MP3 At 3PM: The Black Watch

The Black Watch just released Witches! (Atom), its 16th album, produced by Scott Campbell (Stevie Nicks, Shelby Lynne, Acetone). Clearly, the band has already released a ton of music over the past 21 years, but John Andrew Fredrick, the Blacks Watch’s frontman and only constant member, says he just “cannot stop making things.” And as longtime fans, we’re certainly not complaining! Stream and/or download the LP’s first single, “Georgette, Georgette,” right here, right now.

“Georgette, Georgette” (download):

Normal History Vol. 489: 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.

“Cyclone” was written on the spot in a studio in Germany after the utterly fantastic Fast Forward Festival in Holland in 1994. I definitely recall feeling on the spot, which is not usually the case when I write lyrics while tape is rolling, but here, I remember feeling like I was falling short while I was singing “This is the day,” and now years later, I’d like to acknowledge that any time a song of mine has the word “day” in it is a sign of struggling with lyrics. At least I resisted adding “say” and “way” … Cripes, we even have a song called “Days” … God only knows what that’s about.

Yet, this is a fine enough song without me fulfilling the urge to whip it into a full-frenzied anthem about the plight of the world. It’s a buncha people in the studio fumbling through the infrastructure of the thing that we all love, aiming for a brilliant song that didn’t materialize, but could have. Always worth the risk. 

“Cyclone” from Sitting On Snaps (Matador, 1995) (download):

MP3 At 3PM: Cliff Westfall

If a man is known by the company he keeps, then Cliff Westfall is a saint. Albeit in a country/rock sinner sort of way. The New York-based, Kentucky-bred singer/songwriter surrounded himself with a who’s-who of musicians’ musicians for new album Baby You Win. (Forgive us for the excessive use of parentheses in the following sentence.) For the dozen-track LP, Westfall enlisted co-producers Bryce Goggin (Pavement, Ramones, Antony And The Johnsons, Evan Dando, Phish) and Graham Norwood (Ward White), guitarist Scott Metzger (Shooter Jennings, Phil Lesh), pedal-steel player Dan Iead (Norah Jones, Valerie June), bassist Jeremy Chatzky (Ronnie Spector, Laura Cantrell), keyboardist Charles Giordano (Bruce Springsteen, Pat Benatar) and drummer David Christian (Danger Mouse, Helium). Recorded in just nine days, Baby You Win showcases Westfall’s keen ability to take the best bits of country and rock past and modernize (but not sterilize) them. Westfall will be playing August 19 with the Eilen Jewell Band at the Western Hotel in Callicoon, N.Y., but until then, you can check out album track “Sweet Tooth” right here, right now. Stream and/or download it below.

“Sweet Tooth” (download):

MP3 At 3PM: Russell Swallow

British singer/songwriter Russell Swallow has been a motivated musician ever since he bought his first guitar at age 14. Although it was kinda crappy and came from the Salvation Army, Russell still says it was the best £20 he’s ever spent. From this purchase came a career, one of making folktronica music that’s both poetic and soulful. Last year, Russell released the A.M.-B.P.M. EP (we proudly premiered its stellar “Don’t Sleep Through The Flood”), and now he has a brand-new single. Stream and/or download “My Lover, Her Lover And Me” below.

“My Lover, Her Lover And Me” (download):

Normal History Vol. 488: 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.

” … through seven albums over nine years, vocalist Jean Smith and guitarist David Lester have presented a consistent, evolving and luminous challenge to the reigning social order … ” —Rolling Stone, 1995

“Beppo’s Room” from Sitting On Snaps (Matador, 1995) (download):

MP3 At 3PM: Jared Rabin

Chicago’s Jared Rabin has seen steady success over the past couple of years. One highpoint was that the title track from his first album, 2016’s Something Left To Say, took first place in the folk category of the USA Songwriting Competition. Rabin follows his debut LP with the new Wondering About The Weather EP. Do yourself a favor and check out the first single from the seven-track release right now. Stream and/or download “Back To You” below.

“Back To You” (download):

Normal History Vol. 487: 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.

Pamela makes waves wider and wider and wider these days.

“Pamela Makes Waves” from Sitting On Snaps (Matador, 1995) (download):

MP3 At 3PM: Pale Green Things

Pale Green Things just released ultra-relaxing new album The Beast In The Hearts Of Men. The Manchester-based band is actually just Jack Traynor, a talented singer/songwriter. He’s written a lot of his Pale Green Things material on long-distance van drives throughout the U.K. and Europe, a job he enjoyed as an escape from the craziness of everyday life. The Beast In The Hearts Of Men has roots in this escapism, specifically opener “The Islands,” which will make you feel completely at ease. Stream and/or download the track below.

“The Islands” (download):

MP3 At 3PM: Adam Plomaritas

Adam Plomaritas’ latest single, “The Other Side,” reflects on a personal journey that’s full of heart and love. A talk he and his wife had when they were dating sparked the inspiration for the song, about being open about the struggle to follow his musical dreams while keeping their relationship strong. Plomaritas is from Ann Arbor, Mich., and has already released both a full-length and an EP within the past six years. Stream and/or download “The Other Side” below.

“The Other Side” (download):

MP3 At 3PM: Baeilou

Oakland (by way of Texas and NYC) cellist/vocalist Mia Pixley—better known as Baeilou (also the name of her cello)—is set to release the five-track Inside Under EP on August 24. You won’t easily find a sound quite like the one made by the multi-talented Pixley, as she puts a twist on experimental classical music, combining it with rock and a unique Southern vibe. Introduce yourself to the wonders of Inside Under by streaming and/or downloading opener “Eleanora” below.

“Eleanora” (download):