Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday Freebie: The Only Things - Dandelion

The one nice thing about discovering a band almost a year after their most recent release is that you don't have to wait as long for their next release. Back in March we told you about Hitlist, the May 2017 release for The Only Things. While everyone in the know had to wait a little over a year for the follow up, we only had to wait three months!

Dandelion picks up right where Hitlist left off. It's seven songs of loud, clever, and fun rock. A song like "Windows" is a bouncy, hard hitting song with some of the catchiest and most melodic gang vocals we've ever heard. It's right on the line of pop punk, but pop punk you won't be embarrassed to listen to. That seems to be the main theme of the songs on Dandelion: A lot of hard rock can be kind of cringe-worthy. But songs like "Now I Know" and "Arrows" don't end up that way. The Only Things have created an album that rocks, but not in a dumb, childish way. It's a rare thing that we need more of.

You can listen to "Arrows" below. Dandelion, the new release from The Only Things, is available now as a free download via Bandcamp. As always, if you download for free, be sure to give The Only Things a follow on social media. You can find their Facebook here.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Wilder Maker - "Drunk Driver"

Photo by Chris Weiss
Indie rock bands basically make up 84% of Brooklyn's population, so in order for a band to stick out they have to bring something unique to the table. If we're writing about them, Wilder Maker must be one of those bands. Their newest single, "Drunk Driver," starts out as a quiet, mellow song. It reminds me quite a bit of what I love about Big Thief. A lot of their songs also start out quietly and then just build into an explosion. But "Drunk Driver" never explodes. It stays quiet and mellow while building in intensity. It changes ever so slightly sonically but completely in tone. It reminds me of horror films like It Follows or Hereditary in how they can crank up the mood and tone without a big event or loud noise.

You can watch the video for "Drunk Driver" below. Zion, the new album from Wilder Maker, will be out July 13 on Northern Spy Records. You can pre-order your copy over on Bandcamp. For more on Wilder Maker, check out their website. Tour dates are below the video.

July 11 Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
July 12 Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
July 13 Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool
July 14 Rochester, NY @ Small World Books
July 15 Cleveland, OH @ CODA
July 16 Kent, OH @ Stone Tavern
July 17 Cincinnati, OH @ Northside Tavern
July 18 Detroit, MI @ PJ’s Lager House
July 19 Chicago, IL @ Sleeping Village
July 20 Milwaukee, WI @ Company Brewing
July 21 Fort Wayne, IN @ Neat Neat Neat Records
July 22 Columbus, OH @ Brothers Drake
July 23 Knoxville, TN @ Pilot Light
July 24 Asheville, NC @ Static Age Records
July 25 Washington, DC @ Black Cat
August 10 Portsmouth, NH @ 3S Art Space
August 11 Portland, ME @ One Longfellow Square
August 12 Cambridge, MA @ State Park Bar

BODEGA - "Gyrate"

We've been loving the art rock meets dance music vibe of BODEGA, and their latest single is no exception. "Gyrate" is absolute fun. For us aging Generation-X hipsters, it reminds me a bunch of Bis without the cutesy aspects of that band. Of course, the origin of the song is quite interesting. According to singer Nikki Belfiglio: "When I was a little girl I used to masturbate in public (once at a JC Penny perfume counter). My parents, not wishing to shame me told me I shouldn’t ‘gyrate’ in front of other people. My song uses the language of Top 40 pop to celebrate self-sustainability and female pleasure.” The only complaint I has is that with it's under two minute length, the song is over just as it gets started and you've decided you love it.

You can watch the video (which was also directed by Nikki Belfiglio) for "Gyrate" below. BODEGA's debut album, Endless Scroll, will be out July 7 on What's Your Rupture? You can pre-order your copy via Bandcamp. For more on BODEGA, be sure to check them out on Facebook. Current tour dates are below the video.

Thu. June 21 - Nashville, TN @ The High Watt
Fri. June 22 - Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
Sat. June 23 - Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot
Sun. June 24 - Iowa City, IA @ The Mill
Mon. June 25 - St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
TUe. June 26 - Milwaukee, WI @ The Cactus Club

Wed. June 27 - Columbus, OH @ Used Kids Records
Thu. June 28 - Athens, OH @ The Union
Fri. June 29 - Washington, DC @ DC9
Sat. June 30 - Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits
Tue. July 10 - Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
Wed. July 11 - Birmingham, UK @ The Sunflower Lounge
Fri. July 13 - Beccles, UK @ Latitude Festival
Mon. July 16 - Nijmegen, NL @ Valkhof Festival
Thu. July 19 - Port Grimaud, FR @ Plage de Rock w/ Parquet Courts
Sat. July 21 - Benicassim, ES @ Benicassim Festival 
Sun. July 29 - Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
Mon. July 30 - Durham, NC @ Pinhook
Tue. July 31 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
Wed. Aug. 1 - New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
Fri. Aug. 3 - Fort Worth, TX @ MASS
Sat. Aug. 4 - Austin, TX @ Austin
Tue. Aug. 7 - Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
Wed. Aug. 8 - Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
Fri. Aug. 10 - San Francisco, CA @ Hemlock Tavern
Sun. Aug. 12 - Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
Mon. Aug. 13 - Seattle, WA @ Barboza
Tue. Aug. 14 - Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Mountain Lions - "California"

"California," the latest single from Mountain Lions, is mostly straightforward neo-Americana leaning on the more mainstream side of things. It's a pleasant sounding, upbeat track. It could almost be described as "sunny," but not quite. What's definite is there is not a shred of mopey in the song. It sounds like something I would absolutely hate, but I don't. Somehow Steven Diaz takes something could could be ordinary and mundane and instead crafts a song that stops just shy of that. It has something special in it that I wish I could explain properly. Maybe it's charisma or a unique twist in the tune (or it could be that they hail from Chapel Hill, NC), but "California" will draw even the grumpiest of us in.

You can listen to "California" below. We Are, the new album from Mountain Lions, will be out on August 10. For more on Mountain Lions, check out their website and Facebook.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for 15 June

A slower week, but one with some pretty impactful releases.

Album of the Week

Artist: V. V. Lightbody
Album: Bathing Peach
Quick Description: Debut solo project from a Chicago-area singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: You wish Lucy Dacus would tone it down a bit?
Overall Thoughts: This is an album that is a little hard to describe. It's kind of folky, but has some edge to it? The project of Vivian McConnell, she clearly has some great songwriting chops that make you pay attention from the first few notes, and this kind of came out of nowhere for me in terms of how much I liked it. If you like the folky stuff, or even the more contemplative singer-songwriter efforts of late, you should give this a listen.
Recommendation: Best release of the week.

Artist: The Carters
Album: Everything is Love
Quick Description: Surprise-yet-anticipated collaboration between Beyonce and Jay-Z.
Why You Should Listen: Love it or hate it, this is what people will be talking about for the next month.
Overall Thoughts: I'm not one to subscribe to the "it's not for you, so you shouldn't be talking about it" critique of criticism. But with Everything is Love, much like Lemonade, Beyonce and Jay-Z are making musical messages that are both relevant to a specific audience and musically superior. I am sure I'm missing a lot of nuance with this one, but taken solely from the musical parts, this is definitely something special that will mean more to a lot of other people who aren't me.
Recommendation: Required listening (at least until it gets pulled from Spotify).

Artist: Arthur Buck
Album: Arthur Buck
Quick Description: Collaboration between Joseph Arthur and R.E.M.'s Peter Buck.
Why You Should Listen: Both artists are basically must-listen musicians in their own right.
Overall Thoughts: Joseph Arthur has always been an interesting artist to me, and Peter Buck played guitar in my favorite band. I am glad that this collaboration exists, not only because the two very clearly compliment each other, but because there are a number of solid songs here. The album probably never reaches the height that it starts off with again on “I Am the Moment,” but fans of one or both of the artists will absolutely hear what they want from this.
Recommendation: A solid listen overall.

Artist: Petal
Album: Magic Gone
Quick Description: New album from a buzzworthy singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: There is a lot here to love.
Overall Thoughts: The way this album kicks off, you’re almost certain you’ll be off on a ride, especially with some of the great songs from Petal’s previous album. The full effort here? Solid songwriting with a lot of great moments, but it’s just that – a collection of moments rather than a truly cohesive package.
Recommendation: Not a priority listen this week.

Artist: Sun June
Album: Years
Quick Description: Unique-yet-familiar indie songwriting.
Why You Should Listen: You're looking for something that scratches a specific singer-songwriter itch.
Overall Thoughts: If 2017 was the year of the alt-rock revival, the quality level of female singer-songwriter releases this year cannot be overstated. If Lucy Dacus is leading the charge, albums like this one from Sun June do an amazing job of helping carry the load. If a song like “Young” doesn’t grab you, I’m not entirely sure what to tell you.
Recommendation: You’re missing out if you don’t give this a shot.

Artist: John Parish
Album: Bird Dog Dante
Quick Description: British songwriter with a new album.
Why You Should Listen: Parish has been involved with some very important work in his time.
Overall Thoughts: Best known for his collaborative work w/PJ Harvey, this is a solo album that definitely feels unique and different. Not surprising given the source, but the way it feels out of place and time is especially interesting in the current musical climate, and you don’t expect a man pushing 60 to put out something so weird and different.
Recommendation: It’s a good listen, although it may not be straightforward enough for everyone.

Artist: Mourn
Album: Sorpresa Familia
Quick Description: New album from the heavier-than-expected post-punkers.
Why You Should Listen: If Mourn came into their own in their last album, this one shows how good they can be.
Overall Thoughts: I love this album, unabashedly so. It's got a lot of great moments, some memorable moments ("Fun at the Geysers" is one of the better songs I've heard this year period), and an aesthetic that isn't breaking any boundaries while still feeling unique and fresh. If you're into heavier fare? Check this out.
Recommendation: Absolutely worth your time.

Artist: Melody's Echo Chamber
Album: Bon Voyage
Quick Description: New album from the experimental project.
Why You Should Listen: It's not quite the same, but you're jonesing for new King Gizzard content that isn't coming.
Overall Thoughts: Melody of this project had an accident or illness of some sort that took her out of commission for a time, so this new album achieves a few things beyond being a great album. As a comeback of sorts, it shows an intensity and immediacy that wasn't in her previous efforts (which I also liked), but as a pure work of art? This was nearly my release of the week (I'm already breaking my "7 songs is an EP" rule for this one) because of how interesting and expansive the whole package is. I'm glad they chose to lead with "Desert Horse" in a way, because it really gets the whole thing together in a nutshell.
Recommendation: A must-listen for this week.

Other releases of note:

* Gin Blossoms - Mixed Reality (This would be the hottest indie record of 1989 if it weren’t 2018. Instead, it feels like a band in continual regression.)
* The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - While We're At It ("Pretty good for a modern ska/punk record” sounds like an insult, but it’s really a compliment for a solid listen.)
* Mad Caddies - Punk Rocksteady (This is a cover album that sounds like a trendy beach bar band trying to be a little too cute. This is not necessarily a bad thing.)
* English Beat - Here We Go Love (You won’t expect this to be as fun as it is.)
* Johnny Marr - Call the Comet (You already know whether you'll like this or not.)
* Fantastic Negrito - Please Don't Be Dead
* Girls Names - Stains on Silence
* Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever - Hope Downs


* Blushh - Thx 4 Asking (Give this a listen)
* Nas - NASIR (This week's Kanye collaborative release)
* King Princess - Make My Bed (Another goodie)
* Protomartyr - Consolation EP (Featuring Kelley Deal!)
* Nick Lowe - Crying Inside
* Deaf Poets - Change and Bloom
* Foxtrott - Meditations I

Also out this week:

* Wilko Johnson - Blow Your Mind
* Madball - For the Cause
* Chromeo - Head Over Heels

Monday, June 18, 2018

Phantastic Ferniture - "Gap Year"

We were pretty huge on Julia Jacklin's 2016 debut Don't Let the Kids Win. While she doesn't have a new solo album on the horizon, she's involved in another band that does! Phantastic Ferniture started back in 2014 when Jacklin and ten friends pledged to start a band together on her birthday. The next day four of them remembered, so a band was formed. The band played what was supposed to be their first and last gig four months later, but ended up getting together when they could to play together. Thus, Phastastic Ferniture was born. Jacklin describes the new band this way: “I’d gone straight into folk music, so every experience I’d had on stage was playing sad music with a guitar in my hand. I thought, I would love to know what it’s like to make people feel good and dance.” Their new song, "Gap Year," definitely fits that description. It's far more upbeat and rocking than anything from Don't Let the Kids Win, and is just fun rock music that happens to be pretty great. Especially right after the two minute mark when the guitars truly kick in. Somehow Jacklin's voice is perfectly suited for her solo folk music and this new fun rock style. I can't wait to hear more.

You can watch the video for "Gap Year" below. Fantastic Pherniture's self-titled debut album will be out July 27 on Polyvinyl. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Fantastic Ferniture, check out their website.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Downtown Boys Cover Selena Covering The Pretenders

Photo by Michael Baca
Our love of covers is pretty well known here at If It's Too Loud..., but this may just be a first for us. We've been loving Providence's Downtown Boys for a while now. Their cover of Bruce Springsteen's classic "Dancing in the Dark" is a personal favorite, and now they're back with another cover. They've recently unveiled their cover of Selena's "Fotos Y Recuerdos" which is a Spanish language cover of The Pretender's "Back in the Chain Gang." It was originally recorded during the sessions for Cost of Living, their most recent album, but didn't make it on that album. One of our favorite artists releasing a cover of a cover? Happy Friday, everyone!

You can listen to Downtown Boys's cover of "Fotos Y Recuerdos" below. For more on Downtown Boys, check out their Facebook.

Fred Abong - Homeless

The same week we get a new song from Kristin Hersh, we can hear new music from another member of Throwing Muses! Once (and possible current?) Throwing Muses bassist Fred Abong is taking some time off from his college professor duties and has recorded his first solo release, Homeless. It's a six song collection of stripped down, just slightly off kilter solo singer/songwriter music. It's almost fairly standard, but just the slightest bit off to keep things interesting. "Rattler" is almost an epic, and could easily be turned into a large venue filling rocker, but it works equally well as a stripped down solo song. "Equinox" is a painfully quiet song that draws the listener inward in a way I haven't heard since Elliott Smith. 

You can listen to "Rattler" below. Homeless will be available on June 29, although you can listen to (and pre-order) the entire thing at Fred Abong's Bandcamp. For more on Fred Abong, check out his website and Twitter.

Bear Grass - "Unawake"

There's something so familiar about Bear Grass's new song, "Unawake," yet something so completely unique and special. The song brings in some of our favorite musical elements, but mixes them up in a way we've never quite heard before. At it's very core is some fairly standard singer/songwriter kind of stuff, with some of these amazing melodies and hooks. Singer Katie Hammon's voice is this fresh from the dryer blanket feeling instrument that just draws you in. But there is this odd distortion throughout the song that pulls you away and further in at the same time, along with some shoegaze style swirls. It's a majestic indie rock song while still almost being a pretty mainstream folk style song. You're pretty guaranteed to love this one.

You can listen to "Unawake" belong. LEFT, the new album from Bear Grass, will be out August 10 on Five Kill Records. You can pre-order it via Bandcamp. For more on Bear Grass, check out their website.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Rayland Baxter - "Strange American Dream"

Photo by Shervin Lainez
Rayland Baxter seems to be one of those artists that is intent on changing up his sound with every new album. With his new song, "Strange American Dream," he's dropped most of his folk/Americana/country sound in favor of a more 90's singer/songwriter feel along the line of Ben Lee. In the past year or so, we've seen a bunch of our favorite folky artists experimenting with a more mainstream, sometimes even pop, sound, to varying levels of success. "Strange American Dream" is one of the better experiments. It still keeps enough of Baxter's folk charm. While it veers off in a different direction from Imaginary Man, it's not a complete change of direction. If you've been a fan of his, I can't imagine this knocking you off the bandwagon.

You can listen to "Strange American Dream" below. The latest album from Rayland Baxter, Wide Awake, will be out July 13 on ATO Records. For more on Rayland Baxter, check out his website.