Friday, June 28, 2019

Jason Tyler Burton - "High Road to Harlan"

Photo by Erica Chambers
"High Road to Harlan," the new single from Wyoming's Jason Tyler Burton, is pure classic Americana. It's a country/folk song that tells a story from the perspective of an 85 year old man raised in a Kentucky coal mining community about all the changes he's seen in his life. It's a truly perfect song, full of loneliness and heartache. "High Road to Harlan" isn't a genre changing song. It's in the vein of an artist like Jason Isbell (particularly his work with Drive-By Truckers) by just nailing the country/folk genre immaculately. Keep an eye on Burton. This is just the start for him.

You can listen to "High Road to Harlan" below. Kentuckian, the new album from Jason Tyler Burton, will be out September 6. For more on Jason Tyler Burton, check out his website.

Sub Dio - "Skeeters"

Sub Dio's new single has a really unique take on punk. "Skeeters" has an in your face screaming sound that somehow still sounds melodic. Part is the way Brian Moss and Danica Van Hartwig's vocals both complement and contradict each other. This dual vocal really gives "Skeeters" its sound. Musically the song is loud and fast, crashing straight through the listener's consciousness. The aggression within the song comes from the subject matter, which is how men feel entitled to act predatory towards women. Fun fact about Sub Dio: For day jobs, Van Hartwig is a social justice lawyer and Moss is a middle school teacher.

You can listen to "Skeeters" below. Sub Dio's self titled debut will be out July 19 on Side With Us Records/Underground Communique Records. You can pre-order a copy on Bandcamp. For more on Sub Dio, check them out on Twitter and Bandcamp.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

DYGL - "Don't You Wanna Dance in this Heaven?"

Hailing from Tokyo, DYGL started off as a pure punk band but have blossomed into a more dance friendly indie band. That's not to say they're not a rock band. DYGL definitely are rock based. Their latest single, "Don't You Wanna Dance in this Heaven?" solidifies this. Written about Fuieho law which forbade dancing until after midnight in Japan that was on the books until 2015, "Don't You Wanna Dance in this Heaven?" is a slow, slow burn. It takes over a minute to get going, but it's an early 00's garage rock revival dance song mixed with psychedelia that we never knew we needed until just now. Plus, it is very heavily influenced by 90's Brit pop, which we're always for!

You can listen to "Don't You Wanna Dance in this Heaven?" below. Songs of Innocence & Experience will be out July 3 via Anniversary. For more on DYGL, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Field Mouse - "Heart of Gold"

We're rabid Field Mouse fans here at If It's Too Loud... ever since stumbling on them opening for Laura Stevenson & The Cans at TT the Bear's (RIP) years ago. We're beyond thrilled to find out they have a new album coming out in August and a new song right now! "Heart of Gold" is a gorgeous fast paced dream pop song, aka exactly what we want from Field Mouse. Saying a band has a more mature sound is such a music writer cliche, but "Heart of Gold" shows much a step forward for Field Mouse it's hard to avoid using it. Singer Rachel Browne explains the new album this way:

"A lot has happened in the three years since our last record came out. While there is far too much to say about it all in one place, we wrote this album anyway. What are the broad strokes, you ask? It's more or less about the end of the world and all of the ways that it seems to be happening, but also about making peace with former selves and growing as a person despite the feeling of global entropy. Also: strange internet versions of our friends and selves, bouts of insomnia and picking through the dreams that followed, the importance of forgiveness, and creating meaning in a world that increasingly feels like total chaos. What is the function of art in a place like this? Is anything we make going to last? I am not sure, but here are 11 songs looking for the answer. What I do know is that art connects us to each other and to our feelings and our selves. It is a liferaft, and I hope that we can all continue to put it into the world, appreciate it, and share it indefinitely." 

You can listen to "Heart of Gold" below. Meaning, the new album from Field Mouse, will be out August 16 on Topshelf Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Field Mouse, check out their website.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Lucy Dacus - "Forever Half Mast"

For us, the most exciting thing about any upcoming holiday is Lucy Dacus's holiday singles series she's releasing in 2019. Since the Fourth of July is next week, we have a new song dedicated to that holiday. According to a Facebook post announcing "Forever Half Mast," the song is about "american cognitive dissonance." Compared to her two previous holiday songs, "Forever Half Mast" is what we came to love about Lucy Dacus's 2018 album Historian. It's more alt or indie rock that starts off beautifully and then devolves into a noisy ending while still remaining beautiful. 

You can watch the lyric video for "Forever Half Mast" below. The song is available for purchase here via Matador Records. For more on Lucy Dacus, check out her website.

The Rails - "Mossy Well"

The Rails consist of Kami Thompson (daughter of Linda and Richard Thompson) and James Walbourne of Son Volt and The Pretenders. They just released a new single, "Mossy Well." The new song is pure classic Americana with a slight rock edge. "Mossy Well" is vintage folk with the driving edge of rock. It reminds me a lot of the songs from the movie Once. Of course, given the two band members' musical heritage, this is exactly what you'd want and expect. Add in producer Stephen Street (who has worked with Blur and The Cranberries in the past) and you get a perfect folk song.

You can watch the video for "Mossy Well" below. Cancel the Sun, the new album from The Rails, will be out August 23 on Thirty Tigers. For more on The Rails, check out their website.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

First Listen: New Releases for 21 June

Artist: Mannequin Pussy
Album: Patience
Quick Description: Great indie rock if you can get past the name.
Why You Should Listen: This is the surprise of the week for me.
Overall Thoughts: As Ken put it, "'Wow, this Mannequin Pussy is really great' I declare uncomfortably...." I really, really enjoyed this album and this may be one that has some longevity behind it. If you can get past the discomfort of this band’s name, you’ll probably have a good time with this. Solid indie rock.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: Dirt Road Sweetheart
Album: Rose of My Heart
Quick Description: Nora Jane Struthers and her dad take root right into your soul.
Why You Should Listen: This is just a lovely listen.
Overall Thoughts: I am a big fan of Nora Jane Struthers, and this new album coincides with a rerelease of her first album with her father. The duo, under this name, does traditional roots music and, while it definitely isn’t designed to set the roots world on fire, a musician of the caliber of Struthers working on a project like this brings its own benefits to the table. You can sense the appreciation both of the music being performed (just try to listen to their version of “Big Rock Candy Mountain” without smiling) and for each other in the album, and it was just a very enjoyable listen on a whole.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Artist: Bedouine
Album: Bird Songs of a Killjoy
Quick Description: Lovely folk music seemingly from a time capsule.
Why You Should Listen: This leans into the past while not feeling old.
Overall Thoughts: Sometimes folk acts try to get too fancy and it doesn’t work. Bed had a great first album that felt like the present while aping the past, and the new album absolutely expands the musical map a bit while still retaining that retro folk flavor. It shows good (and maybe necessary) growth while not losing what made the debut so special, and I am really glad that this was as good as it ended up being.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.

Artist: Hatchie
Album: Keepsake
Quick Description: Dreamy indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: Hatchie has low-key been releasing classic after classic for months.
Overall Thoughts: I have been obsessed with basically every song Hatchie has put out since she hit my radar. There is something nearly perfect about her indie/dream pop hybrid sound that feels full and fresh that hasn’t been achieved elsewhere, and I think I basically love this whole thing. It is fascinating how complete a package this feels like in comparison to how solid the one-offs have been so far. There’s not a lot like this currently, so give this a listen.
Recommendation: One of the better listens of the recent months.

Of note:

* Hot Chip - A Bath Full of Ecstacy (I would have assumed I was bored with this genre, but they dragged me back in.)
* Titus Andronicus - An Obelisk (So loud and so brash, but so good.)
* Willie Nelson - Ride Me Back Home
* Chuck Mead - Close to Home
* Bad Breeding - Exiled
* Jane Weaver - Loops in the Secret Society
* Holy Ghost! - Work
* Cassius - Dreems


* Hackensaw Boys - A Fireproof House of Sunshine
* Angel Snow - Arrows
* Lil Nas X - 7
* Eddie Japan - The Amorous Adventures of Eddie Japan
* Sure Sure - Sedona
* Delilah Montagu - In Gold
* Mr Tophat - Dusk to Dawn Part III


* The Raconteurs - Help Us Stranger
* Mark Ronson - Late Night Feelings
* Two Door Cinema Club - False Alarm
* Collective Soul - Blood
* Black Pumas - Black Pumas

Sing Again Syren - "Cast Away"

Oh, wow this song. The latest song from Sing Again Syren is just pure rock. "Cast Away" is being compared to other artists like Heart, The Runaways, and Babes in Toyland, and I can't say I disagree with that at all. I'd also throw in a more straightforward rock version of Sarah Shook with all the country stripped out. There's been a lot of talk about who will be the future savior of guitar driven rock. Sing Again Syren are the closest thing I've heard to rock's savior. If you have an appreciation for classic hard rock with all pretension stripped away, you really need to check out "Cast Away."

You can listen to "Cast Away" below. The song is currently available as a single via Veta Records. For more on Sing Again Syren, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Jason Hawk Harris - "Cussing at the Light"

Photo by Sean Rosenthal
Jason Hawk Harris does not have the typical path to being a country musician. He grew up in Houston but now lives in Los Angeles. He is hugely influenced by punk, indie, and Queen. While waitlisted at UCLA for classical composition, he started getting into folk and country with The Show Ponies. It was after releasing his first solo EP, Formaldehyde, Tobacco, and Tulips in 2017 where his life took several dark turns. His mother died from complications from alcoholism, his father was sued by the King of Morocco and went bankrupt, his sister was diagnosed with MS and gave birth to a premature son who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and this led to Harris falling to his own addictions.

Now he's recovered and has brought us "Cussing at the Light" from his upcoming debut album. "Cussing at the Light" has a fairly mainstream appeal to it, but with a darker punk influenced edge. I'm reminded a lot of Jason Isbell and the showmanship of Ben Folds. It's the kind of sound that alt-country and mainstream country fans can both get behind.

You can watch the video for "Cussing at the Light" below. Love and the Dark, the debut album from Jason Hawk Harris, will be out August 23 on Bloodshot Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Jason Hawk Harris, check out his website.

Ed Balloon - "Rainbows"

Photo via Facebook
R&B is a genre that I can't seem to get into these days, but I've been fairly obsessed with Boston's Ed Balloon since stumbling onto his music last year. He has a new song out, "Rainbows." I've noticed that I enjoy his more up tempo songs than his slower ones, and "Rainbows" is definitely on the slower side. But it's a great song. Balloon's style isn't a throwback at all. It's completely modern and electronic sounding, but he just presents his songs in a way that I haven't heard coming from anyone else. He's a completely unique talent, which is rare these days.

You can listen to "Rainbows" below. The Dubs, the upcoming album from Ed Balloon, will be out July 19 on Deathbomb Arc. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Ed Balloon, check out his website.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Wilder Maker - "Love So Well" b/w "Rose Room"

Photo by Annie Del Hierro
The latest single from New York's Wilder Maker appears to be a transitional one. The first song, "Love So Well," is referred to as singer Katie Von Schleicher's swan song, which means it's fairly safe to say this release marks the departure from the band. "Love So Well" is a country rock song in the vein of Neil Young's ballads. Sure, I may be taking that directly from the press release, but it's impossible not to hear that in the song. The b-side, "Rose Room," sees Gabriel Birnbaum taking over lead vocals with Von Schleicher in more of a backup vocal role. "Rose Room" is swankier rock, with just enough quirk and humor to keep things interesting.

You can listen to "Love So Well" and "Rose Room" below. You can get your copy of the single via Bandcamp. For more on Wilder Maker, be sure to check out their website.

Stella Donnelly Covers Cyndi Lauper

Photo by Pooneh Ghana
This is about a year and a half old, and we missed it the first time around. Since we are overly obsessed with covers and rightly obsessed with Stella Donnelly, we needed to bring you this. Back on New Year's 2017 (or 2018? I never know with New Year's...) Stella Donnelly performed a cover of Cyndi Lauper's iconic "Time After Time" on ABC Australia's New Years Eve special. First, I'm beyond jealous that Australia gets well produced videos of artists on the caliber of Stella Donnelly while we get country stars rapping about their pick up truck or whatever it is that passes for mainstream country these days. The video is just Donnelly and her guitar playing a gorgeous and faithful rendition of "Time After Time." Sure, Donnelly doesn't quite belt it out like Lauper does, but that's hardly a complaint. Donnelly's version is quieter and a bit more twee, but we find that to be basically perfect.

You can watch the video for Stella Donnelly's version of "Time After Time" below. For more on Stella Donnelly, check out her website.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Buffalo Skinners - "You Say Love, But You Mean Hate"

Despite being from Sheffield, England, The Buffalo Skinners are the least British sounding British band of all time. Their latest song, "You Say Love, But You Mean Hate," is pure modern Americana. The song is in the same style you'd hear in bands like Delta Spirit and Dawes. It's chilled out near folk packed full with sing-along harmonies. Singer/guitarist Peter Seccombe explains the song like this: “The song is the holiday blues. We spend our time running towards the sun, but we should just love the everyday things.”

You can watch the video for "You Say Love, But You Mean Hate" below. The song is the b-side for a 7" single due on June 21st via Loose Chat Records. For more on The Buffalo Skinners, check out their website. Current tour dates are below the song.

Friday 5th July - Cornbury Festival, Oxfordshire
Wednesday 7th August - Adelphi Club, Hull
Thursday 8th August - The Castle Hotel, Manchester 
Sunday 11th August - Newcastle, Cumberland Arms
Wednesday 14th August - Oporto, Leeds
Thursday 15th August - Hy Brasil, Bristol
Friday 16th August -  The Islington, London 
Saturday 17th August - Shakespeares, Sheffield

Molly Burch - "Only One"

Photo via Facebook
We've huge fans of Molly Burch's old fashioned doo wop meets current indie rock/folk sound. Personally, it hits such a sweet spot I didn't even know I had until I heard her. Since we had a new album from her in October, I assumed it would be a long time before we heard anything new. Luckily she's already back with a new single.

"Only One" is classic Molly Burch. It's a laid back, kinda groovy, strikingly beautiful doo wop/folk/indie rock song. It's not reaching out in any new bizarre or unexpected directions, which isn't a bad thing. Burch does her sound to perfection, and while experimentation will always be welcome, there's nothing wrong with her sticking to what we love from her. If you've loved her work in the past, there's no way you're not going to enjoy "Only One." And if you've never given her a shot, now's a great time to.

You can listen to "Only One" below. The song will be available as a 7" titled Ballads, which will be out on August 2. You can pre-order it now via Bandcamp. For more on Molly Burch, check out her website.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers Cover Camper Van Beethoven

I almost held off on this for a Friday Freebie, but I couldn't wait that long...

Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers (whose 2018 album Bought to Rot was my #7 album from last year) did a session for Folkadelphia back on April 20, which is being posted now. A live and free session from one of our favorite artists is already exciting enough, but when the session ends with a cover of Camper Van Beethoven's 1985 "Take the Skinheads Bowling," we can't resist it. Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers's version is somehow more ramshackle than the original. The punk is amped up a bit on the cover while still keeping the jangly perfection of the original intact. This is a perfect cover in every possible way.

You can listen to Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers's version of "Take the Skinheads Bowling" below. You can download Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers Folkadelphia Session 4​/​20​/​2019 for free on Folkadelphia's Bandcamp. For more on Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers, check out her Twitter and Facebook.

Oh, Rose - "25, ALIVE"

Olympia, WA is one of those cities that doesn't seem to have any bad (or even mediocre) bands. Oh, Rose are keeping with the tradition of the city. "25, ALIVE" is filled with anger, hurt, but is somehow still uplifting. As singer Olivia Rose explains: 

I was 25 when my mother died and I was angry and brokenThis song is me saying I don’t want this anger because I know what it does to a person if they hold onto it.

"25, ALIVE" is alt-rock in the classic Northwestern sense. It's fuzzy guitars and emotion with plenty of quiet/loud/quiet transitions. But it also has a groove and a sense of joy and moving on, so it's not all Washington state depression.

You can watch the video for "25, ALIVE" below. While My Father Sleeps, the new album from Oh, Rose, will be out August 23 on Park the Van. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Oh, Rose, check them out on Facebook and Twitter. Current tour dates are below the video.

6/19 – Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line *
6/21 – Kansas City, MO – Record Bar *
6/22 – Denver, CO – Gothic *
6/23 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban *
6/25 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre *
6/26 – Seattle, WA – Neptune *
6/27 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom *
6/28 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore *

* = w/ Yeasayer

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Jess Clinton - "Sleeping Woman"

Photo by Liz Maney
Brooklyn's Jess Clinton's latest single, "Sleeping Woman," is this mellow, but quietly intense song. It has a powerful blues meets trip hop feel, almost like an Americana version of Portishead. The song seems to build and build to a riotous crescendo that never quite comes. Instead, it goes into a blues jam that is probably more reasonable and welcome than the garage rock rager I anticipated. 

You can listen to "Sleeping Woman" below. Real Glass Heart, the new album from Jess Clinton, will be out on July 26. For more on Jess Clinton, check out her website.

Tennis System - "Shelf Life"

I love shoegaze as much as the next guy, but it doesn't necessarily rock. Enter Los Angeles's Tennis System. The band has all the fuzz and swirling distortion you want in bands like My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus & Mary Chain, but "Shelf Life," their latest single, is a flat out rock song. There's an edge not typically seen in shoegaze. Tennis System aren't exactly metal based shoegaze, but there is a hint of metal in here. Maybe the level of metal that a band like Pelican deals in. "Shelf Life" is a hard rocking, distorted blend of shoegaze, and we couldn't be happier with it.

You can listen to "Shelf Life" below. Lovesick, the new album from Tennis System, will be out August 2 on Graveface Records. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Tennis System, be sure to check out their website

First Listen: New Releases for 14 June

Artist: The Minus 5
Album: Stroke Manor
Quick Description: Latest from the R.E.M.-adjacent act, and the first since McCaughey's stroke.
Why You Should Listen: This is one of the best efforts from the band in well over a decade.
Overall Thoughts: It’s been a minute since the Minus 5 have recorded anything, and with good reason given Scott McCaughey’s stroke a few years back. This is probably his most different effort, and for good reason since he began work on it in the ICU, still somewhat addled, shortly after the doctors said he might not play music again. The story is told elsewhere better, but long and short? This is a really fascinating listen, and one that has a lot of layers I expect to uncover on future listens. Whether it’s an album that would be considered one of the better releases of the year remains to be seen, but it is definitely one of the most interesting ones given the way it got to release.
Recommendation: Give this some time.

Artist: The Trinary System
Album: Lights in the Center of Your Head
Quick Description: Some odd post-rock from a legendary act's side project.
Why You Should Listen: This is a fascinating listen.
Overall Thoughts: My initial reaction is that I thought this would be louder. Instead, it has a definitive lo-fi post-punkish feel to it, and given the people involved (including a member of Mission to Burma), the only surprise here is the restraint. The restraint, however, is what makes this great. I felt like there was a lot of anticipation throughout this record, and it’s a very hard balance to walk that line musically.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Dressy Bessy
Album: Fast Faster Disaster
Quick Description: Latest from the fun indie rockers.
Why You Should Listen: Dressy Bessy has been solid since their revival.
Overall Thoughts: One of my favorite Elephant 6-associated acts, I was pleasantly surprised to see a new album. Their recent output has been hit or miss, but this has a gritty, garage-esque quality to the indie pop we’ve come to love over the years. The grit goes along well with Tammy Ealom’s vocals, which have definitely gotten raspier over time. The album, in short, works even while it subverts your expectations of what indie pop can pull off.
Recommendation: A great album this week.

Artist: Pinky Pinky
Album: Turkey Dinner
Quick Description: Debut album from some indie rockers we've been following.
Why You Should Listen: This album will surprise you in a good way.
Overall Thoughts: Long-awaited debut that has its share of twee-ish indie rock tropes on the surface. I’ve been a fan of a lot of the pre-album stuff that has come out so far, but then you hear songs like “Floorboards” and “Applecheeks” and notice how well the band slides from genre to genre. This is a very solid album, and one that sounds like it will have its share of rewarding moments on future listens.
Recommendation: A fun record.

Artist: Claire Cronin
Album: Big Dread Moon
Quick Description: A stark, gut-punch of a record.
Why You Should Listen: This is unique in a way this genre hasn't been.
Overall Thoughts: We have had a glut of raw female folkies as of late, so I didn’t exactly have high expectations for this album, but holy crap did this blow my socks off. There’s a real desolate atmosphere in this music, and it sets such an interesting scene in your head while you hear it. On the front end, you get Cronin and her guitar, but the thing that sets it apart is the background stuff (like the strings in “Saint’s Lake” or the manic electric guitar in “Call Out”). I truly loved this, and I have to wonder if this will be a favorite for me this year.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: Mattiel
Album: Satis Factory
Quick Description: Great, 60s-tinged garage rock.
Why You Should Listen: Mattiel was already good, but this is something special.
Overall Thoughts: There’s a universe out there where this is the biggest act in the universe and we are all clamoring for this album as opposed to waiting with bated breath for the next Taylor Swift joint. I would not accuse this album of being perfect, but there is an explosion of modern rock inherent in this that just simply works as opposed to being crazy complicated. Part of this is lead singer/songwriter/presentation guru Mattiel Smith, who controls every aspect of this in a way that results in a complete package without compromise. This is a different record than you may expect (which is part of the point), but absolutely worth your time no matter what.
Recommendation: Another favorite this week.

Of note:

* Julia Shapiro - Perfect Vision (Good, unassuming indie singer-songwritery stuff.)
* Katie Toupin - Magnetic Moves (A solid, mainstream-friendly listen with some good songs even if it’s more polished than some may prefer.)
* Shellac - The End of Radio (Peel Sessions from this act.)
* Calexico and Iron & Wine - Years to Burn (I still maintain that both of these acts are best when they collaborate.)
* Your Old Droog - Transportation (Surprise album. “Train Love” might be my favorite rap song of 2019.)
* Heather Maloney - Soil in the Sky
* Courtney Hartman - Ready Reckoner

7 song:

* Front Biz - Lunch Money


* Swimming Girls - Existential Fears (Loved this.)
* Holy Now - It Will All End in Tears (The cover of "You Never Can Tell" is a highlight.)
* Glowie - Where I Belong
* Bones UK - Choke
* Eva Luna - Pigments
* Catie Turner - The Sad Vegan
* Prateek - All You Do Is Drown
* The Knock Ups - Splitting Hairs
* Noel Gallagher's High-Flying Birds - Black Star Dancing

Of note:

* Madonna - Madame X (This is irredeemable.)
* Baroness - Gold & Grey
* Meernaa - Heart Hunger
* Sizzy Rocket - Grrl

Monday, June 17, 2019

sloan:sonna - "time to leave LA"

Photo by Jessika Lawyer
Denver via New Zealand's sloan:sonna have a video for new single "time to leave LA." The song is an upbeat, cheery slice of dream pop. It's cheerful to an almost painful degree, despite the sad topic of giving up your dream and leaving Los Angeles. According to Sloan: 

“because the song is less about LA and more about a girl who loves a guy I felt like the video needed to be both a head nod to the things about LA that people don’t like, but also highlight the ridiculousness of leaving a place with such amazing weather, beaches, (and culture). Arkansas, Canada, and learning to Ski provided a contrast that people could buy into but also laugh at."

You can watch the video for "time to leave LA" below. All the Right Statements, the debut album from sloan:sonna, will be out September 6. For more on sloan:sonna, check out their website.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Friday Freebie: Champ Major - Recipe for Baking Two Humans Together

Champ Major is a project out of Brooklyn, NY featuring couple Madison Major (guitar/vocals) and Jack Follansbee (basically everything else). They've recently released an EP, Recipe for Baking Two Humans Together. What's truly interesting about this release is that while it lands squarely in the "experimental folk" category it is still very accessible and keeps the dissonance to a minimum. The differences of the EP can be best summed up with back to back tracks "Abbeville" and "Not Slowly." "Abbeville" is a gorgeous song that's still lush despite how minimal it is. It's not mainstream folk in the way that Of Monsters and Men are, but it's quite accessible to radio friendly folk fans. "Not Slowly" still has the same elements of beauty, but it also includes bizarre unfriendly noise towards the end. Maybe it's standard feedback, maybe it's a saw being played, maybe someone is murdering an accordion. It's dissonant, but still ties into the beauty of the song.

You can listen to "Not Slowly" below. Recipe for Baking Two Humans Together, the new EP from Champ Major, is available now via Hooded Wonder Records as a free download on Bandcamp. If you download the EP for free, be sure to follow Champ Major on Instagram.

Lillie Mae - "You've Got Other Girls for That"

Photo via Facebook
We were huge fans of Lillie Mae's 2017 album Forever and Then Some. Her latest song, "You've Got Other Girls for That," continues her run of great country/roots music, but instead goes slightly more pop. While it does let pop in more than her previous music, she also welcomes more rock elements. Instead of a guitar solo for a bridge, she lets loose of a squall of fiddle and feedback, making an almost roots/noise rock hybrid. It's an intriguing sound that makes her upcoming album one of our most anticipated of the summer!

You can watch the video for "You've Got Other Girls for That" below. Other Girls, the upcoming album from Lillie Mae, will be out August 16 on Third Man Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Lillie Mae, check out her website.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Reunions - "Light Left On"

Emo gets a lot of flack, and ,for the most part, justifiably so. But there was a beautiful period where emo was great, back before it became a style at Hot Topic and everyone needed to sing exactly the same. San Francisco's Reunions throws back to when emo was just aggressive, melodic rock with some punk sensibilities. Their new single, "Light Left On," is a perfect example of that. It's crunchy guitars and scratchy vocals, made for grown ups and not tweens. "Light Left On" is the rare emo song that you can proudly listen to as an adult without a hint of embarrassment. 

You can listen to "Light Left On" below. Winter Heart, Summer Skin, the debut album from Reunions, will be out June 21. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Reunions, check them out on Facebook.

KinZie - "Heart Torn Apart"

Photo by Darius Walker Photography
There are two ways to be sure I check out your band:

1. Say it's for fans of Dinosaur Jr and Screaming Females.
2. Describe yourself as a "jazz punk band from Birmingham, AL."

KinZie did both of those things, so I gave "Heart Torn Apart" a shot. Starting off, the "jazz punk" part made a lot more sense. It's nearly crooned vocals over chunky guitars. The Dinosaur Jr and Screaming Females comparison made a little less sense, until it suddenly did. Once the guitars come exploding out, you'll be desperate for more. At first it's in these little giant bursts, but the Mascis style hazy solos eventually come to everyone's delight.

You can listen to "Heart Torn Apart" below. Dead Eyes, the debut album from KinZie, will be out July 19. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on KinZie, check out their website.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Black Belt Eagle Scout - "At the Party"

Photo by Sarah Cass
Portland, OR's Black Belt Eagle Scout are back with a new single from her follow up to 2018's Mother of My Children. "At the Party" is much more quiet and introspective than the majority of the previous album. There is still plenty of swirling guitars and effects on the new song, so it's far from your typical singer/songwriter fare. You get this lovely and intense (despite it's quiet) song. Katherine Paul (aka Black Belt Eagle Scout) explains her song: 

Within my conscious self, there is always a sense of questioning the legitimacy of the world when you grow up on an Indian reservationWe are all at the party (the world), trying to navigate ourselves within a good or bad situation. I happen to be at the party with my brown friends- Indigenous, Black, POC who always have my back while we walk throughout this event called life.”

You can listen to "At the Party" below. At the Party With My Brown Friends, the new album from Black Belt Eagle Scout, will be out August 30 on Saddle Creek. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Black Belt Eagle Scout, check out their website. Current tour dates are below the song.

Thu. June 20 - Fri. June 21 - Calgary, AB @ Sled Island
Thu. July 11 - Abbotsford, BC @ Jam In Jubilee
Fri. July 26 - Newport, RI @ Newport Folk Festival
Thu. Aug. 1 - Sun. Aug. 4 - Happy Valley, OR @ Pickathon
Sun. Aug. 25 - Port Townsend, WA @ Thing
Wed. Oct. 30 - Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater
Fri. Nov. 1 - Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
Sat. Nov. 2 - Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater
Sun. Nov. 3 - Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
Tue. Nov. 5 - Memphis, TN @ The Hi-Tone
Sat. Nov. 30 - Detroit, MI @ Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit
Sun. Dec. 1 - Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
Tue. Dec. 3 - Montreal, QC @ L'Olympia
Wed. Dec. 4 - Boston, MA @ Wilbur Theatre
Thu. Dec. 5 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
Sat. Dec. 7 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Sun. Dec. 8 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

Bob Mould Covers Buzzcocks

Any time Bob Mould releases anything we all need to pay attention. He's just released a full band cover of the Buzzcocks's classic "I Don't Mind." In the image that accompanies the YouTube "video" of the song, Mould describes seeing the Buzzcocks open for Gang of Four (!!!!) and staring at the late Pete Shelley the entire time, studying his every move. The cover is obviously the work of a devout fan. Modern recording techniques change the sound of the song forty years later, and Mould's version does have more of his trademark fuzz than the original, but it's mostly a spot on cover.

You can listen to Bob Mould's version of "I Don't Mind" below. For more on Bob Mould, be sure to check out his website.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

First Listen: New Releases for 7 June

Artist: Stef Chura
Album: Midnight
Quick Description: New album from an indie favorite.
Why You Should Listen: Chura's debut was amazing, and this is a worthy follow-up.
Overall Thoughts: The long, long awaited follow-up from a favorite around here, this is absolutely a more ambitious and more complex release than one might have anticipated if they hadn’t listened to advance singles like “Method Man.” While there is not a hook-laden song like “Slow Motion” in here on first listen, what we do have is a very great follow-up that definitely appears to be something that will reward multiple listens. If you’re not on the bandwagon yet, now is as good a time as any to hop on board.
Recommendation: A must-listen, and one of the best of the week.

Artist: Palehound
Album: Black Friday
Quick Description: Latest from the indie act.
Why You Should Listen: Palehound has been good for a while, and this is their best effort yet.
Overall Thoughts: Palehound is another band we love here, and I have to say that this might be my favorite release of theirs yet. While it has some odd parts, like the spoken word diversion in the second half, songs like “Stick N Poke” and “The City” really worked well for me on a whole and reminded me why they’re held in such high regard by their fans. This is an album you want to find time for in a busy week.
Recommendation: Worth the energy.

Artist: AURORA
Album: A Different Kind of Human (Step II)
Quick Description: The Euro-oddity's latest effort.
Why You Should Listen: AURORA is incredible, and this is a great entry point if you haven't realized it yet.
Overall Thoughts: AURORA has been fairly prolific of late, with a solid EP last year and a follow-up continuing on the same lines. She still has a unique voice and vision, and songs like “Hunger” really drive home how special an artist she is. I still maintain that her debut is one of the better recent ones, but if you’re looking for some different-yet-accessible music that refuses to stay in one genre, this is absolutely worth your time.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Skye Wallace
Album: Skye Wallace
Quick Description: Solid rock music from out of nowhere.
Why You Should Listen: She has a few albums under her belt, but this one makes you stand up and take notice.
Overall Thoughts: This is truly great. Skye Wallace has a beautifully aggressive approach to the rock songs on this record, and every song feels better than the next. While she is not forging any new paths (nor would I believe she would argue that she’s trying to do so, I would add), this has some solid familiarity while still feeling fresh and modern, which is a tough sell these days. This album sold me for good at “Coal in Your Window,” but there’s not a bad moment to be found on this effort.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.

Artist: Nicole Yun
Album: Paper Suit
Quick Description: Debut album from a cool-sounding singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: Yun dances within a few genres and successfully straddles a tough line.
Overall Thoughts: There’s something to be said about this album, which has a great indie style to it while feeling like a classic record nonetheless. I really enjoyed listening to this, and college-age Jeff would have been fully and totally obsessed with this record even while middle-aged Jeff is really intrigued and wants to take a lot more time with it. This is a great listen on a whole, and one I look forward to going back to. Might be one of the better recent listens.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Artist: The Membranes
Album: What Nature Gives... Nature Takes Away
Quick Description: Indie prog metal?
Why You Should Listen: It needs to be heard to be understood.
Overall Thoughts: This is a really odd album, and I don’t quite know how to describe or define it. Has metal elements, has prog elements, but it’s not heavy and it’s not really anything like what I’ve heard recently. I shouldn’t like this, but there’s something strangely compelling about it in the overall approach that makes this better than a lot of recent things I’ve listened to even if it could stand to be a little shorter. I suppose if you’ve ever wondered what the love child of King Gizzard and King Crimson might sound like, this could be the place to start?
Recommendation: Give it a shot.

Artist: Loamlands
Album: Lez Dance
Quick Description: Powerful, stark singer-songwriter effort.
Why You Should Listen: It's got roots elements, it's got some heart... lots to unpack and lots to love.
Overall Thoughts: This is another great folky effort. This grabbed me for good with “Maureen” and wouldn’t let go through the whole thing. There is so much to love here, from the sort of stark approach to the clear passion behind so many of these songs. This is a really solid, understated listen that deserves your time even in a busy week.
Recommendation: Try this out.

Of note:

* Yeasayer - Erotic Reruns (Some really solid moments, better than much of their recent output.)
* Silversun Pickups - Widow's Weeds (May be their best effort since Swoon.)
* Charming Disaster - Spells + Rituals (Has a lot of solid moments, great for those missing Brown Bird.)
* Fresh - Withdraw (Has potential to be a sneaky grower.)
* The Seldom Scene - Changes (Pure, lovely bluegrass.)
* Ida Mae - Chasing Lights
* French Vanilla - How Am I Not Myself
* Yohuna - Mirroring
* Marilee Sioux - Grief in Exile
* Telyscopes - Mata Mata
* Gia Margaret - There's Always Glimmer
* Froth - Duress
* No Aloha - Okay Alone

7 song:

* HOO - Centipede Wisdom
* Future - Save Me
* Meg Mac - Hope


* Carlie Hanson - Junk
* Carla Geneve - Carla Geneve
* Fallujah - All My Eyes Are Open, Pt. 1
* Baula - Draught
* Dad Brains - Dadditude
* Slowness - Berths


* Tim Heidecker - What the Brokenhearted Do...
* Perry Farrell - Kind Heaven
* The Divine Comedy - Office Politics
* Cave In - Final Transmission
* Plague Vendor - By Night