Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Astronots - "Wandering Eye"

We're pretty much guaranteed to write about any band that is described as "... an American rock 'n' roll outfit." The Astronots are from Los Angeles, and have this bizarre 60's meets modern sound. It's a high energy, incredibly fun dance/rock song that reminds me of being a throwback to music that was made in the 90's as a throwback to the 60's. And I mean that as a compliment. The song is inspired by a couple the band grew up with. As singer/guitarist Niko Giaimo explains:

"They had an insanely beautiful Cinderella wedding, but not long after that the wife started cheating, and the husband was secretly gay and going out with his friends in women's clothes. They were both cheating on each other in different ways, and somehow, everyone knew about the cheating except for the couple themselves!!! They ended up splitting up and are now both happily married in new relationships!"

You can watch the video for "Wandering Eyes" below. The song will be included on Cotati, the upcoming EP from The Astronots. For more on The Astronots, check out their website.

Oompa featuring Anjimile - "By You"

Photo by Ally Schmaling
We keep getting more and more into Boston's own Oompa, and "By You" is sucking us in even more. "By You" might just be the first hip hop song about visiting a therapist. It's the very rare mellow hip hop song that works for me. It could be because it features Anjimile on guitar, giving it a feel kind of like MTV Unplugged's hip hop edition, which will always be a favorite of mine. You don't get to call too much hip hop groovy, but "By You" edges just barely into that description. Oompa's quick flow is a brilliant counterpoint to this guitar, and makes "By You" such a brilliant song.

You can listen to "By You" below. Cleo, the upcoming album from Oompa, will be out August 10. For more on Oompa, check out her website.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

These Wild Plains - "Stick Around"

Photo via Facebook
Boston's These Wild Plains do a virtually perfect rendition of alt-country along the lines of Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown. Their latest single, "Stick Around," continues that sound. "Stick Around" is laid back, but not hanging-out-on-the-porch laid back. It stops just short of power ballad territory and is the kind of love song rare in country and Americana. According to the band:

"Stick Around is a love letter to my wife, or maybe more accurately, a tribute to her extreme patience. Being married to someone who is addicted to the masochistic nature of being a 'working musician' is a hard row to hoe, for sure. I don't know how she does it, but lord knows I would be lost without her. Besides, you don't hear a ton of songs about things going well these days. Everyone's always leaving. I figure it can't hurt to have one about shit working out for once."

You can listen to "Stick Around" below. Thrilled to Be Here, the new album from These Wild Plains, will be out September 6. For more on These Wild Plains, check out their website.

First Listen: New Releases for 27 July

Another slow week, so a little catch up to go along with your new releases...

Artist: Dude York
Album: Falling
Quick Description: Second proper album from the rock act.
Why You Should Listen: Dude York is fairly underrated, and this is a step forward for them.
Overall Thoughts: One of the more anticipated follow-ups of the summer, Dude York has been doing their best to evolve a bit while keeping their straightforward alt-rock approach intact. The new album is less Cheap Trick than their debut, and it might be of benefit on a whole – where we lose out on true killer tracks like “Tonight” from their first album, we make up for in the sheer volume of great songs in a cohesive album. Would be worth the time on a busy week, but especially during the lighter summer music load, this should find some time in your rotation.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: Martha
Album: Love Keeps Kicking
Quick Description: Power pop still lives!
Why You Should Listen: Has a great pun/DIY aesthetic to go along with some great melodic tunes.
Overall Thoughts: This is a delightful little indie power pop piece. This grabbed me at “Into This,” but the whole thing is just a fun, upbeat record with hooks littered throughout. It slipped under my radar and I have no clue how, but this is just such a joyful find that I look forward to jumping back in soon.
Recommendation: Really great find.

Artist: Erin Durant
Album: Islands
Quick Description: Solid, often-understated folky record.
Why You Should Listen: This slid under a lot of radars and probably shouldn't have.
Overall Thoughts: An enigmatic roots/folk record that has a fairly great approach that builds upon itself over and over again. A song like “Highway Blue” demonstrates this really well, where it just starts out in a pleasant way and, before you know it, you’re bopping along with the song and trying to figure out where the shift snuck up on you. Definitely an artist to look out for if you’re a longtime reader.
Recommendation: A great effort.

Of note:

* Caamp - By and By
* Jess Clinton - Real Glass Heart
* Luray - Dig
* Kaiser Chiefs - Duck
* Lisel - Angels on the Slope
* Angie McMahon - Salt
* The Low Cards - Pilgrims Wake

7 Song albums:

* Gurr - She Says
* Rayland Baxter - Good Mmornin


* Spritzer - Madonna (Odd lounge covers of Madonna tracks, and I'm not sure if this is serious or not.)
* Lauren Faith - Cosmic EP
* Sabine McCalla - Folk
* Lykke Li - Still Sad Still Sexy

Also out:

* Of Monsters and Men - Fever Dream
* Freddie Gibbs and Madlib - Bandana
* The Side Project - Everything We Do
* Ummagma - Compass

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Laurels - "Sound System"

Sydney, Australia's The Laurels have an interesting and familiar sound. Their newest single, "Sound System," is a psychedelic blend of shoegaze. What's most interesting is it keeps the upbeat, cheerful sound of psychedelia with the almost dystopian moodiness of shoegaze. This truly creates a whole new sound while still feeling uncomfortably familiar. Singer Luke O'Farrell has this to say about the song:

"High rise apartments and rent prices loom large over this paean to a future dystopian city, the inhabitants of which are doomed to a lifetime of evenings spent in queues waiting to eat at fine dining restaurants after a round of putt putt golf. Sound System finds this group of part-time disc jockeys loading up their van with generators and loud speakers as they seek to reignite the street party."

You can watch the video for "Sound System" below. The song is currently available as a single on The Laurels's Bandcamp. For more on The Laurels, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Jason Hawk Harris - "I'm Afraid"

Photo via Facebook
The standard definition of outlaw country is too rock 'n' roll for country, too country for rock 'n' roll. The latest single from Jason Hawk Harris is somehow 100% rock/punk and 100% country, obliterating the standard definition. "I'm Afraid" is a loud, fast, rambunctious jam that you'll know if you love it within the first ten seconds of the song. Harris sings "I'm Afraid" like a Southern preacher, which is fitting since the song is about kids being afraid of creepy pictures of Jesus. It's such a huge departure from Harris's previous single, the mostly straightforward, laid back country tune "Cussing at the Light," that we're thrilled to hear what else he has in store for us!

You can listen to "I'm Afraid" below. Love & the Dark, the new album from Jason Hawk Harris, will be out August 23 on Bloodshot Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Jason Hawk Harris, check out his website.

Black Belt Eagle Scout - "My Heart Dreams"

Photo by Sarah Cass
As if it was made to make us even more obsessed with Black Belt Eagle Scout, Katherine Paul's musical project has a new single that may be impossible not to like. "My Heart Dreams" is a dreamy, slightly trippy, almost like a folk version of shoegaze song. It's mostly a ballad, but has its bouncy moments to keep you drawn in and cheerful, despite the song's subject matter about wanting to find new love while being brokenhearted. "My Heart Dreams" has just the slightest amount of noise Black Belt Eagle Scout shows in their live shows, instead keeping this song mostly melodic.

You can watch the video for "My Heart Dreams," which was filmed at the Portland Pride parade. Paul says of the video:

The idea behind this video was to do something fun while showing the resilience of the Indigenous people, particularly women and girls, which is why I chose to have the Black Belt Eagle Scout band be portrayed by young Indigenous girls. In an age where Missing and Murdered Indigenous women (MMIW) are finally getting the attention they deserve, it's important to make their strength visible. The justice around MMIW is something we should all be paying closer attention to and I hope my platform serves to heighten awareness. The girls and extras in the video are members of the Portland Two Spirit Society, a special group of LGBTQ Indigenous and Native American/Alaska Natives and the Portland All Nations Canoe Family."

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 the band's website. Current tour dates are below the video.

Thu. July 25 - Westport, CT @ The Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts
Fri. July 26 - Newport, RI @ Newport Folk Festival
Thu. Aug. 1 - Seattle, WA @ ARTS at King Street Station
Fri. Aug. 2 & Sun. Aug. 4 - Happy Valley, OR @ Pickathon
Wed. Aug. 21 - Victoria, BC @ Bastion Square Parkade
Thu. Aug. 22 - Seattle, WA @ Olympic Sculpture Hall
Sun. Aug. 25 - Port Townsend, WA @ Thing
Mon. Oct. 21 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Thu. Oct. 24 - Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern
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 *
Wed. Nov. 6 - St. Louis, MO @ Foam
Thu. Nov. 7 - Lawrence, KS @ White Schoolhouse
Fri. Nov. 8 - Fort Collins, CO @ Surfside 7
Sat. Nov. 9 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Diabolical Records
Sun. Nov. 10 - Boise, ID @ Neurolux
Thu. Nov. 12 - Reno, NV @ Holland Project
Wed. Nov. 13 - San Francisco, CA @ Cafe Du Nord
Thu. Nov. 14 - Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Bar
Fri. Nov. 15 - San Diego, CA @ Ché Café
Sat. Nov. 16 - Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
Sun. Nov. 17 - Las Vegas, NV @ The Bunkhouse Saloon
Tue. Nov. 19 - Mesa, AZ @ The Nile

Wed. Nov. 20 - Albuquerque, NM @ Sister
Fri. Nov. 22 - Austin, TX @ Barracuda
Sat. Nov. 23 - Dallas, TX @ The Foundry
Sun. Nov. 24 - Houston, TX @ Satellite
Tue. Nov. 26 - Fayetteville, AR @ George’s Majestic Lounge
Wed. Nov. 27 - Nashville, TN @ DRKMTTR
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 *
*= w/ Devendra Banhart

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Diablogato - "Lipstick & Cyanide"

Photo by Pat Piasecki
We first discovered Diablogato back in February when I made the trip up to Salem, MA for their show with Salem Wolves and The Devil's Twins. They have new music coming up next month, and today we can check out "Lipstick & Cyanide."

The new song is exactly what I'd expect from Diablogato based on their live show. It's a garage rock/punk hybrid that hints at rockabilly without really going into it full throttle. "Lipstick & Cyanide" may be a mid-tempo song, but it's a full on rocker. The only surprising element to the song is just how hard it grooves. That was a pleasant surprise.

You can listen to "Lipstick & Cyanide" below. Old Scratch, the new album from Diablogato, will be out August 23 via State Line Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Diablogato, check them out on Facebook.

No Sister - "My New Career"

Photo by Jack Riddle
Noisy rock music is typically loud and in your face. The latest single from Australia's No Sister shows noise can be quiet and almost soothing. "My New Career" is discordant, no question about that. But it also plays like a post punk 80's love ballad (even though it's a modern feminist anthem), so as abrasive as it can be, it's also oddly calming. There's something strangely hypnotic about "My New Career," especially after repeated listens. Even if you don't care for this song on the very first listen, try it out an extra time or two. You could be glad you did.

You can watch the video for "My New Career" below. Influence, the new EP from No Sister, will be out August 23. You can pre-order the EP on Bandcamp. For more on No Sister, check them out on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Nice Guys - "Exhaustion"

Based out of Boston, MA, Nice Guys have this loud, creative form of what I'm going to call punk. "Exhaustion" is a perfect example of this. It's fast, abrasive, and as discordant as possible while still being a song. To me it sounds like The Jesus Lizard meets Ex Models with a little bit of early The Dismemberment Plan thrown in. This isn't going to appeal to most people, but some of us are going to become quickly obsessed with it.

You can listen to "Exhaustion" below. The song will be included on Nice Guys's forthcoming album due out on September 5. You can pre-order it on their Bandcamp. For more on Nice Guys, check them out on Facebook.

Jason Tyler Burton - "Date Night at the Dairy Queen"

Photo by Erica Chambers
The more we hear from Jason Tyler Burton's upcoming album the more excited we're getting. The latest single, "Date Night at the Dairy Queen," is virtually perfect. It's on the mainstream side of alt-country, or maybe on the alt side of mainstream country. "Date Night at the Dairy Queen" is a slightly rambling Americana/folk/country song with stripped down instruments and lyrics that just nail you in the gut. With lyrics like "We grow our own veggies, make our own amphetamine, but our number one cash crop is crushed hopes and dreams" it all comes across like a combination of Jason Isbell and Bob Dylan, which is a great place to be.

You can listen to "Date Night at the Dairy Queen" below. Kentuckian, the new album from Jason Tyler Burton, will be out September 6. For more on Jason Tyler Burton, check out his website. Current tour dates are below the song.

07.26 Red Ants Pants Music Festival, White Sulphur Springs, MT
09.07 Wind River Brewing, Pinedale, WY 
09.27 Healthy Rhythm, Montrose, CO 
09.28 Escalante Canyons Art Festival, Escalante, UT 
10.03 Goodwood Brewing, Louisville, KY 
10.04 The Twisted Cork, Lexington, KY 
10.05 Rocktoberfest, Campton, KY 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

First Listen: New Releases for 20 July

Artist: Darren Hayman
Album: 12 Astronauts
Quick Description: Concept album about history's greatest space travelers.
Why You Should Listen: Darren Hayman is good at what he does, but especially when he's invested in the subject.
Overall Thoughts: This may be DH’s best solo effort in a long time. This is not to say his output has been bad, but H’s foray into themed albums continues with a release about astronauts to coincide with the moon landing. It has a gorgeous alternate version of the HN single “Alan Bean,” but also legitimately one of the better songs of the year in “Genesis Rock.” For someone at this for over two decades, this is a really and truly wonderful listen and something that everyone should easily enjoy.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week.

Artist: Grace Lightman
Album: Silver Eater
Quick Description: Pop with some edge.
Why You Should Listen: Grace Lightman sounds really familiar, and yet is completely different than anything else out there.
Overall Thoughts: Absolutely the most unique listen this week. Futuristic pop music that has hints of a lot of things you already love alongside some interesting flourishes. This album grabbed me at “Zero Impact,” a great song that feels like a 2025 artist taking on 1980s synth music, and it’s truly great. I find this hard to fully describe, but (especially in a short week) it’s something that deserves attention.
Recommendation: Give this a proper shot.

Artist: IDER
Album: Emotional Education
Quick Description: Pop duo going mainstream.
Why You Should Listen: This feels radio friendly without being too glossy.
Overall Thoughts: I’ve been a fan of ID for some time, but this album certainly feels like a poppy version of some of our favorite indie folk duos. This is not bad – basically every song is packed with infectious hooks and the production is right on track. This might be a little too mainstream pop for some listeners, but I definitely found a lot to like here.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Ada Lea
Album: what we say in private
Quick Description: Strange, compelling indie music.
Why You Should Listen: This is a cohesive whole that demands your attention.
Overall Thoughts: This is one of the more enigmatic listens of the week and I think I’m in love with it. On the surface, it’s an above-average indie rock record, but there is a lot of atmospheric experimentation throughout that really grabbed me and kept me engaged for the whole thing. Some listeners might find it a little too precious at times, but it reminded me a lot of some of my favorite albums of the early aughts.
Recommendation: Might be a favorite of yours, too.

Artist: Ed Balloon
Album: The Dubs
Quick Description: Offbeat rap music.
Why You Should Listen: An intriguing and different listen.
Overall Thoughts: Why do I like this so much? I think the delivery here is interesting and different, I think the production and instrumentation is unique, and this just really had me hooked throughout. I don’t know if it’s a great rap album, but it’s definitely a good rap album that I will absolutely be going back to.
Recommendation: Worth your time.

Of note:

* GOON - Heaven is Humming (Solid, swampy indie-alt stuff.)
* Emily Mae Winters - High Romance (Don’t have much to say, but this is great, smoky barroom roots country.)
* The Orwells - The Orwells (Lead singer puts out the music the band was working on before they were canceled.)
* Joe Pug - The Flood in Color
* Generationals - Reader as Detective
* Chuck Cleaver - Send Aid
* KinZie - Dead Eyes


* Knife Party - Lost Souls EP
* Sub Dio - Sub Dio
* Sarah Jaffe - This Is Better, Part 1
* Sarah Jaffe - This Is Better, Part 2

Also out:

* Iggy Azalea - In My Defense (Has anyone ruined their brand quite the way she did in such a short time? I just wish the parts I liked were worth what it takes to get to them.)
* Pekoe Cat - Jungle Cop

Live Shows: J Mascis, Prescott Park Arts Festival, Portsmouth, NH 7/20/19

Photo via Facebook
Two of my obsessions are J Mascis and seeing shows at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, NH. Something about seeing world class musical artists and legends playing in a waterfront park for an $8.00 suggested donation is just perfect for me. It's especially great when Prescott Park breaks from their normal Americana/roots fare for 90's fuzzed out noise.

With temperatures still in the nineties at showtime, it was a very laid back crowd. There were definitely people there who most likely have season passes or just came down since it was a cheap Saturday of entertainment, the amount of Dinosaur Jr shirts in the crowd showed that the park was filled with fans for this night. And J Mascis did not disappoint. Opening with a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Every Mother's Son" (which is a J Mascis staple at this point), he quickly showed that this would not be a typical acoustic singer/songwriter show. Mascis brought the pedals and the distortion, if not the noise. Prescott Park has a very strict decibel limit, making this the rare J Mascis performance that didn't require earplugs.

The only surprising thing of the evening was how few J Mascis solo songs were played and how much the set was filled with Dinosaur Jr songs. Only four songs were from Mascis's solo albums, while nine were from Dinosaur Jr's catalog. Solo songs like "See You At the Movies" and "Elastic Days" fit in quite well with the better known "Repulsion," "Little Fury Things," and "The Wagon." It all flowed together perfectly, with only die hards not knowing the difference. The two song encore of covers featured two well known songs to Mascis fans: The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" (which Dinosaur Jr has previously covered) and Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You," which Mascis has covered quite a bit in the past.

Even something that could be gimmicky worked well for Mascis. He looped his guitar bits multiple times, and would take a drink while it looped and he wasn't playing. At first it seemed like it could be a joke, but he did it enough times that it more seemed like he was just thirsty. And that fits into the awkward charm of a J Mascis performance.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Jonah Ray Covers "Weird Al" Yankovic

Photo via Twitter
This is a very "Weird Al" heavy day, but we do love covers here at If It's Too Loud..., and we simply can't resist this one. Jonah Ray has announced an EP of punk covers of "Weird Al" songs, and the first one we can hear is "Amish Paradise."

First, the song isn't as punk as I'd expect it to be. Jonah Ray may be known more as a comedian, but he did grow up playing in punk bands, so he has enough cred. Ray's "Amish Paradise" is much faster than the original parody of "Gangster's Paradise," but it's more of an edgy acoustic rock song. It's more like earlier Frank Turner than I expected. That said, it's a "Weird Al" cover from a devoted lifelong fan, so it's ridiculously fun and a must hear. Also, I've been saying this for years, but enough bands do sets as Guns 'n' Roses, Weezer, and The Misfits every Halloween. Someone needs to start doing "Weird Al" sets.

You can watch the video for Jonah Ray's version of "Amish Paradise" below. You Can't Call Me Al, Jonah Ray's "Weird Al" covers EP, will be out August 16 on Asian Man Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Jonah Ray, check him out on Twitter.

Live Shows: "Weird Al" Yankovic, Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, Gilford, NH, 7/18/19

I've been a fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic since elementary school, which was over thirty years ago. Even though I've seen most of my musical heroes, somehow I've never just gone for it and bought "Weird Al" tickets. Since I got my daughter into him a few years ago, I finally did it and bought us tickets for his "Strings Attached" tour.

The night started off a little rough. The announced start time for the show was 7:00, and it wasn't until 7:30 that the orchestra started. (The "Strings Attached" tour features a forty one piece orchestra.) They played four songs from films like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Mission Impossible, followed by a twenty minute intermission. Let's just say the average ten year old does not care about film scores to movies she has no interest in watching. I thought I was going to lose her, but then "Weird Al" finally started at 8:15.

The smile on my daughter's face made everything worth it. I don't think I've ever seen such a thrilled look on anyone before. Just the fact that someone that famous was right there. I'm sure I had an identical look. There's something about seeing your heroes from elementary school unlike anything else.

And what a show. The night started off with a medley of jazzed up/R&B versions of "I Lost on Jeopardy," "I Love Rocky Road," and "Like a Surgeon." And then he played "The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota," which is a song I never ever dreamed of seeing performed live. I'm not sure if "Weird Al" realized how much he enjoyed playing the more obscure songs after the "Ridiculously Self Indulgent, Ill Advised Vanity Tour," but he seemed to be busting out truly unexpected songs this night. It also could have been him taking advantage of the orchestra, but he also played "One More Minute," "Weasel Stomping Day," and the thrilling "Harvey the Wonder Hamster." Of course, there were also the big hits of "Smells Like Nirvana," "Word Crimes," "Dare to Be Stupid," and the Star Wars encore of "The Saga Begins" and "Yoda."

I've never waited such a long time to see an artist, but I certainly won't be waiting anoter thirty years before seeing "Weird Al" again. I just hope my daughter still wants to come the next time.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Justin Golden - "Talking"

It's been three long years without new music from Richmond, VA's Justin Golden, but our long drought is finally over with "Talking." His newest single is everything we want from Golden: It's smoother than silk blues that still has a tiny bit of an edge to it. "Talking" sounds and feels like a classic song, but still modern. It's a deceptively simple song with sparse use of guitar and drums. The song is propelled forward by Golden's voice and the harmonica he's almost dueting with throughout.

You can listen to "Talking" below. The song is available as a download via Justin Golden's Bandcamp. For more on Justin Golden, check him out on Facebook. And let's all hope we don't have to wait three years for another release.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Hammered Hulls - "Written Words"

Considering how many punk veterans are hanging around DC, I'm shocked we don't get more supergroups coming out of that city. Hammered Hulls are an underground supergroup, made up of Alec MacKaye (Untouchables, The Faith) Mary Timony (Helium, Wild Flag, Ex Hex), Mark Cisneros (Kid Congo, The Make-Up), and Chris Wilson (Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Titus Andronicus). The band has their debut three song release coming up next month, and right now you can hear "Written Words." "Written Words" isn't going to rewrite music. It's exactly what you would expect it to sound like: old school DC punk, which is exactly what you're going to want from these four musicians. 

You can listen to "Written Words" below. The self-titled debut from Hammered Hulls will be out August 9 on Dischord Records. You can pre-order a 7" via Dischord and digitally at Bandcamp. Current tour dates (unfortunately just two of them) are below the song.

8.28 - Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery 
8.29 - Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

David Wax Museum - "Uncover the Gold"

Photo by Vivian Wang
Back in May we brought you a Jam in the Van version of "Uncover the Gold," a brand new song from David Wax Museum's upcoming album. The album version is now available to listen to, and it was worth waiting. This version has a softer feel than the previously heard live performance. Suz Slezak's voice has a particularly trippy feel to it as she vocalizes during instrumental parts of the song. Trippy might be the best way to describe "Uncover the Gold," a song that has the most hypnotizing handclaps of all time. Yes, that is a weird way to describe handclaps, but trust us on that. This continues David Wax Museum's progression from album to album. None of their albums feel like complete departures from the previous album, but they all go off in a different direction just enough to keep their sound evolving and interesting.

You can listen to "Uncover the Gold" below. Line of Light, the upcoming album from David Wax Museum, will be out August 23 on Nine Mile Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on David Wax Museum, check out their website. Current tour dates are below the song.

7/31 - Indianapolis, IN - The Vogue (duo w/ Gregory Alan Isakov) 
8/2 - Richmond, VA - The National (w/ Guster) 
8/3 - Oxford, PA - Connective Festival (duo) 
10/11 - Charlottesville, VA - Festy 
10/23 Baltimore, MD – Creative Arts Alliance 
10/24 Lancaster, PA – Tellus 360 
10/25 New Haven, CT – Cafe Nine 
10/26 Westerly, RI - Knickerbocker Music Center 
10/27 Brattleboro, VT – The Stone Church 
10/30 Rochester, NY – Abilene 
10/31 Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe 
11/1 Thomas, WV – Purple Fiddle 
11/2 Columbus, OH – Rumba Cafe 
11/3 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Tavern 
11/5 Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark 
11/6 Grand Rapids, MI – The Listening Room 
11/7 Fort Wayne, IN – ArtsLab 
11/8 Yorkville, IL - Law Office Pub & Music Hall 
11/9 Milwaukee, WI – Back Room at Colectivo 
11/10 Chicago, IL – Schubas 
11/13 St. Paul, MN – Turf Club 
11/14 Davenport, IA – Raccoon Motel 
11/15 Kansas City, MO – Knuckleheads 
12/27 Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
12/28 New York, NY – Mercury Lounge 
12/29 Washington, DC – Union Stage 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Dan Luke and The Raid - "Exoskeleton"

"Exoskeleton" might be the single I'm most excited about this year. Dan Luke and The Raid's first single off their debut album combines multiple genres that all land in my musical sweet spot. To me "Exoskeleton" sounds like if Tom Petty leaned more heavily into New Wave and then was inspired by Sonic Youth in the early 90's. It's this kinda sorta Americana song that has an oddly groovy feel and some unexpected post punk noise that swings in every so often. 

You can watch the video for "Exoskeleton" below. Out of the Blue, the debut album from Dan Luke and The Raid, will be out October 11 on New West Records. You can pre-order the album here. The album was produced by Bradley Schultz of Cage the Elephant, who just happens to be Dan Luke and The Raid's Daniel Schultz's older brother. For more on Dan Luke and The Raid, check out their website.

First Listen: New Releases for 12 July

Some good stuff this week!

Artist: Mal Blum
Album: Pity Boy
Quick Description: Superlative indie rock from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Straddles perfectly the line between old and new.
Overall Thoughts: We’re been low-key fans of Mal Blum for a while now, and this new album is pretty much the perfect tone not only for the current indie/alt landscape, but for a couple of aging hipsters like ourselves still clinging to the rock music of our youth. While many acts deliberately attempt to operate in the musical ideas of the past, MB gives the impression of making the music she’s interested in making, and it shows in a superlative album this week.
Recommendation: It will be a highlight in nearly anyone’s rotation this week, so don’t miss out.

Artist: BEA1991
Album: Brand New Adult
Quick Description: Offbeat electronic effort.
Why You Should Listen: This is one that is often hard to describe.
Overall Thoughts: I’ve highlighted a few odd indie electric artists over time here, and this is definitely one that is a lot different, but also has a much more melodic and accessible feel to it. It grabbed me early,, but it was “Modern Comforts” that really brought it into sharp focus for me. This is a record with a lot going for it, and feels both minimalist and complex in its approach. If you’re interested in a challenge, it’s absolutely worth the effort.
Recommendation: Give it a listen.

Artist: Imperial Teen
Album: Now We Are Timeless
Quick Description: Legendary indie act back with their first album since 2012.
Why You Should Listen: They sound as vital as ever.
Overall Thoughts: Imperial Teen have been around for what feels like forever, and, no matter how many old/nostalgia acts have resurfaced in recent years, I am continually surprised when they put out quality work. This is no different – as the first album in many years, the band not only sounds like they haven’t lost a step, but also that they’re as good as they ever were, and the result is a solid listen across the board.
Recommendation: Absolutely worth the time this week.

Artist: Bleached
Album: Don't You Think You've Had Enough?
Quick Description: New album by some indie punk favorites.
Why You Should Listen: This may be their best effort yet.
Overall Thoughts: Another band that has largely found its groove, this third album feels like a band that has found its groove and is operating in the best versions of themselves yet. A very polished record, this has hooks for days and a ton of positives throughout, and I anticipate many of these songs to end up on various playlists this year.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Tycho
Album: Weather
Quick Description: Latest from the ambient mastermind.
Why You Should Listen: Tycho has always put out quality music.
Overall Thoughts: In the crowded electronic music space, Tycho has stood out over the years for having a pretty bold, up-front sound that is basically unlike anything else in the musical market, especially with ambient artists. This album doesn’t really change the prescription in any meaningful way outside of heavily featuring Saint Sinner, which for me is fine but might be a flag for other listeners. Still, in terms of the atmosphere Tycho likes to establish, you should find plenty to like if it’s your thing.
Recommendation: Worth it for electronica fans and beyond.

Artist: K.Flay
Album: Solutions
Quick Description: Indie internet rapper continues her slow takeover of the mainstream.
Why You Should Listen: You get to keep your indie cred while finding something your kids will tolerate.
Overall Thoughts: I feel like I’ve been listening to K.Flay for a decade now, and if her last album was her mainstream coming out party, this new album is her assertion that she is here to stay. Bold, brash mainstream-friendly radio bangers throughout here even though the music still feels uniquely K.Flay. If you were on board for the internet mixtapes early on, you will surely wonder what happened, but if you’ve stuck around this long you’ll be rewarded.
Recommendation: This is definitely one of the more fun records of the summer.

Of note:

* Have Gun, Will Travel - Strange Chemistry
* Throwaway - What?
* Kyle Craft - Showboat Honey
* Frightened Rabbit - Tiny Changes: A Celebration of Frightened Rabbit's 'The Midnight Organ Flight
* Kool Keith - KEITH
* Girlfriend Material - Cool Car
* Joanna Sternberg - Then I Try Some More
* Lights - Skin&Earth Acoustic


* Latrell James - Still

Also out:

* Africa Express - EGOLI (A cool compilation of African music)
* The Dollyrots - Daydream Explosion
* Guards - Modern Hymns
* Metz - Automat

Monday, July 15, 2019

Laura Stevenson Covers Wilco

I'm not very familiar with the Better Yet podcast, but they recently came to my attention when they put together all of god's money / a tribute to wilco's yankee hotel foxtrot. It's a track by track covers album, obviously for Wilco's beyond classic album. Each track is done by a different artist, and the one that got our attention is Laura Stevenson covering "Jesus, Etc." Stevenson's version is a slightly slower, more symphonic version. It's a gorgeous song, and the perfect type of cover that stays true to the original while still sounding just like Laura Stevenson.

You can listen to Laura Stevenson's cover of "Jesus, Etc." below. all of god's money / a tribute to wilco's yankee hotel foxtrot below. The album is available via Better Yet's Bandcamp. For more on Laura Stevenson, check out her website.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys - Witchcraft

Today sees the release of a brand new three song EP from our favorite steamcrunkers Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys! Witchcraft is made up of two new songs ("Witchcraft" and "DINO DOMINA") and a live recording of "Lonely Children." "Witchcraft" is a meandering, trippy song that has what might be the creepiest whisper-sung part of any song I have ever heard. The song just builds and builds into a glorious climax. We've covered "DINO DOMINA" before, but it still might be the best thing Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys have ever recorded. It's a bizarre hard rocking song that keeps a slinky and sexy vibe while being an absolute head banger.

You can listen to "Witchcraft" below. For more on Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys, check out their website. If you happen to be in the Boston area tonight, they're playing The Sinclair in Cambridge. The show is an all local bill and features Eddie Japan, No Hugs, and Lily Mae Harrington. A Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys show is always something special, and this one is promising to be life changing. You can find more info and tickets here.

All Eyes West - "As I Bleed"

Chicago's All Eyes West have been around since 2010 and have opened for artists as diverse as Bob Mould, Alkaline Trio, The Joy Formidable, OFF!, Rival School, and Local H. Their latest single, "As I Bleed," would be considered emo, but more the kind of emo that existed before Hot Topic. It reminds me of a more noisy yet also more poppy version of Rites of Spring. It's a fast and kinda thrashy alt-rock/emo song that you can see at home playing with all of the previously mentioned bands. 

You can listen to "As I Bleed" below. Like Lightning, All Eyes West's third album, will be out August 30 on Jump Start Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on All Eyes West, be sure to check out their website.