Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Birthday Ass - "Plubbage Blubbage"

Birthday Ass is a weird band. Their latest single, "Plubbage Blubbage," really cranks up the weird. It's a freak jazz/punk burst of horns and just noise. It starts off almost normal, like maybe a slightly weird Lake Street Dive song. And then everything gloriously goes off the rails into a world of art rock and free jazz. And then just keeps going. This is one of the few songs that both art punks and more open minded hippies could actually agree on. What makes it even stranger is that around the middle the song seems to get (relatively) normal, like if a mainstream rock band decided to try to make a noise record but didn't have the guts to go all in. But, don't worry, the weirdo jazz comes back for a grand finale! 

Priya Carlberg (front-woman, composer, arranger, lyricist, spokeswoman) explains the new song... or doesn't: “The meaning of the word plubbage is top secret so I can’t go there. This was the first song we had rehearsed for the album and I feel it encapsulates us well,” she continues, “a twist of big-band meets Phil Collins.” 

You can listen to "Plubbage Blubbage" below. Head of the Household will be out April 23 on Ramp Local. The album can be pre-ordered here. For more on Birthday Ass, check out the band on Facebook and Twitter.

Dry Cleaning - "Unsmart Lady"

Photo by Steve Gullick

London's Dry Cleaning are set to release their debut album this Friday, but we can check out a new single before then. "Unsmart Lady" is a guitar noise heavy spoken word rant about body image. The monotone spoken vocals are reminiscent of The Velvet Underground, and the guitar riffs are straight from Geffen era Sonic Youth. Basically, it's elements of my college years mixed together, possibly just for me. Aside from "Unsmart Lady" bringing up memories of my college radio show, it's going to be beloved by many people that aren't me. It's hypnotic and aggressive in a way that demands you listen. Dry Cleaning aren't a band you listen to in the background. This is headphones on or full volume in your car listening.

Lyricist Florence Shaw says of the new song:

“’Fat podgy, non make-up’ – I was thinking about these things that are supposed to be a source of shame about your appearance and wanting to use them in a powerful way. Just trying to survive when you feel knackered and put-upon and shit about yourself, but you say, ‘I don’t care what I’m supposed to be.’

You can watch the video for "Unsmart Lady" below. New Long Leg is due out April 2 on 4AD. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Dry Cleaning, check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 26 March

Artist: Bull
Album: Discover Effortless Living
Quick Thoughts: This is some solid, standard alt/indie stuff from top to bottom. It's sometimes fun, it's sometimes quirky (like with "Love Goo"), but it's really just the sort of springtime effort I'm happy to have heard. Just a lot of good stuff here from a new (to me) band that I'll definitely be keeping my eye on.
Songs of Note: "Love Goo," "Bedroom Floor," "Eugene"

Artist: Sunny War
Album: Simple Syrup
Quick Thoughts: We adore Sunny War around these parts, and Simple Syrup is yet another entry in her superbly consistent catalog. This shows continued growth while still providing some good songs along the way. Loved every moment of this in what is a pretty busy week.
Songs of Note: "Kiss a Loser"

Artist: Antonioni
Album: Antonioni
Quick Thoughts: My favorite album last year was Cartalk's effort, and there's a lot of acts right now doing the sort of emo-adjacent singer-songwriter thing that it's easy to blur them together. While Antonioni isn't breaking any new ground, they're also hitting that Soccer Mommy/Waxahatchee sweet spot that is so great. I loved a lot of this, and it was one of the key albums I wanted to rush back to this week.
Songs of Note: "Mouth Breather," "Nothing in the Dark"

Artist: Clever Girls
Album: Constellations
Quick Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about this album on a whole. But it is very good, and it's the sort of fun alt rock we love around these parts. Songs like "Lavender" just work in so many ways. Definitely worth highlighting in a busy week.
Songs of Note: "Lavender"

Artist: Fitz
Album: Head Up High
Quick Thoughts: Debut solo effort from the Fitz of Fitz and the Tantrum, and while it definitely has a "Fitz and the Tantrums hit the club" feel to it, the songs are undeniably great. It's just a great party record in a time where I think we could all use one or two. I think it's nearly impossible for anyone to not enjoy what's on this album on a whole. Check it out.
Songs of Note: "Head Up High," "I Need a Dancefloor," "Spaceman"

Artist: The Imaginaries
Album: The Imaginaries
Quick Thoughts: This is a really great album, and one that took me by surprise. It'll get plenty of comparisons to The Civil Wars, and it won't be entirely false, but will be somewhat fair. It's definitely adult radio friendly, and I know Ken found it a little too poppy, but I really enjoyed this one and look forward to spending more time with it.
Songs of Note: "Revival"

Artist: Xiu Xiu
Album: OH NO
Quick Thoughts: Xiu Xiu is delightfully weird, and this is a album of collaborations with all sorts of artists. It's definitely a challenge in some regards, but if you're up for it you'll be rewarded.
Songs of Note: "Rumpus Room," "It Bothers Me All of the Time," "A Bottle of Rum"

Artist: Queen Esther
Album: Gild the Black Lily
Quick Thoughts: Wow this is a great surprise. This feels like an old-school country record, but with a modern touch and a current message. Queen Esther lays it on the table early with "The Black Cowgirl Song," but the messages don't overwhelm the musicality, and the result is really one of the better roots efforts of recent times. In a busy week, don't miss this one.
Songs of Note: "The Black Cowgirl Song," "The Whiskey Wouldn't Let Me Pray"

Artist: Esther Rose
Album: How Many Times
Quick Thoughts: I've been a fan of Esther Rose for some time now, and pretty much every song she has released up to this point? Just marvelous. This album is just one great song after another - it's upbeat, joyous, and infectous. I catch myself singing so many of these songs in my head ever since I first listened, which is a heck of a sign. Make time.
Songs of Note: "Good Time," "Mountaintop," "Keeps Me Running"

Artist: Sprints
Album: Manifesto
Quick Thoughts: I wanted to highlight this four-track EP, which is maybe my favorite release of the week. Every song is absolutely brilliant, and I really can't wait to see what comes next. Sprints needs to be on your radar.

Artist: El Michels Affair
Album: Yeti Season
Quick Thoughts: Another fun one to highlight this week comes from the project of a producer best known for his work with a number of rappers and R&B artists, including touring with Wu-Tang clan. This is like modern lounge music with a bit of a twist to it, and I frankly didn't expect to love it as much as I did. It feels ripped out of a different era, and it's just awesome.
Songs of Note: "Dhuaan," "Zaharila," "Unathi"

Of note:

* Sara Watkins - Under the Pepper Tree (A bunch of standards and covers, really nice.)
* Kalbells - Max Heart (When this works, it works so, so well.)
* Tomaga - Intimate Immensity
* Tune-Yards - sketchy.
* Anna Fox Rochinski - Cherry
* Genghis Tron - Dream Weapon
* Space Cadet - Lion on a Leash
* Floatie - Voyage Out
* Real Estate - Half a Human
* Claire Rousay - I'll Give You All My Love
* Dntel - The Seas Trees See
* Jane Getter Premonition - Anomalia
* Skegss - Rehearsal
* Shy Tooth - Ultrasuede
* The Antlers - Green to Gold
* Loney Dear - A Lantern and a Bell
* Hannah Peel - Fir Wave
* Death From Above 1979 - Is 4 Lovers


* Pixey - Free to Live in Color
* Speaker Music - Soul-Making Theodicy
* NewDad - Waves

Live albums/Compilations:

* First Aid Kit - Who By Fire - Live Tribute to Leonard Cohen
* Ellen Allien - Auraa Rmxs 1
* Leila Ross - Who the Power (Reformed)

Also out:

* Clark - Playground in a Lake
* Tomahawk - Tonic Immobility
* Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders, and The London Symphony Orchestra - Promises

Willy Mason - "Youth on a Spit"

While Willy Mason usually releases folk based songs, you never quite know what you're going to get with new music from the Martha's Vineyard based musician. His latest single, "Youth on a Spit," shows a complete move away from folk towards an almost electronic rock based sound. It's noisy and groovy and has a very cut and paste feel. Sometimes it's almost cinematic, sometimes it sounds like a dance cut, and others like a weirdo 90's rock song. The obvious comparison here is late 90's Beck. It's a change in sound that might repel some old school fans, but more adventurous admirers of Willy Mason are going to find a lot to love here.

You can watch the video for "Youth on a Spit" below. Already Dead is due out August 6. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Willy Mason, check out the artist's Facebook.

Kewpid - "Tunnel of Love"

Kewpid is just one of those bands you kinda know what to expect to hear just based on the name. The New Hampshire band's latest single, "Tunnel of Love," is a modern take on classic garage rock and power pop. It's fuzzy guitars, a catchy chorus, and flaming hot guitar solos. You know, everything we want in garage rock or power pop. "Tunnel of Love" has that classic sound and feel where it could have come from any of the last six or so decades. It's fun rock and roll, and you can never go wrong with that.

You can listen to "Tunnel of Love" below. The song is available now as a single via Bandcamp. (Sadly, no "I'm with Kewpid" shirts available yet.) For more on Kewpid, check out the band's Twitter and Instagram.

Tennis System - "Truth Hurts"

Photo by Marus Russell Price

Back in 2019, we brought you the rock meets shoegaze sound of Tennis System. Now the musical project of Matty Taylor. They're back with a new single, "Truth Hurts." This new single fits into their previous music. It starts off with some post punk noise before going into the fuzz and swirl of shoegaze. What lets you know it's not your standard shoegaze track is the beat. It's a driving, hard, fairly monotonous beat throughout that feels like the heavier side of New Wave. And then some more New Wave flourishes start in as the song progresses. Basically, "Truth Hurts" is a mix of shoegaze, post punk, and New Wave. We're fully in for this one.

Matty Taylor explains how the new album almost didn't happen:

“I was done. I didn’t want to make music anymore, If Chadwick [Johnson] hadn’t called me and said, ‘Why don’t you come down here and make the record?’ I don’t know what the fuck I would have done. I wouldn’t have made this record.”

You can watch the video for "Truth Hurts" below. Autophobia is due out in late summer 2021 through Quiet Panic. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Tennis System, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Bachelor - "Stay in the Car"

Somehow we missed the debut single of Bachelor, the collaborative project of Melina Duterte of Jay Som and Ellen Kempner of Palehound, but luckily we're on top of the second single. I don't know why, but I didn't expect "Stay in the Car" to rock quite as hard as it does. Sure, there's quite a bit of the modern indie rock blended with pop sound we'd expect from this duo, but "Stay in the Car" is quite obviously very Pixies inspired. From the loud/quiet/loud song structure perfected by the Pixies to the fact that the guitar just sounds like some killer Joey Santiago riff. On this song, Bachelor sounds like the Pixies leaned into the mainstream a bit more but kept their edge and sound fully intact. 

Ellen Kempner explains the story behind the song:

“I wrote the lyrics to ‘Stay In the Car’ back in December of 2019 when I was in Florida for my partner’s top surgery. I had run out one afternoon, post op, while he was healing to grab lunch for us and as I was gathering my stuff in the parking lot, a big car pulled up and this absolutely beautiful woman got out. She was dressed all in red, dripping with jewelry and had the most wild fiery mane I’d ever seen. She was yelling at the man behind the wheel asking him what he wanted from the store and I wished I was that man. I wanted to be a part of her life, her best friend, her driver, whatever she wanted me to be. I was completely mesmerized.” 

You can watch the video for "Stay in the Car" below. Doomin' Sun is due out May 28 on Polyvinyl. You can pre-order a copy of the album here. For more on Bachelor, check out the band's website.

Peter Doran featuring Haley Heynderickx - "Blue Mountains"

When you bring in Haley Heynderickx for a song, you're guaranteeing that I'm going to excitedly listen. Irish singer/songwriter Peter Doran has Heynderickx guesting on his latest single, "Blue Mountains." This new song is decidedly more mainstream folk than Heynderickx's own music, but "Blue Mountains" may be a perfect folk song. Doran and Heynderickx's voices blend perfectly together. It's such a chilled out, beautiful folk song that is impossible not to be sucked in by. It's the kind of song that's going to make you rediscover Heynderickx's catalog and dive straight into Doran's. There aren't many perfect songs out there, but "Blue Mountain" is one.

Peter Doran explains the new song:

“Everyone carries about an idea of Paradise. A dream-perfect world in which to live out their days. Blue Mountains is the tale of a clean living, God fearing man whose only wish is to leave the world behind and set up home forever with his sweetheart deep in the Blue Mountains. Where are his Blue Mountains? Our love-struck protagonist has never been there, couldn't point them out on any map... but he's been there in a song. It's a story-book romance for him and it's just enough to keep him keeping on.

"When I was growing up, I had a musical mentor in an incredible local guitar player named Vinny Baker. He passed away suddenly in 2013 and a few years later his acoustic guitar came to me. Blue Mountains was the first song I wrote on that guitar. I believe it was waiting in the instrument. A gift from its former owner. I was joined by US Songwriter Haley Heynderickx on harmony vocals on this recording. We sang side by side, on the first day of recordings for my upcoming album Voices.”

You can listen to "Blue Mountain" below. Peter Doran's upcoming album, Voices, is due out May 7. For more on Peter Doran, check out the artist's website.

Ric Wilson - "Woo Woo Woo"

Photo by Michael Salisbury

Long time readers will know that I tend to be a extra grumpy old man when it comes to modern hip hop, preferring artists that throwback to the 80's and 90's. However, we may have crossed into a period where I'm starting to like current hip hop artists that sound modern. The latest is Ric Wilson. The Chicago based musician has released a new single, "Woo Woo Woo." The latest single sounds like 2021. It's a dance friendly jam, upbeat as humanly possible. You know, things I normally hate. But Wilson's charm is impossible to resist. It's a fun song that could truly end up propelling Wilson into stardom.

Ric Wilson says of the new song: “This song is just about me wanting to talk my shit sometimes and thinking less about how everyone receives and more about me expressing myself freely. Because sometimes you have to smile at yourself & frown at the world to keep from your own madness.”

You can watch the video for "Woo Woo Woo" below. The song is available as a single here. For more on Ric Wilson, check out the artist's website.

Friday, March 26, 2021

FACS - "General Public"

The latest single from Chicago's FACS is a mess. A giant, glorious, post-punk industrial mess. "General Public" is the kind of song most people aren't going to be able to handle. There is almost too much going on, so you're going to have to pay attention to it to fully grasp the song. FACS have piled layers upon layers upon layers at times. At other times, it's a relatively simple noise rock/post punk song. While it is grating at times (by design), the more you listen and the deeper you pay attention, the more beauty you start to find. Of course, that could just be Stockholm Syndrome kicking in. "General Public" won't be for anyone, or probably even most people. But if you love this kind of thing, this will quickly become a favorite of the year.

Guitarist Brian Case explains the song:

"The song is about roles, perceived and assumed, and how we translate that with each other. This song fell out complete, Andy Gill had recently died and we were channeling Gang Of Four "Solid Gold" era, where it feels like everyone is playing a different song together."

You can watch the video for "General Public" below. Present Tense is due May 21 on Trouble in Mind. For more on FACS, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Saint Sister - "Karaoke Song"

Photo by Audrey Gillespie

Back in December (which somehow feels like years ago), we brought you "The Place That I Work" from Saint Sister. We adored the traditional Irish style ballad that was nearly a capella. It was a mesmerizing song, and we couldn't wait to hear more of the same from the Dublin based duo.

They're latest single, "Karaoke Song," is not what we expected from Saint Sister. Completely gone is the quiet beauty of "The Place That I Work," and it its place is a straight up disco song. Once you recover from the shock of the complete change in genre, you'll realize "Karaoke Song" is fantastic. It's quiet and laid back for a dance song, but this is definitely a song. It's not a banger (as the kids maybe still say), but instead it's the kind of song to gently encourage people to head out to the dance floor. It's a fun little song that makes us really wonder what Saint Sister have in store for us next.

Morgana MacIntyre explains the origins of the new song:

“Gemma had this gorgeous instrumental and I was trying to work in a load of grandiose lyrics that always felt clunky and out of place. At the end of a particularly tiring day spent writing, I started using the song as a way to make fun of the night we had recently shared singing karaoke. I kept thinking ‘no one will take this seriously’ and then I realized maybe I don’t want them to, that’s not the point of the song.” 

You can watch the video for "Karaoke Song" below. Where I Should End is due out June 25. For more on Saint Sister, check out the band's website.

Anna Leone - "Still I Wait"

Photo by Savannah Setten

If there is any justice in the world, 2021 will be huge for Anna Leone. As much as we loved "Once" earlier this month, her latest single has elevated our budding fandom. "Still I Wait" is a powerful, contemplative song. Leone uses her vocals and minimal instrumentation to create this lush, fully formed song that is impossible not to be completely enamored with. Sure, the song includes guitar, piano, and strings, but they're used just enough to help give "Still I Wait" structure. The song is focused on Leone's vocals, with good reason. Starting off as mostly a folk song, it builds impossibly slowly to something that's not quite folk and definitely not pop. It's a beautiful song from a new-to-us artist that we can't wait to hear more from.

You can watch the video for "Still I Wait" below. For more on Anna Leone, check out the artist's website.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Loretta Querceto - "Eternal Sun"

Hailing from Johnston, RI, Loretta Querceto's Bandcamp bio claims she makes "... cynical love songs for the every day nihilist." Her latest single, "Eternal Sun," is a hypnotic, folk adjacent tune. There are some similarities to fellow Rhode Islander The Huntress and Holder of Hands in that "Eternal Sun" dances between being being a folk and indie rock song without really landing in either. There are some points where you feel it might end up being one, but then it meanders off in its own little direction. There are also some trippy world music vibes throughout the song. It's an intriguing introduction to a new artist we're hoping to hear more of in the future.

Loretta Querceto says of the new song: "I like to think of 'Eternal Sun' as a letter to myself. As I was writing it, I realized it was a memoir on self growth and development. Realizing that I was finally in a place of independence is reflected in both the song's lyrics and production."

You can listen to "Eternal Sun" below. For more on Loretta Querceto, check out the artist on Facebook and Instagram.

Brad Marino - "Even the Score"

We recently discovered the old school power pop of Rochester, NH's Brad Marino, and we're completely sucked in by this discovery. His latest single, "Even the Score," is pure vintage 70's style power pop. It's a mid-tempo rock song that is completely catchy, from just the jangly guitar riffs to the chorus, to the "Ohhh-oh!"s. Plus the twangy slide guitar adds just the slightest country rock twinge that's going to make an even bigger fan out of you. It's the fun kinda rock song we all want for the summer, to either cruise around to or just hang out at an outdoor gathering (if that's possible this year).

You can listen to "Even the Score" below. Looking for Trouble is due out April 30. In the US, you can get a vinyl copy from Spaghetty Town Records. In Europe, it will be via Beluga Records and Ghost Highway Recordings. CDs will be available through Rum Bar Records. You can find all options (including digital) over at Brad Marino's Bandcamp. For more on Brad Marino, check out the artist on Facebook.

Mary Bell - "Sacrificed"

It's been about two and a half years, but our favorite French feminist punk band named after a notorious child killer (a killer who was a child, not someone that killed children (although her victims were children...)) is back with new music! Mary Bell recently released "Sacrificed." At under two minutes long, it definitely fits in with the rest of the band's previous discography. It's fast and filled with an insane amount of attitude. Sure, it's hard enough to be considered punk, but it's the kind of punk that's more likely to mock you into submission than kick you in the teeth. In other words, my favorite kind.

You can listen to "Sacrificed" below. Bellatrix Boadicea is due out in April via Destructure. You can pre-order a physical copy here. For digital, head over to Bandcamp. For more on Mary Bell, check them out on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Turner Cody & The Soldiers of Love - "Boozing and Losing"

Photo by Charles Paulicevich

How is it 2021 and we're just getting the first country song called "Boozing and Losing?" St. Louis' Turner Cody and The Soldiers of Love have finally done the obvious. "Boozing and Losing" is classic style country with a modern twist. While there is a classic feel to the song that you'd get with artists like Hank Williams and Merle Haggard, it does not sound like anything from that era. It's definitively a modern country/folk song. It reminds me of modern country folkies like Jonny Fitz or old timey Deer Tick. "Boozing and Losing" skirts the very thin line between having a sly sense of humor and being hokey funny perfectly. It's a very fresh take on one of the oldest forms of American music.

You can watch the video for "Boozing and Losing" below. Friends in High Places is due out June 4 on Capitane Records. For more on Turner Cody & The Soldiers of Love, check out Turner Cody's website.

Beachy Head - "Destroy Us"

There are a few factors that guarantee we're going to like Beachy Head. First of all, they're a bonafide supergroup. Back in 2019, Christian Savill of Slowdive started writing and demoing some songs without any real plan. He sent these recordings to Ryan Graveface (The Casket Girls) and Steve Clarke (The Soft Calvary). Fleshing out the band is Matt Duckworth (The Flaming Lips) on drums and Rachel Goswell (Slowdive, Mojave 3, The Soft Calvary, Minor Victories) adding some vocals. 

The second factor is the name. Beachy Head is a popular destination in Sussex because of its beautiful chalk cliff. It's also known as a suicide spot.

Third is the music. "Destroy Us" is a swirling song that may lean more towards the pop side of dream pop or shoegaze than we'd expect. It feels like an updated throwback to the gothic side of New Wave. Of course, as with most music of this genre I find it to be beautiful and uplifting, but I'm pretty sure that's just me. Most people are going to find "Destroy Us" dark and sad, but regardless it's a song that will be loved by many.

You can listen to "Destroy Us" below. Beachy Head's self-titled debut is due out April 30 on Graveface Records. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Beachy Head, check them out on Instagram.

Kitty Kat Fan Club - "The Abyss"

Photo via Facebook

When we first saw that the latest single from Kitty Kat Fan Club was called "The Abyss," we started to wonder if the sun shiny pop rockers were going dark on us. As the song started out with a flurry of drums, we thought it might have a harder rock edge. But then the vocals came in, and "The Abyss" is everything we love about Kitty Kat Fan Club. It's an upbeat, bouncy alt-rock/pop song. It's the kind of song that would probably have been in MTV's Buzz Bin back in 1995, but now sounds much poppier. It's a gorgeously fun song that's the perfect thing for the warmer weather we're finally starting to have.

You can listen to "The Abyss" below. The song is available now as a single via Asian Man Records. For more on Kitty Kat Fan Club, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 19 March

Artist: Melissa Carper
Album: Daddy's Country Gold
Quick Thoughts: That this came out the same week as a Loretta Lynn album is amusing, because this is some great throwback country. The retro feel from presentation to the actual music feels pure and honest, which isn't always the case with country acts that seem to keep their tongues in cheek. But when you have a song like "Would You Like to Get Some Goats?" how can you resist?
Songs of Note: "Back When," "Old Fashioned Gal," "Would You Like to Get Some Goats?"

Artist: Friedberg
Quick Thoughts: This is only a five-song, 16-minute EP, but my goodness, it is all killer no filler. The first four songs are all addictive poppy bangers, and the closing track, "Your Hollywood," cools things down perfectly. This is probably my favorite overall release this week.
Songs of Note: "Pass Me On," "Lizzy"

Artist: Lana Del Rey
Album: Chemtrails Over the Country Club
Quick Thoughts: I know that Lana Del Rey can be polarizing, but I think there's a feeling that her aesthetic trumps her ability, and that's probably unfair. Yeah, she's a unique voice with a singular look and feel, but these are damn good songs, and if they're not getting stuck in your head, why? I recommend giving this one a shot - it's not really much of a change from her previous fare, but it's good for a reason.
Songs of Note: "Chemtrails Over the Country Club," "Dance Till We Die"

Artist: A.A. Williams
Album: Songs from Isolation
Quick Thoughts: More pandemic tunes, but these are excellent cover songs. I can't resist interesting reinterpretations, and A.A. Williams's style of quiet, introspective folk-style music serves many of these songs quite well. It doesn't hurt that she picks a number of interesting songs to provide the reinterpretation treatment.
Songs of Note: "Lovesong," "Every Day is Exactly the Same," "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans"

Artist: Ghost of Vroom
Album: Ghost of Vroom 1
Quick Thoughts: This is a new Mike Doughty (Soul Coughing) project, and it's pretty great. I was hot and cold on Soul Coughing, but when it worked, wow did it work. This mostly works as well, and it's got a sort of modern twist to it that doesn't feel like an old retread. If you like Soul Coughing or any particular Doughty projects, this is worth your time.
Songs of Note: "More Bacon Than the Pan Can Handle," "Revelator"

b>Artist: Beebe Gallini
Album: Pandemos
Quick Thoughts: Just wanted to highlight this one. Beebe Gallini is not a name I'm familiar with, but this is a fun retro pop/garage-rock record that just works. It's super catchy, has a little grit to it, and is an album I'm excited to go back to this week,
Songs of Note: "To Love Somebody," "My Way of Thinking," "Little Sister"

Artist: Janet Simpson
Album: Safe Distance
Quick Thoughts: Janet Simpson is quickly becoming a favorite for both of us here, and for good reason. This is excellent roots-rooted music that also feels a little fun and subversive. It's always great to trip up on these records, and this one is one of those gems that shouldn't stay hidden.
Songs of Note: "Nashville Girls," "Reno"

Artist: Middle Kids
Album: Today We're the Greatest
Quick Thoughts: Another album that I don't have a ton to say about, but holy crap when it's on it's on. There is no dearth of poppy, melodic stuff throughout the album, but some of the songs in here are some of my favorites of the week. Definitely worth a spin in your rotation.
Songs of Note: "Questions," "Golden Star," "I Don't Care"

Artist: Alex Somers
Album: Siblings/Siblings 2
Quick Thoughts: More a performance piece of experimental art than anything else, this is still a really wonderful soundscape of beautiful music. It's exactly what I'd expect some high-quality ambiest-leaning music to sound like on a whole. While these aren't albums that you pick and choose some songs for a mix, this is one you just need to immerse yourself in.

Artist: Jenn Champion
Album: The Blue Album
Quick Thoughts: This is surely going to annoy some Weezer diehards. It shouldn't, because this is a fun little minimalist cover album from an artist doing some highly overlooked work as is. It's mostly just a synth and a drum machine, and might just be a single Casio for all I know, but it's still a pleasant listen and a unique-yet-faithful interpretation of Weezer's debut. A true highlight is "Surf Wax America," which is a near-perfect song when Weezer performs it, but Jenn Champion's overall aesthetic turns it into a song that wouldn't seem out of place on a 1980s synthpop record.
Songs of Note: "Undone," "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here," "Surf Wax America"

Artist: Boise Cover Band
Album: Unoriginal Artists
Quick Thoughts: This is basically a reissue of a 2002-ish collaboration from Built to Spill's Doug Martch, a series of songs and covers developed through some casual sessions with friends during a BTS hiatus. It's an interesting listen, especially their take on "Back on the Chain Gang," and BTS fanatics will find this endearing.
Songs of Note: "Ashes to Ashes," "Strange," "Back on the Chain Gang"

Of note:

* Mint Julep - In a Deep and Dreamless Sleep
* Jane Inc. - Number One
* Alice Phoebe Lou - Glow
* Indonesian Junk - Living in a Nightmare
* Palm Ghosts - Lifeboat Candidate
* Meemo Comma - Neon Genesis: Soul Into Matter
* Triptides - Alter Echoes
* Too Much Joy - Mistakes Were Made
* Loretta Lynn - Still Woman Enough
* New Pagans - The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots, and All
* Leah Callahan - Simple Folk


* Joe Pug - The Diving Sun (Side A)
* Becca Mancari - Juniata
* Serj Tankian - Elasticity
* Show Me the Body - Survive
* Maria DeHart - Quarantunes

Also out:

* Chad VanGaalen - World's Most Stressed Out Gardener
* Sunburned Hand of the Man - Pick a Day to Due
* Arcade Fire and Owenn Pallett - Her (Original Score)

Amos the Kid - "You Make It So Easy"

The latest song from Winnipeg's Amos the Kid sounds like it was written to perfectly appeal to If It's Too Loud... "You Make It So Easy" fits into the modern folk-ish/Americana movement that we cover a lot, but it's hardly a pure, straightforward folk song. His vocals have a very distinct 90's indie rock slacker feel to them. And then there's what sounds like a steel guitar adding feedback. It's a truly unique sound that incorporates some of our favorite genres all together. Towards the end of "You Make It So Easy" it turns into an epic indie rock song that never would have flown in the 90's. It's always great to hear an artist take a well trod genre (or two) and tweak it just enough to make a new sound.

Amos the Kid says of the new song: 

"'You Make It So Easy' is a feel-good song. It's a look at the things I took comfort in amidst a very different summer. Something that kept me going was daily walks, trying to find the sun. This particular song takes place at a little park near my home. Myself and the person I love would walk there and lay in the grass and talk it out, laughing and drinking cheap wine."

You can listen to "You Make It So Easy" below. No More New Ideas is due out May 14. You can pre-order a copy on Bandcamp. For more on Amos the Kid, check out the artist's Facebook.

Hit Like a Girl featuring Bartees Strange - "Monsters"

Image via Facebook

New Jersey's Hit Like a Girl's new single, "Monsters," is solidly an alt-pop song. It's catchy and poppy, and has a lot of qualities fans of the pop music Jeff writes about will love. But "Monsters" also flat out rocks. It's a hard pop song, with swirling dream pop style guitars and pounding drums. Plus, it's an absolute epic. It starts off small and personal, and then bursts into the kind of stadium rock that would make U2 proud. And then it just gets bigger. The guest starring of Bartees Strange adds a fantastic extra voice for harmony and a new layer to this already robust song.

You can watch the video for "Monsters" below. Heart Racer is due out April 2 on Refresh Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Hit Like a Girl, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

Devils Teeth - "Son of Long Chi"

Image by Ertrok Design

The upcoming album from Milwaukee's Devils Teeth is an interesting one. According to a press release, it's "... a spaghetti western garage rock operetta inspired by the character Long Chi from the martial arts film Bloodsport." The newest single from the album, "Son of Long Chi," exemplifies that description. It's a fast garage rocker heavy on the horns. Maybe it's from watching Quentin Tarantino movies, but the song just feels like a classic car barreling towards you at full speed. Devils Teeth have created a blend of garage rock and surf rock that avoids all the corny elements both genres can fall into. It's a loud, fun burst of pure rock 'n' roll with a dark edge that makes it virtually perfect.

You can listen to "Son of Long Chi" below. La leggenda di Chong Li is due out April 2 on Triple Eye Industries. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Devils Teeth, check out the band on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Dree Leer - "Live Forever"

Photo by JAMRIC

On their latest single, Birmingham, AL trio Dree Leer do the seemingly impossible: They make a catchy as hell pop punk song with the sludgiest guitars imaginable. "Live Forever" is truly a dichotomy of a song. It's this upbeat song that with a different guitar tuning could just be a bouncy pop punk jam for the kids to pogo to. But the guitars just drag this down. Plus, its fun sound is derailed by the song being about how in one hundred years no one will remember any of us. It's a sludgy pop punk tune about our mortality and lack of cultural immortality. But, back in the 1900s, we loved happy/sad songs, so "Live Forever" is quite welcome here!

You can listen to "Live Forever" below. Throw Hands is due out April 30 on Bettamax Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Dree Leer, check out the band's website.

David Wax Museum - "Helen, Can You Forgive Me?"

Photo by Anthony Mulcahy

Over the past few years, David Wax Museum have been tweaking their sound, mostly towards an almost electronic way and away from their Mexican inspired traditional folk. Their latest song, "Helen, Can You Forgive Me?" blows up both of those into something completely new. There is plenty of folk in the new song, but decent amount of the song features David Wax singing in a soul style falsetto. It's a simple sounding song, but it is deeply layered. Instruments come and go seemingly at random, almost like a band member suddenly remembered that there's a piano over there, and maybe it should be used. There's also some serious indie rock style electric guitar used throughout the song. It starts with what sounds like a tremelo effect that would make Mission of Burma proud. Only on the chorus does this sound anything like the David Wax Museum we've come to know and love. It's really captivating to hear a band that is willing to experiment with their sound like this, and we can't wait to hear what's next.

You can hear "Helen, Can You Forgive Me?" below. David Wax Museum are currently previewing songs for their upcoming album via their Patreon. You can join that here. For more on David Wax Museum, check out the band's website.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Needles//Pins - "A Rather Strained Apologetic"

Photo by Eric Thorkelson

The first single from Needles//Pins' upcoming fourth album isn't exactly not emo... but it also isn't not not emo, either. First of all, the title is "A Rather Strained Apologetic" is the most emo song title I've heard in years. And the vocals have that rather strained, emotional yell that 90's emo had before it turned into the flat out 00's whine. Musically, there is hardly a shade of emo in the song. It's an aggressively melodic rager. It has all the noise, thrashy guitars, and crashing drums of 90's indie rock, but at times it has the melody and catchiness of The Beach Boys. It's the perfect song for shouting along to at the front of a stage, once that becomes a thing again.

You can listen to "A Rather Strained Apologetic" below. Needles//Pins' self-titled album is due out May 28 on Dirt Cult Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Needles//Pins, check out the band's Facebook.

Friday Freebie: Mister Vertigo - Indie Nerd Strikes Again (Extended Play)

The latest release from Boston/New Hampshire's Mister Vertigo certainly doesn't sound like anything from 2021 (or 2020, when it came out). The title track, "Indie Nerd Strikes Again," sounds like the 90's. I mean, it really, really sounds like the 90's. Mister Vertigo completely nailed that guitar crunch of the early 90's. The song sounds like early Fountains of Wayne with early Weezer guitar riffs. The refrain of "rock and roll sucks" isn't quite the disparagement of modern rock that it may sound like. With additional lyrics like "Remember 'FNX, remember 'BCN," it's more of the current rock scene sucks, and is incredibly nostalgic for the times when those stations dominated Boston's airwaves. Plus, in 2021, the line "Well I don't know what happened / I was busy that night / I'll make it to the next one if the timing's just right" truly cuts deep.

You can listen to "Indie Nerd Strikes Again" below. Indie Nerd Strikes Again (Extended Play) is available for the "name your price" option via Bandcamp until April 1, so be sure to get yours now! If you do choose the free option, be sure to at least give Mister Vertigo a follow on Facebook.

Friday Freebie: Bobby Ramone - Rocket to Kingston

In 2021, no self respecting music journalist is still covering mash ups. Those went out of style at least five years ago, but probably more like ten. But here at If It's too Loud... we're old enough to not care about being hip like those whippersnapper music blogs, so we can't resist Rocket to Kingston. Billed to Bobby Ramone, Rocket to Kingston takes the vocals of Bob Marley and the music of the Ramones! If that sounds like fun to you, I can guarantee it's even more fun. Plus, it gives the protest message of Bob Marley songs the punk edge they're lacking. The song titles alone make this mash up worth it. My personal favorites are "I Don't Wanna Stand Up," "Today One Love, Tomorrow the World," and "Three Surfin' Little Birds." If you're still digging mash ups, this one is a must listen.

You can listen to "Today One Love, Tomorrow the World" below. Rocket to Kingston is available for the "name your price" option on Bandcamp thanks to Guerilla Asso. They also have a vinyl option, if you'd prefer.