Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Looking Glass War - "See You In Hell, Liberty Bell"

Photo via Facebook

A title like "See You In Hell, Liberty Bell" is going to immediately grab our attention since it sounds like the greatest unreleased Troma Pictures movie ever. Luckily, the latest from Looking Glass War is also a great song. The Boston band has released a glammed up post-punk anthem that is just begging to be sung along to in the finest dive bars in town. It's the style of song that is going to inspire both hyperactive pogoing and the best dance moves a crowd in Boston can muster. Singer Goddamn Glenn gives his all for "See You In Hell, Liberty Bell." This is the style of song that is almost begging to be added to Halloween playlists just by vibe alone.

You can listen to "See You In Hell, Liberty Bell" below. Saints of the Lost and Found is due out in the Fall. For more on Looking Glass War, check out the band on Instagram and Facebook.

Lutalo - "Ocean Swallows Him Whole"

Photo by Patrick McCormack

Vermont's Lutalo has released a new single from their debut album, and it's a must listen. "Ocean Swallows Him Whole" dances between the lines of 90's style indie rock and a dark version of post-punk. The song is brimming with the DIY appeal of bands like Sebadoh and Guided By Voices while having the undercurrent of dance friendly music like She Wants Revenge. Plus, there's a touch of modern, pop focused singer-songwriter in there. By borrowing from the past, Lutalo has crafted one of the more unique sounds in indie music today.

Lutalo says of their new single:

“'Ocean Swallows Him Whole' is a partial Icarus reference. It is more widely about interacting with a place, environment, or person with preconceived intentions. Going into that interaction with the thought of ‘what can I get out of this’ or ‘how can this serve my personal image.’ This ultimately consumes their true self as a means to fit in or gain personal standing. Something that is rooted in our culture, and an observation I’ve made about how people engage with popular cities and people they project ideas on to. It makes sense given our society so I want to make it clear that this isn’t a position of judgment, simply observation."

You can watch the video for "Ocean Swallows Him Whole" below. The Academy is due out September 20 on Winspear, and is available for pre-order here. For more on Lutalo, check out the artist on Instagram and Twitter. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.

08/17/24 - Crickhowell, UK @ Green Man Festival
08/31/24 - Brighton, UK @ Brighton Psych Fest
09/01/24 - Manchester, UK @ Manchester Psych Fest

Supporting Nilüfer Yanya
09/28/24 - Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
09/30/24 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat
10/01/24 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
10/02/24 - Boston, MA @ Royale
10/04/24 - Montreal, QC @ La Tulipe
10/05/24 - Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
10/06/24 - Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
10/07/24 - Chicago, IL @ Metro
10/09/24 - Nashville, TN @ Basement East
10/10/24 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
10/11/24 - Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
10/13/24 - Lawrence, KS @ Bottleneck
10/15/24 - Denver, CO @ Meow Wolf
10/16/24 - Salt Lake City, UT @ State Room
10/18/24 - Vancouver, BC @ Hollywood Theatre
10/19/24 - Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
10/20/24 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
10/22/24 - San Francisco, CA @ August Hall
10/24/24 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda

Live Shows: Airiel, Blushing, Bodywah, and Bella Steele, Deep Cuts, Medford, MA 6/21/24

I normally don't like when there's a four band bill with all four bands being the same genre. Friday night at Deep Cuts was a shoegaze bill to the point that the majority of the crowd were wearing shirts for Ride, My Bloody Valentine, etc. However, all four bands played such varied styles of shoegaze that at no point did the evening feel repetitive.

First up was Bella Steele. The Boston band play a heavier, more sludgy version of shoegaze. Some might consider it more sludge metal than shoegaze, but I'm going to still call them shoegaze. I was completely unfamiliar with Bella Steele before they took the stage, and I became a fan almost instantly. They were impossible to ignore and commanded attention. Luckily, they were great and quickly converted the crowd that was mostly there for a lighter, poppier version of the genre. It was one of those times that a local opener had an entire crowd talking about them for pretty much an entire break between bands. 

Bodywash played next, and I had almost forgotten about the Quebec band before the show. When I saw the flyer, I was delighted to finally see them perform live, and didn't realize they were playing until the last minute. They played a lighter, more dream gaze sound than Bella Steele. That is, until they didn't. Most of their set were airy and hazy songs that seemed to float around you, but some of their songs were a heavier, more alt-rock style. Both sounds from Bodywash were done impeccably and accented the other perfectly. I'm thrilled to have Bodywash back on my radar, and to dive back into their catalog.

Next up was Blushing, the band I wanted to see the most. The Austin band play a more alt-rock style of shoegaze. It's a little more aggressive, but it's also a fun sound. In fact, Blushing seemed to be having more fun than any shoegaze band I've ever seen live. We've compared them to Veruca Salt playing shoegaze, and that description fits their live set aptly. It was face melting 90's style alt-rock with a haze over the whole thing, and the crowd was into it. It could just have been my own bias as a fan, but they seemed to have had the most diehard fans, and the new ones became diehards by the end. They closed out their set with "Dream Merchants" with both Christina and Noe Carmona playing in the crowd, which just endeared them to us all even more so.

Airiel closed out the evening. The Chicago band's Bandcamp description proclaims "It's loud. It's pretty. You can dance to it." I don't think a Bandcamp description has ever described a band's sound so perfectly. Their version of shoegaze was mysteriously dance friendly without losing any of the oomph of the genre. It was loud, gorgeous music that enraptured the audience, who equally stood there in awe and danced their hearts out. The chin stroking audiences that typically fill up shoegaze shows were nowhere to be seen. Airiel bring out fans who want to rock the fuck out when they're not having their minds blown.

Monday, June 24, 2024

Oahk - "Sea Kelp"

Photo via Facebook

It's been a little while since we've heard from Oahk. The Ashland, NH based artist just released a new single, "Sea Kelp." Oahk is truly one of the more unique artists we've covered here at If It's Too Loud..., and this new track shows exactly why. "Sea Kelp" is a nearly seven minute song focused heavily on drone, but it sounds far more organic than any drone track you've ever heard before. The song feels heavy without being a heavy track. Instead, it's a darkly gorgeous track that just meanders about where it needs to go. Oahk does not make music that is particularly cheery, and this is a dark one. If you can make it through the entire length of "Sea Kelp" without feeling anything, you may not have a soul.

You can listen to "Sea Kelp" below. Sea Kelp, the album, is due out September 6 on Deciduous Records. For more on Oahk, check out the artist on Facebook.

The Shang Hi Los - "Morgantic Panic"

I know what you're thinking: Great, not another garage rock/power pop single about Prince Edward VIII abdicating the British throne for an American Socialite. And yes, that's an overly used subject matter for modern music, but once you hear the latest from The Shang Hi Los, I think you'll forgive us. "Morgantic Panic" is the exact type of song we want and expect to hear from the Boston garage pop sensations. It's an upbeat rocker that has that garage rock and power pop sound that could have been released any time in the past fifty years. If you dig the Boston garage rock scene anywhere near as much as we do, you probably already know and love The Shang Hi Los.

You can listen to "Morgantic Panic" below. The single is out now via Rum Bar Records. For more on The Shang Hi Los, check out the band on Facebook.

Rakim featuring Kurupt and Masta Killa - "Be Ill"

For his first official single in fifteen years, hip hop legend Rakim has joined forces with two other hip hop legends. "Be Ill" features Kurupt and Masta Killa, and it's every bit as great as you want it to be with these three teaming up. This is pure vintage hip hop, just maybe a little more laid back than it used to be. It also sounds a little more modern than I expected, but modern in the way that this is what these legendary MCs should sound like in 2024. If you think you might want to check this one out, trust me... you do. And if you know you need to hear "Be Ill," you're going to love this one.

You can listen to "Be Ill" below. G.O.D.'s Network (Reb7rth) is due out July 26 and will feature collaborations with Method Man, Kool G Rap, Joell Ortiz, the late Nipsey Hustle, and more. It's available for pre-order here. For more on Rakim, check out the artist on Twitter and Instagram.

Laura Jane Grace & The Mississippi Medicals - "All Fucked Out"

Laura Jane Grace & The Mississippi Medicals are the group that Grace is currently touring with, featuring Matt Patton, Mikey Erg, and Paris Campbell Grace. The quartet just released a new single, "All Fucked Out." If you've seen the band play in the past few months, you've definitely heard this song, and have most likely had the song jammed in your head for a few days afterwards. It's kind of a lighter sounding song than we typically hear from Grace, and seems fairly tongue in cheek. It's lighthearted, but also viciously biting. It's the kind of song that might not grab you fully on the first listen, but on the second it will be burrowed into your soul.

Laura Jane Grace says of her latest single:

"Back in 2021, I sat down in my office to do some songwriting. Not knowing what specifically to write about that day, I challenged myself to write a song similar to whatever the current #1 hit in the world was at the time. I made the challenge to myself without knowing exactly what that song was so I had to look it up, and as it turned out at that moment, the current #1 song in the world was ‘Butter’ by BTS. Now, for those of you not familiar with the song ‘Butter’, it's about how the singer is ‘smooth like butter’.

"‘Hmmm…’ I thought to myself. ‘If they're smooth like Butter, what am I?’ And the answer to that question is ‘All Fucked Out’ — not to be confused with ‘All Fucked Up’, mind you. ‘All Fucked Out’ as in zero fucks left to give. The song quickly became a staple in my live set and I've taken a couple different previous attempts at recording it, but it wasn't until Me, Matt [Patton], Mikey [Erg] and Paris [Campbell Grace] got together this past December in Water Valley, Mississippi at Matt's Studio, Dial Back Sound, that it all came together and the song was recorded the way it was meant to be heard."

You can listen to "All Fucked Out" below. For more on Laura Jane Grace, check out the artist's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the song.

03 — Louisville, KY
  — The Whirling Tiger
04 — Memphis, TN — Growlers

06 — Pensacola, FL — Handlebar

07 — St Petersburg, FL — The Floridian Social

08 — Orlando, FL — The Social

10 — Gainesville, FL — The Wooly

11 — Athens, GA — 40 Watt Club

13 — Charlottesville, VA — Jefferson Theater *

14 — Ft. Monroe, VA — Supernova Ska Festival ^

15 — Atlantic City, NJ — Anchor Rock Club*

17 — New York, NY — The Liberty Belle

18 — Asbury Park, NJ — House of Independents

19 — Syracuse, NY — The Song & Dance

20-22 —Chicago, IL – Riot Fest

* — no Catbite

^ — no Taylor Hollingsworth

Friday, June 21, 2024

Crow Follow - "I'm in Love with You"

Photo by Kelly Davidson Studio

Crow Follow are by far our favorite Boston "shaman rock and urban cabaret brigade," so we're thrilled that they have a new single out today. "I'm in Love with You" is a joyful burst of low-rock, or a more organic version of post-punk. It's kind of like if you got goths to try out being a jam band, or if you crammed X-Ray Spex in a room with Morphine to see what happens. Crow Follow are a wonderfully strange band that often likes to dance right on the edge of the mainstream, almost to tempt the normies. A song like "I'm in Love with You" shows them at the very top of their game.

Vocalist Agent Judy says of the band's latest single:

“‘I’m In Love With You’ is another statement of determination from a band that relentlessly promotes our drive to live and thrive. We will not be swayed from our deepest connections to the evolutionary source of our creative forces. That’s where it’s all at. It says that we can engage power from the carnal core to lofty ideals by engaging with love in all its forms. Art is the expression of that experience.”

You can listen to "I'm in Love with You" below. The song is out now via Rock Garden Records. For more on Crow Follow, check out the band's website.

slo-anne - "ded"

Photo via Facebook

slo-anne are the brother/sister duo of Cecily (guitar/vocals) and Andy (drums). The Boston band has a new single that fits right in with some of our favorite music here at If It's Too Loud... Their latest single, "ded," shows off their influences in The Beths, Alvvays, and Courtney Barnett. It's that newfangled version of 90's alt-rock, which is fuzzed out guitar rock that borders on, and sometimes crosses into, the realm of pop music. "ded" has a light and sunny feel to it, but it also just flat out rocks at certain points. I'm hearing a little bit of Weakened Friends meets The White Stripes with this one.

You can listen to "ded" below. whiplash is due out June 27, and is available for pre-order through Bandcamp. For more on slo-anne, check out the band on Instagram and Facebook.

Robber Robber - "Dial Tone"

Photo by Connor Turque

Burlington, VT's Robber Robber are going to blow you away with this one. The band describes their new single as "steamed punk," and I'm not totally sure what that means, but "Dial Tone" is a killer song. It starts off as this jerky post-punk style song, with an underlying menace just waiting to explode. And "Dial Tone" definitely explodes. It has a Sonic Youth and Nirvana style eruption, and is the best example of loud/quiet/loud we've heard this year. If feedback squalls are your idea of beauty, Robber Robber have you covered on this one. Despite everything I've just written, at no point does "Dial Tone" sound like a 90's throwback. Instead, this is an updated version of that sound.

Singer/guitarist Nina Cates says of the band's latest single:

“It’s kind of a voyeuristic perspective of everyone scrambling around to see each other and connect but also never feeling quite like you’re keeping pace with the slipstream. Feeling like you’re always going out and yet always missing out on something."

You can watch the video for "Dial Tone" below. Wild Guess is out July 26, and is available for pre-order here. For more on Robber Robber, check out the band on Instagram.