If you ask me (you didn’t, but I’ll tell you anyways), Band of Horses have been heading downhill since their very first album, 2006’s Everything All the Time. That was their high watermark, and it seems like with each new release they dip a little further in quality. Apparently I’m not the only one who has noticed this, considering that if you look at a collection of reviews they pretty much all reflect that same sentiment. What seems to be the problem with the band? They remain moderately popular, and can still certainly sell out a decent sized venue, but are the rooms they’re playing in filled with people eager to hear “The Funeral,” or “Knock Knock”? Don’t get me wrong – all indications are via interviews and press materials that the guys in Band of Horses are super nice and a whole lot of fun. They’d be a lot easier band to hate if they weren’t good people. Hell, I’m still rooting for their recovery in spite of everything. As a result, there was a certain degree of happiness that washed over me upon finding out that Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell is officially launching a solo project under the pseudonym of Birdsmell. Of course that happiness is tempered with caution, because for all I know Bridwell is the weak link in that band, and his solo stuff could be the worst yet. The press release attached to the announcement of the solo project didn’t instill much hope either. “I enlisted those same musicians [from an earlier single recording] to record some songs of mine that had been sitting around for far too long, some of which could be said to be uncomfortably silly and devoid of all reasonable taste,” Bridwell said. “I wasn’t exactly in a rush to get them out to the discerning earholes of the public. Regardless, this project was pure enjoyment for me and it was nice to not give a damn about anything, but having fun recording these songs.” When you’re calling your solo songs “uncomfortably silly and devoid of all reasonable taste,” it seems to suggest that they’re terrible and probably shouldn’t be heard. Yet he went and recorded them anyways, and three of them can now be streamed via Soundcloud. All three songs will appear on a 7″ vinyl, which will only be available at the handful of Birdsmell shows taking place next month in the Deep South. Where the project will go from there is anybody’s guess. Listening to those solo songs, I’ll say this much: they’re better than I expected them to be. Have a listen for yourself, and maybe they’ll strike your fancy. If not, well, there’s a whole roundup of Pick Your Poison tracks to discover as well. Today’s specials include cuts from Emperors, The Golden Furs, Mansions, Midnight Faces, Teapots and Yo La Tengo. In the Soundcloud section (after the jump), stream new songs from Baio, Destroyer, Juana Molina and Russian Circles.

BASECAMP – Emmanuel (Blackedout Remix)

Emperors – Be Ready When I Say Go

The Golden Furs – Run Back

Honeymilk – Light Entertainment

Mansions – Flowers in My Teeth

Midnight Faces – Fornication

Pattern Is Movement – Untitled (How Does It Feel) [D’Angelo cover]

PET – Talk to You (Kina Remix)

The Royalties STHLM – Your Favourite Song (Secondary Rules Remix)

Schwarz Don’t Crack – Charade (Adana Twins On A Lonely Night Remix)

Spazzkid – Weird Girl

StaG – I Think I’ll Shout (Chakita Remix)

Teapots – Alley

Yo La Tengo – Super Kiwi


Baio – Mira

Ben Khan – Eden

Destroyer – El rito

Juana Molina – Sin Guia No

Russian Circles – 1777

Tera Melos – Snake Lake (Busdriver Remix ft. Milo)