Photo by Shervin Lainez
Carsie Blanton has six studio albums and three EPs to her credit, and somehow we're just discovering her now. According to her website, she "... writes anthems for world saving." Her latest single definitely fits that. "Shit List" rallies against Nazis, mass deportation, keeping women in the kitchen, and people who "want a medal just for being a white boy." It's a heavy song, but Blanton makes the song truly fun. Seriously, "Shit List" is an absolute blast. I can't think of another "anti-fascist anthem" that is a party in a song. It's based in folk and pop punk, but it also has some very serious Elvis Costello and The Attractions vibes. (Side note, I wrote that before I realized the song includes Pete Thomas of the Attractions on drums!) If you want your anti-fascist anthems wrapped up in a party, Carsie Blanton is the right choice for you!
Friday, April 16, 2021
We like to think we always bring you the best music out there without missing anything truly great, but then we miss someone like Bella White and our ego is brought right back down. The Calgary born/currently residing in Nashville artist released Just Like Leaving way back in September. I saw Club Passim post about her taking part in one of their workshops last week, and I thought I'd check her music out. Once you listen to her album, you'll be thrilled I did. I'm going to have to mention that she's only twenty years old, which somehow feels important in the context of how great this is. Just Like Leaving is nine traditional bluegrass songs with just the slightest touch of modern folk thrown in. It's filled with these brilliant songs that are both classic and current at the same time. White is the rare artist with a captivating, powerful voice that doesn't let it take over the songs completely. It's definitely the focus, but her vocals and the instrumentation complement each other superbly. If we had discovered this album when it first came out, it's almost guaranteed that it would have been a strong contender for both of our best of 2020 lists.
Thursday, April 15, 2021
The latest from Giulia. isn't reinventing the folk/pop genre. "Lucky Ones" is an impossibly charming little folk/pop song. And that's all it needs to be. It meanders between both folk and pop seamlessly. Giulia. just hits this wonderfully perfect sweet spot, making this light feeling, upbeat, cheerful song that's going to get through to even the crustiest grumpy music snobs out there.
What makes the upbeat nature of the song more impressive is that it was written and recorded after Giulia. moved from New York City back home to Toronto during the pandemic. Giulia. explains:
“Not to deny the harm [the pandemic] has caused, but I have never felt closer to my family, and I’ve never felt closer to myself - because of all the time I’ve had to spend alone, getting to know myself better. And truthfully, that in itself is enough to make me feel like the luckiest person alive.”
You can watch the video for "Lucky Ones" below. Night Before is due out June 25. For more on Giulia., check out the artist's website.
Photo by Owen Godbert
Noise and/or art rock usually isn't pleasant to listen to. That's part of the entire genre. Scotland's Buffet Lunch don't subscribe to that stereotype. Their latest single, "Said Bernie," is weird, and can be more than a little discordant at (most) times. It's a hodgepodge of noises and various instruments not exactly getting along. But... it's fun. And almost a pleasant listen, by the genre's standards at least. This isn't for anyone eagerly anticipating the new Imagine Dragons or Foo Fighters release, but if you're tastes are a bit more adventurous, "Said Bernie" is going to be a delight for you.
Perry O'Bray says of the new song:
"‘Said Bernie came from an article I read about a man named Bernie, who writes a letter to his local paper everyday and has done for forty years. I really liked his character from the article but developed the idea and changed him a bit - imagining a man that has been steadily shrinking everyday through fear and not being heard. I guess it’s just about isolation and your voice losing its weight."
Photo via Facebook
We seem to be getting more and more enamoured with Heather Valley with every release. As we're also overly into cover songs, we've been heavily anticipating her upcoming covers album since we first heard about it in August. The album still isn't out yet, but we do have a new single from it: A cover of Sheryl Crow's "If It Makes You Happy." Valley's version is a faithful cover in that it's the same basic genre of adult contemporary Americana. That's really where the similarities end. The cover is a completely stripped to bare bones version. It's quiet and haunting instead of Crow's boisterous and uplifting version. It includes two other musicians on steel guitar and bass, but somehow it feels like even less than that.
You can listen to Heather Valley's take on "If It Makes You Happy" below. Wildflower Radio may still not have a release date, but it's still one of our most anticipated of the year. For more on Heather Valley, check out the artist's website.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Post hardcore legends Quicksand are back with a new single! The New York based band just put out "Inversion," and if you've been a fan of them since the 90's, you're going to be quite pleased with this new one. As you may have noticed, as any metal or hard rock band gets ready to release new music every article you read insists that it's a return to form or their loudest album in years with multiple exclamation points. "Inversion" is a relatively mellow song, but Quicksand standards. It's still heavy, but it's what Quicksand should be sounding like in middle age. It's loud, but not as loud, and a few steps slower. But aren't we all. Plus, it is Quicksand, so expect some gloriously noisy guitars.
You can listen to "Inversion" below. The song is available as a single via Epitaph Records. For more on Quicksand, check out the band's website.
Photo by Holly Rike
Boston's Prateek has released a new single that is much more serious than the previous "If I were a dog." "Wrong" is a song about how racism is ingrained in people more than they realize, and how an offhand remark can haunt someone for years afterwards. Prateek's use of just his vocals and guitars give this song an intensely personal feeling. It showcases the power folk music can have in the right hands. "Wrong" is a powerful and important song, that can be as uncomfortable to listen to as it is beautiful.
In a Facebook post, Prateek explains the new song:
Photo by Ebdizru Yil
We're rabid fanboys of Lucy Dacus here at If It's Too Loud..., so we couldn't be more thrilled by her latest single. "Hot & Heavy" starts off in the trademark Dacus fashion: starting off quiet and contemplative, and then slowly building into a giant indie rock/folk epic. As the new song starts, that is what it sounds like it is building to, until "Hot & Heavy" takes an unexpected turn into more of a pop sound. If anything, it sounds more like something from her 2019 covers project than it does 2018's Historian. But, as someone who tends to reject pop, this is a welcome turn that keeps just enough of the indie rock and folk sensibilities of her previous releases to keep me enthralled.
Lucy Dacus says of the new song:
“I thought I was writing ‘Hot & Heavy’ about an old friend, but I realized along the way that it was just about me outgrowing past versions of myself. So much of life is submitting to change and saying goodbye even if you don't want to. Now whenever I go to places that used to be significant to me, it feels like trespassing the past. I know that the teen version of me wouldn't approve of me now, and that's embarrassing and a little bit heartbreaking, even if I know intellectually that I like my life and who I am.”
You can watch the video for "Hot & Heavy" below. Home Video is due out June 25 on Matador Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Lucy Dacus, check out the artist's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the video!
(Julien Baker Headline/Lucy Support, + special guests)
Sat. Sept. 11 - Richmond, VA @ The National
(Lucy Headline/Julien Baker Support, + special guests)
Mon. Sept. 13 - Saxapahaw, NC @ Haw River Ballroom %
Tue. Sept. 14 - Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West %
Wed. Sept. 15 - Nashville, TN @ Brooklyn Bowl %
Fri. Sept. 17 - Dallas, TX @ Trees %
Sat. Sept. 18 - Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall- Downstairs %
Sun. Sept. 19 - Austin, TX @ Scoot Inn %
Mon. Sept. 20 - San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger %
Wed. Sept. 22 - Tucson, AZ @ 191 Toole %
Fri. Sept. 24 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Theatre at Ace Hotel %
Sat. Sept. 25 - Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory OC %
Mon. Sept. 27 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore %
Thu. Sept. 30 - Vancouver, BC @ Hollywood Theatre $
Fri. Oct. 1 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom $
Sat. Oct. 2 - Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre $
Tue. Oct. 5 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge $
Fri. Oct. 8 - Iowa City, IA @ The Englert Theatre $
Sat. Oct. 9 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue $
Mon. Oct. 11 - Chicago, IL @ The Vic Theatre $
Tue. Oct. 12 - Columbus , OH @ Newport Music Hall $
Thu. Oct. 14 - Toronto, ON @ The Opera House $
Fri. Oct. 15 - Montreal, QC @ L’Astral $
Sat. Oct. 16 - Boston, MA @ House of Blues $
Mon. Oct. 18 - Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground $
Wed. Oct. 20 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer ^
Fri. Oct. 22 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club $
Mon. Oct. 25 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
% = w/ Bachelor
$ = w/ Bartees Strange
^ = w/ Shamir
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Songs of Note: "Australia," "Mr. Friendly"
Album: A Softer Focus
Quick Thoughts: Claire Rousay has produced some interesting music for a few years now, and (with the understanding that her more esoteric field recordings-style has some limited appeal), this could be a real breakthrough. This album is a gorgeous mix of often-sparse electronics that feel like they exist in real time, and it makes for a super interesting listen. A lot of buzz aorund this one, and rightly so.
Songs of Note: "Peak Chroma"
Album: The Supporting Character
Quick Thoughts: We're Emily Kinney fans here, both of her singing and her acting. This album has some of her most accessible moments yet, such as with "When the Midnight Fireworks Start," and yet it still retains the sort of charm we've come to enjoy from her albums. Great for longtime fans and for newcomers alike.
Songs of Note: "Genetic Makeup," "When the Midnight Fireworks Start"
Album: TV Baby
Quick Thoughts: A debut album I've been waiting impatiently for, this is a nice slice of indie rock with hints of pop-punk sprinkled throughout. PONY is not forging any new ground here, but they are providing solid musicianship and super catchy songs along the way anyway. It's going to be difficult not to be charmed by this one from the start.
Songs of Note: "Chokecherry," "Couch," "My Room"
Album: They're Calling Me Home
Quick Thoughts: Rhiannon Giddens continues to excel at wonderful interpretations of folk and the musical canon. A second collaboration with Francesco Turrisi, this is just an absolutely wonderful listen and should be a required inclusion in your weekly rotation.
Songs of Note: "Avalon," "Waterbound"
Quick Thoughts: Featuring the guy who was in both Foo Fighters and Sunny Day Real Estate, this actually sounds a lot like what you'd expect those two bands to sound like combined. It's anthemic, loud post-rock with an emo feel, and it really worked for me. Really one you need to hear to understand fully.
Songs of Note: "Down in the Depths," "Defeated," "Deeper in the Shallow," "Supervised Suffering"
Album: Pulse of Defiance
Quick Thoughts: Ken sent this one over to me and it was very unexpected. I was pretty into acid house and the like for a while, and this really gave me the same vibes as when people on IRC tried to get me to take ecstacy and go to a rave. This is probably more complicated than your typical house music from decades past, but it's still a great listen on a whole.
Songs of Note: "Twilight," "Flow"
Album: Cold Immaculate Opposite
Quick Thoughts: I wanted to highlight this EP because it was really my favorite listen of the week. These two songs in particular, "Atticus" and "Indifferent," just got trapped in my head right after hearing them, and I don't want this to get overlooked in a busy week. Put simply, Sarah Cicero is absolutely someone to watch.
Songs of Note: "Atticus," "Indifferent"
* Bill MacKay and Nathan Bowles - Keys
* The Pink Stones - Introducing... The Pink Stones
* The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - Dance Songs for Hard Times
* The Blips - The Blips
* Sufjan Stevens - Meditations
* Frances - Wonder
* Small Black - Cheap Dreams
* Elaquent - Bedtime Stories II
* Skullcrusher - Storm in Summer
* Samantha Crain - I Guess We Live Here Now * Sorry - Twixtustwain EP
* HÆLOS - Somnum
* Francis of Delirium - Wading EP
* Andy Bell with Pye Corner Audio - The Indica Gallery EP
* Evan Greer - Spotify is Surveillance
* Boyfriend Machine - The Youth Stalk the Garden at Night
* Doe - Sincerely, Doe: Live at the Lexington
* Camp Cope - triple j - Live at the Wireless
* The Orb - Abolition of the Royal Familia (Guillotine Mixes)
* Future Funk Squad - Reunified Forms
* Sorry - Home Demo/ns vol I
* Sorry - Home Demo/ns vol II
The Green River Festival is always a highlight of any year. They've just released the line-up for the 2021 edition, and somehow this is just the initial line up. It's safe to say that this is by far their most exciting line-up ever! As always it skews heavily towards folk/Americana, but they've truly outdone themselves this year. Headliners for the three days are Jon Bastiste, Shakey Graves, and Ani Difraco, which would be thrilling enough. The other announced bands include long time If It's Too Loud... favorites like Drive-By Truckers, Deer Tick, and JD McPherson, alongside more newly discovered favorites like Sierra Ferrell, Twisted Pine, Rachel Baiman, and Bella White (who I just discovered over the weekend and haven't even had a chance to post about yet!) Plus, there are other artists we're big on like Valerie June, Mandolin Orange, Bonny Light Horseman, Charlie Parr, and Rebirth Brass Band that are all playing.
Green River Festival will run August 27-29 at Franklin County Fairgrounds in Greenfield, MA. You can find more information and tickets here.