Free Range is the musical project of Chicago based Sofia Jensen. Their latest single, "All My Thoughts," is a gentle blend of modern traditional folk with some pop melodies. Jensen's vocals are reminding me a lot of Elliott Smith, and "All My Thoughts" is a middle ground between Smith's later, more polished material and earlier, more DIY music. Jensen adds much more twang into this song which really gives it a sound truly all its own. This song has such an intensely intimate feel that it's one of those that feels like the artist is standing with you just waiting for your reaction to it. Something tells me we'll be covering Free Range as long as we are able to.
Sofia Jensen says of their new song:
“I had been going through a rough time in the months leading up to that, and suddenly being physically isolated from everyone I knew caused me to lean further into a lot of dark thoughts I was having.”
You can watch the video for "All My Thoughts" below. The song is available now via Mick Music. For more on Free Range, check out the artist on Instagram and TikTok.
Boston's Prateek continues his musical evolution. His latest single, "Diamonds," is still rooted in folk and roots music, but it sees Prateek experimenting with a few different genres. It's a little like a ramblin' folk song mixed with blues, soul, and early R&B. There is also more than a little of a rock edge to this one, especially in the guitar solos which are indie rock solos mutating into blues. This song is an absolute epic. For Prateek to have gone from a fairly straightforward singer-songwriter to "Diamonds" with its meandering between genres and styles shows a huge amount of growth as an artist. If you haven't yet, it's time to join us on the Prateek bandwagon ASAP.
You can listen to "Diamonds" below. For more on Prateek, check out the artist's website.
With the previous singles off The Nervous Eaters' upcoming album, I've noted that they're more on the mellow side, but since the Boston punk legends have been around for almost five decades it makes sense. With "End of the World Girl" they're bringing back the rock. It may not quite have the same edge that 70's punk had, but this is a loud rock and roll song with just a little punk flavoring. Steve Cataldo still has a great yell that is showcased here, and there is just enough fuzz behind the guitar to make this one stand out. If this isn't punk, it at least sounds like a punk band doing a faithful Creedance Clearwater Revival cover.
Steve Cataldo says of the new song:
"When I wrote 'END OF THE WORLD GIRL' last year, I had no idea the song might turn out to be somewhat prophetic. With so many world leaders talking about WW3 and atomic warfare, there’s no telling what might happen. I would say, today, right now, is the best time to 'Heat up the oven an get some Good Lovin' going on or better yet, how about a date with a 'streetwalking, sweet talking, End of The World Girl.'”
You can watch the video for "End of the World Girl" below. Monsters + Angels is due out November 11 on Wicked Cool Records. The album can be pre-saved and pre-ordered here. For more on The Nervous Eaters, check out the band's website.
The latest from Boston's FEEP (aka the band that took their name from WNAC-TV's 1960's horror host) is pure classic garage rock. "Waiting" is just soaked in psychedelia. The keys are going to remind you a lot of ? and the Mysterians, and then the tremelo on the vocals give the song a 13th Floor Elevators vibe. Of course, neither of those bands had as much background screaming as "Waiting" does. FEEP have crafted a ridiculously fun song with some killer vintage vibes. Let's hope this new band sticks around for a while to keep gifting us quality tunes.
Guitarist and co-vocalist Bobby says of the new song:
“It’s a bit of a personal story, so I’d rather not say too much. But I’d say generally it’s about a sense of existential ‘couch lock’, wanting to move but liking the comfort of your current situation at the same time.”
You can listen to "Waiting" below. FEEP Has Landed is due out sometime in the Fall. For more on FEEP, check out the band's website.
Urban Heat are a post-punk band out of Austin, TX. For their latest single, they enlisted Party Nails for additional vocals. "Have You Ever?" definitely lands on the New Wave and pop side of the post-punk genre. It's a truly fun song that is more of a modern take on 80's New Wave than it is a complete throwback. Singer Jonathan Horstmann has a voice that is just perfect for this genre. It's the kind of voice that you haven't heard in about thirty five years. It's an edgy version of classic New Wave with a modern pop twist.
Jonathan Horstmann explains how the three members of Urban Heat started making music together in 2019:
“There's not a ton of other Black musicians in Austin who play rock, and having that representation was important to me. I didn't wanna be the only Black artist in an otherwise all-white band."
You can watch the video for "Have You Ever?" below. For more on Urban Heat, check out the band's website.
Boston's Radio Compass have a new single that sounds like Boston in the mid-90's, which is pretty much my musical sweet spot. "Stay High" is this wonderful slice of fuzzy power pop. It's almost impossibly upbeat and just filled with killer harmonies with a punk edge. Plus, the guitars just have that crunch you rarely hear this many years later. It's the kind of song that's going to just cram itself into your skull for many, many days, so be prepared for that. This is just a ridiculously fun song that is far more than just a press on my personal nostalgia button, and I just wish I had discovered Radio Compass earlier than now.
Frontwomxn Angela Lee says of the band's new album:
"Aloha is genre-bending and doesn’t follow the typical rules of how to record an album, what a band looks like or means, how I typically write for that matter. Without a doubt it’s a very personal album to me (and probably very relatable to many), an imperfectly perfect musical diary of the past couple of years."
You can watch the video for "Stay High" below. Aloha is available now via Sound Investment Records, and can be purchased through Bandcamp. For more on Radio Compass, check out the band's website.
Not enough bands cover The Minutemen. The San Pedro, CA 80's punk legends are one of the most influential bands of all time, but I can't remember the last time I heard a band cover one of their songs. Since Horsegirl's Versions of Modern Performance is one of my favorite albums of the year, I was thrilled to see they released a cover of "History Lesson Part 2" off 1984's iconic Double Nickels on the Dime. It's one of the more mellow and groovy songs in the Minutemen's catalog, and Horsegirl don't stray very far from the original. Although, if anything, Horsegirl's version is just a tiny bit more noisy. But it's made me a bigger Horsegirl fan, and I'll be listening to Double Nickels on the Dime for the foreseeable future, so it definitely did its job.
The band says of the cover:
“‘History Lesson Part 2’ has always been a punk manifesto for us. It was an unusual pick to cover considering the lyrics are so specific to Minutemen, but we thought there was something appealing too about recording a 'History Lesson' that doesn’t actually give you any history on us."
You can listen to Hosegirl's take on "History Lesson Part 2" below. For more on Horsegirl, check out the artist's website.
Back in October 2017 I walked towards Great Scott disappointed that had missed opener Caroline Rose. I really enjoyed her 2014 album I Will Not Be Afraid with her groovy version of country in songs like "Blood on Your Bootheels." As I walked inside, I had my hopes up since the bizarro DEVO goes a little country sounding band that was playing was obviously not Caroline Rose. Turns out it was, and between 2018's LONER and 2020's Superstar I grew to love her new hyper and strange take on pop music.
Caroline Rose is back with a new song, and she's changed up her sound even more. At her surprise set at the Here and There Festival, she mentioned that she had recently fallen back in love with acoustic music, and while that's evident with "Love / Lover / Friend," it won't be in the way that you expect. There's something very French pop in this song, as well as chamber pop or even orchestral. "Love / Lover / Friend" truly focuses on Rose's vocals, which her songs haven't done in the past. When I first started to listen to it, I expected this sound to just be an intro to a more energetic poppy song, but it maintains this style throughout. This is a gorgeous song that builds and wanes throughout, meandering between pop and more experimental as it goes on. Just when you think you "get" Caroline Rose, she puts out a masterpiece like this that just floors you.
You can watch the video for "Love / Lover / Friend" below. The song is available as a single via New West Records, and can be found here. For more on Caroline Rose, check out the artist's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.
Tue. April 4 - Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Wed. April 5 - Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Thu. April 6 - Boston, MA @ Royale Sat. April 8 - Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern Sun. April 9 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre Tue. April 11 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer Wed. April 12 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall Fri. April 14 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club Sat. April 15 - Richmond, VA @ Richmond Music Hall Sun. April 16 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle Tue. April 18 - Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel Wed. April 19 - Nashville, TN @ Brooklyn Bowl Fri. April 21 - Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall Sat. April 22 - Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom Sun. April 23 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue Tue. April 25 - Denver, CO @ The Gothic Theatre Fri. April 28 - Seattle, WA @ The Showbox Sat. April 29 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom Wed. May 3 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore Fri. May 5 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre Sat. May 6 - Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy & Harriet’s
The week before Halloween seems like the ideal time to release a song called "Witch's Back Door," and New Jersey's Tula Vera have gifted us with that. Tula Vera's song is this laid back blues rocker that is both right in that genre but with its own little twist. "Witch's Back Door" has this killer groove and blues rock guitar solos, but in this interesting little indie rock way. This is just to the left of the mainstream of blues rock, but just a little to the left. The highlights of the song are Claire Parcells' vocals and the guitar solos. The vocals alternate between this gentle and sultry sound and just erupting with a surprising power. The guitar solos are just epic in a classic dirty blues kind of way. Even though it's obviously perfect for a Halloween playlist, you'll be pulling this one out to listen well past October 31.
You can watch the video for "Witch's Back Door" below. Shape Shifter is due out November 18. For more on Tula Vera, check out the band's website.
Boston psych-punkers The Endorphins have released a new single raging against what they regularly see on social media. "Myopic Dystopia" is a fast and angry song that still keeps plenty of melody intact. It's as trippy as much as it rocks, and while it lands on the more mainstream side of the alt-rock spectrum that's not necessarily a bad thing. It has the kind of psych groove you'd hear from early Queens of the Stone Age but with the accessibility of your favorite Foo Fighters songs. The Endorphins are the kind of band that could break out at any moment, so you're going to want to jump on this bandwagon ASAP.
Singer/guitarist Matt Bass says of the new song:
“This is one of the more personal songs on the record. It was one of those I had in my head before writing anything down. It's basically a song about my frustrations and concerns about these times. I spend way too much time dwelling on stupid shit, but there's this weird feeling of hopelessness a lot of people seem to be feeling these days, but we are so distracted by so many things to realize it. We're so overexposed to content and advertising to the point where it seems it’s created this mindless scroll of absorption we all do. It just feels like we're heading to this very gray era, algorithms are deciding everything we see; feels like we're passing into narrow visions of our individuality. All of the decisions are being made for us.”
You can listen to "Myopic Dystopia" below. Nothing Is Real is due out on November 11. For more on The Endorphins, check out the band on Facebook and Twitter.
Massachusetts based punk band OH THE HUMANITY! have been kicking around for ten years now. Just before making the trek down to Florida for The Fest, the five piece have released a new single. "Worth Nothing" is a fast and thrashy skate punk track that is almost too catchy. According to the press release, the song is "... a sharp political punk anthem about the soul crushing day to day of consumerism and capitalism." A little warning about the song: You're basically guaranteed to be walking around singing the chorus of "You keep telling us we're worth nothing / You're killing us / Killing us killing us killing us slowly" for the next few days, so if you don't work remotely, be careful with that one.
You can listen to "Worth Nothing" below. The song is available now via Bandcamp. For more on OH THE HUMANITY!, check out the band on Facebook and Twitter.
When we brought you "Synthetic Fabrics" from Elizabeth Moen last month, I described it as having "... elements of indie rock, pop, soul, and garage rock." Her latest single, "Wherever You Aren't," is a much straightforward song. This one is more of a singer/songwriter track with touches of country and folk. The focus of "Wherever You Aren't" is Moen's vocals, which are both powerful and absolutely lovely. She has the type of voice that's going to suck you in, and considering how stark the instrumentation is on this song, your vocals just command attention. This is reminding me a lot of First Aid Kit and their traditional folk goes pop sound.
You can listen to "Wherever You Aren't" below. Wherever You Aren't, the album, is due out November 11 and can be pre-ordered here. For more on Elizabeth Moen, check out the artist's website.
Of course I was aware of Fucked Up, but I don't think I ever started listening to them until I started listening to singer Damian Abraham's podcast "Turned Out a Punk." Whenever his band got brought up they just sounded intriguing to me, and I've been a fan ever since.
What intrigued me about Fucked Up were things like one album being just one song and the fact that they once played a twelve hour show. That level of experimentation continues with their new album which saw them writing and recording an entire album in one day. The first single from that album, "One Day," is far more melodic than you would expect from Fucked Up. Musically it's reminding me a lot of a band like The Beths. It's an upbeat, fairly poppy indie rock song with fun little harmonies. That is, except for Abraham's lead vocals which are still that of a hardcore frontman. "One Day" should not work at all, but that's what makes Fucked Up so great. They are the rare band that can pull this off.
You can listen to "One Day" below. One Day, the album, is due out January 27 on Merge Records, and can be pre-ordered here. For more on Fucked Up, check out the band's website.
Quasi, the project of Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss, assumed their 2013 album Mole City would be their last album. Then 2020 happened, and without much else to do, Coomes and Weiss decided to play music together every day as if they were on tour. Now they're back with a new upcoming album (which will be their tenth) due out next year (their thirtieth as a band).
The first single off of that album is "Queen of Ears," and it's quite simply perfect. It's equal parts melodic and noisy. It's rare to find a song that is as discordant as it is poppy, but that's the beauty of Quasi. It's pure, abrasive indie rock mixed with the kind of pop you would get in the 1960's. It's a fun song with charming harmonies and a drilling indie rock guitar sound. And who doesn't want that?
You can watch the video for "Queen of Ears" below. Breaking the Balls of History is due out February 10 on Sub Pop. The album can be pre-ordered here. For more on Quasi, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter.
As soon as Cypress Hill announced the dates for this year's Haunted Hil shows, I knew I wanted to go. I had only seen Cypress Hill once way back in 2000 when they were touring with the Offspring. They were more of an opener, and it was when they were playing more as a rock band on the heels of "(Rock) Superstar," and I always had wanted to see their rap show more. And then they announced KRS-One as an opener, who I only saw once in 2004. This was at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and it seemed to be half lecture and half performance. How could I resist two of my high school favorites playing together?
Ill Bill opened the show with his fellow La Coka Nostra member Slaine serving as hype man. They went on before the announced start time for a quick fifteen to twenty minute set to warm up the crowd. It's hard to review such a short set, but Ill Bill did exactly what he was there for. He got the attention of a crowd that was still milling about and got them hyped for the show.
Sick of It All played next, and were definitely out of my normal musical comfort zone. I'm not familiar with the New York Hardcore scene, and know them more by name than anything else. Of course, I love when shows mix up genres into one show, so it was quite welcome for me. They definitely had their fans in the crowd, but it seemed like a lot of those in attendance seemed more confused than anything. Singer Lou Koller explained the band's sound at one point, saying that it was a mix of punk, metal, and hip hop. They ended up fitting in surprisingly well by the end of their set.
KRS-One played a relatively quick thirty minute set that saw him blasting through his hits. He was joined by Boston's own Ed O.G., who got to perform his biggest hit "I Got to Have It." This was a set of, as KRS-One put it, "real hip hop" hits going back to his time in Boogie Down Productions into his solo material. He opened with a freestyle that functioned more as a soundcheck and into hits like "The Bridge is Over," "Step Into a World (Rapture's Delight)," "Love's Gonna Get'cha (Material Love)," and of course "Sound of da Police." He closed with another freestyle, this time over classical music. Someday I'll get to see the Blastmaster play a full set.
DJ Lord started off Cypress Hill's set with a quick DJ set mixing both rock and rap hits into one mix. This helped set the tone for the night when B-Real took the stage for a medley of their biggest weed related hits like "I Wanna Get High," "Dr. Greenthumb," and "Hits from the Bong." He was soon joined by Sen Dog, and Cypress Hill just played the classics from my youth. Every song seemed like the biggest hit of all time like "Hand on the Pump" and "Lick a Shot." They even played around with the classics a bit, with "Lick a Shot" incorporating samples of Public Enemy's "Welcome to the Terrordome" and House of Pain's "Jump Around." But the last four songs of the evening might have been the best four song end of set stretch I've ever seen. "How Could I Just Kill a Man" (which sampled Rage Against the Machine's cover for the end of the song), "(Rock) Superstar," "Insane in the Brain," and a cover of "Jump Around" closed out the night and drove the crowd into a frenzy. Interestingly enough, "(Rock) Superstar" got a fairly mellow reaction while "Insane in the Brain" got the biggest reaction of the night. For a night that celebrated the fusion of both rock and rap, maybe we've moved past the whole rock/rap thing and can just let music be music.
Artist: Carly Rae Jepsen Album: The Loneliest Time Quick Thoughts: So I get that I'm a Carly Rae fanboy, but I think what I love the most about this album is how much it really grew on me through the whole thing. It's no Emotion (but what is?) but it's a great listen with a ton of charm in a week with another massive pop release alongside it. In terms of what I want from a pop album? I'll take this over Midnights as an airy, more grounded affair. Songs of Note: "Joshua Tree," "Beach House," "The Loneliest Time"
Artist: Shutups Album: I can't eat nearly as much as I want to vomit Quick Thoughts: This album surprised me over and over. They're a little pop-punk, a little new wave, and when they hit, they hit perfectly. Some songs are just super memorable and sticky, and I kind of love that in a week with a lot of interesting and challenging listens. Give this one a shot. Songs of Note: "10/10x (Iron Out the Crease)," "Sad," "100Punk"
Artist: Witch Fever Album: Congregation Quick Thoughts: This is so loud and grungy, but so, so good. "Congregation" in particular is a song I've loved for a few weeks now, but I am impressed with this album. It's like a heavy version of some of the early alt rock that I fell in love with, and I really look forward to getting back to this one. Songs of Note: "Congregation," "Sour," 12"
Artist: Taylor Swift Album: Midnights Quick Thoughts: Ah, Taylor Swift. She's put out so much music over the last three years that it's difficult to fault any missteps, and there aren't many here, but this feels more like a concept album after what's ultimately been an era of concept albums, and it just feels tonally... off? Granted, I really fell for her two folky releases, and I still think she's one of the most fascinating songwriters out there right now, but I mostly just wanted something more from this. Songs of Note: "Anti-Hero," "Bejeweled," "Karma"
Frankie and the Witch Fingers started off in Bloomington, IN before moving to Los Angeles. The band just put out a new single that isn't what we typically cover here at If It's Too Loud..., but sometimes we just can't resist. "Electricide" is a blues infused metal-adjacent jam. It reminds me of an ultra-hyper version of Clutch, but with more of an alt-rock lean than metal. This is the kind of metal you'll be into if you're a fan of bands more like Helmet or Quicksand. "Electricide" isn't purely just a heavy song, though. There is a surprising amount of pop hooks hidden in the song, and it grooves as hard as it rocks.
You can watch the video for "Electricide" below. The song is currently available as a single here. For more on Frankie and the Witch Fingers, check out the band's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.
Oct 25 - Alabama Music Box - Mobile, AL ~ Oct 26 - Gasa Gasa - New Orleans, LA ~ Oct 27 - Secret Group - Houston, TX ~ Oct 28 - Tropicasa - McAllen, TX ~ Oct 29 - Lola's - Fort Worth, TX ~ Oct 30 - Levitation - Stubb’s - Austin, TX +
Nov 1 - Hotel Congress - Tucson, AZ ~ Nov 8 - The Gov - Adelaide, AUS Nov 9 - Triffid - Brisbane , AUS Nov 10 - THE CURTIN - Melbourne, AUS Nov 11 - THE CURTIN - Melbourne, AUS NOV 12 - Metro Theater- Sydney, AUS Nov 13- The Rosemount- North Perth, AUS ~ w/ Kairos Creature Club
# w/ W.I.T.C.H., PAINT, and Kairos Creature Club + w/ The Black Angels, La Femme, and DAIISTAR
Kosha Dillz is a Brooklyn based Jewish rapper, so he obviously has some feelings on Ye's recent anti-Semitic statements (along with his other controversial posts). He out his thoughts into a new song, "Death Con 3." This is the kind of hip hop song you rarely hear these days. It's abrasive and angry, more along the lines of Public Enemy than the subject's own songs. If you like old school hip hop, particularly diss tracks, "Death Con 3" is going to be exactly what you're looking for.
Kosha Dillz says of his new song:
"What is interesting as the world watches Kanye's downfall is that I’m the first rapper to actually respond. I think I am in a specific situation in Hip-Hop where I can accept I have a unique position. I work very hard in my path to perform Black art form and I am on a Black television show where we take shots at each other. It is a true honor to be there with such talent. The point is that if you’re dope, you’re dope; and you deserve to bring your flavor to the world. I go hard for who I am, and when someone who you are a fan of disrespects you like that, you gotta come back properly. This is my piece. The engineer of the track also worked with Kanye. The producer Sam Barsh has Grammy’s. My peers have written on Kanye's albums. Hopefully Kanye sees it, hears it and respects the art. Hopefully people are prouder, and understand that no one seems to be sticking up for Jewish people; except Jewish people! Maybe this will change that. Maybe standing up for ourselves will actually bring us together."
You can watch the video for "Death Con 3" below. For more on Kosha Dillz, check out the artist on Twitter and Instagram.
Trophy Wife (aka McKenzie Iazzetta) started off in Allston back in 2018 and is now based in New York City. The project's latest single, "Linoleum," is this absolutely perfect melding of dream pop and indie rock. The song has all of the upbeat pop sound and haziness you normally get with dream pop, but it just has this edge to it you don't normally get in the genre. It's equally beautiful and aggressively noisy. "Linoleum" is reminding me of early Smashing Pumpkins meets Belly. As much as Iazzetta's vocals will be what first sucks you in, it's the guitar work that is going to make you keep wanting to come back for repeated listens. There's just something hypnotic about this song that is going to indoctrinate you into the cult of Trophy Wife.
You can listen to "Linoleum" below. For more on Trophy Wife, check out the artist's website.
I discovered and quickly became enamored with The P.A.'s about a year ago through Tysk Tysk Task. The Lowell band had this huge, driving sound that encompassed both noise rock, grunge, and punk in this mixture that worked perfectly for me. Their latest single, "The Arch," mixes it up a bit but keeps intact what I first came to love about their music. This new single adds in a bunch of modern, heavy psychedelia to their noise laden sound. This is a total freak out of a song that reminds me of bands like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard along with the metal (?) of Pelican. I might be even hearing some Frank Zappa in here, too. "The Arch" is the kind of rare song that's going to appeal to fans of indie rock, punk, and metal equally.
You can listen to "The Arch" below. I could be wrong, but I believe The P.A.'s have a new album called Novo due out on October 28. For more on The P.A.'s, check out the band's Instagram.
What started as a remix swap between two bands has turned into a full on collaborative single. British electronica legends Orbital have released a new single with Sleaford Mods. "Dirty Rat" is exactly what we want from these two artists teaming up. It's a dance tack put together by Orbital with Jason Williamson ranting over it. It might not have quite the same venom you get with a Sleaford Mods song, but if you like your angry political rants to be able to dance to, "Dirty Rats" is for you. This is the kind of pairing I never would have asked for, but as soon as it was announced I knew I was all in.
Orbital's Paul Hartnoll says of the new single:
“This track is a giant capital letter. Like in the Book of Kells, where the very first letter always gets the big treatment from the monk when he’s doing his illustrated borders. It’s got that old school dance music vibe with bits of Cabaret Voltaire in there, even bits of The Shamen. It's a little bit punk rock, nice and loud. A really refreshing, ‘wake up’ kind of track. And Jason is just brilliant!”
You can watch the video for "Dirty Rats" below. Orbital's new album, Optical Delusion, is due out February 17 and can be pre-ordered here. For more on Orbital, check out the artist's website. For more on Sleaford Mods, check out theirs.
If you've been here for a while you know that Halloween is my favorite holiday. The costumes, the candy, the scary movies, being able to walk around a cemetery without people thinking you're a weirdo, etc. Our 2022 Halloween playlist is ninety-seven songs and five and a half hours long! I started putting it together way back on October 26 of last year, and it features a wide range of artists and genres like classic punk, gothic country, indie rock, folk, hip hop, noise rock, country, grunge, New Wave, etc. I decided to put it out a week early to make sure it was available for all of your spooky happenings this week. Enjoy!
When you're a rock band from Salem, MA, you have to have at least one song about witchcraft. The Freqs have fulfilled their obligation with a banger of a song. "Witch" is this giant monster of a song, filled with fuzz and strained, screaming vocals. This is the type of song that doesn't usually exist in this century. It's giving me some serious 90's flashbacks, like if Hum got aggressive or Alice in Chains decided to do some damage on the college charts. As great as the vocals are in "Witch," what's really drawing me in is the instrumental break down that takes over about halfway through. This is the kind of song to make the hipsters and the headbangers equally excited.
You can listen to "Witch" below. For more on The Freqs, check out the band on Facebook and Instagram.
For some reason, I don't equate Switzerland with punk rock, but Bitch Queens may change that. Their new single, "Recycled Youth," is two minutes and thirteen seconds of no nonsense rock and roll. It's fast and heavy with an impossible to resist groove. Between the chant along chorus and the "Woah-oh-oh!" gang vocals, this is a killer punk song. Bitch Queens live in that space that's pure punk that has a lot more in common with rock bands than the typical punk tropes, and you simply can't go wrong with that. By the time the guitar solo kicks in, you're going to find yourself wanting to check out more of the Swiss punk scene.
You can watch the video for "Recycled Youth" below. Party Hard(ly) is due out October 28 on Spaghetty Town Records in the US and Lux Noise Records in Europe. The EP can be pre-ordered here. For more on Bitch Queens, check out the band's website.
Chuck D named his 2016 album The Man in Black, so it shouldn't be too shocking that he's covering the Johnny Cash song of the same name, but it still is. The Public Enemy frontman covering anything even remotely country wasn't something I expected to hear anytime soon, but since I'm a huge fan of both I'm definitely in. What is truly shocking is how perfectly it works. Chuck D's version of "Man in Black" is more of a spoken word song with hip hop beats paired with country/blues guitar licks. This is perfect for those of us that "Old Town Road" never clicked for. I expected this cover to be interesting, and I was hoping it wouldn't be horrible. I didn't expect it to be this great.
You can listen to Chuck D and Bob Log III covering "Man in Black" below. It will be included on JR Vol. 3: A Tribute to Johnny Cash. The album will also feature covers by Left Lane Cruiser, Charlie Parr, and more, and is due out November 4 on Hillgrass Bluebilly Records. For more on the project, check out the record label's Facebook and Twitter.
Artist: GIFT Album: Momentary Presence Quick Thoughts: A psychy, fuzzy affair that stood out in the early goings this week. This debut checks a lot of specific indie boxes for me, and the result is a truly interesting effort. A great listen, and one worth the time in a busy week. Songs of Note: "Gumball Garden," "Pez"
Artist: Plains Album: I Walked With You a Ways Quick Thoughts: Plains is a new roots project from Jess Williamson and Katie Crutchfield/Waxahatchee, and it's great. It's an honest homage to Americana without feeling overdone, and if you didn't know the personalities aligned with this you'd probably think Plains is the Next Big Thing. Don't miss out on this one, it's absolutely one of the best of the week. Songs of Note: "Summer Sun," "Problem With It," "No Record of Wrongs"
Artist: PVA Album: BLUSH Quick Thoughts: I can't say I knew who PVA was prior to this week, but this album certainly made me pay attention. It's got a retro feel, but with some modern flair, and has hints of Depeche Mode and 80s industrial to go along with its often-raw instrumentation. I loved this. I know it won't work for everyone, but man, this was a good time. Songs of Note: "Bunker," "Kim," "Hero Man," "Bad Dad"
Artist: Lucrecia Dalt Album: ¡Ay! Quick Thoughts: A strange sci-fi concept record that ends up being one of the most gorgeous listens of the week, this is an album that needs to be experienced in full to really appreciate how great it is. This is a beautiful, stark, wonderful affair that I can't wait to get to back to. Songs of Note: "Atemporal," "Contenida"
Artist: Denitia Album: Highways Quick Thoughts: I wanted to highlight this one as another rootsy-style record, but the first two songs made me immediately text Ken and tell him to check it out. It's a solid record and deserves a look in a busy week. Songs of Note: "Highways," "All the Sweet Tea," "The Good Times"
Artist: Tove Lo Album: Dirt Femme Quick Thoughts: Tove Lo is consistently underrated as a pop star, and her latest, Dirt Femme, does a great job of reminding me how much I love her music and how accessible her sound is. If you're not on the bandwagon yet and you have a taste for pop music, check this out. Songs of Note: "Suburbia," "2 Die 4," "Pineapple Slice," "Kick in the Head"
Artist: Pit Pony Album: World To Me Quick Thoughts: I didn't know Pit Pony before this week, either, and this is a very loud, in your face, rocking affair. I recommend just listening to "Tide of Doubt" and if you're not bowled over by this listen, I'm not sure what else to tell you. A great blast of rock in a busy week. Songs of Note: "Tide of Doubt," "Wish You Would," "Supermarket," "Profit"