Wednesday, July 17, 2019

David Wax Museum - "Uncover the Gold"

Photo by Vivian Wang
Back in May we brought you a Jam in the Van version of "Uncover the Gold," a brand new song from David Wax Museum's upcoming album. The album version is now available to listen to, and it was worth waiting. This version has a softer feel than the previously heard live performance. Suz Slezak's voice has a particularly trippy feel to it as she vocalizes during instrumental parts of the song. Trippy might be the best way to describe "Uncover the Gold," a song that has the most hypnotizing handclaps of all time. Yes, that is a weird way to describe handclaps, but trust us on that. This continues David Wax Museum's progression from album to album. None of their albums feel like complete departures from the previous album, but they all go off in a different direction just enough to keep their sound evolving and interesting.

You can listen to "Uncover the Gold" below. Line of Light, the upcoming album from David Wax Museum, will be out August 23 on Nine Mile Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on David Wax Museum, check out their website. Current tour dates are below the song.

7/31 - Indianapolis, IN - The Vogue (duo w/ Gregory Alan Isakov) 
8/2 - Richmond, VA - The National (w/ Guster) 
8/3 - Oxford, PA - Connective Festival (duo) 
10/11 - Charlottesville, VA - Festy 
10/23 Baltimore, MD – Creative Arts Alliance 
10/24 Lancaster, PA – Tellus 360 
10/25 New Haven, CT – Cafe Nine 
10/26 Westerly, RI - Knickerbocker Music Center 
10/27 Brattleboro, VT – The Stone Church 
10/30 Rochester, NY – Abilene 
10/31 Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe 
11/1 Thomas, WV – Purple Fiddle 
11/2 Columbus, OH – Rumba Cafe 
11/3 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Tavern 
11/5 Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark 
11/6 Grand Rapids, MI – The Listening Room 
11/7 Fort Wayne, IN – ArtsLab 
11/8 Yorkville, IL - Law Office Pub & Music Hall 
11/9 Milwaukee, WI – Back Room at Colectivo 
11/10 Chicago, IL – Schubas 
11/13 St. Paul, MN – Turf Club 
11/14 Davenport, IA – Raccoon Motel 
11/15 Kansas City, MO – Knuckleheads 
12/27 Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
12/28 New York, NY – Mercury Lounge 
12/29 Washington, DC – Union Stage 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Dan Luke and The Raid - "Exoskeleton"

"Exoskeleton" might be the single I'm most excited about this year. Dan Luke and The Raid's first single off their debut album combines multiple genres that all land in my musical sweet spot. To me "Exoskeleton" sounds like if Tom Petty leaned more heavily into New Wave and then was inspired by Sonic Youth in the early 90's. It's this kinda sorta Americana song that has an oddly groovy feel and some unexpected post punk noise that swings in every so often. 

You can watch the video for "Exoskeleton" below. Out of the Blue, the debut album from Dan Luke and The Raid, will be out October 11 on New West Records. You can pre-order the album here. The album was produced by Bradley Schultz of Cage the Elephant, who just happens to be Dan Luke and The Raid's Daniel Schultz's older brother. For more on Dan Luke and The Raid, check out their website.

First Listen: New Releases for 12 July

Some good stuff this week!

Artist: Mal Blum
Album: Pity Boy
Quick Description: Superlative indie rock from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Straddles perfectly the line between old and new.
Overall Thoughts: We’re been low-key fans of Mal Blum for a while now, and this new album is pretty much the perfect tone not only for the current indie/alt landscape, but for a couple of aging hipsters like ourselves still clinging to the rock music of our youth. While many acts deliberately attempt to operate in the musical ideas of the past, MB gives the impression of making the music she’s interested in making, and it shows in a superlative album this week.
Recommendation: It will be a highlight in nearly anyone’s rotation this week, so don’t miss out.

Artist: BEA1991
Album: Brand New Adult
Quick Description: Offbeat electronic effort.
Why You Should Listen: This is one that is often hard to describe.
Overall Thoughts: I’ve highlighted a few odd indie electric artists over time here, and this is definitely one that is a lot different, but also has a much more melodic and accessible feel to it. It grabbed me early,, but it was “Modern Comforts” that really brought it into sharp focus for me. This is a record with a lot going for it, and feels both minimalist and complex in its approach. If you’re interested in a challenge, it’s absolutely worth the effort.
Recommendation: Give it a listen.

Artist: Imperial Teen
Album: Now We Are Timeless
Quick Description: Legendary indie act back with their first album since 2012.
Why You Should Listen: They sound as vital as ever.
Overall Thoughts: Imperial Teen have been around for what feels like forever, and, no matter how many old/nostalgia acts have resurfaced in recent years, I am continually surprised when they put out quality work. This is no different – as the first album in many years, the band not only sounds like they haven’t lost a step, but also that they’re as good as they ever were, and the result is a solid listen across the board.
Recommendation: Absolutely worth the time this week.

Artist: Bleached
Album: Don't You Think You've Had Enough?
Quick Description: New album by some indie punk favorites.
Why You Should Listen: This may be their best effort yet.
Overall Thoughts: Another band that has largely found its groove, this third album feels like a band that has found its groove and is operating in the best versions of themselves yet. A very polished record, this has hooks for days and a ton of positives throughout, and I anticipate many of these songs to end up on various playlists this year.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Tycho
Album: Weather
Quick Description: Latest from the ambient mastermind.
Why You Should Listen: Tycho has always put out quality music.
Overall Thoughts: In the crowded electronic music space, Tycho has stood out over the years for having a pretty bold, up-front sound that is basically unlike anything else in the musical market, especially with ambient artists. This album doesn’t really change the prescription in any meaningful way outside of heavily featuring Saint Sinner, which for me is fine but might be a flag for other listeners. Still, in terms of the atmosphere Tycho likes to establish, you should find plenty to like if it’s your thing.
Recommendation: Worth it for electronica fans and beyond.

Artist: K.Flay
Album: Solutions
Quick Description: Indie internet rapper continues her slow takeover of the mainstream.
Why You Should Listen: You get to keep your indie cred while finding something your kids will tolerate.
Overall Thoughts: I feel like I’ve been listening to K.Flay for a decade now, and if her last album was her mainstream coming out party, this new album is her assertion that she is here to stay. Bold, brash mainstream-friendly radio bangers throughout here even though the music still feels uniquely K.Flay. If you were on board for the internet mixtapes early on, you will surely wonder what happened, but if you’ve stuck around this long you’ll be rewarded.
Recommendation: This is definitely one of the more fun records of the summer.

Of note:

* Have Gun, Will Travel - Strange Chemistry
* Throwaway - What?
* Kyle Craft - Showboat Honey
* Frightened Rabbit - Tiny Changes: A Celebration of Frightened Rabbit's 'The Midnight Organ Flight
* Kool Keith - KEITH
* Girlfriend Material - Cool Car
* Joanna Sternberg - Then I Try Some More
* Lights - Skin&Earth Acoustic


* Latrell James - Still

Also out:

* Africa Express - EGOLI (A cool compilation of African music)
* The Dollyrots - Daydream Explosion
* Guards - Modern Hymns
* Metz - Automat

Monday, July 15, 2019

Laura Stevenson Covers Wilco

I'm not very familiar with the Better Yet podcast, but they recently came to my attention when they put together all of god's money / a tribute to wilco's yankee hotel foxtrot. It's a track by track covers album, obviously for Wilco's beyond classic album. Each track is done by a different artist, and the one that got our attention is Laura Stevenson covering "Jesus, Etc." Stevenson's version is a slightly slower, more symphonic version. It's a gorgeous song, and the perfect type of cover that stays true to the original while still sounding just like Laura Stevenson.

You can listen to Laura Stevenson's cover of "Jesus, Etc." below. all of god's money / a tribute to wilco's yankee hotel foxtrot below. The album is available via Better Yet's Bandcamp. For more on Laura Stevenson, check out her website.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys - Witchcraft

Today sees the release of a brand new three song EP from our favorite steamcrunkers Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys! Witchcraft is made up of two new songs ("Witchcraft" and "DINO DOMINA") and a live recording of "Lonely Children." "Witchcraft" is a meandering, trippy song that has what might be the creepiest whisper-sung part of any song I have ever heard. The song just builds and builds into a glorious climax. We've covered "DINO DOMINA" before, but it still might be the best thing Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys have ever recorded. It's a bizarre hard rocking song that keeps a slinky and sexy vibe while being an absolute head banger.

You can listen to "Witchcraft" below. For more on Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys, check out their website. If you happen to be in the Boston area tonight, they're playing The Sinclair in Cambridge. The show is an all local bill and features Eddie Japan, No Hugs, and Lily Mae Harrington. A Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys show is always something special, and this one is promising to be life changing. You can find more info and tickets here.

All Eyes West - "As I Bleed"

Chicago's All Eyes West have been around since 2010 and have opened for artists as diverse as Bob Mould, Alkaline Trio, The Joy Formidable, OFF!, Rival School, and Local H. Their latest single, "As I Bleed," would be considered emo, but more the kind of emo that existed before Hot Topic. It reminds me of a more noisy yet also more poppy version of Rites of Spring. It's a fast and kinda thrashy alt-rock/emo song that you can see at home playing with all of the previously mentioned bands. 

You can listen to "As I Bleed" below. Like Lightning, All Eyes West's third album, will be out August 30 on Jump Start Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on All Eyes West, be sure to check out their website.

Petra Haden Covers Radiohead

Photo by Steven Perilloux
Petra Haden has been doing her all a capella covers of popular songs thing for an absurdly long time now, and she's just released a cover of Radiohead's 2000 classic "Idioteque." Looping her own voice repeatedly, Haden takes all of the instrumental parts, somehow keeping the hypnotic electronic feel of Radiohead's original. A lot of times Haden's covers have a fun and silly feel to them. "Idioteque" is a capella as art and is an impressive way to do this song. Even if you normally cringe at the thought of a capella, you'll want to check this one out.

You can listen to Petra Haden's version of "Idioteque" below. For more on Petra Haden, be sure to check her out on Facebook and her website.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Messthetics - "Better Wings"

The Messthetics, aka the band featuring Brendan Canty and Joe Lally of Fugazi, are set to release a new album in September, and have a new single to check out. "Better Wings" is an improvised jazz/punk song, which is exactly what The Messthetics do these days. There is a lot of improvised rock that borders on jazz these days, and while I get what they're trying to do, it's not always very good. But The Messthetics are incredibly good. "Better Wings" is one of the rare improvised rock songs that actually rocks. It doesn't just meander off by itself repeating the same thing over and over again. It's a cohesive song that actually goes somewhere. For improvised jazz/punk, it's pretty straightforward.

You can listen to "Better Wings" below. Ahthropocosmic Nest, the upcoming album from The Messthetics, will be out September 6 on Dischord. You can pre-order the album here. For more on The Messthetics, check them out on Facebook.

Dry Cleaning - "Magic of Meghan"

Photo by Hanna Katrina
I never thought we'd be covering a band that formed after a karaoke party doing a song about Meghan Markle, but 2019 is weird. Also, Dry Cleaning are a shockingly great band. Only forming two years ago, the band is set to release their debut EP next month. "Magic of Meghan" is obviously about Meghan Markle, but it might be the only post punk and new wave influenced song about the Duchess of Sussex. As the band says about the song:

The song acknowledges that following the lives of those in the public eye can provide people with an escape; an outlet for difficult emotions, and subsequently help them to cope with hard times in their lives,” says Florence Shaw. “The song is, in part, intended to serve as a thank you to Meghan for this service (‘You got engaged on the day that I moved out. It’s ok. She’s a smasher, perfectly suited to the role’). The song also aims to highlight how the news media dissect her decisions (‘Never has one outfit been designed, to send so many messages’) and the creative ways they conceal the misogyny and racism that is sometimes behind what they write about her (‘You’re just what England needs, you’re going to change us’).”

You can watch the video for "Magic of Meghan" below. Sweet Princess, the debut EP from Dry Cleaning, will be out August 16 on It's OK. You can pre-order the EP here. For more on Dry Cleaning, check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Possible Humans - "Aspiring to Be a Bloke"

Photo by Melissa Fulton
Despite how laid back it is at the start, the latest song from Melbourne's Possible Humans is an intense rock song. "Aspiring to Be a Bloke" has both the laid back slacker vibes of Pavement with the intensity of Nirvana. Even during the quiet, more sparse beginnings there is still a sense of foreboding. You're not quite sure if there is an explosion coming, but you know it could, and you don't quite know when. It might not bust out into a full on blast of punk rock noise, but the song does ramp up the intensity and noise eventually. While still maintaining the same pace. Band member Steve Hewitt describes it as "the whimpering man in the strong dog and vice versa... sarcasm and paradox at the roots of depression."

You can listen to "Aspiring to Be a Bloke" below. Everybody Split, the debut album from Possible Humans, will be out August 2 on Trouble in Mind. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Possible Humans, check them out on Facebook and Instagram.