Friday, February 15, 2019

Modern Nature - "Supernature"

Photo by James Sharp
If you've been wondering what Jack Cooper (formerly of Ultimate Painting) was going to do next, then you're in luck. Modern Nature is his latest project, and it's quite different from his previous one. Cooper has this to say about his new band: "The band is so new, it's hard to say who's in and who isn't. At the moment it's myself and Will Young (Beak) with Aaron Neveu on drums (Woods/Herbcraft) Rupert Gillett on cello and then Jeff Tobias on saxophone (Sunwatchers). The band started as a vehicle for a wider project that Will and I spent the year putting together so it feels very exciting to be an actual band now. Every song we record or musician we gain, another door seems to open on a route that's worth pursuing.”

Their first single, "Supernature," is a nearly twelve minute long song that dabbles in folk and free jazz equally. It has a chilled out (but strangely intense) vibe throughout, and sort of plods along with its tempo. It's one of those songs where the saxophone is used almost as a second voice, taking solos that are almost verses and harmonizing with Cooper. This song could have easily overstayed its welcome by lasting twelve minutes, but it will keep you sucked in throughout the end.

You can listen to "Supernature" below. Nature, Modern Nature's debut EP, will be out March 22 on Bella Union. For more on Modern Nature, check out their website.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Yawpers - "Child of Mercy"

Photo by Megan Holmes
Every so often we come across a song that completely blows our minds and doesn't sound like anything we've heard before. This new song from The Yawpers is that type of song.

Jeff described their 2017 release Boy in a Well as "A somewhat schizophrenic effort that has a foundation in the rootsy genres." That did not prepare us for their new song at all. For their new album, The Yawpers recorded together in a single room, helping to give "Child of Mercy" an energy. The Yawpers are on Bloodshot Records, so you know it will fall into the alt-country category. But "Child of Mercy" is alt-country meets Goo and Dirty era Sonic Youth, but metal. You get a great intense alt-country song with a killer groove throughout, and then these absurd noise bursts kick in. But these are intensely heavy noise bursts. The song clocks in at just over three minutes, but it feels like an eight minute epic considering everything you've been put through. 

You can listen to "Child of Mercy" below. Human Question, the new album from The Yawpers, will be out April 19 on Bloodshot Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on The Yawpers, check out their website.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

City Rivals - "Intoxicated"

With Letters to Cleo only doing a small handful of dates, the members have lots of non-LTC time on their hands. With most members out in Los Angeles doing production and television work, that leaves guitarist Greg McKenna remaining in their hometown of Boston. Turns out he has another fantastic band with City Rivals. McKenna's newer band also features Michael Coen and Matt Diekman of The Bleedin Bleedins, and while their sound is Letters to Cleo adjacent there is definitely a sound all their own here. With "Intoxicated," City Rivals go for a late 90's alternative power pop vibe, but the guitars have more of an edge to them. It's catchy as hell, with an almost Uncle Tupelo tries (and mostly fails) to lose their country sound to it.

You can listen to "Intoxicated" below. City Rivals just released their debut EP, which you can purchase via CD Baby. For more on City Rivals, check them out on Bandcamp and Facebook.

Mykele Deville - "Free Soul"

The latest track from Chicago's rapper, poet, educator, actor Mykele Deville's upcoming album is a throwback to a very specific period of late 90's hip hop. "Free Soul" combines the jazz inspired rap of Guru with the positive throwback vibes of Dilated Peoples and Jurassic 5. It's a fantastic song with looping horns throughout and the closest thing to an R&B chorus is the scatting in its place. The song is a tribute to Chicago but also calls out the clique mentality of the city's arts scene. I can't think of any other modern day rapper that has a diss track for his city's arts scene, but that is one of the reasons we love this song.

You can watch the video for "Free Soul" below. Maintain, the new album from Mykele Deville, will be out February 22 on No Trend Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Mykele Deville, check out his website.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

And the Kids - "Butterfingers"

Photo via Facebook
The latest single from western MA's And the Kids might be their most mainstream yet. Typically that's not usually a good thing, at least for us. We tend to prefer their more odd and unique stylings, but "Butterfingers" will definitely be an exception. "Butterfingers" is quietly epic, and just a beautiful song. And when we call it "mainstream," it's mainstream for an And the Kids song. It still has enough strange little guitar flourishes and perfect harmonies to make it an And the Kids song. It's just one your co-workers who listen to "the hits of the 80's, 90's, and now" radio might also like. Might.

You can listen to "Butterfingers" below. The new album from And the Kids, When This Life is Over, is due out February 22 on Signature Sounds. It can be pre-ordered here. For more on And the Kids, be sure to check out their website.

First Listen: New Releases for 8 February

A weird week on a whole.

Album of the Week:

Artist: Bob Mould
Album: Sunshine Rock
Quick Description: Latest set of power pop from the indie legend.
Why You Should Listen: With few exceptions, Bob Mould has been the same guy for 30 years, so you know what you're getting.
Overall Thoughts: I don’t think it needs to be said that you know exactly what you’re getting with Bob Mould. He hasn’t really changed his course in his 30+ years, and still rocks as hard as he did in the 1980s. More importantly, though, he knows how to write a rockin’ power pop song, and this new album is predictably filthy with them. This isn’t going to change the world, but it doesn’t have to – it’s just going to become a part of your rotation for a few months and every time you listen, you’ll be like “yeah, I forgot how good this is.” A fair warning, though, “Camp Sunshine” is a rare miss from Mould, and it may just because those of us in New England have a different connotation than Mould… might? It could go either way on first listen, and yeah. Outside of that, this is a solid album and my favorite of the week.
Recommendation: Best of the week.

Artist: International Teachers of Pop
Album: International Teachers of Pop
Quick Description: Let some internationals teach you about pop?
Why You Should Listen: You wish those leg warmers you like would come back into style.
Overall Thoughts: I have no real idea what to make of this dance-pop record, which feels straight out of the 1980s yet would still be too weird for the 1980s? I do know that I love it quite a bit, however, and this is the sort of dance music I’m down for these days. In terms of whether readers here will like it? I can’t say for sure, but you’ll probably know by the fourth song. It’s really fun and weird, and I know I’m game.
Recommendation: Listen to this.

Artist: HEALTH
Album: Volume 4: Slaves of Fear
Quick Description: Latest from the noise rock act.
Why You Should Listen: This is the way modern noise/industrial should be.
Overall Thoughts: It is interesting to hear this the same week Front Line Assembly puts out something so dull that would have been so significant a generation earlier. This is a really fully-formed HEALTH record in a way some of their earlier work wasn’t. I really liked a ton of this, and found it compelling in a light week even though I’d feel similarly in a busier one. I think “Strange Days (1999)” might be the most representative track if I had to choose one for you to give a shot. But in a week like this, don’t sleep on it.
Recommendation: Make time for this one.

Artist: Xiu Xiu
Album: Girl With a Basket of Fruit
Quick Description: Latest from the strange, artsy indie rockers.
Why You Should Listen: If Twin Peaks was an album, it would be this.
Overall Thoughts: I'm always looking for weird things to listen to. This is really, really weird. May also be a concept album, I don't know for sure, but it doesn't really matter because it's more of an experience than anything else. I highlight this because, if you love it? You'll love it. If you don't, you'll know really quick. But if you're willing to challenge yourself in a light week, you might not be disappointed.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Artist: The High Strung
Album: Quiet Riots
Quick Description: Latest album from a longtime pop rock band featuring author Josh Malerman of Bird Box fame.
Why You Should Listen: This would fit right in with a lot of Elephant Six acts of the late 1990s.
Overall Thoughts: We missed this when it came out a few weeks back, and I honestly can't figure out how. It's a fun romp that features a singer who is writing books I love, so why wouldn't I have heard of this before now? As for the music itself, the opening track on this album sets the tone quite nicely, and it just carries the bright and poppy effort throughout the whole album. I feel like this type of indie music doesn't come around as much these days, so this might be a nice change of pace for many people here.
Recommendation: Make time for this one.

Artist: The Tenth
Album: Dunes
Quick Description: First full-length album from the indie punk/pop act with Harley Quinn Smith on bass.
Why You Should Listen: Come for the Askew-adjacentness, stay for some truly fun songs.
Overall Thoughts: It's unfair to this band to simply put them in a Kevin Smith bucket, but I wouldn't have listened otherwise. Thankfully, I did, because this is a super fun album with some bubbly melodies, a little bit of lo-fi tendencies, and a fairly unique feel even though it isn't forging any new paths. It's a solid listen, and worth your time this week.
Recommendation: A good listen!

Of note:

* Ariana Grande - thank u, next (Not my cup of tea, but songs like “7 Rings” and “Bloodline” definitely make me understand why she’s so popular.)
* Cass McCombs - Tip of the Sphere (Also not my beverage of choice, but this is friendly, accessible folk rock.)
* Henry Jamison - Gloria Duplex (Good storytelling folk, kind of feels like if Mark Kozalek didn’t hate himself.)
* Mercury Rev - Bobbie Gentry's The Delta Sweete Revisited (Great update of a historically-important piece of music.)
* The Good People - Good for Nothin' (Solid, classic-style rap.)
* Dream Cars - Dream Cars
* Michael Chapman - True North
* Panda Bear - Buoys
* Hey Zeus - X


* Pet Shop Boys - Agenda (Easily the most cringeworthy release by any act in a long time.)

Also out:

* Front Line Assembly - Wake Up the Coma (At one point, I had told Ken how this album would have likely been considered really hard and transgressive 25-30 years ago. That was before the cover of “Rock Me Amadeus” hit.)
* The Lemonheads - Varshons 2
* LCD Soundsystem - Electric Lady Sessions
* Mavis Staples - Live in London

Monday, February 11, 2019

Ben Kweller - "Heart Attack Kid"

Photo by Kevin Baldes
Ben Kweller has kept quite quiet ever since releasing Go Fly a Kite is 2012. Turns out he had a pretty great reason: In 2013 he and his family almost died from carbon monoxide poisoning. To let Kweller tell it: 

“We were in this sweet little cabin and in the middle of the night, Lizzy woke up and said, ‘Ben, get up! Something’s wrong-I feel horrible. I immediately jumped out of bed and collapsed to the ground. We instinctively crawled to the front door and opened it. Fresh air rushed in the cabin. I called 911. We grabbed the boys out of bed, trying to shake them awake, and managed to get everyone outside in the snow. The boys were crying and falling in and out of consciousness-it was like something out of a horror film. When the ambulances arrived, they tested our blood and said our CO levels were so high, we were 15 minutes away from not waking up. Fifteen minutes! We spent the next day in the hospital on pure oxygen and days after that feeling lethargic and mush-brained. When we got back home, I was an incapacitated zombie. I told my team to cancel everything. I was done.”

Kweller spent some time battling depression following the near death experience. He has written about fifty songs, but didn't have any plans to release or record anything. His friend, producer Dwight A. Baker, convinced him to join him in a studio to at least try working on things. 

Luckily for all of us Ben Kweller is back with a new album, and we can check out the first single right now. "Heart Attack Kid" shows Kweller returning to straight up rock. There are some hints of his folk/country side peeking through, but "Heart Attack Kid" is just a fun rock song. As much as I love everything Kweller has put out, it's great to hear him rocking out with a fuzzed out guitar again. "Heart Attack Kid" has an unmistakable groove throughout, making this a perfect alternative rock song.

You can listen to "Heart Attack Kid" below. Circuit Boredom, the new album from Ben Kweller, will be out later this year. For more on Ben Kweller, be sure to check out his website

Friday, February 8, 2019

Claude Fontaine - "Cry for Another"

Photo by B+
"Cry for Another" is Claude Fontaine's debut single, and while it isn't a style we normally cover here at If It's Too Loud..., we like it enough to make sure to pass it on to you. Recorded in Chet Baker's Hollywood studio, "Cry for Another" is a love letter and tribute to classic reggae and Brazilian music, and musically sounds like Trojan and Treasure Isle records. Fontaine's voice has this smooth, lush quality that reminds me more of a jazz crooner's whisper than reggae. This makes for a great pairing of styles as the song doesn't quite land in reggae or jazz fully. Fontaine says about the song:  “‘Cry For Another’ is about the feeling when someone is slipping through your fingers, and even though you know that person may not be right, you're still pining for more. Possibly to remind yourself of why they're wrong for you, or perhaps to remember what you're going to miss.”

You can watch the video for "Cry for Another" below. Claude Fontaine's debut album will be released on Innovative Leisure later this year. For more on Claude Fontaine, be sure to check out her Facebook.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Nolan the Ninja - "IMG"

Photo by Andre Moore
Detroit's Nolan the Ninja has just signed with Mello Music Group, one of the few hip hop labels that puts out music we consistently like. His first single on the label, "IMG," has just been released, and it's exactly what we want with hip hop. It could be called a throwback, but mostly because it lacks any autotune or an R&B chorus: It's just straight out hip hop. Nolan the Ninja has this odd flow that's equal parts laid back and intense. This is the kind of hip hop we wished was made more.

You can listen to "IMG" below. You can download the single for free now via Bandcamp. For more on Nolan the Ninja, check out his Facebook and Twitter.

Powersolo - "Backstab"

I first discovered Denmark's Powersolo years ago when they opened up for Heavy Trash at the dearly departed TT the Bear's. Somehow, they slipped out of my mind until recently when I decided to look them up again. It was great timing since they are about to release a new EP. (Well, it says it's an EP, but it's two songs so it's more of a 7"...) The first song is "Backstab," and it's everything I remember loving about Powersolo. It's noisy and dirty garage rock that's still insanely fun and groovy as it possibly can be. This isn't slick early 2000's garage rock revival garage rock. This is the kind of garage rock actually made in garages in the 60's by young bands just trying to get it going, but will just be too weird for mainstream success. And it's glorious.

You can listen to "Backstab" below. Transfixing Motherfucker EP will be out on Slovenly Recordings on February 8 and can be ordered here. For more on Powersolo, check them out on Facebook.