Friday, June 15, 2018

Downtown Boys Cover Selena Covering The Pretenders

Photo by Michael Baca
Our love of covers is pretty well known here at If It's Too Loud..., but this may just be a first for us. We've been loving Providence's Downtown Boys for a while now. Their cover of Bruce Springsteen's classic "Dancing in the Dark" is a personal favorite, and now they're back with another cover. They've recently unveiled their cover of Selena's "Fotos Y Recuerdos" which is a Spanish language cover of The Pretender's "Back in the Chain Gang." It was originally recorded during the sessions for Cost of Living, their most recent album, but didn't make it on that album. One of our favorite artists releasing a cover of a cover? Happy Friday, everyone!

You can listen to Downtown Boys's cover of "Fotos Y Recuerdos" below. For more on Downtown Boys, check out their Facebook.

Fred Abong - Homeless

The same week we get a new song from Kristin Hersh, we can hear new music from another member of Throwing Muses! Once (and possible current?) Throwing Muses bassist Fred Abong is taking some time off from his college professor duties and has recorded his first solo release, Homeless. It's a six song collection of stripped down, just slightly off kilter solo singer/songwriter music. It's almost fairly standard, but just the slightest bit off to keep things interesting. "Rattler" is almost an epic, and could easily be turned into a large venue filling rocker, but it works equally well as a stripped down solo song. "Equinox" is a painfully quiet song that draws the listener inward in a way I haven't heard since Elliott Smith. 

You can listen to "Rattler" below. Homeless will be available on June 29, although you can listen to (and pre-order) the entire thing at Fred Abong's Bandcamp. For more on Fred Abong, check out his website and Twitter.

Bear Grass - "Unawake"

There's something so familiar about Bear Grass's new song, "Unawake," yet something so completely unique and special. The song brings in some of our favorite musical elements, but mixes them up in a way we've never quite heard before. At it's very core is some fairly standard singer/songwriter kind of stuff, with some of these amazing melodies and hooks. Singer Katie Hammon's voice is this fresh from the dryer blanket feeling instrument that just draws you in. But there is this odd distortion throughout the song that pulls you away and further in at the same time, along with some shoegaze style swirls. It's a majestic indie rock song while still almost being a pretty mainstream folk style song. You're pretty guaranteed to love this one.

You can listen to "Unawake" belong. LEFT, the new album from Bear Grass, will be out August 10 on Five Kill Records. You can pre-order it via Bandcamp. For more on Bear Grass, check out their website.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Rayland Baxter - "Strange American Dream"

Photo by Shervin Lainez
Rayland Baxter seems to be one of those artists that is intent on changing up his sound with every new album. With his new song, "Strange American Dream," he's dropped most of his folk/Americana/country sound in favor of a more 90's singer/songwriter feel along the line of Ben Lee. In the past year or so, we've seen a bunch of our favorite folky artists experimenting with a more mainstream, sometimes even pop, sound, to varying levels of success. "Strange American Dream" is one of the better experiments. It still keeps enough of Baxter's folk charm. While it veers off in a different direction from Imaginary Man, it's not a complete change of direction. If you've been a fan of his, I can't imagine this knocking you off the bandwagon.

You can listen to "Strange American Dream" below. The latest album from Rayland Baxter, Wide Awake, will be out July 13 on ATO Records. For more on Rayland Baxter, check out his website.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Kristin Hersh - "Breathe In"

Any time we can bring you new music from one of Kristin Hersh's projects is an exciting time for us all. With an album upcoming later this year, Hersh has released a new single off it, "Breathe In." One thing we know from "Breathe In" is that the new album won't be one of her quiet acoustic releases. The track is dripping with what sounds like a tremelo effect on the guitar. When it doesn't have the effect, the guitar has a distinctly crunchy feel, and just about every element of the song, including Hersh's voice, has it's turn to distort. The song has a hypnotic and not entirely pleasant feel, although it's not entirely unpleasant, either. 

You can listen to a rough mix of "Breathe In" below. The song features Fred Abong of Throwing Muses on bass and Wyatt True (aka Hersh's son) on drums. The new album from Kristin Hersh, Possible Dust Clouds, will be out later this year via Fire Records. For more on Kristin Hersh, check out her website. Current tour dates are below the song.

June 14  Tel Aviv - Zappa Club 
June 17  Bristol - Redgrave Theatre
June 18  London, Cecil Sharp House 
June 21  London, Meltdown Festival  SOLD OUT
June 24  Glasgow, Mackintosh Church
June 25  Halifax, Square Chapel
June 26  Newcastle, Cluny 2 SOLD OUT
June 27  Newcastle, Cluny 2 
June 28  Cambridge, Storey’s Field Centre
June 29  Ramsgate, Ramsgate Music Hall SOLD OUT
June 30  Brighton, Duke of York’s Cinema
July 1     Ramsgate – Ramsgate Music Hall

Service - "Be Alright" and "Cold Light" [Rough Mixes]

Photo via Facebook
We first became aware of Service, the newest band from Russell Simins, drummer from Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, back in August 2016. That's when they released three demo songs on their Soundcloud. Almost two years later and we still don't have an official release, but there are two more rough demos kicking around. "Cold Light" is my personal favorite of the two. It's a little more hypnotic and driving of the two, while being more mellow if that makes sense. It's somehow post-punk and psychedelic at the same time. "Be Alright" is a little more straightforward. It's catchier and a bit more groovy, but still a loud, fuzzed out garage rocker.

You can listen to "Be Alright" and "Cold Light" in their rough demo forms over at Service's Soundcloud page. For more on Service, check them out on Facebook and Twitter. And let's all hope they move from rough demos to first official release in the near future.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for June 8

A slower week after last week's big one.

Artist: Soft Science
Album: Maps
Quick Description: Shoegazey pop rock.
Why You Should Listen: This is the best release from last week that we missed?
Overall Thoughts: We missed this from last week, and I’m glad I tripped up on it. It has some alt-rock elements mixed with some shoegaze, and there are simply hooks for days on this. In a week where I liked a lot of things but didn’t love anything, this would otherwise be my album of the week. As it stands, though, this is a stellar listen that should have some real longevity in my rotation, and it’s different than a lot of what I’m hearing lately.
Recommendation: Worth your time.

Artist: Lykke Li
Album: so sad so sexy
Quick Description: The European alt-popper is back with something truly great.
Why You Should Listen: Lykke Li has always pushed boundaries and made some great music.
Overall Thoughts: It’s been a while since we heard from Lykke Li, and this is a fun, interesting pop album that leans in on a few themes she has been playing with over the last decade. The result, if I’m honest? This is the album Lily Allen should have put out this week. A good album with some fascinating bits to it that I hope to spend more time with.
Recommendation: A good option this week.

Artist: gobbinjr
Album: Ocala Wick
Quick Description: Twee-ish anti-folk(?)
Why You Should Listen: This is pretty different from what we've typically seen.
Overall Thoughts: I’m not sure if this qualifies as alt-folk in the current climate, but I would have absolutely been in love with this in college. It’s cute, weird folk music with some humor and lightness along with the bite it offers.
Recommendation: Absolutely worth a listen.

Artist: Erin Rae
Album: Putting on Airs
Quick Description: Mature, thoughtful rootsy music.
Why You Should Listen: It sounds familiar while still being different.
Overall Thoughts: A lot of these songs give me a “Lucy Dacus, but with twang” feel to them. The album itself doesn’t stray too far from the traditional country folk a lot, but there are moments here that really forced me to stop what I was doing and really listen, which says a lot.
Recommendation: A great listen this week.

Artist: Laura Jean
Album: Devotion
Quick Description: Solid singer-songwriter stuff.
Why You Should Listen: This is better than most stuff out recently.
Overall Thoughts: This is the type of record that is on one end pretty solid and serviceable, but also doesn’t move out of its lane much to be as transcendent as you feel it has the potential to do. You will likely listen to this and feel like it’s a good album, because it is. Just in a week with has some pretty great stuff while we still recover from the double whammy of Neko Case and Tancred last week?
Recommendation: This just isn’t essential.

Artist: Snail Mail
Album: Lush
Quick Description: A debut album from an early favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Snail Mail is something special, and is only going to get specialer (yes, I'm making that a word).
Overall Thoughts: Ken is a big fan of Snail Mail, and this super young act is making music far beyond what you’d expect from a debut here. It’s definitely raw and deliberately sparse, but it’s also absolutely gorgeous. When you hear a song like “Anytime,” you realize that this is a talent that isn’t to be missed.
Recommendation: A great debut album, looking forward to more.

Artist: M. Ward
Album: What a Wonderful Industry
Quick Description: Latest from the busy indie guitarist.
Why You Should Listen: M. Ward is always worth a listen.
Overall Thoughts: no one is quite like M. Ward. An indie guitar virtuoso in a genre that doesn’t generally reward virtuosity, an interesting songwriter in a space that doesn’t always reward interesting songwriting, his new album plays up his best aspects and diminishes the stuff that doesn't always work. I'll go as far as to say this is my favorite effort of his since Hold Time, if ever.
Recommendation: A definite one to add to your rotation.

Artist: Hilary Woods
Album: Colt
Quick Description: Darkish folk stuff.
Why You Should Listen: You wish Marissa Nadler was a little lighter on her feet.
Overall Thoughts: Dark, brooding music with a bit of a folk bent but often sounds like it belongs at The Roadhouse in Twin Peaks. It’s kind of haunting in a lot of ways, and that isn’t a bad thing at all, but I do not know for sure if everyone who listens to what we recommend would like this, but I sure did.
Recommendation: Might not work for everyone, but this should get a shot.

Artist: Kingsley Flood
Album: Neighbors and Strangers
Quick Description: Latest from a local favorite.
Why You Should Listen: At some point, this band is going to break out and you'll be kicking yourself that you didn't get in on the ground floor.
Overall Thoughts: What more can I say about Kingsley Flood? They're a band in their prime making essential independent alternative music, and too many people don't know about them. It's a shame, as they may be one of the best bands your friends have never heard, and this album is an accessible shot in the arm that, with any justice, would result in their getting on rock radio and being on television and being that band everyone is talking about. So don't miss out.
Recommendation: An obvious listen.

Of note:

* Palm Ghosts - Architecture (your good 80s retro of the day, trying to be like The Cure in some ways)
* Busdriver - Electricity is On Our Side
* Poptone - Poptone
* Ana Egge - White Tiger


* Twisted Pine - Dreams (my favorite covers EP in a long time)
* Kids See Ghosts - Kids See Ghosts (Kanye/Kudi collaboration; it's better than ye)
* Gabrielle Marlena - Easier Love (very solid)
* Nova One - Secret Princess
* The Charlatans - Totally Eclipsing
* The Get Up Kids - Kicker

Also out:

* Lily Allen - No Shame (a real disappointment)
* Will Turpin - Serengeti Drivers

Odetta Hartman - "Sweet Teeth"

Odetta Smith might just be re-writing the rules for the traditional female singer/songwriter with a banjo genre. Sure, she's playing a banjo, but I wouldn't call "Sweet Teeth" folk, bluegrass, or even really Americana. There is a bit of a mainstream feel to the song, and it is beautifully done mesmerizing harmonies in the vocals, but I couldn't call it pop or rock, either. Plus, it's banjo music and something about it is distinctively badass. I guess this is the music that comes when an artist grows up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan surrounded by punk and hip hop, going to shows at CBGB's, and being raised on her parent's soul and classic country records. 

You can listen to "Sweet Teeth" below. Old Rockhounds Never Die, the new album from Odetta Hartman, will be out on August 10 on Northern Spy Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Odetta Hartman, check her out on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Rough Francis - Don't Look Back EP

Considering this came out way back in January, we kinda dropped the ball on this one, but better late than never, right? Even without that delay, it's been four years since Maximum Soul Power came out, so we're thrilled to have any new music from Vermont's finest proto punk band comprised of the offspring of Death. On Don't Look Back EP, Rough Francis seem a little bit slower and mellow, but only just a little. The opening title track feels a tiny bit restrained but is still a rocker just waiting to break free live. "Hangin' On" almost channels The Stooges covering The Kinks. "Waiting" is where Rough Francis finally breaks free and break out like a cartoon train furiously careening down the track, but towards a party, especially halfway through once the guitar solo kicks in. It's the song on the album that almost captures the joy and energy Rough Francis exude when you see them live. Almost.

You can listen to "Waiting" below. Don't Look Back EP is available now via Bandcamp. For more information on Rough Francis, check out their website and Facebook.

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Beths - "Happy Unhappy"

Photo by Mason Fairey
After seeing yet another article claiming that people stop discovering new music after the age of 30, I listened to this new song from The Beths and I'm thrilled that doesn't apply to me. Seriously, those people are hardcore missing out. "Happy Unhappy" is this brilliant slice of sunshine filled alternative pop, the kind they used to make in the mid 90's. It starts out with this bouncy guitar riff and even bouncier "Oh oh oh"s. It's all incredibly glorious harmonies and crunchy guitars. What more could we possibly want? Oh, right. Killer fuzzed out, swirlking guitar solos, which we get later on. Anyone that misses out on checking out this song should be pitied.

You can listen to "Happy Unhappy" below. Future Me Hates Me, the debut album from The Beths, will be out August 10 on Carpark Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on The Beths, check them out on Facebook and Twitter. Tour dates are below the song.

June 11th - Brooklyn, NY - Alphaville *
June 13th - Philadelphia, PA - Ortlieb's
June 14th - Washington, DC - Loves Me Not
June 16th - Chicago, IL - Charm School
June 20th - San Francisco, CA - The Battery
June 22nd - Los Angeles, CA - Make Out Music
* w/ Peach Kelli Pop

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Deaf Wish - "FFS"

Photo by Ela Stiles
Australia is in such a guitar rock revolution that we'll literally give any band from that country a shot. As soon as I saw Deaf Wish were from Melbourne, I knew I wanted to listen, and we should all be glad I did. "FFS" is a revelation. The song just drips with attitude and groove. The guitars are ripped straight out of a early 90's Sonic Youth song, and guitarist/vocalist Sarah Hardiman sounds like Joan Jett doing her best Bob Dylan impression. It's a combination of pure intensity and one I simply can't seem to get enough of. My only complaint of the song is it abruptly ends at two minutes nineteen seconds, which doesn't feel like nearly enough.

You can watch the video for "FFS" below. The new album from Deaf Wish, Lithium Zion, will be available July 27 via Sub Pop. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Deaf Wish, check them out on Bandcamp and Sub Pop's website.

Bill Janovitz - "Mar-A-Lago"

I think it's fairly safe to say that Bill Janovitz isn't a fan of Donald Trump's. He's released a song on his Bandcamp called "Mar-A-Lago" which is about our current President and his favorite weekend vacation destination. As Janovitz says about the song: "'Mar-A-Lago' seemed like it should be the title of a yacht rock/soft rock/country rock song from the 1970s, so I wrote and recorded one." It might be the most mellow and soothing protest song ever recorded. It includes references to Robert Mueller and how Melania Trump was possibly missing for a month. Of course, the song was released the same day Melania made her first public appearance in nearly a month. It's most likely a coincidence, but we're going to go ahead and give Janovitz credit for finally forcing her to come out of hiding. 

You can listen to "Mar-A-Lago" below. The song is currently available on Bill Janovitz's Bandcamp for $1 with all proceeds going to the ACLU Legal Defense Fund. For more on Bill Janovitz, check out his website.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Sobs - "Telltale Signs"

Photo by Christopher Sims
Hailing from Singapore, Sobs are set to release their debut album and just might take the dream pop world by storm. Their new single, "Telltale Signs," is more indie than pop, but has a sunny, bouncy feel that is missing in a lot of other music in the genre. Those of us that were around in the 90's are going to hear a more lush version of The Sundays. While The Sundays were a little more on the acoustic/folk side of things, Sobs have much more gorgeously swirling noise throughout "Telltale Signs." Celine Autumn's vocals are a perfect accompaniment to the music, with neither fully taking focus from the other for more than a few seconds. This song is truly a must listen.

You can watch the video for "Telltale Signs" below. The debut album from Sobs, also called Telltale Signs, will be out June 22 on Middle Class Cigars. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Sobs, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

lié - "Can't Get Enough"

Photo by Lauren Ray
Exactly a week ago we brought you the latest single from Vancouver's purveyors of dark punk lié, and we already have a new one to bring to you. While "Country Boys" was more tense and never quite erupted the way songs tend to, the new single, "Can't Get Enough," is virtually all explosion. It starts off with 37 seconds of what would be the breakdown in a hardcore song, and then just bursts from there. For the rest of the song's nearly three minutes, it just never lets up the fury. "Can't Get Enough" is noisy chaos that seems barely contained, if it ever truly is.

You can watch the video for "Can't Get Enough" below. Hounds, the new album from lié, will be out on July 6 via Mint Records in Canada and Monofonus Press elsewhere. It can be pre-ordered through Bandcamp. For more on lié, check out their Facebook.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for 1 June

This was probably one of the more consequential release weeks of the year.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Neko Case
Album: Hell-On
Quick Description: Latest from the alt-country favorite.
Why You Should Listen: Neko Case has been required listening for 15+ years already.
Overall Thoughts: My favorite album from Neko Case is probably Middle Cyclone, which is weird because I was into her for the alt-country stuff and that album might have been the diversion that fully sent her into her own personal genre. Case has released plenty of music since 2009, but this new album is so ridiculously good and so far beyond anything else that she has done that it is absolutely stunning that an artist entering her third decade of recording music as a solo artist can put something together like this. The album got me from the starting track, but the Crooked Fingers cover to the opening song all span that sort of connection those of us who listen to hours of music a day seek out. Best album of the week, and has absolutely shot toward the top of my list for the year.
Recommendation: You cannot miss this one, period.

Artist: Tiny Stills
Album: Laughing Into the Void
Quick Description: Solid independent power-pop.
Why You Should Listen: You're looking for something really fun this week.
Overall Thoughts: This was a ton of fun. I don’t know anything about this band, but they do a very fun power-pop/alt-rock thing that was really working for me. While I fully believe that many listeners might find this a little too sugary, it’s honestly too good to ignore on a whole. If you’ve enjoyed the alt-rock revival of the last few years, it’s pretty likely that you’ll find something in this to love.
Recommendation: Give this a listen.

Artist: American Aquariums
Album: Things Change
Quick Description: Workmanlike alt-country.
Why You Should Listen: You love everything these guys are influenced by already.
Overall Thoughts: This album in particular kind of feels like the love child of Jason Isbell and Dawes, which overall works for me. It doesn’t let up on the gas for most of the album, and has a solid roots feel without losing that outlaw/alt-country vibe.
Recommendation: A solid, dependable listen.

Artist: Gabriella Cohen
Album: Pink is the Colour of Unconditional Love
Quick Description: Adventurous, left-of-center folk.
Why You Should Listen: You're looking for stuff off the beaten path.
Overall Thoughts: This is an interesting listen, for sure. Ken highlighted an advance track from this, and Cohen is commended for definitely thinking outside of the box. I can’t say this always works for me, but there are a lot of underrated gems on here, and if you’re looking for a more mainstream-sounding folk record with some psych-folk elements, this might work for you.
Recommendation: May not work for everyone, but you'll know quickly if it's for you.

Artist: Laura Carbone
Album: Empty Sea
Quick Description: Dark, heavy independent rock.
Why You Should Listen: You want something a little heavier this week.
Overall Thoughts: Darkish rock music with some different rootsy pieces underneath at times. For whatever reason, it reminded me a lot of Melissa Auf Der Maur’s solo debut as well as some early Carissa Round, and I’m not sure if that’s fair or even representative, but there is a lot of interesting stuff happening in this album that deserves a listen.
Recommendation: Absolutely one of the more interesting listens this week.

Artist: Oneohtrix Point Never
Album: Age Of
Quick Description: Latest from the electronic innovator.
Why You Should Listen: This is very different from what put Oneohtrix on the map, so take that as it were.
Overall Thoughts: I don’t remember what it was that got me into Oneohtrix, but whatever it was, I’m totally in now. That makes this new release that much more disappointing, as it is probably thematically something that just doesn’t feel like it works with what I love about the glitchy, strange stuff in his catalog. I’m not saying skip this, and I’m not sure I’m actually not into this, but be wary on this one. It might just be an experiment that doesn’t work.
Recommendation: Not a top priority in a busy week.

Artist: Father John Misty
Album: God's Favorite Customer
Quick Description: Latest from the indie folk artist.
Why You Should Listen: Father John Misty is anything but typical.
Overall Thoughts: I liked FJM’s debut a lot, but his follow-up efforts haven’t really grabbed me. He’s an interesting dude as well, so I know that his musical adventures have more to do with my taste than his talent. This new album, though, may be his best effort since that debut, as he reins in some of the weirdness while still being unique. This might be the type of album that propels him into finding that sweet spot, so we’ll see...
Recommendation: ... but this is definitely one to find time with this week.

Artist: Tancred
Album: Nightstand
Quick Description: Highly-anticipated release from a blog favorite.
Why You Should Listen: Tancred is leading the independent charge in many ways and is poised for a breakthrough.
Overall Thoughts: In one sense, it’s a shame that Jess Abbott needed to share a week with Neko Case. I loved the last Tancred record, and this one is a great mix of the sound that made Out of the Dark work while better retaining the style and substance of the earlier albums. Most other weeks, this would by far be my favorite, and a song like “Queen of New York” or "Something Else" is going to get stuck in your head for days. Just don’t sleep on this simply because that Neko Case album is justifiably taking up so much space.
Recommendation: A must-listen, and one of the best of the week for sure.

Artist: Natalie Prass
Album: The Future and the Past
Quick Description: Retro R&B goodness.
Why You Should Listen: You miss the 1990s something fierce.
Overall Thoughts: Natalie Prass hit my radar because of a great Song Exploder episode about “Short Court Style.” The song feels like a weird 90s R&B hybrid, and the album continues along that same line. It doesn’t wear its influences on its sleeve, as the influences ARE the sleeve. I really liked this, and it gives me a similar vibe to the Kitty album from last year in terms of exceptional retro music.
Recommendation: Give this a look.

Artist: Joan of Arc
Album: 1984
Quick Description: More off-kilter folky stuff.
Why You Should Listen: You listened to Gabriela Cohen and thought it wasn't odd enough.
Overall Thoughts: Definitely one of the weirder releases of the week, Joan of Arc is doing some sweeping instrumentation with some interesting melodic choices. This is probably more “not for me” than “not good,” but if you’re into a lot of the tradition of left-field vocals and the like, this is worth exploring.
Recommendation: Worth a listen if you have the time.

Artist: The Sea The Sea
Album: From the Light
Quick Description: Calling them "just another folky male/female duo" doesn't do this justice.
Why You Should Listen: You have a Civil Wars-shaped hole in your heart.
Overall Thoughts: It’s tempting to compare this to other dream-folk style duos, but this one just has a different and unexpected feel to it. Sometimes a little more epic sounding, perhaps? But in an era where it feels like everyone is trying to find a replacement for The Civil Wars, this is definitely an entry that deserves to be near the top of the list.
Recommendation: Definitely a top release this week.

Of note:

* Sam Evian - You, Forever
* Nicki Bluhm - To Rise You Gotta Fall
* Juliana Dougherty - Light
* Cœur de pirate - En cas de tempête, ce jardin sera fermé


* Kanye West - ye (I refuse to call a 7 song release an album, but this is a super interesting, super weird listen)
* The Milky Way - Shiva the Destroyer (who thought prog rock-inspired instrumentation could work so well with rap)
* LUMP - LUMP (a project featuring Laura Marling! Quite good.)
* Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson - Apart ("Bad Dreams" is one of the best songs in recent memory.)
* Mazzy Star - Still
* Photocomfort - Understudy
* Kitten - Pink Champagne
* Chris Barrows/The Queers - Split EP

Also out:

* Slapshot - Make America Hate Again
* Owl City - Cinematic

Monday, June 4, 2018

Grace Turner - "Dead or Alive"

"Dead or Alive" is the latest song in the great tradition of upbeat sounding songs about dark subject matter. Grace Turner was going through a dark time, and received a call from a friend. According to Turner: “The lyrics in the chorus are literally transcribed from our conversation. She called and said, ‘I didn’t know if you’d be dead or alive’. The whole song was written in about an hour after the phone call.” 

Musically, "Dead or Alive" is too rock to be folk, and too folk to be rock. It reminds me a lot of a more melodic/pop Courtney Barnett, with more singing and less talk-singing. It's an incredibly powerful, and charming song, and somehow still manages to be fun. 

You can listen to "Dead or Alive" below. For more on Grace Turner, check out her website.

Twisted Pine Covers Blondie

Americana (particularly bluegrass) covers of punk/new wave songs are pretty cliche, but sometimes a band just completely nails one. Boston's Twisted Pine are releasing an all covers EP on Friday, and one of those songs is Blondie's beyond classic "Heart of Glass." The Blondie original might be one of the most perfect songs of all time, but Twisted Pine rise to the challenge and make "Heart of Glass" their own. The song is instantly recognizable once the vocals kick in, and they take very few liberties with the melody. Instrumentally, it's obviously going to be a much more stripped down version, but you'll definitely recognize it. As someone that loves cover songs, this might be one of the best I've heard in years.

You can listen to Twisted Pine's version of "Heart of Glass" below. Dreams, the covers EP from Twisted Pine, will be out June 8 on Signature Sounds. It will also feature covers of classics by The Cranberries, Scissor Sisters, The Beatles, and more. You can pre-order your copy via Bandcamp. For more on Twisted Pine, check out their website.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Onlyness - "Somebody's Son"

Photo by Adam Muro
The Hudson River Valley has a long history of being a home of fantastic Americana, dating back to the days of Pete Seeger. The latest entry into that history is Onlyness. Their single, "Somebody's Son," is a sparse yet lush laid back song, in the vein of the mellow side of early Wilco. It's quiet and captivating, with just enough melody to keep you enthralled. It's by no means traditional, revivalist folk, but something about it will strike you as classic. This could be the beginning of something truly special.

You can listen to "Somebody's Son" below. The self titled debut album from Onlyness will be out July 6 on Five Kill Records. For more on Onlyness, check them/him out on Facebook.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - "The Constant"

Photo via Facebook
The first new album from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones since 2011's The Magic of Youth gets a little more real with the release of the second single from While We're At It, "The Constant." The new song is a very horn driven, mid tempo ditty that showcases the Bosstones's more groovy side. The hard edge and skacore is gone with "The Constant." If commercial rock radio was still a thing, this could have been a crossover hit and even earned some adult contemporary play. I know it sounds like an insult to the song, but I personally love the Bosstones's more sensitive side. Even though it may seem like the type of song the crowd patiently waits to so the moshing can begin again, at this point in the average Bosstones fan's life, we could all use a song to mellow out to during their shows.

You can watch the video for "The Constant" below. While We're At It, the new album from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, will be out June 15. To pre-order the album in various bundles and to get any info you need on The Mighty Might Bosstones, check out their website.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Rebecca Lou - "I Wanna Be Your Everything"

Back in February we brought you "Bitch u look Good" from Denmark's Rebecca Lou. If that song was riot grrrl meets more straightforward rock, then her latest single fits right in. "I Wanna Be Your Everything" is loud, catchy as you can possibly imagine rock. It exists in this bizarre universe where hard rock can still be pop, in a way it hasn't for years, maybe decades. It's crunchy, has blissfully fuzzed out guitars, and distorted vocals, but it's still a pop song. It almost sounds like if Nirvana went on a huge Cheap Trick kick. In a world where music can either be earnest or fun, an artist like Rebecca Lou that can be both is quite welcome for us.

You can watch the live video for "I Wanna Be Your Everything" below. For more on Rebecca Lou, be sure to check her out on Facebook.

AD.UL.T - "Pole Shift"

Photo by Nicole Walker
The two members of AD.UL.T first met in kindergarten in Leominster, MA (making them the closest thing I've had to a hometown band here on If It's Too Loud... since most bands in the area tend to cover Godsmack and Sublime...). When they were thirteen, they decided to form a band, but neither of their parents would let them practice at home. Once Brian (bass) was able to get her own apartment, their dream of starting a band finally came true. They've become known for having shows that are more performance art than traditional concerts, and Brian performing while wearing a zebra mask has become a trademark. Plus, the band was banned from performing at the dearly departed TT the Bear's.

Their new single, "Pole Shift," is... interesting? It's a swirl of pure noise with haunting fuzzed out sounds that may be vocals, maybe? It sounds like a chilled out, trippy Lightning Bolt or if Guerilla Toss formed a cult. You'll know right away if AD.UL.T are right for you. There's a good chance they won't be, and that's fine. But, if you are able to acquire the taste for "Pole Shift," you will most likely end up being a die hard fan.

You can check out "Pole Shift" over at New Noise Magazine. A Dainty Bit, the new EP from AD.UL.T, will be out July 13. For more on AD.UL.T, check out their Facebook.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

lié - "Country Boys"

It feels like it's been forever since we've been able to bring you new music from Vancouver's lié. The self proclaimed dark punk band is back with a new song from their forthcoming album. "Country Boys" may sound like the title of the new single from whoever is popular in mainstream country these days, but with lié it's a noisy and bordering on disturbing burst of music. "Country Boys" is maybe one step away from being an all our rager, but it never quite goes fast enough. Instead, it's a tense song that may trigger your anxiety. And I mean that in a good way. All this, and it still manages to have enough melody to be almost catchy. 

You can listen to "Country Boys" below. Hounds, the new album from lié, will be out on July 6 via Mint Records in Canada and Monofonus Press elsewhere. It can be pre-ordered through Bandcamp. For more on lié, check out their Facebook.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for May 25

A lot of stuff out before the American holiday weekend.

AlbumRelease of the Week:

Artist: Hatchie
Album: Sugar and Spice
Quick Description: Aussie indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: This is probably the best indie pop release of 2018 so far.
Overall Thoughts: It’s rare to list an EP for the best release of the week, but here we are with Hatchie, a side/solo project of sorts from the guitarist in Babaganoüj. This is super-dreamy, super saccharine indie pop with tons of infectious melodies. She’s rightfully getting some good buzz surrounding this release, and I personally can’t wait for a full-length.
Recommendation: Don’t miss this one.

Artist: Prefuse 73
Album: Sacrifices
Quick Description: Latest from the glitchy electronic act.
Why You Should Listen: Prefuse 73 has been a stalwart in the electronic music scene for decades.
Overall Thoughts: I knew someone who was obsessed with Prefuse 73 20-odd years ago. Having kind of dove into weirder musical interests as of late, revisiting the act with this new album was interesting in that nothing here is terribly revolutionary but still paved the path for everything we hear now in this space. This in particular feels extremely competent and is a good, viable listen, but I can imagine longtime fans not seeing this as the best option out there.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Artist: Chickn
Quick Description: Solid psych rock.
Why You Should Listen: You're sad that King Gizzard isn't releasing an album every other month.
Overall Thoughts: Using this week to catch up on a few listens we missed, and this one hit our inbox recently as a sort of psych-rock record in the vein of a lot of recent favorites. Given the names they drop on certain tracks, there’s definitely no hiding their influences, but as psych rock records go, there’s a lot to enjoy here.
Recommendation: This is a fun one.

Artist: Tracyanne and Danny
Album: Tracyanne and Danny
Quick Description: A retro-pop project from Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura and Danny Coughlan of Crybaby.
Why You Should Listen:
Overall Thoughts: A side project from Camera Obscura, it sounds like Camera Obscura aping a few different classic popular musical styles, which is kind of funny given that CO exists in part to sound like a 1960s-era pop band. I liked this a lot, but it might be too cute for others.
Recommendation: Won't work for everyone.

Artist: Dear Nora
Album: Skulls Example
Quick Description: Latest from the indie rock act.
Why You Should Listen: It's a solid, current indie listen.
Overall Thoughts: This is sparse, interesting indie rock. Maybe a little quieter than I would have liked, but that’s okay. A lot of people will really get a lot out of this, I’m just not sure this has a ton of replay value for me in a busy week.
Recommendation: A good listen, but may not be what you're looking for.

Artist: A$AP Rocky
Quick Description: Latest from the A$AP Mob leader.
Why You Should Listen: A$AP Rocky has been making a lot of good rap music.
Overall Thoughts: A$AP Rocky is probably the most visible member of the ASAP Mob at this point, and it is hard not to look at this album as his attempt to transcend in a way many of his artistically-focused rap peers are. Does it work? Well, I can’t find anything on this album on first listen that jumps out like the singles did on his debut, but there are a lot of adventurous chances taken throughout this listen that are commendable. I wouldn’t go as far to say this is an album that needs to be heard on the first listen...
Recommendation: ...but this is one I intend to revisit.

Artist: Meiko
Album: Playing Favorites
Quick Description: A covers record from a longtime folky.
Why You Should Listen: It's a good covers record, which should be enough.
Overall Thoughts: I’m a sucker for covers records, and this is absolutely the sort of coffeehouse folky covers album that you’d expect it to be. Some interesting choices (“Super Freak,” “Zombie”), some gems (“Come Undone”), some questionable efforts (“Fade Into You”) but otherwise the type of album you can throw on with friends over and get something out of.
Recommendation: As with most covers records, you'll find something here to like.

Album: Love is Dead
Quick Description: Highly-anticipated third album from the alternative act.
Why You Should Listen: CHVRCHES has gotten into a good groove.
Overall Thoughts: At this point, you know what to expect from a CHVRCHES record, and that's some smart, synth-heavy alt-pop. There is nothing wrong with this album at all except that it doesn't shock the senses quite the way their earlier albums do, but that's less a

Artist: LoveLove
Album: Picture
Quick Description: Solid independent folkish stuff.
Why You Should Listen: You want something a little on the quieter side.
Overall Thoughts: I’m not sure how to describe this duo. There’s a definite folk/roots feel here, but it’s something more than that as well and results in an enjoyable and interesting listen. This is absolutely an act to watch.
Recommendation: If you like what we feature here, you should give this a listen.

Also of note:

* Jessie J - R.O.S.E. (Four EPs that combine into a full album; parts are better than the whole - 1 2 3 4
* The Del McCoury Band - Del McCoury Still Sings Bluegrass
* Peach Kelli Pop - Gentle Leader
* The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Something Else
* Natalie Evans - Better at Night
* Halo Maud - Je Suis Une Ile
* Dana Sipos - Trick of the Light


* Pet Symmetry - Reflection
* Bernice - Puff: In the Air Without a Shape
* Jenny Hval - The Long Sleep
* Ben Lee - All Night Long
* Clairo - diary 001
* Pusha T - DAYTONA (produced by Kanye West!)
* clipping. - Face

Also out:

* Thunderpussy - Thunderpussy (technically sound, but kind of exhausting)
* Brownout - Fear of a Brown Planet (instrumental version of the iconic Public Enemy album)
* Snow Patrol - Wildness (what happened to this band?)
* Parliament - Medicare Fraud Dogg
* Wand - Perfume

Under the Radar Northeast Music Festival Round Up

Now that we're past Memorial Day, it's time to start looking at what's out there for summer music festivals. We're going to skip the major national ones, because you already know about them, and their line ups keep getting less and less interesting every year. Plus, you'll be roughly 1/4 mile from the main stage, anyway. Instead, here are some of the more interesting, smaller music festivals in the Northeast (since that's where we're located)!

The Thing in the Spring
June 6-10, Peterborough, NH
Peterborough, NH may not seem like the hippest town out there, but somehow they get some of the best indie bands together for a music/film/arts fest every year. This year, they include virtually all genres: noisy indie rock, folk, hip hop, etc. Some of our highlights are Sammus, The Huntress & Holder of Hands, Giraffes? Giraffes!, Wooden Dinosaur, and, closing out the festival, the double bill of Iris Dement and Bonnie Prince Billy. They somehow keep weekend passes at $50, and even have some pay what you can outdoor performances.

Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival
June 16 and 17, Croton-on-Hudson, NY
This festival started way back in the 60's as a way to help Pete Seeger with his mission to clean up the Hudson River. Each year, they bring together some of the most interesting musicians in the folk category together for this purpose. If anything, they may have too many performers. Right now, they have 56 artists on their website for a two day festival. But, with a great cause, and performers like Jeff Tweedy, Ani Difranco, They Might Be Giants, Rhiannon Giddens, Beth Orton, Langhorne Slim, Margaret Glaspy, and Parker Milsap, this one is worth you attention.

Prescott Park Arts Festival
June 15 to September 1, Portsmouth, NH
This might not be a traditional music festival in the see a ton of bands in a few days sorta way, but Prescott Park has been one of my favorite things about living in New England the past few summers. For a $7 suggested donation, you can hang out in a public park and enjoy some of the best internationally travelling musicians you can think of. It's a perfect way to introduce your kids to live music, and I truly wish the city of Portsmouth appreciated this gift more. 2018 may be their best year yet, and some of the highlights are Ani Difranco (June 15), The Ballroom Thieves (June 27), I'm With Her (July 8), M. Ward (July 15), Billy Strings (July 25), Julien Baker (August 1), Band of Horses (August 11), Mavis Staples (August 16), Shovels & Rope (August 31), and Steve Earle (September 1).

Freshgrass Festival
September 14-16, North Adams, MA
Way out in Western Massachusetts at MassMoCA, they put on one of the best bluegrass based festivals in the country. If you have any kind of fondness for modern day Americana, you'll find something to love here. This year is another ridiculously great line up, featuring Trampled By Turtles, Indigo Girls, Rhiannon Giddens, Steep Canyon Rangers, Leyla McCalla, and more! Plus, you get admission to the ever changing and always amazing MassMoca galleries.

Sea.Hear.Now Festival
September 29-30, Asbury Park, NJ
It might have an awkward name, but the inaugural Sea.Hear.Now festival has one of the more interesting line ups I've seen in years. By the looks of it, they're catering to those of us over 30. If you ignore the headliners of Jack Johnson and Incubus, they're bringing together some of the more interesting bands that tend to attract hippies (Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, G. Love & Special Sauce, The Original Wailers), bands that lean more towards classic punk (Blondie, Social Distortion, The English Beat, and some of the best in modern Americana (Deer Tick, Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls, Brandi Carlile, Rayland Baxter). Plus, two of the stages are right on the ocean, which could be amazing or a nightmare considering late September is right in hurricane season. With this line up, we'd roll the dice, especially to hear Langhorne Slim play his ode to the Jersey Shore on the Jersey Shore.