Thursday, October 29, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 23 October

Ran completely out of time this week, so some quick hits:

Top Releases:

* clipping. - Visions of Bodies Being Burned (Puts basically any other recent rap release to shame.) * Zilched - DOOMPOP (A great, shoegazey, alt-rocky record. A favorite this week.)
* Ben Harper - Winter is For Lovers (Gorgeous instrumental acoustic guitar work.)
* Raye Zaragoza - Woman in Color (Solid country music from a voice with plenty to say.)
* No Thank You - Embroidered Foliage (Great alt-rock, major step up from their debut.)
* Sir Chloe - Party Favors

Of note:

* The Mountain Goats - Getting Into Knives (Very adult-alternative of them.)
* Felix Hatfield - False God
* Girlhood - Girlhood
* Ela Minus - Acts of Rebellion
* Loma - Don't Shy Away
* Leah Barley - Bring Out Your Dead
* Ruby Mack - Devil Told Me
* Ivan & Alyosha - Ivan & Alyosha
* Cherry Pickles - The Juice That's Worth the Squeeze
* Juanita Stein - Snapshot
* Laura Veirs - My Echo
* Isabelle Stillman - Heartrender
* Steep Canyon Rangers - Arm in Arm
* Yaeji - What We Drew
* Kelley McRae - This Side of Night
* Faithless - All Blessed
* Jeff Tweedy - Love is the King
* This is the Kit - Off Off On
* Adrianne Lenker - Songs
* Gorillaz - Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez
* Sam Prekop - Comma
* Out of Place Artefacts - Vril and Rodhad Presents Out of Place Artefacts

EPs:

* Molly Payton - Porcupine
* Desert Blonde - Live Slow Die Old
* Poppy - Music to Scream To
* Olafur Arnalds - Loom
* Winona Oak - SHE
* Anna of the North - Believe
* Nosaj Thing - No Mind

Also out:

* Bruce Springsteen - Letter to You
* Junglepussy - Jp4
* The Dandy Warhols - Tafelmuzik Means More When You're Alone
* Tchami - Year Zero
* Ghostemane - Anti-Icon
* Yung Gravy - Gasanova
* The Bouncing Souls - Volume 2
* Fuzz - III

Citrus Clouds - "Whoa"


Citrus Clouds have long been our favorite shoegaze/dream pop artists coming out of Phoenix, AZ, and their latest single helps solidify that. Maybe it's just that I'm writing this in the middle of a streak of drearily rainy New England late October days, but "Whoa" is hitting my mood perfectly. It has the kind of dark vibe that gives you hope it will one day be over. Plus, as with any truly great shoegaze song, droning guitars are front and center, slowly and slowly building into one of the most gloriously lovely noise crescendos I've heard in a long, long time.

You can listen to "Whoa" below. The song is available as a single on Citrus Clouds's Bandcamp. For more on Citrus Clouds, check them out on Facebook.

Seba Kaapstad - "Konke"


Multi-national neo-soul/jazz collective Seba Kaapstad are back with a new single off their upcoming album. "Konke" translates to "everything," and the song "Konke" is a celebration of everything. It features Zoe Modiga and Ndumiso Manana singing about the simple and not-so-simple things they want, which hits harder in the time of COVID. It's this incredible blend of soul, R&B, hip hop, and jazz that truly shows off every style and every genre. Just when you think the song is leaning more towards any style, it shifts ever so slightly into another while staying the course of the song.

You can watch the video for "Konke" below. Konke, the upcoming album from Seba Kaapstad, will be out November 13 on Mello Music Group. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Seba Kaapstad, check out the band's website.

Descendents - Suffrage


Remember earlier this month when we brought you RebUke, a three song EP of anti-Trump protest songs from Milo Aukerman recorded on ukulele because he wanted to get those songs out faster than he could with the Descendents? Well... we now have two of those three songs recorded with the band! Suffrage is a new two song single from the Descendents that includes the two songs "On You" and "Hindsight 2020." This time the anger in Milo's lyrics and vocals is matched by the music. The Descendents have never truly been an overtly political band, but on Suffrage they go all out with politics. There's no questioning what they mean with lyrics like "#MAGA MAGA / What a fucking joke."

You can watch the lyric video for "On You" below. Suffrage is available now via Epitaph Records here. For more on the Descendents, check out their website/Tumblr.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

October and The Eyes - "Playing God"

Photo by Alexander Schipper

New Zealand born and London based artist October and The Eyes may only be twenty three, but she's been producing and recording her own music since she was twelve. Her musical style is a self-proclaimed "collage rock," which is why her latest single is so hard to pin down. With influences like David Bowie, Bauhaus, Siouxsie Sioux, and Suicide, "Playing God" is a glorious mess of a cluster of noises. The song is definitely a pop song, but it's a nearly impossibly noisy one. It's a burst of celebration, but with an edge that is front and center. It's not rock, it's not pop, it's just October and The Eyes.

October explains the new song:

‘Playing God’ is about the innate human desire for power and control but also our ability to cry ‘poor little ole me’ when it all gets too muchWe’ve seen it time and time again throughout the history of man, and perhaps it feels even more relevant now than ever witnessing the powers that be struggle with the moral handling of a global pandemic. It’s also hugely laced with irony, humour and contradictions - I’ll be the first to admit my lust for control, yet I’m also ready to laugh at myself (at my own expense) at how farcical our trivial desires for such things seem in the grand scheme of life.”

You can watch the video for "Playing God" below. Dogs and Gods, the debut EP from October and The Eyes, will be out November 20 on KRO Records. You can pre-order the EP here. For more on October and The Eyes, check out the artists' Twitter and Instagram.

Divided Heaven featuring Lydia Loveless - "They Poisoned Our Fathers"

Photo via Facebook

Note to all musicians: If you're looking to get written about here at If It's Too Loud..., it certainly helps to bring in Lydia Loveless to guest on your song. Divided Heaven, aka Jeff Berman, has released a protest song and brought in Lydia Loveless for additional vocals. The song lands on the more pop side of the current Americana sound, but Berman brings a unique feel to the genre. It could be the venom in his voice, or maybe just his voice itself, but "They Poisoned Our Fathers" sounds like a more rootsy Placebo.

Jeff Berman explains the meaning behind the new song:

"Touring during the trump years has been telling. I’ve had countless conversations with people who share their grief and abhorrence that a fascist president has emboldened the worst traits of many of our fathers, brothers, uncles, neighbors, and coworkers. 'They Poisoned Our Fathers' is meant to serve as a personal statement of resistance: resistance against trump, his poisoned minions and the spineless politicians enabling it all."

You can listen to "They Poisoned Our Fathers" below. The song is currently available as a single via Bandcamp. For more on Divided Heaven, check out the artist's website.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Miynt - "Give me palm trees and inner peace"

Photo via Miynt

Stockholm's Miynt has a new single out that is truly hard to define. "Give me palm trees and inner peace" is a guitar driven pop song that is a little too pop to be rock and a little too rock to be pop. Plus, it definitely has too many weird little moments to truly be either. It almost sounds like a twisted version of artists like Liz Phair and Veruca Salt, but through an odd little filter. There's a strong mid 90's power pop feel to "Give me palm trees and inner peace," but a current, lo-fi version of that.

You can watch the video for "Give me palm trees and inner peace" below. The song is available as an AA-side single with "Lovesong" via B3SCI Records. You can find the single available here. For more on Miynt, check out the artist's Facebook.

Ras Kass featuring Masta Ace - "CULTURE.VULTURE."

Photo via Facebook

If you're like me and miss old school hip hop, you're going to want to check out the latest from Ras Kass. First of all, it features legendary rapper Masta Ace. When you include Masta Ace on a song, you get immediate old school cred. And then there's the song itself. "CULTURE.VULTURE." is pure old school. The song sounds modern while keeping a classic vibe. Sure, there is still the R&B style chorus, but it's a more of an early 90's R&B chorus so it's not overdone at all. 

Rass Kass says of "CULTURE.VULTURE.": "[Producer Hi-Tek] came with the straight primal drums!  Ace's flow is liquid and Sapp hook smoothes it out on some Old School, Cold Crush harmony routine vibe. We do this shit for the Culture!"

You can watch the video for "CULTURE.VULTURE." below. I'm Not Clearing Shxt, the upcoming album from Ras Kass, will be out November 6. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Ras Kass, check out his Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, October 26, 2020

The Huntress and Holder of Hands - "Doctrine"


We've been posting a lot of political music lately, but it's nearly impossible when so many artists we love keep releasing great political music. The latest is Rhode Island's The Huntress and Holder of Hands's new single. "Doctrine" is an intense slow burn of a song. MorganEve Swain's song feels like it's going to explode, but never quite does. It's just filled with a brooding, festering tension and anger throughout. While it does build, there is never quite that indie rock noise explosion you would expect, even though "Doctrine" leans much more heavily on the folk side of music than indie rock, while still having that noise lurking underneath, which is what we truly love about most of The Huntress and Holder of Hands's music.

You can listen to "Doctrine" below. The song is available as a standalone single on The Huntress and Holder of Hands's Bandcamp. For more on The Huntress and Holder of Hands, check out the artist's website.

Monday Mix: If It's Too Loud... Halloween 2020 Playlist!


If you've been reading If It's Too Loud... for a while, you know that Halloween is my favorite holiday, and that I tend to go overboard with the Halloween playlist every year. Since this is pretty much all we have for Halloween this year, it's a monster (o pun intended) seventy one song, nearly four hour playlist! I've been making it since literally last November, adding songs as I stumbled across them. There are songs from longtime blog favorites (Speedy Ortiz, Wussy, Melvins, The Gravel Pit, Against Me!), newly discovered favorites (Heather Valley, Comet Pond, Tysk Tysk Task, Gino & The Goons), some classics (Bruce Springsteen, Jello Biafra, Dusty Springfield, Alice Cooper, Siouxsie and the Banshees), and more! Whatever you're doing Saturday night (or this entire week) to celebrate, you're gonna to find some spookiness to love here!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Dale Crover - "Tougher"

Photo via Facebook

Dale Crover is the drummer for The Melvins, but is venturing out with an upcoming solo album. The first single for that album, "Tougher," is going to strongly appeal to fans of his other band. "Tougher" has the volume, sludgy guitars, and the discordance that his fans want, nay need. However, Crover isn't just mimicking the sound we expect from him. This new song has this odd 70's funk rock thing to it, almost like it's a bizarro song from Ram Jam or Rick Derringer, with some of the most killer bursts of noise rushing in out of seemingly nowhere.

You can listen to "Tougher" below. Rat-A-Tat-Tat!, the upcoming album from Dale Crover, will be out January 15 on Joyful Noise Recordings. You can pre-order a copy of the album here. For more on Dale Crover, check out his website.

Lunchbox - "Over Way Too Soon"


We're a week away from the new album from Lunchbox and the Oakland duo have another single from that album. "Over Way Too Soon" is everything we love from Lunchbox. It's an upbeat, almost summery draped in 60's AM radio vintage vibes and 90's indie rock sensibilities... which I guess is also vintage at this point. The horns in "Over Way Too Soon" are particularly groovy and truly create the ambiance of the song.

Lunchbox explain their single and video: "'Over Way Too Soon' plays with themes of love, death and impermanence against the backdrop of the ever-changing Oakland cityscape. Singer/ghost Donna McKean haunts guitarist Tim Brown across the sites of their shared personal past and the gentrifying public present. At once love letter to Oakland and requiem for lost love, the song and video are a pop meditation on how nothing, from favorite bars to sites of first dates, can ever stay the same. 'Over Way Too Soon' is about all that’s lost, and what remains."

You can watch the video for "Over Way Too Soon" below. After School Special, the upcoming album from Lunchbox, will be out October 30 on Slumberland Records. You can pre-order a copy of the album here. For more on Lunchbox, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Live Shows: Ruby Mack, Peskeomskut Park, Turners Falls, MA 10/22/20

Photo by Ken Sears

Two hundred twenty four days is a long, long time to go without live music. I'm the type of person that starts getting antsy if I go a full month without seeing a band play live, so the last seven months has been hard (obviously for a variety of reasons). Sure, live music has started to return, but drive-in shows don't really appeal to me aside from the novelty and outdoor patio shows with everyone eating while seated at tables doesn't feel safe to me. But an artist playing outside in a public park where it's very easy to socially distance? Perfection.

Ruby Mack played this past Wednesday at the Great Falls Farmer's Market in Turners Falls, MA. A farmer's market might not be the hippest place to play, but it worked for these four artists. (They mentioned that their name comes in part from Macintosh apples, so...) It was just the four members of Ruby Mack playing unamplified under a tree on a late October evening with the weather in the upper 60's. It ended up being a perfect night to ease everyone back into seeing live music.

You could tell how special getting back to playing was for Ruby Mack. I've never seen anyone look so thrilled to be playing in front of two to three dozen people next to vendors selling honey and apples, and the feeling was mutual for the audience. Free performances in public parks can always be a rough venue for any performer, but aside from the people there primarily for the produce and people that wandered by on a walk, the audience was incredibly receptive and rapt to the performance. Ruby Mack's music was perfectly suited for the occasion. Playing a mixture of originals and traditional covers, the focus was completely on vocals and harmonizing, along with some fantastic fiddle work.

Unfortunately, as Fall turns into Winter we're going to be losing outdoor performances here in New England. Luckily I was able to experience a beautiful forty five minutes from Ruby Mack before we all go into hibernation for the next five months.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Eyesore & The Jinx - "Accidental Weller"


Hailing from Liverpool, Eyesore & The Jinx released a standalone single earlier this month. This is a song that's become legendary with fans of the band, who have wondered about its very existence. "Accidental Weller" is a post punk meets mod song. It's a fun danceable track, despite having this growing aggression building underneath. There are bursts of pure noise that periodically jump out, almost without warning. It's a shockingly intense song, even though it seems like a lighthearted, upbeat track throughout.

Josh Miller of Eyesore & The Jinx explains that "Accidental Weller" "... is a cautionary tale about the urge for transformation in all of us. A timely reminder that you’re only ever a few snips away from a bouffant/ mullet hybrid that belongs on a Vespa with a Union Jack paint job, doing 40 mph on an A round somewhere just outside of Luton. A verbal hand on the shoulder, patting you gently, letting you know that whatever plans you have, big or small, never work out quite like you would have wanted them to, much like this pointless, little year."

You can listen to "Accidental Weller" below. The song is available now via Eggy Records. For more on Eyesore & The Jinx, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter.

Kacy + Clayton & Marlon Williams - "I Wonder Why"

Photo by Janelle Wallace

The Saskatchewan duo of Kacy + Clayton have paired with New Zealand's Marlon Williams on an upcoming album. Way back in 2018 (granted, only two years ago but it feels like decades) Williams left the summer warmth to head to Canada around Christmas for three weeks, which is when the bulk of the album was recorded. Now, nearly two years later we can hear the first song from that collaboration. "I Wonder Why" keeps that vintage oldies meets folk sound that we love from Williams. It could just be his voice, but everything that comes out of him sounds like a vintage crooner. This combines with a classic country sound, mixing two gorgeous classic American sounds into a song from a Canadian and New Zealander pairing.

Marlon Williams says of the collaboration: “We wanted to see if we could meld hemispheres. I’m bringing this Pacific style of country music with the harmonies and choral elements. Kacy & Clayton have a super identifiable sound. They embody everything I love about North American folk. There’s a rural weariness where they’re telling tales that have been told a million times in their own way. I feel the strength in it.” 

You can watch the video for "I Wonder Why" below. Plastic Bouquet, the upcoming album from Kacy + Clayton & Marlon Williams, will be out December 11 on New West Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Kacy + Clayton, check their website. For more on Marlon Williams, check out his.

Partner - "Honey"


The latest release from everyone's favorite Canadian post classic rockers is just pure straight up rock. "Honey," Partner's new single, is literally just a song about rocking. This is the kind of song that is usually reserved for bands like Flight of the Conchords and Tenacious D these days. And, sure... "Honey" isn't a overly serious song about a huge social issues, and it does have a sense of humor, but it's hardly a novelty song. It's just a huge rock song about rock. Bless Partner for that.

And what exactly is "Honey" about? According to the band: "Honey is the origin story of Josée's golden axe. In this track we recall how she first found her way to our house and joined the band. It came with a note (from Josée's dad) 'This guitar sounds just like honey going down.' Get ready for some straight up rock n roll."

You can watch the Wayne's World inspired video for "Honey" below. Never Give Up, the upcoming album from Partner, will be out November 20 on You've Changed Records. For more on Partner, check out the band's website.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Danielle Durack - "Broken Wings"

Photo by Eunice Beck

"Broken Wings," the latest single from Phoenix's Danielle Durack, is a pretty straightforward singer/songwriter, folk adjacent song. It's a little more pop and mainstream than the music I dig, but it's just a great little song. And then the crashing drums and crunchy guitars kick in, amping the entire thing up a few notches. What starts off as a pretty little song becomes a straight up rocker, and then fades back into the quiet. It does all this while still sounding like the same song and maintaining consistency. 

According to Danielle Durack, the song is “... a kind of wry take on my questionable taste in men," she explains. "The song is pretty self critical, like, 'why do you keep doing this to yourself?' But also pretty jab-y towards the men in question. It's about wanting something that isn’t good for me."

You can watch the video for "Broken Wings" below. No Place, the upcoming album from Danielle Durack, will be out January 15. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Danielle Durack, check out the artist's website.

Breakdown Brass Covers Dr. Dre


We've been all in for the resurgence in both brass and marching bands lately, particularly when they're playing covers of decidedly non-brass songs. Our latest discovery is Breakdown Brass. Way back in 2015, the Brooklyn based band (which features members of Anitibalas, Sharon Jones, Streetlight Manifesto, Charles Bradley, Valerie June, Lee Fields and more!) released their single "Monmouth" which included a cover of Dr. Dre's classic "Next Episode." In 2019, they reissued the single, this time with "Next Episode" being the A-side. Granted, the cover doesn't include Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, or Nate Dogg, but you're going to love it regardless. It's an instrumental version of the gangsta funk classic, and somehow it's even funkier. This cover will be nearly impossible to not love.

You can listen to Breakdown Brass cover "Next Episode" below. You can get your copy of the single over at Bandcamp. For more on Breakdown Brass, check out their website.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 16 October

Artist: beadadoobee
Album: Fake It Flowers

Quick Description: Big on Tiktok singer-songwriter with an amazing album.
Why You Should Listen: Don't let her buzz on an app we're all too old for steer you away from this.
Overall Thoughts: Ken found her first with her great "I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus," but her song "Coffee" and a remixed version have a combined 782 plays on Spotify due to its prevalance on TikTok. But we're not here to talk about that, but rather this great album. It absolutely feels like a 1990s Juliana Hatfield record in so many ways, and it's super great. This is super likely to be a big hit this year, so get in on the ground floor (or at least what's left of it for those not on TikTok) and enjoy.
Recommendation: One of the best of the year.

Artist: Lauren Mann
Album: Memory and Desire

Quick Description: Canadian folkie back with another great record.
Why You Should Listen: Lauren Mann has a history of hook-filled folk songs.
Overall Thoughts: I've loved nearly everything Lauren Mann has done up to this point, and this album is about as good as all the rest. Maybe a little quieter than some of her earlier work, but there are plenty of songs in here that are almost certain to get stuck in your head. If you're not on the bandwagon yet, by all means hop on now.
Recommendation: Absolutely worth your time.

Artist: Malin Pettersen
Album: Wildhorse
Quick Description: Lovely Nordic folk/roots music.
Why You Should Listen: A little more contemplative than her debut, but still another solid effort.
Overall Thoughts: There's something about the Norway/Sweden area that pumps out folk and Americana artists that rival some of the best here in the States. Malin Petterson is no different in that regard, provioding a surprisingly great album here that is different enough from her debut to be considered a shift, yet still cohesive and complete enough to make for a great listen. It's a busy week, so you'll want to make some time for this.
Recommendation: Make room for this one.

Artist: Annie
Album: Dark Hearts
Quick Description: First album in close to a decade from the pop/electro singer.
Why You Should Listen: She's come a long way from "Chewing Gum."
Overall Thoughts: She's been a favorite of mine for ages, and I was nearly convinced that she was done with music, but here is Dark Hearts, definitely a more measured affair. On first listen, there aren't a lot of club bangers here, but this is an album you might expect from a dance pop singer who is getting older. Either way, I'm glad she's back, and I'm glad this album exists.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Mipso
Album: Mipso
Quick Description: Genre-bending four-piece with a great folk sound.
Why You Should Listen: This is really different in many ways, with some rootsy genre mashups in here that are high-quality.
Overall Thoughts: I think Ken sent this one over, and I'm super glad he did. This album is something special, in part because of the familiarity mixed with a record that sounds unlike anything you've heard before. Mipso does what they do extremely well. There's quite a bit to love about this album, and I'm looking forward to spending more time with this and seeing what else it has to uncover.
Recommendation: Don't miss out.

Artist: Boyish
Album: Garden Spider
Quick Description: A sneaky good, often quiet one we missed.
Why You Should Listen: This has all the markings of an alt-rock inide album, but does more than enough interesting things to set it apart.
Overall Thoughts: This came out early in 2020, pre-pandemic, but it has all the feelings of an isolated, distant rock record. The song titles imply a feeling that I don't know is quite present, but the listen on a whole is very enjoyable on a whole and one that I'm glad I found before it was too late.
Recommendation: Make some time.

Artist: Dorian Electra
Album: My Agenda
Quick Description: Sophomore effort from the glitchy dance-punk PC music-style singer.
Why You Should Listen: It's angry, it's angsty, and it features The Village People and Rebecca Black.
Overall Thoughts: Dorian Electra has a lot to say, and doesn't hold back on pretty much anything on this album. It's extremely overt in its messaging and its statements, and it's something that enhances the entire theme as opposed to it being a cringy drawback. On a whole, I really like this album, and the stuff that would otherwise feel like stunt casting (such as the Rebecca Black-featuring "Edgelord") works in context. This won't be for everybody, but it absolutely worked for me.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Artist: Growing Concerns Poetry Collective
Album: Big Dark Bright Futures
Quick Description: Fusion of hip-hop and poetry.
Why You Should Listen: This is something very unique and special.
Overall Thoughts: I didn't want to let this pass by, as this is something truly great that is less a musical album and more an artistic statement. While poetry slams and the like might have a questionable cultural rep these days, the seriousness and the beauty of this presentation makes it something worth hearing at least once and, for me, something I'll definitely go back to. It won't work for everyone, but you owe it to yourself to give it a listen.
Recommendation: Mandatory listening this week.

Of note:
* Quintron and Miss Pussycat - Goblin Alert (Weird and wonderful.)
* Good Sad Happy Bad - Shades (This is subtle in a lot of ways, but something I enjoyed.)
* Matt Berninger - Serpentine Prison (Excellent folk music this week.)
* Kevin Morby - Sundowner (Another excellent folk record.)
* William Elliott Whitmore - I'm With You (Don't sleep on "MK Ultra Blues.")
* Sturgill Simpson - Cuttin' Grass - Volume 1 (Some stripped down, rootsy versions of his stuff that are often better than the originals.) * Jax Anderson (fka Flint Eastwood) - Bedroom B-Sides: Volume 1
* Becca Mancari - The Greatest Part
* Manu Grace - No Room for Error
* Nadine Shah - Kitchen Sink
* Leith Ross - Motherwell
* Holy Motors - Horse
* The Proctors - Summer Lane
* Mr. Gnome - The Day You Flew Away
* Helena Deland - Someone New
* Homeboy Sandman - Don't Feed the Monster
* HEALTH - DISCO4::Part I
* Autechre - SIGN
* Open Mike Eagle - Anime, Trauma, and Divorce
* The Old Rochelle - Pony Steps

EPs:
* Tomberlin - Projections
* The Damned - The Rockfield Files
* Osees - Metamorphosed
* The Mastersons - Red, White, and I Love You Too
* Finlay - Edge of Mine (acoustic)
* Sally Haze - Wet Dream
* John Mark Nelson - Start Over

Also out:
* Sasha Sloan - Only Child
* Astrid S - Leave It Beautiful
* Gulfer - Gulfer
* Tom Petty - Wildflowers & All the Rest

Felix Hatfield featuring Esme Patterson - "That Kiss"

Photo via Facebook

Every so often we come across an artist that is taking a standard genre and just doing their own thing with it. They're not reinventing the entire world of music and what came before. They're working within the genre, but just doing their own unique thing with it. Felix Hatfield is currently doing that with folk. "That Kiss," which is a duet with Esme Patterson, is a folk song, but it's a folk song not quite like anything you've heard before, while still being solidly folk. Some of that unique feel is the use of horns and what might be windchimes, but that's not it. The entire structure of the song, while being traditional, feels completely unique the way Hatfield works it. The only true past artists I can compare this to is the Elephant 6 collective, which is high praise around these parts.

You can watch the video for "That Kiss" below. False God, the upcoming album from Felix Hatfield, will be out October 23. For more on Felix Hatfield, check out his website.

Aaron Frazer - "Over You"

Photo by Alysse Gafkjen

Last month we brought you the new solo single from Aaron Frazer, best known as the drummer and second vocalist with Durand Jones & The Indications. Now, we have a new single. "Over You" keeps the soul that we love about Aaron Frazer's band, and somehow amps up the groove. The new song has a certain level of funk not typically heard in American soul. Frazer explains: “‘Over You’ is inspired by the legendary northern soul 45s that electrified dance floors across the UK in the 1960sBreakneck speeds and breakbeat drums challenged even the best dancers to pull out all the stops. Lyrically, ‘Over You’ captures a moment of despair in the darkest hour of a breakup. But sometimes to feel better, you just gotta shake your ass.”

You can watch the video for "Over You" below. Introducing..., the upcoming Dan Auerbach produced album from Aaron Frazer, will be out January 8 on Dead Oceans/Easy Eye Sound. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Aaron Frazer, check out the artist's website.

Angry Blackmen - "PROTOCOL!"

Photo via Facebook

There's been a resurgence of hip hop that eschews the standard trope of an obvious sample and an R&B chorus, and we're all for that. Our latest discovery is Angry Blackmen's new single "PROTOCOL!" At just over two minutes, the song has more in common with punk than mainstream hip hop. The music isn't exactly as rough as early hip hop, but it's not quite smooth either. It's a harsh yet mellow electronic burst with industrial sounding beats. This blends with the two members of Angry Blackmen's flow: They're laid back but intense.

You can watch the video for "PROTOCOL!" below. HEADSHOTS!, the new album from Angry Blackmen, is available now via Deathbomb Arc. You can get a copy at the label's Bandcamp. For more on Angry Blackmen, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Jake McKelvie & the Countertops - "Clot the Wobblin"


Massachusetts's Jake McKelvie & the Countertops are back with their unique blend of Americana inflected indie rock. Their latest single, "Clot the Wobblin," might be our new favorite of their catalog. It's a fast paced song that rambles on like a hyperactive Bob Dylan's prime 60's and 70's work, but mixed with the slacker aesthetic of Pavement. It has virtually no chorus... well, it kinda does. There are a few lines that are repeated twice, but in a song as verbose as "Clot the Wobblin," it's easy to miss that. Plus, the song is genuinely funny, which is rare in indie rock. 

You can listen to "Clot the Wobblin" below. The song will be included on Jake McKelvie & the Countertops's upcoming album Here's What You Do, but for now you can get the single via the band's Bandcamp. For more on Jake McKelvie & the Countertops, check out their website.

Charming Disaster - "Houdini"


It wouldn't be October without a new song from Charming Disaster. The gothic cabaret duo just have released "Houdini." It's a little more rockin' than their standard fare. It starts off with some heavy near-grunge guitars, but longtime fans need not be worried. There is plenty of the theatricality we've come to love from Charming Disaster. And while the song is about the famous magician Harry Houdini, "Houdini" isn't about one of his famous escapes. Instead, the song is a desperate plea from his afterlife (which fits perfectly into Charming Disaster's catalog). The band explains the song:

"After WWI and the 1918 flu pandemic, the popularity of spiritualism and séances skyrocketed around the world, as nearly everyone had recently lost a loved one they longed to reach on the other side.

The great stage magician Harry Houdini was no exception; he and his wife even had a pact that whoever died first would try to contact the other with a secret code. He spent years searching for a spirit medium who wasn't a fraud. Instead, he found charlatan after charlatan -- and a second career as a debunker of their fakery. After his death, his wife held annual séances at his grave, awaiting word from him, but it never came.

But we imagine him trapped on the other side of the veil, trying desperately to break through, in the greatest escape attempt of all time."

You can listen to "Houdini" below. The song is available as a single via Bandcamp. For more on Charming Disaster, check out the band's website.


Prateek - "All the Stars"

Photo by Colette Auger

Considering Prateek's latest single is a straightforward song that leans towards the mainstream side of that genre, it's incredibly hard to categorize. It starts off with what sounds like steel guitar, so right away you're going to think Prateek has gone country. But "All the Stars" isn't country. Except when it is. The country side of the song fades out and then back in throughout the song and a more traditional modern folk sound takes over. This is what's great and unique about "All the Stars": It's not a country/folk song. It's a country song and a folk song. With his newest single, Prateek has truly outdone himself and truly deserves our attention.

You can listen to "All the Stars" below. You can find the single via your preferred streaming service here. For more on Prateek, check out his website.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Gustaf - "Mine"


Brooklyn's Gustaf have been playing sold out shows around the country despite not having any released any recorded music. That's now changed with the release of their debut single "Mine." "Mine" is a burst of groovy art-punk, like a more raw version of The Julie Ruin or if Bodega decided to be less of a party band. That's not to say that Gustaf aren't fun. There is plenty of humor in this song, and it's one of the most dance friendly post punk songs we've heard in months. But "Mine" is dripping with some of the most biting attitude of this year, which is saying a lot.

Vocalist Lydia Gammill explains the new song:

"This song is about having a false sense of entitlement. Someone who feels attacked or like they're being pushed out of their own world and not getting the credit they deserve. Someone with a delusional sense of self whose anger and frustration is humorous like the superintendent in a college frat movie. The opening lines make it seem like the narrator is being criticized by someone else and their retaliation is like 'you’ve got to be kidding me, you can’t say that about me! I invented water you punk!' …. sort of."

You can watch the video for "Mine" below. The song will be available as a single via Royal Mountain Records on December 4. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Gustaf, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter.

Sunny War - "Orange Man"


Just in case you can't figure out who the latest single from LA folk punk artist Sunny War is about based solely on the name "Orange Man," Sunny uses plenty of sound bites to make sure we know. The sound bites are some of the more choice and memorable ones from the last five years, interspersed between Sunny's vocals which come across as playful and mocking. The single delights in the possibility of the subject being removed from office next month and is more of a celebration than anger. The song includes lyrics like "
you’re such a waste / of a heart and a spine / and a pulse and a face / and a soul and a mind" truly hammer the feelings of the song home.

You can watch the video for "Orange Man" below. The song is currently available via Bandcamp with all proceeds going to Fair Fight Action and Food Not Bombs. For more on Sunny War, check out the artist's website.

Friday Freebie: The Old Rochelle - Pony Steps


The latest release from Lowell, MA's The Old Rochelle didn't grab me right away. It was good, but we hear a lot of good music that just kind of fades into the background without ever quite getting our attention. But halfway through Pony Steps something just clicked. The Old Rochelle have this odd mainstream-but-not-really-mainstream-at-all take on Americana. The songs on Pony Steps can be kind of a rough listen at times, but the more you listen the more that becomes the charm of it all. It's all these semi-ramblin' ramshackle songs that are just being belted out with a charming intensity. It sounds like Springsteen decided to make an indie folk record but couldn't help bringing the full band along to fully anthem the songs up. The songs have an odd feel to them, like they're all first takes in the same late night session. If that doesn't help you give The Old Rochelle the full listen they deserve, I don't know what could.

You can listen to "It's All a Mystery" below. Pony Steps, the new album from The Old Rochelle is available for the "name your price" option over at Bandcamp. If you do choose the free option, be sure to at the very least give The Old Rochelle a follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band - Another World is Possible: Volume 2


Hailing from Somerville, MA, Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band have become one of our favorites of the modern marching band phenomenon. On their Bandcamp page, this is how they describe themselves: "Raunchy circus roots. Polished precision performances. A joyful cacophony of Balkan, Klezmer and funk, with a tasteful thrash of metal thrown in for good measure." I mean, seriously, how can you not love that? Their latest release is a four song EP recorded during their socially distant video series, and while all four are fabulous, two truly stood out to me. The first is a cover of the classic "This is Halloween" from Tim Burton's 1993 The Nightmare Before Christmas. Yes, a marching band (even if they are stationary) playing "This is Halloween" is a dream come true for many of us. "Dunwich - Riverbottom Nightmare Band" is another cover, this time from Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas. Yeah, I know it's only October, and a Christmas cover is pushing it this early, but ENSMB throw in more than enough metal into a Jim Henson property to make this an exception. 

You can listen to Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band's version of "This is Halloween" below. Another World is Possible: Volume 2 is available now via Bandcamp with all proceeds going to www.violenceinboston.org. For more on Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band, check out their website.

Witch Prophet - "Tesfay"


The latest single from Witch Prophet is deeply personal, but will appeal to a wide audience. "Tesfay" (which translates to "my hope" in English) is inspired by Witch Prophet's late grandfather. He raised five daughters in Ethiopia after the death of his wife while ignoring traditional roles for women and pushing them towards education and empowerment. "Tesfay" combines jazz, hip hop, and R&B in this endlessly catchy mixture. The focus of the song seems to be a horn, while Witch Prophet's vocals swirl around it. It's insanely compelling, despite not following the traditional verse/chorus/verse song structure. It's fairly experimental and freestyle while doing so in a way a casual listener wouldn't even notice.

You can watch the video for "Tesfay" below. DNA Activation, the new album from Witch Prophet, is available now on Heart Lake Records. You can get a copy now via Bandcamp. For more on Witch Prophet, check out the artist's website.

Sun June - "Karen O"

Photo by Santiago Dietche 

Most of us are excited for 2021 simply because it's not 2020. Now we have another reason: Sun June's upcoming album! "Karen O," the first single from the Austin, TX band's new album, is a masterpiece of the whole indie/folk thing going on right now. It's a quiet, near dream pop song, that slinks about calmly, sucking the listener right in. It very slowly builds and builds into a crescendo that never quite pays off, but you're kinda glad it never did. It's a gorgeous song that will have you desperate for 2021, finally for a good reason.

The band explains the new song: "'Karen O' is one of the only songs we've written that takes place over the course of a single night, and we hope we captured what it feels like when you're completely worn out but can't bring yourself to go home and go to sleep. It's about the kind of night you let heartache swallow you whole, and you find yourself heading straight toward the things you should be running away from. The actual Karen O is a hero of ours of course, and in the song she spurs on a lonely night of reflection about what could be versus what can't. It covers some of our favorite topics-love, performance, regret, and hereditary drinking problems-and explores how we sometimes choose to heighten grief rather than reduce it. It also features a voicemail mailbox, which is unfortunate."

You can watch the video for "Karen O" below. Somewhere, the upcoming album from Sun June, will be out February 5 on Run for Cover and Keeled Scales. For more on Sun June, check out the band's website.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 9 October

Some new stuff and some catch-up...

Artist: Sam Lynch
Album: Little Disappearance
Quick Description: Debut album of gorgeous indie folk.
Why You Should Listen: It's right in line with what we love here.
Overall Thoughts: Granted, I figured I'd like this the moment I heard about it, but when Ken sent it over, I didn't expect to enjoy it quite this much. There's so much to love here, from the melodies to the straightforward and familiar instrumentation, that the only negative I can think of has to do with the fact that it's only seven songs. Either way, don't miss out on this one, and let's look forward to what comes next.
Recommendation: A must-hear this week.

Artist: Softee
Album: Keep On
Quick Description: Debut pop album from an indie act out of New York.
Why You Should Listen: This is strange enough to be off-center, but accessible enough to feel like an adventurous pop album.
Overall Thoughts: I've had an eye on Softee for a while, and when this new album dropped I was very excited. While I think I got introduced to her as a sort of PC Music-adjacent act, the truth of the matter is that it's much more mainstream sounding than that, but still has enough weird pop sensibilities to be a nice change of pace. Of all the albums out this week, I think this is the one I'm most excited to get back to.
Recommendation: A fun listen.

Artist: Slow Pulp
Album: Moveys
Quick Description: A long-awaited debut indie rock album.
Why You Should Listen: It's a little bit shoegaze, a little bit post-rock-and-roll.
Overall Thoughts: I feel like I've been hearing about this act for some time, and the album finally arrives and it's about as good as I expected. Slow Pulp absolutely isn't reinventing the wheel, but this is a debut album that instead feels like it's a veteran effort with tons of experience behind them. That makes for a great listening experience and an album you should look out for this week.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week.

Artist: Alexia Avina
Album: Unearth
Quick Description: Airy, gorgeous, atmospheric folk.
Why You Should Listen: It's like the best of the synth-heavy ambient stuff coming alive.
Overall Thoughts: I have trouble categorizing this, even though I really like it. It's very light and very soothing in some cases, but to compare this to spa jazz misses the point. It's got such a gorgeous feel to it, and is something that almost certainly wants to burrow into your head a bit and stay a while, that I can't help but recommend it wholeheartedly. It needs to be heard to be understood.
Recommendation: A beautiful album this week.

Artist: Haiku Hands
Album: Haiku Hands

Quick Description: Alternative dance pop.
Why You Should Listen: This is a lot of fun.
Overall Thoughts: We missed this one earlier this year, and I regret it fully. Any group that gets some time with Sofi Tukker is fine by me, but this is such a nice little party record that I didn't want to ignore it any longer than I already have. If you're looking to get yourself moving, check this one out.
Recommendation: One of the more fun finds of late.

Artist: Jonathan Something
Album: Cannibal House Rules

Quick Description: Absolutely crazy retro synth music.
Why You Should Listen: This feels like it's meant to be a put-on, but it seems sincere in its love for its influences.
Overall Thoughts: This is like modern alt-rock through the lense of a horror b-movie flick. I have no idea how this album came about or why we missed it back in August, but this is a truly insane listen that was a ton of fun. Jonathan Something absolutely has the musical chops, but he also has the sensibility and the commitment to stick to the concept and make it work great. Truly, listen to the title track and tell me you're not game.
Recommendation: Bizarre but worth it.

Of note:

* Mise En Scene - Winnipeg, California (This is a great slice of poppy music.)
* A Certain Ratio - ACR Loco
* The Flattened Headspace - Pixie Pixie Why
* Cut Worms - Nobody Lives Here Anymore
* The Goodbye Party - Beautiful Motors
* Future Islands - As Long as You Are
* Travis - 10 Songs
* Izzy Heltai - Father
* Bee Bee Sea - Day Ripper
* DMFK - DMFK
* Emmy the Great - April
* Metz - Atlas Vending
* Supercrush - SODO Pop

EPs:

*Mallory Merk - Strangers (This is very good, don't miss it.)
* Slotface - the slumber tapes
* Hologram Teen - Pizza Conspiracy
* Yo La Tengo - Sleepless Night
* Joyclub - Just a Dream
* Peach Kelli Pop - Lucky Star
* Elena Setien and Grande Days - Mirande
* Jeremy Ivey - Hands Down In Your Pockets

Also out:

* King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard - Polygondwanaland But Reversed (Yes, it's literally an album backwards.)
* Louden Wainwright III - I'd Rather Lead a Band
* And She Could Be Next: A Voting Rights Album