Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Freebie: The Secret Sisters - You Don't Own Me Anymore Singles Pack + PledgeMusic Sessions

In what seems to be a recurring theme, for a limited time NoiseTrade is offering two singles from The Secret Sisters' upcoming album as well as a song from their PledgeMusic acoustic session. It's a collection of three songs total, but it's great to tide us over while we wait for The Secret Sisters' long awaited new album. The Secret Sisters might have the most perfect retro country/folk sound out there, to the point that even their originals sound like they might be covers of classics. It's all harmonies and gorgeous melodies. You Don't Own Me Anymore Singles Pack + PledgeMusic Sessions offers you "Tennessee River Runs Low" (which we brought to you back in March) and "He's Fine," which is offered in both album versions and the PledgeMusic Sessions version. 

You can get a copy of You Don't Own Me Anymore Singles Pack + PledgeMusic Sessions for a limited time via NoiseTrade. You Don't Own Me Anymore will be available on June 9. It can be pre-ordered now through Amazon. For more on The Secret Sisters, check out their website.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pega Monstro - "Cachupa"

We're just over a week away from the release of Pega Monstro's new album, and we have a new song with a tweaked sound to check out. Our favorite garage rock sister duo from Portugal have released a new song, "Cachupa," and while it still has some of Pega Monstro's garage rock sound, it's a bit more tame and has more than a little bit of a dream pop sound to it. It still has classic garage rock guitars in it, but there's more of a dreamy, psychedelic element to it, almost as if it's being played through a haze. The dreamy, psychedelic sound is slowly drawn out more and more as the song continues. Plus, it clocks in at almost six and a half minutes, so it's practically the length of three normal garage rock songs. It's a welcome change to their sound while still sounding like a Pega Monstro song.

You can listen to "Cachupa" below. Pega Monstro's new album, Casa de Cima, will be out June 2 on Upset the Rhythm. You can order your copy of the album here. For more on Pega Monstro, check them out on Facebook.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Benjamin Booker - "Believe"

Photo by Ken Sears
Back in the 80s and 90s, an album would be announced, and you'd have one single released before the album. With the current music industry model, you get 2-4 singles released before the album is, since there is really no such thing as radio or video airplay anymore. The only challenge with this model is you can really burn yourself out on an album before it's even out yet.

I doubt that will happen with the upcoming album from Benjamin Booker. "Believe," the third single released for Witness, Booker goes full on soul. The proto-punk blues meets Nirvana sound of his 2014 self titled debut is gone on this track. This is pure neo-soul, and what's most shocking perfectly is how Booker's ragged voice fits both heavier rock songs and soul. The accompanying video was shot in Providence's Columbus Theater with an orchestra and gospel choir.

Benjamin Booker's new album, Witness, will be out June 2 on ATO Records. You can watch the video for "Believe" below. For more on Benjamin Booker, check out his website.

Downtown Boys - "A Wall"

Photo via Facebook
If you told me that Downtown Boys would be toning down their sound on their upcoming Sub Pop debut, but I'd end up still loving it, I'd have scoffed in your face. Luckily, you'd end up being right. "A Wall," the first single off Cost of Living, runs at about half speed of most of the songs on 2015's Full Communism. All things considered, by punk standards, it's a fairly tame song. Victoria Ruiz's vocals are still unhinged and go against the melody of the song. Oh... did I mention that there's melody? You can feel the influence of producer Guy Picciotto: The bass feels Fugazi level heavy. Plus, the left leaning politics are still there, with the title "A Wall" being about an obvious subject. This is the exact moment a punk band starts growing up a bit, while they're still keeping their edge.

You can listen to "A Wall" below. Downtown Boys' new album, Cost of Living, will be out August 11 on Sub Pop. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Downtown Boys, check out their Bandcamp.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

First Listen: New Releases for 19 May

A busy release week, but also a busy weekend for me, so this is somewhat truncated. Still, some real highlights:

Album of the Week:


Artist: !!!
Album: Shake the Shudder
Quick Description: Latest from the dance-rockers.
Why You Should Listen: !!! is always amazing, and they've really hit their stride as a band.
Overall Thoughts: It's rare for an album to both be album of the week and for me not to have a lot to say about it, but here is the new !!!, and they've got a pretty solid sound going at this point. They're not weird anymore, and they kind of have a great type of sound that doesn't take a ton of risks anymore. So, while we don't get legendary tracks like "Pardon My Freedom," we do get songs that hook you in immediately like "Dancing is the Best Revenge." !!! are a band out of time in a way - I'm into it.
Recommendation: Always wonderful, and this is a must-listen like all of their stuff.


Artist: Cayetana
Album: New Kind of Normal
Quick Description: Hook-happy indie rock.
Why You Should Listen: This is the latest in a line of great albums out in this space recently.
Overall Thoughts: My album of the week because apparently I’m predictable enough to hear a female-fronted indie rock act and fall in love all over again. This has been a banner year for woman artists, I think, and between this, Diet Cig, Charly Bliss, Dude York, and the revival of Juliana Hatfield, we’ve got a veritable bumper crop of solid music that harkens back to a great time in music. Cayetana isn’t mimicking the Hatfields and Veruca Salts of the 1990s, but instead has a bit of a cleaner, less fuzzy Weezer vibe on a lot of this album. The result is some tight songwriting and some tunes that I caught myself singing along to some of the songs even as I hit my first rotation through the tracks. It’s that catchy and good. Whether this will stick with me for weeks like Charly Bliss and Diet Cig have so far remains to be seen, but for now, this is my favorite album of the moment, and would be my favorite of the week had this come out last Friday and not a few weeks ago.
Recommendation: A stellar release.


Artist: Stevie Parker
Album: The Cure
Quick Description: British singer's debut album.
Why You Should Listen: You like pleasant voices with some modern, mid-term instrumentation.
Overall Thoughts: Stevie Parker isn't going to blow you away with her voice or any theatrics, but there's something intriguing and interesting about this album that hooked me right in. It's a very modern album, but it's not so much poppy as it is radio-friendly for a more discerning audience. As the pop listener here, this isn't hitting me in the same place that others do, but this is right in line with albums from Frances and Wet that I've liked recently. It might not be for you, but if it is, you'll love it.
Recommendation: Worth a listen this week.


Artist: Pokey LaFarge
Album: Manic Revelations
Quick Description: Latest from the rootsy favorite.
Why You Should Listen: Pokey LaFarge sets his own retro path, and it's always worth a listen.
Overall Thoughts: I enjoy Pokey LaFarge, and he's an interesting character musically. I know Ken's a bigger fan than I, but this happens every time - LaFarge puts out a solid album, I listen a few times, and I move on. Then a new album comes out, and I remember why I like him all over again. This latest album feels like LaFarge in his prime, and it works on a lot of levels. I just don't know why he's not as buzzworthy as, say, Langhorne Slim. It's baffling. Maybe this will be the breakthrough he deserves.
Recommendation: A solid release.


Artist: Jade Jackson
Album: Gilded
Quick Description: A rootsy debut.
Why You Should Listen: Jade Jackson's debut shows a lot of promise.
Overall Thoughts: A friend turned me onto Jade Jackson, and “Aden” is a song that hooked me in to stay. I talk a lot about trying to find the act that will fill the Kathleen Edwards-shaped hole in my heart, and Jade Jackson comes close – the synthesis of emotional rock music and roots influences is tighter here than in a lot of albums in this space, but the album’s only flaw is a significant one – there’s an urgency in some of the songs that don’t carry over to a lot of others, resulting in a bit of a slower pace. In a way, it does remind me of Edwards’s first album, Failer, in that the more faster-paced songs stole the show, but the pacing here is what keeps this album from being more like a great Edwards/Lydia Loveless record. I am being more negative than I should be here, because this is a solid album. I finished it up just wishing it was a little more on first listen, and I’m thinking that future listens may uncover some stuff I missed.
Recommendation: Definitely worth your time this week.


Artist: The Builders and the Butchers
Album: The Spark
Quick Description: Latest from the not-quite-folkies.
Why You Should Listen: This band has been consistently good for a long time.
Overall Thoughts: I have no clue when I first got into this band. It might have been an old Turntable.FM room that played something, or a shot in the dark from eMusic or something like that, but either way, I’ve always liked them. This new album is the first in some time from them, and they are bringing the heat. This album is a lot stronger, louder, and more immediate than their previous efforts, and to their benefit. It’s a tone that fits them, and the distinct vocals combined with the musicianship makes for a solid listen.
Recommendation: Give this a listen.


Artist: Deb Talan
Album: Lucky Girl
Quick Description: New solo album from half of The Weepies.
Why You Should Listen: Deb Talan has a gorgeous voice and the music here is great.
Overall Thoughts: The female voice of The Weepies offers her first solo album in well over a decade. It will surprise no one that this largely sounds like a Weepies record with a slightly different feel to it. And that’s fine – it absolutely works, and there are some great gems on this album that I already feel like I want to go back to. This is just a great listen, and considering how relatively rarely we get music from either of the Weepies, alone or together...
Recommendation: ...this is a welcome listen.


Artist: Daddy Issues
Album: Deep Dream
Quick Description:
Why You Should Listen:
Overall Thoughts: A few songs of theirs have been bouncing around in various playlists for some time for me, and this album is a great continuation of what we’ve heard from a short EP and some of the lead singles. Yes, the comparisons to Charly Bliss and Diet Cig apply here as well, but it’s pretty hard to avoid those comps and the result might be one where this is lost in the shuffle. It shouldn't be, but that's where we're at. Solid melodic indie rock, though.
Recommendation: Don't sleep on this, though.


Artist: The Mountain Goats
Album: Goths
Quick Description: The latest Mountain Goats album is a little weird, even for them.
Why You Should Listen: Even a bad Mountain Goats album is worth a shot?
Overall Thoughts: I didn't like this. I'll just put that out there. Yeah, we're a long way from the "I record on cassettes" days, but this album is noteworthy due to the lack of guitars and the seeming lack of any real edge on first listen. I don't quite know what John Darnielle was trying to accomplish here except that I know it didn't excite me at all. I'll give it another shot, but in a week full of hits...
Recommendation: ...this was a miss.


Also out this week:

* Do Make Say Think - Stubborn Persistent Illusions (this is great, but not a lot else to say about it)
* Wavves - You're Welcome (also solid)
* Fastball - Step Into Light
* Low Cut Connie - Dirty Pictures
* CLUSTERSUN - Surfacing to Breathe
* Erasure - World Be Gone
* Helium - Ends With And

She Makes War - "I Want My Country Back"

Apparently other countries are in full on protest song mode, too. She Makes War (aka Laura Kidd) is back with a brand new single, "I Want My Country Back." It's a rant against the hate being forced upon British citizens with racism and xenophobia. (Maybe we can relate on this side, too?) Musically, this is pure mid 90s alternative rock along the lines of Letters to Cleo and Veruca Salt gone political with a chorus of:
So let’s make Britain great /
Get your fake news from the Daily Hate /
Close your eyes - let them feed you to the wolves /
You deserve it /


Right now you can download a copy of "I Want My Country Back" for free until the British general election on June 8th. It is out on Strataville, and you can get your copy here. Laura Kidd has released a manifesto on the meaning behind the song. That can be found here. For more on She Makes War, check out her website.

Monday, May 22, 2017

no hope/no harm - "Roger Ailes Is Dead"

Considering no hope/no harm features Aaron Perrino of The Sheila Divine, somehow this is the first time we've brought you one of their songs. Last Thursday, the news broke early in the morning that Fox News founder Roger Ailes had died. Somehow, later that very same day, no hope/no harm released a brand new song called "Roger Ailes Is Dead." Perhaps they have an entire series of songs about the deaths of celebrities just on file and ready to go, much like news channels already have obituary videos ready to go for multiple celebrities. Just plug in a few facts at the very end, and they're ready to go.

"Roger Ailes Is Dead" is a bouncy and mopey song, much in the way that The Smiths and The Cure are both bouncy and mopey. The song even borrows the artwork (and most likely song title) from The Smiths' classic The Queen is Dead. Basically, if you have a jones for both The Smiths and the kind of late 90s pre-emo that will probably get lumped into emo even though it wasn't that The Sheila Divine produced, you'll love this song, and most likely the rest of no hope/no harm's just starting catalog.

You can listen to "Roger Ailes Is Dead" below. For more on no hope/no harm (and to purchase the single), check out their Bandcamp and Facebook. If you happen to be in the Boston area, the band is playing a show on June 24 at Great Scott in Allston.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Freebie: Sammy Brue - I Am Nice Singles Pack + PledgeMusic Acoustic Sessions

I just discovered Sammy Brue on Saturday when he opened up for Justin Townes Earle and The Sadies, and then shared the experience with all of you on Tuesday. Almost right on cue, Sammy Brue and NoiseTrade are offering our very favorite thing: Free music!

If you Google Sammy Brue, you're going to find a ton of articles with headlines starting with "13 Year Old Guitar Prodigy..." and "14 Year Old Guitar Prodigy..." He's now 15 and about to release his debut album on New West. To get an idea of his sound, you can download I Am Nice Singles Pack + PledgeMusic Acoustic Sessions. The two singles from hsi upcoming album, "I'm Not Your Man" and "I Know" completely reflect the two sides of Sammy Brue I saw on Saturday. "I'm Not Your Man" is more Americana and roots based, while "I Know" is far more mainstream and pop, while still being a folk song. How you feel about each song will completely depend on your personal preference. Either way, what will strike you is the pure talent Brue shows on both songs. To truly see his talent, there are three songs included from his PledgeMusic session. It's just him and his guitar playing live, and this is the best way to experience Brue's music. It includes "Was I the Only One" (my personal favorite from his set at The Sinclair) and a stripped down version of "I Know" that far surpasses the single version.

You can get your free copy of I Am Nice Singles Pack + PledgeMusic Acoustic Sessions for free via NoiseTrade. I Am Nice, which was produced by John Paul White (The Civil Wars) and Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes), will be out on June 16 on New West Records. You can pre-order a copy on Amazon. For more on Sammy Brue, check out his website.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Woggles - "Fire Thief"

Even though The Woggles have been around for two decades, I always swear that they've been around for much, much longer. That's because, unlike most garage bands, The Woggles don't sound like a band coming up after the Ramones. They sound like a band that influenced the Ramones. This is pure 60s style British invasion garage rock. Their newest song, "Fire Thief," fits this perfectly. It's melodic music you can dance to. It's polished while still being rough enough to rock. There are harmonies and killer riffs galore. This is the perfect sound for any summer in the past 50 years.

You can listen to "Fire Thief" below. The Woggles' latest album, Tally Ho!, will be released August 11 on Wicked Cool Records. For more on The Woggles, be sure to check out their website.

Gold Dime - "Shut Up"

When I use the terms art rock and noise rock, I'm going to be talking about insanely loud, aggressive, and pretty much unlistenable music. It might be electronic blips, or it could be feedback and insane drums, but either way it's not (traditionally) pleasant music. No one told Gold Dime that.

Gold Dime is a project from Andrya Ambro from Talk Normal. Her new song, "Shut Up," is definitely artistic noise rock, but it's almost soothing. Almost. There is still plenty of odd electronic noise, feedback, swirling guitars, and disjointed beats throughout, but it's bordering on pleasant. First of all, there is actual singing in the song, which is rare in this genre. Also, all of the noise elements are used in small doses, sprinkled throughout the song like little treasures to be discovered as the song unveils itself to you. It's as if noise rock is trying to go top 40.

You can listen to "Shut Up" below. Gold Dime's first album, Nerves, will be out June 2 on Fire Talk Records. For more information, check out Gold Dime's Bandcamp and Facebook.