track from their newest album below! 

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dvd on 08/07/2012 at 01:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Björn & Gorden, "Model, Job, Metro, Time Square"

Björn & Gorden have been releasing their Post-Rock tunes under the Headphonica label for a couple years, with each album moving into new musical territories. Their latest release Autumnica leans heavily to the electronica side, providing a depth and ambience that works in harmony with sparse post-rock guitar sounds. Add in a little vocoder and hey, you've got yourself the perfect soundtrack for sitting in the corner of your empty white-washed loft and staring at the exposed girders above. 

Björn & Gorden at:

Free Music Archive | Facebook | WWW | Soundcloud

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dvd on 08/06/2012 at 01:45PM

MP3 of the Day: Ourself Beside Me, "Sunday Girl"

Like many others who wanted to be astronatus when they grew up, I stayed up late last night to watch NASA's livestream of the Mars landing. As a former Space Camp cadet, I wanted to make today's MP3 topical, so I searched the FMA for "mars" and found a lot of interesting stuff, including this track off a sampler from Chinese label Maybe Mars.

According to the label, Ourself Beside Me is "one of the most exciting and innovative bands to emerge from the Beijing scene[...] these three hard-charging ladies have swept everything before to become among the most admired and inspiring bands in China." Dig these pop sounds and check out the rest of the sampler, with bits of experimental, pop, hardcore, and more.

Maybe Mars at:             Free Music Archive | WWW | Bandcamp 

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lizziedavis on 08/04/2012 at 03:00PM

The Lost Devilcore Hits of Severed Lips Recordings


Severed Lips Recordings was a cassette label which operated out of a basement in Ringwood, NJ from 1992-2000. Somehow, their catalog of horror garage gems from an incestuous roster of artists has managed to stay under the radar, a rare feat in the "information age."

The fascinating story of Severed Lips Recordings is inspiring to anyone who's been involved in a fringe DIY community. I had the pleasure of hearing it straight from William Hellfire, the mastermind behind SLR's operations, via email.

First off, how did the label get started?

I started Severed Lips Recordings with Scott Beattie, aka Agent 78, in 1992 when we were 19 years old. Scott and I had just started playing music together and called our band Gerbil Church. The music we played was just our two Vantage guitars blasted through crappy, failing vintage amplifiers, no drummer or bassist.

I was also reworking a small set of Big Black-inspired noise rock songs and through an old band mate met Eddie Blade, whose solo agro/industrial recordings were amazing by any 4 track demo standard. I invited Todd and Eddie to learn the songs and record with me over at my basement HQ. When they got to my place, they popped a hit of LSD in my mouth. The session didn't go as planned-- instead, it was hijacked by a brand new creation, "DISCO MISSILE." Scott and I decided to take all the boom box and live recordings from these bands as well as the new Disco Missile cassette and start releasing them. We made our first release with personalized covers consisting of retro wrapping paper, string, ink, oregano, cinnamon all kinds of bits and bobs, Xerox, pen, crayon. I think we may have sold and given away about 20 or so in total.

December 1992 was the initial release party. I had also created releases out of recordings of an acid trip I took in my room with my cat and my friend Ruby Honeycat’s childhood audio tapes with her friends, which consisted of a bunch of 5 year olds talking about dinosaurs and singing kid songs that made no sense. Anything I could find with original audio on it, I just made up a band name and cover for and tried to sell it.

My friends and I were very small-town and naive, and in that naive thinking had come a lovely purity. The sensibilities were childish and devilish, sweet and sadistic; we were naive anarchists not just rebelling against the political establishments but the whole ideal of reality and the homogenized art world, the corporatized social structure. Around 1989, everything started to go bad. There was very little happening and the stream of consciousness was getting thinner and thinner.

It was "mall culture" and MTV, and the minute something good would squeak its way in, there were corporate clones of it. Punk rock, the last stand of decency in the world, was being homogenized for the mall market. It was getting hard to breathe. We had to entertain ourselves--create our own music, our own culture and our own fun.

Severed Lips Recordings cassettes were $4 each. Basement shows were $2-3 bux donation, and we rented out a legion hall in butler for--get this--$65 bux! $3 dollar admission. Can't beat that. We baked cookies and made Jell-O, served coffee with cassettes and played noisy and fuzzy caricatures of psychedelic punk rock. Then in 1996, SLR started going outside the legion hall and basement and began to frequent Connections in Clifton NJ, Continental, Coney Island High and CB’s NYC.

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lizziedavis on 08/03/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Hank Penny, "Alabama Jubilee"

photoHank Penny should be a household name. But the reason he isn't is the same reason that this release cooks: attitude. Seems Hank wouldn't take shit from anybody. As a result, he burned a lot of bridges and missed more than a few opportunities to further his career.

He started his first band, the Radio Cowboys, in 1935 and later became a regular on the Boone County Jamboree out of Cincinnati. He acted in a couple of Westerns, yukked it up on Spade Cooley's TV show in the 40's, DJ'd here and there across California and Kansas, and tore up clubs across the country from the 30's to the 70's. (via.)

A couple years ago, Bloodshot Records put together 30 of Hank's best as part of its Bloodshot Revival country reissue series. Sample what you've been missing with "Alabama Jubilee" below.

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dvd on 08/02/2012 at 12:30PM

MP3 of the Day: Fhernando, "(I Need Ya) L.O.V.E"

Intent on recreating an aesthetic pioneered by the 80s, Mexico-based musician Fhernando brings back the funk in Last Days of Disco.

The young DJ is not a stranger to the music scene. Since his teenage years, Fhernando or Fernando Ramires Rios has been composing music and has already released several EPs and singles. His most recent album, Sweet Addiction produced a lot of buzz on music websites.

Featuring 12 tracks of musical bliss, Last Days of Disco will transport you into an era of upbeat yet soothing melodies (via Curator Frostclick).

Fhernando at:

Free Music Archive | WWW | Facebook

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dvd on 08/01/2012 at 11:45AM

MP3 of the Day: Diamond Terrifier, "Adamantine"

Diamond Terrifier is the solo sax & electronics project of Sam Hillmer (of Brooklyn experimental troupe ZS). Named after the indo-tibetan god Vajrabairahva, the philosophy of the project concerns a kind of positive destruction through the reconciliation of noise and drone. If you like the cut of that jib, check out this in-depth interview with Sam we featured a little while ago. 

After a couple shorter releases and tapes, Sam's project is getting a proper full-length release in September on Northern Spy -- Kill The Self That Wants to Kill Yourself. They've been kind enough to share a track from the album, along with some other previously released singles on the FMA.

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badpandarecords on 07/31/2012 at 03:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Isle, "Bayview"

Coming from Pensacola (Florida), Isle are Michael Maleki (also well known as Kodak To Graph), Tobi Echevarria, Brandon Warren, Dave Doelker and Brendan Peppler.

Their debut single, Bayview, is a compendium of ethereal and dreamy moments likely to be influenced by sounds from artists as Radiohead, Yo La Tengo, Fleet Foxes and Washed Out. Definitely not to be missed. (via + interview)

Isle - "Bayview" (03:54)
Isle - "Bayview" (03:54)
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lizziedavis on 07/27/2012 at 11:15AM

FM Funk Maddness!!

photoThis is the best chiptune-funk comp ever! To anyone who's ever made disparaging remarks about the soullessness of FM synthesis, I present this album as irrefutable evidence of the contrary. On FM FUNK MADNESS!!, synths come alive. Tracks like Blitz Lunar's "Cascade Masquerade" immediately conjure comparisons to the hits of the great Wild Cherry. The following track,"Fashion Queen" by Kulor is a natural thematic and musical successor to Madonna's "Vogue." Later in the album, the thumping bassline of Tsuyoshi Shimokura's aptly-titled "FunkOsaka" brings to mind not waveform crests and nodes, but the pulsating lights of Studio 54!

FM FUNK MADNESS!! was compiled and released by Ubiktune, a chiptune and video game music-related netlabel based out of Russia.

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chiptune, russia, fmamp3, 8-bit, funk
dvd on 07/25/2012 at 11:30AM

MP3 of the Day: The Womb, "Home Planet"

Alan Driscoll has been releasing music as The Womb online since 1998. After 17 Albums, 78 Singles, and 10 Compilations, suffice it to say he has covered a lot of musical ground. His entire output is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, and we've recently made a home for him here at the FMA. Getting started with his massive collection can be a bit daunting... so he's put together three Best Of albums to help you get acquainted. Volume Three was just released today, so we've picked one of our favorite tracks below to share from the new collection. Dig in!

The Womb at:

Free Music Archive | Website | Facebook | Twitter  

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dvd on 07/25/2012 at 07:45AM

MP3 - A Crash Course by Jonathan Sterne

Today, there are more mp3s in circulation than all other recording formats combined. This alone would be cause to write a book about them, but I became fascinated with mp3s because of how they are made. An mp3 encoder uses a mathematical model of the gaps and absences in human hearing to remove some of the data in an audio file, in order to make it smaller. If the encoder “thinks” you won’t hear part of a sound recording, it yanks it out on the encoding end, so that the resulting mp3 file is smaller, and therefore easier to transmit over data lines or to stockpile on hard drives and flash memories.

I wanted to know where this model of human hearing came from and what it could tell us about our contemporary sonic culture. The result is my new book, MP3:The Meaning of a Format

The technology behind the mp3 is called “perceptual coding,” and I quickly discovered it has deep connections to the development of hearing science and telecommunications over the last hundred years. Everything we think we know about hearing in the state of nature is a result of the interactions between ears and media in the 20th century.

MP3s also point to the importance of compression in the development of communication technologies. Each generation of new media is usually sold to consumers as being of higher definition and greater verisimilitude than its predecessor (think of how DVDs and Blu-Ray have been marketed, for instance). But developments in compression and lower-definition transmission are equally important for everything from telegraphs, to telephones, to color television, to satellite transmission to the internet. This other history is less apparent because it is manifest inside our hard drives, and inside the massive infrastructures that allow us to move data around. It is not as shiny or sexy as the latest consumer gadget, but it could well be more important for everything from aesthetics to policy.

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badpandarecords on 07/24/2012 at 11:00AM

MP3 of the Day: Origamibiro, "Flicker"

Origamibiro are a multi-practice audiovisual artist collective, comprised of producer  Tom Hill, video artist The Joy of Box and musician, Andy Tytherleigh. The trio employ multiple instruments, hi and lo-fi technologies and an array of unorthodox objects and mixed media, including guitars, typewriters, infra red cameras, double bass, ukulele and bowed electric guitar.  It started originally out as a solo project by Hill and become a collective who’s work combines film soundtracks, performance, gallery art installations and a variety of mixed media works.

Flicker is  journey through subtle, delicate and introspective post-electronica classical combo featuring remixes by Warp Records electronic duo Plaid, ISAN from Morr Music, K-Conjog, Set In Sand and Leafcutter John (with the help of Abandon Building). via Bad Panda Records

Origamibiro at:

Free Music Archive | Facebook | Soundcloud | WWW

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dvd on 07/23/2012 at 01:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Expwy, "Cultivate a classic sky"

Matt LeGroulx (Expwy) makes well-crafted, homespun pop with a diverse array of influences. His latest release, Little Hand Fighter, stays true to Bossa Nova form while throwing everything from Guided by Voices to Terry Riley into the mix. Based in Montreal, Expwy has a three albums up on the Free Music Archive for your enjoyment, so check 'em out!

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dvd on 07/19/2012 at 01:00PM

MP3 of the Day: The Honorable Sleaze, "Higher"

The lastest full-length release from Richmond, Virginia (RVA) area emcee/producer The Honorable Sleaze just dropped today thanks to our friends at blocSonic. Broad Street Boogie stays faithful to the underground aesthetic, mixing funk & soul samples with skilled production and hazy daze lyrics. Check out "Higher" for a taste, and if you dig it head on over to his artist page for lots more. When he's not making his own music, Sleaze runs the Just Plain Sounds netlabel. 

The Honorable Sleaze at:

Free Music Archive | blocSonic | SleazieWonder | Bandcamp | Soundcloud

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dvd on 07/17/2012 at 02:30PM

Welcome Wood & Wire

Wood & Wire is a new digital record label, promoting experimentation in Australian music across all genres.  Born of New Weird Australia, but existing separately from it, Wood & Wire launched in June with four free releases:

- ‘Inter Alia‘ from Melbourne duo Peon, featuring Lloyd Swanton from The Necks

- the debut release from young experimental electronic producer, Emily Grantham, titled ‘Chocolate Syrup

- a complete remake of the reviled Lou Reed & Metallica album ‘Lulu‘ from BOK Darklord (aka Buttress O’Kneel and Lucas Darklord)

- and the self-titled debut from Machine Death, featuring reknowned experimental artist Ben Byrne and Ivan Lisyak from The Paper Scissors.

Since then, they've already added two additional records:

-'Natural Living' from Regional Curse, a project by Stacey Wilson whose next album under her Rites Wild project will be released later this year on Not Not Fun

-the self-titled debut release of the 19-year-old, Canberra-based producer Felix Idle aka SHISD

The crew at Wood & Wire will be adding two new releases every month, so be sure to keep an eye on their label portal in the coming months as they continue to wow us with more great experimental music from Australia.

Wood & Wire at:

Free Music Archive | WWW | Facebook | Twitter 

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dvd on 07/17/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: A.P. Vague, "Doppler"

Drawing from influences as diverse as synth-pop and SETI, this release features extensively processed tonalities and explores what can be achieved with limited sound sources. Released in conjunction with A. P. Vague's "doppler" exhibition in New Brunswick, this track explores the outer realms with gusto - mixing cosmic synth with astral noise. Snag a copy on cassette at 905 Tapes, or tune in here.

A.P. Vague at:

Free Music Archive | WWW | Soundcloud 

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dvd on 07/12/2012 at 01:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Steve Gunn, "Trouba"

We just caught wind today of this great compilation put together by the folks at Soundeyet in Greece. It features a well-curated selection of contemporary free form artists (Amen Dunes, Nettle, D. Charles Speer, Astral Social Club, & more) playing Rebetika, a raw form of Greek folk music from the 1920s and 30s.

The ablum is called A Steady Diet of Hash, Bread, & Salt so it should come as no surprise that it's bursting with psychedelic meditations and interpretations on/of Rebitika music. Here's one such offering from psych-folk/guitar soli stalwart Steve Gunn, and be sure to grab the whole compilation here.

Steve Gunn - "Trouba" (04:05)
Steve Gunn - "Trouba" (04:05)
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dvd on 07/11/2012 at 04:00PM

Welcome Decoder Magazine

The folks behind Decoder Magazine have been faithfully sending out sonic signals into the music blogosphere for some time under their Crash Symbols label and former blog Get Off The Coast. With a successful kickstarter behind them and a print edition on the way, we're excited to welcome them as one of our newest curators.

"Decoder Magazine is a print and web based chronicle of new music and events, also playing host to diverse multimedia projects that include an ongoing comic series... With so much of music being produced outside of traditional networks and communities, the obligation to seek out new and useful mutations has never been greater... We are not concerned about premiering or covering music in a way that props up vacuous marketing narratives constructed by publicists. In the same vein, our true vocation is the work we do to knit the musicians we cover into sympathetic digital communities in order to encourage new niches and growth along non-geographical lines." 

They'll be digging out and serving the freshest Creative Commons sounds with a focus on the blurred lines between Pop, Experimental, and Electronic music. They've already got quite a collection going on the FMA, but I've embedded their first contribution at right; a double cassette mixtape that collects tracks from all the diverse partisans of Living Room Visions, running the gamut from oblique sound collages to hyper melodic pop.

You can check out their curator portal here.

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dvd on 07/11/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Sister Slacks, "Clockwork"

Sister Slacks are a Noise-Rock band from Toulouse, France. Their new EP with a saw just landed on the FMA a couple of days ago under a CC BY-NC-ND license and we're excited to have them on board. Check out the opener Clockwork and follow along with the rest of us at their numerous web portals.

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badpandarecords on 07/10/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Jiony, "Changing (Mood)"

Mexico City-based Jonathan Garcia aka Jiony is back on Bad Panda after his debut EP, Waiting For The Sun.

Jiony’s music identity is an electronic hybrid of sound of labels as Pampa, Ghostly, Clown & Sunset, K7, Brownswood and Spectral or acts like Nosaj Thing, Nicolas Jaar, Jahcoozi and Flako (via)

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dvd on 07/06/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Marika Papagika, "Hrissaido"

Marika Papagika was one of Greek music’s greatest vocalists. She recorded more than 225 performances between 1918 & 1929. This track comes from an LP put out by Canary Records featuring some of her most mystical and moving songs. Check out the album page for The Further the Flame, The Worse it Burns Me: Greek Folk Music in New York City, 1919-1928 for two more selections from the LP.

Canary Records is an vinyl-only label manufactured and distributed by Mississippi Records, dedicated to the reissue of non-English-language music of the 78rpm-era.

Marika Papagika on Wikipedia
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dvd on 07/05/2012 at 12:30PM

MP3 of the Day: FAVORS, “I Keep My Soul Alive with Different Kinds of Germs”

Super sweet synth-pop with a tinge of bitterness, FAVORS keeps the bubble quota high while real talkin' about social networks, WiFi hotspots, and other mundane artifacts from the digital age. FAVORS is brought to us by one of the Free Music Archive's newest curators, Decoder Magazine. They've already got a nice collection growing at their curator portal, so check out the tunes and be on the lookout for a more formal introduction in the near future. 

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dvd on 07/04/2012 at 12:30PM

Happy 4th of July!

Here in the USA we're all taking a break from the work week to drink beer, eat meat, and blow stuff up (what better way to celebrate the nation's Independence Day than by doing what we do best). Here at the Free Music Archive (where no occasion to make a playlist goes un-noticed) we've put together a mix that celebrates a different kind of freedom. Freedom from the man. Freedom to share. Freedom to download. Oh yeah, also all of the songs have something to do with America.

If you're looking for some reading material we've already written a few times about the history of the Star Spangled Banner. We've got a few different archival recordings as well, so if you want to learn/listen more check out these blog posts (here and here) from the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project at the UC Santa Barbara Library and WFMU's own Joe McGasko

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badpandarecords on 07/03/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Patterns In Plastic, "Balloons Don't Always Fly"

Patterns in Plastic is a Newcastle-based duo (Wesley Akinfolarin and Joe William Todd) producing a truly ethereal sound, scored with waves of vocal harmonies. Their new stunning free remix LP is featuring tracks from Fybe, Sina., Sipp, Manni Dee, Module Module, Kelle, Deft and Sun Glitters.

Download it now and check out the interview with Wesley and Joe after the jump (via Bad Panda).


Patterns in Plastic on:

Free Music Archive | Facebook | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Tumblr

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dvd on 07/02/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Hisko Detria, "Poserslave"

Finnish psychedelic outfit Hisko Detria doesn't shy away from its influences. With a title like "Poserslave" they seem happy to acknowledge the debt they owe to Neu!, while the rest of their 4-track demo continues in the vein of some of the great Krautrock bands of the past. Long cuts with endless interstellar guitar/keyboard exploration carried along by a repetitive rhythm section and delay-laden vocal outbursts.

Hisko Detria is landing on the Free Music Archive just in time for your Summer roadtrip, so grab the whole album and get on the road again. We hear there might be some new recordings coming down the pipe, so keep your ears peeled.

 Hisko Detria on:

Free Music Archive | Bandcamp |


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dvd on 06/29/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Daniel Barbiero, "Anamnesis"

A native of New Haven, CT, double bassist and composer Daniel Barbiero has been active in improvised and experimental music and dance in the Baltimore-Washington area for several years as a performer, composer and ensemble leader. His music reflects his background in minimal, modal and non-genre specific improvisation, and interest in verbal, graphic and other non-standard methods of scoring for small ensembles. 

Below we've featured a track from his collection of compositions for solo bass. Be sure to check out Daniel's recent collaboration with Jimmy Gaphery for some great improvised bass & winds duets.


Daniel Barbiero on:

Free Music Archive | Soundcloud | Myspace | Alkem

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lizziedavis on 06/28/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Skeletons, "No (MIDI Version)"

photoSkeletons are an American entertainment unit from New York City via Oberlin, Ohio. Skeletons began as the solo project of Chicago native musician and filmmaker Matt Mehlan in 2001, but has grown to include Jason McMahon and Jon Leland. Now into their second decade of existence, Skeletons count 7 full length albums, an 18-member "Skeletons Big Band" incarnation, and the inception of NYC' Silent Barn among their accomplishments.

Last November, Skeletons released a MIDI version of their song "No" for download with an Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike CC license. It was made (mistakes and all!) by playing midi drums, a keyboard, and a midi guitar live, then using "SOFT-SYNTH" presets to create a "version". They then edited the original vocals from the "PEOPLE" album to fit this new "version". Anyone and everyone is invited to download the file and make their own version of the song. For more information on the project, click here! (via.)

Skeletons will be performing on Friday, June 29th at Brooklyn, NY's Union Pool with Rhys Chatham - Ryan Sawyer Gunn - Truscinski Duo, and Peter Stampfel as part of Northern Spy's Spy Music Festival.

Skeletons on

Free Music Archive | Bandcamp | Vimeo | Facebook

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miscellaniac on 06/27/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Ollie North, "Cold Apppearaance"

Ex-New Englander and Montreal transplant, Jack Deming, aka Ollie North and his March 2012 release, "Lindenfels" EP are welcome new additions to the FMA, courtesy of Montreal curator, CKUT

The first track, "Cold Apppearaance" might not make you feel like the abominable snowman, but it will "conjure up pastoral ambiances that envelop your imagination and carry you to a place where you can take pause and breathe some fresh air" (from "The Affective Music Sphere of Ollie North") and if that place happens to contain mythical inhabitants who can bring relief in the sweltering months, then so much the better.

Listen to and download the full luscious EP:  FMA  |  Bandcamp


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badpandarecords on 06/26/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Kid Flicks, "The Great Cape"

Kid Flicks was born in Lefkada 23 years ago and lives in Athens, Greece. Originally trained as a graphic designer and visual artist, from early high school years, he started his self-taught relationship with music exploring the boundaries of pop and experimental music, influenced by artists as The Residents, XTC, Os Mutantes and The Flaming Lips. Read the interview and more at the Bad Panda Blog.

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dvd on 06/22/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Waylon Thornton, "Rose Water"

A recent solo record from Florida rock 'n' roller Waylon Thornton, whose usual duo arrangement with wife Meg (The Heavy Hands) gets a pass in liue of some home-brewed Bob Seger blooze. We've got some fresh Southern tunes here folks! The whole record is full of Summer roadtrip jams, so dig in!

Waylon Thornton at:

Free Music Archive | Souncloud | Tumblr | Bandcamp | Facebook

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dvd on 06/21/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Saito Koji, "Alone"

Saito Koji's ambient minimalism is well documented through releases on Resting Bell, SEM label, and a slew of other independent labels. Grounded in the subtle layering of repetive melodic phrases, Koji's work typically allows this pattern to develop and morph slowly thoughout the duration of the album.

Since the devastating earthquake in Koji's native Fukushima his music has begun to incorporate heavier distortion and guitar noise. On Again, his latest release, every song clocks in at exactly 3 minutes, a notable limiting of Koji's usual fair as well as a thoughtful nod to the "perfect" pop form. Despite the short songs, the album flows quite well as a whole - so be sure to check the whole thing out hereSaito Koji at:

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lizziedavis on 06/20/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Suishou no Fune, "Your Tears"

photoSuishou No Fune brought their hazy free psych all the way from Japan to WFMU in the midst of a US tour. Laced with unhinged Tokyo Flashback-isms, Suishou No Fune's spare, transformational, spiritually heavy music is sure to bring the extra claustrophobic humidity to the sweet New Jersey summer. Or should I say bummer. (via.)

As the temperature here in Jersey City climbs closer and closer towards the dreaded 99 degree forcast, only a track that lays on the reverb as thickly as "Your Tears" feels right for today's MP3 of the Day.

For more Suishou No Fune, click here to listen to a newly uploaded set from 2006.

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badpandarecords on 06/19/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Ghosts, "Grief and Sleep"

A superb blend of emotional electronica and dark ambient garage/dubstep that sounds like an hypotetic collaboration between Caribou and Burial.

Dublin-based Ghosts (Paudie Bob and Kevin Gleeson) new EP on Bad Panda Records is impressive and it is majestically ranging from the hectic sounds of Sniper Wolf to the relaxed atmosphere of Grief And Sleep (today's MP3). Be sure to not miss them if you’re in Ireland: they’re playing on June 21st at Forward/Slash (Bernard Shaw, Dublin) and on August 31st at Electric Picnic. More info and interview here.

Ghosts on

Free Music Archive | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook

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dvd on 06/18/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Isle of Pine, "Coat of Arms (Farther Away)"

Isle of Pine is the solo project of Montreal's Tim Beeler, whose self-imposed recording limitations saturate his  personable songwriting with a familiar 4-track tape hiss bliss. Recorded through a $4 karaoke microphone, And Farther Away is brought to us by curator CKUT out of McGill University. Coat of Arms (Farther Away) is the album opener, but be sure to check out 1 (Maine) if you're looking for even more Neutral Milk Hotel vibes.

Isle of Pine on:

Free Music Archive | Bandcamp


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dvd on 06/15/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Tom Kitty Oliver, "Pinnacle Cow"

Today's MP3 is another lo-fi offering from a new member of the bedroom psychedelia milieu. Tom Kitty Oliver is the solo project of Andrew Hamlet, who lit up the blog scene with his electronic project Pressed And, a longtime collaboration with friend Mat Jones (check out this track from their "Visual EP" Imbue Up).

Hamlet's debut tape Life on Loop (which he describes as, “more Ayahuasca journey than weekend shroom fun”) is availabone on Bandcamp, but he's offering two tracks to share/download here on the FMA.


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jason on 06/13/2012 at 01:20PM

MP3 of the Day: Hot & Cold, "Out of the Grey"

Lofi minimal synth-punk duo Hot & Cold was born in 2005 in New Delhi, India. The two brothers from Montreal soon relocated to Beijing to perform their first show and release music on Maybe Mars, a fantastic local label with international reach. 

"Out of the Grey" is the opening track to Border Area, Hot & Cold's official debut LP, slated for a July 17th release on Moniker Records.

With bass-fuzz, drum machine, distorto synth and trance-inducing vocal mantras, this danceable paranoia sound like some Clinic apparition from the 80s cassette underground.

Hot & Cold on the FMA | Moniker Records

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badpandarecords on 06/12/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Rasel Fame, "Moon"

The only thing we know about enigmatic producer Rasel Fame is that he/she is a newborn act coming from Greece. After the collaboration with Keep Shelly in Athens, midnight goosebumps are back again with "Moon". Learn more by reading the interview.

Soundcloud | Facebook | Myspace | Bandcamp | Twitter

Rasel Fame - "Moon" (03:33)
Rasel Fame - "Moon" (03:33)
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lizziedavis on 06/11/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: The Luddites, "Jesus Train"

Ava LunaRaised on the subways of NYC, the Luddites formed in Fall 2010 for a three day residency at the experimental dance space La Mama. They've been confounding audiences ever since with their dedication to forcing cacophony, free jazz, funk and pop into submission. The band is also involved in Amplified Cactus Salon, an experimental art collective that incorporates, cooking, acting, and visual art into its performances.

With its many members spread out across all five boroughs, the Luddites spend a lot of time in the parallel universe that exists in the subway tunnels of NYC. Though they're infamous for telling endless tales of wisdom gleaned late at night on the L and psychic encounters on the M, all of the Luddites can agree that there's simply no train in New York like the Jesus Train.

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dvd on 06/08/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Andrew Cedermark, "Moon Deluxe"

Today's MP3 is the title track from Andrew Cedermarks 2010 LP on Underwater Peoples. Former guitarist for Titus Andronicus, Andrew has since been writing catchy lo-fi pop out of his home in Charlottesville, VA. He released three tracks from the ablum under Creative Commons, including "Moon Deluxe" - you can find them here or buy the record

Find Andrew on:

Free Music Archive | Bandcamp | Facebook | Myspace

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dvd on 06/07/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Gillicuddy, "A Garden and A Library"

Today we're featuring a track from Andi Rohden (aka Gillicuddy) off his new album ...Plays Guitar, recently released by Moscow's Clinical Archives. Clocking in at 15 minutes, the album breezes through seven instrumental guitar pieces, all of which echo sincerity through their simple melodies and finger-picking. Gillicuddy has been releasing Creative Commons music online for quite some time now, so be sure to check his various online destinations below for more. Grab a cup of tea and enjoy "A Garden and A Library".

Gillicuddy at:

The Free Music Archive | Facebook 

SoundCloud | Bandcamp | Vimeo

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lizziedavis on 06/06/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Ava Luna, "Past the Barbary"

Ava LunaEver wonder what the soundtrack to a fight between James Brown and Dirty Projectors would sound like? Ava Luna's latest album "Ice Level" would definitely be a top contender. Very few bands can be described as both "Stax meets Kraftwerk" and "nervous soul," but Brooklyn-based Ava Luna's brand of deconstructed R&B is unique enough to make it work.

Last winter, Ava Luna came in to WFMU to play a set on Beastin the Airwaves. It was a long planned and long-time coming event, first discussed back in 2008 before Ava Luna's first album, "3rd Avenue Island" was even released. Clearly, they'd spent a lot of the time between then and now practicing, because they sounded great. Check out closing track "Past the Barbary" below, and download the whole set here!

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badpandarecords on 06/05/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: LASERS, "Amsterdam"


João Pedro Costa is a portuguese beat-maker based in Utrecht producing, under the moniker of LASERS, ghostly ambience befitting gelid wistfulness, dark winters and biting chill inspired by musicians as Boards of Canada or Eskmo. Here’s the 11-tracks debut EP that also includes remixes by Blac KoyoteRuddyp,Sun GlittersElite AthleteStereoboyDaily Misconceptions and Sam A La Bamalot. (via Bad Panda Records)


LASERS on the Free Music Archive | Facebook | Soundcloud | Tumblr

LASERS - "Amsterdam" (03:42)
LASERS - "Amsterdam" (03:42)
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lizziedavis on 06/04/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: PLEE!, "The Green Man"

Nightbirds Last summer, Russian netlabel Electrosound Moscow released a collection of IDM, ambient and glitch tunes called "The Compilation of Modern Sleeping." They proudly proclaim it to be a good way to fall asleep or to dream in summer daylight. You can also imagine a journey and fly to another world with deep sound of modern electronica... Or just to listen to good music. (via.)

The compilation's opening track, "The Green Man" by PLEE!, is a pleasant introduction to the dreamy electronic soundscapes that follow. Download the full album here!

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lizziedavis on 06/01/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Nightbirds, "The Other Side of Darkness"

Nightbirds Although they're from the East Coast, Night Birds' mix of hardcore, punk, and sinister teenage thoughts sounds as if they were born and bred in California in the '80s. (via.)

When Night Birds came to WFMU a couple weeks ago to play on Diane's Kamikaze Fun Machine, I was totally blown away by their loud-- really loud-- awesomeness. They channeled their tremendous energy into blasting through 12 songs in just 20 minutes.

For a taste of Night Birds' spitfire surf-punk, turn the volume up higher than you'd ordinarily feel comfortable with and check out "The Other Side of Darkness." You can check out the rest of the set here!

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dvd on 05/31/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Laso Halo, "And I was a play horse you pull with a string"

Laso Halo

An archival specimen for today's MP3, Laso Halo's self-released, self-titled album from 1992 weaves together a disturbing pop aesthetic from an impressive array of obscure LP and shortwave radio recordings, plus the occasional guitar, synth, and drum machine. Straight out of Efland, North Carolina (population 4000), the album presents a unique perspective on sample-based music, and our featured track is composed entirely from found sound. 

The duo were infamous around town for their performances, which frequently devolved into performance art and featured the inimitable Lemmons the Shiny Clown. Despite their limited recorded output the band wielded a lasting influence on experimental music in nearby NC music hub Chapel Hill. 

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jason on 05/30/2012 at 04:00PM

Q&A: National Library of New Zealand's Turnbull Mixtape

image CC BY 2.0 by dfulmer

In celebration of New Zealand Music Month (now coming to a close), the music librarians at the Alexander Turnbull Library (part of the National Library of New Zealand) compiled an online mixtape of fantastic New Zealand music that is free to download and share under a Creative Commons license. All of the tracks featured on the compilation are part of the National Digital Heritage Archive, a massive project that aims to collect and preserve the digital cultural content of New Zealand. Intrigued, we got in touch with the team to learn more about the project, the challenges of creating and maintaing an archive of digital music, and Creative Commons music in New Zealand. They are:   

NZ Music Month

· Matt Steindl, Music Research Librarian. Matt is responsible for the the access and research end of things, which includes promoting the collection.

· Roger Flury and Keith McEwing, Music Curators. Roger and Keith are chiefly responsible for building the collection, both published and unpublished.

· Chris Anderson, Music Access Coordinator. Chris is responsible for the large collection of choral and orchestral works that are made available to New Zealand performance groups.

· Sholto Duncan, E-Publications Librarian/Online Music Selector. Sholto is responsible for locating and collecting digital music music that doesn't come under the scope of legal deposit.

· Gavin Pascoe, Senior Acquisitions Librarian. Gavin is responsible for collecting/chasing up all NZ music (digital or otherwise) that is in scope for legal deposit.

 FMA: Could you tell us a bit of background about how the National Digital Heritage Archive (NDHA) came about and your role in the archive as Music Librarians at the National Library? How/why did you get into archiving music?

SD: The NDHA was developed to ensure that despite technical obsolescence, the National Library's digital heritage collections will be preserved for researchers, students and library users now and in the future.

In turn, the National Library is able to facilitate a much more proactive programme of collecting both published and unpublished born-digital heritage collection material, increasing both the volume and 'breadth' of collecting in this area.

We started actively collecting and archiving published music into the NDHA in about 2009 as it was becoming evident that more music was only being published online with no physical equivalents. This was coupled with the seemingly transient nature of online music and therefore greater risk of loss than other formats (We can't simply go to record stores and future auctions and fill in gaps in the collection as is possible with physical items). The initial few years have been spent building this collection and making decisions around formats to collect and legal implications of storing and making this music accessible to the public. We are now approaching the stage where we are able to start working more on access and this is something we are all excited about!

FMA: Could you tell us a little bit about your curatorial approach, particularly when dealing with works that are born-digital? What is the criteria for inclusion on the NDHA?

GP: As far as recorded music goes, anything which is produced for public distribution. Criteria are: Published in NZ (by anybody); published by a New Zealander overseas; or overseas release with significant involvement by a New Zealander. We also take in anything produced in the Pacific (mostly Polynesia), or that have significant involvement by Pacific people. Unpublished material may also be included, if we believe that examples of this kind of work is rare, or not permanently archived elsewhere.

FMA: There seems to be a ongoing debate between archivists about the impermanence of digital archives. What is your stance as a music librarian on creating a digital archive with no physical mirror?

SD: The main goal of the NDHA is about providing long-term access to digital heritage collections under the guardianship of the National Library. While we collect all formats of an album, there is still a large amount of born digital material with no physical mirror that has been deposited and there are strict preservation guidelines in place to ensure this material is safely stored and preserved. The NDHA uses a standards-based, commercial digital preservation system developed in partnership with Ex Libris Group, a library management systems vendor, and Sun Microsystems, a provider of open network computing systems. The hardware and software are designed to be scalable over time as the digital collections grow.

FMA: What are some of the challenges you've encountered over the past 4 years of archiving digital music?

SD: There have been a number of challenges. These relate to keeping up with changing formats and methods of distribution, rights management and copyright, and working with new vendors including bands and musicians. A huge challenge is trying to keep-up with the explosion in New Zealand music being released online. The internet has really enabled more musicians and bands to have a platform to be heard, and as they are able to bypass the costs involved in pressing and distributing CDs and are more often than not going down the independent route, this trend is likely to continue.

GP: Finding it, and understanding the legislation as it applies to overseas servers and platforms (e.g. iTunes, Bandcamp) can be challenging.

FMA: How did the Turnbull Mixtape come about?

MS: Initially our web content editor Reuben Shrader asked me if we had any digitized out-of-copyright music that we could make available for download as part of our New Zealand Music Month series of blog posts. Copyright here lasts for 50 years, and the New Zealand songwriting and recording industry was still very much in its infancy in the 1950s, so there's not a whole lot of New Zealand-made music in our collection that is out of copyright yet. So I suggested that perhaps we could look at it from another angle, and offer some totally fresh music that didn't face the usual copyright issues.

FMA: The mixtape is full of amazing CC music from New Zealand. Are there NZ-based CC nelabels or other resources who you suggest we check out?

MS: Several of the tracks on this compilation are on the Wellington-based netlabel Postmoderncore.

SD: bsidebeats, Sonorous Circle, Crystal Magic

FMA: In the announcement for the Turnbull mixtape, you mention that you've started by collecting works under CC licenses because the library is interested in finding ways to share the rapidly growing collection with the public. You've started by collecting works under CC licenses. Are there more projects to look out for from the NDHA?

MS: We are constantly looking for more and better ways for people to access the Library's massive collection of music. The digital revolution has come upon us so (comparatively) rapidly and until recently most of the effort has gone into making sure we are adequately collecting and storing digital content. More recently we have started to seriously investigate the access side of things and actively pushing out some of our CC content is a first step on that path. We have also started asking musicians/labels at the point of deposit for permission to stream their music over the internet directly from our catalogue (see this blog post for an example). Similarly, as early New Zealand recordings start to come out of copyright we will digitize them and hope to make them available for direct download.

To find out more about what's going on at the National Library of New Zealand, visit their blog.

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jason on 05/30/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Blah Blah Blah, "In The Army"

Blah Blah Blah surfaced during the late 70s UK DIY explosion. The group took an improvised approach, never playing the same song twice but recording constantly in a similar spirit to groups like Smersh and The Residents. Their penchant for synthesized sound led Blah to share the stage with up-and-coming electro pop groups like Depeche Mode, which in turn led to riots; the group gave up on live performance after an audience member attempted to set them on fire during their thirteenth show (click the article to read more).

Many of Blah Blah Blah's recordings were reissued by the UK's great Cherry Red, and are archived for posterity here on the FMA. "In The Army" was originally released as the group's single, and now caps off the Gold Collection, a reissue of Blah Blah Blah's first LP, as a special bonus track. The song's absurd vocals strike a chord somewhere between Cookie Monster and Amanda, atop synthesized sounds that come across like a tripped out BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

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dvd on 05/29/2012 at 07:30PM

J.S. Bach Open Sourced & Crowd Funded

After a wildly successful kickstarter campaign, the folks at the Open Goldberg Variations project have finally released their recordings of Bach's famous 1741 composition. Recorded in the Teldex Studio in Berlin (whose client list reads like a who's who of classical conductors and orchestras), producer Anne-Marie Sylvestre beautifully captures pianist Kimiko Ishizaka's performance of Bach's masterpiece. It is not every day that someone puts so much time and effort into a classical recording only to turn around and offer it up to the public domain free of charge. In fact, according to the project's creators, this is the first fan-funded, open source, and completely free recording ever produced. The recording is accompanied by a newly revised edition of the score open peer-reviewed and put together by musescore.

The recording is licensed under Creative Commons Zero, which effectively allows the recording to be used by anyone, for anything, in any way. It's the most "open" license offered by Creative Commons and is designed to assist artists who wish to waive their creative rights and dedicate their works to the public domain.

Read a review from Catching The Waves

Visit The Open Goldberg Variations on:

Free Music Archive | Soundcloud | Official Website | Facebook

We're very excited to share this monumental work and we can't give enough kudos to the Open Goldberg Variations team!


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badpandarecords on 05/29/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Sad Soul Circus, "Colorful Lights"

via Bad Panda Records -- Sad Soul Circus is the musical guise of 19 year old film student Finn Yowell. Currently based in Cork City, Finn continues to impress with his ability to produce swirly electronic gems possessed by a hazy, ambient touch.

Be sure to read the full interview, wherein Finn discusses his love for coco-pops and magical forest raves.


FMA | Facebook | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Youtube

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jason on 05/28/2012 at 02:30PM

MP3 of the Day: "Soldiers Farewell Fanfare"

The United States Armed Forces enlists some very talented men and women to "serve the nation through music" as members of its musical ensembles. Since these high-caliber recordings are performed by US Government employees, they immediately enter the public domain according to a nifty bit of US law that is well-worth celebrating this Memorial Day.

The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps is one of the US Army's premier musical organizations. The 69-member Corps uses 10-hole fifes, handmade rope-tensioned drums and single-valve bugles, which bring to life the exciting sounds of the continental army. The Fife and Drum Corps also features a Baroque Trumpet Ensemble; a specialty group that revives the sounds of period trumpet music. (Read More)

In 2010, the Corps celebrated its 50th anniversary with a collection of 21 songs spanning styles from Bach to Handel to colonial era standards like the National Anthem and the US Army Song.

"Soldiers Farewell Fanfare/Montezuma/March of War/Windsor Park/March of War & Reprise from Warlike" is one of the album's many highlights, and you can enjoy the recording in its entirety here on the FMA. Thanks to Oddio Overplay for alerting us to this fantastic release! 

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dvd on 05/25/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Buildings and Mountains, "Fall Moon"

Fall MoonToday's MP3 comes to us from Oneonta, New York where Buildings and Mountains have been pumping out some wonderfully atmospheric drone improvisations. With a haunting piano melody and a gloomy feedback/fieldrecording howl filling the cassette-tape void, "Fall Moon" is the perfect soundtrack to your weekend introspection. Thanks to owldirt, new to the FMA, for making this available!

Also, be sure to check out Summer Gut String and the accompanying experimental videos done by Jaime Rodriguez Lopez at the band's Vimeo page. 

Facebook | Bandcamp | Youtube

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dvd on 05/24/2012 at 06:59AM

MP3 of the Day: Honey Trappists, "A Bicycle Ride Through The Nation's Capitol (Lokin' Out)"


In honor of National Bike Month, today's MP3 of the Day is a cosmic voyage down the bicycle lane. 

Improvisational duo Honey Trappists split the difference between Yonkers, New York and Washington DC. Their release Rough Jazz: Vol 1 features a nice array of experimental guitar work, and the opener A Bicycle Ride Through the Nation's Capitol (Lokin' Out) evokes the uncanny experience of biking through DC as monuments, lobbyists, and segway tours rush by. 

Honey Trappists half John Badger has a growing collection of material on the FMA released under his own John Badger Farms label, including two albums with The Moustache Riders of Doom.

More at: Tumblr | Bandcamp

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lizziedavis on 05/23/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Quinn McCarthy, "Takauji Turns"

ShogunQuinn McCarthy is a prolific assemblage of musicians headed by multi-instrumentalist, composer and author Tom Fahy. In addition to recording albums under both the Tom Fahy name and the Quinn McCarthy psuedonym, Fahy and his collaborators have been running and releasing records via their Stag Records netlabel for over 2 decades.

Fahy's music under both names is dark, ambient, and orchestral. Fahy adresses his approach to music in his writing. "Making music is voluntary. Unlike bread, we don't require it for our sustenance. Accordingly, music shouldn't require its pound of flesh from the would-be listener. The price of art should be set by the market, by the listener, not by a machine with political interests."

"Takauji Turns" is taken from McCarthy/Fahy's 1999 release, Shogun.

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jason on 05/22/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Bear Bones, Lay Low, "Genesis 6 1-17"

Bear Bones, Lay Low is Ernesto Gonzalez. The Venezuela-born, Belgium-based member of Silvester Anfang (Sylvester Anfang II). He began releasing solo electronic experiments as a teenager via his own Eat the Sun imprint, and soon linked up with the KRAAK label for 2009's Vallee De Dith and this year's follow-up, El Telonero

"Genesis 6 1-17" is based around a passage from the Book of Genesis recounted as a duet with Gonzalez's acid guitar licks splayed out over a bubbling tropical-ectro rhythm that recalls fellow Venezuelan Angel Rada. It's bizzarely playful considering that this passage describes humanity's wickedness in the eys of the lord, who advises Noah to build an ark before he floods the earth.

Bear Bones, Lay Low HQ | Facebook | Soundcloud | FMA

KRAAK HQ | FMA | El Telonero LP

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jason on 05/21/2012 at 11:50AM

MP3 of the Day: Invisible Sports, "Beastly"

Invisible Sports is the new solo project from Aaron Moore, a founding member of Leicester UK's acclaimed experimental group Volcano the Bear

Though his foundation is in ritualistic/melodic percussion, voice and avant-trumpet, Aaron Moore "generally considers any instrument (or object) playable in one way or another." His discography encompasses over thirty albums from projects like Dragon Or Emperor, Amolvacy, Songs of NorwayCourtis/MooreTextile Trio. Nat Roe gave a great overview of the selections available on the FMA in 2009 [link].

"Beastly" is one of two promotional downloads to sample off of The Future Tastes, the first studio album from Invisible Sports. This song-based solo project began when Aaron Moore relocated to Brooklyn a few years ago, and the album spans three years of recordings. This new release is available in a 300-edition LP from Alt Vinyl as well as to download-in-full.

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FMAmp3 on 05/17/2012 at 12:00AM

MP3 of the Day: Violeta Päivänkakkara, "Sateenkaari"

Violeta Päivänkakkara was born in Helsinki, Finland, in 1992. She has always felt drawn to cosmology, planets, nature and the dream world. She creates environments and personal and melancholic atmospheres, using instruments like the glockenspiel, guitar, piano and electronic sounds of nature, among others. She currently lives between Helsinki and Barcelona. -La Gramola

"Sateenkaari" can be found on Kuu, a collection released this week on La Gramola Netlabel.

> Violeta Päivänkakkara on Facebook | Bandcamp | FMA

> La Gramola on FMA | Homepage

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badpandarecords on 05/14/2012 at 12:20PM

MP3 of the Day: Indian Wells, "Deuce"

via Bad Panda Records — We're glad to announce our 2nd physical release and introduce you Indian Wells. His first track "Deuce" [mp3] just debuted on XLR8R and was likened to Shlohmo’s lo-fi textures and Actress’ gritty techno mantras.

Debut LP "Night Drops" will be out in june, meanwhile pre-order one of the 100 numbered CDs before they’re gone forever and follow Indian Wells on FB or SNDCLD for more news/mp3s.

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FMAmp3 on 05/11/2012 at 10:30AM

MP3 of the Day: The Nighttime Adventure Society, "She's In Mind"

The Nighttime Adventure Society plays rollick 'n roll music by Laura Zax. They are currently working on their debut LP, but their music has already been featured on NPR, Delta radio, and in a commercial for Sally Hansen. Based in Washington DC, the group has performed nationally and internationally, including a several shows at the World Expo in Shanghai. (via)

Chapter One: The First Chapter is the Nighttime Adventure Society's four-song debut, released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike license. The whole EP's a treat, but "She's In Mind" is an especially infectious tune and a very fine production with guitar licks, glockenspiel, square waves and harmonized vocals that delight the ears.

Nighttime Adventure Society | Bandcamp | Facebook | FMA

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FMAmp3 on 05/09/2012 at 11:30AM

MP3 of the Day: Phoniandflore, "Melodica Time"

Like stepper dub? Like melodica? Then you’re going to love this new EP from 4 of the best and most prolific dub artists from the netlabel community in France.

Phoniandflore (aka P.A.F) starts the musical journey with the original mix. With a driving bassline, swirling eastern groove and melodic melody, P.A.F treats us to some classic stepper goodness.

Additional remixes by Shan-a-ShanInjham and Jideh High take the track to additional heights. Injham refines the beat a little, whilst keeping true to the original groove. Shan-a-Shan treats us to a more liquid sound and Jideh High takes this one stage further with a distinctly watery dub.

This is French electrodub at its finest.

via Angel Dust Records & Marée Bass

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jason on 05/08/2012 at 12:30PM

MP3 of the Day: Raleigh Moncrief, "Combed Over Chrome"

"Combed Over Chrome" is an interstellar beat-blast to launch minds into warp.

California's Raleigh Moncrief grew up composing music on tracker software, transcribing guitar parts into digital sequence in the pre-mp3 era of the Commodore 64. Members of the tracker scene were music filesharing pioneers, and Raleigh naturally took to the web to release the Combed Over Chrome EP via his own Obstructive Vibrations netlabel.

OV also helped introduce us to some of the many talented musicians who run in Moncrief's Sacramento circle like Hexlove, Appetite and Pregnant. Alongside Death Grips, Moncrief seems to be leading the local beat-oriented scene, but he is a truly eclectic collaborator—playing with the likes of Zach Hill (Hella), The Advantage, and Marnie Stern—and a producer of albums by Ganglians and 'sound design' for Dirty Projectors' Bitte Orca.

Anticon recently released Raleigh's debut LP, Watered Lawn. Check out the "Lament For Morning" video, directly by Moncrief himself, after the jump. Raleigh Moncrief plays live on my WFMU program this Thursday May 10th at 10am.

Raleigh Moncrief @ WWW  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Soundcloud  |  FMA

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FMAmp3 on 05/03/2012 at 11:50AM

MP3 of the Day: Miss Emma, "Une Glace au Citron"

Miss Emma lives in Chambéry, France. Her dad is Juan Naveira, creator of the band Juanitos.

When Emma wrote the lyrics to her first song, "Une Glace au Citron" ("A Lemon Ice"), she gave the page to her dad and hummed the tune for him. He played it on the guitar for her.

Within a few weeks, they put together more songs, and a full-length album. Soon they were performing small concerts and appearing in the press. The video for "Une Glace au Citron" ("A Lemon Ice") became a hit on the Internet! Well-known American DJs Ursula 100 and Martinibomb have promoted Miss Emma, and she has since developed a following in the USA.

via, the world's first netlabel for kids!

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jason on 05/03/2012 at 10:55AM

MP3 of the Day: Axial, "Papaloko"

Axial, from São Paulo, melds traditional music of Brazil, Haiti and Africa with contemporary electronic and electroacustic sounds. The result is a bit like Björk mixed with Ceu. The group consists of core members Sandra Ximenez (vocals, keyboard), and Felipe Julián (bass, computers, production), with Yvo Ursini (guitar) and Leonardo Muniz Correa (sax/clarinet).

"Papaloko" is the opening track to Axial's 2004 debut LP, "Vol 1." Axial have since released two more albums under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licenseSimbiose [2011], Senóide [2008].

Axial's website includes many side projects like a live soundtrack to Buster Keaton silent film and podcasts about digital culture. Their latest project, Bagagem is a free software for music distribution used by fellow contemporary Brazilian artists like Chico Correa (who Axial cover on their latest album)

Axial - "Papaloko" (05:38)
Axial - "Papaloko" (05:38)
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jason on 05/02/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Michael Stasis, "Brown Cow"

New music from Michael Stasis: "Brown Cow" is a mid-fi avant-pop tune on a Neu-style groove. It's available on his new album Chainsaw, released last week by Megazine Magazine, where you can also grab an autographed Michael Stasis poster.

Michael Stasis has somewhat of a cult following thanks to his limited-run cassette releases dating back to the early part of the last decade. I first heard him through Nadav of Phoning It In, who knew I'd dig the home-recorded psychedlic folk-pop. His music can be hard to track down, but in 2009 I was lucky to find a few copies of his self-titled cassette on Natural Resources behind the counter at Other Music, and we offer a couple tracks from Michael Stasis' cassette releases on the FMA here.

Last year, Michael Stasis compiled a bunch of his older lo-fi experimental recordings into a freely downloadable collection entitled RIP (2003-2009).

He's since moved to Oakland (from Philly/NY) and upped the fi to mid- for a slew of fantastic releases like Innernet Blues and In the Shadow of the Dairy Queen.

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michael stasis
jason on 05/01/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Ed Schrader's Music Beat, "My Mind Is Broken By The Sound" (Live @WFMU)

Every time I reach for a jelly bean, "I Can't Stop Eating Sugar" by Ed Schrader's Music Beat pops into my head: "When you can't stop doing something / Brother you must stop yourself." And every time my mind is broken by the sound, "My Mind is Broken By the Sound" comes to mind.

Wham City's Ed Schrader is the host of The Ed Schrader Show and The Ed Schrader Podcast. He is also the voice of David Bowie trying his hand at standup comedy. Ed Schrader's  music began with his stories to be told, a floor tom, a little bit of reverb on the vocals, and a three-year tour of the USA. Joined by bassist Devlin Rice (Nuclear Power Pants), Ed Schrader's Music Beat brings to mind minimalist Swans songs stripped to their essence with wit, concision, and a message.

This recording comes from a live performance on WFMU's Talk's Cheap this fall (video). The Music Beat's Jazz Mind LP is out now on Load Records.

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FMAmp3 on 04/26/2012 at 04:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Spade Cooley, "Better Do It Now"

One of the most notorious figures in country music history is western swing pioneer Spade Cooley. Cooley was known as the "King of Western Swing" in his heyday, but due to a gruesome incident in his private life, he is often viewed these days more as the Sid Vicious of Western Swing. His is a model lesson in how a brilliant musical legacy can be overshadowed by unsavory personal problems. (via JoeMc, "He Did It Then" —> Read More)

This song features Tex Williams on vocals, and can be found on Shame On You, a set of music from Space Cooley & The Western Swing Dance Gang featuring Tex. The collection was issued by Bloodshot Records' Bloodshot Revival Series.

The Bloodshot Revival Series is a fantastic historical resource for country music in the early/mid 1900s, with a focus on the music of Bloodshot's hometown of Chicago.

Browse more promotional Bloodshot Revival/Soundies tracks on the FMA, and pick up these fantastic reissues at Bloodshot Records. Show 'em some love in honor of Preservation Week (#preswk12)!

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jason on 04/25/2012 at 09:00AM

Free Music Archive Receives NEA Arts in Media Grant to Support "Re:Mix Media"

Today, the National Endowment for the Arts announced that the Free Music Archive is one of 78 not-for-profit organizations across America to receive an NEA Arts in Media grant. The FMA is recommended for a $75,000 grant to support the Re:Mix Media project.

Re:Mix Media is a series of three programs planned by the Free Music Archive to engage audiences in the appreciation, discussion, and creation of music and arts in the digital environment. Three programs will use the FMA's interactive platform to create multimedia art and provide access to those art works: 

  1. Re:imagine is a series of themed multimedia contests and workshops to encourage hands-on engagement through the creation of new works inspired by Creative Commons and the public domain.

  2. Tracks to Sync is a monthly mix of music curated with the online video producer in mind. The blog series encourages healthy collaboration between media producers and artists through access to alternatively licensed music and educational resources.

  3. State of The Arts is a monthly program that intersects radio, blogs and live discussion to address applications of creativity involving music in the contemporary digital setting.

The FMA is an interactive music library that by its very nature encourages collaboration. The Re:Mix Media Project will help us take these interactions to the next level through programming that harnesses the potential of the digital era. We are honored to receive the NEA's recommendation in the Arts in Media category, and look forward to working with you to Re:Mix Media!

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Arts in Media grant support, please visit the NEA website at Here's NEA's official announcement as well as our own press release if you'd like to help spread the word. And while we prepare to celebrate our third birthday, here's an "Anniversary Song."

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miscellaniac on 04/24/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Isidore Soucy, "Quadrille Laurier (6ème Partie)"

Another Preservation Week goody, this one from FMA curator Excavated Shellac.

Isidore Soucy, a fiddler and composer, was a fixture in traditional Québécois folk music of the early to mid-20th century. 

This track, "which is similar to a square-dance, except without calls" might inevitably be compared to American folk fiddle music, but its relatively smooth and polished style are rooted in European influence, particularly in the piano accompaniment.

Originally recorded in the 1920s, "Quadrille Laurier (6ème Partie)" was released as a 78 and fortunately for us it is now available digitally. 


Sources: Virtual Gramophone  |  The Canadian Encyclopedia  |  Excavated Shellac on the FMA |


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miscellaniac on 04/23/2012 at 04:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Sophie Tucker, "Some Of These Days"

It's Preservation Week and the next best thing to a cryogenic thaw is to download a digitized cylinder recording of "Some of These Days" by the inimitable Sophie Tucker

Known as "The Last of the Red Hot Mamas," Sophie Tucker was more than just another early 20th century entertainer in Vaudeville, Broadway, and film.  An anachronistically progressive character, she touted the merits of being a powerful, glamorous, full-figured, older woman who was vocal about her sexual appetites.

Tucker was able to captivate audiences with raunchy humor, a texturally raspy voice, and haunting nostalgic interludes.  A Russian/Ukrainian immigrant who attempted to transcend the racial segregation that drenched the music and entertainment industry, Tucker was also a union organizer.

For those of you who think old music is boring and there's nothing in it for you, check out "Some of These Days."  Tucker's voice has a quality similar to Molly Siegel of Ponytail, that hints at boundless range.  The longing and desire of this song could sit comfortably inside of a Larkin Grimm album. 

Her energy and verve were such that if Carrie Brownstein came down with the flu, Tucker could jump in a zombie time machine and fill in as the fourth member of Wild Flag without skipping a beat.  (She belted out tunes at such an incredible volume that it nearly posed a technical difficulty for the wax cylinders capturing the recordings, a trait that sometimes affected its enduring quality.)

Tucker's weary and essentially modern crisis of loneliness are profound enough to reach us way up here in the 21st century.  In 2009 Archeophone Records released an anthology of Ms. Tucker's earliest recordings, entitled Sophie Tucker: Origins of the Red Hot Mama, 1910-1922Music critic, Jody Rosen, called her "a proto-feminist and taboo-shattering sensualist, and... a herald of pop musical modernity." (accessed April 23, 2012, New York Times)  Imagine what Tucker could have done with a loop pedal.

Download/listen to more cylindrical showstoppers here on the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project (CPDP)'s FMA curator page or check out the full searchable/browsable collection on the CPDP website.  The CPDP digitizes cylinder recordings (the earliest commercially produced recordings) in an effort to preserve and make them accessible to a wider audience and is a project of the Department of Special Collections at the Donald C. Davidson Library at UC Santa Barbara.  You can even adopt a poor orphan cylinder (Puh-leaze suh, can I have some more digitizing?) or friend the CPDP on Facebook.

To learn more about Sophie Tucker, look to the sources consulted for this blog post: Wikipedia, Jewish Women's Archive, and Jody Rosen's review of Archeophone's 2009 Tucker anthology in the New York Times.  Also, keep your eyes peeled for this feature-length documentary about Tucker, currently in the works.

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jason on 04/20/2012 at 03:40PM

MP3 of the Day: Shabazz Palaces, "Hottabatch" live at KEXP | Record Store Day LP

Shabazz Palaces are a Seattle-based hip-hop group led by Ishmael Butler aka 'Palaceer Lazaro' (once 'Butterfly' of jazz-rap group Digable Planets) and multi-instrumentalist Tendai 'Baba' Maraire, son of mbira master Dumisani Maraire.

The duo performed several times at Seattle's mighty KEXP. A track from their 2009 appearance, "Hottabatch," can be is today's #FMAmp3. Their latest 2011 session is available on vinyl in celebration of Record Store Day, Sat April 21st. Check out all the special RSD releases here.

In addition to their recordings—their latest LP is 2011's Black Up (Sub Pop)—Shabazz Palaces live performances are not to be missed. There's a fantastic video from their 2011 KEXP session below with thumb piano prominently featured. Catch them on tour now.

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FMAmp3 on 04/19/2012 at 05:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Smersh, "My God Those Legs"

Smersh are legends of the NJ cassette underground, previously featured on WFMU's blog. Beat studio guru Mike Mangino and Chris Shepard started recording together in 1979 and began releasing cassettes as Smersh in 1981, improvising cuts nearly every Monday night for over a decade.

"My God Those Legs" is a later recording featuring Roger Johansen on sax. It's sourced from 1994's Isomorphic Records comp The Arbitrary Nature Of Meaning where Smersh appeared alongside artists like Illusion of Safety and Jim O'Rourke. The track closes out a 15-track Smersh Library Sampler compiled by Mike Mangino especially for WFMU and the FMA.

Mike is still releasing fantastic small-run releases over at M-Pop, and if you dig these sounds, then you are encouraged to reach out in the true spirit of the cassette underground.

Today's song was selected by @miscellaniac.

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FMAmp3 on 04/18/2012 at 01:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Quint Baker, "Hand"

Quint Baker is an experimental home-fi / collage pop artist from Auckland New Zealand. He releases Creative Commons visual art on flickr, and today's MP3 can be found on his Kill Mommy Records netlabel release, Psychic Cat'z Golden Fleece.

"Hand" recalls the retro-futurist pop stylings of Broadcast or Pram, through the home-taped aesthetic of Ariel Pink.

The track was originally ntroduced to the FMA by Breitband, a radio show from Deutschlandradio Kultur.


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FMAmp3 on 04/17/2012 at 03:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Vanatei ft. Semi, "Bitch You Ain't A Barbie"

Vanatei grew up in a musically driven Newark household, studied fashion, and joined forces with fellow New Jersey female rapper Semi on this track, "Bitch Yout Ain't A Barbie". 

She was featured by FrostWire, surpassing 100,000 downloads, and "Bitch Yout Ain't A Barbie" made Side A of FrostWire's massive Creative Commons Mixtape.

Vanatei also distributes her music videos for free online. There's some debate on YouTube whether "Bitch You Ain't A Barbie" is a jab at Nicki Minaj, or at people who try to imitate the pop star's style rather than stay true to their own vision.

Check out the video for this song after the jump and let us know what you think!

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newark, hip-hop, new jersey, pop
FMAmp3 on 04/16/2012 at 11:50AM

MP3 of the Day: Andy & Zeus, "MCMLXXXI Choir"

Here's a track to put you in the Monday zone. Andy & Zeus are two friends in a spacecraft, navigating the outer limits via analog synths. The Brooklyn-based duo have roots in Boston where Andy played in Astronaut with Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) and "Zeus played in Chas Mtn with Gary War.

Originally released by Electrick Gypsy Service Records & Tapes on the sold-out Tales of Power cassette, "MCMLXXXI Choir" has gone on to float the web as a free download. Its kosmische energy has fueled remixes by Duchess Leo, Double Entendre and A.B.B.M. The track can also be found on this month's massive release by BEKO-DSL featuring 100 artists including Alligator Indian, Excepter, Maps and Diagrams and many more.

>> Andy & Zeus @ FMA @ Facebook @ Bandcamp

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FMAmp3 on 04/12/2012 at 01:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Expwy, "Cargo: Headstones"

Expwy is Matt LeGrouix from Montreal, recording solo lofi psych-folk garage jangle in the vein of White Fence or Sic Alps. He's released three free albums under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license.

"Cargo: Headstones" can be found on Expwy's latest album, Bag of Waters, which is out today!

>> Expwy at Facebook  |  Bandcamp  |  Soundcloud  |  FMA

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montreal, expwy, lofi, fmamp3
FMAmp3 on 04/11/2012 at 01:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Maya Solovey, "A Vida"

Maya Solovéy is a trilingual singer/songwriter who lived in Massachusettes, Ecuador, and Spain before settling in New York. She sings in Portuguese, Spanish and English.

"A Vida" is sung in Portuguese over Brazilian-style guitar. It can be found on Maya Solovéy, I:II , a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA release.

If you've enjoyed Maya Solovey's music thus far, you can invest in her next EP and receive commissions just by spreading the word—a pretty cool idea from the new fundraising platform Sokap.

Maya Solovéy @ FMAwwwBandcamp | Sokap  | 

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FMAmp3 on 04/10/2012 at 01:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Aoiroooasamusi, "Rattan Chair"

Aoiroooasamusi is Ryosuke Sone from Japan. Citing influences from Dead Can Dance to Lhasa, she composes repetitive dreamworld music with organic voice, rhythmic samples and experimental electronics.

"Rattan Chair" comes from Aoiroooasamusi's Headphonica release Root of Sorrow. It is built around the deviating patterns of what sounds like a gamelan, the slight variations bringing focus to her story (in Japanese) of "the legendary insect and boy" according to the version posted on youtube.

Listen to the full album here, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

:: Aoiroooasamusi :: @FMA  @Headphonica  @myspace
:: Headphonica ::  @FMA

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FMAmp3 on 04/09/2012 at 06:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Yva Las Vegass, "Polo Margaritenoio"

Yva Las Vegas was born in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela. She sings and writes songs on the nylon-stringed cuatro, playin' it like a self-proclaimed mofo. As a street performer in 1990s Seattle, Yva developed an iconic reputation and even joined forces with Nirvana's Krist Novoselic to form Sweet 75.

I Was Born in a Place Of Sunshine and the Smell of Ripe Mangoes is a new release from Moniker Records—"a raw and astonishing distillation of Yva's vast and varied life-experiences." The songs range from traditional Venezuelan styles like "Polo Margaritenoio" to soul-purging epics like "Crack Whore."

WFMU's #NewRekkid of the Day, 4/4/2012

Yva Las Vegas @ FMA  |  Moniker Records @ FMA  |  Buy LP/CD

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FMAmp3 on 04/04/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: "Freeway" by Kurt Vile

Leading up to the launch of, we released two FMA samplers featuring Ariel Pink, Vivian Girls, Dan Deacon, Big Blood, Alan Vega/Oneida, The Ex/Getatchew Mekuria, Lucky Dragons and many more (v1 | v2).

The second volume opened up with this anthem by Kurt Vile, Philly's "Constant Hitmaker," from the album of the same name. It's hard to fathom anyone hearing this song and not being hooked on Kurt Vile. Originally released by Gulcher, the LP was reissued by Woodsist, and KV went on to sign with Matador. This has helped KV more than live up to his nickame with a string of albums and EPs that are consistantly full hits. Check 'em out here, along with upcoming tourdates in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, US, Germany, Sweden and beyond! / -Jason

Kurt Vile - "Freeway" (02:41)
Kurt Vile - "Freeway" (02:41)
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FMAmp3 on 04/03/2012 at 12:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Rafter, "Long Ago, A Rodent As Big As A Bull Lurked In South America"

"Long Ago, A Rodent As Big As A Bull Lurked In South America" was the headline of a New York Times article on Josephoartigasia the week that Rafter contributed to 52 Weeks (Peppermill Records).

Each week for a year, starting with the winter soltice of 2007, 52 artists like Mochipet, Binärpilot, DaedelusJason Forrest, and Gangpol & Mit each took a turn composing songs inspired by that week's news. After seven days, they passed their creation on to the next artist to pick up from where they left off (Rafter's tune feeds off of Nathan Michel's fantastic "Time To Fire Isiah". The entire project is divided into four seasonal albums: WinterSpring, Summer and Fall

Rafter is a San Diego-based producer who runs Singing Serpent studios and has been releasing albums for Asthmatic Kitty since 2007. A remixed version of "Long Ago" appeared on Rafer's 2010 album Animal Feelings under the name "No F**cking Around." Also check out the accompanying remix album, and the video for the song after the jump.

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FMAmp3 on 03/30/2012 at 02:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Decade in Exile, "Steel Pin Raindrops"

An irresistible dream pop tune by contemporary UK shoegazers Decade in Exile.

"Steel Pin Raindrops" can be found on their new EP, Trail Places, due April 23rd.

Decade in Exile released their self-titled debut EP in 2011, including "Patti's Town" (below).  Copies may still be available on vinyl from Rough Trade shops. There are a few additional selections here on the FMA.

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FMAmp3 on 03/29/2012 at 04:00PM

MP3 of the Day: Khaira Arby, "Dja Cheickna (Live @KEXP)"

A cousin of the Farka Touré family, Khaïra Arby took Mali's national music competition by storm in 1970 when she was just eleven years old. But despite her gift for song, she soon found herself given to marriage with a man who forbade singing. After years of frustration, Khaira Arby divorced to embark on a career in music. She joined Mali's national band and blossomed into a renowned solo artist in the 1990s, known as "The Nightingale of the North" to the south's "Songbird of Wassoulou," Oumou Sangaré.

On the heels of her first international release, Khaïra Arby visited the KEXP studios in Seattle for this live performance on The Best Ambiance with Jon Kertzer. She performed with her band from the deserts north of Tombouctou, Kevin Suggs with songs in the Sonrai, Arabic, Tamashek, and Bambara languages of the Sahara. Video after the jump, with more on KEXP's blog.

Khaira Arby is on Facebook & Twitter. MP3s @ iTunes

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FMAmp3 on 03/28/2012 at 10:00AM

MP3 of the Day: Kidkanevil & Oddisee, "Zo0o0o0p!!!"

Kidkanevil is the musical alias of UK producer / DJ Gerard Roberts. His releases for First Word Records have earned him a far-reaching reputation for smooth, sinister and ingenious electronica.

Oddisee, born Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, is a multi-talented MC & producer from Washington DC. Active since 1999, he is a founding member of Diamond District.

"Zo0o0o0p!!!" came out of an RBMA collaboration and was featured on the fantastic Oscillations Part 2 compilation presented by Jus Like Music & Apple Juice Break. Kidkanevil's video for the song after the jump.

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FMAmp3 on 03/27/2012 at 11:40AM

MP3 of the Day: "Fair & Tender Ladies" by Roger McGuinn & Gene Clark

Roger McGuinn of The Byrds is not only a folk-rock legend, but a web pioneer and folk archivist. He started the Folk Den Project in 1995 to share his own original performances of public domain folk music. Originally using 8-bit mono .wav's in the pre-mp3 era, he still posts one song every month.

"Come All You Fair and Tender Ladies" is a folk standard that originated in the Appalachias and has been covered by the likes of The Carter Family, Peter Paul and Mary, Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton. This version was recorded at New York's Bottom Line while McGuinn was on an acoustic tour with fellow Byrds founder Gene Clark. "Gene was playing his beautiful Martin D-45 and I was finger picking my Rickenbacker 370 12-string – dripping with compression," Roger McGuinn writes at the Folk Den. "This arrangement could easily have been on a 1965 Byrds record." (Read More | Chords/Lyrics)

Roger McGuinn on FMA |  Folk Den HQ  |  Folk Den 4xCD  |   Gene Clark Sundazed Reissues

This is today's #FMAmp3, a new series offering a daily gem from the FMA's library of 45,000+ curated, free & legal mp3s. Distributed via our RSStwitterfbook, and other channels—it's music that wants to be shared!

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roger mcguinn, psych, folk
FMAmp3 on 03/26/2012 at 01:00PM

MP3 of the Day: "Monkeys Everywhere" by Lüger

Lüger is a psychedelic/kraut-rock inspired group from Madrid, Spain.

"Monkeys Everywhere" is the anthemic opening track to Lüger's Giradiscos release, Concrete Light. The album is a free download, and also available on 180gr. vinyl. 

Luger on the FMA  |  Vinyl  |  Giradiscos


This is today's #FMAmp3, a new series offering a daily gem from the FMA's library of 45,000+ curated, free & legal mp3s. Distributed via our RSS, twitter, fbook, and other channels—it's music that wants to be shared!

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