Tuesday, October 26, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 22 October

Artist: Aaron and the Lord
Album: Aaron and the Lord
Quick Thoughts: I've honestly been hit and miss on Aaron Perrino's work - The Sheila Divine, which is probably as close to legendary indie act in Boston as there can be, never quite did it for me, while I felt the Dear Leader project was truly great and I enjoyed No Hope/No Harm - but this newer side project is super solid. It's certainly alt rock, but it's also got some off-center concepts around it, and some of the songs featuring Tanya Donnelly feel truly inspired. I'd recommend it for any Perrino fans out there, but especially those who like to listen to him when he treads off the beaten path.
Songs of Note: "Helpful Visions," "World on Edge"

Artist: Jackson+Sellers
Album: Breaking Point
Quick Thoughts: I love both Jade Jackson and Aubrie Sellers, but I somehow completely missed the part where they were joining forced on a rockin' roots effort. This is a great listen, and it's one that's likely to resonate for a while. One might hope that this team-up might raise both their profiles, but for now, we benefit from a pretty great roots effort.
Songs of Note: "Breaking Point," "Hush," "Wound Up"

Artist: Slow Crush
Album: Hush
Quick Thoughts: This is the sort of hazy, fuzzy stuff we love here. I don't have a ton to say about this sophomore shoegaze effort, but I do know that I'm really happy to have heard it and it's a really solid listen on a whole. If shoegaze is your scene, add this to your rotation.
Songs of Note: "Swoon," "Bent and Broken"

Artist: Snotty Nose Rez Kids
Album: Life After
Quick Thoughts: We've discussed Snotty Nose Rez Kids here before, and these indigenous rappers are really pretty great. Their first few albums were nominated for a slew of awards, and this latest continues along the trajectory of politically and socially minded rap music we've come to expect. The whole album is great, and if you haven't gotten on board with the duo yet, now's as good a time as any.
Songs of Note: "If I Die Today"

Artist: Mega Ran
Album: Live '95
Quick Thoughts: Mega Ran trades in his video game-themed raps for a basketball-themed one, and it works so, so well. It's both personal and fun, and that goes a really long way across the board, but it's also interesting how well Mega Ran interweaves a lot of the cultural touchstones of basketball fandom with his own experiences. It's just a really interesting and great listen. Don't miss it.
Songs of Note: "Faces of Fear"

Artist: Melanie Beth Curran
Album: San Benedito Beach
Quick Thoughts: This was sent over last minute, and man, when this works, it works. This is primarily a folk effort, to be sure, but there's something different about this that ends up being super appealing in all the right ways. It's a little bit of fun, a little serious, but has a pretty solid mix of ideas and themes on a whole.
Songs of Note: "Fish Monger Blues," "Say That You Will"

Of note:

* The Exbats - Now Where Were We (A solid return with a lot of poppy, fun moments.)
* Lonely Guest - Lonely Guest (A project featuring Tricky.)
* Bedouine - Waysides (Probably her most accessible, mainstream effort yet.)
* Lana Del Rey - Blue Banisters (Not nearly as good as Chemtrails from earlier this year, but still solid.)
* Diamondtown - Diamondtown (Reverb-heavy rock, feels like it's out of the 1980s.)
* The Juan Maclean - I Want the Night
* Angel Du$t - YAK: A Collection of Truck Songs
* My Morning Jacket - My Morning Jacket
* Duran Duran - FUTURE PAST
* Clinic - Fantasy Island
* Wet - Letter Blue
* La Luz - La Luz
* Deerhoof - Actually, You Can
* Gabriel Bernini - You Got Me
* Big D and the Kids Table - DO YOUR ART
* Parquet Courts - Sympathy for Life
* Hawthonn - Earth Mirror
* Spose - Get Rich or Die Ryan
* Helado Negro - Far In
* Hand Habits - Fun House
* Dummy - Mandatory Enjoyment
* Roedelius and Dallas Acid - Mind Cinema
* Tristan Arp - Sculpturegardening
* Soley - Mother Melancholia
* Ouri - Frame of a Fauna


* Okay Kaya - The Incompatible Okay Kaya
* Bleach Lab - Nothing Feels Real
* Olafur Arnalds - The Invisible EP
* Cuffed Up - Asymmetry
* GIRLI - Damsel in Destress
* Travis - The Invisible Band Demos
* Nada Surf - Cycle Through
* Hey, Chels - Brick Roads
* Elita - Anxiety Angel
* Shn Shn - e.strange.d
* MALINDA - Sea to Sky

Also out:

* Guided By Voices - It's Not Them. It Couldn't Be Them. It Is Them!
* Every Time I Die - Radical

Ric Wilson & Yellow Days - "Life's Been Good to Me"

Photo by Jay Lewn

Chicago rapper Ric Wilson has teamed up with Yellow Days, the musical project of London's George Van Den Broek. The collaboration's first single, "Life's Been Good to Me," is a disco/hip hop/funk hybrid. It reminds me a lot of the early 90's P-Funk inspired hip hop, especially a song like Ice Cube's "Bop Gun." But, you know... more disco than that. It goes without saying, but "Life's Been Good to Me" is a fun song. Disco, hip hop, and funk are some of the most fun genres of all time, and I could see this being played at thousands of parties on both sides of the Atlantic as the year goes on.

You can listen to "Life's Been Good to Me" below. Disco Ric in London Town is due out October 29. You can find out more about Yellow Days here, and more about Ric Wilson here. Dates for a collaborative tour are below the song.

Wed. Nov. 10 - Seattle, WA @ Showbox
Thu. Nov. 11 - Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
Sat. Nov. 13 - San Francisco, CA @ The Regency
Mon. Nov. 15 - Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst
Tue. Nov. 16 - Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory OC
Fri. Nov. 19 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex - Vertigo
Sat. Nov. 20 - Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
Tue. Nov. 23 - Chicago, IL @ Metro
Wed. Nov. 24 - Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theater
Fri. Nov. 26 - Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
Sat. Nov. 27 - Montréal, QC @ Théâtre Fairmount
Mon. Nov. 29 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Tue. Nov. 30 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Thu. Dec. 2 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club - Music Hall
Fri. Dec. 3, 2021 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

Alex Lahey - "Spike the Punch"

Photo by Nick McKinlay

We've been big fans of Alex Lahey for a few years now. Her ridiculously combination of indie rock, pop punk, and straight up punk is basically perfect even if two middle aged dads are probably not her target audience. Her latest single, "Spike the Punch," drops a lot of the indie rock and pop punk and just straight up pop rock. Knowing my musical taste I should truly hate this, but Lahey pulls off the near impossible and gets me to love a pop song. If there is such a thing as a song that is too catchy, "Spike the Punch" may very well be it, but since there isn't it's just a great song.

In a press release, Alex Lahey says of the new song:

‘Spike The Punch’ is a song about the fun that comes with self-sabotage and reckless abandon. It's big, it's loud, it's fun, it's its own beastThere are some super sinister tones in there rubbing up against really bright anime style guitar harmonies (guitarmonies, anyone?..) and shout choruses. Spike feels like a raucous bookend to navigating these cruelly unpredictable times. Touch wood.”

You can watch the video for "Spike the Punch" below. The song is available as a single via Liberation Records here. For more on Alex Lahey, check out the artist's website.

Melissa Ferrick Covers Sleater-Kinney

Photo by Shervin Iainez

Melissa Ferrick is a legendary singer/songwriter based out of Boston. They are a Berklee trained musician who is currently a Professor of the Practice at Northeastern University and a former Associate Professor of Songwriting at Berklee College of Music. Ferrick isn't an obvious choice for a Sleater-Kinney cover, but they've recorded a version of "You're No Rock N' Roll Fun" as part of Kill Rock Stars' thirtieth anniversary covers series Stars Rock Kill (Rock Stars). While I said they weren't an obvious choice to cover Sleater-Kinney, now that you know it exists it is kind of a dream cover, isn't it? Ferrick takes more of a traditional folk/rock look at the Sleater-Kinney classic, but since it is Ferrick it does have their non-traditional take on the standard classic singer/songwriter thing. Both Melissa Ferrick and Sleater-Kinney are wonderfully unique artists, and this cover reflects that.

You can listen to Melissa Ferrick's version of "You're No Rock N' Roll Fun" below. For more on the Stars Rock Kill (Rock Stars) project, head over to Kill Rock Stars' website. For more on Melissa Ferrick, check out the artist's website.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Brandie Blaze - "They Calling Me Blaze"

Photo via Facebook

Of all of the killer hip hop coming out of Boston these days, Brandie Blaze seems poised to be the next one to break out nationally. Her latest single, "They Calling Me Blaze," has an intensity that is missing in a lot of hip hop these days. It's intense despite being a mid-tempo to mellow track. The intensity is completely in Blaze's vocals. If anything, the music has an ultra laid back feel that you'd hear in a Snoop Dogg song. But Blaze is just throwing emotion and intensity all over this track with her flow. She's an impossibly captivating performer, and "They Calling Me Blaze" truly showcases that.

In a Facebook post, Brandie Blaze says of the new song:

"During this pandemic, I went through a serious mental health crisis. I didn't want to perform anymore. I would cry before sets because I was forcing myself to do it. I delayed my 3rd album by a year. My pen was dry. I had to focus on getting myself together. I dropped the ball on a lot of shit. But I'm back and I'm ready."

You can watch the video for "They Calling Me Blaze" below. For more on Brandie Blaze, check out the artist's Facebook.

Cherry Blaster - "New Age"

Toronto's Cherry Blaster started off as a bedroom project of Iulia Ciobanu. It was a solo laptop synth project but has morphed into a three piece band. Their latest single, "New Age," definitely keeps that synth heavy bedroom project vibe. It starts off with some sparse keyboard noodling and some beats that sound like a drum machine. The focus is Ciobanu's vocals, which meander around almost as much as the instrumentation does. Eventually the song fills out in sound without losing any of the charm of the beginning.

Iulia Ciobanu says of the new song:

"Whether the bigger source of this fear was external or internal, as I approached my thirties, I couldn't shake the feeling that my "time was up" as an aspiring musician. One morning in my late twenties I woke up from a dream in which my silver hairs were turning pink and I was struck by the image. I turned this into a song that extended the dream into an alternate reality where I could transform myself into a forever young cyborg. Over the next few years, the song's deeper meaning about self-acceptance through aging coalesced with the original idea to result in an all-pink, soft-sci-fi music video that ended up being shot the day before my 30th birthday."

You can watch the video for "New Age" below. For more information on Cherry Blaster, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

Monday Mix: If It's Too Loud... Halloween 2021 Playlist

For the 2021 If It's Too Loud... Halloween playlist, I did what I've been doing the past few years: As soon as the 2020 playlist was posted, I created a new one and started adding to it. Every time I stumbled onto a song deemed appropriate, I added it. After a year, the playlist ballooned to eighty nine songs and five and a half hours! There's a ton of new stuff released in the past year (The Exbats, Viagra Boys, Nervous Dater, Hard Nips, The Jacklights) there are also plenty of classics (Sonic Youth, L7, Neil Young, The Cramps, Pulp) in here. It covers a wide variety of musical genres, and it's long enough to cover any of your Halloween plans! Plus, since Halloween isn't until Sunday, we get a whole week to listen. Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2021

Ghostkeeper - "Grassy Plains"

Calgary's Ghostkeeper are a unique band that has created a patchwork sound all their own. Their latest single, "Grassy Plains," is this oddball indie rock song that kind of reminds me of bands like The Magnetic Fields or Beat Happening. This isn't necessarily because of Ghostkeeper sound like these bands, but just the overall vibe. (If that makes any sense...) "Grassy Plains" is groovy in the way that Sonic Youth were sometimes groovy in the early 90's. It's the kind of song you're going to either love or hate, or perhaps be intrigued enough to give it a couple extra listens just to be sure how you feel.

In a press release, Ghostkeeper say of their new single:

"Our new single, 'Grassy Plains,' charts a fantasy based on a post-apocalyptic scenario where the protagonist’s man has gone off to fight as a revolutionary soldier.
"Driven to seek the help of the minegishi (sacred little people), she gathers medicine and words to bring her love home.
"We sought to capture the story of lovers in a dystopian time who lament the distance between them as they struggle to find each other in one realm or another."

You can watch the video for "Grassy Plains" below. You can get a copy of the song here. For more on Ghostkeeper, check out the band's Facebook.

Chime School - "Wait Your Turn"

San Francisco musician Andy Pastalaniec started off as a drummer in bands like Pink Films, Cruel Summer, and Seablite. His latest project, Chime School, sees him taking over as singer and songwriter. Chime School's new single, "Wait Your Turn," combines the 60's San Francisco pop/folk/psychedelic scene with 90's indie rock. The song has this irresistibly sunny vibe. Particularly at the beginning you get a strong sense of bands like The Byrds or Jefferson Airplane. As the song progresses, the noise starts to kick in. It's drenched in sunshine and soaked in feedback, combining sounds that could have existed if Nirvana hadn't mocked The Youngbloods in "Territorial Pissings."

You can watch the video for "Wait Your Turn" below. Chime School's self-titled debut is due out November 5 on Slumberland Records. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here. For more on Chime School, check out their Twitter.

Friday Freebie: The Thorazines - Songs in the Key of Death

We don't get too many Halloween releases, but when we do we're sure to bring them to you especially if they happen to be free! Melbourne, Australia's The Thorazines just released Songs in the Key of Death. It's a four song EP that's a pop punk tribute to the 1986 film Trick or Treat, aka the heavy metal horror movie that stars Skippy from Family Ties and features appearances from Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons. The Thorazines have recorded four songs as a tribute to the movie. All four songs are decidedly pop punk, but that kind of pop punk that's heavily metal influenced and has a harder edge to it. This EP is a bunch of fun, especially if you've seen the movie recently enough to get all the references. I'll be trying to find it on a streaming service this weekend because while I think I've seen it, if I did it would be decades ago.

You can listen to "Fuck with Fire" below. Songs in the Key of Death is available for the name your price option on Bandcamp. If you do choose zero, be sure to give The Thorazines a follow on Facebook.