Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Venomous Pinks Cover Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Tempe, AR's The Venomous Pinks have chosen to cover the Joan Jett & The Blackhearts classic "I Want You." It's an incredibly faithful version of the original, but with crunchier guitars and maybe a little more of a metal edge to it. It's fast and played ferociously, just like it should be. Guitarist/vocalist Drea Doll says of the cover: "I Want You is an in-your-face, unapologetic, punk rendition of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ timeless classic. We set out to infuse our unique style and uncontrived attitude to change up the cover while lovingly nodding to its original roots.”

You can watch the video for "I Want You" below. For more on The Venomous Pinks, check out their website.

Gabriel Bernini - "Caramel"

Originally from western Massachusetts but now in Los Angeles, Gabriel Bernini is getting set to release a new album. After listening to "Caramel," the new album has to be, at the very least, great. "Caramel" gives me total Tom Petty vibes, if Tom Petty were in his early 20's and coming up in the world of indie rock today. It's that kind of pop that rock fans love and will never be able to get enough of while not being able to admit to themselves that it's a pop rock song. 

You can watch the video for "Caramel" below. Sweeties, the new album from Gabriel Bernini, will be out February 14 (which is becoming far too packed with anticipated albums) via Dadstache Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Gabriel Bernini, check him out on Bandcamp.

First Listen: New Releases for 17 January

Artist: AJJ
Album: Good Luck Everybody
Quick Description: Andrew Jackson Jihad gets political (or, well, moreso than usual).
Why You Should Listen: AJJ is always a good time.
Overall Thoughts: Been a fan for a while now, and this is probably the most overtly political album they’ve done, which is interesting that it feels very restrained musically while being fairly unsubtle in its messaging. Does it work? As a fan of AJJ, it feels like a lighter AJJ album. A someone who is not a Trump fan, but not really a protest music guy, I suppose I appreciate how on-the-nose it is? It’s not likely to age too well on a whole, but that’s not the point at the end of it all.
Recommendation: Worth a listen, but still has some interesting choices.

Artist: Aoife Nessa Frances
Album: Land of No Junction
Quick Description: Gorgeous singer-songwriter music from an up-and-coming Irish songstress.
Why You Should Listen: This is not the typical thing you expect, while still feeling fresh and familiar.
Overall Thoughts: This one kind of came out of nowhere for me, but I really dug it. It’s hard for me not to like some midtempo singer-songwriter stuff, and ANF succeeds at providing just enough in the way of a different approach to be a highlight in the early goings here. This grabbed me within minutes, and if you’re into the first track you’ll likely be into the whole thing.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.

Artist: Alice Boman
Album: Dream On
Quick Description: Chamber pop from a Scandinavian songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: This is a gorgeous listen that will stick to your bones.
Overall Thoughts: There’s something very churchlike and chamber-esque about this. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a midcentury chapel, other times I think I’m watching some 1960s movie with a pop singer at a party. This is a really interesting album, and one that’s definitely worth the time.
Recommendation: A must-hear.

Artist: Of Montreal
Album: UR FUN
Quick Description: Latest Of Montreal record, with all that comes with it.
Why You Should Listen: This is maybe the best Kevin Barnes effort in some time.
Overall Thoughts: There's the part of me who is like "man, I miss when Of Montreal was more of an indie pop band," which kind of ignores the fact that the project went into a more synthy, more confessional direction fifteen years ago and has perhaps been in this mode longer than they were when I first dove in. With all that said, here's UR FUN, which is a great record about being in love and is also kind of weird to listen to in a sense when you realize that you've also suffered through the Barnes divorce in song, and now in this new relationship. I dunno. "Let's Do Everything for the First Time Forever," a song from one of their early releases, meant a lot to me in my early relationship. If I was starting one today, "You Had Me Everywhere" might be the soundtrack to that urgency of new love that I'd be looking for, especially if I didn't know that there was an entire autobiographical history in the back catalog. Musically, this is great, don't get me wrong. Loved the album, but this is one I definitely struggled with at times in part because of how connected I've been with this band for almost two decades. If you come in fresh, you might love it more.
Recommendation: Make time for this one.

Artist: The Innocence Mission
Album: See You Tomorrow
Quick Description: Gorgeous folky music.
Why You Should Listen: This one is a subtle, beautiful listen.
Overall Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about this one, truthfully, but I felt as if delegating it anywhere else but as a highlight was wrong. This album was just one that stuck with me all weekend and is likely the thing I want to get back to the most this week, so don't miss out.
Recommendation: A highlight this week.

Of note:

* G Love and Special Sauce - The Juice (A surprisingly summery record for a cold winter weekend.)
* ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Listening to this made me wonder why I don't listen to Trail of Dead more.)
* Chelsea Cutler - How to Be Human
* Holy Fuck - Deleter
* Laume - Waterbirth
* Seamus Egan - Early Bright
* Surface to Air Missive - Shelly's Gone
* Futurebirds - Teamwork


* Haylet Mary - The Piss, The Perfume (Do not sleep on this. Some really great stuff here.)
* Rodrigo y Gabriela - Mettal EP (I would like more of this, please.)
* SEA - Impermanence
* Deena Abdelwahed - Dhakar
* Caitlin Canty - Live from Layman


* Della Mae - Headlight
* Anti-Flag - 20/20 Vision
* Louise - Heavy Love
* Algiers - There Is No Year
* Halsey - Manic

Monday, January 20, 2020

Porridge Radio - "Sweet"

Photo by El Hardwick
If Porridge Radio's last single, "Lilac," had us excited for their upcoming album, "Sweet" has us in a frenzy. You know that whole loud/quiet/loud thing the Pixies trademarked and Nirvana made famous? Porridge Radio have reinvented it completely. "Sweet" is pure alt-rock glory. You know the loud parts are coming, but you don't quite know when. The quiet parts feel more quiet and more intense because of this. And the loud parts? They're just ferocious, and you find yourself needing them more and more while you wait. "Sweet" is the kind of song that will remind you of why you love music.

Lead singer Dana Margolin explains the song: "Sweet’ is a song about holding grudges and learning how to have fun and letting go of an old version of yourself. I was feeling light-hearted when I wrote it, but when we came together to play it as a band, it suddenly felt really dramatic and exciting. When we play it live, the energy in the room always feels really intense, and then suddenly we just explode altogether and it always feels really good.

You can watch the video for "Sweet" below. Every Bad, the new album from Porridge Radio, will be out March 13 on Secretly Canadian. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Porridge Radio, check them out on Facebook and Twitter. Current tour dates are below the video. Let's hope for a Boston date soon.

Thu. Feb. 27 - Sat. Feb. 29 - Oslo, NO @ Larm Festival
Mon. March 16 - Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
Fri. March 17 - Sat. March 22 - Austin, TX @ SXSW
Sun. March 23 - Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
Thu. March 26 - Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
Fri. March 27 - Liverpool, UK @ Studio 2
Sat. March 28 - Bristol, UK @ Ritual Union Festival
Sun. March 29 - Glasgow, UK @ Glad Café
Tue. March 31 - Sheffield, UK @ Record Junkee
Wed. April 1 - London, UK @ Colours
Fri. April 3 - Hastings, UK @ Marina Fountain
Sat. April 4 - Brighton, UK @ The Westhill Hall
Fri. May 22 - Sun. May 24 - Totnes, UK @ Sea Change Festival

Shadow Show - "Charades"

Photo by Jaimie Skriba
How are we not supposed to become obsessed with a "Detroit-based girl-group?" Back in November we brought you "Shadow Box" and described it as "Detroit psychedelic garage rock proto-punk mixed with a Motown girl group vibe." "Charades" is more of the same, except it ramps up the psychedelia and is a little shinier sounding than the previous single. It's an ultra-groovy that is nearly impossible to resist.

You can watch the video for "Charades" below. Drummer Kerrigan Pearce explains the video: "We wanted to include all of the things that make Detroit home to us. The live footage was shot at UFO Factory, owned by local musician Dion Fischer. The rest was filmed in various places, such as Belle Isle, Detroit African Bead Museum, and another favorite bar Outer Limits Lounge.” Silhouettes, the debut album from Shadow Show, will be out February 14 on Burger Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Shadow Show, check them out on Bandcamp and Facebook.

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.