Friday, October 29, 2021

The Cutthroat Brothers and Mike Watt - "Like a Zombie"

You know we couldn't close out Halloween week without another Halloween themed song, right? Somehow The Cutthroat Brothers and Mike Watt have another collaborative album coming out, and the latest single is "Like a Zombie." This new song is just classic blues based garage punk. It's the kind of song garage rock bands did in the 60's to capitalize on Halloween. It even opens with a howl, which I simply can not resist. Plus, there are more than a few nods to classic horror punk, so "Like a Zombie" is basically a lost classic horror rock song minus it being lost. You're going to want to play the hell out of this one this weekend, or, if you're anything like me, all year round!

You can watch the video for "Like a Zombie" below. Devil in Berlin is due out December 3 on Hound Gawd! Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on The Cutthroat Brothers, check out their website.

Remedy starring Inspecta Deck - "Death Defying"

Photo via Facebook

Remedy has been a Wu-Tang affiliated rapper since 1998's Wu-Tang Killa Bees: The Swarm, contributing "Never Again" to the album. Since then he's produced albums from Inspectah Deck and Cappadonna and released his own album The Genuine Article in 2001. He's set to release a new solo album, and "Death Defying" is the first single from that album. It features Inspectah Deck, and it is exactly what we want and expect from anything Wu-Tang related in 2021. It has a huge classic hip hop sound that is going to make middle aged Wu-Tang fans very happy without sounding like a throwback jam. 

You can watch the video for "Death Defying" below. Remedy Meets Wu-Tang will be out November 26 and features guest spots from Method Man, Ghostface Killah, RZA, Cappadonna, and more. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here. For more on Remedy, check out the artist on Facebook and Twitter.

Sara Radle Covers The Monkees

Photo by Abby Linne

I first discovered Sara Radle when she was a member of The Rentals. That led me to discovering her other bands like Lucy Loves Schroeder and Calamity Magnet, along with her solo work. She's been fairly quiet on the musical front focusing more on a film career, but for Halloween she's released a five song medley of Monkees classics! In the video she's playing the parts of all four of The Monkees, and it's clearly a labor of love. These are spot on covers from a devoted fan with just the slightest modernization. If you have any sense of fun or joy, you're going to love this.

Sara Radle says of her cover choice:

"The Monkees were my first favorite band, so when Otik Records asked me to be a part of their Halloween Covers Show again, I knew what I needed to do - create a love letter to The Monkees by recording a five-song medley (playing all the instruments and singing all the parts) then shoot and edit a video with me playing Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones, Peter Tork, and every member of the audience."

You can watch the video for Sara Radle's Monkees tribute below. For more on Sara Radle, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Grave Danger - "Specter Inspector"

There's a meme that goes around every so often saying that ska is the sound that plays in a twelve year old's head when they get an extra mozzarella stick in their order. Goth is traditionally very mopey, sad music. You would never expect a band to combine those two sounds, so when we got an email for a band described as a "ska-goth collective," there is just no way we're not listening.

Grave Danger's latest song, "Specter Inspector," is definitely much more ska than goth. It has that upbeat, horn heavy sound associated with goth, but then again The Cure's "Why Can't I Be You?" exists, so... I'd call this more Halloween themed ska, although it does have an ever so slightly darker sound than ska typically does, so maybe this is just as goth as ska can get.

David Schwantes of Grave Danger says of the new song:

"I've always enjoyed "ska spy songs", in the tradition of Spy Market by Let's Go Bowling and Seventh Street Gangster by Dance Hall Crashers and I thought the phrase "specter inspector" was just funny. This song was a chance to lean into a driving bass line, a slinky horn part, and lots of organ and build a film noir style detective world full of ghosts and supernatural intrigue."

You can listen to "Specter Inspector" below. The song is currently available over at Bandcamp. For more on Grave Danger, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter.

Ghost Woman - "Do You"

Canadian multi-instrumentalist Evan Uschenko has been a touring member of bands like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, but is now striking out on his own under the name Ghost Woman. When you hear that an artist recorded their music in an abandoned barn that has since burned down, Ghost Woman aren't going to sound like what you'd expect. Their new single, "Do You," is an odd little slinky garage rock jam. It's comprised of slightly off tuned fuzzy guitars that call out to you like a siren with some psychedelic jam band drumming. Uschenko's vocals have this droning and hypnotic feel. The whole thing reminds me a lot of The Dandy Warhol's heyday. 

You can watch the video for "Do You" below. It is available now as a single via Full Time Hobby here. For more on Ghost Woman, check out the artist on Twitter and Bandcamp.

Strange & the Familiars - "Pretty Deadly"

Portland, OR's Strange & the Familiars (led by Stephanie Strange) take inspiration from "... the fantastical comic book themes of Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore, the gothic humor of Tim Burton, and the dramatic flair of live storytelling theatre." Regular readers of If It's Too Loud... are going to immediately think of bands like Charming Disaster and Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys, and that will be accurate. "Pretty Deadly" has the drama of both of those bands, and it combines dark folk, cabaret, and indie rock in a unique way. It even boasts a truly impressive loud/quiet/loud dynamic. The quiet parts remind me a lot of the more folk side of The Huntress and Holder of Hands, and the loud is just straight up (ish?) rock and roll. Any time an artist reminds me of a few of my favorites but in a truly unique way, I'm going to be fully on board!

You can watch the video for "Pretty Deadly" below. Strange World is due out October 31. For more on Strange & the Familiars, check out the artist's website. If you happen to be in Portland, OR, they are playing October 31 at Jack London Revue.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

This Lonesome Paradise - "Creatures of the Night"

Oregon's This Lonesome Paradise are back with a new single before their new album comes out on Halloween. "Creatures of the Night" has that "Western noir" we've come to love from the band, but it adds in a crooner element and a doo wop element. If you've always loved those genres but wished they could sound much, much darker, this one is definitely for you. What I'm coming to truly adore about This Lonesome Paradise is how they take traditional and classic American sounds and filter them through a dark sonic prism. Even the sound feels warped on "Creatures of the Night" like you're listening to this on a record you found in a basement closet underneath boxes of junk. And I mean all that as the best possible compliment.

You can listen to "Creatures of the Night" below. Electric Dreams is due out October 31 on American Standard Time Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on This Lonesome Paradise, check out the artist's Instagram.

Anna Vincent - "Nothing Wrong"

Photo by Max Bloom

Anna Vincent has been making music for two decades with bands like My Tiger My Timing and Heavy Heart. She's all set to release her solo debut. "Nothing Wrong" is the latest offering from her upcoming album. The song melds classic 90's alternative/power pop like Juliana Hatfield and Teenage Fanclub with more modern artists like Lucy Dacus and Phoebe Bridgers. It's a fuzz filled alternative pop rocker that moves around at a medium pace and sucks the listener in with Vincent's mesmerizing vocals and hypnotic instrumentation. It's a compelling song despite having strong roots you've definitely heard before.

You can watch the video for "Nothing Wrong" below. Under the Glass is due out October 29 on Ultimate Blends. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Anna Vincent, check out the artist's website.

The Surfrajettes Cover The Lancasters

Photo by Courtney Reader

The Surfrajettes (which I think we can all agree is one of the greatest band names of all time) are "Toronto's premiere psychedelic instrumental surfing group." For Halloween they've released a cover of The Lancasters' iconic "Satan's Holiday." Even if you're not familiar with The Lancasters and think you've never heard "Satan's Holiday," I guarantee you know this song. It's most likely the most famous classic surf song with Halloween/spooky elements. The Surfrajettes do an absolutely spot on perfect cover of the classic, and in the video they're all wearing matching devil costumes, so really... how can you not love this?

You can watch the video for The Surfrajettes covering "Satan's Holiday" below. For more on The Surfrajettes, check out the band's website.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 22 October

Artist: Aaron and the Lord
Album: Aaron and the Lord
Quick Thoughts: I've honestly been hit and miss on Aaron Perrino's work - The Sheila Divine, which is probably as close to legendary indie act in Boston as there can be, never quite did it for me, while I felt the Dear Leader project was truly great and I enjoyed No Hope/No Harm - but this newer side project is super solid. It's certainly alt rock, but it's also got some off-center concepts around it, and some of the songs featuring Tanya Donnelly feel truly inspired. I'd recommend it for any Perrino fans out there, but especially those who like to listen to him when he treads off the beaten path.
Songs of Note: "Helpful Visions," "World on Edge"

Artist: Jackson+Sellers
Album: Breaking Point
Quick Thoughts: I love both Jade Jackson and Aubrie Sellers, but I somehow completely missed the part where they were joining forced on a rockin' roots effort. This is a great listen, and it's one that's likely to resonate for a while. One might hope that this team-up might raise both their profiles, but for now, we benefit from a pretty great roots effort.
Songs of Note: "Breaking Point," "Hush," "Wound Up"

Artist: Slow Crush
Album: Hush
Quick Thoughts: This is the sort of hazy, fuzzy stuff we love here. I don't have a ton to say about this sophomore shoegaze effort, but I do know that I'm really happy to have heard it and it's a really solid listen on a whole. If shoegaze is your scene, add this to your rotation.
Songs of Note: "Swoon," "Bent and Broken"

Artist: Snotty Nose Rez Kids
Album: Life After
Quick Thoughts: We've discussed Snotty Nose Rez Kids here before, and these indigenous rappers are really pretty great. Their first few albums were nominated for a slew of awards, and this latest continues along the trajectory of politically and socially minded rap music we've come to expect. The whole album is great, and if you haven't gotten on board with the duo yet, now's as good a time as any.
Songs of Note: "If I Die Today"

Artist: Mega Ran
Album: Live '95
Quick Thoughts: Mega Ran trades in his video game-themed raps for a basketball-themed one, and it works so, so well. It's both personal and fun, and that goes a really long way across the board, but it's also interesting how well Mega Ran interweaves a lot of the cultural touchstones of basketball fandom with his own experiences. It's just a really interesting and great listen. Don't miss it.
Songs of Note: "Faces of Fear"

Artist: Melanie Beth Curran
Album: San Benedito Beach
Quick Thoughts: This was sent over last minute, and man, when this works, it works. This is primarily a folk effort, to be sure, but there's something different about this that ends up being super appealing in all the right ways. It's a little bit of fun, a little serious, but has a pretty solid mix of ideas and themes on a whole.
Songs of Note: "Fish Monger Blues," "Say That You Will"

Of note:

* The Exbats - Now Where Were We (A solid return with a lot of poppy, fun moments.)
* Lonely Guest - Lonely Guest (A project featuring Tricky.)
* Bedouine - Waysides (Probably her most accessible, mainstream effort yet.)
* Lana Del Rey - Blue Banisters (Not nearly as good as Chemtrails from earlier this year, but still solid.)
* Diamondtown - Diamondtown (Reverb-heavy rock, feels like it's out of the 1980s.)
* The Juan Maclean - I Want the Night
* Angel Du$t - YAK: A Collection of Truck Songs
* My Morning Jacket - My Morning Jacket
* Duran Duran - FUTURE PAST
* Clinic - Fantasy Island
* Wet - Letter Blue
* La Luz - La Luz
* Deerhoof - Actually, You Can
* Gabriel Bernini - You Got Me
* Big D and the Kids Table - DO YOUR ART
* Parquet Courts - Sympathy for Life
* Hawthonn - Earth Mirror
* Spose - Get Rich or Die Ryan
* Helado Negro - Far In
* Hand Habits - Fun House
* Dummy - Mandatory Enjoyment
* Roedelius and Dallas Acid - Mind Cinema
* Tristan Arp - Sculpturegardening
* Soley - Mother Melancholia
* Ouri - Frame of a Fauna


* Okay Kaya - The Incompatible Okay Kaya
* Bleach Lab - Nothing Feels Real
* Olafur Arnalds - The Invisible EP
* Cuffed Up - Asymmetry
* GIRLI - Damsel in Destress
* Travis - The Invisible Band Demos
* Nada Surf - Cycle Through
* Hey, Chels - Brick Roads
* Elita - Anxiety Angel
* Shn Shn - e.strange.d
* MALINDA - Sea to Sky

Also out:

* Guided By Voices - It's Not Them. It Couldn't Be Them. It Is Them!
* Every Time I Die - Radical

Ric Wilson & Yellow Days - "Life's Been Good to Me"

Photo by Jay Lewn

Chicago rapper Ric Wilson has teamed up with Yellow Days, the musical project of London's George Van Den Broek. The collaboration's first single, "Life's Been Good to Me," is a disco/hip hop/funk hybrid. It reminds me a lot of the early 90's P-Funk inspired hip hop, especially a song like Ice Cube's "Bop Gun." But, you know... more disco than that. It goes without saying, but "Life's Been Good to Me" is a fun song. Disco, hip hop, and funk are some of the most fun genres of all time, and I could see this being played at thousands of parties on both sides of the Atlantic as the year goes on.

You can listen to "Life's Been Good to Me" below. Disco Ric in London Town is due out October 29. You can find out more about Yellow Days here, and more about Ric Wilson here. Dates for a collaborative tour are below the song.

Wed. Nov. 10 - Seattle, WA @ Showbox
Thu. Nov. 11 - Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
Sat. Nov. 13 - San Francisco, CA @ The Regency
Mon. Nov. 15 - Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst
Tue. Nov. 16 - Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory OC
Fri. Nov. 19 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex - Vertigo
Sat. Nov. 20 - Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
Tue. Nov. 23 - Chicago, IL @ Metro
Wed. Nov. 24 - Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theater
Fri. Nov. 26 - Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
Sat. Nov. 27 - Montréal, QC @ Théâtre Fairmount
Mon. Nov. 29 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Tue. Nov. 30 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Thu. Dec. 2 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club - Music Hall
Fri. Dec. 3, 2021 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

Alex Lahey - "Spike the Punch"

Photo by Nick McKinlay

We've been big fans of Alex Lahey for a few years now. Her ridiculously combination of indie rock, pop punk, and straight up punk is basically perfect even if two middle aged dads are probably not her target audience. Her latest single, "Spike the Punch," drops a lot of the indie rock and pop punk and just straight up pop rock. Knowing my musical taste I should truly hate this, but Lahey pulls off the near impossible and gets me to love a pop song. If there is such a thing as a song that is too catchy, "Spike the Punch" may very well be it, but since there isn't it's just a great song.

In a press release, Alex Lahey says of the new song:

‘Spike The Punch’ is a song about the fun that comes with self-sabotage and reckless abandon. It's big, it's loud, it's fun, it's its own beastThere are some super sinister tones in there rubbing up against really bright anime style guitar harmonies (guitarmonies, anyone?..) and shout choruses. Spike feels like a raucous bookend to navigating these cruelly unpredictable times. Touch wood.”

You can watch the video for "Spike the Punch" below. The song is available as a single via Liberation Records here. For more on Alex Lahey, check out the artist's website.

Melissa Ferrick Covers Sleater-Kinney

Photo by Shervin Iainez

Melissa Ferrick is a legendary singer/songwriter based out of Boston. They are a Berklee trained musician who is currently a Professor of the Practice at Northeastern University and a former Associate Professor of Songwriting at Berklee College of Music. Ferrick isn't an obvious choice for a Sleater-Kinney cover, but they've recorded a version of "You're No Rock N' Roll Fun" as part of Kill Rock Stars' thirtieth anniversary covers series Stars Rock Kill (Rock Stars). While I said they weren't an obvious choice to cover Sleater-Kinney, now that you know it exists it is kind of a dream cover, isn't it? Ferrick takes more of a traditional folk/rock look at the Sleater-Kinney classic, but since it is Ferrick it does have their non-traditional take on the standard classic singer/songwriter thing. Both Melissa Ferrick and Sleater-Kinney are wonderfully unique artists, and this cover reflects that.

You can listen to Melissa Ferrick's version of "You're No Rock N' Roll Fun" below. For more on the Stars Rock Kill (Rock Stars) project, head over to Kill Rock Stars' website. For more on Melissa Ferrick, check out the artist's website.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Brandie Blaze - "They Calling Me Blaze"

Photo via Facebook

Of all of the killer hip hop coming out of Boston these days, Brandie Blaze seems poised to be the next one to break out nationally. Her latest single, "They Calling Me Blaze," has an intensity that is missing in a lot of hip hop these days. It's intense despite being a mid-tempo to mellow track. The intensity is completely in Blaze's vocals. If anything, the music has an ultra laid back feel that you'd hear in a Snoop Dogg song. But Blaze is just throwing emotion and intensity all over this track with her flow. She's an impossibly captivating performer, and "They Calling Me Blaze" truly showcases that.

In a Facebook post, Brandie Blaze says of the new song:

"During this pandemic, I went through a serious mental health crisis. I didn't want to perform anymore. I would cry before sets because I was forcing myself to do it. I delayed my 3rd album by a year. My pen was dry. I had to focus on getting myself together. I dropped the ball on a lot of shit. But I'm back and I'm ready."

You can watch the video for "They Calling Me Blaze" below. For more on Brandie Blaze, check out the artist's Facebook.

Cherry Blaster - "New Age"

Toronto's Cherry Blaster started off as a bedroom project of Iulia Ciobanu. It was a solo laptop synth project but has morphed into a three piece band. Their latest single, "New Age," definitely keeps that synth heavy bedroom project vibe. It starts off with some sparse keyboard noodling and some beats that sound like a drum machine. The focus is Ciobanu's vocals, which meander around almost as much as the instrumentation does. Eventually the song fills out in sound without losing any of the charm of the beginning.

Iulia Ciobanu says of the new song:

"Whether the bigger source of this fear was external or internal, as I approached my thirties, I couldn't shake the feeling that my "time was up" as an aspiring musician. One morning in my late twenties I woke up from a dream in which my silver hairs were turning pink and I was struck by the image. I turned this into a song that extended the dream into an alternate reality where I could transform myself into a forever young cyborg. Over the next few years, the song's deeper meaning about self-acceptance through aging coalesced with the original idea to result in an all-pink, soft-sci-fi music video that ended up being shot the day before my 30th birthday."

You can watch the video for "New Age" below. For more information on Cherry Blaster, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

Monday Mix: If It's Too Loud... Halloween 2021 Playlist

For the 2021 If It's Too Loud... Halloween playlist, I did what I've been doing the past few years: As soon as the 2020 playlist was posted, I created a new one and started adding to it. Every time I stumbled onto a song deemed appropriate, I added it. After a year, the playlist ballooned to eighty nine songs and five and a half hours! There's a ton of new stuff released in the past year (The Exbats, Viagra Boys, Nervous Dater, Hard Nips, The Jacklights) there are also plenty of classics (Sonic Youth, L7, Neil Young, The Cramps, Pulp) in here. It covers a wide variety of musical genres, and it's long enough to cover any of your Halloween plans! Plus, since Halloween isn't until Sunday, we get a whole week to listen. Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2021

Ghostkeeper - "Grassy Plains"

Calgary's Ghostkeeper are a unique band that has created a patchwork sound all their own. Their latest single, "Grassy Plains," is this oddball indie rock song that kind of reminds me of bands like The Magnetic Fields or Beat Happening. This isn't necessarily because of Ghostkeeper sound like these bands, but just the overall vibe. (If that makes any sense...) "Grassy Plains" is groovy in the way that Sonic Youth were sometimes groovy in the early 90's. It's the kind of song you're going to either love or hate, or perhaps be intrigued enough to give it a couple extra listens just to be sure how you feel.

In a press release, Ghostkeeper say of their new single:

"Our new single, 'Grassy Plains,' charts a fantasy based on a post-apocalyptic scenario where the protagonist’s man has gone off to fight as a revolutionary soldier.
"Driven to seek the help of the minegishi (sacred little people), she gathers medicine and words to bring her love home.
"We sought to capture the story of lovers in a dystopian time who lament the distance between them as they struggle to find each other in one realm or another."

You can watch the video for "Grassy Plains" below. You can get a copy of the song here. For more on Ghostkeeper, check out the band's Facebook.

Chime School - "Wait Your Turn"

San Francisco musician Andy Pastalaniec started off as a drummer in bands like Pink Films, Cruel Summer, and Seablite. His latest project, Chime School, sees him taking over as singer and songwriter. Chime School's new single, "Wait Your Turn," combines the 60's San Francisco pop/folk/psychedelic scene with 90's indie rock. The song has this irresistibly sunny vibe. Particularly at the beginning you get a strong sense of bands like The Byrds or Jefferson Airplane. As the song progresses, the noise starts to kick in. It's drenched in sunshine and soaked in feedback, combining sounds that could have existed if Nirvana hadn't mocked The Youngbloods in "Territorial Pissings."

You can watch the video for "Wait Your Turn" below. Chime School's self-titled debut is due out November 5 on Slumberland Records. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here. For more on Chime School, check out their Twitter.

Friday Freebie: The Thorazines - Songs in the Key of Death

We don't get too many Halloween releases, but when we do we're sure to bring them to you especially if they happen to be free! Melbourne, Australia's The Thorazines just released Songs in the Key of Death. It's a four song EP that's a pop punk tribute to the 1986 film Trick or Treat, aka the heavy metal horror movie that stars Skippy from Family Ties and features appearances from Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons. The Thorazines have recorded four songs as a tribute to the movie. All four songs are decidedly pop punk, but that kind of pop punk that's heavily metal influenced and has a harder edge to it. This EP is a bunch of fun, especially if you've seen the movie recently enough to get all the references. I'll be trying to find it on a streaming service this weekend because while I think I've seen it, if I did it would be decades ago.

You can listen to "Fuck with Fire" below. Songs in the Key of Death is available for the name your price option on Bandcamp. If you do choose zero, be sure to give The Thorazines a follow on Facebook.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Joell Ortiz - "OG"

If you're going to be a rapper who calls a song "OG," it better be as old school as possible. Joell Ortiz delivers that. "OG" is pure hip hop. There are no R&B choruses and no auto-tune. It's more early 90's hip hop than 80's, but that's just the slicker production that wasn't available in the 80's. Plus, it's a song that talks about how wild and crazy life once was, but now Ortiz is in the suburbs with high cholesterol and shopping in Home Depot for a gazebo, but very happy with that since he's one of the ones that is still alive. It's one of the great songs about hip hop gracefully entering and thriving in middle age.

In a press release, Joell Ortiz says of the new song:

I feel so lucky to be able to call myself an 'OG.'  Where I come from adulthood isn’t always a guarantee.  But here I am, alive, and well and still doing what I love to do.  Music.  As life changes, so does my story.  Just happy to still be able to share it with you all the best way I know how.  Over these beats! Yaowa”

You can listen to "OG" below. Autograph is due out November 12 on Mello Music Group. You can pre-order/pre-save a copy here. For more on Joell Ortiz, check out the artist's Twitter.

Odd Circus Covers Sonic Youth

It's no secret that I'm an obsessive Sonic Youth fan, so I'm going to be hyper critical of any Sonic Youth cover. Luckily, Orlando, FL's Odd Circus mailed it. According to their Bandcamp bio, Odd Circus are an "Improv trio exploring the suspension of space and time. Post-rock, fusion, no wave, noise, experimental, garage rock, psychedelic, sci-fi prog." For their Sonic Youth cover, they chose "The Wonder," the first in the trio of songs that make up the ending of 1988's immortal Daydream Nation. It's an instrumental cover, with Graham Robertson's saxophone covering for vocals. Odd Circus put together an explosive version of "The Wonder" that is immediately recognizable to fans of the original despite being it's very own thing. I would have thought it would be impossible to record a Sonic Youth cover that is faithful to the original without guitar, but this is done masterfully.

You can listen to Odd Circus' cover of "The Wonder" below. The song is available on Bandcamp. For more on Odd Circus, check out the band's website.

Maida Rose - "Every Day is Blue"

Photo by Anne Lieke Heusinkveld

On their latest single, Dutch dream pop band Maida Rose lean towards the poppy side of dream pop. "Every Day is Blue" sounds like the title of a song from The Smiths or The Cure, and it very well could be. It's a laid back, upbeat sounding pretty little song that showcases the vocals of Roos Meijer. It's the kind of song you could easily not pay attention to the lyrics of and just have a grand time listening. Of course, with a title like "Every Day is Blue," this isn't a cheerful song at all. This has been my favorite type of song dating back at least thirty years now: Pretty and happy sounding hiding a much sadder and darker meaning, so Maida Rose work for me on this one.

Roos Meijer explains the meaning behind the song:

"Depression is something that is hard to grasp if you’ve never suffered from it. I remember that I found it really challenging to communicate with friends and family who clearly had no idea of what it was like. They tried their best to say the right thing and to cheer me up, but it sometimes felt like they were unconsciously trivialising the state that I was in.

"At the time the only thing that you want to do is curl up underneath a blanket and dissapear. I think deep down you know that this won’t do any good, but it’s a piece of knowledge that you’re trying to ignore.

"That’s why we decided to make the song quite playful; to highlight the contrast within. It’s almost a bit rebellious, which is an attitude that I remember vividly from adolescence, which is the main theme of the whole [upcoming] album."

You can watch the video for "Every Day is Blue" below. The song is available as a single via Believe. For more on Maida Rose, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 15 October

Artist: Le Ren
Album: Leftovers
Quick Thoughts: Probably my favorite listen this week, Le Ren offers a folky effort that excels at really great melodic and musical content. I don't know much of anything about this act, but she seems to be a transport from the 1960s in her overall approach, and this debut is one I'll be going back to very quickly.
Songs of Note: "Dyan," "Who's Going to Hold Me Next?"

Artist: Julia Shapiro
Album: Zorked
Quick Thoughts: Julia Shapiro excels in the sort of shoegazey stuff I know I love. This record gives me some real Marissa Nadler vibes, for sure, but it's really its own thing in a lot of respects. I really enjoyed this, it's the right kind of heavy for me this week.
Songs of Note: "Come With Me," "Zorked"

Artist: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Album: Georgia Blue
Quick Thoughts: This is a charity record for Georgia elections, so know that going in, but a really interesting album with a little bit of everything bookended with two solid R.E.M. covers. It's clear that Isbell and company had a lot of fun with this one, and that fun is spread about the entire run time. It's really perfect at what it's trying to dom and that's all that matters.
Songs of Note: "Nightswimming," "Driver 8," "Cross Bones Style," "Honeysuckle Blue," "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed"

Artist: Lilly Hiatt
Album: Lately
Quick Thoughts: We love Lilly Hiatt here, and I'll say that I love her even more after hearing this record. It's roots done right, and feels reminiscent of early Lydia Loveless. This is such a high-quality album from top to bottom, with just the right serving of twang to make this stand out. I loved this album, and you will too.
Songs of Note: "Been," "Face," "The Last Tear"

Album: Optimist
Quick Thoughts: Finneas, the producer/collaborator brother of Billie Eilish, is out with a new album that honestly feels a lot like what I hoped the new Billie Eilish album would. I know it's an unfair comparison, but the sort of standouts that Eilish's debut had make similar appearances here, especially with "The Kids Are All Dying," which is a nearly perfect political song for these times. Make some time for this one.
Songs of Note: "Around My Neck," "The Kids Are All Dying"

Of note:

* Tom Morello - The Atlas Underground Fire (Enough good moments to make this worth hearing.)
* Dark Mark and Skeleton Joe - Dark Mark vs Skeleton Joe (It has a lot of fun alt-rock moments.)
* Dos Santos - City of Mirrors (Great Spanish language rock.)
* La Femme - Paradigmes : suppléments (Some really interesting French electronic/synthy pop stuff.)
* The Courettes - Back in Mono (Very reminiscent of early Raveonettes.)
* Maria Kelly - the sum of the in-between
* BLACKSTARKIDS - Puppies Forever
* I Mean Us - Into Innerverse
* Pokey LaFarge - In the Blossom of Their Shade
* Kacy Hill - Simple, Sweet, and Smiling
* Cœur de pirate - Impossible à aimer
* Buffalo Nichols - Buffalo Nichols
* Dinner Time - Halfway Down
* Purple Disco Machine - Exotica
* Glok - Pattern Recognition


* Zack Fox - shut the fuck up talking to me
* Jordana and TV Girl - Summer's Over
* Qveen Herby - Halloqveen
* Alice Longyu Gau - High Dragon and Universe
* Field Music - Another Shot EP
* A.A. Williams - arco
* Hand Habits - Clean Air
* Johnny Marr - Fever Dreams Pt. 1
* Lunice - Stacker Upper Deluxe

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Melvins - Five Legged Dog (An acoustic effort.)
* Faye Webster - Live at Electric Lady
* Another Michael - Unplugged Music and Big Sessions

Also out:

* Tunic - Quitter
* Grafh and DJ Shay - Stop Calling Art Content

BODEGA - "Doers"

We're thrilled that we have new music from Brooklyn's BODEGA. BODEGA have become one of our absolute favorites of the new crop of ultra dance friendly post punk ever since I saw them opening for Jon Spencer + The Hitmakers back in 2019, and "Doers" solidifies our love even more. "Doers" keeps the main elements we've loved from BODEGA. It's all groove and funk, but it's also a mid-tempo alt-rock song. There's far more fuzz lingering behind the song than you'd expect from BODEGA, and "Doers" sounds like it could be crossover mainstream hit if the music industry was still built like it was in the 90's. If they aren't already one of your favorites, these folks are going to endear themselves to you by this time next year.

You can watch the video for "Doers" below. Broken Equipment is due out March 11 on What's Yr Rupture? You can pre-order a copy here. For more on BODEGA, check out the band's Facebook.

Jeff Tweedy Covers Neil Young

Photo by Alexa Viscius

I'm tempted to say that this seems like it was released just for me, but obviously Jeff Tweedy covering Neil Young is going to appeal to a lot of people. Last year Jeff Tweedy released Love is the King, an Americana solo album. December will see the release of a deluxe reissue, which will include a second disc that includes live versions of every track on Love is the King plus a cover of Neil Young's "Old Country Waltz." It's an interesting choice taken from Neil Young's 1976 recorded and 2017 released album Hitchhiker. The main difference is that Young's original is just him solo and Tweedy's includes a full band, but it sounds exactly like what you'd expect Jeff Tweedy covering Neil Young to sound like, and who doesn't want that?

You can watch the video for Jeff Tweedy's version of "Old Country Waltz" below. Love is the King/Live is the King is due out December 10 on dBpm Records and is sure to be on many a dad's Christmas wishlist. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Jeff Tweedy, check out Wilco's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.

Wed. Dec. 22 - Chicago, IL @ Metro
Thu. Dec. 22 - Chicago, IL @ Metro
Tue. Dec. 28 - Los Angeles, CA @ Largo *
Wed. Dec. 29 - Los Angeles, CA @ Largo *
Thu. Dec. 30 - Los Angeles, CA @ Largo *
Sat. Jan. 1, 2022 - Los Angeles, CA @ Largo
Sun. Jan. 2, 2022 - Los Angeles, CA @ Largo
Wed. Jan. 5, 2022 - San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore
Thu. Jan. 6, 2022 - San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore
*= Jeff Tweedy solo

Shovels & Rope - "Domino"

Photo by Leslie Ryan McKellar

According to Shovels & Rope, their upcoming album is going to be their heavy metal album. Well, heavy metal for them. As Michael Trent says, "It’s not heavy metal, but in our guts, it feels a bit like Heavy Metal." You'll get what he means when you hear the first single from the album. "Domino" is still based in the folk and early rock 'n' roll we've come to adore from Shovels & Rope, but you can see why the South Carolina duo would call this their heavy metal album. Instead of sounding like heavy metal, "Domino" contains the spirit of heavy metal. There is just the slightest hint of the attitude and edge of heavy metal that is typically missing in a Shovels & Rope song. It still sounds like them, but just the slightest hint of a band expanding their sound after ten years is always welcome.

You can watch the video for "Domino" below. Manticore is due out February 18 on Dualtone. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Shovels & Rope, check out the band's website.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Morgan Harper-Jones - "All I Do"

Photo by Katie Silvester

Morgan Harper-Jones is folk-ish in the way that Bon Iver and Cat Power are folk-ish. Sure, her new single is folk, but only because it technically fits the guidelines of folk. "All I Do" shows Harper-Jones stripped bare. It's a raw and emotional song made even more raw by how minimal the song is. There are instruments here, but the focus is primarily on Harper-Jones' voice. "All I Do" has piano, drums, and a few other instruments, but all you'll truly remember is the emotion in her voice. This is a truly gorgeous song you won't forget any time soon.

Morgan Harper-Jones says of the new single:

“‘All I Do’ really woke me up to how overindulgent I can be in the wake of a break-up, or loss of any kind (a relationship/ moment/ feeling). I wouldn’t allow myself to move on, instead I’d figure out how I could get it back or control the outcome, meanwhile life continued to go on around me and I was missing it.”

You can watch the video for "All I Do" below. The single is available now via Play It Again Sam. For more on Morgan Harper-Jones, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

Wet Leg - "Chaise Longue"

Photo via Facebook

Wet Leg are a duo hailing from Isle of Wight and consist of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers. They've released two singles that have slipped by us, but luckily for us all I stumbled upon them this weekend. Their first single, "Chaise Longue," is an impossibly fun post punk/indie rock track. Even at it's most mellow and quiet with very limited instrumentation, "Chaise Longue" is groovy as it could possibly be and will have you moving. Plus, it's filled with double entendres so blatant so aren't really double (including the "butter your muffin" line from Mean Girls). Artsy rock is rarely this much fun, but Wet Leg are a blast. They are one of those bands that are going to be much bigger in a year, and absolutely huge in five. Jump on this bandwagon now.

You can watch the video for "Chaise Longue" below. The song is available as a single via Domino Recording Company. For more on Wet Leg, check out the band's website.