Friday, February 21, 2020

Friday Freebie: The Only Things - You Can't Rush Genius

It's been a little while since we've heard from Massachusetts's own The Only Things, but luckily for us all they're back with a new seven song album! You Can't Rush Genius is decidedly less pop punk than 2018's Dandelion. The title track still has the gang vocals in the previous album, but it's a little more 90's alternative. In fact, there is some dirty as hell twangy guitar in here, so it reminds me a little of Cracker's country side, but a really sloppy (in the best way) version of that. The next song, "Head Down," brings in some brattier pop punk vocals, but still a sloppy, grungy alt-country sound to the music. The remaining five songs keep to this bizarre style (with varying levels of obvious country influence) that shouldn't work at all, but somehow comes out perfectly in the hands of The Only Things.

You can listen to "Could It/Couldn't" below. You Can't Rush Genius, the new album from The Only Things, is currently out now as a free download on The Only Things's Bandcamp. If you do download it for free, make sure to follow the band on Facebook.

Archers of Loaf - "Raleigh Days"

Here are words I never dared to believe I would actually type out: Here is a new song from Archers of Loaf! This isn't a forgotten B-side or an outtake, but an actual newly recorded song! The North Carolina indie rock legends recently reunited for some touring, and decided to hit the studio for new music. "Raleigh Days" is their first new song in over twenty years. It's a little more straightforward rock than their more classic material, and maybe a little less noisy and quirky. In other words, exactly what we should expect from a reunited 90's indie rock band. It's catchy as hell, and has a little twang to it that I wouldn't have expected. "Raleigh Days" is a solid track that holds up with the best classic Archers of Loaf, and let's all hope we get more.

You can listen to "Raleigh Days" below. It's available now via Merge Records on Archers of Loaf's Bandcamp. For more on Archers of Loaf, check out their website.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Sammy Brue - "Teenage Mayhem"

Photo via Facebook
We got sucked into Sammy Brue's mainstream take on Americana back in 2017. He wasn't rewriting the genre, but he was completely nailing it in a way that was impossible not to like. Now the newly eighteen Brue is back, and he's trying out some new things. "Teenage Mayhem" keeps some of the Americana twang intact, but just slightly in the guitar. The rest of the song is a buzzsaw of mid-90's post grunge rock mayhem. It's pounding drums and teen angst mixed with a tiny bit of country making a still mainstream sound despite being unlike any music being made today.

You can watch the video for "Teenage Mayhem" below. Crash Test Kid, the new album from Sammy Brue, will be out June 12 on New West Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Sammy Brue, check out his website.

Tricky featuring Anika - "Lonely Dancer"

Trip hop legend Tricky is back with a new single and an upcoming EP. "Lonely Dancer" is an impossibly chill track, the kind Tricky can only pull off. It's the kind of song that just weighs on you with melancholy, but it's still a beautiful song you'll want to listen to on repeat. Berlin based singer Anika takes vocal duties on the song, and her voice perfectly matches the music and mood of the song.

You can listen to "Lonely Dancer" below. Tricky's new EP, 20, 20, will be out on March 6 on Tricky's False Idols label. You can pre-order the three song EP here. For more on Tricky, check out his website. Current tour dates are below the song.


April 22 - Warsaw, PL - Niebo
April 23 - Krakow, PL - Kwadrat Klub Studencki
April 24 - Wroclaw, PL - Zaklete Rewiry
April 26 - Budapest, HU - A38 Ship
April 27 - Zagreb, HR - Mochvara
April 28 - Rijeka, HR - Pogon Koolture
April 29 - Belgrade, SRB - Dom Omladine
May 1 - Cluj-Napoca - RO - /FORM
May 2 - Bucharest, RO - Quantic Club

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Answering Machine - "Bad Luck"

You know you're old when you read about a band started by two public school teachers and think that sounds cool. That's the origin story of Brooklyn's Answering Machine, and the two teachers are singer Samantha and guitarist JD. Their new single "Bad Luck" is this brilliant blend of pop punk mixed with American roots music. According to their press release, "Their influences range everywhere from The Replacements, The Ramones, Blondie, The Ronettes, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, and Bruce Springsteen to Jenny Lewis, Against Me, and plenty in between." I wouldn't normally include a list of influences in a review, especially since the lists in a press release don't normally sound anything like the band, but you can truly hear every single one of those bands in "Bad Luck." This is the rare type of pop punk that you can listen to as a grown up without being embarrassed or feeling creepy.

You can watch the video for "Bad Luck" below. Answering Machine's debut album, also called Bad Luck, will be out April 17 on Wiretap Records. For more on Answering Machine, check them out on Facebook.

Es - "Chemical"

Photo by Max Warren
When I saw that Es was considered "synth punk" in their press release, I didn't expect the London band to be this hard or noisy. Synths always seem fun, or at least dark and mopey to me. But "Chemical" is an absolute thrasher. It's loud, and heavy, and just a killer punk track that just happens to have a swirling, hypnotic synth throughout. This combination creates a sense of confusion and chaos that might be perfect.

Vocalist Maria Cecilia Tedemalm explains the song: "The song was written during a period of emotional and physical fatigue when everything felt overwhelmingThe lyrics directly reflect the downfall of living within a capitalist societal structure which pushes people to their very limit, where striving for being constantly productive and overachieving can take over your life completely." 

You can watch the video for "Chemical" below. Less of Everything, the debut album from Es, will be out April 3 on Upset the Rhythm. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Es, check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Cayley Thomas - "Blue Jean Baby"

Photo by Michael Kuby
Edmonton's Cayley Thomas has crafted the type of song we never thought we needed, but now that we've heard it, we're desperate for more. "Blue Jean Baby" might sound like a more mainstream Americana song at first (and if it were, it would still be a fantastic song), but as it progresses this lovely blend of dream pop and indie rock slowly starts weaving its way in. It's a hybrid that sounds like it would be an absolute trainwreck, but in Thomas's hands it's perfection.

As for the subject matter of the song, I'll let Thomas explain: "'Blue Jean Baby' explores the pattern of feeling responsible for the emotions or actions of others at the expense of our own wellness. It’s like when you’re on an airplane and they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting other passengers."

You can watch the video for "Blue Jean Baby" below. How Else Can I Tell You?, the upcoming album from Cayley Thomas, will be out on May 1. For more on Cayley Thomas, check her out on Facebook and Twitter.

Middle-Aged Queers - "Gary's Making Biscuits"

Haling from Oakland, CA, "queercore sensations" Middle-Aged Queers have a new song out called "Gary's Making Biscuits." Literally a song about a cat "making biscuits," it's a just barely one minute punk jam about a cat.

If that's not enough to get you to listen, maybe these gems from their press release will: "Crawling out of the primordial ooze of punk past, Middle-Aged Queers are a quartet of Jurassic Punx barreling down Interstate 580 on a mission to save Rock ‘n’ Roll with broken limbs and gear held together with duct tape." Also: "Seasoned veterans of DIY-Punk, Middle-Aged Queers feature ex-members of bands such as Flipper, Fang, Yaphet Kotto, Bread and Circuits, The Cost, Wet-Nap, Saviours, The Shudders, S.P.A.G., The Insaints, and No Alternative." If you're still not listening, I don't even know who you are any more.

You can watch the video for "Gary's Making Biscuits" below. Too Fag for Love, the debut album from Middle-Aged Queers, will be out March 14 on Outpunx/Sell the Heart Records. You can pre-order it here. For more on Middle-Aged Queers, check them out on Facebook.

First Listen: New Releases for 14 February

A handful of things you might love this Valentine's Day release day.


Artist: Tracy McNeil and the GoodLife
Album: You Be the Lightning
Quick Description: Mature melodic rock.
Why You Should Listen: Music that is definitely geared toward our age group here while not making me feel old.
Overall Thoughts: This one grew on me over time. Definitely has an adult rock radio feel, sometimes really getting me a Fleetwood Mac feel early on and sometimes a Wallflowers-esque model, but on a whole, this is a really pleasant listen on a whole and one that I would ultimately hate to see sail under the radar. There’s a lot of talent here and a lot of strong songwriting across the board that shouldn’t be missed.
Recommendation: A worthwhile listen this week.


Artist: Eyelids
Album: The Accidental Falls
Quick Description: Decemberists side project goes from good to great.
Why You Should Listen: There's some solid indie music throughout here.
Overall Thoughts: Did Eyelids become a supergroup when we weren’t looking? The result of this Peter Buck-produced is a great slice of indie rock that pretty much exceeds the expectations you might have had for it. As someone who has never fully been on board with them up to now, this was a wonderful breath of fresh air and a favorite this week.
Recommendation: Make time for it.


Artist: Shadow Show
Album: Silhouettes
Quick Description: Stilted psych-pop-rock.
Why You Should Listen: This is fresh and different, and something that I loved almost from the first note.
Overall Thoughts: Definitely wanted to highlight this as a sort of minimalist rock effort with some bite to it. I was consistently impressed by this and its somewhat-minimalist aesthetic to go along with great songwriting.
Recommendation: Don't miss this one.


Artist: Beach Bunny
Album: Honeymoon
Quick Description: Great 90s-ish alt-rock.
Why You Should Listen: A pretty polished rock affair.
Overall Thoughts: I've been waiting for this album for a while now, and this was a pretty solid listen on a whole. While it definitely stays in its lane, this is a perfectly delectable little effort that more than met my expectations. Great if you've been waiting for the next thing in the Charly Bliss/Kitten/etc. zone.
Recommendation: A solid album.

Of note:

* Little Misty - Little Misty (Lots of solid moments here.)
* Tami Neilson - CHICABOOM! (Often-fun retro songs.)
* Cindy Lee - What's Tonight to Eternity (A strange, but enjoyable, listen.)
* John Forte - Riddem Drive
* Nathaniel Rateliff - And It's Still Alright
* Personality Cult - New Arrows
* The Ballroom Thieves - Unlovely
* Puss N Boots - Sister
* Tennis - Swimmer
* Kate Gately - Loom
* Tame Impala - Slow Rush
* Gabriel Bernini - Sweeties
* Mush - 3D Routine

Seven Song Albums:

* Huey Lewis and The News - Weather
* Le Burcherettes - Don't Bleed

EPs:

* Lydia Ainsworth - Phantom Forest - String Remixes
* XYLO - The Ganglands of My Heart
* Ratboys - Anj
* Store Front - Task
* GHOST GRL - Rewired

Also out:

* Anvil - Legal at Last
* Posehn - Grandpa Metal
* Jeph - Mon Pays
* $uicideboy$ - Stop Staring at the Shadows

Monday, February 17, 2020

Molly Burch Covers Ariana Grande

Photo via Facebook
As some of you are probably aware, I'm not exactly in tune with the top 40 pop hits of today. I'm the weirdo that thought "Old Town Road" was the new "Friday" style song that we all agreed was hilarious and terrible and not the biggest song in decades.

So last week I saw that one of my favorite current artists, Molly Burch, had a new song out called "needy," I was thrilled and immediately listened. It wasn't until I had heard it a few times that I saw it's an Ariana Grande cover. I'm glad I didn't know that since I'd most likely have judged the song negatively. "needy" is a killer song. It sounds like Molly Burch's trademark 60's doo wop meets modern indie rock/pop/folk, although a bigger version of that. Probably since it's a song by one of the biggest pop artists out there today. Even if you're a grumpy middle aged indie rock fan like myself, chances are you're going to get sucked into Branch's version of "needy." I still probably won't give the original a shot, though. I do have an image to uphold, after all.

You can listen to Molly Burch's take on "needy" below. For more on Molly Burch, check out her website.

Stella Donnelly Covers John Paul Young

Photo by Poone Ghana
Australian radio station triple j has a new artist in every week to play one of their own songs and to cover a song they love. This segment is called "Like a Version," and we obviously love it. Last week saw Stella Donnelly stop in to cover John Paul Young's "Love is in the Air." Yeah, it's the song you're thinking of. Donnelly does the absolute perfect cover version of this 1977 soft rock classic. It's just the right level of cheesy and schmaltzy, but you can tell Donnelly is having a great time singing it and actually loves the song. She nails that cover songs are supposed to be fun and runs with that. I'd recommend watching the video instead of just listening to the song alone. Her enthusiasm is impossible not to get completely sucked into.

You can watch Stella Donnelly perform "Love is in the Air" below. For more on Stella Donnelly, check her out on Facebook and Twitter.

Live Shows: Juliana Hatfield, Once Ballroom, Somerville, MA 2/12/20

Photo by Ken Sears
Somehow I had never been to an actual Juliana Hatfield show. I saw her play a May Day show at Fort Apache in 2001 with Bill Janovitz, Tanya Donelly, and Fuzzy. I saw her playing in Evan Dando's band in Providence, and I saw The Blake Babies open for Letters to Cleo a couple of years ago. But, somehow, never an actual Juliana Hatfield show. Thankfully, that has now changed after her show at Once in Somerville.

What was truly remarkable about her show is that although she is considered a 90's icon, she played only four songs from the 90's: Two from The Juliana Hatfield Three ("My Sister" and "Feelin' Massachusetts"), "Bottles and Flowers" from Only Everything, and "Everybody Loves Me But You" from Hey Babe. In fact, fifteen of the twenty songs she played are from the last three years. She played three covers each from her Police and Olivia Newton-John covers albums, and songs from 2017's Pussycat and 2019's Weird. I've seen a lot of shows were bands that have been around for decades mostly play newer material and the crowd is typically disappointed they didn't hear the songs they grew up on. That wasn't the case with Juliana Hatfield. The crowd welcomed every song equally. The crowd last Wednesday wasn't just there to hear "My Sister." They were there for the entire catalog.

At this point in her career, Juliana Hatfield knows what she's doing. She's an incredibly captivating performer and has the audience hanging on her every note, every word, and every syllable. She's the type of long term performer that isn't attracting a crowd just there for a slice of nostalgia. These are die hard fans that discovered Hatfield in their youth but have stayed on board all along. In 2020 her shows are the perfect melding of meeting what her audience wants and keeping it fresh enough for her to stay interested and connected to the music.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Alex Lahey - "Sucker for Punishment"

Photo by James Hornsby
We've been huge fans of Melbourne's Alex Lahey's huge pop rock sound ever since we first heard "Every Day's the Weekend" back in 2017. She has a new single out, and while "Sucker for Punishment" is a huge pop rock song, it changes the style up a little bit. The first thing you'll notice is the gigantic guitars reminiscent of 90's alt-metal like Helmet or Quicksand. And then there's Lahey's New Wave Talking Heads/DEVO vocal delivery. And this is still a pop rock song. Somehow Lahey has combined alt-metal, New Wave, and pop rock into one cohesive, kick ass song.

If you're wondering about the subject matter of "Sucker for Punishment," Lahey explains:

We're living in an era we're the micro has become the macroI don't think there has ever been a time where our actions and attitudes as individuals have had such an impact on broader humanity and the planet. Whether it's a ‘think about it later’ attitude towards climate change, the undemocratic consequences of sharing personal data to big business online, a lethargicness in the face of political engagement or the need to be validated as a worthwhile individual through obtaining arbitrary units of engagement on social media -  we need to catch ourselves out before we suffer greater consequences.”

You can watch the video for "Sucker for Punishment" below. For more on Alex Lahey, check out her website. Current tour dates are below the song.


Fri. March 13 - Nottingham, UK @ Rescue Rooms ^
Mon. March 16 - Glasgow, UK @ The Garage ^
Tue. March 17 - Manchester, UK @ Gorilla ^
Wed. March 18 - Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy2 Birmingham ^
Thu. March 19 - London, UK @ Electric Ballroom ^
Sat. March 21 - Amsterdam, NE @ Paradiso Noord ^
Sun. March 22 - Antwerp, BE @ Kavka ^
Mon. March 23 - Hamburg, DE @ Molotow ^
Tue. March 24 - Düsseldorf, DE @ Zaak ^
Thu. March 26 - Mainz, DE @ Kulturklub schon schön ^
Fri. March 27 - Paris, FR @ Nouveau Casino ^
Wed. April 15 - Adelaide, AU @ Thebarton Theatre *
Fri. April 17 - Fremantle, AU @ Fremantle Arts Center *
Mon. April 20 - Sydney, AU @ Enmore Theatre *
Wed. April 22 - Brisbane, AU @ The Fortitude Music Hall *
Fri. April 24 - Melbourne, AU @ Forum Theatre *
Sat. April 25 - Melbourne, AU @ Forum Theatre *
Tue. April 28 - Hobart, AU @ Odeon Theatre *
Sat. May 30 - San Diego, CA @ Casbah
Sun. May 31 - Costa Mesa, CA @ The Wayfarer
Mon. June 1 - Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
Tue. June 3 - San Jose, CA @ The Ritz
Fri. June 5 - Oakland, CA @ Starline Social Club Crystal Cavern
Sat. June 6 - Sacramento, CA @ The Starlet Room at Harlow’s
Mon. June 8 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Tue. June 9 - Seattle, WA @ Barboza
 
* = w/ City & Colour
^ = w/ The Regrettes

Gray Bouchard & The Dedications - "Love in the New World"

Salem Wolves's frontman Gray Bouchard has been using his other band to let out his more pop side, but all that changes with their latest single "Love in the New World." The new song starts off fairly quiet and pretty but very quickly erupts into a burst of fuzzy guitars and thundering drums. It's still a more laid back near ballad and the song is gorgeous, just with this giant bursts of huge guitar and drums. Instead of the Salem Wolves sound of huge arena ready garage rock, "Love in the New World" is huge arena ready alt-rock. Bouchard loves his music huge, and we're 100% on board for it.

You can listen to "Love in the New World" below. Love in the New World, the new album from Gray Bouchard & The Dedications, will be out on February 28. You can pre-order your copy via Bandcamp. For more on Gray Bouchard & The Dedications, be sure to check them out on Facebook

Friday Freebie: Comet Pond - And to Think

Hailing from Massachusetts, Comet Pond released And to Think back in March of 2019 which we recently stumbled on. And to Think is an interesting release. The first two tracks, "Now Forgotten" and "And to Think," are pretty, kinda groovy, laid back alternative with shades of Nada Surf. These segue into "Tuff," which is similar, but more of an organic version of dream pop. From there, And to Think meanders along with this gorgeous, chilled out vibe. At no point does the album ever get boring and you just keep getting more and more sucked in to Comet Pond's sound. It's the kind of album that will grow on you more and more the longer and more often you listen.

You can listen to "Boston Slug" below. And to Think is available for the "name your price" option on Bandcamp. As always, if you download for free, be sure to follow Comet Pond on Facebook.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Scott MacKay - "Half of Everything"

The latest single from Scott MacKay is the kind of humorous old school country song that we wished we heard more of. "Half of Everything" is about how absurd splitting belongings can get during a divorce. It's a more modern take on the classic borderline comedy recordings from Johnny Cash or the less serious side of Robbie Fulks. It may be a funny song inspired by Shel Silverstein, but it's a great song even without the humor.

MacKay explains the process of writing "Half of Everything": 

"This song did not pour out of me. Most songs don’t. I came up with the title “Half of Everything” first which intrigued me. I wanted to take the idea of splitting things 50/50 in a divorce and illustrate the absurdity of it in a wacky way. After twenty-one pages and lots of umming and hmming I finally arrived at a lyric I was happy with. I typically write without the guitar and with melody in mind, so once the lyrics were finished, so was the song."

You can listen to "Half of Everything" below. For more on Scott MacKay, be sure to check him out on Facebook and Twitter.

Allison & Moon - "February 11"

Photo by Katy Hamm
We're two days late bringing you the latest single from Allison & Moon, but it's better to get "February 11" on February 13 than not at all, right? The Boston band's new song starts off pretty slowly. It's beautiful, and nice, but, if I'm being honest, isn't really working for me. For the first minute and a half, it goes on like a solo, singer/songwriter song that doesn't seem to be going anywhere. And then it breaks wide open into a full band rager and just keeps going forward from there into almost a pop/emo/noise rock hybrid, all while keeping the beauty in the first half of the song intact.

You can listen to "February 11" below. For more on Allison & Moon, check out their website.

Caroline Rose - "Freak Like Me"

Photo by Cara Robbins
The true joy of Caroline Rose can be summed up by her newest single, "Freak Like Me." I'll let Rose explain the meaning of the song:

“‘Freak Like Me’ is a S&M-themed love song about falling in love with your dominatrix. The song’s  melody is very floral and beautiful. I imagine it as some sort of delicate dress dancing around 17th century Versailles. I wanted  to juxtapose this daintiness with grotesque lyricsI’ve always wanted to write a pretty song with the word ‘vomit’ in it. Paradoxes are fun.”

"Freak Like Me" could easily be a silly song, or even a novelty song. There's absolutely nothing wrong with either, but Rose's description sounds like it would be hilarious. Turns out "Freak Like Me" is a gorgeous alt-pop song. In fact, despite the subject matter it might very well be her most mainstream sounding song, in the best possible way. 

You can listen to "Freak Like Me" below. Superstar, the upcoming album from Caroline Rose, is due out March 6 on New West Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Caroline Rose, check out her website. Current tour dates are below the song.


Fri. March 6 - Albany, NY @ The Hollow
Sat. March 7 - Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
Wed. March 11 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café
Thu. March 12 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café
Fri. March 13 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern
Sat. March 14 - Columbus, OH @ Skully’s
Wed. March 25 - Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Thu. March 26 - Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Fri. March 27 - Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
Sat. March 28 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat
Wed. April 1 - Iowa City, IA @ Mission Creek Music Festival
Thu. April 2 - Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Fri. April 3 - Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
Sat. April 4 - Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Hall
Fri. April 24 - Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
Sat. April 25 - Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall: Upstairs
Sun. April 26 - Austin, TX @ Antone’s
Tue. April 28 - New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
Wed. April 29 - Oxford, MS @ Proud Larry’s
Thu. April 30 - Nashville, TN @ The Basement East
Fri. May 1 - Sun. May 3 - Atlanta, GA @ Shaky Knees Festival
Wed. June 17 - Denver, CO @ Bluebird
Thu. June 18 - Salt Lake City, UT @ State Room
Fri. June 19 - Boise, ID @ Neurolux
Sat. June 20 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
Sun. June 21 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
Wed. June 24 - Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
Fri. June 26 - San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
Sat. June 27 - Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Coriky - "Clean Kill"

Let's get this out of the way: Coriky is the new band that features Ian MacKaye and Joe Lally of Fugazi and Amy Farina. From that alone, how could you possibly not listen? Luckily, Coriky lives up to their members' pedigrees. "Clean Kill" starts off similarly to MacKaye and Farina's other project, The Evens. It's quieter than Fugazi or Minor Threat, keeps some of the multi-vocalist harmonies of The Evens (obviously), but isn't quite as quirky or folky as The Evens. And then the song pauses, and just when you think it's over it explodes. Yeah. "Clean Kill" is what we all need right now.

You can listen to "Clean Kill" below. Coriky's self-titled debut album will be out March 27 on Dischord Records. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Coriky, check out Dischord's website.

Emily Keener - "Do You Love Me Lately?"

Photo by Dalton Brand
For the past nine years Emily Keener has been performing music professionally. She's known for an Americana style, but her latest single, "Do You Love Me Lately?," has her stepping away from that sound towards more of an atmospheric indie folk sound. There is still plenty of Americana coloring the edges of "Do You Love Me Lately," but the song leans quite heavily into a more modern and indie sound. The new sound is incredibly lush and beautiful, and along the lines of artists like Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers.

You can listen to "Do You Love Me Lately?" below. I Do Not Have to Be Good, the new album from Emily Keener, will be out May 22. For more on Emily Keener, check out her website.

Sapling - "Bitchshifter"

Never in my life did I think I would ever type out the words "It has a synth part inspired by The Bloodhound Gang," but that's how our favorite Boston/Worcester artrock/bitchpop trio Sapling explain their new single "Bitchshifter." They also explain that "It's a pop song about complete disillusionment with modern life. Just like all our other songs." To me, "Bitchshifter" is an odd little groovy indie rock song, almost like Cake Like joined forces with The B-52s, but decided to make a total downer of a song that threatens to break out into a party jam at any moment. It never quite does, which is basically perfect.

You can listen to "Bitchshifter" below. No Sequoia, the new album from Sapling, will be out February 22. You can pre-order a copy at Bandcamp. For more on Sapling, check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 7 February


Artist: Asgier
Album: Bury the Moon
Quick Description: Gorgeous Icelandic rock.
Why You Should Listen: It's lush and beautiful without overdoing it.
Overall Thoughts: For music fans of a certain age, it's either Bjork or Sigur Ros, but I'd argue that this album should introduce Asgeir into the modern conversation. This is a complex, wonderful album that kind of surprised me in its form as well as in how much it grabbed my attention. I really loved this in a surprising way and it's the first album in some time that's made me really want to get back to it as quickly as possible.
Recommendation: A must-listen.


Artist: Isobel Campbell
Album: There Is No Other
Quick Description: The latest from the former Belle & Sebastian member.
Why You Should Listen: This is the best B&S album that wasn't in 15 years.
Overall Thoughts: Isobel Campbell's post-B&S career has had its peaks and valleys, but this is undoubtedly a peak. Equal parts Gentle Waves and modern folk, this just hits the right notes over and over again while hitting the right nostalgia notes along the way. A solid listen and solid entry into her overall discography.
Recommendation: Don't miss this, especially if you loved old B&S.


Artist: Shopping
Album: All or Nothing
Quick Description: How is Shopping this good?
Why You Should Listen: No, seriously, how is Shopping this good?
Overall Thoughts: This is good. Really, really, really good. Shopping feels like a band you discovered out of nowhere when digging through the used CD racks and becomes your go-to "hey, you'd love these guys" band. I still feel like they remind me of Oh-OK from Athens in the 1980s, and that's fine - no other band sounds like them right now and it's part of what makes this magical. The fact that this is their best effort yet is just icing on the cake.
Recommendation: An early favorite this year.


Artist: La Roux
Album: Supervision
Quick Description: First set of new music in years from this dance-pop artist.
Why You Should Listen: There's no "Bulletproof" here, but there are a ton more songs here that you'll fall in love with.
Overall Thoughts: La Roux, IMO, never quite gets her proper due, and I don't know why. Her early work played with so many cool dance tropes, her second album didn't catch fire but should have, and this is a great modern dance record. If you like hitting the club in the privacy of your own home, get down with this one.
Recommendation: Worth your time.


Artist: Nada Surf
Album: Never Not Together
Quick Description: Latest from the indie favorites.
Why You Should Listen: Nada Surf has been crazy consistent for nearly two decades.
Overall Thoughts: Show me a bad Nada Surf song since the mid-2000s. I'll wait, because there isn't one on this album, either. Really just wanted to highlight the point that this album isn't going to blow your mind, but it is going to give you so many solid indie rock songs that it won't matter.
Recommendation: A great listen.


Artist: Oldsoul
Album: You Were Overwhelmed
Quick Description: Local indie act with what should be a breakthrough if life was fair.
Why You Should Listen: Oldsoul might be one of the best local-ish bands you're not listening to.
Overall Thoughts: I admit to checking out Oldsoul because of how much I loved their take on "Making the Most of the Night" on the Something Merry compilation for Christmas 2018. This new album? So good. So, so good. Oldsoul straddles the line of a few genres and this lack of overall commitment in some regards is to their benefit, as it keeps them from being totally boxed in while also providing what feels fresh and different.
Recommendation: Don't miss out on this one.

Of note:

* Christopher Paul Stelling - Best of Luck
* Spanish Love Songs - Brave Faces Everyone
* Kat Edmonson - Dreamers Do
* Say Hi - Diamonds and Donuts
* Matt Pond PA - A Collection of Bees, Part 1
* Church Girls - The Haunt
* The Lone Bellow - Half Moon Light
* Trixie Mattel - Barbara
* Frazey Ford - U kin B the Sun
* Oh Wonder - No One Else Can Wear Your Crown

7 Song Albums:

* Iyla - Other Ways to Vent
* L.A. Salami - Self Portrait in Sound

EPs:

* Khrubangin and Leon Bridges - Texas Sun
* Antibalas - Fu Chronicles
* Sarah Haras - Storm
* Rachel Baiman and Mike Wheeler - The "Countin' on You" Sessions
* Highasakite - The Bare Romantic, Part 2
* Palm Ghosts - Wide Awake and Waiting
* Babehoven - Demonstrating Visible Difference of Height

Also out:

* Stone Temple Pilots - Perdida
* Supersuckers - Play That Rock N' Roll

ROOKIE - "Sunglasses"

Photo by Alex Basse
The latest single from Chicago's ROOKIE is retro in some of the best possible way. "Sunglasses" has a distinct 70's AM radio laid back feel. It's not quite easy listening, but it's just shy of that mark. It also reminds me heavily of the more laid back side of Big Star filtered through Ben Kweller's country period. It's a relaxed mixture of Americana and vintage power pop, which hits a lot of our musical tastes all at once.

You can watch the video for "Sunglasses" below. It features guitarist Chris Devlin and his wife's dog grooming business. ROOKIE's self-titled debut album will be out March 13 on Bloodshot Records. You can pre-order it here. For more on ROOKIE, check out their Facebook and Twitter. Current tour dates are below the video.


2/11 - Theatre at Westbury - Westbury, NY*
2/12 - Wind Creek Event Center - Bethlehem, NY*
2/14 - Garcia's at the Capitol Theatre - Port Chester, NY*
2/15 - Retro-ique - Morgantown, WV
2/16 - Warner Theatre - Washington, DC*
2/17 - Black Sheep Burritos & Brews - Huntington, WV
3/10 - The Hi-Fi - Indianapolis, IN^
3/11 - The Burl - Lexington, KY^
3/12 - Mr. Smalls Theatre - Millvale, PA^
3/13 - Empty Bottle (album release show) - Chicago, IL
3/14 - Elevation at The Intersection - Grand Rapids, MI^
3/20 - Three Links - Dallas, TX%
3/21 - Desert Dogs Brewery & Cidery - Santa Fe, NM
3/23 - Gold-Diggers - Los Angeles, CA
3/24 - Felton Music Hall - Felton, CA
3/26 - Belltown Yacht Club - Seattle, WA
3/27 - Treefort Festival - Boise, ID
3/29 - Hi-Dive - Denver, CO
3/31 - Gabe's - Iowa City, IA
5/1 - Shaky Knees Festival - Atlanta, GA

* = w/ Cheap Trick
^ = w/ Twin Peaks
% = w/ Coathangers

Store Front - "Rip the Price Off"

Photo courtesy Store Front
We first brought you Store Front (the new project featuring Peggy Wang formerly of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) way back in October of 2018. It's been a while, so we're thrilled to finally bring you new music from them. "Rip the Price Off" is a perfect slice of dream pop. It's a light and swirling song that's pop heavy while still keeping things interesting. It's the kind of dream pop you used to hear in the 90's before the genre was named, and it was only known as alternative rock. Singer Amy Rose Speigel explains that the song "...is about feeling like you have to be successful on other people’s terms, which is both a sick joke and sometimes an actual fact.”

You can watch the video for "Rip the Price Off" below. Task, the debut EP from Store Front, will be out February 14. For more on Store Front, check them out on Twitter.

Monday, February 10, 2020

The Bobby Lees - "Coin"

When you can claim that your album was produced by Jon Spencer, you're going to get my attention. The latest single from Woodstock, NY's The Bobby Lees definitely has some serious Jon Spencer vibes to it, but The Bobby Lees have their own sound. "Coin" is dirty blues punk that is dripping with attitude. It brings this intensity that is missing in a lot of music today, but it also has this slinky groove throughout. At times it can't quite tell if it's a punk song, a more traditional blues jam, or noise rock, and that just might be the brilliance of The Bobby Lees.

You can watch the video for "Coin" below. Skin Suit, the new album from The Bobby Lees, will be out May 8 on Alive Naturalsound Records. For more on The Bobby Lees, check out their website