Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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

Jessica Lea Mayfield - tape demos part 1

We've been huge fans of Jessica Lea Mayfield's version of country/roots meets 90's alternative ever since we first heard her. She recently left ATO Records and is a free agent in the music world. She's just put out tape demos part 1 on her Bandcamp page. These are incredibly rough demos of just her and a guitar recorded as lo-fi/DIY as humanly possible. She's opening up the songwriting process to her fans at a very early point, and is welcoming us to imagine the songs however we want. And these songs could end up going in any possible direction, or no direction at all. As a fan, it's such a special opportunity to hear an album in such a raw format.

You can listen to "warped and melted" below. tape demos part 1 is available now via Jessica Lea Mayfield's Bandcamp. For more on Jessica Lea Mayfield, check out her Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Billy Dean Thomas - 2 the World

Billy Dean Thomas (aka The Queer B.I.G.) started off in Harlem and moved to Boston two years ago. Since then, they've established themselves on the burgeoning Boston hip hop scene. They just released a new double single, 2 the World, which consists of the songs "Tina Turnup" and "To the World." My feelings on current hip hop are well documented, and I tend to lean towards the throwback side of the genre. Billy Dean Thomas isn't a throwback act in the slightest. Instead, they keep the feel and intensity of classic hip hop while moving it into the current day. Both songs feel like an American version of British garage music and have a strong electro element. Both of these songs would be getting massive airplay nationwide if radio worked correctly.

You can listen to 2 the World below. For more information, check out Billy Dean Thomas's website. Billy Dean Thomas is also an incredible live performer. Be sure to check them out whenever you can.

The Low Cards - "What Am I Doing Here"

The latest single from Providence's The Low Cards is a slow, intense burn. "What Am I Doing Here" is a slowed down roots rocker, with a noisy start, but turns into a bizarro folk/singer songwriter song with distorted guitars. It's a slow burn with smoldering intensity. You expect it to explode into a full on rock song, eventually resigning yourself to the fact that it never will. And just when you accept that and think the song is winding down, it erupts into the roots rock jam you always needed it to. 

You can listen to "What Am I Doing Here" below. Pilgrims Wake, the upcoming album from The Low Cards, will be out soon. I don't believe there is an official release date yet. For more on The Low Cards, check out their website.

Friday, June 7, 2019

The Atom Age - "Walk Through Walls"

Oakland's The Atom Age have been around since 2009, and are set to release a new album later this summer. Their latest single, "Walk Through Walls," would have been right at home in the early 2000's garage rock revival, but they have their very own sound all to themselves. "Walk Through Walls" shares the same frenetic energy of the early, less pop years of The Hives. This is possibly because of the just barely tuneful screamed vocals common in "Walk Through Walls." But what makes them unique is how they embrace the organ/keyboard sound of vintage classic rock that their contemporaries just never did. Plus, they also bring in more than a tiny bit of surf rock, bringing the whole thing into a vintage sound without sounding fully like a throwback.

You can watch the video for "Walk Through Walls" below. Cry Til' You Die, the new album from The Atom Age, will be out August 23 on Tiger Dream/Asian Man Records. For more on The Atom Age, be sure to check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Baylies Band - Kafkaesque

I have no idea how I had never heard of Baylies Band until this week. They're a Providence based band who have been together for twenty five years, and, according to their Bandcamp profile, have played with a diverse group of bands that includes Lightning Bolt, That 1 Guy, Six Finger Satellite, Godsmack, and The Pizza Underground, aka Macauley Culkin's pizza themed Velvet Underground tribute band.

Led by Eric Baylies (who played bass with Minibeast until recently), the band put out their latest release Kafkaesque earlier this year. It's... unique. And I mean that in the best possible way. It's as noisy as you'd expect it to be, but it also feels like a noise rock version of a free jazz jam in parts. Plus, it's not as aggressive or dissonant as a lot of experimental noise rock can be. At times, it's almost straight up rock, albeit a twisted version. Plus, it seems to not take itself as seriously as a lot of art rock does. "Warriors" seems to consist mainly of the "Warriors come out and play" line from the 1970's cult classic The Warriors. This is the closest the album comes to a ballad. Other song titles include "Macauley Culkin Stole My Phone" and "Shaving My Balloon." 

You can listen to "FAQ" below. Kafkaesque is available now via Bandcamp. For more on Baylies Band, check them out on Facebook.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

PVD Fest Preview

The PVD Fest takes over downtown Providence this weekend. It's a free, multi-stage, multi-genre, all ages festival that showcases virtually all forms of arts, but since we're a music blog, we're going to stick with music. The website/schedule is more than a little unwieldy, so here is what we've found that you're going to want to check out!

Leyla McCalla
Saturday, 5:45-7:15
Mural Stage, 120 Mathewson St
We're huge fans of Leyla McCalla here, and I personally can't recommend her live show enough. Her blend of traditional folk is completely unique and uses a cello in ways I've never heard before. For a festival that is focusing mostly on local Rhode Island artists, this is a huge booking and a treat for everyone that can attend.

Downtown Boys
Saturday, 7:45-8:45
Arcade Stage, 35 Weybosset St
Most free outdoor all ages shows aren't going to book a band that flaunts their Communism as openly as Downtown Boys, but PVD Fest doesn't seem to mind! Even though their last album was on Sub Pop, Downtown Boys are a Providence band so expect this performance to be packed. Being old enough to remember the Green Day Hatch Shell riots (via the news and stories from friends, I wasn't cool enough to actually go), all ages free outdoor punk shows always seem a bit risky to me, but kids these days are much more mellow with their YouTubes and cell phones, right? 

Saturday, 9:15-10:00
Arcade Stage, 35 Weybosset St
For more proof that PVD Fest isn't worried about offending anyone with content is Boston hip hop group STL GLD. STL GLD are phenomenal live, and blend hip hop with a punk edge like no other. They flaunt their politics as much as Downtown Boys, so it could end up interesting if older music fans come down expecting a pleasant evening of music. If you can't make it to PVD Fest, make sure you find some way to see these guys live. Highest possible recommendation from us.

Epic Beard Men
Saturday, 11:15-12:15
Arcade Stage, 35 Weybosset St
A local indie hip hop supergroup, Epic Beard Men consists of Sage Francis and B. Dolan. Somehow I've never seen either live, so PVD Fest will provide an excellent opportunity. They're using this as a send off hometown party before their European tour, so expect a jubilant crowd and Epic Beard Men having a blast. Oh, and great facial hair.

Gray Bouchard & The Dedications
Sunday, 12:00-12:30
World Music Stage, 44 Washington St
It's interesting that Gray Bouchard & The Dedications are playing a world music stage. First, they're based in the Boston/Salem area, so they're only ninety minutes away, tops. Second, the Salem Wolves frontman keeps it pretty American with his side project. The Dedications play a toned down, more mainstream version of Salem Wolves's fiery garage rock. Think of the Hives's songs you hear on video games versus album cuts.

Heather Rose in Clover
Sunday, 5:30-6:00
Arcade Stage, 35 Weybosset St
Another band from Providence, Heather Rose in Clover are quickly becoming a favorite among us. Back in March when I first heard them, I compared them to Fuzzy, Velocity Girl, and Belly. They have this great 90's alternative pop sound without just being a pure throwback band. This is a perfect band for us, and we're dying to see them live!

Prateek - "The Gang's All Gone"

Prateek is one of those artists that has been on my radar for years but I've never fully given my attention to. For that I owe him (and all of you) an apology. His latest single, "The Gang's All Gone," really deserves all of our attention. Prateek does this style of folk rock that is all his. Traditionally folk rock means one sound and one sound only with very little deviation. Prateek side steps that notion. Sure, "The Gang's All Gone" is 100% folk rock. But Prateek's uniqueness starts with his voice. His voice has the soul of a 90's indie rocker just waiting to unleash itself. Plus, he throws in some guitar licks that sound like a lazy J Mascis which are unexpected but very welcome around these parts!

You can listen to "The Gang's All Gone" below. The song is currently available via Bandcamp, where you can currently get Prateek's entire discography for $4.20 (woo!) Plus, all of Prateek's proceeds from Bandcamp are currently going to Planned Parenthood, so there's also that. For more on Prateek, check out his website.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Minibeast - "Town Cryer"

Photo via Facebook
Minibeast are set to release two new albums in the near future, and have offered up a new song as a preview. For those not in the know, Minibeast is the new project from Peter Prescott of Mission of Burma. (The band's Facebook profile lists him as formerly of Mission of Burma, further cementing that Burma is no more, which I refuse to accept.) "Town Cryer" is perfect for Mission of Burma fans. It has that disjointed almost tribal beat that we've come to love, and coming in at eight minutes and forty seconds, it feels like an experimental post punk jam session. With the spoken/shouted lyrics is thunderously noisy guitars, this song might be heralding an upcoming album of the year candidate.

You can listen to "Town Cryer" below. ISM Vols. 1 & 2, the upcoming albums from Minibeast, can be pre-ordered via Kickstarter. The release seems imminent. For more on Minibeast, check them out on Facebook.

Little Slugger - "You're On Your Own"

While I'm not much of a pop guy, I do love power pop unashamedly. And even though this might sound contradictory, if an artist can combine indie rock with power pop I'm in my glory. Enter Little Slugger. Little Slugger formed in Burlington, VT and moved to Brooklyn, which is understandable but the New Englander in me is trying not to hold that against them. "You're On Your Own" at times might be a little too pop for me, with it's harmonies and level of catchiness that is bordering on criminal. But every time I start to have second thought the guitars amp up and draw me right back in. It's like OK Go decided to rock out just a little bit harder.

You can listen to "You're On Your Own" below. I Want to Live Here Forever, the upcoming album from Little Slugger, will be out July 19. You can pre-order it on their Bandcamp. For more on Little Slugger, check out their Facebook.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Cross Record - "PYSOL My Castle"

Photo by Jinni J.
Considering how quiet and introspective the latest single from Austin's Cross Record is, you'd never guess it's origin. Emily Cross wrote "PYSOL My Castle" after visiting an overstimulating Mexican street market. It includes the lyrics Walking through the plaza in a dream // All these people reaching out // touching me. I cannot take what you are giving // You cannot break the bubble I’m living in.” Although, if the experience was as overwhelming as it sounds, "PYSOL My Castle" shares what is needed after such an intense experience. It's quiet and healing, intimate and lonely (but in that great revitalizing way). 

You can watch the video for "PYSOL My Castle" below. The upcoming self-titled album from Cross Record will be released on August 2 via Ba Da Bing. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Cross Record, be sure to check out her website.

First Listen: New Releases for 31 May

A slowish week, so this week's highlights include some we missed recently:

Artist: Pip Blom
Album: Boat
Quick Description: Debut album from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Feels like we've been waiting forever for this.
Overall Thoughts: Pip Blom has been releasing music for some time, but never as a cohesive package until now. The cohesive package? It's a great slice of fuzzy indie pop with the right balance of weird melodies and infection hooks, this is an album that was a fast favorite this week and might end up having some staying power for me. "Daddy Issues," an early single and the lead track, sets the tone with the most accessible Pip Blom track yet, and keeps its foot on the gas throughout. A must-listen.
Recommendation: Best of the week, and one of the best of the year.

Artist: Kitty Kat Fan Club
Album: Dreamy Little You
Quick Description: Indie supergroup with their first collective album.
Why You Should Listen: For a band put together just so a bunch of locals could play music together, this is great.
Overall Thoughts: There have been dribs and drabs of music put out by Kitty Kat Fan Club over the years, but this first full album is the sort of indie pop punk we look for. A tight group of musicians making tight music that will stick in your craw? Not much more to ask for here.
Recommendation: Highly recommended.

Artist: Fucko
Album: Social Climber
Quick Description: Boston-area indie rock.
Why You Should Listen: The name is more aggressive than the music.
Overall Thoughts: I am really into this album from earlier this spring. I tripped up on them in a Twitter thread about Halfsour (profiled last week), and found this album to be a really solid listen on a whole. Feels like the sort of semi-lo-fi alt-rock of the past, this just works on all accounts.
Recommendation: Give it a listen.

Artist: Kim Thompsett
Album: The Hollows
Quick Description: Spooky folky goodness.
Why You Should Listen: This has some dark underpinnings to go with the stark, interesting instrumentation.
Overall Thoughts: I loved my experience with this album. I hesitate to call it dark folk, but it's the closest comp I can make in many regards given how this is presented. While this won't work for everyone, I loved this often-minimalist effort quite a bit, and wanted to make sure it didn't fall through the cracks.
Recommendation: Worth your time.

Of note:

* Chris Brokaw - End of the Night
* J. Robbins - Unbecoming
* Jenn Grant - Love, Inevitable
* JR JR - Invocations / Conversations
* Her Wicked Heart - To Love To Live To Leave
* Rose Hotel - I Will Only Come When It's a Yes
* Doug Tuttle - Dream Road
* Gemma - Feeling's Not a Tempo

Seven Song Albums:

* Fujiya and Miyagi - Flashback


* Sarah Davachi - Pale Bloom
* Tiffy - Fire Sale
* Bloodshot Bill - Hang Ten with Bloodshot Bill
* TV COMA - Body Negativity
* Esya - Absurdity of Atcg, Pt. 1
* XYLØ - yes & no

Also out:

* The Gotobeds - Debt Begins at 30
* Apex Manor - Heartbreak City
* Left Lane Cruiser - Shake and Bake

Monday, June 3, 2019

Throwaway - "The Brilliant Society of the Illustrious Mule"

Throwaway is weird. Sure, we've covered a LOT of weird bands here. I tend to love bringing you the latest weirdo noise band, but what makes Throwaway truly odd is that they're noisy art rock that still follows traditional pop song structures... mostly. Plus, they're fronted by a woman wearing a paper bag on her head.

You know that "The Brilliant Society of the Illustrious Mule" isn't going to be the latest pop crossover hit based on the song title alone. For the most part Kristen Carey is singing for her vocals, or at least singing a little odd in the way that Kurt Cobain and Mike Patton made famous. And the song is strange, but still kind of a fun odd little quirky alt rock song. And then the screaming starts and the whole thing goes off the rails in the best possible way.

You can watch the video for "The Brilliant Society of the Illustrious Mule" below. WHAT?, the debut album from Throwaway, will be out on July 12. For more on Throwaway, be sure to check out their website. Current tour dates are below the video.

June 8 - The Pilot Light - Knoxville, TN

June 9 - Mother Bar+Grill - Atlanta, GA
June 11 - Art Rat Studios - Roanoke, VA
June 12 - Northside Tavern - Cincinnati, OH
July 11 - album release - El Club - Detroit, MI
July 17 - The Baby G - Toronto, ON
July 18 - L'Escogriffe - Montreal, QC
July 20 - Root Cellar - Greenfield, MA 
July 21 - Willimantic Records - Willimantic, CT 
July 21 - Crunch House - West Haven, CT
July 22 - Alphaville - NYC, NY
July 23 - Century - Philadelphia, PA
July 24 - Zissimos - Baltimore, MD
July 26 - Cafe Bourbon St - Columbus, OH
August 8 - Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL
August 9 - Communication - Madison, WI
August 10 - Ghost Light - Detroit, MI
August 24 - Moonlight Lounge - Albuquerque, NM 
September 2 - Brother's Lounge - Omaha, NE

Current Obsessions: "Godzilla" by Bear McCreary featuring Serj Tankian of System of a Down

I'm a big Godzilla fan. I still remember seeing the 1990s version with Matthew Broderick and being disgusted, and I made it a point to go to a Thursday evening showing for King of the Monsters, the latest installment.

Spoiler alert: it's awesome.

What's also awesome? The end credits feature Bear McCreary's take on the Blue Oyster Cult "classic" song "Godzilla," adding some epic orchestration and System of a Down's Serj Tankian on vocals. Whereas the Blue Oyster Cult version is reminiscent of a Spinal Tap gag, the McCreary version ends up having the epic scope that the big ol' lug deserves. I basically found excuses to put this on repeat all weekend long, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Go see Godzilla: King of the Monsters on the biggest possible screen you can, and check out this (and other) score from Bear McCreary when you have a chance. You won't regret it.