Thursday, May 31, 2018

Rebecca Lou - "I Wanna Be Your Everything"

Back in February we brought you "Bitch u look Good" from Denmark's Rebecca Lou. If that song was riot grrrl meets more straightforward rock, then her latest single fits right in. "I Wanna Be Your Everything" is loud, catchy as you can possibly imagine rock. It exists in this bizarre universe where hard rock can still be pop, in a way it hasn't for years, maybe decades. It's crunchy, has blissfully fuzzed out guitars, and distorted vocals, but it's still a pop song. It almost sounds like if Nirvana went on a huge Cheap Trick kick. In a world where music can either be earnest or fun, an artist like Rebecca Lou that can be both is quite welcome for us.

You can watch the live video for "I Wanna Be Your Everything" below. For more on Rebecca Lou, be sure to check her out on Facebook.

AD.UL.T - "Pole Shift"

Photo by Nicole Walker
The two members of AD.UL.T first met in kindergarten in Leominster, MA (making them the closest thing I've had to a hometown band here on If It's Too Loud... since most bands in the area tend to cover Godsmack and Sublime...). When they were thirteen, they decided to form a band, but neither of their parents would let them practice at home. Once Brian (bass) was able to get her own apartment, their dream of starting a band finally came true. They've become known for having shows that are more performance art than traditional concerts, and Brian performing while wearing a zebra mask has become a trademark. Plus, the band was banned from performing at the dearly departed TT the Bear's.

Their new single, "Pole Shift," is... interesting? It's a swirl of pure noise with haunting fuzzed out sounds that may be vocals, maybe? It sounds like a chilled out, trippy Lightning Bolt or if Guerilla Toss formed a cult. You'll know right away if AD.UL.T are right for you. There's a good chance they won't be, and that's fine. But, if you are able to acquire the taste for "Pole Shift," you will most likely end up being a die hard fan.

You can check out "Pole Shift" over at New Noise Magazine. A Dainty Bit, the new EP from AD.UL.T, will be out July 13. For more on AD.UL.T, check out their Facebook.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

lié - "Country Boys"

It feels like it's been forever since we've been able to bring you new music from Vancouver's lié. The self proclaimed dark punk band is back with a new song from their forthcoming album. "Country Boys" may sound like the title of the new single from whoever is popular in mainstream country these days, but with lié it's a noisy and bordering on disturbing burst of music. "Country Boys" is maybe one step away from being an all our rager, but it never quite goes fast enough. Instead, it's a tense song that may trigger your anxiety. And I mean that in a good way. All this, and it still manages to have enough melody to be almost catchy. 

You can listen to "Country Boys" below. Hounds, the new album from lié, will be out on July 6 via Mint Records in Canada and Monofonus Press elsewhere. It can be pre-ordered through Bandcamp. For more on lié, check out their Facebook.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for May 25

A lot of stuff out before the American holiday weekend.

AlbumRelease of the Week:

Artist: Hatchie
Album: Sugar and Spice
Quick Description: Aussie indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: This is probably the best indie pop release of 2018 so far.
Overall Thoughts: It’s rare to list an EP for the best release of the week, but here we are with Hatchie, a side/solo project of sorts from the guitarist in Babaganoüj. This is super-dreamy, super saccharine indie pop with tons of infectious melodies. She’s rightfully getting some good buzz surrounding this release, and I personally can’t wait for a full-length.
Recommendation: Don’t miss this one.

Artist: Prefuse 73
Album: Sacrifices
Quick Description: Latest from the glitchy electronic act.
Why You Should Listen: Prefuse 73 has been a stalwart in the electronic music scene for decades.
Overall Thoughts: I knew someone who was obsessed with Prefuse 73 20-odd years ago. Having kind of dove into weirder musical interests as of late, revisiting the act with this new album was interesting in that nothing here is terribly revolutionary but still paved the path for everything we hear now in this space. This in particular feels extremely competent and is a good, viable listen, but I can imagine longtime fans not seeing this as the best option out there.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Artist: Chickn
Quick Description: Solid psych rock.
Why You Should Listen: You're sad that King Gizzard isn't releasing an album every other month.
Overall Thoughts: Using this week to catch up on a few listens we missed, and this one hit our inbox recently as a sort of psych-rock record in the vein of a lot of recent favorites. Given the names they drop on certain tracks, there’s definitely no hiding their influences, but as psych rock records go, there’s a lot to enjoy here.
Recommendation: This is a fun one.

Artist: Tracyanne and Danny
Album: Tracyanne and Danny
Quick Description: A retro-pop project from Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura and Danny Coughlan of Crybaby.
Why You Should Listen:
Overall Thoughts: A side project from Camera Obscura, it sounds like Camera Obscura aping a few different classic popular musical styles, which is kind of funny given that CO exists in part to sound like a 1960s-era pop band. I liked this a lot, but it might be too cute for others.
Recommendation: Won't work for everyone.

Artist: Dear Nora
Album: Skulls Example
Quick Description: Latest from the indie rock act.
Why You Should Listen: It's a solid, current indie listen.
Overall Thoughts: This is sparse, interesting indie rock. Maybe a little quieter than I would have liked, but that’s okay. A lot of people will really get a lot out of this, I’m just not sure this has a ton of replay value for me in a busy week.
Recommendation: A good listen, but may not be what you're looking for.

Artist: A$AP Rocky
Quick Description: Latest from the A$AP Mob leader.
Why You Should Listen: A$AP Rocky has been making a lot of good rap music.
Overall Thoughts: A$AP Rocky is probably the most visible member of the ASAP Mob at this point, and it is hard not to look at this album as his attempt to transcend in a way many of his artistically-focused rap peers are. Does it work? Well, I can’t find anything on this album on first listen that jumps out like the singles did on his debut, but there are a lot of adventurous chances taken throughout this listen that are commendable. I wouldn’t go as far to say this is an album that needs to be heard on the first listen...
Recommendation: ...but this is one I intend to revisit.

Artist: Meiko
Album: Playing Favorites
Quick Description: A covers record from a longtime folky.
Why You Should Listen: It's a good covers record, which should be enough.
Overall Thoughts: I’m a sucker for covers records, and this is absolutely the sort of coffeehouse folky covers album that you’d expect it to be. Some interesting choices (“Super Freak,” “Zombie”), some gems (“Come Undone”), some questionable efforts (“Fade Into You”) but otherwise the type of album you can throw on with friends over and get something out of.
Recommendation: As with most covers records, you'll find something here to like.

Album: Love is Dead
Quick Description: Highly-anticipated third album from the alternative act.
Why You Should Listen: CHVRCHES has gotten into a good groove.
Overall Thoughts: At this point, you know what to expect from a CHVRCHES record, and that's some smart, synth-heavy alt-pop. There is nothing wrong with this album at all except that it doesn't shock the senses quite the way their earlier albums do, but that's less a

Artist: LoveLove
Album: Picture
Quick Description: Solid independent folkish stuff.
Why You Should Listen: You want something a little on the quieter side.
Overall Thoughts: I’m not sure how to describe this duo. There’s a definite folk/roots feel here, but it’s something more than that as well and results in an enjoyable and interesting listen. This is absolutely an act to watch.
Recommendation: If you like what we feature here, you should give this a listen.

Also of note:

* Jessie J - R.O.S.E. (Four EPs that combine into a full album; parts are better than the whole - 1 2 3 4
* The Del McCoury Band - Del McCoury Still Sings Bluegrass
* Peach Kelli Pop - Gentle Leader
* The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Something Else
* Natalie Evans - Better at Night
* Halo Maud - Je Suis Une Ile
* Dana Sipos - Trick of the Light


* Pet Symmetry - Reflection
* Bernice - Puff: In the Air Without a Shape
* Jenny Hval - The Long Sleep
* Ben Lee - All Night Long
* Clairo - diary 001
* Pusha T - DAYTONA (produced by Kanye West!)
* clipping. - Face

Also out:

* Thunderpussy - Thunderpussy (technically sound, but kind of exhausting)
* Brownout - Fear of a Brown Planet (instrumental version of the iconic Public Enemy album)
* Snow Patrol - Wildness (what happened to this band?)
* Parliament - Medicare Fraud Dogg
* Wand - Perfume

Under the Radar Northeast Music Festival Round Up

Now that we're past Memorial Day, it's time to start looking at what's out there for summer music festivals. We're going to skip the major national ones, because you already know about them, and their line ups keep getting less and less interesting every year. Plus, you'll be roughly 1/4 mile from the main stage, anyway. Instead, here are some of the more interesting, smaller music festivals in the Northeast (since that's where we're located)!

The Thing in the Spring
June 6-10, Peterborough, NH
Peterborough, NH may not seem like the hippest town out there, but somehow they get some of the best indie bands together for a music/film/arts fest every year. This year, they include virtually all genres: noisy indie rock, folk, hip hop, etc. Some of our highlights are Sammus, The Huntress & Holder of Hands, Giraffes? Giraffes!, Wooden Dinosaur, and, closing out the festival, the double bill of Iris Dement and Bonnie Prince Billy. They somehow keep weekend passes at $50, and even have some pay what you can outdoor performances.

Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival
June 16 and 17, Croton-on-Hudson, NY
This festival started way back in the 60's as a way to help Pete Seeger with his mission to clean up the Hudson River. Each year, they bring together some of the most interesting musicians in the folk category together for this purpose. If anything, they may have too many performers. Right now, they have 56 artists on their website for a two day festival. But, with a great cause, and performers like Jeff Tweedy, Ani Difranco, They Might Be Giants, Rhiannon Giddens, Beth Orton, Langhorne Slim, Margaret Glaspy, and Parker Milsap, this one is worth you attention.

Prescott Park Arts Festival
June 15 to September 1, Portsmouth, NH
This might not be a traditional music festival in the see a ton of bands in a few days sorta way, but Prescott Park has been one of my favorite things about living in New England the past few summers. For a $7 suggested donation, you can hang out in a public park and enjoy some of the best internationally travelling musicians you can think of. It's a perfect way to introduce your kids to live music, and I truly wish the city of Portsmouth appreciated this gift more. 2018 may be their best year yet, and some of the highlights are Ani Difranco (June 15), The Ballroom Thieves (June 27), I'm With Her (July 8), M. Ward (July 15), Billy Strings (July 25), Julien Baker (August 1), Band of Horses (August 11), Mavis Staples (August 16), Shovels & Rope (August 31), and Steve Earle (September 1).

Freshgrass Festival
September 14-16, North Adams, MA
Way out in Western Massachusetts at MassMoCA, they put on one of the best bluegrass based festivals in the country. If you have any kind of fondness for modern day Americana, you'll find something to love here. This year is another ridiculously great line up, featuring Trampled By Turtles, Indigo Girls, Rhiannon Giddens, Steep Canyon Rangers, Leyla McCalla, and more! Plus, you get admission to the ever changing and always amazing MassMoca galleries.

Sea.Hear.Now Festival
September 29-30, Asbury Park, NJ
It might have an awkward name, but the inaugural Sea.Hear.Now festival has one of the more interesting line ups I've seen in years. By the looks of it, they're catering to those of us over 30. If you ignore the headliners of Jack Johnson and Incubus, they're bringing together some of the more interesting bands that tend to attract hippies (Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, G. Love & Special Sauce, The Original Wailers), bands that lean more towards classic punk (Blondie, Social Distortion, The English Beat, and some of the best in modern Americana (Deer Tick, Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls, Brandi Carlile, Rayland Baxter). Plus, two of the stages are right on the ocean, which could be amazing or a nightmare considering late September is right in hurricane season. With this line up, we'd roll the dice, especially to hear Langhorne Slim play his ode to the Jersey Shore on the Jersey Shore.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Photocomfort - "Gillian Jacobs' Understudy"

Photo via Facebook
The latest single from Photocomfort has one of the more unique backstories I've heard in a while. I'm going to do the lazy journalist/cut and paste thing, but I really love the way Justine Bowe tells it on Facebook:

"Dear #GillianJacobs, I wrote you a song, and it's out today.
People used to stop me and tell me that I looked like you. I didn't see it until you dyed your hair a bit darker and took on roles where you began to struggle.
I had just left a good gig where I was touring around the country with people I loved. I made an entire record that I never released. I went through a breakup, lost my writing partner, and turned down a couple of offers to grow my band thinking I could do it all on my own. Nothing was working (I wasn't either). I was starting to suspect that I had already failed, my musical career was done, and who am I but my music? Who am I without the success of my music? Who am I without people who listen to my music?

It turns out, I'm a famous-ish actor! We're doing fine out there in Hollywood! I'd see us on screen, getting wasted, fighting hard for what we wanted, floundering publicly, feeling hopeful. In some freak parallel universe, we were 'making it'.
Gillian, I always wanted to try acting if you ever need an understudy. 'Til then, I have my own fucking life to deal with. Love ya!"

As for the song itself, it reminds me a ton of the time in the late 90's when Tori Amos was flirting with electronic elements. It's fully on the pop side of things, but in this slightly off kilter way that even those of us that normally dislike pop can get into. It's fun and pretty, but with a tiny bit of darkness and an edge to it.

You can listen to "Gillian Jacobs' Understudy" over at The Wild Honey Pie. Understudy, the new EP from Photocomfort, will be out on June 1. For more on Photocomfort, check out her website.

Young Jack - "Move"

I personally don't connect the UK to funk. It's possibly the one style of music that doesn't scream England to me, but that might change with Young Jack's new single. "Move" is a loud, energetic blast of funk. It's soaring horns and blues riffs upon some of the grooviest drums you've heard in years. It also has a distinct psychedelic sound, but in a very 90's British band way. Think Gomez goes funk. It's a sound that defies the young age of the band members, but Young Jack makes it work.

You can watch the video for "Move" below. I can't seem to find any information for the single's official release date, or anything besides dead links for Young Jack, so hopefully something will pop up soon.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis - "Wild Wild Wild"

Photo by Andy Goodwin
This is a pairing I didn't even know was possible, and now that I know it exists I've become obsessed. Robbie Fulks is basically a modern alt-country legend. He's been releasing great music for so long and so consistently that it's quite easy to take him for granted. Linda Gail Lewis is the younger sister of Jerry Lee Lewis. Honestly, I had no idea she existed or was making music or her own, but now that I have discovered her, I'm diving deeply into her back catalog. The duo did a few songs together on her 2016 album Heartbreak Highway (What can I do, What can I say, and now they're joining up for a full album together later this year.

"Wild Wild Wild" sounds like exactly what you expect (and want) it to sound like. It's the down home alt-country of Robbie Fulks mixed with the vintage rock n roll you want from a member of the Lewis clan, especially Jerry Lee's younger sister. Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis might be the most perfect pairing of classic underappreciated artist being brought back by a current musician/fan we've ever had.

You can listen to "Wild Wild Wild" below. The new album from Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis, Wild! Wild! Wild!, will be out August 10 on Bloodshot Records. For more on the duo, and to pre-order the album, check out Robbie Fulk's artist page over at Bloodshot Records.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Due Diligence - "Life is Hard"

The newest single from NYC's The Due Diligence is one of the most upbeat, danceable songs you'll hear all year. If there was such a thing as modern rock radio, and we lived in a just world, "Life is Hard" would be the summer song of 2018. It's this glorious blend of The Beach Boys' more upbeat hits and the shorter songs you'll find on Built to Spill's The Normal Years. You can picture the hipsters twisting away to this song without a shred of irony. Of course, you can't truly have a song this cheerful and uplifting without pain, and the upcoming album from The Due Diligence, which includes "Life is Hard," is inspired by the loss of songwriter Isaac Gillespie's grandmother.

You can listen to "Life is Hard" below. Life is Hard, the album, will be out June 22 on Paper Garden Records. It can be pre-ordered here. For more on The Due Diligence, check them out on Facebook.

Ruby Rose Fox - "American Daddy"

Every time Ruby Rose Fox releases new music, it ends up being something truly special and unique. Normally I avoid anything that can be categorized "pop" like a bus full of cranky toddlers, but Ruby Rose Fox has her very own twist on the genre. Her new single, "American Daddy," has an old school soul feel to it, but a very modernized version. I almost hesitate to refer to it as "old school," but something about it just feels classic. It has an organic feel that most "pop" music doesn't have today. Even if pop and soul aren't your thing, you truly owe it to yourself to give "American Daddy" a shot.

You can listen to "American Daddy" below. Salt, the new album from Ruby Rose Fox, will be out June 22. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Ruby Rose Fox, check out her website.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for May 18

This was a very weird release week, as the gap between good and bad was very, very wide. Only focusing on the good this week:

Album of the Week:

Artist: Maximilian Hecker
Album: Wretched Love Songs
Quick Description: Dream folky is back with a new album.
Why You Should Listen: Hecker is basically unknown in the United States and should really be a more popular.
Overall Thoughts: I don't know if this is meant to be a sequel of sorts to his debut, Infinite Love Songs (which is probably a top 20 album all time for me), but it is certainly reminiscent in a way a lot of his more recent work has not been. This is Hecker at his dreamy, light best, and I can totally see this as one of those albums I send over to my longtime friends and say "hey, remember that guy I was obsessed with 15 years ago?"
Recommendation: A must-listen, and there's plenty of room on this bandwagon to boot.

Artist: Pharis and Jason Romero
Album: Sweet Old Religion
Quick Description: Great rootsy folk in the vein of Welch and Rawlings.
Why You Should Listen: It may be one of the prettiest albums of the week.
Overall Thoughts: Not a ton to say in specifics about this album, except that in a rough release week this was a welcome surprise on a whole. Pitch-perfect folk music with great instrumentation and harmonies, you can't go wrong.
Recommendation: Make time for this.

Artist: Now, Now
Album: Saved
Quick Description: First album in years from the indie duo.
Why You Should Listen: This is a buzzworthy record that mixes a few styles to make an interesting listen.
Overall Thoughts: I tripped up on this act a few years ago, later learning that Jess Abbott of Tancred was in the band. She has since left, but the duo has continued with an album that is quite good, albeit feeling a little too short. But you hear songs like "SGL" and how tight they are and the whole album sounds like a treat. Some of the best in indie music today this week.
Recommendation: Give this a listen

Artist: Parquet Courts
Album: Wide Awake!
Quick Description: Latest from the indie act.
Why You Should Listen: Parquet Courts is anything but dull.
Overall Thoughts: I'll give Parquet Courts this much: they absolutely find a way to be unpredictable while also sounding exactly like what you expect. Putting aside the Milano project, I was wondering if last year's "Captive of the Sun" was going to be a new move for them, but instead we have a new album that feels like Parquet Courts while still having a lot of twists and turns. It's a good thing here, and an album everyone should check out.
Recommendation: You'll probably enjoy this.

Artist: Courtney Barnett
Album: Tell Me How You Really Feel
Quick Description: New album from the indie rock star.
Why You Should Listen: In just a few short years, Barnett has become required listening.
Overall Thoughts: It's hard to believe that this is only Barnett's second proper solo album, considering how prolific she has been since her debut EPs were packaged together. Her songwriting and sound are tight, her skill undeniable, and this is only her second effort? Kind of crazy. It's hard to find a standout track early as, really, most of them are, but this is an album you weren't going to miss anyway.
Recommendation: Mandatory listening this week anyway.

Artist: TT
Album: LoveLaws
Quick Description: Indie pop from part of Warpaint.
Why You Should Listen: It does well with that modern retro feel that sometimes flops when others do it.
Overall Thoughts: Warpaint is pretty great, and the duo have been branching out with solo work recently, and this is one of them. I don't have a ton to say about it except that I really enjoyed it, and if you're into the more electronic reto stuff, it's worth your time.
Recommendation: Won't be for everyone, but it did the trick here.

Artist: Ash
Album: Islands
Quick Description: Latest album from the British rockers.
Why You Should Listen: This is probably their best effort since Meltdown.
Overall Thoughts: Ash has been fairly uneven for a while now, perhaps ever since they made a solid attempt at the American market back in the early 2000s. This album isn't quite back-to-basics, and has a more straightforward rock feel than their previous efforts going back as far as 1977, but for a mature rock record from an established act, this sort of revival is rare. On a whole, a welcome surprise.
Recommendation: Find time for it.

Artist: Remember Sports
Album: Slow Buzz
Quick Description: Longest release yet from the indie pop/punk act.
Why You Should Listen: Hooks for days!
Overall Thoughts: I don't know if this is really their first album or if we're calling some of their early stuff EPs, but regardless, I've been hooked on "Making it Right" for months and this album shows a lot of promise in terms of making their sound a lot more accessible and solid. It's probably one of my favorites this week, and songs like "Temporary Tattoo" might hit one of your playlists sooner rather than later.
Recommendation: A fun listen this week.

Other releases of note:

* Various Artists - Eastern Standard: Some solid independent rap tracks from the East Coast.
* Nedelle Torrisi - Only for You: A good pop record, come for the "Vision of Love" cover and stay for the rest.
* Family of the Year - Goodbye Sunshine, Hello Nighttime
* MC Paul Barman - (((echo chamber)))
* Poster Children - Grand Bargain!
* Nellie McKay - Sister Orchid
* Matthew Sweet - Tomorrow's Daughter
* Wussy - What Heaven is Like
* Beach/Quiet Slang - Everything Matters But No One is Listening
* Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Sparkle Hard


* The Front Bottoms - Ann

Also out:

* BTS - Love Yourself 轉 'Tear'
* Rat Scabies - P.H.D. (Prison, Hospital, Debt)
* Low Cut Connie - Dirty Pictures (Part 2)
* Lords of Acid - Pretty in Kink
* Michael Rault - It's a New Day Tonight

NOVA ONE - "if you were mine"

Photo by Brittanny Taylor
Every so often we're stumble across an artist, and as we hear more from them we can tell we're going to become obsessed with them once the new album is released. The newest single from Providence, RI's NOVA ONE is further cementing the new project from Roz Raskin as one of our fledgling obsessions. I grew up on the oldies my parents listened to, and still listen to a lot of those songs with zero irony. Any artist that combines oldies with indie rock will quickly become a favorite. "if you were mine" leans just slightly more in the direction of indie rock, especially the beginning. It starts out as a lo-fi indie ballad, in the singer/songwriter side of the genre. But, by the time the chorus starts, it edges its way into doo wop territory. For the rest of the song, NOVA ONE weaves between the two sounds perfectly, almost making two songs into one seamlessly more than it is a mash up of styles.

You can listen to "if you were mine" below. NOVA ONE's debut album, secret princess, will be out June 8 on Community Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on NOVA ONE, check her/them out on Facebook and website. If you happen to be in the Providence area, check out NOVA ONE's album release show on July 6 at the Columbus Theater.

Monday, May 21, 2018

She Makes War Covers Culture Club

It's been a little while since we've brought you some new music from She Makes War, but luckily Laura Kidd's project is back with a cover of Culture Club's classic "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me." This cover does go off in its own direction away from the original 80's iconic classic. Instead, this cover goes full 90's with loud, reverb heavy, crunchy guitars. It's not quite industrial and it's not quite grunge. Instead, it lives somewhere in the middle. It genuinely sounds like something recorded in 1996 and forgotten until today. If you know us at all, that is meant to be very high praise.

You can listen to She Makes War's cover of "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" below. It's available as a single now via My Big Sister Recordings and can be purchased here. For more on She Makes War, check out her website.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - "Wonderful Day for the Race"

Photo via Facebook
For the past few weeks, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones have been teasing a big announcement coming up. Last week, the announcement of new music was made. The Bosstones unveiled a new single, "Wonderful Day for the Race." It continues in the Bosstones's current theme of positive music that truly started with their 2016 cover of "What the World Needs Now is Love." In this case, "race" means "human race," and is a message of love and understanding. "Wonderful Day for the Race" also continues the Bosstones's sound. There is no deviation from vintage Bosstones with their new song, which is pretty much perfect. This feels like the kind of song that we'll all like but not love, until we see them play it love. The Bosstones have always been a band you should see live, and I'm looking forward to getting to see this one played in person. Plus, it boasts one of the best false stops in recent memory.

You can watch the video for "Wonderful Day for the Race" below. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones's new album, While We're At It, will be out June 15. For more on the Bosstones, check out their website.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Rock'n'Roll HiFives - "Hold On"

I fully expected to hate The Rock'n'Roll HiFives. In fact, I wanted to. Their lead singer, Eilee Centeno, is sixteen. Her thirteen year old brother plays drums. The rest of the band? Their parents. Guitarist/dad Joe Centeno played in bands before he became a dad, and the whole thing sounded like it would be this cutesy family band fueled by the dad's nostalgia. 

But... their new single "Hold On" is actually pretty great. It's not revolutionary by any stretch, but it's good, solid guitar driven power pop. Eilee's vocals have this great attitude to them, most likely because she's actually a teenager and isn't just trying to tap into teen angst. "Hold On" isn't for you if you want something avant garde or groundbreaking. But if you just want some fun throwback rock in the realm of Cheap Trick and The Runaways, you'll find it here.

You can listen to "Hold On" below. The new album from The Rock'n'Roll HiFives, Re-Introducing The RocknRoll HiFives, will be out June 29 on Little Dickman Records. It can be pre-ordered here. For more on the band, check out their Facebook. Current summer vacation tour dates are below the song.

6/24: New York, NY - Mercury Lounge (record release show)
7/5: Raleigh, NC - Schoolkids Records 
7/6: Wilmington, NC - Gravity Records 
7/7: Charlotte, NC - Oso Skatepark 
7/8: Charlotte, NC - Lunchbox Records 
7/11: Orlando, FL - Park Ave CDs 
7/18: Austin, TX - Waterloo Records 
7/19: Dallas, TX - Good Records   
7/24: San Diego, CA -  M-Theroy 
7/29: Santa Cruz, CA - StreetLight 
8/4:  Boise, ID - Vista Bar 
8/12:  Indianapolis, IN - Luna Music 
8/17: Jersey City, NJ - FM 
8/18: Asbury Park, NJ - Asbury Park Yacht Club

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Michael Jablonka - "Flump"

You always hear about guitar driven music being dead, but then you hear a song like Michael Jablonka's "Flump." Hailing from London, you might know Jablonka from his days playing with Michael Kiwanuka. "Flump" starts off with this driving drum beat and killer riff, and just takes off from there. While it is filled with heavy guitars, it's not exactly a metal or even hard rock song. On its heavier side, it reminds me of the proto punk of MC5 meeting the chugging drive of grunge. However, there is an overwhelming melody to the verses and chorus that bring to mind the 70's power pop of Cheap Trick. My only complaint with "Flump" is that, with it's short just under three minute duration, it ends a little too abruptly and just as it sounds like something brilliant is about to happen. Maybe next time...

You can listen to "Flump" below. "Flump" is available now as a single via Lost in the Manor. For more on Michael Jablonka, check him out on Facebook and Twitter.

Only Takes A Day - "Reach"

It seems odd to me that the current resurgence of acoustic music/Americana hasn't been combined with hip hop, since the kids seem to be into both. It surprises me more that a great example of how well this can work is coming from England. Only Takes A Day combines hip hop beats with an acoustic guitar. Their latest single, "Reach," is a laid back song with an intense rhyme provided by Shaanvir Rehal. It reminds me of The Streets meeting the folky side of G. Love & Special Sauce. It's a sound that works surprisingly well even though the combination does have some coarse moments, but those are some of the best parts.

You can watch the video for "Reach" below. For more on Only Takes A Day, check out their Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

First Listen: New Releases for May 11

A slightly calmer week.

Artist: Illuminati Hotties
Album: Kiss Yr Frenemies
Quick Description: Alt-indie debut from a buzzworthy act.
Why You Should Listen: You wish your indie music was a lot more fun than it has been lately.
Overall Thoughts: This is one of my most anticipated releases of the spring, having been addicted to “(You’re Better) Than Ever” since I first heard it. The album is a fun, raucous debut with plenty of alt-rock notes to go with an indie, almost DIY sensibility. The band isn’t breaking any new ground, but it’s good to hear a band come into the conversation seemingly fully formed. And they have maybe the best band name I’ve ever heard, so there’s that, too.
Recommendation: My favorite this week.

Artist: Aiden Moffat and RM Hubbert
Album: Here Lies the Body
Quick Description: An artsy collaboration from some Scottish music icons.
Why You Should Listen: You're a fan of Arab Strap or contemplative folkish stuff?
Overall Thoughts: This is a collaboration between Aidan Moffat of Arab Strap and another Scottish musician, and it is interesting that it comes out the same week as a Mark Kozalek record, ad there are enough similarities to turn me off, but hardcore fans of either act will likely find something to enjoy.
Recommendation: Not for me, but it might be for you.

Artist: Marian Hill
Album: Unusual
Quick Description: Danceable third album by an established act.
Why You Should Listen: This is an album that isn't afraid to stretch the boundaries of its genres.
Overall Thoughts: This duo is one that’s been on my radar for a bit, and this album has a bit of a mix of radio-friendly electronic/R&B stuff combined with a lot of thoughtful and challenging choices. This won’t be for everyone, and even all of this is not especially for me, but there are some really bold moments here that deserve your attention.
Recommendation: Give this a shot this week.

Artist: Luke Winslow-King
Album: Blue Mesa
Quick Description: Rootsy singer-songwriter stuff.
Why You Should Listen: Luke Winslow-King has been solid so far.
Overall Thoughts: I enjoyed Luke Winslow-King’s previous album, and this feels a little more energetic and fun in a lot of ways. As with many albums in this genre lately, it’s not doing anything new, but there’s an unforced ease and comfort with this record that sets it apart.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: The Lied To's
Album: The Lesser of Two Evils
Quick Description: Solid roots duo with a familiar yet unique approach.
Why You Should Listen: The energy and enthusiasm behind this shines through.
Overall Thoughts: An interesting rootsy record in the vein of Brown Bird, Shovels and Rope, and the like. A little on the inconsistent side at times, but then you hear songs like “Windtalker” and you realize that there’s something special here. This is something longtime readers here will probably love, and it’s one of the better releases of the week.
Recommendation: Make time for this.

Artist: Jess Williamson
Album: Cosmic Wink
Quick Description: Gritty, compelling country folk.
Why You Should Listen: It's going to command your attention from the first few notes.
Overall Thoughts: Music that feels like it belongs in a dark, smoky bar. A total and complete mood piece that just grabbed me from the start and wouldn’t let go. Williamson has a haunting voice with instrumentation that matches the tone and quality perfectly.
Recommendation: A must listen.

Artist: The Sea and Cake
Album: Any Day
Quick Description: Latest from the indie rock legends (of a sort).
Why You Should Listen: I suppose the Sea and Cake are important enough to always give a shot.
Overall Thoughts: I remember when The Sea and Cake were the big indie act that was who indie kids who were “in the know” paid attention to. They never really grabbed me as a band, and this works more of a time capsule of a band from another time than something new and vibrant.
Recommendation: Not really worth it unless you're a big fan.

Other releases of note:

* Simian Mobile Disco - Murmurations (It’s great when it picks up, but fails in getting off the ground a good amount of the time.)
* Wajatta - Casual High Technology (Ken sent this over as Reggie Watts is apparently involved with this. It’s weird and different, but basically an electronic record with some interesting beats and choices.)
* Las Rosas - Shadow By Your Side (A solid indie rock record with hints of a lot of things I love. A good listen overall.)
* Ament - Heaven/Hell (Another Pearl Jam side project, this is frankly just okay, with a couple moments that shine a little brighter.)
* La Luz - Floating Features
* Beach House - 7


* Sarah Louise - Deeper Woods
* Andre Costello and the Cool Minors - Resident Frequencies
* The Ballroom Thieves - Paper Crown

Also out this week:

* Dog Chocolate - Moody Balloon Baby
* Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino (wow this is not good)
* Mark Kozalek - Mark Kozalek

Friday, May 11, 2018

Porchfest 2018 Begins This Weekend

This weekend in the Boston area, and in a bunch of weekends to come, Porchfest arrives! Porchfest features local artists - musical and non-musical alike - performing in yards and porches in various Boston-area neighborhoods. I don't know if I'll be able to make any of them, but the lineups are stacked with so many acts that, if you have an afternoon to stroll around town, you're bound to find something you enjoy.

Porchfest kicks off in Somerville this weekend with dozens of acts all over the place. Friend Of The Blog Travels With Brindle will be performing tracks from her Alex Lahey ukulele cover album, a video from which is below:

The whole idea of a Porchfest is new to me and kind of neat, and I would personally love to see one happen in the Worcester/Central Mass area in the future. Maybe next year?

Porchfest dates are below:

May 13: Somerville, MA
May 19: Plum Island, MA
June 2: Newton, MA
June 9: Arlington, MA
June 9: Brookline, MA
June 16: Boston Fenway, MA
June 23: Quincy, MA
July 7: Jamaica Plain, MA
Sep 8: Belmont, MA
Sep 8: Hull, MA
Sep 15: Roslindale, MA
Sep 22: Milton, MA

You can find more information on each Porchfest at the official(?) site.

The Beths - "Future Me Hates Me"

Photo by Mason Fairey
I have no idea what is going on in Australia and New Zealand, but those two countries just keep on giving us amazing 90's inspired guitar bands. The latest is The Beths, who hail from Auckland. Their new single, "Future Me Hates Me," is the perfect song to drive around to in the summer. It's energetic, bouncy, and has some of the most perfect fuzzed out guitars you've heard in ages. Of course, there is the title, so that means it's a fun song about sadness, which is my favorite kind of song. As singer Elizabeth Stokes says: " There’s a lot of sad sincerity in the lyrics... That relies on the music having a light heart and sense of humor to keep it from being too earnest."

You can watch the video for "Future Me Hates Me" below. The Beths' debut album also called Future Me Hates Me will be out August 10 on Carpark Records. It can be pre-ordered here. For more on The Beths, check out their website. Their current tour dates can be found below the video.

May 12th - London, UK - The Victoria Dalston
May 14th - Bristol, UK - The Louisiana
May 15th - Manchester, UK - 57 Thomas Street
May 16th - Newport, UK - Le Pub
May 20th - Exeter, UK - The Cavern
May 21st - Leeds, UK - Wharf Chambers ^
May 22nd - Glasgow, UK - Bar Bloc ^
May 23rd - Edinburgh, UK - Henry's Cellar Bar ^
May 24th - Durham, UK - Empty Shop ^
May 25th - Portsmouth, UK - Wave Maiden ^
May 26th - Paris, FR - Le Popin
May 27th - Lille, FR - CCL
June 1st - Berlin, DE - Bei Ruth
June 3rd - Langnau im Emmental, CH - Kaeptn Holger
June 6th - Munich, DE - Kulturstrand
June 7th - Hamburg, DE - Astra Stube
June 9th - Kiel, DE - Secret Lake House Party
June 11th - Brooklyn, NY - Alphaville *
June 13th - Philadelphia, PA - Ortlieb's
June 14th - Washington, DC - Loves Me Not
June 16th - Chicago, IL - Charm School
June 20th - San Francisco, CA - The Battery
June 22nd - Los Angeles, CA - Make Out Music
^ w/ Fresh
* w/ Peach Kelli Pop