Friday, January 15, 2021

Kitty Kat Fan Club - "Choked by the Weeds"

Photo via Facebook

It's been a while since we've had any new music from Kitty Kat Fan Club, so stumbling across "Choked by the Weeds" yesterday was a delightful surprise. If you liked their 2019 album Dreamy Little You, the good news is that you're going to love this new song. "Choked by the Weeds" has that retro garage rock meets modern alt-pop sound we loved on their album, but somehow more amped up. The new song is the kind of fun distraction we all could use right now, and little bursts of pure joy and happiness like this are quite welcome.

You can listen to "Choked by the Weeds" below. The song is available as a single via Asian Man Records. For more on Kitty Kat Fan Club, check them out on Facebook.

Descendents - "That's the Breaks"

I may be wrong, but I'm going to assume the latest single from the Descendents might be about Trump. The forty two second song is about an "asshole Twitter troll" who needs to "go home" and has "small hands." It's a fast, angry punk song that would have felt right at home with their output in the 80's. Descendents have always been adept at making the most out of incredibly short songs, and "That's the Breaks" is a perfect example of that. In a time when many of their contemporaries (and in many cases even bands that came well after them) have started slowing down and getting more conservative, it's refreshing to see a band double down like the Descendents are.

You can watch the lyric video for "That's the Breaks" below. The song is currently available via Epitaph Records here. For more on Descendents, check out their website.

Aaron Lee Tasjan - "Don't Overthink It"

Photo via Facebook

Aaron Lee Tasjan is such a difficult artist to try to describe. His latest single, "Don't Overthink It," has a strong base in Americana, but it's not even remotely country, folk, bluegrass, alt-country, singer/songwriter, etc. But yet it is all those things... somewhat. The song also has a little bit of a space element, and some New Wave, and some classic rock. It almost kind of sounds like if David Bowie went country during the 70's, while still sounding like it's music from 2021. All this, and there is still a mainstream element that will appeal to non-weirdos. Tasjan is making great music that truly defies genres while possibly appealing to the masses, which is one of the rarest combinations out there.

You can watch the video for "Don't Overthink It" below. Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan! will be out February 5 on New West Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Aaron Lee Tasjan, check out his website.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Kalbells - "Purplepink"

Photo by Amanda Picotte

Kalbells are best known as the side project of Rubblebucket's Kalmia Traver, but the band also features members of Sad13, Okkervil River, and more. They have a new single out, and it's going to really demand your attention. "Purplepink" is great for fans of Rubblebucket. The song has that indie rock goes hippie party feel, but "Purplepink" has a chilled out, spacey feel, even without the accompanying video. It's a modern day version of Parliament's spaced out funk, with a few more electronic sounding elements sprinkled in.

You can watch the video for "Purplepink" below. Max Heart is the upcoming album from Kalbells, and will be out on NNA Tapes on March 26. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Kalbells, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Hayley and the Crushers - "Church of Flag"

Hailing from San Luis Obispo, CA, Hayley and the Crushers recently released a new single. "Church of Flag" is this glorious mixture of power pop, pop punk, and glam rock. It sounds as if Letters to Cleo leaned more heavily into influences like the Ramones and Blondie and tried to get on the Warped Tour back in the 90's. It's dripping with attitude and fun, and is one of the catchiest rock songs we've heard so far this year.

Not to mention, they have one of the greatest Bandcamp bios of all time:

"One part punk-pop, one part sunny surf, all 'poolside glitter trash,' San Luis Obispo, California's Hayley and the Crushers offer up a tsunami of bold, bad girl fun. Fizzy, frothy, and still a little dangerous, be careful just how far you paddle out. There's blood in the water and the mermaids in this part of the Crusherverse are known to nibble."

You can watch the video for "Church of Flag" below. The song is available as a single now on Bandcamp. Hayley and the Crushers have an album coming out this year on Rum Bar Records. For more on Hayley and the Crushers, check out their website.

Clever Girls - "Baby Blue"

Photo by Kay Dargin

It's been a while since we've brought you new music from Burlington, VT's Clever Girls, but luckily they're coming up with a new album which means we have a new single from the band! Previously I've described their music as Tom Petty Americana meets indie rock, but their new single "Baby Blue" doesn't have a shred of that sound. Instead, the new single is a quiet, mellow, dreamy indie rock song. It's a slightly swirling, restrained song that bubbles with emotion. There is a slight crescendo that brings Clever Girls back to their indie rock roots, but "Baby Blue" shows a new side that almost sounds electronic, focusing on front-person Diane Jean's vocals.

You can listen to "Baby Blue" below. Constellations, the upcoming album from Clever Girls, will be out March 26 on Egghunt Records. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Clever Girls, check out the band's website.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno - "Love and Chains"

Last month I was smitten with the latest single from Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno, and luckily they Portland, OR duo is back with another song. "Love and Chains" runs a little more to the folk pop side of things than "Will You" did, but when a song is this perfectly done, it's impossible to complain. "Love and Chains" is a gorgeous folk/pop duet between Leva and Calcagno. It's a quiet, contemplative folk song that's going to make you long for the days of summer. It personally has me fantasizing about seeing these two at some outdoor venue just as the sun starts setting, so let's all hope that can be possible this year.

You can watch the video for "Love and Chains" below. The self-titled album from Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno is due out March 12 on Free Dirt Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno, check out their website.

The Boatsmen - "When I'm Drunk"

Hailing from Sweden, The Boatsmen are a perfect example of modern rock 'n' roll. Their latest single, "When I'm Drunk," is a loud, fast, and in your face burst of pure rock. It's a little too flashy to be garage, and it lives in the same universe as Motorhead, straddling the line between punk and metal, and perfect for fans of both. Plus, there's just the slightest hint of 70's and 80's glam in here to allow it to still be as straight up rock as it is. Also, it's called "When I'm Drunk," so there's no sense of pretention here. It's just a loud, fun rock song.

You can watch the video for "When I'm Drunk" below. Versus The Boatsmen, the upcoming album from The Boatsmen, will be out this year on Spaghetty Town Records in the U.S. and Ghost Highway Recordings in Europe. For more on The Boatsmen, check out their Bandcamp.

Jeremy Pinnell Covers Concrete Blonde

Photo by Melissa D Fields

We all know Concrete Blonde's song "Joey." It's one of those songs that seems to transcend genre, and it's almost in our marrow at this point. Covers of it are oddly rare, so we're thrilled to have this new one from Jeremy Pinnell. The country artist has released a quarantine solo version as a single, and to say he owns this version of the song is an understatement. Somehow Pinnell takes a cover and transforms it with his unrestrained passion. It hardly sounds like a cover at all, but an incredibly personal song to Pinnell. This is the kind of cover on par with Johnny Cash's transformation of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt."

Chris Mueller (Sofaburn Records founder and Jememy Pinnell's manager) says of the cover: "After over 300 tour dates in the previous three years, Jeremy was sitting at home last summer, and, because of the pandemic, realized he was going to be there for much longer than he was hoping. Refusing to allow the downtime to kill his love for his art, he purchased some basic recording equipment with the intention of doing some home recordings. This particular Wednesday back in July, with whatever was going on inside him, he went down to his basement and recorded this cover of 'Joey' to his phone, one of the most haunting versions of any song I'd ever heard."

You can watch the video for "Joey" below. The song is currently available as a single via Sofaburn Records. Goodbye L.A., the upcoming album from Jeremy Pinnell, will be out later this year. For more on Jeremy Pinnell, check out his website.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

First Listen: 2020 Leftovers and 2021 So Far

Artist: Ben Kweller
Album: Circuit Boredom
Quick Description: New album from the indie stalwart.
Why You Should Listen: Feels like a nice back-to-basics indie record.
Overall Thoughts: I think we all loved Ben Kweller when he started out, and I know I felt like I was losing touch with his music as I got older. This new album, though? A very solid listen that feels like the Weezer-esque indie rock we all fell in love with 20 years ago, but with some modern, mature overtones. As one of the first releases of the new year, it's a pretty great way to kick things off.
Recommendation: Give this a listen.

Artist: Fantasy Non Fiction
Album: Fantasy Non Fiction
Quick Description: Lovely genre-hopping indie rock.
Why You Should Listen: A number of these songs could easily become favorites.
Overall Thoughts: Ken sent this one over not long before the end of the year, and I think I was wholly and fully blown away by the second song. There's something truly special here, both from the songwriting to the way the band transitions from traditional alt-rock to more danceable efforts to midtempo jams to straight alt-rock bangers. I loved this, and you'll probably love it too.
Recommendation: An underrated effort from last year.

Artist: Scott Mackay
Album: Stupid Cupid
Quick Description: Silly classic country tunes.
Why You Should Listen: Does humor with musical chops right.
Overall Thoughts: Listen, if you are looking for serious Isbell-style songwriting here, look elsewhere. This is more Shel Silverstein on zoloft - an often-ridiculous but always-enjoyable country romp with songs ranging from heart transplant body horror to the title track telling the tale of love gone wrong. On first listen, I thought it was fine, but I've gone back to it a couple times since then and love it more and more. A great way to kick off 2021 musically.
Recommendation: Don't miss this one.

Artist: Rachel Brooke
Album: The Loneliness in Me
Quick Description: Great modern country with a classic twist.
Why You Should Listen: This is what you might have hoped last year's Margo Price record sounded like.
Overall Thoughts: Ken sent this over as one we missed, and I think we're both kicking ourselves that we didn't learn of Rachel Brooke sooner. A perfect voice with some outstanding songs here, this is an artist who has been around a while and yet made one of the better classic country albums in recent memory. You'll love songs like the title track of "The Awful Parts of Me," but you'll likely do what I'll do this week and start digging into her back catalog, as well.
Recommendation: Maybe the best album from 2020 we missed.

Artist: Viagra Boys
Album: Welfare Jazz
Quick Description: The latest from a favorite around these parts.
Why You Should Listen: They still don't take themselves too seriously, but that works for them.
Overall Thoughts: Ken and I both had the same reaction when we learned of "Sports," a song from their last album: we weren't sure how self-aware it might be, but we still loved it. For me, this album answers the question, as it appears that not only do Viagra Boys know exactly what they're doing, but they're incredibly good at it. "Ain't Nice" is a legit punk song, and the closing track, "In Spite of Ourselves," is a solid piece of songwriting. A great start for 2021.
Recommendation: Give this one some time this week/month/year.

Artist: Boy Jr.
Album: Starter Pack
Quick Description: A short album by a promising newcomer.
Why You Should Listen: This is quirky and artsy and rockin' all at once.
Overall Thoughts: One I didn't want to miss as a last minute listen, this came out earlier last year and has a lot going for it. I don't recall how I tripped up on this one, but she's pretty active over in TikTok land and "Drop at 1:01" is a really, really, REALLY good song. Can't wait to hear what's next.
Recommendation: Don't miss out on this one.

Of note:

* Horse Meat Disco - Love and Dancing (Some pretty fun disco music.)
* Thank You, I'm Sorry - I'm Glad We're Friends(A solid indie-punk flavored listen.)
* Fomosurfer - From a Dark Place (Definitely one of the weirder listens of late.)
* Grimes - Miss Anthropocene (Rave Edition)
* Miel - Tourist Season
* Slaughter Beach, Dog - At the Moonbase
* Four Tet - Parallel
* Steve Earle - J.T.
* Okay Kaya - Surviving is the New Living
* Aaron Frazer - Introducing...
* Moby - Live Ambient Improvised Recordings, Vol. 1
* Sumeau - This is Not a Dream


* The Very Reverend - Live at Rosa Mortem
* Psychic Energy - Post Nothing
* Ellie Goulding - Brightest Blue - Music for Calm
* Vatican Shadow and Salford Electronics - Temple Gas Mask
* Vatican Shadow - Persian Pillars of the Gasoline Era
* Mark Pritchard - MP Productions - EP 1
* The Lickerish Quartet - Threesome, Vol. 2
* awakebutstillinbed - Stay Who You Are

Also out:

* The Dirty Nil - Fuck Art
* Deluxe and Amine Haddad - Hitmarker
* Daydream - Mystic Operative
* The Dogs - Post Mortem Portraits of Loneliness
* Barry Gibb - Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers' Songbook
* Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine
* N8NOFACE - Bound to Let You Down
* The Soviet Machines - The Soviet Machines