Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Fantastic Negito - "Oh Betty" (Acoustic)

I absolutely loved Fantastic Negrito's 2022 album White Jesus Black Problems, and especially the song "Oh Betty." It had this great hyped up blues/rock/funk combination that works for me. I'm not usually all in on acoustic reworkings of beloved songs, but most artists aren't Fantastic Negrito. He's just released an acoustic version of "Oh Betty" that changes the original up without losing any of what makes it a great song. It's a little more mellow and toned down, but all of the emotion is still here. This would be the MTV Unplugged version of Fantastic Negrito, if that's still a thing. (I think it might be?) If you loved the original as much as we did, or even if you're new to the joy that is Fantastic Negrito's music, you're gonna love this version.

You can listen to the acoustic version of "Oh Betty" below. The song is available as a free download if you sign up for Fantastic Negrito's email list. For more on Fantastic Negrito, check out the artist's website.

First Listen: New Releases for 2 December 2022

Artist: Sophie Jamieson
Album: Choosing
Quick Thoughts: A gorgeous, cozy folk record perfect for the season without being seasonal. I liked this quite a bit, and it was one I randomly tripped up on and ended up very glad that I did. Even in a busy week this is worth the time.
Songs of Note: "Addition," "Runner," "Boundary," "Who Will I Be"

Artist: Twin Oaks
Album: Strangers
Quick Thoughts: Twin Oaks does dreamy, floaty indie music that just works very well. This is one of those albums that you can feel was meticulously put together, and the results are just song after song after song that impresses. Don't miss out on this one this week.
Songs of Note: "Magnolia," "Salt Flats," "Stranger," "Soft Lights"

Artist: FEEP
Album: FEEP has landed
Quick Thoughts: I wanted to highlight this listen, as FEEP, on the surface, doesn't seem like something of interest, but it turns out that this is a really smart and really catchy indie rock effort out of Boston with a number of really great moments. I kept getting surprised by it to the point that I was very happy this landed on our radar. Check it out.
Songs of Note: "Acid Reflex," "Salt Flats," "Stranger," "Soft Lights"

Of note:

* Pleasure Venom - Rebirth/Return
* Donzii - Fishbowl
* Mira Lu Kovacs and Clemens Wegner - Sad Songs to Cry To
* Municipality - Sunroom
* Momus - Issyvoo
* Imogen Heap and Dan O'Neill - Chordata Bytes II
* TOBACCO - Skids and Angels
* Brendan Benson - Low Key
* gupi - paper eater
* Burn the Louvre - Silhouettes
* White Lung - Premonition
* NOFX - Double Album


* black balloons - escape FM
* Rachel Maria Cox - The Day You Left
* Jillette Johnson - Bon Adventure
* Chloe George - Penny
* 100 gecs - Snake Eyes
* Snotty Nose Rez Kids - I'm Good, HBU?
* Work Wife - Quitting Season
* Johanna Samuels - Scam Likely
* Gemma Cullingford - It's Christmas.
* Arc Iris - We Found Home

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Southeast of Saturn, Vol. 2

Also out:

* Rural Internet - SAINT ANGER
* brakence - hypochondriac

Hallelujah the Hills - "Get Free"

While Hallelujah the Hills have been working on their upcoming DECKS project, their latest single is a bit of a detour. "Get Free" was written and recorded for Podsongs, which sees musicians interviewing someone working to make a positive difference in the world and the writing and recording a song based on that interview. Ryan Walsh of Hallelujah the Hills interviewed Rick Doblin of M.A.P.S. about using psychedelics to help with PTSD. "Get Free" sounds like it's going to be a Walsh solo track, both in its simplicity and recording style. It's a quiet, melancholy opening to a song that fits into Hallelujah the Hills' catalog, but seems more like an outlier. By the end of the song, the rest of the band kicks in and it becomes a joyful celebratory song in that folk meets punk meets psychedelic rock that we've come to adore about the band. 

You can listen to "Get Free" below. For more on Hallelujah the Hills, check out the band's website.

The Prefab Messiahs - "Prefab Holiday"

The Prefab Messiahs have been covering some fairly serious issues in their music lately, so it's kind of nice to see Worcester, MA's favorite garage psych rockers cut loose with a fun holiday song. "Prefab Holiday" is a trippy garage rocker that's just a holiday song. It sounds like something straight out of the 1960's, with maybe a slightly more modern flair. It's filled with surf rock guitars and "woo-ooo-ooo"s to make The Beach Boys proud. This one is perfect for holiday playlists, and just about having a great holiday to avoid getting into a winter rut.

You can watch the video for "Prefab Holiday" below. The song is available via Bandcamp. For more on The Prefab Messiahs, check out the band's Facebook.

The Shang Hi Los - "Takes One to Know One"

The Shang Hi Los are one of the stand out bands of the Boston garage rock/power pop scene. The supergroup consists of members of Jenny Dee & The Deelinquents, The Dents, The Downbeat 5, Watts, The Neighborhoods, and Eddie Japan, and just released a brand new single. "Takes One to Know You" is a huge garage pop rock song. It's reminding me a lot of Go! era Letters to Cleo, but a little more edgy. It has that incredibly poppy and catchy vibe with just a little grime on the sunniness. Like anything with The Shang Hi Los, this is a fun rock song, and if you have a soft spot for power pop and garage rock there is simply no way you're not going to love this one.

You can listen to "Takes One to Know One" below. Aces Eights & Heartbreaks is due out January 20 on Rum Bar Records. The album can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp. For more on The Shang Hi Los, check out the band on Facebook.

Monday, December 5, 2022

Weakened Friends Cover Kacey Musgraves

Photo by Adam Parshall

Kacey Musgraves is just one of those artists I'm not that familiar with, but if Weakened Friends are covering one of her songs I might have to check her out again! As part of this year's Something Merry covers compilation, the Maine trio have covered Musgraves' "Oh, What a World." The cover is this great alt-rock power ballad, the kind you don't really hear all that often. This song sounds like it was listed straight from the mid 90's when bands like Pearl Jam or Weezer would release these killer ballads that still rocked despite being on the slower side. Weakened Friends have given us this fuzzed out and jangly version of a country pop hit, and we're fully on board for this one.

You can listen to Weakened Friends take on "Oh, What a World" below. The song is on After Hour from Something Merry with all proceeds going to The Brigid Alliance, a referral-based service that provides travel, food, lodging, child care, and other logistical support for people seeking abortions. You can download the compilation (which also features Mint Green, Future Teens, and more) through Bandcamp. For more on Weakened Friends, check out their website.

Bang Camaro - "Too Fast to Fall in Love"

Photo by Maclaine Diemer

The world's #1 gang vocal rock band are back with a new song! The Boston band released Bang Camaro II way back in 2009, but just released "Too Fast to Fall in Love" last week. The Boston band have one of the most unique sounds out there. It's more than a little 80's hair/pop and thrash metal meets choral singing. "Too Fast to Fall in Love" has huge guitar solos and even bigger gang vocals throughout. It's an impossibly compelling sound that is you're either going to become obsessed with or reject. Bang Camaro are one of those bands no one is in the middle on. You either love them or hate them. But, if you're on the latter side of that, give this new one a shot. They might finally win you over, and being on the Bang Camaro bandwagon is one of the more fun ones to be on.

You can watch the video for "Too Fast to Fall in Love" below. To keep up with what Bang Camaro are up to, be sure to give them a follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Sara Noelle - "I'll Sleep 'Til Christmas"

For a Christmas song, the latest from Sara Noelle doesn't sound very Christmas-y. "I'll Sleep 'Til Christmas" is an ambient song with a drone heavy background, although it does have hints of a jingle bell. While most holiday songs sound old fashioned and traditional, Noelle has released a song that isn't quite experimental, but very experimental for the theme. It's a perfect respite if you're trying to stay in the holiday mood but are getting burnt out on the classics. It's as lovely and has that same hypnotic quality as watching the snow fall outside from your warm house.

Sara Noelle says of her new song:

This song is about fast-forwarding until Christmas, a time that somehow sheds all the craziness of the year and brings some respite and a bit of quiet magic.” 

You can listen to "I'll Sleep 'Til Christmas" below, and is available via Bandcamp. Do I Have to Feel Everything is due out on January 27. For more on Sara Noelle, check out the artist's website.

Haji P. - "Never Left (Always Right)"

Photo via Facebook

Haji P. (the "P" stands for "pajamas") is a North Carolina based musician and art teacher. Taken from his upcoming split EP with Color Temperature, "Never Left (Always Right)" features music by L'Orange, and if you've been with us for a while, you'll know how we feel about L'Orange produced music! "Never Left (Always Right)" has this amazing early 90's positive hip hop vibe to it. It's not exactly a 90's throwback track, but it's close. It includes a vocal sample that sounds like it was taken from the 1920's, music rooted in jazz, and the song is just a pure celebration. This is from when rap songs were just fun. It's reminding me a lot of artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Arrested Development, and Digable Planets. You're going to end up loving this song, and diving straight into Haji P.'s catalog.

Haji P. describes working with L'Orange:

"Yeah, it was dope. I think we had talked about doing something shortly before I moved out to California, then one day I came back to visit and I wrote and recorded the song with him in the same day. I think we were like in his bedroom room or something. He was hella cool and unassuming as such a dope producer. Easily the most cozy recording session ever, haha--"

You can listen to "Never Left (Always Right)" below. This Water Is Life Volume II is due out December 16 on Fort Lowell Records. The series of EPs is designed to highlight new hip hop and indie rock artists from Southeastern North Carolina and to provide a platform for Cape Fear River Watch and Coastal Plains Conservation Group to deliver up to date authoritative reports on the Cape Fear River Basin for both human beings and wildlife. The EP can be pre-ordered here. For more on Haji P., check out the artist's website.

Friday, December 2, 2022

McKinley Dixon featuring Angelica Garcia - "Sun, I Rise"

Photo via Facebook

Since we last heard from McKinley Dixon, the rapper has relocated from Richmond, VA to Chicago. The move also signals a change in sound with his latest single "Sun, I Rise." The new song is much more orchestral and cinematic than we're used to, with live drums and keys throughout. Despite the live drums and keys, "Sun, I Rise" isn't a jazz based hip hop song. This is pure hip hop, just not with the typical musical backdrop. Plus, it features vocals by Angelica Garcia not just for the chorus but throughout the verses more as a backing instrument. Hip hop can be a fairly stagnant genre, and it's great to see an artist like McKinley Dixon expanding the genre's sound.

You can watch the video for "Sun, I Rise" below. The single is available now via City Slang, and can be purchased/streamed here. For more on McKinley Dixon, check out the artist's website.