Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Vandoliers - "Waiting on a Train"

Vandoliers have become one of the premier country punk bands these days. They've become a go to band for the outlaw country sound, which is why their latest single is so surprising. "Waiting on a Train" is a straight up country song. If anything, it's a country power ballad. It's not quite mainstream country, and it's not quite a throwback to old timey country. "Waiting on a Train" lives in this in between territory, kinda mainstream but not really. Outlaw country has always been too country for rock and too rock for country, but Vandoliers are now playing with a sound that's too mainstream to be alt-country but not mainstream enough to be mainstream.

You can watch the video for "Waiting on a Train" below. The song is available as a single via The Next Waltz. You can get a copy here. For more on Vandoliers, check out the and's website.

Century Egg Cover Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Photo by Kyle Cunjak

One genre I'm completely clueless on is J-Pop. It's just not for me. However, I loved Century Egg's previous single, "Do You Want to Dance?," so I had to check out their cover of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's first English language song "Ring a Bell." Without hearing the original, I can guarantee Century Egg's isn't a completely faithful cover. The Halifax band gives the J-Pop hit a decidedly pop punk version. Sure, it's heavy on the pop side of pop punk, but it's more rock than K-Pop. It's beyond catchy, with crashing cymbals and some great guitar work. It's taking all the fun of a K-Pop hit and interpreting it for rock fans to be able to enjoy, which we definitely are.

You can listen to Century Egg's take on "Ring a Bell" below. Little Piece of Hair is due out May 7 on Forward Music Group. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Century Egg, check out the band's Facebook.

The Boatsmen - "Blame It On Me"

We may have missed this video back when it came out back in October, but we're going to use it to remind you that Sweden's The Boatsmen are about to release a new album Friday. "Blame It On Me" is just pure rock and roll. It's fast, and loud, and heavy, but it's also groovy as all hell. It's rock with heavy elements of punk and proto-punk. As with all things from The Boatsmen, there is absolutely zero pretention here. Even the killer guitar solo is so killer because it's impossibly sloppy. I usually hate just copying a band description from a press release, but this one is perfect: "The Boatsmen were formed when all other great rock n roll bands quit or just stopped being good." How can you resist that?

You can watch the video for "Blame It On Me" below. The Boatsmen vs The Boatsmen will be out April 23 on Spaghetty Town Records in the US and Ghost Highway Recordings in Europe. You can order your copy here. For more on The Boatsmen, check them out on Facebook.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Dany Laj & The Looks - "Don't Keep Me Guessin'"

The latest from Ontario's Dany Laj & The Looks has that familiar feel without exactly sounding like anyone else. "Don't Keep Me Guessin'" is an impossibly upbeat power pop song that leans heavily into the pop side while keeping both feet in the rock and folk worlds, with maybe a little punk edge tossed in. It gets dangerously close to being too cute or saccharine, but stops just shy enough to stay charming and fun. It's just a fun pop/rock song with zero pretention, which is exceedingly rare with that genre. If you occasionally just want a rootsy pop punk power pop song that will warm your callous music snob's heart, you need to check out "Don't Keep Me Guessin'."

You can watch the video for "Don't Keep Me Guessin'" below. Ten Easy Pieces is due out June 11 on We Are Busy Bodies. You can pre-order a copy through Bandcamp. For more on Dany Laj & The Looks, check out the band's website.

Nightspell - "Sea of Thieves"

This probably won't come as a shock to anyone, but Red On Red Records has released yet another killer song from a new Boston band! Nightspell are comprised of members of Scarce, Swirlies, and Pistolwhip. Their debut single, "Sea of Thieves," is the kind of mid-90's alternative power pop that we've come to expect from the label, but with Nightspell's own unique spin on it. "Sea of Thieves" is incredibly catchy with plenty of that 90's crunch we love. But Nightspell adds some fantastic harmonizing on top of that. Plus, as positive and cheerful as the song sounds, there's this darkness just hinted at below the surface. This is the kind of debut song that's going to have us desperate to hear more from a brand new band.

You can listen to "Sea of Thieves" below. The song is available now on Bandcamp via Red On Red Records.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Carsie Blanton - "Shit List"

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Carsie Blanton has six studio albums and three EPs to her credit, and somehow we're just discovering her now. According to her website, she "... writes anthems for world saving." Her latest single definitely fits that. "Shit List" rallies against Nazis, mass deportation, keeping women in the kitchen, and people who "want a medal just for being a white boy." It's a heavy song, but Blanton makes the song truly fun. Seriously, "Shit List" is an absolute blast. I can't think of another "anti-fascist anthem" that is a party in a song. It's based in folk and pop punk, but it also has some very serious Elvis Costello and The Attractions vibes. (Side note, I wrote that before I realized the song includes Pete Thomas of the Attractions on drums!) If you want your anti-fascist anthems wrapped up in a party, Carsie Blanton is the right choice for you!

You can watch the video for "Shit List" below. Love & Rage is due out April 30. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here. For more on Carsie Blanton, check out the artist's website.

Bella White - Just Like Leaving

We like to think we always bring you the best music out there without missing anything truly great, but then we miss someone like Bella White and our ego is brought right back down. The Calgary born/currently residing in Nashville artist released Just Like Leaving way back in September. I saw Club Passim post about her taking part in one of their workshops last week, and I thought I'd check her music out. Once you listen to her album, you'll be thrilled I did. I'm going to have to mention that she's only twenty years old, which somehow feels important in the context of how great this is. Just Like Leaving is nine traditional bluegrass songs with just the slightest touch of modern folk thrown in. It's filled with these brilliant songs that are both classic and current at the same time. White is the rare artist with a captivating, powerful voice that doesn't let it take over the songs completely. It's definitely the focus, but her vocals and the instrumentation complement each other superbly. If we had discovered this album when it first came out, it's almost guaranteed that it would have been a strong contender for both of our best of 2020 lists.

You can watch the video for "The Hand Of Your Raising" below. Just Like Leaving is currently available on Bella White's Bandcamp. For more on Bella White, check out the artist's website.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Giulia. - "Lucky Ones"

The latest from Giulia. isn't reinventing the folk/pop genre. "Lucky Ones" is an impossibly charming little folk/pop song. And that's all it needs to be. It meanders between both folk and pop seamlessly. Giulia. just hits this wonderfully perfect sweet spot, making this light feeling, upbeat, cheerful song that's going to get through to even the crustiest grumpy music snobs out there. 

What makes the upbeat nature of the song more impressive is that it was written and recorded after Giulia. moved from New York City back home to Toronto during the pandemic. Giulia. explains:

“Not to deny the harm [the pandemic] has caused, but I have never felt closer to my family, and I’ve never felt closer to myself -  because of all the time I’ve had to spend alone, getting to know myself better. And truthfully, that in itself is enough to make me feel like the luckiest person alive.”

You can watch the video for "Lucky Ones" below. Night Before is due out June 25. For more on Giulia., check out the artist's website.

Buffet Lunch - "Said Bernie"

Photo by Owen Godbert

Noise and/or art rock usually isn't pleasant to listen to. That's part of the entire genre. Scotland's Buffet Lunch don't subscribe to that stereotype. Their latest single, "Said Bernie," is weird, and can be more than a little discordant at (most) times. It's a hodgepodge of noises and various instruments not exactly getting along. But... it's fun. And almost a pleasant listen, by the genre's standards at least. This isn't for anyone eagerly anticipating the new Imagine Dragons or Foo Fighters release, but if you're tastes are a bit more adventurous, "Said Bernie" is going to be a delight for you.

Perry O'Bray says of the new song:

"‘Said Bernie came from an article I read about a man named Bernie, who writes a letter to his local paper everyday and has done for forty years. I really liked his character from the article but developed the idea and changed him a bit - imagining a man that has been steadily shrinking everyday through fear and not being heard. I guess it’s just about isolation and your voice losing its weight."

You can listen to "Said Bernie" below. The Power of Rocks is due out May 7 on Upset The Rhythm. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Buffet Lunch, check out the band's Tumblr and Twitter.

Heather Valley Covers Sheryl Crow

Photo via Facebook

We seem to be getting more and more enamoured with Heather Valley with every release. As we're also overly into cover songs, we've been heavily anticipating her upcoming covers album since we first heard about it in August. The album still isn't out yet, but we do have a new single from it: A cover of Sheryl Crow's "If It Makes You Happy." Valley's version is a faithful cover in that it's the same basic genre of adult contemporary Americana. That's really where the similarities end. The cover is a completely stripped to bare bones version. It's quiet and haunting instead of Crow's boisterous and uplifting version. It includes two other musicians on steel guitar and bass, but somehow it feels like even less than that. 

You can listen to Heather Valley's take on "If It Makes You Happy" below. Wildflower Radio may still not have a release date, but it's still one of our most anticipated of the year. For more on Heather Valley, check out the artist's website.