Sunday, October 7, 2007

Opening Up the KGB Vault

So, I'm sitting here watching Brett Favre gunsling the ball all over the field and I figured there's no better time than now to open up the KGB Vault.

I believe this marks only the second or third time this has been attempted, but I've been checking our KGB email with regularity over the past few months and some good stuff has finally started to accumulate. Thing is, when you ask for music submissions 9 times out of 10 its an open casting call for shit, and we've gotten a lot of that over time. But we also get some good stuff, so I'd like to try to get that stuff to everyone that doesn't have access to our email account. Hopefully I'll be able to post about this stuff more often, but I'm only going to hit up two artists tonight, so I hope you enjoy them.This being the location of our secret KGB vault, you can see why we don't open it very often. Its very difficult to get to, ya know....being located in the side of a mountain and all......

We get two major types of submissions: submissions from the artists themselves, and submissions from promotional companies wanting us to check out their lineup of artists. Both types are cool, but its always more fun to hear from the artists themselves.

The first artist I'm going to post here is a singer-songwriter that submitted a couple mp3's of his songs earlier in the month. He calls himself Reyn and I believe he hails from Canada. To my untrained ear, he comes off sounding like one of those artists that you and your buddies might have playing in the background as your playing beer pong in college. Now, I don't want to sit here and straight up compare him to another artist...but I'm going to do it anyways. Imagine Jason Mraz without all the clever wordplay, and simplify the songs a bit and you've got Reyn. He classifies his stuff as "balmy tropical indie rock" and I suppose that's somewhat accurate, but I, personally would downplay the rock part a bit. Its got a much more funky, chill-out vibe than the word rock makes me think of.

Honestly, its nothing particularly new. But by no means does that mean it isn't worth listening to. If you fall into the crowd that readily digs on the Jack Johnson and G.Love type, then checking out Reyn might be worth your while.

Reyn - Ain't Got No Woman (live)
Reyn - Crash & Burn (live)

The second artist I want to highlight comes via a promotion company. They recently drew my attention to another singer-songwriter, but this one having a more Elliott Smith sound. The group that calls themselves Southerly is the brainchild of a guy named Krist Krueger from Portland. The thing that intially hooked me on Southerly was the melodies and arrangements with his associated works. I think some of the strings arrangements found on his 2007 album Storyteller and the Gossip Columnist are magnificent. They do an excellent job of enhancing the songs rather than bogging them down. Another interesting aspect of the group is the leader Krueger's attempt at a Ryan Adams-esque level of prolificness. He is currently adding a new song every week available for free download at his website, found here. He began a month ago, and plans on updating with a new song every week until New Years 2008. Apparently, some of these songs are hot off the presses, having been posted within minutes of completion. Now, it wouldn't be crazy of you to think such a hurried pace would lead to a decrease in the quality of songs. I've actually found the opposite to be true, with myself preferring some of the free songs to his albums. That's not a comment on the quality of the albums, however, but a testament to some of the songs available on the site. So, I'll post two songs below, the first being the first free song available on his site, and the second falling on the aforementioned album. I hope you enjoy and please feel free to let me know what you think about the songs. I'm curious to get everyone else's opinions on some of these untested artists. Enjoy.

Southerly - Oh Claire
Southerly - Soldiers


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