Tales of the Live Music Archive

It’s quite tempting to visit Internet Archive’s Live Music Archive and be drawn to the bands you’re familiar with and adore. Grateful Dead, Smashing Pumpkins, Jason Mraz, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Guster all beg you to choose their name, boasting 300+ shows and countless downloads. Don’t get me wrong, I can click on some of those bands all day and get completely wrapped up in their myriad of live shows. One of the joys of the Archive, however, is to get exposed to those smaller bands that either are on the brink of making it big or have met their demise years ago with only the Archive paying them homage.

Here’s a teaser list of what you can find in the LMA with just a few clicks of the mouse:

  • Acoustic Vibration Appreciation Society is classic North Carolinian bluegrass that will make you dance.
  • Sara Petite, a singer/songwriter from the West coast, has a charming music style with meaningful lyrics.
  • Shell Stamps Band is a jam-band of sorts, a side project of the more well-known Ancient Harmony.
  • Betsy Franck and the Bareknuckle Band is a fun, worthwhile listen. They’re a gutsy, bluesy group from Georgia.
  • Charlie Parr is a supremely talented folk/bluegrass artist hailing from Minneapolis. You’ll hear washboards backing up Parr’s strong voice.
  • Madgrass offers a collection of covers with their own twangy spin. Covers include songs by Neil Young, Grateful Dead, and Old Crow Medicine Show.
  • The Microphones, fronted by Phil Elvrum and later renamed Mount Eerie, is an indie-rock band. The good, genuine kind of indie-rock with unique sounds and heartfelt lyrics.
  • The Strawberry Allstars, a pop electronic band from Maine, will surprise you with their creative use of fast techno sounds infused with a strong beat and interesting vocals.
  • Of course, there are valid reasons that some bands only have a couple shows uploaded and zero downloads, but, sometimes, those are just as much fun to find.

    –Cara Binder

    5 thoughts on “Tales of the Live Music Archive

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    2. Aaron Parker

      I’m glad you mention the Strawberry Allstars, its one of my curates and with under 600 downloads total they (he, really) deserves a try by some more people.

    3. Jim in NC

      I love to go fishing in the archive. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you’re not. Where else could I have been exposed to Ostad Manochehr Sadeghi?

    4. Mike

      I went fishing through the LMA one night last year, and was fortunate enough to come across Jesca Hoop’s music–it is fantastic! Be sure to check her out (most of the recordings feature a lot of the same songs, but those from the last month or two have new material from her upcoming album).

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