Saved from the Stacks #1

Adam B. from Ultrasound Radio USA is wading through mountains of free promos and forgotten releases collected over a lifetime in journalism, radio, and music retail. Here’s a selection of what he’s found that’s new to him and worth it to you to seek out…

Joachim Witt, Pop (Dancing Ferret, 2007)
Full disclosure: I did some print production for American releases from Witt when Philadelphia’s Digital Underground and Dancing Ferret Concerts were still in the record-label business. He’s an oldhead of Germany’s Krautrock and Neue Deutsche Welle scenes, but this album is really solid and earnest modern synthpop. Buy it here.

Anonymous 4, Gloryland (Harmonia Mundi, 2006)
Anonymous 4 are a female vocal quartet out of New York City, and to this point most of their work had covered the classical, the operatic, and the medieval. Gloryland was their 19th album in 13 years (!), but just their second where they performed arrangements of American traditional, spiritual, and folk music. The singing and instrumentation are both just dark enough that I would have felt comfortable playing it while behind the counter of Digital Ferret back in the day. Consider this O Sister, Where Art Thou?. Buy it here.

Shane Newville, Formless (Syntax, 2007)
It appears this Austin dude has settled into a career in animation with Rooster Teeth Productions, working on series like RWBY and Red vs. Blue. But if this is indeed the same Shane Newville the Googles say released this album eight years ago, you gotta wonder what could have been. Formless shows serious range: breaks to make DJ Shadow proud, proto-EDM pounding, drum’n’bass throwbacks, and so much more. Buy it here.

The Von Ehrics, Two Foot Stomp (CDBaby, 2012)
This crew merge rockabilly and the melodic punk I seem to recall from the likes of The Loved Ones. Their bargain-basement artwork, identity, and website sell these guys way short, although it’s possible they’ve disappeared into the ether and Two Foot Stomp is their career headstone. That would be sad; I enjoy it more with every listen. Buy it here.

Younger Brother, Vaccine (Sci Fidelity, 2011)
I’m sure I got Younger Brother mixed up with some other act because I thought this was going to be a hip-hop album. Yep, that would be Little Brother. This is low-key band-based electronica with roots in Gorillaz, UNKLE, Junip, and Conspirator. So no, this album is not The Minstrel Show, but it is equally worth your time to track down. Buy it here.

Jónsi, Go (XL, 2010)
If you can’t quite keep up with the sweeping majesty of his full-time band Sigur Rós, Jónsi gives it to you in accessible four-minute chunks on his second solo album. Buy it here.

During the summer term, Ultrasound Radio USA can be heard on WKDU on Tuesdays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.