Thursday, February 28, 2019

Lady Lamb - "Deep Love"

Photo by Erica Peplin
We're just over a month away from the release of Lady Lamb's new album, and today we have a new song to salivate over. "Deep Love" might be Lady Lamb's most accessible song yet. It's still a Lady Lamb song (not quite indie rock, not quite folk), but towards the end it almost takes on a groovy 80's power ballad feel. Well... not quite, but maybe the demo for an 80's power ballad. If that sounds like your kind of thing, you're guaranteed to love this. Even if it's not, you probably will love it any way. Spaltro (aka Lady Lamb) has this to say about the song:

I had just gone into Manhattan and I felt like an alien seeing all the workers on their lunch break.  I spent my train ride home to Queens, wondering if we’d lost our purpose.  I started singing the first line, ‘I’m not convinced we should strive for midtown,’ and by the time I got to the chorus refrain I was full of a deep, volcanic kind of love which poured out of me and filled the song. It felt like it was writing itself, and when I realized I was singing through tears, I knew the album was finished.

You can watch the video for "Deep Love" below. Even in the Tremor, the new album from Lady Lamb, will be out April 5 via Ba Da Bing Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Lady Lamb, check out her website. Current tour dates are below the video.

Wed. April 10 - Hamden, CT @ Space Ballroom *
Thu. April 11 - Montreal, QC @ Le Ministere *
Fri. April 12 - Toronto, ON @ Drake Hotel *
Sat. April 13 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe *
Mon. April 15 - Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop *
Tue. April 16 - Detroit, MI @ Deluxx Fluxx *
Wed. April 17 - Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall *
Fri. April 19 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry *
Sat. April 20 - Milwaukee @ Back Room at  Colectivo *
Mon. April 22 - Omaha, NE @ Reverb Lounge *
Wed. April 24 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge *
Fri. April 26 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court *
Sat. April 27 - Boise, ID @ The Olympic *
Mon. April 29 - Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett *
Thu. May 2 - Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret ^
Fri. May 3 - Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern ^
Sat. May 4 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios ^
Mon. May 6 - San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall ^
Wed. May 8 - Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room ^
Thu. May 9 - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar ^
Fri. May 10 - Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar ^
Sat. May 11 - Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf ^
Mon. May 13 - Austin, TX @ Antone’s ^
Tue. May 14 - Dallas, TX @ Club Dada ^
Thu. May 16 - St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway ^
Fri. May 17 - Nashville, TN @  The High Watt ^
Sat. May 18 - Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5 ^
Sun. May 19 - Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight ^
Tue. May 21 - Raleigh, NC @ Kings ^
Wed. May 22 - Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel ^
Thu. May 23 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Foundry @ The Fillmore ^
Thu.. May 30 - Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere ^
Fri. May 31 - Boston, MA @ Royale ^
Sat. June 1 - Portland, ME @ The State Theatre ^
* = with Renata Zeiguer
^ = with Katie Von Schleicher

David Wax Museum - "Big Sur"

Photo via Facebook
Obviously this isn't the album version of a new song from David Wax Museum's upcoming new album, but any time we have a chance to share new music from them with you we definitely will. This version of "Big Sur" is a duo version recorded in David and Suz's kitchen. It's a quiet, beautiful song that's pretty standard folk, but we mean that in the absolute best possible way. The harmonizing between the pair has never been better than it is here, and it ends with an instrumental part that you just wish could hang on a little bit longer because the vocals at the end are just soul crushingly sad.

You can watch the live in their kitchen version of "Big Sur" below. Line of Light, the new album from David Wax Museum, is available for pre-order with multiple tiers for four more days at IndieGogo. For more on David Wax Museum, check out their website.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Alexia Avina - "Attitude"

Every so often we encounter an artist that fits into the folk category but is doing their own thing. Quebec's Alexia Avina is one of those rare artists. "Attitude" is definitely folk, and despite being an acoustic song, it's not very traditional. Avina uses voice and guitar loops to create this almost ambient sound, but with standard song structure. I really hate overusing the terms "ethereal" and "delicate" with female musicians, but those terms work perfectly with "Attitude." It's a heartbreakingly gorgeous song combining folk with the extreme mellow side of 90's electronica, and with maybe the tiniest bit of Stereolab thrown in.

You can listen to "Attitude" below. All That I Can't See, the upcoming album from Alexia Avina, will be out on March 22 via Never Content. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Alexia Avina, check her out on Facebook.

Mountain Man Covers John Denver

John Denver has never exactly been my jam, but we've been loving Mountain Man here for years, so when Mountain Man announced they were releasing a two song single of John Denver covers, I had to at least check it out. (We do love covers...) As the band announced on Facebook: "WE love John Denver so much we gave Alex his haircut, and recorded a few of his legendary tunes too. Have a listen! They are so sooooothing, we promise." The songs definitely are soothing, but to me they feel more Mountain Man than John Denver (I think?). "Take Me Home, Country Roads" is exactly what we love about Mountain Man: quiet, almost delicate, perfect folk with beautiful harmonies. "Around and Around" is more of the same, and both songs have me debating if I'm really a non-fan of John Denver. Probably not, but let's not take any chances here...

You can listen to Mountain Man's take on "Take Me Home, Country Roads" below. You can order your vinyl or download your copy of Sings John Denver here. For more on Mountain Man, check out their website.

The Thing in the Spring Announces 2019 Line Up!

Peterborough, NH is a surprisingly fun little town in south central part of New Hampshire. One of the things that makes it cool is the annual music festival The Thing in the Spring. Every single year it's shocking how diverse and huge the artists they get are. 2019 is no exception. Running June 5-9, they're bringing such artists as indie rock/electronica artist Dirty Projectors (performing solo), shoegaze/post-rockers Bardo Pond, folk artists Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche, Ryley Walker, Boston legend Thalia Zedek Band, actor/comedian turned singer Noel Wells, blog favorite The Huntress & The Holder of Hands, experimental rockers Sunburned Hand of the Man, Trinary System (featuring Mission of Burma's Roger Miller), and many more. Shows happen over multiple venues, including the UU Church and a free show on the roof of the Toadstool Bookshop to close out the weekend.

For more information on The Thing in the Spring, check out their website. You can get a weekend pass for $75, or individual show tickets range from $15-$20.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Hate Club - "Unpredictable"

Photo by Katrina Flynn-Robinson
I really expected to dislike Albany, NY's Hate Club. Just being called Hate Club could be enough, but they also describe their sound as "tweemo." Luckily, they happen to be on Five Kill Records, who I've learned to always trust on every release over the last year or so. Fortunately I ignored my old man grumpiness and actually listened to the music.

Their latest song, "Unpredictable," is not at all what I expected a band described as "tweemo" to sound like. Instead of The Get Ups Kids meets Belle & Sebastian, it's more 90's slacker rock like Pavement meets Jawbreaker, which I think we can all agree is an outstanding combination. The song is full of this droning, fuzzy guitar until it gets replaced by piano plinks. This quickly went from something I expected to strongly dislike to a new favorite of the year.

You can listen to "Unpredictable" below. A Clear Mistake, the new album from Hate Club, will be available via Five Kill Records March 15. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Hate Club, check out their Facebook.

First Listen: New Releases for 22 February

Album of the Week:

Artist: Julia Jacklin
Album: Crushing
Quick Description: New album from a favorite around these parts.
Why You Should Listen: If there's any justice in the world, Jacklin will be much more well-known by the end of this year.
Overall Thoughts: While everyone was busy looking at the Dacus/Bridgers/Baker triumvirate of up-and-coming singer songwriters last year, Julia Jacklin was quietly pulling up in the left lane and is poised to own 2019 if her second album is any indication. I had an inkling that Phantastic Fernature, her more rocking side project, might be a little instructive, but I will say that this new album works in a lot of ways her already-solid debut album may not have. The first two songs grabbed my attention , and hearing lead single “Pressure to Party” in the context of the full album gave it some extra heft I didn’t hear in my initial listens. One of the best, if not the best, of the week, and is almost certain to make a number of year-end lists.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: Spellling
Album: Mazy Fly
Quick Description: New album an up-and-comer.
Why You Should Listen: This has a ton of buzz surrounding it, and for good reason.
Overall Thoughts: This is one of the better puzzles I’ve been presented with musically as of late. This is equal parts accessible and strange, and both feels like it comes in fully formed while also not quite sure where it’s going. Regardless of what it ends up being, it’s a musical achievement that’s tickled my brain like nothing else lately. In some forms, it feels like a 90s trip-hop album that took a detour into Sade’s neighborhood, but other times it feels like exploring old record/CD bins at a used shop and cramming together a lot of the songs into a cohesive unit. No song sounds quite the same as the one before it, yet it all feels whole and unique. Will this get mainstream success? Will your friends like it? Your guess is as good as mine, but if you take the plunge on this, I guarantee you’ll be rewarded.
Recommendation: Make time for this.

Artist: Vandoliers
Album: Forever
Quick Description: Roots rock wearing multiple hats.
Why You Should Listen: Offers something for everyone and succeeds in the process.
Overall Thoughts: I didn’t know about this band prior to this album, but I’m definitely into what they’re offering. Pigeonholing this as rockabilly or alt-country or country-tinged punk or whatever doesn’t really do it justice, because The Vandoliers do an amazing job of mashing up countless genres to create a fully original-feeling record. This will almost certainly bring a smile to your face this week regardless of what your preferred genre is, so don’t sleep on it.
Recommendation: Put this in as part of your rotation.

Artist: Lily & Madeliene
Album: Canterbury Girls
Quick Description: Latest from the folk-pop duo.
Why You Should Listen: This is a little more mainstream than their previous efforts, but they have yet to steer in the wrong direction.
Overall Thoughts: Latest album from this folky duo definitely feels more mainstream and has some definite moments that sound like they should absolutely take off and be a radio-friendly powerhouse (like with “Pachinko Song” or the retro-tinged “Can’t Help The Way I Feel”). I’ve loved every one of their releases so far, and this has been no different in that regard. They may not get the press and love that groups like First Aid Kit do, but if you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon yet? This is as good a time as ever.
Recommendation: A solid listen this week.

Artist: Desperate Journalist
Album: In Search of the Miraculous
Quick Description: Great alt-rock from a veteran act.
Why You Should Listen: This is the sound of a band that has perfected their sound.
Overall Thoughts: Desperate Journalist has been a band of moments for me up to now, but this album seems to complete the package for me. Sometimes reminiscent of the Jezabels, sometimes feeling like it’s transported from the 1980s, this is basically full-tilt from start to finish and I pretty much loved the whole experience. “Ocean Wave” in particular really won me over, but so much of this album works in being fresh and different while still feeling familiar.
Recommendation: Good for old fans and newcomers alike.

Artist: Telekinesis
Album: Effluxion
Quick Description: Solid indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: Telekinesis has put out album after album of quality work.
Overall Thoughts: All hail indie pop! This album is pretty much the definition of infectious, with bright and hooky songs from the word go. Telekinesis is not forging any new paths in the genre, but it is simply impossible to listen to this album and not bop your head for the duration. A solid entry into an ever-improving catalog by one of the most underrated artists on the scene at present, and arguably one of the best efforts of the week.
Recommendation: Don't sleep on this.

Artist: Adia Victoria
Album: Silences
Quick Description: Latest from the up-and-coming singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: Adia Victoria should be more famous than she is, given how great she is.
Overall Thoughts: At this stage, Adia Victoria has been doing her own thing for so long I just assume her latest album will be as interesting and compelling as the rest. This album is no different – off-center instrumentation, music with a lot of emotion behind it, evocative lyrics, the whole package. Just a gorgeous, haunting experience that I hope translates into the fame I feel like she should already have.
Recommendation: A solid listen and one of the best of the week.

Artist: Sleaford Mods
Album: Eton Alive
Quick Description: Latest from the UK post-...something act.
Why You Should Listen: This may be their best and most accessible effort yet.
Overall Thoughts: Sleaford Mods might be the one act Ken and I disagree significantly on around here that isn't a mainstream pop act. He's been pushing them toward me for ages, but their sort of working class British lo-fi rap-ish...thing never really resonated with me. For whatever reason, however, Eton Alive is really working for me. The instrumentation is sparse, but meaningfully so, and the vocals feel more straightfoward on this in a way their previous albums didn't come across to me. The whole thing is worth a listen, but a song like "Policy Cream" ultimately gets me excited in a way previous Sleaford efforts haven't.
Recommendation: Give this some time.

Artist: Elaquent
Album: Blessing in Disguise
Quick Description: New album from the DJ/producer.
Why You Should Listen: The surprise of the week, great hip-hop-adjacent electronic music.
Overall Thoughts: This album is rock solid. Really reminiscent of some of the jazzy electronica that I was into in high school and college while still maintaining a modern flair, this is something that Ken sent over and just hit me out of nowhere. Definitely a mood record in many regards, this is just something you need to throw on and let take over. You won't regret it.
Recommendation: A must-hear.

Of note:

* And the Kids - When This Life is Over (A favorite act here, this is a gentle, fragile indie pop record with a lot of wonderful moments sprinkled throughout.)
* Our Native Daughters - Songs of Our Native Daughters (Folk supergroup of sorts offering a themed album of history-tinged music.)
* The Claypool Lennon Delerium - South of Reality (This is something I loved, but it’s not for everyone and I can’t imagine you don’t know whether you’d like this or not just by the names involved.)
* Ace of Wands - Lionness (Very alt-rocky in many regards, with a darker feel.)
* Le SuperHomard - Meadow Lane Park (Very gorgeous and compelling at many times; might have to spend more time with this one.)
* Emilie Kahn - Outro
* Faux Ferocious - Pretty Groovy

7 song:

* Bruiser and Bicycle - Woods Come Find Me
* Uffie - Tokyo Love Motel
* Sunwatchers - Illegal Moves


* Ohmme - Little Helper 341-2

Also out:

* Kehlani - While We Wait
* Susanna and the Brotherhood of Our Lady - Garden of Earthly Delights
* Thelma - The Only Thing
* Buck Gooter - Final Thorns

Monday, February 25, 2019

Lenore. - "Thick Skin, Tender Heart"

Photo via Facebook
Back in 2017 we became enamored with the Gothic style folk from Portland, OR's Lenore. They're back with a new single that was recorded for the Ray Romano/Mark Duplass Netflix film Paddleton. Lenore. might seem like an odd choice for a film starring Ray Romano, but considering it's about assisted suicide, our favorite "witchy-folk" artists are the perfect choice. "Thick Skin, Tender Heart" is a bit more mainstream than their normal output. It's incredibly lush and gorgeous, but it's still Lenore., so the song has a dark feel along its edges. The string arrangements that take the place of the typical guitar solo are particularly glorious. 

You can listen to "Thick Skin, Tender Heart" below. For more on Lenore., check out their website.

Carissa Johnson and The Cure-Alls - "Something Good"

Sometimes you just need a big guitar rock song, you know? Boston's own Carissa Johnson and The Cure-Alls are always good for that, and their new single is no exception. "Something Good" is the kind of power pop we love her, and this song reaches completely epic levels. It's a little more melodic than what I expect them to sound like, and it does border on pop a bit, but this is the kind of rock that is supposedly dead these days. It's definitely not 80's hair metal, but it does make me want to see a video of them playing in front of an arena in slow motion, though. It's more late 70's/early 80's in the vein of Cheap Trick and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts.

You can listen to "Something Good" below. For more on Carissa Johnson and The Cure-Alls, be sure to check out their website.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Marissa Nadler featuring John Cale - "Poison"

Sometimes you don't know you need something until you actually have it. That's the case with Marissa Nadler's duet with The Velvet Underground's John Cale. It seems like the song was written by Nadler without the knowledge that she'd be joined by Cale. Nadler says of the song:

“Sometimes it's best not to know in advance; that's what I continually remind myself about how this duet with legendary songwriter John Cale came togetherHad I known that Justin and Lawrence would arrange for Cale to sing ‘Poison’ with me before I wrote or recorded it, I cannot be certain I wouldn't have become frozen with hesitations and second-guessing. How do you even start to go about writing a duet with a member of the Velvet Underground? Surely I might have nervously changed the lyric that accidentally namechecks a title of a Velvet Underground song (‘Run Run Run’), at the very least. For me, Cale is one of the most influential rock musicians, remaining admirably hard to pin down. His appearance on this song was a complete surprise to me, but the instant I heard it I knew that this was the way the song was meant to be heard.”

It may seem like a slightly unexpected pairing, but, unsurprisingly, it works perfectly. Nadler and Cale's voices always have a haunting feel separately, and hearing them play off each other just enforces that feeling. "Poison" is a gorgeous, lush song, one that sticks with you, and will compel you to listen repeatedly.

You can listen to "Poison" below. The song is available as a 7" single with b-side "If We Make It Through the Summer" via KRO Records. You can order it now both in vinyl and digital options. For more on Marissa Nadler, check out her website. Current tour dates are below the song.

Fri. Mar. 1 – Los Angeles, CA @ Zebulon (w/ Hilary Woods)
Sat. Mar. 2 – San Francisco, CA @ CafĂ© Du Nord (w/ Hilary Woods)
Mon. Mar. 4 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios (w/ Hilary Woods)
Tue. Mar. 5 – Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern (w/ Hilary Woods)
Wed. Mar. 6 – Vancouver, BC @ Static Jupiter (w/ Hilary Woods)
Wed. Apr. 10 – Groningen, NL @ VERA
Thu. Apr. 11 – Antwerp, BE @ De Roma
Fri. Apr. 12 – Masstricht, NL @ Museumnacht
Sat. Apr. 13 – Genk, BE @ Little Waves Festival
Sun. Apr. 14 – Tilburg, NL @ Roadburn Festival
Mon. Apr. 15 – London, UK @ Oslo Hackney
Tue. Apr. 16 – Brighton, UK @ The Prince Albert
Thu. Apr. 18 – Istanbul, TR @ Salon IKSV
Fri. Apr. 19 – Istanbul, TR @ Salon IKSV
Sat. Apr. 20 – Moscow, RU @ 16 Tons
Sun. Apr. 21 – St. Petersburg, RU @ Len Doc
Tue. Apr. 23 – Norrmalm, SE @ Nalen Klubb
Wed. Apr. 24 – Grunerlokka, NO @ Bla
Thu. Apr. 25 – Haga, SE @ Pustervik
Fri. Apr. 26 – Malmo, SE @ Babel
Sat. Apr. 27 – Hki, FI @ Temppeliaukion Church
Tue. Apr. 30 – Katowie, PL @ Palac Mlodz
Mon. July 8-Fri. July 12 – Big Indian, NY @ Frets & Refrains (Richard Thompson & Nancy Covey’s Guitar & Songwriting Camp)

Priests - "Good Time Charlie"

The last time we heard from Washington D.C.'s Priests, they had released "The Seduction of Kansas," which was almost pure pop. Their latest, "Good Time Charlie," continues their foray into pop, but not quite as far. The bad has this to say about the song: 

I like to think of this song a little bit like the Gilligan’s Island Theme song, but for a Hollywood tale of Charlie Wilson. It’s also a little bit about 9/11 but much like Otessa Moshfegh’s My Year Of Rest And Relaxation, the character sketch is more drawn out in its absence rather than presence. I saw a documentary about the history of the United States’ relationship with the Middle East, and there was clip of an 80s lady who looked a little like Vanna White (who turned out to be Joanne Herring) saying how she wanted to get the Mujahadeen guns to fight the communists because she believed they worshipped the same god as her. So I got curious about how this story unfolded, but even more so, how the tale has been told in western culture. I watched the movie Charlie Wilson’s War and it was so unintentionally funny the way they told this story, like think of the movie Team America, except the filmmakers weren’t joking (at least I don’t think). And then I read in the film’s Wikipedia page: “The film's happy ending came about because Tom Hanks 'just can't deal with this 9/11 thing.'” I don’t know why exactly but this got stuck in my head and made my brain feel like it was exploding. So, with Daniele and GL and Janel Leppin on bass, we made it into a song. Hope you like it!

"Good Luck Charlie" is definitely a dance song, but a strange one. The strangely timed cymbals create an uncomfortable feeling. Plus Katie Alice Greer speaks in a monotone voice through a good part of the song, increasing the feeling that this isn't exactly a party jam. 

You can watch the lyric video for "Good Luck Charlie" below. The Seduction of Kansas, the new album from Priests, will be out April 5 on Sister Polygon Records. For more on Priests, check out their website. Current tour dates are below the video.

Fri. March 8 - Savannah, GA @ Savannah Stopover Music Festival
Sat. March 9 - Birmingham, AL @ The Firehouse
Mon. March 11 - Fri. March 15 - Austin, TX @ SXSW
Sun. March 17 - Nashville, TN @ Exit / In
Mon. March 18 - Knoxville, TN @ The Pilot Light
Mon. April 15 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
Tue. April 16 - Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
Thu. April 18 - Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
Fri. April 19 - Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo
Sat. April 20 - Toronto, ON @ The Garrison
Sun. April 21 - Detroit, MI @ El Club
Mon. April 22 - Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
Thu. April 25 - Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
Fri. April 26 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Sat. April 27 - Omaha, NE @ Reverb
Sun. April 28 - Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
Tue. April 30 - Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
Wed. May 1 - Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
Sat. May 11 - Brighton, UK @ The Great Escape
Sun. May 12 - Bristol, UK @ Rough Trade
Mon. May 13 - Manchester, UK @ YES (Pink Room)
Tues. May 14 - Glasgow, UK @ The Hug and Pint
Wed. May 15 - Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
Thu. May 16 - London, UK @ 100 Club
Fri. 17 May - Lille, FR @ Aeronef
Sat. 18 May - Paris, FR @ Supersonic
Mon. 20 May - Brussels, BE @ Botanique (Witloof Bar)
Tue. 21 May - Cologne, DE @ Bumann & Sohn
Wed. 22 May - Munich, DE @ Import/Export
Thu. 23 May - Zurich, CH @ Rote Fabrik
Fri. 24 May - Heidelberg, DE @ Queer Festival (Karlstorbahnhof)
Sat, 25 May - Amsterdam, NL @ London Calling
Mon. 27 May - Aarhus DK @ Tape
Tue. 28 May - Copenhagen, DK @ Loppen
Wed. 29 May – Berlin, DE @ Kantine am Berghain
Thu. 30 May - Hamburg, DE @ Hafenklag (Goldener Salon)
Fri. 31 May - Hilvarenbeek, NL @ Best Kept Secret Festival
Sat. 1 June - Neustrelitz, DE @ Immergut Festival
Sat. June 15 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Sun. June 16 - Durham, NC @ The Pinhook
Mon. June 17 - Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn
Tue. June 18 - New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
Thu. June 20 - Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
Fri. June 21 - Austin, TX @ Barracuda
Sat. June 22 - Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
Mon. June 24 - Albuquerque, NM @ Sister
Tue. June 25 - Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
Wed. June 26 - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
Thu. June 27 - Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
Sat. June 29 - Oakland, CA @ Starline Social Club
Mon. July 1 - Portland, OR @ Polaris Hall
Tue. July 2 - Vancouver, BC @ The Bitmore
Wed. July 3 - Seattle, WA @ Neumos
Sat. July 6 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
Sun. July 7 - Denver, CO @ Lost Lake
Tue. July 9 - Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar
Wed. July 10 - St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Film Jacket 35 - "Something You Should Do"

Photo by Nikos Ziaz
Being an American, when I saw that Film Jacket 35 is from Athens, I knew I had to listen to their new single. Athens has a long history of amazing music (R.E.M., The B-52's, Drive-By Truckers, Elf Power, etc.) and any band from Athens tends to be worth at least listening to. Well, turns out Film Jacket 35 is from Athens, Greece. Luckily for us their music is Athens, GA level good.

"Something You Should Do" combines early British melodic punk like the Buzzcocks with mid-90's jangly alternative. It's an unbeat, fun indie rock song, that sounds old school and current at the same time. Film Jacket 35 aren't reinventing music here, but when you nail a sound this perfectly and make it your own, there is absolutely no reason to.

You can watch the video for "Something You Should Do" below. The PR Foundation, the new album from Film Jacket 35, will be out in March. For more on Film Jacket 35, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Alex Lahey - "Don't Be so Hard on Yourself"

Photo by Callum Preston
Alex Lahey's 2017 album I Love You Like a Brother was beloved by both me and Jeff, which is surprising since it was more poppy than I normally like. Last week she started teasing new music, and we're thrilled that we now have "Don't Be so Hard on Yourself." If you loved I Loved You Like a Brother, we've got some great news for you. "Don't Be so Hard on Yourself" is more of the same, but possibly better. It's almost unbearably catchy, with these huge fuzzy guitars, and a saxophone solo that might be trying to outdo "Careless Whisper." Even if you hate music more on the pop side, you owe it to yourself and everyone you know to check out "Don't Be so Hard on Yourself."

You can watch the video for "Don't Be so Hard on Yourself" below. The Best of Luck Club, Alex Lahey's second album, will be out May 17 on Dead Oceans. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Alex Lahey, check out her website. Tour dates are below the video, but unfortunately only in her home country of Australia. 

Thu. June 6 - Adelaide, AU @ The Gov
Fri. June 7 - Perth, AU @ Rock Rover
Thu. June 13 - Brisbane, AU @ The Tivoli
Fri. June 14 - Canberra, AU @ The Basement
Sat. June 15 - Sydney, AU @ Metro Theatre
Sat. June 22 - Melbourne, AU @ Forum Melbourne

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Skye Wallace - "Coal In Your Window"

Photo by Sebastian Buzzalino
The latest single from Toronto, Canada's Skye Wallace may be pure power pop perfection. "Coal In Your Window" imagines a world where The Donnas were more influenced by Cheap Trick than the Ramones, but with plenty of late 90's indie rock guitars. It has plenty of punk attitude and edge, but is more fun and playful than aggressive. Wallace says about the song: "I wrote this song in a building in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland that used to be an old cottage hospital (Bonne Bay Cottage Hospital / Julia Ann Walsh Heritage Center). It was inspired by a story I heard about one of the young folks that used to work in the hospital and the boy that would throw coal at her window at night to beckon her down to their meeting place in the boiler room. 'Coal In Your Window' may be about a specific story, but it’s a truly universal concept of jittery, passionate love and doing whatever it takes to access that fire that another person ignites in you. I wanted to evoke an excited, dangerous, lustful energy that gets the heart pumping."

You can watch the video for "Coal In Your Window" below. Skye Wallace's self-titled debut album will be out June 7. For more on Skye Wallace, check out her website.

Brass Against Covers Rage Against the Machine

Photo via Facebook
If you were to go back to the 90's and tell a young Ken that he'd be more excited about a brass band covering Rage Against the Machine than he would about a RATM/Public Enemy/Cypress Hill supergroup...

Our love of covers is extremely well documented here. The best kind of cover keeps the spirit of the original while adding a band's own spin on a song. Brass Against are nailing the perfect cover with their version of Rage Against the Machine's "No Shelter." The band joins with singer Sophia Urista for the song, and she attacks the song with enough force that you won't miss Zack de la Rocha at all. Brass Against plays with more ferocity than you could think possible for a brass band. Sure, they also have a metal guitar player, but it's the horns (and Urista) that really bring the noise to this song.

You can watch the video for Brass Against's cover of "No Shelter" below. We somehow missed their 2018 self-titled album, which was all Rage Against the Machine covers, with a Living Colour cover and an Audioslave one thrown in. Definitely check that out, as well as their covers of Jane's Addiction, Black Sabbath, Tool, Pantera, etc. For more on Brass Against, check out their website.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Versing - "Tethered"

Photo by Gordon De Los Santos
Back in 2017, Versing came out of nowhere and blew me away when they played with The Courtneys and Weakened Friends, and their album from that year, Nirvana, ended up being my #5 album. Now they're back with a new song. "Tethered" continues the sound that we loved from their previous album. It's a mid-to-late-90's alternative sound, what I keep describing as early Superdrag meets The Dismemberment Plan. But "Tethered" brings a new sound, and a bit more aggression. There's also a little bit of emo (emo as in Sunny Day Real Estate) and an almost DEVO-like hint of New Wave? It's a really interesting addition to their sound, and we can't wait to hear what's next.

You can watch the video for "Tethered" below. 10000, the new album from Versing, will be out May 3 on Hardly Art Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Versing, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

First Listen: New Releases for 15 February

Album of the Week:

Artist: Haint Blue
Album: Overgrown
Quick Description: A debut album from a fully-formed roots act.
Why You Should Listen: This is great for fans of David Wax Museum or other more left-of-center roots/folks acts.
Overall Thoughts: Ken was a big fan of this, and I don’t blame him. This is an independent act on their first full-length, and you’d assume upon listening that they have been at this for ages. There is an aged maturity to this, combined with a very palatable mainstream sound that mirrors some of the breakthrough roots acts of recent years, that really makes this stand out. A solid listen, and one that I would expect many readers here in particular to keep in rotation for a long time, myself included.
Recommendation: My favorite this week.

Artist: Ladytron
Quick Description: First album in a while from the indie synth act.
Why You Should Listen: It's been too long, and Ladytron has been too good.
Overall Thoughts: Ladytron has always been a little off-center in the indie synth world, and I’ve long considered myself a fan. This latest album, their first in around five years, has a very deliberate and straightforward sound to it. The word that comes to mind is almost robotic, but I don’t mean that as a negative. It has such a hypnotizing, trance-like quality that I feel like may have been more evident in the past and has largely disappeared from this genre. I’m liking this album a lot on first listen, and looking forward to spending more time with it.
Recommendation: Give this a listen.

Artist: Hayes Carll
Album: What It Is
Quick Description: Latest from the left wing rootsy troubadour.
Why You Should Listen: Hayes Carll is always a great listen.
Overall Thoughts: Hayes Carll still has one of my favorite songs ever (featuring Cary Ann Hearst of Shovels and Rope), “Someone Like You,” so I will always check out new work from him. I didn’t love his last album, but this one feels like more of a return to form. It’s a little light on its feet, a little more fun, and just seems to work on the level I’ve come to expect. Carll has always had a more rocking tendency with his best work, and it’s all over this album.
Recommendation: Definitely worth the listen.

Artist: Holiday Gunfire
Album: Holiday Gunfire
Quick Description: Debut from an act pulled directly from your time capsule buried in the backyard 25 years ago.
Why You Should Listen: It's wonderfully anachronistic and perplexing.
Overall Thoughts: I feel like I want to love this more than I do, but enjoyed this a lot more than I thought? That may be the eternal struggle surrounding Holiday Gunfire, which is a band that was teleported directly from college radio circa 1992 and deposited in the current day with no apparent irony. It’s a sound that we all know and love, but maybe it’s the production that needs to be louder or maybe less muddy that would turn this from being “pretty solid” to “truly great.” Still, the production values do not take away from some classic songwriting and musicianship that should last far beyond the initial nostalgia hit.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: Bloodshot Bill
Album: Come Get Your Love Right Now
Quick Description: Acid rockabilly?
Why You Should Listen: It's the most uniquely familiar music I've heard in ages.
Overall Thoughts: I try not to look up these bands/groups/artists until after I’ve listened, if not after I write up a review, but this is so out there in some regards that I had to figure out what was going on. The production on this is so muddy it feels like an early rock record, but this is really just gritty rockabilly in all its glory. Is this guy Chris Isaak drunk on moonshine? Is he the roots equivalent of Wesley Willis? I have no idea. This is so weird, but it’s so compelling.
Recommendation: Needs to be heard.

Artist: Heartstreets
Album: Why Make Sense
Quick Description: Soul-based rap music.
Why You Should Listen: This will consistently surprise you.
Overall Thoughts: This is a surprise rap entry this week. I didn't realize, looking at the cover, that we would be getting some solid rap with soul/R&B instrumentation behind it, but here we go. There are a lot of solid moments here, and when I look for interesting rap music this definitely fits the bill. It won't work for everyone - this much I know for sure - but if you're willing to take a risk...
Recommendation: Worked well for me, so it might work for you.

Of note:

* Daniel Steinbock - Out of Blue (Quiet, often impressive, folk music)
* Gemma Ray - Psychogeology (as beautifully confounding as always)
* Women's Hour - Ephyria (Very enigmatic.)
* the dates - ask again later (Fun, often Byrds-ian indie rock.)
* Czarface and Ghostface Killah - Czarface Meets Ghostface
* Bilge Pump - We Love You
* The Long Ryders - Psychedelic Country Soul
* Anenome - Beat My Distance
* Elena Setien - Another Kind of Revolution
* Piroshka - Brickbat
* Pye Corner Audio - Hollow Earth
* Betty Who - Betty


* Bec Stevens - Why Don't You Just ("10 Minute Drive" is one of the best songs of the early year.)
* Broken Social Scene - Let's Try the After Vol. 1 (As someone not too into BSS, this is good.)
* Stepbrother - Nearest and Dearest (Great alt-indie, not a bad song in the batch.)

Also out:

* Lenny Lashley's Gang of One - All Are Welcome
* Carsie Blanton - Buck Up
* Tedeschi Trucks Band - Signs
* Bodega - Witness Scroll

Monday, February 18, 2019

Julia Jacklin - "Comfort"

Photo by Nick Mckk
The new album from Julia Jacklin will be out this Friday, but she's released one last single while we desperately wait. So far all three singles have been quite different. "Head Alone" felt like it could have been a lost track from her previous album, Don't Let the Kids Win, but with more confidence. "Pressure to Party" was more of a rock song. The third, "Comfort," is an almost painfully quiet folk song. It's only Jacklin's voice in its most delicate possible version with a just barely strummed guitar. (There's also a tiny bit of backing vocals, but just barely and used rarely). With all three of the previewed songs being so completely different from each other (but obviously from the same universe), we can't wait until Friday. 

You can watch the video for "Comfort" below. Crushing, the new album from Julia Jacklin, will be out February 22 on Polyvinyl. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Julia Jacklin, check out her website.

Live Shows: The Devil's Twins, Diablogato, Salem Wolves, Opus, Salem, MA 2/16/19

Saturday night was an absurdly packed night for live music in the Boston area. Of all the options available, I had to trek way out to Salem, MA for a fantastic loud and local triple bill: The Devil's Twins, Diablogato, and Salem Wolves.

Considering how long I've been writing about Salem Wolves on here, and considering that they're a local band that plays in the area a lot, this was somehow the first time I had gotten around to seeing them live. It definitely won't be the last. Their arena ready garage rock anthems are crafted specifically for a live show, even if the "arena" is a tiny brick walled basement. The band was breaking in two brand new members (guitarist Charlie MacSteven (who also plays in Diablogato) and bassist Cat Verlicco), but you would never have known it. They played insanely tightly, and with an incredible infectious energy. Singer Gray Bouchard is a much more theatrical frontman than I expected. We're not talking about an Alice Cooper type spectacle, but he was extraordinarily expressive while singing and is completely taken over by the rock. Let's hope it takes less time for me to see them a second time.

Diablogato is the band I was least familiar with of the three, but expect more from them here at If It's Too Loud..., hopefully sooner than later. They play this dirty as hell punked up almost rockabilly sound that hits such a sweet spot for me. It's not quite a throwback to early rock 'n' roll, but only because it's just too loud. That's not to say it's purely just crushing doom and noise. Diablogato plays with a swinging groove to keep the audience moving. They're definitely a party just waiting to happen, and even had Nikki Marie of The Devil's Twins join them for a song, just to keep the family like vibe going all night. If you want to check them out, I'd recommend "Gasoline." That's a perfect example of what to expect with Diablogato.

The nearly legendary The Devil's Twins closed out the night. It might be a small local legend, but for those of us that have been ensnared by their claws, The Devil's Twins are legends. It was also my first time getting to see them, and it was a setup that included a horn section, which I'm told is the best way to go. They also have a throwback old school rock 'n' roll sound, but by far the darkest and heaviest of the evening. The dual frontperson siblings of Jeremiah Louf and Nikki Marie are absolutely perfect together. It's just insanely big and loud rock. They busted out a cover of "Twist & Shout" for the second song of their set, and from then on all of Opus was hooked. This seems like a triple bill that happens every so often, and let's hope I can make it to the next one.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Modern Nature - "Supernature"

Photo by James Sharp
If you've been wondering what Jack Cooper (formerly of Ultimate Painting) was going to do next, then you're in luck. Modern Nature is his latest project, and it's quite different from his previous one. Cooper has this to say about his new band: "The band is so new, it's hard to say who's in and who isn't. At the moment it's myself and Will Young (Beak) with Aaron Neveu on drums (Woods/Herbcraft) Rupert Gillett on cello and then Jeff Tobias on saxophone (Sunwatchers). The band started as a vehicle for a wider project that Will and I spent the year putting together so it feels very exciting to be an actual band now. Every song we record or musician we gain, another door seems to open on a route that's worth pursuing.”

Their first single, "Supernature," is a nearly twelve minute long song that dabbles in folk and free jazz equally. It has a chilled out (but strangely intense) vibe throughout, and sort of plods along with its tempo. It's one of those songs where the saxophone is used almost as a second voice, taking solos that are almost verses and harmonizing with Cooper. This song could have easily overstayed its welcome by lasting twelve minutes, but it will keep you sucked in throughout the end.

You can listen to "Supernature" below. Nature, Modern Nature's debut EP, will be out March 22 on Bella Union. For more on Modern Nature, check out their website.