Friday, February 21, 2020

Friday Freebie: The Only Things - You Can't Rush Genius

It's been a little while since we've heard from Massachusetts's own The Only Things, but luckily for us all they're back with a new seven song album! You Can't Rush Genius is decidedly less pop punk than 2018's Dandelion. The title track still has the gang vocals in the previous album, but it's a little more 90's alternative. In fact, there is some dirty as hell twangy guitar in here, so it reminds me a little of Cracker's country side, but a really sloppy (in the best way) version of that. The next song, "Head Down," brings in some brattier pop punk vocals, but still a sloppy, grungy alt-country sound to the music. The remaining five songs keep to this bizarre style (with varying levels of obvious country influence) that shouldn't work at all, but somehow comes out perfectly in the hands of The Only Things.

You can listen to "Could It/Couldn't" below. You Can't Rush Genius, the new album from The Only Things, is currently out now as a free download on The Only Things's Bandcamp. If you do download it for free, make sure to follow the band on Facebook.

Archers of Loaf - "Raleigh Days"

Here are words I never dared to believe I would actually type out: Here is a new song from Archers of Loaf! This isn't a forgotten B-side or an outtake, but an actual newly recorded song! The North Carolina indie rock legends recently reunited for some touring, and decided to hit the studio for new music. "Raleigh Days" is their first new song in over twenty years. It's a little more straightforward rock than their more classic material, and maybe a little less noisy and quirky. In other words, exactly what we should expect from a reunited 90's indie rock band. It's catchy as hell, and has a little twang to it that I wouldn't have expected. "Raleigh Days" is a solid track that holds up with the best classic Archers of Loaf, and let's all hope we get more.

You can listen to "Raleigh Days" below. It's available now via Merge Records on Archers of Loaf's Bandcamp. For more on Archers of Loaf, check out their website.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Sammy Brue - "Teenage Mayhem"

Photo via Facebook
We got sucked into Sammy Brue's mainstream take on Americana back in 2017. He wasn't rewriting the genre, but he was completely nailing it in a way that was impossible not to like. Now the newly eighteen Brue is back, and he's trying out some new things. "Teenage Mayhem" keeps some of the Americana twang intact, but just slightly in the guitar. The rest of the song is a buzzsaw of mid-90's post grunge rock mayhem. It's pounding drums and teen angst mixed with a tiny bit of country making a still mainstream sound despite being unlike any music being made today.

You can watch the video for "Teenage Mayhem" below. Crash Test Kid, the new album from Sammy Brue, will be out June 12 on New West Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Sammy Brue, check out his website.

Tricky featuring Anika - "Lonely Dancer"

Trip hop legend Tricky is back with a new single and an upcoming EP. "Lonely Dancer" is an impossibly chill track, the kind Tricky can only pull off. It's the kind of song that just weighs on you with melancholy, but it's still a beautiful song you'll want to listen to on repeat. Berlin based singer Anika takes vocal duties on the song, and her voice perfectly matches the music and mood of the song.

You can listen to "Lonely Dancer" below. Tricky's new EP, 20, 20, will be out on March 6 on Tricky's False Idols label. You can pre-order the three song EP here. For more on Tricky, check out his website. Current tour dates are below the song.

April 22 - Warsaw, PL - Niebo
April 23 - Krakow, PL - Kwadrat Klub Studencki
April 24 - Wroclaw, PL - Zaklete Rewiry
April 26 - Budapest, HU - A38 Ship
April 27 - Zagreb, HR - Mochvara
April 28 - Rijeka, HR - Pogon Koolture
April 29 - Belgrade, SRB - Dom Omladine
May 1 - Cluj-Napoca - RO - /FORM
May 2 - Bucharest, RO - Quantic Club

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Answering Machine - "Bad Luck"

You know you're old when you read about a band started by two public school teachers and think that sounds cool. That's the origin story of Brooklyn's Answering Machine, and the two teachers are singer Samantha and guitarist JD. Their new single "Bad Luck" is this brilliant blend of pop punk mixed with American roots music. According to their press release, "Their influences range everywhere from The Replacements, The Ramones, Blondie, The Ronettes, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, and Bruce Springsteen to Jenny Lewis, Against Me, and plenty in between." I wouldn't normally include a list of influences in a review, especially since the lists in a press release don't normally sound anything like the band, but you can truly hear every single one of those bands in "Bad Luck." This is the rare type of pop punk that you can listen to as a grown up without being embarrassed or feeling creepy.

You can watch the video for "Bad Luck" below. Answering Machine's debut album, also called Bad Luck, will be out April 17 on Wiretap Records. For more on Answering Machine, check them out on Facebook.

Es - "Chemical"

Photo by Max Warren
When I saw that Es was considered "synth punk" in their press release, I didn't expect the London band to be this hard or noisy. Synths always seem fun, or at least dark and mopey to me. But "Chemical" is an absolute thrasher. It's loud, and heavy, and just a killer punk track that just happens to have a swirling, hypnotic synth throughout. This combination creates a sense of confusion and chaos that might be perfect.

Vocalist Maria Cecilia Tedemalm explains the song: "The song was written during a period of emotional and physical fatigue when everything felt overwhelmingThe lyrics directly reflect the downfall of living within a capitalist societal structure which pushes people to their very limit, where striving for being constantly productive and overachieving can take over your life completely." 

You can watch the video for "Chemical" below. Less of Everything, the debut album from Es, will be out April 3 on Upset the Rhythm. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Es, check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Cayley Thomas - "Blue Jean Baby"

Photo by Michael Kuby
Edmonton's Cayley Thomas has crafted the type of song we never thought we needed, but now that we've heard it, we're desperate for more. "Blue Jean Baby" might sound like a more mainstream Americana song at first (and if it were, it would still be a fantastic song), but as it progresses this lovely blend of dream pop and indie rock slowly starts weaving its way in. It's a hybrid that sounds like it would be an absolute trainwreck, but in Thomas's hands it's perfection.

As for the subject matter of the song, I'll let Thomas explain: "'Blue Jean Baby' explores the pattern of feeling responsible for the emotions or actions of others at the expense of our own wellness. It’s like when you’re on an airplane and they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting other passengers."

You can watch the video for "Blue Jean Baby" below. How Else Can I Tell You?, the upcoming album from Cayley Thomas, will be out on May 1. For more on Cayley Thomas, check her out on Facebook and Twitter.

Middle-Aged Queers - "Gary's Making Biscuits"

Haling from Oakland, CA, "queercore sensations" Middle-Aged Queers have a new song out called "Gary's Making Biscuits." Literally a song about a cat "making biscuits," it's a just barely one minute punk jam about a cat.

If that's not enough to get you to listen, maybe these gems from their press release will: "Crawling out of the primordial ooze of punk past, Middle-Aged Queers are a quartet of Jurassic Punx barreling down Interstate 580 on a mission to save Rock ‘n’ Roll with broken limbs and gear held together with duct tape." Also: "Seasoned veterans of DIY-Punk, Middle-Aged Queers feature ex-members of bands such as Flipper, Fang, Yaphet Kotto, Bread and Circuits, The Cost, Wet-Nap, Saviours, The Shudders, S.P.A.G., The Insaints, and No Alternative." If you're still not listening, I don't even know who you are any more.

You can watch the video for "Gary's Making Biscuits" below. Too Fag for Love, the debut album from Middle-Aged Queers, will be out March 14 on Outpunx/Sell the Heart Records. You can pre-order it here. For more on Middle-Aged Queers, check them out on Facebook.

First Listen: New Releases for 14 February

A handful of things you might love this Valentine's Day release day.

Artist: Tracy McNeil and the GoodLife
Album: You Be the Lightning
Quick Description: Mature melodic rock.
Why You Should Listen: Music that is definitely geared toward our age group here while not making me feel old.
Overall Thoughts: This one grew on me over time. Definitely has an adult rock radio feel, sometimes really getting me a Fleetwood Mac feel early on and sometimes a Wallflowers-esque model, but on a whole, this is a really pleasant listen on a whole and one that I would ultimately hate to see sail under the radar. There’s a lot of talent here and a lot of strong songwriting across the board that shouldn’t be missed.
Recommendation: A worthwhile listen this week.

Artist: Eyelids
Album: The Accidental Falls
Quick Description: Decemberists side project goes from good to great.
Why You Should Listen: There's some solid indie music throughout here.
Overall Thoughts: Did Eyelids become a supergroup when we weren’t looking? The result of this Peter Buck-produced is a great slice of indie rock that pretty much exceeds the expectations you might have had for it. As someone who has never fully been on board with them up to now, this was a wonderful breath of fresh air and a favorite this week.
Recommendation: Make time for it.

Artist: Shadow Show
Album: Silhouettes
Quick Description: Stilted psych-pop-rock.
Why You Should Listen: This is fresh and different, and something that I loved almost from the first note.
Overall Thoughts: Definitely wanted to highlight this as a sort of minimalist rock effort with some bite to it. I was consistently impressed by this and its somewhat-minimalist aesthetic to go along with great songwriting.
Recommendation: Don't miss this one.

Artist: Beach Bunny
Album: Honeymoon
Quick Description: Great 90s-ish alt-rock.
Why You Should Listen: A pretty polished rock affair.
Overall Thoughts: I've been waiting for this album for a while now, and this was a pretty solid listen on a whole. While it definitely stays in its lane, this is a perfectly delectable little effort that more than met my expectations. Great if you've been waiting for the next thing in the Charly Bliss/Kitten/etc. zone.
Recommendation: A solid album.

Of note:

* Little Misty - Little Misty (Lots of solid moments here.)
* Tami Neilson - CHICABOOM! (Often-fun retro songs.)
* Cindy Lee - What's Tonight to Eternity (A strange, but enjoyable, listen.)
* John Forte - Riddem Drive
* Nathaniel Rateliff - And It's Still Alright
* Personality Cult - New Arrows
* The Ballroom Thieves - Unlovely
* Puss N Boots - Sister
* Tennis - Swimmer
* Kate Gately - Loom
* Tame Impala - Slow Rush
* Gabriel Bernini - Sweeties
* Mush - 3D Routine

Seven Song Albums:

* Huey Lewis and The News - Weather
* Le Burcherettes - Don't Bleed


* Lydia Ainsworth - Phantom Forest - String Remixes
* XYLO - The Ganglands of My Heart
* Ratboys - Anj
* Store Front - Task
* GHOST GRL - Rewired

Also out:

* Anvil - Legal at Last
* Posehn - Grandpa Metal
* Jeph - Mon Pays
* $uicideboy$ - Stop Staring at the Shadows

Monday, February 17, 2020

Molly Burch Covers Ariana Grande

Photo via Facebook
As some of you are probably aware, I'm not exactly in tune with the top 40 pop hits of today. I'm the weirdo that thought "Old Town Road" was the new "Friday" style song that we all agreed was hilarious and terrible and not the biggest song in decades.

So last week I saw that one of my favorite current artists, Molly Burch, had a new song out called "needy," I was thrilled and immediately listened. It wasn't until I had heard it a few times that I saw it's an Ariana Grande cover. I'm glad I didn't know that since I'd most likely have judged the song negatively. "needy" is a killer song. It sounds like Molly Burch's trademark 60's doo wop meets modern indie rock/pop/folk, although a bigger version of that. Probably since it's a song by one of the biggest pop artists out there today. Even if you're a grumpy middle aged indie rock fan like myself, chances are you're going to get sucked into Branch's version of "needy." I still probably won't give the original a shot, though. I do have an image to uphold, after all.

You can listen to Molly Burch's take on "needy" below. For more on Molly Burch, check out her website.