Calexico – Convict Pool EP (2004)

Calexico quickly followed their excellent Feast of Wire album with the Convict Pool EP, a collection of covers and original songs that all bear the stamp of the band’s dramatic Southwestern sound. The EP kicks off with their version of the Love classic “Alone Again Or,” which, along with the title track, was also released as a single in Europe in 2003. Recruiting Swedish singer Nicolai Dunger, Calexico build on the mariachi theme of the original and also give their rendition a more subdued feel. It may not have the heartbreaking drama of Love’s rendition, but this version is more than just an experiment and works well on its own terms. The EP’s title track, meanwhile, is in keeping with the softer, more singer/songwriter-oriented side of their music, which they explored on Feast of Wire with great success. Joey Burns’ pleading vocals and John Convertino’s wonderfully expressive — but not flashy — drumming come to the fore on this track as well as their cover of Francoiz Breut’s “Si Tu Desais.” The second half of Convict Pool lightens up with the rowdy cover of the Minutemen’s “Corona,” a staple of Calexico’s live set, the Eastern European-inspired “Praskovia,” and “Sirena,” a theatrical original with Spanish backing vocals done by some lovely senoritas. These tracks have more of a “throwaway” feel than the first half of Convict Pool, but it’s still a joy to hear Calexico in a looser and more playful mood. That playful mood extends to the EP’s multimedia content, an animated short from The Cartoon Network called El Kabong Rides Again that features The Black Light’s “Minas del Cobre” as its soundtrack. While this isn’t quite as essential a Calexico release as Feast of Wire, Convict Pool is a lot of fun and one of the best short-format works they’ve issued yet.

mp3 320 kbps | 56 MB | UL | CL

Ted Billings – American Bedrooms (2012)

Guitarist/singer/songwriter Ted Billings added the title of producer to the list with his new self-produced solo album American Bedrooms. Ted’s previous projects include the  punk-ifluenced alternative rock band Slater, and indie rock bands Hot Protestants and Age Rings. The solo album American Bedrooms is some more solid American Indie Rock folks.

mp3 320 kbps | 74 MB | UL

The Broken Circle Breakdown Bluegrass Band – The Broken Circle Breakdown Bluegrass Band [Soundtrack] (2012)

Tracks:

1    If I Needed You
2    The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn
3    Will the Circle Be Unbroken
4    Wayfaring Stranger
5    Blackberry Blossom
6    Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us        7    Sandmountain
8    Cowboy Man
9    Over In the Gloryland
10    Further On Up the Road
11    Country in My Genes
12    Rueben’s Train

mp3 160 kbps | 42 MB | UL

Ramsay Midwood – Larry Buys a Lighter (2011)

This record continues the pattern of previous efforts and is a combination of folk, americana, southern gospel, with JJ Cale like guitar picking and a stream of consciousness lyrical style reminiscent of no one.

mp3 160 kbps | 37 MB | UL

Ramsay Midwood – Shoot Out At The OK Chinese Restaurant (2002)

Ramsay Midwood’s debut, Shoot Out at the OK Chinese Restaurant, is an album of swampy, bluesy songs full of soul and steeped in myth about backwaters and working-class outsiders–hobos, junkies, lusty men, and their dangerous ladies. Originally self-released, Shoot Out received so much grassroots attention that, unsigned, Midwood became a darling of Los Angeles venues like House of Blues. He landed at Vanguard Records, and his folk-rock fits comfortably alongside the label’s legendary folk and blues artists, many of whom could serve as archetypes for his idiosyncratic characters. Midwood can sound like a male Bobbie Gentry at some turns (the sultry drawl, lackadaisical lead guitar, tempo, and Southern themes of “Chicago” and “Alligator’s Lament”). Other times he calls to mind artists like Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan, especially delivering the spoken-word vocals on closer “Fisherman’s Friend.” Overall, this is a pleasing debut from an artist to watch.

mp3 VBR~219 kbps | 67 MB | UL