Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Duck & Cover - "Two Shots"

Photo via Facebook
Boston's Duck & Cover have a new EP coming out, and their latest single, "Two Shots," is a blend of a bunch of different punk genres. First off, "Two Shots" is a dirty, grungy style of punk. But, it also has a bouncy pop punk feel to it. The vocals are as catchy as you can imagine, except for when they have a shout along, hardcore feel to it. And then you throw in the killer guitar solo, which is usually not allowed in any style of punk. All of this is crammed into a single three minute song, and these styles happen separately and blend in at the same time throughout the chorus of the song. It completely shatters the typical classic punk song structure while still paying homage to classic punk.

You can listen to "Two Shots" below. Two Shots, the EP, will be out in January on State Line Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Duck & Cover, check them out on Facebook.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Plumes - "Bobbie Blue & Connie Sue"

Boston's Plumes have a new single out, and it's a unique blend of folk rock. "Bobbie Blue & Connie Sue" has an interesting feel, with a start/stop quality, and a Smiths like delivery mixed with the aggression of Violent Femmes. I don't think it can truly be considered folk, but there is a distinct folk-adjacent feel. It's a quiet little epic song, that is somehow fun and quirky without being cutesy. 

You can listen to "Bobbie Blue & Connie Sue" and its b-side "Summertime Autumn Breeze" below. The song will be included on Plumes's upcoming album which should be released in November. For more on Plumes, be sure to check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp. At their Bandcamp, you can download previous releases for free, and you know how we feel about free music!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Full Body - "Alias"

Photo by Brandon Mark
Upstate NY's Full Body have a new single that's the perfect blend of noise rock and pop craftsmanship. That might be a weird way to word it, since "Alias" is about as far away from a pop song as you can imagine. It kind of meanders around without following any set hit songwriting strategy. Plus, the guitars are bitingly fuzzy. But "Alias" has some serious catchy hooks. Somehow, since the hooks come and go whenever the seem to want to and not when they would traditionally need to go in order to comprise a standard song. The band has this to say about the song:

"'Alias' started with an idea Jack (our drummer) had. We changed the form around and collaborated on the lyrics, which for me was a first. It's one of the more pop leaning tracks on this record, and like a few of the other songs it touches on people not being who you thought they were. Classic shit am i right?"

You can listen to "Alias" below. Always There, the new album from Full Body, will be out October 18 on Five Kill Records, which has quickly become a favorite label around here. You can pre-order the album over at Bandcamp. For more on Full Body, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Rosa Bordallo - "Sleight of Hand"

Photo by Varvara Mikushkina
CHamoru-American artist Rosa Bordallo has released a final single before next week's release of her solo debut, and "Sleight of Hand" just heightens our excitement for the album. While her previous two singles, "Lost On the Coast" and "Citadel," were simplistically quiet and loud respectively, "Sleight of Hand" is both. It starts out with a shoe-gazey wash of guitars until the guitar drops out to make room for Bordallo's voice. The song meanders between quiet and simple and a droning, buzzy guitar centered rocker. It's a compelling dichotomy that makes us unable to wait for the album release next week.

You can listen to "Sleight of Hand" below. Reef Walker, the new album from Rosa Bordallo, will be out October 18 on Time Castle Recordings. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Rosa Bordallo, check out her Facebook.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Donna Blue - "Desert Lake"

Photo by Satellite June
The latest single from Donna Blue feels like it was unearthed by Quentin Tarantino and used in one of his films. "Desert Lake" feels like a 60's Spaghetti Western mixed with 60's groovy. It's like if Nancy Sinatra decided to make cowboy music. The duo is Danique van Kesteren and Bart van Dalen, who are also a couple. "Desert Lake" started with van Dalen whistling in the shower: 

"Next, we made a demo on our phone at home before taking it to the studio. At all done by the two of us, from beginning to end. We loved working with such an elaborate string section for the first time, it really adds to the mysterious mood."

You can watch the video for "Desert Lake" below. For more on Donna Blue, check out their website.

Hallelujah the Hills - "Running Hot With Fate"

We've been huge fans of Hallelujah the Hills for a while now, and based on the first two singles off their upcoming album, this one might be their finest to date.

"Running Hot With Fire" is the latest, and it does this great dance over the line between mainstream alt-folk-rock and the weird. Singer Ryan Walsh keeps up a speak-singing cadence somewhere between Tom Petty and Craig Finn. It's mid-tempo song with fairly straightforward musically with odd little instrument flourishes and shout along choruses that somehow turn it into an epic rocker. 

You can listen to "Running Hot With Fate" below. I'm You, the latest album from Hallelujah the Hills, will be out November 15. You can pre-order your copy via Bandcamp. For more on Hallelujah the Hills, check out their website. If you happen to be in the Boston area or want to make a trip, they'll be playing an album release show at Great Scott in Allston on December 19.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Dylan Perkons - "Love Like Mine"

Hailing from Victoria, British Columbia, Dylan Perkons's latest single is both mainstream and classic folk, but with its own little twist. "Love Like Mine" straddles that difficult line of being smooth and pop enough to appeal to a widespread audience while having just enough twang to appeal to country/Americana purists. The x-factor for Perkons is going to be his voice. I'm personally a fan, but a lot of my favorite singers have a unique not quite traditionally pleasant sound to their voices (think J Mascis or Bob Dylan). That's not to say that Perkons doesn't have a great voice, it's just not the type that you hear on this style of music. If it doesn't grab you right away, stick with it to the end and there's a great chance you'll end up completely into this song.

You can listen to "Love Like Mine" below. The Healing Day, the upcoming album from Dylan Perkons, will be out on October 18. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Dylan Perkons, check him out on Facebook.

Lucy Dacus Covers Phil Collins

Ever since Lucy Dacus announced her 2019 holiday singles series, I've been waiting for October to hear her Halloween song. I couldn't wait to see if it was an original song or a cover of some spooky classic. Well, it's out, and she's covering Phil Collins's "In the Air Tonight." It's an unexpected choice, for sure. Phil Collins isn't exactly tied to Halloween, and "In the Air Tonight" isn't usually thought of as a Halloween song. Plus, I've just never liked Phil Collins. All that being said, it's still a fun cover that stays very close to the original. It's far more 80's synth heavy than anything we've heard Dacus do in the past, and very voice does add a haunting feeling the original doesn't have. Plus, there is an underlying tension and discord that I wouldn't have expected. So maybe it's a fitting choice?

You can listen to Lucy Dacus's version of "In the Air Tonight" below. The track can be purchased here via Matador Records. For more on Lucy Dacus, check out her website.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

First Listen: New Releases for 4 October

Artist: That Dog
Album: Old LP
Quick Description: Comeback album from some indie legends.
Why You Should Listen: It's That Dog, guys. Come on.
Overall Thoughts: As long-awaited as this return has been, it is great to know that this reunion has not resulted in the band missing a beat. With moments often as good as their high points during their first run, there is a lot to love in this album even in its imperfection. I’m reminded by less-than-stellar returns from other 90s acts and how much better this is, both in comparison and overall.
Recommendation: Definitely worth the time.

Artist: Chromatics
Album: Closer to Grey
Quick Description: New album from the longtime rock group.
Why You Should Listen: They're more than just a Lynch-adjacent group.
Overall Thoughts: A surprise release of sorts, even though we’ve been waiting for some time for a new album from this act, it’s basically what you expect. That’s not a bad thing, as they have a very distinct and unique presentation that’s been lacking. I can’t say for sure whether this would get them new fans, but as an existing one who has been waiting impatiently since their performance at The Roadhouse, I’m pleased.
Recommendation: Give this a listen.

Artist: Angel Olsen
Album: All Mirrors
Quick Description: Latest from the rising singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: A true leap in songwriting on this record.
Overall Thoughts: The internet is collectively losing its mind over this album, and rightfully so. Olsen, up to this point, has done some solid work, but this album feels less like a musical experience and more like a full-on adventure. Extremely lush, incredibly complex in the right ways, and it rightly sounds like an achievement of sorts. This is such a departure from My Woman that it may really throw off recent converts, but it is such an authentic listen that it’s hard not to love it.
Recommendation: Easily the best record of the week.

Artist: Bill Frisell
Album: Harmony
Quick Description: Longtime guitar legend's new album.
Why You Should Listen: One of the prettiest things you'll listen to as of late.
Overall Thoughts: I admit to not knowing enough about Bill Frisell, and this album makes me regret that reality. Gorgeous guitar work with some nice jazz-adjacent melodies means that this is definitely going to be one of the more beautiful albums in recent memory with a lot of crossover appeal. This is one I am looking forward to returning to, and an artist I absolutely want to spend more time with as a result.

Artist: L'Orange and Jeremiah Jae
Album: Complicate Your Life With Violence
Quick Description: Solid rap music with interesting accompaniment.
Why You Should Listen: L'Orange is always worth a listen, and apparently Jae is, too.
Overall Thoughts: A great collaboration, some great sampling, some great raps… I’m not sure what’s not to like about this overall. In a year with a lot of interesting rap albums, this is definitely one worth listening to and, when you get songs like “Summer Camp” leading the charge, it’s hard to find anything negative to say about this one.
Recommendation: Don’t sleep on this one.

Of note:

* The Avett Brothers - Closer Than Together (Understated record, lots to like even if it’s not as immediate or risky as their past.)
* Wilco - Ode to Joy (To quote Ken on Twitter, “I'd rather have a band age gracefully and do dad rock like Wilco than have a group of guys in their 50s trying to appeal to 14 year olds like some of their peers do.”)
* The Persian Leaps - Electric Living (Solid alt-rock)
* Lisa Prank - Perfect Love Song
* Daniel Martin Moore - Never Look Away
* Michael Christmas - Baggy Eyes 2
* Gospelbeach - Let It Burn
* Kim Petras - Turn Out the Light
* San Fermin - The Cormorant I
* Holiday Sidewinder - Forever or Whatever
* Rhi - The Pale Queen
* Kelsey Walden - White Noise/White Lines


* Kero Kero Bonito - Civilization I
* Dogmatics - She's the One


* Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Ghosteen
* MIKA - My Name is Michael Holbrook
* North Mississippi Allstars - Up and Rolling
* Josie Cotton - Everything is Oh Yeah
* The Darkness - Easter is Cancelled
* Lagwagon - Railer
* City & Colour - A Pill for Loneliness
* Lightning Dust - Spectre
* Medicine - Scarred for Life
* Carla dal Forno - Look Up Sharp

Gordon Withers Covers Jawbreaker

Gordon Withers is best known as a rock cellist in J Robbins band. He also does solo cello covers of well known rock songs. He is about to release Jawbreaker On Cello, which as you can probably guess is an album of Jawbreaker covers done on cello. The first song we can hear from it is "Bivouac." Now, you can probably guess what Jawbreaker being performed on cello is going to sound like, and you'd be exactly right. This isn't some crazy, experimental version of a cello based song. But it is an incredible arrangement of a classic punk song done in a way you never expected to hear it. You already know if you want to listen to this. If you do, you'll quickly move past the novelty factor and appreciate the song far more than you ever expected to.

You can listen to Gordon Withers's take on "Bivouac" below. Jawbreaker On Cello will be out November 1, and can be pre-ordered here. For more on Gordon Withers, check out his website.