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Bon Iver's New Track, "Heavenly Father"

bon-iver-justin-vernon_article_story_mainBon Iver‘s new track seems to be drawing new fans and seeing others return to the faithful fold. The song, “Heavenly Father,” was inspired by and will be featured in the new film by Zach BraffWish I Was Here. The soundtrack also features the work of The Shins, among other indie rock heroes, who were famously featured in Braff’s directorial debut feature, Garden State.

You can hear the new track over at NPR.

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Skinny Lister Appear on NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts

SideOneDummy favorites Skinny Lister have developed a strong reputation for being one of the most entertaining live bands out there. Their pub-bred take on classic folk songs and homespun originals  has captivated music listeners around the world in the months since their debut LP, Forge & Flagon, arrived in stores. Now, the group has taken their fun sound to one their biggest (and, er, smallest) stages to date: NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts.

Filling out the tiny space allotted for one of NPR’s most popular music programs, Skinny Lister’s time on Tiny Desk Sessions is jam-packed with joy. The group run through a number of album cuts, dancing and shouting along the way. We’re unable to embed the performance here, so head over to NPR’s official site for the full concert stream.

Forge & Flagon is available now wherever music is sold. And unconfirmed rumor has it that the band is already set to begin work on their next release.

The Avett Brothers: New Album "The Carpenter" Streaming On NPR

If you like truly heartfelt folk-rock, then check out The Avett Brothers‘ new album The Carpenter streaming for a limited time on NPR. Followup to 2009’s breakthrough release I And Love And You, this new album carries on the band’s natural tendency to write passionate heart-on-sleeve romps and lullabies with dynamically diverse folky instrumentation. Despite reaching recent stardom the brothers and crew have not lost their knack for soothing honesty. While touching on many of life’s more trying tribulations, they still keeping those catchy feel-good melodies and rhythms alive.

The Carpenter is due out on September 11th, followed by a full U.S. tour starting on the 12th.

Superlatones: Most Likely to Be Found at Your Local Jazz Lounge

Picture the scene: red velvet curtains, dim lighting, the smell of whiskey and cigar smoke static in the air. A spotlight comes on. On the stage, a band begins to assemble, hands and instruments at the ready. Music begins to play. A slow dance begins. With their strong jazz influences and sultry voices, this is the perfect setting for a duet between Renee Olstead and Justin Thompson, this week’s dynamic duo.

The Dynamic Duo:
Renee Olstead and Justin Thompson
 
 

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Colin Stetson Premiers "Judges" On NPR

Know what the most indie instrument is these days? Saxophone. Some of you might say electric triangle, but I bet I could get sax man Colin Stetson to agree with me. And he has the pedigree to back it up no less. Stetson has been kicking around for a few years, having earned a place in the album liner notes for folks like Tom Waits, TV on the Radio, Bon Iver, Kevin Devine and Yeasayer. On top of all that, he’s part of the touring band for Arcade Fire and the aforementioned Bon Iver. He’s also been tapped to open a few shows in Europe this year with none other than post-rock godheads Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Suffice it to say he’s a busy man.

Colin Stetson - New History Warfare, Vol. 2To cap off a month that would stand as a banner year for most, Stetson is releasing his new album, New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges on Feb 22nd through Constellation Records.  Judges has already gotten the premiere treatment this month on NPR’s All Songs Considered. The new record features Stetson and his avant-garde sound, recorded live with no overdubs. His work is characterized by a layering of melodic lines, a stacking of melodies on top of each other. If that sounds too inpentrible for your uncultured ass, the record does feature guest vocals from Laurie Anderson and Shara Wooden of My Brightest Diamond. Judges was recorded by none other than Efrim Menuck of GSY!BE and, if that’s the kind of tidbit that gets you excited, then you have no reason not to check the record out. You can listen to excerpts from the album here or purchase it here.

Download of the Week: Sydney Wayser

Blending elements of French and American culture, we have the smooth sounds of Sydney Wayser as this week’s Needle in the Haystack.  The New York City-based singer/songwriter has been praised by many publications including Daytrotter and NPR Music.

Having recently wrapped up US and French tours and having released her new album, The Colorful, in France, Wayser is currently hunkered down in practice spaces in NYC (the cheapest are boiler rooms, as she has found out) working on her new album.  This week, Wayser will be giving away her single, “la di da, as our free download.  Keep an eye out for more from her during the rest of the week!

The Next Big Thing: Josh Fix

Hailing from the streets of San Francisco, Josh Fix is a rocker with a knack for songwriting.  Josh’s song, “Barely Insane,” was recently featured on an episode of 90210. He’s also graced the pages of publications such as Paste and The New York Times. With additional features on NPR as well as being picked as the download of the day on iTunes, it’s clear Josh is fixin’ to get his name out there. He even wrote the official theme for the third installment of the The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy.

Josh is currently working on a new full length album, slated for release this summer. Keep an eye out for more from this artist as he carves his own niche within the music industry!

THE SOUNDS OF THE SILENT YEARS

l_6a41d37d2b5d402ab68d5376c2f0836cWhen you think of the latest sounds to appear out of Detroit, Eminem and The White Stripes are probably the first to come to mind. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that Detroit houses a thriving scene of indie music and art rock. At the forefront of this new music scene, you’ll find The Silent Years, one of the most diverse and unique indie groups to come around in a long time.

l_a1015bd4421d2c361cc5214ca7d34f2fArtists often get caught up in lyric writing, attempting to focus on their words as the driving force of the song. The Silent Years take a more music-centric approach. They start with driving hooks and powerful instrumentation changes. In other words, they seek to create a sonic representation of the theme of the song, before a word even hits your ear. Lead singer Josh Epstein describes his poetic approaches to adding words to music as being “drafted and redrafted”. He feels that the pure expression of musical emotion should take the focus, and he struggles to find the perfect words to compliment it. Even with the layered, experimental sounds of their recordings, you can’t miss their live set as the band brings these sounds to the stage in a unique and organic way.

l_b3a3930018c77e3afc965730d41f00f5With such an authentic approach to songwriting and performance, it’s no surprise that the band is being afforded some impressive career opportunities. Recently signed to SideCho Records, the band is starting to make waves in the online scene while also building a nice list of supportive press. Bob Boilen of NPR is the newest critic to join the droves of fans lining up behind the new album, The Globe. “After one listen, I may have found my summer pop record,” he said when the band was featured on NPR’s “Song of the Day.” Recently, The Silent Years has also been featured as the “Band of the Week” in Paste Magazine and an ABC News interview. We caught up with Epstein to get his reaction to his budding celebrity status and to get more insight on his unique and ear catching approach to his music. Click through to see what he had to say:

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Avast ye OurStage pirate playlist!

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot,
Drink up, me ‘earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot,
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

We know pirates have been on everyone’s mind lately (both in the music industry and in the greater world). What does it all mean for national “Talk like a Pirate” day or our favorite Walt Disney World attraction?

Will fast food giant, Long John Silver’s close it’s doors or will the Jonas Brothers have to end their careers sooner than we expected? (Brian Unger, NPR).

The skulduggerous musicians of OurStage are here with some music to help you through these troubled, changing and scurvy riddled times. So, dust off your eyepatches and grab your parrot; this is a playlist that would bring even the oldest scoundrels back from the depths of Davy Jones’ Locker.

The top 5 ways I discover music

We all have our own ways of sifting through the immense amount of great music and finding what we like, and the OurStage editorial staff is no different. We’re collecting our favorite music discovery outlets and will be sharing them with you over the next few weeks. You’ll get to learn a little more about us, and discover some great new music along the way! If you and I don’t share the same music tastes don’t worry. We’re a diverse bunch and I’m sure you’ll find a blogger you agree with!

1) WERS

WERS is the independent radio station broadcasting from Emerson University in Boston. Their motto is independent music for the independent mind and they hold true to it. One of my favorite things about living in the Boston area is that I get WERS on the radio; they accompany me to and from work everyday and my exposure to new music is limitless because of it. Over the past few years they have delivered artists like Jose Gonzalez, Adele, Antje Duvekot, Tunng, and The Bird and the Bee straight to my ears. If you’re in the Boston area, you should definitely check out their 60th Anniversary Concert featuring Pete Yorn this weekend. If you’re not in the Boston area, you can still discover great new music by listening to WERS online.

2) Grey’s Anatomy

Cliché? Possibly. Does it tell you a little more about me then I’d really like to share? You bet. I have to come clean, though. I love Grey’s Anatomy and their 5 seasons of music programming has done a lot of good for my iPod! My favorite finds include Ingrid Michaelson, Emiliana Torrini, KT Tunstall, Roisin Murphy, Jamie Lidell and Lenka.

3) NPR: All Songs Considered

I don’t listen to it often, but when I do I always end up downloading something new. I can thank the good people at NPR for motivating me to add Beirut, Andrew Bird, Okkervil River, Devotchka and John Vanderslice to my music library. You can get the podcast version and take it with you on the go. This show is definitely worth checking out; they will introduce you to great new artists, give you inside information and offer a fresh perspective all at the same time!

4) Festivals

I’m lucky that my job takes me to lots of music festivals all over the country. In the past 2 years I’ve been to Noise Pop, Bumbershoot, Virgin Music Fest and Newport Folk and Jazz. I’ve walked away from each one with a new artist to add to my list of favorites including She and Him, Kristin Hersh, Xavier Rudd, The Dodos and The Mountain Goats.

5) OurStage Favorites

Working at OurStage, I spend a lot of time crawling through the site’s charts, talking to our members and sharing music finds with my co-workers. I’ve put together a playlist of my all-time favorites for you to enjoy and, hopefully, start your own music discovery journey: