Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The I Want You - "My Favorite Dive"

Photo via Facebook

We tend to love power pop here at If It's Too Loud..., which is why we love The I Want You. The Boston quartet just released a brand new single that is pure classic power pop, but with a little twist. "My Favorite Dive" sounds like it could be an unreleased song from Big Star, except a slightly off one. The song also has a little bit of the indie rock noise meets pop of Guided By Voices (who many also consider to be power pop.) This is power pop with a slight groove to counteract the jangly guitars, and is the kind of song that will make you smile even if the underlying melancholy hiding underneath isn't just in my head.

You can watch the video for "My Favorite Dive" below. The My Favorite Dive EP is due out November 3. For more on The I Want You, check out the band's website.

Live Shows: Class President, Tysk Tysk Task, Jiddo, and I Love Cheeseburgers, The Overlook, Lowell, MA 10/28/23

Halloween weekend is always one filled with more events than anyone could possibly attend, and this year was no exception. Seeing as Tysk Tysk Task was playing their hometown of Lowell, and they were playing The Overlook, a venue I really like but haven't made it out to in far too long, that made the decision easy. It worked out perfectly, as I discovered three more bands I ended up really enjoying.

First up was I Love Cheeseburgers. A side project of Burp., they played a short set of heavier rock than you get with Burp. Burp. are already noisy pop punk, but I Love Cheeseburgers were an even noisier version of that. It was if you combined Warped Tour pop punk with grunge, and then just went wild with that. Their set was a little too short to truly judge, but I'm looking forward to getting to check them out again.

Jiddo opened, and just... wow. They're a band from Worcester playing post-hardcore. Their set was filled with these ridiculously loud songs that are just shy of being accessible to music normies. I had checked out their song "New Mombasa Orbital Elevator" before Saturday night, and was still just absolutely floored by Jiddo. They were like a brilliant combination of The Jesus Lizard and Mission of Burma, but a little more straightforward than either of those. Expect to see more about them here as often as possible.

Next came Tysk Tysk Task. I've seen them live more times than I care to admit to, but each performance ends up being different than the one before it. Now playing as a four piece, Samantha Hartsel's band has added Rick Martel as a second guitarist which has created a completely new dynamic. It's interesting to hear the two guitar interplay of favorites like "Flies" and "Contagion," but it really shines on the newer, unreleased songs. "Shrine" in particular is a song I can't wait to watch evolve with it's dark shoegaze meets grunge vibe. There's not many bands that I feel inclined to see every time I can, but Tysk Tysk Task are that rare band.

Class President closed out the show and were the most pop band to play that night. (They called themselves a pop band, and I only think they were by comparison.) They have a really cool sound that is more poppy than pure pop. It was modern indie rock with vocals that almost sound like they came from the 1960's. You don't typically get melodies like this from an indie rock band, so Class President were a pleasant surprise. They also dusted off a song about getting murdered in the woods since it was a Halloween show and all. 

Dori Freeman - "Movie Screen"

Photo by Kristina Lynn

We've come to expect greatness any time Dori Freeman releases new music, and the Galax, VA singer-songwriter consistently delivers. Her latest single, "Movie Screen," is a gently rambling country song. It has that traditional folk meets neo-folk sound that Freeman does perfectly. Plus, Freeman's vocals are particularly mesmerizing on "Movie Screen," which is fitting since the song is about getting lost in a movie. This is a simple yet perfect song that is going to work for you if you're a fan of literally any subgenre of folk.

Dori Freeman says of her new single:

"I wrote 'Movie Screen' deep into the pandemic after watching many hours of Peaky BlindersAs the song developed, the movie theatre became a broader metaphor for the way many of us turn to entertainment as distraction from the challenges of our day to day lives."

You can listen to "Movie Screen" below. Do You Recall is due out November 17 on Blue Hens Music, and is available for pre-order here. For more on Dori Freeman, check out the artist's website.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Jon Rauhouse & Blaine Long - "Nothing Lasts Forever"

The duo of Jon Rauhouse and Blaine Long have had different paths in music. Rauhouse has been Neko Case's longtime guitarist, released a duets album with Eric Bachmann, and has been a member of Grievous Angels. Blaine Long came to prominence as a contestant on The Voice. The two have paired together on an upcoming album, and just released a new single. "Nothing Lasts Forever" has that perfect mainstream neo-folk sound. It's not quite folk-pop since it's rooted to much in traditional folk, but this is just about as pop as traditional folk can be. It's a little bit ramblin', and just has that laid back warm sound that sucks you in. In particular, the slide guitar on "Nothing Lasts Forever" is one of the warmest around and nearly hypnotic.

You can listen to "Nothing Lasts Forever" below. One Day Will Never Come Back is due out November 17 on Fort Lowell Records, and is available for pre-order through Bandcamp. For more on Jon Rauhouse & Blaine Long, check out Jon Rauhouse's website here, and Blaine Long's website here.

Lana Nauphal - "Oh He Oh My"

Photo by Ada Chen

Lana Nauphal's upcoming album is mostly about falling out of love and a relationship ending, but her latest single is about the period of falling in love and how all encompassing that feeling is. "Oh He Oh MY" is a burst of upbeat folk that is infused with the pop music of the 1960's. The song is pure joy in musical form, and is the kind of catchy that could be a negative if the song wasn't so great. It also includes some of my favorite "Ah-ooooh" backing vocals of all time. If you've ever fallen in love, you'll know that "Oh He Oh My" captures that giddiness perfectly.

Lana Nauphal says of her upcoming album:

"Pursuing pre-law at Georgetown University, I met a truth-teller in the form of a boy. A musician himself, he picked up on what was circling, unrelenting, in my periphery, and confronted me with it: my undeniable call to music. I hadn’t realized how buried it had become— and it was his reverence of my capabilities that finally allowed me to dig it up, dust it off, and claim it as my own. I fell in with him, and his raucous band of friends, and we were ridiculously happy— sleepless, singing, painting on the walls. They brought to life a wildness in me.” 

You can watch the video for "Oh He Oh My" below. Wildland is due out May 24. For more on Lana Nauphal, check out the artist's website.

Charming Disaster - "Cherry Red"

Can it really be Halloween without a new song from Charming Disaster? The goth-folk duo just released the single "Cherry Red." We've become accustomed to their dark and moody sound, but "Cherry Red" seems to kick up the atmospheric vibes up even more. The song features Don Godwin on drums and bass and Kate Wakefield of Lung (who we haven't listened to in far too long), and just builds and builds with the most delightful sense of dread imaginable. If you're the type of person that finds the macabre fun and intriguing, you're going to adore "Cherry Red." This new song fits perfectly in with Charming Disaster's entire catalog, and may just be one of their finest yet.

Charming Disaster say of their new single:

"This song is a ghost story about a haunted house…or possibly a cautionary tale about carbon monoxide poisoning, whose symptoms (disturbing hallucinations, waking nightmares, a feeling of dread) are very similar to the classic signs of a haunted house. But who (or what) caused that furnace leak—was it a ghost? And what caused that ghost’s death—was it carbon monoxide poisoning?"

You can listen to "Cherry Red" below. The song is available now via Bandcamp. For more on Charming Disaster, check out the band's website.

Live Shows: Mudhoney and Hooveriii, Brighton Music Hall, Boston, MA 10/26/23

Recently I've been making more of an effort to finally see bands I've never seen before. Mudhoney are one of those bands I've been meaning to see for decades, but just never got around to. It seems every time they've come around in the past ten or so years, it just hasn't worked out for me. Luckily, this past Thursday fit into my schedule and I finally got to see the grunge legends.

Mudhoney started off the show by going all the way back to "When Tomorrow Hits" off their 1989 self-titled album. It was an interesting choice, as it's a more laid back and moody song than I expected to open the show. It ended up being the perfect way to ease the crowd into their set. For their second song they went back even further to 1988's excellent Superfuzz Bigmuff and "In & Out of Grace" to really get things going. Seeing as they're touring to promote a new album (Plastic Eternity, which was released back in April and is more than worth your time), they did play more than half the new album during their set, but the songs more than held up to the classics. 

A surprising move by Mudhoney was playing "Sweet Young Thing (Ain't Sweet No More)" and "Touch Me I'm Sick" right in the middle of their set. At this point, the vast majority of the crowd at a Mudhoney show are die-hards who just want to see them play anything, so there's no need to save these classics for the encore.

A couple of stray observations on the show. Mudhoney might have been the least grunge looking people in Brighton Music Hall that night. I have no idea how the under thirty crowd handled the unseasonably warm night in their winter hats and flannel shirts as they larped the 90's, but they pulled it off. Also, as Mark Arm's voice ages, it fits the music better and better. A lot of artists definitely lose their vocal chops as they age, but the extra gruffness to Arm's vocals just fit the music more and more as the years go on.

It would have been easy for Mudhoney to choose one of the dozens of neo-grunge bands popping up in recent years to open the show, but instead they went with Hooveriii. Pronounced "Hoover Three," the Los Angeles based band seem to have taken just about every subgenre of rock and use them all to comprise their sound. There's some grunge, some pop punk, some glam rock, some power pop, some prog rock... literally everything is just mushed into a new but familiar sound. They included the heavy use of keys and saxophone in every song, which is rare for a rock band. In fact, saxophone player Gabe Flores joined Mudhoney on keys and sax sporadically throughout the set. They're the type of band that is going to drive music journalists insane since they don't fit into a neat category, but you'll want to check them out next time they come through your city.

Friday, October 27, 2023

The Claudettes - "No Matter How Much"

Photo by Timothy Hiatt

Chicago's The Claudettes (which features Johnny Iguana and JQ, the duo that scored the FX series The Bear) are described as "garage cabaret," and that's exactly what you'll hear on their latest single. "No Matter How Much" is driven by piano and singer Rachel Williams' engaging vocals. And... man... when I say her vocals are engaging, it's the kind of captivating performance that we rarely see. Williams could easily be a Top 40 singer or a contestant on whatever singing competitions are still around, but instead she's gracing us with her amazing talents. "No Matter How Much" is a theatrical, cabaret style cabaret meets punk song that continuously just builds and builds into this noisy and effective climax. It's so close to being a song that could have wound up in a hit musical, but The Claudettes just bring it to this magnificently weird place.

You can watch the video for "No Matter How Much" below. For more on The Claudettes, check out the band's website. Upcoming live dates are below the video.

Oct. 27: Reptile Palace, Oshkosh, WIOct. 28: Mary's Place, Rockford, ILNov. 3: Nightshop, Bloomington, ILNov. 4: BB's, St. Louis, MO
Nov. 10: The Acorn Theater, Three Oaks, MINov. 11: The Venue, Aurora, ILNov. 30: Jilly's Music Room, Akron, OHDec. 1: Natalie's Grandview, Columbus, OHDec. 2: The Rose Bowl, Urbana, ILDec. 7: Cadieux Café, Detroit, MIDec. 8: The Alluvion, Traverse City, MIDec. 9: Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, ILDec. 14: Turf Club, St. Paul, MNDec. 15: CSPS Hall, Cedar Rapids, IADec. 16: North Street Cabaret, Madison WI

The Problem With Kids Today - "What Else Could I Say"

Photo by Sam Carlson

Hailing from New Haven, CT, The Problem With Kids Today are an indie punk band, but one that defies the stereotypes of that genre. Their latest single, "What Else Could I Say," has a little more of a vintage garage rock sound. That is more due to the heavy use of 60's style keyboards in the song more than a fuzz to the guitar. In fact, the guitar has a very clean sound to it, which is surprising for both garage rock and indie punk. The most traditional punk aspect of the song are the vocals. "The Great" Tate Brooks' vocal style is somewhere between a chant and a yelp, and The Problem With Kids Today utilize liberal gang vocals on "What Else Could I Say." The song is pretty straightforward for an indie punk song, but it's of the wall for garage rock.

Tate Brooks says of his band's new song:

"'What Else Can I Say' is an indie punk anthem, written out of frustration both metaphorically and literally. It broke us out of a writer’s block and set the bar for the rest of the album."

You can watch the video for "What Else Could I Say" below. Born to Rock is due out February 9. For more on The Problem With Kids Today, check out the band on Facebook and Instagram. If you're in New England, they'll be playing October 28 at Three Sheets in New Haven, CT and December 15 at JJ's Tavern in Northampton, MA.

Chicken Happen - "The Easy Way"

Chicago's Chicken Happen chose to focus on piano driven songs for their fourth album. A trio making piano driven indie rock/pop songs is going to draw immediate comparisons to Ben Folds Five, but it's apt for their latest single. "The Easy Way" has that upbeat, confessional with a sense of humor sound that you'd get with a vintage BFF song. The main difference will be the guitar on "The Easy Way." The song has this rollicking sound that is extremely rare in a pop based song. It also features some oddly killer harmonies and joyous "oooooohs." Chicken Happen have released a keeper of a single that is nearly impossible to resist.

Lilly Choi (singer and multi-instrumentalist) says of her band's upcoming album:

“This album has been all about collaboration and exploration. It was a grandiose idea to write an entire album of piano songs, but we were in the right place at the right time and the songs kind of wrote themselves. I was in a deeply self-contemplative place when writing these songs and I really wanted to break free from all expectations I felt from others and myself. These songs draw a lot of inspiration from R&B and are some of the most vulnerable songs I’ve ever written.” 

You can watch the video for "The Easy Way" below. Chicken Happen IV is due out November 10, and is available for pre-order on Bandcamp. For more on Chicken Happen, check out the band on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Frances Chang - "Eye Land"

Photo by Desmond Picotte

Brooklyn's Frances Chang just released one of the most thrilling singles of 2023. "Eye Land" starts out as this dreamy and twangy song that has just the slightest hints of grunge hidden behind the twang. It then proceeds to morph multiple times through multiple genres, including dream pop, indie pop, power pop, post-grunge, etc. It's the kind of song that you never know what's coming next, and this is all packed into a just over four minute run time. I checked how long I had been listening at one point and it was less than ninety seconds. It felt like so much longer, only because of how much had already happened in the song. Despite the fact that "Eye Land" feels a lot longer than it is, you're going to end up disappointed there isn't more when it ends.

Frances Chang says of her new single:

"This song marked a period of change - a big relationship was ending, I was solo touring with my friend around the Ireland and England freak folk/witch noise scene, I was completely creatively and romantically blocked and two separate strangers told me in two separate countries that my second chakra was blocked (and then offered to energy heal me for free). I wrote this song on my last day in Ireland, but edited it over a period of many years, and finally finished writing it in the studio days before recording. Maybe that’s why it’s so schizophrenic and ever-changing – it tells a long and winding story."

You can watch the video for "Eye Land" below. Psychedelic Anxiety is due out February 16 on Ramp Local. For more on Frances Chang, check out the artist on Instagram and Bandcamp.

The Umbrellas - "Three Cheers!"

We adored The Umbrellas' debut album in 2021. Now the San Francisco retro pop group is back with new music. "Three Cheers!" is going to get a lot of comparisons to The Magnetic Fields, but there is more to the song's sound than just Stephin Merritt's band. As the song goes on there are a ton of 1960's pop sounds to uncover, along with some 90's indie rock guitar. The whole song sounds like an odd little modern day homage to both the 60's San Francisco scene and K Records' 90's classics. "Three Cheers!" is a complete and total joy to listen to.

Bassist Nick Oka says of the new song:

“It’s a pseudo-political song about power struggles that occur in a job situation, or a friend group. It’s an observational song.”

You can watch the video for "Three Cheers!" below. Fairweather Friend is due out January 26 on Slumberland Records, and is available for pre-order here. For more on The Umbrellas, check out the band on Instagram and Twitter.

Yard Act - "Dream Job"

Photo by Phoebe Fox

We loved Yard Act's debut album The Overload, and now the Leeds post-punk band is back with a new single. "Dream Job" expands on their post-punk sound with a heavy and somewhat unexpected dose of funk. It sounds a little bit sunnier than what we've become accustomed to from them. "Dream Job" is an odd mixture of Cake, Britpop keys, and some 80's futuristic effects along with Yard Act's traditional song. It sounds like they're throwing everything they can at this one, and somehow it works out perfectly. This new single is a ton of fun, and has us very curious what they'll be up to next.

Vocalist James Smith says of the new single:

“In part, I was scrutinizing and mocking myself for being a moaning ungrateful little brat, whilst also trying to address how the music industry is this rather uncontrollable beast that hurtles forward unthinkingly and every single person involved in it plays their part. Myself included, obviously. As with pretty much everything else going through my head last year, trying to find the right time to articulate the complexity of emotions I was feeling and the severity to which I was feeling them couldn't be found - or accommodated, so instead I tried to capture it in a pop song that lasts less than three minutes once the fog had cleared a bit. It’s good and bad. I'm still glad that everything that happened to me happened.”

You can watch the video for "Dream Job" below. Where's My Utopia? is due out March 1 on Republic Records, and is available for pre-order here. For more on Yard Act, check out the band's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.

Thu. Nov. 2 - Reykjavik, IS @ Iceland AirwavesSat. Nov. 4 - Brooklyn, NY @ WarsawSun. Nov. 5 - Philadelphia, PA @ Underground ArtsMon. Nov. 6 - Baltimore, MD @ OttobarTue. Nov. 7 - Durham, NC @ Motorco Music HallThu. Nov. 9 - Nashville, TN @ The Basement EastFri. Nov. 10 - Atlanta, GA @ The EarlSat. Nov. 11 - New Orleans, LA @ Toulouse TheatreTue. Nov. 14 - Austin, TX @ MohawkWed. Nov. 15 - Dallas, TX @ Deep Ellum Art CompanyFri. Nov. 17 - Mexico City, MX @ Corona Capital FestivalSat. Dec. 2 - Bangkok, TH @ Maho Rasop FestivalSun. Dec. 3 - Hong Kong, HK @ Clockenflap FestivalTue. Dec. 5 - Osaka, JP @ Shangri-laThu. Dec. 7 - Tokyo, JP @ Club QuattroWed. Mar. 13 - Norwich, UK @ The Nick Rayns LCR (UEA)Thu. Mar. 14 - Nottingham, UK @ Rock CityFri. Mar. 15 - Glasgow, UK @ O2 AcademySat. Mar. 16 - Manchester, UK @ O2 ApolloSun. Mar. 17 - Newcastle, UK @ Northumbria UniversityTue. Mar. 19 - Belfast, UK @ Mandela HallWed. Mar. 20 - Dublin, IE @ Vicar StreetFri. Mar. 22 - Liverpool, UK @  Invisible Wind FactorySat. Mar. 23 - Bristol, UK @ O2 AcademyMon. Mar. 25 - Brighton, UK @ The DomeWed. Mar. 27 - London, UK @ Eventim ApolloThu. Apr. 4 - Nantes, FR @ StereoluxFri. Apr. 5 - Paris, FR @ Cabaret SauvageSat. Apr. 6 - Bordeaux, FR @ Rock School BarbeyMon. Apr. 8 - Lisbon, PT @ LAVTue. Apr. 9 - Madrid, ES @ MonThu. Apr. 11 - Barcelona, ES @ La 2Fri. Apr. 12 - Lyon, FR @ Le TransbordeurSat. Apr. 13 - Bologna, IT @ Locomotiv ClubSun. Apr. 14 - Milan, IT @ Santeria Toscana 31Tue. Apr. 16 - Zurich, CH @ MascotteWed. Apr. 17 - Munich, DE @ MuffathalleThu. Apr. 18 - Berlin, DE @ Festsaal KreuzbergSat. Apr. 20 - Stockholm, SE @ SlaktkyrkanWed. Apr. 24 - Hamburg, DE @ Uebel & GefährlichThu. Apr. 25 - Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso Main HallFri. Apr. 26 - Nijmegen, NL @ DoornroosjeSat. Apr. 27 - Cologne, DE @ KantineSun. Apr. 28 - Brussels, BE @ Les Nuits BotaniqueThu. May 30 - Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up TavernFri. May 31 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent TheaterSat. Jun. 1 - Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy and Harriet’sMon. Jun. 3 - Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst AtriumTue. Jun. 4 - San Francisco, CA @ The IndependentThu. Jun. 6 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi StudiosFri. Jun. 7 - Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw TheatreSat. Jun. 8 - Seattle, WA @  The CrocodileSat. Aug. 3 - Leeds, UK @ Millenium Square

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Summit Point. - Faults of Memory

Summit Point.'s 2022 album Vulnerable was not only a refreshing musical revelation, but one of my favorite albums of the year. We got our hands on an advance of their new album, due out this Friday, and I have to say - it's a tight seven tracks of fuzzy, buzzy shoegaze-drenched punk music that expands on the sound I already loved while additionally feeling like a step forward in terms of songwriting and production from an act that already impressed with their presentation in their debut. An impressive feat for any act, never mind an independent duo in the hinterlands of West Virginia.

There's no sophomore slump here, as the album is just song after song of heavy, melodic music. "Watching a Timer" and "See It Now" are early favorites, as is the advance single embedded below. The song, "Whatever You Want," makes a statement at the very start and doesn't let up. As for their new album, Faults of Memory, the only fault I can find is that the album is over too quickly. You can listen to it on repeat like I have been all week beginning this Friday, either via their website, Spotify or Bandcamp, and you can listen to "Whatever You Want" wherever you enjoy your music.

Millie Milner & The Deadnames - "lie"

Millie Milner & The Deadnames are a queer fronted indie-pop band out of Manchester. The band's new single, "lie," is an absolute delight for any fan of the various 90's alt-rock genres. It's speak-singing verses are going to remind you of Blur's "Parklife." From there the song goes on this rambling journey through modern indie pop (the "oooooooohs" are particularly fun) while still delving occasionally into indie rock. At one point the repeated refrain of "I made my bed, I'll lie in it" seems like a reference to Hole's "Miss World." The guitar solos have a fun slacker thing going on that reminds me of Pavement, and maybe a little late period Britpop/post-Britpop of bands like Ocean Colour Scene or Cornershop. "lie" is a modern throwback to the days when indie rock could be fun while still being great.

In a press release, Millie Milner & The Deadnames say of their new single:

"'lie' began as a break-up fueled retaliation. written by our front-person, Edi Milner, it tells of a need to take ownership of their life, their choices and the newfound element of fun and recklessness they found themself surrounded by as a newly single person. written as an outpour of feelings, the song itself follows a confusing structure that places focus on emotions through not only the lyrics but the music (especially in not one but two well loved solos)!"

You can listen to "lie" below. For more on Millie Milner & The Deadnames, check out the band on Facebook and Instagram.

wht.rbbt.obj - "No Rainbows in Indiana"

Chicago's wht.rbbt.obj (pronounced White Rabbit Object) refer to themselves as alt/rock/blues-rock/roadhouse raunch, and their new single reflects that sound. "No Rainbows in Indiana" has a dirty blues sound with just a smidge of pop. And when I say a smidge, I mean just barely. wht.rbbt.obj have this dark sound to their music that sounds as if The White Stripes were covering Alice in Chains. Plus, the song adds in what is kind of a guitar solo (I'm only calling it that because I don't really know how else to describe this bridge) that is one of the most unique bursts of noise I've heard in a long, long time. When the actual guitar solo hits... it's just perfection. Blues rock is a well trod genre, so it's always great to find an artist putting their own spin on it.

You can listen to "No Rainbows in Indiana" below. Whiskey Hotel Tango is due out November 24, and is available for pre-order through Bandcamp. For more on wht.rbbt.obj, check out the band's website.

Parts Per Million - "CTRL ALT DEL"

Photo via Parts Per Million

Heavy music can be pretty derivative, so it's always a pleasant surprise to find a band playing interesting heavy rock. Boston's Parts Per Million stop just shy of being heavy metal, and I mean just shy. Their latest single, "CTRL ALT DEL," is a mid-tempo hard rock song that reminds me of if you could mix 90's alt-metal with artists like Led Zeppelin or The Who. It's a loud song that fits a surprising amount of melody into it without sacrificing the volume. It's filled with thundering drums and guitars, and vocals that come across as eerily hypnotic. "CTRL ALT DEL" is just a big and loud rock song that delivers a message about the scarier side of AI, and is going to be a must listen.

Guitarist/vocalist Paul Mcsweeney says of the band's new single:

“‘CTRL ALT DEL’ is about the rise of A.I. and where we all fit in as things change with that technology. It’s kind of a scary feeling to imagine being replaced in areas where we have always been needed. We’re on the cusp of a revolution that actually may hurt humanity as a whole if we don’t also rethink some of our social constructs and just put people out of jobs that may never return. That’s not even getting into the ultra scary idea of this thing sort of going full Skynet mode.”

You can watch the video for "CTRL ALT DEL" below. For more on Parts Per Million, check out the band's website.

Sarah Goldstone - "Athens 1975"

Sarah Goldstone has spent the last few years playing with artists like Lucy Dacus, boygenius, and Hurray for the Riff Raff. Now she's releasing her own music and her debut album. Her new single, "Athens 1975," is going to appeal to fans of the band's she's previously played with while still sounding like her own thing. Goldstone is playing in the land in between pop, folk, and indie rock with this single. It has a little more of a light and breezy feel to it, and has an almost bedroom pop quality to it. Goldstone's vocals are quiet but have a certain something to them that makes you want to listen more intently to make sure you fully hear her. "Athens 1975" isn't background music. This is a song that is going to demand your full attention to be appreciated.

You can watch the video for "Athens 1975" below. Waving is due out December 1 on Ruination Record Co, and is available to pre-order through Bandcamp. For more on Sarah Goldstone, check out the artist on Instagram.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

First Listen: New Releases for 20 October 2023

Artist: screensaver
Album: Decent Shapes

Quick Thoughts: I love love love this album. It's like an 80s gothic dance party with a 2010s gloss, or Sleater-Kinney dressed as Morphine or Oh-OK for Halloween, and I loved it so much, from start to finish. This largely came out of nowhere for me this week, and it's not one to be missed - it balances a conceptual narrative through a tracklisting that doesn't overstay its welcome, and I'll be honest, it feels near-perfect. It's not just one of the best of the week, but this is shooting up my best of the year list. It's that good. A mandatory listen this week. Songs of Note: "Red Lines," "The Guilt," "Party Interest," "Drainer," "Cancellation Notice"

Album: FOXY
Quick Thoughts: In the last few years I have become semi-obsessed with the ambient compositions of William Basinski without knowing that he also dabbles in a jazz-ish band, SPARKLE DIVISION, which has grooves for days while just being weird enough to require closer attention. It's a fun record, with hints of a lot of different ideas throughout, but does not devolve in the sort of looping dread Basinski is known for. Give this some time.
Songs of Note: "Here Comes Trouble," "Oh Yeah!," "Slip and Slide"

Artist: Teenage Halloween
Album: Till You Return
Quick Thoughts: We see our share of punk and pop-punk records here, but Teenage Halloween is a little more memorable than most. With great vocals and an unabashed, uncompromising presence, it stands out from the rest, and it has more than a handful of super-catchy tracks to keep things interesting. In a busy week with some great listens, you should make sure this gets in the rotation.
Songs of Note: "Takeaway," "Armageddon Now," "Say It"

Artist: Steph Green
Album: Lore
Quick Thoughts: Steph Green has been on our radar for a bit, and Lore is the sort of dusty gothic roots music I absolutely adore. Green spends a lot of time setting a mood that works for the sort of twang she's twanging, and it absolutely works. In a week of many interesting releases, this one does a lot of work to stand out, and it's an excellent listen.
Songs of Note: "Hold Me Under," "Arkansas Valley," "Take a Walk," "Kettle Valley"

Artist: Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter
Album: SAVED!
Quick Thoughts: Rev. Hayter previously performed under the name Lingua Ignota, and her 2021 album SINNER GET READY was a deliberately uncomfortable album that dealt with religious belief and all the baggage that can come along with it. This new album takes the Appalachian mood she fostered in SINNER and pushes it even further, complete with a production that gives it a radio revivalist flair. It's not going to work for everybody, but this scratched some specific itches for me in a way I didn't anticipate, and it is far and away the most interesting listen this week.

Artist: CHROMA
Album: Ask for Angela
Quick Thoughts: Along the lines of great punk-aligned records this week is a riff-heavy entry from CHROMA, a band I was not aware of prior to this week. I don't have a ton to say about it except that it was one I sent over to Ken fairly quickly because of how much I enjoyed it, and it hits just right with a lot of these songs. Make time.
Songs of Note: "Woman to Woman," "I Wanna Be Where You Are," "Bombs Away"

Of note:

* Lone Pinon - Cuatro Vidas (David Wax-related (literally) traditional Mexican folk!)
* Pip Blom - Bobbie (The continued evolution of Pip Blom remains required listening.)
* The Rolling Stones - Hackney Diamonds (This is surprisingly solid.)
* Emily Wolfe - The Blowback
* Maria BC - Spike Field
* Japan, Man - Metropolis
* Poolside - Blame It All On Love
* ME REX - Giant Elk
* Ah! Cosmos and Hainback - Blast of Sirens
* Lee Gamble - Models
* Dusk - Glass Pastures
* Emma Anderson - Pearlies
* Denuit - Ritual
* Forest Swords - Bolted
* Ebony Lamb - Ebony Lamb
* awakebutstillinbed - chaos takes the wheel and i am a passenger
* Bella Boo - DreamySpaceyBlue
* Sun June - Bad Dream Jaguar
* Saint Abdullah and Eomac - Chasing Stateless
* Carla J Easton - Sugar Honey
* Glen Hansard - All That Was East is West of Me Now
* Vague Imaginaires - L'ile D'or
* Hippie Death Cult - Helichrysum
* Galya Bisengalieva - Polygon
* Jane Remover - Census Designated
* Sampha - Lahai
* Moyka - Movies, Cars & Heartbreak
* Finom - OHMME
* patten - Deep Blue
* Santa Chiara - IMPORTED
* Katie Von Schliecher - A Little Touch of Schleicher in the Night
* Carpool Tunnel - Don't Let Them Pass You By
* Lost Girls - Selvutsletter

* EPs:

* Sleaford Mods - MORE UK GRIM
* DJ Smokey - Cowboys With Nukes
* Tristan Arp - The Self Elastic
* Lloyd's House - The Masochist
* Allegra Krieger - Fragile Plane: B-Sides
* Rabit - SUN DRAGON EP (2014)
* Double Star - Late at night inside my head EP
* Griff - vert1go vol. 1
* Izzy Heltai - mostly myself again
* Sub Lights - Dark Wave
* Florentino - KLilometro Quinze
* Dawn Richard - The Architect
* Junebug - My Therapist Told Me
* Bo Milli - Making Friends EP
* May Erlewine and Packy Lundholm - Knox Avenue Recordings
* Slothrust - I Promise
* HotWax - Invite me, kindly
* Judgitzu - Sator Arepo

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Destroyyyer - the dw destroyer Collection, Vol. 1
* Eli "Paperboy" Reed - Hits and Misses

* Bad Books - II: Revisited
Also out:

* Skinny Lister - Shanty Punk
* Pink Navel and Kenny Segal - How to Capture Playful
* Bombay Bicycle Club - My Big Day
* Josh Cole - Kind Mind
* Joseph Shabason - Welcome to Hell

Shower Curtain - "Edgar"

Photo by Juliette Boulay

Modern day shoegaze always seems to be mixed with other genres, and Brooklyn via Brazil's Shower Curtain are no exception. The only question we have with their latest single is what genre are they mixing it with? "Edgar" has all the drone and feedback needed with shoegaze, but they added a little something to it that we can't quite put our finger on. It has a little bit more of a pop edge to it than we would expect with shoegaze, but it's not really a pop song. The guitar has an unexpected crunch at times, but it's not really a punk or grunge sound with "Edgar." It's almost a modern alt-rock sound, like you'd hear with bands like Wet Leg or Ratboys, but that's still just not right. We'll just have to accept that Shower Curtain are making a new style of shoegaze that we can't easily define, and that's certainly not a bad thing.

Vocalist Victoria Winter says of her band's new single:

“It feels very liberating to share this song with the world. Not only is it marking a new phase for the project but I think an overall process of maturing as a creative, letting go of the old aesthetic and sound that defined Shower Curtain when I lived in Brazil. The new sound is of course a reflection of the project evolving from a solo project into a band, and the band's contribution to this song is evident in the instrumentation. ‘Edgar’ is a very cathartic song about seeing my cat getting weaker with an auto-immune disease. He survived his hospitalization back then, but now he struggles with terminal cancer. In many ways, the stages of grief that are written about in the lyrics still persist with me.”

You can watch the video for "Edgar" below. Shower Curtain's debut album is due out in 2024. For more on the band, check them out on Twitter and Instagram.

Blood Lightning - s/t

We don't cover a ton of metal here at If It's Too Loud..., but sometimes we just can't resist when it's done like this. Blood Lightning are a Boston metal supergroup featuring members of We're All Gonna Die, GOZU, Worshipper, and Sam Black Church. They first played together for a Halloween 2019 covers show playing Black Sabbath's Born Again, and then decided to keep going. Last week they released their debut self-titled album, and it's fantastic. If you have a soft spot for thrashy metal with a side of melody despite being heavy as Hell, Blood Lightning is made for you. It has a vintage and classic metal sound, just tweaked to not sound like an 80's throwback. According to the album's Bandcamp description, "Blood Lightning was formed with one thing in mind: get back to the real essence of heavy metal. No pretense. No subgenres to fit into." And they nailed that with Blood Lightning. This is just six badass metal songs done in an old school style but made for fans in 2023.

You can listen to "Hitting the Wall" below. Blood Lightning's self-titled debut is available now on Ripple Music, and includes a cover of Sabbath's 1983 classic "Disturbing the Priest." You can download a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Blood Lightning, check out the band on Facebook.

Summer Set - "Center of Attention"

Last month we gushed all over "Favorite Places," the latest single from Summer Set. They're back with a new single, and it's going to appeal to a lot of our readers. I compared the previous single to Pavement, The Dandy Warhols, and Wilco, and "Center of Attention" will also fit that sound. However, this new single sounds a bit more like Built to Spill playing around with alt-country. It still has that chilled out sound with country twang with some 90's slacker vibes, and who doesn't want those sounds mixed together, especially when it's done as well as Summer Set are?

You can listen to "Center of Attention" below. Summer Set's self-titled album is due out November 3 on Fort Lowell Records, and is available for pre-order through Bandcamp. For more on Summer Set, check out the band's Bandcamp.

Hallelujah the Hills Cover Nick Lowe

While recording their upcoming DECK project, Hallelujah the Hills have also been releasing a series of cover songs. The latest is a cover of Nick Lowe's iconic "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding." The song is being released for obvious reasons in October 2023, and Hallelujah the Hills have delivered a very different version. While the original, and Elvis Costello's quite famous cover, is an energetic song bordering on punk, and can be considered jubilant or angry depending on your mood, Hallelujah the Hills have adopted a much more somber tone for theirs. It's mostly singer Ryan Walsh accompanied by sparse piano with some backing vocals from Joseph Marrett. It's not the most fun of cover songs, but the times don't exactly call for upbeat songs pleading for peace.

You can listen to Hallelujah the Hills covering "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding" below. The song is available via Bandcamp with all sales going to Doctors Without Borders. For more on Hallelujah the Hills, check out the band's website.