Monday, September 27, 2021

Destroy Boys - "Escape"

Northern California's Destroy Boys are giving us another sample of their upcoming album before it's out next week. "Escape" is the kind of song that the crusty middle aged dude in me hates calling punk, although it is. Sure, "Escape" is quite poppy but still has just enough edge and crunch to it to keep it from being pure pop. That being said, this is such a poppy song. It's the level of pop that usually turns me off, but when a song is this great it's impossible not to love. Maybe it's the oddly 90's slacker vibe you can hear throughout, especially in the vocals. Not many bands can combine punk, 90's indie rock, and pop in a way that is this compelling, but Destroy Boys pull it off. Plus, there's a spoken part in the middle that sounds like it's a phone call which is making me oddly nostalgic for the late 80's.

Frontperson Alexia Roditis says of the new song:

“‘Escape’  is about wanting an out from the regular life I was living. I wrote it pre-pandemic, though you might not have known that if you listened to it. It’s about wanting to go on tour and wanting to escape reality in any way possible.”

You can listen to "Escape" below. Open Mouth, Open Heart is due out October 8 on Hopeless Records. You can pre-save or pre-order the album here. For more on Destroy Boys, check out the band's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the song.

SEP 30 The Dip @ Redding, CA
OCT 1 Bottom Of the Hill San Francisco, CA 
OCT 2 Harlow's Restaurant & Nightclub Sacramento, CA
OCT 3 The Holland Project Reno, NV
OCT 5  The Vera Project Seattle, WA
OCT 6 Lola's Room Portland, OR
NOV 19 Chain Reaction Anaheim, CA
NOV 20 VooDoo Room San Diego, CA
NOV 21 Nile Theater Mesa, AZ
NOV 23 Antone's Austin, TX
NOV 24 Ruins Dallas, TX
NOV 26  The End Nashville, TN
NOV 27 Purgatory At The Masquerade Atlanta, GA
NOV 28 Crowbar Tampa, FL
NOV 30 Local 506 Chapel Hill, NC
DEC 1  Songbyrd Music House Washington, DC
DEC 2 Space Ballroom Hamden, CT
DEC 3 Market Hotel Brooklyn, NY
DEC 4 First Unitarian Church Philadelphia, PA
DEC 5 FĂȘte Music Hall Lounge Providence, RI
DEC 6  Brighton Music Hall Allston, MA
DEC 8 Mahalls Cleveland, OH
DEC 9 The Sanctuary Hamtramck, MI
DEC 10 FRI Cobra Lounge Chicago, IL
DEC 11 SAT Odyssey Lounge Springfield, MO
DEC 13 89th Street Collective Oklahoma City, OK
DEC 14 Launchpad Albuquerque, NM

Live Shows: Pete Bernhard and The Huntress and Holder of Hands, The Word Barn, Exeter, NH 9/25/21

Saturday was a ridiculous day filled with live shows in the Boston area. No matter what I chose, I was going to have some level of FOMO. But, I've been hoping to get back to The Word Barn before they close up their meadow stage for the season, and with a dual bill of Pete Bernhard of The Devil Makes Three and The Huntress and Holder of Hands playing solo, I truly couldn't pass that up. 

During the show, MorganEve Swain mentioned that she hates playing solo since it was all her and any mistakes couldn't be covered up. I was personally curious how The Huntress and Holder of Hands songs would work solo seeing that her music is quite noisy. Sure, it's primarily folk but with elements of indie rock and even metal it can get quite loud and discordant. Stripped down to just guitar and vocals her music was at its most bare bones. Swain played a good amount of new songs that were just being played live for the first few times, including last year's "Doctrine." If their solo form is this intriguing, I'm looking forward to see how they morph into album tracks. She also pulled out a cover of her late husband's (Dave Lamb) and a version of Alice in Chains' "Nutshell" that was mesmerizing. She closed with Brown Bird's "Bilgewater" to end a stellar solo set.

Pete Bernhard started his set almost immediately after Swain's ended due to the threats of rain that plagued the night. (Hoping that this show would be able to held outdoors led to constantly checking the weather all week and even all day, which was a rollercoaster.) He joked about trying to quit smoking and how he'd be angry is he died from something else right after quitting, and recommended not releasing an album during a pandemic. Obviously his solo sets are going to be a lot less raucous than a The Devil Makes Three show, but it was no less fun. He played the first half of his set truly solo and was joined by Swain on fiddle for the second half. The pair are playing a handful of smaller New England venues as a semi-tour, and you could just tell how happy they are to be playing live music again. I've coincidentally been on a Devil Makes Three kick lately, so seeing Bernhard playing solo in one of my favorite venues was serendipity. 

The magic of The Word Barn's meadow was in full display Saturday night. I don't know why outdoor concerts in New England have been sequestered to the summer for so long. With a slight chill to the air, a fire, cider donuts, and the leaves just starting to change color, late September is quite literally perfect. The sound of crickets (or frogs?) accompanying the music was lovely. Plus, MorganEve Swain's dog Zed joined in at some points, which was impossibly charming.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Kitner - "Malden, MA"

Photo by Brittany Rose Queen

It's been said that Boston's Kitner were created out of a love of both The Get Up Kids and The Replacements, which you're going to hear all over the band's music. Their latest single, "Malden, MA," also brings in some Dinosaur Jr love into the fold. The song starts off with some Bruce Springsteen style harmonica, but then the alt-rock kicks in and the song truly kicks off. If a song is going to be inspired by Dino Jr, it's going to need some huge guitar solos and "Malden, MA" provides those. As a Dinosaur Jr aficionado, I'm going to say the song sounds like post-Lou Barlow Dinosaur Jr around the time of "Feel the Pain" and "Start Choppin'." If you've been waiting for a full on Get Up Kids/Replacements/Springstreen/Dino Jr mash up, you're finally in luck!

You can listen to "Malden, MA" below. Shake the Spins (which will also songs named after such New England based places as Beth Israel, Orient Heights, and New Haven, CT) is due out October 1 on Relief Map Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Kitner, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter.

Cuffed Up - "Bonnie"

Photo by Ana Karotkaya

Post punk has been having a huge resurgence the past few years, but no one has been doing it quite like Cuffed Up. The Los Angeles based band just released a new single, "Bonnie." It's definitely a post punk song, but it shatters what you would normally consider to be the genre. There's an intensity throughout the entire song, even during the more melodic pop leaning parts. But the song doubles down on the noise with plenty of classic indie rock feedback and forces in some grunge style crunching guitar. Post punk isn't usually this heavy or hard rocking, and it never combines this level of heavy with pop hooks. Cuffed Up are going to have some serious buzz behind them sooner than later.

The band explains how the new song is inspired by an alternate timeline Bonnie and Clyde:

""Bonnie” is an anti-love anthem about the grief and pitfalls of a serious relationship crumbling due to lies and deceit. This is explored through the eyes of Bonnie (of Bonnie & Clyde fame), in an alternative universe where Clyde selfishly leaves Bonnie for dead. Bonnie is arrested and she decides to give Clyde up to the cops out of pure spite. Not because he left her in a dangerous situation — purely because of the end of their romantic, albeit toxic relationship."

You can watch the video for "Bonnie" below. Asymmetry is due out October 22 on Royal Mountain Records. You can pre-order/pre-save a copy here. For more on Cuffed Up, check out the band's website. Upcoming tour dates opening for The Joy Formidable are below the video.

11/26 - The Crocodile - Seattle, WA
11/27 - Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, OR
11/29 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA
11/30 - The Roxy Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
12/02 - Crescent Ballroom - Phoenix, AZ
12/04 - Bluebird Theater - Denver, CO
12/05 - The Riot Room - Kansas City, MO
12/07 - Turf Club - Minneapolis, MN
12/09 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL
12/10 - A&R Music Hall - Columbus, OH
12/11 - Thunderbird Music Hall - Pittsburgh, PA
12/12 - 9:30 Club - Washington, DC
12/13 - The Sinclair - Boston, MA
12/14 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY
12/16 - Underground Arts - Philadelphia, PA
12/17 - Empire Underground - Albany, NY
12/18 - Higher Ground Showcase Lounge - Burlington, VT

Forgotten Friday: Kenickie - At The Club

Forgotten Fridays is an occasional feature here at If It’s Too Loud... where we go back and find the lost records of our glory days. We played these on our college radio shows, put them on countless mix tapes, and then forgot they existed. We go back and remind you of their existence, and help decide if they were any good.

Way back in the 1900s, if we had never heard of an opening band we had virtually no way of checking them out before the show. You either got there late to miss them or watched them blindly. Either way it was a roll of the dice since you could miss out on a life changing opening (Mogwai opening for Pavement comes to mind) or sit through the worst thirty to sixty minutes of your life. When I saw that dog. at The Middle East in Cambridge back in 1997 (I think?), I got there early enough to see Kenickie. It wasn't life changing, but I came back with a band I played constantly on my college radio show for the rest of the year.

Kenickie (obviously named after the character from Grease) lasted a mere four years and put out two albums. Hailing from Sunderland, they got pumped into the Britpop genre, which is pretty fair but they also combined pop punk and power pop into their sound. Their 1997 debut album At The Club is a combination of hyper Britpop singles mixed with some more lowkey power pop/alt-rock album tracks. There's a lot of electronic experimentation going on here, which makes sense in the post-Trainspotting scene. 

Listening to At The Club in 2021, it's surprising how well it holds up. The big singles, "In Your Car" and "Punka," seem a bit more dated than the rest, but that's only because all Britpop does in retrospect. The rest of the album definitely sounds like the mid-late 90's, which is when it was made, after all. It's shocking how many sounds this album encompasses. It bounces wildly between indie rock, Britpop, power pop, post-grunge, etc. from one song to another. While I consider that a huge plus, I wonder if the genre hopping turned off some listeners at the time. The crowd at The Middle East was an ultra-hipster one that didn't seem amused at a band that existed for pure fun. It's rare that I would have been the least jaded in a crowd, but I'm glad I came out of that night with a love of Kenickie.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Electric Petals - "Cherry Red"

Photo via Facebook

The latest single from The Electric Petals is going to remind you of Iggy Pop, and with good reason: "Cherry Red" is written as an homage to Iggy's period of time working with David Bowie in Berlin. While the song comes across as more modern than the classic period of 1977-1978, The Electric Petals nail the slinky and groovy aspects of Iggy's late 70's music. It could be the horn, but this is also giving me some Morphine vibes as well. 

In a Facebook post, the band explains the new song:

"Cherry Red paints a picture of stumbling into a dark and dingy alleyway door lit up with red light. Once stepping through the door, you feel energized and free, dancing in a dark room where you can only make out other dark silhouettes. It’s a feeling and experience that is few and far between at the moment and we wanted to bring that back: the exotic feeling of exploring an unknown city alone and stumbling into a hole in the wall that turns into an amazing night."

You can listen to "Cherry Red" below. Wild at Heart is due out sometime this Fall. For more on The Electric Petals, check out the band's website.


Photo via Facebook

Boston's Oompa is back with a new single. "OUTTA PATIENCE" would normally be a little too modern mainstream hip hop for my own personal taste, but this is Oompa who just can not make a great song. It's a fast paced track that gets a little more R&B or EDM than I would normally like, but Oompa keeps just enough of a hip hop edge in her verses to keep "OUTTA PATIENCE" great. This is the perfect kind of song to make both The Kids and us crusty old music fans happy. This is just a wonderfully fun modern hip hop song, and sometimes this is just the thing that we need.

You can listen to "OUTTA PATIENCE" below. Unbothered is due out October 1, with a release party on October 8 at The Paradise in Boston. For more on Oompa, check out the artist's website.

Heather Maloney - "Perch-less Bird"

Northampton, MA's Heather Maloney is known for crafting absolutely beautiful modern folk music, and her latest single is a perfect example. "Perch-less Bird" is perfect folk/pop. Maloney's vocals are truly the focus of the song with string arrangements accompanying a dance friendly beat. As the song goes on, it ever so slowly moves from a folk song to more of a pop/dance track. Maloney crafted this as a break up song, and the way it goes from melancholy to joyful seems to match the path of a break up in an ideal way.

In a press release, Heather Maloney says of the new song:

“When I originally sat down to write this song, I was giving myself a songwriting challenge to write a 'break-up' song because I’d never written one before. But the more I thought about it, I realized how many break-up songs have a clear victim/villain, and that they always seem to revolve around one very common theme: blame. In an effort to turn the camera away from whoever the finger is pointing at and focus on the finger-pointing itself, I ended up writing this song about blame and it’s role in our failed relationships. How tempting it is, how destructive it is, how effective it is at prohibiting us from the growth, peace, closure and relief that come with real accountability."

You can listen to "Perch-less Bird" below. The song is out now as a single via Signature Sounds. You can get a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on Heather Maloney, check out the artist's website.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

This Lonesome Paradise - "Needles & Pines"

Astoria, OR's This Lonesome Paradise make Americana, for lack of a better term. I only say that because we cover a lot of Americana here, and their new single "Needles & Pines" lands squarely in Americana, but it doesn't really sound like anything we've covered before. The song is an extremely dark version of the genre. Today is the first day of Autumn, and this is a perfect song to post for that. This is the soundtrack to chilly temperatures, earlier sunsets, trudging through leaves in the woods, and all around creepiness. "Needles & Pines" is a combination of dark lyrics with darker vocals, wailing harmonicas, and everything dripping in reverb that has us desperate for more.

You can watch the video for "Needles & Pines" below. Electric Dreams is due out on October 31 on American Standard Time Records. You can pre-order your copy over at Bandcamp. For more on This Lonesome Paradise, check out the band's website.

Buffalo Nichols - "How To Love"

Photo by Merrick Ales

Buffalo Nichols is an impossibly captivating performer. I discovered him opening for Drive-By Truckers, and anyone who can win over a crowd waiting for ear-splitting Southern rock with quiet solo blues as an unknown is a truly special performer. For a taste of the Nichols' live experience, you need to check out the live video of his latest single. "How To Love" is masterful. It's played with a guitar that seems wonderfully slightly out of tune. Nichols' voice sounds like it is coated with both honey and whiskey on this one. It's a beautiful song that's just rough around the edges enough to keep it interesting.

In a press release Buffalo Nichols says of the new song:

Here I'm exploring the necessity of empathy and attempting to better understand human behavior. One can be overly compassionate and forgive harm done in situations where boundaries should have been set.”

You can watch the video for "How To Love" below. Buffalo Nichols' self-titled debut album is due out October 15 on Fat Possum Records. You can pre-order/pre-save a copy here. For more on Buffalo Nichols, check out the artist's website. Upcoming tour dates (once again opening for Drive-By Truckers) are below the video.

10/2/21 - St Louis, MO – The Pageant*
10/3/21 - Nashville, TN – 3rd & Lindsley
10/4/21 - Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium*
10/5/21 - Lexington, KY – The Burl
10/6/21 - Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue*
10/7/21 - Chicago, IL – The Hideout
10/8/21 - Chicago, IL – The Vic*
10/9/21 - St Paul, MN – Palace Theatre*
10/10/21 - Iowa City, IA – Englert Theatre*
10/12/21 - Madison, WI – Barrymore Theatre*
10/14/21 - Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall*
10/15/21 - Pittsburgh, PA – Mr Smalls*
10/16/21 - Cleveland, OH – House of Blues*
10/19/21 - Detroit, MI – Majestic*
10/20 - Cincinnati, OH – MOTR Pub
10/21/21 - Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theatre*
10/22/21 - Birmingham, AL – Avondale Brewing*
10/23/21 - Asheville, NC – Rabbit Rabbit*
11/3/21 - Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl*
11/4/21 - Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl*
11/5/21 - Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl*
11/6/21 - Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl*
11/8/21 - Wilmington, DE – The Queen*
11/9/21 - Washington, DC – Songbyrd
11/10/21 - Winston-Salem, NC – The Ramkat*
11/11/21 - Charleston, SC – Charleston Music Hall*
11/12/21 - Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse*
11/13/21 - Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse*
11/15/21 - Little Rock, AR – Revolution Music Room*
11/16/21 - Denton, TX – Andy’s
11/17/21 - Dallas, TX – Granada Theater*
11/18/21 - Austin, TX – Scoot Inn*
11/19/21 - Austin, TX – Scoot Inn*
11/20/21 - New Orleans, LA – Tipitina's*
*supporting Drive-By Truckers