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Radio Free MP3: Barzin, Underwater Getdown, Trentalange, & T-Model Ford

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In this periodically random, or randomly periodic series I will be highlighting batches of music that I find interesting. They will likely be new, but they might be old. They could be superstars, but mostly they will be unheard of, independently labeled and somewhat obscure. They will be free, but you are encouraged to buy. They will all be good, at least to me, at the time I post them. Your mileage may very. Heck, my mileage may very a day after I post them.

"Look What Love Has Turned Us Into" – Barzin
Click here to listen, or right-click to save.

Cher, Madonna, Prince, & Barzin? So Barzin Hosseini does not exactly ring the same bells as those other, more famous, one-named songsters, but he (and actually I should now note that Barzin is in fact a band consisting of at least three others besides the individual who's name is on the letterhead) is still managing to create some of the more original, if melancholic meditations on love and loss. With "Look What Love Has Turned Us Into" the music might upbeat, but the lyrics are straight out of a broken-hearted teenagers diary. A beautifully poetic diary, with the emotions bubbling over into a burning, frothing, despair.

Their new record, Notes to an Absent Lover is out now on Monotreme Records.

For more artful sadness please visit their homepage and myspace.

"Madonna" – Underwater Getdown
Click here to listen, or right-click to save.

I'm usually not a fan of gratuitous sounds in my music. We need less cowbell, not more. Gothic church bells are rarely a good thing. Random phone conversations should have died with Pink Floyd. With "Madonna" Phoenix's Underwater Getdown throw in some kind of random, gigantic dripping noise. Like God's faucet sprung a leak. Normally I'd dismiss it as pointless posturing, but you know what? It really kind of works.

The whole song has this great party-in-a-cave feel, like maybe the dripping is coming off a stalactite, as the people shake and move to the band. Or maybe I'm just reaching for some connection to a band called Underwater Getdown. Either way the sound is something I haven't heard before, yet altogether familiar. Beautiful. Pulsing. Wonderful.

Their webpage and myspace. Their newest, self-titled album comes out in February, though if you catch them on tour they'll give you a digital download of it for free.

"In This Darkness" – Trentalange
Click here to listen, or right-click to save.

Though my outlook in life is rather sunny, I find myself drawn to creative art that falls into the "Sad Bastard" category. This is true with film, literature and music. Especially music. Countless are the times I've curled up on the couch, earbuds locked into place with intensely depressing music emanating into my aural cavities. I don't know exactly why that is, except perhaps catharsis.

I've found a new song to add to that sad playlist. "In This Darkness" is about as blue as it gets. Reminiscent of U2's "Love is Blindness" but slowed down a little and much bleaker, Trentalange has created something guaranteed to ruin the liveliest of parties. So turn off the lights, listen to the rain outside, and the cold, then put in "In the Darkness" and feel the pain slide away.

Her new album Awakening Level One (which is decidedly more upbeat) is out now. You can also stream it in its entirety at her website.

"Two Trains" – T-Model Ford
Click here to listen, or right-click to save.

I don't know nothing about the blues except that when its good it cuts through all the crap, all the bile, and shows life as it is, while still offering something of the light. "Two Trains" is the blues done right, and it sounds about a hundred years old. T-Model himself is 80 something and you can hear everyone one of those hard years in this song.

If the music wasn't enough to make you believe he's the real deal then a resume that includes plowing his families field at age 11, an inability to remember how many times he's been to jail ("it was every Saturday night there for awhile") and some hard prison time for murder back in the day. All of that is tucked tightly into his music and you can hear it burst out on "Two Trains."

His new album, Ladies Man, is out now and you can purchase it from Alive Records.

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About Mat Brewster