Monday, November 23, 2020

Mariel Buckley - "No Surprise"

Photo by Sheena Zilinski

Country music is such a great outlet for humor, and it's a shame more artists don't use it, except in a huge, goofy Adam Sandler-esque way. Edmonton's Mariel Buckley has the subtle humor country deserves. "No Surprise" has an old school honky tonk feel without seeming hockey or cliche. How old school is "No Surprise?" Buckley brought in Skinny Dyck to produce the song and record it on analog tape. In a classic country style, it's a break up song about finally seeing past the glorified image of your ex. And... it's simply a great song. The style is nailed, despite how modern the subject matter may be.

Mariel Buckley explains the new song: "'No Surprise' is the harsh moment of truth when sobering up from love's beer goggles. It's humour to repress the pain, the wincing smile after a stiff drink when we finally see things as they truly are. Can you really be surprised that someone who's let you down time and time again has let you down, again?"  

You can listen to "No Surprise" below. The single is available now via Birthday Cake. You can get a copy here. For more on Mariel Buckley, check out the artist's website.

Stormstress - "You Can't Hurt Me Now"

We don't cover a huge amount of metal or hard rock here at If It's Too Loud, so you know when we do it's gotta be killer. Formed during a bomb cyclone and under the Hunter moon, Boston's Stormstress, consisting of mirror twins Tanya Venom (lead vocals/guitar) and Tia Mayhem (bass/vocals) and their friend Maddie May Scott (drums/vocals), have released a new song. "You Can't Hurt Me Now" is throwback metal for 2020. It's the kind of thrashy metal with actually sung vocals that you rarely get these days. It's heavy and fast and just drives straight at the listener. This will remind you of the days when metal was cool. 

You can watch the video for "You Can't Hurt Me Now" below. The song is available as a single on Stormstress' Bandcamp. For more on Stormstress, check out their website.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Sierra Ferrell - "Jeremiah" / "Why'd Ya Do It"

Before you listen to the two new songs from Nashville's Sierra Ferrell, you should probably sit down. Make sure you're not doing anything that requires too much of your focus, because you're going to need it for these songs. "Jeremiah" is country, but it's country not really like anything you've heard before. There's just the slightest hint of jazz, and maybe some groovy 60's vibe poking around in there. But, despite how unique it is, there is something familiar and mainstream about it. 

And then you'll hear "Why'd Ya Do It.' As much mainstream as "Jeremiah" may have, "Why'd Ya Do It" is a strange song. It has some Eastern European influences, skirting into gypsy music territory. It's almost like Gogol Bordello were influenced more by country than punk. But, there is still some pretty serious mainstream appeal here. It could be because of Sierra Ferrell's voice. As odd and unique as her music may be, there is no way anyone with a voice like hers isn't going to appeal to everyone that hears it.

You can listen to "Jeremiah" and "Why'd Ya Do It" below. The two songs are available now, with a full length due on Rounder Records in 2021. For more on Sierra Ferrell, check out her website.

Berk/Lehane - "An Irishman for Christmas"

Berk/Lehane is the pairing of Simone Berk (Kid Gulliver, Sugar Snow, Whistlestop Rock) and Jerry Lehane (The Dogmatics). It's the kind of Boston grouping you would never think of, but once it's here, you know you've needed it all this time. Their song, "An Irishman for Christmas," is obviously a Christmas song. And it's not a song that's a rock song about Christmas. "An Irishman for Christmas" is a Christmas song dipped in Boston rock 'n' roll. The two first came together when Jerry Lehane reached out to Simone Berk about her song "Queen of the Drive In" with Whistlestop Rock. Eventually this led to the "
Boston-Irish-Interfaith-Romance-folk-punk" you can listen to today!

You can listen to "An Irishman for Christmas" below. The song is currently available via Bandcamp. Let's hope this leads to many more songs from the Berk/Lehane collaboration!

Steve Earle & The Dukes Cover Justin Townes Earle

In a year of complete shit, Justin Townes Earle's death truly hit me hard. I can't even imagine how it affected his family, especially his parents. Steve Earle channeled his grief into an album of his late son's music. The first single is "Harlem River Blues." It's a perfect remake, as you would expect from this type of tribute album. I'm going to avoid any attempts at delving into the new meaning of Steve Earle singing Justin's words, or attempt to dissect intonations in his voice. The song is a perfect tribute, and a must listen for fans of either Earle.

You can listen to Steve Earle & The Dukes take on "Harlem River Blues" below. J.T. will be released digitally on January 4, which would have been Justin's thirty-ninth birthday. Physical releases will follow on March 19 via New West Records. All royalties and artist advances will be put into a trust for Justin and Jenn Earle's three year old daughter. You can pre-order your copy here

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Noël Wells Covers Bill Withers

We were as surprised as anyone was at how great Noël Wells' 2019 album It's So Nice! was. Typically when someone better known as an actor/comedian/director decides to add musician to that list, it doesn't go very well. But Wells is ridiculously talented, and that extends to her music as well. Inspired by seeing people dancing in the streets after Joe Biden's victory earlier this month, Wells recorded a cover of Bill Withers' iconic "Lovely Day." It's not a straightforward cover, as Wells puts a disco glitter shine on the song. Gone is the smooth 70's R&B, and in its place is a chilled out wall of synths. It's the kind of cover that completely reimagines the original but keeps the original's spirit alive.

You can listen to Noël Wells' take on "Lovely Day" below. For more on Noël Wells, follow the artist's Twitter and Instagram.

Inspector 34 - "The Grey House"

There have been an outrageous number of great bands hailing from the formerly dying mill town of Lowell, MA, and the latest is Inspector 34. Their latest single, "The Grey House," is an... interesting one. Sure, it's an indie rock song, no doubt about that. But it has a bigger, more ambitious sound than your typical indie rock. It's steeped in a huge amount of sludge, but it's kind of playful and sunny. Plus, I'm detecting more than a hint of some 70's classic rock here, and maybe even some prog rock? It's a bizarrely great blend of sounds not typically associated with each other, and completely worth your time listening.

You can watch the video for "The Grey House" below. Love My Life, the upcoming new album from Inspector 34, will be out December 4 on Sad Milk Collective. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Inspector 34, check out their Facebook and Twitter.

STL GLD - "Money Bags"

Photo via Facebook

We've been ridiculously huge fans of Boston's STL GLD for a few years now, so we're always thrilled to get new music from them. They just released a new single that continues their streak of great new music. "Money Bags" is simply great. It's a stripped down hip hop track that amps up the intensity based on Moe Pope's vocals. It reminds me a lot of a more polished version of early Wu-Tang Clan. It's not a club banger (as the kids say). Instead it festers, never quite exploding, but you can tell it desperately wants to. 

You can listen to "Money Bags" below. For more on STL GLD, check out their website.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Sheila Divine - "Corona Christmas"

Aaron Perrino has been releasing a ridiculous amount of music during quarantine. The current (former?) Sheila Divine frontman was releasing a song a day for a while, usually as an homage to another artist. He was doing it so much, it was impossible for us to even know where to start bringing it to you. Now that he's slowed down, he's released a new Christmas song. I'm sure there are going to be a bunch of COVID-19 themed Christmas songs and merchandise this year, and I'm already sick of just thinking about it. But The Sheila Divine's "Corona Christmas" might be the only acceptable one. "Cornona Christmas" has one of the darkest senses of humor I've heard in decades. It's so dark that I'm not completely sure that it is meant to be taken as humorous. It's a bleak, bleak song, about a bleak, bleak topic.

In a Facebook post, Aaron Perrino explains the song: "It's almost time for Christmas music so I figured I'd write one for your holiday playlist. This holiday season is going to be like no other as Covid is spinning out of control. Let's hope the New Year brings this pandemic to an end. Until then wear a freaking mask & have yourself a Corona little Christmas."

You can listen to "Corona Christmas" below. The song is currently available on The Sheila Divine's Bandcamp. For more on The Sheila Divine, check out the band on Facebook.

Dale Crover - "I Can't Help You There"

Photo via Facebook

Anything related to The Melvins is going to be fairly weird, and when it's a side project from the band's drummer... well, you expect it to be a little extra weird. Dale Crover's latest single is going to be a lot less weird than you'd expect. We're not talking about Foo Fighters or U2 levels of mainstream here, but "I Can't Help You There" is about as mainstream as Crover is going to get. It's a relatively straight up rock song through a Melvins smeared lens.

You can watch the video for "I Can't Help You There" below. Rat-a-Tat-Tat!, the upcoming solo album from Dale Crover, will be out January 15 on Joyful Noise Recordings. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Dale Crover, check out the artist on Facebook.

Jessica Lea Mayfield - Emotional Abandonment

It's been a long, long time since we've had some new music from Jessica Lea Mayfield. Sure, we had a Christmas song last year and some demos, but Emotional Abandonment is the first proper music from Mayfield in a long time. The EP/single is two new songs. The first, "Daddy Boyfriend," is Mayfield dipping her toes in the pop side more than she ever has. Gone is the country or grunge sound we've heard from her in the past. While being decidedly pop, "Daddy Boyfriend" is still fuzzy as hell. "Emotional Attachment" brings a little more fuzz, but is still fairly pop. It's an interesting sound from an artist that is constantly evolving her sound.

You can watch the video for "Daddy Boyfriend" below. Emotional Abandonment, the new release from Jessica Lea Mayfield, is available now via Bandcamp. For more on Jessica Lea Mayfield, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 13 November

Artist: Aesop Rock
Album: Spirit World Field Guide
Quick Description: Latest effort from the indie underground rapper.
Why You Should Listen: He's a consistent voice and this effort is as high quality as anything he's produced.
Overall Thoughts: This is his first album of material that isn't a collaboration or a soundtrack effort in close to five years. While he hasn't stayed idle, he hasn't missed a beat, either, and the maturity that surrounds this (while it's a lot to expect someone nearing 40 to resonate with a rap album, a lot of stuff here cuts deep) makes it something a little more special than the other rap efforts this week. The album is fairly conceptual, but also succeeds in having parts that work great independent of the whole. This is a great starting point if you've never listened before, but longtime fans like myself will find plenty to enjoy.
Recommendation: A great listen this week.

Artist: William Basinski
Album: Lamentations
Quick Description: New album from the ambient composer.
Why You Should Listen: I'm new to Basinski, but I wish I found him earlier.
Overall Thoughts: I learned of William Basinski from a podcast, probably Radiolab. His best-known work is The Disintegration Tapes, a series of four lengthy looping pieces of a tape as it dissolves within the player. It's an interesting listen, and since then I've dug deeper into his catalog. Basinski's work, including this, involve a lot of looping of found and created tape, providing a really rich experience that is enough to cut through the silence while simultaneously revealing layers of complexity. I love it, and I love this.
Recommendation: It won't be for everyone, but it's definitely worth an attempt.

Artist: Hachiku
Album: I'll Probably Be Asleep
Quick Description: Debut album from an Aussie dream pop act.
Why You Should Listen: This sets itself apart with a strong, unique sound.
Overall Thoughts: This album starts with a sort of feedback guitar hum normally held for the closing of a song. While the noise brings forth expectations of something harsh or loud, it never really comes in that song or anywhere else in this effort. There's a pensive, halting feel to this that makes you feel like you're peeking in on something secret as opposed to observing something out in the open, and I found myself utterly compelled by the whole package. A solid listen any time, but longtime readers here will find lots to love.
Recommendation: Make time for this.

Artist: Gwenifer Raymond
Album: Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain
Quick Description: Rootsy acoustic instrumentals.
Why You Should Listen: It's interesting in a way most solo acoustic guitar isn't.
Overall Thoughts: I know solo instrumental guitar has a bit of a pretentious feel to it, but man, does Gwenifer Raymond know how to put it together. This instrumentalist with the excellent last name puts forth a set of songs that are sometimes familiar, sometimes different, but always gorgeous and compelling. Not much else to say about this except to make time for it.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Artist: Ben Morey and the Eyes
Album: Still Life
Quick Description: Roots rock.
Why You Should Listen: It's like if R.E.M. stayed in the south and never head of T. Rex.
Overall Thoughts: While the 1990s provided any number of "jangle pop" acts brought up on IRS-era R.E.M., there just isn't much out there these days that tap into the classic sound of R.E.M., The Byrds, and so on. Ben Morey and the Eyes definitely come at us with a fair bit of twang, but there's a mainstream acoustic rock mentality here that sticks with you almost from the start. It's an enjoyable listen with a fair number of earworms, so be wary.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week.

Artist: Told Slant
Album: Point the Flashlight and Walk
Quick Description: Gorgeous, folky tunes.
Why You Should Listen: It's not exactly delicate, but it's fairly intricate.
Overall Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about this album, truthfully, but it still stood out as the sort of quiet yet commanding effort we like to highlight around these parts. No album stuck with me quite the way this one did, and I'm excited to get back to this.
Recommendation: Add it to your rotation.

Of note:

* Jessie Ware - What's Your Pleasure? (A disco-tastic release we missed.)
* Lambchop - TRIP (Don't miss the great cover of Wilco's "Reservations.")
* Marika Hackman - Covers (Highlights include Elliott Smith's "Between the Bars" and Alvvays's"In Undertow.")
* The Flat Five - Another World (Interesting Chicago-area supergroup including Scott Ligon, Kelly Hogan, and Nora O'Connor.)
* Molly Parden - Rosemary (Don't sleep on this.)
* Somerset Thrower - Paint My Memory
* Falcon Jane - Faith
* Beyries - Encounter
* Bent - Up in the Air
* Emily A. Sprague - Hill, Flower, Fog
* Cry Club - God I'm Such a Mess
* BENEE - Hey u x
* Fatima Yamaha - Spontaneous Order
* Gillian Welch - Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs, Vol. 3
* Qwestlife - Prophecy
* Goodie Mob - Survival Kit
* Mr. Lif and Stu Bangas - Vangarge
* Jesu - Terminus
* Roisin Murphy - Roisin Machine
* Katy J Pearson - Return
* Fallulah - All My Eyes Are Open
* Palona Faith - Infinite Things


* Keep Shelly in Athens - Defy Me
* Soley - Harmonik I & II
* Dizzy - Basement Covers
* KATYA - Vampire Fitness
* Hayley Ross - Moving All ARound EP
* August, Yours Truly - Screamer EP
* Baby Queen - Medicine
* Ginesse - Somewhere to Die
* Lauren Aquilina - Ghost World
* Lockette - Into Lungs
* Chloe Foy - Live from Abbey House
* Meg Myers - Thank U 4 Taking Me 2 The Disco/I'd Like 2 Go Home Now
* GRACEY - The Art of Closure

Also out:

* Seba Kaapstad - Konke
* Camila Fuchs - Kids Talk Sun
* Frank Turner and Jon Snodgrass - Buddies II: Still Buddies
* Woodes - Crystal Ball
* The Nels Cline Singers - Share the Wealth
* Sunny Sweeney - Recorded Live at the Machine Shop Recording Studio
* Margo Price - Perfectly Imperfect at The Ryman

Loryn Taggart - "The River"

Photo via Facebook

Montreal's Loryn Taggart has crafted a beautifully sweet song that has a hidden biting edge. "The River" is a slow paced indie rock/folk/pop song that slowly meanders while building in instrumentation but not really intensity (although it does have one of the most unexpected and fulfilling surprises at the end). At the forefront throughout the song is Taggart's voice, which is impossibly captivating. Part of that could be the biting edge that lurks just beneath the surface beauty of the song. As Taggart explains: 

"I once moved across the world for someone I thought I loved. I didn't listen to myself, or my heart, I just followed the wind. My gut told me one thing and I ignored it. That person made me feel like I wasn't good enough, strong enough, or smart enough to face life alone. 'The River' is a song about relocating internationally for love, and realizing that it was a one-sided sacrifice. I need a man to cross the river is said in a sarcastic measure."

You can listen to "The River" below. For more on Loryn Taggart, check out the artist's website.

Psycheek - "Daytime"

Photo by Dev Dhunsi

Here at If It's Too Loud..., we (especially me) don't cover a whole lot of electronic music, but every so often something clicks and we can't resist. Hailing from Oslo, Psycheek's new single has that little something that works for me. It could be because it combines elements of two of the styles of electronic music that I like. "Daytime" has some elements of drum & bass, albeit a much more chilled out style. It also has a feel of being a sonic collage. "Daytime" is definitely neither of these, but has just enough elements of both to be intriguing. 

You can listen to "Daytime" below. The single is currently available via Steep Chase Records. For more on Psycheek, check out the artist's Facebook and Bandcamp.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Charles Ellsworth - "Blessed"

Photo via Facebook

Charles Ellsworth was raised on Mormon hymns and Top 40 country, rejecting those in his teen years for classic and alternative rock. As most of us who were raised on terrible country and later rejected it, he's come back to the sound, though it's not exactly traditional country. His latest single, "Blessed," firmly has an alt-country sound. Sure, there's plenty of steel guitar and twang in "Blessed," but it's one of the more alt-country country songs I've heard in a while. It's a truly interesting and unique sound. It sounds like a familiar kind of country song, while still having a very unique sound all its own. 

You can listen to "Blessed" below. Honeysuckle Summer, the upcoming album from Charles Ellsworth, will be out March 5 on Burro Borrocho Records. For more on Charles Ellsworth, check out his website.

The Myrrhderers - "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"

If you've ever wondered about the underground North Pole punk scene, let me introduce you to The Myrrhderers. According to a press release, The Myrrhderers are a North Pole punk supergroup consisting of Al Frankincense (Dead Kringles), Elliott Gold (Prancid), and Bill Myrrhey (Sleigher). The group is set to release their debut album, and have their version of the holiday carol "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" out now. It's a fast, driving punk version of the classic song. Whether or not we need any more punk Christmas songs out there is a matter of personal opinion, but if we're going to get some, they should at least be as fun as this. 

Elliott Gold says of the new single: “Making Christmas punk music is a bit of a balancing act - you need to give the songs some kind of twist to make them work in a punk context, but you also don’t want to push a song so far that it loses its original Christmas ‘feeling’. This is one of the heavier tracks on the record, but we wanted to put it out first because we feel like it captures both sides of that equation, without compromising one for the sake of the other.”

You can listen to The Myrrhderers version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" below. The Myrrhderers Sleigh Christmas, the debut EP from The Myrrhderers, will be out November 20 and followed by a second release, The Myrrhderers Sleigh Some More (naturally), on December 11. You can pre-order the EP here

Gim Kordon - "Betoni kukkii"

Photo by Pia Koskimaa

I'm going to have a hard time typing Gim Kordon and not Kim Gordon here, but that's the point of the name, right? Helsinki based group Gim Kordon have a new single that is going to appeal to fans of their semi-namesake. "Betoni kukkii" has the feel of early Sub Pop Records. It a festival of sludge, reminiscent of early Soundgarden, The Melvins, and Tad. It features a veritable wall of buzzing and whining guitars crashing down on the listener. Yes, it's absolutely glorious. But, as all great bands from that era had, there is something almost catchy here. "Betoni kukkii" isn't pure noise rock. Instead, it's loud, huge, noisy rock.

Singer-guitarist Aleksi Pahkala says of the song: “Betoni kukkii is a story of how often life growing up in the suburbs is a roll of the dice, a struggle and trying to get by, but also of how a sense of community in even the roughest areas is so often the only thing that provides a sense of security."

You can listen to "Betoni kukki" below. The single is available now via All That Plazz. For more on Gim Kordon, check out the band's website.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Palberta - "Corner Store"

Photo by Chloe Carrasco

Every now and then you hear a song from a new band (just one single song), and you become completely obsessed with that band. The latest example of that for us is Palberta's "Corner Store."

The New York City trio have been releasing music since 2015, but they've somehow slipped by us unnoticed. "Corner Store" has changed all that. The song reminds me of early that dog mixed with later that dog. It has the gorgeous three part harmonies mixed with a 90's indie rock aesthetic. It's the smooth sounds from Retreat From the Sun combined with the rawness of their 1994 debut album. Somehow Palberta are making harmonies punk, and we love them for that.

You can watch the video for "Corner Store" below. Palberta5000, the upcoming album from Palberta, will be out January 22 on Wharf Cat Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Palberta, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

The Queers - "Nightmare to Deal With"

Photo via Facebook

Just last week I brought you the latest single from New Hampshire pop punk lifers The Queers and talked about the two types of Queers songs: Loud, fast, aggressive punk and songs that are incredibly sugary sweet pop songs. Apparently I forgot about the third kind: Songs that are bratty punk songs that sound like sugary sweet love songs. "Nightmare to Deal With," the band's latest single, reminded me of the third kind. On the surface it's an upbeat, happy love song. But, it is called "Nightmare to Deal With," and what kind of pure love song would that be? It's a song that features Joe Queer complaining about how much of a nightmare his lady friend is, but also declares that he's "... not going anywhere."

You can listen to "Nightmare to Deal With" below. Save the World, the upcoming album from The Queers, is due out November 30 on All Star Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on The Queers, check out the band's Facebook.

Sam Lynch - "Keeping Time"

Vancouver's Sam Lynch has crafted a song that is beautiful in its simplicity. "Keeping Time" is a hypnotic folk-adjacent song. It starts off more folky, in a kind of dream pop kind of way. Even from the very start, the focus of "Keeping Time" is Lynch's voice, which is beautiful in a way that is unique and traditional. As the music starts picking up, it travels in the same way: unique and traditional. Slowly it builds and builds into a swirling near crescendo. It's the kind of song that could easily fade into the background until it just grabs you unexpectedly and sears itself into your consciousness. 

Sam Lynch says of the song: “I started writing this song in a busy place that I wanted to escape from. I realized that I had started to organize my memories by holding on to the biggest, most impactful moments, which often ended up being the heaviest, generally painful instances, and categorizing everything around that,” Lynch said. “For the video, I wanted to try to capture feelings of both confinement and freedom—stillness and stagnation, set against motion and release.”

You can watch the video for "Keeping Time" below. Little Disappearance, the new release from Sam Lynch, is out now via Birthday Cake. For more on Sam Lynch, check out the artist's website.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Murder By Death Cover Elvis Presley

I'm much more of a Halloween guy than a Christmas one, and under any other circumstances there is no way I would post about Christmas music before Thanksgiving, but this is 2020, and I'm a firm believer in finding joy where you can this year. Since many people find joy in Christmas music, we can bring it to you a little earlier this year. Murder By Death have an album of Christmas music this year, and the first single is a cover of Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas." Murder By Death are the kind of roots band that can successfully open for Clutch, so a Christmas song from them is an odd sounding prospect. Well... they nailed it. Sure, the Murder By Death version is a little darker sounding version, but that could just be Adam Turla's voice. It's a spot on cover, and I challenge you to not smile just a tiny bit when you listen to this, even if it's a teensy bit too early.

You can listen to Murder By Death's version of "Blue Christmas" below. Lonesome Christmas, the upcoming album from Murder By Death, will be out December 1. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Murder By Death, check out the band's website.

Anna McClellan - "Feel You"

Photo by Jccwa Faya

Anna McClellan is set to release her new album next week, and we have a new track to preview today. "Feel You" follows the indie rock/pop template that has been all the rage lately, except it does veer off in its own direction. While most singer/songwriters doing the indie rock/pop thing have more of a smooth sound, "Feel You" has a more raw, gritty feel to it than most. It's a very 90's indie rock sound. It's not quite lo-fi, but it sounds like a smoother version of early Sebadoh or a less quirky Pavement.

Anna McClellan explains the new song: "'Feel You'’s original working title was 'The Opposite of Intellectualizing'I’ve been working for the last years to exist less in my head and more in my body. This song is an ode to that work and all the results it manifests."

You can listen to "Feel You" below. I saw first light, the upcoming album from Anna McClellan, will be out November 20 on Father/Daughter Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Anna McClellan, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

GA-20 Cover Otis Rush

One truly great thing about Boston's GA-20's recent string of classic blues covers is that it gives me a reason to delve into a musical past I'm embarrassingly unfamiliar with. The latest cover is Otis Rush's "Sit Down Baby." Otis Rush is one of those classic blues artists I think I've heard of before, but I'm really not positive. Once you hear GA-20's take on "Sit Down Baby" you're going to need to check out the original, which is guaranteed to send you down an Otis Rush rabbit hole for the rest of the day. GA-20 do a completely faithful version of the original, but they can't match Rush's vocals. Picture a silky smooth 50's crooner doing blues, and that's Rush. Once again, GA-20 is here to give us a fantastic musical history lesson.

You can listen to GA-20's version of "Sit Down Baby" below. The song will be available as a single via Colemine Records/Karma Chief Records on November 17. For more on GA-20, check out the artist's website.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 6 November

A lighter week, so there's some catchup involved...

Artist: Billy Nomates
Album: Billy Nomates
Quick Description: Odd alt-punk.
Why You Should Listen: It has Big Mark E. Smith Energy.
Overall Thoughts: A friend tweeted about this saying that it was basically made for her, and, after listening, I realized this was basically made for me, too. It's definitely an acquired taste, and I think most people will know if they like this within the first minute, but for me? This felt like the best songs from The Fall along with the musicality of Fiery Furnaces topped off with a strong point of view. Billy Nomates is unlike anything out there (the closest comp might be Sleaford Mods, one member of which has a guest spot on this album), but it's defiantly unique in all the best ways.
Recommendation: You owe it to yourself to give this a shot.

Artist: Catherine Anne Davies and Bernard Butler
Album: In Memory of My Feelings
Quick Description: Solid singer-songwriter rock music.
Why You Should Listen: It has Big PJ Harvey and John Parish Energy.
Overall Thoughts: I do enjoy collaborative albums as a general rule, and when it comes to things like this, where an artist works with an instrumentalist (in this case, acclaimed Suede guitarist Bernard Butler), it works so well. The songs are tight and interesting, and there's something compelling here that sets it apart from its clear influences. I'm glad I tripped up on it.
Recommendation: Make time for this one.

Artist: Kylie Minogue
Album: DISCO
Quick Description: Disco-tastic album from the veteran pop star.
Why You Should Listen: It has Big Dancey Club Energy.
Overall Thoughts: We're seeing a bit of a disco revival as of late. Some might trace it to Daft Punk a few years back, others might say disco was never dead and just taking a nap, but who cares, really? Kylie Minogue has her best work since "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" got lodged in our heads seemingly forever ago. In an era where we're not supposed to leave the house, Minogue has brought us the best at-home clubbing companion anyone could ask for.
Recommendation: Dance on over to this album this week.

Artist: Fatboy Slim
Album: Back to Mine (DJ Mix)
Quick Description: A DJ mix from one of the world's greatest, as part of the "Back to Mine" series.
Why You Should Listen: It has Big Loungey Club Energy.
Overall Thoughts: The "Back to Mine" series has not, to my knowledge, reached American shores in any significant way, but Fatboy Slim's effort here should be enough to consider importing more of them here. A bunch of his favorites mixed into an hourish set makes for great background music along with some parts that will make you smile and parts that will make you feel as if you're digging through some crates with an old friend. I loved this on a number of levels, so check it out.
Recommendation: A very fun listen this week.

Artist: Ailbhe Reddy
Album: Personal History
Quick Description: Debut album from an alt-folk singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: It has Big Hop Along Energy.
Overall Thoughts: Another October one we missed, Ailbhe Reddy provides a solid, different take on the folky singer-songwriter routine. The album title is apt in many ways, for sure, but it also does a good job of reflecting some of her influences (like Laura Marling) while still being familiar to fans of other like-minded acts (like Frances Quinlan). This is not groundbreaking, but it is relevatory in a lot of ways, so check it out.
Recommendation: Worth your time.

Of note:

* Hollow Tree - Hollow Tree (Fusion of art, blues, and electronica from Rudolf Nordström (aka Mr. Tophat), Jockum Nordström, and Niklas Nordström)
* N.B.S. and Snowgoons - Still Trapped in America (Hyper-political rap music.)
* Christo Graham - Turnin'
* Heather Trost - Petrichor
* Krust - The Edge of Everything
* Telyscopes - With a Y
* Yumi Zouma - Truth or Consequences (Alternate Versions)
* Tiña - Positive Mental Health Music
* Pale Honey - Some Time, Alone
* Olafur Arnalds - some kind of peace
* Scenic Route to Alaska - Time for Yourself

Christmas tunes:

* The Bird and the Bee - Put Up the Lights
* Ivan and Alyosha - A Very Merry Christmas With Ivan and Alyosha


* PUP - This Place Sucks Ass
* Ras Kass - I'm Not Clearing Shxt
* Swan Meat - Suckling Grown: Remixed
* Reptaliens - Wrestling
* Madison Cunningham - Wednesday
* Endless Digital Birthdays - Becoming a Body
* Chartreuse - Keep Checking Up On Me
* Louise Burns - Silhouettes
* Sister Wives - Gweler Ein Gofid
* Do Nothing - Zero Dollar Bill

Also out:

* Sarah Davachi - Figures in Open Air
* Young Riot - Poolside
* Digawolf - High Arctic
* Tunng - Tunng Presents...Dead Club

Fred Abong - "Invisible Man"

Last month I went on a bit of a Universal monster movies kick, which included watching 1933's The Invisible Man. To help keep the theme going, Fred Abong has released a new song called "Invisible Man." The latest solo single from the Throwing Muses bassist is the kind of raw singer/songwriter track that upends the whole singer/songwriter thing. The song is just Abong's raw and unique vocals along with a distorted, clanging electric guitar. "Invisible Man" is going to repel more people than it draws in, but for those of us that get drawn in, it's going to take over a portion of our brain for a long, long time.

You can watch the Kristin Hersh filmed video for "Invisible Man" below. Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the upcoming album from Fred Abong, will be out November 20. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Fred Abong, check out his website.

Chris Pierce - "American Silence"

We discovered Chris Pierce a short time ago as half of War & Pierce with Sunny War. He recently released a solo single, and if you've been a fan of War & Pierce, you're going to love his solo work. "American Silence" hearkens back to the classic protest folk of Richie Havens and Bob Dylan. It's impossibly captivating, with Pierce's music and voice sucking you in even if you don't pay attention to the lyrics. But once you take the time to pay attention to the lyrics, "American Silence" is one of the most powerful songs of 2020.

You can watch the video for "American Silence" below. The new full length album from Chris Pierce will be released in 2021. In true 2020 fashion, the album was recorded at Boulevard Recording in Hollywood, CA with only studio engineer/owner Clay Blair in a socially distanced fashion. Chris Pierce is the only person you hear on the album, including all instruments and choir vocals. For more on Chris Pierce, check out his website.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Heather Valley Covers Lucero

Back in March, Canadian roots artist Heather Valley was on a writing retreat in West Virginia when lockdown happened. When she was able to return home, she quarantined alone on a farm and started recording covers of some of her favorite songs. One of the most interesting is a cover of Lucero's "The Last Song." Ben Nichols's voice is notoriously gruff to an almost extreme level. Heather Valley's voice is the exact opposite, with a warm feeling it's impossible not to be drawn in by. Musically her cover of "The Last Song" keeps the gruff feeling by dropping Valley's normal rootsy, Americana sound with a whining rock guitar solo that lasts the entire length of the song, provided by Matty Simpson. The result is this combination that shouldn't work at all, but ends up melding together perfectly.

You can listen to Heather Valley's version of "The Last Song" below. Wildflower Radio, the upcoming album from Heather Valley, will be out in 2021. For more on Heather Valley, check out the artist's website.

Ravagers - "Nasty Night"

For those times you just want to rock, there are Ravagers. The Baltimore band have a new single out that is just perfection. "Nasty Night" blends early hard rock with the rawness of proto-punk, with some punk rock attitude thrown in. It's loud and in your face in the best possible way. "Nasty Night" has all the primal feel you find in the best rock music, with just the tiniest hint of a pop hook thrown in to keep it interesting.

You can watch the video for "Nasty Night" below. The single is out now via Spaghetty Town Records. You can get a copy on Ravagers's Bandcamp. For more on Ravagers, check out their Facebook and Instagram.

Mint Green Covers Phoebe Bridgers

Last time we brought you new music from Boston's Mint Green, it was a cover of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream." For Halloween they've given us not one but two Phoebe Bridgers covers! The first is a cover of "Motion Sickness" from 2017's Stranger in the Alps. It's a very true to the original cover, but maybe a little more dreamy and poppy than Bridgers's original. The second cover is "Kyoto" from this year's fantastic Punisher. This cover keeps the vast majority of the original intact, bit with a little more of a lo-fi vibe. These are adoring covers by obvious fans of Phoebe Bridgers, and we're 100% on board for that!

You can listen to Mint Green's cover of "Motion Sickness" below. Both covers are available on the band's Bandcamp. For more on Mint Green, check out their Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Lou Barlow Covers Paw Patrol

Photo via Facebook

My twelve year old missed the whole Paw Patrol thing, and my two year old has yet to discover that show... for now. Lou Barlow doesn't seem to be as lucky as I have been, and his youngest appears to be fully immersed in the world of Paw Patrol. The youngest Barlow is so into the show about dogs being cops and... other human things, I guess (?) that Lou has covered the show's theme song. It's an acoustic cover, sung surprisingly earnestly, until the added verse. Barlow adds a verse about having to buy his toddler toys from the show every time they're at Target, and even includes a naughty word, just in case you were about to play his version for your kid and have an issue with such language.

You can watch the video for Lou Barlow's version of the Paw Patrol theme song below. For more on Lou Barlow, check out his website.

Seba Kaapstad featuring Oddisee - "I'm Scared"

Seba Kaapstad, our favorite multi-national jazz/hip hop/R&B collective, have a new album out this Friday, and a new single to check out today. "I'm Scared" showcases the R&B side of the group, with the jazz side providing incredibly smooth instrumentation to suck the listener in. It's a powerful, uplifting track that blends all three genres seemlessly into one compelling sound. Plus, the addition of Oddisee providing a rap verse in the middle of the song is the perfect 90's throwback for many of us.

Singer Zoe Modiga says that "I'm Scared" is a record that looks into the vulnerability of sharing the things we most fear. It is a song that humanizes us and though fear is a low frequency emotion, it can be acknowledged for one to work towards a better emotion.” 

You can listen to "I'm Scared" below. Konke, the upcoming album from Seba Kaapstad, will be out on November 13 via Mello Music Group. You can pre-order a copy on Bandcamp. For more on Seba Kaapstad, check our the group's Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Jacqueline Tucci - "Home"

Toronto's Jacqueline Tucci is quickly becoming a master of the whole indie rock/pop thing that's all the rage right now. Her latest single, "Home," starts off as a sweet little indie pop song, complete with jangling guitars and that 90's slacker vocals thing that's (thankfully) coming back. And then the song kicks in with bigger, swirling guitars. It doesn't quite follow the classic alternative rock loud/quiet/loud format. This is more of a small/large/small format. It's the kind of song that both the kids and us old holdovers from the 90's will love.

You can listen to "Home" below. For more on Jacqueline Tucci, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

Purple-X - "Fett Uansett"

Norway's Purple-X are set to release their debut album this month, and their latest single is a bit different than the previous ones we've heard so far. First off, "Fett Uansett" is their first song in Norwegian. Secondly, it's a little less noisy than their previous songs. "Fett Uansett" is pure old school punk, the raw, primal kind that bands like The Germs invented. It plows through at a shredding pace. With that kind of description, it might sound like Purple-X are going for pure noise and aggression here, but there is a shocking pop sensibility here. It's kind of how even at their heaviest the Ramones were still trying to make pop hits.

You can listen to "Fett Uansett" below. The debut self-titled album from Purple-X will be out November 27 on Steep Chase Records. You can pre-order a digital copy via Bandcamp and a physical copy on the label's website. For more on Purple-X, check out the band's Instagram.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Ben Morey & the Eyes - "Cry Cry Cry"

With a song title like "Cry Cry Cry," you're automatically going to think of old timey country, most likely because of the Johnny Cash song of the same name (although his was "Cry! Cry! Cry!"). The latest single from Rochester, NY's Ben Morey & the Eyes does have some country/Americana twang, but it isn't a country song. "Cry Cry Cry" is more of a singer/songwriter indie rock/pop song. Morey's voice has this insanely smooth feel to it that edges slightly into country but keeping a more indie rock feel to it. It's almost like a Marlon Wayans/Nada Surf hybrid. If that doesn't make most readers of If It's Too Loud... intrigued, I don't know what possibly could.

You can watch the video for "Cry Cry Cry" below. Still Life, the upcoming album from Ben Morey & the Eyes, will be out November 13 on Dadstache Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Ben Morey & the Eyes, check out his Facebook.

Sister Wives - "Wandering Along / Rwy’n Crwydro"

Photo by Joe Singleton

Hailing from Sheffield, Sister Wives are described as "post-punk, prog-flecked psychedelia." Their songs are sung in both English and Welsh. This may sound like it could be a bit of a mess, but their new single is a masterpiece. "Wandering Along / Rwy'n Crwydro" is an intense, driving track that strides the line between post-punk and prog-rock perfectly, and we didn't even know there was a line between those genres. It's filled with haunting vocals, a driving beat, swirling guitars, and synths that are tasked with holding the whole thing together, which they do... barely, but in a spectacular way.

You can listen to "Wandering Along / Rwy'n Crwydro" below. Gweler Ein Gofid, the upcoming EP from Sister Wives, will be out November 6 on Do It Thissen. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Sister Wives, check out the band's Facebook.