Tuesday, July 7, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 3 July

An American Holiday weekend means a slow week, so we're doing this quick hit style:


* Dream Wife - So When You Gonna... (Great sophomore effort.)
* Little Kid - Transfiguration Highway (Solid, unexpected indie folk turn.)
* Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (Soundtrack from the Netflix movie, checks all the right boxes.)
* Cocktails - Catastrophic Entertainment (Power pop lives!)
* bdrmm - Bedroom

Of note:

* A.A. Williams - Forever Blue
* Willie Nelson - First Rose of Spring
* Cuddle Magic - Bath
* Marchelle Bradanini - Only a Woman
* Denai Moore - Modern Dread
* Heather Leigh - Glory Days
* Too Much - Club Emotion
* Suzanne Vallie - Love Lives Where Rules Die
* LEECHES - Swollen Moon
* Nelson Can - Solo Desire: Remixed Together, Volume 2 (Synthesized)


* Moon Panda - Make Well EP (Don't sleep on "Rick F**in Dalton.")
* Twin Peaks - Side A
* Flock of Dimes - Like So Much Desire
* Lynks Afrikka - Smash Hits, Vol. 1
* Skee Mask - Iss006

Also out:

* Paul Weller - On Sunset
* Deluxe - En confinement
* Ringo Deathstarr - Levitation Sessions

Back to normal next week!

Willy Mason - "Take It Off"

It's been years since we've had new music from Martha's Vineyard's Willy Mason. He's finally back with a new single, "Take It Off." "Take It Off" represents a gigantic departure in style for Mason. He's always been more of a folk troubadour with some very slight forays into indie rock sprinkled in his songs. "Take It Off" is an alt-rocker with blistering guitars. It still has those laid back troubadour vocals, but Willy Mason's voice is his voice. When the first electric guitar squall kicks in around second twenty, you know you're in for something different. It will be interesting to see if this is a new direction for Mason or just a brief dabble in a new sound.

You can listen to "Take It Off" below. The song is currently available as a free download on Willy Mason's Bandcamp. For more on Willy Mason, check out his website.

Bloodshot Records - Pandemophenia

We're huge fans of just about anything Bloodshot Records puts out, so we're thrilled that they recently released a digital only label b-sides, alternate versions, and covers compilation. Pandemophenia is a seventeen song compilation featuring all of our favorites from Bloodshot Records. "I'm Not There Yet" is as good as anything on Jason Hawk Harris's 2019 album Love & the Dark. William Elliott Whitmore has a new wonderfully rough sounding folk tune called "New Skateboard." Barrence Whitfield and the Savages share Soul Flowers of Titan bonus track "Dream of June." ROOKIE adds an acoustic, old-timey version of last year's "Hold on Tight."

And then there's the covers. Ruby Boots does a version of Tom Petty's "Keeping Me Alive," which may only exist as an outtake from the posthumous An American Treasure box set. Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers bring us a version of "This Land is Your Land" with the rarely included final verse. The Yawpers cover Motorhead's immortal "Ace of Spades" as the blistering hard rock track it is... with just the slightest hint of country. 

You can listen to The Yawpers's take on "Ace of Spades" below. Pandemophenia is available now via Bloodshot Records's Bandcamp

Monday, July 6, 2020

Thurston Moore - "Cantaloupe"

Photo via Facebook
After last year's three disc experimental album Spirit Counsel, it's great to hear Thurston Moore get back to actual songs again. "Cantaloupe" is really a mish-mash of all of Moore's favorite sounds. The track starts off with some grungy, sludgy guitar riffs. These are the kind of riffs seldom heard outside of a Melvins album these days. The song slowly morphs into more of an acid loving jam... but with some Detroit style proto-punk guitar solos. It's interesting to hear Moore play in so many of his style all at once, so if you've been a fan of all of his indie rock, jam band, heavy metal, etc. sounds, you're going to be heavily into his new sounds.

You can watch the video for "Cantaloupe" below. By the Fire, the upcoming album from Thurston Moore, will be out September 25. For more on Thurston Moore, check out his website.

Sweet Soubrette - "Making Do"

Sweet Soubrette, the solo project of Ellia Bisker of Charming Disaster, has made a song that can only make sense in 2020. "Making Do" is a song about making masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Obviously, the song is hardly cheerful given the subject matter, but since it's Sweet Soubrette, that makes perfect sense. I can't think of anyone else that could make a song right now about making masks to help out the collective whole that trudges along like a conveyor belt, and still keeping a sense of optimism and community intact. We may never want to listen to "Making Do" once this is all over, but for right now this song has the charm and begrudging positivity we all need right now.

You can listen to "Making Do" below. The song is available as a download on Sweet Soubrette's Bandcamp. There is also the option to purchase a mask with your download. For more on Sweet Soubrette, check out the artist's website.

Eli "Paperboy" Reed Covers Steely Dan

Here's a sentence I never thought I'd type: You really need to check out neo-soul singer Eli "Paperboy" Reed's cover of Steely Dan's "Do It Again." We're pretty faithful fans of Reed's, but I can say I've never gotten into Steely Dan. I'm just from that part of Generation X that completely dismissed bands like Steely Dan and never went back to check them out as I've gotten older. But Reed's take on "Do It Again?" Fantastic. As you would assume with anything Eli "Paperboy" Reed does, he takes the soft rock standard and re-imagines it as a neo-soul classic.

You can listen to Eli "Paperboy" Reed's version of "Do It Again" below. The song is available as a single via Yep Roc Records. You can get a copy on Bandcamp. It also comes with a B-side cover of Latimore's "Let's Straighten It Out." For more on Eli "Paperboy Reed," check out his website.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Half Past Two Covers The Beatles

A ska/pop-punk cover of a Beatles classic is something you already know if you want to hear. Orange County's Half Past Two have chosen to cover "I Will," which is one of the most underappreciated Beatles songs out there. The original is a quiet, slightly upbeat ballad that may very well be the first ever twee song. Half Past Two's version is restrained for ska/punk, but definitely more upbeat than the original. This is a 90's throwback ska song, sounding more like Reel Big Fish or Save Ferris than earlier ska. It's a ska cover of a Beatles song, and in the tradition of ska covers of classic rock songs, this is purely fun.

You can watch the video for Half Past Two's version of "I Will" below. Something Blue, the new EP from Half Past Two, is out today. You can get a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Half Past Two, check out their website.

Friday Freebie: Brenna Lowrie - Loss Leader

Today is the day many people get off work to celebrate America's Independence Day, so why not bring you a free EP from an artist from Alberta, Canada?

Brenna Lowrie recently released Loss Leader. It's a six song collection of psychedelic folk. That is perfectly displayed with the EP's opening song, "Skin." "Skin" is one of the more haunting folk songs I've heard in a while. It completely fits the modern folk template, but there's just something about Lowrie's vocals and playing that will implant itself directly in your soul. "Better Late Than Never" has a slightly off-kilter feel to it. It's both beautiful, but keeps the haunting feel going. "Trapped on the Ground" is a purely gorgeous song that does its own thing while captivating the listener. If you haven't fallen in love with the music of Brenna Lowrie by this point, "Longest Night" will solidify that love for you.

You can listen to "Trapped on the Ground" below. Loss Leader is available now for the "name your price" option on Brenna Lowrie's Bandcamp

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Caitlin Pasko - "Horrible Person"

Brooklyn based artist Caitlin Pasko is tough to describe. Her latest single, "Horrible Person," crafts the listener a true sonic landscape even though it's a very minimal song. Pasko's voice is this soft and lush instrument that is going to suck you straight in no matter how much you may try to fight it.. but why would you? Instruments seem to wander in at their own whim, each taking a brief turn in the spotlight until Pasko's voice takes back its rightful place. 

Caitlin Pasko says of the song: 

"I wrote 'Horrible Person' a cappella, alone in my bed, in the dark. It's the first song Henry [Terepka] and I made that paved the way for Greenhouse. I remember meeting up with him at Pinch just to see if we could make something (anything), and after catching up, Henry asked me what I'd been working on. I told him I was trying a new thing -- writing songs a capella, away from my piano, as a way to bypass my usual songwriting hang ups. I remember describing "Horrible Person" to him as being 'pretty direct,' and laughing nervously. We were in the control room, and he jumped up to get his guitar, and an amp, and some pedals. He asked me to sing the first line (so that he could figure out the key), and we both laughed about it as he created a drone. Then, before I ever even sang the whole song to him, we decided to record a take, with both of us improvising and reacting to each other. Afterwards, we built layers upon layers around it. I imagine that I'm singing from inside a deep, dark, underwater chasm, with neon diatoms darting around me. The final recording is the first and only take of the song, as well as my first time singing it aloud to anyone (and Henry's first time hearing it)."

You can listen to "Horrible Person" below. Greenhouse, the upcoming album from Caitlin Pasko, will be out August 28 on Whatever's Clever. For more on Caitlin Pasko, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

Kestrels - "Vanishing Point"

Last month we brought you Kestrels's new single "Grey and Blue." I personally loved it, but I'm going to be predisposed to liking any song that includes a guest guitar solo from J Mascis. With their new single, "Vanishing Point," it turns out they don't need any help to make a killer 90's influenced song. "Vanishing Point" combines just about every one of my favorite 90's genres. There is a ton of grungy guitars with power pop hooks and more than a little Brit pop sprinkled in. And, even without Mascis, there are some insanely great guitar solos in here. 

You can watch the cat heavy video for "Vanishing Point" below. Dream or Don't Dream, the upcoming album from Kestrels, will be out July 10 on Darla Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Kestrels, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.