4.5 Free Albums Downloads

By Nick Jean

“Never work for exposure” is one of the fundamental rules for beginning artists and designers. The opposite is often true for independent musicians, however. Exposure is one of the most valuable assets one can acquire. More exposure means more fans. More fans means more exposure. Eventually the cycle feeds back on itself to the point it’s possible to fully monetize your music and make something that resembles a living off of it.

Those early steps are where sites like NoiseTrade get involved. In exchange for an email address and a postal code, a listener can get access to reams of new music from acts of whom they may be, or more often aren’t, familiar.

“Great music is its own best marketing tool… There’s no better way to build your tribe than by letting the music speak for itself,” NoiseTrade says of their system. And for those who join that tribe, they also offer the option to “Tip” the artist, creating something of a pay-what-you-want system for the music. The biggest difference is that by offering the music for free and calling any money given a tip, they have helped negate the guilt many fans feel when taking an album for free from a pay-what-you-want offer.

There are all shapes and forms of sound available on NoiseTrade. If you’re looking at acts you’ve not yet heard, they offer a “For Fans Of” section with other similar acts to make your “shopping” easier. You can also preview any of the music right on the page just by clicking on the song title.

We’ve picked out four full albums and a sampler from some great Canadian acts you can get immediately. Click on the album art to grab the download.

Les Jupes - Some Kind of Family
Les Jupes – Some Kind of Family

Winnipeg’s gloomy Les Jupes released Some Kind of Family last year. This is not a pick-me-up kind of record. Save it for when you’re looking to wallow in the dumps. It’s the perfect soundtrack for when you just want the world to go screw itself.

NoiseTrade’s For Fans Of
The National, Frightened Rabbit, Nick Cave, M83, Joy Division

rebekah-higgs sha-la-la-cover

Rebekah Higgs – Sha La La

Dreamy synths, reverberating, foggy vocals and a hint of Doo-wop make up this 2013 release from Halifax’s Rebekah Higgs. Sha La La isn’t the longest album you’ll find out there, but every one of the six tracks is packed with excellence. Guaranteed you’ll be looking for more from Higgs.

NoiseTrade’s For Fans Of
Cat Power, The Crystals, Best Coast, Feist

lauren mann dearestly

Lauren Mann – Dearestly

Hopefully you’re already familiar with Dearestly, the surprise record Lauren Mann dropped last month. As we previously mentioned, Mann is in the midst of a massive cross-country tour. If you didn’t grab this folky pop masterpiece then, grab it now and listen to it repeatedly so you can sing along when she plays near you.

NoiseTrade’s For Fans Of
Joni Mitchell, Brooke Fraser, Florence and the Machine, Copeland, Eisley


PS I Love You – Muster Sessions

Turn your calendars way back for this one. It was six years ago that Kingston noise-rockers PS I Love You release Meet Me at the Muster Station. You’ll notice, however, that isn’t the name of the album above. This is actually their 2012 release wherein they’ve packaged all the tracks from Muster Station as they were recorded live at radio sessions while touring the album. The intimate setting produces a softer sound you may not expect from one of Ontario’s loudest bands, but it’s certainly one worth tuning into.

NoiseTrade’s For Fans Of
Joni Mitchell, Brooke Fraser, Florence and the Machine, Copeland, Eisley

craig cardiff love is louder

Craig Cardiff – Love Is Louder Sampler

While this sampler may only be two songs, hear us out. Craig Cardiff is one of the hardest working songwriters in the country. If you don’t believe that, check out the rest of his repertoire on NoiseTrade. He has 16 individual releases available on there, each with two or three tracks. Each of those downloads represents an EP or LP he has released. On top of all that, he’s constantly touring, playing in any venue that will take him, even your living room. Check out his upcoming shows (54 of them between now and next May) on his NoiseTrade page, too.

NoiseTrade’s For Fans Of
Nick Drake, Sufjan Stevens, Wilco

Tear it down and build it back up – An OurBasement Playlist

By Nick Jean

It’s been a week, a month, a year of upheaval around these parts, and today’s playlist theme has been chosen to reflect upon this. The bedroom is being renovated, the highway is being repaved, careers are being shifted, our old home is gone and a new site is taking its place.

Sometimes the trappings we surround ourselves with get dull and boring, or maybe they just aren’t working as well as they once did. When that happens it’s time for a renovation. Tear it down and build it anew. Nothing is so satisfying as looking upon your completed project and knowing you made a thing.

Here’s a little playlist to soundtrack your reconstructive impulses. What songs would you add to it?

Two Nova Scotia festivals announce their lineups

By Nick Jean

While we’re in the heights of summer, getting over the hangover of the past weekend’s peak summer festivals, it’s hard to believe it’s already time to be thinking about the next season. A perennial highlight of the fall festival calendar is the Halifax Pop Explosion (HPX,) this year taking place Oct. 19-22, and yesterday they released their line-up.

Click for full-size
Click for full-size

Headlining the festival is the veteran Newfoundland band Hey Rosetta! who are always a hit. Also in the large type are Basia Bulat, PUP and White Lung, any of whom could be riding high on a Polaris Music Prize win. Holy Fuck, The Barr Brothers and Tuns round out the favourites from the top of the chart, but, as is always the case, there’s plenty of excellent music to be found in the “small print” acts.

Hannah Georgas, Mo Kenney (supported by Symphony Nova Scotia,) Royal Canoe and Nap Eyes are all must-see shows. If you’re looking for something a little noisier, check out Pkew Pkew Pkew, Fake Palms or Monomyth. Folk? Supermoon. Pop? Alana Yorke. Hip hop? City Natives. And of course lots of rock. There is someone performing for almost any genre you can name. (Sorry, no polka… yet.)

HPX is promising more acts will be announced between now and opening night, so keep tuned to their social media for updates. Of course, you can always point your browsers to their website to fill yourself in, as well as grab your tickets or wristbands and subscribe for their mailing list.

Bet you thought you were done with the Maritime FOMO. Two weeks after HPX, Nova Scotia plays host to yet another totally stacked festival, Nova Scotia Music Week (NSMW.) In-Flight Safety (who will be performing) shared their poster yesterday as well. There is some cross-over acts, but a whole lot of other amazing music to be heard as well. Check out this line-up, too.

Radiation Exposure

By Nick Jean

A part of what we wanted to do when we started OurBasement was to help draw your ears to new acts we think you’ll love but may not yet have had the chance to hear.

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The Radiation Flowers slayed.

A post shared by Carl Bottlecap (@buckaroobonzai) on

Picture if you would a mellowed-out Black Mountain and you’ll be most of the way to The Radiation Flowers. First brought to our attention by Carl Johnson’s (Library Voices) Instagram post, the Saskatoon-based foursome is made up of vocalist and guitarist Shelby Gaudet, drummer Amber Ross, Christopher Laramee on guitar and bassist Jay Allen. Born from a number of line-up changes from a band called Powder Blue, (with a letter from the Powder Blues Band proving the ultimate catalyst,)  they released their second full-length album last year. The self-titled LP is an 11-track masterwork of droning, psychedelic shoegaze.

Now a four-piece after their keyboardist left the band, Allen said in a phone interview from Sault Ste. Marie their newest songs are “less synth-y,” as you’d expect without a keyboardist, “They’re a little less ethereal and a little less dreamy and little more noisy and guitar-driven.”

Below is an example of their earlier sound, a psychedelic track called “Go On Forever” from their first full-length, Dream In Black.

“We don’t want to feel we’re funneled or pigeon-holed into any category and I think our music can really appeal to a lot of people,” Allen said. “We get a lot of different comparisons when people talk to us about our music. Everything from Seattle grunge in the ’90s to ’70s psychedelia to ’90s shoegaze.”

In the first single, “Psychic Attack,” the fuzzed out instrumentation will put you at ease, but Gaudet’s vocals and Ross’ marching beat will get your hackles up and have you checking over your shoulder. You should get used to that feeling, too. It’s ever-present in the album. These Toontown rockers are like the beauty of a bloom in a post-nuclear wasteland. It may be pretty to gaze upon, but it might just try to eat you, too.

The band’s been exceptionally busy as they announced they were in the studio towards the end of May (more on that later) before departing on a self-booked, two-stage cross-Canada tour. The second, eastern leg being the eight-stop Summer Burnout Tour.

Unfortunately, Regina, Winnipeg and Thunder Bay are too late to see them. If you’re in Southern or Eastern Ontario, however, you’ve still got a chance. They have shows throughout the rest of the week in Hamilton, Oshawa, Toronto and Ottawa.

Wednesday, July 20 – Hamilton, ON @ This Ain’t Hollywood
w/ Comet Control and Hawkeyes

Thursday, July 21 – Bowmanville, ON @ Manantler Craft Brewing Co.
w/ Holy Mount

Friday, July 22 – Toronto, ON @ The Silver Dollar Room
w/ B-17, Vypers and Denim Skeletons

Saturday, July 23 – Ottawa, ON @ Dominion Tavern
w/ The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol and David Jackson

As for that studio stint, they have just released a split 7″ with a Swedish group called The Orange Revival for which just 300 copies were made, half of which went overseas. They have copies of that record with them on tour so you can pick one up there.

But that’s not the end for new music. They have also put the wraps on a six-track EP that will be released some time in the late summer or early fall. We’ll have news of that as soon as we can get it.

Check out The Radiation Flowers’ site at www.theradiationflowers.com. Both their full-lengths are available for you to pick up on bandcamp. Do so and you’ll hopefully “get out of the music what we’re trying to put into it,” Allen said, “a pure enjoyment of music.”

Canadian indie fights cancer

By Nick Jean

It seems 2016 is the year of the epic tour. As we previously announced, Lauren Mann is working on a 50-date tour with stops literally all across the country. Not to be outdone, Arkells have released a massive slew of dates.

Over the next six months, the Hamilton rockers will be making 31 stops in six provinces, 13 states and stints overseas in Britain and Germany. (See the end of this post for the full schedule.) And as if that weren’t enough, they kicked it all off with a private show earlier this month. This wasn’t just any old house show, however.

The recipients were the friends and family of 18-year-old Jill Zitars (as well as Zitars herself, of course.) Zitars is partway through her treatment for stage two Hodgkin’s lymphoma. July 6 was supposed to be her halfway point for treatment. Instead, doctors informed her things weren’t going quite as planned and they would need to reassess. The Waterloo, Ont., teen was understandably quite shaken by the news.

In an attempt to lift her spirits, her friend Kristin Kelly reached out to Arkells over Snapchat, explaining the situation and asking them to pay a visit. Three members of the band – Max Kerman, Mike DeAngelis and Anthony Carone – did just that, performing an acoustic backyard set for Zitars.

“I was so shocked and overjoyed at the same time,” Zitars told CBC of the event. “My friends were amazing.”

Tour Dates
07.23.2016 – Oro-Medonte, Ontario – WayHome Music Festival
07.24.2016 – Colwood, British Columbia – Rock The Shores
07.28.2016 – Chicago, Illinois – Grant Park – Lollapalooza
& Bottom Lounge – Official Lollapalooza Aftershow w/ The Struts
07.30.2016 – New Glasgow, Nova Scotia – The Riverfront Jubilee
08.01.2016 – St. Johns, Newfoundland – George Street Festival
08.06.2016 – Regina, Saskatchewan – Queen City Ex
08.21.2016 – Leipzig, Saxony – Highfield Festival in Grosspösna, Germany
08.23.2016 – London, Middlesex – Lexington
08.25.2016 – Ubersee, Bavaria – Chiemsee Summer Festival
09.03.2016 – Edmonton, Alberta – Borden Park – SONiC BOOM
09.04.2016 – Calgary, Alberta – Fort Calgary – X FEST
09.09.2016 – Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario – Jackson Triggs Theatre
09.15.2016 – New York, New York – Studio At Webster Hall
09.23.2016 – Reading, Pennsylvania – Reverb – w/ Frank Turner
09.27.2016 – Champaign, Illinois – The Accord – w/ Frank Turner
09.28.2016 – St. Louis, Missouri – The Ready Room – w/ Frank Turner
09.29.2016 – Maquoketa, Iowa – Codfish Hollow Barnstormers – w/ Frank Turner
09.30.2016 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin – The Rave / Eagles Club – w/ Frank Turner
10.01.2016 – Kalamazoo, Michigan – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe – w/ Frank Turner
10.27.2016 – Athens, Georgia – The Georgia Theatre – w/ Frank Turner
10.28.2016 – Charlottesville, Virginia – Jefferson Theatre – w/ Frank Turner
10.29.2016 – Morgantown, West Virginia – Mainstage – w/ Frank Turner
10.30.2016 – Norfolk, Virginia – The NorVa – w/ Frank Turner
10.31.2016 – Wilmington, Delaware – World Cafe Live @ The Queen – w/ Frank Turner
11.02.2016 – Clifton Park, New York – Upstate Concert Theatre – w/ Frank Turner
11.03.2016 – Ithaca, New York – The Haunt – w/ Frank Turner
11.11.2016 – Detroit, Michigan – Magic Bag
11.12.2016 – Chicago, Illinois – Subterranean
12.09.2016 – Buffalo, New York – The Town Ballroom
12.10.2016 – Buffalo, New York – The Town Ballroom

Little Scream makes a new dance up in her new video

By Nick Jean

Not satisfied with getting you chair dancing, Little Scream is introducing the world to bed dancing (mattress dancing?) Premiering today is the official music video for “Dark Dance,” the third track on this year’s Cult Following and the second to get the video treatment following the first single “Love as a Weapon.”

The video below sets a scene that seems peaceful and serene. Although there is something almost unsettling in the dancers’ movements that suggest something isn’t quite right. They move in jerky yet fluid motions that form the perfect counterpoint and accompaniment to Little Scream’s haunting, melodic vocals.

If the video isn’t enough Little Scream for you, she’ll be playing a number of shows in the coming weeks, including three shows at the end of the month with American indie-folk darlings Beirut. Don’t miss your chance. Check the show listing below.

Jul 15 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza
Jul 16-17 – Vancouver, BC @ Vancouver Folk Festival
Jul 22 – New York, NY @ Panorama Music and Arts Festival
Jul 22–24 – Oro-Medonte, ON @ WayHome Music & Arts Festival
July 25 – Toronto, ON @ The Phoenix w/ Beirut
July 26 – Ottawa, ON @ Algonquin Commons Theatre w/ Beirut
July 28 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre w/ Beirut
Jul 29-31 – Sackville, NB @ Sappy Fest
Aug 12 – Eau Claire, WI @ Eaux Claires Festival
Oct 28-30 – New Orleans, LA @ Voodoo Music Experience

Picture taken from Little Scream’s FB page.

Your boy Shad is back with a new name and sound

By Regina Sienra

You’ve probably never heard this side of him before. In a completely unexpected move, Shad, beloved rapper from Toronto and host of CBC’s q, has released a new album. But while it’s Shad’s voice, and Shad on the cover, it’s definitely not a Shad record.

Under an alternate identity, Your Boy Tony Braxton, Shad has released Adult Contempt on Arts & Crafts. The 10-track album shows us a new side of the musician: Top-of-the-class R&B with some heavy hints of old school pop.

The name — Your Boy Tony Braxton — obviously speaks to the era I’m evoking, but also to the lyrical content and overall tone: The idea of a dude named Tony Braxton who likes to sing (but obviously isnt as good as the famous Toni Braxton) is a surprisingly accurate embodiment of how this music feels to me: Vulnerable, funny, and ultimately, hopefully a worthwhile offering,” Shad told Stereogum, who premiered the album, about this daring new phase.

You can stream Your Boy Tony Braxton’s Adult Contempt and read Stereogum’s take on his new direction here.
Background photo credit: Justin Broadbent. Taken from Your Boy Tony Braxton’s Twitter.