Friday, January 19, 2018

Refrigerator - "Cardboard Death Elevator"

Photo by Kristi Engle
I feel like I should remember Refrigerator much more than I do. They were active back in the mid to late 90's, which were my glory days of going to shows and college radio. Instead, their name sounds familiar, and maybe I played them on my radio show? The only good thing is I have a LOT of history to catch up on.

Refrigerator is set to release their eleventh album next month. "Cardboard Death Elevator" is the first song from that album. It's a great mixture of singer/songwriter fare mixed with minimalist noise rock. It starts out with a bare minimum of instrumentation, with an occasionally strummed guitar and and even more occasional piano flourish over a quiet beat, with Dennis Callaci's vocals being the main focus. It does eventually morph into a swirling guitar crescendo, which provides a huge relief, but even that is fairly quiet and minimal. Overall, it's an awkward, haunting song that won't be for everyone. But, if this sounds like your thing, you'll end up loving this.

You can listen to "Cardboard Death Elevator" below. Refrigerator's new album, High Desert Lows, will be out February 9 on Shrimper/Revolver. It can be pre-ordered here. For more on Refrigerator, check them out on Facebook.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Ruby Boots - "Don't Talk About It"

We're less than a month away from the release of Ruby Boots's highly anticipated (by us) new album, Don't Talk About It. There's a new song we can listen to from the album, the title track "Don't Talk About It." The new song is more of a ballad than the previous single "It's So Cruel." Like "It's So Cruel," "Don't Talk About It" is just dripping with cool. It's this slick sounding almost torch song, with Ruby Boots's southern twang by way of Australia. While there's definitely a country feel to the song, it's as much of a Nancy Sinatra style song as it is country. Like I said, everything she touches just drips with cool.

You can listen to "Don't Talk About It" below. Ruby Boots's new album, Don't Talk About It, will be out February 9 on Bloodshot Records. You can pre-order your copy here. It will feature The Texas Gentlemen and Nikki Lane backing her up. For more on Ruby Boots, check out her website.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for January 12

Sorry for the delay. You'd think a three day weekend would be long enough to do this...

Album of the Week:

Artist: cupcakKe
Album: Ephorize
Quick Description: Surprising, great rap music from a new face.
Why You Should Listen: You wish Lizzo had more edge.
Overall Thoughts: And I recognize that it's unfair to compare cupcakKe to Lizzo because, surface-level, they're both larger-than-Hollywood-standard black female rappers, but I got the vibe from it before seeing the album cover. And while the album was pretty great early on, it's when "Duck Duck Goose" hits that you realize you're hearing something special, and not just because it's one of the dirtiest songs I've heard in some time. The beats are great, cupcakKe has a great delivery, and there's not much of a flaw here except that it might feel more like a novelty in future listens. I hope not, because this has a lot of lasting power if she keeps this up.
Recommendation: A must listen this week

Artist: SKYGGE
Album: Hello World
Quick Description: Electronic stuff off the beaten path.
Why You Should Listen: It's on trend, but different enough to maybe draw in people who like different things.
Overall Thoughts: SKYGGE starts us off with a different feel, and while it trends its way back to the center in later songs, this is perhaps most noteworthy for just how it tries not to do the same old thing. It doesn't always work, but it works often enough where I definitely enjoyed this listen and will go back to it. Worth it in a short week anyway. Reading up on it now, there is an artificial intelligence aspect to this that might explain the experimental bits, so it's definitely a conversation piece at worst.
Recommendation: A good listen.

Artist: Typhoon
Album: Offerings
Quick Description: Post-rock(?) from a buzzworthy band.
Why You Should Listen: Looking for something a little complex and heavier.
Overall Thoughts: I'll admit to this not quite being my speed as well as initially thinking this was a reunion effort from a different act. I can see why people like this, and there's a lot of great musicianship here, it just didn't grab me the way I wanted.
Recommendation: Worth a listen, but you'll know quickly if it's for you.

Artist: The Prids
Album: Do I Look Like I'm in Love
Quick Description: Another one on the darker side, but more melodic.
Why You Should Listen: You dipped your toe in the goth scene in high school, didn't like it, but still enjoy dying your hair once in a while.
Overall Thoughts: For someone who was obsessed with upbeat power poppy alt-rock stuff all last year, I shouldn't have enjoyed this late-2017 album as much as I did, but here we are. The first two songs set the tone, with solid melodies and harmonies to go along with a little bit of a heavier/darker tone. It's a tough mix to get right, and plenty of acts have failed at it. The Prids, at least on this album, nailed that balance, and it's something worth hearing.
Recommendation: Definitely should get in your rotation.

Artist: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Album: Wrong Creatures
Quick Description: Latest from the band still trying to escape their early sound while not completely abandoning it.
Why You Should Listen: If you've jumped off the bandwagon, it might be their best album since their sophomore effort.
Overall Thoughts: BRMC is a tough band. You can't help but wonder how much the "they're just a new Jesus and Mary Chain" got to them considering their entry into folk and what have you, but this latest album looks back at that era a bit while informing their growth as a band. It's an interesting listen that, frankly, I'm unsure I'll care to hear again, but it did get me interested in BRMC after a pretty long absence from my music player.
Recommendation: Be wary.

EPs of note:

* Heather Maloney - Just Enough Sun
* Lou Rebecca - Lou Rebecca
* LPX - Bolt in the Blue
* Doe - Mutiny on the Balcony

Also out:

* Various Artists - Doctor Demento Covered in Punk (this is fun but sometimes exhausting)
* Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown

Loma - "Relay Runner"

Photo by Bryan C Parker
Loma is a newly formed band of people you're already familiar with: Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater and Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski of Cross Record. The three musicians got together in a house in Texas to create their debut self-titled album. While Emily Cross sang the songs, all three ended up playing every instrument involved in the recording at some time or another. Also, it was an odd time to be recording an album, as Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski started off the project as a married couple but no longer were at the end of the recording.

"Relay Runner" is an oddly charged song. It plods around with it's own pace, and comes across like Wilco experimenting with more electronics while trying to recreate their Yankee Hotel Foxtrot days. Instruments seem to come in and out of their own free will, almost taking turns but not quite. It creates a sound that's not quite challenging art rock or alternative pop, but straddles the middle somewhat.

You can watch the video for "Relay Runner" below. Loma's self-titled debut album will be out February 16 on Sub Pop, and can be pre-ordered here. For more on Loma, check out their website. Their current tour dates are below the video.

Fri. Apr. 6 - Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
Sun. Apr. 8 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Bootleg
Wed. Apr. 11 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
Fri. Apr. 13 - Portland, OR @ MS Studios
Sat. Apr. 14 - Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
Tue. Apr. 17 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
Thu. Apr. 19 - Taos, NM @ Taos Mesa Brewing
Sat. Apr. 21 - Austin, TX @ North Door
Thu. Apr. 26 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
Fri. Apr. 27 - Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight
Sat. Apr. 28 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle Back Room
Tue. May 1 - Charlottesville, NC @ The Southern
Wed. May 2 - Washington, DC @ DC9
Fri. May 4 - Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
Sat. May 5 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
Sun. May 6 - Allston, MA @ Great Scott
Tue. May 8 - Montreal, QC @ L’Esco
Wed. May 9 - Toronto, ON @ The Garrison
Thu. May 10 - Detroit, MI @ Deluxx Fluxx
Fri. May 11 - Chicago, IL @ Schubas

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Photocomfort - "Long Way Home"

I suppose one of the benefits of us dropping the ball and taking months to tell you about a new song from an artist is the shorter wait for the next single. We finally discovered the latest single from Photocomfort, "Rose Colored Glasses," last week, and now here's the second single from her upcoming EP, "Long Way Home."

The subject matter of "Long Way Home" is near and dear to me, in that I usually think that I'm the only one who does it: It's about driving around alone just to work stuff out in your head. It's always nice to find others with your own quirks, and that doesn't even bring up the song musically. "Long Way Home" is sonically stunning. It reminds me of this mostly passed over era of the mid to late 90's when female artists were breaking into the mainstream with gorgeous but challenging music, like Tori Amos and PJ Harvey. Photocomfort is somehow taking music that sounds mostly electronic and making it sound fully organic.

You can listen to "Long Way Home" below. Photocomfort's new EP, Understudy, will be available sometime in the spring. For more on Photocomfort, check out her website.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Shopping - "Wild Child"

Photo by CJ Monk
We brought you "The Hype" from Shopping back in September, and this Friday will finally see the release of their new album, The Official Body. Waiting four months to release a second single from an album is virtually unheard of nowadays, but we finally have "Wild Child" to listen to. "Wild Child" fits right into the classic post-punk sound of Shopping's previous two albums, but is much more danceable and funky in the way that "The Hype" was. The song is a lot of fun in a way any type of punk subgenre is usually lacking. 

You can watch the video for "Wild Child" below. Shopping's new album, The Official Body, will be out January 19 on FatCat Records. If "The Hype" and "Wild Child" aren't enough for you and you can't wait until Friday, You can listen to the full album at NPR Music. You can pre-order the album via Shopping's Bandcamp. For more on Shopping, check out their Facebook and Twitter

Friday, January 12, 2018

Marlon Williams - "What's Chasing You"

Photo by Steve Gullick
I was blown away by Marlon Williams's debut self-titled album. It was my #9 release in 2016. Late last year he released "Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore," which was the first song off his second album, Make Way For Love. For whatever reason, it just didn't work for me and I assumed he'd be a one and done artist for me.

"What's Chasing You," the second single off Make Way For Love, is proving me wrong. It leans a little bit more on the torch song side of Marlon Williams with maybe just the slightest hint of the Americana sound and none of the indie rock feel his debut album had. The mix of all three was what drew me in, but "What's Chasing You" still works. It's this smooth soulful sound that is a total throwback to the 1950's with just enough of a modern slant to not end up being Sha Na Na. Plus, the video underscores the serious sound of the song with a shirtless Williams frolicking on a beach.

You can watch the video for "What's Chasing You" below. Marlon Williams's second solo album, Make Way For Love, will be out February 16 on Dead Oceans. It can be pre-ordered here. For more on Marlon Williams, check out his website. Tour dates are below the video.

Thu. Feb. 22 — Bristol, UK @ Louisiana
Fri. Feb. 23 — Manchester, UK @ Night & Day
Sat. Feb. 24 — Dublin, IE @ Whelans
Mon. Feb. 26 — Glasgow, UK @ King Tuts
Tue. Feb. 27 — Leeds, UK @ Community Room
Wed. Feb. 28 — London, UK @ Scala
Mon. Mar. 5 — Montreal, QC @ Petit Campus
Tue. Mar. 6 — Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
Thu. Mar. 8 — Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
Fri. Mar. 9 — Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Sat. Mar. 10 — Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
Tue. Mar. 13 - Sat. Mar. 17 — Austin TX @ SXSW
Sun. Mar. 18 — Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
Mon. Mar. 19 — Dallas, TX @ Three Links Deep Ellum
Wed. Mar. 21 — Nashville, TN @ High Watt
Fri. Mar. 23 — Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
Sat. Mar. 24 — Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
Sun. Mar. 25 — Boston, MA @ Great Scott
Tue. Mar. 27 — Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Thu. Mar. 29 — Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
Sun. Apr. 1 — Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Tue. Apr. 3 — San Francisco, CA @ Swedish American Hall
Wed. Apr. 4 — Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram
Wed. Apr. 11 — Brussels, BE @ AB Club
Thu. Apr. 12 — Cologne, DE @ Yuca
Fri. Apr. 13 — Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso Noord
Sat. Apr. 14 — Hamburg, DE @ Nochtwache
Sun. Apr. 15 — Copenhagen, DK @ Ideal Bar
Tue. Apr. 17 — Oslo, NO @ Cafe Mono
Wed. Apr. 18 — Stockholm, SE @ Kagelbanan
Fri. Apr. 20 — Berlin, DE @ Privatclub
Sat. Apr. 21 — Munich, DE @ Orange House
Sun. Apr. 22 — Vienna, CH @ Chelsea
Tue. Apr. 24 — Bologna, IT @ Locomotiv
Wed. Apr. 25 — Zurich, CH @ Bogen F
Thu. Apr. 26 — Besancon, FR @ La Rodia
Fri. Apr. 27 — Paris, FR @ Point Ephemere
Sat. Apr. 28 — Utrecht, NL @ Ekko

Caroline Rose - "Soul No. 5"

Photo by Matt Hogan
With "Soul No. 5," Caroline Rose continues her move away from the Americana of 2014's I Will Not Be Afraid to her new sound. And that new sound? It's hard to define. "Soul No. 5" is definitely less in your face and delightfully abrasive as "Money" is. Instead, it's more upbeat and melodic, with Rose rap-singing the verses. The aesthetic, along with Rose's choice of wardrobe in her accompanying videos remind me of License to Ill era Beastie Boys meets Scottish indie poppers Bis, with some Missy Elliott thrown in. But it's not hip hop at all. It's a confusing mix of contradictions that somehow works to make a near perfect sound.

You can watch the video for "Soul No. 5" below. Caroline Rose's new album, LONER, will be out February 23 on New West Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Caroline Rose, check out her website. Her current tour dates are below the video.

Thu. Jan. 11 - Chattanooga, TN @ JJ’s Bohemia w/ Ron Gallo
Fri. Jan. 12 - Memphis, TN @ Growlers w/ Ron Gallo
Fri. Jan. 13 - Oxford, MS @ Proud Larry’s w/ Ron Gallo
Wed. Mar. 14 – Sat. Mar. 17 – Austin, TX @ SXSW
Fri. Mar. 23 - Austin, TX @ Antone’s w/ The Weeks
Sat. Mar. 24 - Dallas, TX @ Dada w/ The Weeks
Sun. Mar. 25 - New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa w/ The Weeks
Tue. Mar. 27 - Nashville, TN @ The High Watt
Wed. Mar. 28 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
Thu. Mar. 29 - Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight
Fri. Mar. 30 - Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
Sat. Mar. 31 - Washington, DC @ Songbyrd
Tue. Apr. 3 - Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
Wed. Apr. 4 - Boston, MA @ Great Scott
Thu. Apr. 5 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brendas
Fri. Apr. 6 - New Haven, CT @ Cafe Nine
Sat. Apr. 7 - South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Showcase Lounge
Fri. May 18 - Gulf Shores, AL @ Hangout Music Festival

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Juliana Hatfield Will Be Covering Olivia Newton-John

In my single digit years, I don't think I loved a singer as much as Olivia Newton-John. I listened to the Grease soundtrack obsessively, which is now disturbing since it includes the phrase "pussy wagon," but that's a whole different story. Olivia Newton-John absolutely dominated the early 80's, and I feel like her song "Physical" was played at every one of my mom's aerobics classes I was dragged to. She was the soundtrack of my early youth. In the 90's, it might have been Juliana Hatfield. Being from the Boston area, her songs were prevalent on every radio station, I saw her an impossible amount of times in my college years, and this is without any complaints.

Well, my two worlds will be colliding on April 13 when Juliana Hatfield releases an entire album of Olivia Newton-John covers. I absolutely love it when an artist expresses a gushing fandom for their heroes, particularly when their heroes don't exactly fit into what's considered hip at the time. It truly shows an honesty and what they actually like. No official recordings are available to listen to as of yet, but I scoured the internet (ok, I did a 10 second YouTube search...) and found video of Juliana performing "Physical" as the Q Division holiday party last month. It's cell phone quality, but it shows Juliana attacking the Newton-John classic like the 90's alt rock god she is.

Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John will be available April 13 via American Laundromat Records. You can pre-order your copy, which you know you want, here. The tracklist is below.

  1. I Honestly Love You
  2. Suspended In Time
  3. Have You Never Been Mellow
  4. A Little More Love
  5. Magic
  6. Physical
  7. Totally Hot
  8. Don't Stop Believin'
  9. Please Mr. Please
  10. Hopelessly Devoted To You
  11. Xanadu
  12. Dancin' 'Round And 'Round
  13. Make A Move On Me
  14. I Honestly Love You (Reprise) *CD, Cassette & Digital Only.
Video via YouTube user john doherty:

Superchunk - "Erasure"

A new song from Superchunk is enough to get excited about. Now imagine if Superchunk brought in more indie rock royalty to help them out with the song. That is exactly what is happening with "Erasure," the new song from the Chapel Hill legends. Not only have they brought in Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields, Future Bible Heroes), but they also have Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield, both supplying backing vocals. That in and of itself is beyond thrilling, but the song is also fantastic just on it's own. It's that brand of bouncy but just noisy enough indie pop rock that Superchunk pretty much invented. When you do something as brilliantly as Superchunk do this sound, why screw with a perfect formula?

You can listen to "Erasure" below. Superchunk's new album, What a Time to Be Alive, will be out February 16, obviously on Merge Records. It can be pre-ordered here. For more on Superchunk, check out their website.