Tuesday, November 29, 2022

First Listen: New Releases for November 25

Artist: Summit Point.
Album: Vulnerable
Quick Thoughts: Loud and noisy in all the right ways, Summit Point. gives a really fuzzy and buzzy alt-rock effort reminiscent both of the mid-1990s and more recent acts like Charly Bliss and Daddy Issues. I loved this album, a late-year favorite in a year packed with winner after winner, but this deserves some of your time. It's absolutely the right album right now.
Songs of Note: "Change," "Settle," "Victim Blaming," "Reproach," "Memorial"

Artist: Tom Jenkins
Album: It Comes in the Morning, It Hangs in the Evening Sky
Quick Thoughts: Tom Jenkins is a solid singer-songwriter who puts out a pandemic-era record that doesn't feel like one, with beautiful and bright songs and a nice feel to it. In a busy week, I would recommend to anyone, but it's kind of the perfect album for the moment and I'm glad to get back to it. Great especially for fans of Travis.
Songs of Note: "In It Together," "It Comes in the Morning, It Hangs in the Evening Sky," "Under the Sun," "Products of the Western World"

Of note:

* Heather - Old Cry, I Walk (Many great moments.)
* i_o and Lights - Warehouse Summer (Another great collaboration between these two electronic acts.)
* Robyn Hitchcock - Shufflemania
* Sylvette - Single Thread
* Stormzy - This is What I Mean
* Fuckwolf - Goodbye, Asshole
* Calm Collapse - Mirrored Nature
* Moxy the Band - Dream Feeling
* Rabit - What Dreams May Come
* Mandala - Basement Flower Bouquet
* The Young Hasselhoffs - Life Got In the Way
* Soulside - A Brief Moment in the Sun
* Shirt and Jack Splash - I Turned Myself into Myself

EPs:

* Mandrake Handshake - The Triple Point of Water
* Elder - Innate Passage
* Gabrielle Aplin - Don't Say
* Cornelia Murr - Corridor
* Walt Disco - Always Sickening
* Bonnie Kemplay - running out of things to say, running out of things to do
* Slikback and Shapednoise - DRS X
* Humour - pure misery
* stargaze - ONE

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Sophie Ellis-Bextor's Kitchen Disco
* Karate - Time Expired

Also out:

* Gentle Stranger - Upon Return

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs - "Mr Medicine"

Photo by Ania Shrimpton

Hailing from Newcastle, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs have released a new single, "Mr Medicine." This one is a little heavier than we typically cover, but we obviously can't resist the band name, and "Mr Medicine" turns out to be a killer hard rocker. This is definitely more hard rock than metal, but it's at the very least metal adjacent. It has that dark sound of early metal that you would get with Black Sabbath, and the groove of a band like Queens of the Stone Age. Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs are the kind of hard rock that metal die hards and casual fans are both going to love.

Vocalist Matt Baty says of the new song:

“Music is a powerful medicine and it should be consumed daily for mental wellbeing. Mr Medicine's faithful and highly regarded colleague is Doctor Gig, who we also have on speed dial. Lyrically I suppose the sentiment is not too dissimilar to Sister Sledge ‘Lost In Music’, only galvanised by heavy, heavy doses of distortion and really big drum fills.”

You can watch the video for "Mr Medicine" below. Land of Sleeper is due out February 17 on Rocket Recordings. The album can be pre-ordered here. For more on Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, check out the band's website.

Bus People - "Luck"


Hailing from Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Bus People have just released their debut single. "Luck" is a lo-fi keyboard jam. It's one of the best examples of modern bedroom indie pop around these days. It's a weird little song that is going to win you over with nothing more than pure charm. "Luck" most likely personifies the description of twee, but I hesitate to call it that because it seems like Bus People are a little more than twee (as much as we adore twee around here). I might stick with that, but the song does erupt into a more standard indie rock ending, which is what helps elevate this song to being spectacular.

Aley Waterman and Scott Sheppard (aka Bus People) say of their new single:

"Our debut single, 'Luck,' was inspired by a nostalgia for being a young teenager in a small town. The conflicts of the time felt so simple when looking back through the lens of adulthood. 


"There’s a calm narrative throughout the verses but we wanted to capture an unhinged energy in the choruses that really reflects a desire to go back to the innocence of youth when that concept becomes an impossibility." 

You can watch the video for "Luck" below. For more on Bus People, check out the band on Bandcamp and Instagram.

The Surfrajettes Cover Mariah Carey


It may be the B-side of the excellent holiday single "Marshmallow March," but how are we not supposed to focus on an instrumental surf rock version of "All I Want for Christmas is You?" The Surfrajettes, who are "Toronto's premiere psychedelic instrumental surfing group," have given us a perfect version of the much beloved and much maligned holiday staple. It's just as fun and bouncy as you'd want it to be, and it's perfect for those of us that secretly love Christmas music but have a complicated relationship with this particular song. Also, be sure to check out "Marshmallow March" as it's also great, but we just happen to be overly obsessed with cover songs.

You can listen to The Surfrajettes' version of "All I Want for Christmas is You" below. The song is currently available via their Bandcamp. For more on The Surfrajettes, check out the band's website.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Emily Breeze - "The Bell"


Emily Breeze's new single is being called a "... 70's CBGB's inspired new wave anthem," but "The Bell" has a lot more going for it. Sure, it definitely has a New Wave inspired sound, and the guitar is straight out of the 70's punk and proto-punk sound, but the song sounds much more modern than that description entails. "The Bell" is mostly a pop song. It's high energy and ridiculously catchy, but that guitar sound keeps one foot planted firmly in rock. Breeze's latest will have you unsure if you want to dance or pogo, so you'll probably try to do both.

Emily Breeze says of her new song:

"[It's] a love song to nights spent in the local pub where you swing by for a quick pint after work. You are probably meeting a friend who is having a crisis, just one quick pint and then straight home. Your first glass is empty just as the conversation is getting to the important part but it's fine, two pints on a work night is totally fine. Crisis friend leaves to put the kids to bed and just as you are putting your jacket on, in walks an old mate who you haven't seen for ages. Go on then, just a half, oh alright yeah a pint, you have a lot to catch up on. You crack jokes and reminisce in the sepia glow of the golden hour and it is fun. Real actual fun. You talk of good times and desperate times, you're getting sentimental now, this is some grade A lager fuelled nostalgia. You stop counting drinks as it’s just started raining and somehow everyone you have ever known and loved is here. A Little Richard song comes on the stereo and you declare that soul and rock n roll are the highest forms of art. You seem to be making a speech and enter a heated debate with that weird guy who always sits at the bar as the quiet voice inside telling you to go home surrenders completely to the pub, the conversation, the good tunes, the cold beer and the old friends.  F**k it tomorrows gonna be alright.”

You can listen to "The Bell" below. Rapture is due out in February. For more on Emily Breeze, check out the artist on Facebook.

Sunny War featuring Dave Rawlings - "Higher"

Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins

Along with recording her new album, Sunny War recently moved from Los Angeles back to Nashville. Her newest single, "Higher," was written at the end of a break up. The song starts like a fairly standard modern folk song, although Sunny War's vocals keep anything from being very standard. As the song progresses, we get more dissonance and noise, and the song gets a little bit heavier without getting faster or changing her vocal delivery. It's a song full of heartbreak with the vitriol that goes along with that. With "Higher," Sunny War continues being one of the most unique voices in Americana/roots music today.

In a press release, Sunny War says of the new song:

“I wrote ‘Higher’ around this time last year, just a few days after my ex collected the last of his belongings from our apartment. The break up was fresh and I was thinking about all the years we spent together. I was also thinking about how much stronger I was before our relationship.  I remember feeling really weak at the end… I knew it was over when I didn't even have the energy to fight anymore. The ‘I am out of remedies, at least I'm not a liar’ lyric sums up how I felt when I knew it was really over and time to be honest about it. All I could do at that point was let go and try to figure out how to get back to whoever I was back when I respected myself. It was the same person my ex was attracted to in the first place that he unknowingly destroyed."

You can listen to "Higher" below. Anarchist Gospel is due out February 3 on New West Records. The album can be pre-ordered here. For more on Sunny War, check out the artist's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the song.


11/30/2022 - Cherry Street Tavern - Chattanooga, TN
12/1/2022 -  Bijou Theatre - Knoxville, TN
2/22/2023 - Joe's Pub - New York, NY 
2/23/2023 - Kennedy Center - Washington, DC 
2/24/2023 - Kennett Flash - Kennett Square, PA 
2/25/2023 - Narrows Center for the Arts - Fall River, MA 
2/26/2023 - Cafe Nine - New Haven, CT 
2/27/2023 - Atwood's Tavern - Cambridge, MA 
2/28/2023 - Press Room - Portsmouth, NH 
3/1/2023 - One Longfellow Square - Portland, ME 
3/2/2023 - Zen Barn - Waterbury Center, VT 
3/3/2023 - Funk N Waffles - Syracuse, NY 
3/4/2023 - Caffe Lena - Saratoga Springs, NY 
3/7/2023 - The Loft @ Manor Mill - Monkton, MD 
3/8/2023 - Richmond Music Hall - Richmond, VA 
3/9/2023 - Grey Eagle - Asheville, NC *
3/10/2023 - New Brooklyn Tavern - Columbia, SC *
3/11/2023 - The Earl - Atlanta, GA *
3/12/2023 - The Basement East - Nashville, TN *
3/14/2023 - White Water Tavern - Little Rock, AR *
3/15/2023 - Ponyboy - Oklahoma City, OK *
5/27/2023 - Strawberry Music Festival - Grass Valley, CA 
* w/ Sarah Shook & the Disarmers

Molly Burch - "Cozy Christmas"/"December Baby"


We've passed the Thanksgiving threshold, so now we can start bringing you Christmas music in earnest! Molly Burch released a full Christmas album in 2019, and now she's back with two brand new Christmas singles. According to an email to fans, "'Cozy Christmas' is for when you are really excited about a winter crush and 'December Baby' is for if that crush doesn't work out." The two songs play excellently back to back for that reason. "Cozy Christmas" is an overly upbeat indie pop song. It's kind of like an indie pop version of "All I Want for Christmas is You." "December Baby" is a much more downtempo song that's more like Burch's earlier indie goes crooner music. Both are stellar holiday songs perfect for all of your playlist needs.

You can listen to "Cozy Christmas" and "December Baby" below. The songs are ouit now via Captured Tracks and can be purchased here. For more on Molly Burch, check out the artist's website.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

NOVA ONE covers Angel Olsen


Even if you've never gotten into Angel Olsen, you know and love "Shut Up Kiss Me." It's just one of those universally beloved songs. Since we're huge fans of NOVA ONE and covers, we obviously have to bring you their cover of the Angel Olsen classic! NOVA ONE's version of "Shut Up Kiss Me" is a Roz Raskin solo track, with just their vocals and guitar. It's stripped down, but it still sees Razkin using tracks to harmonize with their own vocals. Beyond the charities the single will benefit, this is a great cover of a great song that you're going to need to check out.

You can listen to NOVA One's version of "Shut Up Kiss Me" below. The song is available via Bandcamp. Proceeds will be split between RIOT RI (an RI based non-profit offering music programming for women, girls, trans, and non-binary folks) and the victims of the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs. For more on NOVA ONE, check out the artist's website.

Carsie Blanton - "Rich People"

Photo by Shervin Lainez

One thing we love about Carsie Blanton is how she has mastered making music that sounds so sweet while being so viciously political at the same time. Her latest might be her sweetest and most vicious yet. "Rich People" is a jazzy, nightclub style song railing against the wealthy and how they are the root of all of our problems. It namechecks both Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher as the ones who set this all up, so CW if you're on the conservative side of things. You've never heard a line like "Rich people been fucking us all" delivered quite as sweetly as Blanton does here.

You can listen to "Rich People" below. For more on Carsie Blanton, check out the artist's website.

Hollow Hand - "Heaven Just Watched"

Photo by Holly Macve

Hollow Hands is the musical project of Brighton based musician Max Kinghorn-Mills and has just released a new single. "Heaven Just Watched" is an interesting mix of 70's era Americana tinged folk rock and more modern forays into indie rock while being all psychedelic. It has all of that sunniness of the California 70's psychedelic folk scene and a little of the edge of 90's psychedelic indie rock. This is perfect if you adore the music of bands like The Byrds and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. It definitely has that weird vibe while still being just mainstream enough to kinda be pop-ish.

Max Kinghorn-Mills says of the new single:

"Chaos reigns & London is in flames, 1666. The lyrics for ‘Heaven Just Watched’ are based on a diary I kept when I moved into London to work on music. I was reading Peter Ackroyd’s definitive biography of the city & totally immersed in the mythology & hidden rituals which form the foundations of the city’s architecture. I imagined myself walking through those streets. Nothing has meaning, there are no gods, choose your own adventure."

You can watch the video for "Heaven Just Watched" below. Your Own Adventure is due out March 3 on Curation Records. The album can be pre-ordered/pre-saved here. For more on Hollow Hand, check out the artist's Twitter and Instagram

Hallelujah the Hills Cover The Smashing Pumpkins and Joanna Newsom


For their Patreon, Hallelujah the Hills have a monthly "Hills Cover Sessions" where they learn two cover songs which they arrange and record in a room together over a few hours. This month they decided to release their two covers to the public, and they are The Smashing Pumpkins' "1979" and Joanna Newsom's "Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie." Joanna Newsom seems more akin to Hallelujah the Hills' own style, and the cover shows that. Their cover of "1979" is stellar, in that it's an almost completely torn down and rebuilt version. While the original is a perfect example of that mid-90's post grunge alternative that was just starting to become dance music although we'd never admit it sound, Hallelujah the Hills' version is a slowed down version that almost grinds to a halt, complete with an almost industrial level of noise and feedback. Leave it to them to take one of the prettiest and most mainstream songs of that era and dirty it up this much. Although it still has that epic quality to it that The Smashing Pumpkins' original had. For "Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie," Hallelujah the Hills lean more into their folky side. It's not quite as minimalist as Joanna Newsom's original, but it's as minimalist as a six member band can get.

To hear Hallelujah the Hills' covers of "1979" and "Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie," head on over to their Patreon. While you're there, you should obviously join their Patreon. For more on Hallelujah the Hills, check out the band's website.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Tanukichan - "Don't Give Up"

Photo by Brendan Nakahara

Tanukichan may be the project of Bay Area musician Hannah van Loon, it is also a collaboration between van Loon and Chaz Bear of Toro y Moi. The project's newest single, "Don't Give Up," is this odd mixture of chillwave, shoegaze, and nu metal. (I honestly didn't pick up the nu metal until I saw it mentioned in the press release, but now I can't unhear it...) "Don't Give Up" has the unmistakable electronic chill of bands like Massive Attack and Stereolab, the fuzz of shoegaze, and the oddly aggressive riffs of nu metal. This song should not work at all, but Tanukichan pull off this unique sound masterfully. It's one of the more unique and familiar sounding songs we've brought you in a while.

Hannah van Loon says of the new single:

"This song is about feeling I haven’t done anything with my life, but also knowing that I’ve accomplished a lot and it’s only getting better. I started writing the lyrics when I was on tour opening for the Drums after my first album came out. We were playing sold out shows in front of hundreds of people, but I knew it could change in an instant. I felt like I hit rock bottom emotionally, I wasn’t ready for the road and it killed me. I felt so disconnected from the band even though they were my backbone and were making it happen. The only thing that really helps me at that point is feeling like I can just let everything go, and we all die. Just accepting the fact that I can’t control anything and that in the end it doesn’t matter. We will all disappear. I wrote the chorus years later when I was finishing a bunch of the songs. I didn’t want it to be depressing, even though that’s where it came from. It came from giving up but I wanted to keep going. I wanted it to mean something moving on from the negative and I came up with a ridiculously positive chorus. Don’t give up now you know there’s another day, just know you’re going to get to a better place, a better place meaning a better place in life, or 'heaven,' just nothingness where all your worries are gone."

You can watch the video for "Don't Give Up" below. GIZMO is due out March 3 on Company Records, and can be pre-ordered here. For more on Tanukichan, check out the artist's Twitter and Instagram. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.


3/23 Sacramento, CA @ The Starlet Room 3/24-3/26 Boise, ID @ Treefort Music Festival 4/21Portland, OR @ Polaris Hall 4/22 Vancouver, BC @ Fox Cabaret 4/23 Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern 4/26 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry 4/27 Chicago, IL @ Sleeping Village 4/28 Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups 4/29 Toronto, ON @ The Garrison 4/30 Montreal, QC Bar @ Le Ritz 5/2 New York, NY @ Baby's All Right 5/3 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's 5/4 Washington, DC @ Songbyrd 5/8 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall Upstairs 5/9 Austin, TX @ Mohawk (Indoors) 5/10 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada 5/12 Denver, CO @ Globe Hall 5/13Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Block Party 5/15 Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar 5/16 San Diego, CA @ Casbah 5/17 Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo 5/19 San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill

Quasi - "Doomscrollers"

Photo by John Clark

Quasi (which we all know is the collaboration of Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss) have a new single that is exactly what we expect from them and a refreshing change at the same time. "Doomscrollers" is an upbeat, happy alt-rock/pop song, but it's also shockingly dark at the same time. The song is called "Doomscrollers," so you're going to expect some level of darkness, but tying this level of dark with this level of upbeat is almost whiplash inducing. It's also a straight up alt-rocker for the most part, but at times there are added strings that give the song a cinematic feel. Quasi's upcoming album will be their tenth, so it's great to see a band with that much music still finding ways to surprise us.

You can watch the video for "Doomscrollers" below. Breaking the Balls of History is due out February 10 via Sub Pop, and can be pre-ordered here. For more on Quasi, check out their Facebook and Twitter. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.


Wed. Dec. 07 - London, UK - The Victoria

Fri. Feb. 10 - Boise, ID - Neurolux ^

Sat. Feb. 11 - Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court ^

Mon. Feb. 13 - Albuquerque, NM - Sister ^

Wed. Feb. 15 - San Antonio, TX - Paper Tiger ^

Thu. Feb. 16 - Houston, TX - White Oak Music Hall ^

Fri. Feb. 17 - Austin, TX - The Parish ^

Sat. Feb. 18 - Dallas, TX - Club Dada ^

Mon. Feb. 20 - El Paso, TX - Lowbrow Palace ^

Wed. Feb. 22 - Phoenix, AZ - Rebel Lounge *

Thu. Feb. 23 - Pioneertown, CA - Pappy and Harriet’s *

Fri. Feb. 24 - Los Angeles, CA - Zebulon *

Sat. Feb. 25 - Oakland, CA - Starline Social Club *

Sun. Feb. 26 - Sacramento, CA - Starlet Room

Thu. Mar. 02 - Vancouver, BC - Fox Cabaret #

Fri. Mar. 03 - Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern #

Sat. Mar. 04 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge # !

Tue. Mar. 14 -Boston, MA - The Sinclair %

Wed. Mar. 15 - Kingston, NY - Tubby’s %

Thu. Mar. 16 - Ridgewood, NY - TV Eye %

Fri. Mar. 17 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s %

Sun. Mar. 19 - Durham, NC - The Pinhook %

Tue. Mar. 21 - Atlanta, GA - 529 %

Wed. Mar. 22 - Birmingham, AL - Saturn %

Thu. Mar. 23 - Nashville, TN - Blue Room at Third Man Records %

Fri. Mar. 24 - St. Louis, MO -  Off-Broadway %

Sat. Mar. 25 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle %

Sun. Mar. 26 - Columbus, OH - Ace of Cups %

Mon. Mar. 27 - Detroit, MI - Third Man Records %

Tue. Mar. 28 - Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe %

 

^ w/ Yuvees

* w/ Hurry Up!

# w/ No.2

! w/ Shaylee

% w/ Bat Fangs

First Listen: New Releases for 11 and 18 November 2022

November 11:

Artist: Smut
Album: How the Light Felt
Quick Thoughts: Smut is the sort of comfortable indie rock that I love, where it's not doing anything particularly revolutionary but is still doing what they do better than anyone else in the moment. Don't overlook this listen, there's a lot of great music to love in here.
Songs of Note: "Soft Engine," "Believe You Me," "Morningstar"

Artist: Delivery
Album: Forever Giving Handshakes
Quick Thoughts: This album has a lot going for it, and its refusal to conform to any specific genre is a benefit when many acts could treat it as a drawback. This album won me over right away, and will likely win you over, too.
Songs of Note: "Poor-to-Middling Moneymaking," "Baader Meinhof," "No Homes," "Good"

Artist: A7PHA
Album: II
Quick Thoughts: I wanted to highlight this because it's great, but also because it reminds me a lot of when Tricky made a pseudo-rap album and this has a similar feel in all the right ways. "Rapper are Haunted" is lowkey one of my favorite songs of the last few months.
Songs of Note: "Just Run," "Internet Boyz," "How Far," "Rappers are Haunted"

Artist: STL GLD
Album: Rock Boyega
Quick Thoughts: In a rap-heavy week, our favorite rappers from New England are back with another album of banger after banger, with a great mix of music and message to go along with it. How they aren't huge at this point is still beyond me, but if "Resisting" doesn't become a protest anthem there's something wrong with the world.
Songs of Note: "Thug," "My Block," "Resisting"

Artist: Homeboy Sandman
Album: Still Champion
Quick Thoughts: The other rap highlight of this week is Homeboy Sandman, who has a new album that feels old school both in its delivery (like in "Satellite") and in approach (like with the chorus of "Radiator"). He's another rapper that should be a lot bigger than he is. Make time for this.
Songs of Note: "Satellite," "Radiator," "News to Me"

Of note:

* Pomplamoose - Daft Pomp (A covers album of Daft Punk songs.)
* Imogen Heap and Dan O'Neill - Chordata Bytes I (Technology and animal-inspired tunes.)
* Actress - Dummy Corporation
* Illogic - The Transition
* Fenella - The Metallic Index
* Womb - Dreaming of the Future Again
* Fitz and the Tantrums - Let Yourself Free
* Elizabeth Moen - Wherever You Aren't
* Suzie Chism - Pobrecita
* Nas - Kings Disease III
* Venus Ex Machina - Doxa
* Orchid Mantis - How Long Will It Take
* Christina Vantzou - No. 5
* Breanna Barbara - Nothin' But Time
* Ruin the Nite - Sound the Alarm
* Gold Panda - The Work
* FaltyDL - A Nurse to my Patience
* Sarathy Korwar and Photay - KALAK
* Hyd - Clearing
* deux furieuses - Songs from Planet Earth
* Richie Culver - I Was Born By the Sea
* Full EFX - Headrush
* The Endorphins - Nothing is Real
* Plaid - Feorm Falorx
* Nervous Eaters - Monsters + Angels

EPs:

* Tyondi Braxton - Telekinesis
* Too Many Zooz - Pecking Order
* Waiver Wire - Wasted Time Well Spent
* flowerovlove - A Mosh Pit In The Clouds
* Snooper - Town Topic
* Scene Queen - Bimbocore Vol. 2
* Jordana - I'm Doing Well, Thanks for Asking
* Little Snake - Driving on Acid
* Helena Hauff - Living With Ladybirds
* Jambinai - Apparition
* Jamestown Revival - Songs That Sleigh

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Run the Jewels - RTJ QU4TRO (Spanish remixes from their latest.)
* Groove Armada - GA25

November 18:

Artist: bis
Album: Systems Music for Home Defence
Quick Thoughts: bis is a classic alt-rock act that I have the same reaction to every time: I wish I listened to them more. This latest album leans heavy on the electronic influences, and it works pretty well. Old school fans might not love where they went with this, but for me, it was pretty great. Check it out.
Songs of Note: "Shopping for Tattoos," "Headaches," "Stress"

Artist: Shake Chain
Album: Snake Chain
Quick Thoughts: This album is bound to be polarizing for a lot of people. I absolutely loved it, and it's likely my favorite of the week: it's commonly unexpected and unpredictable, and it just sticks with you. It's the sort of angular indie rock that should be more popular than it is, and I highly recommend giving it a shot this week.
Songs of Note: "Copy Me," "Mike"

Artist: Velveteen
Album: Empty Crush
Quick Thoughts: Much like Smut last week, Velveteen provides a comfortable, enjoyable listen in a busy and weird week. If songs like "Just Like Autumn" don't grab you, I don't know what will.
Songs of Note: "7th Heaven," "Entwined," "Just Like Autumn"

Artist: Weyes Blood
Album: And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow
Quick Thoughts: Weyes Blood consistently does her own thing, and does it absolutely beautifully. In a way, this latest album is probably the best manifestation of her songwriting we've gotten yet. It's haunting, it's brutally honest, it's theatrical without feeling performative, and the songs are stellar. Don't miss out on this one.
Songs of Note: "Children of the Empire," "Hearts Aglow," "The Worst is Done"

Artist: Gladie
Album: Don't Know What You're In Until You're Out
Quick Thoughts: Gladie's latest continues along the indie singer-songwriter track that's made me such a fan. It's a quick hit of an album with some great songs interspersed throughout, so don't skip this one in a busy week.
Songs of Note: "Born Yesterday," "Mud"

Artist: Backxwash
Album: HIS HAPPINESS SHALL COME FIRST EVEN THOUGH WE ARE SUFFERING
Quick Thoughts: Backxwash is another rapper who won Canada's Polaris Prize for her previous record, which was well deserved even though it's rare to see a horrorcore-leaning act garnish the sort of critical acclaim she has. This new album is a lot starker in all areas, from the instrumentation to the tone, and it's strident and sincere in ways most acts try to avoid. Make time for this.
Songs of Note: "Vibanda," "Zigolo"

Artist: Caitlin Rose
Album: CAZIMI
Quick Thoughts: I've been a fan of Caitlin Rose for a few years now, and this album acted as a great reminder as to why I find her music so appealing. Solid roots stuff, a step above a lot of what's out there. Worth your time if this is your genre.
Songs of Note: "Modern Dancing," "Nobody's Sweetheart," "Black Obsidian," "Holdin'"

Artist: Bothers
Album:
Quick Thoughts: I wanted to highlight this because metal is decidedly not my genre, but this won me over. I don't know why or how, but songs like "Washed Out" just grabbed me and this ended up being an enjoyable one this week.
Songs of Note: "Washed Out," "Black Teeth Sadness"

Of note:

* Veps - Oslo Park (Solid alt rock.)
* Melissa Carper - Ramblin' Soul (Honest roots music.)
* Billy Strings - Me / And / Dad (Billy Strings is a real talent.)
* Boyhood - My Dread (When this is on, it's on)
* The Winston Brothers - Drift (Great instrumental funk.)
* Maple Run Band - Used to Be the Next Big Thing
* The Sorry Kisses - Hang From a Star
* Helen Ganya - polish the machine
* Anna Mieke - Theatre
* American Thrills - Parted Ways
* Errol Holden - Joe Frog
* Lenny Lashley's Gang of One - Five Great Egrets
* Bern Kelly - Garden City
* Those Poor Bastards - God Awful
* Quinn Christopherson - Write Your Name in Pink
* Soft Blue Shimmer - Love Lives in the Body
* Pulse Emitter - Dusk
* Royksopp - Profound Mysteries III

EPs:

* Elizabeth M. Drummond - Congratulations (I loved this so much.)
* Weeping Icon - Ocelli
* The Wombats - Is This What It Feels Like to Feel Like This?
* Ellie Moon - Bad TV
* Gut Health - Electric Party Chrome Girl
* Ricky Desktop - Grammy Beatpack Vol. 1
* Tim Heidecker and The Very Good Band - Live in Boulder
* Collider - Excessively Worthwhile
* Phoebe Bridgers - So Much Wine
* GOON - Red Ladder
* Joshua Burnside - Late Afternoon in the Meadow (1887)
* Panda Swim - Downer
* Lunar Vacation - A Living Room Christmas
* Denzel Himself - Goth Cowboy: Country Songs for Grudge-Holders
* Zola Jesus - Alive in Cappadocia
* Michaela Anne - Happy XMas
* Sneaks - The Eva EP
* Eric Hilton - Present Past and Future
* Trophy Wife - Voyeur
* MYTBE - Good Enough
* Ruby Haunt - Cures for Opposites
* Born at Midnite - Alternty
* Hit Like a Girl - Becoming
* Tula Vera - Shape Shifter

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Grain Thief - Ain't Hungover Yet
* Nickel Creek - Live From the Fox Theater
* The Mountain Goats - The Jordan Lake Sessions: Volume 5
* Sarah Davachi - In Concert and In Residence

Also out:

* Amos Lee - My Ideal (A Tribute to Chet Baker Sings)
* Apollo Brown and Philmore Greene - Cost of Living
* Vado - Long Run Vol. 3

Live Shows: Letters to Cleo & THICK, Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA 11/19/22

Poster by Daykamp Creative

I usually try to avoid nostalgia shows and tours. While most people my age seem to adore them, it's not typically my thing. Many bands from the 90's come around once a year around the same time, play the exact same venue, and play basically the same setlist. It could be because I've seen a lot of these bands before, and usually for a lot cheaper than the shows cost now. I'm more into having a new or unique experience than I am having the same one over and over. Plus, you get a lot of middle aged people trying to relive their college and teen years, including trying to drink like they did twenty to thirty years ago. However, there are always exceptions to every rule, and mine is Letters to Cleo.

I've seen Letters to Cleo more than any other band. I'm not quite sure how many times, but I'd guess over twenty, maybe over thirty. Even though they play the Paradise every year, they always find a way to mix it up. This year saw a quick five song acoustic set to start things off. They were joined by Meghan Tracey on keyboards opened with one of their newer songs, "Back to Nebraska," which was surprising but somehow worked. One great thing about Letters to Cleo shows these days is that there are very few newbies. It's typically a diehard crowd who is perfectly fine with opening with a new song. The second song was a brand new song which sees Kay Hanley fantasizing about murdering her abusive high school boyfriend. Obviously that received a great reaction. From there we got "Step Back" and "Little Rosa," which are two obvious songs for an acoustic set. They closed this portion of the show with their cover of Nick Lowe's "Cruel to Be Kind."

After this, it was pretty much a greatest hits show. It's easy to forget just how many great songs Letters to Cleo have, but songs like "Go!," "Demon Rock," "Pizza Cutter," and of course the big hits of "Here and Now" and their cover of "I Want You to Want Me" will always be crowd pleasers. While many of their contemporaries can leave the impression that they're going through the motions for a paycheck, that's not the case with Letters to Cleo. Michael Eisenstein in particular seemed to be having the time of his life. This is the kind of band that has been playing to a lot of the same people for decades, and it's always fun to see them spot a familiar face in the crowd.

To help make this year's Homecoming shows a little special, they brought in a horn section for the encore. "Sparklegirl," "Rim Shak," and "Acid Jed" were particularly great with horns. It's definitely not a necessary addition, but a fun one to make this weekend's shows unique for the diehards.

Brooklyn's THICK opened the night. I've been a fan since discovering their album Happy Now back in August. It's a great album, but their live show is stellar. It takes all of the fun of the album, but with a more raw, noisy edge. Their pop side makes them a perfect opener for Letters to Cleo, but they're just a little more punk than I expected. Plus, they definitely love playing to a crowd. They definitely won over even those in attendance that just wanted to hear what they already knew. Seriously, get out to see these ladies while they're still in small venues, because they won't be for long.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Penny Rich - "Last Meal"


Buckle up before you listen to this new song from Penny Rich. The Cardiff based band has released a monster of a song in "Last Meal." The song was inspired by death row inmates in the US being allowed to choose their last meal before being executed. This is a bombastic and loud song mixing the very best elements of both punk and grunge. Nirvana comparisons are going to be made with this band quite a bit, but I'm also hearing hints of The Jesus Lizard, Death from Above 1979, and Dead Kennedys. "Last Meal" just bursts into a breakneck speed right from the start and never lets up. We say this a lot, but you're going to want to keep an eye on Penny Rich. This band could end up doing huge things.

Penny Rich says of their new song:

“The song explores the idea of a last meal as a metaphor for empty, superficial pleasures, indulged in to temporarily escape the anguish, anxiety or depression the consumer may be experiencing. It’s the juxtaposition between feelings of superficial satiety and profound emptiness. In short: empty pleasures that fail to cure the real issues at play.”

You can listen to "Last Meal" below. For more on Penny Rich, be sure to check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

Toeheads - "Mixed Up"


Detroit is just one of those cities that seemingly cranks out killer garage bands. Toeheads just released a new single, and it's possibly the most Detroit sounding thing we've brought you all year. "Mixed Up" has that early 00's garage revival sound minus all the slickness that usually entails. This one is just pure unhinged rock and roll with a punk edge. It could be a song from a lost Nuggets compilation if songs on those albums rocked this hard. It's a lot of fun and a little ridiculous, but since it throws back to the 00's garage rock revival, 70's Detroit proto-punk, and vintage 60's garage rock, what else would you expect?

You can listen to "Mixed Up" below. A Cruel Winner's World will be released on Big Neck Records. For more on Toeheads, check out the band's Facebook and Instagram.

Only Child - "Defeater"

Photo by Jillian Vaccaro

Boston singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Christopher James Martin is releasing music under the name Only Child. This music is dscribed as "queer Boston synth pop," and his new single under that moniker is stellar. "Defeater" is as much fun as the queer Boston synth pop description sounds. It's an upbeat synth heavy pop song that is humorous without being jokey, despite the song being about heartbreak. Of course, since it's a synth heavy song "Defeater" is going to get compared to a lot of 80's music, but Only Child doesn't sound entirely like an 80's throwback. It's oddly cinematic and ridiculously fun. Seriously, if you can't enjoy this one you truly need to take a long hard look at yourself.

Christopher James Martin says of his new single:

“‘Defeater’ is kind of a continuation of the themes covered in ‘Don’t Call Me BB’, about being infatuated with someone you shouldn’t be, with the added twist being, ‘you tell yourself you know better, but you’re still falling for it.’ In some ways, I feel like ‘Defeater’ distills what I was trying to do with this EP and this whole project, both sonically and lyrically, in one song.”

You can listen to "Defeater" below. Srs One is due for release in 2023. For more on Only Child, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.