Friday, May 25, 2018

Photocomfort - "Gillian Jacobs' Understudy"

Photo via Facebook
The latest single from Photocomfort has one of the more unique backstories I've heard in a while. I'm going to do the lazy journalist/cut and paste thing, but I really love the way Justine Bowe tells it on Facebook:

"Dear #GillianJacobs, I wrote you a song, and it's out today.
People used to stop me and tell me that I looked like you. I didn't see it until you dyed your hair a bit darker and took on roles where you began to struggle.
I had just left a good gig where I was touring around the country with people I loved. I made an entire record that I never released. I went through a breakup, lost my writing partner, and turned down a couple of offers to grow my band thinking I could do it all on my own. Nothing was working (I wasn't either). I was starting to suspect that I had already failed, my musical career was done, and who am I but my music? Who am I without the success of my music? Who am I without people who listen to my music?
It turns out, I'm a famous-ish actor! We're doing fine out there in Hollywood! I'd see us on screen, getting wasted, fighting hard for what we wanted, floundering publicly, feeling hopeful. In some freak parallel universe, we were 'making it'.
Gillian, I always wanted to try acting if you ever need an understudy. 'Til then, I have my own fucking life to deal with. Love ya!"

As for the song itself, it reminds me a ton of the time in the late 90's when Tori Amos was flirting with electronic elements. It's fully on the pop side of things, but in this slightly off kilter way that even those of us that normally dislike pop can get into. It's fun and pretty, but with a tiny bit of darkness and an edge to it.

You can listen to "Gillian Jacobs' Understudy" over at The Wild Honey Pie. Understudy, the new EP from Photocomfort, will be out on June 1. For more on Photocomfort, check out her website.

Young Jack - "Move"

I personally don't connect the UK to funk. It's possibly the one style of music that doesn't scream England to me, but that might change with Young Jack's new single. "Move" is a loud, energetic blast of funk. It's soaring horns and blues riffs upon some of the grooviest drums you've heard in years. It also has a distinct psychedelic sound, but in a very 90's British band way. Think Gomez goes funk. It's a sound that defies the young age of the band members, but Young Jack makes it work.

You can watch the video for "Move" below. I can't seem to find any information for the single's official release date, or anything besides dead links for Young Jack, so hopefully something will pop up soon.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis - "Wild Wild Wild"

Photo by Andy Goodwin
This is a pairing I didn't even know was possible, and now that I know it exists I've become obsessed. Robbie Fulks is basically a modern alt-country legend. He's been releasing great music for so long and so consistently that it's quite easy to take him for granted. Linda Gail Lewis is the younger sister of Jerry Lee Lewis. Honestly, I had no idea she existed or was making music or her own, but now that I have discovered her, I'm diving deeply into her back catalog. The duo did a few songs together on her 2016 album Heartbreak Highway (What can I do, What can I say, and now they're joining up for a full album together later this year.

"Wild Wild Wild" sounds like exactly what you expect (and want) it to sound like. It's the down home alt-country of Robbie Fulks mixed with the vintage rock n roll you want from a member of the Lewis clan, especially Jerry Lee's younger sister. Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis might be the most perfect pairing of classic underappreciated artist being brought back by a current musician/fan we've ever had.

You can listen to "Wild Wild Wild" below. The new album from Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis, Wild! Wild! Wild!, will be out August 10 on Bloodshot Records. For more on the duo, and to pre-order the album, check out Robbie Fulk's artist page over at Bloodshot Records.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Due Diligence - "Life is Hard"

The newest single from NYC's The Due Diligence is one of the most upbeat, danceable songs you'll hear all year. If there was such a thing as modern rock radio, and we lived in a just world, "Life is Hard" would be the summer song of 2018. It's this glorious blend of The Beach Boys' more upbeat hits and the shorter songs you'll find on Built to Spill's The Normal Years. You can picture the hipsters twisting away to this song without a shred of irony. Of course, you can't truly have a song this cheerful and uplifting without pain, and the upcoming album from The Due Diligence, which includes "Life is Hard," is inspired by the loss of songwriter Isaac Gillespie's grandmother.

You can listen to "Life is Hard" below. Life is Hard, the album, will be out June 22 on Paper Garden Records. It can be pre-ordered here. For more on The Due Diligence, check them out on Facebook.

Ruby Rose Fox - "American Daddy"

Every time Ruby Rose Fox releases new music, it ends up being something truly special and unique. Normally I avoid anything that can be categorized "pop" like a bus full of cranky toddlers, but Ruby Rose Fox has her very own twist on the genre. Her new single, "American Daddy," has an old school soul feel to it, but a very modernized version. I almost hesitate to refer to it as "old school," but something about it just feels classic. It has an organic feel that most "pop" music doesn't have today. Even if pop and soul aren't your thing, you truly owe it to yourself to give "American Daddy" a shot.

You can listen to "American Daddy" below. Salt, the new album from Ruby Rose Fox, will be out June 22. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Ruby Rose Fox, check out her website.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for May 18

This was a very weird release week, as the gap between good and bad was very, very wide. Only focusing on the good this week:

Album of the Week:

Artist: Maximilian Hecker
Album: Wretched Love Songs
Quick Description: Dream folky is back with a new album.
Why You Should Listen: Hecker is basically unknown in the United States and should really be a more popular.
Overall Thoughts: I don't know if this is meant to be a sequel of sorts to his debut, Infinite Love Songs (which is probably a top 20 album all time for me), but it is certainly reminiscent in a way a lot of his more recent work has not been. This is Hecker at his dreamy, light best, and I can totally see this as one of those albums I send over to my longtime friends and say "hey, remember that guy I was obsessed with 15 years ago?"
Recommendation: A must-listen, and there's plenty of room on this bandwagon to boot.

Artist: Pharis and Jason Romero
Album: Sweet Old Religion
Quick Description: Great rootsy folk in the vein of Welch and Rawlings.
Why You Should Listen: It may be one of the prettiest albums of the week.
Overall Thoughts: Not a ton to say in specifics about this album, except that in a rough release week this was a welcome surprise on a whole. Pitch-perfect folk music with great instrumentation and harmonies, you can't go wrong.
Recommendation: Make time for this.

Artist: Now, Now
Album: Saved
Quick Description: First album in years from the indie duo.
Why You Should Listen: This is a buzzworthy record that mixes a few styles to make an interesting listen.
Overall Thoughts: I tripped up on this act a few years ago, later learning that Jess Abbott of Tancred was in the band. She has since left, but the duo has continued with an album that is quite good, albeit feeling a little too short. But you hear songs like "SGL" and how tight they are and the whole album sounds like a treat. Some of the best in indie music today this week.
Recommendation: Give this a listen

Artist: Parquet Courts
Album: Wide Awake!
Quick Description: Latest from the indie act.
Why You Should Listen: Parquet Courts is anything but dull.
Overall Thoughts: I'll give Parquet Courts this much: they absolutely find a way to be unpredictable while also sounding exactly like what you expect. Putting aside the Milano project, I was wondering if last year's "Captive of the Sun" was going to be a new move for them, but instead we have a new album that feels like Parquet Courts while still having a lot of twists and turns. It's a good thing here, and an album everyone should check out.
Recommendation: You'll probably enjoy this.

Artist: Courtney Barnett
Album: Tell Me How You Really Feel
Quick Description: New album from the indie rock star.
Why You Should Listen: In just a few short years, Barnett has become required listening.
Overall Thoughts: It's hard to believe that this is only Barnett's second proper solo album, considering how prolific she has been since her debut EPs were packaged together. Her songwriting and sound are tight, her skill undeniable, and this is only her second effort? Kind of crazy. It's hard to find a standout track early as, really, most of them are, but this is an album you weren't going to miss anyway.
Recommendation: Mandatory listening this week anyway.

Artist: TT
Album: LoveLaws
Quick Description: Indie pop from part of Warpaint.
Why You Should Listen: It does well with that modern retro feel that sometimes flops when others do it.
Overall Thoughts: Warpaint is pretty great, and the duo have been branching out with solo work recently, and this is one of them. I don't have a ton to say about it except that I really enjoyed it, and if you're into the more electronic reto stuff, it's worth your time.
Recommendation: Won't be for everyone, but it did the trick here.

Artist: Ash
Album: Islands
Quick Description: Latest album from the British rockers.
Why You Should Listen: This is probably their best effort since Meltdown.
Overall Thoughts: Ash has been fairly uneven for a while now, perhaps ever since they made a solid attempt at the American market back in the early 2000s. This album isn't quite back-to-basics, and has a more straightforward rock feel than their previous efforts going back as far as 1977, but for a mature rock record from an established act, this sort of revival is rare. On a whole, a welcome surprise.
Recommendation: Find time for it.

Artist: Remember Sports
Album: Slow Buzz
Quick Description: Longest release yet from the indie pop/punk act.
Why You Should Listen: Hooks for days!
Overall Thoughts: I don't know if this is really their first album or if we're calling some of their early stuff EPs, but regardless, I've been hooked on "Making it Right" for months and this album shows a lot of promise in terms of making their sound a lot more accessible and solid. It's probably one of my favorites this week, and songs like "Temporary Tattoo" might hit one of your playlists sooner rather than later.
Recommendation: A fun listen this week.

Other releases of note:

* Various Artists - Eastern Standard: Some solid independent rap tracks from the East Coast.
* Nedelle Torrisi - Only for You: A good pop record, come for the "Vision of Love" cover and stay for the rest.
* Family of the Year - Goodbye Sunshine, Hello Nighttime
* MC Paul Barman - (((echo chamber)))
* Poster Children - Grand Bargain!
* Nellie McKay - Sister Orchid
* Matthew Sweet - Tomorrow's Daughter
* Wussy - What Heaven is Like
* Beach/Quiet Slang - Everything Matters But No One is Listening
* Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Sparkle Hard


* The Front Bottoms - Ann

Also out:

* BTS - Love Yourself 轉 'Tear'
* Rat Scabies - P.H.D. (Prison, Hospital, Debt)
* Low Cut Connie - Dirty Pictures (Part 2)
* Lords of Acid - Pretty in Kink
* Michael Rault - It's a New Day Tonight

NOVA ONE - "if you were mine"

Photo by Brittanny Taylor
Every so often we're stumble across an artist, and as we hear more from them we can tell we're going to become obsessed with them once the new album is released. The newest single from Providence, RI's NOVA ONE is further cementing the new project from Roz Raskin as one of our fledgling obsessions. I grew up on the oldies my parents listened to, and still listen to a lot of those songs with zero irony. Any artist that combines oldies with indie rock will quickly become a favorite. "if you were mine" leans just slightly more in the direction of indie rock, especially the beginning. It starts out as a lo-fi indie ballad, in the singer/songwriter side of the genre. But, by the time the chorus starts, it edges its way into doo wop territory. For the rest of the song, NOVA ONE weaves between the two sounds perfectly, almost making two songs into one seamlessly more than it is a mash up of styles.

You can listen to "if you were mine" below. NOVA ONE's debut album, secret princess, will be out June 8 on Community Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on NOVA ONE, check her/them out on Facebook and website. If you happen to be in the Providence area, check out NOVA ONE's album release show on July 6 at the Columbus Theater.

Monday, May 21, 2018

She Makes War Covers Culture Club

It's been a little while since we've brought you some new music from She Makes War, but luckily Laura Kidd's project is back with a cover of Culture Club's classic "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me." This cover does go off in its own direction away from the original 80's iconic classic. Instead, this cover goes full 90's with loud, reverb heavy, crunchy guitars. It's not quite industrial and it's not quite grunge. Instead, it lives somewhere in the middle. It genuinely sounds like something recorded in 1996 and forgotten until today. If you know us at all, that is meant to be very high praise.

You can listen to She Makes War's cover of "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" below. It's available as a single now via My Big Sister Recordings and can be purchased here. For more on She Makes War, check out her website.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - "Wonderful Day for the Race"

Photo via Facebook
For the past few weeks, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones have been teasing a big announcement coming up. Last week, the announcement of new music was made. The Bosstones unveiled a new single, "Wonderful Day for the Race." It continues in the Bosstones's current theme of positive music that truly started with their 2016 cover of "What the World Needs Now is Love." In this case, "race" means "human race," and is a message of love and understanding. "Wonderful Day for the Race" also continues the Bosstones's sound. There is no deviation from vintage Bosstones with their new song, which is pretty much perfect. This feels like the kind of song that we'll all like but not love, until we see them play it love. The Bosstones have always been a band you should see live, and I'm looking forward to getting to see this one played in person. Plus, it boasts one of the best false stops in recent memory.

You can watch the video for "Wonderful Day for the Race" below. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones's new album, While We're At It, will be out June 15. For more on the Bosstones, check out their website.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Rock'n'Roll HiFives - "Hold On"

I fully expected to hate The Rock'n'Roll HiFives. In fact, I wanted to. Their lead singer, Eilee Centeno, is sixteen. Her thirteen year old brother plays drums. The rest of the band? Their parents. Guitarist/dad Joe Centeno played in bands before he became a dad, and the whole thing sounded like it would be this cutesy family band fueled by the dad's nostalgia. 

But... their new single "Hold On" is actually pretty great. It's not revolutionary by any stretch, but it's good, solid guitar driven power pop. Eilee's vocals have this great attitude to them, most likely because she's actually a teenager and isn't just trying to tap into teen angst. "Hold On" isn't for you if you want something avant garde or groundbreaking. But if you just want some fun throwback rock in the realm of Cheap Trick and The Runaways, you'll find it here.

You can listen to "Hold On" below. The new album from The Rock'n'Roll HiFives, Re-Introducing The RocknRoll HiFives, will be out June 29 on Little Dickman Records. It can be pre-ordered here. For more on the band, check out their Facebook. Current summer vacation tour dates are below the song.

6/24: New York, NY - Mercury Lounge (record release show)
7/5: Raleigh, NC - Schoolkids Records 
7/6: Wilmington, NC - Gravity Records 
7/7: Charlotte, NC - Oso Skatepark 
7/8: Charlotte, NC - Lunchbox Records 
7/11: Orlando, FL - Park Ave CDs 
7/18: Austin, TX - Waterloo Records 
7/19: Dallas, TX - Good Records   
7/24: San Diego, CA -  M-Theroy 
7/29: Santa Cruz, CA - StreetLight 
8/4:  Boise, ID - Vista Bar 
8/12:  Indianapolis, IN - Luna Music 
8/17: Jersey City, NJ - FM 
8/18: Asbury Park, NJ - Asbury Park Yacht Club