Friday, January 30, 2015

There's an Upcoming Documentary About Lydia Loveless

Gorman Bechard, director of such critically acclaimed rock documentaries as "Color Me Obsessed, a Film About the Replacements," has found his newest subject: Lydia Loveless. I'm personally thrilled to find more about one of my favorite 2014 musical discoveries, and I'm also excited by such an esteemed director focusing his attention on such fantastic newer artist. Titled "Who Is Lydia Loveless," the film seeks to answer just that, delving into her early upbringing, life on the road, being married to a bandmate, dealing with sexism in the music industry, and if she's rock 'n' roll, country, or punk. The project is currently in the Kickstarter phase, so they're looking for our help. There are the more standard rewards (an advance copy of the film, signed vinyl, handwritten lyrics) and the more unique (a chance to be right up front for the filming of the live performances to be used in the film, interviewing Lydia Loveless and Gorman Bechard for the DVD extras). It's going to be fantastic, and how can you not want to be involved?

For more information on the project, head over to their Kickstarter page

Föllakzoid - "Electric"

Photo: Ion Rakhmatulina
I had never heard of Föllakzoid before yesterday, and I'm already pretty obsessed based on this one song. "Electric" is off their forthcoming album III (due on March 31 on Sacred Bones Records), and it's a doozy. Clocking in at just under 12 minutes, it's an indie rock jam that is like A Ghost is Born era Wilco minus the country side of things, but with plenty of groove and a hint of Swedish death metal. It's all blended in with psychedelic loops and synths, not at all sounding like what I'd expect from a Chilean band. But it all comes together in one of the most intriguing sounds I've heard all year. 

For more information on Föllakzoid, check out their Bandcamp. You can listen to "Electric" below.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

First Listen: New Releases for January 27

We're definitely in the swing of new release season now. Lots of good stuff this week.

Punch Brothers - The Phosphorescent Blues: I know Punch Brothers are generally slotted into the sort of "newgrass" portmanteau for what they and other Chris Thile projects do, but Phosphorescent Blues is, in a sense, the most prog rock thing they've done yet. Closer in spirit to Punch than the tone they established in Who's Feeling Young Now?, the album is not an easy one on first listen, but, as with anything Thile is involved with, definitely an interesting listen. I'll need more time with this for sure, but this is absolutely a solid release from one of the best bluegrass-style bands going right now.

Kelley McRae - Easy on My Mind: I enjoyed Kelley McRae's previous album Brighter Than the Blues, and seeing a new EP was a pretty nice surprise. It reminds me a lot of Gillian Welch in terms of tone, and it's a nice, quiet but memorable folk EP. As often is the case, I'd love for this to have been longer, but maybe we'll get something soon.

Gorgon City - Sirens: There's certainly a resurgence of electronic acts making club-ready albums with a variety of vocalists, and now Gorgon City is trying to jump in with their debut album. While there are some interesting songs featuring Katy B and Liv, the full result of this album is more of something that feels overlong and repetitive. This isn't really breaking a lot of ground, and more often misuses the talents on the record rather than allowing them to improve the overall product. It may be more that I dislike the style that Gorgon City inhabits, but if you're looking for a record closer to, say, RAC or Calvin Harris, this won't do it for you.

Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors - Medicine: Release of the week is the new album from Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors. A great, rootsy-style record that feels like some of the best work Ryan Adams ever did, it grabbed me early on and really didn't let go. It's a great release because of the tight songwriting and memorable tracks, but really because it feels like the first fully essential album of the new year. If you're someone who digs rootsy stuff or the bulk of what we feature here at the blog, this really needs to hit your rotation this week.

Mogwai - Music Industry 3 Fitness Industry 1: The new Mogwai EP is a postscript to their excellent Rave Tapes from 2014. A handful of extra new songs is the point here, but the true highlight are the three remixes on the back end of this EP, two of which arguably improve on the album versions, a rarity. A short but good listen.

The Lone Bellow - Then Came the Morning: The Lone Bellow is somewhat unique in the genre they sit because there is a more soulful/gospel feel to what they do in my mind. Thus, it's never fully connected with me even though I can recognize some pretty solid musicianship throughout. The sophomore album from the trio is definitely a step forward for the band, and if you've liked what you've heard so far, you'll likely like this even more.

Young Ejecta - The Planet: Young Ejecta, formerly only Ejecta, is back with an EP establishing their new name and advancing their already-challenging indie-electronic sound. I was a big fan of their previous album, and this mini-album was one I was anticipating, but I'm not entirely sure about it yet. As an experiment, it's pretty interesting, but, at least on first listen, it lacks that song that catches you and won't let go the way their previous album did. Still, worth a listen for something new and different, especially for fans of Neon Indian who want to hear more from this side project.

Aphex Twin - Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2: Aphex Twin is already back with a new EP that, well, sounds like it does what it says on the tin. If anything, I'm surprised at how much this sounds like Tuatara in many regards. Even if you're not an Aphex Twin fan, this might be worth a listen or two for you just to hear something a little different. As for me, I really like it.

Doomtree - All Hands: Doomtree is the name of a midwestern rap collective, and All Hands is great. Ken gave me the heads up on this and I'm shocked at how much I've enjoyed it so far. If you found yourself bored by the new Wu-Tang Clan or are looking for something that sounds modern without losing the traditional sound, this is absolutely something you need to hear. If I didn't love the new Drew Holcomb so much, this would probably be the release of the week. Definitely the best rap album of recent memory for me.

Bettye Lavette - Worth: Ken turned me onto this album as well, and I can't say I recognized Lavette's name from anywhere. An R&B/soul singer who apparently hit the radars of many about a decade ago, this album is a really solid effort from start to finish. Not something I typically reach for, Lavette has a solid, memorable voice and the songs here are just well done from start to finish. This is a great listen, especially if you're looking to broaden your musical horizons a bit. Really glad I got to hear this one.

Also out this week:

* Gov't Mule and John Scoville - Sco-Mule

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper - "Spat Out Spit"

Blog favorite Lady Lamb the Beekeeper has a new lyric video for the second song off her upcoming second album After. "Spat Out Spit" starts out sounding like one of the most straightforward songs by LLtBK, but after a few listens its actually trippy as hell, with minimal instrumentation during verses, a haunting horn in the background, and looped choruses. Between this new song and "Billions of Eyes," After looks like it will have a wildly different sound from Ripely Pine while still sounding like a Lady Lamb the Beekeeper album.

After is due out March 3 on Mom+Pop. You can pre-order the album (including bundles that feature knit hats) on Lady Lamb the Beekeeper's website. She's also mounting a national headlining tour. You can find those dates here.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Adia Victoria - "Sea of Sand"

Adia Victoria could be this year's Benjamin Booker: The artist that comes seemingly out of nowhere with a couple songs, tours relentlessly, and has a debut album that takes over my life for a few months. She just released her 2nd single, "Sea of Sand," and I have become completely entranced with it. The song was written in Harlem in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. It's about all the places she has lived in her young life (South Carolina, Tucson, etc) and who she was at each place. She combines this blend of dark, gothic alt-country with the aggression and a smidge of the noise of indie rock. It's closest to Lucinda Williams and Tom Waits mixed with Throwing Muses.

I'm hoping she comes out with more ASAP. In March she's touring with Hurray For the Riff Raff (like Benjamin Booker last year...), and dates are below. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Listen to "Sea of Change" below.

Fri 1/23 - Asheville, NC - New Mountain
Sat 1/24 - Charlottesville, VA - Twisted Branch 
Sun 1/25 - Washington, DC - DC9
Tue 1/27 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
Wed 1/28 - Philadelphia, PA - Boot & Saddle
Thu 1/29 - Richmond, VA - Strange Matter
Fri 1/30 - Knoxville, TN - Pilot Light
Sat 1/31 - Chattanooga, TN - JJ's BohemiaThu 3/5 - Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn
Fri  3/6 - Athens, GA - Caledonia Lounge
Sat 3/7 - Savannah, GA - Savannah Stopever FestivalTue 3/10 - Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room *
Wed 3/11 - San Diego, CA - Belly Up *
Thu 3/12 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour *
Fri 3/13 - Big Sur, CA - Loma Vista Gardens * 
Fri 3/20 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile *
Sat 3/21 - Vancouver, BC - Electric Owl *
Sun 3/22 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater *
Thu 3/26 - Salt Lake City - State Room *
Fri 3/27 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater *
Sat 3/28 - Boulder, CO - FoxTheater *
Mon 3/30 - Santa Fe, NM - Sky Light *
Wed 4/1 - Dallas, TX - Dada *
* w/Hurray For The Riff Raff

Thursday, January 22, 2015

First Listen: New Releases for the Weeks of January 13 and January 20

My apologies for not being able to set up coverage last week, the whole timing got away from me.

So first:

January 13:

California X - Nights in the Dark: California X is an Amherst-area band getting a decent amount of buzz for this album, a punk album that could use a little production polish to help bring out the songs. As it stands, the album does feel a little muddy and samey throughout, and I can't really say anything about it jumped out at me. As is the case with more localish independent productions, it just needs some shine to really push forward, but otherwise might be a good listen for punk fans.

Kat Dahlia - My Garden: At first blush, Kat Dahlia's debut does not look like it's going to be a mainstream rap album, but that is put to bed very quickly by the time the first few tracks roll out. This album was apparently delayed nearly a year, and comparisons are going to be made with both Azaelia Banks and Iggy Azalea for a few reasons, and they really shouldn't be. Dahlia's album does feel more authentic, but still has its share of problems and overall flow. It's not bad, but it's not necessarily what I'm looking for overall. Worth a listen in any regard.

Justin Townes Earle - Absent Fathers: Absent Fathers is a companion album to Single Mothers, Justin Townes Earle's release from last year. I confess to liking that one better than this one, but both thematically and musically they're very similar. There is also a release that has both albums as one, and I haven't had an opportunity to listen to both back to back, but that might make the entire experience. Overall, as someone who only listened to JTE for the first time with Single Mothers, I'm still a fan. It might just be worth listening to both at the same time.

Mark Ronson - Uptown Special: I've been a fan of Mark Ronson's albums for a while, so seeing this new one in the new release list was a pleasant surprise. The album itself is really a funky affair, and it's definitely trying to be a cohesive unit from start to finish. Overall, though, the strength of Ronson's retro vibe is weakened a bit by the coherency, and learning later that the Bruno Mars song here is a huge hit is hardly a surprise. I'd still reach for Version over this, although this is ultimately probably an interesting album for a specific audience that I'm not a member of.

Kingsley Flood - To the Fire: Blog favorite Kingsley Flood is back with an interesting EP. I saw them as more rootsy than this, a more indie pop affair that I actually really loved. The title track alone is an early favorite for the new year, and at an efficient 19 minutes, it doesn't outstay its welcome. I'm interested to see what comes next, but this is one of the better releases this week, for sure.

Night Terrors of 1927 - Everything's Coming Up Roses: I was initially sent this album due to the song "When You Were Mine," which features Tegan and Sara, and the song is okay. The album feels like a clone of Of Monsters and Men (which we have far too many of already), and that's not what I expected when I learned that the guitarist from Rilo Kiley (and Pinsky from Salute Your Shorts) was behind the project. Truly, this just isn't very good, and I can't say I'm a fan. Pass on this one.

Future of What - Pro Dreams: Release of the week is Pro Dreams by Brooklyn synthpop band Future of What. I've been waiting for this album for quite a long time, as lead singer Blair (of my favorite album of 2010, Die Young) had announced her joining with this group a while ago. This is definitely different than the Blair album I remember, much more polished and sonically interesting, but still a quiet, independent affair. Lead track "The Rainbowed Air" sets the tone early, and if you picture them as Au Revoir Simone, but rough around the edges, you might get a good idea as to what's coming. Given how many synthpop acts there are these days, Future of What is doing a good job setting themselves apart, and while there isn't any obvious "Kittens Rainbows" lyrical play on this album, there's still a lot to like.

January 20:

The Decemberists - What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World: On one hand, this is probably the most Decemberists album since Picaresque, which is a welcome occasion. On the other, if we viewed the R.E.M. aping on their most recent album as progress, this is a step backwards in some regard. The band sounds outright like LRP-era R.E.M. in a few of the early songs, but the album, on first listen, gets really bogged down toward the middle and fails to keep up the same way the opening tracks do. Part of this is basically my expectations getting the better of me, but I can't help but think that this is a good album that should have been great. Still, absolutely a solid listen and worth some time this week.

Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love: It's weird to think that most people will know this album not due to the band finally reforming, but via Portlandia. With that said, this is absolutely the album release of the week and is arguably my favorite Sleater-Kinney album on first listen. It's immediate, the band doesn't sound like it lost a step and they actually feel more like they've improved on all aspects of things musical during their time apart. Granted, it's not as if the three women weren't working on music during S-K's hiatus, but I never expected the reunion to be this good. Best release of the week, and best release of 2015 so far, bar none.

Belle & Sebastian - Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance: Being a Belle & Sebastian fan in 2015 (and, really, anytime in the last decade) has been an exercise in tolerance and restraint in many ways. In a sense, Girls in Peacetime is the band's best effort since The Life's Pursuit, although they haven't sounded like who we fell in love with for a lot longer. Single "The Party Line" isn't great, other songs really do work well, and there are even hints of the lo-fi, folky past in here. While I try hard to consider albums on their own merits, it's really hard to separate this band from their body of work, and that's probably the continual struggle. The verdict for me - I don't hate it? I need more time with it, but we're long past the point of expecting Sinister from modern B&S.

Lupe Fiasco - Tetsuo and Youth: I can't recall exactly what it was that got me into Lupe Fiasco initially, but I know that he's gotten into some label problems, that his last album wasn't great at all, and he remains a very curious rapper for me. The latest album was one I wasn't expecting and, for the most part, is a step forward from the last two albums. It's still not upbeat (but neither is Lupe), and it's still pretty experimental in places, but there's a reason he catches my ear so often. The album itself is also a bit too long, but if you're looking for a new, solid rap album, this is worth some time.

Erase Errata - Lost Weekend: I think Ken and I, before we knew each other, saw Erase Errata open for Sonic Youth at the then-Roxy in Boston. My recollection of them then as compared to this EP is very different, as I love this EP. The opening song is addictive as all get out, and it continues being immediate and in your face through its entire short runtime. This is definitely worth a listen.

Viet Cong - Viet Cong: I didn't know who Viet Cong was prior to Ken sending this album over to me, and it's a mixed bag, to be honest. Sometimes it's noisy post punk, other times it's a really fun alt-rock act ("Continental Shelf" being a true standout). It's definitely worth a listen, although your enjoyment of the album may be directly influenced by your tolerance of some of the longer bits.

Also out this week:

* Aphex Twin - Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt 2

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - "Do the Get Down"

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion have a new single out, "Do the Get Down," and it's pretty amazing. Lately, JSBX albums have been disappointing me a little bit when they're first released. They've been good and all, but it isn't until I see the songs live that I truly appreciate them. "Do the Get Down" is a departure in that I love this song. It's also a little bit of a departure texture wise from their earlier material. Gone is the out of control noise blues punk of the past. Instead, "Do the Get Down" is a little more reserved and funky. It borders on the mainstream without being too mainstream. Below you can watch the video, which features icons of NYC from the 70s and 80s such as the Ramones, Times Square, Public Enemy, Talking Heads, Taxi Driver, etc. Their new album, Freedom Tower - No Wave Dance Party 2015, will be out on March 24 on Mom+Pop Music. It also features one of the greatest press releases of all time:

Freedom Tower is a radical portrait of New York City set to the savage funkacide of the Blues Explosion, locked and loaded with the most deadly, predatory guitar riffs that primitive magnetic tape can handle…. From start to finish, Freedom Tower is overmodulated, cooked with dirt, and finished in acid rain! Freedom Tower is packed with the kind of beats and rhymes that will make even the most reserved Walter Mitty jump back and say “damn!”

Thursday, January 15, 2015

If It's Too Loud... Interview With Suz Slezak

Being a huge David Wax Museum fan, I was thrilled to hear Suz Slezak had an upcoming solo album. Watching the Nighttime Come is being promoted as a lullaby album, but it's truly more. It's more of an album for kids that won't drive their parents insane, more of a kid-friendly album than a kid's album. It even includes a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye." I recently jumped at the chance to ask Suz a few questions via email about the new album, touring with a baby (and extended family), and what's next for David Wax Museum!

To pre-order Watching the Nighttime Come, head over to Suz's PledgeMusic page. You can find more information on her solo album release shows on the David Wax Museum tour page

The first time I listened to the new album, I was surprised by how much ambient noise seemed to be happening in the background, almost like a noise rock album. Then I remembered that babies tend to be calmed by noise like that (vacuum cleaners, etc). Was that done on purpose?

I can't say I thought of that before making the album, but I will say I chose Josh Kaufman and Nate Martinez because I knew they'd make a record that sounded colorful, contemporary, and textured. I really wanted the sounds to appeal to young parents, not just kids. So it is my hope that all the vibey background noise makes it a rich listening experience, and one that will continue to appeal after multiple spins. Because as we all know, kids love repetition. 

As your daughter gets older and more mobile, has touring become more difficult?

Oh no, it is getting better and better! Sure, she sleeps less in the car, but our friends in a band called Birds of Chicago told us it gets easier once they start walking. And we've found that to be true. She can explore so much more on her own, especially at rest stops, gas stations, and green rooms, which were not always the safest places to crawl. Her life is already so rich in experiences -- with new faces, new foods, new sights and sounds. Not to mention the gifts! We've been the recipients of so many gifts .  Just on this last tour she was given her first blueberries in Bryn Mawr, stickers from the radio station in Troy, a homemade crayon tote bag with a coloring book from a fan in Saratoga Springs, and got to hang out with 10-year-old triplets and their brother and their incredible Lego collection in New Jersey.  As she gets older she'll just get to appreciate this more and more, so we're looking forward to that. 

With David Wax Museum, you're touring with your husband, his cousin, your dad (to help care for
your daughter), and your daughter. It's almost like working with family combined with a family vacation. Does that ever get difficult?

You know, most people in the world live and work in close proximity with their families. So we try to embrace this model. We are so lucky that our families want to be involved in our work. And they are really helping to make it feasible. Yes, there are times when I feel bad about keeping my father up until 2am. And at other times he pushes my buttons like any parent. But overall, it is such a gift to have this time together that I don't let the little things don't bug me that much.   

One of my favorite aspects of following you guys on social media is how much fun you seem to have on tour. As a fan, touring sounds like to much fun, yet so many bands portray it as a chore. How do you keep it so much fun?

You know, any job is a chore at times. Yes, the long commutes are tiring. And the late nights are tough, especially with a one-year-old. But truly, if the highs of the stage don't make up for that, you know you're in the wrong profession. The other paybacks are also huge. We are building the most incredible community around the country. We have played in 47 states and 10 countries around the world. And the new experiences, the foods we taste, the people we meet, the homes we stay in -- there's such a wealth of diversity, even right here in America. And we get to soak that up on every tour. 

While most bands seem to always hit the same venues in the same cities, you always seem to be playing at new and unique venues. Is that done on purpose?

I wouldn't say it's done on purpose, but we do feel good about the range of fans that are drawn to our music. And yes it's true, the venues are unique! We've rocked out on the main stage of festivals in Canada to 20,000 people, played on a boat on the River Tyne in England, performed to students in an assembly in Shanghai, jammed out in a tree on the banks of the Hudson River, on a sinking dock in New Hampshire, at dive bars in Denver, in a library in New Jersey, in a 100-year-old one-room schoolhouse in Ohio, in huge churches in Boston [note: Their show at the Arlington Street Church in December 2011 was my best concert experience of all time - Ken]....I could go on since we've played over 700 shows since we started the band! 

How much touring/playing out do you have planned for the solo album? Are there any more to come after this one?

So far we've just planned this three-day run to New York, Boston and Northampton. But if there's interest, we'd certainly be up for booking more. Let's see what the fans tell us! 

When should we expect the new David Wax Museum album? Did you do anything differently for this one?

The album is done. It is gorgeous and sophisticated and FUN! And it should be out sometime this year. There are lots of new elements - but I'm going to wait until we're clearer about the release date to let any details out. 

David Wax Museum has an evolving rotation of musicians. Do you plan tours around who is available or what kind of sound you want more?

We're very fortunate to have an incredible line-up of musicians who are part of The Museum and there are a number of factors that go into each tour line-up. We have had the same touring band for a year and a half and those are the guys that made the new record. 

Has Calliope started gravitating towards any instruments yet? 

Ha. Well, one of her first dozen words was "Gah!" (Guitar) and she definitely bops her head when we play new music. I taught her how to hit the jawbone last week. But we'll see. Neither of us wants to pressure her in any way. We'll see if she really has interest or if she runs in the opposite direction and becomes an investment banker. 

First Listen: A Week Off

Hi all! No First Listen this week as other priorities got in the way of organizing it. We will recap this week's releases in next week's cycle.

In apologies, here is a video of Ben Gibbard doing a version of one of my favorite songs from last year, "Archie, Marry Me" from Alvvays's debut album, originally on Stereogum:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Last Weekend's Hot Stove Cool Music Concert Featured an Insane Amount of 90s Reunions

Every year the Hot Stove Cool Music benefit takes place during baseball's off season, combining Boston's love of sports and music. I've been a few times, but I always regret not making it which I usually don't. This year I'm truly kicking myself, since it featured the reunited Juliana Hatfield Three's first comeback performance, as well as 3/5 of the original Letters to Cleo (Kay Hanley, Greg McKenna, and Michael Eisenstein were joined by sometimes members Tom Polce and Joe Klompus), Tanya Donelly and Gail Greenwood getting together for some Belly songs, the return of Jen Trynin, and a Cavedogs reunion which brought David Cross back out from LA to introduce the band. Yeah, I'm an idiot for not going. 

Letters to Cleo (shot by Steve Latham (

Jen Trynin:

Belly (shot by Steve Latham (

The Juliana Hatfield Three:

Friday, January 9, 2015

Anomie - "So Long"

We love Field Mouse, so you can imagine our excitement when Rachel Browne announced a side project, Anomie. Anomie has a 4 song EP coming out on Febraury 10. From the description of the EP:

The four songs on Anomie’s self-titled EP, available February 10, 2015 (Father/Daughter Records) were written in California over the span of a week where Rachel escaped to think during a difficult time. What emerged was a time capsule for the experience -- the music functioning as a therapeutic means to alleviate the heartache Rachel felt in the moment. 

Yeah, that sounds like how every great album is written to me, too. The first song on the EP, "So Long," can be streamed now, and it sounds like Juliana Hatfield fronting Letters to Cleo. Just when I thought we couldn't love Rachel Browne's music any more...

You can pre-order Anomie EP on their Bandcamp page, and listen to "So Long" below.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield Have an Album of Elliott Smith Songs

I love this newfangled trend of artists you'd never expect to work together coming together to record an album of covers. The latest truly has the potential to be the best. Seth Avett (of the Avett Brothers, of course) and Jessica Lea Mayfield have an album coming out in March of Elliott Smith covers. They've been working on this project for 3 years, recording in each other's homes and hotel rooms. Both are huge fans of Smiths', and from the snippets you can hear in the promo video below, it should be fantastic. The album will be titled Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith and will be out on March 15 on Ramseur Records. 

1. Between the Bars
2. Baby Britain
3. Fond Farewell
4. Somebody That I Used to Know
5. Let’s Get Lost
6. Twilight
7. Ballad of Big Nothing
8. Angel in the snow
9. Pitseleh
10. Angeles
11. Roman Candle
12. Memory Lane

First Listen: New Releases for January 6

A slow new release week for the new year, but there are two interesting releases out there.

Guster - Evermotion: Guster is that college band for me. Lost and Gone Forever was a staple for me for a few years back when Guster was trying to break through, and I probably saw them live a dozen times. The band has really changed, both in personnel and in sound, since the early 2000s, but Evermotion is probably their best work in a decade. It's not all perfect, but there are some truly catchy tunes in here. If you're hoping that they go back to their "Happy Frappy" days, you'll have to keep waiting, but in terms of what's essentially become a fairly okay adult alternative rock band? Worth a listen.

Catfish and the Bottlemen - The Balcony: I don't know much about Catfish and the Bottlemen except that the album came fairly well-regarded this week after having been out in the UK since September. It's fairly standard modern indie rock fare - certainly nothing groundbreaking, but it's different than anything out this week and might be worth at least a listen.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Newport Folk Festival 2015 Tickets Go On Sale TOMORROW!

The Newport Folk Festival has been the highlight of my musical year ever since 2007 when an ex convinced me to bring her. The Allman Brothers headlined that year, and despite that, I had an amazing time and have been every year since. Nowadays, Jack White and Beck headline the fest which is an amazing improvement. Back in 2007, you could decide to go the same week of the festival depending on the weather. Thanks to the amazing work done by Jay Sweet, Newport now sells out months and months in advance, even without most of the lineup being announced. Because of this, I want to make sure you all know that tickets go on sale TOMORROW for the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. You can either buy early bird tickets for all 3 days, or just individual day tickets. Do this ASAP, or you will regret it. Even without a single 2015 performer announced (although if you check out certain websites, there is 1 Friday performer listed), I can guarantee you will regret missing it.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow, January 8, at 10:00 am. You can go here for 3 day passes.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Ken's Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love: Quite possibly the most anticipated album for all critics in 2015 is the comeback from Sleater-Kinney. They're one of those bands that disappears for a few years and then comes back bigger than ever. Their reunion tour pretty much sold out instantly,with them playing larger venues than before. "Bury Our Friends" is the only song I've heard so far, but it's pretty safe to say that this will be great.

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper - After: As excited as I am for this album, part of me is a little hesitant. I loved Ripely Pine so much and gushed about it so heavily, can a second album live up to that for me? But, even if After is merely half as good as her first, it will still be one of the best of the year. Plus, "Billions of Eyes" is a rambling jaunt that sounds like Dylan fronting Neutral Milk Hotel, so it can't be anything short of great.

The Juliana Hatfield Three - Whatever, My Love: I mean, have you heard "If I Could" yet? It's a song that's been kicking around since at least 2004, and it's finally found a home on this new album. There's something purely magical when Juliana gets together with Dean Fisher and Todd Philips. Based on this song alone, she was right to hold back for a decade.

And the Kids - TBD: I've seen the name And the Kids kicking around for a while, but I didn't really know much about them. I had always thought they were pretty generic and dull, based on pretty much nothing. Then I saw them open for Sallie Ford a little while ago, and was blown away by the two songs I saw. They land more on the more danceable side of Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, and are pretty fantastic. I bought the EP that night, and I can't wait to see what they do with a full length.

Faith No More - TBD: I'm not really a traditional metal/hard rock guy, but Faith No More aren't a traditional metal/hard rock band. "Motherfucker" is a weird, weird choice for a first single for their first album in 15 years, but it's Faith No More, so of course it is. I'm most hesitant about this one, since I've been burnt by big reunions before. We shall see...

Other upcoming albums I'm excited for:
Suz Slezak - When the Nighttime Comes (The only reason it's not in my top 5 is I've already heard it, and it's great.)
David Wax Museum - TBA
Justin Townes Earle - Absent Fathers
Frank Turner - TBA
Modest Mouse - Strangers to Ourselves

Friday, January 2, 2015

Jeff's Most Anticipated Albums of 2015

We're in a new year now, and there are certainly a few albums coming up that I'm very excited for:

Kanye West - TBA: Kanye West has had a few listening parties for his follow-up to Yeezus, and there was a lot of talk about it being released sometime in 2014, but that clearly didn't happen. Will it be more like Yeeus, will we get movement more back toward the mainstream, or will it be something completely different? I enjoy Kanye West in part because of his unpredictability, but also because you know it's going to be an interesting listen. Plus, the idea that this album could drop within hours of this being posted or never get released at all is just as fascinating. Easily the biggest upcoming release for me.

The Decemberists - What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World: While the prerelease singles haven't knocked my socks off, considering how great their last album was, I can't help but be excited about this album coming out in a few weeks. A band that has shifted its sound around a few times while still sounding like the band they've always been, it's a good question as to where this will end up.

Suz Slezak - When the Nighttime Comes: Ken has written about this already, but Slezak's voice and instrumental prowess means we're going to get something truly great out of this solo effort. Plus, given that I'm always on the lookout for stuff my almost-two-year-old might enjoy, that this is at least in part geared toward the littler set means I have a few reasons to be excited.

School of Seven Bells - TBA: With the loss of one half of this duo earlier this year, all we have left is what's being prepped for release this year. I've loved everything School of Seven Bells has released up to this point, and this bittersweet swan song will hopefully not disappoint.

The Juliana Hatfield Three – Whatever, My Love: "If I Could" is already a frontrunner for song of 2015 for me, so to say I'm really excited about this upcoming album is an understatement. February can't come soon enough, and the fact that the new song alone sounds like an early 1990s throwback while still sounding modern? I think this might be the only thing Ken and I post about in February at this rate.

Other upcoming albums I'm intrigued by:

* Colleen Green – I Want To Grow Up (early songs sound pretty polished, but still quite good)
* Tool – TBA (yes, really)
* Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
* Belle & Sebastian – Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance
* Courtney Barnett - TBA