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The Joke, The Threat & The Obvious

Crooked Creek Records is releasing the latest album from the most compassionate band in town, The Giving Tree Band on September 21st. The album will be called The Joke, The Threat, and The Obvious, and will be filled with folk, bluegrass, and jam band goodness. Leading up to the release the band will be releasing a series of webisodes explaining the band, it’s history, and the process of the new album.

The Giving Tree Band will be performing at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn on July 2nd, The Cubby Bear on July 3rd, and at Naperville’s Ribfest on July 4th.

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Folk in the City: Spirit Family Reunion

A quick listen to Spirit Family Reunion’s 3-song EP and it’s easy to see how they can so easily convince a live audience to pick up their feet and sing along. The songs exude a sense of fun and urgency that feels free of irony. Raw and raspy Appalachian folk-inspired vocals lead off the verses, and the whole band joins in for anthemic choruses that scream out for listener participation. “Alright Prayer” is an exuberant hoedown replete with lively strings, manic banjo picking, a thumping drum beat and the most memorable choral hook on the album. “I Will Not Go Up to the Sky” slows things down a notch, but remains just as boisterous, and the ballad “Gazebo Song” is filled with the kind of bittersweet lyrics that make up the entire EP, but are masked by its mostly celebratory feel. Give this record a spin, head out to a show, and you too can be part of Spirit Family Reunion, at least for a bit.

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3 NYC minor girls playing the poppy punk game: Care Bears on Fire

We guess the Brooklyn based Rock Camp for Girls (around since 2004) is starting to show its effectivness, as lately NYC girls who aren’t even old enough to drive keep to impress us - in this case we are talking about Care Bears on Fire. Sophie, the 15-year old lead singer, rocks out with heart-breaking attitude and age-appropriate lyrics, accompanied by 14-year-old drummer Izzy and 16-year-old bassist Jena who keep a rocking beat - most likely while dancing around the stage in white Chuck Taylors. Their punkish music is relatable for jaded pre-teens, singing along in the back of a mini-van on the way to soccer practice. Reminiscent of the Muffs, best known for their hit “Kids in America” on the “Clueless” soundtrack, Care Bears embraces the punk spirit and humor of early 90s girly rock. Songs like “Gym Class Haze” and “Met You on MySpace” are abrasive rhythmically but contain hilarious lyrics like “ hey tights aren’t pants” and “said you were 12, but you’re really 300.” The best track on the album is “Heart’s Not There,” which includes smooth, building tempos and the catchy chorus “Can’t use me if my heart’s not there.” Their name, Care Bears on Fire, says it all. - CBM

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Best of NYC #31: FaltyDL, Live at Cassette Brooklyn on 06.26

We continue our "Best of NYC Countdown", covering every day one of the artists that made our Year End Best of NYC list (a chart compiled by a jury comprised of local bloggers, music writers, promoters, record store personnel and DJs).

Decidedly dubstep, FaltyDL (Drew Lustman) seems to have created his own brand of NY garage, experimenting with and interbreeding a diverse set of influences and sounds. Hip-hop, UK garage, jazz, and funk awash his tracks. Beats range from impressively regular to strategically patchy, usually with a sweet swing rhythm -- most tracks pulsate forward with a lounge-esque coolness and certain elegance, even when they’re more aggressive. Clear Portishead and Aphex Twins influence here. Though crisp and tight, Lustman’s experimental style lends itself to casual beat and synth placement throughout, one of the many aspects that make FaltyDL’s sound fresh and interesting. - Paul Dunn

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Artist(s) Who Deserve Your Friendship: Sun Airway

Frontman Jon Barthmus and drummer Patrick Marsceill, formerly of The A-Sides (Vagrant Records, Prison Jazz Records), are back with a promising new project, Sun Airway. The shared tracks from their debut album Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier (no scheduled release date yet) are delightful pieces of shimmering electronic pop with touches of shoegaze. I already find it way more interesting than anything that I’ve heard from their former band. I’m really enjoying “Put the Days Away” where Barthmus’ engaging vocals stand out front and center wavering between hints of Julian Casablancas and Bono making Sun Airway no-brainers for the radio stations. You can catch their debut live performance at JB’s tomorrow night. - Q.D. Tran

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