Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Eli Paperboy Reed Covers Merle Haggard

Photo via Facebook

At this point in his career, Eli Paperboy Reed has been around for almost twenty years and is a veteran of neo-soul. There are a lot of artists you would expect him to release a covers album of. James Brown, Sam Cooke, The Staples Singers... but Merle Haggard? "Mama Tried" is the first single off Reed's Merle Haggard covers album Down Every Road. Haggard is one of those artists I know I should be more familiar with, but Reed turns "Mama Tried" into a soul standard as opposed to classic country. This sounds like pure 70's soul with the beginnings of disco just starting to poke in. Reed makes this song sound like it's straight out of a variety show from fifty years ago. Maybe this won't be perfect for Merle Haggard purists, but for fans of Eli Paperboy Reed and/or classic soul are going to love it.

In a press release, Reed says of first hearing Merle Haggard:

“It was so aggressively honest and edgy. He could get to the heart of these extraordinarily complicated emotional sentiments in two-and-a-half minutes, and that was something that really stuck with me.”

You can listen to Eli Paperboy Reed's cover of "Mama Tried" below. Down Every Road is due out April 29 on Yep Rock Records and can be pre-ordered/pre-saved here. For more on Eli Paperboy Reed, check out the artist's website.

Howless - "Rain and Ice"

When I think of shoegaze, I don't usually think of Mexico City, but that might change with Howless. The band's new single, "Rain and Ice," has all of the swirling guitar and fuzzy feeling that you expect and need with shoegaze, but it also brings in a sense of pop and a slightly upbeat sound you don't normally associate with the genre. It features vocals from Dominique Sanchez and Mauricio Tinejro that would do their 90's forebearers proud with their attention to slacker detail. This is a huge, fuzzed filled song that helps shoegaze evolve into a new generation.

You can watch the video for "Rain and Ice" below. To Repel Ghosts is due out February 18 on Static Blooms Records. For more on Howless, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter

The Rumjacks - "Bounding Main"

We're in late January, which means we're about to enter Irish punk season here in the Northeast. We've been digging the new songs from The Rumjacks, and the latest is "Bounding Main." The obvious band to compare any Irish punk band to is Dropkick Murphys, and I'll compare this new song to a very specific time for Dropkick Murphys. "Bounding Main" sounds like just as the Dropkick Murphys started getting big. It's not quite as hard edged as a song like "Pipebomb on Lansdowne" but it's not their current arena rock. The Rumjacks have found this great spot where their gang vocals have a catchy, harmonious side but just enough attitude to still be punk.

You can watch the video for "Bounding Main" below. Brass for Gold is due out on February 11 and can be pre-ordered here. For more on The Rumjacks, check out the band's website.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

First Listen: New Releases for 24 January

Artist: Logan Lynn
Album: New Money
Quick Thoughts: This has no business being as good as it is. It's electro-pop with a sort of anti-folk bent, but I loved it over and over and then got to the Liz Phair cover, which is perfect. Logan Lynn won't be for everybody, but if you're looking for a Marc Rebillet-ish danceable record this week, check this out.
Songs of Note: "It's Been Forever," "Fuck and Run"

Artist: Che Noir
Album: Food For Thought
Quick Thoughts: This is a really great rap album this week. Che Noir offers up a record with some excellent low-key backing beats and one great song after another. She's more Sa-Roc than Nicki, and that's to her benefit as well. The whole thing is great, and is definitely my favorite rap album this week.
Songs of Note:

Artist: Artsick
Album: Fingers Crossed
Quick Thoughts: Sometimes Ken sends me things I've never heard of, and they're so good that I shoot him the "holy crap that's good" text. Artsick got the "holy crap." It's such a great slice of poppy indie rock that I couldn't help but fall in love with it almost right away. The songs are catchy as hell, and I am looking forward to coming back to it more than anything else this week.
Songs of Note: "Look Again," "Ghost of Myself," "Dealing With Tantrums," "Ship Has Sailed," "Vacant"

Artist: Yard Act
Album: The Overload
Quick Thoughts: Right after I listened to Artsick I jumped over to Yard Act, and texted Ken again about how great this was. This is sort of like if Idles and Cheekface had a baby, and while Yard Act isn't really reinventing the wheel when it comes to the sort of stream-of-consciousness post-rock stuff, my goodness is it great. Really loved this one as well.
Songs of Note: "The Overload," "Dead Horse," "The Incident," "Witness (Can I Get A?)," "Pour Another"

Artist: AURORA
Album: The Gods We Can Touch
Quick Thoughts: AURORA's been carving a little niche for herself in the sort of airy Nordic pop that I've really come to love, and her first two albums were outstanding as is. This third album, however, feels like a major step forward for her. A few of these songs in particular are just amazing, and will easily end up on my end-of-year mix even though it's only January. A good artist putting out a great new album is always excellent news, so make some time for this.
Songs of Note: "Everything Matters," "Cure for Me," "A Temporary High"

Artist: Reptaliens
Album: Multiverse
Quick Thoughts: Another indie act, this one also has a lot of great power poppy songs throughout. I kept thinking how much I liked each song until I realized how much I just loved the whole package - in an era where power pop has kind of run its course, this was a really solid surprise for me.
Songs of Note: "Don't Wait for Me," "Take It," "I Can't Hide"

Artist: Aoife O'Donovan
Album: Age of Apathy
Quick Thoughts: Aoife O'Donovan is a favorite around these parts, and for good reason. Her forward-thinking bluegrass and local presence makes for some truly excellent music, and from Crooked Still to this new record, it's miles beyond a lot of her contemporaries. This has a darker, starker feel to it, but it's still incredibly high quality and a welcome return for the critically acclaimed musician. Don't skip out on this.
Songs of Note: "B61," "Age of Apathy"

Of note:

* Anna Ash - Sleeper (A number of good moments here.)
* Lost Dog Street Band - Glory (A number of good moments here, too.)
* Boris - W (Very heavy, but I liked it.)
* Goodnight, Texas - How Long Will It Take Them To Die?
* 2nd Generation Wu - The Legend of Shaolin
* Annika Norlin - Mentor
* Jake Xerxes Fussell - Good and Green Again
* Kim Gordon and Loren Connors - At Issue
* Biosphere - Shortwave Memories
* Pedro the Lion - Havasu
* Kids on a Crime Spree - Fall in Love Not in Line
* AUA - The Damaged Organ


* The Second Hand Orchestra - Reimagining the Wide, Wide River
* Etta Marcus - View from the Bridge
* Jeremiah Moon - Sputnik
* Plumes - Here's to Then
* Riarosa - Pinkish
* Operator Music Band - Deep Break

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* These Wild Plains - Thrilled to Beer Here (Live)
* Valerie June - The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers (Deluxe Edition)
* Com Truise - Galactic Melt (10th Anniversary Edition)
* King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard - Butterfly 3001

Dropper - "Ok Ok Ok"

As we get closer to the new album from Brooklyn's Dropper, the band has released a video for the new single "Ok Ok Ok." The single is a blend of indie rock that welcomes in a heavy groove to the point that it is almost pop, but also has more than a little but of garage rock psychedelia. It's one of those sounds that's unique but inherently familiar at the same time. While the beat remains upbeat, the song has a sonic heaviness to it. It's not very often you can describe a song as both trippy and peppy, but with "Ok Ok Ok" you can. 

Andrea Scanniello says of her band's new single:

"I think most people have gone through at least one breakup or had a friendship end that pretty much wrecked them for a little while. 'Ok Ok Ok' is about going to a party and being hyper-aware of that other person’s presence. It’s about trying to overcome discomfort but in the process overcompensating and being (maybe just a little) petty. It’s about that desire to prove to that other person, and to yourself, that you’re okay when maybe the truth is, you’re not."

You can watch the video for "Ok Ok Ok" below. Don't Talk to Me is due out February 11 and can be pre-ordered here. For more on Dropper, check out the band's website.

Allegra Krieger - "Taking It In"

Photo by Dallas Starky

When you first start listening to the latest song from Allegra Krieger, you'd be forgiven to think it's going to be fairly standard folky/singer-songwriter fare. Sure, there are little oddball flourishes here and there, but those could be just little quirks speckled throughout "Taking It In." And then the speckles turn into these truly bizarre squalls of noise. These squalls can be pure bursts of noise, what sound like found recordings, or instruments that seem to have just be brought in for a few seconds of the song. "Taking It In" does all this without truly changing the song. It keeps the same pleasant beauty and tempo throughout. It's almost like these sounds are distractions coming from an outside source and not from within the song. Allegra Krieger is going to be an artist you'll want to watch.

You can watch the video for "Taking It In" below. Precious Thing is due out March 4 on Northern Spy Records and can be pre-ordered here. For more on Allegra Krieger, check out the artist's website.

Ex-Hyena - "Capture the Stills"

Boston based electronic duo Ex-Hyena are not a party band. Their latest single, "Capture the Stills," is not something you're going to put on to get the dance floor filled. The song is dark and moody. It's more like a melancholy and disjointed version of trip hop. It may not inspire you to dance, but it will grab your attention and make you want to listen. There is a lot to unpack in this song. Instrumentation seems to wander in and out, almost as if its lost and trying to figure out where it belongs within the song. And, as you're listening, you'll start to notice a groove in the song that is going to make you want to move, even if it's just a little.

Reuben Bettsak of Ex-Hyena says of the new song:

“‘Capture the Stills’ is dark and menacing. Bo [Barringer] wrote the lyrics to this one… It certainly fits the vibe, and themes that Ex-Hyena often covers. To me, it's like falling into a David Lynch movie void, and witnessing two characters in a volatile relationship, or something like that. This was the last song written for the second LP, and I'm glad it made it on the album.”

You can listen to "Capture the Stills" below. Moon Reflections is due out later this year via Hush Club Ltd. For more on Ex-Hyena, check out the artist's Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, January 24, 2022

E - "Any Information"

E, the band of Boston indie rock legends Thalia Zedek (Come, Uzi, Live Skull), Jason Sanford (Neptune), and Gavin McCarthy (Karate), is back with a new single. "Any Information" is just as odd and intense of a song as you would expect from this trio. It's obviously going to be discordant, and this particular song has a guitar riff that sounds like it's driving straight into your skull, but it's also oddly lovely. It might not be at first, but as the song goes on and through repeated listens, you start noticing a strange beauty within. It may be an intensely noisy indie rock song, but there is beauty inside of it if you take the time to look. 

You can watch the video for "Any Information" below. The song is the title track of an upcoming EP which is due out April 22. For more on E, check out the band's Facebook.

No Nations - "Queso"

No Nations are a kind of Boston supergroup, with members that have been in bands like Mean Creek, Cocked N Loaded, I am become Death, Suffer on Acid, etc. The band's second single is out now, and it's one of the more unique rock songs out there right now. "Queso" is as melodic as it is heavy. Their press release refers to their sound as "post-hardcore/shoegaze/grunge," but there is definitely more to "Queso" than just that. It's a song that can sound oddly disjointed at times as it plows through different tempos and styles. It combines the heavier side of indie rock with melodic hardcore into a song that is quite simply irresistible... for those of us that love such music, that is.

You can listen to "Queso" below. The song is available as a download and a two song cassette via Bandcamp. For more on No Nations, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter.

Muzzins - "Invisible Wounds"

Way back in September (seriously, how was that only 4 months ago?) we brought you the debut single from Boston's Muzzins. It was an alt-rock song that brought in elements of electronic, funk, and hip hop. The band is back with "Invisible Wounds," which is even harder to categorize. This new single starts off as an electronic/tropicalia jam, and just kind of meanders its way around in its own funky way. It's this chilled out, laid back song that hides some intensity. And then it just breaks out in this bizarre indie rock squall of noise. That seems to break the tension, because when it leaves "Invisible Wounds" is even more laid back and just pure tropicalia. Muzzins are definitely unique, in one of the more interesting ways.

You can listen to "Invisible Wounds" below. The song is available as a single via Light of Day Records. For more on Muzzins, check out the band's Facebook.