Monday, March 8, 2021

Robert Finley - "Souled Out on You"

We bring you a lot of neo-soul, but not too much actual soul. Robert Finley has been called "America's greatest living soul singer," and when you hear "Souled Out on You" it's going to be impossible to argue that. An army veteran who grew up in the Jim Crow South, Finley worked as a carpenter until he lost his sight due to glaucoma in his 60's. That is when he started his musical career. "Souled Out on You" is a powerful ballad propelled by Finley's voice. He goes between a falsetto and a deep growl throughout the song. It's impossible not to hear all of Finley's hardships in his voice, and even more impossible not to be completely enraptured by his new song.

Robert Finley explains the new song:

“Souled Out On You,” is “the story of a relationship that's ending. It’s about someone who takes on everything in the relationship. All the good and the bad and even after all of that, they notice that it just isn’t going to work out and the relationship has run its course. I took all I could take and I’m starting my life over.”

You can watch the video for "Souled Out on You" below. Sharecropper's Son, which was produced by Dan Auerbach, will be out May 21 on Easy Eye Sound. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Robert Finley, check out the artist's Twitter and Facebook.

Charming Disaster - "Ouroboros"

We've been loving everything Charming Disaster have been doing. Their gothic Americana cabaret sound is pretty much perfect around these parts. On their latest single, "Ouroboros," they stick with what works, but change it up just enough to surprise us. "Ouroboros" starts off like a Charming Disaster sonic template. It's dark and moody, and you can just sense the enthusiasm coming from Ellia Baker and Jeff Morris as they prepare to bring us their new story. But, in a surprise twist, this new song rocks. It's still a gothic cabaret song, but the addition of bass and drums adds a rock element not typically seen with this duo. It's a fun little dabble into a new sound.

In a Facebook post, Charming Disaster explain the new song:

"The ouroboros is the mythological snake that swallows its tail, evoking infinity, eternal return, cycles of reinvention and rebirth. This song is inspired by esoteric and mystic arts, by the wonders of the natural world, and by the bravery of those who risk everything to become their true selves."

You can listen to "Ouroboros" below. The song is available as a single via Bandcamp. For more on Charming Disaster, check out the artist's website.

Dawn Landes and Justin Townes Earle Cover Dolly Parton

There is a finite number of Justin Townes Earle songs out there, so any time a new recording is released to the public we're going to cherish it. Dawn Landes recently released this recording from 2011 of her and Earle covering the Dolly Parton classic "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?" The original is obviously a classic, but it is from 1982 to it's a tad dated. Landes and Earle's cover is just the two musicians around a single mic in Landes' studio while they were touring together. It's beautiful in its simplicity, and it's the perfect cover. You can hear the joy spilling out of the pair while they play a song they both love. It's that simple joy that makes a cover like this truly special, and we're thrilled Landes has put this out in the world for everyone.

You can listen to Dawn Landes and Justin Townes Earle's version of "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?" below. The song is available now on Landes' Bandcamp. For more on Dawn Landes, check out the artist's website.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Anna Leone - "Once"

Every now and then we'll hear a single that is simply impossible to not love. The latest from Anna Leone is one of those songs. It's the kind of song that encompasses so many genres so masterfully that it's going to appeal to everyone. "Once" has elements of folk, indie pop, indie rock, and even mainstream pop. Leone's vocals are simply mesmerizing. "Once" is an auditory journey for the listener. It slowly builds and builds without truly reaching a crescendo. The journey is in the song itself, not the destination. If I was forced to compare this to any other artists, I'd say it's Hurray for the Riff Raff meets Lucy Dacus, although "Once" truly is one of a kind.

You can watch the video for "Once" below. For more on Anna Leone, check out the artist's website.

Friday Freebie: Death and The Poetess - Smelling Salts

We're double dipping into the world of Friday Freebie this week, and also into the realm of Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys. Death and The Poetess features Broken Toys Blake Girndt (who is also in The I Want You) and Jojo Lazar. Their new release, Smelling Salts (also recorded for the RPM challenge), is, as they put it, "... tips its chapeau to Weezer's Blue album, among other 1990s ghosts and Pumpkins."
They aren't wrong. "Smelling Salts" has a distinct Blue Album goes folk-adjacent-and-also-includes-flute feel. "Tomb-Builders' Tombs" is going to give you some serious Beat Happening flashbacks. Smelling Salts is as fun as it is weird. You get some obviously 90's inspired tracks that sound barely like the 90's and include The Princess Bride and historical references.

You can listen to "Smelling Salts" below. Smelling Salts is available now as a free download via Bandcamp. If you decide to throw in some cash for the album, today is Bandcamp Friday so all proceeds will go to Death and The Poetess! If you download for free, be sure to follow Death and The Poetess on Facebook.

Friday Freebie: Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys - Almost Together Again

February is the worst month of the year. All of the holiday excitement is officially gone, and you're just left with being cold, and everything around you looks dirty. The one good thing about February is the RPM challenge, where artists write and record a full album during that month. We've been enjoying Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys' RPM releases for a while now, and this year's is no exception. Their 2020 release, THE CUTTING HORSE, was the steamcrunk, punk, folk, metal, burlesque, etc. band's take on country. Almost Together Again sounds like their take on electronic music. The seven songs here are weird even by Army of Broken Toys standards, which is saying quite a lot. The opening track, "SO MUCH," even has a twisted new age vibe. Haunting doesn't even begin to describe the song. "Come In Lights" sounds like Aphex Twin doing his very best to make a track for the chill room but not quite getting the feel right. "Positive Demons" is him, getting it right, but in a haunted house.

You can listen to "Positive Demons" below. Almost Together Again is available as a free download via Bandcamp. Since today is Bandcamp Friday, if you do pay anything for the album the band will receive all proceeds! If you download it for free, at least give Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys a follow on Facebook or Twitter.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Service - High Speed Vomit

Based in Boston, Service are one of the many bands that include Rainy Maple Sugar Candy (Sapling, Eye Witness) as a member. This time, Rainy is on drums and vocals are handled by Luka Lemander. The band's new EP, High Speed Vomit, is more along the lines of Sapling than Eye Witness. Service is punk, but a completely different breed of punk. The EP opener, "Albondigas," starts off more in the realm of math rock and even prog rock before just exploding into a faster punk sound. It kind of reminds me of Ex Models. "Spodes" takes the loud/quiet/loud trope and converts it to quiet/loud/fast/louder/quiet. "May Song" is as intensely catchy as it is loud. Somehow the songs on High Speed Vomit are both discordant and beautiful, and as punk as they are prog. It takes a unique band to pull all of that off this well.

You can listen to "May Song" below. High Speed Vomit is available now via Bandcamp. If you can wait until tomorrow, it's a Bandcamp Friday so Service will receive all proceeds from the sale! For more on Service, check them out on Facebook.

Clever Girls - "Stonewall"

Photo by Kay Dargin

As we've heard more of the upcoming Clever Girls album, the more we've mentioned their change in sound to something more alt-pop. With "Stonewall," they're going back to indie rock in a serious way. "Stonewall" sounds extremely lo-fi, to a great effect. It feels intensely personal and more of a bedroom recording than we would have expected from the previous singles from Constellations. There is this ongoing noise behind the entire song, and then the feedback and distortion from the instruments. "Stonewall" is an intense song that we can't recommend enough.

Diane Jean (they/them) says of the new song:

"I wrote Stonewall about the distribution of emotional labor in relationships and what is often asked of us AFAB (assigned female at birth) individuals based on our perceived gender identities.  I believe that a lot of my shortcomings within the context of interpersonal relationships were as a result of emotional over exertion, and I really wanted to capture that feeling on this one. You might notice that the vocals on this song sound defeated or exhausted.  To accomplish that, we recorded the main vocal in one take, as a first utterance (I woke up after a near all-nighter at the Studio, and without speaking a word, I recorded it directly from my sleeping bag...literally). Stonewall is really my own anthem of rebellion- against my own perfectionism and against the constant inner monologue that tells me to adapt to others’ needs and expectations."

You can listen to "Stonewall" below. Constellations is due out March 26 on Egghunt Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Clever Girls, check out the artist's website.

FACS - "Strawberry Cough"

We've been following Chicago's FACS ever since they were Disappears. The trio has been reformed under the new moniker for four years now, and they keep toying with their sound. Their new single, "Strawberry Cough," is still their noisy, experimental brand of post punk, but they've begun branching out. FACS will always sound dystopian. That is part of their charm and sound. But "Strawberry Cough" has more of an almost electronic sound. There's a broken down future vibe throughout this song. FACS have never been an easy or even pleasant listen. This pushes that into a new level of discordant, in the best possible way.

Brian Case of FACS says of the new song and video:

"Strawberry Cough is about the world of interiors, and the line between where influences come together or split off. Going into record stores and having conversations with strangers, learning about new sounds, and finding something I've been looking for has been sorely missed over the last year.

"Seeing records spread out all over the house while working on Present Tense made me wonder how these different eras and sounds found their way into our music. I spent a lot of time trying to find the visual / emotional connections between seemingly unrelated works, and walking that back into my subconscious when writing. Sometimes the video is a visualization of the words or music, and sometimes it's just some random themes you notice while refiling your record collection."

You can watch the video for "Strawberry Cough" below. Present Tense is due out May 21 on Trouble In Mind. For more on FACS, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Assertion - "Supervised Suffering"

Photo by Jake Gravbot

You may not know Assertion yet, but you'll know William Goldsmith. It's the new project from the Sunny Day Real Estate founding member and ex-Foo Fighter. If you're a fan of either of Goldsmith's other bands, chances are you're going to like Assertion. Their first single, "Supervised Suffering" (which marks Goldsmith's return to music after taking ten years off), has the heartfelt proto-emo sensibilities of Sunny Day Real Estate and the stadium ready anthem feel of Foo Fighters. It's a huge sound that avoids the middle ground that much mainstream rock dips into while still having a sound that can appeal to people that still listen to actual radio, as well as us music elitists. 

William Goldsmith says of the new project: "A decade-long journey that started out walking away from music has led me right back to it and the very reason I started - but with a whole new appreciation and respect for it. I feel extremely fortunate to be part of this project. It’s not just about making music. It’s like a force of nature, but in an egoless collaboration that is nothing short of unconditional. The gratitude I have for being given the opportunity to release this music is beyond words. Thank you to everyone for your support through all these years."

You can listen to "Supervised Suffering" below. Intermission is due out April 9 on Spartan Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Assertion, check out the band's Facebook.