Category Archives: FREE MP3s

Normal History Vol. 435: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Excerpt from my YA novel-in-progress from 17-year-old drummer Curt Frost’s perspective.

Chapter 24
Some guys want to own a hot car. Me? I just want to be in a band.
Normal people make plans. They plan to go to college or they plan to get a job. They know what they’re gonna do after they graduate. I can’t seem to get past just wanting things to happen. Like wanting to be in a successful band. And by successful I mean one that writes decent songs, records and tours. There’s no point in planning to sell a million records. It’s really hard work and luck. Apollo 13 is exactly the right band for me, but it seems like every time I turn around there’s someone or something ruining everything.

I get up from the table.

“You’re not going for a swim are you?” Static asks.

“No,” I say with a laugh. “I’m gonna go get those clowns out of the pool and try and get us out of here.”

As I walk toward the open sliding glass door, Lizzy steps inside wearing her dripping wet clothes.

“Go back outside,” I say. “I’ll find you a towel.”

I turn around and practically bump straight into Carol who’s holding a stack of neatly folded, navy-blue towels.

“I’ll take those,” I say, extending my arms.

“Thanks, Curt!” she says, handing them to me. “You’re a good egg.”

“You’re a good egg,” Lizzy says, mocking me in tone of voice I’ve never heard her use.

“Better than being a rotten egg,” I say, holding out the towels for Lizzy to grab one.

“Speaking of rotten eggs,” Lizzy says. “Did you see that blinding yellow swimsuit Isabella’s got on?”

“I did, actually. Yes,” I say, still holding out the stack of towels. “But at least she put on a friggin’ swimsuit before she went in the friggin’ pool, Lizzy.”

“Oh, Curt,” she says, sounding like she’s gonna cry. “I’m such a friggin’ mess.”

“Come on, Lizzy,” I say. “Take a friggin’ towel. I’m standing here like I’m some sort of glorified pool-boy/butler. Help me out!”

She laughs, wipes her nose with the back of her hand and takes a towel, but she just stands there holding it. I set the remaining towels on the back of the couch, take her towel and swing it over her shoulders.

“There,” I say. “Now go get a shower and stop drinking.”

“Sure, Curt,” she says, reaching behind the pillow on the couch. She grabs the whiskey, tucks it under her towel and heads for the stairs.

“Lizzy!” I hiss in a half-whisper. She ignores me. I go after her. She’s nearly halfway up the stairs when I accidentally step on the corner of the towel trailing behind her. She falls backward, silently, toward me. I try to grab her by the arm as she tumbles past me, but I can’t get a grip. She lands in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. The bottle of whiskey rolls across the fake wood laminate flooring until it is stopped by Nate’s right foot.

“Deep Dark Secret” from Water Cuts My Hands (K, 1991) (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Erin K

“Couldn’t,” from folk artist Erin K, is as quietly longing as its title suggests. The track, which comes from Erin’s record Little Torch, is an evening sigh, twinkling along in solemnity as she sings, “I couldn’t have tried to feel ready for this.” Check it out below.

“Couldn’t” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: The March Divide

The March Divide‘s new EP, Don’t Let Me Die In Arizona, is out August 4. “Tired Voice” opens the EP, and there’s something wonderfully Fountains Of Wayne about it. It’s a fun, sunny song that opens up into an aggressively catchy early ’00s chorus. Check it out below.

“Tired Voice” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Sven-Erik Olsen

Sven-Erik Olsen will release his debut solo album, Sketchbook Traces, on September 8. We’re giving your afternoon a little boost with the title track, a jovial pop/rock tune that hops along with lines like “Walking out in the rain/I’ve never felt so fine.” It’s got a “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” lightness paired with a voice not unlike Father John Misty. Check it out below.

“Sketchbook Traces” (download):

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Normal History Vol. 434: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

The Dogs
My thoughts are chased my dogs
trapped in Instamatic snapshots
their eyes are red in the night
I can see into their mouths
past the teeth
past the teeth

I’m at home in the strangest places
but the sea is just pounding water
trying to get revenge
trying to get revenge

The dogs are barking
running towards me
through a roll of twenty-four exposures

The dogs have questions for me
I don’t know what they are

On the train I heard the sea on the tracks
roaring in a straight line
away from me
away from me

Stop it with the gun
Stop it with the gun
was a philosophy of hers
more than a request
but right now she’d like the kid to quit it
he has a sound-equipped machine gun
pointed at her head
pointed at her head

The dogs have been measured out to me

Some of the snapshots have one big dog
some of the snapshots have two dogs
some of the snapshots have three dogs
I don’t know how many dogs there are
more than three
more the ones my flashcube illuminates

The dogs have questions for me
The dogs have questions for me

Dogs don’t mince words

“The Dogs” from Water Cuts My Hands (K, 1991) (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: This Way To The Egress

This Way To The Egress will release Onward! Up A Frightening Creek on September 22. That album title certainly has a lot of personality, and it follows through on “See No Evil,” a cabaret-inflected story told with horns and a charismatic vocal performance. Check it out below.

“See No Evil” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Mark Bryan

Mark Bryan, of Hootie And The Blowfish fame, will release third solo album Songs Of The Fortnight on August 11. “If You Saw Her” taps along with steady, whimsical optimism in lines like “Don’t wake me if I’m dreaming/Keep that engine full steam ahead.” “If You Saw Her” can be streamed or downloaded below.

“If You Saw Her” (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Absolutely Not

Absolutely Not is coming at you with Errors, due out July 29. “Blood Money” is a boisterous, loudly dark piece of post-punk goodness, simmering with swagger and guts. Check it out below.

“Blood Money” (download):

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Normal History Vol. 433: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Orange Sunset
This sunset spreads orange
across the sky
a lid pressing down

In Grand Central Station
pickpockets look for tourist eyes

I am more obvious—
white female
ambassador of lust

He said,
“Come with me
I know
you like to suck and fuck.”

Orange sunset
a lid pressing down

“Orange Sunset” from Water Cuts My Hands (K, 1991) (download):

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MP3 At 3PM: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith explores the sound of Sade in her cover of “By Your Side,” which we’re bringing to your ears this afternoon. Smith’s version sands down the edges of the ’90s classic, reigning the soul tune into a singular electronic daze. It’s a smaller affair, but no less beautiful. Check it out below.

“By Your Side” (download):

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