Our love of covers is pretty well known here at If It's Too Loud..., but this may just be a first for us. We've been loving Providence's Downtown Boys for a while now. Their cover of Bruce Springsteen's classic "Dancing in the Dark" is a personal favorite, and now they're back with another cover. They've recently unveiled their cover of Selena's "Fotos Y Recuerdos" which is a Spanish language cover of The Pretender's "Back in the Chain Gang." It was originally recorded during the sessions for Cost of Living, their most recent album, but didn't make it on that album. One of our favorite artists releasing a cover of a cover? Happy Friday, everyone! You can listen to Downtown Boys's cover of "Fotos Y Recuerdos" below. For more on Downtown Boys, check out their Facebook.
The same week we get a new song from Kristin Hersh, we can hear new music from another member of Throwing Muses! Once (and possible current?) Throwing Muses bassist Fred Abong is taking some time off from his college professor duties and has recorded his first solo release, Homeless. It's a six song collection of stripped down, just slightly off kilter solo singer/songwriter music. It's almost fairly standard, but just the slightest bit off to keep things interesting. "Rattler" is almost an epic, and could easily be turned into a large venue filling rocker, but it works equally well as a stripped down solo song. "Equinox" is a painfully quiet song that draws the listener inward in a way I haven't heard since Elliott Smith. You can listen to "Rattler" below. Homeless will be available on June 29, although you can listen to (and pre-order) the entire thing at Fred Abong's Bandcamp. For more on Fred Abong, check out his website and Twitter.
There's something so familiar about Bear Grass's new song, "Unawake," yet something so completely unique and special. The song brings in some of our favorite musical elements, but mixes them up in a way we've never quite heard before. At it's very core is some fairly standard singer/songwriter kind of stuff, with some of these amazing melodies and hooks. Singer Katie Hammon's voice is this fresh from the dryer blanket feeling instrument that just draws you in. But there is this odd distortion throughout the song that pulls you away and further in at the same time, along with some shoegaze style swirls. It's a majestic indie rock song while still almost being a pretty mainstream folk style song. You're pretty guaranteed to love this one. You can listen to "Unawake" belong. LEFT, the new album from Bear Grass, will be out August 10 on Five Kill Records. You can pre-order it via Bandcamp. For more on Bear Grass, check out their website.
Rayland Baxter seems to be one of those artists that is intent on changing up his sound with every new album. With his new song, "Strange American Dream," he's dropped most of his folk/Americana/country sound in favor of a more 90's singer/songwriter feel along the line of Ben Lee. In the past year or so, we've seen a bunch of our favorite folky artists experimenting with a more mainstream, sometimes even pop, sound, to varying levels of success. "Strange American Dream" is one of the better experiments. It still keeps enough of Baxter's folk charm. While it veers off in a different direction from Imaginary Man, it's not a complete change of direction. If you've been a fan of his, I can't imagine this knocking you off the bandwagon. You can listen to "Strange American Dream" below. The latest album from Rayland Baxter, Wide Awake, will be out July 13 on ATO Records. For more on Rayland Baxter, check out his website.
Any time we can bring you new music from one of Kristin Hersh's projects is an exciting time for us all. With an album upcoming later this year, Hersh has released a new single off it, "Breathe In." One thing we know from "Breathe In" is that the new album won't be one of her quiet acoustic releases. The track is dripping with what sounds like a tremelo effect on the guitar. When it doesn't have the effect, the guitar has a distinctly crunchy feel, and just about every element of the song, including Hersh's voice, has it's turn to distort. The song has a hypnotic and not entirely pleasant feel, although it's not entirely unpleasant, either. You can listen to a rough mix of "Breathe In" below. The song features Fred Abong of Throwing Muses on bass and Wyatt True (aka Hersh's son) on drums. The new album from Kristin Hersh, Possible Dust Clouds, will be out later this year via Fire Records. For more on Kristin Hersh, check out her website. Current tour dates are below the song.
June 14 Tel Aviv - Zappa Club
June 17 Bristol - Redgrave Theatre
June 18 London, Cecil Sharp House
June 21 London, Meltdown Festival SOLD OUT
June 24 Glasgow, Mackintosh Church
June 25 Halifax, Square Chapel
June 26 Newcastle, Cluny 2 SOLD OUT June 27 Newcastle, Cluny 2
We first became aware of Service, the newest band from Russell Simins, drummer from Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, back in August 2016. That's when they released three demo songs on their Soundcloud. Almost two years later and we still don't have an official release, but there are two more rough demos kicking around. "Cold Light" is my personal favorite of the two. It's a little more hypnotic and driving of the two, while being more mellow if that makes sense. It's somehow post-punk and psychedelic at the same time. "Be Alright" is a little more straightforward. It's catchier and a bit more groovy, but still a loud, fuzzed out garage rocker. You can listen to "Be Alright" and "Cold Light" in their rough demo forms over at Service's Soundcloud page. For more on Service, check them out on Facebook and Twitter. And let's all hope they move from rough demos to first official release in the near future.
Artist: Soft Science Album: Maps Quick Description: Shoegazey pop rock. Why You Should Listen: This is the best release from last week that we missed? Overall Thoughts: We missed this from last week, and I’m glad I tripped up on it. It has some alt-rock elements mixed with some shoegaze, and there are simply hooks for days on this. In a week where I liked a lot of things but didn’t love anything, this would otherwise be my album of the week. As it stands, though, this is a stellar listen that should have some real longevity in my rotation, and it’s different than a lot of what I’m hearing lately. Recommendation: Worth your time.
Artist: Lykke Li Album: so sad so sexy Quick Description: The European alt-popper is back with something truly great. Why You Should Listen: Lykke Li has always pushed boundaries and made some great music. Overall Thoughts: It’s been a while since we heard from Lykke Li, and this is a fun, interesting pop album that leans in on a few themes she has been playing with over the last decade. The result, if I’m honest? This is the album Lily Allen should have put out this week. A good album with some fascinating bits to it that I hope to spend more time with. Recommendation: A good option this week.
Artist: gobbinjr Album: Ocala Wick Quick Description: Twee-ish anti-folk(?) Why You Should Listen: This is pretty different from what we've typically seen. Overall Thoughts: I’m not sure if this qualifies as alt-folk in the current climate, but I would have absolutely been in love with this in college. It’s cute, weird folk music with some humor and lightness along with the bite it offers. Recommendation: Absolutely worth a listen.
Artist: Erin Rae Album: Putting on Airs Quick Description: Mature, thoughtful rootsy music. Why You Should Listen: It sounds familiar while still being different. Overall Thoughts: A lot of these songs give me a “Lucy Dacus, but with twang” feel to them. The album itself doesn’t stray too far from the traditional country folk a lot, but there are moments here that really forced me to stop what I was doing and really listen, which says a lot. Recommendation: A great listen this week.
Artist: Laura Jean Album: Devotion Quick Description: Solid singer-songwriter stuff. Why You Should Listen: This is better than most stuff out recently. Overall Thoughts: This is the type of record that is on one end pretty solid and serviceable, but also doesn’t move out of its lane much to be as transcendent as you feel it has the potential to do. You will likely listen to this and feel like it’s a good album, because it is. Just in a week with has some pretty great stuff while we still recover from the double whammy of Neko Case and Tancred last week? Recommendation: This just isn’t essential.
Artist: Snail Mail Album: Lush Quick Description: A debut album from an early favorite here. Why You Should Listen: Snail Mail is something special, and is only going to get specialer (yes, I'm making that a word). Overall Thoughts: Ken is a big fan of Snail Mail, and this super young act is making music far beyond what you’d expect from a debut here. It’s definitely raw and deliberately sparse, but it’s also absolutely gorgeous. When you hear a song like “Anytime,” you realize that this is a talent that isn’t to be missed. Recommendation: A great debut album, looking forward to more.
Artist: M. Ward Album: What a Wonderful Industry Quick Description: Latest from the busy indie guitarist. Why You Should Listen: M. Ward is always worth a listen. Overall Thoughts: no one is quite like M. Ward. An indie guitar virtuoso in a genre that doesn’t generally reward virtuosity, an interesting songwriter in a space that doesn’t always reward interesting songwriting, his new album plays up his best aspects and diminishes the stuff that doesn't always work. I'll go as far as to say this is my favorite effort of his since Hold Time, if ever. Recommendation: A definite one to add to your rotation.
Artist: Hilary Woods Album: Colt Quick Description: Darkish folk stuff. Why You Should Listen: You wish Marissa Nadler was a little lighter on her feet. Overall Thoughts: Dark, brooding music with a bit of a folk bent but often sounds like it belongs at The Roadhouse in Twin Peaks. It’s kind of haunting in a lot of ways, and that isn’t a bad thing at all, but I do not know for sure if everyone who listens to what we recommend would like this, but I sure did. Recommendation: Might not work for everyone, but this should get a shot.
Artist: Kingsley Flood Album: Neighbors and Strangers Quick Description: Latest from a local favorite. Why You Should Listen: At some point, this band is going to break out and you'll be kicking yourself that you didn't get in on the ground floor. Overall Thoughts: What more can I say about Kingsley Flood? They're a band in their prime making essential independent alternative music, and too many people don't know about them. It's a shame, as they may be one of the best bands your friends have never heard, and this album is an accessible shot in the arm that, with any justice, would result in their getting on rock radio and being on television and being that band everyone is talking about. So don't miss out. Recommendation: An obvious listen.
Odetta Smith might just be re-writing the rules for the traditional female singer/songwriter with a banjo genre. Sure, she's playing a banjo, but I wouldn't call "Sweet Teeth" folk, bluegrass, or even really Americana. There is a bit of a mainstream feel to the song, and it is beautifully done mesmerizing harmonies in the vocals, but I couldn't call it pop or rock, either. Plus, it's banjo music and something about it is distinctively badass. I guess this is the music that comes when an artist grows up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan surrounded by punk and hip hop, going to shows at CBGB's, and being raised on her parent's soul and classic country records. You can listen to "Sweet Teeth" below. Old Rockhounds Never Die, the new album from Odetta Hartman, will be out on August 10 on Northern Spy Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Odetta Hartman, check her out on Facebook and Twitter.
Considering this came out way back in January, we kinda dropped the ball on this one, but better late than never, right? Even without that delay, it's been four years since Maximum Soul Power came out, so we're thrilled to have any new music from Vermont's finest proto punk band comprised of the offspring of Death. On Don't Look Back EP, Rough Francis seem a little bit slower and mellow, but only just a little. The opening title track feels a tiny bit restrained but is still a rocker just waiting to break free live. "Hangin' On" almost channels The Stooges covering The Kinks. "Waiting" is where Rough Francis finally breaks free and break out like a cartoon train furiously careening down the track, but towards a party, especially halfway through once the guitar solo kicks in. It's the song on the album that almost captures the joy and energy Rough Francis exude when you see them live. Almost. You can listen to "Waiting" below. Don't Look Back EP is available now via Bandcamp. For more information on Rough Francis, check out their website and Facebook.
After seeing yet another article claiming that people stop discovering new music after the age of 30, I listened to this new song from The Beths and I'm thrilled that doesn't apply to me. Seriously, those people are hardcore missing out. "Happy Unhappy" is this brilliant slice of sunshine filled alternative pop, the kind they used to make in the mid 90's. It starts out with this bouncy guitar riff and even bouncier "Oh oh oh"s. It's all incredibly glorious harmonies and crunchy guitars. What more could we possibly want? Oh, right. Killer fuzzed out, swirlking guitar solos, which we get later on. Anyone that misses out on checking out this song should be pitied. You can listen to "Happy Unhappy" below. Future Me Hates Me, the debut album from The Beths, will be out August 10 on Carpark Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on The Beths, check them out on Facebook and Twitter. Tour dates are below the song.