Monday, March 19, 2018

Ditch Mimes - Arise!

Fitchburg, MA's Ditch Mimes aren't the typical music we cover here at If It's Too Loud..., but I feel the need to share this one with you. The duo, both college professors, play insanely loud music that's somewhere between metal and noise punk. Their latest album, Arise!, is a disturbing blast of pure noise and disturbance. The title track careens between these two sounds. Heavy metal riffs and metal growls but with the type of noise and chaos you only get in a band like Lightning Bolt. "Weird With a Beard" combines the crunchy guitars of Helmet with the sludge of The Melvins. "Charnel House" has a heavier Mudhoney feel. Ditch Mimes are perfect for anyone that loves the louder side of noise rock and the artsier side of metal.

You can listen to "Arise!" below. You can pick up the album Arise! now at Ditch Mime's Bandcamp. For more on Ditch Mimes, check them out on Facebook.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Margo Price Covers Bob Dylan

Photo by Angelina Castillo for Third Man Records
Considering how much I love Margo Price, Bob Dylan, and covers, somehow this one slipped by me for two months. As part of Spotify Singles, Margo Price (who had my 2017 album of the year with All American Made) has released a cover of Bob Dylan's iconic but possibly overlooked "Most Likely You Go Your Way." Price keeps Dylan's classic ramblin' style for the song, but injects just enough of her own vintage, shiny classic country into it to make it her own. It's quite literally the perfect kind of cover: Not an imitation and doing the song in your own style, but keeping enough of the original so that it's still recognizable as the original.

You can listen to Margo Price's version of "Most Likely You Go Your Way" below. For more on Margo Price, check out her website

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Clever Girls - "Dumb Smile"

Photo by Luke Awtry
We've been loving Clever Girls since we first discovered them last year, and their latest single, "Dumb Smile," solidifies that even more. "Dumb Smile" is a straightforward ballad that defies all ballad rules. It's a laid back song that I'm having an incredibly hard time trying to describe. It's a jangly pop Americana song, like a happy and relaxed early Wilco. But the music drops out in unexpected places and then just barely comes back in for extended periods of time, until it erupts into too brief but absolutely perfect periods of time. It's frustrating and perfect at the same time.

You can watch the video for "Dumb Smile" below. Luck, the new album from Clever Girls, will be out on April 2. For more on Clever Girls, check out their website.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Talk Show Host - "I Hate Men (I Hate All Men)"

Photo via Facebook
We all have music that we listened to back in our youth that has lyrics we now consider questionable in our adulthood. There's a lot of rap, punk, and metal that is incredibly homophobic, misogynistic, and just horrifically outdated. Luckily for pop punk fans, there is now Toronto's Talk Show Host.

"I Hate Men (I Hate All Men)" is what happens when pop punk gets woke. The mostly male song is sung from the perspective of shitty guys and their attitude towards the world that isn't them. With lyrics like "I won't step to the side or give up my seat" and "I won't listen to reason or change my opinion" the song focuses on the smaller, inconsiderate but crappy things men tend to do. Towards the end, lyrically duties are taken over by a woman for her response. The song was called "the most cuck" by a Reddit user, which the band is very proud of.

You can watch the video for "I Hate Men (I Hate All Men)" below. Talk Show Host's new EP, Not Here to Make Friends, is available now. For more on the band, check out their website.

Jodee Lewis - "It Ain't Killed Me Yet"

Too much of throwback, old school country feels the need to be hokey. It's less of a musical style than a costume or gimmick. This is why Chicago via Missouri's Jodee Lewis is such a refreshing artist. With her new single, "It Ain't Killed Me Yet," she's not rewriting the script for a great old time country song. She's not trying to sound old fashioned or dirty it up. If anything, "It Ain't Killed Me Yet" has a sheen to its sound. But it's the lack of gimmick that makes it feel unique and vital. It's like a Dolly Parton or Dusty Springfield song from the 70's if they weren't trying to be pop.

You can listen to "It Ain't Killed Me Yet" below. Buzzard's Bluff, the new album from Jodee Lewis, will be out on April 6. For more on Jodee Lewis check out her website. Tour dates are below the song.

3/9/18 House Concert St. Charles, MO
3/10/18 The Bridge Jefferson City, MO
3/11/18 House Concert Kansas City, MO
4/29/18 Old Town School of Folk Music Chicago, IL

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

MC Paul Barman featuring Open Mike Eagle - "(((echo chamber)))"

Photo by Sasha Lytvyn
For an MC Paul Barman fan who had lost track of what he had been up to, the past four months have been a cornucopia. We finally have word of a new MC Paul Barman album, and with it, the ?uestlove produced title track. "(((echo chamber)))" seems more like a traditional MC Paul Barman song than "(((leapfrog)))" did. It starts off incredibly quietly. The first few seconds have literally no sound, and it starts off so gradually that you might not realize it at first. Barman's first verse is more spoken word than rap. It bleeds into Open Mike Eagle's verse, which bleeds back into MC Paul Barman. There is no real traditional verse/chorus/verse structure and is one of the most refreshingly unique hip hop songs in years.

You can listen to "(((echo chamber)))" below. The new MC Paul Barman album, (((echo chamber))), will be out May 18 on Mello Music Group. You can pre-order you copy on Bandcamp. For more on MC Paul Barman, check out his Twitter and Facebook.

First Listen: New Releases for March 9

A slightly slower new release week.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Liza Anne
Album: Fine But Dying
Quick Description: Calling this a pop record feels like it's selling it short.
Why You Should Listen: Come for the apt title we can all agree with, stay for the great songs.
Overall Thoughts: While the title of this album feels incredibly apt for our times, what is interesting for this is how Liza Anne deftly straddles the poppy and radio-friendly singer-songwriter angle with some interesting choices (such as the blasts of sound in “Paranoia,” a sneaky great song). I feel like if Allison Weiss found a harder edge instead of a synthesizer, it would sound like Liza Anne, but I’m finding this to be one of my favorite recent listens and is likely to battle Lucy Dacus with a lot of my listening time soon.
Recommendation: Easily the favorite of the week.

Artist: Smerz
Album: Have fun
Quick Description: An odd, lovely little indie album.
Why You Should Listen: You're seeking something that you feel like only you will understand, but everyone else will a few years later.
Overall Thoughts: Smerz makes me feel like I felt the first time I discovered Kitty. There’s something strange and raw here that feels not fully formed, but is still worming its way out. I enjoyed this quite a bit because of the way this made me feel about its potential and the little bits that expose themselves in the record (especially in the middle bits) as something special. The style may not work for everyone, but it worked a lot for me.
Recommendation: Definitely worth some time this week.

Artist: Datarock
Album: Face the Brutality
Quick Description: Dance rock for the masses.
Why You Should Listen: You miss your Norwegian Euro rock acts.
Overall Thoughts: It’s been a minute since we heard from Datarock, and it’s been some time since I listened to them. They feel like a more serious Junior Senior, which is a dated reference in and of itself but also speaks to how ubiquitous the techno-rock hybrids have become. Datarock isn’t forging new ground, but this is very much like that hip party record that we don’t see much of these days.
Recommendation: Worth a listen.

Artist: Martha Ffion
Album: Sunday Best
Quick Description: Indie singer-songwriter stuff with a familiar feel.
Why You Should Listen: It's one of the better releases of the week.
Overall Thoughts: Another singer-songwritery effort, this one is definitely less poppy, but has a sort of happy, jangly streak to it. A lot of this won me over early, but “Lead Balloon” seals it both as a representation of what’s here and what’s possible. A fun record you should find time for this week.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: Elle Mary and the Bad Men
Album: Constant Unfailing Light
Quick Description: Quiet music with a distinct voice.
Why You Should Listen: Everything out up to this point has been a little more on the mainstream side.
Overall Thoughts: I think the surprise here is how quiet this is compared to the name of the act and the album. Elle Mary is not forging any new paths with her light touch here, but that’s okay – we have strong songwriting and a unique voice that is a great listen on a whole and just risks being lost in the shuffle in a week like this one.
Recommendation: Don’t let this slide under the radar.

Artist: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Album: Tearing at the Seams
Quick Description: The band's first album since their breakthrough.
Why You Should Listen: They have been a fairly consistent act for a while.
Overall Thoughts: Rateliff had his big hit with the infectious “S.O.B.,” and it would have been entirely justified for him and his band to lean into that entirely. I enjoyed his previous album enough, and this new one continues along those same lines in a really solid way. If you’ve liked what you’ve heard beyond the hit single, you won’t be disappointed here.
Recommendation: Make some room for this one.

Artist: Albert Hammond Jr.
Album: Francis Trouble
Quick Description: Latest solo effort from the Strokes guitarist.
Why You Should Listen: You're interested in post-garage rock?
Overall Thoughts: The Strokes guitarist has done his share of solo albums and this one is pretty solid in terms of what he’s put out there. He knows how to make a melody, and there’s enough interesting guitar work here to keep the record fresh, but I just spent a lot of time wondering why this wasn’t a Strokes record and being exhausted by the whole thing. Alas…
Recommendation: Skip this.

Artist: ACTORS
Album: It Will Come To You
Quick Description: Nostalgia rock.
Why You Should Listen: You are always looking for ways to get back to the 80s.
Overall Thoughts: A couple weeks ago we got a band straight out of the 1980s and Actors, in many ways, replicates that somewhat. It’s an okay album, and I might be higher on it if I liked the aesthetic or wasn’t so high on other releases this week, but as it stands? It might scratch that specific itch you have. You’ll know pretty quickly if that’s the case.
Recommendation: You'll know if you like this pretty fast.

Artist: Editors
Album: Violence
Quick Description: The first in a while from the British art rockers.
Why You Should Listen: They haven't burned all their goodwill from their early work yet.
Overall Thoughts: I had optimism for Editors with the new single, but I regretfully say that the new album doesn’t work for me. A little too plodding, a little too dull. Skip this one this week unless you’re a big fan.
Recommendation: Not worth the time.

Artist: David Byrne
Album: American Utopia
Quick Description: Talking Heads legend with his latest solo effort.
Why You Should Listen: Byrne is proving himself to be as essential as ever.
Overall Thoughts: David Lynch and David Byrne occupy a similar headspace for me for reasons that are not completely insane, so with my recent interest in Lynch, this new album had some added urgency for me. Thankfully, we lead off with "I Dance Like This" which feels like a song that's meant to get all the mainstream listeners to turn the record off before they can get to the really good stuff. By the time lead single "Everybody's Coming to My House" lands, I was completely and fully on board. Definitely one of the best of the week, and might have some true staying power both artistically and otherwise.
Recommendation: Listen to this.

Artist: Of Montreal
Album: White is Relic/Irrealis Mood
Quick Description: The latest release from the indie rockers.
Why You Should Listen: This is a different take for a band known for always shaking it up.
Overall Thoughts: At only six songs, but all of them quite long, it's hard to say whether this is an album or an EP, but the way Of Montreal approaches things doesn't really matter. Kevin Barnes is at a creative spot right now that is probably as good as it's been in a decade. While the indie pop is long gone, these are the closest things to club bangers we'll get and that should be enough to make you want to listen anyway.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Logic
Album: Bobby Tarantino II
Quick Description: New mixtape from a rapper having a breakout year.
Why You Should Listen: You like modern rap.
Overall Thoughts: This is a solid listen, although perhaps a little more mainstream than what one might expect. Still, this is probably more of a victory lap for him than anything else, and the album last year was so good that this is worth your time.
Recommendation: Not a bad listen at all.

The Punk Corner

* Suicidal Tendencies - Get Your Fight On: A band around this long shouldn't still be this solid on a whole.
* The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed - Double Negative: This sounds old and grizzly, but was still a good time.

Also out this week:

* Acid Dad - Acid Dad
* Oneida - Oneida

Monday, March 12, 2018

Catbath - "Scuttlebutt"

The latest single from Minneapolis's Catbath will bathe (no pun intended) into two seemingly disparate sounds. Despite being based in the northern midwest, "Scuttlebutt" has a very distinct 1960's southern California vibe, a la the Mamas and the Papas. Just as strong is the attitude and the vibe of late 90's psychedelic indie rockers like The Dandy Warhols or The Brian Jonestown Massacre. The result is this fun and sunny but dripping with hipster cool sound.

You can listen to "Scuttlebutt" below. The new album from Catbath, Glitterbox, will be out soon via Guilt Ridden Pop. For more on Catbath, check out their Bandcamp and Facebook.

Luke Winslow-King - "Leghorn Women"

Photo by Victor Alonso
Luke Winslow-King's great 2016 release, I'm Glad Trouble Don't Come Always, was a dark slice of Americana. He had recently gone through a divorce, and while it was uplifting in its own way, the album was filled with heartache. 

His new single, "Leghorn Women," is a blues-meets-indie rock barn burner. The vibe feels completely different. I'm sure it doesn't help that the new album was recorded in the Tuscan village of Lari, Italy. While most indie rock meets blues songs have a dirty feel, "Leghorn Women" is clean and smooth. Normally I'd see that as a negative, but with Winslow-King, it just feels right. It's polished, but nowhere near overproduced. It's just a lightning fast blues epic with some of the best guitar work you've heard in years.

You can listen to "Leghorn Women" below. Blue Mesa, the latest album from Luke Winslow-King, will be available on May 11 via Bloodshot Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Winslow-King, check out his website. Tour dates are below the song.

May 9 - Pittsburgh PA @ Hard Rock Cafe
May 10 - Washington DC @ Pearl Street Warehouse
May 11 - Rehoboth Beach, DE @ Dogfish Head
May 12 - Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
May 13 - Cambridge, MA @ Atwood’s
May 14 - New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
May 15 - Rochester, NY @ Abilene Bar & Lounge
May 16 - Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe
May 17 - Nashville, TN @ High Watt
May 18 - Newport, KY @ Southgate House Revival
May 19 - Chicago, IL @ Schuba’s
June 7 - St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
June 8 - Manhattan, KS @ Larry Norvel Band Shell
June 9 - Topeka, KS @ Uncle Bo's Blues Bar
June 15 - Ferndale, MI @ Otus Supply
June 16 - Delton, MI @ Buttermilk Jamboree
Aug 23-26 -Tønder, Denmark @ Tønder Festival
Aug 27 - Hamburg, Germany @ Nochtwache
Aug 28 - Berlin, Germany @ Quasimodo
Aug 31 - Quintana Martín Galidez, Spain @ Festival Valle de Tobalina
Sept 3 - Krefeld, Germany @ Kulturrampe
Sept 5 - Bristol, UK @ The Hen and Chicken
Sept 6 - Oxford, UK @ The Jericho Tavern
Sept 7 - Chester, UK @ St Mary`s Creative Space
Sept 8 - Scrooby, UK @ Scrooby Village Hall
Sept 9 - Old Portsmouth, UK @ The Square Tower

Friday, March 9, 2018

Stef Chura - "Degrees"

We were huge fans of Stef Chura's 2017 album Messes, so we're pretty excited that she's already back with a new song. "Degrees" was originally planned to be included on Messes, but didn't quite make the cut. She ended up pairing up and collaborating with Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest, and that helped revive the song which will now be issued as a 7". 

"Degrees" is an absolute epic. It starts off relatively mellow, firmly in the territory of alt-singer/songwriter. After about a minute it breaks out into a much heavier (and noisier) rock song, and then just goes loud/quiet/loud for the remainder of the song, building into this brilliant anthem. Toledo and Chura and also collaborating on her second album. If "Degrees" is any indication, that is now one of our most anticipated albums.

You can listen to "Degrees" below. It will be available as a 7" on Record Store Day, April 21st, via Saddle Creek. For more on Stef Chura, be sure to check out her website. Her current tour dates are below the song.

Fri. Mar. 30 - Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe w/ Weaves
Wed. Apr. 18 - Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery w/ Weaves
Thu. Apr. 19 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle w/ Weaves
Wed. Apr. 25 - Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR Pub w/ Weaves
Thu. Apr. 26 - Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop w/ Weaves

Friday Freebie: The Only Things - Hitlist

Every now and then we stumble on a release from a band way after it's released, sometimes a year or so after it's been released. Most times I'll let it slide and let you folks know about more current releases, but sometimes I discover something that I feel that I need to tell you about. The latest release from The Only Things is one of those ones.

Released back in May 2017, Hitlist is a blast of good old fashioned alt-rock that the universe seems to be lacking these days. It's part The Replacements, part Archers of Loaf, and part Dropkick Murphys. It's hard rock without being overly aggro and alternative without being twee. If you've been missing guitar heavy rock that just rocks, you're going to love this EP.

You can listen to "The Quiet Man" below. The latest (albeit almost a year old) release from The Only Things, Hitlist, is available now as a free download on their Bandcamp. As always, if you download this for free, at least give them a follow on Facebook.

Joel Levi - "Will We Ever Change?"

Photo by Heather Hemmeger
There's an overwhelming amount of country/Americana out there right now. A new artist has to have a completely unique take on the genre in order to stand out from the crowd. Except for the few that don't. There are some that aren't rewriting the genre, but are just nailing it perfectly. Joel Levi is one of those.

"Will We Ever Change?" is one of those country songs that makes both mainstream and alt-country fans take notice. You've heard songs like this before, but Joel Levi just does this one to absolute perfection. It kind of hits you in the same way that Jason Isbell and Justin Townes Earle do with a perfectly crafted song of heartbreak and pain that is purely roots/Americana and pop. 

You can listen to "Will We Ever Change?" below. Joel Levi's self-titled album is due out on May 4. For more information, check out his website.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Green River Festival 2018 is Pretty Ridiculous

The Green River Festival has slowly shed it's identity as being one of New England's best kept secret and is now a truly great festival. Gone are the years when the hot air balloons were the main focus and the music was just a bonus. 2018 might boast its greatest line up yet, and given the history of the festival, that's saying a lot. Michael Franti & Spearhead, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Josh Ritter had been announced last month, but today Green River announced most of their 2018 line up, and... just... wow.

They've added Dr. Dog, folk supergroup I'm With Her, Deer Tick, Robert Earl Keen, Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, Lucy Dacus (!!!!), Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express, Birds of Chicago, The Ballroom Thieves, Bella's Bartok, and more! 

The 2018 Green River Festival will run July 13-15 on the campus of the Greenfield Community College in Greenfield, MA. For more on the festival including tickets, head on over to their website.

FACS - "Primary"

Photo by Zoran Orlic
The more I hear music from FACS, the less I miss Disappears. "Primary" is their latest single, and it's starkly minimalist. While the song retains enough of a lush sound that it doesn't feel that it's lacking anything, it does so with more missing than showing. It's an incredibly dark, moody song that will leave you with a sense of foreboding. While post-punk is considered minimalist, I don't believe there is even enough here for that category. Every so often you get the impression that it's going to explode and finally, finally let loose. But it never does.

You can watch the video for "Primary" below. Negative Houses, the debut album from FACS, will be out on Trouble In Mind on March 30. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on FACS, be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Amanda White - Kittens Give Zero Fucks

I'm going to warn everyone with this release: This will not be for everyone, but at the very least it's one of the more interesting albums we've brought you in a long, long time. Amanda White just released her second studio album, the wonderfully titled Kittens Give Zero Fucks. She's an operatically trained singer that splits her time between New York and Boston. What makes Amanda White unique and different is that her music rocks. It also has this odd sense of humor I wouldn't expect from anyone trained in opera. The line "Every virgin has been unchasted," along with song titles like "Fuckall Rockstar," "Whackadoodle World," and "Where the Hell is Amy?" show that this isn't an artist that takes herself fully seriously. Like I said at the beginning, this definitely won't be for everyone. But, if you want your hard rock with some opera and a sense of humor, you'll probably be into Amanda White.

You can listen to "Fuckall Rockstar" below. Kittens Give Zero Fucks, the new album from Amanda White, is available now on her Bandcamp. For more on Amanda White, check out her Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for March 2

It got way too busy, so here's some quick hits.

Must Listens:

Lucy Dacus - Historian: Believe the hype. This is not only the best album of this week, but maybe of 2018 so far. It's a brilliant record that combines the best of Margaret Glaspy, Sharon Von Etten, and a ton of our favorite singer-songwriters lately to bring a raw, compelling album that just sticks to your guts. I loved it on first listen, and I put it back on earlier today because I wanted to and it just has so many great layers. Don't miss out on this.

Tracey Thorn - Record: If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve liked but haven’t loved Thorn’s solo work. That changed considerably with this latest effort, which feels more essential and urgent than anything she has put out since her Everything But the Girl days. I’d expect things to not be this way given Thorn’s lengthy career up to now, but there are just so many songs on this record that are rock solid. If you’ve jumped off the bandwagon, now is as good a time as any to jump back on.

Soccer Mommy - Clean: I hate that this came out in such a busy week, because there is so much I loved about this. It feels so fragile in a lot of respects, but still exudes an immediacy that so much music in this genre doesn't have. So the songs just demand attention as opposed to being in the background, and in a week full of music like this, it's a welcome addition. One of the best of the week, easy.

Haley Heynderickx - I Need to Start a Garden: If you can figure out how to spell her name, slip down to "Oom Sha La La" first to get an idea of exactly what Haley Heynderickx is capable of. This whole album is gorgeous, don't get me wrong, but no song does such a good job of bringing every musical theme together on an album quite like this one does. It's just a great listen, and it's worth your time this week.

Solid for This Week:

Buffalo Tom - Quiet and Peace: Buffalo Tom was a little before my time, and I hate that I missed the boat on them during their heyday. This new album is really good, with solid alt-rock songs from a band that seems incredibly comfortable with what they’re doing. It’s not going to blow your socks off, but that’s not ultimately the point. It’s just great music from an act you trust.

Superorganism - Superorganism: Some strange stuff going on here. Very compelling, seems like a more mainstream Rubblebucket in some regards. This might be a little too strange for a lot of listeners, but, for me, it hit the right spot.

Vivian Leva - Time is Everything: A short hit to highlight this record, which is a great mix of great singing and great music to go along with it.

Lucius - NUDES (a strong return to form for this group)
Camp Cope - How to Socialise and Make Friends (don't ignore this, has an opportunity to be a sleeper)
Moby - Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt
The Breeders - All Nerve
Olden Yolk - Olden Yolk
Cut Chemist - Die Cut


* Me Not You - Reckoning 2 (this is the best band you're not listening to right now)
* Chrysta Bell - Chrysta Bell
* Margaret Glaspy - Born Yesterday
* El Perro Del Mar - We Are History
* Peggy Gou - Once
* Anna von Hausswolff - Dead Magic
* Mikky Ekko - ADVANCE COPY
* Stains of a Sunflower - Stains of a Sunflower
* Katie Toupin - Moroccan Ballroom

Also out:

* Gwenno - Le Kov (ex-Pipette)
* Andrew WK - You're Not Alone
* Suuns - Felt
* Barely Civil - We Can Live Here Forever
* Moaning - Moaning
* The Men - Drift
* Sam Moss - Neon
* Barrance Whitfield and the Savages - Soul Flowers of Titan
* Netherfriends - Alap
* Titus Andronicus - A Productive Cough (I literally cannot make heads or tails of this)

A Place to Bury Strangers - "There's Only One of Us"

Photo by Clemens Mitscher
Just when you think you have A Place to Bury Strangers pegged as one of the premier punk/metal/noise rock bands around, they surprise us all with their newest single, "There's Only One of Us." Sure, the song is still noisy and falls into the art rock category, but it adds a heaping amount of post punk and new wave. It has a distinct The Human League meets Sonic Youth feel to it. It's almost pure new wave, except for the level of noise that permeates the entire track, slowly building and rescinding until it threatens to take over towards the end of the song. Yeah, we're 100% in on this one.

You can watch the video for "There's Only One of Us" below.  A Place to Bury Strangers's new album, Pinned, will be out April 13 on Dead Oceans. For more on the band, check out their website

Clever Girls - "Loom"

Last March we were pretty high on Clever Girls's EP, Loose Tooth. Here we are pretty much exactly a year later and the Burlington, VT band is set to release a full length album. The first song off that album, "Loom," is everything we loved about Loose Tooth, but more so. It's a little less Tom Petty style Americana than the songs off Loose Tooth, and is more like Tom Petty's more rock style but mixed with the Pixies's loud/quiet/loud alt-rock. It's one of those musical blends I never knew I needed, but from this day forward I'll be obsessed with.

You can listen to "Loom" below. The new album from Clever Girls, Luck, will be available on April 2. For more on Clever Girls, check out their website.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Tallies - "Mother"

As those of us in the Northeast brace for another Nor'easter and are desperately looking for an end to winter, we might start looking to summery music to help remind us that warmer weather is around the corner. We probably wouldn't expect that music to come from Toronto, but here are Tallies with just that sound.

Formerly known as Thrifty Kids, Tallies have released a new single, "Mother." (In case you want to feel ancient, the origins of the band start way back in 2006 when guitarist Dylan Farkland met drummer Cian O'Neill at School of Rock Camp when they were thirteen and twelve.) The new song blends some diverse retro sounds into something completely new. I already brought up a summery sound, so there's some obvious comparisons to The Beach Boys. Staying pretty close is a heavy dose of 50's doo wop. They also throw in some 90's with the dream pop before it was a genre sound of The Sundays, along with some of the more upbeat, jangly mid-90's alternative. It creates a song that sound fresh but comfortingly familiar.

You can watch the video for "Mother" below. The song is currently available on the band's Bandcamp. For more on Tallies, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Friday Freebie: Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys - A Little More Life

Living in New England, February is a garbage month. You're just want winter to finally be over, but it's a miserable, cold, wet month. There are only two days to look forward to: The 15th when Valentine's Day candy goes on sale, and the 28th when our favorite punk/folk/burlesque/rock/steamcrunk band Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys release their entry for the RPM Challenge.

This year brings us A Little More Life. For the most part, the Army of Toys' RPM Challenge releases tend to be more mellow than their official albums. As much as I enjoy them, I have a preference for their songs with a little more oomph. A Little More Life is no exception, but the more quiet songs are gorgeous, which I don't believe is a word I've ever used to describe their music before. Album opener, "A LITTLE MORE DEATH," is one of the most lush songs I've heard in a while. "KING CLONE" has a little R&B and hip hop edge to it. The album picks up a bit with "CHILDREN OF THE HYDRA," which features a reworked verse of Doug E Fresh & Slick Rick's "La Di Da Di" specific to the Army of Toys. I know I'm getting older, since "EMPTY NOW," a duet between Walter Sickert and Wednesday Alice (his daughter with Edrie), might be the sweetest song I've ever heard. This is by far my favorite of their RPM Challenge albums to date.

You can listen to "CHILDREN OF THE HYDRA" below. A Little More Life is available for free via Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys' Bandcamp. If you do download the album, try to throw the band a few bucks or at least give them a follow on social media. You can find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Juliana Hatfield Covers Olivia Newton-John's "Physical"

Photo by David Doobinin
"Physical" is the song by Olivia Newton-John I most relate to her. That song was everywhere back in the early to mid 80's, and since it had an aerobics inspired video, it's always the go to for anything set in the 80's that needs an aerobics scene. 

Needless to say, once the tracklist was revealed for Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John, I could not wait to hear her version of "Physical." The song is now available to listen to, and let's just say it does not disappoint at all. It seems more like an Evan Dando cover since it's more than a little noisy and sloppy. Of course, that isn't meant as an insult at all, and you can tell Hatfield is having a blast covering one of her idol's most iconic songs. Plus, it features a mind blowing guitar solo that you don't always hear in Hatfield's music. 

You can watch the video for Juliana Hatfield's version of "Physical" below. Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John will be available April 13 via American Laundromat Records. A dollar from each album sold will benefit the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Juliana Hatfield, check out her website.

BODEGA - "How Did This Happen!?"

Photo by Mert Gafuroglu
When a band is described as an "art rock unit," you know the art is going to be more important than the music. That's not the case with Brooklyn's BODEGA. Their new single, "How Did This Happen!?" is far too rocking and catchy to just be art rock. To steal from the band's press release, it is a mixture of "... post punk, contemporary pop, hip-hop, kraut rock, and folk-derived narrative songwriting." That sounds like a total mess of genres that would just be a trainwreck, but the song works perfectly. It's far more fun than art rock has any right being.

You can watch the 360-degree interactive video for "How Did This Happen!?" below. BODEGA's debut album will be out this summer on What's Your Rupture? For more on BODEGA, check out their website. Their current tour dates are below the video.

March 10 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool w/ Mind Spiders
March 13-17 – Austin, TX @ SXSW
March 24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right w/ High Waisted
April 7 – Brooklyn, NY @ Alphaville
May 15 – London, UK @ The Social
May 16 – London, UK @ The Lock Tavern
May 17 – Brighton, UK @ The Great Escape
May 19 – Leeds, UK @ The Brudenell Social Club (Gold Sounds Festival)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Hero Fisher - "Lonely"

The new single from London's Hero Fisher makes me nostalgic for a very specific time in the mid-90's. There was a time when female artists that were considered alternative (in the mid-90's, EVERYONE was alternative) had some pretty serious pop chops and would release these great songs. They weren't exactly singer/songwriter, they weren't rock, and they weren't electronic, but they had elements of it all. Think of artists like Heather Nova or Tori Amos. That's what "Lonely" feels like to me. It has electronic elements but isn't an electronic song, and it's far too electronic to be a singer/songwriter song. It's this lush and minimalist track that could be called haunting if it wasn't so incredibly enjoyable. 

You can listen to "Lonely" below. Hero Fisher's sophomore album, Glue Moon, will be out later this year. For more on Hero Fisher, check out her website.

Dinosaur Jr - "Hold Unknown"

Photo by John William Moloney
We're at this really weird point where it's easy to take Dinosaur Jr for granted. The band is over ten years into their original line up reunion and they've improbably been releasing great to fantastic music during that time. While many of their peers are releasing mediocre at best albums just to have something to sell at their reunion tours, Dinosaur Jr have been killing it. But because of that, we've come to expect it and the sheen has worn off a bit.

Let's not ignore this great new Dinosaur Jr song. "Hold Unknown" is great, which we've come to expect at this phase in their career. But it shouldn't be great. This should be garbage that we all dismiss and just go see them for the classics. "Hold Unknown" has this frantic energy and intensity bands a quarter of their age would kill for. Plus, J Mascis guitar solos, which can never go wrong.

Seriously, listen to this song loud and repeatedly. You can find it below. "Hold Unknown" is available as part of the Adult Swim Singles Series here. For more on Dinosaur Jr, check out their website.