Thursday, November 14, 2019

Shadow Show - "Shadow Box"

Photo by Colleen Rose
Shadow Show might be the most Detroit band out there right now. Their new single, "Shadow Box," has elements of Detroit psychedelic garage rock proto-punk mixed with a Motown girl group vibe. It's a down and dirty sound, leaning much heavier into the garage rock sound, but also with this unexpected sheen over it. And then it all ends with a freak out jam. It's like they took Detroit in the 1960's and tweaked it just enough to give it a new, modern sound.

You can listen to "Shadow Box" below. Silhouettes, the debut album from Shadow Show, will be out February 14 on Burger Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Shadow Show, check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Coude - Save Our Souls

Hailing from France, Coude have just released a new EP that's sure to appeal to fans of 90's indie rock. Save Our Souls starts off with "Break Your Balls" that sounds as if Sonic Youth and Kathleen Hanna had so much fun on the "Bull In the Heather" video that she joined the band as a full time member. Sonic Youth comparisons will continue with "Rave Down," as the vocals are quite reminiscent of Thurston Moore. That is, until the song takes a weird turn into Ciccone Youth territory. It isn't all Sonic Youth style indie rock. "You Will Never Be Mine" has a much more sensitive feel than Sonic Youth specialized in. It's still a noisy, discordant indie rock song, but there is something truly lovely about it at the same time.

You can listen to "Rave Down" below. Save Our Souls, the new EP from Coude, is available now via Influenza Records. You can get a copy here. For more on Coude, check them out on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

War on Alexandria - "Grip (the heavy one)"

Photo via Facebook
We don't cover much on the metal/hard rock spectrum here, but every so often something squeaks through and gets our attention. Boston's War on Alexandria have released a new single, and it's a heavy blast of thrash that gets our attention. Based on its name and the fact that War on Alexandria's previous single, "Sleep Deprived," was more on the chilled out/ambient side of things, "Grip (the heavy one)" might just be a band indulging themselves in their metal side. "Grip (the heavy one)" isn't pure hardcore metal. Instead it's a more melodic side of bands like Helmet or Deftones. 

You can listen to "Grip (the heavy one)" below. For more on War on Alexandria, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Heather Valley - "Lovejoy"

The first single from Heather Valley's debut album might not have the most traditionally country sound ever, but the subject matter is the height of country. According to Valley, "Lovejoy"... "tells the tale of my reunion with the love of my life, who turned out to be a conman. He came up to Buffalo and I drove down from Canada, the two of us meeting in a neighbourhood called Lovejoy. Everything seemed perfect. It wasn’t until he was arrested at the border in front of me that I discovered the truth - he was a fugitive from justice from Louisiana carrying on multiple lives." Musically, the song has a little too much of a sheen on it to be traditional country, but instead it feels like a more modern version of country hits of the 70's.

You can watch the video for "Lovejoy" below. Desert Message, the debut album from Heather Valley, will be out November 22. For more on Heather Valley, check her out on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Beija Flo - "Nudes"

Photo via Facebook
Liverpool based artist Beija Flo has a new single and an accompanying art exhibition. "Nudes" builds in intensity. It starts off as a chilled out mixture of trip hop and drum & bass. It's a beautiful electronic song, but it slowly builds and builds into a much more uncomfortable yet intriguing listen. At one point it sounds more like an organic Aphex Twin.

Beija Flo describes "Nudes" and the exhibit "Inside the Walls": “This very personal collection of music and art is about how I saw and captured my body, and how it as touched, over a specific period of time. A period of time in which I had a series of blemishing break-ups and sexual partners, during a very hard year in my life. Whilst struggling with my weight and mental health, I lost a lot of people and pushed the rest away. I still can’t explain why I did this. In a mad panic of distrust and anxiety, I could not bear to be touched or even continue to exist – at least, not in the world I was in. In a desperate longing for someone to see me as I was, to start again, I gave trust to the wrong people and received scars in return. I also gave trust to the right people and got my body back.”

You can watch the video for "Nudes" below. Beija Flo's exhibition "Inside the Walls: Nudes, Anxieties and Other Content" will run from January 17 to February 2 at Output Gallery in Liverpool. For more on Beija Flo, check her out on Facebook and Twitter.

Mountain Man Covers Irving Berlin

Photo via Facebook
It feels absurdly early to be sharing Christmas music at this point, but when artists we love keep releasing it, we can't help it. The latest is Mountain Man covering Irving Berlin's legendary "White Christmas." As you might expect, Mountain Man's version of this song is absolute perfection. They keep it very traditional, although it is much more stripped down and folky than the original. It's a quiet, gorgeous version of one of the few Christmas songs that seems to be beloved by all. As the band says: "We wanted to record a song that could be played in people's homes throughout the holidays, like a gentle push of light. We thought 'White Christmas' might do the trick!"

You can listen to Mountain Man's version of "White Christmas" below. You can find the song here. For more on Mountain Man, For more on Mountain Man, check out their website.

First Listen: New Releases for 8 November

There is so much good music out this week.

Artist: FKA Twigs
Quick Description: Left-of-center R&B act back with more interesting tunes.
Why You Should Listen: FKA Twigs is among the most adventurous artists in her lane.
Overall Thoughts: If there’s one thing FKA Twigs is known for, it’s taking chances. No one in the R&B space is quite like her, and her new album, while still delightfully weird, is probably more noteworthy for how relatively accessible it is. Sure, these aren’t Lizzo bangers but they aren’t impenetrable, either, and that makes a difference here. If you’ve held off up to now, this is definitely a worthwhile onramp, but there’s certainly enough here for fans to really enjoy. (Also “fallen alien” is amazing.)
Recommendation: A must-hear.

Artist: HANA
Quick Description: Sort-of retro pop music.
Why You Should Listen: This is one of my favorites of the week.
Overall Thoughts: For as much as I like 90s alt-rock, I have a similar affinity for 90s techno/dance music, and if HANA isn't mirroring those sorts of higher-concept, soaring techno anthems of that era, I must be losing my mind. Songs like "Anxious Alien" and "Nu Leaf" would fit right into that time period and been awesome then, and it doesn't feel dated now. This is such a great listen, and worth it with or without nostalgia glasses on.
Recommendation: Sneaky great.

Artist: Fox Medicine
Album: Procedures Mystiques
Quick Description: Lopud, brash indie... metal?
Why You Should Listen: In a lot of ways, this shouldn't be as good as it is.
Overall Thoughts: I shouldn’t like this. It’s sludgey noisy metal-adjacent music, but somehow the sing-songy approach with the melodic underpinnings just works for me. It’s such a fresh approach that I am just as interested in going into their back catalog as I am to get back to this album. I won’t pretend that this will work for everyone, but it is definitely one of my favorites this week, and might have some staying power.
Recommendation: Give this a chance.

Artist: Raelyn Nelson Band
Album: Don't
Quick Description: Willie's granddaughter's rockin' delight.
Why You Should Listen: She has the genetics and the bonafides.
Overall Thoughts: I have been semi-obsessed with Raelyn Nelson since “Brother,” and years of singles have finally led to a debut as good as anything out there. This granddaughter of Willie knows how to bring a punk aesthetic to rockabilly-style country, and this is just a really fun record from start to finish. They’re not trying to change the world, but if this sets a few fires along the way, all the better (and don’t sleep on the Bikini Kill cover at the end of the album, either).
Recommendation: A really great listen.

Artist: Me Not You
Album: Already Gone
Quick Description: Loud, abrasively melodic indie rock.
Why You Should Listen: No one sounds quite like this act.
Overall Thoughts: Another group I have been waiting forever for a full-length on, and while none of these songs reach the soaring, noisy heights of their earliest EPs, the shoegazey tendencies of this record more than make up for it. There’s an added urgency as well that provides a real interesting feeling that I fully enjoyed. This is a busy week for music, for sure, but...
Recommendation:... this one really shouldn’t be missed.

Album: The Theatrical Death of Julie Delicious
Quick Description: New album from the loud, poppy indie act.
Why You Should Listen: This is a delightful little adventure.
Overall Thoughts: Show me a more fun album this year. I’ll wait. There’s just an infectious joy to this record that I can’t resist, and I really enjoyed my time with this one. I can’t wait to go back, and this has some fairly broad appeal for both pop addicts and those looking for interesting indie works.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Artist: The Hackles
Album: A Dobritch Did as a Dobritch Should
Quick Description: Solid, surprising folk-adjacent tunes.
Why You Should Listen: This feels different and unique.
Overall Thoughts: This is a great, rootsy effort that feels bold and forward-thinking while remaining as familiar as ever. Great music, great harmonies, and really one of the better folky efforts in a few weeks. If you like the roots stuff we feature here, this absolutely needs to find some time in your rotation this week.
Recommendation: Give it a listen.

Artist: Kate Davis
Album: Trophy
Quick Description: Addictive indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: Kate Davis has something special here.
Overall Thoughts: This is some really solid indie rock/pop, reminiscent of the recent Noel Wells record or some of Jenny Owen Youngs’s output. Kate Davis knows how to put a song together, and the result here is a solid album from start to finish with some truly memorable moments. Granted, I am biased in the sense that I could get down with most of this genre, but there’s something special here.
Recommendation: Make time for this.

Artist: DJ Manipulator
Album: The Soviet Tape
Quick Description: Splicing Russian media with hip hop beats.
Why You Should Listen: The concept alone is amazing.
Overall Thoughts: This is a fairly simple concept that is just too great to ignore. DJ takes some Russian records and audio, mixes them up, creates dance/turntable masterpiece. And it won’t interfere in your elections!
Recommendation: A great listen.

Of note:

* Mark Lind and the Unloved - The Last Bastion (Fine, but not for me.)
* Various Artists - Too Late to Pray: Defiant Chicago Roots (Lots of gems in this comp.)
* Thees Handz - Thees Handz (Collaboration between The Grouch and Murs.)
* Rachael Dadd - FLUX (Solid indie folk.)
* Brother Ali - Secrets & Escapes
* Louise Burns - Portraits
* Russian Baths - Deepfake
* Mount Eerie and Julie Doiron - Lost Wisdom Pt. 2
* Josienne Clarke - In All Weather

Seven Song Albums:

* Lucy Dacus - 2019 (A collection of singles this year plus some fun covers.)


* Andrew Bird - HARK!
* Hercules & Love Affair - Change EP

Also out:

* Snow Patrol - Reworked (Collects the reworked EPs and more.)
* Agnostic Front - Get Loud!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Clever Girls - "Remember Pluto"

We've been fans of Burlington,VT's Clever Girls and their style of indie rock meets Tom Petty style Americana for a few years now. Their newest single, "Remembering Pluto," changes their sound up quite a bit. While there are some hints of the previous Americana inspired sound, "Remembering Pluto" is downright trippy. It's almost like The Cars experimenting with psychedelia. The guitars are wonderfully muddled in the best planned way. There are some big rock moments in the song, but mostly it's a relatively quiet, reflective song masquerading as a big rocker.

You can listen to "Remembering Pluto" below. The song is available now via Egghunt Records on Clever Girl's Bandcamp. For more on Clever Girls, check out their website.

Whistlestop Rock Festival Brings the Rock to Winter in New England

The winter is a fairly dead time for live music in New England. A storm can derail a live show at any time, and who really wants to deal with being cold and carrying around a big, bulky coat inside a sweaty, packed club?

Whistlestop Rock Festival is going to change that for the better. Simone Berk (Kid Gulliver, Sugar Snow) reached out via a group message to women in bands about doing a show together. That idea expanded into a regionally touring festival featuring eight bands plus special guests in each city. As you can tell by the name, Whistlestop Rock Festival sticks with the rock side of things and features the retro-mod punk of The Chelsea Curve, the Rolling Stones meets Hank Williams of Cold Expectations, Boston rock veterans Field Day, heavily 90's alt-rock infleunced Heather Rose in Clover, the power pop punk of Justine and The Unclean, Kid Gulliver's power pop, power trio The Knock Ups, the impossible to classify Powerslut, and Tiger Bomb's garage pop. Any three or four of these bands playing together is a can't miss night out, but all eight? 

Right now there are four cities/five nights scheduled for the festival with more to come. They are:
Providence RI, at Askew Prov, January 11, 2020 
Somerville MA, at ONCE Ballroom, February 29, 2020 (PowerSlut Record Release Party!!) 
Salem MA, at Koto, two nights, March 13 and 14, 2020 
Portland ME, at Sun Tiki Studios, March 28, 2020

For more on the Whistlestop Rock Festival, check them out on Facebook.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Beach Bunny - "Dream Boy"

Lili Trifilio first started Beach Bunny in 2015 as a solo project. The first three EPs were lo-fi home recordings. In 2018 Beach Bunny became a full band with the Prom Queen EP, and are now set to release their debut LP. The first single, "Dream Boy," has little of their lo-fi origins. It's a big indie pop/rock song, with heavy guitars and drums, and hooks that are beyond infectious. The only traces of the band's beginnings are in the lyrics, which, while paired with the new full on rock sound, will hook in just about anyone.

You can listen to "Dream Boy" below. Honeymoon, the debut album from Beach Bunny, will be out February 14 on Mom + Pop. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Beach Bunny, check them out on Facebook and Twitter. Current tour dates are below the song.

11/16 - Detroit, MI - El Club
11/17 - Toronto, ON - The Hard Luck - [SOLD OUT]
11/20 - Allston, MA - Great Scott - [SOLD OUT]
11/21 - Brooklyn, NY - Rough Trade NYC - [SOLD OUT]
11/22 - Philadelphia, PA - Everybody Hits - [SOLD OUT]
11/23 - Washington, DC - Songbyrd - [SOLD OUT]
11/24 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle - [SOLD OUT]
11/25 - Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn - [SOLD OUT]
11/26 - Nashville, TN - DRKMTTR
11/27- Columbus, OH - Big Room Bar
12/5 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
12/6 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th St Entry - [SOLD OUT]
12/7 - Grinnell, IA - Gardner Lounge at Grinnell College
12/8 - Indianapolis, IN - Hoosier Dome
2/22 - Chicago, IL - Metro
2/28 - Austin, TX - Barracuda
2/29 - Houston, TX - The Secret Group
3/1 - Dallas, TX - Ruins
3/3 - Phoenix, AZ - The Rebel Lounge
3/4 - Los Angeles, CA - The Roxy Theatre
3/5 - San Diego, CA - Che Cafe
3/7 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
3/9 - Portland, OR - Polaris Hall
3/10 - Seattle, WA - The Vera Project
3/12 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
3/13 - Denver, CO  - Lost Lake
3/27 - Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel
3/28 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church
3/29 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
3/31 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg

Live Shows: Pokey LaFarge and Jake La Botz, Brighton Music Hall, Allston, MA 11/6/19

Photo via Facebook
I've had the chance to see Pokey LaFarge in various incarnations over the last eight years or so, but I've never seen a fully solo performance. While being in between albums and bands, he decided to do a solo tour with fellow Midwesterner Jake La Botz, who is also performing solo. While both fall firmly into the folk/Americana genre, the pair have very different sounds which complemented each other perfectly.

First up was Jake La Botz, taking the stage two minutes early. Playing seated for his set, La Botz went through ten of his songs about addiction, struggle, and heartache. He has this downtrodden, lived in sound in his music, but somehow keeps things uplifting. His is more on the style of folk and country meets early rock 'n' roll, which went over very well with the still entering crowd. Despite being seated for the entire performance, La Botz is an incredibly captivating performer. He stays laid back, but puts on more of a rock show than a coffee shop folky. 

Pokey LaFarge brought another side of the same spectrum of folk music. Without a backing band, his songs were just stripped down to a bare minimum, with LaFarge playing the role of amiable troubadour. Even solo, he's an energetic performer and a showman at heart. He kept the audience fully invested in his performance, either leading a sing-a-long with "Wanna Be Your Man," having one spontaneously start during "The Devil Ain't Lazy," or singing at the front of the stage without amplification for "Goodbye, Barcelona." While sprinkling a number of new songs from an upcoming album throughout the set, he adopted a "one for me, one for you" rule, following up new songs like "Orange Blossom" with long time fan favorites like "Central Time." Not that he needed to, as the new songs were as well received as the classics. Overall he played twenty one songs for well over an hour, and the audience, while well satisfied, could have happily stayed for twenty one more.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

American Television - "Standing Still"

I'm starting to think Washington DC is the only place that bands know how to pull off "melodic punk." American Television fit that with their new single, "Standing Still." At just over two minutes, it's fast and heavy while still being insanely catchy and melodic. It's incredibly rare for a band to pull off the edge of punk while being bouncy, and American Television do it perfectly.

In a press release, the band explains the song: "Similar to ‘Glory Days’ by Bruce Springsteen, or even ‘Glory Days’ by Pkew Pkew Pkew, ‘Standing Still’ is a song about being stuck in the past and reliving accomplishments from your youth rather than focusing on your present and future. The world is moving a mile a minute these days, probably headed for complete disaster, so being focused on that big game from high school or trivial accomplishments from your college days seems so short-sighted. Forget the glory days; we need you today.”

You can watch the video for "Standing Still" below. Watch It Burn, the upcoming album from American Television, will be out January 24 on Wiretap Records. You can pre-save the album here. For more on American Television, check them out on Facebook.

The Haden Triplets - "Wayfaring Stranger"

Photo via Facebook
We loved The Haden Triplets's 2014 debut album. Their three part harmonies and traditional folk songs hit us right in a sweet spot (plus, being huge fans of that dog. doesn't hurt). Their take on the traditional "Wayfaring Stranger" has surprised me. I'd expect a very traditional take on the song, but The Haden Triplets go in an ultra-modern experimental folk direction with it. Does as a tribute to their late father, Charlie Haden, they kept their voices right up front and instrumentation to a bare minimum. All instruments are played in a very slow, haunting way to an intense effect. It's an interesting direction for The Haden Triplets, and for the song itself.

You can watch the lyric video for "Wayfaring Stranger" below. The Family Songbook, the upcoming album from The Haden Triplets, will be out January 24 on Trimeter Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on The Haden Triplets, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

First Listen: New Releases for 1 November

Artist: Hootie and the Blowfish
Album: Imperfect Circle
Quick Description: Reunion-ish album from the 90s rock band.
Why You Should Listen: Hootie and the Blowfish was one of the most popular bands in the world for a couple years.
Overall Thoughts: I feel like Hootie was the one 1990s rock act that hasn’t reunited (even though they technically never broke up) in the last few years, so this album is perhaps overdue. As someone who found the early Hootie records more favorable than popular history may lead on, this is a perfectly inoffensive Hootie record that is perhaps not as good as their heights, but definitely more listenable than their later output, and definitely miles ahead of the reunion efforts of many of their mid-90s contemporaries. The influence of Darius Rucker’s country career is noticeable, but doesn’t take away from anything here overall. In a slower week, this is definitely worth the time, and you’ll likely find something you like from this.
Recommendation: Better than just a nostalgia hit.

Artist: The Deer
Album: Do No Harm
Quick Description: New album from an indie act.
Why You Should Listen: This has a unique sound that still feels familiar.
Overall Thoughts: I don't know the first thing about this band, but boy did this album jump out at me as something to love. A little folky, a little poppy, a little indie... this is just the whole package and I was completely and totally on board. Even if this week wasn't slow, I'd recommend it.
Recommendation: Worth your time.

Artist: Katie Bulley
Album: Train Insane
Quick Description: Lo-fi garage rock.
Why You Should Listen: The starkness of this is a benefit.
Overall Thoughts: I was really drawn to this album, which has a raw sensibility to it that reminds me of sitting at a party with live music playing my someone you kind of know. It's a solid listen, might not work for everyone, but (and especially in a slower week) I did not want to see something this good get lost in the shuffle.
Recommendation: Give this some time this week.

Of note:

* R.E.M. - Monster (25th Anniversary Edition) (This is better than you remember it.)
* Gang Starr - One of the Best Yet (The perfect version of old-school rap this week.)
* Fenella - Fenella
* Spearmint - Are You From the Future?
* Ags Connolly - Wrong Again
* Wished Bone - Sap Season
* Hermitude - Pollyanarchy
* Michael Kiwanauka - KIWANUKA
* Bedroom Eyes - Nerves
* Grace Cummings - Refuge Cove
* Phil and the Osophers - Rise of the Fall
* Vetiver - Up on High

7 Song:

* CUP - Spinning Creature
* Cate Le Bon/Bradford Cox - Myths 004


* Lady Clementine's Fantastic Party - Clementine Season (I really dug this one.)
* Charly Bliss - Supermoon
* Bernice - Stages
* Lupe Fiasco/Wildstyle - Chill's Spotlight
* Skee Mask - Iss04


* Guided by Voices - Sweating the Plague
* Bobby Hawk - Lights On Kinks Out
* Rachel Grimes - The Way Forth
* Cold War Kids - New Age Norms 1

The Rentals - "Spaceships"

No one would ever accuse The Rentals of being a prolific band. Matt Sharp's project released Return of The Rentals way back in 1995, and has only released three (or four, depending on if you count Resilience). Lost in Alphaville came out in 2014, so to have a new album coming out next year seems fairly quick. "Spaceships" is the first single, and it's both completely different and exactly what we'd expect. Obviously it's very heavy on synths, as that's The Rentals thing. Maybe I'm being influenced by the song title, but "Spaceships" has a very Bowie feel. It has that futuristic sound, but what people thought the future would sound like in the 60's. That's not to say that it's a retro/throwback song. It does sound very current, and seems like Sharp has decided to dabble in the world of modern pop more than he ever has.

You can watch the lyric video for "Spaceships" below. Q36, the new album from The Rentals, will be out June 2. It can be pre-ordered here. They're promising to release a new song every two weeks until the album comes out, so get ready for lots of new Rentals music here! Also, for someone overly obsessed with band t-shirts, they're also releasing a new t-shirt every two weeks, and only for two weeks. For more information on The Rentals (and they're t-shirts), check out their website.

Gurr Covers Blur

We first became aware of Berlin's Gurr back when they opened up for Priests back in April. They just released a cover of Blur's "Beetlebum." It's an interesting choice, considering I don't believe "Beetlebum" was ever truly a hit for Blur anywhere. The cover got started two years ago when Gurr took part in a Blur vs Oasis night in their home city. The band tried working up a cover of Oasis's "Live Forever," but it just didn't work out for them. 

Gurr says about the cover: "One disclaimer already: We didn’t try to simulate Graham Coxon’s guitar sound in the beginning, and replaced the classic Tele with a more the Kills-y sound (fuzzy and short delay- another great band we love). We took turns singing and put a BUNCH of harmonies on the song. The one thing that’s probably the closest to the original is the bassline, which our live bassist Luise nailed in the studio (bring her some Champagne to the upcoming shows please so she can celebrate Alex James style)."

You can listen to Gurr's take on "Beetlebum" below. For more on Gurr, check out their website.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Weezy Ford - "Pools of Dreams"

Photo via Facebook
It's been three years since Weezy Ford released her EP Bobbypin Graveyard. Based on her latest single, "Pools of Dreams," she took that time to completely retool her sound. The new song doesn't have a single hint of the retro rock her previous releases had. In fact, guitar isn't even used on the song. Instead, "Pools of Dreams" is a haunting, synth heavy track that's more on the lines of the noisier side of shoegaze than we could have previously expected. It's always interesting to hear an artist completely change their sound, particularly this early in their career. 

You can watch the video for "Pools of Dreams" below. Sugarcane, the new album from Weezy Ford, will be out November 15. For more on Weezy Ford, check out her website.

Pools of Dreams from Arturo Martinini on Vimeo.

Molly Burch (featuring Kate Berlant and John Early) Covers Wham!

Photo via Facebook
Maybe it's the upcoming film of the same name, or maybe people are just discovering that it is in fact the greatest song ever recorded, but we're barely in November and we're already on our second cover of "Last Christmas." This one is from Molly Burch's upcoming Christmas album, and for her version she's enlisted comedians Kate Berlant and John Early to help her out. Having comedians on a song shows that Burch is having a bit of fun on her cover of the Wham! holiday classic, which is possibly the best way to perform this one. This is one of the best of the many covers of "Last Christmas" I've heard, most likely because you can tell how much fun they're having with it.

You can listen to Molly Burch's version of "Last Christmas" below. The Molly Burch Christmas Album will be out November 15. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Molly Burch, check out her website.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Carissa Johnson & the Cure-Alls - "The Upside"

Boston's Carissa Johnson has cemented herself as one of the best songwriters out there, and her latest single with The Cure-Alls just helps to prove that. "The Upside" is among the best of Johnson's blend of garage pop rock. It's huge verses, huge guitars, and even huger choruses. "The Upside" has a great punk edge to it, while still being one of the catchiest songs you'll hear all year, with some of the greatest vocal harmonies around today.

You can watch the lyric video for "The Upside" below. For more on Carissa Johnson & the Cure-Alls, check out their website.

Lucy Dacus Covers Wham!

Personally, I think it's far too early to post about Christmas music, but when it's Lucy Dacus covering Wham!'s "Last Christmas" (which I think we can all agree might be the greatest song ever recorded), I have no other choice but to post about it.

This is the final entry into Dacus's holiday singles series, and it's sure to be a classic. While I may not have agreed with her choice to cover "In the Air Tonight" for Halloween, her Christmas choice of "Last Christmas" couldn't have been better. In a press release, Dacus says" “I don’t really like Christmas. In the studio, we listened to the original of ‘Last Christmas’ and didn’t talk about an arrangement. I just told everyone to play it angry. This is what happened first take. It actually came out pretty fun, maybe a tad psychotic.” I don't know if I'd call it psychotic, but it's a much faster version of the original, stopping just barely short of punk. Well, maybe the spoken word parts are a tiny bit psychotic, but like a psychotic version of 60's girl groups spoken intros.

You can listen to Lucy Dacus's take on "Last Christmas" below. All of her holiday singles will be released on 2019, which will be released by Matador Records on November 8. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Lucy Dacus, check out her website.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Hallelujah the Hills - "It Still Floors Me"

The latest single from Hallelujah the Hills combines many aspects of the band. Hallelujah the Hills have always had a bit of an experimental side, as some of their releases prove. I'm You, their upcoming album, promises to be more on the rock side of their releases, but "It Still Floors Me" allows them to indulge in their artsy side. Also, singer Ryan H. Walsh wrote a book about Van Morrison's 1968 album Astral Weeks, and through that book he met John Payne, the flute/alto sax player on Astral Weeks. "It Still Floors Me" features a guest appearance from John Payne.

Walsh explains: "This is the third single from the forthcoming I'm You, titled 'It Still Floors Me.' It's a sad, aching six minutes of longing, negotiating and an insistence that time travel is real. I got to know John Payne as a book subject first, recounting the story of his happenstance involvement with one of the greatest records ever made. But after the book was published and we did some press together, it occurred to me how unlikely it was that John's playing didn't appear on more records over the years, Boston or otherwise. The students at John's school are lucky to have him as a teacher, and we were lucky to have him come down to Pawtucket, RI and play flute and alto sax on our song here (btw, that's the actual, literal same alto sax that was played on 'Slim Slow Slider'!). As John is forever a believer in the power of improvisation, he purposely only listened to the song once before his recording session. Even after months of recording, mixing and mastering this song, his playing here makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. You guessed it, it still floors me."

You can listen to "It Still Floors Me" below. I'm You, the upcoming album from Hallelujah the Hills, will be released on November 15. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Hallelujah the Hills, check out their website.

Friday Freebie: Prateek - Wolves and Bones

I know Halloween was yesterday, but we have just one more Halloween related tidbit to bring you. Boston's own Prateek has been steadily winning us over with his unique mainstream-but-just-different-enough-to-be-interesting blend of folk, so when he's going to offer us all two of our favorite things (free music and covers!), how are we to resist even if we're a day late? For Halloween he's released Wolves and Bones, a free two song EP featuring solo acoustic covers of Warren Zevon's legendary song "Werewolves of London" and "Spooky, Scary Skeletons," which I guess is a thing on the YouTube? (Sorry, I'm over forty, so...) They're two perfect choices for Halloween: Just fun songs with a spooky theme, and Prateek does them both to perfection.

You can listen to Prateek's version of "Werewolves of London" below. Wolves and Bones is available for free on Prateek's Bandcamp. If you do download the songs for free, be sure to give him a follow on Facebook.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Queers - "Down in the Shadows"

Photo via Facebook
For Halloween, The Queers have given a brand new song to the Punk Rock Halloween II compilation. "Down in the Shadows" is one of The Queers's more melodic songs. It's more pop than punk, and I mean that in the best possible way. It's not quite as melodic as their obviously inspired by The Beach Boys ones, but more inspired by the 80's output of the Ramones. Plus, something about it reminds me of The Munsters theme, which is never a bad thing. It's ridiculously fun, which is what we really want in a Halloween song.

You can listen to "Down in the Shadows" below. Punk Rock Halloween II is available now via Bandcamp and also features songs by The Vandals, Reagan Youth, Johnny Thunders, The Virators, and more! 

Torres - "Good Scare"

Photo by Michael Lavine
Torres (aka Mackenzie Scott) has released three albums that have both worked and not worked for us, and, if the first single off her upcoming fourth album is any indication, this one might be the one that finally sucks us in completely. "Good Scare" is this beautifully powerful and epic alt-pop song. It's somehow one of Torres's most and least accessible songs at the same time. 

Scott says about the song: “Regarding ‘Good Scare,’ I guess I could say that falling in love is a lot like the Superman crawl. If you’re not familiar with Superman’s crawl, it’s a terrifying maneuver used in spelunking that’s only performed when certain passages are too narrow, so a person has to hold one arm against the body and the other above the head, all while trying to crawl forward. When you fall in love with someone, it’s scary like the Superman’s crawl, but you have no choice but to keep moving forward even though you have no idea what’s ahead of you.”

You can listen to "Good Scare" below. Silver Tongue, the upcoming album from Torres, will be out January 31 on Merge Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Torres, check out her Facebook and Twitter. Current tour dates are below the song.

Sat. Nov. 2 - Durham, NC @ Motorco (early & late shows) *

Mon. Nov. 4 - Alexandria, VA @ The Birchmere *
Tue. Nov. 5 - Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live *
Wed. Nov. 6 - Somerville, MA @ Somerville Theatre *
Thu. Nov. 7 - Brooklyn, NY @ Murmrr Theatre *
Fri. Jan. 31 - Brooklyn, NY @ The Sultan Room (record release show)
Tue. March 3 - Bristol, UK @ The Louisiana
Wed. March 4 - Manchester, UK @ YES Basement
Thu. March 5 - London, UK @ Oslo
Fri. March 6 - Brussels, BE @ Botanique (Witloof Bar)
Sat. March 7 - Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso (Upstairs)
Mon. March 9 - Hamburg, DE @ Turmzimmer
Tue. March 10 - Copenhagen, DK @ Loppen
Wed. March 11 - Berlin, DE @ Kantine am Berghain
Thu. March 12 - Heidelberg, DE @ Karlstorbahnhof
Fri. March 13 - Z├╝rich, CH @ Rote Fabrik
Sat. March 14 - Torino, IT @ Circolo della Musica
Mon. March 16 - Paris, FR @ Le Pop Up du Label
* = solo performance supporting Superchunk