Friday, April 26, 2019

Forgotten Fridays: At Home with the Groovebox

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 just realized we have yet to do a Forgotten Friday yet this year, so here we go with an old favorite from my college radio days...

At Home with the Groovebox was released by Grand Royal back in 2000. All artists recorded songs with the Roland MC-505 Groovebox. According to Wikipedia, the Roland MC-505 is "... a combination of a MIDI controller, a music sequencer and a drum machine." Since this was released on the Beastie Boys label, it's filled with artists either on Grand Royal or friendly with the Beastie Boys. As you can imagine, the results vary wildly, but all are pretty interesting. 

One of the better contributions is from Pavement. "Robyn Turns 26" is a dream for those of us that have ever wanted to hear Stephen Malkmus rap and may be a direct descendant of Groove Denied, his dance inflected solo album from earlier this year. Money Mark, Beck, and Air are all basically what you'd expect, and they've all heavily dabbled in such music in the past. Sonic Youth's "Campfire" is experimental noise even by their standards. Bis's "Oh My" is a strong highlight, and somehow keeps their energy even with being limited to one instrument. Sean Ono Lennon gives us "Winged Elephants," which manages to be 60's, 80's, and psychedelic all at the same time. "Today I Started Celebrating Again" is an electronic folk song from Bonnie "Prince" Billy. And Cibo Matto's contribution, "We Love Our Lawyers," is perfection.

Sarah Bethe Nelson - "Paralyzed Waltz"

Photo by Jennifer Lewis
San Francisco's Sarah Bethe Nelson is back with a new single and it continues her own unique version of interesting indie rock. "Paralyzed Waltz" is charmingly lo-fi and minimalist, but it has a full sound, and is as groovy as can be. It sounds like it could be a long lost demo to something out of the 60's. The minimalist feel is definitely intentional. Instead of working with a full band on her upcoming album, Weird Glow was recorded with just her long time collaborator Rusty Miller in the studio. Nelson says about the song (and this is one of my favorite artist quotes in a long time...):  "Paralyzed Waltz is loosely about how people perceive you so differently than you perceive yourself and how both of those perceptions are probably wrong. And part of it is just about having a crush on a guy with a broken front tooth." 

You can listen to "Paralyzed Waltz" below. Weird Glow will be out June 28 on Burger Records via streaming services and on CD, cassette, and limited edition vinyl. For more on Sarah Bethe Nelson, check out her website.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

4 More Bands Announced for Green River Festival!

The 2019 Green River Festival was already can't miss with artists like First Aid Kit, Tyler Childers, Angelique Kidjo, Low Cut Connie, The Suitcase Junket, The Devil Makes Three, Rhiannon Giddens, The Suffers, and many, many more. Today they announced four more bands that somehow make this year's festival even better! Please welcome local artists Home Body (who have a blend of electronic music that will be quite interesting along with the other artists), Mapache (who will bring the best kind of pop Americana along with them), Chicago's gritty hip hop meets a brass band stylings of Lowdown Brass Band, and Fantastic Negrito, one of the greatest live artists I've seen in years. He was on my personal wishlist for this year, so I'm thrilled he'll be joining Green River this year! Of course, he's on my list for every local festival, so...

Green River Festival will be held July 12-14 at the Greenfield Community College campus in Greenfield, MA. For more info, check out their website.

Lucy Dacus - "My Mother & I"

Back in February Lucy Dacus released her cover of "La Vie En Rose" for Valentine's Day, and announced a holidays singles project for this year. The next one up was going to be for "Taurus season," her birthday, her mom's birthday, and Mother's Day. Apparently it's Taurus season, because "My Mother & I" is now out! "My Mother & I" is simply gorgeous. It's quite simply absurd how gorgeous this song is. It's an indie folk/rock track, but with intense orchestration and just a hint of noise rumbling underneath. It's a powerful and heartfelt song, which are descriptions I don't normally mean as a compliment.

You can watch the lyric video for "My Mother & I" below. You can purchase a copy via Matador Records here. For more on Lucy Dacus, check out her website.

Merival - "I With Mine"

Photo by Jen Squires
The latest single from Merival is a beautiful folk-adjacent song, but there is a strong undercurrent of anxiety filling the song. Some might use the phrase "haunting," but for me "I With Mine" is filled with stress. It might be because of the song's subject matter. According to Merival:

"For months on end, I had weekly intense dreams about someone I had dated 6-7 years prior, someone who played a very formative role in my life. It began to feel like a funny loop I had created for myself – this magnetism to somebody who had hurt me very badly but who had nothing to do with my current life. I feared I might have to deal with these thoughts for years to come. I felt powerless. If that person had called me up and asked to see me during that period, I don’t think I would have been able to say no."

I sincerely hope my description isn't keeping anyone from listening, since "I With Mine" is a great song. It's definitely worth your time listening to once or a dozen times. 

You can listen to "I With Mine" below. Lesson, the debut album from Merival, will be out June 21. For more on Merival, check out her Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Snotty Nose Rez Kids featuring Boslen - "Creator Made an Animal"

Canadian hip hop might not have the best connotations for those of us of a certain age, but Snotty Nose Rez Kids will change that. As part of the Haisla Nation, Snotty Nose Rez Kids challenge racial stereotypes Indigenous people and other people of color face. Musically their latest single "Creator Made an Animal" reminds me of a 21st century Onyx. I'll let them explain the meaning of the song:

“'Creator Made An Animal' carries an aggressive and assertive energy that imitates the way society portrays Indigenous people and People of Colour across Turtle Island. Our ancestors were stereotyped as savages, and we are often regarded as the pissed-off generation who haven’t gotten over what colonization has done to our lands and to our people. Through stylish delivery, we proclaim ourselves as the Father 7th Generation and let the world know that we aren’t changing for anyone. The future is ours!

As human beings, we are powerful. It’s integral that we respect the knowledge that was passed down from our ancestors. Many of us also carry their pain, but every single one of us carry their power. Embrace that power, stay true to that power and to yourself!"

You can watch the video for "Creator Made an Animal" below. TRAPLINE, the new album from Snotty Nose Rez Kids, will be out May 10. For more on Snotty Nose Rez Kids, check out their website.

Olden Yolk - "Distant Episode"

Photo by John Andrews
For the second single off their upcoming album, Olden Yolk went a completely different direction from "Cotton & Cane." While that song was a cheery version of psychedelia, "Distant Episode" is cold and distant. The track sung by Caity Shaffer is almost painfully sparse and definitely not a pop song. It's a non-traditional choice for a single, but still a captivating song. Olden Yolk says about the single:

“‘Distant Episode’ is about rituals of escape, the ties between women, and summoning courage. The title references a Paul Bowles story of the same name, about a linguistics professor whose tongue gets cut out. The video was inspired by a certain time of night, when you can walk down some street and see TV screens flickering on the inner walls of houses.”

You can watch the video for "Distant Episode" below. Living Theatre, the new album from Olden Yolk, will be out May 17 on Trouble in Mind. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Olden Yolk, check them out on Facebook and Twitter. Current tour dates are below the video.

Thu. April 25 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Lodge Room w/ Chris Cohen
Thu. May 16 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right (Record release show)
Fri. May 17 – Boston, MA @ Lilypad
Sat. May 18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Jerry’s On Front
Sun. May 19 – Washington, DC @ DC9
Tue. May 21 – Athens, GA @ Go Bar
Wed. May 22 – Atlanta, GA @ 529
Thu. May 23 – New Orleans, LA @ Santos
Sat. May 25 – Austin, TX @ Mohawk
Mon. May 27 – Nashville, TN @ Soft Junk
Tue. May 28 – Nashville, TN @ Grimey’s 12PM In-store
Tue. May 28 – Louisville, KY @ Odeon
Wed. May 29 – Detroit, MI @ Outer Limits Lounge
Thu. May 30 – Chicago, IL @ Hideout
Wed. May 31 – Grand Rapids, MI @ House Show
Fri. June 2 – Cleveland, OH @ Happy Dog
Fri. June 7 – Sonoma, CA @ Huichica Festival
Wed. June 19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Zebulon (LA record release show)
Thu. June 20 – San Francisco, CA @ Make Out Room
Fri. June 21 – Portland, OR @ Turn Turn Turn w/ Adam Torres
Sun. June 23 – Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
Sat. Oct. 12 – Portsmouth, UK @ The Festing
Sat. Oct. 13 – Exeter, UK @ The Cavern
Mon. Oct. 14 – Brighton, UK @ Komedie Studio
Tue. Oct. 15 – London, UK @ Lexington
Wed. Oct. 16 – Bristol, UK @ Louisiana
Thu. Oct. 17 – Birmingham, UK @ Hair & Hounds 2
Fri. Oct. 18 – Manchester, UK @ YES
Sat. Oct. 19 – Oxford, UK @ Ritual Union Festival

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

First Listen: New Releases for 19 April

A super, super busy week.

Artist: Anna Tivel
Album: The Question
Quick Description: Latest from a favorite folky.
Why You Should Listen: Anna Tivel does something a lot more special than you'd initially think.
Overall Thoughts: I’m trying to figure out what it is that makes Anna Tivel so compelling. She’s a favorite here, and I assume it’s likely due to the delicate nature of her instrumentation, or maybe it’s because her vocals work so well with the structures of her songs, or maybe it’s just songs like “Minneapolis” (her best songs are named after places), or maybe it’s just because she is so good at what she does from start to finish. This is an obvious must-listen for anyone into the more folkish side of things, and I hope this ends up being an overdue breakthrough for her.
Recommendation: Make sure you give this a listen.

Artist: Tami T
Album: High Pitched and Moist
Quick Description: Brutally honest electronic confessionals.
Why You Should Listen: In an era where you have artists like Poppy and the PC Music folks, it's weird to hear something like this.
Overall Thoughts: This came out in February and I missed it initially, but I tripped up on it this weekend and, well, wow. I don't quite know for sure whether this is an act or if it's some sort of straightforward album with out-there electronic backing, but this album really blew me away. There are great songs like "Birthday," absolutely crazy instrumentals throughout, songs that just pierce the heart like "Single Right Now..." it's what I would imagine Peaches to be like if she was starting out today. Don't miss this one, Tami T could end up being one of those artists that unexpectedly hits it huge.
Recommendation: Don't miss out on this.

Artist: Your Old Droog
Album: It Wasn't Even Close
Quick Description: New album from a sneaky great rapper.
Why You Should Listen: If you're not on the YOG bandwagon, what are you waiting for?
Overall Thoughts: There are people much better versed in rap music than I ever will be, but I’ll say that every Your Old Droog album (and, really, release period) has been super compelling and has engaged me in a way few rap albums do. This one is no different, from a great a capella break in the middle to an overall tone that feels more like a barstool conversation than the sort of pointed stuff that feels most popular right now. Great album, great delivery, great everything here.
Recommendation: Best rap album of late (not counting the next on our list).

Artist: Lizzo
Album: Cuz I Love You
Quick Description: Major-label debut from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Everyone is talking about Lizzo, and for good reason.
Overall Thoughts: Man, how good is Lizzo? If you’ve been reading us for a while, you already know the answer, but this major label debut is going to really do wonders for everyone else who isn’t on board. What’s great about this album is that it is extremely fun – sure, you knew that was coming with “Juice,” but the whole thing feels like an affair that sounds as joyful as it is to listen to it. The Missy Elliott track is great, the whole thing just moves so smoothly… this is just great.
Recommendation: Don’t wait on this.

Artist: Orouni
Album: Partitions
Quick Description: Strange, multi-genre listen.
Why You Should Listen: It will keep you on your toes.
Overall Thoughts: This is a really odd album in many regards, and that’s not a bad thing. There’s old-style pop music, British twee… all sorts of ingredients put together into an album that, while not sounding like it all matches, still feels like a complete package. I enjoyed this quite a bit, and I could see myself REALLY into it in my early 20s.
Recommendation: Give it a listen.

Artist: QWAM
Album: QWAM
Quick Description: Near-perfect pop-punk.
Why You Should Listen: You're in the mood for some upbeat fun music.
Overall Thoughts: QWAM is a pleasant surprise this week. I've had awareness of them through a couple prerelease songs, but the full album is just perfect pop-punk song after perfect pop-punk song. I think I liked each song more than the next, which is a good problem to have. "Mall" is great, "Prom Queen" is great, "Buy a Toy" is great... this is just a sub-30 minute blast of music that will stick with you. Even if this album doesn't make some best-of lists, many of the songs certainly should.
Recommendation: This is one of the best of the week.

Artist: Insignificant Other
Album: i'm so glad i feel this way about you
Quick Description: Lo-fi goodness.
Why You Should Listen: I would have been so, so down with this back at the height of the anti-folk movement.
Overall Thoughts: Some gritty, lo-fi-esque indie rock that is really speaking to me. It’s easy to try and make comparisons to acts like Dream Wife or Illuminati Hotties, but this does have its own feel to it. It’s slightly abrasive, definitely raw, and incredibly compelling almost from the first verse of the first song. I can see this one sticking in my rotation for a long time to come.
Recommendation: Don't miss out on this one.

Artist: The Yawpers
Album: Human Question
Quick Description: Rawk!
Why You Should Listen: It's rawk!
Overall Thoughts: Listening to this gives me a real vibe of what it was like when you were hearing murmurings in the clubs about how awesome The Strokes were gonna be in 2000-2001. There’s definitely a modern rock sensibility to this album that is going to get a lot of buzz and maybe generate a “Yawpers are saving rock and roll” thinkpiece or four, but strip away all the baggage and you get a fairly good rock album here. This fifth album showcases a band fully-formed, and even if it’s not quite your speed...
Recommendation: should be able to appreciate it for what it is.

Of note:

* Thayer Serrano - Wings Alleluia (Haunting, dark country-esque folk. Think Marissa Nadler with some twang.)
* Wand - Laughing Matter (I get some cool Radiohead vibes off of this at times.)
* Sloan Peterson - Midnight Love, Volume 2 (Don't sleep on this. Some solid indie rock here.)
* Jade Bird - Jade Bird (Solid country music if you can tolerate the sharp production.)
* Lolo Zouai - High Highs to Low Lows (Has a number of solid surprises for a pop album.)
* Kinbrae - Landforms (If you like atmospheric electronica, do not miss this.)
* Field Medic - fade into the dawn
* CZARFACE - Double Dose of Danger
* The Tallest Man on Earth - I Love You. It's a Fever Dream
* Heather Woods Broderick - Invitation
* Elva - Winter Sun
* Jens Lekman and Annika Norlin - Correspondence
* Unspoken Tradition - Things We Tell Our Young
* Drug Dealer - Raw Honey
* Wargirl - Wargirl
* Daniel Nogren - Wooh Dang


* Izzy Heltai - Only Yesterday
* Winter - Infinite Summer

Also out:

* Nolan the Ninja - SPORTEE
* TR/ST - The Destroyer - 1
* Heart Attack Man - Fake Blood
* Cage the Elephant - Social Cues
* We Are Scientists - Megaplex: Rise of the Lycans
* Bananarama - In Stereo
* Diane Coffee - Internet Arms
* The Abyssmals - Gospels, Hymns and Other Trash
* Sad Planets - Akron, Ohio

Live Shows: Priests and Gurr, The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA 4/18/19

Photo by Ken Sears
For those of us that attended the Priests show at The Sinclair last Thursday, we were treated to two fantastic sets from two great bands. Both sets were surprising: One was far more energetic than expected, and the other was much more laid back.

Gurr, based in Germany but their drummer is from Boston, played first. I had never heard of them until it was announced they were opening the show, and I spent a little bit of time with their music before the show. It was good, but nothing that really stood out for me. Their albums are mostly laid back alternative pop. Just a chilled out vibe even on their
Photo by Ken Sears
more energetic songs. Live they have a completely different vibe, coming across like Sleater-Kinney being joined by Kathleen Hanna from the "Bull in the Heather" video trying to secretly form Le Tigre. They apologized a ton for laughing too much in songs, and seemed to feel like they were putting on a bad show, but for the audience it added to the fun. Songs like "Middleton Mall" and "Don't Go to School" are much more fun and joyful when performed live.

Photo by Ken Sears
I expected Priests to be much more energetic live, based on their previous album and some live performances I had seen on YouTube. But much like their just released album The Seduction of Kansas, Thursday night's show was more laid back than I had expected. I should say it started out much more laid back. Their entire set slowly built and built in intensity. The opening song, "Texas Instruments," was even more laid back than the album version. That started off a slow, almost imperceptible build through "Jj" and "Jesus's Son" which closed out the show with an intensity not matched by anything that came earlier. Singer Katie Alice Greer is by far the focus of the entire show, and with good reason. She commands the entire stage, and her voice is a rarity of the indie rock/punk leaning world in that she could quite easily sing at a more mainstream level if she chose to. Drummer Daniele Daniele came from behind her drum kit for a handful of songs, somehow matching Greer with singing and stage presence. The secret weapon of a Priests live show is guitarist G.L. Jaguar. His playing is beyond intense, even on the most laid back of their songs.
Photo by Ken Sears

Possibly the only complaint I could have with the show was how short it was. Priests played for forty five minutes, which seems very short for a headliner with three albums behind them. Perhaps there was some unknown issue, or maybe just how Priests roll. Either way, they packed in enough in their shorter set time to leave everyone happy but still hoping for more, which is how a good show should be done.

If you're looking for more pictures from the show, check out our Facebook page for the album. This is something we should be doing more of in the future.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Sebadoh - "raging river"

Fresh off the heels off last month's new song "stunned" comes another new song from Sebadoh, this one also written and sung by Jason Lowenstein. "raging river" is quite different from "stunned" (one of the reasons I've always loved Sebadoh is how different their songs tend to be from each other). While "stunned" was a noisy, abrasive punk-ish song, "raging river" is a lot more laid back. In fact, it's more of a groovy country-ish song. Of course, it's a Jason Lowenstein penned groovy country-ish song, so it's still pretty loud and abrasive.

You can watch the video for "raging river" below. Act Surprised, the upcoming album from Sebadoh, will be out May 24 on Dangerbird. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Sebadoh, be sure to check out their website, including their current tour dates.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Doug Tuttle - "Did You Need Someone"

When there's a new song from Boston's Doug Tuttle, we know what to expect at this point. "Did You Need Someone" fits in perfectly with Tuttle's previous work. The new song is 70's era influenced singer/songwriter fare. It's laid back not-quite-folk with a mellow groove. But Tuttle does this sound so adeptly it's practically perfect. This isn't him trying out a new sound or branching out, but when you do something as good as he does this, it's exactly what we want.

You can listen to "Did You Need Someone" below. Dream Road, Doug Tuttle's fourth full length album, will be out May 31 on Burger Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Doug Tuttle, check out his website.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys - "Bloodless"

The Slaughterhouse Society recently staged a theatrical production of Dracula in Cambridge, MA. Normally that isn't normally the kind of thing we cover, but when our favorite steamcrunkers Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys supply the theme song, we have to bring it to your attention. "Bloodless" is exactly the type of song you'd expect the folk/punk/metal/vaudeville/rock/burlesque troupe to come out with for a play about Dracula. It's heavily creepy and eerie, but it's somehow also an industrial party banger? Yeah, it's virtually perfect.

You can listen to "Bloodless" below. For more on the band, be sure to check their Facebook and Twitter. If you happen to be in the Boston area, be sure to check them out April 12 at Oberon in Cambridge, May 2 at The Sinclair in Cambridge for the TRC Fest,  May 11 on the Waltham common as part of the Watch City Steampunk Festival, and June 22 with Eddie Japan at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA! Their live shows can't be missed!

Black Belt Eagle Scout - "Loss & Relax"

Photo by Eleanor Petry
Black Belt Eagle Scout (aka Portland based artist Katherine Paul) has released a new single called "Loss & Relax." "Loss & Relax" was originally meant to be included on last year's album Mother of My Children but was not on the album as it continued to evolve. The final version is a lush and exquisite folk song, at least at first. While it may start off as folk, the song slowly builds and progresses, reaching an almost hard rock crescendo. 

Katherine Paul explains the song: As I was writing the guitar line, I kept seeing the water of the Salish Sea and the local ferries drifting people in and out of place. Ferries are such a beautiful part of my childhood and served as a major form of transportation. Thinking about my home and how canoes have turned into ferries is a sad, but also beautiful thought. Nowadays with Canoe Journeys, canoes are alongside ferries, roaming our waters to lands, sharing customs and culture. That is what I think about now when I listen to the fully recorded version of the song. I see a strong and fierce community of my people continuing to thrive in whatever comes our way. That is how I feel about myself, a survivor and thriver of this land, a water protector, a womxn, the future.

You can watch the video for "Loss & Relax" below. The song will be released as a 7" with b-side "Half Colored Hair" on April 26. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Black Belt Eagle Scout, check out their website. Current tour dates are below the video.

Thu. April 18 - Sioux Falls, SD @ Total Drag Records
Fri. April 19 - Madison, WI @ Communication #
Sat. April 20 - Bloomington, IN @ Culture Shock ^
Mon. April 22 - Athens, OH @ Union Bar and Grill
Tue. April 23 - Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade *
Wed. April 24 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *
Thu. April 25 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s *
Fri. April 26 - Allston, MA @ Great Scott *
Sat. April 27 - Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz PDB *
Sun. April 28 - Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern *
Tue. April 30 - Washington, DC @ DC9 *
Wed. May 1 - Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter *
Thu. May 2 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle - Back Room *
Thu. May 3 - Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor *
Sat. May 4 - Atlanta, GA @ 529 Club *
Mon. May 6 - Nashville, TN @ Third Man Records *
Tue. May 7 - Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
Wed. May 8 - Chicago, IL @ Schuba’s *
Thu. May 9 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry *
Fri. May 10 - Omaha, NE @ Reverb Lounge *
Sat. May 11 - Kansas City, MO @ recordBar *
Mon. May 13 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge *
Tue. May 14 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge *
Fri. May 17 - Vancouver, BC @ The Fox Cabaret *
Sat. May 18 - Everett, WA @ Fisherman’s Village Music Festival *
Sat. May 18 - Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern *
Sun. May 19 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios *
Tue. May 21 - San Francisco, CA @ Swedish American Hall *
Wed. May 22 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy *
Thu. May 23 - Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom *
Mon. June 3 - Dallas, TX @ Club Dada *
Tue. June 4 - Austin, TX @ Barracuda *
Wed. June 5 - Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall *
Thu. June 6 - New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa *
Thu. Aug. 1 - Sun. Aug. 4 - Happy Valley, OR @ Pickathon
# = w/ Disq
^ = w/ Lala Lala
*= w/ Julia Jacklin

Esya - "Nothing"

Photo by Chiara Ceccaioni
Sometimes music isn't meant to be nice to listen to. Esya, the solo project of Ay┼če Hassan of Savages and Kite Base), has just released a fantastic new single that's not exactly a comfortable listen. "Nothing" has a droning baseline throughout and an awkward drumbeat that you can't quite figure out. It's a pattern (maybe?) but definitely not a simple one. Hassan's voice is the one thing that can be considered traditionally nice to listen to, and stands out as a lifeline holding you into the song. And, somehow, you can almost dance to the whole thing. But, for those of us that like awkward, unsettling music, "Nothing" will be glorious.

You can watch the video for "Nothing" below. Absurdity of ATGC (I), the new EP from Esya, will be out May 24. You can pre-order a copy at Bandcamp. For more on Esya, check out her website.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Grizzly Coast - "Half-Light Boy"

Toronto's Grizzly Coast has released a single that perfectly dances on the line of pop and folk. "Half-Light Boy" is this ideal little pop rock song that is somehow both upbeat and haunting. Grizzly Coast explains the meaning behind the song:

"I was walking home from the grocery store one evening, lugging way too many bags for one girl to carry comfortably. Passing by a venue, I noticed that someone who once held a big place in my life was playing a show there that very night.

There was a time when I felt close to this person. Having always been one of their biggest supporters, not getting an invite to their show that was right in my neighbourhood left me feeling pretty small. I went home and wrote this new song as a confrontation that I knew I would never bother to actually have."

It's a song that could be a depressing, mopey number, but Grizzly Coast somehow keeps it almost danceable. Not quite, but close.

You can watch the video for "Half-Light Boy" below. For more on Grizzly Coast, check out their website.

Prescott Park Art Festival's 2019 Season is Already Fantastic

I've been praising Prescott Park Arts Festival since the very beginning of If It's Too Loud... They always book a bunch of artists we love, and there's just something great about watching a world class artist play for a $7.00 donation on the Portsmouth, NH waterfront in the summer. It's especially great since a lot of artists they book tend to normally charge more than I'm comfortable paying for a concert. In the past I've seen Carolina Chocolate Drops, Nikki Lane, Deer Tick, David Wax Museum, Shovels & Rope, Steve Earle, and Mavis Staples here, and every show is always a highlight of my summer.

This year year they've only announced three shows so far, but all three could easily be the highlights of the entire season:

Jenny Lewis: June 16
Drive-By Truckers: June 30
Conor Oberst: July 17

For more information on the Prescott Park Arts Festival, be sure to check out their website.

Danielia Cotton - "She Too"

New York's Danielia Cotton has a blistering blues rock single released earlier this month. I almost hesitate to refer to it as blues rock, since we all have a certain idea as to what blues rock is. "She Too" is far more intense than what you picture that genre to be. It's more of a soul/almost metal hybrid, like the less clunky sound of later White Stripes. The song is an anthem that demands gender equality. It's loud protest rock, the kind we could use more of these days. 

You can listen to "She Too" below. The single is available now via Cottontown LLC. For more on Danielia Cotton, check out her website.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Droneflower Cover Guns n Roses

Even if it didn't include a cover of Guns n Roses epic song "Estranged," we'd be impossibly intrigued by Droneflower's debut album. Droneflower is the pairing of folk/dream pop artist Melissa Nadler and Stephen Brodsky of metalcore bands like Cave In and Mutoid Man. It's not a pairing I ever thought we'd see, but the two became friends when Brodsky went to see Nadler on tour, which lead to the formation of Droneflower. 

For their cover of "Estranged," Droneflower cut the song down by two minutes. It still clocks in at over seven minutes, so they kept most of the epic scope. It leans more towards Nadler's artistic output than it does Cave In. It's haunting folk, but there is more of an edge and noise lingering than you might expect. It's folk with an unexpected menace and droning guitars. This is such an interesting pairing, and we can't wait to hear more.

You can listen to Droneflower's cover of "Estranged" below. Droneflower's self-titled debut album will be available on April 26. You can pre-order a copy on Bandcamp. For more on Droneflower, check out Marissa Nadler's website.

Yucca King - "Panic Attack #2"

When you get a press release that lists the "for fans of" as Dismemberment Plan, Faith No More, Soundgarden, Primus, and Jesus Lizard, the music is going to be strange. And the latest single from Yucca King definitely fits that. "Panic Attack" is loud, noisy, and groovy, fitting every single one of the previously mentioned bands in some way, with more than a little Frank Zappa sprinkled in. Vocalist Greg Arent describes the song much better than I possibly could:

"When I was in my early days of sobriety I struggled with crippling panic attacks. Every time I had to go out and be social without booze I would have a total meltdown. I always wanted to write a song about that feeling and the music in this song seemed to fit; with the dirty bass, screaming guitar and herky-jerky drumbeat. We want the song to actually make people feel anxious."

You can listen to "Panic Attack #2" below. Popcorn, but also House Fire, the new album from Yucca King, will be out April 26. You can pre-order the album via Bandcamp. For more on Yucca King, check out their website. Current Tour dates are below the song.

May 2 - O’Briens Pub - Allston, MA
May 3 - Arlene’s Grocery - New York, NY [Album Release Show]
May 4 - 33 Golden Street - New London, CT
May 5 - The Fire - Philadelphia, PA

First Listen: New Releases for 12 April

A super busy release week this week, but not a ton of true highlights for me.

Artist: John Paul White
Album: The Hurting Kind
Quick Description: Latest solo effort from half of The Civil Wars.
Why You Should Listen: This is his best effort yet.
Overall Thoughts: I am sure John Paul White would like to escape the long shadow of The Civil Wars at this point, but I’m not sure how realistic that will be. With that said, this album will likely help, which is possibly the best merging of classic country and modern roots/folk. There are so many positive moments here that my fear is that this will be overlooked either due to how stacked this week is or because people expect something else from him entirely.
Recommendation: Don’t miss out on this one. It’s worth the time investment.

Artist: Reese McHenry
Album: No Dados
Quick Description: Genre-bending indie stuff.
Why You Should Listen: This is a truly special record that you'll likely fall for.
Overall Thoughts: This was a revelation in many regards. A strident, angsty affair from start to finish, and reminded me a lot of Sallie Ford in attitude even though this is more brash and noisy. McHenry is absolutely going to win over some people with this album, which has a great alt-country feel along with some serious emotion to each song. I’ll want to spend a lot more time with this, and there’s a good chance you will, too.
Recommendation: Absolutely a top release this week.

Artist: Shovels & Rope
Album: By Blood
Quick Description: New album by a favorite here and everywhere else.
Why You Should Listen: Shovels & Rope has yet to fail us.
Overall Thoughts: What can I say about Shovels & Rope that we haven't already? The married duo's latest is yet another rollicking adventure through their style of roots music that hits all the right notes in all the right ways. What they lack in producing that one clear heavy hitting song these days they more than make up for in great albums that work from start to finish.
Recommendation: I love these guys, and I love this album.

Artist: Evan Greer
Album: she/her/they/them
Quick Description: A protest record for people who don't like protest records.
Why You Should Listen: There's something here for everyone to like.
Overall Thoughts: Boston-area musician and activist Evan Greer presents what ended up being a surprise favorite of mine this week. A nice slice of indie pop that pleases the ear while not laying anything else on too thick, it's a great listen from a musician who should rightfully get a good deal of attention from this record. If the opening track, "First Boy," doesn't grab you, what are you even doing here?
Recommendation: Give this a listen.

Artist: Native Harrow
Album: Happier Now
Quick Description:
Why You Should Listen:
Overall Thoughts: Looking solely at the cover, you'd probably expect an early 1970s folk pastiche of some sort. Instead, what we get is a really confident singer-songwriter effort with some truly interesting instrumentation and some quality songwriting. A lot of this album in particular stuck with me long after I finished my first listen, and, of everything out this week, it's the one I'm looking forward to going back to the most.
Recommendation: Don't miss out on this one.

Of note:

* Labrinth, Sia, and Diplo - LSD (Not as adventurous as you might expect, but still great.)
* Spectator - Charlie, Baby (Haunting at times, but always compelling.)
* Emily Reo - Only You Can See It (Ken is really into Emily Reo, and this is a buzzworthy release this week.)
* Jess Riberio - LOVE HATE (Lots of solid songs throughout.)
* Melissa Etheridge - The Medicine Show (This is a lot better than you'd imagine it might be.)
* Saint Lo. - We Could Be>
* Band of Skulls - Love is All You Love
* The Leisure Society - Arrivals and Departures
* The Chemical Brothers - No Geography
* Anderson .Paak - Ventura

7 Song Album:

* Norah Jones - Begin Again


* GFOTY - If You Think I'm a Bitch, You Should Meet GFOTY
* Theia - Not Your Princess
* Robotaki - Anachronism
* Broken Social Scene - Let's Try the After Volume 2

Also out:

* Emma Bunton - My Happy Place (Baby Spice with a covers album.)
* Glen Hansard - This Wild Willing
* Eli "Paperboy" Reed - 99 Cent Dreams
* Sophie Auster - Next Time
* Damien Jurado - In the Shape of a Storm
* PJ Harvey - All About Eve

Monday, April 15, 2019

Greens - "Before the Dog"

Photo by Mark O'Brien
Sometimes a song just hits you perfectly. It takes so many things you love about music and just injects them straight into your consciousness. "Before the Dog" by Albany's Greens does that for me. It combines rootsy Americana with fuzzed out indie rock into this laid back but still intense power ballad, which is far for epic than its short two and a half minute time. Greens is the project of Alex Brooks, who's been playing in Albany in various bands as a drummer and bassist, and his first time being a lead singer/songwriter. We can't wait to hear more from Greens.

You can listen to "Before the Dog" below. The self-titled debut EP from Greens will be released on May 3 via Five Kill Records. For more on Greens, check out their Twitter.