Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Queers - "Down in the Shadows"

Photo via Facebook
For Halloween, The Queers have given a brand new song to the Punk Rock Halloween II compilation. "Down in the Shadows" is one of The Queers's more melodic songs. It's more pop than punk, and I mean that in the best possible way. It's not quite as melodic as their obviously inspired by The Beach Boys ones, but more inspired by the 80's output of the Ramones. Plus, something about it reminds me of The Munsters theme, which is never a bad thing. It's ridiculously fun, which is what we really want in a Halloween song.

You can listen to "Down in the Shadows" below. Punk Rock Halloween II is available now via Bandcamp and also features songs by The Vandals, Reagan Youth, Johnny Thunders, The Virators, and more! 

Torres - "Good Scare"

Photo by Michael Lavine
Torres (aka Mackenzie Scott) has released three albums that have both worked and not worked for us, and, if the first single off her upcoming fourth album is any indication, this one might be the one that finally sucks us in completely. "Good Scare" is this beautifully powerful and epic alt-pop song. It's somehow one of Torres's most and least accessible songs at the same time. 

Scott says about the song: “Regarding ‘Good Scare,’ I guess I could say that falling in love is a lot like the Superman crawl. If you’re not familiar with Superman’s crawl, it’s a terrifying maneuver used in spelunking that’s only performed when certain passages are too narrow, so a person has to hold one arm against the body and the other above the head, all while trying to crawl forward. When you fall in love with someone, it’s scary like the Superman’s crawl, but you have no choice but to keep moving forward even though you have no idea what’s ahead of you.”

You can listen to "Good Scare" below. Silver Tongue, the upcoming album from Torres, will be out January 31 on Merge Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Torres, check out her Facebook and Twitter. Current tour dates are below the song.



Sat. Nov. 2 - Durham, NC @ Motorco (early & late shows) *

Mon. Nov. 4 - Alexandria, VA @ The Birchmere *
Tue. Nov. 5 - Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live *
Wed. Nov. 6 - Somerville, MA @ Somerville Theatre *
Thu. Nov. 7 - Brooklyn, NY @ Murmrr Theatre *
Fri. Jan. 31 - Brooklyn, NY @ The Sultan Room (record release show)
Tue. March 3 - Bristol, UK @ The Louisiana
Wed. March 4 - Manchester, UK @ YES Basement
Thu. March 5 - London, UK @ Oslo
Fri. March 6 - Brussels, BE @ Botanique (Witloof Bar)
Sat. March 7 - Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso (Upstairs)
Mon. March 9 - Hamburg, DE @ Turmzimmer
Tue. March 10 - Copenhagen, DK @ Loppen
Wed. March 11 - Berlin, DE @ Kantine am Berghain
Thu. March 12 - Heidelberg, DE @ Karlstorbahnhof
Fri. March 13 - Z├╝rich, CH @ Rote Fabrik
Sat. March 14 - Torino, IT @ Circolo della Musica
Mon. March 16 - Paris, FR @ Le Pop Up du Label
* = solo performance supporting Superchunk

Big D and The Kids Table - Strictly Covered

Around Halloween, lots of bands do live sets as other bands, playing as if they were the other band. Typically you'll see lots of bands playing as Misfits, Weezer, The Strokes, etc. Boston's ska punk favorites Big D and The Kids Table have decided to release an all covers album for Halloween this year. Strictly Covered has some covers that you would expect and are pretty obvious choices for Big D and The Kids Table (Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Rancid, Voodoo Glow Skulls, and two Operation Ivy covers), some less expected but that still make sense (Beastie Boys, The Dead Milkmen), and then some completely out of left field choices. These include two Boston legends in Sam Black Church and Morphine (although it is fun hearing Big D and The Kids Table's tribute to hardcore and alternative rock/jazz fusion classics) and industrial gods Ministry.

You can listen to Big D and The Kids Table's version of Morphine's "Early to Bed" below. Strictly Covered is available now via Bandcamp. For more on Big D and The Kids Table, check out their website.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Stef Chura Covers Silver Jews

Photo by Danielle Dabney
Stef Chura's Midnight is a strong contender for best album of 2019 and she's just released a cover of Silver Jews's classic "How to Rent a Room." Chura has been performing the song at live shows for a while, but after the untimely passing of David Berman earlier this year she chose to release a formal version of the song. "'How To Rent a Room' has always been one of those songs that I could never let go of," explains Chura. "Ever since the first time I heard it it’s always been one of my favorite songs and remains one that imprinted me as a young songwriter. Now, in light of his death, the lyrics take on a new and much sadder meaning. At the time they seemed conceptual, but the line 'Now there’s a lot of things that I’m gonna miss, like the thunder down country and the way water drips' is now a haunting and deeply poetic rendering of everyday minutiae and the texture of our lives that we don’t appreciate on a daily basis. The song seems nostalgic for a life he was currently living, and how important it can feel to mean something to someone. Or at least that's my interpretation." Despite the original being released in 1996, somehow Chura's cover sounds even more 90's. Not that either is specifically tied to the sound associated with that decade. Both are rambling songs that aren't quite folk. Folk-adjacent, at best. 

You can listen to Stef Chura's take on "How to Rent a Room" below. A portion of the proceeds of the song will be donated to MusiCares, a charity providing financial, health and rehabilitation resources to music people in times of need. You can get a copy here. For more on Stef Chura, check out her website. Current tour dates are below the song.


Thur. Oct. 31 - Paris, FR @ Supersonic (free show)
Sat. Nov. 2 - London, UK @ Mirrors Festival
Sun. Nov. 3 - Newcastle, UK @ Bobiks
Mon. Nov. 4 - Glasgow, UK @ The Hug & Pint
Tue. Nov. 5 | Manchester, UK @ Gullivers
Wed. Nov. 6 - Brighton, UK @ The Hope & Ruin
Thu. Nov. 7 - Bristol, UK @ Hy Brasil (free show)
Fri. Nov. 15 - Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick

Dead Ghosts - "Drugstore Supplies"

Vancouver's Dead Ghosts (how do we not post about them this week?) are about to release a new album, and they've released the first single, "Drugstore Supplies." The song is rooted heavily in 60's garage rock, the kind infused with organs. But they've changed that formula a bit by adding in some elements of mid 90's alternative/pop/psychedelic bands like Cornershop and The Dandy Warhols. It's a unique and familiar sound that is guaranteed to be enjoyed!

You can listen to "Drugstore Supplies" below. Automatic Changer, the new album from Dead Ghosts, will be out April 24 via Burger Records. For more on Dead Ghosts, check them out on Facebook. Current tour dates are below the song.


Oct 31 - LA - Minty Boi Presents Halloween @ El CID 
Nov 1 - Phoenix - Psyko Steve Presents  @ Lunchbox 
Nov 3 - SF - Folk YEAH Presents @ The Chapel 
Nov 4 - Portland @ Star Theatre
Nov 5 - Seattle - The Crocodile presents @The Sunset 
Nov 6 - Vancouver - MRG Presents @ The Biltmore

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Shirts and Shoes - "Wolf"

Photo by Danny DeRusso
Lowell, MA's The Shirts and Shoes describe themselves as a "rock band," and that pretty much explains it. Although, being a music blogger, we're going to feel the need to categorize them. Their latest single, "Wolf," blends a few varieties of rock. There's some heavy mid-90's post grunge alternative in there, along with a bit of a punk attitude. Plus, the whole thing is just as groovy as it is loud. It's an intriguing way to mix the familiar into its own sound.

You can watch the video for "Wolf" below. It's perfect for this week since it was shot at Haunted Overload in Lee, NH. The Shirts and Shoes are currently hard at work on their debut full length album. For more on The Shirts and Shoes, check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

First Listen: New Releases for 25 October


Artist: Troi Irons
Album: Lost Angels
Quick Description: Latest album from the folk-adjacent singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: This defies a lot of expectations.
Overall Thoughts: I liked Troi Irons’s first album a lot. This new album is a solid shock to the system in many regards, with some truly interesting choices alongside some mainstream plays. The cynic in me wonders about the production options here, but the fan in me sees this as a bold and adventurous step forward that’s ultimately worth hearing.
Recommendation: A good listen this week.


Artist: Amy O
Album: Shell
Quick Description: Power-poppy indie rock.
Why You Should Listen: Her first album was good, this might be better.
Overall Thoughts: I thought Amy O’s previous album was pretty solid, but I am fully impressed with Shell on first listen. Guitar-centric indie pop with some great melodies? Can’t really go wrong here. It’s definitely got an indie sensibility, so if you’re looking for something a little more traditional you may be disappointed, but for me...
Recommendation: ...this just fully worked.


Artist: Anna Meredith
Album: FIBS
Quick Description: Advanced electronica.
Why You Should Listen: This is a really interesting listen.
Overall Thoughts: I somehow missed out on Anna Meredith for her first proper album, which got a ton of awards and praise. This new album from the sometimes composer definitely takes a composer pathway to some truly fascinating and compelling electronic music. I loved loved loved this album in so many ways, and I feel like future listens are going to peel back a number of unexpected layers along the way. Good for electronic music fans, but also something that might end up on year end/award lists.
Recommendation: Don’t miss out.


Artist: Kanye West
Album: JESUS IS KING
Quick Description: Kanye's long-awaited gospel-rap hybrid effort.
Why You Should Listen: This is absolutely one of the most interesting listens of the year, and will probably be a cultural touchstone for years to come.
Overall Thoughts: There’s not a lot of ways to approach this release in a vacuum. Kanye West is very clearly going through things publicly, and it’s difficult not to see the latest incarnation as either a stunt or the latest in a long-term public meltdown. Musically, this is a fascinating approach and something I am surprised at in all senses. Is it good? I don’t know if it matters or not. It does exist, however, and it’s definitely something.
Recommendation: Must be heard, regardless of where you end up on the final product.


Artist: Great Grandpa
Album: Four of Arrows
Quick Description: New album from the buzzzworthy indie act.
Why You Should Listen: It's a lane change for sure, but a welcome one.
Overall Thoughts: This is an interesting one as well. Great Grandpa had a great debut that felt raw and grungy, and this is a quieter and more introspective alt-rock affair. Not bad, and actually quite good, but different. If one completely puts aside expectations on this, it’s great, but it’s definitely going to be different if you were a fan of their prior effort.
Recommendation: Give it a listen.


Artist: Negativland
Album: True False
Quick Description: Longtime musical pranksters back with more stuff.
Why You Should Listen: Negativland is something unique and different.
Overall Thoughts: As someone who likes a good countercultural moment, I should have a lot more love for and history with Negativland, who check so many cultural boxes for me. Instead, I only know a handful of one-offs and never really bothered with a whole album. This is not a normal album by any stretch, but I really enjoyed the experience. A lot of found audio (or what comes across as such) and interesting music makes for an interesting listen.
Recommendation: I’ll probably spend the week listening to a lot more of this stuff, for better or for worse.


Artist: Claud
Album: Sideline Star
Quick Description: New release by this upbeat poppy act.
Why You Should Listen: This is probably one of the better releases of the last few months.
Overall Thoughts: This has been a highly anticipated album for me and others, and for good reason given the quality of the advance singles. The album is a great, bright listen with some higher-than-expected production value to go along with some solid songwriting. I can understand if some view her as an acquired taste of sorts, but I fell for this stuff almost immediately.
Recommendation: I hope you will, too.

Of note:

* Ian O'Neil - Ten Years of It (Via Deer Tick, feels like what Deer Tick might sound like as a more traditional singer-songwritery rock music.)
* Water From Your Eyes - Somebody Else's Song (Don’t judge on the first song. Or the second.)
* Sex Machine Octopus - Plastic Scenes (Better and more accessible than the name implies.)
* Grace Potter - Daylight
* Alison Moorer - Blood
* Little Screem - Speed Queen
* Night Flowers - Fortune Teller
* Meemo Comma - Nightmoss
* Mikal Cronin - Seeker
* Geowulf - My Resignation
* Anna of the North - Dream Girl
* King Princess - Cheap Queen
* Black Marble - Bigger Than Life
* Anamanaguchi - [USA]

7 Song Albums:

* Sarah Jaffe - SMUT

EPs:

* Slothrust- Peach EP
* Madame Gandhi - Visions
* Mourn - Mixtape


Also out:

* VERITE - New Skin
* Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars
* Tessa Violet - Bad Ideas
* Ringo Starr - What's My Name
* Goodbye June - Community Inn
* Armin van Buuren - Balance

Monday, October 28, 2019

NovaBound - "Under the Sun"

"Under the Sun," taken from NovaBound's upcoming debut album, is an odd little pop-adjacent song. It sounds like a more organic and less electronic Cornelius as it wildly shuffles tempo, sound, and styles throughout its 5:11 duration. It's not quite rock, it's not quite pop, it's not quite jazz, it's not quite electronic, but it is somehow all of these things. NovaBound explains the track this way:

""Under The Sun" is part of a break-up album called Sevenths that loosely mirrors the stages of grief during it's run-time. Here we have anger (or at least my best attempt at it being angry). I'm being judgmental towards some choices that were made but truth be told things stopped being my business very quickly. It got rather dark after the split so I offer a prayer in verse two although I can't help myself from being passive aggressive. California is actually Florida in real life, but California is a lot more catchier."

You can listen to "Under the Sun" below. Sevenths, the debut album from NovaBound, will be out November 22. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on NovaBound, check out their Twitter.

Live Shows: Helmet, Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA 10/23/19

Starting off the North American portion of their "30 Years x 30 Cities x 30 Song Set. No Openers" tour in Boston, Helmet took the stage fifteen minutes later than the announced time. Page Hamilton later joked that the venue wouldn't let them start on time since so many people had yet to show up. The audience did seem shockingly thin around 8:00 pm, but the extra time helped fill it the Paradise. (Also, it was a ridiculously stacked night for live rock in Boston, with Starcrawler, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Flipper with David Yow, and Against Me all playing shows Wednesday night.) And anytime you can see one of your all time favorites play for two hours and still be out by 10:15 pm on a work night, we'll be pretty happy at our advanced age.

When a band is celebrating their thirtieth anniversary of being a band, you expect to hear the classics and favorites. Helmet delivered that. 30% of the setlist was from 1994's Betty, and another 16% was from 1992's Meantime. If half of the set is going to be from their two most popular albums, you aren't going to find many complaints. Not that there was much reason to complain. Their newer albums might not be as popular as their classics, but new songs like "Red Scare" didn't sound out of place live. They even broke out their cover of Bjork's "Army of Me." "Wilma's Rainbow" and "Milquetoast" were incredibly well received, and for good reason, seeing as how killer they sounded last week. Of course, even with thirty songs, when a band has been around for thirty years some favorites won't get played. "Sinatra" and "Just Another Victim" were missed.

This was my third time seeing Helmet this century. The first was 2004 back at Axis, and then last year at Brighton Music Hall. In 2004, Helmet was Page playing with a cobbled together group since the rest of Helmet was backing Gavin Rossdale for a better paycheck, and last year felt like he was breaking in a new band. Last Wednesday's show was the first time I saw them that Helmet felt like a cohesive band. That made a huge difference. If you can see them on this tour, this might be the best time.

Monday Mix: The If It's Too Loud... 2019 Halloween Playlist

Same as last year, I got more than a little ridiculous with this year's If It's Too Loud... Halloween playlist. Starting on November 9, 2018, I began adding songs as I came across them, ending up with a 55 song, over three hour playlist. It features some of our classic alternative favorites (Jon Spencer, Holly Golightly, Meat Puppets, Mudhoney), songs more metal than our usual (Ministry, Orange Goblin), hip hop (STL GLD, L'Orange and Jeremiah Jae), folk and folk adjacent (Mary Lou Lord, Jittery Jack, Charming Disaster, Jason Hawk Harris), local favorites (Carissa Johnson, Diablogato, Hallelujah the Hills), new discoveries/favorites (The Exbats, The Tenth, Starcrawler), the loud (Screaming Females, Lightning Bolt, Scissorfight), and, of course, much, much more! It's perfect for all of your Halloween party and handing out candy needs!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Jennah Barry - "The Real Moon"

Hailing from Nova Scotia, Jennah Barry's latest single is a dream-like genre mixing experiment. "The Real Moon" has elements of dream pop, 80's pop, jazz, and folk all mixed into one cohesive sound. It's both retro and modern sounding at the same time. All the pieces of the song seemlessly transition into each other and create a familiar and unique sound.

"I was spending most of my time alone when I wrote ‘The Real Moon,'” says Barry. “The song is about the very modern problem of seeing too much of the world without actually leaving your house. It’s about experiencing the fragility of reality.”

You can listen to "The Real Moon" below. The single is currently available via Bandcamp. Jennah Barry will be releasing a new album sometime in 2020. To make sure you know when that will be expected, check out her website.

Squirrel Flower - "Red Shoulder"

Photo by Ally Schmaling
Squirrel Flower has been Ella O'Connor Williams's moniker since childhood. She was a member of the Boston Children's Chorus, and spent time in the Boston DIY folk scene. Her new song, "Red Shoulder," starts out as an ethereal folk song. It's beautiful, and haunting... and then it changes. These loud punk/country guitars kick in seemingly out of nowhere, even though they were hinted at all along. “‘Red Shoulder’ is a song about destabilization and dissociation,” explains Williams. “Something soft and tender becomes warped and sinister, turning into sensory overload and confusion. How can something so lovely turn painful and claustrophobic? The song ends with a heavy and visceral guitar solo, attempting to reground what went awry."

You can watch the video for "Red Shoulder" below. I Was Born Swimming, the debut album from Squirrel Flower, will be out January 31 on Polyvinyl. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Squirrel Flower, check out her website.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Gabriel Birnbaum - "Mistakes"

Way, way, way back in January we brought you "Stack the Miles," the first single of Gabriel Birnbaum's (Wilder Maker) solo debut. Finally, nine months later we have a follow up single and album news. "Mistakes" is an oddly interesting song. It starts out in a fairly standard singer/songwriter format, but in the bigger, more rock way, while still having a folk base. It keeps that main sound throughout, but with these killer flourishes that don't exactly fit in. (And by flourishes, I mostly mean short solos.) It's not quite quirky, but this is more how I would expect Stephen Malkmus's solo work to sound at this point. The singer/songwriter thing can be a pretty paint-by-numbers format, so it's great to hear a song that stays true to the formula while branching out in its own directions.

You can listen to "Mistakes" below. Not Alone, the solo debut from Gabriel Birnbaum, will be out November 22. You can pre-order it here. For more on Gabriel Birnbaum, check out his website.

Prateek - "Springtime"

Boston's Prateek is the kind of modern folk singer we love. He just released a new live single, "Springtime," which is about seasonal depression. Recorded at the Shalin-Liu Center in Rockport, MA, the single captures one of our region's most underrated musicians at the height of his trade. It starts off with some charming stage banter which eventually wanders into the song. It's the kind of song that can keep both folk purists and more mainstream fans satisfied. As he meanders between speak-singing and more traditional singing, you're sucked further and further into Prateek's tale of dealing with seasonal depression while living in New England, which is probably the worst place to suffer from it.

You can listen to "Springtime" below. The song is available for free on Prateek's Bandcamp. For more on Prateek, check out his website. If you happen to be in the Boston area, Prateek will be recording a live album at Q Division Studios in Somerville on December 7. You can find more information here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Whiffs - "Shakin All Over"

When you see that there's a band called The Whiffs with an EP called Take a Whiff and an upcoming album called Another Whiff, you're going to expect Blink 182 style bratty pop punk about farts. Kansas City's The Whiffs will shock you with their sound. Their latest single, "Shakin All Over" is 1970's/Big Star style power pop. It's filled with gorgeous three part harmonies, huge guitar riffs, and the catchiest choruses you could possibly imagine. Sure, there is still some punk edge in there, but "Shakin All Over" is more like solo Paul Westerberg than Sorry Ma, I Forgot to Take Out the Trash.

You can listen to "Shakin All Over" below. Another Whiff, the upcoming album from The Whiffs, will be out December 6 on Dig! Records. You can pre-order it here. For more on The Whiffs, check them out on Facebook. Upcoming tour dates with The Get Up Kids are below the song.


Nov. 13 Denver, CO @ Oriental Theatre 
Nov. 14 Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge 
Nov. 15 Boise, ID @ The Shredder 
Nov. 16 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir 
Nov. 17 Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile 
Nov. 19 San Francisco, CA @ Beat American Music Hall
Nov. 20 Fresno, CA @ Strummer’s 
Nov. 21 Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex 
Nov. 22 Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction 
Nov. 23 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
Nov. 24 Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom

Taleen Kali Covers Garbage

In what has been a very covers heavy week here at If It's Too Loud..., we have another one. Los Angeles's "cosmic femme punk" Taleen Kali (formerly of TULIPS) has released a cover of Garbage's "#1 Crush" from the 1996 Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet starring film William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. The original seemed to be every girl's favorite sexy song back when I was in college. Taleen Kali channels that, but cranks up the intensity. It's a hauntingly dark version of the song, keeping the same pace but adding a layer of what seems like a threat.

Kali explains her choice of a cover: "I chose to cover '#1 Crush' to marry my love of Shakespeare and my musical heroes, Garbage. This song is how I became turned onto dark alternative 90's music, so it's an honor to pay musical homage to Garbage by releasing our own version of the song for the Halloween season."

You can listen to Taleen Kali's version of "#1 Crush" below. For more on Taleen Kali, check out her website.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

First Listen: New Releases for 18 October


Artist: Common Holly
Album: When I Say To You Black Lightning
Quick Description: New album from an indie favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: This is not the most accessible album, but that's what makes it great.
Overall Thoughts: Common Holly is odd, but leans into it. There are so many moments in this album that really just worked for me even if I couldn’t in good conscience recommend it to most people (hi there “Uuu”), but if you’re reading this you have a refined taste for adventure, so dive right in. I have no clue about the staying power of this record, but it’s been a while since I wanted to explore an album as much as I do this one.
Recommendation: Really interesting listen.


Artist: clipping.
Album: There Existed an Addiction to Blood
Quick Description: Latest from the futuristic sci-fi rap collective.
Why You Should Listen: Great music, great lyrics, great everything.
Overall Thoughts: Yeah, there’s a lot of great rap music out lately, but then you get a new clipping. record and you realize how they’re just on another level. From instrumentation to performance to overall presentation, this is just so far beyond even the best rap albums of the year… yeah. Make time for this. It’s just too good to really describe, and probably the most impressive rap effort of the year.
Recommendation: A must-listen.


Artist: Harmony Woods
Album: Make Yourself at Home
Quick Description: Solid alt-rock.
Why You Should Listen: This sounds like stuff you love, with high production value and great songwriting.
Overall Thoughts: I highlight this because this is a week with some interesting, compelling listens but not a lot to say about them. To say I really liked this album is an understatement, for sure, but it's worth noting that Harmony Woods is not trying to reinvent the wheel with this effort, only make great music. And the music here is great, so in a week like this...
Recommendation: ...check it out.

Of note:

* HXXS - Season of the Witch (Is industrial pop a thing? A fascinating listen.)
* Screaming Females - Singles Too (Singles/rarities comp. It’s fun!)
* Caroline Polachek - Pang (Chairlift singer, perfect late 80s/early 90s soft pop pastiche.)
* The Muffs - No Holiday (A great farewell to a great band.)
* Jake La Botz - They're Coming For Me (Solid off-center folk effort.)
* Zachary Lucky - Midwestern
* Nice Guys - Nice Guys
* Homeboy Sandman - Dust
* Benjamin Spike Saunders - Tonsil Wife
* GA-20 - Lonely Soul
* Rosa Bordallo - Reef Walker
* Vagabon - Vagabon
* Hollow Coves - Moments
* BT - Between Here and You
* Looking for Alaska Soundtrack

7 song albums:

* The Milk Carton Kids - The Only Ones

EPs:

* Guerilla Toss - What Would The Odd Do?
* Basement Revolver - Wax and Digital
* Kitten - Goodbye Honeymoon Phase
* Highasakite - The Bare Romantic Vol. 1
* Joy Orbison - Sliping
* Barrie - Happy to Be Here

Also out:

* Rob Halford - Celestial (It's a Christmas album!)
* Sufjan Stevens and Timo Andres - The Decalogue
* Anna Wise - As If It Were Forever
* La Neve - The Vital Chord
* Jeff Rosenstock - Thanks, Sorry!
* Behavior - Spirits and Embellishments
* Refused - War Music

Palehound Covers Yo La Tengo

I'm shockingly unfamiliar with Yo La Tengo's song "Autumn Sweater," despite the fact that it was on 1997's I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One, which is an album I know I played a ton on my college radio show. But, when Palehound decides to cover it, I kinda need to go back and revisit it. Palehound's version is very true to the original, as you'd expect. If anything, the cover is a more straightforward song than the original. Yo La Tengo's version feels a bit dreamier and Palehound's a bit more grounded, although somehow it's the keys that give both their feel. 

You can listen to Palehound's version of "Autumn Sweater" below. It's the b-side to their new single, "Your Boyfriend's Gun." You can get a copy over at their Bandcamp. For more on Palehound, check out their website.

Isobel Campbell Covers Tom Petty

Photo by Ashley Osbourn
We may have had to wait seemingly forever for new music from Isobel Campbell, but along with a new album comes a Tom Petty cover. We're always suckers for cover songs, and personally I'll always check out a Tom Petty cover. Campbell chose to take on Petty's beyond iconic "Runnin' Down a Dream." As you would imagine, Campbell's cover is quite different from the original. There is some of the same iconic guitar riff, but it's a very, very minimal use of guitar, instead focusing mostly on what sounds like a drum machine and Campbell's vocals. It's like a quiet electroclash take on Tom Petty.

Campbell says of the song: “I grew up listening to Full Moon Fever in my Dad's car. On repeat. I had no idea what it was back then, just knew that I loved hearing it. The lilting laidback voice floating from the speakers made absolute sense to me. It painted a picture of America and the West long before I’d ever go. I’d visualise and dream of wide open spaces, nature, freedom and this alternate kind of life. All from my Dad’s car. When I recorded ‘Runnin' Down A Dream’ the poetry and mystery of the lyrics were really speaking to me. I wanted to give this version a hypnotic dream like feel.”

You can listen to Isobel Campbell's version of "Runnin' Down a Dream" below. There is No Other, the long awaited new album from Isobel Campbell, will be out January 31 on Cooking Vinyl. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Isobel Campbell, check out her website.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Gork - "That's Plastic Mate"

An ode to recycling doesn't sound like the basis of a great song, but it's 2019, so who even knows how the world works anymore, right? Hailing from Bristol, Gork's new song "That's Plastic Mate" is simply weird. It has the backbeat groove of post punk, but it's a noisy psychedelic song, that's also some form of pop. Imagine Frank Zappa partying with Ween and Gang of Four, and you might end up with "That's Plastic Mate."

Guitarist/vocalist Ed Soles says of the song: "Little Bruce lived a normal life, unaware of our plastic oceans. Some say he ate too much fish, who knows maybe he did. Either way, he is an Evian bottle now. 'Plastic' warns parents everywhere of the dangers of this translucent lifestyle. If you don’t want baby Sarah or chubby Paul to wake up as a bottle then you best praise the bins and praise the recycling. That's plastic mate."

You can watch the video for "That's Plastic Mate" below. Class the new EP from Gork, will be out November 15 on Breakfast Records and Leisure Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Gork, check them out on Facebook.

Secret Spirit - "Dream Warriors"

Our favorite noisy NH punks are back with a new single! Secret Spirit have released "Dream Warriors," which is this weirdly wonderful mix of thrashy noise and emo/pop punk that somehow works. It's melodic, catchy as it could possibly be, but also grating and discordant in the best possible way. As I said before, we're probably far too old to be into Secret Spirit, but sometimes we just can't help ourselves.

You can watch the video for "Dream Warriors" below. It features the band harassing campers in the woods of Milford, NH to get them to pay attention to the band, buy their merch, etc. It's pretty great. For more on Secret Spirit, check them out on Bandcamp.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Bobby Hawk - "Salt and Liquor"

Photo by Chelsea Clarke
Bobby Hawk is best known as Robert Hecht, a touring fiddler with artists like Abigail Washburn, Noam Pikelny, and Phosphorescent. He's about to release his solo debut, which was written after a break up. As Hawk says, "“It sounds cliche, but it was the end of one of those relationships where you go, ‘Screw it, I’m gonna go get a tattoo and buy a guitar.' These songs just started pouring out.” The first single off the upcoming album, "Salt and Liquor," is roots based, which you would expect from a fiddler, but there is far heavier guitar than you'd expect. It's a roots/Americana song with a mix of indie rock and 90's alt-metal guitar, which is perfect for someone like me that grew up on Sonic Youth and Helmet but has discovered folk and country as I've gotten older. 

You can listen to "Salt and Liquor" below. Lights On Kinks Out, Bobby Hawk's solo debut album, will be out November 1. For more on Bobby Hawk, check out his website.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Mark Lind and The Unloved - "Out of the Blackout"

Even if you don't instantly recognize Mark Lind's name, if you've been paying any attention to the Boston music scene for the last twenty five years, you know who he is. He's been/is a member of The Ducky Boys, Dirty Water, Sinners & Saints, and The Warning Shots. It's been ten years since he last released music as Mark Lind and The Unloved, but now they're back with a new single and upcoming album! This time around his band consists of members of Diablogato, The Bruisers, Art Thieves, and Michael Kane & The Morning Afters.

The first single, "Out of the Blackout," is incredibly catchy punk rock 'n' roll. It borders between a more mainstream near-pop punk sound and dirty old school Boston punk. It's basically perfect in that way, and you owe it to yourself to listen, even if you've never heard of The Ducky Boys.

You can listen to "Out of the Blackout" below. The Last Bastion, the new album from Mark Lind and The Unloved, will be out 11/8 on Lind's own State Line Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Mark Lind and The Unloved, check them out on Bandcamp and Facebook. If you plan on being in the Boston area for Thanksgiving weekend, the band is playing Great Scott in Allston on November 30.

7th Victim - "Missing Girls In Gothic Garb"

Photo via Facebook
7th Victim is the project that allows Rodney Anonymous to explore his love of electronic music much more than The Dead Milkmen ever could. Plus, they have the greatest Bandcamp bio of all time: 

"When you think of Philadelphia-based electronic acts, only one name comes to mind.
That name is Void Vision.
But sometimes they're not available. For those times, there's 7th Victim.
Formed in Stocksbridge, UK in 1976, 7th Victim has played shows with Joy Division, The Clash, The KLF, and Depache Mode.. Except for when they haven't. Which they didn't. Why are you still reading this?"


As you can tell from that bio and the name of their latest single, "Missing Girls In Gothic Garb," 7th Victim are surprisingly fun. Their latest single is very 80's style electronic. It's minimal and I hesitate to call it New Wave and compare it to early Depeche Mode (for obvious reasons), but...

You can listen to "Missing Girls In Gothic Garb" below. The song is available for free on 7th Victim's Bandcamp. For more on 7th Victim, check them out on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

First Listen: New Releases for 11 October


Artist: The Dead South
Album: Sugar & Joy
Quick Description: New album from an underrated roots act.
Why You Should Listen: They're gritty but polished, which is a great mix.
Overall Thoughts: For what it’s worth, I never read about The Dead South when I’m hearing about current roots/Americana acts, and I don’t know why, because they’re great. They had the one viral hit, yes, but this new album does not betray their sound or provide any sort of sea change that would make you think they’re anything less than one of the more solid, skilled acts in the genre. If you want good roots music? Just make time for this.
Recommendation: You won’t regret a moment of it.


Artist: Cursive
Album: Get Fixed
Quick Description: Second new album this year from the indie emo band.
Why You Should Listen: Cursive is good, guys.
Overall Thoughts: A surprise second release from the indie act, this one is a little more chamber-emo than the harshness of the solid album earlier this year, but it definitely doesn’t feel like a ton of castoff songs. Cur have been great for some time now, and this is just the latest in their line of quality music.
Recommendation: Don’t miss out.


Artist: Very Good
Album: Adulthood
Quick Description: One of the more interesting folkish listens of the week.
Why You Should Listen: Defies any expectations you may have.
Overall Thoughts: This is a very interesting listen in a lot of ways. I can’t say for sure whether it works for me on first listen, as it is such a stilted jolt to the system for what comes across as a folk-style record, but still such a fascinating adventure. I didn’t want to ignore this one this week, and if you’re feeling like a trek off the beaten path…
Recommendation: Worth your time.


Artist: Kim Gordon
Album: No Home Record
Quick Description: Sonic Youth frontwoman with her first solo album.
Why You Should Listen: Kim Gordon is basically grunge royalty.
Overall Thoughts: An odd and frustrating record in all the right ways. Most of my favorite Sonic Youth songs featured Kim Gordon in a big way, so I’ve been low-key looking forward to this effort. The result ends up being something very odd and often impenetrable, and that isn’t a bad thing. In fact, in many ways, it is exactly what I was hoping for and expecting from it. This is basically impossible to really write about coherently, but it is worth a full listen. For me, I’m definitely looking to revisit.
Recommendation: A really fascinating experience.


Artist: The Building
Album: PETRA
Quick Description: Thoughtful, interesting folk rock.
Why You Should Listen: This doesn't play it entirely straight.
Overall Thoughts: The number of fairly basic folk rock records that come across our weekly listens is often staggering, but this means that when a superlative one hits our stack, we notice. This is one of them, with a pleasant demeanor and some interesting musical and lyrical flourishes that sets it apart. There’s something a little more special about this one...
Recommendation: ...so check it out.


Artist: Big Thief
Album: Two Hands
Quick Description: Second album this year from the indie faves.
Why You Should Listen: More in line with what you might expect.
Overall Thoughts: Big Thief is back after a few months with a new album. This one feels a lot closer to what I expect compared to U.F.O.F., and the result is a pretty solid listen that doesn’t feel like a bunch of throwaways from the previous sessions.
Recommendation: Good for fans, worth it for all.

Of note:

* Chris Farren - Born Hot (Power pop lives!)
* Tahiti 80 - Fear of an Acoustic Planet (Sneaky good.)
* 808 State - Transmission Suite
* Elbow - Giants of All Sizes
* Lemolo - Swansea
* Allah-Las - LAHS
* Suitcase Sam - Goodnight Riverdale Park
* Newmoon - Nothing Lasts Forever
* Jonsi and Alex Somers - Lost & Found
* The Hard-Ons - So I Could Have Them Destroyed
* Art Alexakis - Sun Songs
* Babymetal - Metal Galaxy
* Dan Luke and the Raid - Out of the Blue
* Joseph Arthur - Come Back World

7 Song Albums:

* BODEGA - Shiny New Model

EPs:

* Mallin Petterson - Alonesome
* Lindstrom - On a Clear Day I Can See You Forever
* Babehaven - Suspended Animation
* Marika Hackman - Any Human Friend
* Askjell - To Be Loved
* Son Little - Invisible

Also Out:

* Wale - Wow, That's Crazy
* Lightning Bolt - Sonic Citadel