Category Archives: Free releases

FEB030: “Another Game on Saturday” b/w “A Fleeting Summer” by The Swapsies

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FEB030—

The Swapsies — a four-piece pop band from Liverpool comprised of Huw, Andy, Sean and Elaine — are determined to make friendly music. Though the band members themselves claim they are shy, their music doesn’t show it. These two new songs, along with two previously recorded and released tracks, are catchy tunes that will make you want to sing and/or clap along.

The two-track name-your-price download includes cover art by the band, photos and an exclusive interview with Huw, Andy, Sean and Elaine.

Order a physical CD directly from The Swapsies. CD comes with stickers allowing you to swap the colours of the hat and scarf on the cover to those of your favourite team (as long as it’s not Wolverhampton Wanderers … or Celtic … or Norwich City … well as long as they play in red, blue, claret and blue, white or black basically!)

The Swapsies – A Fleeting Summer from The Swapsies on Vimeo.

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Smiley, delicate and honest …The Bido Lito

Full of fresh guitar sounds and lovely harmonies reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian’s more upbeat moments …Liverpool Echo

FEB029: “Everyone’s Dying” by Finnmark!

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FEB029 —

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February Records is pleased to return from it’s year-long hiatus by promoting the new single and video from Finnmark! Finnmark! will be playing the Indietracks festival, July 26-28, in Derbyshire, England.

Finnmark! is an indiepop band from Leeds in the UK. The band was conceived from a conversation about indiepop between good friends in a Gothenburg kitchen in the midst of a cold Swedish Winter. Fueled by a relentless hangover, jet-black coffee, and a plate of day-old cinnamon buns, the idea made its way back home to Leeds. From there, the idea grew; records were played, songs were written, coffee was drank, bicycles were ridden, Bergman was adored, guitars were strummed, friends were gathered, and the band was born.

The free download includes cover art by Finnmark’s Edward Forth and an exclusive interview with the band.

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Finnmark, from Leeds, make darkly, desperate, romantic pop music teeters on the precipice between soaring off into the sky and falling down in a hopeless heap. There’s no magic formula at work here, just a seemingly innate ability to write almost dreamlike pop […] If Finnmark aren’t this year’s next big/little thing on the indiepop scene, I’ll start believing that Scandinavian social democracy really is the cure-all some people seem to think it is. Make this band your next port of call in the meantime.A Layer of Chips

FEB028: “Singles” by Protocol Afro

February Records is proud to partner with Indische Partij Records of Jakarta, Indonesia, to release the latest single, “Singles,” from Protocol Afro.

Protocol Afro plays anthemic, danceable, alternative pop music. The band is made up of Ditto (vocals), Giano (guitar), Panji (guitar), Mayo (bass), Ferdi (synthesizer) and Kristian (drums). Critics and music bloggers have compared Protocol Afro to The Smiths, Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party and Phoenix, among others.

It all started back in 2007, when the band went to audition, performing cover songs, to participate in an art festival held at a local university. The band ended up not being accepted to play in the festival, and it became the first and last time they ever performed cover songs in front of the public. Since then, the band started to write their own songs, branding their music as “alternative inconsistent-pop.”

Protocol Afro’s first break was when their first two recorded songs, “Maling” and “Radio,” were played by local radio (Trax FM Jakarta) and overseas Internet radio (Traxx Radio Brisbane, Australia) in 2010. “Radio” made to the No. 1 spot on Trax FM Jakarta’s Independent chart, was included in Trax Magazine’s indie music compilation, Traxound, and highlighted by French online music media, IndieRockMag.com.

In 2011, the band achieved several milestones, such as releasing their first EP, “Protocol Afro EP,” with the band’s third single, “Music (Dance With Me).” Protocol Afro were also invited to perform overseas for the first time, at Baybeats Festival, Singapore’s international indie music festival. To close the year, Protocol Afro was given the chance to perform on national TV on 811 Show Metro TV.

In April 2012, NYLON magazine Indonesia named Protocol Afro as one of their 10 Local Music Heroes.

Currently, Protocol Afro is in the process of writing & recording their debut album, due to be released some time in late 2012.

RIYL: The Smiths, Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Phoenix


Photo courtesy of Muhamad Asranur, flickr.com/cantsaynotohope

Trax Magazine: “Protocol Afro’s music, which can described as a mix of post-punk revival and danceable indie rock/pop, sounds much more like a serious music project with potential, rather than just a casual side-job” (March 2012)

Nylon Magazine Indonesia: “You can call Protocol Afro’s music what you want, but they will make you dance to their music without being restricted to a particular genre.” (Alexander Kusuma Praja)

FEB027: “Gypsy Paw” by Eastern Phoebes


 
Eastern Phoebes began as the home recording project of a Long Island, NY, couple: multi-instrumentalist/producer Ry Smith and holistic health guru Meg Bayley.

In January 2010, Ry started recording songs he had been writing in their loft apartment. He asked Meg to help sing and clap on a bunch of tunes, and the band was formed.

Eastern Phoebes released their self-titled five-track EP that summer — a CD-R in a handmade cardboard envelope with artwork by Andy Drake. A second EP, “Rods of Energy,” was released digitally in December of the same year. Through the group’s alternative means of self-promotion (random endearing posts on Craigslist), the EP began to attract listeners both regionally and nationally. In February 2011, Ry and Meg recorded “Wampum,” their debut full-length. Written and recorded entirely within the month, the album was he band’s entry for the RPM Challenge (http://rpmchallenge.com). It was released on March 1st as a free digital download. Recently, Ry and Meg joined forces with two of their dearest friends, guitarist/bassist Rick Kattermann and drummer Frank Filipo, to create the performing version of Eastern Phoebes.

“Gypsy Paw” offers 5 sunny folk-pop tunes that are catchy and charming. Eastern Phoebes have a way of being touching and comical in the same breath.

RIYL: One Happy Island, Beulah, Fruit Bats, The Boy Least Likely To, Andrew Bird

Exclamation Point, Period:

These tunes are the kind that power up the sun and make the snow melt.

Fensepost:

Eastern Phoebes have pieced together a release to rival the lighter moments of Beulah, the catchier pop side of Michael Nau and the early days of Elephant 6.

The Lucid Listener:

Give them a cramped room full of random forgotten instruments, and they will give you an album full of love, humility and maybe even a cup of hot herbal tea.

FEB019: “If” by Even Artichokes Have Hearts


 

Even Artichokes Have Hearts just want to be your friends. The dreamy love children of Joan Baez and the Andrews Sisters, these two girls from New Haven believe in the healing power of the ukulele. They specialize in quirky folk-pop with a sense of humor and share a sweet tooth for chocolate and puns.

Chloe Sarbib (vocals, tambourine, and accordion) and Sarah DeLappe (vocals and ukulele) met at Yale University. They began playing music when they spent a summer together making movies in Prague and farming in the South of France. Needless to say, it was love at first sight. They’ve been making sweet pop music together ever since.

“If” is a whimsical pop gem — complete with ba-ba-ba’s — bringing to mind innocent childhood friendships. The backing track, “Summer,” is a breezy, dreamy song perfect for the season it’s named after.

RIYL: Allo Darlin’, One Happy Island, Joan Baez, She & Him, Regina Spektor,
Joanna Newsom, The Weepies, Ingrid Michaelson, The Andrews Sisters

January 11, 2011: Short feature on F*ck Yeah! Go Team! blog:

The most frustrating thing about returning to Connecticut is that 98% of anyone who plays an instrument in this state chooses the wrong path, and that 99% of the listening population here could give a shit. That’s fine. I gave up trying to change that a long time ago, but every now and then you get a glimmer of hope and today I present the new brightness: Even Artichokes Have Hearts. … Two pals just killing it sweetly …

FEB024: “Catch Me When I Fall” by Bangkutaman


 
Bangkutaman, which taken from Bahasa Indonesia with the meaning “park bench,” was originally formed by J. Irwin and Bayu Prabowo in 1999 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The band members are J. Irwin (lead guitar and backing vocal), Wahyu “Acum” Nugroho (lead vocal and bass guitar) and Dedyk Erianto (drums).

After 10 years together, Bangkutaman is ready to branch out beyond their native Indonesia and introduce the world to their 1960s-’70s rock’n’roll sound. The band sites American and British influences such as The Velvet Underground, The Byrds, Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, Donovan and The Who, as well as some of their Indonesian pop contemporaries.

RIYL: The Velvet Underground, The Byrds, Bob Dylan

FEB023: “City Lights Fade” by The Whatevers


 
The Whatevers are a pop band from Leeds in the north of England. Mike writes the songs and Kate sings them. Al plays bass guitar.

Mike and Kate met at school. Kate had shaved her head to shock the locals. Mike had just split up with the only other indie punk girl in their small town, so it was natural they would become boyfriend and girlfriend. Kate would buy the NME and Mike would buy the Melody Maker and they would swap halfway through the week and cut the pictures out and practice interview techniques for the day they formed a famous indie band. Mike was in a band called Sparkling Tarts and they played at the local youth club with Kate’s band. After they had broken each others heart for about 15 years, Mike finally had enough songs and they formed The Whatevers. Al was one of their biggest fans, so they asked him to join the band.

The Whatevers sing mainly about their relationship history, radical leftist politics, not being able to get out of bed and conversations about sex that they have had at bus stops.

“City Lights Fade” is a picture-perfect example of lo-fi boy/girl bedroom pop. Jangling guitars, charming vocals and irreverent lyrics pervade these five songs. The band channels another boy/girl group, Eux Autres, for their cover of “Anne Boleyn.”

RIYL: Eux Autres, The Garlands, Transmittens, The Lovely Eggs

Interview with The Whatevers on chaotisch und charmant blog:

The Whatevers. A band that makes that sweet mix of lo-fi, 90’s twee and a sensible approach to the subjects that make an indiepop heart skip a bit.

The Whatevers on Brill Dream blog:

There is a thing with bands, where you work ,and write, and toil and one day it just CLICKS. Leeds duo The Whatevers have well and truly broken through.

Describing their sound as a ‘pop punk twee mess’, what they actually make is a gorgeous boppy, fun sound with Edwyn Collins meets Emma Pocketbooks vocals. The lyrics are also pretty bloody good, real stories to sigh to on the bus, stories you have lived through yourself. And get this, there are lines you can actually laugh out load to. wow.

EDIT: April 26, 2011: Review of “City Lights Fade” on chaotisch und charmant blog:

‘City Lights Fade’ delivers lo-fi indiepop in its purest state: simple melodies covered by melancholic, fun lyrics and funny music names. The last track is a cover for ‘Anne Boleyn’, from Eux Autres.

FEB014: “Can’t Come Back” by Abby Mott


 
Abby Mott has an unmistakable voice and a soulful, hooky songwriting style. Her songs are a unique combination of Americana, indie pop, classical and blues, cleverly arranged with imaginative lyrics.

Mott cut her teeth playing various roles and instruments around Baltimore and Washington, D.C. with a wide variety of bands ranging from bluegrass to funk to ’80s to afrobeat. She finally hit the studio with her own songs in 2007, playing every instrument herself on her debut, “Hearts a’Flutter.” A four-song EP, “Go West! Get East!,” followed in 2009 just before her departure from the states for the Philippines.

Now, Mott has revived her one-woman band to full effect in her new Philippines studio. She hauled everything, from her Grandma’s baby grand to her triangles and maracas, all the way to Asia. And she’s been busy amassing a collection of all new tunes.

“Can’t Come Back” is a dazzling two-song preview of what’s to come. Mott thumps and thunders on every instrument. The result is downright danceable. Her voice is full and commanding, crooning over layers of calculated, crisp backup vocals. These two fantastical songs conjure visions of sea monsters and pirates, boats, and marooned characters. Life in the Pacific “Ring of Fire” plays wildly on Mott’s imagination. The pure infectious joy of tinkering, layering and structuring a song oozes from this pair of poppy tunes.

RIYL: Jenny Lewis/Rilo Kiley, Neko Case/New Pornographers, The Spoons

CityPaper, Baltimore:

Totally angelic indie-pop … Mott displays a growing songwriting sophistication and a divine sense of vocal control … with the sort of sensual abandon that would cause fans of Jenny Lewis, the Watson Twins and Zooey Deschanel to eat their James Perse pants.

Music Monthly:

By layering a motley (pun intended) array of instruments, she’s able to create her own little world of sound.

FEB018: “one year of original music from February Records” – Free digital compilation


 
January 9, 2011 marks the one-year anniversary of original releases on the February Records label.

February Records released its first original recordings in January 2010. Onward Chariots (Brooklyn/Queens, N.Y.), The Fictional West (New Haven, Conn.) and Women’s Basketball (New Haven, Conn./Brooklyn, N.Y.) composed the label’s initial roster of bands. February Records now has a roster of more than 15 bands and artists, with releases in multiple formats and from bands throughout the United States as well as Canada, the Philippines and Indonesia.

This 19-song compilation looks back at the last year with a track from every band that has released music on February Records. The album also looks forward with songs from five bands that will release music on the label in 2011. This ambitious project also contains previously unreleased tracks from Secret Charisma, Dexter Poindexter, Two If By Sea, The Tyler Trudeau Attempt, Bourgeois Heroes, The Inclined Plane and Women’s Basketball.

The compilation represents a wide range of styles — from the Brill Building-inspired sounds of The Cavemen Go, to the country-tinged pop of Abby Mott; from the minimalist ukulele-pop of Even Artichokes Have Hearts, to the electronically-enhanced tunes of The Month Of June and Women’s Basketball. The album touches on dream pop, Americana, psych, bubblegum and powerpop.

February Records looks forward to another year of bringing people together, forging connections and exposing people to great music.

Check out the accompanying video for “If” by New Haven duo Even Artichokes Have Hearts, which will also be included on their upcoming single.

EDIT: Jan. 11, 2011: Short feature on Hartford Courant’s SoundCheck blog.

EDIT: Jan. 12, 2011: Featured on area 51 del corazon.

EDIT: Jan. 12, 2011: Short feature on Bearded Magazine.

EDIT: Jan. 18, 2011: Feature on Burning World blog.

“One Year Of Original Music From February Records” is pretty much as you would expect, full of tracks from their 2010 releases. The label began pumping out releases at an alarming rate back in January 2010 and as well as spoiling us with quantity also managed to keep the quality somewhere between excellent and bloody brilliant.

EDIT: Jan. 24, 2011: Featured on The Jangle Box blog.

EDIT: Feb. 5, 2011: Mention on Japanese blog Pense A Moi.

EDIT: Feb. 7, 2011: Article by Chris Arnott of The New Haven Advocate about the February Records comp and the early 2000s Southern Connecticut State University music scene — “The SCSU Scene, in the February of Their Years.”

… Yet, seven or more years after the SCSU “scene” started, the small Connecticut-based label releases a free digital compilation—One Year of Original Music from February Records—which brings together The Cavemen Go, Tyler Trudeau Experience, Bourgeois Heroes and a more recent Brian LaRue project, Women’s Basketball, all in one place. … February Records is a wonderful resource for thoughtful Connecticut pop bands. Just one year in existence, it’s already an invaluable time capsule of creativity in Connecticut. More than that, this all-too-current label remakes history by showing us that the SCSU scene wasn’t a fluke but sustainable.

EDIT: Feb. 18, 2011: “Indian Lunch Buffet” by Women’s Basketball included on Beat The Indie Drum’s February mix tape.

EDIT: March 25, 2011: Comp review on chaotosch und charmant blog:

I think the last time I got this excited with a compilation was when The Leamington Spa volumes were released. … Really, if you had to listen to only one compilation for the entire year, ‘One year of Original…’ should be IT.

FEB013: “Do You Ever?” by Summer Library


 
Summer Library is the solo recordings of 19-year-old New Rochelle, N.Y.-native Patrick Kelly.

Like many successful musicians, Patrick began writing songs in high school while a member of the heavily-Pavement-inspired band the Broken Dials. When graduations inevitably forced the band apart, Kelly continued writing music, though his solo efforts took on a more Sarah Records-inspired sound.

Patrick began writing and recording under the name Summer Library in the summer of 2010. The “Do You Ever?” single is his first release. He takes influence from bands such as Brighter, Galaxie 500 and Rocketship. The Swedish-sounding A-side is backed with “Past The Railroad Tracks,” which sounds as if someone might have snuck a synthesizer into a classic Field Mice song. Jangly guitars and catchy melodies pervade these two tracks, which clock in at just under 8 and a half minutes.

RIYL: Brighter, The Field Mice, Galaxie 500, Rocketship, Heavenly, Sarah Records

A Layer of Chips blog said about Summer Library:

Patrick Kelly has that perfect knack of writing the most simple pop songs, yet making them so affecting. He takes the world around him, romanticizes it, adds a melody bands have spend years getting nowhere near, and then, lucky us, we get to listen to it. “Do You Ever” is the perfect example of this. Happy, sad, melancholy — all the things a great pop song should be, and for five minutes you’re lost in this world of twirling guitars, brittle beats and yearning vocals. Lovelorn fans of Brighter and Harper Lee be aware: there’s some magic at work here, and it’s called Summer Library.

August 14, 2010: Summer Library interview on A Layer of Chips.

EDIT: October 3, 2010: Summer Library single on area51delcorazon blog.

EDIT: October 5, 2010: Summer Library single on Shoegazer Alive blog.

EDIT: October 6, 2010: Summer Library on Tweendie webzine.

EDIT: October 9, 2010: “Do You Ever?” included on Burning World’s Pod Fodder #93.

EDIT: October 15, 2010: Summer Library on Hits In The Car blog.

EDIT: October 22, 2010: Summer Library on Beehive Candy:

I hate doing the whole age thing but this guy musically shows a maturity way beyond his years and I hope a lot of people keep an eye (or ear) out for more from Summer Library!