Monday, January 25, 2021

Holly Macve - "Be My Friend"

Photo by Maximillian Kinghorn-Mills

"Be My Friend," the latest song from Brighton based Holly Macve, crams in so many musical styles that it should be a complete disaster. But her now song is simply gorgeous, with each style gracefully complementing the next. The first thing you're going to notice is a country/Americana twang to the guitar. As Macve starts singing, you get a huge 60's girl group vibe. Somehow those two sounds merge together, in a way that with some slight morphs to the guitars, it brings out a shoegaze/dream pop sound that will remind you of Mazzy Star. "Be My Friend" should be a trainwreck, but Holly Macve pulls off a brilliant song masterfully.

You can watch the video for "Be My Friend" below. Not the Girl will be out April 16 on Modern Sky. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Holly Macve, check out her website.

Paul Jacobs - "Half Rich Loner"

Photo by Christopher Vincent

The latest from Montreal based musician Paul Jacobs is an interesting one. "Half Rich Loner" has a little bit of a folk rock feel to it. There's definitely a bit of a ramble going on here, despite it not truly being folk at all. Encasing the folk ramble is some huge 70's style glam rock. "Half Rich Loner" has some serious funk and groove to it. If you've ever wished that Bob Dylan had jammed with T. Rex instead of the Grateful Dead, this one is definitely for you. To make the song even more unique, the beats have a modern, almost electronic sound to them, despite Jacobs being the drummer for Pottery.

You can watch the video for "Half Rich Loner" below. Pink Dogs on the Green Grass will be out April 30 on Blow the Fuse Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Paul Jacobs, check out the artist's Facebook.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Nana Yamato - "Do You Wanna"

Photo by Nana Yamato

Nana Yamato's musical career began in a way that's kind of a dream for many of us. She had been going between her apartment in Tokyo, her school, and her work over and over again. One day she stopped at Big Love Records to pick up and Iceage album, and started going there every day after school. Her passion became collecting every indie rock release (hello, my college years) and that led to her creating her own music. Her newest single, "Do You Wanna," is some of the most compelling underground pop you'll hear this year. I'm only calling it pop because that's the closest genre I can come up with. It's about as far away from American Top 40 as Little Hag is, but it doesn't quite fit in as rock, either. It's almost a sonic collage, if a collage can be made with each piece seamlessly melding with each other, like they always belonged together.

Nana Yamato explains her new song: 

“This is a song about self-transformation, what I felt in the process. When I was younger I thought I was an independent person, but in fact, I was selfish and left it all to others. All the things I thought I don’t like were actually caused by myself. When I realized that, I felt like I was the only one who was left behind in the world. I was ashamed of myself. I had to change myself. It wasn't easy for me. I'm still in the process. I wonder if this is what it means to become an adult."

You can watch the video for "Do You Wanna" below. Before Sunrise is due out February 5 on Dull Tools. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Nana Yamato, check out the artist on Instagram.

Yard Act - "Dark Days"

Photo by James Brown

Yard Act may have only formed in 2019, but the Leeds based band has already built up quite a loyal following. Their debut 7" sold out of its five hundred copy pressing in one day, and their latest sold out one thousand copies in two hours. That song, "Dark Days," shows why. "Dark Days" has this killer post punk sound, and while it has the dark vibes that permeate most post punk, this new song is almost bouncy with a bizarro sense of fun. The vocals, particularly the chorus, add an almost cartoony vibe to the disjointed guitars throughout the song.

You can watch the video for "Dark Days" below. The song is available via the band's own Zen F.C. label. You can get a copy here. For more on Yard Act, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

The Pink Stones - "Blueberry Dream"

Photo by Mason Dominey

We're of the age where if we find out a band is from Athens, GA, we're going to give them a listen. And if I see that the same band features a founding member of Drive-By Truckers, it's impossible for me to not at least give them a shot. The Pink Stones feature John Neff, who was a member of Drive-By Truckers for their first two albums and then rejoined from 2006-2012. Now he's a member of The Pink Stones, who just released their debut single. "Blueberry Dream" fits the name of the song perfectly. It's a dreamy country rock song, filled with a hazy swirl of guitars. It sounds like if Wilco had kept some more country in their sound while they moved to artsy dad rock. 

You can watch the video for "Blueberry Dream" below. Introducing... The Pink Stones will be out April 9 on Normaltown Records/New West Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on The Pink Stones, check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

MIC Johnson Jr. featuring DV Alias Khryst - "Get Wit Me"

Photo via Facebook

The latest from Rochester, NY based MIC Johnson Jr. is perfect for hip hop fans who love the mid 90's just before Puff Daddy took over. "Get Wit Me" has a laid back feel while still having a little bit of intensity to keep things interesting. It sounds like if you merged Dr. Dre's g-funk sound with early Wu-Tang Clan, which is a combination that should have been made decades ago. It's not a pure throwback, though. Despite these elements, "Get Wit Me" does sound like a modern update of 90's hip hop.

You can watch the video for "Get Wit Me" below. Growth Spurt will be out on High Caliber Music. For more on MIC Johnson Jr., check out the artist's website.

The Barettas - "Touchè"

Photo via Twitter

The Barettas are an insanely fun guitar rock duo. They're much more pop than most rock duos (not as garage as The White Stripes, not as Americana as Shovels and Rope) we cover while staying fully in the rock category. Their latest single, "Touché," reminds of what would happen if you mixed the poppier side of No Doubt with early The Strokes. (Of course, the No Doubt comparisons could mostly be because of Katie Bulley's vocals reminding me of Gwen Stefani's.) "Touché" is great pop rock that leans just enough to the rock side for us music snobs to still get into.

You can watch the video for "Touché" below. For more on The Barettas, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Favourite Daughter - "Long Distance"

Indie pop may be the moniker of the moment right now, but the latest from Favourite Daughter stands above most other songs in the genre. "Long Distance" is an epically huge pop song that builds almost imperceptibly from verse to verse before it fizzles out towards the end. Unlike most indie pop, "Long Distance" is a rocker, and is shockingly noisy at times. The feeling of anxiety and desperation gets more and more intense as it goes on due to the subject matter. Despite all that, Favourite Daughter has crafted a song that is still a fun listen.

Favourite Daughter says of the song: 

"I wrote "Long Distance" on an unplugged, rented electric guitar during a blackout on a night off from an opera gig I was doing in Halifax in the summer of 2019, in tears after a frustrating phone call with my then-girlfriend. We were spending a four month stretch away from each other while I travelled for work. Neither of us were communicating well, and our daily check ins became monotonous. Both of us kept up the charade that we were good, while allowing fear and resentment to build up, which ended up costing us the relationship entirely."

You can watch the video for "Long Distance" below. The song is currently available on Favourite Daughter's Bandcamp. For more on Favourite Daughter, check out the artist's Facebook.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Tigers On Opium - "I May Sound Like a Drunk... But I Feel Like a Matador"

Hailing from Portland, OR, Tigers On Opium bring a level of rock we don't cover all that often here at If It's Too Loud..., but would if it was this great. Their latest single, "I May Sound Like a Drunk... But I Feel Like a Matador," is an epically huge hard rock song that occasionally crosses the border into metal, but never quite stays long. Their press release refers to them as "stoner rock," which I can't argue since there are some heavy early Queens of the Stone Age influences here deeper than just the verbose song title. "I May Sound Like a Drunk... But I Feel Like a Matador" is what you would get if Refused and The Hives rocked so hard on tour that they merged into a single entity.

You can listen to "I May Sound Like a Drunk... But I Feel Like a Matador" below. Their upcoming EP, 503-420-6669, will be out January 22 on Forbidden Place Records. For more on Tigers On Opium, check out their website.

JP Harris - "Take Off Your Tinfoil Hat"

There's a wonderfully long history of political folk songs that skew more humorously than angry. Joining this pedigree is the latest from JP Harris. "Take Off Your Tinfoil Hat" is a ramblin', upbeat folk/country song about all of the right wing QAnon conspiracies that seem to be destined to never die. Harris just takes all of these theories into an ongoing string with one after another until the chorus (which also includes some), and then starts up with some more. I'm pretty sure some of these are fake... but who even knows any more. "Take Off Your Tinfoil Hat" is a fantastic tongue in cheek song that somehow finds the humor in a subject matter we're all pretty sick of by now.

JP Harris says of his new song:

"It seems as we become ever more connected, with an infinite wormhole of information at our fingertips, that as a species we are rapidly losing our ability to discern truth from fiction, our most valuable learned skill of critical thinking, at what could almost be called the genetic level. Our technology is evolving faster than we are.

"It is sad to say that the precedent to believe the most outlandish conspiracies has been long established; MK ULTRA, the Tuskegee Experiments, the CIA’s counterintelligence program, and countless other declassified examples of shadowy governmental behavior give people the thread of doubt they need to latch onto something they can fight for.

"And with very few legal consequences enforced or even in place by the Federal Communications Commission for spreading false information, the Kremlin-style 'Fake News' label and shock-jock reporting have emerged as the only allegedly-trustworthy reporting for those right of center, steering an enormous headcount of Americans away from balanced and factual reporting. Can’t we just change the slogan to 'Make Conspiracies Believable Again'?!”

You can listen to "Take Off Your Tinfoil Hat" below. The song is available now via Free Dirt Records here. For more on JP Harris, check out his website.