Friday, February 28, 2020

The Informations - "Strange Habits"

"Strange Habits" from The Informations is not the type of song I usually bring you, but I simply can't resist this one. The Informations is a moniker used by one person, whose name is not listed in the press release for this song. According to the press release, The Informations is the "... moniker under which I create music that sounds like lost albums from our youth, bands from countries that never existed, melodies and lyrics from our dreams." Once you hear "Strange Habits," that explanation will make perfect sense. It sounds like a sound collage/mash up of little bits and pieces a DJ would collect, but this appears to be made up from The Informations playing actual instruments, and not sampling. It was recorded in their father's basement studio using obscure instruments. It's a unique style that will assuredly suck you in.

You can watch the video for "Strange Habits" below. For more on The Informations, check out their Facebook.

Lila Blue - "Grown Bones"

Photo via Facebook
Saying an artist is hard to categorize is a cliche thing to say, but sometimes it's just true. Lila Blue's latest single, "Grown Bones," is a tough one, but in the best possible way. The easiest category would be folk, but that won't feel right once you start listening to. "Grown Bones" has a dark, nearly foreboding feel in the way that Brown Bird did. But then there's the vocals. You remember in the 90's when there was that group of female singers like Tori Amos and PJ Harvey doing impossible to categorize music so they just got lumped into "alternative," even though that didn't really fit? That's what Lila Blue is doing. "Grown Bones" is such a thrilling and unique song that we can't wait to hear more from her.

You can watch the video for "Grown Bones" below. Leave Me Be, the upcoming album from Lila Blue, will be out in April. For more on Lila Blue, check out her website.

Friday Freebie: Editrix - Talk to Me

Northampton, MA's Editrix are an unusual band, to put it mildly. Their four song EP, Talk to Me, was released back in February 2019. Its four songs have this intense noise that has a little too much structure to truly be a noise band but way too much noise not to. But the strangest factor is singer Wendy Eisenberg's voice. She has a pleasant and soft singing voice that you never ever ever associate with this type of music. A song like "Instant" is this insane wall of ever changing and shifting noise with this nice lilting voice weaving its way through it. It's a combination we don't normally hear, but one that works perfectly.

You can listen to "Instant" below. Talk to Me is available for the name your price option over at Bandcamp. If you choose free, make sure to at least follow Editrix on Instagram.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Jess Williamson - "Wind On Tin"

Photo by Kathryn Vetter Miller
Despite it's airy and upbeat vibe, the latest from Jess Williamson has an otherworldly  backstory. "Wind On Tin" is a gorgeous modern folk song. It's pretty straightforward in sound, the kind of song that NPR should be all over any day now. That's because Williamson does the modern folk thing so perfectly and so beautifully that I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this.

Now for the otherworldly part. It's a song about travelling to attend a friend's memorial service and possibly hearing the voice of God. Williamson explains the backstory:

Grief has a way of making the veil between worlds very thinPrior to the memorial service, I was sitting on a porch passing around a guitar and drinking beers with a few very dear people in my life who I look up to greatly and who were very close to the person who had passed. We heard an unexplainable sound in the wind that made us all pause. Like a flute, but more angelic. It kept going. We tried, unsuccessfully, to record it. The sound was indescribably beautiful and heavenly. ‘Were the angels singing just for us, or is that what the wind out here does on tin?’ Regardless of the answer, I know that for that brief moment we were lucky initiates into the mystery realm, and I’m deeply grateful.”

You can watch the video for "Wind On Tin" below. Sorceress, the new album from Jess Williamson, will be out May 15 on Mexican Summer. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Jess Williamson, check out her website. Current tour dates are below the video.

Sun. May. 31 - San Diego, CA @ Casbah
Tue. June. 2 - Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Bar
Wed. June. 3 - San Francisco, CA @ Cafe du Nord
Fri. June. 5 - Portland, OR @ Polaris Hall
Sat. June. 6 - Seattle, WA @ Clock Out Lounge
Wed. June. 10 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry
Thu. June. 11 - Chicago, IL @ Sleeping Village
Sat. June .13 - Toronto, ON @ The Drake
Sun. June. 14 - Montreal, QC @ Esco 
Tue. June. 16 - Boston, MA @ Great Scott
Thu. June.  18 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's 
Fri. June. 19 - Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool 
Sat. June. 20 - Washington, DC @ DC9
Mon. June. 22 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl 
Thu. June. 25 - Dallas, TX @ Ruins 
Fri. June. 26 - Austin, TX @ Mohawk Inside
Sat. June. 27 - San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
Mon. June 29 - Tucson, AZ @ Exo 

Sapling - No Sequoia

Massachusetts's Sapling have released a strong album of the year contender with No Sequoia. Let's be clear: Sapling aren't going to be for everyone. This album is abrasive, and it's intended to be. But No Sequoia is also a lot of fun. Along with the intense noise and aggression of songs like "Fuck This Yuppie Barbecue," you also get these chill and groovy songs like "Maria Vs. Machine Maria." Although "Maria Vs. Machine Maria" devolves into noise and chaos at the end, so there's definitely a theme here. That might be one of the great things about Sapling. Most bands that fall into the noise punk category are either pure noise and aggression or electronic near dance music. Sapling exist in both worlds, being both punk and groovy dance music. Plus, their songs feel both silly and completely serious at the same time, which is never a bad thing.

You can listen to "Everything Was Better" below. No Sequoia is available now via Bandcamp. For more on Sapling, check them out on Facebook and YouTube.

M-Dot - "The Atonement"

Photo via Facebook
Boston's M-Dot is back with a new Pete Rock produced single that is perfect for old school hip hop fans. First of all, musically it's not completely smooth and polished sounding. The music is rough and hard, which just feels right to me. Plus, M-Dot's flow isn't the laid back style you hear these days. He raps hard and aggressive in a style I haven't heard in years. Sure, there's a bit of an R&B chorus, but even that seems a lot more edgy than you'd think. 

You can listen to "The Atonement" below. Ego & The Enemy Part 2: A Dissolute Paradise, the upcoming album from M-Dot, doesn't have a release date yet. For more on M-Dot, check out his Facebook and Twitter

First Listen: New Releases for 21 February

Artist: Sarah Harmer
Album: Are You Gone
Quick Description: First new music in nearly a decade from the Canadian folkie.
Why You Should Listen: She hasn't missed a beat.
Overall Thoughts: Her first album in around a decade, in many ways, picks up where she left off. Maybe a little more adult radio rock in some places than the rootsy folk that made me so interested in her work to start, but that isn’t a bad thing. The layoff didn’t hurt her sound at all, and I’m just glad she’s back.
Recommendation: Make time for this.

Artist: Grimes
Album: Miss Anthropocene
Quick Description: New music from the off-center pop songstress.
Why You Should Listen: This is kind of epic, and a huge step forward.
Overall Thoughts: I’m already a big Grimes guy, so it’s not shocking that I’m really into this for a lot of reasons. Grimes has never shied away from taking a more difficult path in her songwriting, and this album is even more ambitious than Art Angels, yet also acting as a pretty accessible release on a whole. Even if this isn’t generally your style or genre, I highly recommend this, because a lot of people will be talking about it in the coming months.
Recommendation: Her best yet, so don't miss out.

Artist: Gray Bouchard
Album: Love in the New World
Quick Description: Powerful pop-rock from the Salem Wolves musician.
Why You Should Listen: This is a surprisingly fun listen.
Overall Thoughts: I didn't realize this was someone from Salem Wolves until later, and I don't know if it makes any more sense knowing that, but this truly came out of nowhere for me and really connected. There are beautiful songs here, there are fun songs here, and it's sort of a masterclass in balancing a lot of different musical ideas. Don't miss out on this.
Recommendation: A worthwhile listen.

Artist: Mount Sharp
Album: That Shadow
Quick Description: First new music in years by the somewhat-regional act.
Why You Should Listen: This is a great listen from start to finish.
Overall Thoughts: This is a great little alt-rock album. It's loud, it's abrasive, it's melodic, it's just everything I didn't really know I was looking for. This is a really special listen, and one that I wanted to get back to really quickly. Reminiscent of Cayetana mixed with Dinosaur Jr. with maybe a little Weezer thrown in? I dunno. It's just great.
Recommendation: Might end up being a favorite this year, who knows...

Artist: Allie X
Album: Cape God
Quick Description: Fun pop from an underrated artist.
Why You Should Listen: You don't hate the existing world around you.
Overall Thoughts: If you can listen to "Super Duper Party People" and not dance in your seat, you lack a proper soul. I've liked Allie X for some time now, and this is maybe her best, most cohesive effort yet. I love a good pop song, and this offers plenty of them.
Recommendation: Get your groove on already.

Artist: Ozzy Osbourne
Album: Ordinary Man
Quick Description: Ozzy's first album in some time.
Why You Should Listen: It's actually good!
Overall Thoughts: No, really, it is. It's very much an album of an aging rock star facing that reality, and being super honest about it, with music that isn't at all offensive or dated. I genuinely enjoyed this listen when I was sure I'd turn it off after a few songs. This is one more people should be talking about, long and short.
Recommendation: Not my genre, but definitely my style.

Of note:

* Her Silo - Don't Forget the Heart That's Beating
* Greg Dulli - Random Desire
* Six Organs of Admittance - Companion Rises
* Nora Jane Struthers - Bright Lights, Long Drives, First Words
* Banoffee - Look at Us Now Dad>
* Agnes Obel - Myopia
* Best Coast - Always Tomorrow
* Wilsen - Ruiner
* Elaquent - Forever is a Pretty Long Time
* Peggy Sue - Vices
* Purr - Like New
* Megan Katarina - To Be Honest
* Katie Pruitt - Expectations
* Lanterns on the Lake - Spook the Herd
* Lee Ranaldo and Raul Refree - Names of North End Women


* CocoRosie - Restless (Is CocoRosie making music that might actually get popular!?)
* Swan MEat - FLESHWORLD (Some of the oddest, most compelling electronic music I've heard in a while.)
* HONEYMOAN - Weirdo
* Chloe Foy - Callous Copper
* Keep Shelly in Athens and Vauxhall Underground - In the Blocks
* Charlotte Rose Benjamin - Party City

Also out:

* Guided By Voices - Surrender Your Poppy Field
* Rose Cousins - Bravado

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Melkbelly - "Humid Heart"

Photo by Ariella Miller
The latest from Chicago's Melkbelly is a dark indie rock exploration of pure emotion. It stays true to a mostly standard song format, but has a slightly off kilter and dark feel. It reminds me quite a bit of early Speedy Ortiz mixed with Throwing Muses. According to frontwoman Miranda Winters, "Humid Heart" is "... “about how the grief of losing someone suddenly disorients everyday life." The end of the song seems to drone on in the same way for an extended period of time, but given the rest of the song it's somehow perfect.

You can watch the video for "Humid Heart" below. PITH, the new album from Melkbelly, will be available April 3 on Wax Nine/Carpark Records. You can pre-order it here. For more on Melkbelly, check out their website. Current tour dates are below the video.

Sat. April 4 - Chicago, IL @ Sleeping Village
Wed. April 22 - Toronto, ON @ Baby G
Thu. April 23 - Montreal, QC @ Le Ritz
Fri. April 24 - Providence, RI @ Columbus Theater
Sun. April 26 - Brooklyn, NY @ Union Pool
Wed. April 29 - Washington, DC @ Comet Ping Pong
Thu. April 30 - Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
Fri. May 1 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Roboto Project

The Bobby Lees Cover Bo Diddley

Considering that Woodstock, NY's The Bobby Lees played a form of blues based garage punk, covering Bo Diddley makes perfect sense. Except their version of the classic "I'm a Man" barely keeps the minimum of the original to still be a cover. It's nearly a total reworking of the song, while somehow still being a blues song. It's a nasty as hell dirty and noisy version of "I'm a Man," but it's still somehow "I'm a Man." If you're a purist, this won't be for you, but if you want to hear some of the noisiest garage punk you've heard in years, check this one out.

You can listen to The Bobby Lees's take on "I'm a Man" below. Skin Suit, the new album from The Bobby Lees, will be out May 8 on Alive Naturalsound Records. For more on The Bobby Lees, check out their website.

King Buzzo with Trevor Dunn - "Science in Modern America"

For his second solo album, King Buzzo of The Melvins has enlisted Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Fantomas) to assist him and play bass. The first single off of the album, "Science in Modern America," is unlike any acoustic solo project you've ever heard before. Sure, it does follow the acoustic singer/songwriter template somewhat, but, and this will come as no surprise based on who is involved, "Science in Modern America" is weird. The best way I can describe this is if Alice Cooper sat in on Tom Morello's The Nightwatchman side project. But weirder.

You can listen to "Science in Modern America" below. King Buzzo with Trevor Dunn's new album Gift of Sacrifice will be out May 15 on Ipecac Recordings. You can pre-order the album here. For more on King Buzzo, check out The Melvins's website. Current tour dates are below the song.

May 13 Palm Springs, CA The Alibi
May 14 Long Beach, CA Alex’s Bar
May 15 San Diego, CA Casbah
May 17 Tucson, AZ Club Congress
May 18 Phoenix, AZ The Rebel Lounge
May 19 Santa Fe, NM Meow Wolf
May 21 Tulsa, OK The Shrine
May 22 Norman, OK Opolis
May 23 Dallas, TX Three Links
May 24 Austin, TX Barracuda
May 25 Houston, TX Warehouse Live (Studio)
May 27 New Orleans, LA Santos
May 28 Birmingham, AL Zydeco
May 29 Athens, GA 40 Watt Club
May 30 Charlotte, NC Visulite Theater
May 31 Chapel Hill, NC Local 506
June 1 Richmond, VA Richmond Music Hall
June 3 Baltimore, MD Ottobar
June 4 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
June 5 New York, NY The Bowery Ballroom
June 6 Hamden, CT Space Ballroom
June 7 Allston, MA Great Scott
June 8 Albany, NY The Hollow
June 10 Toronto, ON Velvet Underground
June 11 Buffalo, NY Mohawk Place
June 12 Pittsburgh, PA Thunderbird Music Hall
June 13 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
June 15 Detroit, MI Third Man Records Cass Corridor
June 16 Grand Rapids, MI The Pyramid Scheme
June 17 Columbus, OH Ace of Cups
June 18 Nashville, TN 3rd & Lindsley
June 19 St. Louis, MO Old Rock House
June 20 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
June 21 Madison, WI High Noon Saloon
June 22 St. Paul, MN Turf Club
June 23 Des Moines, IA Vaudeville Mews
June 24 Kansas City, MO The Riot Room
June 26 Denver, CO Bluebird Theater
June 28 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
June 29 Boise, ID Neurolux
July 1 Seattle, WA Columbia City Theater
July 2 Vancouver, BC The Fox Cabaret
July 3 Portland, OR Doug Fir Lounge
July 5 San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
July 6 Los Angeles, CA The Echo