Friday, March 16, 2018

Margo Price Covers Bob Dylan

Photo by Angelina Castillo for Third Man Records
Considering how much I love Margo Price, Bob Dylan, and covers, somehow this one slipped by me for two months. As part of Spotify Singles, Margo Price (who had my 2017 album of the year with All American Made) has released a cover of Bob Dylan's iconic but possibly overlooked "Most Likely You Go Your Way." Price keeps Dylan's classic ramblin' style for the song, but injects just enough of her own vintage, shiny classic country into it to make it her own. It's quite literally the perfect kind of cover: Not an imitation and doing the song in your own style, but keeping enough of the original so that it's still recognizable as the original.

You can listen to Margo Price's version of "Most Likely You Go Your Way" below. For more on Margo Price, check out her website

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Clever Girls - "Dumb Smile"

Photo by Luke Awtry
We've been loving Clever Girls since we first discovered them last year, and their latest single, "Dumb Smile," solidifies that even more. "Dumb Smile" is a straightforward ballad that defies all ballad rules. It's a laid back song that I'm having an incredibly hard time trying to describe. It's a jangly pop Americana song, like a happy and relaxed early Wilco. But the music drops out in unexpected places and then just barely comes back in for extended periods of time, until it erupts into too brief but absolutely perfect periods of time. It's frustrating and perfect at the same time.

You can watch the video for "Dumb Smile" below. Luck, the new album from Clever Girls, will be out on April 2. For more on Clever Girls, check out their website.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Talk Show Host - "I Hate Men (I Hate All Men)"

Photo via Facebook
We all have music that we listened to back in our youth that has lyrics we now consider questionable in our adulthood. There's a lot of rap, punk, and metal that is incredibly homophobic, misogynistic, and just horrifically outdated. Luckily for pop punk fans, there is now Toronto's Talk Show Host.

"I Hate Men (I Hate All Men)" is what happens when pop punk gets woke. The mostly male song is sung from the perspective of shitty guys and their attitude towards the world that isn't them. With lyrics like "I won't step to the side or give up my seat" and "I won't listen to reason or change my opinion" the song focuses on the smaller, inconsiderate but crappy things men tend to do. Towards the end, lyrically duties are taken over by a woman for her response. The song was called "the most cuck" by a Reddit user, which the band is very proud of.

You can watch the video for "I Hate Men (I Hate All Men)" below. Talk Show Host's new EP, Not Here to Make Friends, is available now. For more on the band, check out their website.

Jodee Lewis - "It Ain't Killed Me Yet"

Too much of throwback, old school country feels the need to be hokey. It's less of a musical style than a costume or gimmick. This is why Chicago via Missouri's Jodee Lewis is such a refreshing artist. With her new single, "It Ain't Killed Me Yet," she's not rewriting the script for a great old time country song. She's not trying to sound old fashioned or dirty it up. If anything, "It Ain't Killed Me Yet" has a sheen to its sound. But it's the lack of gimmick that makes it feel unique and vital. It's like a Dolly Parton or Dusty Springfield song from the 70's if they weren't trying to be pop.

You can listen to "It Ain't Killed Me Yet" below. Buzzard's Bluff, the new album from Jodee Lewis, will be out on April 6. For more on Jodee Lewis check out her website. Tour dates are below the song.

3/9/18 House Concert St. Charles, MO
3/10/18 The Bridge Jefferson City, MO
3/11/18 House Concert Kansas City, MO
4/29/18 Old Town School of Folk Music Chicago, IL

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

MC Paul Barman featuring Open Mike Eagle - "(((echo chamber)))"

Photo by Sasha Lytvyn
For an MC Paul Barman fan who had lost track of what he had been up to, the past four months have been a cornucopia. We finally have word of a new MC Paul Barman album, and with it, the ?uestlove produced title track. "(((echo chamber)))" seems more like a traditional MC Paul Barman song than "(((leapfrog)))" did. It starts off incredibly quietly. The first few seconds have literally no sound, and it starts off so gradually that you might not realize it at first. Barman's first verse is more spoken word than rap. It bleeds into Open Mike Eagle's verse, which bleeds back into MC Paul Barman. There is no real traditional verse/chorus/verse structure and is one of the most refreshingly unique hip hop songs in years.

You can listen to "(((echo chamber)))" below. The new MC Paul Barman album, (((echo chamber))), will be out May 18 on Mello Music Group. You can pre-order you copy on Bandcamp. For more on MC Paul Barman, check out his Twitter and Facebook.

First Listen: New Releases for March 9

A slightly slower new release week.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Liza Anne
Album: Fine But Dying
Quick Description: Calling this a pop record feels like it's selling it short.
Why You Should Listen: Come for the apt title we can all agree with, stay for the great songs.
Overall Thoughts: While the title of this album feels incredibly apt for our times, what is interesting for this is how Liza Anne deftly straddles the poppy and radio-friendly singer-songwriter angle with some interesting choices (such as the blasts of sound in “Paranoia,” a sneaky great song). I feel like if Allison Weiss found a harder edge instead of a synthesizer, it would sound like Liza Anne, but I’m finding this to be one of my favorite recent listens and is likely to battle Lucy Dacus with a lot of my listening time soon.
Recommendation: Easily the favorite of the week.

Artist: Smerz
Album: Have fun
Quick Description: An odd, lovely little indie album.
Why You Should Listen: You're seeking something that you feel like only you will understand, but everyone else will a few years later.
Overall Thoughts: Smerz makes me feel like I felt the first time I discovered Kitty. There’s something strange and raw here that feels not fully formed, but is still worming its way out. I enjoyed this quite a bit because of the way this made me feel about its potential and the little bits that expose themselves in the record (especially in the middle bits) as something special. The style may not work for everyone, but it worked a lot for me.
Recommendation: Definitely worth some time this week.

Artist: Datarock
Album: Face the Brutality
Quick Description: Dance rock for the masses.
Why You Should Listen: You miss your Norwegian Euro rock acts.
Overall Thoughts: It’s been a minute since we heard from Datarock, and it’s been some time since I listened to them. They feel like a more serious Junior Senior, which is a dated reference in and of itself but also speaks to how ubiquitous the techno-rock hybrids have become. Datarock isn’t forging new ground, but this is very much like that hip party record that we don’t see much of these days.
Recommendation: Worth a listen.

Artist: Martha Ffion
Album: Sunday Best
Quick Description: Indie singer-songwriter stuff with a familiar feel.
Why You Should Listen: It's one of the better releases of the week.
Overall Thoughts: Another singer-songwritery effort, this one is definitely less poppy, but has a sort of happy, jangly streak to it. A lot of this won me over early, but “Lead Balloon” seals it both as a representation of what’s here and what’s possible. A fun record you should find time for this week.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: Elle Mary and the Bad Men
Album: Constant Unfailing Light
Quick Description: Quiet music with a distinct voice.
Why You Should Listen: Everything out up to this point has been a little more on the mainstream side.
Overall Thoughts: I think the surprise here is how quiet this is compared to the name of the act and the album. Elle Mary is not forging any new paths with her light touch here, but that’s okay – we have strong songwriting and a unique voice that is a great listen on a whole and just risks being lost in the shuffle in a week like this one.
Recommendation: Don’t let this slide under the radar.

Artist: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Album: Tearing at the Seams
Quick Description: The band's first album since their breakthrough.
Why You Should Listen: They have been a fairly consistent act for a while.
Overall Thoughts: Rateliff had his big hit with the infectious “S.O.B.,” and it would have been entirely justified for him and his band to lean into that entirely. I enjoyed his previous album enough, and this new one continues along those same lines in a really solid way. If you’ve liked what you’ve heard beyond the hit single, you won’t be disappointed here.
Recommendation: Make some room for this one.

Artist: Albert Hammond Jr.
Album: Francis Trouble
Quick Description: Latest solo effort from the Strokes guitarist.
Why You Should Listen: You're interested in post-garage rock?
Overall Thoughts: The Strokes guitarist has done his share of solo albums and this one is pretty solid in terms of what he’s put out there. He knows how to make a melody, and there’s enough interesting guitar work here to keep the record fresh, but I just spent a lot of time wondering why this wasn’t a Strokes record and being exhausted by the whole thing. Alas…
Recommendation: Skip this.

Artist: ACTORS
Album: It Will Come To You
Quick Description: Nostalgia rock.
Why You Should Listen: You are always looking for ways to get back to the 80s.
Overall Thoughts: A couple weeks ago we got a band straight out of the 1980s and Actors, in many ways, replicates that somewhat. It’s an okay album, and I might be higher on it if I liked the aesthetic or wasn’t so high on other releases this week, but as it stands? It might scratch that specific itch you have. You’ll know pretty quickly if that’s the case.
Recommendation: You'll know if you like this pretty fast.

Artist: Editors
Album: Violence
Quick Description: The first in a while from the British art rockers.
Why You Should Listen: They haven't burned all their goodwill from their early work yet.
Overall Thoughts: I had optimism for Editors with the new single, but I regretfully say that the new album doesn’t work for me. A little too plodding, a little too dull. Skip this one this week unless you’re a big fan.
Recommendation: Not worth the time.

Artist: David Byrne
Album: American Utopia
Quick Description: Talking Heads legend with his latest solo effort.
Why You Should Listen: Byrne is proving himself to be as essential as ever.
Overall Thoughts: David Lynch and David Byrne occupy a similar headspace for me for reasons that are not completely insane, so with my recent interest in Lynch, this new album had some added urgency for me. Thankfully, we lead off with "I Dance Like This" which feels like a song that's meant to get all the mainstream listeners to turn the record off before they can get to the really good stuff. By the time lead single "Everybody's Coming to My House" lands, I was completely and fully on board. Definitely one of the best of the week, and might have some true staying power both artistically and otherwise.
Recommendation: Listen to this.

Artist: Of Montreal
Album: White is Relic/Irrealis Mood
Quick Description: The latest release from the indie rockers.
Why You Should Listen: This is a different take for a band known for always shaking it up.
Overall Thoughts: At only six songs, but all of them quite long, it's hard to say whether this is an album or an EP, but the way Of Montreal approaches things doesn't really matter. Kevin Barnes is at a creative spot right now that is probably as good as it's been in a decade. While the indie pop is long gone, these are the closest things to club bangers we'll get and that should be enough to make you want to listen anyway.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Logic
Album: Bobby Tarantino II
Quick Description: New mixtape from a rapper having a breakout year.
Why You Should Listen: You like modern rap.
Overall Thoughts: This is a solid listen, although perhaps a little more mainstream than what one might expect. Still, this is probably more of a victory lap for him than anything else, and the album last year was so good that this is worth your time.
Recommendation: Not a bad listen at all.

The Punk Corner

* Suicidal Tendencies - Get Your Fight On: A band around this long shouldn't still be this solid on a whole.
* The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed - Double Negative: This sounds old and grizzly, but was still a good time.

Also out this week:

* Acid Dad - Acid Dad
* Oneida - Oneida

Monday, March 12, 2018

Catbath - "Scuttlebutt"

The latest single from Minneapolis's Catbath will bathe (no pun intended) into two seemingly disparate sounds. Despite being based in the northern midwest, "Scuttlebutt" has a very distinct 1960's southern California vibe, a la the Mamas and the Papas. Just as strong is the attitude and the vibe of late 90's psychedelic indie rockers like The Dandy Warhols or The Brian Jonestown Massacre. The result is this fun and sunny but dripping with hipster cool sound.

You can listen to "Scuttlebutt" below. The new album from Catbath, Glitterbox, will be out soon via Guilt Ridden Pop. For more on Catbath, check out their Bandcamp and Facebook.

Luke Winslow-King - "Leghorn Women"

Photo by Victor Alonso
Luke Winslow-King's great 2016 release, I'm Glad Trouble Don't Come Always, was a dark slice of Americana. He had recently gone through a divorce, and while it was uplifting in its own way, the album was filled with heartache. 

His new single, "Leghorn Women," is a blues-meets-indie rock barn burner. The vibe feels completely different. I'm sure it doesn't help that the new album was recorded in the Tuscan village of Lari, Italy. While most indie rock meets blues songs have a dirty feel, "Leghorn Women" is clean and smooth. Normally I'd see that as a negative, but with Winslow-King, it just feels right. It's polished, but nowhere near overproduced. It's just a lightning fast blues epic with some of the best guitar work you've heard in years.

You can listen to "Leghorn Women" below. Blue Mesa, the latest album from Luke Winslow-King, will be available on May 11 via Bloodshot Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Winslow-King, check out his website. Tour dates are below the song.

May 9 - Pittsburgh PA @ Hard Rock Cafe
May 10 - Washington DC @ Pearl Street Warehouse
May 11 - Rehoboth Beach, DE @ Dogfish Head
May 12 - Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
May 13 - Cambridge, MA @ Atwood’s
May 14 - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
May 15 - Rochester, NY @ Abilene Bar & Lounge
May 16 - Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe
May 17 - Nashville, TN @ High Watt
May 18 - Newport, KY @ Southgate House Revival
May 19 - Chicago, IL @ Schuba’s
June 7 - St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
June 8 - Manhattan, KS @ Larry Norvel Band Shell
June 9 - Topeka, KS @ Uncle Bo's Blues Bar
June 15 - Ferndale, MI @ Otus Supply
June 16 - Delton, MI @ Buttermilk Jamboree
Aug 23-26 -Tønder, Denmark @ Tønder Festival
Aug 27 - Hamburg, Germany @ Nochtwache
Aug 28 - Berlin, Germany @ Quasimodo
Aug 31 - Quintana Martín Galidez, Spain @ Festival Valle de Tobalina
Sept 3 - Krefeld, Germany @ Kulturrampe
Sept 5 - Bristol, UK @ The Hen and Chicken
Sept 6 - Oxford, UK @ The Jericho Tavern
Sept 7 - Chester, UK @ St Mary`s Creative Space
Sept 8 - Scrooby, UK @ Scrooby Village Hall
Sept 9 - Old Portsmouth, UK @ The Square Tower

Friday, March 9, 2018

Stef Chura - "Degrees"

We were huge fans of Stef Chura's 2017 album Messes, so we're pretty excited that she's already back with a new song. "Degrees" was originally planned to be included on Messes, but didn't quite make the cut. She ended up pairing up and collaborating with Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest, and that helped revive the song which will now be issued as a 7". 

"Degrees" is an absolute epic. It starts off relatively mellow, firmly in the territory of alt-singer/songwriter. After about a minute it breaks out into a much heavier (and noisier) rock song, and then just goes loud/quiet/loud for the remainder of the song, building into this brilliant anthem. Toledo and Chura and also collaborating on her second album. If "Degrees" is any indication, that is now one of our most anticipated albums.

You can listen to "Degrees" below. It will be available as a 7" on Record Store Day, April 21st, via Saddle Creek. For more on Stef Chura, be sure to check out her website. Her current tour dates are below the song.

Fri. Mar. 30 - Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe w/ Weaves
Wed. Apr. 18 - Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery w/ Weaves
Thu. Apr. 19 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle w/ Weaves
Wed. Apr. 25 - Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR Pub w/ Weaves
Thu. Apr. 26 - Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop w/ Weaves

Friday Freebie: The Only Things - Hitlist

Every now and then we stumble on a release from a band way after it's released, sometimes a year or so after it's been released. Most times I'll let it slide and let you folks know about more current releases, but sometimes I discover something that I feel that I need to tell you about. The latest release from The Only Things is one of those ones.

Released back in May 2017, Hitlist is a blast of good old fashioned alt-rock that the universe seems to be lacking these days. It's part The Replacements, part Archers of Loaf, and part Dropkick Murphys. It's hard rock without being overly aggro and alternative without being twee. If you've been missing guitar heavy rock that just rocks, you're going to love this EP.

You can listen to "The Quiet Man" below. The latest (albeit almost a year old) release from The Only Things, Hitlist, is available now as a free download on their Bandcamp. As always, if you download this for free, at least give them a follow on Facebook.