Daytrotter have been posting one live session every day since 2006. Covering a broad range of independent musicians, often ones in ascendance, it’s a fantastic way to discover new music. Sessions usually consist of four songs recorded at The Horseshack studio in Illinois and blur the boundary between studio-quality recording and the immediacy of s live sound.
The performances are stripped back and wonderfully intimate with a loose feel. Artists often throw in covers or older tracks, making Daytrotter a perfect substitute for the renowned and sorely missed Peel Sessions. What makes it so essential beyond the music itself is the love; each session is accompanied by a passionate write-up and an illustration of the band, all wrapped up in the spirit of sharing.
Here’s a few of my favourites for starters:
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy September 2006
During the studio’s first year, BPB popped in to lay down ‘The Seedling’, naked when compared to its appearance on The Letting Go, along with two Palace classics and the traditional number ‘Goodbye Dear Old Stepstone’.
Grizzly Bear April 2007
Before this year’s frankly amazing Veckatimest rocketed Grizzly Bear to acclaim and accolades aplenty, the Brooklyn foursome were building a reputation as a band to watch, quietly honing the intricacies of their sound. Here, the artifice that makes their songs so rich and intense is stripped away, showing the strong backbone that holds it all together.
The National July 2007
Boxer established The National as one of those rare breed of bands that hit their stride and just keep on pushing. Here, they play two of that record’s highlights, ‘Slow Show’ and ‘Gospel’, paired with the heartbreaking ‘Lucky You’ and a world-weary, ruined take on ‘Pretty in Pink’ by the Psychedelic Furs.
Jeffrey Lewis and The Junkyard July 2009
Quite possibly one of the most captivating wordsmiths in modern music, the studio setting invites you to listen closely to what Lewis has to say. Features two songs from his most accessible album yet, this year’s ‘Em Are I.
Magnolia Electric Co. October 2009
I know I keep banging on about how great Jason Molina and his cohorts are, but it’s not without good reason. Here the band generously donate six songs that form a cross section of their career, plus a seventh unreleased track, ‘Devil Wings’.
That’s barely scratching the surface, check out the full session archive.