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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “The Chamber” by Lenny Kravitz

LennyKravitzSTRUTalbumartwork Lenny Kravitz is releasing his new album, Strut, on September 23rd. Three years since his last release, Black And White America, the songs on Strut harken back the sound and songwriting of his earlier releases like 1993′s Are You Gonna Go My Way. Below, listen to “The Chamber.”

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Golden State” by John Murry

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Oakland based singer-songwriter John Murry has released a new EP, Califorlornia, the followup to his 2013 acclaimed The Graceless Age, an album Mojo magazine called “a Southern gothic Americana symphony that twists beautiful, maudlin melodies around the dramatically brutal story of Murry’s personal fall.”

Murry explained the song’s origin to American Songwriter:

“Golden State began when Chuck Prophet threw some ridiculous art-punk 7″ on the turntable. Why he thought I’d want to hear it, I have no clue … The song was damn awful! But the idea we stole from it? Well, maybe it wasn’t … An Eastern vocal melody painted over a very Western rock and roll song structure … I thought, “What could be more California than this?!?” So we played with that sonic idea until we’d made up our own “Paint It Black” in reverse. We took lyrics I had already written down in one of my disorganized notebooks. It was another obnoxiously sunny California afternoon. Like a letter from prison put to music, Golden State represents the absurd and angry world I see around me here every single day. In my golden home. In Oakland, Califorlornia.”

Below, download “Golden State.” You can listen/purchase the full EP (with bonus tracks) here

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Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Habit” by Ought

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Montreal indie rockers Ought is one of those bands that recalls the older sounds of punk & post punk groups like Television, Gang of Four and early Talking Heads, yet sounds fresh and inspired. Lead singer and guitarist Tim Beeler has an instantly lovable, endearing vocal style, similar to the manner that Stephen Malkmus of Pavement or Jonathan Richman sings. There’s bewilderment and a child like endearment in his voice, as it takes unexpected twists and turns through jangly, angular guitar playing and inspired songwriting.

“Habit” is one of many excellent songs on the band’s debut album, More Than Any OtherDay on the Montreal indie label Constellation Records. It starts out like a slow stroll that builds into a raging, cathartic release of emotion.

Ought play Boot & Saddle on Wednesday, July 9th. Go here for tickets and more information. Below, download “Habit.”

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Lekka Freakout” by Beaty Heart

Photo courtesy of the artist.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

The South London trio Beaty Heart play quirky, irreverent, percussive, catchy, and sometimes complicated indie rock. They’re a little bit Animal Collective, a little bit Vampire Weekend, a little bit Beach Boys, and their psychedelic, percussive pop sounds are skillfully showcased on their recently released Mixed Blessings.

Below, listen to “Lekka Freakout” and more of Beaty Heart’s album Mixed Blessings here. The band were also featured as one of David Dye’s World Cafe: Next artists. Download the podcast below.

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of The Week: “Don’t Call No Ambulance” by Selwyn Birchwood

Selwyn
Tampa Bay blues rocker Selwyn Birchwood is one of the hottest young guitar and slide guitarists on the blues music scene today. Birchwood’s new Alligator Records release is called Don’t Call No Ambulance (out tomorrow); but you may need one after listening to this collection of high octane guitar driven blues. Influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Sonny Rhodes, and the self-taught guitarist was born in Orlando, went to school at the University of Central Florida and received his MBA at the University of Tampa. He’s played numerous blues music festivals and won two awards in the prestigious International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee in February, 2013; one award for Best Band and the other for Best Guitarist. Birchwood is a new traditionalist; he draws on classic blues styles yet puts his own modern day spin on playing and songwriting.

Birchwood plays Sellersville Theatre on Thursday, August 21st with Guitar Shorty.

Below, listen to the title song to his new album, Don’t Call No Ambulance.

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Stolen Dance” by Milky Chance

MilkyChance
Milky Chance is the German based singer-songwriter/electronica influenced duo of Clemens Rehbein (he’s the one with the spiky hair) and DJ Philipp Dausch. The duo met in a music class in high school and released their self-produced debut Sadnecessary in Germany in October, 2013. Anchored by the songs “Down By The River,” and “Stolen Dance,” the album became a huge success in Germany and Europe.

“Stolen Dance” is shaping up to become a global hit. The video for the song has almost 36 million views. It’s a subtle, simplistic and infectious acoustic based song that brings to mind “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye. The band currently has an EP out in the States, with a full length release coming soon.

Below, listen to “Stolen Dance,” by Milky Chance.

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Hold Up Wait A Minute (Woo Woo)” by Antonique Smith

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Antonique Smith is known to many as “the actress that played Faith Evans” in Notorious, the movie about the life and death of rap star Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls). Smith, a television (Law & Order and HBO’s Bored To Death), film (Notorious, Abduction, Across The Universe), music videos (with Rick Ross and Nas), and Broadway (Rent) actress, has just released her first single, “Hold Up Wait A Minute (Woo Hoo)” from her forthcoming Kickstarter funded album, Speechless.

“Hold Up” instrantly grabs your attention within seconds of hearing the funky, thumping bass and Antonique’s powerhouse vocals. The groove factor quickly builds as instruments unfold in a manner similar to Sly’s “Dance To The Music.” Layered on top of each other are a stuttering, vintage organ, a blaring punchy sax; a marching, yet soulful drum beat, that bass, and Smith’s powerful vocals take command and hold center stage throughout the entire song. Smith tears into this song with self-assurance and there are times when you hear echoes of Aretha and Chaka.

Below, listen to “Hold Up Wait A Minute (Woo Woo).”

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