Monday, August 20, 2018

Live Shows: Mavis Staples, Prescott Park Arts Festival, Portsmouth, NH 8/16/18

Mavis Staples at the 2014 Newport Folk Festival
Photo by Ken Sears
I've seen Mavis Staples twice so far, but each time was at the Newport Folk Festival. Until this past Thursday, I had yet to see her own show, mainly since I'm fairly cheap when it comes to concert tickets. This is the beauty of the Prescott Park Arts Festival: You can see a legendary artist like Mavis Staples for $8.00.

The thing I noticed most about this particular Mavis Staples performance was that it was much more rockin' than I had expected. She chose to stick to much more upbeat and uplifting songs than previous times I had seen her. The quietest song she played was "You Are Not Alone," from her collaboration with Jeff Tweedy. A noteworthy song that was missing from the setlist was "The Weight," which I had assumed she always played. The evening of rock/soul/funk included three fantastic covers: Talking Head's "Slippery People," Funkadelic's "Can You Get to That," and Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth." Each of these covers were completely her own, and if you weren't heavily familiar with the originals, you'd never know they were covers. The gospel side of Staples was also missing, but her voice and music is a religious experience all their own.

Since Thursday was also the day the world lost Aretha Franklin, the performance also included a moment of silence for the lost artist. The majority of the set was made up of songs from The Staples Singers (five total). One of these songs brought the highlight and low point of the performance: During "Touch a Hand, Make a Friend," Staples walked out to the front of the stage to shake audience members' hands. While doing this, she met a baby named Mavis, which delighted her to no end, and was brought up many times for the rest of the set. But, this also led to a ridiculously long line of people waiting to shake Staples's hand and greet her. Literally dozens of people took this opportunity. I know that getting to shake a living legend's hand and telling her how much you enjoy her music is exciting, but this just went on for far too long, even after Staples mentioned that her back was hurting from bending over to greet fans. The woman is 79, maybe we shouldn't make her potentially injure herself for our own amusement. After the song was finally allowed to end, Staples sat down on a bench for a bit and then closed with "I'll Take You There." One of the finest nights I've spent in Prescott Park.

Salem Wolves - "Shake"

My fervor for Salem Wolves has been fairly well documented here at If It's Too Loud..., and based on their new single "Shake," that won't be abating any time soon. "Shake" takes their amped up almost ready for stadiums garage rock and cranks it up a few notches. It's loud, and starts off very reminiscent of MC5's "American Ruse." That quickly goes away, and it becomes a song all its own. "Shake" is a fast, loud rocker with tons of noise and some stutters while it plows forward, stopping for nothing. It's also somehow the most accessible thing Salem Wolves have released so far.

You can listen to "Shake" below. The new album from Salem Wolves, also called Shake, will be out August 25. You can pre-order your copy on Bandcamp. For more on Salem Wolves, check out their website. If you're in the Boston area, you can see them live on August 23 at O'Brien's Pub and September 15 at Brighton Music Hall.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Forgotten Fridays: Propellerheads - Decksanddrumsandrockandroll

I should preface this by saying that there are a handful of albums that kind of define my love for music, and this is one of them.

It's probably not entirely correct to call this album "forgotten," per se, since there are certain songs like "Bang On" that soundtracked movies for close to a decade after this album was released. But when it came out in 1998, it was the height of the whole "electronica" thing in the United States, and while acts like The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers were hitting it big, purer electronic acts like Orbital weren't getting quite a foothold and the sort of DJ/producer culture wasn't quite resonating the same way.

Then came this album. I'm sure it was "History Repeating" that got my attention, since I've always loved Bond themes and Shirley Bassey is a legend and this song is incredible in its own right. But what sets Decksanddrumsandrockandroll apart is just the whole package effortlessly jumps from breaks and big beat to big band to even a symphonic-electronic hybrid of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" toward the end.

A 20th anniversary version came out earlier this year and I only tripped up on it this week. It largely holds up, and I didn't realize how my knowledge of acts like De La Soul and The Jungle Brothers are rooted in their guest appearances on this album. The duo never did another album again - one of the two battled an illness shortly after the album came out and I guess they both kind of went their separate ways - but this is one of those acts that I really wish had done more together. It's such an iconic album for me, and you probably know more of it than you realize. If you're rediscovering it today, congratulations. If this is the first time you're hearing it, welcome aboard.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Goon Sax - "Make Time 4 Love"

Photo by Ben O'Connor
Despite breaking the internationally recognized rule that only Prince could use letters as words in song titles, Australia's The Goon Sax's new single is pretty great. "Make Time 4 Love" continues the new fangled Australian trend of throwing back to the 90's for inspiration. This time they go back to '97/'98 when bands were throwing back to the 60's and having a groovy/crooner feel to their songs. Singer Louis Forster (To make you feel old, he's the son of Robert Forster of The Go-Betweens) isn't exactly a crooner, but it gives the song a fun, indie vibe. The song is mostly a fairly sparse groovy indie song, except for the use of horns towards to end to help flesh out the song. It's a fun sound, bordering on quirky without quite going over the edge.

You can watch the video for "Make Time 4 Love" below. We're Not Talking, the new album from The Goon Sax, will be out September 14 on Wichita Recordings. You can pre-order it here. For more on The Goon Sax, check them out on Facebook.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Baeilou - "Mourning Mantra"

Photo by Cinque Mubarak
Hopefully you remember when we brought you the haunting, Poe inspired single from Baeilou, "Eleanora." Mia Pixley and her cello Baeilou are back with another single, "Mourning Mantra." The new single seems much more straightforward neo-Americana than the previous one. It's very minimal, and a cello is going to sound a bit out of place in any rock/folk song. But "Mourning Mantra," despite it's tempo changes, is a pretty upbeat pop cello song... for the first minute and a half. After that, the mood shifts dramatically. The song becomes more moody and beautiful, and even when the pace picks back up, it is much more classical than it was previously.

You can listen to "Mourning Mantra" below. Baeilou's upcoming EP, Inside Under, will be out August 24. For more on Baeilou, check out the artist's website and Facebook.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Town and The City Festival Will Be Your October Music Highlight

When I first heard about The Town & City Festival happening in Lowell, MA, I assumed it would be limited to local Lowell area bands, and maybe a Boston band or two with Lowell ties. "A Fall Celebration of Music and Art in Lowell" just gives off a local vibe. When the line up was announced yesterday, to say I was pleasantly surprised would be a huge understatement. There are some local artists playing (Arlen, D-Tension) but there are some huge favorites of ours, also. Playing are "new" favorites like Kingsley Flood and Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys. But somehow the festival are legends Edo G, Damon and Naomi, and Kristin Hersh (!?!?!?!?!!!). And they are throwing in a bunch of artists that we always see listed and mean to check out but never quite get around to it (Abbie Barrett, Analog Heart, Frank Morey, Oldsoul). Of course, there are more to be announced, but you can check out the current line up on the poster to the left.

The Town and The City Festival will take place October 19 and 20 in various venues around Lowell, MA. Early bird two day passes for $35 will go on sale today at noon. For more information, check out the festival's website.

First Listen: New Releases for 10 August

Some great ones this week.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Bear Grass
Album: LEFT
Quick Description: Gorgeous and compelling indie folk.
Why You Should Listen: It's reminiscent of so many things, yet exists as its own unique album.
Overall Thoughts: Wow. I had never heard of this band coming in, but I was intrigued through song one and in love by the end of the second. This album is a weird hit of mid-2000s indie with some folk rock elements and a really fragile-sounding structure that I fell for over and over again. I told Ken how much I liked it early on, and he told me that he nearly presented it as “guaranteed to be in your 2018 top 10,” and… well, he might not be wrong.
Recommendation: An amazing album seemingly out of nowhere, and definitely one of the best of the year.

Artist: The Beths
Album: Future Me Hates Me
Quick Description: Debut album from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: This is probably the indie rock album of the summer.
Overall Thoughts: If it weren't for Bear Grass, this would be my favorite this week. I got turned onto this band years ago thanks to their EP, where album track "Whatever" first got released and my favorite Beths song, "Idea/Intent," didn't make the new album's cut. This is better produced, louder, more melodic, and just a realization of a band hitting their stride at just the right time. I fear that this isn't quite poppy enough to hook in enough people, which means that a LOT of people are going to miss out on one of the best albums of the summer.
Recommendation: Do not miss this.

Artist: Lola Kirke
Album: Heart Head West
Quick Description: Debut full-length from another folkie type.
Why You Should Listen: Some of her songs will blow your mind.
Overall Thoughts: I’ve been fairly obsessed with “Monster” since I first heard it, and the album largely met my heightened expectations. The album gives me a bit of an grittier version of early Tristen vibes in some regards, and songs like “Supposed To” really do a good job of keeping on board. If you like most of what we push here, this should be on your list.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Artist: Odetta Hartman
Album: Old Rockhounds Never Die
Quick Description: Follow-up to the solid 222
Why You Should Listen: Odetta Hartman is getting some solid buzz.
Overall Thoughts: I liked this well enough, but this was a much-anticipated release for me that I hoped to love. Instead, we have a rootsy album with a lot of solid moments and many unexpected twists and turns, but a first listen does not provide the sort of throughline I was ultimately hoping for.
Recommendation: Good, just not great.

Artist: Jake Shears
Album: Jake Shears
Quick Description: Solo debut from the Scissor Sisters frontman.
Why You Should Listen: It's solid cabaret-ish pop.
Overall Thoughts: The Scissor singer has a solo album which definitely has a mainstream cabaret feel to it that is fully and completely on-brand in one regard, but also would fit right in on a lot of pop radio stations. This really does not go too far off of the classic SS mold, and that’s perfectly fine.
Recommendation: Worth a listen if you're a fan.

Of note:

* Tomberlin i At Weddings (quiet, haunting folk stuff)
* Lights - Scorpion Side B (acoustic cover of a Drake album I’ve never heard)
* War and Treaty - Healing Tide (bluesy roots for people who might not like bluesy roots)
* The Coral - Move Through the Dawn (their best effort in years)
* Bird Streets - Bird Streets
* The Perceptionists - Low Resolution
* Kathryn Joseph - From When I Wake the Want Is
* Miles Kane - Coup de Grace
* Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis - Wild! Wild! Wild!


* Tigerman Woah! - Do It All Again
* FOXTROTT - Meditations II
* Sammy Brue - Down With Desperation

Also out:

* Stella Sommer - 13 Kinds of Happiness
* Shooter Jennings - Shooter
* Liz Cooper and the Stampede - Window Flowers
* Foxing - Nearer My God

Monday, August 13, 2018

Jack Drag - "Hope Revisited"

Photo via Twitter
Last month we were thrilled to share a new single from the recently exhumed Jack Drag. "Little Lies" seemed to lean a bit more towards John Dragonetti's work with The Submarines than his earlier work with Jack Drag, but we were still thrilled to have Jack Drag back.

Now we have a second single, "Hope Revisited." The new single is still poppier than Jack Drag's 90's output, but considering a lot of that were four track home recordings, it's too be expected. "Hope Revisited" has some of the slightly off kilter arrangements I love about Jack Drag. Sure, it's a pop song, but just barely. The these odd driving verses with lines that seem to just run on into each other with virtually no breaks until you hit the chorus, which stops dead just as it starts. Even though it's largely electronic, something about the song feels organic, earning it the moniker "sci-fi folk."

You can listen to "Hope Revisited" below. Jack Drag's new album, 2018, will be out this fall on Burger Records. For more on Jack Drag, check out his Twitter.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Kings of Spade - "Way She Goes"

Kings of Spade will not sound the way you think they sound. First, look at the band picture to the left. Now, realize that they are from Hawaii. To make things even stranger, their upcoming album was produced by Dave Cobb, a well known Nashville producer.

I'm sure even though none of these things match up, you have a general idea of their sound, right? Did you picture a 70's soul fueled barrage of party ready funk with plenty of falsetto vocals? Nope, I didn't think so. I guess the singer has a mohawk and there are some elements of ska in the guitars sometimes? And it does have more of a rock element than top 40 or R&B. But that's about as close as you'll get to what you expected. The chorus is absurdly catchy, and could very well break out into a big enough hit that we're all embarrassed we ever liked it.

You can watch the video for "Way She Goes" below. Kings of Spade's self titled album will be out on October 19 on Soundly. For more on Kings of Spade, be sure to check out their website.

Adrianne Lenker - "cradle"

Photo by Shervin Lainez
We've both been huge fans of both of Big Thief's albums, so we're pretty excited that Adrianne Lenker is proving to be absurdly prolific and is releasing a solo album this year. "cradle" is the first single off of her solo album, and it's what I had expected in the best possible way. Big Thief's music isn't exactly hard rock, but it's definitely rock with some fantastic guitar flurries. "cradle" is decidedly more quiet and introspective. Lenker's vocals are barely a whisper above a barely plucked guitar. Harmonizing background vocalization fills out the song to give it not quite a lush sound, but definitely a fuller sound. 

You can listen to "cradle" below. abysskiss, the new solo album from Adrianne Lenker, will be out October 5 on Saddle Creek. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Adrianne Lenker, check out her website.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Thee MVPs - "American Dreamin'"

Sometimes you just want a big, dumb loud rock song. London's Thee MVPs seem to understand that need, and they have delivered with "American Dreamin.'" It has everything you want in a loud garage rock anthem. There isn't a shred of harmony or singing in the vocals. Virtually everything is shouted. It has a loud, plodding beat that seems to hiccup itself along. The guitar trails along in a noisy squall almost the entire way through, with just enough noodling during the solo to make it fun. "American Dreamin'" isn't high art, but sometimes rock shouldn't be. It should just be rock.

You can watch the video for "American Dreamin'" below. You can get the single via your favorite platform here. For more on Thee MVPs, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Kristin Hersh - "No Shade in Shadow"

Even though we brought you a new track from Kristin Hersh's upcoming solo album a short time ago, "Breathe In" was still in the demo stages making "No Shade in Shadow" the first official single. It's not quite what we would have expected. Hersh's solo work usually fits more into the singer/songwriter category, and her noisier and more experimental work is taken on by Throwing Muses of 50 Foot Wave. "No Shade in Shadow" isn't as rock as Throwing Muses or as aggressive as 50 Foot Wave, but it's certainly not a standard singer/songwriter track. It's soaked in reverb and is one of Hersh's more dissonant tracks in recent memory. At the point Hersh is in her career, most of her contemporaries are on the nostalgia circuit and maybe churn out a dull, predictable record every few years. It's so refreshing to have an artist that continues to push herself with every release.

You can listen to "No Shade in Shadow" below. Possible Dust Clouds, the new album from Kristin Hersh, will be out October 5 via Fire Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Kristin Hersh, check out her website.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Caroline Rose Announces Tour with And the Kids!

We don't typically bring you music news or tour announcements over here, but sometimes we get so excited about one that we can't help ourselves. Caroline Rose has announced a November tour, which is exciting enough on its own. However, she is bringing And the Kids out with her for this tour! She's called And the Kids her favorite band, and we aren't arguing that. It's funny, because we still think of And the Kids as a Western MA band, so it's great to see them get love outside of the Pioneer Valley. Whenever two of our absolute favorites go out together, we'll be there.

Tickets for the Caroline Rose/And the Kids tour go on sale today through an artist pre-sale. You can get your tickets here.

J. Allen - "Oh Oblivion"

It's been almost two years since we brought you any new music from J. Allen, but luckily he's back with a new single. "Oh Oblivion" keeps intact the amazing songwriting and melody of previous releases from J. Allen, but tonally it's a huge shift. His previous singles fit much more snugly in the singer/songwriter mold. "Oh Oblivion" is much more spacey and foggy sounding. As Allen himself describes it: "A singer finds his way amidst clouds of swirling cellos in these songs of foggy introspection." It's a beautiful song that is slightly more challenging of a listen than you would have expected from his previous offerings, but we're pretty sure you'll end up loving it.

You can listen to "Oh Oblivion" and its b-side "I've Been Down This Road Before" over at J. Allen's website. The vinyl single can be pre-ordered at Bandcamp.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for 3 August

Fall is coming, and not a moment too soon given how slow the release weeks have been.

Artist: Houndmouth
Album: Golden Age
Quick Description: New album from a band with a strong following.
Why You Should Listen: Houndmouth has always been interesting in the very least.
Overall Thoughts: We like this band here, and this new album basically incapsulates my relationship with the act. I never quite know what to expect, I never quite recall what drew me in to start, but by the time it’s over I never know if I want more. This is a very odd rock record with a lot of electronic sounds balancing out the melodies that probably got you on board with this act to start. Truly, this *may* end up being a turnoff to some, but I... didn't hate it?
Recommendation: Be wary.

Artist: Rock Eupora
Album: Rock Eupora
Quick Description: Latest from the rock act.
Why You Should Listen: This is an album you might love.
Overall Thoughts: Power poppy at times and alt-rocky in others, this is a record that is as mainstream as it can be with straining vocals pushing it into the margins. This is weird if only because it is such a straightforward alt-rock record in a time where I feel like we rarely hear them anymore. It’s earnest and sincere and straightforward all at once, and there’s something good about that.
Recommendation: Worth a listen.

Artist: Helena Hauff
Album: Qualm
Quick Description: Latest from the experimental indie electronic artist.
Why You Should Listen: Hauff is known for some really interesting releases.
Overall Thoughts: What’s kind of interesting about this electronic release is how really straightforward it is. Its excellence comes in its ability to play it straight and not reinvent the wheel beyond having already upended the whole thing on previous releases. The constraints on this feel deliberate and make this album into something really special.
Recommendation: One of the better listens this week.

Artist: Amanda Shires
Album: To the Sunset
Quick Description: Latest from one of the top alt-country artists going.
Why You Should Listen: Amanda Shires can do little wrong.
Overall Thoughts: Down Fell the Doves is still an album I pull out every couple of months, and is one of those defining albums for my love of modern alt-country. I won’t say that this latest effort is the Kacey-fication of Shires, as it feels more influenced by spending time in the 400 Unit than anything else, but there is a definite distancing of sorts from the twang that made Amanda famous. This is a good album that is absolutely worth the listen, as is most everything Shires has put forth so far, but it will also absolutely (and rightfully) be viewed as a departure of sorts.
Recommendation: Good, but might not work for everyone.

Artist: Free Cake for Every Creature
Album: The Bluest Star
Quick Description: Buzzworthy release from the indie folk pop act.
Why You Should Listen: They're good anyway, and this is really fun.
Overall Thoughts: There’s a reason why this group, while not doing anything especially new, has charmed so many people. This is a fun, peppy little indie folk thing largely in the vein of some of the anti-folk stuff of last decade while being much more sincere. This is a solid listen that most people would probably like to some extent.
Recommendation: Give it a shot.

Of note:

* Michael Nau - The Mighty Thread (60s/70s tinged folk rock, like Josh Rouse’s AM radio vibes)
* Demi Mitchell - The Overflow (Sleepy, compelling alt-country/folk)
* The FatRat - Warrior Songs
* S U R V I V E - RR7400:LA041717
* The Love Language - Baby Grand

Seven Song Wonders:

* Moody Beaches - Weird Friends: Maybe my favorite "album" of the week, a seven song affair with infectious harmonies to go along with the clear anger lingering behind a lot of the songs. If the first song doesn't grab you, I'm not sure what will - this is a brilliant listen.
* Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones - Vicious Circles: This is a really fun electronic record. Different in a lot of ways from Fatrat or Haufff, but that's okay. IT's really a weird, distortive listen with a real Aphex Twin feel in some regards.


* H.E.R. - I Used to Know Her
* Givers - Movin On
* Iggy Azalea - Survive the Summer

Also out:

* Lucero - Among the Ghosts
* James - Living in Extraordinary Times
* Spider Bags - Someday Everything Will Be Fine
* Travis Scott - ASTROWORLD

Monday, August 6, 2018

Cypress Hill - "Band of Gypsies"

Photo via Facebook
At this point in their career, Cypress Hill should be a nostalgia act. Their last big release was 2000's Skull and Bones, and has "(Rock) Superstar" really aged that well. They've released a few albums since then, but can anyone name any?

That's what is so shocking about their new single, "Band of Gypsies." It's a great song. They were right on the line of being a nostalgia act, but then they release their best song since Black Sunday. It's a slow burning (no pun intended) track that focuses on hip hop and not R&B, which is increasingly rare nowadays. It has an Eastern feel to it that bridges back to early 90's hip hop that always had a touch of dissonance to it. 

You can watch the video for "Band of Gypsies" below. Elephants on Acid, the new album from Cypress Hill, will be out September 28 on BMG. You can pre-order it here. For more on Cypress Hill, check out their website.

The Pull of Autumn - "Laurasong"

2018 is turning out to be a very busy year for Fred Abong. A founding member of Throwing Muses, he recently released his solo debut. Turns out he's also been working on a new project, The Pull of Autumn. The new band also features members of British New Wave band Fashion and fellow Rhode Island band Johanna's House of Glamour. Right now we can check out their first song, "Laurasong." 

"Laurasong" is much quieter than early Throwing Muses. It's a very chill, fairly atmospheric song. It manages to be a beautiful, mellow song without being easy listening. It has some elements of New Wave and a little touch of some of the odd tunings of Throwing Muses, but it isn't obviously from either world. Years ago this might be considered "adult contemporary," but in the good way.

You can listen to "Laurasong" below. The Pull of Autumn's self titled debut will be out August 24 on RBM Records. It can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp. For more on The Pull of Autumn, check out RBM Records's Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Grim Streaker - "Mojito"

Photo by Rick Perez
You wouldn't think that a song about drinking too many mojitos while travelling to a cave in Cuba would be a great topic for a punk song. It sounds more like a Jimmy Buffet song, or something that a band opening for a Sublime cover band would sing about. But Brooklyn's Grim Streaker pull it off. "Mojito" is this noisy, aggressive punk song that somehow keeps enough of a pop sensibility to it to make it accessible. It's almost as if a band like Metz or Downtown Boys decided to have a hit song without watering down their sound or selling out. "Mojito" lives in the middle ground between Yeah Yeah Yeah's Fever to Tell and Show Your Bones.

You can listen to "Mojito" below. For more on Grim Streaker, check them out on Bandcamp and Facebook. Tour dates are below the song.

Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis - "I Just Lived a Country Song"

Photo by Andy Goodwin
We're a week away from the release of Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis's collaborative album, Wild! Wild! Wild!, and we can listen to a new song from it today. "I Just Lived a Country Song" is a Robbie Fulks sung ballad about how he grew up listening to his father's outlaw country like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, and how his life ended up mirroring those songs. He sings about starting out playing bars at 16, not being able to remember the early 90's, and the ups and downs of the honky tonk bar lifestyle. It's one of the very few songs about being a musician that actually works since it's still about universal themes about regrets and struggle. Plus, he isn't one of those country artists playing arenas across the country, so his tales of living a hard life in the music industry has some legitimacy. 

You can watch the lyric video for "I Just Lived a Country Song" below. Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis's album, Wild! Wild! Wild!, will be out August 10 on Bloodshot Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on the collaboration, check out Robbie Fulks's website. Tour dates are below the video.

9/11/18 NashvilleTNAmerican Legion Post 82
9/16/18 AshevilleNCThe Grey Eagle
9/18/18 ViennaVAJammin Java
9/19/18 Philadelphia PAWorld Cafe Live
9/20/18 New YorkNYHill County Live
9/21/18 Boston MACity Winery
9/22/18 AlbanyNYThe Linda - WAMC Performing Arts
9/23/18 BuffaloNYSportsmen's Tavern
9/25/18 ClevelandOHBeachland Ballroom and Tavern
9/26/18 ColombusOHNatalie's
9/27/18 NewportKYSouthgate House Revival

10/19/18 BerwynILFitzGerald's
10/20/18 UrbanaILC-U Folk and Roots Festival
10/21/18 SpringfieldILBar None

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Stubborn Lovers - "Drivin' 22"

Photo by Taylor Barnes
The new single from The Stubborn Lovers isn't the kind of song you'd expect to be associated with Portland, OR or NJ. "Drivin' 22" is the kind of bluesy country song you typically associate with states further south, or at least midwest. But the band hails from Portland, and is a tribute to Route 22, the Route 66 of NJ. It's Jenny Taylor's (bass, vocals) tribute to the highway of her youth and all the lost landmarks and businesses that used to be on it. It's an upbeat, fast paced track that reminisces about the days of riding along in the back of the family car for endless summer days.

You can listen to "Drivin' 22" below. The new album from The Stubborn Lovers, Mother Road, will be out on August 17. For more on The Stubborn Lovers, check out their website. Current tour dates are below the song.

08.20 Mississippi Studios (Album Release Show), Portland, OR
09.14 Pengilly’s Saloon, Boise, ID
09.20 White Eagle Saloon, Portland, OR
09.21 Boon's Treasury, Salem, OR
09.22 Sam Bond's Garage, Eugene, OR

Doe - "Heated"

Photo by Andrew Northrop
It's been a couple of years since we heard new music from London's Doe, but we currently have a new single, "Heated." The new song keeps up the heavily 90's influenced sound that made us adore Doe in 2016. It still has the classic loud/quiet/loud set up with verses just barely above a whisper and a loud, clanging chorus. But there is something smoother with "Heated." It has a more mature and less bratty sound. Doe has definitely grown as a band and this song is a huge step forward. Instead of a punk song, they have released a single that is just shy of being an anthem. It still has guitars that don't sound quite right and parts that stumble around, but that's part of the charm of indie rock. 

You can watch the video for "Heated" below. Grow Into It, the new album from Doe, will be out September 28 on Big Scary Monsters in Europe and Topshelf Records in the US. For more on Doe, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Calvin Johnson featuring Michelle Branch - "Kiss Me Sweetly"

Photo by Sarah Cass
Anything the legendary Calvin Johnson does is guaranteed to get our attention here at If It's Too Loud... Between founding K Records and being a member of Beat Happening, Halo Benders, and Selector Dub Narcotic, the man has built up enough credibility that everything he does will be at least interesting. His latest project is under his own name and is a collaboration with Patrick Carney of The Black Keys. According to the press release, Johnson recorded in Nashville, TN with the phrase "Rock'n'Roll Will Never Die" as a starting point, and yes, "Kiss Me Sweetly" is more rock than a project like Selector Dub Narcotic, but it's not completely a rock song. Johnson croons throughout the song, and harmonizes shockingly well with Michelle Branch. The whole song almost has a 1960's spy movie theme feel to it. It's not really a rock'n'roll song, but it is cool as hell and a must listen.

You can listen to "Kiss Me Sweetly" below. A Wonderful Beast, Calvin Johnson's new album and collaboration with Patrick Carney, will be out October 12 on K Records. For more on Calvin Johnson, check out the K Records website.

The 8th Annual Jamaica Plain Music Festival is Insane

Back in my younger days, Jamaica Plain wasn't exactly a hotbed of cool. It was kind of the neighborhood you never went to, and never had any reason to want to. Since the 90's, the neighborhood has completely reinvented itself, and there is nothing that proves this more than the 8th Annual Jamaica Plain Music Festival. The festival "... assembles a convergence of musical genres, drawing upon the wide-ranging artistic community living in this part of Boston." You would think that might handicap a festival as to what kind of artists they could book, but the line up is bonkers great. It includes blog favorites/must see every time we can bands like Hallelujah the Hills, The Sheila Divine, and Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys. Those three would be enough, but then they include bands we always mean to get around checking out like Merrie Amsterberg (who I have somehow managed to never see), Andy California, and Sidewalk Driver. Plus, there are a ton of other bands that we'll need to check out before the festival.

The 8th Annual Jamaica Plain Music Festival will take place September 8th from 12:00 to 7:00 at the Pinebank Baseball Field at Jamaica Pond. For more information, check out their website.