Friday, May 31, 2019

Salem Wolves - "Queen"

Photo via Facebook
Today saw the release of a new single from Salem Wolves, their first with a new line up. Does a new line up mean a new sound? Oh, yes.

"Queen" starts off as a dark metal New Wave/post punk song. Think DEVO heavily influenced by Black Sabbath. And then the guitars come sneaking in before smashing the walls down. "Queen" is ridiculously ferocious. I'd say this is still garage rock if your garage is filled with stolen car parts and occult artifacts. But still waving the flag of their New Wave influences. It's a huge dark rock song that still finds some way to sneak in just the slightest bit of an artsy edge. Plus, it features Nicole Marie Coogan of The Devil's Twins on backing vocals, just in case it needed to be cooler.

You can listen to "Queen" below. The song is currently available on Salem Wolves's Bandcamp page. If you happen to be in the Boston area, Salem Wolves are playing June 27 on a Mahi Mahi boat cruise out of Salem, MA (naturally). If you feel like travelling to Providence, they're playing the free PVD Fest at some point between June 6-9 (if PVD Fest ever decides to release a schedule...) For more on Salem Wolves, check out their website.

Trinary System - "When the Dust Settles"

Things have been very, very quiet on the Mission of Burma front lately, but members have been involved with other projects. Trinary System is Roger Miller's current project. Obviously we have to compare their latest song, "When the Dust Settles," to Mission of Burma, so here goes!

"When the Dust Settles" is decidedly more mellow than Miller's typical work with Mission of Burma. It's not a complete change in direction from Burma, but more of an extension. Instead of the punk edge we're used to, Trinary System is almost psychedelic and harmonious. It's significantly less dissonant, but most things are. I'd almost go as far as calling it groovy, but it stops just short of that.

You can watch the video for "When the Dust Settles" below. LIGHTS IN THE CENTER OF YOUR HEAD, the new album from Trinary System, is due out on June 1 via Feeding Tube Records. For more on Trinary System, check out their website.

Scott H. Biram and Jesse Dayton Cover David Allan Coe

The original version of David Allan Coe's "Monkey David Wine" is already bluesy, but when Scott H. Biram and Jesse Dayton covered it for a new single they made it even dirtier. All shreds of country have been driven out of the song, and it's just a crazy blues jam now. You might not think so when the song first starts, but the further on it goes, the more the guitars just lose all control and start freaking out. It sounds like Biram and Dayton tried their best to reign them in, but eventually gave up. And who could blame them.

You can listen to Scott H. Biram and Jesse Dayton's version of "Monkey David Wine" below. The song is currently available as a single with another cover: Gary Stewart's "Single Again." You can get your copy digitally via Bandcamp and vinyl via Bloodshot Records. For more on Scott H. Biram check out his website. For Jesse Dayton, check out his website.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Homeboy Sandman - "West Coast"

New York's Homeboy Sandman is back with a new single, "West Coast." "West Coast" is a perfect summertime song. It's fun and laid back, even though it has a surprising edge for a laid back song. Plus it's a pure hip hop song. There's no R&B chorus. In fact, there's virtually no chorus at all. For nearly the entire 2:38 length of the song it's just Homeboy Sandman rapping in an almost stream of conscious way. Plus, there are a few shout outs to hip hop classics sprinkled in.

You can listen to "West Coast" below. The song is currently available as a single from Mello Music Group via Bandcamp. For more on Homeboy Sandman, be sure to check out his Twitter and Facebook.

Dad Brains - "Father's Day" and The Ramoms - Problem Child

Every so often there are bands just destined to be joined together. The Queers and Screeching Weasel, Harry and The Potters and Draco and The Malfoys for example. The latest are Dad Brains and The Ramoms.

Dad Brains are a Ventura, CA based dad themed punk band. It includes members of No Motiv, The Missing 23rd, Creep Division, and The F-ing Wrath. They just released a video for their song "Father's Day." The song came about primarily since there aren't any other Father's Day songs out there. It's a thrashy, skater punk style song... about Father's Day. Is it great? Nope. But it's certainly not terrible. "Father's Day" isn't a song that's going to change anyone's life. It's silly fun, and isn't that what skater punk is all about?

You can watch the video for "Father's Day" below. Dadditude, the new EP from Dad Brains, will be out digitally June 7 and on vinyl June 14 on Pirate Press Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Dad Brains, check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Next up is Philadelphia's The Ramoms. The Ramoms take Ramones songs and re-purpose them as parody songs a la "Weird Al" Yankovic. On their latest EP, Problem Child, they redo "Judy Is a Punk" as "Gritty Is a Punk," an ode to the Flyers's Gritty, aka the greatest mascot the world has ever seen. They also do "Boogie Not Snot," which is a redone version of "Blitzkrieg Bop" about boogers. Finally it's just a straight up cover of "Rockaway Beach." These are just three insanely fun and insanely ridiculous songs.

You can listen to all of Problem Child below. The EP is also available from Pirate Press Records here. For more on The Ramoms, check them out on Facebook. Also, if you happen to love both Dad Brains and The Ramoms and love Christmas music, you're in luck! The bands just so happened to have released a split 7" of Christmas music called MERRYXMAS. That can be found here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Mooks - "Let It All Fall Down"

From what I am about to write, I should hate the latest single from The Mooks. According to the band, "Let It All Fall Down" is "is a sunny, uptempo song that captures the feeling of newly discovered love and the desire for reciprocation. It’s a reminder not to sweat the small stuff of everyday life and to find happiness from love." The song is an indie rock dance track with the singing being done in a modern crooning style. This is the kind of thing that typically irks me for some reason. But The Mooks nail it. "Let It All Fall Down" is the kind of song that could easily have ended up hokey, or far too mainstream for my liking, but somehow this works. It could be the fact that despite how sunny and positive the song is, there seems to be a sense of melancholy behind it.

You can watch the video for "Let It All Fall Down" below. It will be included on The Mooks's upcoming EP, which will be released this summer. For more on The Mooks, check out their Facebook and Twitter.

Charming Disaster - "Blacksnake"

For anyone that knows me, you know that "love, death, crime, ancient mythology, and the paranormal" are kind of my things, so it's safe to assume that I'm going to like any band that includes those things in their Bandcamp bio. Charming Disaster are that band, and they're back with a new single!

"Blacksnake" is this hauntingly hypnotic folk adjacent song that is mysteriously catchy. It's a song about murder and death, but is remarkably upbeat. It might be the cabaret feel that Charming Disaster infuse into the song, but that's kinda their style.

You can watch the video for "Blacksnake" below. For added fun, it was shot in the Kreischer Mansion on Staten Island, which is rumored to be haunted and the sight of a mafia murder! SPELLS + RITUALS, the new album from Charming Disaster, will be out June 7, and can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp. For more on Charming Disaster, check out their website.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

First Listen: New Releases from 24 May

This was a really great week for new music.

Artist: Bloodboy
Album: Punk Adjacent
Quick Description: Smart, radio-ready rock music.
Why You Should Listen: Bloodboy has been skirting the edges of the music world for a while, and this debut album should give her some serious press.
Overall Thoughts: The long-awaited debut after a series of single releases and songs brings an album that feels fully-formed and comes across more like a fifth album in its confidence and quality. Hooks for days on this album that, in a different context, could be a staple on any alt-rock station you can think of. This is a really special listen, and I’m hoping that it gets some overdue accolades as a result. Not only is this one of the best of the week, it may be something that will end up on best of the year lists.
Recommendation: Do not miss this one.

Artist: pronoun
Album: i'll show you stronger
Quick Description: Long-awaited debut by a buzzy indie rocker.
Why You Should Listen: pronoun's early EPs and singles have been uniformly stellar.
Overall Thoughts: Speaking of long-awaited debut, here is pronoun. There have been a series of singles and EPs released in dribs and drabs over the last few years, each one as good as the one before it, and while those who discovered the act early on know many of the songs here, the newer tunes combined with the long-existing predecessors make for another great alt-indie record.
Recommendation: Another solid listen this week.

Artist: Slingshot Dakota
Album: Heavy Banding
Quick Description: New album from a favorite duo.
Why You Should Listen: Slingshot Dakota has few peers in what they do.
Overall Thoughts: I don’t recall when I first tripped up on Slingshot Dakota, but I’ve continually found their brand of Mates of State by way of Saddle Creek (no, Slingshot Dakota is not an Saddle Creek band but sounds like they could be) to be super compelling. This is the first album in some time from the duo, and there’s a lot of polish here to go along with some interesting shifts in sound in many ways. This is probably an excellent entry point for new listeners, but longtime fans should find a lot to like here, such as with songs like “Premeditated” and “Louder.” A great listen this week, and a welcome return from a band we haven’t heard from in a while.
Recommendation: Another favorite this week.

Artist: Cate le Bon
Album: Reward
Quick Description: Latest from the artsy singer.
Why You Should Listen: Cate le Bon is not one to take the straightforward approach, and this comes with its own set of rewards.
Overall Thoughts: I’ve been a fan for a while now (I believe she was an Amie Street freebie back in the day for me), and her latest is a return to form after her truly strange previous album. This effort still maintains the weirdness that permeates Le Bon’s aesthetic, but there is absolutely a more accessible aspect to this that hasn’t been present in her recent work.
Recommendation: I fully dig this, and you might as well.

Artist: Honeyblood
Album: In Plain Sight
Quick Description: Latest album from the Black Honey side project.
Why You Should Listen: This is some great indie pop-rock.
Overall Thoughts: In a week with so many interesting indie/alt albums, Honeyblood does their best to stand out. I’ve been digging a number of the prerelease singles, and the full album has a great tone throughout. Well-produced, solid songwriting, there’s nothing wrong with this album at all. You’re almost certain to find a song or two you’ll enjoy on this, if not the entire thing.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Artist: The Darts
Album: I Like You But Not Like That
Quick Description: Great, garage-style rock.
Why You Should Listen: This is definitely the most energetic record of the week.
Overall Thoughts: This is a great, retro rock/punk hybrid that I really enjoyed. There are a few acts that have danced around this area of late, but the addition of the Elvis Costello-style keys really makes this work for me. Somehow, an early single for this band took over our Alexa Spotify Connect, so I’m glad to hear the full album is as good as I hoped. Different than most of the recent stuff we’ve covered here, but if you have any appreciation at all for this style of music, you’ll love this.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Artist: Halfsour
Album: Sticky
Quick Description: Locally-sourced slacker power pop.
Why You Should Listen: Feels wonderfully familiar while still offering something new.
Overall Thoughts: Ken sent this one over and I'm really glad he did. A solid version of the alt-rock stuff I enjoy the most infused with some lo-fi sheen, this is kind of the perfect palate cleanser this week given the amount of variety. This is not one you should miss out on this week,
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Of note:

* Justin Townes Earle - The Saint of Lost Causes (Some of the purest roots sounds you'll hear.)
* Black Mountain - Destroyer (As someone who doesn't care for metal, this was compelling.)
* Echo in the Canyon Soundtrack (Jakob Dylan and friends.)
* Chris Orrick - Out to Sea
* Faye Webster - Atlanta Millionaires Club
* The King Khan Experience - Turkey Ride
* Sebadoh - Act Surprised
* Mavis Staples - We Get By


* Middle Kids - New Songs for Old Problems
* Orla Gartland - Why Am I Like This?

Also out:

* The Lonely Island - The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience (This is great, but you'll watch it on Netflix once and get the gist.)
* The Stray Cats - 40
* The Aggrolites - REGGAE NOW!
* Flying Lotus - Flamagra
* Morrissey - California Son
* ISA - Debut Album

Friday, May 24, 2019

Jake Xerxes Fussell - "Oh Captain"

Photo by Brad Bunyea
The latest single from North Carolina's Jake Xerxes Fussell is technically a cover, but it's a song from the 1920's, so most of us aren't going to recognize it. "Oh Captain" was orignally recorded by Willis Laurence James for Paramount Studios. Fussell's version keeps the classic folk feel, but he makes "Oh Captain" still sound current almost one hundred years later. That's what makes Fussell's music so intriguing: His ability to sound classic and modern at the same time.

Fussell has this to say about Willis Laurence James: “James spent much of his life collecting and interpreting and writing about African American worksongs, yet few have recognized his short, obscure stint as a recording artist. Turns out he was a trained singer who taught in the music department for years at Spelman College, whose library still holds his archive. I became fascinated with him and his work, so this song is my little homage to Dr. James.”

You can listen to "Oh Captain" below. Out of Sight, the new album from Jake Xerxes Fussell, will be out June 7 on Paradise of Bachelors. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Jake Xerxes Fussell, check out his Facebook. Current tour dates are below the song.

Wed. Sep. 18 - Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall*
Thu. Sep. 19 - Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar*
Fri. Sep. 20 - Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle*
Sun. Sep. 22 - Nashville, TN @ 3rd & Lindsley*
Wed. Sep. 25 - Washington, D.C. @ Black Cat*
Fri. Sep. 27 - Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg*
Sat. Sep. 28 - Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall*
Sun. Sep. 29 - Montreal, QC @ Petit Campus*
Mon. Sep. 30 - Toronto, ON @ Great Hall*
Wed. Oct. 2 - St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club*
Thu. Oct. 3 - Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre*
Fri. Oct. 4 - Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre*
Sat. Oct. 5 - Portland, OR @ Revolution Hall*
Tue. Oct. 8 - Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom*

* = supporting Daniel Norgren

Forgotten Fridays: The Explosion - Flash Flash Flash

Forgotten Fridays is an occasional feature here at If It’s Too Loud... where we go back and find the lost records of our glory days. We played these on our college radio shows, put them on countless mix tapes, and then forgot they existed. We go back and remind you of their existence, and help decide if they were any good.

Flash Flash Flash, the debut album from Boston's The Explosion, made me feel old back when it was released. I graduated college that year, and a brand new punk band (especially one as thrashy and "skate punk" as The Explosion), seemed like something I should have outgrown. I hadn't, and I loved this album. Somehow they slipped my mind until it was just announced that they'd be opening some shows on Bad Religion's summer tour. Of course, not Boston...

The Explosion surprisingly hold up. The songs are driven at a throttling speed, but still keep some semblance of a tune and melody. It's definitely not hardcore, and it's definitely not pop punk. Flash Flash Flash is filled with these great fast and loud punk songs that are nowhere near as embarrassing to enjoy as I pretended they were back in my just graduated from college smugness. It's definitely a lot less embarrassing than the majority of the punk I listened to in college.

Since their split in 2007, The Explosion have played three one off shows. It will be interesting to see if this upcoming run with Bad Religion inspire more.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Trash Kit - "Horizon"

Photo by Samuel Mitchell
The latest single from Trash Kit blends some rather interesting genres. "Horizon" is a melding of minimalist post punk and guitar music from Zimbabwe. It's wonderfully intense and laid back, and mixes the two seemingly disparate sounds together wonderfully. Guitarist/vocalist Rachel Aggs explains the song as "... quite literal, thinking about the edge of the earth - how people interpret the planet, how you can sometimes forget the enormity of the world and the universe and how small that can make you feel." 

You can watch the video for "Horizon" below. Horizon, the new album from Trash Kit, will be out July 5 on Upset the Rhythm. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Trash Kit, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Kitty Kat Fan Club - "You Got Me Modernized"

With the latest single from Kitty Kat Fan Club, I'm tempted to write "It may be called 'You Got Me Modernized,' but it's filled with retro fun!" Luckily for you all, I'm far too talented of a writer for that nonsense.

One of the first things you'll notice are the retro keyboards in the song. "You Got Me Modernized" is propelled by the type of organs in classic garage rock songs from ? and the Mysterians and The Lyres. But it's not a garage rock song. The vocals have that sweet but with an attitude, kinda spoken and shouted sound (especially on the chorus) you normally only get from Kathleen Hanna. And there's even the occasional punk rock horns thrown in. Notice I said punk rock and not ska. You'll get it when you listen.

You can listen to "You Got Me Modernized" below. Dreamy Little You will be out May 31 on Asian Man Records. You can pre-order a copy here. 5% off all sales will go to cat and dog rescue charities. For more on Kitty Kat Fan Club, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Xenia Rubinos Covers The Clash

There are some terrible, horrible Clash covers out there. For some reason The Clash seem to be the band that mainstream pop artists think it's perfectly acceptable to do bland pop covers of. Since Xenia Rubinos tends to lean towards the R&B side of music, I was more than a little skeptical of her cover of "Should I Stay or Should I Go" from the film I'm Leaving Now (Ya Me Voy).

"Should I Stay or Should I Go" is already one of The Clash's most mainstream pop adjacent songs, so it's not a huge stretch to push it the rest of the way into Dullsville. And Xenia Rubinos's Spanish language cover is definitively more pop than the original. But at the same time she ramps up the distortion on the guitar. Plus, she just finds a way to keep the edge of the original. Turns out my skepticism was unwarranted, because this is a completely true to the original version.

You can listen to Xenia Rubinos's version of "Should I Stay or Should I Go" below. For more on Xenia Rubinos, check out her website.

The Holy Circle - "Free and Young"

Photo by Paul Granger
Dad rock gets a lot written about it, but what about mom rock? More specifically, what about goth mom rock? That's how The Holy Circle are described, and I can't really argue. "Free and Young" has a throwback feel to it, almost like Belinda Carlisle or The Bangles, but the dark goth side of that. It's incredibly minimal but with plenty of shoegaze or dream pop fuzz. It feels like more mainstream and beloved music from the late 80's and early 90's, but a bizarre twisted version of that. At least, that's how it starts. By the end the song devolves into a mess of plodding feedback and noise. So the song is basically perfection

You can listen to "Sick With Love" below. Sick With Love, the new EP from The Holy Circle, will be out July 19 on Deathbomb Arc. You can pre-order a copy here. Fore more on The Holy Circle, check out their Facebook.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Sonic Youke Covers Sonic Youth

So... this one is interesting...

Based out of Syracuse, NY, Sonic Youke claim to be "The premier all ukulele Sonic Youth tribute band from Syracuse N.Y." (I'm sure this is a contentious claim, with all the competition for all ukulele Sonic Youth cover bands in Syracuse, NY, but I digress...) The band rose from the ashes of Fugelele, an all ukulele Fugazi cover band, in 2017. The band's Sonic Youth repertoire is expanded to ninety minutes, so they've invested some serious time in this.

How's the music? Shockingly good. These aren't modern bluegrass re-imaginings of Sonic Youth classic songs. These are heavy, noisy, true to the original versions of Sonic Youth songs that just happen to be performed on ukulele. I'm sure the drums help (so much for the all ukulele claims...)

You can watch a live video for Sonic Youke's version of "Chapel Hill" below via YouTube user Karly Grifasi. For more on Sonic Youke, check out the band's website.

First Listen: New Releases for 17 May

A slower week, but with two heavy hitters.

Artist: Carly Rae Jepsen
Album: Dedicated
Quick Description: Latest album from the pop star.
Why You Should Listen: There is a lot riding on this follow-up to her last effort.
Overall Thoughts: For those who are not choosing between Taylor and Katy, this is probably the pop event of 2019. E*MO*TION was so good that it’s unrealistic to believe that Jepsen could top it, and to be clear, she does not. With that said, there is a nice throughline of the sort of 80s/early 90s pop that continues here that Carly Rae does so well, and songs like “Real Love” could end up being one of her long-term classics. If you’re not on the bandwagon yet, I don’t know if this will change your mind, but I am a happy fan.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Artist: Alex Lahey
Album: The Best of Luck Club
Quick Description: Indie favorite with a brand new album.
Why You Should Listen: Her solo debut was amazing, this is probably better.
Overall Thoughts: It’s weird to praise the glossy pop stylings of Carly Rae Jepsen and then lead into the new Alex Lahey album with a complaint about the production value (and specifically how heavily produced it sounds), but considering how good a musician she is and how great these songs are, it is very frustrating to feel as if the production is an exhausting affair in some regards. To be clear, this is a great album and I’ll go as far to say that this is possibly better than her debut (“Interior Demeanour” is going to be an underrated classic, in my opinion), I just question the choices made in some regards.
Recommendation: A great listen in spite of the flaws.

Artist: Kelly Hunt
Album: Even the Sparrow
Quick Description: Great bluegrass music.
Why You Should Listen: Kelly Hunt knows how to craft a song.
Overall Thoughts: This is basically the bluegrass record I’ve been waiting for. There’s a grit to this, a sort of skewed approach, that just absolutely nailed it for me on a whole, and the full album, on first listen, feels cohesive and complete. I can’t recommend any single songs because so much of it just works, but if you like the roots stuff that features around here, and if acts like Sarah Jarosz and the Punch Brothers do it for you, you’ll find a lot to like here.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.

Artist: Lafawndah
Album: Ancestor Boy
Quick Description: Left field R&B.
Why You Should Listen: Reminiscent of Spellling, FKA Twigs, and so on.
Overall Thoughts: I’m unsure if this record exists without FKA Twigs, but I am happy it exists overall. This came out a while back, and gives the sort of off-kilter approach to R&B made famous by FKA Twigs and allows for a wide variety of structures and outcomes. This is a deep and heavy record that I want to spend a lot more time with, as it has some serious growth potential for me.
Recommendation: An excellent listen.

Of note:

* Olden Yolk - Living Theatre (Pretty solid effort.)
* Ioanna Gika - Thalassa (For fans of Marissa Nadler.)
* Injury Reserve - Injury Reserve (A great nerdcore-meets-Clipping effort.)
* Worshipper - Worshipper
* Com Truise - Persuasion System
* Ellen Allien - Alientronic
* Siobhan Wilson - The Departure
* The Head and the Heart - Living Mirage
* Mr. Tophat - Dusk to Dawn Part II

7 Song Albums:

* Michael Christmas - Baggy Eyes
* Kelly Moran - Origin


* Elton John Cena - All Rats Go to Heaven (Fun EP.)
* The Jins - Death Wish (They listened to too much Nirvana, but that's more than okay.)
* Keep Shelly in Athens - Sunny Day
* Interpol - A Fine Mess
* Undeworld - Drift Episode 3: "HEART"

Also out:

* The National - I Am Easy to Find
* Kofi the Spiderman - Adventures in NumbNumb Land
* Christone "Kingfish" Ingram - Kingfish
* Josephine Wiggs - We Fall
* Lucette - Deluxe Hotel Room
* Palmistry - Afterlife

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Bad Signs Cover Laura Jane Grace and The Devouring Mothers

Photo via Facebook
The Bad Signs, a goth-country band from Nashville, are working on their debut album. While doing that, they decided to do a fan requested cover of "The Airplane Song" from Laura Jane Grace and The Devouring Mothers. The original version is a straightforward alt-rocker coming it at 2:30. The Bad Signs's version is a 3:02 slow as can possibly be country ballad with the verses spoken at times like an early rock 'n' roll/doo wop song. It transforms the song into a heartbreakingly soul crusher. In other words, it's fantastic.

You can listen to The Bad Signs's version of "The Airplane Song" below. For more on The Bad Signs, check out their website.

Spirit Family Reunion - "One Way Ticket"

I've been a fan of Spirit Family Reunion since I saw them open for David Wax Museum in December 2011, and I've been a HUGE fan since their set at Newport Folk Festival in 2012. That performance was legendary and got them the type of ovation that I haven't seen since. They've been relatively quiet for the past four years, but luckily they just announced a new album, and we can check out the first single now!

"One Way Ticket" is exactly what we want with Spirit Family Reunion. It's non-hokey old time folk, packed full of group vocals and harmonizing. What I've always loved about Spirit Family Reunion is how simple their songs are, and how they use that simplicity to draw people in. From the press photo they're currently using, it looks like there have been some line up changes, but you won't know it from their sound. "One Way Ticket" doesn't reinvent Spirit Family Reunion, nor do we want it to.

You can watch the lyric video for "One Way Ticket" below. Ride Free, the new album from Spirit Family Reunion, will be out August 9. You can pre-order a copy at Bandcamp. For more on Spirit Family Reunion, check out their website.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Sarah Bethe Nelson - "Weird Glow"

Photo by Jennifer Lewis
The latest single from Sarah Bethe Nelson might be a perfect little alternative pop song. "Weird Glow" reminds me a lot of Mary Lou Lord's major label output. It's a pretty straightforward singer/songwriter track, filled with Nelson's strikingly beautiful in their simplicity vocals and just enough jangle to keep it interesting. It's the kind of song that should be a huge megahit and propel Nelson into stardom if there was any justice in the world. But there's not, so I guess on the plus side "Weird Glow" won't be haunting you in every dentist's waiting room and chain restaurant this summer. Although it should be.

You can listen to "Weird Glow" below. Weird Glow the album will be out June 28 on Burger Records. For more on Sarah Bethe Nelson, check out her website.

Stef Chura featuring Will Toledo - "Sweet Sweet Midnight"

Photo by Chloe Best
Just as we thought we couldn't get more excited about Stef Chura's new album and she goes and releases "Sweet Sweet Midnight." This new song brings collaborator Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest into the spotlight as he takes a couple of verses and some harmonies. "Sweet Sweet Midnight" continues the 90's rock feel of the previously released songs off Midnight, but it's less harder rock and more Liz Phair meets Beck. 

Chura says of the song

"The chorus and guitar riff are something I had been playing with for a while after a close friend of mine died. We built the song off of the chorus keeping the theme of death, light and dreaming. While we were in the studio Will had a dream about Taylor Swift singing a song called 'Jordi' and that became the muse of the songs verses. One of my favorite moments from making this record was when we recorded the yelling section of this song. Will just got on the mic at random and started recording the loudest howl. I was like 'this is is he doing in there...' As soon as he finished, he came out of the booth, looked at me and said, 'Ok, now your turn.' The ending vocal was a one-take track based on the day that my friend died. He was on vacation and he texted me he was coming home the next day and he never did."

You can listen to "Sweet Sweet Midnight" below. Midnight, the new album from Stef Chura, will be out June 7th on Saddle Creek. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Stef Chura, check out her website. Current tour dates are below the song.

Wed. June 19 - Sun. June 23 - Calgary, AB @ Sled Island
 Fri. July 5 - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
Sat. July 6 - Detroit, MI @ Deluxx Fluxx
Sun. July 7 - Toronto, ON @ The Drake
Mon. July 8 - Montreal, QC @ Casa del Popolo
Tue. July 9 - Boston, MA @ Great Scott
Fri. July 12 - Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
Sat. July 13 - Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA
Mon. July 15 - Washington, DC @ Comet Ping Pong
Tue. July 16 - Durham, NC @ The Pinhook
Wed. July 17 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
Fri. July 19 - New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
Sat. July 20 - Houston, TX @ The Satellite
Sun. July 21 - Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
Mon. July 22 - Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
Thu. July 25 - Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
Fri. July 26 - San Diego, CA @ Sodabar
Sat. July 27 - Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theatre
Sun. July 28 - San Francisco, CA @ Cafe du Nord
Tue. July 30 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
Wed. July 31 - Seattle, WA @ Barboza
Thu. Aug. 1 - Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
Fri. Aug. 2 - Spokane, WA @ Lucky You Lounge
Sat. Aug. 3 - Boise, ID @ Neurolux
Mon. Aug. 5 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
Tue. Aug. 6 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
Wed. Aug. 7 - Omaha, NE @ Reverb
Fri. Aug. 9 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Sat. Aug. 10 - Milwaukee, WI @ Backroom at Colectivo

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Kool Keith featuring B-Real - "Zero Fux"

Kool Keith and Cypress Hill are artists I will always check out their new output. Some of it is hit or miss, but it's always worth a shot. So when I see that Kool Keith has a new song out featuring B-Real? Obviously a must listen.

"Zero Fux" is a great song. It sounds very familiar. It might share a sample with a previous song from Deltron 3030, but maybe I'm just hearing things. Both are complete legends, so even if it is a shared sample, we can cut them a bit of slack. "Zero Fux" is pure old school hip hop, and exactly what you want to hear from a Kool Keith/B-Real collaboration.

You can listen to "Zero Fux" below. KEITH, the new album from Kool Keith, will be out July 12 on Mello Music Group. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Kool Keith, check out his Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Sarah Pagé - "Ephemeris Data"

Photo by Linus Ouellet
99.9999% of the time I'll flee from anything referred to as an "experimental harpist." Seeing the type of music we cover here at If It's Too Loud..., I don't think that would be considered unexpected. But this single from Sarah Pagé is the extremely rare exception. Sure, it's pretty harp music, but while I would find the vast and overwhelming majority to be whatever is past dull, "Ephemeris Data" is impossibly compelling. This isn't music to put on in the background while you get a massage or root canal: This demands to be heard. Harp music is definitively not my area of expertise, so I can't explain why at all. I'll let Sarah Pagé explain the song:

"I wanted to create a feeling of stillness within motion with Ephemeris Data.  Like looking through the passenger window of a car travelling down the highway.   The trees and the landscape eventually become one and it has a hypnotic effect. I’m playing as quickly as I can around just a few strings to create a blur and slowly shifting the melodies and harmony to mark the time passing."

You can listen to "Ephemeris Data" below. Dose Curves, the new album from Sarah Pagé, will be out October 11 on Backward Music. For more on Sarah Pagé, check out her website.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Carla Geneve - "Yesterday's Clothes"

Photo by Darren Stapley
Hopefully you're not sick of the surge of incredibly talented artists coming out of Australia, because the latest is Carla Geneve. "Yesterday's Clothes" starts out as a mostly traditional singer/songwriter song. It's not acoustic, but Geneve's vocals are definitely the focus of the song. Geneve's vocals are absurdly powerful, but not in a traditional sense. You'll understand this one once you listen. The guitar slowly takes over. It's so slow that you won't even realize it's happening until the end when it's a blistering whirlwind of pure rock.

As for the subject matter of the song, I'll let Geneve explain it: "Yesterday’s Clothes is about falling out of love with someone and feeling guilty about it. I wrote it at time when I was burning the candle at both ends and had no energy left to try to deal with the end of a relationship. Most of the words came when I was doing a long drive back from some gig or another in regional WA. I’d been up all night and had to be somewhere the next day, so I hadn’t had a shower or changed clothes. When you’re on your own driving for hours and hours it’s hard to avoid thinking about stuff that you don’t want to, so I guess I wrote the song to try to come to terms with my thoughts and situation."

You can listen to "Yesterday's Clothes" below. Carla Geneve's debut self-titled EP will be out June 7 on Dot Dash/Remote Control Records. For more on Carla Geneve, check her out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

First Listen: New Releases for 10 May

Some solid listens this week:

Album of the Week:

Artist: Charly Bliss
Album: Young Enough
Quick Description: Sophomore effort from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Charly Bliss had one of the best records of the last few years, and this one has similar potential.
Overall Thoughts: Their debut, Guppy, was my favorite album of a couple years ago, so this follow-up has been a true highly-anticipated release for me. The early singles showed a lot of extra reliance on some keyboard/synth stuff that I didn’t love (given how much I loved their early sound), but still felt interested in, and the full album? It absolutely works. As a cohesive unit, the slight shift in sound lends itself to a different atmosphere in a full album that worked really well. So yeah, lead singles like “Chatroom” and “Capacity” get the added weight they seemed to lack in isolation, and “Fighting in the Dark” and “The Truth” act as counterbalances in a way that brought the whole thing full-circle. It’s likely to be a bit of a grower, but I’ll at least say that no album has had me thinking about it recently more than this one has, so going back to it should be enjoyable.
Recommendation: The best of the week.

Artist: Holly Herndon
Album: PROTO
Quick Description: Future-forward electronic music from a well-respected artist.
Why You Should Listen: Even if you can't appreciate the music, the effort and thought put into the whole package are worth the time.
Overall Thoughts: Few electronic artists are like Holly Herndon, and you wouldn’t know it by listening to it. She has gotten some rightful buzz from her previous efforts, and this latest one just continues along the same lines of really striking, ever-present electronic music. This isn’t for everyone nor does it try to be, but in terms of a near-cinematic approach to her type of composing, there’s little else out there that can even come close.
Recommendation: Yet another great album from Herndon, so check it out.

Artist: Lydia Ainsworth
Album: Phantom Forest
Quick Description: Beautiful concept album from a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Lydia Ainsworth has a unique approach worth everyone's time.
Overall Thoughts: Lydia Ainsworth has been doing a good job, over the last few releases, to really stake her claim on her little plot of musical land. This feels more accessible than her previous efforts, yet also much further out there in many regards. While no songs jumped out at first listen, the entire package had a surreal approach to it that I did not expect given its conceptual roots, and it’s one of my favorites this week. If Darling of the Afterglow was her putting a flag in the ground, this is her reconfiguring the flag into something really strange and powerful.
Recommendation: A great listen this week.

Artist: She Keeps Bees
Album: Kinship
Quick Description: Solid indie roots-ish music.
Why You Should Listen: They've been around for a while and this album feels like a hidden treasure.
Overall Thoughts: Truly, I would not have given this a second look if I wasn’t immediately transfixed by this act’s name. They’ve been around for well over a decade, and this duo makes a sort of indie, sort of folky, sort of bluesy album that never stays in one lane while deftly occupying multiple ones at the same time. It may have been “Breaking Weight” when I started texting people to check this one out, and not only will I be going back to this album sooner rather than later, but I have a whole back catalog of interesting stuff waiting for me as well.
Recommendation: A highlight this week.

Artist: Bis
Album: Slight Disconnects
Quick Description: Indie faves with their first new album in five years.
Why You Should Listen: Bis is one of those legendary indie acts.
Overall Thoughts: Bis is one of those indie acts that has been around for ages and that I fully and completely missed the boat on. This came out a few months ago and we initially missed it, but listening now feels like something really and truly different, and they probably know it already. I have no clue how longtime fans may feel about this one, but as someone coming in fresh, it makes me want to see what I missed.
Recommendation: Worth your time.

Of note:

* HÆLOS - Any Random Kindness
* Ten Foot Pole - Escalating Quickly
* Rhye - Spirit
* Clinic - Wheeltappers and Shunters
* Meat Beat Manifesto - Opaque Couche
* An American Forrest - O Bronder, Yonder Donder
* John Shakespear - Spend Your Youth


* Elvis Costello and the Imposters - Purse
* Hannah Grace - The Bed You Made
* Boston Cream - Feels Funny
* Dawn Landes - My Tiny Twilight
* Hemming - Waiting/Wasting

Also out:

* Bear Hands - Fake Tunes (don’t sleep on “Blue Lips”)
* The Skints - Swimming Lessons(Similarly, “Learning to Swim” is great)
* Rosie Lowe - YU
* Cold Wrecks - This Could Be Okay