MP3 At 3PM: Curious Grace & Black Rabbit

The classic-rock-inspired Curious Grace & Black Rabbit is set to release World On Fire on June 28. The members of the Chicago-based band come from an Irish background, and a lot of the inspiration for their music stems from anger and confusion with the current, fast-paced times. Both first single “Fat Cats” and the title track are decidedly political, but the band never feels the need to resort to aggression to get its point across, taking a more artful approach instead. They guys really know how to sing and play, and it shows. Stream and/or download “World On Fire” below.

MP3 At 3PM: Rebekah Rolland

Rebekah Rolland is a welcome addition to the Americana indie-music scene. Also a member of the band Run Boy Run, Rolland is from Tucson and creates music that has a lot of thought and meaning behind it. Debut album Seed And Silo is out July 20 via Sky Island, and it showcases her talent as both a singer and a songwriter. A lot of the stimulus for the album comes from Rolland’s residency with the National Parks Service and what she took away from that experience. “Standing Still,” the first single off Seed And Silo, was inspired by the title character from Willa Cather’s acclaimed 1918 novel My Ántonia. The song talks about how different experiences shape one’s life course, and how people, places and events all play into that. Stream and/or download “Standing Still” below.

“Standing Still” (download):

MP3 At 3PM: Nikkie McLeod

Nikkie McLeod’s emotional Quarrel EP debut is set to be released October 30. Coming to Brooklyn all the way from Trinidad, McLeod struggled with the feeling of being a black immigrant, as well as establishing an identity as being queer/non-binary. McLeod’s music expresses their emotions, discussing society and their own experiences with the uncomfortableness in it.

The six-song Quarrel also serves as a tribute to McLeod’s brother and late mother. On “Deep Cry,” McLeod expresses feelings toward their mom’s death through sounds rather than words. McLeod’s skills on the steelpan (Trinidad’s national instrument) come through in this emotional piece. Stream and/or download “Deep Cry” below.

“Deep Cry” (download):

Normal History Vol. 479: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 34-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Shake this land
raised up to wait
without windows

Shake this land
Shake it

Muttering about a strength to ignore all tools
rasp, chisel and oil

Shake this land
Shake it

Red proud eyes
born on a shadow of a legend

Shake this land
Shake it

Muttering about a strength to ignore everything
all tools
rasp, chisel and oil

It’s a truly uncivilized nation
that treats medical care
as a commodity to be sold

Take it
It’s yours

“Museum Of Open Windows” from Flood Plain (K, 1993) (download):

MP3 At 3PM: Joel Levi

Nashville’s Joel Levi released his sophomore album earlier this month, sharing his simple and emotional songs with the masses. Not only is Levi a talented singer, he’s also a gifted songwriter. All 10 of the tunes on this self-titled, self-released album are relatable, tackling subject matter we face in our everyday lives: marriage, kids, work and life on the road. Levi’s songs definitely have an alt-country feel to them (MAGNET fave Jason Isbell comes to mind), but they have a style that’s uniquely his own. Lyrically, first single “Will We Ever Change?” reminds us that we can’t run away from our problems. Stream and/or download this catchy song below.

“Will We Ever Change? (download):

MP3 At 3PM: Andrea Di Giovanni

The Italian-born Andrea Di Giovanni has always been determined to make it in the music industry. A graduate of the British Institute of Modern Music, Di Giovanni is based in London and has broken away from his traditional, Italian childhood. Growing up in Rome, he had always struggled with his identity and sexuality, feeling isolated and being bullied by his peers. His new-found freedom in London has allowed Di Giovanni to create his own, unique sense of style and passion to perform.

Di Giovanni is rolling out an album’s worth of material throughout 2018. The first single from the project is the just-released “Our Own Way.” The song has a overt modern-pop feel to it and speaks of Di Giovanni’s independence and his success in finding himself. There’s much more to come from this young talent, but “Our Own Way” is a great place for you to start. Stream and/or download it below.

“Our Own Way” (download):

MP3 At 3PM: Camp Crush

Inspired by alt-rock legends such as the Cure and Blondie, Camp Crush combines new wave and straight-up pop, adding a modern indie-rock feel to the proceedings. The Portland husband/wife duo’s songs express emotion and thought on a myriad of personal experiences, but they never come across as preachy. Keyboardist/vocalist Jennifer Deale and drummer/vocalist Chris Spicer released three singles last year and just added the She’s Got It EP to their growing discography. You can definitely hear Camp Crush’s ’80s vibe on EP track “November Skin,” which we’re proud to share with you today. Stream and/or download it below.

“November Skin” (download):

MP3 At 3PM: Great Lakes

Originally a part of the MAGNET-championed Elephant 6 Collective, the Brooklyn-based Great Lakes has just released its sixth album. Dreaming Too Close To The Edge (Loose Trucks) veers all over the stylistic map, though a constant remains frontman Ben Crum’s lyrical prowess and subtle way with melody. Now 22 years into its career, Great Lakes has seen many lineup changes, but with Dreaming Too Close To The Edge, it seems a steady core group of players has coalesced behind Crum. Musically, it shows, and not surprisingly, the new album is one of the band’s best. Stream and/or download Dreaming Too Close To The Edge opener “End Of An Error” below.

MP3 At 3PM: Cosmos Sunshine

The pure, blues sound made by Cosmos Sunshine Heidtmann—yes, that’s his real name—comes from his hippie-style upbringing on the Connecticut River. (No phones, no electricity, no bathrooms, water that had to be hand pumped, etc.) He started his music career as teenager and has continued to create new recordings since then, with four albums and four EPs under his (presumably homemade) belt. Heidtmann has seen success opening up for artists like Gov’t Mule, Blues Traveler and King Crimson, and this exposure just landed him in the Connecticut Blues Hall Of Fame. You can catch Cosmos Sunshine live this this month and next, supporting new album Comes With The Fall, out Friday. To get a taste of LP, you can stream and/or download “The Bomb” below.

“The Bomb” (download):

Normal History Vol. 478: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 34-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

The oblique nature of the lyrics here are a kind of fortress against saying too much—or anything, it seems. In the late 1980s, five people were convicted of several high profile actions including damage at a factory in Ontario, Canada, where U.S. cruise missile guidance systems were being manufactured and tested. Interestingly enough, at one time, the Tomahawk missiles fired in Syria in April employed this system. Maybe they still do.

To a certain extent, these events were the backdrop to my politicization. Because one of those arrested was a high-profile musician in the punk scene, there were constant updates and speculation, as well as benefit shows for legal funds, and an introduction to what trial by media looked like as it unfolded. There were also charges of fire bombing a video store that distributed violent porn. Snuff films.

Years later I went out with one of the people (for about six months) convicted (after he’d served time). I’ve never said much about this association, but these lyrics were written during (or shortly after) that relationship, and they reflect my very uncomfortable filtering of expression, leaving a sketch of my personal curiosity about what happens to a person after they’ve been through something like that—a profound loss of freedom—and how that might change a person.

Somebody might tell you
how to say it
“You’re wrong.”

You’re going down
Whatever happened
to your own life?

You’re going down

Better catch it
somebody might tell you
you’re going down

Whatever happened to
what you say?

“Texada Warns Me” from Flood Plain (K, 1993) (download):