Friday, August 7, 2020

Juanita Stein - "Snapshot"

Juanita Stein, formerly of Howling Bells, is set to release her third solo album. "Snapshot," the new single from the album, has some folk adjacent qualities, but is otherwise hard to pin down. It's almost mainstream, but goes off in too many bizarre directions to be mainstream, even though it's definitely not exactly experimental. It starts off in a hypnotic, kind of mellow way, and then just progresses into a more full, more odd direction. And then it just keeps evolving into different directions. It's almost like the song branches out like a tree while the main structure remains the same. If anything, it's similar to some of The Beatles's more oddball songs.

You can watch the video for "Snapshot" below. Snapshot, the new album from Juanita Stein, will be out October 2 on Nude Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Juanita Stein, check out her website.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Anne Malin - "Empty is the Day"

Photo by Rachel Winslow
Gothic country should be a much bigger genre. the duo known as Anne Malin recently moved from South Bend, IN to Nashville, and are set to release their second album. The first single, "Empty is the Day," may not be for everyone, but it really should be. The song is gorgeous, but also a rough listen. The song is purposefully painful, almost like traditional country listened to through an dark prism. "Haunted" is a cliched description for music, but "Empty is the Day" sounds truly haunted, almost as if singer Anne Malin Ringwalt simply needs to exorcise herself the song in order to be free of it. If that doesn't convince you to listen, I don't know what will.

You can listen to "Empty is the Day" below. Waiting Song, the new album from Anne Malin, will be out October 2. You can pre-order a copy on Bandcamp. For more on Anne Malin, check out their website.

Jesse Roper - "Right Now"

British Columbia's Jesse Roper is making folk music for giant festivals. His latest single, "Right Now," takes the normally quiet and personal genre and makes it huge. Sure, there are other folk/Americana artists that play arenas, but they typically lose what makes folk great. "Right Now" is a huge arena ready folk/rock song that keeps the true spirit of folk alive, despite being a huge rock song. It starts off simply enough, like most more mainstream folk songs do these days. And then it just keeps getting bigger and louder as the song goes on. Plus, it couldn't be more obvious in its political leanings. As the press release says, "Roper doesn't expect this song to change the world. He does, however, want to rock the fuck out, sing things into a microphone that he believes, and crush guitar riffs."

You can listen to "Right Now" below. Horizons, the upcoming album from Jesse Roper, will be out soon. For more on Jesse Roper, check out his Facebook.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Mickey Leigh's Mutated Music - "Little Cristine"

Photo by Gregory Berg
Mickey Leigh is best knows as Joey Ramone's brother and the author of I Slept With Joey Ramone: A Family Memoir. He's also been in bands since he was ten, including Birdland (with music journalist Lester Bangs), The Rattlers, and Sibling Rivalry (with Joey Ramone). Anyone with this kind of musical legacy will immediately get a listen from us, and his latest single does not disappoint. 

His current project, Mickey Leigh's Mutated Music, has released a single. "Little Cristine" is a catchy as hell garage punk rock song. It's fuzzed out with huge guitars and a groove that has to be heard. If you were even slightly intrigued by his bio, "Little Cristine" is going to be a perfect listen for you.

You can watch the video for "Little Cristine" below. The song is available as a single on transparent red vinyl via Wicked Cool Records (and digitally) here. For more on Mickey Leigh's Mutated Music, check out his website.

Crawlies - "Old News"

Photo by Mark Howe
When a band forms over a shared love of Yo La Tengo, any aging Gen-X hipster can't help but check them out. Hailing from Sheffield, Crawlies are far from a Yo La Tengo cover band, but the influence is definitely there. Their new single, "Old News," is a progressively glorious slow burn of an indie rock jam. It has more of the dreamy, swirling quality than aggressive noise, and will suck you straight in as you listen. It's all harmonies and organ, and I promise you it's far more compelling than that sounds. 

Tom of Crawlies explains the song: 

“It started off as a demo with just Sarah and a keyboard but we changed it to an organ and added a big fuzzy bassline and some drums to make it sound bolder. It’s very simple but sounds really interesting when it builds up to the louder sections and almost turns from ‘sad and a bit lonely’ into this big cathartic release. When the drums change at the end it makes me want to give someone a hug.”

You can watch the video for "Old News" below. Crawlies's self titled debut will be out August 7 on Delicious Clam. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Crawlies, check out the band's Facebook.

First Listen: New Releases for 31 July

Artist: Phoebe Ryan
Album: How It Used to Feel
Quick Description: Debut album from a great pop singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: If you're into pop music at all, you probably know a handful of her songs already.
Overall Thoughts: She's worked with a lot of good names, but this is her first solo album after a number of really solid singles and collaborations under her name. I really enjoyed this one for a lot of reasons, and part of it is how subtly good a lot of this is. None of it is in-your-face pop music like so many of her contemporaries, but there's something here that sticks in a way a lot of other pop efforts don't. It's a relatively short week, so this might be a good adventure to go on if this isn't your genre.
Recommendation: Worth your time.

Artist: Dizzy
Album: The Sun and Her Scorch
Quick Description: Solid Canadian indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: This is like a nice breeze on these hot summer days.
Overall Thoughts: I liked Dizzy's first album because I tend to gravitate toward lower-key indie pop stuff from time to time, and this follow-up is just as gorgeous and interesting. There's a dynamic here that's missing from a lot of acts, and it shows through in songs like "Roman Candles," in particular. There are some layers to this, so it's worth a good listen this week.
Recommendation: A great album this week.

Of note:

* Mirah/Various Artists - You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This (Reissue with a second disc of covers.)
* These Liminal Days - Shapes of Heaven (Great ambient music.)
* Gillian Welch - Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs, Vol. 1 (I've really liked these odds and sods comps from Welch.)
* Madeline Kenney - Sucker's Lunch
* Lauren Bousfield - Palimpsest
* Cold Beaches - Drifter
* NOFX and Frank Turner - West Coast vs. Wessex
* In Love With a Ghost - Playful Spirits
* Nelson Can - Solo Desire: Remixed Together, Vol. 4 (Electricks)
* Fontaines D.C. - A Hero's Death

Seven Song Albums:

* !!! - Certified Heavy Kats


* Wye Oak and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus - No Horizon
* Jordana - Something to Say
* Halsey - Collabs
* ricky retro - 6-Pack
* Le Ren - Morning and Melancholia
* Oklou - Galore

Also out:

* Charley Crockett - Welcome to Hard Times
* Alanis Morrissette - Such Pretty Forks in the Road
* Alain Johannes - Hum
* The Psychedelic Furs - Made of Rain
* Martha Rose - Undress and Dive After

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Bonnie Whitmore - "Right / Wrong"

Photo by Eryn Brooke
Bonnie Whitmore has a ridiculous musical pedigree. She started out in a band with her parents and sister (Eleanor, now one half of The Mastersons), has played with Hayes Carll, John Moreland, Jimmie Dale Gilmour, and more, and has kept up a weekly residency at the Continental Club Gallery in Austin. Her latest single, "Right / Wrong," is a blend of mainstream folk singer/songwriter, country, and a little blues thrown is, particularly in Whitmore's voice. The song is infinitely compelling, bordering on multiple genres and combining them into a hybrid without committing too deeply into any of them. It's both unique and familiar at the same time.

You can listen to "Right / Wrong" below. For  more on Bonnie Whitmore, check out her website.

The Jacklights - "Bad Memory"

We knew there would be songs written about COVID-19 and the quarantine, but luckily most have been pretty good. The latest is from Boston's The Jacklights. "Bad Memory" is a pop punk song without the overproduced sheen covering most pop punk. It's catchy and fun, but with a little bit of grunge covering it. This could be since it's still at the demo phase, but it's nice to see a pop punk song that's more punk than pop. As far as the pandemic, the song may be stuck in how miserable everything is currently but stays hopeful with the lyrics "Someday this will all be a bad memory / But today is just another shitty day."

You can listen to "Bad Memory" below. The song is currently available for the "name your price" option on The Jacklights's Bandcamp. For more on The Jacklights, check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters Cover Mary Margaret O’Hara

I have to admit that I was completely unfamiliar with Mary Margaret O'Hara before listening to Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters's cover of her song "You Will Be Loved Again." The original, from her 1988 album Miss America, is a gorgeously stripped down song, that is mostly just O'Hara's vocals with less instrumentation than you could believe possible. For Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters's version, it's still a gorgeously stripped down song, with just the slightest increase in instruments, and purely mesmerizing harmonies between the group. It's the kind of cover that is so compelling, you'll be almost forced to go back and track down the original.

Tanya Donelly says of the song:

“I first heard Mary Margaret O’Hara on the Throwing Muses tour bus in 1988. When Ivo from 4AD gave us a cassette of her album Miss America ~ we instantly fell in love, and it’s my favorite to this day. ‘You Will Be Loved Again’ is one of the purest and most loving messages in song, and The Parkington Sisters and I wanted to end our album with it for this reason.”

You can listen to Tanya Donelly and the Parkington Sisters take on "You Will Be Loved Again" below. The self-titled album will be out August 14 on American Laundromat Records. You can pre-order a copy here. Since traditional touring or release parties are impossible right now, there will be two listening parties on the 14th. The first will be at 3:00 pm on Newbury Comics's Twitter. The second will be at 8:00 and will be hosted by ONCE Somerville. You can get into that one here.

Izzy Heltai - "The Stranger You've Become"

Photo by Joanna Chattman
There's just something about Izzy Heltai that we simply can't get enough of. The Northampton, Massachusetts singer/songwriter expertly balances mainstream roots and Americana with a more alt-folk sound. His latest single, "The Stranger You've Become," shows just how true that is. The song blends alt-country and modern folk expertly, sometimes sounding a little more country and other times a little more folk. But "The Stranger You've Become" has the intensely personal and intimate feel of a bedroom recording even though it's a fully fleshed out full band song. 

Izzy Heltai explains the meaning of his new song:

"The majority of us choose to engage in the realities of other people with the best of intentions, not wanting to deceive. We aren’t faced day to day with the reality of how malleable our words and truths can actually be. Our realities are just collectively agreed-upon terms, rules, and conditions. The fact that I can look at a rubber duck, point to it, and claim that it is a rubber duck is only possible because we have all agreed that that is in fact what the physical object is. But what happens if someone comes along, points at that same object and tells you with absolute certainty that you’re wrong, and that object is indeed a hat? If no one else is there to tell you otherwise, who are you to believe that your interpretation of this object is based in more truth than theirs? When you’re intimately involved with someone, it is often difficult or nearly impossible to identify when this is happening. When you finally get out, it can be earth-shattering. The idea that you’ve been with a stranger, that you’ve been tricked. It’s a type of trust that can be extremely difficult to recultivate." 

You can listen to "The Stranger You've Become" below. Father, the debut album from Izzy Heltai, will be out October 9. You can pre-order the album via Bandcamp. For more on Izzy Heltai, check out his website.