Friday, January 17, 2020

Squirrel Flower - "Streetlight Blues"

Photo by Ally Schmaling
We've been impatiently waiting for Ella O'Connor Williams's (aka Squirrel Flower) debut album since the first single back in October. Now that we're two weeks away from its release we have a third single, "Streetlight Blues." Squirrel Flower's music is typically described as ethereal, and yes, "Streetlight Blues" does qualify as ethereal. But it also has these killer crunchy alt-rock guitars that don't typically get considered ethereal. Her voice mixed with this harder edged guitar creates this unexpected dichotomy that truly makes this song special.

Squirrel Flower explains the song: ""I wrote this song because I was overcome by the image of insects flying towards streetlights and bug lamps in the late summer, attracted to the light but also flying to their deathThis song is angsty. It's partly about blowing off your friends to dance alone in waves of emotion, partly about the end of something- life, seasons, a relationship, a streetlamp.”

You can listen to "Streetlight Blues" below. I Was Born Swimming, the debut album from Squirrel Flower, will be out January 31 on Polyvinyl. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Squirrel Flower, check out her website. Current tour dates are below the song.

Tue. Jan. 28 - London, UK @ The Islington
Thu. Jan. 30 - Dunkerque, FR @ Les 4 Ecluses
Fri. Jan. 31 - Brighton, UK @ Resident Records (in-store)
Sat. Feb. 1 - Bristol, UK @ Friendly Records (in-store)
Sun. Feb. 2 - Leeds, UK @ Jumbo Records (in-store)
Tue. Feb. 4 - Diksmuide, BE @ 4AD * [Sold Out]
Wed. Feb. 5 - Nijmegen, BL @ Doornroosje *
Thu. Feb. 6 - Brussels, BE @ AB *
Sat. Feb. 8 - Amsterdam, NL @ Bitterzoet * [Sold Out]
Mon. Feb. 10 - Berlin, DE @ Curfew Bar
Thu. March 5 - Freeport, ME @ Cadenza &
Fri. March 6 - Middletown, CT @ Mac 650 Art Gallery &
Sat. March 7  - Boston, MA @ Great Scott &
Tue. March 10 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Lounge at World Cafe Live
Wed. March 11 - Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade &
Sat. March 13 - Washington, DC @ Songbyrd &
Mon. March 23 - Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge %
Wed. March 25 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo %
Thu. March 26 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill %
Sat. March 28 - Seattle, WA @ Barboza %
Sun. March 29 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge %
Tue. March 31 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court %
Thu. April 2 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge %
Sat. April 4 - Iowa City, IA @ Mission Creek Festival
Mon. April 6 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry %
Tue. April 7 - Chicago, IL @ Schubas %
Wed. April 8 - Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s %
Fri. April 10 - Toronto, ON @ Drake Hotel &
Sat. April 11 - Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo &
% = w/ Why Bonnie
& = w/ Cedric Noel
* =w/ Strand of Oaks

Margo Price - "Stone Me"

If you've been with us for a while, you know that we've been huge fans of Margo Price for a while. With the release of a new song, we're obviously thrilled and have to bring it to you. "Stone Me" is a slight change in sound for Price. It's less classic 70's country and more modern, mainstream folk. That being said, it fits perfectly into Price's existing catalog, and there's nothing here fans won't like. It's still Price's distinct voice, and her fierceness remains intact no matter how mellow the song is. Not many people could pull off the lyrics "Love me, hate me / Desecrate me / Call me a bitch  / then call me baby / You don't know me / You don't own me / Yeah that's no way / To stone me" in a ballad quite like Price does.

You can listen to "Stone Me" below. The song is available as a download here via Loma Vista Recordings. For more on Margo Price, check out her website.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 10 January

Finally, some new music! Lots of EPs this week for whatever reason, though...

Artist: Moon Hooch
Album: Life on Other Planets
Quick Description: Buskworthy brass rock.
Why You Should Listen: A fun party-style sax record with some interesting parts to go along with it.
Overall Thoughts: Wow, what a way to kick off the new year! I didn’t know about Moon Hooch before this week, but having spent a little time in Skerik’s back catalog last week, sax-based oddities have been my jam as of late. Moon Hooch is probably best described as Too Many Zooz informed by electronica, even though it sounds like most-to-all the instruments are live and everything is organic. It’s a album I couldn’t help but dance around to, and is an instant favorite this week. I’ll be digging into their back catalog for the foreseeable future, I’m sure.
Recommendation: A must-hear.

Artist: Alexandra Savior
Album: The Archer
Quick Description: Retro-style music from a great singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: It's unique and feels modern even while informed by the past.
Overall Thoughts: This one took a while to grow on me, but man, when it hit? A solid slice of retro-pop/rock (with some similarities to Prom Queen), it has my first favorite song of 2020 in “Crying All the Time” and a really catchy package on a whole. We missed her debut a few years back, but I know I’m hoping there’s room on the bandwagon with this release.
Recommendation: Give this one time.

Artist: Poppy
Album: I Disagree
Quick Description: Third album from the oddball pop princess.
Why You Should Listen: Poppy is really finding her footing with this release.
Overall Thoughts: This is the album where it all comes together for Poppy, I think. Clearly, “X” got her the attention she has deserved for a while, and this strange post-pop/metal/horrorcore mashup is so compelling and so weird and so wonderful that I don’t quite know how to approach it or why more acts haven’t tried it. Great for fans of Babymetal, and might be a bit of a challenge for those who struggle with one of the aspects of the many sides of our new hero.
Recommendation: The oddest listen you'll get this week, and you'll like every moment.

Artist: Carissa Johnson
Album: A Hundred Restless Thoughts
Quick Description: Fairly traditional indie folk.
Why You Should Listen: Carissa Johnson has a great quality to her sound.
Overall Thoughts: This was one more 2019 we missed, and one I wanted to make sure we highlighted. Johnson isn't reinventing the wheel here, and that's fine, but there's still something really special going on with this that shouldn't be ignored. She's got a great voice, the song structures are solid, and it's a worthwhile listen for the new year.
Recommendation: Make room for this one this week.

Of note:

* Josephine - Music is Easy (60s pop rock radio pastiche of sorts. Reminds me a bit of The Thrills)
* Calliope Musicals - Color/Sweat
* Field Music - Making a New World


* Nada Surf - So Much Love
* The Lone Bellow - Good Times
* Duck & Cover - Two Shots
* Suzanne Sundfor - Self Portrait Original Soundtrack
* Winona Oak - Closure

Wasted Shirt - "Double the Dream"

In certain circles, Wasted Shirt are going to be a massively anticipated supergroup. That's because Wasted Shirt is Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt and Ty Segall. If you know who those two people are, you've already pressed play down below and are having your mind blown in the exact way you wanted to. If you don't, "Double the Dream" is as intensely groovy as it is noisy. It's a just over two minute blast of intensity, with just enough of a standard song structure to be a song, but pushing the boundaries of that. It's noise rock contained just enough to be almost traditional. And it's great.

You can watch the video for "Double the Dream" below. Fungus II, the debut album from Wasted Shirt, will be out February 28 via Famous Class. You can pre-order the album at the band's Bandcamp. For more on Wasted Shirt, check out the Famous Class website.

Anna Burch - "Not So Bad"

Photo by Chloe Sells
We loved Anna Burch's 2018 album Quit the Curse and it's somehow kinda feels like the 90's singer/songwriter sound. She's now back with a new song, "Not So Bad." If you liked Quit the Curse, you're going to like this one. It has that folk-adjacent 90's feel to it that you can't quite put your finger on. It still reminds me of Liz Phair again, but Burch is definitely moving into her own direction. Plus, the speak singing sounds like an almost folk Pavement, which I'm always going to be on board for.

You can watch the video for "Not So Bad" below (it also might be one of my favorite videos this century). If You're Dreaming, the upcoming album from Anna Burch, will be out April 3 on Polyvinyl. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Anna Burch, check out her website.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Drive-By Truckers - "Thoughts and Prayers"

Photo by Andy Tennille
Given the more recent politically charged output from Drive-By Truckers, it's easy to guess the subject matter of their most recent single, "Thoughts and Prayers." It's a brutal look at school shootings and the inability of anyone to actually do anything about it besides offer thoughts and prayers. The footage used in the accompanying video is taken from what I assume is the National School Walkout with the song's lyrics written on the protest signs in the crowd. It's a quiet, reflective Patterson Hood song that fits square into what you'd expect from the Drive-By Truckers at this point, but a mid-tempo mellow rocker is an easier pill to digest and forces the listener to pay attention to the words. And just in case anyone misses the point, the last verse ends with "Stick it up your ass with your useless thoughts and prayers" repeated twice.

You can watch the video for "Thoughts and Prayers" below. The Unraveling, the new album from Drive-By Truckers, will be out January 31 on ATO Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Drive-By Truckers, check out their website.

Snarls - "Walk in the Woods"

Photo by Brian Kaiser
Hailing from Columbus, OH, Snarls describe themselves as "glitter emo alt rock," and that pretty much nails it. Their latest single, "Walk in the Woods," is this impossibly lush song that leans heavily into dream pop while keeping the hooks of emo intact. It's as huge as an indie rock song could possibly get, and I mean that in a positive way. It reminds me of a less quirky And the Kids, and their press release compares them to Hop Along, Beach Bunny, and Haim, and I really can't argue with any of those, either.

You can watch the video for "Walk in the Woods" below. Snarls will have a new album out on March 6 (I don't believe it has a title yet) via Take This to Heart Records. For more on Snarls, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Burn the Boats - "Ghosts"

Taking their name from an order Cortez is rumored to have given his army at the start of their first battle, Boston's Burn the Boats play, according to their Bandcamp profile, "melodic, riff-laden punk and hardcore." They aren't lying. Their new single, "Ghosts," sounds like a song you would have heard on Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. It's huge metal-adjacent riffs, sing-a-long choruses, and more fun than actual aggression. It's a great throwback for those of us that miss when the Warped Tour was held in a field without announced set times. Plus, the song is a lament about growing up and apart from close friends. We can all relate to lyrics like "All the people I know are apparitions, holy ghosts / Possessed by growing up / Disappear when you need them the most / Late at night you’ll hear them moan."

You can listen to "Ghosts" below. The song is available now as a free download on Burn the Boats's Bandcamp. For more on Burn the Boats, check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Orion Sun - "Ne Me Quitte Pas"

The world of pop and R&B is a musical style that I really haven't paid much attention to since the very early 90's. Even when I can recognize that something is good, it doesn't typically work for me personally. This is why I'm so shocked by how much I like Orion Sun's new single. The Philadelphia based artist's new single, "Ne Me Quitte Pas," is pure R&B and I truly love this song. There's something just slightly different enough about it that draws me in that I can't quite put my finger on. Orion Sun does cite Jodeci, J Dilla, Nancy Wilson, and Digable Planets as influences, so that could be a part of it. It could be that it has a strong soulful feel, or it could be the just barely there trippy dream pop feel, but this song has made me a fan.

You can watch the video for "Ne Me Quitte Pas" below. The single is available now via Mom + Pop. You can stream and download it here. For more on Orion Sun, check out her website.

Ratboys - "I Go Out at Night"

Chicago's Ratboys have always been a little hard to categorize, mixing indie folk/country and emo in a way that is all of those genres and yet none. Their newest single, "I Go Out at Night," pushes further from the folk or country side of things and more into an indie rock but still emo sound. This song is quite simply epic, and straddles the worlds of both emo and indie rock. This is the sound of a band gearing up for huge festival stages while remaining true to the sound we've already come to love from them.

You can check out the video for "I Go Out at Night" below. It features trick or treating done in a 1950's black and white style, which is bliss for those already planning for Halloween ten months early. Printer's Devil, the new album from Ratboys, will be out February 28 on Topshelf Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Ratboys, check out their website.