Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Gabriel Birnbaum - "Stack the Miles"

Photo by Ellen Askonas
You may know Gabriel Birnbaum better as the frontman of Wilder Maker, but he also is a member of Debo Band and has played with Sharon Van Etten, Lady Lamb, and more. Right now he's releasing a solo album later this year, and we can check out the first single, "Stack the Miles."

"Stack the Miles" may sound like pretty standard solo album, singer/songwriter material at first. However, that helps mask how interesting and unique the song is. Despite having a relatively full sound, the song is quite sparse. It's basically the same riff repeated over and over throughout the entire song, with some secondary flourishes sprinkled in regularly. It creates an odd, but intriguing song.

You can listen to "Stack the Miles" below. The song will be included on Gabriel Birnbaum's upcoming debut solo album. To keep up on details when they are announced, head on over to Wilder Maker's website.

Monday, January 14, 2019

STL GLD - "The New Normal, Pt. 1"

Photo by Eran Shaysh
I don't think I'll ever understand how STL GLD aren't one of the biggest bands in America. Notice I didn't say one of the biggest hip hop acts in America, but one of the biggest bands. It seems every time they release new music they just keep getting better and better. Their new single, "The New Normal, Pt. 1," might be what finally puts them over the top. It's something completely rare in modern hip hop: It's unique and creative while still having a huge amount of mainstream appeal. The song reminds me of everything I loved from hip hop back in the early 90's. It's not a throwback song at all. "The New Normal, Pt. 1" sounds completely current. This song has an edge to it and completely ignores what everyone else is doing out there. STL GLD do their own thing, and we should all come to the party ASAP.

You can listen to "The New Normal, Pt. 1" below. The new STL GLD album, The New Normal, will be out February 1. You can pre-order the album here. For more on STL GLD, check out their website.

Current Obsessions: Cherry Glazerr - "Wasted Nun"

2019 sounds like a good time to resurrect an old series here, Current Obsessions, where we wax semi-poetic about the stuff that's really nailing it for us. Today, "Wasted Nun" by Cherry Glazerr.

On one hand, while I've been a fan of Cherry Glazerr since their early EPs, I have never quite put them in the same box with Tancred, Charly Bliss, and the like with the whole alt-rock revival thing we saw a few years ago. With that said, Apocalypstick was an album of the week for me when it came out and this new song? Well, wow - this song is incredible.

The song does not waste any time getting to the point, with a heavier sound and some crunchy guitars getting right into it. The chorus is less melodic and more pleading, with a style that I yelled right along with in the car yesterday afternoon - even though I'm not a wasted girl, I certainly feel like I'm no fun sometimes, and one has to wonder where this song is coming from specifically.

And a shout out to the video, in particular. In other, non-musical forms of media, I've fully been dipping my toe into horror. Not only the critically- and culturally-acclaimed stuff, but also the drive-in schlock that got many of us on board in the first place. It's hard not to wonder whether the Conjuring-verse is directly informing this, or if it's more of an American Horror Story pastiche, but the video itself is really solid as well. The creepy glances from lead singer Clementine Creevy throughout the first verse alone are beautifully unsettling and so well done.

Don't miss out on this one. Cherry Glazerr has rightfully been sitting on the edge of exploding onto the mainstream, and this song might be the thing that propels them to something much bigger.

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Regrettes Cover Queen

Photo via Facebook
This has been a very cover heavy week, even by our standards. We finally break out of Nirvana covers with this one from The Regrettes. They're taking on Queen's classic (although does Queen have any songs that aren't considered classics?) "Don't Stop Me Now." While there was some controversy over Bohemian Rhapsody winning the Golden Globe earlier this week, I think we can all agree The Regrettes may have the perfect cover here. It stays completely faithful to the original version while adding just enough of their own touch so it does sound like a modern garage pop-punk song. It's an absurdly fun song, and perfect for fans of both bands.

You can listen to The Regrette's version of "Don't Stop Me Now" below. The band has said that it's part of a secret upcoming project, but no word on what that is yet. For more on The Regrettes, check out their website.

The Mojo Nixon Documentary Finally Has a Trailer!

We first told you about the upcoming Mojo Nixon documentary waaaaaaaay back in July 2013. After that... there was pretty much no news. Well, five and a half years later we finally have a trailer and a release date. The good news is the trailer. The bad news is that the release date for The Mojo Manifesto is March 2020... over a year away. Well, we've (Ok, I've been waiting... I doubt Jeff is as excited about this documentary as I am) been waiting for almost six years, so what's one more for our favorite country punk madman legend? Let's just hope this gets a Boston Independent Film Festival screening with Mojo himself in attendance.

You can watch the trailer for The Mojo Manifesto below. Heads up, there is a whole lotta NSFW language, so headphones on! For more on Mojo Nixon, check out his website, even though I don't think it's been updated since 2011.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Green River Festival 2019 Initial Line Up!

The Green River Festival has been a highlight of our summer for years now. It hasn't worked out with my personal schedule the past two years, but with today's initial line up announcement it better. So far only five artists have been announced, but they're all killer additions to any festival. They're even kind enough to announce what days they're playing:

First Aid Kit: Friday
The Wood Brothers: Saturday
The Devil Makes Three, Rhiannon Giddens, and Tyler Childers: Sunday

The Green River Festival is one of the most laid back and all ages friendly festivals around. It's one of the few that I get just as excited about the food trucks as I do the music. It always feels like a bunch of music fans somehow tricked artists to play a festival they made up, but run perfectly.

The Green River Festival runs July 13-15 at the Greenfield Community College in Greenfield, MA. For more information, check out their website, and make sure to buy early bird tickets!

Stella Donnelly - "Old Man"

Photo by Pooneh Ghana
We were both huge fans of Stella Donnelly's debut EP, Thrush Metal. Obviously we're going to be thrilled in March when her debut album is released. Right now we can check out the first single off that album now.

"Old Man" is a little smoother than the songs off Thrush Metal. It's a little less folk and a bit more pop. It's still a great singer/songwriter release. Donnelly is almost crooning in her Australian accent, and the songs has an almost slinky or seductive feel. Of course, then you listen to the lyrics about a groping, creepy old man (hence the title) and your skin begins to immediately crawl. "Old Man" is a great step in a slightly new direction, and we can't wait to hear the rest.

You can watch the video for "Old Man" below. Beware of Dogs, the debut album from Stella Donnelly, will be out March 8 on Secretly Canadian. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Stella Donnelly, check out her website. Current tour dates are below the video.

Fri. March 15 - Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall #
Sat. March 16 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s #
Mon. March 18 - Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade #
Wed. March 20 - Hamden, CT @ Space Ballroom #
Fri. March 22 - Somerville, MA @ ONCE Ballroom #
Sat. March 23 - Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo #
Sun. March 24 - Toronto, ON @ The Drake Hotel #
Mon. March 25 - Detroit, MI @ Deluxx Fluxx #
Wed. March 27 - Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups #
Thu. March 28 - Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop #
Fri. March 29 - Chicago, IL @ Schuba’s #
Sat. March 30 - St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club #
Tue. April 2 - Seattle, WA @ Barboza #
Wed. April 3 - Portland, OR @ Polaris Hall #
Fri. April 5 - San Francisco, CA @ Cafe Du Nord #
Sat. April 6 - Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater #
Thu. April 11 – Berlin, DE @ Badehaus
Fri. April 12 – Hamburg, DE @ Skybar
Sat. April 13 – Rotterdam, NL @ Rotown
Mon. April 15 – Cologne, DE @ Yuca
Tue. April 16 – Brussels, BE @ Botanique  
Wed. April 17 – Amiens, FR @ La Lune Des Pirates *
Thu. April 18 - Paris, FR @ Le Pop Up Du Label
Tue. April 23 - Cardiff, UK @ Clwb Ifor Bach
Wed. April 24 - Bristol, UK @ Thekla
Thu. April 25 - Southampton, UK @ Joiners
Sat. April 27 - Brighton, UK @ Haunt
Sun. April 28 - Manchester, UK @ Yes
Mon. April 29 - Dublin, IE @ Grand Social
Wed. May 1 - Glasgow, UK The Blue Arrow
Thu. May 2 - Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Community Room
Sat. May 4 - Liverpool, UK @ Liverpool Sound City
Sun. May 5 - Nottingham, UK @ Bodega
Tue. May 7 - London, UK @ Scala

# = with Faye Webster
* = supporting Yak

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Dani Bell and The Tarantist - "Free"

Photo by Kristy Walker
We're just a couple of weeks away from the release of Dani Bell and The Tarantist's new album, and we have another new single to check out. As with the previous two, "Free" is in the same universe as the other songs but also quite different. There is still the trademark freaky new-ish indie folk-pop sound we've come to expect, but "Free" has this old school trip hop meets Luscious Jackson feel. There is also this killer fuzzed out guitar that seems to be following the song around until the end when it explodes into a completely unexpected and brilliant guitar solo. 

You can listen to "Free" below. Wide Eyed, the new album from Dani Bell and The Tarantist, will be out January 18 on The Redwoods Music. For more on Dani Bell and The Tarantist, be sure to check out their Facebook.

Eerie Wanda Covers Nirvana

Photo by Raphaël Irié
This might be the week of Nirvana covers for us. This particular one is almost three years old, but since Eerie Wanda is new to us, I thought I'd point this one out. While the Screaming Females Nirvana covers we brought you on Monday were spot on takes, Eerie Wanda go a completely different route on "Even In His Youth." Instead of the loud, noisy version we're accustomed to, Eerie Wanda re-imagine the song as a groovy bosanova song, complete with a drum machine. Of course, it's Eerie Wanda so it keeps in the disturbing and uncomfortable sides of the classic, just more mellow and groovy.

You can watch the video for Eerie Wanda's version of "Even In His Youth" below. Pet Town, the new album from Eerie Wanda, will be out January 25 on Joyful Noise. For more on Eerie Wanda, be sure to check out their Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Buck Gooter - "Peace Siren"

Photo by Paul Somers
Buck Gooter are about to release their 18th album in 14 years, which seems insane since they've somehow escaped my notice until now. "Peace Siren" isn't quite like anything else I've ever heard. The band describes themselves as a "primal industrial blues band," and I have to agree with that assessment. "Peace Siren" has a dirty, bluesy guitar with strained, almost screaming vocals and a driving electronic sounding beat. It's almost as if Steve Albini joined Ministry and decided to make a very serious party song. Trust me, listening to "Peace Siren" doesn't make more sense than reading about it, but you'll get no arguments from us.

You can watch the video for "Peace Siren" below. Buck Gooter's new album, Finer Thorns, will be out on February 22 via Ramp Local. You can pre-order the album on Bandcamp. For more on Buck Gooter, check out their website. Current tour dates are below the video.

February 22nd, 2019 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's w/ Palberta
February 23rd, 2019 - New York, NY @ Market Hotel w/ Palberta, Pop 1280  

February 24th, 2019  - Providence, RI @ News Cafe
February 25th - Washington D.C. @ Dew Drop Inn

First Listen: Recent New Releases for 2018/19

We're still a little slow in the new year, but there's been enough new music of note to clear the backlog.

Artist: Reel Big Fish
Album: Life Sucks... Let's Dance!
Quick Description: Latest from the modern ska legends.
Why You Should Listen: Ska may have died 20 years ago, but Reel Big Fish didn't.
Overall Thoughts: Reel Big Fish was my second concert ever, if we want to line up how long I’ve been a fan. Ska hasn’t been cool in 20+ years (if it ever was at all), but I won’t lie – this was a super fun album to listen to, and I’m glad RBF is still around and doing their thing. This is going to be a great nostalgia hit if you had that ska phase, but I recommend listening to it anyway because, well, it’s actually really good and fun.
Recommendation: Give this a spin.

Artist: The Lindas
Album: 8 by 9
Quick Description: Gritty indie punk.
Why You Should Listen: This is the sort of dirty punk music you've wanted after the bright holiday season.
Overall Thoughts: Sloppy, dirty indie punk. Reminds me of a slightly messier Regrettes/Dream Wife, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. Given that we can count the worthwhile 2019 releases on one hand so far, this is a highlight, but I am confident that it would be even if the new release period was busier.
Recommendation: A great listen this week.

Artist: Balsam Range
Album: Aeonic
Quick Description: New record from a well-traveled roots act.
Why You Should Listen: They have a very sharp, tight sound.
Overall Thoughts: Good ol’ traditional Americana. This isn’t going to change the world, nor is it really trying to do so, but this is still some good stuff with enough modern flair to keep it from staying in the same old box. I enjoyed this, but it should be noted that there is a pretty solid religious throughline in the music that may be a turnoff, but for me, it did not take away from the overall package.
Recommendation: A good listen this week.

Artist: Old Sea Brigade
Album: Ode to a Friend
Quick Description: Delicate indie folk.
Why You Should Listen: You miss the folk revival from a decade ago.
Overall Thoughts: This is a pretty solid listen. Some sleepy, atmospheric folk music that generally works well, it reminds me a lot of some of the less weird Bon Iver efforts or some of the early Iron and Wine albums. There’s a lot here to like on a whole, and it’s perfect for those who have been feeling the itch for some new folk music.
Recommendation: Worth the time.

Also out:

* T. Rextacy - Prehysteria (A charming, cute little record that doesn’t take itself too seriously and yet feels a little out of place in 2019 compared to the era it sounds like it is from.)

7 Song Albums:

* Lauren Ruth Ward - Happy Birthday Jim (A bunch of interesting Doors covers.)

EPs of note:

* St. Beauty - Running to the Sun: The ReWORC EP
* A Very Spidey Christmas (Yes, this exists.)

Also out:

* Dr. Dog - Midi Swamp
* Palisades - Erase the Pain

Monday, January 7, 2019

Screaming Females Cover Nirvana

In what can only be described as both an obvious and perfect pairing, back on New Year's Eve at Beat Kitchen in Chicago, IL, Screaming Females covered Nirvana. Sure, they did "Smells Like Teen Spirit," which is the most obvious Nirvana song to cover. But, it's a phenomenally great song, especially when it's done as perfectly as Screaming Females do it. It might be the most faithful Nirvana cover I've ever heard. And then, just when you think you've reached the pinnacle, they throw in a version of "Breed" that's beyond perfection. These two songs have me dreaming of a Screaming Females tour where they play nothing but early 90's alternative hits.

You can watch Screaming Females cover "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Breed" below. For more on Screaming Females, be sure to check out their website.

Haint Blue - "Bear the Burden"

Photo by Rachel Verhaaren
Baltimore's Haint Blue might be releasing the first great album of 2019. Right now we can only hear one song off of it, but "Bear the Burden" is great. First, we all love a great backstory for an album. Overgrown is about frontman Mike Cohn's ten year struggle to flee the fundamentalist faith he was raised in and then overcoming drug addiction. The backstory aside, there is "Bear the Burden." The single goes through phases while remaining a solid whole. There is something for everyone who likes Americana here. There is plenty of traditional instrumentation, but it's also a completely fresh and modern take on the genre. Haint Blue keeps it poppy enough for the mainstream arena rocking folk fans, but it's also just odd enough for anyone who wants some experimentation in their music. It's a brilliant all-encompassing song, and you'll be able to tell everyone that you started listening to them way back when.

You can listen to "Bear the Burden" below. Overgrown, the new album from Haint Blue, will be out on February 15. For more on Haint Blue, be sure to check out their website. Current tour dates are below the song.

Saturday 2/23 @ Frozen Harbor Festival, Baltimore MD
Monday 3/4 @ 49 West, Annapolis, MD
Friday 3/8 @ Dante's, Frostburg, MD
Friday 3/15 @ Metro Gallery Baltimore, MD (Album Release Show)
Saturday 3/23 @ Front Royal Brewery, Front Royal VA

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Lewsberg - "Terrible"

Photo by Tommy Ventevogel
Rotterdam's Lewsberg are set to re-release their debut album, and since we've never heard it before, we can pretend it's brand new. One of the lead singles, "Terrible," would be called a slacker anthem if it was released 25 years ago. It has this incredibly laid back vibe despite having a quiet intensity. It just chugs along at it's own set pace, meandering slightly but not much. It reminds me a lot of Pavement meets DEVO. That would be until the guitar solo kicks in. The late guitar solo has the crazed energy/laid back feel of a J Mascis solo. Plus, with a opening line like "“I’m about to do something terrible, I’m about to do something nice," how more early 90's slacker can you possibly get?

You can watch the video for "Terrible" below. Lewsberg's self-titled debut album will be out February 1 on Cargo Records Distribution. For more on Lewsberg, be sure to check out their website.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Eerie Wanda - "Sleepy Eyes"

Photo by Raphael Irie
The newest single from Eerie Wanda isn't quite as lonely or dark as "Moon" is. Instead, "Sleepy Eyes" is almost boisterous and jubilant. Almost. "Sleepy Eyes" is decidedly more upbeat, and almost a dance song, if you can consider anything this minimalist and singer/songwriter-y a dance song. It certainly doesn't start out this way. It starts off with some insanely stark guitar work until Marina Tadic's vocals start. Slowly more and more instruments start meandering in, until you finally get an almost dance party. Almost.

You can watch the video for "Sleepy Eyes" below. Pet Town, the new album from Eerie Wanda, will be out January 25 on Joyful Noise. For more on Eerie Wanda, be sure to check out their Facebook and Twitter.