Monday, July 6, 2020

Thurston Moore - "Cantaloupe"

Photo via Facebook
After last year's three disc experimental album Spirit Counsel, it's great to hear Thurston Moore get back to actual songs again. "Cantaloupe" is really a mish-mash of all of Moore's favorite sounds. The track starts off with some grungy, sludgy guitar riffs. These are the kind of riffs seldom heard outside of a Melvins album these days. The song slowly morphs into more of an acid loving jam... but with some Detroit style proto-punk guitar solos. It's interesting to hear Moore play in so many of his style all at once, so if you've been a fan of all of his indie rock, jam band, heavy metal, etc. sounds, you're going to be heavily into his new sounds.

You can watch the video for "Cantaloupe" below. By the Fire, the upcoming album from Thurston Moore, will be out September 25. For more on Thurston Moore, check out his website.

Sweet Soubrette - "Making Do"

Sweet Soubrette, the solo project of Ellia Bisker of Charming Disaster, has made a song that can only make sense in 2020. "Making Do" is a song about making masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Obviously, the song is hardly cheerful given the subject matter, but since it's Sweet Soubrette, that makes perfect sense. I can't think of anyone else that could make a song right now about making masks to help out the collective whole that trudges along like a conveyor belt, and still keeping a sense of optimism and community intact. We may never want to listen to "Making Do" once this is all over, but for right now this song has the charm and begrudging positivity we all need right now.

You can listen to "Making Do" below. The song is available as a download on Sweet Soubrette's Bandcamp. There is also the option to purchase a mask with your download. For more on Sweet Soubrette, check out the artist's website.

Eli "Paperboy" Reed Covers Steely Dan

Here's a sentence I never thought I'd type: You really need to check out neo-soul singer Eli "Paperboy" Reed's cover of Steely Dan's "Do It Again." We're pretty faithful fans of Reed's, but I can say I've never gotten into Steely Dan. I'm just from that part of Generation X that completely dismissed bands like Steely Dan and never went back to check them out as I've gotten older. But Reed's take on "Do It Again?" Fantastic. As you would assume with anything Eli "Paperboy" Reed does, he takes the soft rock standard and re-imagines it as a neo-soul classic.

You can listen to Eli "Paperboy" Reed's version of "Do It Again" below. The song is available as a single via Yep Roc Records. You can get a copy on Bandcamp. It also comes with a B-side cover of Latimore's "Let's Straighten It Out." For more on Eli "Paperboy Reed," check out his website.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Half Past Two Covers The Beatles

A ska/pop-punk cover of a Beatles classic is something you already know if you want to hear. Orange County's Half Past Two have chosen to cover "I Will," which is one of the most underappreciated Beatles songs out there. The original is a quiet, slightly upbeat ballad that may very well be the first ever twee song. Half Past Two's version is restrained for ska/punk, but definitely more upbeat than the original. This is a 90's throwback ska song, sounding more like Reel Big Fish or Save Ferris than earlier ska. It's a ska cover of a Beatles song, and in the tradition of ska covers of classic rock songs, this is purely fun.

You can watch the video for Half Past Two's version of "I Will" below. Something Blue, the new EP from Half Past Two, is out today. You can get a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Half Past Two, check out their website.

Friday Freebie: Brenna Lowrie - Loss Leader

Today is the day many people get off work to celebrate America's Independence Day, so why not bring you a free EP from an artist from Alberta, Canada?

Brenna Lowrie recently released Loss Leader. It's a six song collection of psychedelic folk. That is perfectly displayed with the EP's opening song, "Skin." "Skin" is one of the more haunting folk songs I've heard in a while. It completely fits the modern folk template, but there's just something about Lowrie's vocals and playing that will implant itself directly in your soul. "Better Late Than Never" has a slightly off-kilter feel to it. It's both beautiful, but keeps the haunting feel going. "Trapped on the Ground" is a purely gorgeous song that does its own thing while captivating the listener. If you haven't fallen in love with the music of Brenna Lowrie by this point, "Longest Night" will solidify that love for you.

You can listen to "Trapped on the Ground" below. Loss Leader is available now for the "name your price" option on Brenna Lowrie's Bandcamp

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Caitlin Pasko - "Horrible Person"

Brooklyn based artist Caitlin Pasko is tough to describe. Her latest single, "Horrible Person," crafts the listener a true sonic landscape even though it's a very minimal song. Pasko's voice is this soft and lush instrument that is going to suck you straight in no matter how much you may try to fight it.. but why would you? Instruments seem to wander in at their own whim, each taking a brief turn in the spotlight until Pasko's voice takes back its rightful place. 

Caitlin Pasko says of the song: 

"I wrote 'Horrible Person' a cappella, alone in my bed, in the dark. It's the first song Henry [Terepka] and I made that paved the way for Greenhouse. I remember meeting up with him at Pinch just to see if we could make something (anything), and after catching up, Henry asked me what I'd been working on. I told him I was trying a new thing -- writing songs a capella, away from my piano, as a way to bypass my usual songwriting hang ups. I remember describing "Horrible Person" to him as being 'pretty direct,' and laughing nervously. We were in the control room, and he jumped up to get his guitar, and an amp, and some pedals. He asked me to sing the first line (so that he could figure out the key), and we both laughed about it as he created a drone. Then, before I ever even sang the whole song to him, we decided to record a take, with both of us improvising and reacting to each other. Afterwards, we built layers upon layers around it. I imagine that I'm singing from inside a deep, dark, underwater chasm, with neon diatoms darting around me. The final recording is the first and only take of the song, as well as my first time singing it aloud to anyone (and Henry's first time hearing it)."

You can listen to "Horrible Person" below. Greenhouse, the upcoming album from Caitlin Pasko, will be out August 28 on Whatever's Clever. For more on Caitlin Pasko, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

Kestrels - "Vanishing Point"

Last month we brought you Kestrels's new single "Grey and Blue." I personally loved it, but I'm going to be predisposed to liking any song that includes a guest guitar solo from J Mascis. With their new single, "Vanishing Point," it turns out they don't need any help to make a killer 90's influenced song. "Vanishing Point" combines just about every one of my favorite 90's genres. There is a ton of grungy guitars with power pop hooks and more than a little Brit pop sprinkled in. And, even without Mascis, there are some insanely great guitar solos in here. 

You can watch the cat heavy video for "Vanishing Point" below. Dream or Don't Dream, the upcoming album from Kestrels, will be out July 10 on Darla Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Kestrels, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Carmanah - "Stand Up"

If you're like us and have a soft spot for modern folk songs that bring in some oldies sounds, the latest from Carmanah will do it for you. "Stand Up" starts off fairly straightforward. It's modern folk with just a little hint of 60's soul, and that's nearly impossible to mess up. Luckily, Carmanah pair these up perfectly. As "Stand Up" goes on, the band lets loose with these little almost twee flourishes that heighten how much you end up loving the song.

Carmanah says that the song "... was intended to be a little cheeky, but was also written as a simple wish for love to prevail and for all the haters to just sit down and listen."

You can watch the video for "Stand Up" below. For more on Carmanah, be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Le Ren - "If I Had Wings"

Photo by Mariah Hamilton
Le Ren is the name Lauren Spear performs under. The Montreal based musician is set to release her debut EP later this month. Her new single, "If I Had Wings," is a modern day version of classic folk artists like Marianne Faithful and Joni Mitchell. The song has an undeniable sense of loss and melancholy, for good reason. Two years ago, Spear's ex-boyfriend was killed in a car accident. "If I Had Wings" is about that loss and the sense of feeling responsible for keeping their shared memories alive. The song is perfectly beautiful, and we can't recommend this enough.

You can watch the video for "If I Had Wings" below. Morning & Melancholia, the debut EP from Le Ren, will be out July 31 on Secretly Canadian. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Le Ren, check out the artist's Facebook and Instagram.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 26 June


Artist: Young Ejecta
Album: Ride Lonesome
Quick Description: Latest effort from the synthy electronic duo.
Why You Should Listen: Part art project, part musical project, all awesome.
Overall Thoughts: I've enjoyed everything musically that we've gotten from Young Ejecta, and Leanne Macomber (perhaps better known for her work with Non Indian) exudes a presence in this project that just works really well. This is decidedly more mainstream sounding than the previous efforts, and while it's been a while, it's clear the overall conceit behind the project (think of an alien observer) has taken a backseat, the musical efforts have not. I really enjoyed this, and it's absolutely an interesting take on what many might think is a tired subgenre.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.


Artist: Gordi
Album: Our Two Skins
Quick Description: Sophomore singer-songwriter effort.
Why You Should Listen: While her first effort was more direct, this is more successfully scaled back.
Overall Thoughts: There is a lot of singer-songwritery stuff out this week, and there's definitely no dearth of it in the overall release schedule, but Gordi's latest effort stood out because of how deliberately and unexpectedly stark and reserved it was. There's quite a bit to like here, and even the parts that do not fully succeed still exude an effort and style that fits with the whole. In a week where it might be easy for things like this to get lost in the pile, this deserves a closer look.
Recommendation: Worth the time.


Artist: The Rentals
Album: Q36
Quick Description: Full-length presentation of new material and singles from the last few years.
Why You Should Listen: The Rentals are usually great.
Overall Thoughts: In a sense, this is ultimately no different than other Rentals releases outside of the fact that many of these songs date back nearly three years. Still, while it's great to have in one package and contains a lot of great songs, the only downside is that it doesn't feel like a cohesive whole, instead seeming to have a compilation vibe. This isn't a bad thing overall: you're likely to find plenty to love here, and I can't wait to go back for a few of the songs ("Elon Musk is Making Me Sad," "Teen Beat Cosmonaut") as well as sort out what I may have missed on a whole.
Recommendation: A great return after a six year full-length gap.


Of note:

* Sofia Talvik - Paws of a Bear - Unplugged (The sign of a good album is when it's just as gorgeous when stripped down to its acoustic base.)
* Prateek - The Band's All Gone (Live album from a favorite here.)
* Corb Lund - Agricultural Tragic (Great country rock. Don't sleep on "I Think You Oughta Try Whiskey.")
* Hum - Inlet (First album of new material since 1998. It's pretty heavy.)
* Becca Mancari - The Greatest Part
* Arca - KiCk i
* ionnalee, iamamiwhoami, Barbelle - KRONOLOGI
* Bassnectar - All Colors
* Country Westerns - Country Westerns
* Elbow - elbowrooms
* Bad Moves - Untenable
* Daniel Avery - Love + Light

EPs:

* Carissa Johnson and The Cure-Alls - The Good EP (Probably my favorite release this week.)
* Ellie Moon - MOONiSMS (Another great EP this week. Four awesome songs.)
* Kitty - Charm and Mirror
* Pye Corner Audio - Where Things Are Hollow 2
* Dirty Projectors - Flight Tower
* sarya - take care of yourself
* Grand Pax - PWR
* ALMA - Acoustic EP
* The Venomous Pinks - I Want You

Also out:

* Dan Drohan - You're a Crusher/Drocan! (Not sure what to make of this one.)
* HAIM - Women in Music Pt. III (The first two tracks are quite good.)
* Bananagun - The True Story of Bananagun
* Ego Ella May - Honey for Wounds
* Iron Wigs - Your Birthday's Cancelled
* Jessie Ware - What's Your Pleasure
* Sofie - Cult Survivor

Immaterial Possession - "See Through Stares"

Photo by Ben Rouse
Athens, GA is one of the few towns that I'll give a chance to any band from there based on its rich musical history. Our latest discovery is Immaterial Possession. In keeping with Athens tradition (and not just the fact that Kiran Jeremy Fernandes is a descendant of Elephant 6's John Fernandes), Immaterial Possession have a sound truly their own. Their latest single, "See Through Stares," has an avant-garde, theatrical, psychedelic, gothic feel, all without sounding anything near as pretentious as that description sounds. The song has a true Southern roots and Americana feel while still containing all of those other elements. It's the kind of sound that could have truly only come from Athens.

You can watch the video for "See Through Stares" below. Immaterial Possession's self-titled debut is due out on July 31 via Cloud Recordings. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Immaterial Possession, check them out on Facebook.

New Fries - "Arendt / Adler / Pulley Pulley Pulley Pulley"

New Fries are truly a band without a genre. Their latest single, "Arendt / Adler / Pulley Pulley Pulley Pulley" has elements of No Wave, trip hop, experimental noise rock, indie... etc. It starts out as a jazzy trip hop song, and slowly as the song progresses it keeps evolving and adding new elements. "Arendt / Adler / Pulley Pulley Pulley Pulley" sounds like the same song at the end as it does as the beginning despite how much it grows and adds as it goes on and on. It's an impossibly compelling song that will suck you in even if you hate it.

New Fries say of the song: "Something about the women obscuring their gender and traditional roles (intentionally or otherwise) to do their work without interruption or expectation. Being contrarians, shrill. Seeking truth without taking care of emotions. Often their work is forensic, razor-sharp, and bright with clarity."

You can listen to "Arendt / Adler / Pulley Pulley Pulley Pulley" below. Is the Idea of Us, the upcoming album from New Fries, will be out August 7 on Telephone Explosion. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on New Fries, check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Jack the Radio with Lydia Loveless - "Getting Good"

Photo via Facebook
Raleigh, NC's Jack the Radio have a new album coming out next week, and what got our attention is a newly released single featuring Lydia Loveless. Lydia Loveless has been a favorite around here for years, and new music from her has been pretty scarce lately. Obviously we're going to jump all over anything new featuring her. "Getting Good" is a killer roots rock ballad. It's classic alt-country goodness, the kind of song that made us fall in love with Lydia Loveless. "Getting Good" is a near perfect duet between singer George Hage and Lydia Loveless, the kind that rarely get made these days but will make you need to hear more. This is old school country with some indie rock elements, and hits so many of our musical sweet spots.

You can listen to "Getting Good" below. Creatures, the upcoming album from Jack the Radio, will be out July 10. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Jack the Radio, check out their website. For more on Lydia Loveless, check out her website.




Deer Leader - "Four Deuces"

Glasgow's Deer Leader (not to be confused with Aaron Perrino's non-Sheila Divine band Dear Leader) have just released their debut single. "Four Deuces" is an intense, atmospheric, moody song. Deer Leader started out as an instrumental band and have just started adding vocals and lyrics to their music. I don't know if I'd quite call it experimental since there is some pretty solid mainstream alt-rock core structure here, but Deer Leader do include some interesting use of piano and horns that you don't typically hear from more mainstream bands. "Four Deuces" starts out as a quiet, fairly creepy song before evolving into a rock epic. If you're into bands like Mogwai or Explosions In the Sky, you owe it to yourself to check out this song.

You can listen to "Four Deuces" below. For more on Deer Leader, check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Wyatt C. Louis - "Dancing with Sue"

Cree-M├ętis folk singer-songwriter Wyatt C. Louis has something oddly compelling about him. His latest song, "Dancing with Sue," is a fairly straightforward country tinged modern folk song. You've definitely heard similar artists to him. But, he just has that certain something that draws you in. I'm not sure if it's charisma or talent or a mixture of the two, but Louis has that intangible it factor. "Dancing with Sue" is truly a special song, and one that will have you searching for more on Louis for the rest of the day.

Wyatt C. Louis explains the meaning behind the song:


"I have powerful female teachers in my life that have taught me to dance, to be strong, and to be free in my own way. Sue, the girl in the red dress, represents these teachers for me. The song’s chorus bounces between the sun and the moon, representing the sun's influence and strength, juxtaposed with the moon's admiration and powerful feminine energy."

You can listen to "Dancing with Sue" below. The song with be on Wyatt C. Louis's upcoming album this Fall, and is available as a single on Louis's Bandcamp. For more on Wyatt C. Louis, check him out on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Cold Beaches - "Problems and Heartache (I Got Them)"

The first thing about the latest single from Chicago's Cold Beaches (the project of Sophia Nadia): "Problems and Heartache (I Got Them)" is my favorite song title of the year. Luckily, the song is just as great. "Problems and Heartache (I Got Them)" is the height of dream pop. It's a light, breezy, nearly shoegaze song, but stopping just short with the fuzz. 

Sophia Nadia says of the song: "This song is one of the more honest songs on the album, despite it’s pop and upbeat sound. It covers pretty much all the bases with me- heartbreak, grief and loss, and avoiding my problems. I think it’s the only way to move forward, by continuing to be as honest in my art as I can."

You can watch the video for "Problems and Heartache (I Got Them)" below. Drifter, the upcoming album from Cold Beaches, will be out July 31. You can pre-order the album on Bandcamp. For more on Cold Beaches, check out the artist's Twitter and Facebook.

Marlowe - "Future Power Sources"

Last year, L'Orange and Jeremiah Jae's Complicate Your Life With Violence was my #2 album of the year. I'm obviously going to pay close attention to anything L'Orange is involved with from here on. Since he's just released a new single from his Marlowe project, I'm going to listen to that ASAP. Marlowe might come out of nowhere to land on my Top 10 this year, too.

Marlowe is L'Orange's project with Solemn Brigham. This is their second album under this project, the first being 2018's Marlowe. "Future Power Sources," their latest single, is incredible. Brigham's flow is somehow both completely unique and oddly familiar. The song is completely compelling. Both Brigham's rapping and L'Orange's production feels like a throwback that is pushing the genre to where it needs to be. You're going to want to listen to this one nonstop for the rest of the weekend.

You can watch the video for "Future Power Sources" below. Marlowe 2, the upcoming collaborative album from L'Orange and Solemn Brigham, will be out August 7 on Mello Music Group. You can pre-order the album via Bandcamp

Kid Gulliver - "I Wanna Be a Popstar"

This summer isn't going to be much of a summer. Typical summer activities are far less safe, and I can't see myself heading to very many beaches or barbeques this summer. The one thing we'll still have are summer songs, and Kid Gulliver may have given us the summer song of 2020. "I Wanna Be a Popstar" is a bright, sunny pop rock song. It's a little too low key to be power pop, but we could probably call it power pop lite. "I Wanna Be a Popstar" is the perfect simple, catchy song for driving around with the volume up. Of course, that's as long as you don't pay attention to lyrics like "I hear the interviews for things they said / I try to analyze their twisted heads / their pretty faces hang above my bed / I wonder why so many wind up dead" too closely to enjoy the fun.

You can listen to "I Wanna Be a Popstar" below. The song is available now on Kid Gulliver's Bandcamp. For more on Kid Gulliver, check out their website.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

I LIKE TRAINS - "Dig In"

Photo by Ben Bentley
Hailing from the UK, I LIKE TRAINS have a new single that should explode if there is any justice in the world. "Dig In" sounds like what would happen if Sleaford Mods decided to become a little more palatable by being a little less in your face and by going post punk. And they really want to dance. It's a surprising mixture of sounds that is nearly impossible to dislike, even if you don't agree with the political message (but you probably do).

You can watch the video for "Dig In" below. KOMPROMAT, the upcoming album from I LIKE TRAINS, will be out August 21 on the brand new Atlantic Curve label. You can pre-order the album here. For more on I LIKE TRAINS, check out their website.

Little Kid - "I Thought That You'd Been Raptured"

Toronto's Little Kid get compared a lot to fellow Canadian Neil Young. Hopefully they don't mind that comparison since their latest single isn't going to do anything to dispel those. "I Thought That You'd Been Raptured" is a ramblin' 60's style folk song with some modern pop and indie elements. The song has more of an upbeat feel to it than you might expect by my description, but there is a bit of humor to it as well. Kenny Boothby explains the song:

"This song is one of the most purely fictional songs I’ve written. It’s essentially all built around a joke I came up with where a man comes home early from work and finds his wife’s clothes around the house, but his first thought is that she has been raptured and he has been left behind. Of course, it turns out she is sleeping with someone else in the bedroom upstairs…

"Musically and lyrically, this is one of the songs I’m most proud of… I’m especially happy to have found a way to showcase my stupid sense of humour a little more obviously than usual."


You can listen to "I Thought That You'd Been Raptured" below. Transfiguration Highway, the upcoming album from Little Kid, is due out July 3 on Solitaire Recordings. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Little Kid, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Minibeast - "Crawling On My belly Through A Tunnel Towards The Dawn"

It's been far too long since we've brought you new music from Providence's Minibeast, featuring Peter Prescott (ex Mission of Burma and Volcano Suns). If you're unfamiliar with Minibeast but know Prescott's previous bands, you'll have an idea what Minibeast sounds like. Their latest single, "Crawling On My belly Through A Tunnel Towards The Dawn" is a nearly ten minute odyssey of a track. The instrumental trudges along, seemingly without any real direction or destination in mind, propelled by whining, forlorn sounding guitars. The drums have the unenviable task of holding everything together, which they do, but barely.

You can listen to "Crawling On My belly Through A Tunnel Towards The Dawn" below. The song is currently available via Minibeast's Bandcamp. For more on Minibeast, check out their website.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Harlem Gospel Travelers - "Fight On!"

The latest single from Colemine Records's Brighter Days Ahead singles series was a Juneteenth release from The Harlem Gospel Travelers. The Harlem Gospel Travelers were assembled by Eli "Paperboy" Reed when they were his students in a gospel class. Listening to "Fight On!" you won't believe they're young enough to be students of Reed's. This band sounds like they've been together for years, if not decades. "Fight On!" isn't purely an old school soul or gospel song. It sounds more modern while keeping the spirit of classic soul alive. 

The song is obviously highly political. Bandmember Thomas Gatling explains:

“During slavery, songs were a form of communication for black people. These songs became known as hymns, or as our seasoned saints call them, the songs that brought us over. 'Fight On' was inspired by a hymn called 'Hold On (Just A Little While Longer),' a song used to encourage black people to not give up. Through that song, God gave me 'Fight On.' It was written to amplify the voices that for so long have fallen on deaf ears and to encourage and uplift people to continue the fight for equality and against white supremacy. Be empowered, my people. We are not thugs, we are innovators. We are intelligent and our feelings, hopes, dreams, and lives matter. Fight on, and everything's gonna be alright."

You can watch the video for "Fight On!" below. The song is available now via Colemine Records as part of their Brighter Days Ahead series. You can get a copy now via Bandcamp

Anteloper - "Bubble Under"

Photo by Richard Ross
Anteloper isn't the type of music we typically bring you. They are a Chicago duo consisting of trumpet player Jaimie Branch and drummer Jason Nazary. Their latest single, "Bubble Under," combines elements of jazz, electronic music, and hip hop. It's highly experimental. This is definitely not music that people are going to be going crazy for at a dance club. However, there is something almost accessible here. Almost. Sure, some (ok, probably most) of the lengthier, more discordant trumpet solos aren't going to appeal to most people. But they are damn intriguing. Despite its laid back sound, "Bubble Under" isn't the type of jazz or atmospheric electronic music you just put on in the background and ignore. 

You can listen to "Bubble Under" below. Tour Beats Vol. 1, the upcoming EP from Anteloper, will be out July 1 on International Anthem. You can pre-order your copy via Bandcamp

Fenne Lily - "Alapathy"

Photo by Nicole Loucaides
Let's face it: There isn't much to be excited for right now. 2020 started off with such great promise and at this point we're all just hoping we'll be able to start having fun again in 2021. If we can find anything to look forward to, we're going to cling to those as tightly as possible. One of those things is any new music we get from Fenne Lily. 

Her latest single, "Alapathy," is a wonderfully upbeat song that lives in the worlds of indie pop and indie rock. It's energetic and undeniably catchy, but with these great 90's style fuzzed out guitar solos. Despite the bounciness of the track, "Alapathy" is about how Lily “... started smoking weed to switch off [her] brain.” The name of the song comes from combining the words "apathy" and "allopathic." 

You can watch the video for "Alapathy" below. BREACH, the upcoming album from Fenne Lily, will be out September 18 on Dead Oceans. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Fenne Lily, check her out on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Ayron Jones - "Take Me Away"

There's not too many artists that can say they have played with Guns 'n' Roses, Public Enemy, Jeff Beck, Spearhead, and B.B. King. Once you hear the latest from Ayron Jones, you'll understand why. The Seattle musician has released his debut single, "Take Me Away." The song is a huge, heavy blues rock song. It's far less garage rock than most blues rock gets. "Take Me Away" is arena rock ready. It's as if you combined The White Stripes with Living Colour. 

Ayron Jones explains the song and video: 

“It's hard to describe what the experience of a black person is to those who've never experienced it. From my first-hand experience, I know the feelings of frustration, anger and helplessness that I'm sure we've all felt when trying to see from someone else's perspective. But, it’s in times like these that I'm reminded of that age-old proverb, ‘Where Words Fail, Music Speaks.’ It is my hope that ‘Take Me Away’ serves as an anthem of perseverance and a voice for all of those who have ever felt broken down, disparaged and forgotten. Where you came from made you who you are, but doesn't define who you have to be.”

You can watch the video for "Take Me Away" below. The song is available as a single via Big Machine/John Varvatos Records. For more on Ayron Jones, check out his website.

Tanya Donelly - Big Love Bends Time EP

It's no secret that we've been adoring Tanya Donelly's Sunday Series of cover songs. She's putting that project on hold for the time being, but not before giving us one doozy of a gift. Big Love Bends Time EP is a collection of four songs from Donelly and guests. The first song breaks from the cover format and is a new song from Donelly and her Belly bandmate Gail Greenwood. "Big Love Bends Time" is a hypnotic and dreamy ballad that will suck you in unlike any other song you've heard in years. This track is seriously addictive. From there the covers start. For a cover of Buffalo Tom's wildly underrated 1992 song "Frozen Lake," Donelly brings in Bill Janovitz for backing vocals. Any time Donelly and Janovitz team up is a joy, and this time is no different. Also included is "Swim" from Madder Rose with Donelly's husband Dean Fisher on backing vocals and Robyn Hitchcock's "Sweet Ghost of Light" with Gail Greenwood returning.

You can listen to Tanya Donelly's take on "Frozen Lake" with special guest star Bill Janovitz below. You can get a copy of Big Love Bends Time EP over at Bandcamp with all proceeds going to Black Lives Matter Boston and Black Lives Matter Providence. For more on Tanya Donelly, check out her Facebook and Twitter.

First Listen: New Releases for 19 June


Artist: Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile
Album: Not Our First Goat Rodeo
Quick Description: A wonderful follow up to The Goat Rodeo Sessions.
Why You Should Listen: This mix of styles worked well last time, and works well this time.
Overall Thoughts: I played a lot of The Goat Rodeo Sessions back when that came out, and then I kind of forgot about it over time. When this randomly popped up in my Spotify list this week, it was such a great and pleasant surprise. The musicianship here is predictably top-notch, and the songs just feel right for a hot summer month where we're all supposed to be trapped at home. Just a lovely little package, and easily my favorite of the week.
Recommendation: A must-listen.


Artist: Braids
Album: Shadow Offering
Quick Description: Latest from the artsy indie group.
Why You Should Listen: Braids continually does interesting and essential music.
Overall Thoughts: I feel like I've been waiting for this one for some time. Braids is a band I've enjoyed for some time, and their take on a lot of the modern musical landscape is addictive. I go back to their older albums quite a bit, and this new one fits right into that rotation. A pretty cohesive whole, this is a solid listen worth the time, and I hope it has a lot of staying power.
Recommendation: Worth the time.


Artist: Eric Hilton
Album: Infinite Everywhere
Quick Description: Solo effort from a member of Thievery Corporation
Why You Should Listen: Thievery Corporation is rightfully legendary, and this album is excellent.
Overall Thoughts: Listen, if you like Thievery Corporation, you'll like this. Straight out. If you're not a fan, but otherwise like/tolerate electronic music, this is worth a listen if only because it's a very contemplative-sounding album that has something for both active and passive listeners. As someone who finds the world right now more than a little anxiety-inducing, this is exactly the prescription I needed.
Recommendation: A solid listen.


Artist: Phoebe Bridgers
Album: Punisher
Quick Description: Long-awaited follow-up from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Bridgers is rightfully the recipient of a lot of buzz.
Overall Thoughts: I liked Stranger in the Alps, then I loved Stranger in the Alps, and, truth be told, I still listen to Stranger in the Alps a lot and it's probably become one of my go-to albums in general, so Punisher has quite the hill to climb and the sophomore slump was a worry. Thankfully, it's a really good album. While there's nothing quite as arresting as "Motion Sickness" or fun as "Scott Street" here on first listen, there is a true weight to this that I think I didn't expect, and I want to spend a lot more time with this one, too.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week.


Artist: Various Artists
Album: Saving for a Custom Van
Quick Description: Charity tribute to Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne, Ivy, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) for COVID-19 relief.
Why You Should Listen: Tribute albums are usually hit or miss, but this is mostly hit...
Overall Thoughts: ...and mostly because Schlesinger was such a great songwriter. There's a lot of love for his craft on this compilation, but highlights for me include Field Mouse's take on "Valley Winter Song," Rachel Bloom's re-imagining of "Stacy's Mom," and basically any of the Ivy pieces here. It's a worthy tribute for a worthy cause, and there's a coupon for two dollars off at Bandcamp, too.
Recommendation: Check this out.

Of note:

* Sega Bodega - Salvador (Missed this one from earlier this year.)
* Kristen Grainger and True North - Ghost Tattoo (Really solid bluegrass.)
* Bob Dylan - Rough and Rowdy Ways (First album of new material in close to a decade.)
* Neil Young - Homegrown (Lost album from the mid-1970s.)
* Nelson Can - Solo Desire: Remixed Together, Vol. 1.
* Wire - 10:20
* Sports Team - Deep Down Happy
* Julian Taylor - The Ridge
* We Versus the Shark - Goodbye Guitar

Seven Song Albums:

* Skyzoo - Milestones
* Keep Shelly in Athens - Steady to Go
* Shopping - Live at KEXP
* Snarls/The Sonder Bombs - A Really Cool Split
* Karima Walker and Katy Kirby - Among Horses V

EPs:

* Jockstrap - Wicked City
*

Also out:

* Bad Cop, Bad Cop - The Ride
* Radnor and Lee - Golden State
* Phantom Planet - Devastator
* Holy Hive - Float Back to You

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Downhauls - "Lost Soul"

Photo via Facebook
Boston's The Downhauls play fast and tight garage rock. Their latest single, "Lost Soul," is a perfect example of that. You might get a hint of the kind of music they do based on the names of the band members:

Chrissy V: vocals and rhythm guitar
LoWreck: drums
Karate Kristin: lead guitar
Ivahna Rock: bass and backing vocals

The song is just straight up rock and roll, perfect for fans of The Donnas or AC/DC. It's fast with killer guitar solos and more attitude than should be allowed. There is no pretense or music snobbery in The Downhauls. They're just here to rock.

You can listen to "Lost Soul" below. The song is available now via Bandcamp with all proceeds going to Black Lives Matter. For more on The Downhauls, check out the band's website.

Mattiel Covers Beastie Boys and The Clash

I don't think anything could have been more directly marketed to me than this release from Atlanta's Mattiel. The band fronted by Mattiel Brown have released Double Cover, which is, as the name implies, a pair of covers. Mattiel chose Beastie Boys's "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun" (which is one of my absolute favorite Beastie Boys songs) and The Clash's "Guns Of Brixton" (also one of my favorite Clash songs). Any time a band is going to release two covers of two of my favorite songs by two of my favorite bands, I'm going to be interested. It especially helps when Mattiel covers them so perfectly. Each one stays almost completely true to the originals while adding just enough of their own sound to it to keep it interesting. 

You can listen to Mattiel's take on "Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun" below. Double Cover is available now on Mattiel's Bandcamp. For more on Mattiel, check out the artist's Facebook.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Jeb Bush Orchestra - "Space & Time"

Boston's Jeb Bush Orchestra play mostly instrumental funk, but on their latest single they included some vocals. "Space & Time" is ridiculously fun. Usually when a band is "forged in the basements of the Allston DIY scene," they play noise rock or beer soaked sloppy punk. Jeb Bush Orchestra are pure funk. It's the kind of music that can get dangerously cheesy and be stuck in the on campus college bar scene, but these guys are incredibly talented and you can just tell that this is the style of music they love and need to play. When a band loves something this much and is experiencing this much joy playing it, it's infectious. Let your music snob self relax a bit, and just allow yourself to enjoy "Space & Time."

You can listen to "Space & Time" below. The song will be included on Greatest Hits Vol. II, the upcoming album from Jeb Bush Orchestra. For more on Jeb Bush Orchestra, check out their website.

Iron Wigs featuring Roc Marciano - "Bally Animals & Rugbys"

Iron Wigs is the project featuring Chicago's Vic Spencer and Verbal Kent teaming up with the UK's Sonnyjim (who also produces the project). For their latest single, they bring in Roc Marciano for "Bally Animals & Rugbys." The new song is laid back but with a quiet intensity. Each MC takes their own turn with verses, none overshadowing the others. Musically the song heavily relies on slightly disturbing strings, giving it a jazzy early Wu-Tang Clan feeling.

You can listen to "Bally Animals & Rugbys" below. Your Birthday's Cancelled, the upcoming album from Iron Wigs, will be out June 26 on Mello Music Group. You can pre-order the album via Bandcamp. For more on the project, check Mello Music Group on Facebook.