Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Clint Hoffa & Lycouz - "Introduction"

Sweden doesn't seem like an obvious place for hip hop to come from, but here are Clint Hoffa and Lycouz. The duo are set to release their debut album this Fall, and right now we can hear their new single, "Introduction." How is Swedish rap? Surprisingly great. "Introduction" is a modern take on the 90's trifecta of House of Pain, Cypress Hill, and Funkdoobiest (aka one of the tours I regret missing the most). If you miss killer party friendly rap songs like those three used to deliver, you're going to need to check out Clint Hoffa and Lycouz.

You can watch the video for "Introduction" below. The new album from Clint Hoffa & Lycouz will be out this Fall. For more on Clint Hoffa, check out his Facebook. For more on Lycuz, check out his.

Shadow Show - "What Again Is Real?"

Even though it may feel like years ago, Shadow Show released their album Silhouettes merely seven months ago. It's a strong contender for our top ten of 2020, so we're thrilled to already have new music from the Detroit trio. "What Again Is Real?" is a new single, and it's exactly what we want with new music from Shadow Show. It mashes together the retro 60's sounds of garage rock, psychedelia, and girl groups into one cohesive unit that is pure perfection. It's incredibly trippy while staying grounded in pure rock and roll.

In a post on their Bandcamp page, Shadow Show say about the song: “Upon this journey we accept that despite inevitable doom, everything is okay- or so says the girl with flowers in her head.” 

You can listen to "What Again Is Real?" below. The song is available as a single with a cover of "Is This a Dream?" from The Feminine Complex via Hypnotic Bridge Records. You can get a copy via the band's Bandcamp. For more on Shadow Show, check out the band's website.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Leith Ross - "Tommy"

Photo by Bronwyn Fong
The latest single from Toronto's Leith Ross is a tribute to their grandfather. It's a quiet indie folk/indie pop song about missing their grandfather and their shared love of music. It's the kind of song that's incredibly specific to their relationship, but can still tap into a universal sense of loss and mourning. It's a very simple, gorgeous modern folk song that is guaranteed to suck anyone in.

Leith Ross says of "Tommy": 

"My grandpa was a wonderful man, and the kind of musician who couldn't read sheet music to save his life but played five instruments and could follow you on any song. He inspires me and when things are hard I think of him, and it helps. I often remember him starting a song on his mandolin and my grandma would say to him, 'Oh Tommy I love that one. Play it for the kids, and Leith, you should learn so you can play it for your kids.' So I would sing along. 
This song honors a lovely man and the woman who loved him most."

You can listen to "Tommy" below. Motherwell, the upcoming EP from Leith Ross, will be out October 16 on Birthday Cake. For more on Leith Ross, check out the artist's website.

Skegss - "Fantasising"

Photo by David Harington
I have no idea how Australia has been doing it, but they've been cranking out bands that lean heavily into their 90's influences the past few years. The latest we've discovered is Skegss. Their latest single, "Fantasising," is this upbeat, fuzzy guitars that lives in the time between grunge in nu-metal. It's an upbeat, breezy power pop song that would have probably been called post grunge twenty five or so years ago. It's the kind of song that's perfect to dance to, but back then it would have been somehow moshed to.

You can watch the video for "Fantasising" below. The song is available as a single via Loma Vista Recordings. For more on Skegss, check out their website.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Aaron Frazer - "Bad News"

Photo by Alysse Gafkjen
You might know Aaron Frazer as the drummer and co-lead vocalist in Durand Jones & The Indications. Frazer is striking out with a solo album, and the debut single will work for any fan of Durand Jones & The Indications. "Bad News" fits into the classic soul through a modern filter that we love about Frazer's band, but doesn't just sound like an Indications's b-side. It's a gorgeous song that will suck you in despite its laid back vibe. In fact, it almost lulls you in before you realize how intense it truly is.

The song is laid back despite its serious subject matter. Aaron Frazer explains the meaning behind "Bad News":

“I wrote ‘Bad News’ last November, originally as a song about climate change - a threat that feels so big, so existential, that sometimes it's easier for us to just look away. But today, I think it's taken on a new meaning. It's become a song that gives voice to the things everybody is experiencing right now: isolation, and figuring out how to get through our daily life in the face of relentless bad news.”

You can watch the video for "Bad News" below. The song is available now as a single via Dead Oceans/Easy Eye Sound. For more on Aaron Frazer, check out the artist's website.

Anne Malin - "Hourglass"

Photo by Rachel Winslow
Nashville's Anne Malin have been described as "art country," "Gothic country," and "ghost country." All of those descriptions meet up perfectly in the duo's latest single, "Hourglass." "Hourglass" has a little bit of a cabaret feel to it, while still being distinctly country. Anne Malin Ringwalt's vocals seem particularly vulnerable on this track. Plus, there is some wonderfully horrific noise that comes in towards the end, with nothing else truly changing. Is it feedback? Metal on metal? Some unknown instrument being mercilessly abused? Whatever it is, it adds to the song perfectly.

Anne Malin Ringwalt explains the new quarantine written and recorded song:

“'Hourglass' started, lyrically, from my sense of detachment from time during the pandemic. When I wrote 'somewhere an hourglass stands at night / sand slips by in the moonlight' I was feeling—at the depth of Will and my unemployment—out of control but loving the experience of how dense our days together were, how our days blurred together. I was picturing time as something far away from us. The image of sand inside the hourglass got me thinking about summer, though, and all the ways I’d enjoy my time pre-covid. As I wrote, I moved from this sense of temporal bewilderment to my relationship with Will. We’re getting married late this summer, so when I sing about 'last July' I’m singing about Will proposing to me—how time seemed to be opening up for us then, the possibility we felt. How does one enter that sense of possibility from a pandemic? I tried to sing towards that."

You can listen to "Hourglass" below. Waiting Song, the upcoming album from Anne Malin, will be out October 2. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Anne Malin, check out the band's website.

Friday, September 18, 2020

J.E. Sunde - "Love Gone to Seed"

The latest from J.E. Sunde is quite simple in its brilliance. "Love Gone to Seed" is a fun pop-tinged Americana song with an upbeat feel. The Minneapolis singer/songwriter is nailing the mainstream neo-folk thing perfectly, and there is plenty here for fans of bands like The Avett Brothers to absolutely love here. But Sunde has his own unique vibe that is just slightly left of center enough to satisfy the music snobs, too. It could be his perfect use of instrumentation lingering in the background just enough to keep it interesting, or his Bob Dylan putting a little more effort into singing vocal style, but "Love Gone to Seed" will work for virtually anyone.

According to J.E. Sunde: "this song is about a relationship ending. Probably one whose ending is for the best, even as the fellow is futilely attempting to save it. One partner is trying to hold onto something that has run its course while the other holds the belief that for love to be true and worth pursuing there should be no need for a person to compromise in any way."

You can watch the video for "Love Gone to Seed" below. 9 Songs About Love, the upcoming album from J.E. Sunde, will be out on November 20. You can pre-order a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on J.E. Sunde, check out his website.

Faye Webster - "Better Distractions"

We've been absolutely loving Faye Webster's ultracool combination of laid back 60's vibes updated with a modern indie rock/pop sound. Her latest single, "Better Distractions," personifies that immaculately. It's an insanely dreamy tune that is guaranteed to make you need to move, despite it being a slow ballad. As with any of Webster's songs, "Better Distractions" is just impossibly cool. There are a lot of other artists that we cover here that are combining 60's retro cool with a modern sound, but no one is quite nailing the vibe like she is.

Webster says of "Better Distractions": 

I wrote this song kinda without knowing I was writing itIt’s a kind of free association, just thoughts running straight from my head onto paper untouched. I also think it’s best my band has ever sounded on record.” 

You can watch the video for "Better Distractions" below. For more on Faye Webster, be sure to check out her website.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Kaylee Elizabeth - "Passing Through"

Photo by May Xiong
Kaylee Elizabeth is known as one half of Seattle's The Native Siblings, but is striking out with a new solo project under her own name. Her debut single, "Passing Through," starts off as a modern take on traditional Irish folk. (She spent time in Ireland studying traditional Irish singing.) Slowly the song starts to morph into more of a contemporary song, with feet planted firmly in the sounds of indie rock, folk, and indie pop. 

Kaylee Elizabeth says of the song:

"'Passing Through' was inspired by looking out a car window on a long drive—the glimpses of the physical structures that are being built, lived in, or are slowly falling down, and wondering who the people are that have come and gone in those places. It is realizing that our time here is a breath, but that there are many things which can be passed down from generation to generation that are beautiful. This video was filmed in Washington with my dear friend Celia at her farm. Having lost my mother at the age of 17, there have been many moments since where I have desired motherly wisdom. I'm beyond grateful for a tribe of women that I call my 'surrogate mothers,’ and Celia is one of them. I wanted there to be a generational representation in the video, and I wanted it to be personal and display an actual meaningful relationship that spoke to the theme of the song." 

You can watch the video for "Passing Through" below. Kaylee Elizabeth's debut album is due out in 2021. For more on Kaylee Elizabeth, check out her website.

Partner - "Big Gay Hands"

Photo by Lesley Marshall
I've said this before about Partner's music, but this one is really not written for two middle aged cis straight married guys... but how are we supposed to not love this song? "Big Gay Hands" moves even further away from past 90's alt-rock comparisons and even deeper into their "post classic rock" sound. This song is going to remind you of ZZ Top. It lives in a weird world between the songs from ZZ Top we all know and the era of ZZ Top their die hard fans insist is their best work, while also throwing some country twang and maybe even the teensiest litte bit of hip hop in there. 

Partner says about the song: "This song is about a wild night on the town filled with queer desire. It is an important song to us because it expresses a feeling we know is shared by many. There are a lot of songs out there about women’s bodies but this is the only song we know about big gay hands. This song is dedicated to the hotties and to those who love them."

You can watch the video for "Big Gay Hands" below. Never Give Up, the new album from Partner, will be out November 20 on You've Changed Records. For more on Partner, check out their website.

Baabes - "Pretty Mugshot"

It's been almost a year since Boston's Baabes released Ratchet Ass Dance Party, and now they're back with more of their "sleazy garage punk rock n roll." Their latest single, "Pretty Mugshot," is a ridiculously loud burst of garage punk. It shows off what Baabes have become masters of: It's loud, fast, and discordant as hell, but is still somehow catchy and follows a fairly traditional songwriting structure. It sounds like Detroit proto-punk bands got ramped up on worse drugs. This is the kind of song you're gonna kinda like the first time you listen, but by the fourth or fifth you're going to be building an altar to Baabes in your closet.

You can watch the video for "Pretty Mugshot" below. HIGH DEMAND TRASH, the new EP from Baabes, will be out in the (hopefully) near future. For more on Baabes, check out their Facebook.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Mamalarky - "Schism Trek"

Photo by Sara Cath
Atlanta's Mamalarky caught our attention since one of its members is Livvy Bennett, former bassist for Cherry Glazerr. They also have one of the most unique formation stories we've heard in a while. Bennett had been living in Los Angeles for about a year, and was playing solo shows and as a duo with Mamalarky drummer Dylan Hill. They added Michael Hunter on keyboard and synth bass, but needed a full time bassist. That's when Bennett put out a call for a bassist on dating app Tinder, and met Noor Khan.

Their new single, "Schism Trek," is a synth heavy, retro cool track that still feels modern. Synth heavy typically means 80's, but Mamalarky take this retro sound and twist it around to sound completely 2020. It's all the hip factor of indie rock with zero of the pretense.

Livvy Bennett says of "Schism Trek":

"Schism Trek explores feelings of acceptance and strength while navigating uncharted waters," says Bennett. "At the time my bandmates and I were all touring in different projects and yearning for time with each other and our loved ones! But ultimately we all came out stronger as individuals and as a unit. It speaks to how unfair it is to be loving someone from a distance, and the grounding power of focusing inward and trying to let go of control during lonely, tumultuous times. Relax your jaw and love yourself, your time with friends will come soon!

You can watch the video for "Schism Trek" below. Mamalarky's self-titled debut album will be out November 20 on Fire Talk. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Mamalarky, check out their website.

Prateek Covers Survivor

Photo via Facebook
There aren't many good things to come out of the quarantine era, but one of the very few are artists being bored at home and deciding to record cover songs. Especially fairly silly ones. Prateek has jumped on that bandwagon and recorded a cover of Survivor's 1982 Rocky III anthem "Eye of the Tiger." It's an acoustic version of the song, but Prateek just goes for it. I mean, goes for it. It starts off as a quiet acoustic cover, but eventually Prateek starts belting out the song as if he was inspired by a Rocky training montage. This is the kind of quality not-completely-serious content we need right now. Prateek even throws a bonus cover in the middle at no extra charge. 

You can watch Prateek take on "Eye of the Tiger" below. For more content like this, check out Prateek's Patreon where he streams twice a month. For more on Prateek, check out the artist's website.

Jeff Tweedy - "Guess Again" and "Love is the King"

Photo by Whitten Sabatini
Jeff Tweedy is going to have a very busy October. His second book, How To Write One Song, is due out on the 13th, and he has a new solo album due out on the 23rd. Right now he's released two singles from the album, "Guess Again" and "Love is the King." 

Jeff Tweedy says of the singles:

At the beginning of the lockdown I started writing country songs to console myselfFolk and country type forms being the shapes that come most easily to me in a comforting way. 'Guess Again' is a good example of the success I was having at pushing the world away, counting my blessings — taking stock in my good fortune to have love in my life. A few weeks later things began to sound like 'Love Is The King' — a little more frayed around the edges with a lot more fear creeping in. Still hopeful but definitely discovering the limits of my own ability to self soothe."

The difference between the two moods is very reflective of the songs. "Guess Again" is a laid back but upbeat song that reflects everyone's thoughts of "This will all be over soon" that we once felt. "Love is the King" is a little more mellow, but a lot darker, reflecting how we've all felt the last few months. There is some positivity, but it's mostly just resignation.

You can listen to "Guess Again" below. "Love is the King" can be listened to here. Love is the King, the upcoming album from Jeff Tweedy, will be out digitally on October 23 via dBpm Records. You can pre-order a copy on Wilco's website.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 11 September

For obvious reasons, new releases may have avoided this week, so there's a smaller list and some catchup.

Artist: Brian Robert Jones
Album: No Strings Attached
Quick Description: Vampire Weekend guitarist covers an N'Sync album for some reason.
Why You Should Listen: Even if you don't have any nostalgia for the turn-of-the-century boy band revival, this is a fun listen.
Overall Thoughts: In high school into college, my close friends were really into N'Sync, so a lot of the songs from No Strings Attached are buried deep in my head. This is an alternative, modern take on the pop album and shows the strengths of the songwriting in the album while still making something fun and unique. Whether this will hold up as more than a novelty remains to be seen, but I had a lot of fun with this one.
Recommendation: Worth a listen.

Artist: Fever Queen
Album: The World of Fever Queen
Quick Description: Off-center genre-bending indie music.
Why You Should Listen: Fever Queen comes across as an act that could put together anything well.
Overall Thoughts: There's a lot going on with this debut album, and I loved pretty much every moment of it. Fever Queen is a new voice on the scene doing a lot of interesting psych/folk/indie stuff all in one package, and it's really worth the energy. One of my favorites this week, and a surprise for me that came over from Ken.
Recommendation: A must-hear.

Artist: Lo Tom
Album: LP2
Quick Description: Indie supergroup's second LP.
Why You Should Listen: With members of Pedro the Lion, Starflyer 59, Velour 100, etc., this is worth hearing.
Overall Thoughts: I can be hot and cold on a lot of the associated Lo Tom acts, but when it works it works, and nearly everything works on this second album. There are some rocking tracks here, and while there's a feel of old man indie rock from time to time here, well, we're not that young around here anymore so of course it fits. This deserves a broader audience than it's likely to get, but in a slow week, make some time.
Recommendation: A solid listen this week.

Artist: Ky Voss
Album: Coping Mechanisms
Quick Description: Her bio calls this "dream pop for the damned," and I think we can run with it.
Why You Should Listen: It's PC Music for people who don't like PC Music.
Overall Thoughts: This is awesome. I'll come right out and say it: I really, really, really liked this album and it's probably the thing I'm most interested in going back to this week. There's definitely a pop sensibility here that shouldn't be missed, but we can't discount the fact that there are a few genres mashed into a blender here and the result is something that has tinges of alt-rock and industrial in it that makes it all work.
Recommendation: Don't miss out on this.

Artist: Elizabeth Cook
Album: Aftermath
Quick Description: A country favorite back after some time away.
Why You Should Listen: Elizabeth Cook has always straddled the line between outlaw and radio-friendly country.
Overall Thoughts: I thought we might have lost Elizabeth Cook to the radio for good when the great "Perfect Girls of Pop" landed, but no worries: this feels like a classic, solid Elizabeth Cook record from start to finish. She cares little about genre, but still has the country sensibility behind her straightforward songwriting. It's been too long, and I'm glad she's back.
Recommendation: A great listen this week.

Artist: Doves
Album: The Universal Want
Quick Description: First album in over a decade from the British act.
Why You Should Listen: Doves were consistently great during their initial run.
Overall Thoughts: It's been a minute, and while this album doesn't have the soaring anthems like "Words" or "Kingdom of Rust" that people might love, this still feels like a Doves album that hasn't missed a beat. It's a welcome return for an act that I definitely missed, and will absolutely make fans happy while perhaps bringing in some new ones along the way.

Of note:

* Human Natural - Only Human Natural (A solid listen from another side project of Brian Robert Jones.)
* six impala - WFLYTD (Glitchy teeth-obsessed pop.)
* Elliott Smith - Elliott Smith: Expanded 25th Anniversary Edition
* Aidan Knight - Aidan Knight
* Sally Anne Morgan - Thread
* Delta Spirit - What is There
* Anni Rossi - House of Rossi
* Carly Rose - WILD
* Idle Pilot - Balancing Act
* PJ Harvey - To Bring You My Love - Demos
* Asaf Avidan - Anagnorisis
* Conway the Machine - From King to a GOD


* Beastie Boys - Aglio E Olio (First-ever digital release of their 1995 hardcore EP.)
* Lafawndah - The Fifth Season
* Drahla - Live in LA
* Salem Wolves - Never Die!!!
* Jockstrap - Beavercore

Also out:

* Donna Missal - Lighter
* Two Bird Stone - Hands and Knees
* Marilyn Manson - We Are Chaos
* Lola Coca - Written in the Stars
* The Flaming Lips - American Head

Set Fire Cover Led Zeppelin

Last year's Rock and Roll Rumble winners Set Fire have released a cover of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter." The Boston trio have definitely made it their own. This is no huge 70's cinematic hard rock song. The cinematic quality is still there, but this version is reimagined as a hardcore metal song meets 80's power ballad. For a casual Led Zeppelin listener like myself, I would have never picked up on it being a cover if I hadn't read it was. The song is an absolute killer, and even if hardcore metal meets an 80's power ballad doesn't do it for you, the screeching guitar solo is impossible not to love.

You can listen to Set Fire's take on "No Quarter" below. It's currently available as a single via their Bandcamp. For more on Set Fire, check them out on Facebook.

Latrell James - "Traumatized"

Photo via Facebook
Boston's Latrell James has been on the precipice of mega-stardom for far too long, and if his latest single wasn't just ninety seconds, it could have been the one to do it. "Traumatized" is a burst of brilliant hip hop. Musically it's a throwback to classic Public Enemy or Wu-Tang Clan. It's a little discordant, but in the most compelling way possible. Latrell James's flow in "Traumatized" has the laid back feel of Snoop Dogg, but sped up and with a little added edge. It's a killer combination, and the only possible complaint with the song is that with a ninety second length, it ends just as you're starting to really get into it.

You can watch the video for "Traumatized" below. For more on Latrell James, check him out on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Shame - "Alphabet"

Photo by Sam Gregg
I was a huge fan of Shame's 2018 release Songs of Praise. They have this frenetic and aggressive form of post punk that is impossible for me not to love. Their new single, "Alphabet," continues that sound and amplifies it. It's insanely discordant and filled with sneering attitude, but you'll still need to dance to it. It also has one of the most wonderfully grating guitar solos you'll ever hear. Making a song this unsettling and this catchy takes a level of skill you would think was impossible. Shame pull it off.

Frontman Charlie Steen explains "Alpabet":

"Alphabet is a direct question, to the audience and the performer, on whether any of this will ever be enough to reach satisfaction. At the time of writing it, I was experiencing a series of surreal dreams where a manic subconscious was bleeding out of me and seeping into the lyrics. All the unsettling and distressing imagery I faced in my sleep have taken on their own form in the video.”

You can watch the video for "Alphabet" below. The song is available as a single via Dead Oceans. You can get a copy here. For more on Shame, check out their Facebook and Twitter.

GA-20 Covers Mel London

Photo by John O'Donnell
I'm completely unfamiliar with Mel London, but if GA-20 are going to cover him I should probably correct that. As part of their upcoming live EP, the Boston band have released a video for their cover of "Cut You Loose." It's a blues song with a groove that you can't help but to move to. It's a classic blues sound with a vintage rock base, but updated just enough to sound modern and fresh. The song, and especially the video (which was recorded live at State Park in Cambridge, MA), are going to make your aching for live music that much worse.

You can watch the video for GA-20's take on "Cut You Loose" below. GA-20 Live Vol. 1 will be out September 18 on Karma Chief/Colemine Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on GA-20, check out their website.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Muck and the Mires - "She Blocked My Number"

Muck and the Mires are continuing their streak of classic sounding garage rock with modern topics. The latest is "She Blocked My Number," a song about getting your number blocked by a romantic interest, and finally realizing that this means the relationship is over. Combined with the classic 60's garage rock sound, "She Blocked My Number" could feel like a dad trying to still sound hip, but somehow avoids that. (Plus, we can relate to the dads trying to stay hip just a little more than we care to admit...) Plus, "She Blocked My Number" is significantly more groovy than the previous songs we've heard from Muck and the Mires's upcoming release.

You can watch the video for "She Blocked My Number" below. Take Me Back to Planet Earth, the upcoming EP from Muck and the Mires, will be out September 25 on Rum Bar Records. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Muck and the Mires, be sure to check out their website.

Growing Concerns Poetry Collective - "Shout Across Mountains"

Photo by Alexus McLane
I'm not sure exactly what I expected from a band called Growing Concerns Poetry Collective, but this wasn't it. When it first started, I was thinking some oddball folk like Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, but once the song kicked in more, hip hop made sense. "Shout Across Mountains" is going to feel completely fresh while being oddly familiar to 90's hip hop fans. It's the laid back, more organic hip hop that artists like Digable Planets brought us, with maybe a little of The Pharcyde thrown in. Despite the laid back sound and feel of the song, "Shout Across Mountains" and its video addresses the current crises in America. McKenzie Chinn explains:

We are living through a moment in historyThe stakes feel higher than they’ve been in our lifetime, and generations ahead of us will want to know what choices we made and what we fought for. They’ll want to know what we cared about and if we spoke up. This is the answer we’ll be able to give them.

You can watch the video for "Shout Across Mountains" below. BIG DARK BRIGHT FUTURES, the upcoming album from Growing Concerns Poetry Collective, will be out October 16. You can pre-order the album via Bandcamp. For more on Growing Concerns Poetry Collective, check out the artist's website

Friday Freebie: Five Feet - The Algorithmic Circumstance of the Misguided Traveler

Based in Manchester, NH, Five Feet are making epic indie rock. Their latest album, The Algorithmic Circumstance of the Misguided Traveler, is filled with songs that are completely unique and stop just shy of being quirky. The closest comparison I can make is that it's a less folk based version of Neutral Milk Hotel, but that could just be their use of horns and the album title that are giving me that vibe. Take the album opener, "Think it Over." It's a plodding, hypnotic song focused on vocals. All instruments seem to swirl around the lead singer (unfortunately I'm not seeing her name anywhere online), meandering off until they are needed again. It's a beautiful song that will completely suck you in, with the only question being how many more times you listen to it before diving into the rest of the album.

You can listen to "Think it Over" below. The Algorithmic Circumstance of the Misguided Traveler is available now for the "name your price" option on Bandcamp. If you do choose the free option, be sure to at least give Five Feet a follow on Facebook.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

M Ross Perkins - "Wrong Wrong Wrong"

The latest single from Dayton, Ohio's M Ross Perkins is being called indie pop, but that's only if The Beach Boys would be considered indie pop. "Wrong Wrong Wrong" has a very distinct 60's pop vibe, back when rock and pop occupied the same universe. While "Wrong Wrong Wrong" has more than a few elements of Americana and indie rock, this is an almost pure 60's style California inspired pop song. It's a modern, darker take on classic psychedelia.

You can listen to "Wrong Wrong Wrong" below. The song is currently available as a single via Colemine Records/Karma Chief Records on M Ross Perkins's Bandcamp. For more on M Ross Perkins, check out the artist's website.

Juanita Stein - "L.O.T.F"

You're going to want to join us in our newfound obsession with Brighton-based, Australian borh Juanita Stein. Her latest single, "L.O.T.F" is going to hit most of our readers right in their sweet spot. "L.O.T.F" (aka Land of the Free) chugs right along in that Americana way, complete with twangy guitars. But this is a straight up alt-rocker. It combines the drums of The White Stripes with the mainstream art rock noise of mid-career Wilco. It's an intense combination paired with an intense song that is going to be virtually impossible not to love.

The songs on Juanita Stein's upcoming album were inspired by the 2019 death of her father. Stein explains: 

"It feels fundamental to understanding the devastation and eerie silence thrust upon us after his sudden death. It was a daunting task to sum up the life of one man such as my father. He was endlessly inspiring, charming, deeply talented and passionately spiritual. He admirably, and at times frustratingly, carried the torch for his own musical career until the very end.”

You can listen to "L.O.T.F" below. Snapshot, the upcoming album from Juanita Stein, will be out October 23 on Nude Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Juanita Stein, check out the artist's website.

Homeboy Sandman - "Trauma"

The latest from Homeboy Sandman is far more confessional and raw than anything I've ever heard in hip hop before. "Trauma" is about exactly that. It details Homeboy Sandman's childhood of abuse and how it has impacted his entire life. While most rappers are focused on sounding tough and is filled with bragging, "Trauma" shows an intense vulnerability that gets deeper and deeper as the song goes on. The Quelle Chris produced song provides a perfect backing track, allowing the listening to focus on the lyrics while matching the tone of the song expertly.

You can listen to "Trauma" below. Don't Feed the Monster, the upcoming album from Homeboy Sandman, will be out October 9 on Mello Music Group. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Homeboy Sandman, check out his website.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Red Ribbon - "Document (Alternate Version)"

Photo by Matthew James-Wilson
Red Ribbon is the project of Seattle based musician Emma Danner. Utilizing a revolving group of musicians, Red Ribbon has released a new single. "Document (Alternate Version)," has some serious 90's vibes. You'll hear a lot of what is now called dream pop in the song, but the guitars have too much of a 90's crunch to them for that. It's a slow plod of a song that burns into a sludge fest at times without ever crossing into discordance.

Emma Danner explains the meaning behind the song: 

So much of history is erased and what we're left with is the veneration of figures who purchased their historical memory through acts of power, money and violence. It's strange then that as individuals we still privately record our own experiences through photographs or written accountsWhat is the purpose of documenting oneself in a world where history is distorted? Why do we create these records when in all likelihood they will evaporate into nothingness? What is recorded is rarely what happened."

You can listen to "Document (Alternate Version)" below. The single is now available on Danger Collective Records and is available via Bandcamp. For more on Red Ribbon, check out the artist's Facebook.

Felix Hatfield featuring Jolie Holland - "Nobody for Me"

No one is making music quite like Felix Hatfield. He started out in Vermont, and then moved out to Eugene, OR and is now in Portland, OR. His music is described as surrealist, and his latest single reflects that. "Nobody for Me" is based in fairly traditional folk, but through Hatfield's own unique lens. There's not one thing that makes "Nobody for Me" unique. It's not Hatfield's non-traditional voice or vocal delivery. It's not the interesting use of Jolie Holland for backing vocals, or the occasional horns that kick in. Or the barely there instruments than seem to meander in at will. It's how everything seems to blend together in such an interesting way, even though it sounds like it could all devolve into chaos at any moment. 

You can watch the video for "Nobody for Me" below. False God, the upcoming album from Felix Hatfield, will be out October 23. For more on Felix Hatfield, check out his website.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Little Hag - "Tetris"

Photo by Benjamin Lieber
Every so often I'll see an update from a musician I'm following on Facebook and I'll no recollection of who they are or why I'm following them. That happened recently with Little Hag. Surely I'd remember following an artist with that name, but it didn't sound familiar at all. After a little digging, I realized that Little Hag is the new moniker of New Jersey musician Avery Mandeville. She's just released a new single from her upcoming album, and it's a must listen. "Tetris" is like the kind of folk-ish, indie rock, and indie pop music we love from artists like Lucy Dacus and Julia Jacklin, but through this bizarro lens that is somehow both more dancey and punk. "Tetris" is dripping with an attitude not usually associated with this style of music, with lines like "Everyone wants to fuck me / No one wants to see me cry" and "Text bitches til your eyes fall out," you'll be dying to see what Mandeville is going to do with this new musical project.

You can watch the video for "Tetris" below. "Tetris" will be included on a full length album due out in 2021 via Bar/None Records. For more Little Hag, check out the artist's website.

Mint Green Covers Katy Perry

I'm admittedly not a Katy Perry fan. Nothing personal against her, it's just not my style. In fact, when I started playing Mint Green's cover of her hit "Teenage Dream," I wasn't sure I had ever heard it before. Of course, once the chorus hit, I realized that I have heard this song literally countless times. That could be at least partially that while the Boston band's cover is poppy as hell, it's not exactly Katy Perry poppy. Their Bandcamp profile describes their music as "Summery, angsty, alt-rock with punk influence and catchy choruses," and this cover captures that description perfectly. It's on the pop end of alt-rock, but it has an attitude and edge that Perry didn't have hers, while still having all the fun of the original.

You can listen to Mint Green's take on "Teenage Dream" below. The song is available for free on the band's Bandcamp. For more on Mint Green, check out their Facebook and Twitter.

Hallelujah the Hills - "Popular Anti​-​Depressants of the 21st Century"

Boston's Hallelujah the Hills have released a few Bandcamp Friday specials, but no real new music since 2019's I'm You. For this month's Bandcamp Friday, Ryan H. Walsh had inspiration. According to an email sent out to fans:

"I haven't written any songs in about a year and a half. I remember sitting at Nick's living room table in March of 2019 finishing 'The Memory Tree' and thinking, 'I think this is the start of a long break.'

Yesterday, though, I woke up and felt like I had one. Now, as you may have noticed, things seem pretty fucking dark right now. We all feel and live that, and some of us way more than others. I wanted to acknowledge that but find some small tiny way to place some hope in there as well. If we're still inside the prequel, that means the story hasn't even really begun yet, and that big changes are forward momentum are right around the corner. I hope that's true.

The idea for the song was accompanied by another instinct, too: what if this song was written and recorded in one day? Really capture the moment in every way. I finished it up, sent it to Nick, and by 3PM we were at our rehearsal space ('Puritan Garage') laying down the tracks. We sent a rough mix of the basics to the rest of the band and through out the day we received their overdubs remotely. We were all working on it at once in different locations. Pretty futuristic!

We finished mixing it at 1AM, which is technically Sep 4, today, but you get the idea.

The resulting song is "Popular Anti-Depressants of the 21st Century." It's on the mellower, nearly folky side of Hallelujah the Hills. For a song that was completely written and recorded remotely in less than a day, it's an incredibly organic, insanely well put together song. Nothing feels lo-fi or home recorded here. Even the vocal harmonies work together perfectly, especially for six people that were never in the same room at the same time.

You can listen to "Popular Anti-Depressants of the 21st Century" below. The song is currently available on Hallelujah the Hills's Bandcamp. Proceeds from the single are going to the Mainvest campaign to reopen Great Scott in a new location. For more on Hallelujah the Hills, check out their website.