Friday, April 21, 2017

Coltana - "Break Her"

I always hate to take a band's description straight out of their press release, but sometimes they just nail it. Blake Kendrick and Catherine Martindale were in Poeticat, until they decided to leave and form Coltana. According to the press release that accompanies their latest single, "Break Her," Coltana combines Bikini Kill and Arctic Monkeys. And that pretty much nails it. It's not a 100% accurate comparison, though. Coltana doesn't quite match the ferocity or rawness of Bikini Kill since they're a bit too polished, but they're also not quite the ready made hit makers that Arctic Monkeys are. Instead, you get something in the middle with a ton of tonal and tempo quick stops and starts that I haven't heard since the early days of the Arctic Monkeys. It's a combination that is jarring in an almost but not quite pleasant way.

You can listen to "Break Her" below. The single will be available for purchase on May 19 via Poeticat Records. For more on Coltana, check out their website.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Lusterlit - List of Equipment

Every so often we receive a music submission that we know we're going to write about before we even listen. Listerlit met as members of the Bushwick Book Club in Brooklyn. The duo writes songs inspired by different literary works, and feature guitar, bass, synth, traditional Korean drum, and accordion. That's pretty much all I need to know right there. Musically they're a bit hard to tie down. I would suppose there are some folk elements, but there's definitely a bit of a goth sound due to the use of synths. There's some elements of a stripped down PJ Harvey in there, too.

Their latest EP, List of Equipment, is comprised of five songs about different books. "Ceremony" is a dark folk-ish song inspired by Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. The title track, "List of Equipment," is a throwback to the 90s throwback of 60s French pop inspired by Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. After that are songs inspired by the works of John Wyndham and Jonathan Lethem.

You can listen to "Ceremony" below. Pick up Lusterlit's latest literary inspired EP on Bandcamp. While you're there, check out their other EPs, including one inspired by Kurt Vonnegut! For more on Lusterlit, be sure to check them out on Facebook.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Salem Wolves - "From the Vault"

As we all prepare ourselves to finally have a full length Salem Wolves album next month (it's been over two months since we had our first taste of the album), we can now listen to a new song from Tooth & Nail. "From the Vault" is absolutely epic. It's the Salem Wolves' garage rock n' roll sound, but this song just is them swinging for the fences in the best possible way. It sounds like they are getting themselves prepared to go out on a stadium tour, and I mean that in the best possible way. The song is loud and both dirty sounding and polished.

You can listen to "From the Vault" below. Salem Wolves' debut album, Tooth & Nail, will be out May 5. You can pre-order your copy via Bandcamp. They're also running what might be the best deal for a pre-sale of all time. For $20 you get a digital download of Tooth & Nail, a physical cd copy, a special edition t-shirt, and beer koozie. It's seriously an absurd deal. For more on Salem Wolves, check out their website.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bettie Serveert - "B-Cuz"

Bettie Serveert might be the band I rediscover the most about for the past 25 years. Yes, that's how long Amsterdam's Bettie Serveert have been bringing us their blend of indie pop, a term that never would have flown back in the 90s. They always seem to be hiding out just out of my consciousness until a new album comes around.

Well, they're back in since this Saturday, aka Record Store Day, will see the release of their 11th studio album, Damaged Good, on vinyl, which will be the only release of the album in a physical format in North America. Bettie Serveert are now officially legends, and "B-Cuz," although the title of the song looks more like a Boyz II Men song, helps to cement that status. "B-Cuz" is as catchy as it could possibly be and lies in that realm of song that would have been a Buzz Clip back in the day but now counts as a fun pop song.

You can watch the newly released video for "B-Cuz" below. Head out to your favorite local indie record shop this Saturday to pick up your limited edition vinyl of Damaged Good out on Schoolkids Records. For more on Bettie Serveert, check out their website.

First Listen: New Releases for April 14

A short week, likely due to the Easter holiday.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Lillie Mae
Album: Forever and Then Some
Quick Description: Your new favorite Third Man roots record.
Why You Should Listen: You love good rootsy music with a raw feel to them.
Overall Thoughts: Lillie Mae was on my radar due to some sort of Spotify mix. If you see her picture on her album covers, you’re greeted with a very specific expectation of a sort of pop sensibility, with her very modern look and such, but what you get instead is an amazingly solid set of country/roots tunes. I spent most of the album both surprised at its quality and really enjoying what I was hearing, and there might not be a bad song in the bunch. Lillie Mae, unsurprisingly, is signed to Third Man Records, and that probably explains why everything works so well here. She might be the 2017 version of Margo Price, and that wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Recommendation: Best release of the week.

Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Album: DAMN.
Quick Description: Latest from one of the most popular rappers currently making music.
Why You Should Listen: Even if it's not your style, he demands attention.
Overall Thoughts: My favorite Kendrick Lamar song is “Backseat Freestyle,” so I don’t pretend to know a lot about what makes Kendrick Lamar great or anything like that. If I’m being honest, he’s never been my top choice. When To Pimp a Butterfly came out, I noted that it felt as epic as people thought it was, and that I couldn’t pass much in the way of judgement on it. DAMN. is a much better, much more interesting album to me, but my feelings are the same – Lamar is writing and performing in a way that’s beyond my understanding, and that’s fine. Those who are in the know appear to see this as a really, really great album and I’m happy to defer.
Recommendation: For me, I’ll be listening to it again and seeing if I can crack the code, so to speak.

Artist: Inhalt
Album: Part Time Punks Sessions
Quick Description: Enigmatic post... something.
Why You Should Listen: This is a fun and different release this week.
Overall Thoughts: nothing about the title of this album or the name of this group or even the way the opening song goes prepares you for what’s coming on this listen. I absolutely enjoyed this listen, although I don’t have a ton to say about it – it’s got a post-punk feel even if the sound isn’t quite there, and the music itself absolutely borrows from countless bands before them while still feeling unique. The enigma in this album might ultimately be a lot of the draw.
Recommendation: I’m on board.

Artist: Little Dragon
Album: Season High
Quick Description: European pop goodness.
Why You Should Listen: This isn't what you think, and that's a good thing.
Overall Thoughts: A European pop group, Little Dragon crafts off-center pop music that balances both a mainstream aesthetic and the more off-centered style that a lot of independent pop acts try to accomplish. As someone who has really embraced pop music in the last few years, I admit to this being a bit of a mixed bag on a whole, but there is more than enough here for me to be intrigued by and seek more of this out.
Recommendation: Worth your time.

Artist: Tinie Tempah
Album: Youth
Quick Description: New rap album from an underrated artist.
Why You Should Listen:'s probably better than Kendrick's...
Overall Thoughts: There are two “big” rap albums out this week (assuming Kendrick Lamar doesn’t drop a sequel to DAMN. between when I write this and when I post this), and this is the other one. While Kendrick Lamar is currently operating on an entirely different level than everyone else, Tinie Tempah’s new album is ultimately more my speed. More traditional structures with some interesting choices throughout, Tinie Tempah’s a name I’ve heard quite a bit but never in the real conversation. While it’s a shame that this will get overshadowed by the big rap release of the moment...
Recommendation:’s worthy of your time.

Artist: Chris Shiflett
Album: West Coast Town
Quick Description: Foo Fighters guitarist goes country.
Why You Should Listen: For what's basically a vanity project, this is great!
Overall Thoughts: This is not going to win any awards, nor is it going to blow anyone's mind, but in terms of a really above-average, competent listen in the country space. If you're walking into it thinking it'll be Foo-like, it's really not. But there's not much else to say. Would be worthy of your time in a busy week, but is a solid listen now as well.
Recommendation: Give it a listen.

Also out this week:

* Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, Yo Yo Ma - Bach Trios
* Fox Academy - Saint Molly

Monday, April 17, 2017

Live Shows: Sallie Ford and Molly Burch, Great Scott, Allston, MA 4/11/17

Photo via Facebook
This was my third time seeing Sallie Ford live in less than four years, and her third band I've seen her with. Interestingly enough, this was her first truly coed band (The Sound Outside had an all male line up and her first solo band was all female.) While the all female line up had a similar sound to The Sound Outside, her new band has a distinct sound of their own.

Considering Soul Sick is the only album with the new band, and it is the new album after all, the majority of the night's set list came from the new album. The crowd may have been sparse (it was a late night Tuesday show with a crowd of female hipsters in their 20s and middle aged men, after all), but they were completely into the new songs like "Loneliness is Power," "Failure," and "Get Out." The crowd seemed more into the older material, but I don't see that as a knock on her new songs. Soul Sick might be the best thing she's ever released, but songs about depression and anxiety aren't exactly good time party songs like her older songs can be. I'm not sure if she's consciously chose to do it or if it was a side effect of having a new band, but songs like "Shivers" and "I Swear" were reworked slightly. The only slight problem was the set length. For someone who has four albums and at least one EP under her belt, it seemed especially short, particularly since they didn't play an encore.

Playing second this night was Molly Burch, who has one of my absolute favorites of the year so far. Usually artists tend to be a little more rocking live, especially with a full band. Her modern, slightly folky take on 60s soul felt even more stripped down and raw live than it does on her album Please Be Mine. Even though she had a full band, including a drummer, somehow songs like "Downhearted" and "Try" seemed even more intimate, as if she was the only performer. She was a great choice for a tour mate for Sallie Ford, with her retro cool but not a throwback sound perfectly complemented Ford's without being too similar. Plus, songs like "Wrong for You" and "Torn to Pieces" helped keep the theme of the evening. Again, her set felt short, but with only a ten song album and an opening slot, that should be expected.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday Freebie: Dead Man Winter - Furnace

We don't normally post this late in the afternoon/evening, so you know it's a pretty big deal when we do. Dead Man Winter, Trampled By Turtles' frontman Dave Simonett's solo project, is offering up his latest album for free via Noisetrade. While Trampled By Turtles are a frolicking speedgrass band and a party every time they play live, Dead Man Winter is a more private, introspective project. Furnace is an album about the end of Simonett's ten year marriage. With titles like "This House is On Fire," "Am I Breaking Down," and "You Are Out of Control," Dead Man Winter won't be your next favorite party time band. It's not all doom and gloom, despite the topic. Along with the sense of loss and failure, divorce also brings a sense of rebirth and hope, which is reflected on this album. Even if you've never been a fan of Trampled By Turtles, you'll want to listen to this album. If you're a die-hard Trampled By Turtles fan, don't expect Trampled By Turtles 2.0. This is a completely different, more traditional folk rock sound. It's the absolute pinnacle of that genre, though.

You can get your copy of Dead Man Winter's new album Furnace for free via Noisetrade. For more on Dead Man Winter, check out their website.

R. Ring - "Steam"

Photo by Kristian Svitak
The new project from Kelley Deal (The Breeders, The Kelley Deal 6000) and Mike Montgomery (Ampline) is R. Ring. They've done some touring and released a few singles, but they are set to release their debut album on April 28. Right now we can listen to a new song from the album, "Steam." "Steam" is definitely not what I would expect from a band featuring Kelley Deal. (I'm not all that familiar with Ampline, so I can't compare it that way.) "Steam" is sparse, almost painfully so. Montgomery's vocals are the main focused, accompanied with a barely plucked guitar, Deal's background vocals (her "oooooooooo-ooooooooh"s are the hook of the song, and the very occasional string instrument in the background. Some of the other songs on the album are a bit more rambunctious, but "Steam" is quietly beautiful.

You can watch the video for "Steam" below. R. Ring's debut album, Ignite the Rest, will be available April 28 on Sofaburn Records. For more on R. Ring, check out their Tumblr and Bandcamp.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers - "The Nail"

Photo by poprockphotography
"The Nail" is the song for people who say they love real country. It's a rollicking, rambling song about a terrible relationship filled with lots of arguing and drinking that you know is going to end, you just don't know who will end it first. But it's fun and exciting, so you stick with it for now. As with all good country, "The Nail" is fun sounding but lyrically it's depressing as can be. Plus, it fits right into the standard definition of outlaw country since it's probably a little too rocking for country and a little too country for rock. Plus, Sarah Shook's voice, while it does have a great twang to it, is a little too rough for country and would probably fit in better with an indie rock band. But, for those of us raised on indie rock who slowly grew to accept and love country in adulthood, Sarah Shook & The Disarmers couldn't be more perfect.

You can listen to "The Nail" below, along with the previously released "Keep the Home Fires Burnin.'" Sarah Shook & The Nails' debut album, Sidelong, is due out April 28 on Bloodshot Records. You can pre-order it here. For more on Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, check out their website.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mary Bell - Mary Bell LP

Back on May, 25 1968, Mary Bell strangled a four year old boy to death in Scotswood, England. It was the day before her eleventh birthday. In July, she convinced a friend to help her strangle another boy. He was three. She spent twelve years in prison for the murders because of her incredibly young age, and has lived the rest of her life under a new name. If you'd like to learn more about Mary Bell, My Favorite Murder did a great episode about her. It's episode Twenty Six Six Six.

Now, Mary Bell is the name of a punk band out of Paris, France. (I guess if the name isn't being used...) Mary Bell, the band, is punk AF. Their new album, Mary Bell LP, is this incredibly noisy, loud, and ferocious mix. It combines the vocal discord of Bikini Kill, the raw guitars of The Melvins, and the raw energy of early Ramones. Plus, vocally, there is just a hint of Joan Jett in there. Every track on this album is as in your face as it could be, even a song like "The plague" that starts off as kind of a ballad. With song titles like "I hate you" and "Shit on the parkway," it's not a subtle release. With so much music out there that is now considered to be punk, it's refreshing to get something that is actually punk without being a throwback.

You can listen to "Fire fire" below. Physical copies of Mary Bell LP are available through Danger Records and Le Turc Mecanique, or you can download a copy for free via Bandcamp. For more on Mary Bell, check them out on Facebook and Tumblr.