Friday, January 30, 2009

Free Yr Radio Releases Almost Free Collection

All of last year, the Free Yr Radio Tour called on some of the moment’s most established alternative acts to put on shows benefiting indie radio stations across the country. Now FYR has put out an extremely rewarding collection of songs from these bands, and it’s available for $0.99 (yep, all 12 songs) at


It’s worth going through the brief soul-selling sign-up process. Here are a few highlights:


Favorite Track: “Blue Steel,” by White Williams. The Greg Gillis confidant keeps up his brand of uncompromisingly satisfying basement electro. Who else is obsessed with that old Phoenix song featuring Erlend Øye, “If I Ever Feel Better?” (I only consider this song a “guilty pleasure” because of the insane amount of times I’ve listened to it. Bass line . . . so . . . danceable . . .) If you feel like I do about it, this White tune might prove the gratifying follow-up that alliance never gave us.


Most Disappointing: “In the New Year (live),” by the Walkmen. This tune is just so damn good: the group’s signature, dirty rhythm guitar sound; that swelling organ; the desperate vocals of lead singer Hamilton Leithauser. But on this live version, the instruments are turned down way too low, and Leithauser’s once vulnerably hopeful vocals turn into a melodramatic grunge growl. Bummer.


Sleeper Pick: “Past and Gone,” by King Khan and Saba Lou. Little-known, low-fi garage singer King Khan duets with his middle school-age daughter. Over tender, broken chords coming through a reverb-happy tube amp, Khan and Lou sing, “Can’t be bothered to be sheltered or find my way home / Won’t you help me, please?”

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