Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Fake Fruit - "No Mutuals"

Oakland's Fake Fruit are a band you need to know about right now. Their latest single, "No Mutuals," is a burst of fun post punk. While most post punk is dark and gloomy, Fake Fruit contain a party in this song... even though it has some of the dark and gloom required for post punk. Singer Hannah doesn't exactly follow traditionally styled singing. She's doing her own thing that's somewhere between a growl and actual singing, but damn if it isn't compelling. And then there's the guitar that is perfectly accompanying her while threatening to just scamper off on its own. "No Mutuals" is the kind of song you're going to remember hearing for the first time for years to come.

You can watch the video for "No Mutuals" below. Fake Fruit's self-titled album will be out on March 5 on Rocks in Your Head Records, and can be pre-ordered here. For more on Fake Fruit, check them out on Facebook.

Minor Moon - "No Lightning Fix"

Chicago's Minor Moon has my favorite Bandcamp bio of the year (so far): "not your daddy's dad rock." Sam Cantor's project has a new single out, and that description fits "No Lightning Fix." The new song could very easily have spun its wheels in the modern mainstream folky singer/songwriter genre, and it would still have been a great song if that was the case. Cantor is showing that he could have knocked it out of the park doing that. Instead, "No Lightning Fix" makes a few swerves into various kinds of country inflected alt rock. Some of these swerves are gentle and subtle, and some will gently give you whiplash. The song builds and builds as the song progresses. Cantor took what was already a simply great song and turns it into a superb one.

You can listen to "No Lightning Fix" below. Tethers will be out March 26. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Minor Moon, check out the artist's website.

Nervous Dater - "Middle Child"

Photo by Nicole Hogan

It's been a few years, but Brooklyn's Nervous Dater are finally back with new music. "Middle Child" shows a slightly changed sound. The band's previous work made me come to terms with my love of emo I was trying to hold back (although theirs was a louder, more aggressive alt-rock inspired version of emo...). The new song definitely keeps a good chunk of that emo sound, and plenty of alt-rock crunchy guitars, but "Middle Child" veers off into an interesting direction. It's decidedly punk rock, but a really beautiful version of punk rock. This just straight up rocks in an early Smashing Pumpkins (if they had formed in 2010) kinda way.

You can listen to "Middle Child" below. Call in the Mess will be out February 26 on Counter Intuitive Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Nervous Dater, check out the band's website.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 22 January

Artist: Cheekface
Album: Emphatically No.
Quick Description: I don't know how to describe this, exactly...
Why You Should Listen: ...but it's awesome.
Overall Thoughts: This is an odd one. It appears we missed their 2019 debut, and that's too bad because this album is kind of amazing. The delivery is so deadpan and matter-of-fact, the songs quite the story, and it just works in a way it shouldn't? That's not a knock against it - this album made me laugh a few times and I'm excited to get back to it. "'Listen to Your Heart.' 'No.'" is the lead track, and you'll know pretty quickly whether this works for you the way it did for me.
Recommendation: Truly an acquired taste, but one I loved.

Artist: Harmony Byrne
Album: Heavy Doors
Quick Description: Gorgeous singer-songwriter music from Australia.
Why You Should Listen: Something about this album grabbed me from the very start.
Overall Thoughts: We missed this one from last year, and man, I wish we hadn't. This is a really great listen, with songs that have a weight to them that's missing from a lot of other albums like it. It's just like a song like "Sweeter Than Sugar" sticks to you in such a fascinating way, it's a listen that makes you notice whether you intended to or not.
Recommendation: Make time.

Artist: Fox Face
Album: End of Man
Quick Description: New album from our fave feminist punks.
Why You Should Listen: Their debut was great, and so is this.
Overall Thoughts: I didn't expect a new album, but Ken gave me the heads-up and I'm glad he did. This album is bold and brash and awesome in all the right ways, and while perhaps we aren't all as angry as we were the last few years, it's still got the sort of carthatic release you often look for in albums like this. There's lots of room on the bandwagon for this one, so hop on.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Artist: Lande Hekt
Album: Going to Hell
Quick Description: A long-awaited (for me, anyway) debut indie rock effort.
Why You Should Listen: It's indie with a punk sensibility.
Overall Thoughts: I fell in love with the music of Lande Hekt with her debut EP, Gigantic Disappointment. There was something about it that just worked, and as songs like "80 Days of Rain" started dropping, I knew we'd be in for something special. This is a very melodic listen, with some great songs that will get trapped in your brain, but there's something more significant about it that stands out at the end of the day, and this might just end up being one you go back to a lot this year.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.

Artist: Juana Everett
Album: Move On
Quick Description: Understated, sneaky folk rock.
Why You Should Listen: Has a light twang to go with its roots.
Overall Thoughts: This one kind of surprised me this week. Out of nowhere comes this album, with a lead track in "Drifter of Love" that just grabs you, and before long I was mainlining the whole album. Juana Everett has a unique take here that works so well in so many ways that, with any justice in the world, should propel her to stardom. I love basically every moment of this album, and I'm sure I'll find even more to love as I give this more listens.
Recommendation: An under-the-radar gem.

Artist: Thee Conductor
Album: Spirit of a Ghost
Quick Description: Off-kilter chamberish folk.
Why You Should Listen: A unique blend of genres makes this a compelling listen.
Overall Thoughts: There's a lot to unpack with Thee Conductor, and I wanted to highlight this if only because it's such a really interesting release. It's a musical project with some different collaborators, including Bonnie "Prince" Billy, and listening to it feels almost like it's a transporter to a parallel realm. It's eerie and awesome, and if it works for you, you're gonna love it.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Of note:

* Palberta - Palberta5000 (I don't know how I feel about this one quite yet, but it's easily the most ambitious listen of the week.)
* CARM - CARM (This is also an interesting listen.)
* Rhye - Home
* Teen Creeps - Forever
* Kimi Jr. - Cooler Returns
* ELIO - Can You Hear Me Now?
* Bixep - Isles
* Typhoon - Sympathetic Magic
* James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra - The Wide, Wide River

* Widowspeak - Honeychurch (This is really solid.)
* Nicol & Elliott - The Storm (This is so good, and "Dragging Me Down" is an early 2021 favorite.) * Madeline Kenney - Summer Quarter
* Erick the Architect - Future Proof EP
* Maggie Lindemann - PARANOIA
* Harmony Byrne - The Songs I Sing When No One is Listening
* Arca - Madre
* Jon Mueller - Family Secret
* Bella's Bartok - Autoerotic for the People
* Camp Trash - Downtiming
* Logic1000 - You've Got the Whole Night to Go
Also out:

* Jeremiah Fraites - Piano Piano

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - "The Final Parade"

Photo via Facebook

The word "epic" doesn't usually apply to The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but their latest single is epic in both length and scale. Coming in just shy of eight minutes long, "The Final Parade" is about three to four times the length of the ordinary Bosstones song. Dicky Barrett has called this new song "a love letter to ska music and the people that make ska music," and "The Final Parade" is certainly more ska than anything else the Bosstones have ever put out. This isn't ska-punk, and it's certainly not ska-core. And then there's the amount of guest stars involved in this song. It's a tired joke that ska bands consist of huge amounts of musicians, and the Bosstones alone have nine members ordinarily. How many guest stars could "The Final Parade" possibly have? If my count is correct, it's thirty one:

Tim Armstrong (Rancid)

Aimee Interrupter & The Interrupters

Stranger Cole

Angelo Moore (Fishbone)

Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers)

Jay Navarro (Suicide Machines)

Chris DeMakes

Pete Wesilewski

Roger Lima (Less Than Jake)

Jimmy G (Murphy’s Law)

Toby Morse

Rusty Pistachio (H2O)

John Feldman (Goldfinger)

Laila Khan (Sonic Boom Six)

Robert Hingley (Toasters)

Dan Vitale (Bim Skala Bim)

Dave McWane (Big D and The Kids Table)

Sirae Richardson

Erin Mackenzie

Brie McWane (The Doped Up Dollys)

Jesse Wagner (Aggrolites)

Karina Denike (The Dance Hall Crashers)

Christian Jaccobs (The Aquabats)

Jon Pebsworth (Buck O Nine)

Peter Porker (The Porkers)

Steve Jackson (The Pietasters)

Felipe Galvan (Los Skanarles)

Jet Baker (Buster Shuffle)

Fumio Ito (Kemuri)

Glen "The Kid" Marhevka (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy)

Roddy Radiation (The Specials)

You can watch the video for "The Final Parade" below. The song is currently available as a single via Hellcat Records here. For more on The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, check out their website.

Sun June - "Everything I Had"

Photo by Santiago Dietche

Despite having five members, the latest single from Austin's Sun June is a very quiet, introspective song. The instrumentation on "Everything I Had" is both sparse and lush, focusing mostly on Laura Cowell's vocals. It's a charming modern folk/indie pop song, with the music truly complementing and structured around Cowell. It's one of those songs that sounds upbeat and sunny, even though you know in your gut it's just not.

Laura Cowell says of the new song:

"'Everything I Had' is about feeling stuck and wishing you could go back in time. It misses when things were new and easy and full of promise. It feels very 'Austin' to us, because things change here so quickly and it's easy to fall into a rut and feel like the city is moving on without you. Friends are always leaving town too, so sometimes it's fun to think moving to LA or New York would solve all our problems. It's also fair to say that the song has taken on some new meaning during the pandemic. We're all missing someone or something right now."

You can watch the video for "Everything I Had" below. Somewhere will be out February 5 on Run for Cover Records and Keeled Scales. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Sun June, check out the band's website.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Holly Macve - "Be My Friend"

Photo by Maximillian Kinghorn-Mills

"Be My Friend," the latest song from Brighton based Holly Macve, crams in so many musical styles that it should be a complete disaster. But her now song is simply gorgeous, with each style gracefully complementing the next. The first thing you're going to notice is a country/Americana twang to the guitar. As Macve starts singing, you get a huge 60's girl group vibe. Somehow those two sounds merge together, in a way that with some slight morphs to the guitars, it brings out a shoegaze/dream pop sound that will remind you of Mazzy Star. "Be My Friend" should be a trainwreck, but Holly Macve pulls off a brilliant song masterfully.

You can watch the video for "Be My Friend" below. Not the Girl will be out April 16 on Modern Sky. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Holly Macve, check out her website.

Paul Jacobs - "Half Rich Loner"

Photo by Christopher Vincent

The latest from Montreal based musician Paul Jacobs is an interesting one. "Half Rich Loner" has a little bit of a folk rock feel to it. There's definitely a bit of a ramble going on here, despite it not truly being folk at all. Encasing the folk ramble is some huge 70's style glam rock. "Half Rich Loner" has some serious funk and groove to it. If you've ever wished that Bob Dylan had jammed with T. Rex instead of the Grateful Dead, this one is definitely for you. To make the song even more unique, the beats have a modern, almost electronic sound to them, despite Jacobs being the drummer for Pottery.

You can watch the video for "Half Rich Loner" below. Pink Dogs on the Green Grass will be out April 30 on Blow the Fuse Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Paul Jacobs, check out the artist's Facebook.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Nana Yamato - "Do You Wanna"

Photo by Nana Yamato

Nana Yamato's musical career began in a way that's kind of a dream for many of us. She had been going between her apartment in Tokyo, her school, and her work over and over again. One day she stopped at Big Love Records to pick up and Iceage album, and started going there every day after school. Her passion became collecting every indie rock release (hello, my college years) and that led to her creating her own music. Her newest single, "Do You Wanna," is some of the most compelling underground pop you'll hear this year. I'm only calling it pop because that's the closest genre I can come up with. It's about as far away from American Top 40 as Little Hag is, but it doesn't quite fit in as rock, either. It's almost a sonic collage, if a collage can be made with each piece seamlessly melding with each other, like they always belonged together.

Nana Yamato explains her new song: 

“This is a song about self-transformation, what I felt in the process. When I was younger I thought I was an independent person, but in fact, I was selfish and left it all to others. All the things I thought I don’t like were actually caused by myself. When I realized that, I felt like I was the only one who was left behind in the world. I was ashamed of myself. I had to change myself. It wasn't easy for me. I'm still in the process. I wonder if this is what it means to become an adult."

You can watch the video for "Do You Wanna" below. Before Sunrise is due out February 5 on Dull Tools. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Nana Yamato, check out the artist on Instagram.

Yard Act - "Dark Days"

Photo by James Brown

Yard Act may have only formed in 2019, but the Leeds based band has already built up quite a loyal following. Their debut 7" sold out of its five hundred copy pressing in one day, and their latest sold out one thousand copies in two hours. That song, "Dark Days," shows why. "Dark Days" has this killer post punk sound, and while it has the dark vibes that permeate most post punk, this new song is almost bouncy with a bizarro sense of fun. The vocals, particularly the chorus, add an almost cartoony vibe to the disjointed guitars throughout the song.

You can watch the video for "Dark Days" below. The song is available via the band's own Zen F.C. label. You can get a copy here. For more on Yard Act, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.