Monday, December 11, 2017

Michael Rault - "Sleep With Me"

There are a lot of bands out there that get compared to The Beatles, and with good reason. The Beatles were unquestionably the most influential band of all time, and bands like Oasis have made entire careers off admitting to sounding like The Beatles. The new single from Michael Rault definitely sounds like The Beatles. "Sleep With Me" has a lush production and warm harmonies, and sounds like it's from the late 60's, early 70's. If Rault's press release had claimed he was an undiscovered artist from that time and this was his lost album, I'd completely believe it. Although, instead of sounding like late 60's era Beatles, to me it sounds like George Harrison and Paul McCartney went off on their own to form a duo after The Beatles broke up. 

You can watch the video for "Sleep With Me" below. Michael Rault's forthcoming album will be released on Wick Records, the rock imprint of Daptone Records. For more on Rault, check out his website.

Ken's Top 10 of 2017 - #7: Fox Face - Spoil + Destroy

Fox Face isn't made for me. Hell, I just discovered they share a name with a character from The Hunger Games. This isn't meant for middle aged men with kids and mortgages. But the original wave of riot grrrl wasn't meant for me, either, and I still loved it. Fox Face is just pure raw aggression and true anger. With song titles like "Nasty Woman" and "I Believe in Science," there is no question who their anger is directed at. Fox Face get a key element of riot grrrl right that a lot of people miss: Despite the anger and aggression in any song from that genre, there is still a sense of fun. They may want to kick someone's teeth in, but they're going to mock them mercilessly first.

Songs of note: "(What You're) Good For," "Clever Girl," "Toxic."

Jeff's Top 10 of 2017 - #7: Daddy Issues - Deep Dream

I don't know how I ended up missing Daddy Issues's debut release, but this was on a lot of "anticipated" lists in the spring and so I took a flyer on it. To this day, it's been in constant rotation for me, and there are so many great songs that I can't even pick a favorite. "In Your Head" is an amazing jilted lover tale, the title track addicting as anything that came out this week, and their cover of Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer" is equal parts reverent and unique. It has stark instrumentation while giving a full feel thanks to some great production, and the songwriting is top-notch. One of the great listens of the year, for sure.

Songs of Note: "Deep Dream," "In Your Head," "The Boys of Summer"

Friday, December 8, 2017

Buffalo Tom - "All Be Gone"

Photo via Facebook
As much as I adore Buffalo Tom, I couldn't get into their 2011 album Skins. It wasn't bad, but it felt a little too easy listening for me. For "All Be Gone," the first song off of their upcoming album, we're back to classic Buffalo Tom, and I think we can all be happy about that.

"All Be Gone" is an upbeat Bill Janovitz sung rocker. It may not be as noisy as some vintage Buffalo Tom could be, but even at their noisiest, Buffalo Tom have always been melodic. This new one might be a bit more melodic, but that's not a bad thing at all. The framework of classic Buffalo Tom is here, plus, as with most musicians at this point in their careers, the trio have gotten more confident and better as musicians, so you get killer guitar solos the likes of which had just been hinted at previously. I can't imagine any old school fans will be anything less than overjoyed with this song.

You can listen to "All Be Gone" below. Buffalo Tom's new album, Quiet and Peace, will be out March 2 on Schoolkids Records. For more on Buffalo Tom, check out their website.

Ken's Top 10 of 2017 - #8: Converge - The Dusk in Us

Trust me, I'm just as shocked as you are with this one. We're by far a metal blog. I think we write about a new metal release once every six months or so. And I'm really late to the Converge bandwagon by 25 years. To be honest, I don't think I ever listened to Converge until The Dusk in Us was released. Every so often I'll send something over to Jeff that I know he'll hate, and this was one of them. I decided to try it out after I sent it, and almost turned it off after about a minute. I had always dismissed Converge as one of those metal bands that's just screaming for the sake of screaming. And, to be fair, it kinda is. But then it clicked with me. The Dusk in Us is pure chaos. It's loud and fast with all of this insane feedback and distortion and tempo changes. It's everything I love about all of my noise bands, but unbearably heavy. If Helmet are Sonic Youth for metal fans, Converge is Lightning Bolt for metal fans. What started out as a joke has become a full blown obsession.

Songs of note: "A Single Tear," "Arkhipoc Calm," and "I Can Tell You About Pain."

Jeff's Top 10 of 2017 - #8: Arcade Fire - Everything Now

Arcade Fire is a very well-established act at this point, but I was getting concerned that there was perhaps too much happening with their sound at this point. They're an ambitious act always trying to one-up their previous, and I haven't really enjoyed their more recent output. The more time I spent with Everything Now, though, the more I enjoyed it. There are moments that feel a little over the top, like with "Infinite Content," but this is an album with a bit of a message, and one that might not be apparent unless you're a band that's seen success post-Napster but also pre-streaming. It's no Funeral, but nothing is. Instead, it's an album with a lot of interesting pieces that creates one of the more compelling listens of the year.

Songs of Note: "Signs of Life," "Good God Damn," "Put Your Money on Me."

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Caroline Rose - "Money"

Photo by Matt Hogan
Back in October, I walked into Great Scott excited to see Caroline Rose's opening slot for Banditos. Considering what I had heard in the past, and the fact that she was opening for Banditos, I expected to see the indie country artist I had come to love. Instead I was surprised (in a good way) to discover this new sound that was much more like DEVO than alt country.

With her new single, Caroline Rose proves that new sound wasn't just a fluke. I had compared my surprise to seeing Caroline Rose to when I saw The Fiery Furnaces. Unlike The Fiery Furnaces, this isn't just a band electing to sound like a completely different band on their albums vs their live shows. This is a whole new direction. "Money" has just the slightest hint of twang, and I mean the very slightest. In fact, I could just be imagining it. The song is played at a breakneck speed of synths, like an ultra-fast version of DEVO or the B-52's, but somehow more pop and with a sharp edge of punk. I know, I'm not making any sense here. You're just going to have to listen to the song to understand.

You can watch the video for "Money" below. Caroline Rose's new album, LONER, will be out February 23 on New West Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Caroline Rose, check out her website. Her tour dates are below the video.

Wed. Mar. 14 – Sat. Mar. 17 – Austin, TX @ SXSW
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

Ken's Top 10 of 2017 - #9: Nikki Lane - Highway Queen

When Nikki Lane released Highway Queen back in February, I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I wouldn't say I loved it. But then on a whim I went to see her in Portsmouth back in August, and ever since then I've been obsessed. Ever since then, I'm pretty sure I've listened to Highway Queen weekly (at least). Every song on this album is beyond catchy and runs the risk of being jammed in your skull for at least 48 hours. It's modern country, just Lane keeps just enough swagger and outlaw country in her sound to keep it classic. She occupies a world where Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and The Dixie Chicks are all just as valid as each other. It might not be fair to rate an album based on how much I loved a live show, so I forced myself to keep this one at #9. (Plus, it's my list, so there you go...)

Songs of note: "Jackpot," "Highway Queen," and "Big Mouth."

Jeff's Top 10 of 2017 - #9: Diet Cig - Swear I'm Good at This

In a year where early-1990s female-fronted alternative-rock-inspired indie music flooded the streaming airwaves, a number of albums stuck out. One of them for me was Diet Cig's full-length debut, which was a little lo-fi, a lot confessional ("it's hard to be a punk girl wearing a skirt" is one of my favorite lines of the year), and was a throwback in so many ways. Songs like "Maid of the Mist" felt like it could fit in on alt-rock radio, while "Barf Day" and "Link in Bio" have shades of Sarge/The Reputation all over it. There's so much to love here that the whole thing is just worth as much time as you can give it. I'm very excited to see what will come next for this duo, and you should be, too.

Songs of Note: "Link in Bio," "Barf Day," "Maid of the Mist"

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Ken's Top 10 of 2017 - #10: Molly Burch - Please Be Mine

When I was a kid, I gravitated to oldies. It was most likely since that's the music that was always in my house growing up. My parents didn't listen to much of anything that could be considered current, so most of what I heard were bands like The Coasters and Phil Spector's Wall of Sound. In my middle age, I lean towards music that could be defined mostly as roots/Americana. This is probably why I've loved the debut album from Molly Burch so much. It's this absolute perfect mix of 60's soul and the current roots movement. Please Be Mine is a collection of these perfect little pop nuggets that exist in their own genre and time.

Songs of note: "Downhearted," "Torn to Pieces," and "Not Today."