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Radio Free MP3: The Red Pens, Caravan Palace & Camera Obscura

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"Hung Out" – The Red Pens
Click here to listen, or right-click to save.

Fuzzed out, post-punk guitar rock. The Pixies having tea with Sonic Youth with a slice of pie for Dinosaur Jr. This Minneapolis duo crank out loud, distorted, and too big for the garage their probably making it in rock music. And you can dance to it too. 

Check out "Hung Out" with its Without a Sound-era J. Mascis riffs and its early Mark Lanegan vocals.   Rock music that really rocks, which is sadly something I see too little of these days.

Their debut release, Reasons, comes out in February. Until then you can check them out on tour all over Minneapolis, and hear more on their Myspace page.

"Ended With the Night" – Caravan Palace
Click here to listen or right-click to save.

Living with a francophile wife often makes my life more interesting. I hear far more French being spoken, listen to more French music, and watch more French films than a person from rural Oklahoma can be expected to endure. Often I roll my eyes at the abundance of French culture that passes through my life. But mostly, I like it. It makes life a bit more exotic.

Take Caravan Palace on "Ended With the Night", the lyrics might be in English but the music is all french (with large dashes of gypsy jazz thrown in) that swings and sulks and moves the heart. With a two-step beat, frilly horns, Django Reinhardt-inspired guitars, and an Ella Fitzgerald voice Caravan Palace keep the Vive in La France.

The band formed when three of the members were asked to create the soundtracks to some silent pornographic films (I told you this stuff makes my life more exotic.) From their they expanded, started writing non-porno music, started touring and became a huge success in France. You can hear more of them on their Myspace page.

"The Blizzard" – Camera Obscura
Click here to listen or right-click to save.

With snow blasting large swaths of the country, and temperatures falling below the "oh my god" point I think I'll throw out an old favorite. Camera Obscura are a band from Glasgow Scotland who make gorgeous, dreamy indie pop. They've decided to throw out a non-album track single to celebrate the wintry season (something they surely know about way up there in Scotland) with a cover of Jim Reeves "The Blizzard."

I haven't heard the original, but if it sounds anything as beautiful as this one, I may have to find that Jim Reeves guy and marry him.

If your living in Australia be sure to catch Camera Obscura on tour right now throughout your country. For the rest of us head over to their Myspace page and then buy all of their albums. You won't be disappointed.

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About Mat Brewster

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    i recently fell in love with Camera Obscura after stumbling onto their extremely cool cover of Springsteen’s “Tougher Than The Rest”

  • http://www.katiebeyerphotography.com Jenny

    Wow, I try the “hung out” and I could say its wonderful. I hope I could have a copy of that.