Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Live Shows: Molly Burch and Olden Yolk, Lilypad Inman, Cambridge, MA 10/14/18

It's very rare that two artists with two of my favorite albums of the year tour together, but when that happens I know I have to go out, even if it's a late night show on a work night. Obviously this is what happened when I saw that Molly Burch and Olden Yolk were playing together at the ultra-tiny Lilypad.

Olden Yolk played first as a duo. They invited the crowd to move forward and sit on the floor, creating an even more intimate experience. Olden Yolk are a quiet, mellow band, and are even more so as a duo, so luckily the crowd was impeccably attentive without any chatter. I forgot just how great their debut album from earlier this year was. "Gamblers On a Dime" and "Vital Sign" could not have sounded more perfect. Sometimes quieter indie rock/folk doesn't translate live, but for Olden Yolk it couldn't have been more of an ideal setting.

I saw Molly Burch back in 2017 opening for Sallie Ford. The past year has seen her grow as a performer. On her first headlining tour, she seemed much more comfortable and sure of herself. She was fighting a cold and popping cough drops in between songs, which could have been a disaster for a performer whose main focus is her voice. Luckily, she seemed barely affected while singing, and her voice sounded gorgeous with her indie folk meets 50's girl group songs. During "Nothing to Say" her voice may have faltered a tiny bit for a few notes, but she could have also been holding back a bit because of her cold. Or it could have been the slight sound issues that plagued the set randomly throughout the night. As the songs focused primarily on Burch's voice, the band played very restrained and laid back throughout the night. The main set closer, "Downhearted," was their first time to really branch out and turned the song into an indie rock epic as it built to a climax.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Spirit Family Reunion Covers Barbara Dane & The Chambers Brothers

We're always happy to bring you any new music from Spirit Family Reunion, and we're especially happy when it's a particularly great song, and a cover! "It Isn't Nice" was originally written by Malvina Reynolds ("Little Boxes") in 1963 and arranged by Barbara Dane & The Chambers Brothers in 1966. In 2018 it's been updated by Spirit Family Reunion. It's a song extolling the virtues of protest, saying that while most forms of protest may not be considered "nice," sometimes you need to not be nice. The updated portion is very obvious with lyrics that include "They separate children at the Mexican border / And shoot our good neighbors for driving while black." I don't think there is any current band that is more perfectly suited to updating a classic folk protest song like this than Spirit Family Reunion are.

The band says about the song:

Dear Friends,
Much of the misery, suffering and exploitation that is so palpable to so many right now, relies on deception, despair and complacency in order to maintain power. Only with hearts, minds and eyes wide open can we really find our way forward. Music helps us open, and we hope this song can help you as we find our collective way forward.
This song came to us by way of two brave women: #MalvinaReynoldswho wrote it, and Barbara Dane who made this arrangement. As they demonstrated on the front lines of freedom struggles, working for freedom is not always seen as nice, convenient or even legal. But we need to embrace it, otherwise we are working against our own humanity.
If freedom means the absence of subjugation to domination, we have a lot of work to do before we all truly have access to this fundamental ideal. And there are so many courageous examples of this work. This song means to move you into rebellion. To embrace your power to disrupt the viciousness that is permitted by complacency.

You can watch the lyric video for "It Isn't Nice" below. For more on Spirit Family Reunion, check out their website.

LIZZY - Dirty War Machine

We don't cover a ton of metal here at If It's Too Loud..., so when we do you know it's something we really like. New Hampshire's LIZZY have cracked our code. They've just released a four song EP that clocks in at twenty four minutes long. Dirty War Machine is this great mixture of a few of our favorite styles of metal. It has a lot of the feeling of the plodding side of Black Sabbath, the sludge of the Melvins, the groove of early Queens of the Stone Age, and the insane noise bursts of Lightning Bolt, all in the same song. The album opener, "Get High or Die / The Death of Sun Tzu," takes nearly five minutes to fully kick in, but when the drums start it's fully worth it. "Noise Parade / Spina Bifida" careens wildly from spastic metal to sludgy drudgery and back again. Metal may not be our usual genre of choice, but we can't recommend LIZZY enough.

You can listen to "Noise Parade / Spina Bifida" below. Dirty War Machine is available now on Bandcamp. Bandcamp also seems to be LIZZY's only online presence, so be sure to check them out there.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Forever House - "Spiders"

We're absolutely thrilled to bring you the premier of the new single for "Spiders," the new song from Brooklyn's Forever House. Forever House started off in the world of improvisation, jazz, and classical music. Whatever you have in your head, you should just throw that out completely, because whatever you picture I can pretty much guarantee that they sound nothing like that. (Vocalist Meaghan Burke does play a cello, but that's where the similarities end.) Instead "Spiders" is this absolutely insane blast of what they call "sloppy-math/avant-grunge," maniacally careening between intense quiet parts and explosive bursts of noise before going into a bizarro crooner-esque mode. James Moore's guitars remind me of The Jesus Lizard and Pete Wise's drumming reminds me of Steve Shelley at some points. It's a crazy intense sound that we can't highly recommend enough.

You can listen to "Spiders" below. Eaves, the debut album from Forever House, will be released on November 9 via Infrequent Seams. You can pre-order the album on Bandcamp. For more on Forever House, check out their website. Current tour dates are below the video.

10/24 Root Cellar, Greenfield, MA
11/8 News Cafe, Pawtucket, RI
11/10 Princeton Library, Princeton, NJ
11/11 Secret Project Robot, Brooklyn, NY
1/18 The Underground, Lansdale, PA
5/24 The Record Co, Boston, MA

Live Shows: The Beths, Atwood's Tavern, Cambridge, MA 10/10/18

Photo by Ken Sears
Atwood's Tavern is one of those venues that you know what type of music you're going to hear when you walk in the door. It's become quite possibly the go to venue for Americana/roots music in Boston and even if you don't know the band, if you're in the mood for some country or folk, you can hear that at Atwood's any night there is a band playing.

Anyone walking in off the street Wednesday night looking for that would have been severely disappointed, but probably not for long. The Beths, one of New Zealand's finest indie rock bands, came to town to play the 85 person venue. My love of their recently released album Future Me Hates Me made me expect to really enjoy their show, but I was completely blown away. 

For a band that only released their debut album this year, The Beths have perfected the art of playing tightly enough to be good but loose enough to have fun. And I think that might be the secret of the band: The absolute joy they exude while playing their sad songs that sound happy. It's completely infectious, and the crowd was beyond pumped to
Photo by Ken Sears
be there and seemed to already know every single song the band played. The other secret weapon of The Beths is guitarist Jonathan Pearce. While the rest of the band (Elizabeth Stokes (vocals/guitar), Benjamin Sinclair (bass/vocals), and Ivan Luketina-Johnston (drums/vocals)) are playing together, Pearce seems to be playing off in his own little direction, quietly playing these beautiful quiet melodies that and up accentuating the songs.

And the songs. Just about every song The Beths played could be a huge hit single. Look at the first three songs they played. "Future Me Hates Me" is as catchy as anything you've heard in the last ten years, "Uptown Girl" has that manic feel that gets your attention, and "You Wouldn't Like Me" has the best handclaps you've ever heard. But it's "Little Death" that could make The Beths superstars. On Future Me Hates Me it's easily one of my favorite songs, but live the song takes on a whole new intense feel. The chorus of "And I die I die a little death" is somehow designed to be an audience shout along once the band starts playing summer festivals. Plus, the instrumental bridge is just epic.

Do yourself a favor and see The Beths as soon as you can. It will be impossible for them to keep playing 85 person venues for much longer, if they ever do again.

Friday Freebie: 7th Victim - The Tombstone Jacket EP

For casual fans of The Dead Milkmen, this new EP from Rodney Anonymous's other band, 7th Victim, might come as a surprise. If you've been following their recent output, 7th Victim makes perfect sense. This new project lets Rodney indulge his love of electronic/synth music. On The Tombstone Jacket EP, which consists of four rough mixes of songs that will be on their debut album, Rodney provides "electronic tomfoolery" behind Janet Bressler's vocals. As for what the music sounds like, it's not like the mainstream industrial I'm familiar with (sorry!), and if I'm going to compare it to anything it would be John Carpenter's film scores. Rodney does assume vocals for one song, "Kleptoid," which is about how the band formed in Stockbridge, UK in 1976 opening for Ted Nugent. So there are some similarities to The Dead Milkmen.

You can listen to "Her Name is Witch" below. Giallo, the debut album from 7th Victim, will be out in the future. You can download The Tombstone Jacket EP for free via Bandcamp. If you choose free for the "name your price" option, at least make sure to follow 7th Victim on Facebook.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Hairband - "Flying"

Photo by Alice Smith
Last month we brought you "Bubble Sword," what was then the latest single from Glasgow's Hairband. Today we can bring you a new single, "Flying." The new song is quite different from the previous one. While "Bubble Sword" was a joyous blend of post punk, "Flying" is much more of a laid back ballad. While it's not quite as intense and upbeat as what we've heard before, "Flying" just enough of a trace of the post punk groove we loved with their last song to keep us interested. Despite the fact that it's a ballad, it still has that same sense of joy we've come to love with Hairband.

You can watch the video for "Flying" below. Hairband's self-titled debut EP will be out October 19 via Monorail Music. It can be pre-ordered here. For more on Hairband, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Deer Tick Covers George Harrison

Deer Tick have a new album coming out early next year, and they're calling it an extension of Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2. This new album will feature new songs, alternate versions, and covers, including a cover of George Harrison's "Run of the Mill." Providence's Deer Tick are a long time favorite of ours here at If It's Too Loud..., plus I'm a huge George Harrison fan, so this cover is kind of a dream for me. I also love that they chose "Run of the Mill," since while it's a well known song, it's not one of the most obvious ones. They do a mostly straightforward true to the original version of the classic, but it fits perfectly into Deer Tick's style that way, so it's basically perfect.

You can listen to Deer Tick's cover of "Run of the Mill" below. Mayonnaise, the new album from Deer Tick, is due out on February 1. You can pre-order it here. If you head over to their Bandcamp, you can also check out an original song called "Hey! Ya!" which is fantastic. (But you know us and covers...) For more on Deer Tick, check out their website.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Jon Spencer - "I Got the Hits"

Based on The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Boss Hog, and Heavy Trash, you would assume you'd know exactly what solo Jon Spencer would sound like. He's been doing his own blend of hyped up punk blues or stylized rockabilly for decades now. On the first single from his solo album, there are hints of his classic sounds, but just a hint. The guitar solos are 100% his. That sound didn't go anywhere. But while his other bands always have a sense of being a bit tongue in cheek, "I Got the Hits" is straight forward rock. Of course, by rock I mean middle aged groovy punk, but it's much more palatable to mainstream audiences than anything he's released before, while still being good enough to satisfy his long time fans.

You can watch the video for "I Got the Hits" below. Spencer Sings the Hits! will be released on November 2 on In the Red Records. You can pre-order your copy here

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for 5 October

By my count, there were well over 30 new releases out this week. Add in a couple I missed, and I honestly bit off more than I could chew. So excuse the quick hits this week:

Best of the Week:

* Anamon - Purple, Green, and Yellow (great indie pop)
* The Crystal Method - The Trip Home (for one of the second-level techno acts during the electronica explosion in the late 1990s, the fact is that they have put out a number of great albums in the last few years)
* Kristin Hersh - Possible Dust Clouds (An all-time favorite here, this is a solid listen from someone with a catalog full of them.)
* She Makes War - Brace for Impact (An act I’ve loved for a few years, this record has the urgency and interesting stuff I was hoping for)
* Haerts - New Compassion (I loved their first album, and this long-awaited follow-up is exactly what I hoped for. Some evolution, lots of familiarity)
* Cursive - Vitriola (Cursive was gone a while, but this might be their best effort since The Ugly Organ)
* Puce Mary - The Drought (Great atmospheric electronic music)
* Swearin’ - Fall Into the Sun (We like this band here, and for good reason – lots of solid indie rock here)
* Adrianne Lenker - abysskiss (Under the radar and shouldn’t be. A very solid listen, also one of the best of the week)
* Cat Power - Wanderer (A long time coming for this one, and it feels like a great Cat Power record with a modern feel. Hard to go wrong here.)

Of note:

* Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - Poor Until Payday (exactly what you expect it to be, and that’s why it works)
* Molly Burch - First Flower (solid songs, but ultimately feels like more of the same from the first album)
* Madeline Kenney - Perfect Shapes (Perhaps quieter than it needed to be?)
* Soft Pyramids - Lowrey Go Go
* Gregory Alan Isakov - Evening Machines
* Doe - Grow Into It
* Idle Bloom - Flood the Dial
* Julie Mintz - Abandon All Hope of Fruition
* Phosphorescent - C'est La Vie
* KT Tunstall - WAX
* Sylvia Rose Novak - Someone Else's War
* Death Valley Girls - Darkness Rains
* JP Harris - Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing
* Precyse Politix/D.R.U.G.S. Beats - Drug-Politix

7 Song Album:

* David Nance Group - Peaced and Slightly Pulverized


* Pip Blom - Paycheck (more traditional/mainstream than previous efforts)
* Haley Heynderickx and Max Garcia Conover - Among Horses III
* Kaela Sinclair - Half Asleep
* AlunaGeorge - Champagne Eyes
* PetiteNoir - La Maison Noir/The Black House

Also out:

* Gabi - Empty Me
* Atmosphere - Mi Vidi Local
* Jim James - Uniform Clarity
* Fucked Up - Dose your Dreams
* Echo and the Bunnymen - The Stars, The Ocean and The Moon
* mewithoutYou - [untitled]
* Tokyo Police Club - TPC
* Electric Six - Bride of the Devil

Adeline Hotel - "Lightning"

The latest single from Adeline Hotel's upcoming album hits two of our sweet spots. "Lightning" has a pretty chilled out/groovy indie rock vibe that gets more intense as the song goes on, and it's fairly rooted in folk/country. It's like a more straightforward Pavement decided to try their hand at country, but didn't want to fully commit to the new style. The song just keeps getting better as it goes on, and despite indie rock and country being genres that can be joyless, "Lightning" is a wonderfully fun little song.

You can listen to "Lightning" below. Away Together, the new album from Adeline Hotel, will be out October 26. You can pre-order it over at Bandcamp. If you happen to be in the New York area, they're playing a show on October 26 at Union Pool in Brooklyn.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Charming Disaster - "Be My Bride of Frankenstein"

It's October, which means it's now socially acceptable for there to be Halloween music! For some reason, very few bands actually make music for Halloween, which is why we're so excited about the new release from Charming Disaster. Although, it makes sense that Charming Disaster would release a Halloween song sinc according to their Bandcamp bio they " they write songs that tell stories about love, death, crime, ancient mythology, and the paranormal.""Be My Bride of Frankenstein" is a brilliant retro rock throwback to when novelty songs were embraced. It's a groovy and goth romp, will brilliant lyrics like "I'm gonna love you though you're not so smart / Say I do and I'll give you my monster heart" and "Fire bad / Fire bad / Put away your pitchfork baby don't be mad." I wish more bands would release fun and silly songs like this.

You can listen to "Be My Bride of Frankenstein" below. It will be included on a forthcoming Charming Disaster album. For more on Charming Disaster, check out their website.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Live Shows: Evan Dando, UnchARTed Gallery, Lowell, MA 10/3/18

Photo via Facebook
Someone needs to tell Evan Dando it's not 1993 and it's no longer cute to show up to a show two hours late. It's Evan Dando. When the owner of UnchARTed announced he'd be late, the crowd snickered, because of course he'll be late. As the evening got later and later, it turned into an impromptu open mike with friends of the gallery owner (and the gallery owner) performing unscheduled. Then it turned into he'd be there at 9:30, an hour and a half past the 8:00 announced start time. Then it became 9:45. Finally, at 9:55, Evan took the stage. I was at the point at 9:30 that if they had started offering refunds I would have taken one and called it a night. Nothing says "I couldn't care less about this gig" than showing up two hours late.

Nothing Evan did after that showed that he did care. He went through the motions of some of his best songs. And these songs are amazing. "Allison's Starting to Happen?" "My Idea?" "My Drug Buddy?" Some of my favorite songs of all time. But they were delivered without any of the typical Evan Dando charm, or even a hint that he wanted to be there. Maybe I was grumpy from the absurd wait time (a decent number of people in attendance seemed thrilled with the performance), but by the time he started "Stove" I realized I was having absolutely no fun and seemed to care more about my phone than what was happening on the stage. So I left thirty minutes into the show. And I definitely wasn't the first to leave the venue that night.

I've been going to Evan Dando/Lemonheads shows since 1996. I've seen him play outdoor festivals. I've seen him play movie theaters. I saw him play as something called Evan Dando Rebel Crue 2002. I saw him play as the Lemonheads with Juliana Hatfield and Chris Brokaw. I couldn't even guess how many times I've seen Evan Dando perform in the past twenty two years. But this one was my last performance. I'll spend my time and money on artists that deserve my attention.

[I'll note that the morning after this show the remainder of Evan Dando's tour was cancelled due to illness, so it is likely that his extreme tardiness and performance was related to this illness. We wish Evan Dando the best.]

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart Cover Tom Petty

Photo via Facebook
We love covers here at If It's Too Loud..., especially if it's a band covering an entire album from one of their heroes, even if it's for a sad reason. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have announced that they will be covering Tom Petty's beyond iconic Full Moon Fever. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart may not be the most obvious choice to take on an entire album from Petty, but that is the man's true legacy: Just about anyone you meet is a fan, and if they aren't you don't ever have to trust them on anything. 

To start off, they've released their version of "Runnin' Down a Dream." It's not a 100% exact replica of the original, but it's maybe 95% Petty, 5% The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Their fandom is very visible with this version, and the reverence they have for Petty's masterpiece is obvious. 

You can listen to The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's version of "Runnin' Down a Dream" below. Their full album cover of Full Moon Fever will be out October 26 via Turntable Kitchen's Sounds Delicious vinyl subscription series. The vinyl is limited to 1000 copies and can be pre-ordered here. For more on The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, check out their website.

Adwaith - "Y Diweddaraf"

Photo by The Shoot
Hailing from Carmarthen in South West Wales, Adwaith have this unique sound to their blend of post punk. "Y Diweddaraf" is dark. It's that dark and moody version of post punk you associate with Joy Division. But the weird thing is that it's also upbeat and poppy, while being filled with fuzzy indie rock guitars. And it's sung in their native Welsh. This should be a complete trainwreck of a song, but Adwaith somehow merges it all together seamlessly into a dark, moody, upbeat post punk indie rock pop song. You're going to need to listen to the song to get it.

You can listen to "Y Diweddaraf" below. Adwaith's debut album, Melyn, is due out October 12 on Libertino Records. For more on Adwaith, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Callow - "Go Down"

Photo by Alanso Cat
Back in August we started getting excited for Callow's self-described "noir folk," even though I thought the ties to folk were thin, but still there. With their newest single, "Go Down," I'm a little more confused. This new single is slightly more folk, or it isn't? It still has an intensity even without the volume of "Always About the Ones Who Have It All." "Go Down" trudges away for over five minutes, and seems to have more in common with Dinosaur Jr than Trampled By Turtles, but much slower and more methodical than you associate with either band.

You can watch the video for "Go Down" below. Mothdust, the new album from Callow, will be out October 19. For more on Callow, be sure to check out their website.

Turqouiz Noiz - Pray for Rain

There's been a wave of modern psychedelic music the past few years, and we've been all for it. If you love psychedelia but hate the hippie vibes it usually entails, the new album from Oakland's Turqouiz Noiz is worth your time. Sure, it has some trippy qualities, but it has some punk aggression mixed with some of the poppy noise of indie rock. A song like "Meaty Mart" sounds like if Guided By Voices were more into drugs than booze. "1984" is an insane, frenetic burst of energy and noise, like if the Descendents's "Wienerschnitzel" was a fully formed trippy song. "Paperbag" is a little more traditionally psychedelic, like a more mellow version of The Stooges's freak outs.

You can listen to "Meaty Mart" below. Pray for Rain is available now via Related Records. You can get your copy via Bandcamp. For more on Turqouiz Noiz, check them out on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Precyce Politix - "To the Giants"

Photo via Facebook
The latest single from Raleigh, NC's Precyce Politix is everything I used to love about hip hop. There isn't even a shred of R&B in this song. It's purely hip hop. Throughout the song there is this high pitched whine, almost like in a horror movie, that creates a strong tension. What keeps you listening is this groovy sample that gets played in anywhere from 1-5 notes. Plus, Precyce Politix has a strong, intense flow you can't not pay attention to. Plus, it's rare for hip hop to actually be intimidating these days. The video for "To the Giants" features a group of masked men and one woman in a dilapidated house, which is terrifying. The song repeating the word "Kill" as an almost chorus, and ending with the word repeated over and over won't leave you with the warm and fuzzies.

You can watch the video for "To the Giants" below. Just to show how this isn't your typical hip hop artist, the video is inspired by Slipknot's "Duality." For more on Precyce Politix, check out his website.

First Listen: New Releases for 28 September

Artist: Aurora
Album: Infections of a Different Kind
Quick Description:
Why You Should Listen:
Overall Thoughts: I think what is interesting about this mini-album is how seemingly fully-formed Aurora came to us. There is a difference between being stuck in a rut, like we see with countless acts on follow-ups to successful efforts, and pushing the boundaries of what clearly worked in a debut. The strength of this is in its cohesion – there aren’t any songs that jump out as individual pieces as we got with the first full-length, but it’s a better unit of songs in comparison. Fans will like it, newcomers will like it, there’s nothing wrong with this.

Artist: Miss World
Album: Keeping Up With Miss World
Quick Description: Sugary sweet rock straight out of the garage.
Why You Should Listen: You need something to change/maintain your peppy disposition.
Overall Thoughts: Bubblegummy poppy rock music that just makes me happy. There’s not a lot more to say about Miss World than that, as I’ve been somewhat obsessed since their EP came out a while back. They know how to write a great hook, the songs are infectious, and if songs like “Click and Yr Mine” or “Put Me in a Movie” don’t grab you, I might have to hold an intervention.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.

Artist: Hello June
Album: Hello June
Quick Description: Solid indie debut that should be getting a lot of buzz.
Why You Should Listen: You probably already love everything about this.
Overall Thoughts: This is an album that offers so much of what I want in a musical experience. It’s flawed, but it’s kind of perfect that way. It’s sort of a distillation of a lot of different musical ideas and genres into a really unique, fragile package that I know I didn’t fully grasp on first listen. This is a must-hear piece this week, and I can’t wait to spend more time with it.
Recommendation: One of the top releases of the week.

Artist: Marissa Nadler
Album: For My Crimes
Quick Description: Queen of dark folk's new album.
Why You Should Listen: Nadler is one of the best at what she does.
Overall Thoughts: Marissa Nadler has been a lowkey favorite of mine since before we started this blog, and the new album is Nadler at her best. No one does folk music quite like Nadler, and she is clearly in a groove that is working. This is a solid starting point for anyone not on the bandwagon yet, and a worthy entry for existing fans.
Recommendation: Nadler is always a must-listen.

Artist: Amber Arcades
Album: European Heartbreak
Quick Description: Latest album from an artist poised for a breakthrough.
Why You Should Listen: A slight change of pace doesn't make this less worthy.
Overall Thoughts: Of the many directions I anticipated Amber Arcades to go, a quieter and more introspective route was not one of them. That's not a bad thing - a more stripped down and vulnerable approach works here, and the result is an album that I really did enjoy from top to bottom even if the sort of song I was looking for to get trapped in my head didn't pop up on first listen. Give this a shot, you won't regret it.
Recommendation: Worth the time.

Artist: Hater
Album: Siesta
Quick Description: Solid singer-songwriter-style rock.
Why You Should Listen: Hater is doing some interesting things here.
Overall Thoughts: On one hand, yes, this is another female-fronted alt-style singer-songwriter piece. I can't get enough of it, and neither can the music marketplace, apparently. Still, this one is both different in its overall approach while still not quite making the leap into the sort of thing that would turn it into something great instead of good. There's more than enough here to make the whole package worthwhile, but you may enjoy the parts more than the whole.
Recommendation: Give it a listen if you have the time.

Artist: Elysian Fields
Album: Pink Air
Quick Description: Intriguing alt-rock.
Why You Should Listen: This is unique in its presentation.
Overall Thoughts: This act has been around for a while, but I only learned of them recently. There's definitely an alternative rock sound here that is balanced out by a bit of a quiet and precarious tone. Personally, I loved it - much like Hello June, there's not much that sounds like this and the take on this music is worth the time and energy. Don't miss out.
Recommendation: Listen to this one this week.

Artist: Spesh
Album: Famous World
Quick Description: Retro alternative rock.
Why You Should Listen: You went to college in the mid 1980s, or aspire to be that person.
Overall Thoughts: This is a really intriguing listen. It's absolutely a throwback record, and reminds me a lot of 1980s college rock radio (or at least my perception of it). The songs are tight, the music solid, and it stands out for being so unique even when it is so clearly trying to resemble a specific sound. This was the big surprise of the week, and should not be missed.
Recommendation: Check this out.

Artist: Amy Ray
Album: Holler
Quick Description: Solo record from one half of the Indigo Girls.
Why You Should Listen: If you have an idea of what the Indigo Girls sound like, this will be different.
Overall Thoughts: My knowledge of the Indigo Girls basically begins and ends with "Closer to Fine," so I don't know how rootsy it gets. This album, however, feels pure and honest as an Americana effort, and I challenge you to listen to "Sure Feels Good Anyway" and not think it's one of the better recent roots songs going. A solid effort for fans and for those not so into the main attraction.
Recommendation: Worth the time.

Artist: Kero Kero Bonito
Album: Time 'N' Place
Quick Description: Latest by the not-quite-J-pop indie act.
Why You Should Listen: Say what you will about them, but they're consistently unique.
Overall Thoughts: I never know how to describe Kero Kero Bonito, since they wear so many references on their sleeve yet blend them in such a weird way that shouldn't work but does. This surprise release is surprising in how accessible it feels while still being strange and artsy. I, of course, loved it.
Recommendation: You'll know quickly if you agree with me or not.

Of note:

* Lala Lala - The Lamb (Shades of 90s alt – doesn’t always work, but has some great tracks and might work for those who like the more reverby alt stuff)
* Loretta Lynn - Wouldn't It Be Great (Good to hear she's still got it)
* The Joy Formidable - Aarth (Uneven at points, but has a lot of good moments)
* Alt-J - Reduxer (Remixes and reimaginations of their most recent album)
* Bliss Signal - Bliss Signal (Loud, abrasive, electronic metal. Not quite industrial, but still great)
* Roosevelt - Young Romance
* Young Galaxy - Down Time


* Oori - We Share Our Blood (A definite highlight)
* Ratboys - GL (8-bit Version) (Does what it says on the tin)
* Yuni Zouma - EP III

Also out:

* Toots and the Maytals - Ska Father
* Mudhoney - Digital Garbage
* The Living End - Wunderbar
* Logic - YSIV
* NAAVI - Ultra
* Slow Crush - Aurora
* All Them Witches - ATW
* Cypress Hill - Elephants on Acid
* The Rick and Morty Soundtrack

Monday, October 1, 2018

Live Shows: Supersuckers, The Cove Music Hall, Worcester, MA 9/28/18

Despite listening to the Supersuckers since the 90's, I had never seen them live. For some reason it's just never quite worked out. Once they announced their 30th Anniversary Big Show was coming to the distant suburbs, I knew I had to make it out for a night of big loud rock.

In all the ads and promotion for this tour, Supersuckers let everyone know exactly what they were going to get: Songs from the recently released Suck It, a short country set, and The Smoke of Hell and La Mano Cornuda performed from start to finish. Supersuckers took the stage and blasted out the first three songs from Suck It ("All of the Time," "The History of Rock 'n' Roll," and "Dead Inside") before going into their country set. Eddie Spaghetti talked about how their first country album was badly received in 1997 but seems to be liked now. The funny thing is that in 2018 there doesn't seem to be much of a difference between their country material and their rock 'n' roll songs. Some of the country highlights included "This Life (Would Be a Whole Lot Better If I Didn't Have to Share It) With You" and "Holdin' the Bag," which Spaghetti introduced by saying "This song is about a guy who doesn't want to get stuck holding the bag. It's called 'Holdin' the Bag.'"

Then came the highlight of the night: The playing of 1992's The Smoke of Hell and 1994's La Mano Cornuda. (The band even recited the answering machine message from the beginning of "High Ya!") As with any night of a band playing a classic album from start to finish, it takes a bit of the mystery and surprise out of the night, but you also get to hear songs you would never hear otherwise. Spaghetti made quite a few self deprecating remarks about how Supersuckers never really broke into the mainstream, such as how Sub Pop wanted to release "Mighty Joe Young" as a single, and the band refused. He mused that he can't remember why now, and wondered what would have happened had they listened. "Creepy Jackalope Eye," the first song off La Mano Cornuda, got a bigger reaction than anything off The Smoke of Hell, so perhaps that album could have been the break through they never got if something different had happened. They also joked that they were going to play "On the Couch" despite knowing the crowd was sick of it after it received so much radio and tv play in 1994. After the nostalgia part of the night was over, the band did their patented fake encore break where they stayed on the stage before breaking out Suck It's ode to autoerotic asphyxiation, "'Til I Die."

At one point, Spaghetti mentioned that their style of rock isn't exactly fashionable and they keep playing for dwindling audiences. That was definitely evident in Worcester Friday night, as the show was modestly attended. Not sure if that is how their shows normally go, as Worcester and The Cove Music Hall aren't exactly known as a hotbed of original live music. The other two shows the club was advertising the most were a Journey tribute band and a Tool tribute band. It's sad when original rock from the 90's don't draw as well as bands covering hits from the 70's and 90's.

Eli Paperboy Reed featuring Big Daddy Kane - "99 Cent Dreams"

In one of the oddest (and most perfect) pairings of the year, the newest single from Eli Paperboy Reed features a verse by Big Daddy Kane. How did this pairing happen? Big Daddy Kane named Reed as one of his top 10 favorite current singers on Instagram, and the two struck up a friendship. 

Their song together, "99 Cent Dreams," is one of the purest throwbacks I've heard in years. The song is pure Eli Paperboy Reed throwback classic soul, as you'd expect. It calls back to the days of your youth when you'd desperately try to scrounge up 99 cents to buy something from the store, and at that point in your life it's all you really needed. Despite it being a classic sounding soul song, once Kane's verse kicks you'll start daydreaming of the days of the late 80's/early 90's when every song needed to have a rap verse in the middle. This is pure nostalgia in every great possible way.

You can watch the video for "99 Cent Dreams" (which is also packed full of nostalgia) below. You can purchase your copy here. For more on Eli Paperboy Reed, check out his website. For Big Daddy Kane, check out his website.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Forgotten Fridays: Everybody Wants Some: A Loose Interpretation of the Musical Genius of Van Halen

Forgotten Fridays is an occasional feature here at If It’s Too Loud... where we go back and find the lost records of our glory days. We played these on our college radio shows, put them on countless mix tapes, and then forgot they existed. We go back and remind you of their existence, and help decide if they were any good.

I absolutely loved all the tribute albums back in the 90's. This might be one of my absolute favorites. In 1997, Boston label Cherrydisc put out an all Boston tribute to Van Halen. As the title states, some of the covers are much less faithful than others. In fact, legend has it that The Elevator Drops submitted a cover that turned out to not be a Van Halen song. No one realized it until the very last minute and it got pulled. That's how much the people behind this compilation knew about the Van Halen catalog.

We get not one but two versions of "Eruption." The first is The Reverend Ed Broms performing the guitar masturbation classic on a church organ. The second by Crick Diefendorf is played on a banjo (I believe?). Trona's version of "Could This Be Magic?" is much more faithful to the original than I remembered, as the original is basically a swing song. Talking to Animals turn "Everybody Wants Some" into a cocktail party jazz classic. Cherry 2000's "Atomic Punk" is a slinky indie rock song that may be like the original? Not sure, I can't place that song in my Van Halen knowledge. "Why Can't This Be Love?" by Gigolo Aunts takes the Van Hagar original and re-imagines it as the groovy 60's power pop it was truly meant to be. Honkeyball's take on "Take Your Whiskey Home" is exactly what you would expect from a Van Halen tribute album from 1997. Mary Lou Lord tackles the most well known of all Van Halen songs, "Jump," and makes it her own singer/songwriter track in the way only she can. "Feel Your Love" as done by Fuzzy is packed with so much joy you'd expect it to be a Christmas song if it was in the background. Sam Black Church cranks out a version of "Romeo Delight" that could be a SBC original if you didn't know any better.

There are more covers, but these are the highlights. This is a tough one to track down. It's not on Spotify, and only a few songs ended up on YouTube. Your best bet might be buying a physical copy on Amazon. But it's worth it.

Maria Kelly - "june"

Photo by Ryan Shockey Davis
Ireland's Maria Kelly is set to release an EP that chronicles her move from Dublin to Berlin. The first single off of that EP, "june," embodies the uncomfortable feelings associated with a move not just to a new city but a new country. Kelly's voice is absolutely beautiful and will suck you in. It's the instrumentation that is slightly uncomfortable. It's filled with twinkling electronic sounds and just the slightest hints of guitar. While sounding beautiful, it does give the listener a sense of discomfort and anxiety, but it's completely worth listening to.

You can hear "june" below. Maria Kelly's new EP, notes to self, will be released on Veta Records. For more on Maria Kelly, check out her website.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers - "Apocalypse Now (& Later)"

I was a bit skeptical when I saw that Laura Jane Grace's solo project, Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers, was releasing a new album on Bloodshot Records. Bloodshot Records is the home of Lydia Loveless, Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, Banditos, etc, and I wasn't sure how Laura Jane Grace would fit on that label. With "Apocalypse Now (& Later)," she fits in perfectly. The new song isn't fully punk and it isn't fully country or folk, but neither is anyone else on that label. "Apocalypse Now (& Later)" is very reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen. It melds together the two sides of Springsteen (the bombastic classic rock anthems of "Born in the USA" and "Born to Run" with the folk/protest singer of Nebraska. And, seriously... is there anything else that anyone wants besides that?

You can listen to "Apocalypse Now (& Later)" below. Bought to Rot, the new album from Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers, will be out November 9 on Bloodshot Records. You can pre-order the album on Bandcamp. For more on Laura Jane Grace, follow her on Twitter.

Various Artists - Keep Safe Boston | KSB2018 | For Everytown for Gun Safety

Keep Safe Boston has been releasing these amazing and massive charity compilations for a little while now. They bring together a bunch of diverse Boston artists for a different cause each time. Past causes have included Fenway Health and RESPOND, INC, Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention. The latest compilation released back in August [editors note: WHOOPS!] is to raise money for Everytown for Gun Safety.

As for music, KSB2018 is 36 songs and it includes some of our already favorites. Gray Bouchard (Salem Wolves) New Waves it up on "Savin Hill." Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys contribute "War Gospel," which has been a live staple as of late and on subject for the charity. The I Want You's contribution, "The Rise and Fall," tempers down their usual power pop perfection and amps up the funk and noise. And, with any 36 song compilation, there are always new favorites to discover. Horse Mode's "Spaghetti Lee" reminds me of an amazing Pavement/Mogwai show I saw in 1997 by somehow combining both bands into one of the best (mostly) instrumental songs I've heard in years. Baabes crank out a sloppy under two minute punk song with "Gimme Yours." Sam Gelton's "Mercy" feels like a John Carpenter soundtrack attempted to go folk. Ryan Lee Crosby goes a little more traditional folk (but not much) with "The Hustler."

It will be basically impossible for you not to find something you love in Keep Safe Boston's latest compilation. You can get your copy now via Bandcamp for a minimum of $1.00 (or roughly 3 cents per song). For more on Everytown for Gun Safety, check out their website.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for 21 September

Better late than never?

Artist: St. Lucia
Album: Hyperion
Quick Description: Return to form from the light indie poppers.
Why You Should Listen: St. Lucia makes some really gorgeous, fun music.
Overall Thoughts: Their debut? Awesome. Their follow-up? Definite sophomore slump syndrome? This? Very reminiscent of that first album with a number of songs that have an immediate addictive quality. This is an act that sounds like it has found its footing and might have an opportunity to launch into something bigger.
Recommendation: Definitely worth your time this week.

Artist: The Black Black
Album: Gravity and Time
Quick Description: Heavy-yet-light rock and roll music.
Why You Should Listen: They're derivative of all your favorite recent acts.
Overall Thoughts: I think I want to describe this as The Strokes through a filter of early Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Death From Above, and The Dandy Warhols. I can’t decide if I just like it or if I kind of love it. There is a lot of great stuff here, from the sort of sludgey guitar rock to a more heavier feel.
Recommendation: Worth a listen.

Artist: Mountain Man
Album: Magic Ship
Quick Description: Great roots music.
Why You Should Listen: Everything sounds so pretty!
Overall Thoughts: This act always does beautiful, gorgeous roots stuff that makes you think of some sort of porchside folk circle with rolling hills in the background. It’s maybe a little too perfect in parts, but it doesn’t matter – few acts have such a straightforward setup executed so well.
Recommendation: Can’t go wrong here.

Artist: Black Honey
Album: Black Honey
Quick Description: Some good old fashioned rock and roll. Sort of.
Why You Should Listen: It's going to surprise you.
Overall Thoughts: This is not what you think it is in either direction. Is it fairly direct, hook-laden alt-rock? Yeah, in many ways. But it’s also a lot more serious than you may think by the band name/album cover. I expected to put this more in the area of The Donnas or the like, but that’s unfair – they’re much more a mainstream Dilly Dally or Deap Vally.
Recommendation: Bring some rock into your life.

Artist: Joyce Manor
Album: Million Dollars to Kill Me
Quick Description: Power pop!!!!!!11
Why You Should Listen: Joyce Manor will get stuck in your head more than anything else this week.
Overall Thoughts: A week after I bemoan the lack of solid power pop comes Joyce Manor with a barnburner of a record. Over the course of 20-ish minutes, they tear through so many songs and leave no moment wasted. Not a bad time investment anyway, but even if it were? It won’t take long.
Recommendation: Listen to this.

Artist: Metric
Album: Art of Doubt
Quick Description: Longtime Canadian act with their latest.
Why You Should Listen: Metric has been consistent for a while now.
Overall Thoughts: Metric is reaching that sort of territory, 15+ years in in, where their records have reached a bit of a groove. Many will say that they haven’t come back to their heights earlier this decade, but this album may be my favorite from them since Fantasies. Plenty of hooks, plenty of interesting songs, and it’s one of the better releases of the week.
Recommendation: Listen to this, too.

Artist: Christine and the Queens
Album: Chris
Quick Description: Solid pop effort this week.
Why You Should Listen: Christine and the Queens are doing some interesting pop music.
Overall Thoughts: A shout-out to some alternative pop here. Christine and the Queens aren’t afraid to push the envelope, and there’s enough here to keep popheads happy while those looking for something more adventurous can find something interesting as well. Well worth the time.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Of note:

* Supersuckers - Suck It (Fairly silly but fun punk)
* Adam’s House Cat - Town Burned Down (Early Patterson Hood project, definitely sounds of early No Depression alt-country, and it works beautifully)
* Sha La Das - Love on the Wind (Some Dap Kings take us on a musical journey of the second half of the 20th century)
* Lupe Fiasco - DROGAS WAVE(Woke before most modern rappers, this feels like a return to form)
* 27: The Most Perfect Album (Indie acts sing about the United States Constitution for Radiolab's More Perfect)
* Prince - Piano and a Microphone 1983
* Thalia Zedek Band - Fighting Season
* Ben Pirani - How Do I Talk to My Brother?
* Lonnie Holley - MITH
* Ryan Hemsworth - Elsewhere
* Mutual Benefit - Thunder Follows the Light


* Radio Compass - ...for a Girl (give this some time)
* The Field - Infinte Moment
* Honey Moon - Four More From... Honey Moon

Also out:

* Liars - Titles With the Word Fountain
* Advance Base - Animal Companionship
* (The London) Suede - The Blue Hour