Friday, September 25, 2020

Jeff is YNot's Quarantine DJ Today


A programming note - Jeff is on Philadelphia's YNotRadio today at 2pm and again at 10pm to spin some tunes as this week's "Quarantine DJ." It's streaming online at http://www.ynotradio.net, so check it out! I had a blast putting this together.

If you're here because you heard me on the radio, welcome! Hope you find some music to enjoy!

Izzy Heltai - "Father"

Photo by Joanna Chattman
I've been referring to Northampton, MA based Izzy Heltai's music as mainstream modern folk with just enough of a unique spin to keep it appealing to music snobs, too. His latest single, "Father," might be the perfect example of that. It's a quiet, deeply personal song that starts off painfully sparse but ever so slowly builds and builds as it goes on. It walks that line between accessible/mainstream and indie expertly. 

You can watch the video for "Father" below. Father, the upcoming debut album from Izzy Heltai, will be out October 9. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Izzy Heltai, check out the artist's website.


Natalie Sweet - "Lip Service"

Natalie Sweet has spent some time in bands, serving as the singer of The Shanghais and guitarist and singer of Control Freaks. Now she's going out on her own with a new single, "Lip Service." "Lip Service" is a sugary sweet pop garage rock song. It has all the sweetness and pop you'd find in a song like "Sugar Sugar" by The Archies, but fuzzed out garage rock guitars. For many of us, that combination is an absolute dream, all wrapped up in a two minute package. 

You can listen to "Lip Service" below. Oh, By the Way... It's, the new album from Natalie Sweet, will be out October 23 on Rum Bar Records. You can pre-order it via the label's Bandcamp. For more on Natalie Sweet, check out her Bandcamp.

Opin - "Ezprt"

Hailing from Richmond, VA, Opin have a truly unique sound on their latest single. "Ezprt" sounds fairly familiar, as it mixes a lot of familiar elements. It's almost even mainstream, but takes a bizarre swerve to the left before hitting the world of pop. "Ezprt" can best be described as dark funk. It also has this swirling, dreamlike feel in virtually all instruments. It feels very synth heavy, but not New Wave or 80's in any way. It's a laid back song that inspires you to move, at the very least in your chair. "Ezprt" is the kind of song that worms its way into you the more you listen.

You can watch the video for "Ezprt" below. Media & Memory, the upcoming song from Opin, will be out October 23 on WarHen Records. You can pre-order a copy on the label's Bandcamp. For more on Opin, check them out on Facebook.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 18 September


Artist: Tyler Childers
Album: Long Violent History
Quick Description: Great raw rootsy folk music.
Why You Should Listen: This feels really pure and authentic.
Overall Thoughts: I think what impresses me the most with this is that it sounds kind of dirty and dusty? It's kind of what I expect from roots music at its core, and this is just an expert effort. Mostly instrumental, but all great.
Recommendation: A solid listen.


Artist: Little Hag
Album: Whatever Happened to Avery Jane
Quick Description: First album under this name from Avery Mandeville.
Why You Should Listen: Think Sarah Shook if she grew up on Tumblr.
Overall Thoughts: I love love love love love this album. Little Hag is a really fun listen with some irreverent moments, some crazy great musicianship, and songs that make you smile just as much as they keep you bopping your head. This was a true surprise for me this week, and it's one that I'm sure has some real longevity. A really solid indie rock effort - if you can't get into "Tetris" or "Facebook," what's the point?
Recommendation: One of the best of the year.


Artist: Anjimile
Album: Giver Taker
Quick Description: Debut album from a Boston-based artist.
Why You Should Listen: This has a lot of buzz around it, all warranted.
Overall Thoughts: Anjimile is doing something special with their singer-songwriter/folkish effort here. When I heard some of the lead singles, I wasn't 100% on board, but somehow the cohesive unit of this album turns it into something much more impressive. There's a mood and clarity here that's lacking in a lot of music that comes out on a regular basis, and the raw feeling behind it all makes this something truly special.
Recommendation: A mandatory listen.


Artist: Emma Kupa
Album: It Will Come Easier
Quick Description: New solo album from the British singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: Emma Kupa's involvement in something almost always makes it great.
Overall Thoughts: Emma Kupa has been in a host of indie bands over the years, and this solo effort is just great. So many catchy songs like "Nawlins" and "Nothing at All" really bring around what's special about this. A pleasant, poppy listen from a skilled songwriter.
Recommendation: Worth the time this week.


Artist: Native Harrow
Album: Closeness
Quick Description: New album by a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Native Harrow has a sound that forces you to pay attention.
Overall Thoughts: We've covered Native Harrow a few times here, and her debut really got me last year. Again, your expectations are something different going in, but the results of this one are an album that grabs you and doesn't let go. The duo are skilled songwriters with a sound that toes the lines between folk and rock genres. I really liked this album, and you will too.
Recommendation: Put it in your rotation.


Artist: Cults
Album: Host
Quick Description: "Go Outside" act with another stellar release.
Why You Should Listen: Cults has been a very consistent act.
Overall Thoughts: In my brain, Cults had one big hit and I always forget they're around until they put a new album out and then I say "wait, I really like this band." I liked their last album enough, but I thought it was a poppier affair than their reputation allowed. This definitely continues in that vein, but in a different way - it might be my favorite effort of theirs yet. It feels more confident, fairly accessible, and pretty great on a whole. I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to this one.
Recommendation: Don't sleep on this.


Artist: Fenne Lily
Album: BREACH
Quick Description: A second album that doesn't hit the sophomore slump.
Why You Should Listen: It's less folk and more exploratory.
Overall Thoughts: Fenne Lily still isn't for everyone, but I feel as if her second album is for more people than her first was. Still super confessional and introspective, this is music for people who care about the stories and mood behind their songs, and that's what sets Fenne Lily apart. If you're up for a singer-songwriter challenge, don't miss this one.
Recommendation: Worth the time.

Of note:

* Handsome Ghost - Some Still Morning (A really solid, gorgeous record.)
* Body Double - Milk Fed (Don't sleep on this one.)
* Rudy De Anda - Tender Epoch (Don't let the occasional language barrier get in the way.)
* Lily / Lucy - Laugh Now Cry L8r (Interesting odd pop effort featuring Lucy Konigsburg.)
* Eivor - Segl
* Boyfriend Machine - The Steady March to Death
* A. G. Cook - Apple
* otta - Songbook
* Ian Wayne - Risking Illness
* Sarah Davachi - Cantus, Descent
* Butcher Brown - #KingButch
* Jealous of the Birds - Peninsula
* Namir Blade - Aphelion's Traveling Circus
* Gillian Welch - Boots No. 2, The Lost Songs, Vol. 2

EPs:

* Semisonic - You're Not Alone (They haven't missed a step.)
* Elysian - Water EP
* ONBC - Forty Thousand Tears
* American Authors - Counting Down
* Sinead O'Brien - Drowning in Blessings
* Luke Howard and Tilman Robinson - Dark Angels
* The Queers and the Two Tens - Cha Cha Cha
* GA-20 - Live Vol. 1
* The Persian Leaps - Smiling Lessons
* Galya Bisengalieva - Aralkum

Also out:

* Ava Max - Heaven & Hell
* Osees - Protean Threat

The Short Fuses - "The Pink"

Picture via Facebook
The Short Fuses are one of those bands that I just discovered only to find out that they're releasing their first new music in fifteen years. According to their Facebook profile, they're "Blondie, MC5, and Motorhead in a blender." You can't argue with that description, and I have no idea how anyone can resist that. "The Pink" is a perfect example of that. It's loud and fast rock and roll with more edge than you could possibly want, and just the slightest bit of pop sensibility to somehow make this combination catchy. So... yeah. It's literally as they advertised. 

You can listen to "The Pink" below. Dawn of the Deaf, the first new album from The Short Fuses in fifteen years, is due out on October 23 via Rum Bar Records. You can pre-order the album via Bandcamp. For more on The Short Fuses, be sure to check out their website.

Joan of Arc - "Destiny Revision"

Photo by Chris Strong
Joan of Arc have been an indie rock staple for twenty five years now. Throughout that twenty five year history, Tim Kinsella has been the only permanent member of the group. The band is set to release their final album in December, and "Destiny Revision" is the first single from that final album. It's a quiet, lovely song that feels deeply intimate. It's the kind of song that lulls you into almost a trance, and then gently pulls you out with the occasional burst of quiet noise, including what may be a guitar solo towards the end. 

Tim Kinsella says of the song: “‘Destiny Revision’ was a personal song when it was written a couple years ago, about winging it when your life fails to play out as you'd imaginedUnfortunately that simple sentiment now has a much more expansive and darker resonance as all of us in America face a fascist administration using the pandemic as an opportunity to consolidate power, and we all struggle to imagine our futures.” 

You can watch the video for "Destiny Revision" below. Joan of Arc's final album, Tim Melina Theo Bobby, will be out December 4 on Joyful Noise Recordings. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Joan of Arc, check out their website.

Lydia Loveless featuring Laura Jane Grace - "September"

Photo by Megan Toenyes
The new and highly awaited album from Lydia Loveless is due tomorrow, but we're getting to hear our most highly anticipated song from that album early! When we first heard about the album, we couldn't wait to hear "September" since it featured a guest appearance by Laura Jane Grace. The song is a gorgeous piano ballad, which isn't quite what I expected from the pairing of Loveless and Grace, but I can't argue with the result. A piano ballad always has the possibility of falling into the land of overly sappy, but Loveless and Grace avoid that. Just their vocals inject enough attitude, and lyrics like "Do you really wanna fuck with me" finish the job. Like many Loveless songs, it's beautiful on the surface, but the lyrics tell another story.

You can watch the video for "September" below. Lydia Loveless explains the video: “‘September’ is a song about the loneliness and ache of being a teenager. I wanted to depict that in the video without being too personal, and we thought Bridget and Kyle would be the perfect people to star in it. There’s nothing I love more than not being in my own video, so I loved just watching everyone get into character and tell this sad story in front of me.” 

Daughter, the new album from Lydia Loveless, will be out September 25 on her own Honey, You're Gonna Be Late Records. You can order a copy here. Lydia Loveless has three livestreams scheduled, including a full band virtual release show scheduled for tonight (September 24). You can get tickets here. For more on Lydia Loveless, check out her website.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Clint Hoffa & Lycouz - "Introduction"

Sweden doesn't seem like an obvious place for hip hop to come from, but here are Clint Hoffa and Lycouz. The duo are set to release their debut album this Fall, and right now we can hear their new single, "Introduction." How is Swedish rap? Surprisingly great. "Introduction" is a modern take on the 90's trifecta of House of Pain, Cypress Hill, and Funkdoobiest (aka one of the tours I regret missing the most). If you miss killer party friendly rap songs like those three used to deliver, you're going to need to check out Clint Hoffa and Lycouz.

You can watch the video for "Introduction" below. The new album from Clint Hoffa & Lycouz will be out this Fall. For more on Clint Hoffa, check out his Facebook. For more on Lycuz, check out his.

Shadow Show - "What Again Is Real?"

Even though it may feel like years ago, Shadow Show released their album Silhouettes merely seven months ago. It's a strong contender for our top ten of 2020, so we're thrilled to already have new music from the Detroit trio. "What Again Is Real?" is a new single, and it's exactly what we want with new music from Shadow Show. It mashes together the retro 60's sounds of garage rock, psychedelia, and girl groups into one cohesive unit that is pure perfection. It's incredibly trippy while staying grounded in pure rock and roll.

In a post on their Bandcamp page, Shadow Show say about the song: “Upon this journey we accept that despite inevitable doom, everything is okay- or so says the girl with flowers in her head.” 

You can listen to "What Again Is Real?" below. The song is available as a single with a cover of "Is This a Dream?" from The Feminine Complex via Hypnotic Bridge Records. You can get a copy via the band's Bandcamp. For more on Shadow Show, check out the band's website.