Tuesday, June 25, 2019

First Listen: New Releases for 21 June

Artist: Mannequin Pussy
Album: Patience
Quick Description: Great indie rock if you can get past the name.
Why You Should Listen: This is the surprise of the week for me.
Overall Thoughts: As Ken put it, "'Wow, this Mannequin Pussy is really great' I declare uncomfortably...." I really, really enjoyed this album and this may be one that has some longevity behind it. If you can get past the discomfort of this band’s name, you’ll probably have a good time with this. Solid indie rock.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: Dirt Road Sweetheart
Album: Rose of My Heart
Quick Description: Nora Jane Struthers and her dad take root right into your soul.
Why You Should Listen: This is just a lovely listen.
Overall Thoughts: I am a big fan of Nora Jane Struthers, and this new album coincides with a rerelease of her first album with her father. The duo, under this name, does traditional roots music and, while it definitely isn’t designed to set the roots world on fire, a musician of the caliber of Struthers working on a project like this brings its own benefits to the table. You can sense the appreciation both of the music being performed (just try to listen to their version of “Big Rock Candy Mountain” without smiling) and for each other in the album, and it was just a very enjoyable listen on a whole.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Artist: Bedouine
Album: Bird Songs of a Killjoy
Quick Description: Lovely folk music seemingly from a time capsule.
Why You Should Listen: This leans into the past while not feeling old.
Overall Thoughts: Sometimes folk acts try to get too fancy and it doesn’t work. Bed had a great first album that felt like the present while aping the past, and the new album absolutely expands the musical map a bit while still retaining that retro folk flavor. It shows good (and maybe necessary) growth while not losing what made the debut so special, and I am really glad that this was as good as it ended up being.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.

Artist: Hatchie
Album: Keepsake
Quick Description: Dreamy indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: Hatchie has low-key been releasing classic after classic for months.
Overall Thoughts: I have been obsessed with basically every song Hatchie has put out since she hit my radar. There is something nearly perfect about her indie/dream pop hybrid sound that feels full and fresh that hasn’t been achieved elsewhere, and I think I basically love this whole thing. It is fascinating how complete a package this feels like in comparison to how solid the one-offs have been so far. There’s not a lot like this currently, so give this a listen.
Recommendation: One of the better listens of the recent months.

Of note:

* Hot Chip - A Bath Full of Ecstacy (I would have assumed I was bored with this genre, but they dragged me back in.)
* Titus Andronicus - An Obelisk (So loud and so brash, but so good.)
* Willie Nelson - Ride Me Back Home
* Chuck Mead - Close to Home
* Bad Breeding - Exiled
* Jane Weaver - Loops in the Secret Society
* Holy Ghost! - Work
* Cassius - Dreems


* Hackensaw Boys - A Fireproof House of Sunshine
* Angel Snow - Arrows
* Lil Nas X - 7
* Eddie Japan - The Amorous Adventures of Eddie Japan
* Sure Sure - Sedona
* Delilah Montagu - In Gold
* Mr Tophat - Dusk to Dawn Part III


* The Raconteurs - Help Us Stranger
* Mark Ronson - Late Night Feelings
* Two Door Cinema Club - False Alarm
* Collective Soul - Blood
* Black Pumas - Black Pumas

Sing Again Syren - "Cast Away"

Oh, wow this song. The latest song from Sing Again Syren is just pure rock. "Cast Away" is being compared to other artists like Heart, The Runaways, and Babes in Toyland, and I can't say I disagree with that at all. I'd also throw in a more straightforward rock version of Sarah Shook with all the country stripped out. There's been a lot of talk about who will be the future savior of guitar driven rock. Sing Again Syren are the closest thing I've heard to rock's savior. If you have an appreciation for classic hard rock with all pretension stripped away, you really need to check out "Cast Away."

You can listen to "Cast Away" below. The song is currently available as a single via Veta Records. For more on Sing Again Syren, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Jason Hawk Harris - "Cussing at the Light"

Photo by Sean Rosenthal
Jason Hawk Harris does not have the typical path to being a country musician. He grew up in Houston but now lives in Los Angeles. He is hugely influenced by punk, indie, and Queen. While waitlisted at UCLA for classical composition, he started getting into folk and country with The Show Ponies. It was after releasing his first solo EP, Formaldehyde, Tobacco, and Tulips in 2017 where his life took several dark turns. His mother died from complications from alcoholism, his father was sued by the King of Morocco and went bankrupt, his sister was diagnosed with MS and gave birth to a premature son who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and this led to Harris falling to his own addictions.

Now he's recovered and has brought us "Cussing at the Light" from his upcoming debut album. "Cussing at the Light" has a fairly mainstream appeal to it, but with a darker punk influenced edge. I'm reminded a lot of Jason Isbell and the showmanship of Ben Folds. It's the kind of sound that alt-country and mainstream country fans can both get behind.

You can watch the video for "Cussing at the Light" below. Love and the Dark, the debut album from Jason Hawk Harris, will be out August 23 on Bloodshot Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Jason Hawk Harris, check out his website.

Ed Balloon - "Rainbows"

Photo via Facebook
R&B is a genre that I can't seem to get into these days, but I've been fairly obsessed with Boston's Ed Balloon since stumbling onto his music last year. He has a new song out, "Rainbows." I've noticed that I enjoy his more up tempo songs than his slower ones, and "Rainbows" is definitely on the slower side. But it's a great song. Balloon's style isn't a throwback at all. It's completely modern and electronic sounding, but he just presents his songs in a way that I haven't heard coming from anyone else. He's a completely unique talent, which is rare these days.

You can listen to "Rainbows" below. The Dubs, the upcoming album from Ed Balloon, will be out July 19 on Deathbomb Arc. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Ed Balloon, check out his website.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Wilder Maker - "Love So Well" b/w "Rose Room"

Photo by Annie Del Hierro
The latest single from New York's Wilder Maker appears to be a transitional one. The first song, "Love So Well," is referred to as singer Katie Von Schleicher's swan song, which means it's fairly safe to say this release marks the departure from the band. "Love So Well" is a country rock song in the vein of Neil Young's ballads. Sure, I may be taking that directly from the press release, but it's impossible not to hear that in the song. The b-side, "Rose Room," sees Gabriel Birnbaum taking over lead vocals with Von Schleicher in more of a backup vocal role. "Rose Room" is swankier rock, with just enough quirk and humor to keep things interesting.

You can listen to "Love So Well" and "Rose Room" below. You can get your copy of the single via Bandcamp. For more on Wilder Maker, be sure to check out their website.

Stella Donnelly Covers Cyndi Lauper

Photo by Pooneh Ghana
This is about a year and a half old, and we missed it the first time around. Since we are overly obsessed with covers and rightly obsessed with Stella Donnelly, we needed to bring you this. Back on New Year's 2017 (or 2018? I never know with New Year's...) Stella Donnelly performed a cover of Cyndi Lauper's iconic "Time After Time" on ABC Australia's New Years Eve special. First, I'm beyond jealous that Australia gets well produced videos of artists on the caliber of Stella Donnelly while we get country stars rapping about their pick up truck or whatever it is that passes for mainstream country these days. The video is just Donnelly and her guitar playing a gorgeous and faithful rendition of "Time After Time." Sure, Donnelly doesn't quite belt it out like Lauper does, but that's hardly a complaint. Donnelly's version is quieter and a bit more twee, but we find that to be basically perfect.

You can watch the video for Stella Donnelly's version of "Time After Time" below. For more on Stella Donnelly, check out her website.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Buffalo Skinners - "You Say Love, But You Mean Hate"

Despite being from Sheffield, England, The Buffalo Skinners are the least British sounding British band of all time. Their latest song, "You Say Love, But You Mean Hate," is pure modern Americana. The song is in the same style you'd hear in bands like Delta Spirit and Dawes. It's chilled out near folk packed full with sing-along harmonies. Singer/guitarist Peter Seccombe explains the song like this: “The song is the holiday blues. We spend our time running towards the sun, but we should just love the everyday things.”

You can watch the video for "You Say Love, But You Mean Hate" below. The song is the b-side for a 7" single due on June 21st via Loose Chat Records. For more on The Buffalo Skinners, check out their website. Current tour dates are below the song.

Friday 5th July - Cornbury Festival, Oxfordshire
Wednesday 7th August - Adelphi Club, Hull
Thursday 8th August - The Castle Hotel, Manchester 
Sunday 11th August - Newcastle, Cumberland Arms
Wednesday 14th August - Oporto, Leeds
Thursday 15th August - Hy Brasil, Bristol
Friday 16th August -  The Islington, London 
Saturday 17th August - Shakespeares, Sheffield

Molly Burch - "Only One"

Photo via Facebook
We've huge fans of Molly Burch's old fashioned doo wop meets current indie rock/folk sound. Personally, it hits such a sweet spot I didn't even know I had until I heard her. Since we had a new album from her in October, I assumed it would be a long time before we heard anything new. Luckily she's already back with a new single.

"Only One" is classic Molly Burch. It's a laid back, kinda groovy, strikingly beautiful doo wop/folk/indie rock song. It's not reaching out in any new bizarre or unexpected directions, which isn't a bad thing. Burch does her sound to perfection, and while experimentation will always be welcome, there's nothing wrong with her sticking to what we love from her. If you've loved her work in the past, there's no way you're not going to enjoy "Only One." And if you've never given her a shot, now's a great time to.

You can listen to "Only One" below. The song will be available as a 7" titled Ballads, which will be out on August 2. You can pre-order it now via Bandcamp. For more on Molly Burch, check out her website.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers Cover Camper Van Beethoven

I almost held off on this for a Friday Freebie, but I couldn't wait that long...

Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers (whose 2018 album Bought to Rot was my #7 album from last year) did a session for Folkadelphia back on April 20, which is being posted now. A live and free session from one of our favorite artists is already exciting enough, but when the session ends with a cover of Camper Van Beethoven's 1985 "Take the Skinheads Bowling," we can't resist it. Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers's version is somehow more ramshackle than the original. The punk is amped up a bit on the cover while still keeping the jangly perfection of the original intact. This is a perfect cover in every possible way.

You can listen to Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers's version of "Take the Skinheads Bowling" below. You can download Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers Folkadelphia Session 4​/​20​/​2019 for free on Folkadelphia's Bandcamp. For more on Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers, check out her Twitter and Facebook.

Oh, Rose - "25, ALIVE"

Olympia, WA is one of those cities that doesn't seem to have any bad (or even mediocre) bands. Oh, Rose are keeping with the tradition of the city. "25, ALIVE" is filled with anger, hurt, but is somehow still uplifting. As singer Olivia Rose explains: 

I was 25 when my mother died and I was angry and brokenThis song is me saying I don’t want this anger because I know what it does to a person if they hold onto it.

"25, ALIVE" is alt-rock in the classic Northwestern sense. It's fuzzy guitars and emotion with plenty of quiet/loud/quiet transitions. But it also has a groove and a sense of joy and moving on, so it's not all Washington state depression.

You can watch the video for "25, ALIVE" below. While My Father Sleeps, the new album from Oh, Rose, will be out August 23 on Park the Van. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Oh, Rose, check them out on Facebook and Twitter. Current tour dates are below the video.

6/19 – Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line *
6/21 – Kansas City, MO – Record Bar *
6/22 – Denver, CO – Gothic *
6/23 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban *
6/25 – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre *
6/26 – Seattle, WA – Neptune *
6/27 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom *
6/28 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore *

* = w/ Yeasayer