Monday, February 29, 2016

Mike & The Melvins - "Limited Teeth"

The Melvins have to be the most consistently prolific bands in music today. According to the story behind this latest release, back in 1999 the band added Mike Kunka of godheadSilo to the band as a second bassist. That lineup recorded together, but an album was never finished. The group decided to reconvene recently, and 17 years later are going to release Three Men and a Baby. 

"Limited Teeth" is a fast, bludgeoning song. It's about as mainstream and coherent as The Melvins are going to get, especially with adding a second bassist. It feels like the best 90s grungy metal could ever have to offer, with killer fuzzy riffs and drums that could destroy a room live.

Three Men and a Baby is due out April 1 on Sub Pop. You can listen to "Limited Teeth" below. No word on if this line up will be included at all on The Melvins' upcoming tour with Napalm Death and Melt Banana, but head on over to their website for dates.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Adia Victoria - "Dead Eyes"

It was over a year ago since I first wrote about Adia Victoria and how much I couldn't wait for an actual album from her (she was a pick for my most anticipated albums of 2016,) and we finally have a new single from the upcoming album. While "Sea of Sand" was more of a dark, gothic version of alt-country, "Dead Eyes" is much more of a rocker. It's by far the most upbeat song we've heard from Victoria so far, with fast guitars and plinking keyboards. Based on the few singles she had previously released, I certainly wasn't expecting this to be what the first single off her forthcoming album to sound like, but I'm now even more intrigued than before. And at only 2 minutes 21 seconds, it's over before you want it to be.

We still have a bit of a wait for the album, but we do finally have a release date: Beyond the Bloodhounds will be released on May 13 via Canvasback, which is an imprint of Atlantic Records. You can listen to "Dead Eyes" below, and be sure to like her on Facebook for more information, including her extensive tour schedule.

Hallelujah the Hills - "We Have the Perimeter Surrounded"

Hallelujah the Hills have just released the first song from their upcoming 5th album, A Band is Something to Figure Out, and if "We Have the Perimeter Surrounded" is any indication, they are about to be huge.

With "We Have the Perimeter Surrounded," Hallelujah the Hills have officially mastered the whole folk punk thing. The song starts off with an ominously heavy bass riff and then kicks into an almost Fugazi-like half yelling/half spoken word rant. And then the gang chorus starts. It all degenerates into rambling guitar riffs and a smidge of "California Uber Alles" squeals. 

To go along with the release of "We Have the Perimeter Surrounded," Hallelujah the Hills have started a website that also shares a US Government document of a conversation between Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger where Woody recalls a dream that may have predicted punk rock. Check that out at

A Band is Something to Figure Out is due out on April 12 via Discrete Pageantry Records. You can listen to "We Have the Perimeter Surrounded" below. You can pre-order the album on their Bandcamp, and be sure to check out their website for more info. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Smooth Hound Smith - "Stopgap Woman Blues"

Smooth Hound Smith are a hyped-up rootsy duo in the vein of The White Stripes, The Black Keys, and Shovels & Rope. What sets them apart is they're a little more traditional blues and country and less noisy or punk. Zack Smith covers vocals, guitar, foot drums, harmonica, and banjo, while Caitlin Doyle is in charge of vocals and percussion. They have a raw and primal sound in the vein of early rockabilly songs. 

The duo just released the video for "Stopgap Woman Blues." It features a man and woman dancing in animal masks in front of a stage while Smooth Hound Smith plays. It's the kind of rock n roll throwback that will make you pine for a time you never knew. This is modern roots music at its finest: Embracing the past while not being a novelty act.

For more information on Smooth Hound Smith, check out their website. You can order their most recent album, Sweet Tennessee Honey, on iTunes, and check out the video for "Stopgap Woman Blues" below.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Guerilla Toss - "Doll Face on the Calico Highway"

From the few songs that Guerilla Toss have released so far, Eraser Stargazer is going to be a total departure for the band. Not that they're going to be releasing an album of alt-country ballads, but this album is just different. "Doll Face on the Calico Highway" is a pretty intense song by other bands' standards, but for Guerilla Toss it's almost like a Bon Jovi ballad. The song is a slightly slower than mid-tempo spoken word plodder. The band seems to be shedding the attention grabbing shriek of noise punk, and are instead moving towards the aggravation of art rock. It will still get you weird looks from the others in your work cubicle farm, but maybe they'll ask you what it is instead of just demanding you turn it off.

Eraser Stargazer is due out on March 4 on DFA Records. You can get more information on Guerilla Toss via their Bandcamp and Facebook. Watch the lyric video for "Doll Face on the Calico Highway" below.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

First Listen: New Releases for February 19

This is a weird week of "Very Good."

Album of the Week:

Artist: Carrie Rodriguez
Album: Lola
Quick Description: Veteran rootsy singer-songwriter goes a little political and a lot bilingual in a collection of originals and Mexican classics.
Why You Should Listen: You enjoyed, for example, Leyla McCalla's album from a while back, and don't mind some Spanish language in your Tex-Mex.
Overall Thoughts: I won't lie, I do tend to struggle with non-English lyrics in my music. I don't pay attention to lyrics much as it is, but the ability to sing along even if I'm not paying too much notice to the words is always a plus. I've been a fan of Carrie Rodriguez for some time now even though I'm not great at keeping up with her output, and even the album cover alone demands some attention. The English language songs shine through quite a bit here, for sure - "Z" is a smirking take on racial perceptions and country music in general, "I Dreamed I Was Lola Beltran" a gorgeous tribute to Rodriguez's aunt - but the real joy comes from the rest of the album, which is just a really pleasant listen and, for this northeastern music lover, a great window into the genres she clearly loves and grew up with. I really liked this album, and I might be coming around to loving it with more time, but this is one of those listens that is worth your time no matter what, if only to try something a little different. Also, for those interested, she has annotated the album here, so you can get some more background.
Recommendation: An enthusiastic recommendation, easily the best release of the week.

Artist: Cavern of Anti-Matter
Album: Void Beats / Invocation Trex
Quick Description: Stereolab founder's new electronic-ish project.
Why You Should Listen: You're a fan of Stereolab, you want something a little more different and challenging.
Overall Thoughts: Whatever I expected from this went out the window fairly quickly a few minutes into the opening track, and then it kept surprising me throughout. To call this an electronic album doesn't quite do it justice, but neither does calling it a more straightforward piece because of the layers within. If you're looking for an entrypoint, you might want to try "Liquid Gate" to start out, but this is one of those albums that might end up surprising you at the end of the day.
Recommendation: Worth a listen as one of the more ambitious releases of the week.

Artist: Doug Tuttle
Album: It Calls On Me
Quick Description: Retro rock from a New England native.
Why You Should Listen: The 1960s/70s rock is more your speed.
Overall Thoughts: This album absolutely isn't trying to forge new ground as much as make a great record that combines a lot of the best aspects of some other great records, and that's what makes this a fun listen on a whole. It's more sincere than perhaps a lot of recent psych-rock retreads, and has a bit of a Kurt Vile vibe in some regards, except it's so much better than that. I'm not going to say this is for everyone, but this is a solid effort for sure.
Recommendation: If you like other older rock acts, this deserves at least a listen in your weekly rotation.

Artist: Wild Nothing
Album: Life of Pause
Quick Description: Gorgeous indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: You appreciate good songwriting and different music that sounds familiar.
Overall Thoughts: Once you get into the meat of "Reichpop," you know pretty quickly what you're getting from Wild Nothing's third album, which is an impressive-yet-standard indie pop/rock album that hits all the right notes and sounds like it was made for perfection's sake. It's got a very 1980s vibe in many places, which is fine, but it almost feels too polished at times to truly go beyond what it's trying to do. Still a solid listen.
Recommendation: Shouldn't be the first thing on your list, but should maybe find some space.

Artist: Ra Ra Riot
Album: Need Your Light
Quick Description: Fourth album for the popular indie rock act.
Why You Should Listen: Ra Ra Riot typically has an interesting listen throughout.
Overall Thoughts: Ra Ra Riot went a little overelectronic on their third album, and, while it was great, it was still a shift from their earlier work. Need Your Light feels like an attempt to balance things out a bit for the band, and it largely works. While a first listen does not necessarily come out with a crazy memorable song, it does feel like an improvement over their last album and a maturation of their sound. Whether this will have legs remains to be seen, but, for now, this is another quality release from a great band.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Wolfmother
Album: Victorious
Quick Description: Latest album by hard rock/metal throwbacks.
Why You Should Listen: There's no reason you should want to listen to this unless you already know the band...
Overall Thoughts: ...but wow is this good. I didn't expect to even like this, never mind fully enjoy this. It's fun retro schlock, for sure, and there's room in any musical diet for it, but it's hard not to hear a song like "Gypsy Caravan" and not smile a bit. This isn't for everyone, but if you have any interest in dumb rock music, this is a smart choice.
Recommendation: Well, you'll know right away if it's for you.

Artist: Lushlife
Album: Ritualize
Quick Description: Some independent rap for this week.
Why You Should Listen: The only hip-hop/rap album we've got this week, especially as we wait impatiently for the new Kanye West to get out from Tidal.
Overall Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about this album except that it's one of those solid collaborative efforts that straddles the line between mainstream and indie rap in a lot of ways. Listen more for the production than anything else, but rap fans will likely find some good things here.
Recommendation: Not essential unless you're jonesing for some rap music in your rotation.

Artist: Mavis Staples
Album: Livin' On a High Note
Quick Description: Latest album from the soul/gospel legend.
Why You Should Listen: Even if this isn't your genre, Staples is working with some of the great names in indie music today.
Overall Thoughts: Mavis Staples is an important name in music, and is perhaps not known well enough compared to some of her peers. In the last few years, she has absolutely gotten a second look and she's remained relevant with some great collaborations recently. The latest album has production from M. Ward, contributions from artists like Neko Case, and is just a solid listen that's great to throw in your rotation.
Recommendation: Mavis Staples should always find some time in your weekly listen.

Artist: Marlon Williams
Album: Marlon Williams
Quick Description: Some great, upbeat alt-country.
Why You Should Listen: You miss old-school Trampled By Turtles.
Overall Thoughts: Nothing quite sounds like Marlon Williams today. There's a bit of an edge to his roots music that is both surprising and familiar. The leadoff track, "Hello Miss Lonesome," sets a great tone right to start and the album doesn't really stop after that. I really enjoyed this and I look forward to spending more time with it, but this also might be a little too different for those who like the more traditional stuff.
Recommendation: Recommended, but with obvious caveats.

Artist: The Cave Singers
Album: Banshee
Quick Description: Fifth album from the indie rock act.
Why You Should Listen: Probably the most straightforward rock album on the list this week.
Overall Thoughts: I can't say I've been a huge fan of The Cave Singers, and this is not an album that really changed my mind. If you're expecting something special here, nothing will jump out at you or stick with you, and there's just more interesting music out there this week.
Recommendation: Skip this one.

Also out this week:

* Lake Street Dive - Side Pony
* Matmos - Ultimate Care II (as confusing as any other Matmos record)
* Choir of Young Believers - Grasque (ethereal electronica)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Forgotten Fridays: The Elevator Drops - Pop Bus

Forgotten Fridays returns this week with a band I absolutely hated back in college: The Elevator Drops. I can't really blame them for my dislike. Back in 1996, I was thrilled that The Rentals were opening for Blur at Avalon. Seeing two of my then favorite bands together was everything I wanted. The Rentals ended up getting stuck on the Red Hot Chili Peppers/Silverchair tour and had to drop off the Blur tour. They were replaced with The Elevator Drops. Any anger I felt towards the band was purely based on me being 19 and dumb. Also, I was a die hard Lemonheads fan, and I took their song "Be a Lemonhead (Beautiful Junkie)" as a personal insult to my fandom. 

Somehow, The Elevator Drops popped into my head last week, and I decided to give them an actual fair shot for the first time ever. Pop Bus holds up remarkably well. It does scream 1996, but in the best way. It's the ultra-groovy alternative rock that the mid-90s Boston scene was just drenched in but nobody seems to remember. It has just a smidge of the electronica that was set to explode nationwide a year later, but it's not exactly dance music. While it's fairly happy sounding and pretty poppy, there is this bizarre undercurrent of annoying and irritating noise, kind of like Ween or an undercover version of Happy Flowers. Their closest bands sound-wise would be The Dandy Warhols or Jack Drag. I seem to remember them also having a gimmick, almost like they were meant to be aliens. Or that could be the sound of songs like "Elevator to Heaven" that put that in my head.

"Be a Lemonhead (Beautiful Junkie)" is a phenomenal song in retrospect. I wish I had stopped being a stupid teenager and been a fan back in their heyday.

Friday Freebie: Skating Polly - Ugly Pop EP

Skating Polly might very well be your next favorite band. It's a distorted punk-ish mess with some serious pop chops. Their Ugly Pop EP features three previously released songs and two newer songs, so it's a great way to check them out for the first time. 

Their sound has some pretty serious grunge roots while still being accessible as hell. Think Babes in Toyland meets Cake Like. "Oddie Moore," one of the newer songs on Ugly Pop EP, is a lighter ready power ballad, albeit with in your face choppy vocals. "Cosmetic Skull" is an ultra-poppy keyboard ballad, more like a Sia song (or at least, what I'm mostly sure Sia sounds like.) "Alabama Movies" is my favorite, and fits more traditionally in the loud/quiet/loud tradition of my favorite 90s alternative. Loud screaming, distorted as fuck guitars, dual vocals... it's pretty much a perfect anthem.

Ugly Pop EP is available for free via Bandcamp. For some more information on Skating Polly, head on over to their website.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bleached - "Wednesday Night Melody"

Photo by Nicole Anne Robbins
Our excitement for the new Bleached album continues to increase with the release of the video for "Wednesday Night Melody." The song continues their Bangles meets Veruca Salt sound from "Keep On Keepin' On." For a fun twist, "Wednesday Night Melody" brings this odd hair metal power ballad feel to it. Imagine a Motley Crue ballad with crunched out guitars, and you're just about there. It bridges the gap between my favorite music and my favorite guilty pleasure. I'm pretty convinced I'll become obsessed with Bleached by the end of 2016. Plus, the video features the rest of the band finding singer Jennifer Clavin dead, only to still make it to a gig Weekend at Bernie's style.

Welcome the Worms is due out April 1 on Dead Ocean. Be sure to check out the video for "Wednesday Night Melody" below, along with tour dates below that. For more info on Bleached, be sure to check out their Facebook or website.

Mar. 15 - March 19 - Austin, TX @ SXSW

Mar. 29 - Santa Barbara, CA @ Velvet Jones
Mar. 30 - San Diego, CA @ Casbah
Apr. 2 - Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
Apr. 4 - Austin, TX @ Sidewinder
Apr. 5 - Houston, TX @ Walter’s
Apr. 6 - Dallas, TX @ Three Links
Apr. 8 - Nashville, TN @ The High Watt
Apr. 9 - Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
Apr. 11 - Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Apr. 13 - Washington, DC @ DC9
Apr. 15 - Boston, MA @ Great Scott
Apr. 16 - Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz POB
Apr. 17 - Toronto, ON @ Garrison
Apr. 20 - Columbus, OH @ Double Happiness
Apr. 21 - Ferndale, MI @ Loving Touch
Apr. 22 - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
Apr. 23 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry 
Apr. 25 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
Apr. 26 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
Apr. 28 - Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
Apr. 29 - Seattle, WA @ Barboza
Apr. 30 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
May 2 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
May 4 - Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room
May 5 - Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
May 17 - Manchester, UK @ Gulivers
May 18 - London, UK @ Moth Club
May 19 – Brighton, UK @ The Great Escape Festival @ Horatios
May 20 - Amsterdam, NL @ Bitterzoet
May 21 - Eindhoven, NL @ Stroomhuis

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Big Thief - "Masterpiece"

Photo courtesy of Big Thief
Brooklyn's Big Thief are set to release their debut album and have released a video for "Masterpiece." "Masterpiece" reminds me a lot of Laura Stevenson. It's 90s inflected pop rock, maybe like a slightly more straightforward Belly. It also edges just enough into  folk/Americana territory that I could see them playing Newport in the next few years. (Hey, if Courtney Barnett can play Newport...) With its fuzzy guitars and sing-along chorus, if the rest of their album is anything like this, I could see myself becoming obsessed with Big Thief.

Big Thief's debut album will be released this year on Saddle Creek. You can watch the video for "Masterpiece" below. For more information on Big Thief, check out their website. After the video, you can find their upcoming tour dates, mostly supporting Eleanor Friedberger and Yuck.

Thu. Feb. 18 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom w/ Eleanor Frieberger
Fri. Feb. 19 - Philadelphia, PA @ MilkBoy w/ Eleanor Friedberger
Sat. Feb. 20 - Woodstock, NY @ Bearsville Theater w/ Eleanor Friedberger
Thu. Mar 10 - Chapel Hill, NC @ The Kraken w/ The Love Language
Fri. Mar. 11 - Savannah, GA @ Savannah Stopover Festival
Sat. Mar. 12 - Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5 w/ Yuck, Sunflower Bean
Sun. Mar. 13 - Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon w/ Yuck
Wed. Mar 16 - Sat. Mar 19 - Austin, TX @ SXSW
Mon. Mar. 21 - Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom w/ Yuck, Sunflower Bean
Tue. Mar. 22 - Las Vegas, NV @ The Bunkhouse Saloon w/ Yuck
Wed. Mar. 23 - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar w/ Yuck
Thu. Mar. 24 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echoplex w/ Yuck
Fri. Mar. 25 - Visalia, CA @ The Cellar Door w/ Yuck
Sat. Mar. 26 - San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall w/ Yuck
Mon. Mar. 28 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios w/ Yuck
Tue. Mar. 29 - Vancouver, BC @ Fortune Sound Club w/ Yuck
Wed. Mar. 30 - Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile w/ Yuck
Thu. Mar. 31 - Boise, ID @ Neurolux w/ Yuck
Fri. Apr. 1 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Bar w/ Yuck
Sat. Apr. 2 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge w/ Yuck
Sun. Apr. 3 - Omaha, NE @ Lookout Lounge w/ Yuck
Mon. Apr. 4 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry w/ Yuck
Tue. Apr. 5 - Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon w/ Yuck
Wed. Apr. 6 - Chicago, IL @ The Empty Bottle w/ Yuck
Thu. Apr. 7 - Ferndale, MI @ The Loving Touch w/ Yuck
Fri. Apr. 15 - Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel w/ Yuck

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

First Listen: New Releases for February 12

A fascinating week this week. It should be noted that Kanye West's album did come out at some point this weekend, but it won't hit non-Tidal services until next weekend. I will almost certainly cover the album as soon as I have reasonable access to it. With that said...

Album of the Week:

Artist: Radiation City
Album: Synestetica
Quick Description: A fun, synthy indie album.
Why You Should Listen: You deserve something fun like this album for this week.
Overall Thoughts: I think this came out of nowhere for me this week, and that might be part of why I'm so into it. A sometimes dancey, sometimes retro-feeling album, you'll know pretty quickly into "Oil Show" whether this is right for you, but I don't think I've been more excited to get back to a surprise album the way I was for this.
Recommendation: My favorite of the week, so check it out.

Artist: Lissie
Album: My Wild West
Quick Description: Lissie goes independent on her third release.
Why You Should Listen: Lissie is a must listen, and if you haven't gotten on board yet, you should do that.
Overall Thoughts: Lissie's albums have been must-listen affairs for me since I first learned of her, and I was extremely excited for this album. I hate to use the word "unfortunately," because that's not accurate, but this album is a lot slower and more deliberative than her previous efforts. Outside of "Don't You Give Up On Me," there isn't that breakout, immediate song that grabs you, and many songs feel almost more experimental in some regards. This is not to say it's bad. In fact, it's very good, and was a favorite of mine this week, but it perhaps isn't what I expected. So that's the only negative, and this one feels like it'll be a grower.
Recommendation: Recommended for sure, one of the better releases this week.

Artist: Basia Bulat
Album: Good Advice
Quick Description: Fourth album from the Canadian singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: If you're not a fan, she does very great indie folk. If you are a fan, this is a return to form of sorts.
Overall Thoughts: I've loved Basia Bulat since her first album, and this new one is absolutely more reminiscent of that early work than her more recent stuff. "La La Lie" put a smile on my face within seconds, and it basically stayed with me through the whole listen (even though this is apparently a breakup album of sorts). Still, it's always great to get a Basia Bulat album, so this is a nice plus this week.
Recommendation: Another solid release for this week.

Artist: The Jezabels
Album: Synthia
Quick Description: Third album from the Australian rock group.
Why You Should Listen: The Jezebels put out some of the most interesting and accessible rock music at present.
Overall Thoughts: In a week where it's established artists doing something a little different, The Jezebels return with an album that feels a lot more raw and unpolished than their previous work. This, as with the others, is not a bad thing. The band has dealt with some situations over the last few years that absolutely speak to what's happening on this album, and the result is maybe a lot more personal than we're used to. Still, this might be a good entry point for some, and then work backward from there.
Recommendation: A solid listen, worth your time.

Artist: Foxes
Album: All I Need
Quick Description: Second album from the pop singer trying hard to break through.
Why You Should Listen: You need your pop fix this week.
Overall Thoughts: Foxes's first album was better than I think a lot of people gave credit for, and she had a good turn on an EDM track a couple years back, but this second album just feels like it's missing something. Is it too much of a try hard? Maybe, but without a real solid, hooky song and without a major reason to propel itself above artists possibly doing this better (like, for example, Alessia Cara), this just feels like it falls flat.
Recommendation: Not really recommended this week.

Artist: You Say Party
Album: You Say Party
Quick Description: Canadian dance punks return and play it straight.
Why You Should Listen: You're looking for a different sound this week.
Overall Thoughts: Formerly You Say Party! I Say Die!, the band had some losses and a short hiatus, but return with an album that sounds more deliberate and much slower than what we've come to expect from them. Fans of the band might be turned off, but if you weren't into them before this might be a new change of pace. As for me, I'm on the fence. It's good, but it's unexpected and I might need more time.
Recommendation: Might be worth a slot in your rotation.

Artist: Cloud Cult
Album: The Seeker
Quick Description: Second album from rock supergroup.
Why You Should Listen: If you loved their first album...
Overall Thoughts: ...this might be up your alley, or might be a little weird. A concept album to tie along with Josh Radnor's (How I Met Your Mother) upcoming movie, this is one of those albums that probably works better in context. On its own, though, the musicality shines through and fans of their first album will probably find something to like.
Recommendation: A wait-and-see for me.

Artist: The Suffers
Album: The Suffers
Quick Description: Debut album from Southern soul rock group.
Why You Should Listen: We don't feature soul music much here, so that should tell you something.
Overall Thoughts: It's good! It's not my genre, but I really enjoyed it for what it was. I don't know enough about the genre to say how it stacks up, but if you're looking for a new voice...
Recommendation: I liked it a lot!

Artist: The Frights
Album: You Are Going to Hate This
Quick Description: Good old-fashioned garage rock.
Why You Should Listen: Nothing rocks like this does this week or recently.
Overall Thoughts: You'll know how you feel by listening to the title track, but overall, this is fun. When Ken sent this over, I thought the album title was his editorial for me, but it turns out there's a lot of irony in the album title. Absolutely a fun release, one of the better ones this week. Absolutely vital if you're into good rock music.
Recommendation: A definite listen this week.

Artist: Alex Dezen
Album: Alex Dezen
Quick Description: Solo album from a member of The Damnwells
Why You Should Listen: You're a fan of The Damnwells or perhaps the sort of 80s Don Henley rock it's mimicking at times.
Overall Thoughts: This is super polished and I don't know if it's great, or good, or just passable. "A Little Less Like Hell" is pretty representative, and it's not a bad song, but, like the rest of the album, I just waited for it to explode and it never quite gets there. This is an okay listen, but it's far from great.
Recommendation: Not essential in what is a busy week.

Artist: Flowers
Album: Everybody's Dying to Meet You
Quick Description: Some retro-style indie rock.
Why You Should Listen: If you listen to the lead track, hear that reverb, and get taken back someplace in the deep recesses of your memory, you'll know why.
Overall Thoughts: The good thing about this album, from a band I don't feel I know or remember, is that they're fresh sounding while still having a very distinct sound they're playing at. I haven't heard guitar sounds like that in ages, and that's where the charm comes from, but they're not afraid to go loud in a chorus, either, meaning you don't feel like you're constantly waiting for more. I can quibble about a lot of things from this album, but in terms of a simply enjoyable listen, this does it.
Recommendation: Worth some time if you have the interest.

Artist: The Record Company
Album: Give It Back to You
Quick Description: Roots rock from a buzzworthy west coast band.
Why You Should Listen: You're looking for more traditional American rock this week.
Overall Thoughts: This band does what they do really well, and it's authentic sounding without feeling like it's trying too hard, which is difficult to do on a whole. This might not be for everyone, but if you've liked the sort of rootsy stuff we offer here, this one exists off the beaten path a bit.
Recommendation: Give it room if you like the genre.

Also out this week:

* Blowfly - 77 Rusty Trombones (juvenile as all get out, but you'll know if you're looking for something like this.)
* The Coffin Daggers - Aggrivatin' Rhythms (surf rock!)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Monday Mix: Meet the Presidents!

If there's one thing we can assure you this year, it's that there will not be an Official Blog Endorsement in the presidential race this year. While Ken and I are united against Donald Trump, that's where it ends, but one place we both have bipartisan cooperation on is weird songs about/concerning the highest office in the United States of America. (And one song by The Presidents of the United States of America because of course). Enjoy this playlist as you celebrate the American Presidency, or, in the case of a few artists here, absolutely don't celebrate it.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Riley Pinkerton - Do You Have a Car EP

It's rare to find an artist that isn't exactly breaking any ground in a genre but is unnaturally difficult to describe. Riley Pinkerton is a singer-songwriter playing mostly acoustic folk. Her voice is what really transcends the folk genre. While having an absolutely stunning voice, she has this slightly disturbing element that just draws the listener in. With very sparse instrumentation on her Do You Have a Car EP, her voice remains front and center. "Frankenstein" starts out with a rambling, more finger picking style of guitar. As the song progresses, the guitar starts to fall out and become less and less of a part of the song, until it swings back in, only to slowly pull back again. "We're All Wild" is the most traditionally mainstream song, while the EP's closer, "The Queen's Brigade," has a progression that's closer to metal than folk. Do You Have a Car EP is a stunning debut release from an artist we can't wait to her more from.

Riley Pinkerton's Do You Have a Car EP is available now via Bandcamp. For more information, please head over to her website. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Dog Chocolate - "Emotionally Buff"

Coming straight out of London, Dog Chocolate are getting ready to release their debut album, Snack Fans. Between the band name and the title of their album, I expected fairly straightforward bratty pop punk. I was wrong, since "Emotionally Buff" is quirky noise punk, with choppy vocals, fairly random gang vocals, crashing drums, and a guitar riff that's more catchy than the vocals. The guitar seems to be the constant holding the whole glorious mess together. It reminds me a lot of early Ex Models and Parquet Courts at times. 

Snack Fans is due out on March 18 through Upset the Rhythm. You can watch the video for "Emotionally Buff" below. For more on Dog Chocolate, you can check them out on Tumblr, Soundcloud, and Twitter. You can pre-order Snack Fans directly through Upset the Rhythm.

Friday (on a Wednesday) Freebie: Shakey Graves - Live at Levon's

We normally wait until Friday to post these but this one is pretty exciting so we can't wait. Yesterday, Shakey Graves posted a recent live concert on his Bandcamp. Considering it was recorded on 2/6/16, it's very recent. Live at Levon's was recorded at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY. According to the description on Bandcamp, "This is a live experiment, testing out a few new songs in their baby form and playing others in a different arrangement or manner." Because of this, the entire thing can't be downloaded in one chunk through a zip drive since the new songs can only be streamed. The previously heard songs must be downloaded individually. Funny how times change, since 10 years ago I used to download songs individually every day and I was thrilled to do it. Live at Levon's is a great mixture of solo acoustic, electric, and full band performances. And, it's free.

You can download and stream Live at Levon's over at Shakey Graves' Bandcamp. Be sure to check out his website for more info, including tour dates.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Salem Wolves - "Peach"

We've been pretty free with our love for Salem Wolves here at If It's Too Loud..., and that love is only growing with their new single "Peach." It expands a bit more on their more poppy version of garage punk by adding a bit more of a glammed up sound. In fact, there are more than a few moments that are straight up T. Rex inspired. It was recorded in the Converse Rubber Tracks Boston studio. It's everything you want in a Salem Wolves song: It's fast, gritty, but with just the right amount of melody and gloss to make it fun.

For more information on Salem Wolves, be sure to check out their website or Facebook. "Peach" is out now on MegaHex Records. You can download the song for free on their Bandcamp.