Friday, January 31, 2020

Shopping - "For Your Pleasure"

Photo by Matt Draper
We've been huge fans of Shopping's post punk dance music for a while now. For the most part, their songs have sounded very similar to one another. No complaints here, if you're doing something that well, we're on board 100%. With "For Your Pleasure" the trio have mixed up their sound just slightly, but just enough to keep things fresh. "For Your Pleasure" is more of a New Wave dance song than post punk. Keyboards are right up front and the main focus of the song along with a propulsive beat. For a band that's always been dance friendly, this new song is the most dance friendly of all.

The band explains the subject of the song: “‘For Your Pleasure’ is a song about frustration, the feeling of always wanting more, needing material things to distract or gratify us,” says Shopping. “It’s about consumerism but also searching for meaning in life. That feeling of longing that never really goes away even when you have the things, the job, the status or the person you thought you wanted. I think people who create music or art know what that feels like particularly.” 

You can watch the video for "For Your Pleasure" below. All or Nothing, the new album from Shopping, will be out February 7 on FatCat Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Shopping, check them out on Facebook and Twitter. Current tour dates are below the video.

Fri. Feb. 7 - London, UK @ Rough Trade East
Sun. Feb. 9 - Bristol, UK @ Rough Trade Bristol
Mon. Feb. 10 - Nottingham, UK @ Rough Trade Nottingham
Thu. March 5 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios *
Fri. March 6 - Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern *
Sat. March 7 - Vancouver, BC @ The Biltmore *
Mon. March 9 - Reno, NV @ Holland Project * 
Tue. March 10 - San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop *
Wed. March 11 - Los Angeles, CA @ 1720 *
Thu. March 12 - San Diego, CA @ UCSD *
Sat. March 14 - Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress (Spring Thing) *
Mon. March 16 - Sat. March 21 - Austin, TX @SXSW
Sat. March 21 - Dallas, TX @ The Blue Light (Not So Fun Wknd)
Mon. March 23 - Tallahassee, FL @ The Bark *
Tue. March 24 - Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade - Purgatory *
Wed. March 25 - Durham, NC @ The Pinhook *
Thu. March 26 - Washington, DC @ DC9 *
Fri. March 27 - Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle *
Sat. March 28 - Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere *
Sun. March 29 - Portsmouth, NH @ The Press Room *
Tue. March 31 - Toronto, ON @ The Monarch *
Thu. April 2 - Detroit, MI @ Deluxx Fluxx *
Fri. April 3 - Fort Wayne, IN @ The Brass Rail *
Sat. April 4 - Chicago, IL @ Subterranean *
Sun. April 5 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry *
Tue. April 7 - St. Louis, MO @ Sinkhole *
Wed. April 8 - Lawrence, KS @ White Schoolhouse *
Thu. April 9 - Denver, CO @ Hi Dive *
Fri. April 10 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court *
Wed. April 29 - Edinburgh, UK @ Sneaky Pete’s
Thu. April 30 - Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
Fri. May 1 - Glasgow, UK @ Audio

Tue. May 5 - London, UK @ The Lexington
Wed. May 6 - Paris, FR @ Supersonic
Fri. May 8 - Utrecht, NL @ ACU
Sat. May 9 - Hamburg, DE @ Molotow (SkyBar)
Sun. May 10 - Copenhagen, DK @ VEGA Ideal Bar
Mon. May 11 - Berlin, DE @ Urban Spree
Wed. May 13 - Leipzig, DE @ TBA
Thu. May 14 - Vienna, AT @ Fluc Café
Fri. May 15 - Prague, CZ @ Meetfactory
Sat. May 16 - Munich, DE @ Milla
Sun. May 17 - Bern, CH @ Reitschule/Rössli
Tue. May 19 - Winterhur, CH @ Albani
Thu. May 21 - Luxembourg, LU @ De Gudde Wellen
Fri. May 22 - Cologne, DE @ Bumann & Sohn
Sat. May 23 - Offenbach, DE @ Hafen 2

* = w/ Automatic

The Rentals - "Great Big Blue"

This past Wednesday marked the anniversary of the Challenger disaster, and to mark the tragedy saw The Rentals release a tribute to the victims. "Great Big Blue" has been causing some controversy, at least in the world of YouTube comments. The main issue some people seem to have with the song is the upbeat mood. Personally, I don't have an issue with the mood of the song. It's mostly about the excitement of the astronauts as they prepared for takeoff. It's a terrific New Wave-ish song meant to remember the victims of a tragedy that's stuck in our consciousness for all time. What better way to celebrate them than with an upbeat song?

You can watch the lyric video for "Great Big Blue" below and decide for yourself. Q36, the upcoming album from The Rentals, will be out June 2. You can pre-order a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on The Rentals, check out their website.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Lex Leosis - "Mind Your Business"

Lex Leosis might be Toronto based, but she spent a lot of time in California's Bay Area working on her hip hop sound. She's also traveled all over the United States to collaborate with other artists. Her latest single, "Mind Your Business," has a strong 90's hip hop feel to it. It's dripping with attitude, and Leosis's flow is in full on attack mode. The 90's vibe could be because of the fact that there is no R&B chorus, keeping the song pure hip hop, which is rare these days. This reminds me a lot of Oompa's songs, which is a huge compliment coming from us.

You can listen to "Mind Your Business" below. Mythologies, the upcoming album from Lex Leosis, will be out later this year. For more on Lex Leosis, check out her Facebook.

Sapling - "Maria vs. Machine Maria"

I always like to support local artists, and a catchy band description always helps suck me in. So when I got an email from Sapling stating "We're a Worcester/Boston artrock/bitchpop trio and we like spaghetti. We get up early and stay up late. We're a small band and we burn energy like little suns," how am I not going to at least listen? With their new single "Maria vs. Machine Maria," they sucked me in. "Maria vs. Machine Maria" is a bizarro mixture of artrock and pop. It's noisy, and weird, and somehow also catchy and dancing right on the outside of being an actual pop song? You think it might go in that direction, but then the noise is brought in ways you wouldn't expect. It's a song that plays with your expectations and what is normal, and then obliterates them just for fun.

You can listen to "Maria vs. Machine Maria" below. No Sequoia, the debut full length from Sapling, will be out February 22. You can pre-order it via Bandcamp. (Side note: The album was mixed by Jason Lowenstein of Sebadoh!) For more on Sapling, check them out on Facebook and Instagram. If you're in the Boston area, Sapling has two release shows coming up: February 22 at Dead Moon Audio in Somerville and February 23 at Starlite in Southbridge.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

GHOST GRL - "Comfortable Sadness"

Photo by Emma Zavasky
Boston's GHOST GRL (aka Gianna Botticelli) has this incredibly unique take on the whole folk/pop thing. Her latest single, "Comfortable Sadness," teeters across the lines of both sides of the genre. It's a little too pop for folk, and too folk for pop. It's an incredibly powerful and haunting (I typed that before I realized the pun, and it fits so well I have to leave it) song that is as intimate as it is epic. I don't think I've ever heard a song as huge as this described as "intimate," but that's the magic of GHOST GRL. Of course, all of that flies out of the window towards the end of the song when it turns into a straight up indie rock monster jam.

You can watch the video for "Comfortable Sadness" below. Rewired, the new EP from GHOST GRL, will be out February 11. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on GHOST GRL, check out the artist's website. If you happen to be in the Boston area, there's an EP release show on February 13 at Lilypad in Somerville.

Time Is Fire - "We Declare"

Photo by Gevar Bonham
The first single off Washington DC rooted post punk band Time Is Fire is available, and buckle up for this one. "We Declare" is this aggressive yet dance friendly song with heavy roots in experimental noise punk. Yes, you read that correctly. "We Declare" could easily be a jumbled mess of sounds, and, to be fair, it sort of is. But that's the fun of this song. It's bonkers while still being almost accessible to everyone. It's noisy protest music from a band fronted by an Iranian born Sufi poet. It's almost like Jello Biafra and System of a Down got together and decided to have a party.

You can listen to "We Declare" below. In Pieces, the debut full length from Time Is Fire, will be out February 28 on Electric Cowbell Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Time Is Fire, check them out on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 24 January

Artist: Pia Fraus
Album: Empty Parks
Quick Description: New album from a new favorite.
Why You Should Listen: This is a fine and fuzzy listen.
Overall Thoughts: I love early-in-the-year surprise gems like this. A little fuzzy, a little shoegazey, and this is just directly in my wheelhouse of stuff I love. Pia Fraud is not reinventing the wheel here, but they’re doing something really solid and, if you like this sort of fuzz-drenched alt-rock, you can’t let yourself miss this. A favorite this week from a band I hate that I've missed all this time.
Recommendation: Do not sleep on this.

Artist: Sean Watkins and the Bee Eaters
Album: This is Who We Are
Quick Description: Great new music from Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek.
Why You Should Listen: The Watkins family are always great, and this is no exception.
Overall Thoughts: We missed this one a few weeks back, and I’m glad I tripped up on it before it was too late. In a way, if you think Chris Thile/Punch Brothers have gone a little too far off the beaten path with their bluegrass, you might find the progressive folk vision that Watkins throws together with this effort more comforting. Great musicianship, solid songs… this is a good listen early in the year.
Recommendation: A must-listen.

Artist: En Attendant Ana
Album: Juillet
Quick Description: Enigmatic, interesting tunes.
Why You Should Listen: This is one that will stick with you.
Overall Thoughts: This was an interesting listen in that I was finding myself continually drawn to its overall approach. On the surface, it feels like a slightly off-center folkish effort, but there’s definitely more going on here that I want to spend more time with. On a whole, a really good listen, and one you shouldn’t miss.
Recommendation: Give it a shot.

Artist: The Haden Triplets
Album: The Family Songbook
Quick Description: Great, great, GREAT set of folk standards.
Why You Should Listen: I'm far from convinced the Hadens can do anything bad.
Overall Thoughts: Of course I’m going to love this. It’s a nice, jazzy/folky take on old Americana standards and it’s simply wonderful. It’s basically review-proof and, even though I don't have a ton to say about it, I wanted to highlight it.
Recommendation: Just make time for it and enjoy yourself.

Of note:

* Paul Driscoll - Mayor of Hesitation (Reminds me of a rootsier Langhorne Slim.)
* Ezra Furman - Sex Education (A few gems on this soundtrack.)
* Pet Shop Boys - Hotspot (Better than some of their recent efforts.)
* Bonny Light Horseman - Bonny Light Horseman (Very pleasant - fans of Hadestown should pay attention.)
* Okay Kaya - Watch This Liquid Pour Itself
* Black Lips - Sing in a World That's Falling Apart
* Wolf Parade - Thin Mind
* Terry Allen and the Panhandle Mystery Band - Just Like Moby Dick


* Eliza Shaddad - Sept ~ Dec
* Molina - Vanilla Shell
* Bones UK - Unplugged
* Asgeir - Pictures
* ShitKid - Duo Limbo


* Brass Against - Brass Against III
* Andy Shauf - The Neon Skyline
* Gab de la Vega - Beyond Space and Time
* Luke Bar$ - GoodEvil
* American Television - Watch It Burn
* Sarah Mary Chadwick - Please Daddy
* Wire - Mind Hive

lié - "Drowning in Piss"

When a band describes themselves as "dark punk" and releases a song called "Drowning in Piss," it's fairly safe to assume what that song will sound like. Vancouver's lié are quickly becoming a favorite of mine, and this new song is cementing that. "Drowning in Piss" is a ferocious, swirling punk song that delves deeply into post punk. You've never heard post punk groove this hard while being this dark and heavy. All of this paired with heavy jangly guitar make for an intensely hypnotic mix.

You can watch the video for "Drowning in Piss" below. You Want it Real, the new album from lié, will be out February 28 on Mint Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on lié, check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

The Exbats - "I Got the Hots for Charlie Watts"

Photo via Facebook
We were huge fans of father/daughter duo The Exbats's 2019 album E Is for Exbats. In fact, it came incredibly close to making my top ten of last year. I was thrilled to hear that we were already getting new music from them. "I Got the Hots for Charlie Watts" (in case that sounds familiar, it's the same name as their 2018 album) is about having the hots for Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts. The song i much more restrained than anything we've heard before. It's almost a regular love ballad and teeters dangerously close to folk territory. Of course, this is still The Exbats, so "I Got the Hots for Charlie Watts" is as much fun as you expect it to be. It makes sense that the music of The Exbats would age along with singer Inez Mclain, and we're dying to hear the rest of the album.

You can watch the video for "I Got the Hots for Charlie Watts" below. Kicks, Hits and Fits, the upcoming album from The Exbats, will be out March 13 on Burger Records. For more on The Exbats, check them out on Bandcamp and Instagram.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Sam Doores featuring Alynda Mariposa Segarra - "Other Side of Town"

Photo via Facebook
Somehow we missed "Let it Roll," the first single off the debut solo album from Sam Doores (The Deslondes). Luckily for us all we caught "Other Side of Town," which features Alynda Mariposa Segarra (Hurray for the Riff Raff). This pairing is an absolute dream for us, and this duet is even better than we could have expected. It's more of a doo wop or soul track than folk, although there is plenty of Americana here for everyone. It's doo wop if doo wop could possibly be done on the front porch just hanging out with friends. This song could lead to a complete obsession, but it will be worth it.

You can listen to "Other Side of Town" below. Sam Doores's self-titled album will be out March 13 on New West Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Sam Doores, check out his website.

Mute Duo - "Red-Winged Blackbirds"

Photo by Ashleigh Dye
Usually experimental music means electric guitars and feedback or electronic bleeps and bloops. Chicago's Mute Duo bring the noise with just drums/percussion and pedal steel. "Red-Winged Blackbirds" is an incredibly intense soundscape for being limited to instruments not typically associated with noise or experimental music. (There are some chimes in this song, so they do bring in other instruments.) According to their press release, Mute Duo "... land somewhere in between ambient country and free jazz." That describes this perfectly.

You can watch the video for "Red-Winged Blackbirds" below. Lapse in Passage, the sophomore album from Mute Duo, will be out Match 20 on American Dreams Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Mute Duo, check out their Bandcamp.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Stephen Malkmus - "Xian Man"

Photo by Samuel Gehrke and Chris Shonting
Stephen Malkmus has been getting fairly experimental in the past few years. He's played around with electronic almost dance music, and with his upcoming album he's going straight up acoustic folk. "Xian Man" is a folk song, which is something I never really expected from Malmus. Malkmus took to making a folk album as a self dare, and it's centered around his twelve string acoustic guitar. That all being said, this is still Stephen Malkmus, so there's plenty here for longtime fans of his solo work and Pavement. His voice will always be his voice, and there's a weirdo guitar solo that is pure classic Malkmus.

You can listen to "Xian Man" below. Traditional Techniques, the upcoming album from Stephen Malkmus, will be out on March 6 via Matador. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Stephen Malkmus, check out his website. Current tour dates are below the song.

Tue. March 31 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave
Wed. April 1 - Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
Thu. April 2 - Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
Fri. April 3 - Louisville, KY @ Headliners
Sat. April 4 - Nashville, TN @ Cannery Ballroom
Sun. April 5 - Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
Tue. April 7 - Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
Wed. April 8 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
Thu. April 9 - Richmond, VA @ The National
Fri. April 10 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat
Sat. April 11 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
Mon. April 13 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Wed. April 15 - Boston, MA @ Royale
Thu. April 16 - Montreal, QC @ L’Astral
Fri. April 17 - Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
Sat. April 18 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
Sun. April 19 - Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew’s Hall

Friday Freebie: If it ain't Rum Bar Records it ain't worth the shot. Winter 2020 (Free Digital Download) Sampler

If you're of a certain age, you'll have a fondness for label samplers. These were free (or maybe a few bucks) CDs you could pick up at your local record store that would be filled with a bunch of artists on a particular label. It was usually a great way to discover new bands and sometimes get rarities for bands you already loved.

Those don't really exist these days, but every so often we'll find one available as a free download. This brings us to If it ain't Rum Bar Records it ain't worth the shot. Winter 2020 (Free Digital Download) Sampler, a sampler for the bands on Boston based Rum Bar Records. It's twenty nine tracks of garage rock and power pop with absolute gems included. We're going to recommend The Heartdrops ("Coming Back"), The Cheap Gunslingers ("Please Kill Me"), Justine & The Unclean ("Picking a Fight"), Spanking Charlene ("Find Me Out"), The Dogmatics ("I Love Rock and Roll"), and Jittery Jack & Amy Griffin on Guitar ("Tell Your Story Walking"). But, despite this being a nearly thirty song compilation, you aren't going to find a stinker on it.

You can listen to "Tell Your Story Walking" by Jittery Jack & Amy Grifin on Guitar below. You can get your copy of If it ain't Rum Bar Records it ain't worth the shot. Winter 2020 (Free Digital Download) Sampler via Bandcamp

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Pokey LaFarge - "Fuck Me Up"

Photo via Facebook
Pokey LaFarge has been our go to guy for old timey Americana, and we've been smitten with his take on blues, swing, folk, and country for years. After fourteen years as a solo artist, we know what we're getting.

Until we don't. He recently moved to Los Angeles, and that prompted a huge change in sound. "Fuck Me Up" still sounds like Pokey LaFarge. I don't think his voice is ever not going to sound like old timey blues and country. But this new song has a new feel to it. It's not a modern sounding song by any stretch, but it's certainly not old fashioned. Plus, while still having LaFarge's trademark sense of fun and joy, this song is decidedly darker than anything we've heard from him before. "Fuck Me Up" is a great and unexpected song. We can't wait to hear more.

You can watch the video for "Fuck Me Up" below. (And, seriously, watch it. It's great!) Rock Bottom Rhapsody, the upcoming album from Pokey LaFarge, will be out April 10 on New West Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Pokey LaFarge, check out his website. Current tour dates (including a Prescott Park Arts Festival date!) are below the video.

April 24 - Rotterdam, NL - Maasilo
April 25 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso
April 26 - Berlin, DE - Roadrunners Paradise
April 29 - Paris, FR - La Maroquinerie
April 30 - Antwerp, BE - De Roma
May 1 - Lessines, BE - Roots & Roses Festival
May 2 - London, UK - Islington Assembly Hall
May 8 - Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle
May 9 - Mt. Airy, NC - The Earle
May 10 - Charleston, WV - NPR's Mountain Stage
May 13 - Lexington, KY - The Burl
May 15 - St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway
May 16 - St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway
May 17 - Nashville, TN - 3rd & Lindsley (Lightning 100)
June 2 - Maquoqueta, IA - Codfish Hollow
June 3 - Minneapolis, MN - Fine Line
June 4 - Chicago, IL - Thalia Hall
June 5 - Grand Rapids, MI - Pyramid Scheme
June 6 - Indianapolis, IN - HiFi
June 9 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
June 10 - Pittsburgh, PA - Thunderbird Cafe
June 11 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live
June 12 - Annapolis, MD - Rams Head On Stage
June 13 - Jersey City, NJ - White Eagle
June 16 - Fairfield, CT - The Warehouse
June 17 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
June 18 - Boston, MA - The Sinclair
June 19 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground Ballroom
June 20 - Albany, NY - The Egg
June 23 - Rockport, MA - Shalin Liu
June 24 - Portsmouth, NH - Prescott Park Arts Festival
June 26 - Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern
June 27 - Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern

Greg Klyma Released Three Albums in 2019

Boston's Greg Klyma has an exceptionally busy 2019. Somehow he released three albums last year and almost completely slipped by us. The most intriguing part is how different each album is from the others. Even though we're coming at these late, let's check them out!

February saw the release of Fake Songs. It's by far the most straightforward folky of the three. "Reminder" opens up the album as a very mainstream modern folk song. Even if that's not usually your thing, wait it out and check out the rest of the album. "Hole in a Ship" is more standard folk while still being more straightforward in the best possible way. "The Root" is a quiet, introspective song about having a neighbor with a Trump sign up. 

In June Klyma released Maybe the Ocean, which is the rocker of the 2019 trio. It leans more towards the jangle pop side of rock, but still more rock nonetheless. A perfect example is the song "Rock Out," which is a mid-tempo rocker and much more restrained song than you would have expected. Maybe the Ocean reminds me of Tom Petty's "Wildflowers" (the song not the album). It's filled with quiet pop/rock songs that are laid back without being ballads.

Last month Klyma released the last of his three 2019 albums. C&W stands for Coffee and Weed and is the twangy country album. This one is my personal favorite. Just listening to the title track will let you know if you're going to like this album. It's filled with sad country songs with just enough of a sense of humor to make them fun, which is the way the best country is made.

You can listen to "Coffee and Weed" below. All three of Greg Klyma's 2019 albums are available on his Bandcamp. For more on Greg Klyma, check out his website. Current tour dates are below the song.

January 31 – Naked Vine – Chesterfield, MO
February 1 – Red Bud Hill – Murphysboro, IL
February 5 – Red Brick Bar – Norman, OK
February 8 – House Concert – Houston, TX
February 10 – Adair’s Saloon – Dallas, TX
February 13 – House Concert – Austin, TX
February 16 – Ghost River Brewery – Memphis, TN
February 18 – The 5 Spot – Nashville, TN
February 21 – Plain Folk Café – Pleasant Plain, OH
February 25 – Blue Island Beer Company – Blue Island, IL
February 26 – Goshen Brewing Company – Goshen, IN
February 29 – House Concert – Rochester, NY
March 5 – The Burren – Somerville, MA
June 18-20 – Moccasin Creek Festival – Effingham, IL

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

FACS - "Teenage Hive"

Photo by Zoran Orlic
I've been a fan of Chicago's FACS dating back to the Disappears days, so it's great to have new music from them. Their latest single, "Teenage Hive," is exactly what you want from FACS: Noisy, experimental, dark, and slightly off putting. "Teenage Hive" isn't exactly a pleasant listen, but if you know and love FACS, that's not what you're here for. Something about this particular song feels more aggressive than their normal output without them getting louder or sounding angrier. In fact, "Teenage Hive" is kind of suffocating. 

Guitarist Brian Case says the song is about "...not defining yourself so that other people can understand you. The evolved consciousness I've seen with my son and his generation/peer group regarding gender, identity, and human rights is the only hope for the future and informs all of Void Moments, which is ultimately an album about facing who we are."

You can watch the video for "Teenage Hive" below. Void Moments, the upcoming album from FACS, will be out March 27 on Trouble In Mind. For more on FACS, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Possessed By Paul James - "When It Breaks"

Photo by George Blosser
Musician, educator, activist, and artist Konrad Wert records music under the name Possessed By Paul James. His very long awaited album is due out next week, and we have another new single to get ready for that. "When It Breaks" is modern mainstream Americana at its absolute finest. Wert isn't rewriting the genre, but he's doing it as well as anyone out there. "When It Breaks" is soulful Americana that fits more into the folk side but dabbles into some bluegrass. Unless you hate all things folky, it's going to be impossible not to like this song.

You can listen to "When It Breaks" below. As We Go Wandering, the new album from Possessed By Paul James, will be out on January 31. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Possessed By Paul James, check him out on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Venomous Pinks Cover Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Tempe, AR's The Venomous Pinks have chosen to cover the Joan Jett & The Blackhearts classic "I Want You." It's an incredibly faithful version of the original, but with crunchier guitars and maybe a little more of a metal edge to it. It's fast and played ferociously, just like it should be. Guitarist/vocalist Drea Doll says of the cover: "I Want You is an in-your-face, unapologetic, punk rendition of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ timeless classic. We set out to infuse our unique style and uncontrived attitude to change up the cover while lovingly nodding to its original roots.”

You can watch the video for "I Want You" below. For more on The Venomous Pinks, check out their website.

Gabriel Bernini - "Caramel"

Originally from western Massachusetts but now in Los Angeles, Gabriel Bernini is getting set to release a new album. After listening to "Caramel," the new album has to be, at the very least, great. "Caramel" gives me total Tom Petty vibes, if Tom Petty were in his early 20's and coming up in the world of indie rock today. It's that kind of pop that rock fans love and will never be able to get enough of while not being able to admit to themselves that it's a pop rock song. 

You can watch the video for "Caramel" below. Sweeties, the new album from Gabriel Bernini, will be out February 14 (which is becoming far too packed with anticipated albums) via Dadstache Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Gabriel Bernini, check him out on Bandcamp.

First Listen: New Releases for 17 January

Artist: AJJ
Album: Good Luck Everybody
Quick Description: Andrew Jackson Jihad gets political (or, well, moreso than usual).
Why You Should Listen: AJJ is always a good time.
Overall Thoughts: Been a fan for a while now, and this is probably the most overtly political album they’ve done, which is interesting that it feels very restrained musically while being fairly unsubtle in its messaging. Does it work? As a fan of AJJ, it feels like a lighter AJJ album. A someone who is not a Trump fan, but not really a protest music guy, I suppose I appreciate how on-the-nose it is? It’s not likely to age too well on a whole, but that’s not the point at the end of it all.
Recommendation: Worth a listen, but still has some interesting choices.

Artist: Aoife Nessa Frances
Album: Land of No Junction
Quick Description: Gorgeous singer-songwriter music from an up-and-coming Irish songstress.
Why You Should Listen: This is not the typical thing you expect, while still feeling fresh and familiar.
Overall Thoughts: This one kind of came out of nowhere for me, but I really dug it. It’s hard for me not to like some midtempo singer-songwriter stuff, and ANF succeeds at providing just enough in the way of a different approach to be a highlight in the early goings here. This grabbed me within minutes, and if you’re into the first track you’ll likely be into the whole thing.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.

Artist: Alice Boman
Album: Dream On
Quick Description: Chamber pop from a Scandinavian songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: This is a gorgeous listen that will stick to your bones.
Overall Thoughts: There’s something very churchlike and chamber-esque about this. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a midcentury chapel, other times I think I’m watching some 1960s movie with a pop singer at a party. This is a really interesting album, and one that’s definitely worth the time.
Recommendation: A must-hear.

Artist: Of Montreal
Album: UR FUN
Quick Description: Latest Of Montreal record, with all that comes with it.
Why You Should Listen: This is maybe the best Kevin Barnes effort in some time.
Overall Thoughts: There's the part of me who is like "man, I miss when Of Montreal was more of an indie pop band," which kind of ignores the fact that the project went into a more synthy, more confessional direction fifteen years ago and has perhaps been in this mode longer than they were when I first dove in. With all that said, here's UR FUN, which is a great record about being in love and is also kind of weird to listen to in a sense when you realize that you've also suffered through the Barnes divorce in song, and now in this new relationship. I dunno. "Let's Do Everything for the First Time Forever," a song from one of their early releases, meant a lot to me in my early relationship. If I was starting one today, "You Had Me Everywhere" might be the soundtrack to that urgency of new love that I'd be looking for, especially if I didn't know that there was an entire autobiographical history in the back catalog. Musically, this is great, don't get me wrong. Loved the album, but this is one I definitely struggled with at times in part because of how connected I've been with this band for almost two decades. If you come in fresh, you might love it more.
Recommendation: Make time for this one.

Artist: The Innocence Mission
Album: See You Tomorrow
Quick Description: Gorgeous folky music.
Why You Should Listen: This one is a subtle, beautiful listen.
Overall Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about this one, truthfully, but I felt as if delegating it anywhere else but as a highlight was wrong. This album was just one that stuck with me all weekend and is likely the thing I want to get back to the most this week, so don't miss out.
Recommendation: A highlight this week.

Of note:

* G Love and Special Sauce - The Juice (A surprisingly summery record for a cold winter weekend.)
* ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Listening to this made me wonder why I don't listen to Trail of Dead more.)
* Chelsea Cutler - How to Be Human
* Holy Fuck - Deleter
* Laume - Waterbirth
* Seamus Egan - Early Bright
* Surface to Air Missive - Shelly's Gone
* Futurebirds - Teamwork


* Haylet Mary - The Piss, The Perfume (Do not sleep on this. Some really great stuff here.)
* Rodrigo y Gabriela - Mettal EP (I would like more of this, please.)
* SEA - Impermanence
* Deena Abdelwahed - Dhakar
* Caitlin Canty - Live from Layman


* Della Mae - Headlight
* Anti-Flag - 20/20 Vision
* Louise - Heavy Love
* Algiers - There Is No Year
* Halsey - Manic

Monday, January 20, 2020

Porridge Radio - "Sweet"

Photo by El Hardwick
If Porridge Radio's last single, "Lilac," had us excited for their upcoming album, "Sweet" has us in a frenzy. You know that whole loud/quiet/loud thing the Pixies trademarked and Nirvana made famous? Porridge Radio have reinvented it completely. "Sweet" is pure alt-rock glory. You know the loud parts are coming, but you don't quite know when. The quiet parts feel more quiet and more intense because of this. And the loud parts? They're just ferocious, and you find yourself needing them more and more while you wait. "Sweet" is the kind of song that will remind you of why you love music.

Lead singer Dana Margolin explains the song: "Sweet’ is a song about holding grudges and learning how to have fun and letting go of an old version of yourself. I was feeling light-hearted when I wrote it, but when we came together to play it as a band, it suddenly felt really dramatic and exciting. When we play it live, the energy in the room always feels really intense, and then suddenly we just explode altogether and it always feels really good.

You can watch the video for "Sweet" below. Every Bad, the new album from Porridge Radio, will be out March 13 on Secretly Canadian. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Porridge Radio, check them out on Facebook and Twitter. Current tour dates are below the video. Let's hope for a Boston date soon.

Thu. Feb. 27 - Sat. Feb. 29 - Oslo, NO @ Larm Festival
Mon. March 16 - Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
Fri. March 17 - Sat. March 22 - Austin, TX @ SXSW
Sun. March 23 - Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
Thu. March 26 - Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
Fri. March 27 - Liverpool, UK @ Studio 2
Sat. March 28 - Bristol, UK @ Ritual Union Festival
Sun. March 29 - Glasgow, UK @ Glad Café
Tue. March 31 - Sheffield, UK @ Record Junkee
Wed. April 1 - London, UK @ Colours
Fri. April 3 - Hastings, UK @ Marina Fountain
Sat. April 4 - Brighton, UK @ The Westhill Hall
Fri. May 22 - Sun. May 24 - Totnes, UK @ Sea Change Festival

Shadow Show - "Charades"

Photo by Jaimie Skriba
How are we not supposed to become obsessed with a "Detroit-based girl-group?" Back in November we brought you "Shadow Box" and described it as "Detroit psychedelic garage rock proto-punk mixed with a Motown girl group vibe." "Charades" is more of the same, except it ramps up the psychedelia and is a little shinier sounding than the previous single. It's an ultra-groovy that is nearly impossible to resist.

You can watch the video for "Charades" below. Drummer Kerrigan Pearce explains the video: "We wanted to include all of the things that make Detroit home to us. The live footage was shot at UFO Factory, owned by local musician Dion Fischer. The rest was filmed in various places, such as Belle Isle, Detroit African Bead Museum, and another favorite bar Outer Limits Lounge.” Silhouettes, the debut album from Shadow Show, will be out February 14 on Burger Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Shadow Show, check them out on Bandcamp and Facebook.