Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys - "Dino Domina"

Photo by Jon Beckley
If you've been attending Water Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys shows over the last few months, you'll be familiar with "Dino Domina." The song has been a capital "B" Beast when the band plays it live. It did make an appearance on A Little More Life, their 2018 RPM Challenge album, but compared to the live version the A Little More Life one felt like a not fully realized demo.

Well... we finally have a full official version of "Dino Domina," and it's mind blowing. The song is pure intensity. It might just be the loudest, most aggressive of all of Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys's recordings. But, since it's Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys, it's also hip destroyingly funky. It somehow melds metal, hip hop, punk, and artsy noise rock all into one of the most unique musical experiences around.

You can watch the video for "Dino Domina" below. I would highly recommend you actually watch it. For a low budget indie music video, it's fantastically well done and has a great horror element perfect for Halloween. War Gospel, the new album from Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys, will be released in 2019. For more on the band, check out their Bandcamp.

Orange Hell Cover The Misfits

For whatever reason, The Misfits are a band that I've just never connected with. I've never been able to figure it out, since in theory I should adore them, but their music has just never worked for me. But, strangely, I love Misfits covers.

Obviously, I need to share this three songs release from Orange Hell. Put out by Funeral Party (naturally...), Orange Hell are a band that is anonymous, but are known outside of the name Orange Hell. Instead of aping the sound of The Misfits and cranking out yet another note for note rendition of these songs, they go in a different direction and slow them way down into fuzzed out, almost plodding, dream pop songs. You get these completely delightful, if mopey, songs that you're used to hearing fast and loud.

You can listen to Orange Hell's version of "Skull" below. You can get your own copy of Orange Hell's EP via Funeral Party's Bandcamp. For more on Funeral Party, check out the label's website.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for 26 October

Some great stuff this week.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Antarctigo Vespucci
Album: Love in the Time of E-Mail
Quick Description: Manic, amazing power pop.
Why You Should Listen: You've loved Jeff Rosenstock up to now.
Overall Thoughts: A few years back I tripped up on Jeff Rosenstock’s album Worry and pretty much fell hard for it. Antarctigo Vespucci is a power pop duo featuring Rosenstock and Chris Farren, both of which are contemporaries/colleagues of blog favorite Laura Stevenson, and this weird incestuous mishmash of singers and styles comes up with this amazingly awesome and manic and catchy and hooky and abrasive record that is easily one of the best of the week and might just be one of the better releases of the year. We’ll see, but this shouldn’t be missed.
Recommendation: A wonderful listen this week.

Artist: Eliza Shaddad
Album: Future
Quick Description: Solid indie singer-songwriter stuff.
Why You Should Listen: This has broad appeal and some good surprises.
Overall Thoughts: This has been a long-anticipated release for me, and it generally delivered. This is mainstream-sounding singer-songwriter material with enough edge and interest to cross over to those who may be allergic to the sort of radio that might play this. There are a ton of great moments throughout this listen, and I haven’t been this excited to dive back in on a new release in a few weeks.
Recommendation: Make sure you find some time for this.

Artist: Oh Pep!
Album: I Wasn't Only Thinking About You...
Quick Description: Breakout album by some indie favorites.
Why You Should Listen: This has massive mainstream appeal and this is an opportunity to get in on the ground floor.
Overall Thoughts: It was about the point in time where “Truths” hit that I truly understood that this is an act playing for the big time, and it just might work. We enjoyed the debut, but this is definitely a more polished product with a wider appeal. This is a good listen and has a lot going for it, but if your tastes are more on the side of indie weirdness, you might be turned off.
Recommendation: Worth the effort.

Artist: Madeleine Roger
Album: Cottonwood
Quick Description: Awesome Canadian folk music.
Why You Should Listen: This came out of nowhere and it's one of the best out there right now.
Overall Thoughts: One of the great continuing joys of doing this new release thing is tripping up on great albums and artists I would have never found otherwise. Enter Madeleine Roger, who had an album cover that looked interesting in my weekly release list and it turns out this is some really gorgeous, performative Americana-tinged folk out of Canada. I was in love in the album with the very first song, and my love only grew as the album continued. Easily one of the best of the week, if not longer, and a sharp reminder as to how well Canada is exporting its best folk music out as of late.
Recommendation: A must-listen this week.

Artist: Kaia Kater
Album: Grenades
Quick Description: Latest from a blog folk favorite.
Why You Should Listen: Even with a shift in sound, Kater shows why she's such a great musician.
Overall Thoughts: We’re big fans of Kaia Kater here, as all right-thinking people are, and this new album is another gorgeous, compelling effort. It is absolutely a change of tone, with more significant instrumentation and more complicated songs, but it still feels like a Kaia Kater album at the end. If you a bigger fan of her general aesthetic, you may struggle with this a bit, but if you embrace this as the next step in what has already been a great run of music, you’ll come away happy.
Recommendation: A solid listen this week.

Artist: Laura Gibson
Album: Goners
Quick Description: Latest from another folky singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: Laura Gibson writes really deliberate songs that stick with you.
Overall Thoughts: I loved her last album, “The Cause” was a legit jam, and this album continues with the sound songwriting even if the end result may not give you that song that hits you immediately on first listen. This is another one I really want to revisit, because there are a lot of cool moments throughout that should give this some great staying power.
Recommendation: Give this a listen.

Artist: The Ting Tings
Album: The Black Light
Quick Description: A return to form for the electro-rockers.
Why You Should Listen: It's more modern and dancey while retaining a lot of their flair.
Overall Thoughts: I'll hold that the only reason the Ting Tings aren't a massive act is because they've only released four albums over this long time period they've been around and one was almost completely forgettable. The follow up to their first album was not a disappointment but also didn't quite hit the same marks of their debut, but this latest effort feels more of the current time while also having some legitimate great moments like "Earthquake" and the opener, "Estranged." I've wanted to love a new Ting Tings record for more than a decade now, and this might do it for me on a whole.
Recommendation: Add this to the rotation.

Artist: Julia Holter
Album: Aviary
Quick Description: Latest from the ambitious artist.
Why You Should Listen: In many ways, it defies description. That's reason enough to fire it up.
Overall Thoughts: This is absolutely the most ambitious release in recent memory, with so many layers to the entire package that I couldn't even begin to figure it all out on first listen. With that said, it is weird and definitely off-center, and this may be too much of a challenge for many. If you're game for it, though, you have the opportunity to be rewarded with some incredibly interesting music on this one.
Recommendation: Give it a shot.

Of note:

* Our Girl - Bedroom Record(stripped down versions from the excellent debut)
* Miya Folick - Premonitions (a fun, slightly strange listen.)
* Robyn - Honey (has its moments, but is a bit of a disappointment)
* Jon Hatchett Band - Mother Nature Wins Again (very straightforward, risk-free country music. Good but not groundbreaking)
* The Berries - Start All Over Again (very retro 90s roots rock. Didn’t work for me but would almost certainly work for many readers)
* Ty Segall - Fudge Sandwich (covers album, mixed results)
* Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want
* Mr Twin Sister - Salt
* Apollo Brown and Joell Ortiz - Mona Lisa
* Calvin Love - Highway Dancer

Seven song albums:

* Say Lou Lou - Immortelle (a truly great listen this week)
* Unknown Mortal Orchestra - IC-01 Hanoi


* boygenius - boygenius (indie supergroup of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus)
* The Pom-Poms - The Pom-Poms (electronic supergroup of Kitty and Ricky Eat Acid)
* pronoun - you didn't even make the bed
* Carla dal Forno - Top of the Pops
* Jessica Moss - Entanglement
* Azure Ray - Waves
* Heather Leigh - Throne
* Kimbra - Songs from Primal Heart: Reimagined

Also out:

* Saves the Day - 9
* Stand Atlantic - Skinny Dipping
* Boy George and Culture Club - Life
* Glenn Kotche - Sticks, Skins, Metal, and Stone
* Demille - Go
* Ian Sweet - Crush Crusher
* Thom Yorke - Suspiria (Music from the film)

Karla Kane - "Goodguy Sun"

Photo by Khoi Huynh
The latest single from San Francisco's Karla Kane was co-written by one of her musical heroes, Martin Newell. "Goodguy Sun" combines the feel of sunny California and the melancholia of England. It has a very orchestral, almost show tune quality to it, and reminds me a ton of Ben Folds (particularly his collaboration with Nick Hornby) and Nellie McKay. "Goodguy Sun" has a wistful, melodic feel, and just enough darkness hidden inside of optimistic melodies to keep it interesting.

You can listen to "Goodguy Sun" below. The song can be purchased as a single via Bandcamp. For more on Karla Kane, check out her website.

Live Shows: Descendents, Palladium, Worcester, MA 10/27/18

I first discovered the Descendents way back in 1997. I was in college, and their video for "I'm the One" was on 120 Minutes. I saw them in Northampton, MA at that year's Warped Tour, completely oblivious to the fact that I was seeing legends, and that I'd go twenty one years without seeing them again. Since Milo returned to the band full time in 2016, I couldn't get in when they played their show at the Sinclair for Converse, the show at Royale sold out too fast, and their Providence show just didn't work out. When I saw they were playing Worcester, the city in MA closest to my home that has shows, I knew I had to go.

Saturday night at the Palladium in Worcester brought out a diverse crowd. I don't believe there were original fans from the 80's, but lots of people that discovered them in the 90's were there. Plus, there were a lot of kids that probably consider Blink 182 to be old school punk. Being over forty, I situated myself at the back of the floor. I wanted to be close enough to be close to the action and feel part of the show, but I'm over forty. Obviously no moshing for me.

But then they played "Hope" for their third song. By the time the song ended, I was in the second row. Oops. But you forget how deep the Descendents's catalog actually goes. Songs like "I Like Food," "Van," "I Don't Want to Grow Up," and "Coffee Mug" are absolute classics. They even busted out "Weinerschnitzel," which I discovered in the Christian Slater classic Pump Up the Volume. What's shocking is how great the new material holds up with the thirty year old classics. "'Merican" seems more timely now then when it was released in 2004. (Also, notice I'm calling a fourteen year old song one of the new ones... I'm old.) They played seven songs off 2016's Hypercaffium Spazzinate, and I don't think anyone minded in the slightest. And yes, they played "I'm the One," making twenty year old Ken very happy.

Also, side note to Milo... No one hated your National Zoo shirt. Everyone loves the National Zoo. They have pandas.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Store Front - "Go for Broke"

Store Front either met in the most or least punk rock way, depending on your perspective. Back in 2013, Peggy Wang was working an office job while playing bass in The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. She heard someone in the office singing The Replacements and met writer Amy Rose Spiegel. The two started writing songs together, and five years later have formed Store Front and are releasing their debut single. 

To keep the band forming in an office vibe going, "Go for Broke" is about living in New York City and trying to pay your rent while still having a creative outlet. Musically, "Go for Broke" reminds me of 90's bands that are now reclassified as dream pop like Belly or Lush, but a more upbeat version of those bands. Plus, even before I read their bio and saw that Spegel was a writer the song had a literary feel to it.

You can listen to "Go for Broke" below. The single is available now on Store Front's Bandcamp. For more on Store Front, check out their Twitter.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Monday Mix (on a Friday): Halloween 2018

I love Halloween, but even I think I may have gone a bit too far on this year's If It's Too Loud... Halloween playlist. Starting on November 1, 2017, I started a playlist and tossed just about any song I thought would be good for a Halloween playlist on it. What we end up with is a forty five song, nearly three hour playlist. Just about every style of music we cover is included on this. You get indie rock legends (Luna, Buffalo Tom, Lee Ranaldo), heavier artists (The Jesus Lizard, Clutch, Faith No More), Americana/roots (Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, Lucero, Murder By Death), current indie rockers (Caroline Rose, Melkbelly, A Place to Bury Strangers), some hip hop (Mr. Lif, Cypress Hill), and a whole lot more. It's perfect for this weekend's Halloween parties (which is why we aren't waiting until Monday) and to listen to while you hand out candy on Wednesday. Enjoy!

Forgotten Fridays: Freedom Of Choice (Yesterday's New Wave Hits As Performed By Today's Stars)

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 really miss these cover song compilations from the 90's. Back in 1992, Freedom Of Choice (Yesterday's New Wave Hits As Performed By Today's Stars) was put together to as a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. As the title says, it's "Yesterday's New Wave Hits As Performed By Today's Stars." Well, by stars they mean indie rock stars, and this one does have some of 1992's finest indie rockers contributing. It also has a bunch of artists I've never heard of outside of this compilation, but I'll focus on what I find to be the highlights. 

I'm always going to lean towards any contribution from Sonic Youth. Here they cover Plastic Bertrand's "Ca Plane Pour Moi." It includes Sonic Youth's typical noise, but it also sounds like they're having a blast with this song. Sonic Youth is my favorite band of all time, but they don't tend to have a sense of fun in most of their songs. This one is fun. 

Mudhoney does a remarkably faithful cover of Elvis Costello & The Attractions's "Pump It Up." Mark Arm sounds much more like Elvis Costello than Mark Arm. Yo La Tengo covers Blondie's "Dreaming" to absolute perfection. Superchunk does DEVO's "Girl U Want" which sounds exactly like you want Superchunk covering DEVO to sound. The Muffs sound like the band meant to record "Rock & Roll Girl" (no insult meant to The Beat).

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Mountain Man Covers Kasey Musgrave, Neil Young, and Fiona Apple

Mountain Man (the formerly from VT now from NC folk trio, not the Worcester, MA metal band of the same name) are kind of a forgotten favorite here at If It's Too Loud... They popped back up into our radar with an Everly Brothers cover for the Our First Hundred Days project before finally releasing a new album last month. Now they are back with a trio of covers for Aquarium Drunkard's The Lagniappe Sessions. It's an interesting assortment of songs from Kasey Musgrave ("Slow Burn"), Neil Young ("Through My Sails"), and Fiona Apple ("Hot Knife"). Mountain Man truly make each song completely their own with their blend of quiet harmony based folk. Fiona Apple's "Hot Knife" is completely reimagined as an a cappella song, with Mountain Man's voices swirling around each other. For someone who loves cover songs, these three are a true treasure.

You can hear Mountain Man's The Lagniappe Sessions over at American Drunkard. For more on Mountain Man, check out their website.

Caroline Rose - "Jeannie Becomes a Mom"

Photo by CJ Harvey
We don't typically cover new video releases if the song has been out for a while, but as always there are the occasional exceptions. "Jeannie Becomes a Mom," the latest video from Caroline Rose's excellent 2018 release LONER, is the type of video that just doesn't get made any more. It reflects what is truly great about Caroline Rose's current sound: It's both insanely fun and serious, and has a strong DIY feel while still looking/sounding great. The song itself is about not being able to outrun time. Rose has this to say about the song/video:

“Jeannie was my first foray into making really fun, sort of weird pop music. I wrote the whole song, including the programmed drums, on a little digital synthesizer called the OP-1. It felt like a relief making something that still told a serious story but tasted like candy to my ears. It's a direction I'm definitely going to keep exploring. The story, like life, is meant to be a kind of grotesque, whimsical tragi-comedy. This was especially fun for me because I get to play more of a voyeuristic role, which is how I feel in the narrative of the song itself.”

You can watch the video for "Jeannie Becomes a Mom" below. LONER is available now via New West Records. For more on Caroline Rose, check out her website. Her current tour dates are below the video (including ones with And the Kids!)

Thu. Nov. 1 - Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Fri. Nov. 2 - Hamden, CT @ Space Ballroom
Sat. Nov. 3 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
Tue. Nov. 6 - Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground
Wed. Nov. 7 - Ferndale, MI @ The Loving Touch
Thu. Nov. 8 - Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
Fri. Nov. 9 - Iowa City, IA @ The Mill
Sat. Nov. 10 - St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
Tue. Nov. 13 - Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar
Wed. Nov. 14 - Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe
Thu. Nov. 16 - Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
Fri. Nov. 17 - Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Friday (on a Wednesday) Freebie: Matt Pond PA - Deer Apartments

Normally when an artist realizes that their classic album is twenty years old, they release a deluxe reissue with every version of songs ever recorded, rarities we already bought on UK only singles, and maybe a live cut or two just to make sure to squeeze every last dime out of us (and with the music industry being what it is, can we blame them?) Not Matt Pond PA. This is the twentieth anniversary of their debut album Deer Apartments, so they're just giving it away as a free download. For some reason I have never delved this far back into Matt Pond PA's catalog, and I somehow missed this back in my college radio days, but Deer Apartments is simply brilliant. While there is still the fantastic hook filled songwriting rooted in Tom Petty style Americana, it's all immersed in a heaping helping of late 90's indie rock. I'm pretty embarrassed this is my first listen of this album. 

You can download Deer Apartments for free over at Matt Pond PA's website. Of course, if you want a physical copy of the album, there are pre-sale bundles of the limited edition cassette available here. In an email, Matt Pond is promising a new EP, Free Fall, due next week. We're not sure if it will be under the retired name of Matt Pond PA, the newer name of Spaceland, or an as yet unannounced name. We'll let you know once we do.

Daisybones - "Beautymark"

The latest song from Boston's Daisybones is a weird little mix of power pop and indie rock. Typically power pop is associated with a huge sound made specifically for arenas or at least large theaters, and sure, "Beautymark" does have a big sound. But somehow it's a big sound in a lo-fi kinda way. Plus, there's a slightly odd, not quite quirky late 90's feel to it that reminds me of bands like Cornershop. For a little added 90's feel, listen for lyrics like  “I'm such a narcissist, I love the way I hate myself.” It's a great huge while still feeling grounded sound we highly recommend. 

You can listen to "Beautymark" below. Gold, the new album from Daisybones, will be out November 9. For more information on Daisybones, be sure to check out their Facebook and Bandcamp.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tiny Ruins - "Olympic Girls"

Photo by Georgie Craw
Adding to the insane amount of great music coming from New Zealand lately is Tiny Ruins. "Olympic Girls" is squarely planted in our current favorite genre of music: Equally in the worlds of both indie rock and neo-Americana. There are strong elements of roots music, but the instrumentation pulls it away from folk a bit and indie the realm of indie rock. It also includes just the slightest hints of Celtic music, particularly in Hollie Fullbrook's vocals. It's generally a straightforward song with these odd and interesting flourishes that keep sucking you right in.

You can watch the video for "Olympic Girls" below. Olympic Girls, the album, will be released on February 1 via Ba Da Bing. It's Tiny Ruins's third album but first American release, and can be pre-ordered here. For more on Tiny Ruins, check out their website.

First Listen: New Releases for 19 October

A fairly busy week again.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Carly Dow
Album: Comet
Quick Description: Deliberate and meaningful folk music.
Why You Should Listen: Carly Dow is a name you should know, and is a name I hope becomes more well-known.
Overall Thoughts: A friend for another publication turned me onto this one (link) and it’s a really solid, workmanlike folk record. Hints of a lot of different influences and song structures throughout make this a really enjoyable listen with a lot going for it. I feel like we haven’t had a roots record come out as of late that is this good, so put it in the rotation- it’s probably going to end up as your favorite listen this week.
Recommendation: Best of the week by far.

Artist: Wolf Girl
Album: Every Now and Then
Quick Description: New indie rock with some lo-fi flair.
Why You Should Listen: Feels like those great early indie records of 15 years ago.
Overall Thoughts: A favorite this week, this is a great, semi-lo-fi alt-rock record with a lot going for it. The melodies are sound, the instrumentation interesting, and the only complaint is how relatively short it is in comparison. Definitely an act to look out for.
Recommendation: One of my favorites this week.

Artist: Karine Polwart
Album: Laws of Motion
Quick Description: A great folky singer-songwriter teams up for a wonderful record.
Why You Should Listen: Karine Polwart is unjustifiably under the radar.
Overall Thoughts: I really liked the previous record, and this one has a more theatrical flair to it in many regards. Beautiful songs from a beautiful voice, and even the spoken word bit in the final track had a compelling and haunting feel to it when most songs like it end up being more cringeworthy. You owe it to yourself to give this a proper listen.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: Peter Bjorn and John
Album: Darker Days
Quick Description: The European pop rockers are back with their best album in years.
Why You Should Listen: "Young Folks: was never a fluke.
Overall Thoughts: Peter Bjorn and John are back with a new album, and, while they’ve never gotten close to returning to the highs of the “Young Folks” days, this might be the closest they’ve gotten to it for me, at least. The band has always been a little bit of an enigma, being just as much a nostalgia-inspired act as a more modern listen, but this album is really just a lot of ideas bundled together in a cohesive package, and I really enjoyed it. If you jumped off the bandwagon with these guys, this is not a bad spot to jump back on.
Recommendation: Worth your time this week.

Artist: Weakened Friends
Album: Common Blah
Quick Description: A favorite around here is back with a favorite this week.
Why You Should Listen: Weakened Friends should be your favorite alt-rock act right now.
Overall Thoughts: Ken said to me that this album is where Weezer should have ended up, and I think I agree with him. That Weakened Friends are not a huge alt-rock act yet makes no sense to me, as the songwriting is tight throughout most of what they do these days. For a band that I felt hit a good stride last summer, this album is quickly showing how they’re on a different plane than their indie alt peers.
Recommendation: One of the best releases for this week.

Artist: Richard Ashcroft
Album: Natural Rebel
Quick Description: British musical icon returns with a new solo album.
Why You Should Listen: Ashcroft's solo work has been solid for some time.
Overall Thoughts: The Verve frontman has put out a number of solo albums over the years, and while none of them have been nearly as good as his original debut (or, for that matter, anything with the Verve), this was a very mature-sounding record by someone who is clearly beyond the glory years of his career but is still able to make some great music. This isn’t going to blow anyone’s mind, but it’s not really designed to do that – it’s just a solid record by a popular artist.
Recommendation: Give this a listen.

Artist: Empress Of
Album: Us
Quick Description: Latest from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Empress Of will always surprise you.
Overall Thoughts: We loved the last album by Empress Of, and this album turns the heat up a little bit. It’s less weird and more weird mainstream, which makes it a strange listen in a lot of ways but an utterly compelling album otherwise. There are a lot of ways this album won me over, but “I Don’t Even SW” was a key highlight for me that brought this from good to great.
Recommendation: Another favorite this week.

Artist: MØ
Album: Forever Neverland
Quick Description: European pop star tries to make the leap.
Why You Should Listen: Her debut was outstanding, this is also great.
Overall Thoughts: I know I like too much pop music, but honestly, if you want a modern pop album done right? Look no further than here. Sharp production, catchy songs, and you’ll wonder why MØ is not hitting the upper echelon of pop stars at present.
Recommendation: Worth it if you need some pop in your rotation.

Of note:

* Superhuman Happiness - Beacon (Odd, cross-genre record that works most of the time)
* Callow - Mothdust (Feels like a sludgy Alabama Shakes at times)
* How to Dress Well - The Anteroom (A solid, strange listen from start to finish)
* Will Oldham - Songs of Love and Horror (Solid, quiet folk music)
* Neneh Cherry - Broken Politics
* Farao - Pure-O
* Linen Closet - Linen Closet
* Elle King - Shake the Spirit
* Papercuts - Parallel Universe Blues
* Doe Paoro - Soft Power


* Open Mike Eagle - What Happens When I Try to Relax
* Minus the Bear - Fair Enough
* Tangerine - White Dove
* Belle Mare - Liars
* Moaning Lisa - Do You Know Enough

Also out:

* R.E.M. - R.E.M. at the BBC
* Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Live at the Ryman
* Kings of Spade - Kings of Spade
* Jr. Thomas and the Volcanoes - Rockstone
* The Runouts - Bohemian Catastrophe
* Arkells - Rally Cry
* Greta Van Fleet - Anthem of the Peaceful Army
* Cloud Nothings - Last Building Burning
* Lee "Scratch" Perry - The Black Album

Monday, October 22, 2018

Rayland Baxter Covers The Kinks

Photo by Shervin Lainez
I'm beginning to love Spotify's Singles Sessions. They typically feature an artist performing one of their own songs followed by a cover. As I'm sure you know, we love covers here at If It's Too Loud..., and considering we love Rayland Baxter and The Kinks, we're obligated to tell you about Rayland Baxter covering The Kinks. (Oddly enough, this is the second cover of The Kinks's "Strangers" we've brought you this year, the first being from Major Murphy.) Baxter's version is completely true to the original, with just the slightest hint of his country/folk sound. We're pretty sure if you're into either Rayland Baxter or The Kinks, you're going to want to hear this. And since you're obviously a fan of both, it's completely a must hear.

You can listen to Rayland Baxter's version of "Strangers" below. For more on Rayland Baxter, check out his website

Leland Sundries - "If You're Gonna Drive, I'm Gonna Drink"

When a band calls their song "If You're Gonna Drive, I'm Gonna Drink," no matter what style of music they play, you know exactly what you're going to hear. Leland Sundries might not normally play old school honky tonk style country, but "If You're Gonna Drive, I'm Gonna Drink" certainly fits that. The song does go off into an unexpected 90's alternative by way of The Beach Boys towards the end, so it does remind me a bit of Cracker's country output. 

What is strange is that you would expect a b-side called "Lone Prairie" would be more of the same, but while it does have some country elements, it's much more straightforward alt-rock. It's the kind of 90's alt-rock that was heavily country based and influenced even though none of us could or would recognize or admit that back then.

You can listen to "If You're Gonna Drive, I'm Gonna Drink" below. The latest single from Leland Sundries is available now via Bandcamp. For more on Leland Sundries, check out their website.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Wargirl - "Poison"

After listening to the newest single from Wargirl, I was surprised to find out they are from Long Beach, CA. Their sound is more English, or at least New York than outside of Los Angeles. "Poison" is a slinky disco meets post punk song. It's a really unique sound that they credit from being from Long Beach. According to guitarist Matt Wignall: “No matter whether you see us or hear us, we always come across as a diverse bunch: ethnically as well as in terms of gender and preferences. However, whilst this may be considered colourful elsewhere, in Long Beach it is totally normal. Nobody else sounds like us, and yet we sound like the environment we come from.” Wargirl also credits The Clash's Sandinista! as a major influence, which makes perfect sense.

You can watch the video for "Poison" below. Wargirl's self titled debut album will be released on October 26 on Clouds Hill. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Wargirl, check them out on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday Freebie: SkyTigers - Appetite for Reconstruction

As I mentioned earlier this week, we don't cover a whole lot of heavy music here at If It's Too Loud..., so when we do, you know it's because we really like it. Massachusetts's SkyTigers are one of those bands we can get into. Their debut EP, Appetite for Reconstruction, is a five song burst of thrashy heavy metal meets hardcore punk. I would simply classify it as hardcore, but the guitar solos are too epic to just be called hardcore. Plus, they somehow have some great pop punk harmonies hidden in the noise. Normally this is something I hate, but SkyTigers prove that heavy music can have hooks. 

You can listen to "Knuckleduster" below. SkyTigers's EP, Appetite for Reconstruction, is available now for free on Bandcamp. If you choose zero for the "name your price" option, at least give them a follow on social media. You can find them on Facebook here.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Shogun and The Sheets - "Hold On Kid"

Photo by Aaron Blakely
Shogun and The Sheets are the new project from Royal Headache's Shogun. Hailing from Sydney, their debut single, "Hold On Kid," is a rollicking throwback to the early 2000's garage rock revival, albeit a synth heavy version. It also includes a heavy dose of soul, coming across like an amped up version of ? and the Mysterians. 

While "Hold On Kid" is the A-side, I really have to mention the B-side, "Pissing Blood." "Pissing Blood" starts off like a garage rock Black Sabbath before it morphs into a noisy, guitar heavy soul ballad. I personally think this should be the A-side, but it could just be me.

You can listen to "Hold On Kid" and "Pissing Blood" below. Shogun and The Sheet's debut 7" is available now on What's Your Rupture?, and can be ordered via Bandcamp. For more on Shogun and The Sheets, check out their website

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Neighborhood of Make Believe - "Between Two Nighttimes Lightning"

Photo by Alex Muro
It's rare to find a band that has an original take on traditional folk while still staying traditional. "Between Two Nighttimes Lightning" from Albany's Neighborhood of Make Believe has that feel to it. The band utilizes accordion and brass instruments instead of the typical string instruments, which gives the song a modern take (their press release calls this Neo-gypsy, and I'd have to agree). The song seems to ramble naturally in whichever direction it felt like going in. While most music feels controlled, "Between Two Nighttimes Lightning" feels like it just happened and this recording is merely a document of that occurrence.

You can listen to "Between Two Nighttimes Lightning" below. Two Nighttimes, the debut album from Neighborhood of Make Believe, will be out November 12 on Five Kill Records. You can pre-order your copy on Bandcamp. For more on Neighborhood of Make Believe, check out their website.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for 12 October

Sorry for two weeks of quick hits in a row - I was out of town at a wedding, so I was unable to do as much prep. Should be back on course next week.


* Dusty Stray - Estranged
* K Michelle Dubois - Harness
* The Watson Twins - Duo
* Yowler - Black Dog in My Path
* Arc Iris - Icon of Ego
* Anna St. Louis - If Only There Was a River
* Matthew Dear - Bunny

Of note:

* Adwaith - Melyn
* John Hiatt - The Eclipse Sessions
* Tom Morello - The Atlas Underground (very polarizing)
* Ben Katzman's DeGreaser - Quarter Life Crisis
* The Persian Leaps - Pop That Goes Crunch
* Haley - Pleasureland
* Edie Brickell & New Bohemians - Rocket
* Jess Glynne - Always In Between


* Young Jesus - The Whole Thing is Just Here
* Live - Local 717
* Alexa Melo - Mute EP

Also out:

* Blues Traveler - Hurry Up & Hang Around
* Tom Robbins and Ben Lee - B is for Beer: The Musical
* Django Django - Marble Skies
* Young the Giant - Mirror Master
* Elvis Costello and the Imposters - Look Now
* St. Vincent - MassEducation
* The Monkees - Christmas Party
* Kurt Vile - Bottle It In

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