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Issue #05

June 2011
Issue #05 Cover by Alec Longstreth
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01 Laika Falk & Die Wiese
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02 My Name Is Mathias The Burning Hell
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03 Naked Before My Captors Northpilot
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04 What Does It Mean Bombadil
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05 Crazy The Redemptive Soulz ft. Taylor Van Eynde
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06 Killers Life Jackets
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07 Lose, Loser, Lost Susie Asado
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08 We Got It Alone Homer Sparks
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09 Glazed End The Noise
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10 Nothing Joe Koenig
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11 Chief Running Sauce Arabb
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12 Fountains Panda Bear Jones
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13 MellowD Legotape
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14 Parlor Tricks Andy Hentz
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Laika
Falk & Die Wiese
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Falk is name of the lead singer and writer. “Die Wiese” translates from german to “the meadow.” Falk grew up in East Germany.
I’m from a small town. I’ve lived in Berlin for 10 years. I’m married and I have a kid. I’m failing to finish university for about 8 years now. I’d like to be a scientist but I’m not.
Falk wrote and named this track after Laika, the first dog in space. He remembers seeing a black and white photo of Laika in an old childhood book.
I stumbled upon this picture again when I was in my late 20s. My grandma died and me and my family were taking the stuff out of her appartment — and I saw this picture again. And there was this feeling again.

I did some research on Laika and was fascinated by her story. For instance, they searched for a stray dog on purpose. Because it’s tougher than other dogs. Or that the kosmonauts let their kids play with the dog, that she became part of a family. Or that Laika died after only a couple of hours, because the air conditioning didn’t work. Or that the sputnik with the dead dog inside did burn up not until it took 2570 orbits. Or that there is a place on Mars named after her.
Normally my “studio setup” consists of a multitrack recorder and a microphone next to my desk. For the recording of “Laika,” I borrowed a white laptop and an audio interface from our drummer. I used some recording program I forgot. I recorded in our rehearsal room which is located in an old Telekom building.
I perform every two or three months in some club in Berlin with “Falk & Die Wiese.” We have a small fanbase of people who have bands on their own whose fans we are. Nobody’s got any record deals. We did two bigger tours, both with “D.Cooper & The Pigbirds”. The second one was organized and also accompanied by Sibsi (Issue #04). Without him, we would be nothing.
Written, Performed and Recorded by Falk Quenstedt Slide Guitars: Frank Rother Mixed and Mastered by Madeleine Bloom
Written & Recorded Spring 2009. Berlin, Germany.
My Name Is Mathias
The Burning Hell
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A few months ago, Philipp Conrad (Ramen Curator Extraordinaire) and I were hanging out. He he insisted that we check out music videos from The Burning Hell. One of those videos was of Mathias strolling through a mall singing and playing this very track (video below). It was love at first listen.

Mathias describes his personal high points in the tune itself (quality of beard & lips, dancing abilites, etc), but in case you wanted elaboration:
I’m a nerdy, bearded little Jewish Canadian ukulele player, and I’m getting pretty old. Too old to be playing music anymore, they say. But I don’t care. I didn’t start writing or performing seriously til I was 28, which I sort of think means I get another 10 years at least before I have to worry about a best-before date.
I wrote this song about a year ago, and it all came out in a rush. I had never intended to write an autobiographical song, but after the lyric “My name is Mathias and I came to say this…”, it seemed like the obvious way to go. So yeah, it’s a song all about me, which you can either view as honesty or self-indulgence, though it’s probably both.
I quit my old job and started recording and playing music because at that point in my life it was the only thing I really enjoyed doing (and in some ways it still is, though I also now enjoy dog-sledding and clowns).
As for what I dream of doing? Buying a big old boat, installing a small recording studio, and spending the rest of my life on the river recording songs with the people I meet.
Mathias and his ever-fluxuating crew of bandmates appears to tour relentlessly. They are currently in the middle of a European tour as this issue is released. Something like 41 shows straight.

I met them recently right before their show in Vienna. Soundcheck was running an hour behind. The band showed no visible signs of stress. Nick Ferrio (the bass guitarist who accompanies Mathias in the video) was strumming idly on the $80 ukelele. Cigarettes were smoked. Coffees were ordered. Everyone was talking about a) the show the night before in upper Austria (in which the friendly venue owner relentlessly plied the band with schnapps) and b) the schnitzel that was to be nommed post-soundcheck.

Soundcheck happened. We walked across the street and invaded the schnitzelhaus. The waitress panicked as we grabbed tables and reorganized her garden section. In the end, my girlfriend and I sat with Nick. He was 250% friendlier than the average person. He also plays guitar, lap steel and sings in another band which he had just finished touring with.

The schnitzel was great. But the show. Man, the show. Philipp described it as such: “Tight as hell, but loose at the same time, you know?”

Everyone was on. Mathias was a riot. The band members were playing and singing their hearts out. By the end of the show, everyone in the venue was dancing, sweating, laughing. And then the final encore: A cover out of left field: Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice baby.” Done straight. Pulled off. The sole guy still standing idly in the corner doing his best to look noncommittal broke into grin, gave up, and joined the rest of the crowd dancing.

Keep your eyes out for The Burning Hell. See them live. It will be one of the best shows you have ever experienced.

My name is Sudara and I came to say that.
Vocals, Ukulele: Mathias Kom Clarinet: Ariel Sharratt Drums: Jake Nicoll Violin: Alison Corbett Guitar: Darren Browne Baritone saxophone: Natasha Hartery Trombone: John Duff Vocals: Katie Baggs Recorded by James Anderson
Written and Recorded Winter 2010. St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Naked Before My Captors
Northpilot
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Northpilot hails from Chicago. They describe themselves as “experimental pop.” On first listen, I was blown away by their full clean sound. Their recording process is a hybrid of DIY and pro.
We record some instruments at our rehearsal space and drums and vocals in a studio. We use a lot of different instrumentation including electronic synthesizers and drum machines, piano, mellotron, flute, trumpet, etc. Anything and everything goes.
I like the way they describe their songwriting process.
We really love to create stories and themes within a song. Some bands create concept albums; we like to create concept songs. We are not too concerned if an album flows together — lyrically anyway. The songs that make it on a record make sense in somewhat of a linear fashion. We tend to think very visual when we are writing; Where is this song located? Who is involved? A lot of times that won’t be realized until the music is complete. We try not to set up any guidelines before we start to write.


Daniel describes the roots of this track’s subject:
Throughout the 50’s and 60’s, the CIA started a program testing brain manipulation. It used many techniques including psychoactive drug, sensory deprivation, etc. I thought it to be a really captivating subject to write about because it can be so expansive. I wanted to write from the experience of a test patient, so the “wildest village” is really just an illusion of the patient’s mind. Intense, I know…
Warning: I’ve woken up with this song stuck in my head almost every morning the last two weeks. Listen on repeat at your own risk :)
Mark Colwell, Paul Krauss, Travis Shaver, Matt Cragnolin, Daniel Julian, Danielle Schnurer
Written Fall 2009, Recorded Spring 2010. Chicago, IL.
What Does It Mean
Bombadil
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My friend David who runs the music blog IndieMuse turned me onto Bombadil a couple months ago. I’ve been crossing my fingers since, hoping we’d get to publish a track from them. Maybe a long lost B-side. Perhaps a rough mix off their upcoming album. Or a new gem, recorded in true DIY ramen style. Last month, they contacted me and let me know they had something special for us.

I interviewed Stuart (who wrote and recorded this track) over Skype. Despite it being a first for us (normally we do interviews via a questionnaire and over email) I didn’t prepare, determined just to chat informally and get to know each other a bit.

“What Does It Mean” was recorded by Stuart in a college practice room:
It’s a pretty nice deal. They have a lot of pianos. The rooms aren’t really soundproof, but everyone is there to make noise, so I don’t really feel bad hooting and hollering.
Bombadil has been around as a band since 2006. Each of the members is a multi-intrumentalist. Each sings.
“We try to wear different hats; like one person will be the songwriter for one song and that person can kind of delegate or control how the song gets produced or played or recorded. Sometimes two people write a song together. I really didn’t write any songs until we’d probably been playing full time for like a year, so historically I have a minimum of songs. I’ve been writing a lot more lately”
In the obligatory Small World Department, it turns out that Stuart and I were both in Oberlin, Ohio back in 2002. He was there for a summer, taking an electronic music course. He got bored with the course, and noticed that there was a baroque music program going on at the same time.
They had auditions while I was there. I’d never played a harpsichord before….but it looks like a keyboard. I had some old Bach tunes up my sleeves, so I did that kind of at the same time.
Bombadil has a new album coming out soon. It was recorded back in January on a farm outside of Portland.
Friends of ours have a barn and they have one building that they’re trying to dedicate to music. I think we were the second group to sort of camp out there full time and try to pull an album out; the Decemberists had done that before us”
Stuart kindly recorded this track specifically so Ramen could offer a higher quality file to subscribers. I highly recommend checking out the original mp3 he sent us, it has a completely different vibe: Download Original/Alternative Take
Written, performed, recorded, and mixed by Stuart Robinson
Written and Recorded May 2011. Durham, North Carolina, USA
Crazy
The Redemptive Soulz ft. Taylor Van Eynde
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This track is put together by the crew at Razorlight Music Group, run by producers Brandon Scrushy and Jeff Solomon. They run a pro studio where they produce, arrange, and work with artists on songs and career.
Born from the Mudlands of Catatonia, these musical brothers built their own ship out of construction paper and wires and found themselves pioneers in the community.
“Crazy” is listed on their website as their first single. I asked Jeff for a bit of detail on how they ran into Taylor (vocals) and how this track came about.
This baby was born through divine intervention, light beer, taco bell, unicorn fairy dust and a mixing of the past and the future. We discovered Taylor through a friend, who had met her in a local Santa Monica voice class. Her magical voice really heralded back to those golden times for me. So after catchin the vibe from a track we had been working on, we wrote the song on an acoustic guitar and let our ears do the feeling around. We soon found a bit of magic and something we had never quite heard before.



Written by J.Solomon, T. Van Eynde, B. Scrushy Produced by Brandon Scrushy and Jeff Solomon (The Redemptive Soulz) Lead Vocal: Taylor Van Eynde Background vocals: Jeff Solomon, Taylor Van Eynde Guitar, Bass: Jeff Solomon Drum Programming,Synths: Brandon Scrushy Mixed and Engineered by Brandon Scrushy Asst. Engineer: Dustin Burford Mastered by Adrian Carr
Written and Recorded March 2011. Hollywood, CA
Killers (Took My Breath)
Life Jackets
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David Hoon (aka Life Jackets) submitted several solid tracks to us. We ran into one of my favorite “problems” with submissions — needing to choose between several tracks from the same artist. David is 24 years old and currently runs a recording studio.
I am from Boston and I have brown eyes. Life Jackets is my new project and my first as a solo songwriter. While these songs are of the indie-post/pop variety I’ve always been in way heavier bands as the drummer. I graduated from Berklee (boo this man!) and work as a producer/engineer.
David’s music makes me happy. He did everything on this track: writing, arranging, playing the full band including drums, doing all the recording, mixing, etc. That kind of drive and dedication is something I respect very very much.

David responds to my grilling:
Do I play live much? With this project no, not yet. I’m still finishing the record. Anyways, I’d need band members for that. Know anyone? I’m Serious.

Do i want a record deal? Yea dude, I want a record deal.
I feel like I’d get along with David a lot in “real life” when he describes his tastes in music and marketing:
I like whatever music. I don’t care. You know that song that goes “…EVERYBODY HANDS GO UP and THEY STAY THERE! AND THEY STAY THERE!” That is sweet. In fact I’d rather be playing that live show than this one.
What I don’t like about music is networking especially online. I rather not use exclamation points all the time and I don’t have a lot of online friends. Also, can someone explain to me the line between healthy self promoting and being a douche…seriously FACEBOOK ME!!!!!
As someone who is most comfortable behind the scenes, I agree wholeheartedly. Pssst, did you like this issue on Facebook yet? Seriously.
David Hoon. Inspired by friends and enemies.
Written and Recorded May 2011. Boston, MA.
Lose, Loser, Lost
Susie Asado
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Ssssh! Susie Asado is secretly Josepha Conrad, who currently resides in Berlin and is the sister of the aforementioned Philipp, the Ramen curator who put together the track order on this issue.
I was born in Frankfurt. Moved with my family to Chicago in the mid 80’s. I love skyscrapers and giant bodies of water. I like seeing the horizon. I love writing. Stringing words together in funny ways.
Her vivid imagination and playful lyrical style are what I love most about her music. Her stories just bubble out. The ride is always filled with enjoyable yet unexpected turns and twists along the way.

Lucky for her fans, she has some awesome videos that compliment her style well, such as the unmissable “Hello Antenna” (below).
Some background on the tune:
I had this strange catatonic feeling after waking up. Like I was on display in a museum. I couldn’t move. Maybe I was a wax figure or something. Sometimes I would just lie there for a long time and this frozen state started to scare me. What if this continued. What if I would lie there like that all day. What if I would never get my ass out of bed again. Then I had this idea that I was busy inside. That I couldn’t move outside because my cells had so much work that the outside had to be really still. Something like that.
And her current status and dreams:
I am touring. I try to play a lot of shows. Playing shows has always helped me develop my music. I just got back from a one week Germany/Switzerland tour with my violinist Marko Hefele and we have been building little choreographed moments into our performance. Really fun. I want costumes. A record deal would be great too. But mostly I just want to keep doing what I’m doing. That’s my dream.
Written by Josepha Conrad aka Susie Asado Recorded in Berlin by Guy Sternberg at Low Swing Studio Classical guitar and vocals: Josepha Conrad Percussion: Jason Levis Violin: Marko Hefele Electric Bass: Tomi Simatupang
Written Spring 2009, Recorded Summer 2009. Berlin, Germany.
We Got It Alone
Homer Sparks
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David Francese is the man behind Homer Sparks. He’s currently heads down recording his first full length album, which this song is a part of.
This song is about getting through times in life when you can’t rely on anyone. Independence and freedom from all.
David found us through Nate Henricks (Issue #04).
I love music, and I love art, and I feel the two should be as one. I feel like there isn’t enough music that is at the same time “art”. I try to do that as much as I can.
David’s recording setup is efficient and to the point:
I record with a Mac computer, small two input M-Audio interface and a couple microphones.



Written and Recorded Summer 2010. St. Louis, MO.
Glazed
End The Noise
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Jamie Chambers is End The Noise.
I’m 22, just finished my degree in Music Production at Leeds College of Music, in Leeds, England. I’m originally from Derry, in Northern Ireland, and fly back home often to see my family and friends.
I work in a busy nightclub which plays everything from pop music, to hiphop, to indie etc and I quite enjoy a lot of it (even POP!) I think there is a market for all types of music and that as an artist, it is possible to write artistic, creative and respectable music that is still able to reach a large audience.
All [my] recording gear is portable but I generally record everything in my bedroom.
“Glazed” has a nice syrupy wall-of-sound feel. Jamie says it’s one of those tracks that sat in the incubator for a few years before being fleshed out.
Strangely enough, I wrote the main piano based progression when I was just in early stages of learning how to play and write music, it randomly popped into my head one day when I was jamming with a drummer a few years later. He was playing all kinds of interesting time signatures and it sounded pretty cool. I never really jammed with that drummer again and the song became lost in my mind for another year or so until I started to learn how to produce music.
The track finally came together in one monster session:
After I got sick of trying to write music with vocals (I’m not much of a lead singer) the song popped into my head and I decided it could work really well as an instrumental. 12 straight hours later, the song was done.
Interesting fact, the little high sound you hear during the chorus as the “oohs” come in, is a hair dryer that I recorded and experimented with.
All music and performances by Jamie Chambers Mixed by Kyle McSparron and Jamie Chambers
Written late 2010. Recorded New Years 2011. Leeds, England
Nothing
Joe Koenig
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We had to include this track. It brought at least one or two of our curators close to tears.
I hurt someones heart a long time ago for no good reason. “Nothing” is a bit of selfish therapy, simply me beating myself up for doing a hurtful thing to someone that was very sweet. I wrote the song hoping she might hear it one day and understand I was young and I am sorry for any pain I caused her.
I am just a “normal” guy. Nothing fancy or flashy here.

I grew up in a small town called Concrete, Texas. Our nearest neighbors were miles away. My simple upbringing taught me how to “feel”. Life was not perfect but love was around and I knew it.

I consider myself lucky. I work hard and lead a modest, simple life. Music, Design, Family… I live and breathe these things.
This track was recorded in a professional studio Joe was testing out. He also records with friends at home.
It’s called the “Beach Shack” Studio. Just a room in our small house near the beach converted into a limited protools setup. I have worked hard to gather some nice equipment so my friends and myself can put together demos for our music when the time comes.
Joe on being a father:
I have been more of a father than a working musician as of late. Still gigging often, but honestly the birth of my son “Leslie Joe Koenig III” has filled my life with so much joy I have not had the urge to write music. I just want to spend my spare time with him and watch him grow.
Joe on writing and inspiration:
There was a breakthrough moment for me just 2 nights ago, my mind and heart are back in the right place to write music so I started and finished my first song in 10 months.

The time for music is back, and I am glad I did not push it. I am inspired again.



Composed by Joe Koenig Guitar, Vocals: Joe Koenig Phoebe Parros: Violin, Viola Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Sutton Sound
Written and Recorded Summer 2010. Central Coast of California.
Chief Running Sauce
Arabb
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Ok. I’ll be honest. We saw the name of this track and pretty much accepted it before we even pressed play. Steve (aka Arabb) explains the method behind his genius:
I keep a running list of possible song titles which I choose mostly at random. The drums sounded tribal, so I chose the name “Chief Running Sauce.” No one likes runny spaghetti sauce.
Extra bonus points were awarded for his sampling of an early electronic music pioneer.
One of Raymond Scott’s tracks shouted at me, saying “Sample me!” … so I did. That sample became Chief Running Sauce. The original track was called “Dinner Music For a Pack of Hungry Cannibals.”
Steve comes clean on his recording situation:
My living room isn’t a living room … it’s a recording studio.
Normally I don’t put it in the issue when artists say nice things about us, but I feel like Steve articulates very clearly why Ramen Music was started:
I chose Ramen because I’ve heard great things about them. They actually care about music and musicians. Record labels, venues, and promoters have been taking advantage of musicians for years now. I feel companies like Ramen can change that from the ground up.
All music arranged, composed and mixed by Arabb a.k.a. Steve Chab.
Written Winter 2009. Pittsburgh, PA.
Fountains
Panda Bear Jones
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Panda Bear Jones. Panda Bear Jones. Panda Bear Jones!
Panda Bear Jones was formed in the 2000s by two bearded men (Ross Graham & Lloyd Jones). There isn’t a precise date, as they were in various states of existence for a number of years. Live, the band are now a five-piece.
Yeah, but what about the name? We must know!
It’s nothing to do with the animal specifically. It’s because Lloyd had (in the past) an obsession/liking with China (the culture and at the time, the politics). Ross chose to use the name ‘Panda Bear Jones’ as a way of showing his disdain (ironically) at Lloyd’s obsession with China.
These two men seem fairly proud to announce that the track was recorded in “probably one of the worst locations one could hope to record in.”
The song was recorded at Rigdale Studios, Eggbuckland at possibly the worst time of year to be IN Rigdale Studios: The power was frequently cut, there was no central heating and multiple layers of fleece were obligatory.
Nonetheless, the band arranged and recorded the song ‘Fountains’ in this environment, and it exists today as a reflection of that time period. Careful listeners can spot the sounds of nearby wildlife and other ill-advised auditory additions.
Lead Vocals, Guitar, Percussion: Ross Graham Harmony Vocals, Bass Guitar, Percussion: Lloyd Jones
Written 2008. Recorded November 2010. Eggbuckland, Plymouth, England
MellowD
Legotape
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Legotape is Shane, a musician hailing from Dublin. Like a lot of self-produced musicians these days, he began with a guitar and 4-track and worked his way up from there.
I’ve been writing and playing music for around 12 years, beginning with learning to play guitar. I moved to Cork City where I frequented open mic nights and also did my fair share of busking on the streets of that lovely town. In that time, I developed an interest in the production of music, cutting my teeth on a boss 4-track which helped develop a passion for the creativity made possible in the recording process.
I’ve been working as a live [sound] engineer for a small local venue as well so other people’s stuff is taking centre stage at the moment. I have always, and still do have ambitions to get my music out to a wider audience.
Common amongst many Ramen-published artists, Shane records in his bedroom. He does both folky guitar-based tracks as well as electronic/ambient material and is currently on the hunt to “draw the two strands together.” I’d say he’s succeeding. I was sold on the first listen, precisely because of the calming mix of both electronic and organic elements.
The track just brought itself together really. It started off with some vocal samples which i mashed up to create a piano-like sound for the melody and progressed with the addition of bass and percussion lines. I think the best hook of the track is the sampled Ukulele, which I feel really gels the track together.


Played, Recorded and Mixed by Legotape
Written and Recorded March 2011. Dublin, Ireland
Parlor Tricks
Andy Hentz
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I promised myself I wouldn’t gush about this track, but Andy is one of the most talented musicians I know. We wrote music together for high school theater and both attended Oberlin College.

There are two critical things you should know about Andy.

1) Not only does he play (with gusto and talent) the garden variety of instruments (piano, guitar, bass), but he’s been on a kick the last few years with wind instruments (flute, trombone, clarinet, bass clarinet). That’s on top of the instruments that he builds (metallophone, mbira), as well as the unique sounds he gets via sampling, manipulation or simply ingenuity, such as the “bowed banjo” that is featured in this song (yes, that violin sound is a banjo).

2) There’s no musical territory that exists that Andy hasn’t at least visited, if not explored in depth. His music cannot be pinned down stylistically except maybe by saying “that sounds like Andy!” His strong sense for harmony combined with his versatility on pretty much any instrument he spends more than an hour with allows him to pull off recordings in pretty much any genre.

The last several years he has been writing been for film, theater and dance. I’ve heard him cover pretty much all styles ranging from more straight ahead “classical” film scoring to rock to sample-based digi-fun.

Here is how he describes his studio space:
A spare bedroom is crammed with borrowed, bought and built instruments, a few mics, a laptop running Cubase and the severed heads of five felt creatures that would make a Muppet’s blood run cold.
His current projects:
I’ve been slowly building a pump organ that uses soda bottles inside of pipes, and I’m writing music for a set of harmonicas with the top and bottom reed-sets swapped to create a unique scale for each harp.
This track centers around Andy’s custom built metallophone.
The metallophone, (chromatic percussion instrument with tuned metal bars) was something I had made a couple years ago but only recently expanded to two and a half octaves with a dampening pedal. It is an unsightly thing: rusty steel bars, oddly cut PVC pipe, wood cannibalized from IKEA furniture. Ugly baby that it might be, it’s MY baby and I guess this tune is small birthday celebration for it.

Written and Recorded by Andrew Hentz.
Metallophone, Trombone, Flute, Bowed 5-string banjo, Pitched screaming.
Spring 2011. Los Angeles, California, U.S. of A.

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Issue #06

August 2011. Cover by Laura Park.

Issue #06 artwork by Laura Park