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Radio Free MP3: Wheat, Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle, Pete Bernhard & Elephant Stone

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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 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.

Leave it to me to start a new series and then disappear for a several weeks after only a couple of posts. I have excuses, and perhaps a good reason. The wife recently got a new job, which has first taken us to Tennessee and in a few weeks, will take us to Belgium and various other European destinations, for three months (and yes you can look forward to the Belgium Diaries, written in the same manner as my Shanghai Diaries.)

As all of this came on rather suddenly we had to make mad rushes to Kentucky to see the wife’s family, then to Tennessee to set things up, back to Oklahoma to pack and are now residing in Tennessee, but rushing about for the European trip.

Because of all this madness this column will become even more random in the coming months. I hope to get a couple more out before we head across the sea, and once there I should find the time for a few more, but mostly I’ll be too busy to listen to any new music, much less write about it.

But enough about me, let’s talk about indie rock for a minute.

H.O.T.T.” – Wheat

Having been on the scene for 11 years, released albums produced by Brian Deck (Iron & Wine, Modest Mouse, Counting Crows) and Dave Fridmann (Weezer, The Flaming Lips) and created an album that made it onto several top-ten lists for the year (Hope and Adams) it is surprising that I’m just hearing about Wheat now. Or maybe I’ve just never been that with it.

The Massachusetts duo have a new album out, White Ink, Black Ink, due out on July 21 from which this crazy catchy new single comes. Those initials stand for nothing less mundane than “Half Of The Time” but the hooks will keep you singing it for days. It is the type of song that I just know reminds me of something else, but it may just be that it has been rotating through my head for so long that I’m simply remembering it again.

Check out the band’s website, and myspace page for more information.

Huntsville.ca” – Kevin Hearn & Thin Buckle

While researching this column I often find the most interesting things, but until now I’ve never found a Barenaked Lady. Having played keyboards and other instruments for BNL for over a decade Kevin Hearn periodically strikes out on his own and gets a little more adventuresome than any naked lady dares to do.

“Huntsville.ca” is a tripped out summer radio blaster. It is like the Beach Boys after a weekend bender. The beach blanket melody is there, but its turned to the side just enough to make the stoners sit up and listen. Dont’ miss the great James Bond riff in the middle. It will make you put on some dark glasses, grab Anette Funicello and discover ways of making her talk.

For more on Kevin Hearn and the new album, Havana Winter please see his official site, and Myspace.

Pray For Rain” – Pete Bernhard

I didn’t intend for this to be the band member goes solo edition of this series, but here comes #2 in a row. Pete Bernhard is the lead singer/guitarist of indie rock scenesters The Devil Makes Three who periodically decides to go at it alone, or at least with different band mates.

I can’t say that “Pray for Rain” is much different than what you’d find on a Devil Makes Three album, but it is so stinking good, you likely won’t care. There’s a lovely early rock ‘n roll blues shuffle mixed with some New Orleans style rhythms all rolling over Pete’s celebratory vocals.

The solo album, Straight Line comes out September 15. While you are waiting for it to hit the shelves, step on over to his website, or myspace, and if you haven’t heard The Devil Makes Three, check them out too.

I Am Blind” – Elephant Stone

Taken from a Stone Roses song, Elephant Stone is a new band from former High Dials guitarist Rishi Diahr. Their new album, The Seven Seas, is full of jangly pop guitars, luscious harmonies as you can hear from the first single “I Am Blind.” I’m not familiar enough with the Stone Roses to make comparisons but there is definitely some old Smiths sounds going on and something reminds me of the Sundays as well. All good things, for sure.

The new albums in streaming in its entirety at the Indiecater Records blog, and of course you can check out the band on their official site.

That’s it for this time. Hopefully I’ll find time to do another post or two before we head overseas. Until then, enjoy the tunes.

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