Friday, January 24, 2020

Stephen Malkmus - "Xian Man"

Photo by Samuel Gehrke and Chris Shonting
Stephen Malkmus has been getting fairly experimental in the past few years. He's played around with electronic almost dance music, and with his upcoming album he's going straight up acoustic folk. "Xian Man" is a folk song, which is something I never really expected from Malmus. Malkmus took to making a folk album as a self dare, and it's centered around his twelve string acoustic guitar. That all being said, this is still Stephen Malkmus, so there's plenty here for longtime fans of his solo work and Pavement. His voice will always be his voice, and there's a weirdo guitar solo that is pure classic Malkmus.

You can listen to "Xian Man" below. Traditional Techniques, the upcoming album from Stephen Malkmus, will be out on March 6 via Matador. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Stephen Malkmus, check out his website. Current tour dates are below the song.

Tue. March 31 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave
Wed. April 1 - Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
Thu. April 2 - Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
Fri. April 3 - Louisville, KY @ Headliners
Sat. April 4 - Nashville, TN @ Cannery Ballroom
Sun. April 5 - Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
Tue. April 7 - Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
Wed. April 8 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
Thu. April 9 - Richmond, VA @ The National
Fri. April 10 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat
Sat. April 11 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
Mon. April 13 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Wed. April 15 - Boston, MA @ Royale
Thu. April 16 - Montreal, QC @ L’Astral
Fri. April 17 - Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
Sat. April 18 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
Sun. April 19 - Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew’s Hall

Friday Freebie: If it ain't Rum Bar Records it ain't worth the shot. Winter 2020 (Free Digital Download) Sampler

If you're of a certain age, you'll have a fondness for label samplers. These were free (or maybe a few bucks) CDs you could pick up at your local record store that would be filled with a bunch of artists on a particular label. It was usually a great way to discover new bands and sometimes get rarities for bands you already loved.

Those don't really exist these days, but every so often we'll find one available as a free download. This brings us to If it ain't Rum Bar Records it ain't worth the shot. Winter 2020 (Free Digital Download) Sampler, a sampler for the bands on Boston based Rum Bar Records. It's twenty nine tracks of garage rock and power pop with absolute gems included. We're going to recommend The Heartdrops ("Coming Back"), The Cheap Gunslingers ("Please Kill Me"), Justine & The Unclean ("Picking a Fight"), Spanking Charlene ("Find Me Out"), The Dogmatics ("I Love Rock and Roll"), and Jittery Jack & Amy Griffin on Guitar ("Tell Your Story Walking"). But, despite this being a nearly thirty song compilation, you aren't going to find a stinker on it.

You can listen to "Tell Your Story Walking" by Jittery Jack & Amy Grifin on Guitar below. You can get your copy of If it ain't Rum Bar Records it ain't worth the shot. Winter 2020 (Free Digital Download) Sampler via Bandcamp

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Pokey LaFarge - "Fuck Me Up"

Photo via Facebook
Pokey LaFarge has been our go to guy for old timey Americana, and we've been smitten with his take on blues, swing, folk, and country for years. After fourteen years as a solo artist, we know what we're getting.

Until we don't. He recently moved to Los Angeles, and that prompted a huge change in sound. "Fuck Me Up" still sounds like Pokey LaFarge. I don't think his voice is ever not going to sound like old timey blues and country. But this new song has a new feel to it. It's not a modern sounding song by any stretch, but it's certainly not old fashioned. Plus, while still having LaFarge's trademark sense of fun and joy, this song is decidedly darker than anything we've heard from him before. "Fuck Me Up" is a great and unexpected song. We can't wait to hear more.

You can watch the video for "Fuck Me Up" below. (And, seriously, watch it. It's great!) Rock Bottom Rhapsody, the upcoming album from Pokey LaFarge, will be out April 10 on New West Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Pokey LaFarge, check out his website. Current tour dates (including a Prescott Park Arts Festival date!) are below the video.

April 24 - Rotterdam, NL - Maasilo
April 25 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso
April 26 - Berlin, DE - Roadrunners Paradise
April 29 - Paris, FR - La Maroquinerie
April 30 - Antwerp, BE - De Roma
May 1 - Lessines, BE - Roots & Roses Festival
May 2 - London, UK - Islington Assembly Hall
May 8 - Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle
May 9 - Mt. Airy, NC - The Earle
May 10 - Charleston, WV - NPR's Mountain Stage
May 13 - Lexington, KY - The Burl
May 15 - St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway
May 16 - St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway
May 17 - Nashville, TN - 3rd & Lindsley (Lightning 100)
June 2 - Maquoqueta, IA - Codfish Hollow
June 3 - Minneapolis, MN - Fine Line
June 4 - Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall
June 5 - Grand Rapids, MI - Pyramid Scheme
June 6 - Indianapolis, IN - HiFi
June 9 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
June 10 - Pittsburgh, PA - Thunderbird Cafe
June 11 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live
June 12 - Annapolis, MD - Rams Head On Stage
June 13 - Jersey City, NJ - White Eagle
June 16 - Fairfield, CT - The Warehouse
June 17 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
June 18 - Boston, MA - The Sinclair
June 19 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground Ballroom
June 20 - Albany, NY - The Egg
June 23 - Rockport, MA - Shalin Liu
June 24 - Portsmouth, NH - Prescott Park Arts Festival
June 26 - Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern
June 27 - Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern

Greg Klyma Released Three Albums in 2019

Boston's Greg Klyma has an exceptionally busy 2019. Somehow he released three albums last year and almost completely slipped by us. The most intriguing part is how different each album is from the others. Even though we're coming at these late, let's check them out!

February saw the release of Fake Songs. It's by far the most straightforward folky of the three. "Reminder" opens up the album as a very mainstream modern folk song. Even if that's not usually your thing, wait it out and check out the rest of the album. "Hole in a Ship" is more standard folk while still being more straightforward in the best possible way. "The Root" is a quiet, introspective song about having a neighbor with a Trump sign up. 

In June Klyma released Maybe the Ocean, which is the rocker of the 2019 trio. It leans more towards the jangle pop side of rock, but still more rock nonetheless. A perfect example is the song "Rock Out," which is a mid-tempo rocker and much more restrained song than you would have expected. Maybe the Ocean reminds me of Tom Petty's "Wildflowers" (the song not the album). It's filled with quiet pop/rock songs that are laid back without being ballads.

Last month Klyma released the last of his three 2019 albums. C&W stands for Coffee and Weed and is the twangy country album. This one is my personal favorite. Just listening to the title track will let you know if you're going to like this album. It's filled with sad country songs with just enough of a sense of humor to make them fun, which is the way the best country is made.

You can listen to "Coffee and Weed" below. All three of Greg Klyma's 2019 albums are available on his Bandcamp. For more on Greg Klyma, check out his website. Current tour dates are below the song.

January 31 – Naked Vine – Chesterfield, MO
February 1 – Red Bud Hill – Murphysboro, IL
February 5 – Red Brick Bar – Norman, OK
February 8 – House Concert – Houston, TX
February 10 – Adair’s Saloon – Dallas, TX
February 13 – House Concert – Austin, TX
February 16 – Ghost River Brewery – Memphis, TN
February 18 – The 5 Spot – Nashville, TN
February 21 – Plain Folk Café – Pleasant Plain, OH
February 25 – Blue Island Beer Company – Blue Island, IL
February 26 – Goshen Brewing Company – Goshen, IN
February 29 – House Concert – Rochester, NY
March 5 – The Burren – Somerville, MA
June 18-20 – Moccasin Creek Festival – Effingham, IL

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

FACS - "Teenage Hive"

Photo by Zoran Orlic
I've been a fan of Chicago's FACS dating back to the Disappears days, so it's great to have new music from them. Their latest single, "Teenage Hive," is exactly what you want from FACS: Noisy, experimental, dark, and slightly off putting. "Teenage Hive" isn't exactly a pleasant listen, but if you know and love FACS, that's not what you're here for. Something about this particular song feels more aggressive than their normal output without them getting louder or sounding angrier. In fact, "Teenage Hive" is kind of suffocating. 

Guitarist Brian Case says the song is about "...not defining yourself so that other people can understand you. The evolved consciousness I've seen with my son and his generation/peer group regarding gender, identity, and human rights is the only hope for the future and informs all of Void Moments, which is ultimately an album about facing who we are."

You can watch the video for "Teenage Hive" below. Void Moments, the upcoming album from FACS, will be out March 27 on Trouble In Mind. For more on FACS, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Possessed By Paul James - "When It Breaks"

Photo by George Blosser
Musician, educator, activist, and artist Konrad Wert records music under the name Possessed By Paul James. His very long awaited album is due out next week, and we have another new single to get ready for that. "When It Breaks" is modern mainstream Americana at its absolute finest. Wert isn't rewriting the genre, but he's doing it as well as anyone out there. "When It Breaks" is soulful Americana that fits more into the folk side but dabbles into some bluegrass. Unless you hate all things folky, it's going to be impossible not to like this song.

You can listen to "When It Breaks" below. As We Go Wandering, the new album from Possessed By Paul James, will be out on January 31. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Possessed By Paul James, check him out on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Venomous Pinks Cover Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Tempe, AR's The Venomous Pinks have chosen to cover the Joan Jett & The Blackhearts classic "I Want You." It's an incredibly faithful version of the original, but with crunchier guitars and maybe a little more of a metal edge to it. It's fast and played ferociously, just like it should be. Guitarist/vocalist Drea Doll says of the cover: "I Want You is an in-your-face, unapologetic, punk rendition of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ timeless classic. We set out to infuse our unique style and uncontrived attitude to change up the cover while lovingly nodding to its original roots.”

You can watch the video for "I Want You" below. For more on The Venomous Pinks, check out their website.

Gabriel Bernini - "Caramel"

Originally from western Massachusetts but now in Los Angeles, Gabriel Bernini is getting set to release a new album. After listening to "Caramel," the new album has to be, at the very least, great. "Caramel" gives me total Tom Petty vibes, if Tom Petty were in his early 20's and coming up in the world of indie rock today. It's that kind of pop that rock fans love and will never be able to get enough of while not being able to admit to themselves that it's a pop rock song. 

You can watch the video for "Caramel" below. Sweeties, the new album from Gabriel Bernini, will be out February 14 (which is becoming far too packed with anticipated albums) via Dadstache Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Gabriel Bernini, check him out on Bandcamp.

First Listen: New Releases for 17 January

Artist: AJJ
Album: Good Luck Everybody
Quick Description: Andrew Jackson Jihad gets political (or, well, moreso than usual).
Why You Should Listen: AJJ is always a good time.
Overall Thoughts: Been a fan for a while now, and this is probably the most overtly political album they’ve done, which is interesting that it feels very restrained musically while being fairly unsubtle in its messaging. Does it work? As a fan of AJJ, it feels like a lighter AJJ album. A someone who is not a Trump fan, but not really a protest music guy, I suppose I appreciate how on-the-nose it is? It’s not likely to age too well on a whole, but that’s not the point at the end of it all.
Recommendation: Worth a listen, but still has some interesting choices.

Artist: Aoife Nessa Frances
Album: Land of No Junction
Quick Description: Gorgeous singer-songwriter music from an up-and-coming Irish songstress.
Why You Should Listen: This is not the typical thing you expect, while still feeling fresh and familiar.
Overall Thoughts: This one kind of came out of nowhere for me, but I really dug it. It’s hard for me not to like some midtempo singer-songwriter stuff, and ANF succeeds at providing just enough in the way of a different approach to be a highlight in the early goings here. This grabbed me within minutes, and if you’re into the first track you’ll likely be into the whole thing.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.

Artist: Alice Boman
Album: Dream On
Quick Description: Chamber pop from a Scandinavian songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: This is a gorgeous listen that will stick to your bones.
Overall Thoughts: There’s something very churchlike and chamber-esque about this. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a midcentury chapel, other times I think I’m watching some 1960s movie with a pop singer at a party. This is a really interesting album, and one that’s definitely worth the time.
Recommendation: A must-hear.

Artist: Of Montreal
Album: UR FUN
Quick Description: Latest Of Montreal record, with all that comes with it.
Why You Should Listen: This is maybe the best Kevin Barnes effort in some time.
Overall Thoughts: There's the part of me who is like "man, I miss when Of Montreal was more of an indie pop band," which kind of ignores the fact that the project went into a more synthy, more confessional direction fifteen years ago and has perhaps been in this mode longer than they were when I first dove in. With all that said, here's UR FUN, which is a great record about being in love and is also kind of weird to listen to in a sense when you realize that you've also suffered through the Barnes divorce in song, and now in this new relationship. I dunno. "Let's Do Everything for the First Time Forever," a song from one of their early releases, meant a lot to me in my early relationship. If I was starting one today, "You Had Me Everywhere" might be the soundtrack to that urgency of new love that I'd be looking for, especially if I didn't know that there was an entire autobiographical history in the back catalog. Musically, this is great, don't get me wrong. Loved the album, but this is one I definitely struggled with at times in part because of how connected I've been with this band for almost two decades. If you come in fresh, you might love it more.
Recommendation: Make time for this one.

Artist: The Innocence Mission
Album: See You Tomorrow
Quick Description: Gorgeous folky music.
Why You Should Listen: This one is a subtle, beautiful listen.
Overall Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about this one, truthfully, but I felt as if delegating it anywhere else but as a highlight was wrong. This album was just one that stuck with me all weekend and is likely the thing I want to get back to the most this week, so don't miss out.
Recommendation: A highlight this week.

Of note:

* G Love and Special Sauce - The Juice (A surprisingly summery record for a cold winter weekend.)
* ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Listening to this made me wonder why I don't listen to Trail of Dead more.)
* Chelsea Cutler - How to Be Human
* Holy Fuck - Deleter
* Laume - Waterbirth
* Seamus Egan - Early Bright
* Surface to Air Missive - Shelly's Gone
* Futurebirds - Teamwork


* Haylet Mary - The Piss, The Perfume (Do not sleep on this. Some really great stuff here.)
* Rodrigo y Gabriela - Mettal EP (I would like more of this, please.)
* SEA - Impermanence
* Deena Abdelwahed - Dhakar
* Caitlin Canty - Live from Layman


* Della Mae - Headlight
* Anti-Flag - 20/20 Vision
* Louise - Heavy Love
* Algiers - There Is No Year
* Halsey - Manic

Monday, January 20, 2020

Porridge Radio - "Sweet"

Photo by El Hardwick
If Porridge Radio's last single, "Lilac," had us excited for their upcoming album, "Sweet" has us in a frenzy. You know that whole loud/quiet/loud thing the Pixies trademarked and Nirvana made famous? Porridge Radio have reinvented it completely. "Sweet" is pure alt-rock glory. You know the loud parts are coming, but you don't quite know when. The quiet parts feel more quiet and more intense because of this. And the loud parts? They're just ferocious, and you find yourself needing them more and more while you wait. "Sweet" is the kind of song that will remind you of why you love music.

Lead singer Dana Margolin explains the song: "Sweet’ is a song about holding grudges and learning how to have fun and letting go of an old version of yourself. I was feeling light-hearted when I wrote it, but when we came together to play it as a band, it suddenly felt really dramatic and exciting. When we play it live, the energy in the room always feels really intense, and then suddenly we just explode altogether and it always feels really good.

You can watch the video for "Sweet" below. Every Bad, the new album from Porridge Radio, will be out March 13 on Secretly Canadian. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Porridge Radio, check them out on Facebook and Twitter. Current tour dates are below the video. Let's hope for a Boston date soon.

Thu. Feb. 27 - Sat. Feb. 29 - Oslo, NO @ Larm Festival
Mon. March 16 - Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
Fri. March 17 - Sat. March 22 - Austin, TX @ SXSW
Sun. March 23 - Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
Thu. March 26 - Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
Fri. March 27 - Liverpool, UK @ Studio 2
Sat. March 28 - Bristol, UK @ Ritual Union Festival
Sun. March 29 - Glasgow, UK @ Glad Café
Tue. March 31 - Sheffield, UK @ Record Junkee
Wed. April 1 - London, UK @ Colours
Fri. April 3 - Hastings, UK @ Marina Fountain
Sat. April 4 - Brighton, UK @ The Westhill Hall
Fri. May 22 - Sun. May 24 - Totnes, UK @ Sea Change Festival