Monday, January 25, 2021

Holly Macve - "Be My Friend"

Photo by Maximillian Kinghorn-Mills

"Be My Friend," the latest song from Brighton based Holly Macve, crams in so many musical styles that it should be a complete disaster. But her now song is simply gorgeous, with each style gracefully complementing the next. The first thing you're going to notice is a country/Americana twang to the guitar. As Macve starts singing, you get a huge 60's girl group vibe. Somehow those two sounds merge together, in a way that with some slight morphs to the guitars, it brings out a shoegaze/dream pop sound that will remind you of Mazzy Star. "Be My Friend" should be a trainwreck, but Holly Macve pulls off a brilliant song masterfully.

You can watch the video for "Be My Friend" below. Not the Girl will be out April 16 on Modern Sky. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Holly Macve, check out her website.

Paul Jacobs - "Half Rich Loner"

Photo by Christopher Vincent

The latest from Montreal based musician Paul Jacobs is an interesting one. "Half Rich Loner" has a little bit of a folk rock feel to it. There's definitely a bit of a ramble going on here, despite it not truly being folk at all. Encasing the folk ramble is some huge 70's style glam rock. "Half Rich Loner" has some serious funk and groove to it. If you've ever wished that Bob Dylan had jammed with T. Rex instead of the Grateful Dead, this one is definitely for you. To make the song even more unique, the beats have a modern, almost electronic sound to them, despite Jacobs being the drummer for Pottery.

You can watch the video for "Half Rich Loner" below. Pink Dogs on the Green Grass will be out April 30 on Blow the Fuse Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Paul Jacobs, check out the artist's Facebook.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Nana Yamato - "Do You Wanna"

Photo by Nana Yamato

Nana Yamato's musical career began in a way that's kind of a dream for many of us. She had been going between her apartment in Tokyo, her school, and her work over and over again. One day she stopped at Big Love Records to pick up and Iceage album, and started going there every day after school. Her passion became collecting every indie rock release (hello, my college years) and that led to her creating her own music. Her newest single, "Do You Wanna," is some of the most compelling underground pop you'll hear this year. I'm only calling it pop because that's the closest genre I can come up with. It's about as far away from American Top 40 as Little Hag is, but it doesn't quite fit in as rock, either. It's almost a sonic collage, if a collage can be made with each piece seamlessly melding with each other, like they always belonged together.

Nana Yamato explains her new song: 

“This is a song about self-transformation, what I felt in the process. When I was younger I thought I was an independent person, but in fact, I was selfish and left it all to others. All the things I thought I don’t like were actually caused by myself. When I realized that, I felt like I was the only one who was left behind in the world. I was ashamed of myself. I had to change myself. It wasn't easy for me. I'm still in the process. I wonder if this is what it means to become an adult."

You can watch the video for "Do You Wanna" below. Before Sunrise is due out February 5 on Dull Tools. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Nana Yamato, check out the artist on Instagram.

Yard Act - "Dark Days"

Photo by James Brown

Yard Act may have only formed in 2019, but the Leeds based band has already built up quite a loyal following. Their debut 7" sold out of its five hundred copy pressing in one day, and their latest sold out one thousand copies in two hours. That song, "Dark Days," shows why. "Dark Days" has this killer post punk sound, and while it has the dark vibes that permeate most post punk, this new song is almost bouncy with a bizarro sense of fun. The vocals, particularly the chorus, add an almost cartoony vibe to the disjointed guitars throughout the song.

You can watch the video for "Dark Days" below. The song is available via the band's own Zen F.C. label. You can get a copy here. For more on Yard Act, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

The Pink Stones - "Blueberry Dream"

Photo by Mason Dominey

We're of the age where if we find out a band is from Athens, GA, we're going to give them a listen. And if I see that the same band features a founding member of Drive-By Truckers, it's impossible for me to not at least give them a shot. The Pink Stones feature John Neff, who was a member of Drive-By Truckers for their first two albums and then rejoined from 2006-2012. Now he's a member of The Pink Stones, who just released their debut single. "Blueberry Dream" fits the name of the song perfectly. It's a dreamy country rock song, filled with a hazy swirl of guitars. It sounds like if Wilco had kept some more country in their sound while they moved to artsy dad rock. 

You can watch the video for "Blueberry Dream" below. Introducing... The Pink Stones will be out April 9 on Normaltown Records/New West Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on The Pink Stones, check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

MIC Johnson Jr. featuring DV Alias Khryst - "Get Wit Me"

Photo via Facebook

The latest from Rochester, NY based MIC Johnson Jr. is perfect for hip hop fans who love the mid 90's just before Puff Daddy took over. "Get Wit Me" has a laid back feel while still having a little bit of intensity to keep things interesting. It sounds like if you merged Dr. Dre's g-funk sound with early Wu-Tang Clan, which is a combination that should have been made decades ago. It's not a pure throwback, though. Despite these elements, "Get Wit Me" does sound like a modern update of 90's hip hop.

You can watch the video for "Get Wit Me" below. Growth Spurt will be out on High Caliber Music. For more on MIC Johnson Jr., check out the artist's website.

The Barettas - "Touchè"

Photo via Twitter

The Barettas are an insanely fun guitar rock duo. They're much more pop than most rock duos (not as garage as The White Stripes, not as Americana as Shovels and Rope) we cover while staying fully in the rock category. Their latest single, "Touché," reminds of what would happen if you mixed the poppier side of No Doubt with early The Strokes. (Of course, the No Doubt comparisons could mostly be because of Katie Bulley's vocals reminding me of Gwen Stefani's.) "Touché" is great pop rock that leans just enough to the rock side for us music snobs to still get into.

You can watch the video for "Touché" below. For more on The Barettas, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Favourite Daughter - "Long Distance"

Indie pop may be the moniker of the moment right now, but the latest from Favourite Daughter stands above most other songs in the genre. "Long Distance" is an epically huge pop song that builds almost imperceptibly from verse to verse before it fizzles out towards the end. Unlike most indie pop, "Long Distance" is a rocker, and is shockingly noisy at times. The feeling of anxiety and desperation gets more and more intense as it goes on due to the subject matter. Despite all that, Favourite Daughter has crafted a song that is still a fun listen.

Favourite Daughter says of the song: 

"I wrote "Long Distance" on an unplugged, rented electric guitar during a blackout on a night off from an opera gig I was doing in Halifax in the summer of 2019, in tears after a frustrating phone call with my then-girlfriend. We were spending a four month stretch away from each other while I travelled for work. Neither of us were communicating well, and our daily check ins became monotonous. Both of us kept up the charade that we were good, while allowing fear and resentment to build up, which ended up costing us the relationship entirely."

You can watch the video for "Long Distance" below. The song is currently available on Favourite Daughter's Bandcamp. For more on Favourite Daughter, check out the artist's Facebook.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Tigers On Opium - "I May Sound Like a Drunk... But I Feel Like a Matador"

Hailing from Portland, OR, Tigers On Opium bring a level of rock we don't cover all that often here at If It's Too Loud..., but would if it was this great. Their latest single, "I May Sound Like a Drunk... But I Feel Like a Matador," is an epically huge hard rock song that occasionally crosses the border into metal, but never quite stays long. Their press release refers to them as "stoner rock," which I can't argue since there are some heavy early Queens of the Stone Age influences here deeper than just the verbose song title. "I May Sound Like a Drunk... But I Feel Like a Matador" is what you would get if Refused and The Hives rocked so hard on tour that they merged into a single entity.

You can listen to "I May Sound Like a Drunk... But I Feel Like a Matador" below. Their upcoming EP, 503-420-6669, will be out January 22 on Forbidden Place Records. For more on Tigers On Opium, check out their website.

JP Harris - "Take Off Your Tinfoil Hat"

There's a wonderfully long history of political folk songs that skew more humorously than angry. Joining this pedigree is the latest from JP Harris. "Take Off Your Tinfoil Hat" is a ramblin', upbeat folk/country song about all of the right wing QAnon conspiracies that seem to be destined to never die. Harris just takes all of these theories into an ongoing string with one after another until the chorus (which also includes some), and then starts up with some more. I'm pretty sure some of these are fake... but who even knows any more. "Take Off Your Tinfoil Hat" is a fantastic tongue in cheek song that somehow finds the humor in a subject matter we're all pretty sick of by now.

JP Harris says of his new song:

"It seems as we become ever more connected, with an infinite wormhole of information at our fingertips, that as a species we are rapidly losing our ability to discern truth from fiction, our most valuable learned skill of critical thinking, at what could almost be called the genetic level. Our technology is evolving faster than we are.

"It is sad to say that the precedent to believe the most outlandish conspiracies has been long established; MK ULTRA, the Tuskegee Experiments, the CIA’s counterintelligence program, and countless other declassified examples of shadowy governmental behavior give people the thread of doubt they need to latch onto something they can fight for.

"And with very few legal consequences enforced or even in place by the Federal Communications Commission for spreading false information, the Kremlin-style 'Fake News' label and shock-jock reporting have emerged as the only allegedly-trustworthy reporting for those right of center, steering an enormous headcount of Americans away from balanced and factual reporting. Can’t we just change the slogan to 'Make Conspiracies Believable Again'?!”

You can listen to "Take Off Your Tinfoil Hat" below. The song is available now via Free Dirt Records here. For more on JP Harris, check out his website.

Talib Kweli x Diamond D featuring A.F.R.O. - "Far Out Bar Out"

Talib Kweli is enough of a hip hop legend that we're guaranteed to pay attention to anything he is involved in. He has a collaborative album coming out with Diamond D, and the first single is truly great. "Far Out Bar Out" showcases the flows of all three MCs (the song also features A.F.R.O.) over one of the most old school musical backdrops I've heard in ages. (There are scratches! Scratches!) It's the kind of minimalist hip hop that used to just be considered hip hop. Somehow, despite the song throwing back stylistically, it avoids being just a throwback track. "Far Out Bar Out" is what hip hop would sound like in 2021 is Puff Daddy and autotune never happened.

You can watch the video for "Far Out Bar Out" below. GOTHAM, the collaborative album from Talib Kweli and Diamond D, is sue out later this year on Javotti Media. For more on Talib Kweli, check out his website here. More info on Diamond D can be found on his Twitter.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 15 January

A little more catch-up and some solid new listens.

Artist: Pearl Charles
Album: Magic Mirror
Quick Description: Gorgeous retro indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: Reminiscent of Feist in many ways, but really bright and fun.
Overall Thoughts: I don't see that we caught her previous album, although it appears I was listening to it at one point. Still, this album was so wonderful. In what's been a real weird time in America, you have an album here that really does some interesting stuff in its approach to pop music. A truly fascinating listen, and one that I think most everyone would find some value in.
Recommendation: Make time for this one.

Artist: Pom Poko
Album: Cheater
Quick Description: New album from the Norweigian indie rockers.
Why You Should Listen: Lots of growth from their debut while still staying familiar.
Overall Thoughts: Pom Poko always seems off, but in that good way when you're hearing things repeatedly and still find something new. The sort of sometimes-difficult indie rock put forward by Pom Poko here make it an easy recommendation early in the year, as songs like "My Candidacy" or "Like a Lady" tend to linger. Overall, one I'm looking forward to getting back to.
Recommendation: Worth a spin.

Artist: Chris Brokaw
Album: Puritan
Quick Description: Instrumentalist and collaborator with basically everyone has a super indie rock album.
Why You Should Listen: It's got a singer-songwriter sensibility, but with a good indie bent.
Overall Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about this Chris Brokaw effort, but I didn't want it to go unrecognized this week. This definitely has a folk feel to it, but it still works in a variety of ways for basically any audience. I fully enjoyed my experience with this record, and I hope it has staying power.
Recommendation: One of the best of this week.

Artist: Buck Meek
Album: Two Saviors
Quick Description: Solo effort from a member of Big Thief.
Why You Should Listen: Has an outlaw country feel with an indie rock sheen.
Overall Thoughts: I didn't know Buck Meek was part of Big Thief until I went hunting for the album cover. It doesn't feel like a Big Thief record, but knowing that now definitely helps with a bit of the feel of the whole thing. It's a very pleasant listen on a whole, with a few songs here that stuck out at me. If you like what we normally feature here, you'll find something to like here.
Recommendation: Should make your rotation.

Artist: Danielle Durack
Album: No Place
Quick Description: Gorgeous singer-songwriter effort.
Why You Should Listen: Danielle Durack is fast becoming a favorite around here.
Overall Thoughts: She's been great for a while, but this album steps up the game in a few ways. "Broken Wings" has been in semi-heavy rotation for me since release, and the rest of the record holds up in a similar way. A folky, indie pop-style record, I really adore this effort and, in a just world, it becomes the breakthrough she deserves.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Comfy
Album: Volume For
Quick Description: Interesting, divisive indie rock.
Why You Should Listen: This was the most talked-about album between Ken and I think week.
Overall Thoughts: So Comfy. When this record is on, WOW is it good. There's so much going on here that this album doesn't always work, but whether it's an experiment or just not 100% working remains to be seen. I think, for me, I liked this a lot more than Ken did, as it reminds me a lot of the early-2000s indie rock I felt in love with. It's a record that's challenging, but is also likely worth the effort.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Of note:

* Five Iron Frenzy - Until this Shakes Apart (A ska punk record that's better than you think it should be.)
* Matthew Sweet - Catspaw (In case you were wondering? He's still got it.)
* Samia - The Baby Reimagined (One of the better efforts of this type of COVID release.)
* Flo Milli - Ho, Why Is You Here?
* You Me At Six - SUCKAPUNCH
* King Felix - Going Under Soundtrack
* Nancy - The Seven Foot Tall Post-Suicidal Feel Good Blues
* Dale Crover - Rat-a-Tat-Tat
* Kate Davis - Strange Boy
* Front Line Assembly - Mechanical Soul
* Sleaford Mods - Spare Ribs
* Shame - Drunk Tank Pink


* Death Cab for Cutie - The Georgia EP
* Kuwaisiana - Chapter 2: Al-Baab Al-Thani
* Beach Bunny - Blame Game
* Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou - The Helm of Sorrow
* Just Friends - JF Crew, Vol. 1

Also out:

* OG Swaggerdick - Flaccid Rap

Lydia Luce - "All the Time"

Photo via Facebook

Lydia Luce has earned a reputation as being the "go-to" strings session performer in Nashville, playing with artists like Dolly Parton and Eminem. Her solo music adds to her musical diversity, somehow combining her classical work with indie rock. "All the Time" is an epic indie rock song that just builds and builds throughout. It's on the lines of an artist like Lucy Dacus, but on a bigger, more theatrical scale. The song almost sounds like it's an attempt at writing an indie rock influenced Broadway musical.

Lydia Luce describes the new song:

“This song is a conversation with myself. I have learned so many things about myself in my late 20s and one of those is that I struggle to hear and trust my voice. The world is so noisy and I am constantly working on drowning that noise out. This song is me calling myself into light and love. It's dark in the spaces of uncertainty where you’re fishing around trying to determine how you feel based off of what others feel. There is no peace there, only restlessness. If I do the hard work to calm my thoughts and external noise, I can ascertain what is true for me.”

You can watch the video for "All the Time" below. Dark River will be out February 26. For more on Lydia Luce, check out the artist's website.

Editrix - "Tell Me I'm Bad"

Easthampton, MA's Editrix continues their run of killer, unique indie rock songs with "Tell Me I'm Bad." The new song is a weirdo song that isn't quite noise rock since it follows a fairly normal song pattern, but it isn't too far off from noise rock. It wildly swings tempo, but in its own pattern. At no point does it ever explode into sheer chaos, nor does it seem like it is about to. "Tell Me I'm Bad" is the kind of indie rocker that just festers. It's the kind of song that could be called "quirky," but it's just not cutesy enough for that description. I guess the best description for this is "Western MA indie rock," which many of us will understand immediately.

You can listen to "Tell Me I'm Bad" below. The album Tell Me I'm Bad will be out February 5 on Exploding in Sound Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Editrix, give them a follow on Instagram.

Monday, January 18, 2021

No Year - "What People Say"

Portland, OR's NEW YEAR are back with another dose of their heavy 90's infused rock. "What People Say" sounds a little cleaner than "Sundown" without losing any of the power of their previous song. It's less sludgy and has a little more of a 90's East Coast feel than a Pacific Northwest sound the previous song did. That's not to say that "What People Say" isn't filled with the remnants of early grunge from bands like Tad and Mother Love Bone, because it certainly is. But it also has some elements of Fugazi and Sonic Youth in here, so I don't think we could possibly be more on board for this one.

You can listen to "What People Say" below. SO LONG will be out January 29 on Inferior Planet. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp.

Prateek - "If I were a dog"

Photo by Haley Hatkey

It's going to be easy to dismiss Prateek's latest single, "If I were a dog," as a novelty or comedy song. And it is a funny song. "If I were a dog" sees the Boston based singer/songwriter theorizing about how he'd spend his days if he was a dog. It's a song about wishing he could "piss on every tree stump," "make friends with all the bugs and snails," and "jump in every puddle." It reminds me quite a bit of The Lemonheads' "Outdoor Type" in both humor and musical style. It's the kind of song that is guaranteed to get Prateek some enthusiastic cheers once live shows can come back, but the humor helps mask some of the melancholy of the song, which is that it's preferable to be a dog than a human with a job.

You can watch the video for "If I were a dog" below. The video features footage fans sent in of their dogs. The song is available now via Bandcamp. For more on Prateek, check out the artist's website.

Boise Cover Band Cover David Bowie

Way back in 2002, Built to Spill's Doug Martsch got together with some local friends and formed Boise Cover Band, releasing a tour only cd in 2003. That disc is finally seeing a digital and vinyl release, and you can hear their version of "Ashes to Ashes." It's quite simply a gorgeous version, which is exactly what you'd expect from a Bowie cover that Doug Martsch is involved in. What is surprising for fans of Martsch's other bands is that guitar is not at the center of this song. All instrumentation is relatively quiet, pairing with Martsch's voice splendidly. If anything, this is a folk-adjacent version of "Ashes to Ashes."

You can listen to Boise Cover Band's version of "Ashes to Ashes" below. Unoriginal Artists will be out on March 19. You can pre-order your copy via Bandcamp

Friday, January 15, 2021

Kitty Kat Fan Club - "Choked by the Weeds"

Photo via Facebook

It's been a while since we've had any new music from Kitty Kat Fan Club, so stumbling across "Choked by the Weeds" yesterday was a delightful surprise. If you liked their 2019 album Dreamy Little You, the good news is that you're going to love this new song. "Choked by the Weeds" has that retro garage rock meets modern alt-pop sound we loved on their album, but somehow more amped up. The new song is the kind of fun distraction we all could use right now, and little bursts of pure joy and happiness like this are quite welcome.

You can listen to "Choked by the Weeds" below. The song is available as a single via Asian Man Records. For more on Kitty Kat Fan Club, check them out on Facebook.

Descendents - "That's the Breaks"

I may be wrong, but I'm going to assume the latest single from the Descendents might be about Trump. The forty two second song is about an "asshole Twitter troll" who needs to "go home" and has "small hands." It's a fast, angry punk song that would have felt right at home with their output in the 80's. Descendents have always been adept at making the most out of incredibly short songs, and "That's the Breaks" is a perfect example of that. In a time when many of their contemporaries (and in many cases even bands that came well after them) have started slowing down and getting more conservative, it's refreshing to see a band double down like the Descendents are.

You can watch the lyric video for "That's the Breaks" below. The song is currently available via Epitaph Records here. For more on Descendents, check out their website.

Aaron Lee Tasjan - "Don't Overthink It"

Photo via Facebook

Aaron Lee Tasjan is such a difficult artist to try to describe. His latest single, "Don't Overthink It," has a strong base in Americana, but it's not even remotely country, folk, bluegrass, alt-country, singer/songwriter, etc. But yet it is all those things... somewhat. The song also has a little bit of a space element, and some New Wave, and some classic rock. It almost kind of sounds like if David Bowie went country during the 70's, while still sounding like it's music from 2021. All this, and there is still a mainstream element that will appeal to non-weirdos. Tasjan is making great music that truly defies genres while possibly appealing to the masses, which is one of the rarest combinations out there.

You can watch the video for "Don't Overthink It" below. Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! will be out February 5 on New West Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Aaron Lee Tasjan, check out his website.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Kalbells - "Purplepink"

Photo by Amanda Picotte

Kalbells are best known as the side project of Rubblebucket's Kalmia Traver, but the band also features members of Sad13, Okkervil River, and more. They have a new single out, and it's going to really demand your attention. "Purplepink" is great for fans of Rubblebucket. The song has that indie rock goes hippie party feel, but "Purplepink" has a chilled out, spacey feel, even without the accompanying video. It's a modern day version of Parliament's spaced out funk, with a few more electronic sounding elements sprinkled in.

You can watch the video for "Purplepink" below. Max Heart is the upcoming album from Kalbells, and will be out on NNA Tapes on March 26. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Kalbells, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Hayley and the Crushers - "Church of Flag"

Hailing from San Luis Obispo, CA, Hayley and the Crushers recently released a new single. "Church of Flag" is this glorious mixture of power pop, pop punk, and glam rock. It sounds as if Letters to Cleo leaned more heavily into influences like the Ramones and Blondie and tried to get on the Warped Tour back in the 90's. It's dripping with attitude and fun, and is one of the catchiest rock songs we've heard so far this year.

Not to mention, they have one of the greatest Bandcamp bios of all time:

"One part punk-pop, one part sunny surf, all 'poolside glitter trash,' San Luis Obispo, California's Hayley and the Crushers offer up a tsunami of bold, bad girl fun. Fizzy, frothy, and still a little dangerous, be careful just how far you paddle out. There's blood in the water and the mermaids in this part of the Crusherverse are known to nibble."

You can watch the video for "Church of Flag" below. The song is available as a single now on Bandcamp. Hayley and the Crushers have an album coming out this year on Rum Bar Records. For more on Hayley and the Crushers, check out their website.

Clever Girls - "Baby Blue"

Photo by Kay Dargin

It's been a while since we've brought you new music from Burlington, VT's Clever Girls, but luckily they're coming up with a new album which means we have a new single from the band! Previously I've described their music as Tom Petty Americana meets indie rock, but their new single "Baby Blue" doesn't have a shred of that sound. Instead, the new single is a quiet, mellow, dreamy indie rock song. It's a slightly swirling, restrained song that bubbles with emotion. There is a slight crescendo that brings Clever Girls back to their indie rock roots, but "Baby Blue" shows a new side that almost sounds electronic, focusing on front-person Diane Jean's vocals.

You can listen to "Baby Blue" below. Constellations, the upcoming album from Clever Girls, will be out March 26 on Egghunt Records. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Clever Girls, check out the band's website.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno - "Love and Chains"

Last month I was smitten with the latest single from Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno, and luckily they Portland, OR duo is back with another song. "Love and Chains" runs a little more to the folk pop side of things than "Will You" did, but when a song is this perfectly done, it's impossible to complain. "Love and Chains" is a gorgeous folk/pop duet between Leva and Calcagno. It's a quiet, contemplative folk song that's going to make you long for the days of summer. It personally has me fantasizing about seeing these two at some outdoor venue just as the sun starts setting, so let's all hope that can be possible this year.

You can watch the video for "Love and Chains" below. The self-titled album from Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno is due out March 12 on Free Dirt Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno, check out their website.

The Boatsmen - "When I'm Drunk"

Hailing from Sweden, The Boatsmen are a perfect example of modern rock 'n' roll. Their latest single, "When I'm Drunk," is a loud, fast, and in your face burst of pure rock. It's a little too flashy to be garage, and it lives in the same universe as Motorhead, straddling the line between punk and metal, and perfect for fans of both. Plus, there's just the slightest hint of 70's and 80's glam in here to allow it to still be as straight up rock as it is. Also, it's called "When I'm Drunk," so there's no sense of pretention here. It's just a loud, fun rock song.

You can watch the video for "When I'm Drunk" below. Versus The Boatsmen, the upcoming album from The Boatsmen, will be out this year on Spaghetty Town Records in the U.S. and Ghost Highway Recordings in Europe. For more on The Boatsmen, check out their Bandcamp.

Jeremy Pinnell Covers Concrete Blonde

Photo by Melissa D Fields

We all know Concrete Blonde's song "Joey." It's one of those songs that seems to transcend genre, and it's almost in our marrow at this point. Covers of it are oddly rare, so we're thrilled to have this new one from Jeremy Pinnell. The country artist has released a quarantine solo version as a single, and to say he owns this version of the song is an understatement. Somehow Pinnell takes a cover and transforms it with his unrestrained passion. It hardly sounds like a cover at all, but an incredibly personal song to Pinnell. This is the kind of cover on par with Johnny Cash's transformation of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt."

Chris Mueller (Sofaburn Records founder and Jememy Pinnell's manager) says of the cover: "After over 300 tour dates in the previous three years, Jeremy was sitting at home last summer, and, because of the pandemic, realized he was going to be there for much longer than he was hoping. Refusing to allow the downtime to kill his love for his art, he purchased some basic recording equipment with the intention of doing some home recordings. This particular Wednesday back in July, with whatever was going on inside him, he went down to his basement and recorded this cover of 'Joey' to his phone, one of the most haunting versions of any song I'd ever heard."

You can watch the video for "Joey" below. The song is currently available as a single via Sofaburn Records. Goodbye L.A., the upcoming album from Jeremy Pinnell, will be out later this year. For more on Jeremy Pinnell, check out his website.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

First Listen: 2020 Leftovers and 2021 So Far

Artist: Ben Kweller
Album: Circuit Boredom
Quick Description: New album from the indie stalwart.
Why You Should Listen: Feels like a nice back-to-basics indie record.
Overall Thoughts: I think we all loved Ben Kweller when he started out, and I know I felt like I was losing touch with his music as I got older. This new album, though? A very solid listen that feels like the Weezer-esque indie rock we all fell in love with 20 years ago, but with some modern, mature overtones. As one of the first releases of the new year, it's a pretty great way to kick things off.
Recommendation: Give this a listen.

Artist: Fantasy Non Fiction
Album: Fantasy Non Fiction
Quick Description: Lovely genre-hopping indie rock.
Why You Should Listen: A number of these songs could easily become favorites.
Overall Thoughts: Ken sent this one over not long before the end of the year, and I think I was wholly and fully blown away by the second song. There's something truly special here, both from the songwriting to the way the band transitions from traditional alt-rock to more danceable efforts to midtempo jams to straight alt-rock bangers. I loved this, and you'll probably love it too.
Recommendation: An underrated effort from last year.

Artist: Scott Mackay
Album: Stupid Cupid
Quick Description: Silly classic country tunes.
Why You Should Listen: Does humor with musical chops right.
Overall Thoughts: Listen, if you are looking for serious Isbell-style songwriting here, look elsewhere. This is more Shel Silverstein on zoloft - an often-ridiculous but always-enjoyable country romp with songs ranging from heart transplant body horror to the title track telling the tale of love gone wrong. On first listen, I thought it was fine, but I've gone back to it a couple times since then and love it more and more. A great way to kick off 2021 musically.
Recommendation: Don't miss this one.

Artist: Rachel Brooke
Album: The Loneliness in Me
Quick Description: Great modern country with a classic twist.
Why You Should Listen: This is what you might have hoped last year's Margo Price record sounded like.
Overall Thoughts: Ken sent this over as one we missed, and I think we're both kicking ourselves that we didn't learn of Rachel Brooke sooner. A perfect voice with some outstanding songs here, this is an artist who has been around a while and yet made one of the better classic country albums in recent memory. You'll love songs like the title track of "The Awful Parts of Me," but you'll likely do what I'll do this week and start digging into her back catalog, as well.
Recommendation: Maybe the best album from 2020 we missed.

Artist: Viagra Boys
Album: Welfare Jazz
Quick Description: The latest from a favorite around these parts.
Why You Should Listen: They still don't take themselves too seriously, but that works for them.
Overall Thoughts: Ken and I both had the same reaction when we learned of "Sports," a song from their last album: we weren't sure how self-aware it might be, but we still loved it. For me, this album answers the question, as it appears that not only do Viagra Boys know exactly what they're doing, but they're incredibly good at it. "Ain't Nice" is a legit punk song, and the closing track, "In Spite of Ourselves," is a solid piece of songwriting. A great start for 2021.
Recommendation: Give this one some time this week/month/year.

Artist: Boy Jr.
Album: Starter Pack
Quick Description: A short album by a promising newcomer.
Why You Should Listen: This is quirky and artsy and rockin' all at once.
Overall Thoughts: One I didn't want to miss as a last minute listen, this came out earlier last year and has a lot going for it. I don't recall how I tripped up on this one, but she's pretty active over in TikTok land and "Drop at 1:01" is a really, really, REALLY good song. Can't wait to hear what's next.
Recommendation: Don't miss out on this one.

Of note:

* Horse Meat Disco - Love and Dancing (Some pretty fun disco music.)
* Thank You, I'm Sorry - I'm Glad We're Friends(A solid indie-punk flavored listen.)
* Fomosurfer - From a Dark Place (Definitely one of the weirder listens of late.)
* Grimes - Miss Anthropocene (Rave Edition)
* Miel - Tourist Season
* Slaughter Beach, Dog - At the Moonbase
* Four Tet - Parallel
* Steve Earle - J.T.
* Okay Kaya - Surviving is the New Living
* Aaron Frazer - Introducing...
* Moby - Live Ambient Improvised Recordings, Vol. 1
* Sumeau - This is Not a Dream


* The Very Reverend - Live at Rosa Mortem
* Psychic Energy - Post Nothing
* Ellie Goulding - Brightest Blue - Music for Calm
* Vatican Shadow and Salford Electronics - Temple Gas Mask
* Vatican Shadow - Persian Pillars of the Gasoline Era
* Mark Pritchard - MP Productions - EP 1
* The Lickerish Quartet - Threesome, Vol. 2
* awakebutstillinbed - Stay Who You Are

Also out:

* The Dirty Nil - Fuck Art
* Deluxe and Amine Haddad - Hitmarker
* Daydream - Mystic Operative
* The Dogs - Post Mortem Portraits of Loneliness
* Barry Gibb - Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers' Songbook
* Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine
* N8NOFACE - Bound to Let You Down
* The Soviet Machines - The Soviet Machines

The Martha's Vineyard Ferries - "Betty Ford James"

As we prepare ourselves for Friday's release of a brand new solo album from Chris Brokaw, it turns out one of his many projects also has new music! The Martha's Vineyard Ferries, Brokaw's band with Bob Weston (Shellac, Mission of Burma) and Elisha Weisner, has a new song, "Betty Ford James." The song itself comes in at just less than a minute, but that's all they needed. It's a fuzzed out indie rocker that definitely does not overstay its welcome and obviously leaves you wanting more. It's probably a little less experimental sounding than you would expect from the band's members and a little less punk considering the short length. In fact, it's almost a pop song, but obviously no one involved would ever allow that to happen.

You can watch the video for "Betty Ford James" below. Suns Out Guns Out, the upcoming album from The Martha's Vineyard Ferries, will be out February 26. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp

Psymon Spine - "Jumprope"

Photo by Rachel Cabitt

We last brought you new music from Psymon Spine over the summer, but the band is set to release a new album, which means new music! The latest is "Jumprope." It's a ridiculously dance friendly song without being even remotely mainstream. "Jumprope" is post punk and psychedelia joining forces to make a straight up dance track. It's like if Le Tigre and Bodega decided to get serious about their love of 80's Madonna and Deelite. And this is all while fully dedicating themselves to some serious 60's psychedelia.

You can listen to "Jumprope" below. Charismatic Megafauna, the upcoming album from Psymon Spine, will be out February 19 on Northern Spy. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Psymon Spine, check out the band on Facebook and Twitter.

Leland Sundries - "Another Friday Night News Dump"

Last week was one of the craziest weeks in my memory. Just as we thought it couldn't get crazier, Friday night brought news of Donald Trump being permanently kicked off Twitter, with the rest of social media to come. Friday also saw the release of the video for Leland Sundries' new single, the appropriately named "Another Friday Night News Dump." It's a resigned song about how we've all come to expect another piece of crappy news released on Friday nights in the last four years. If it can be a considered a protest song, it's one I can relate to as it's more just a sighing, depressed song more than one calling for an uprising. Musically, it fits into what we love about Leland Sundries. It's an indie rock meets Americana song, but for this one they've injected a little 80's New Wave without the New Wave (I promise it will make sense once you listen).

You can watch the video for "Another Friday Night News Dump" below. The song is available as a single via Bandcamp. For more on Leland Sundries, check out the band's website.

Monday, January 11, 2021

War On Alexandria - "California"

Photo via Facebook

Boston's War On Alexandria hit my own personal hard rock/metal sweet spot that rarely finds much these days. They are firmly in that genre, but they are definitely not a thrash or a particularly heavy metal band. Their latest single, "California," is going to appeal to a certain breed of metal fans. It's a straight up metal power ballad. Now this is far from "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" or "Love Bites." While "California" does edge into pop, it's more the lost metal ballad like Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica used to pull off. Sure, it's a ballad, and it's a quiet song, but it still rocks. Plus, War On Alexandria truly let this ballad rock in a way few ballads ever get the chance to.

You can watch the video for "California" below. For more on War On Alexandria, check out the band on Facebook.

We Are KING Cover David Bowie

Photo by Kanya Iwana

There are a quite a few David Bowie covers out there, for good reason. Bowie's music remains timeless, and his influence will always be felt in music. BBE Music has an upcoming David Bowie tribute album due out in May, but instead of the normal rock and pop oriented artists, this compilation will feature Bowie's connection to R&B, jazz, funk, and gospel.

The first song up is We Are KING's version of "Space Oddity." You've heard covers of Bowie's 1972 hit before, but never quite like this. We Are KING keeps the feel of Bowie's original, and even amplify the space feel of the song. This is a space soul/R&B version of "Space Oddity." It's unusual and unexpected, but everything about the man was, too, so this is a very fitting tribute to the late icon.

Amber and Paris Strother of We Are KING explain their choice of "Space Oddity": 

There were so many amazing Bowie compositions to choose from but ‘Space Oddity’ has always been our favourite. It's so visual; it has always felt like time travel in a song. t tells such a vivid and imaginative story of Major Tom's trip through space and it was such a cool experience to reimagine what it'd be like on the voyage.”

You can listen to We Are KING's version of "Space Oddity" below. Modern Love, BBE Music's David Bowie tribute album, will be out May 28. It will also features covers from Khuangbin, Meshell Ndegeocello, Matthew Tavares, and more. For more on We Are KING, check out their website.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Forgotten Fridays: Manapop - Rubbing Doesn't Help

Forgotten Fridays is an occasional feature here at If It’s Too Loud... where we go back and find the lost records of our glory days. We played these on our college radio shows, put them on countless mix tapes, and then forgot they existed. We go back and remind you of their existence, and help decide if they were any good.

I've become a huge fan of Spotify's daily Time Capsule playlist. It's always a good thing to put on when I just can't pick, especially on a long drive. I typically get a good mix of alternative and hip hop classics of my youth, although they do give me the same three Beastie Boys songs too often or try to trick me into listening to the Grateful Dead sometimes. Every so often I find a forgotten gem, which is what happened with Magnapop recently.

Magnapop formed in Atlanta in 1989. Since then they've consistently featured the songwriter pair of Ruthie Morris and Linda Hopper. They first came to my attention with 1996's Rubbing Doesn't Help, which came out around when I first started my time in college radio. It's an album of power pop heavy alt-rock, and fit right into my tastes at the time. What's shocking is how the songs on Rubbing Doesn't Help don't sound dated. In fact, they sound like quite a bit of the current music we bring you that's considered alt-pop now. It's incredibly catchy songs with fuzzy guitars, and what else do we really want with music ever? If you think you've heard Magnapop before but aren't really sure, it's probably because of "Open the Door," which was a minor hit in its day. The opening line of "Everything is good these days but all of my friends are dying" is what kickstarted my memory of Magnapop.

Turns out that except for a hiatus between 1997 and 2002, Magnapop have stayed together and have consistently made music and toured. Their most recent album was 2019's The Circle is Round.

Friday Freebie: Gregory Childs & Heart Lung - Baby Blue

The latest EP from Toronto's Gregory Childs & Heart Lung may be more of a single than an EP (it's only two songs), but it still demands your attention. The two songs that make up Baby Blue are alt-country at its finest. "Baby Blue" and "Blood Ties" sound dirty. "Baby Blue" sounds like it might have some positivity behind it, but "Blood Ties" is almost impossibly dark. It's the kind of song you may need to take a shower after listening to. Both sound like if Bob Dylan signed with Bloodshot Records.

You can listen to "Blood Ties" below. Baby Blue is available as a free download via Bandcamp. The band is promising a full length album in mid-2021. For more on Gregory Childs & Heart Lung, check out their website.