Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Cheap Cassettes - "She Ain't Nothin' Like You"

Coming out of Seattle, The Cheap Cassettes are a band out of time. Their latest single proves this since "She Ain't Nothin' Like You" sounds like it should have been released around fifty years ago. The song is pure, vintage Cheap Trick/Big Star style power pop. It doesn't sound like anything from this century. This is the kind of song you'd hear a snippet of as part of a late night TV commercial for old timey compilation CDs. "She Ain't Nothing Like You" is a glorious throwback to a time most of us have only experienced through pop culture.

You can listen to "She Ain't Nothing Like You" below. The song is available as a single with the B-side "Cold Sundays" now via Rum Bar Records. You can get a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on The Cheap Cassettes, check out the band's Facebook.

Sun June - "Easy"

Photo by Santiago Dietche

Austin, TX's Sun June have an expanded version of their 2021 album Somewhere coming out in January and have released the first bonus track from that release. "Easy" fits perfectly with the band's excellent album. It's a light, breezy track that fits into the space between indie rock, dream pop, and folk perfectly. Fans of all three genres could make a case that Sun June are theirs, but a song like "Easy" belongs to them all. It's the kind of song you're going to want to pull out during the summer. It's such a wonderfully laid back track that deserves to be listened to driving around or hanging out on a porch when the weather is much kinder outside.

Laura Colwell says of the new song:

“‘Easy’ is a romantic struggle song. It’s about love and partnership and longstanding arguments that are hard to get past. We started working on it after quarantine was lifted. Everyone had been cloistered alone for months, so frustration was easy to tap into. At the same time, it was joyous and cathartic to play together again, so the song came out upbeat and optimistic too. We loved getting to return to Good Danny’s studio to record—it was easy to find the sounds we wanted and get back into the Somewhere vibe.”

You can watch the video for "Easy" below. Somewhere + 3 is due out January 14 on Run for Cover. For more on Sun June, check out the band's website.

The Centaurettes - "Trust Fund Tree"

St. Louis based band The Centaurettes are a trio made up of three queer members and two people of color. All three are vocalists, and they have branded their take on punk "pastel punk." While that does convey the warmness of their music, it ignores the absolute power behind it. Their latest single, "Trust Fund Tree," is this amazingly powerful loud/quiet/loud burst of punk. It is filled with this giant and loud guitar, vocals that will melt your face off, and more venom than you thought possible. If I'm going to do the music journalist thing and make a clever comparison, it would be Nirvana and the Melvins meets Mannequin Pussy.

Bianca Maldonado says of the new single:

"Trust Fund Tree is an ode to putting yourself first, even when it hurts. It recalls my youth of being trapped by controlling family and crushing expectations dangled on strings of generational wealth. I chose to break away and carve a path of my own happiness, even though it meant stripping myself of every hand-out that comes along with the blood-money-funded cookie-cutter lifestyle. It reminds me that I fight for passion, self-expression and freedom over capitalist convenience."

You can listen to "Trust Fund Tree" below. For more on The Centaurettes, check out the band on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 19 November

Artist: Weakened Friends
Album: Quitter
Quick Thoughts: Ah, Weakened Friends. No local/regional act has gotten better and better over time than this band, and while their debut album was a favorite in these parts, this new record is somehow even better. Song after song after song is an absolute winner, and the extra polish is just icing on an already delicious cake. I say "this should be their breakthrough" a lot, but this should really put this band on the map. An absolutely stellar release, and I'm interested in seeing how many year-end lists this ends up on.
Songs of Note: "Bargain Bin," "Quitter," "Everything is Better," "Tunnels"

Artist: Yucky Duster
Album: III
Quick Thoughts: Yucky Duster is another underrated band that I really enjoy and doesn't get enough love. This final, posthumous collection of indie rock tracks keeps the band on the trajectory they've been on for some time, and the songs are still peppy and fun and sound unlike a lot of the indie stuff out there at present. It's too bad they're all done.
Songs of Note: "Grump," "Very Good Day"

Artist: Ladyhawke
Album: Time Flies
Quick Thoughts: Ladyhawke had one of my favorite albums of a few years back, and this follow-up is a long time coming and was ultimately worth the wait. This album leans more into the pop territory, with some sharp melodies and some interesting swerves you might not have expected given her previous output. In total, however, this is an album worth hearing and one of my favorites this week.
Songs of Note: "Think About You," "My Love," "Mixed Emotions," "Reactor," "Walk Away"

Of note:

* Allison Lorenzen - Tender (Often-gorgeous layered folk music.)
* Bruisey Peets - Poached Eggs (Often a surprising listen, worth the time.)
* Deap Vally - Marriage (Lots of great moments here.)
* Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - Raise the Roof (Not as great as their first effort, but still solid.)
* HOO - We Shall Never Speak
* Mr Twin Sister - Al Mundo Azul
* Jedi Mind Tricks - The Funeral and the Raven
* Elbow - Flying Dream 1
* BT - Metaversal
* Converge and Chelsea Wolfe - Bloodmoon: I
* Sarah Davachi and Sean McCann - Mother of Pearl
* Mapache - 3
* Willie Nelson - The Willie Nelson Family
* Apollo Brown and Stalley - Blacklight
* Pageant Boys - Haunted
* Annie Booth - Lazybody
* Fine Place - This New Heaven
* OSS (The Orb) - Enter the Kettle
* Matt Patershuk - An Honest Effort


* Potty Mouth - 1% Happier (Farewell EP from a band that should have been huge.)
* Ultramarine - Interiors
* Greer - Happy People
* Bill Laurance - Zeal EP
* Donatachi -
* Blawan - Woke Up Right Handed
* Layzi - What's Left to Lose
* K.Flay - Outside Voices
* Natalie Bergman - Keep Those Teardrops from Falling
* Papercuts - Baxter's Bliss EP
* Mandy, Indiana - ...
* Chartreuse - Is It Autumn Already?
* Sean Nelson - Holster
* Shutups - Six
* Girls Rituals - Cow
* Justin Golden - Idle Hands EP

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Cassandra Jenkins - (An Overview on) An Overview on Phenominal Nature (Demos and outtakes from her recent album.)
* Brian Wilson - At My Piano (Does what it says on the tin.)
* Jessy Lanza - DJ-Kicks

Also out:

* The Darkness - Motorheart
* Jack and the Dull Boy - Failure in Three Parts

Remedy featuring Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, Cappadonna, Masta Killa, Solomon Childs, and Street Life - "Crazy 8's"

If you're a long time Wu-Tang Clan fan, it's going to be impossible to not like the latest from Remedy. The Wu-Tang affiliated rapper's latest single, "Crazy 8's," sounds like late 90's Wu-Tang, plus it features a cast of seven guest MCs that include Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, and Cappadonna. This literally sounds like a lost song from Wu-Tang Forever. It has that same gigantic cinematic feel with the classic kung fu samples from Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). All that being said, "Crazy 8's" doesn't feel like a nostalgia fest or a throwback. Something about it still feels current and modern.

You can watch the video for "Crazy 8's" below. Remedy Meets Wu-Tang is due out November 26. For more on Remedy, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

Yard Act - "Payday"

Photo by James Brown

Hailing from Leeds, Yard Act are threatening to become the next huge thing out of England. The band's new single, "Payday," imagines a bizarre world where Blur skipped out on the whole Britpop thing around the time of Parklife to become an experimental post punk band that also was really into funk. Needless to say, "Payday" has a wonderfully unique sound with buzzing and swirling guitars and all sorts of odd little twists and turns. We've been late to jump on this bandwagon, so you're going to want to jump on and join us ASAP.

Singer James Smith says of the new song:

‘Payday’ was one of the few tracks on the record we had to rebuild completely in the studio because the first demo was recorded on my computer and the hard drive corrupted. We spent about TWO hours trying to figure out that stupid keyboard part I'd put on it and couldn't remember how to play. It was boring but worth it. It's about gentrification, class fetish and how the human brain is so powerful that with enough time and processing power combined it will be able to justify, defend and/or continue to commit the actions of any human being it controls.

You can watch the video for "Payday" below. The Overload is due out January 21 on Island Records. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here. For more on Yard Act, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.

6 Jan | Pryzm, Kingston-Upon-Thames, UK11 Jan | Rough Trade, Nottingham, UK – SOLD OUT12 Jan | Rough Trade, Bristol, UK13  Jan | Rough Trade East, London, UK – SOLD OUT19-22 Jan | Eurosonic, Groningen, NL 2 Feb | L’Aéronef, Lille, FR3 Feb | Trix, Borgorhaut, BE4 Feb | Paradiso Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam, NL5 Feb | Molotow, Hamburg, DE6 Feb | Stengade, Copenhagen, DK7 Feb | Plan B, Malmö, SE9 Feb | Badehaus, Berlin, DE10 Feb | Blue Shell, Cologne, DE11 Feb | Rotondes, Luxembourg, LU12 Feb | La Boule Noire, Paris, FR 17 Feb | Village Underground, London, UK – SOLD OUT18 Feb | Patterns, Brighton, UK – SOLD OUT19 Feb | The Joiners, Southampton, UK – SOLD OUT21 Feb | Exchange, Bristol, UK – SOLD OUT22 Feb | Clwb Ifor Bach, UK Cardiff23 Feb | Bodega Social, Nottingham, UK – SOLD OUT24 Feb | The White Hotel, Salford, UK – SOLD OUT25 Feb | The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge, UK – SOLD OUT26 Feb | Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, UK – SOLD OUT1 Mar | The Cluny, Newcastle, UK – SOLD OUT2 Mar | The Caves, Edinburgh, UK3 Mar | Mono, Glasgow, UK4 Mar | Whelans, Dublin, IE14 Mar – 20 Mar | SXSW, Austin, US 22 Mar | Union Pool, Brooklyn, US 23 Mar | Johnny Brenda’s, Philadelphia, US24 Mar | TV Eye, Queens, US25 Mar | The Sinclair, Boston, US27 Mar | The Garrison, Toronto, CA29 Mar | Sleeping Village, Chicago, US-------- 5 Apr | Earth, London, UK15 Apr | The Casbah, San Diego, US18 Apr | The Crocodile, Seattle, US19 Apr | Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, US 21 Apr | Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco, US11 May | Trinity, Bristol, UK18 May | Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK19 May | Zanzibar, Liverpool, UK20 May | Irish Centre, Leeds, UK21 May | Band on the Wall, Manchester, UK22 May | The Foundry, Sheffield, UK26 May | O2 Academy, Leicester, UK27 May | Arts Centre, Norwich, UK 5-7 Aug | Off Festival, Katowice, PL9-13 Aug | Oya Festival, Oslo, NL24 Nov | O2 Academy, Leeds 25 Nov | O2 Ritz, Manchester

Alison Clancy - "Mutant Gifts"

Photo by Esteban Haga

Alison Clancy moved from California to New York City with the dream of becoming a dancer. She became a dancer with The Metropolitan Opera, becoming a dance soloist in early 2020 for Wagner's Der Fliegende Holländer. When the Met was forced to shut down in March, Clancy was introduced to Father Graeme Napier of St. John's Church in the West Village. She was invited to live on the church campus as an artist in residence, and recorded an EP as part of the project. The first song off that EP, "Mutant Gifts," features Clancy on vocals and electric guitar accompanied by cellist Brent Arnold. The song is an eight and a half minute epic that meanders its way around inside your brain. At times it's completely experimental, and at others almost mainstream. It's going to remind you of some of the members of Sonic Youth's more out there solo work, but with one foot planted in traditional song structure... at times. There are moments of the song where it is strikingly lovely, and others that will rattle you. And that's why you need to check it out.

You can watch the video for "Mutant Gifts" below. Mutant Gifts - Live at St. John's is due out January 14 on Independent Project Records. For more on Alison Clancy, check out the artist's website.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Live Shows: Weakened Friends, Rebuilder, and Oldsoul, O'Brien's Pub, Allston, MA 11/20/21

It was three years almost to the day since I had last seen Weakened Friends. That's a long time to not see one of your favorite bands, especially when they're fairly local. When the band announced a two night stand at the tiny O'Brien's Pub, I knew I had to go, especially seeing as they hand picked their openers which are a who's who of Boston indie rock right now.

First up was Oldsoul. This is a band I'm wasn't that familiar with. I saw their name on multiple bills I wanted to go to, but never quite make it. As this show got closer, I listened to them on Spotify a bit. I enjoyed them, but nothing prepared me for their live show. Oldsoul on record is a pretty tame indie rock band with some strong pop sensibilities. Live they are an absolute beast of a band. They played far heavier than I could ever have expected them to, especially since I think I have been confusing them with another band that leans a little folkier than they are. This was pure indie rock fury with a punk edge, but still with that pop sensibility they have on record. Oldsoul are one of the better live show discoveries I've made in years, so expect to see a lot more of them around here in the future.

Rebuilder was next, and I wasn't really looking forward to them. I saw them opening for The Dead Milkmen once, and just didn't get into them. They weren't a bad band, just a little too straight up pop punk for my personal taste. I knew seeing them at O'Brien's in an opening slot was a Big Deal, though. Two months ago they headlined the much bigger Sinclair (The Sinclair has a capacity of 525, O'Brien's is 75), and they have their own two night stand coming up at O'Brien's for New Year's Eve. On Saturday night they completely won me over as a fan. Maybe they've grown as a band since that night, or maybe I've just been in a more open mood since live music has come back. Either way, their brand of pop punk seems doesn't have that quality that makes me feel old. No, Rebuilder are making pop punk for adults these days. It was all the fun of pop punk, and maybe even emo. They played a high energy set that was absurdly fun. Even if you're a crusty middle aged indie rock snob, you need to check this band out.

Weakened Friends just released a killer album that is wreaking havoc on journalist's year end lists as we speak. It's a little more pop than we've heard from them in the past, but in the best possible way. When played live these songs were an absolute revelation. They played ten out of the album's eleven tracks, with another eight coming from previous releases. Saturday night these songs became giant rock songs played with an energy and joy that you could feel pouring off the stage. This was a noisy, loud rock show with the trio playing in that perfect mix of loose and tight that you want from an indie rock band. Brand new songs like "Quitter" and "Spew" got the same intense love as old favorites like "95" and "Main Bitch." The old songs may have gotten a better initial reaction as they started, but we've only known some of these new ones for maybe thirty six hours at that point. This was a band playing in front of die hard fans for the first time in a long, long time. It may have been the most fun night of live music I've had since this whole mess started back in March 2020.

Che Noir - "Praises"

Photo via Facebook

I'm pretty sure this is the first hip hop we've brought you from Buffalo, NY, but we're thrilled to help you discover Che Noir. "Praises" has this ultra laid back feel to the song that still has some underlying intensity, like a next generation Snoop Dogg, especially in the chorus. The "Shea Butter Queen" has this flow that's feels like a warm embrace. It's closer to listening to a close friend tell a story than it is listening to a performer. Plus, the stripped back instrumentation has a hypnotic quality that makes you pay even closer attention to "Praises." This is the kind of song that is not only going to have you diving into Che Noir's 2020 release As God Intended but the entire Buffalo hip hop scene.

You can listen to "Praises" below. Food for Thought is due out on December 17. For more on Che Noir, check out the artist's website.

David Wax Museum - "Love Light"

Photo by Tristan Williams

No other artist out there tweaks their sound album to album quite like David Wax Museum does. It feels like they've been cranking out new music lately, all without sounding anything like the previous release. The band has a new single out, and "Love Light" continues the band's constant evolution. Gone is the electronic adjacent sounds they've been playing with before. In it's place David Wax Museum are dipping into a chilled out folk version of neo-soul. This is a perfect direction for the band to take, with the warm sounds of their music mixing perfectly with this style. As honeyed as the majority of vocals and instruments are in "Love Light," the one exception is the fiddle which cuts into the song with a harsh swoop. We get excited for every release from David Wax Museum, but this upcoming one feels a little extra special.

You can listen to "Love Light" below. Remember My Future is due out December 31. For now you can get the single over at Bandcamp. For more on David Wax Museum, check out the band's website.