Thursday, April 30, 2020

Big Thief - "Love In Mine"

One of the very few good things to come out of quarantine is that bands are starting to dig around their archives for unreleased music. Big Thief are the latest with "Love In Mine," an outtake from their 2019 album Two Hands. Big Thief diehards are sure to know the song, as it appeared as the b-side on a 7" the band mailed to fans when they announced Two Hands.

"Love In Mine" is beautiful. It's a quiet little folky song that borders on ethereal but is far too grounded. As with all Big Thief songs, the focus is Adrianne Lenker's vocals. She has a way to just draw you in and hold you with her voice, which has never sounded as warm and inviting as it does here.

You can listen to "Love In Mine" below. Big Thief is also offering up demos they recorded in February 2018 on their Bandcamp to raise funds for their road crew who are obviously currently out of work. Demos Vol. 1 - Topanga Canyon, CA - Feb 2018 is available here. For more on Big Thief, check out their website.

Faz Waltz Cover T. Rex

As quarantine goes on, bands keep posting videos of them recording covers separately and remotely from each other. Italy has one of the strictest quarantines currently, and the members of Faz Waltz haven't been able to play music together in two months. They came together (remotely) to record a cover of T. Rex's "Mambo Sun." It's one of the T. Rex songs I'm not familiar with, but you can definitely tell it was originally a T. Rex song by Faz Waltz's cover. It just has that T. Rex groove to it, which Faz Waltz are obvious fans of if you've ever heard their recently released album Rebel Kicks

You can watch the video for Faz Waltz's take on "Mambo Sun" below. For more on Faz Waltz, be sure to check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Fenne Lily - "To Be a Woman Pt. 2"

Photo by Nicole Loucaides
Earlier this year, Fenne Lily's first single with Dead Oceans, "Hypochondriac," came out of seemingly nowhere to make us completely obsessed. She's released a new single, "To Be a Woman Pt. 2," which has in full on fanboy mode. "To Be a Woman Pt. 2" starts off as a delicate modern singer/songwriter track, although with a lot more tension behind the vocals. As the song builds, it swerves in different directions, all while staying within the same guidelines it started with. The guitar and drums ramp up the tension as they sway in and out with Lily's vocals, each taking its turn in the spotlight. The song goes from quiet introspection to alt-rock rager and then back again a few times. Fenne Lily is going to become a favorite around these parts very quickly.

You can listen to "To Be a Woman Pt. 2" below. The single is available now via Dead Oceans. For more on Fenne Lily, be sure to check her out on Facebook and Twitter. Current tour dates are below the song (fingers crossed on all of these).

Thu. Aug. 6 - Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads Saloon *
Fri. Aug. 7 - St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway *
Sat. Aug. 8 - Wilmington, OH @ Bellwether Festival
Sun. Aug. 9 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom *
Mon. Aug. 10 - Toronto, CA @ The Great Hall *
Wed. Aug. 12 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club *
Fri. Aug. 14 - Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes *
Sun. Aug. 16 - Richmond, VA @ The Broadberry *
Tue. Aug. 18 - Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle *
Fri. Aug. 21 - Sun. Aug. 23 - Crickhowell, UK @ Green Man Festival
Thu. Sept. 3 - Sun. Sept. 6 - Salisbury, UK @ End of the Road Festival
Tue. Sept. 22 - Bristol, UK @ Thekla
Wed. Sept. 23 - London, UK @ Omeara
Thu. Sept. 24 - Leicester, UK @ The Cookie
Fri. Sept. 25 - Liverpool, UK @ Phase One
Sat. Sept. 26 - Dublin, IE @ The Workman’s Club
Mon. Sept. 28 - Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
Tue. Sept. 29 - Glasgow, UK @ King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
Wed. Sept. 30 - Birmingham, UK @ Dead Wax
Thu. Oct. 1 - Manchester, UK @ The Deaf Institute
Sat. Oct. 3 - Paris, FR @ Le Pop Up
Sun. Oct. 4 - Brussels, BE @ Botanique
Mon. Oct. 5 - Rotterdam, NL @ Rotown
Tue. Oct. 6 - Amsterdam, NL @ Bitterzoet
Fri. Oct. 9 - Copenhagen, DK @ Ideal Bar
Sun. Oct. 11 - Berlin, DE @ Hole
Mon. Oct. 12 - Munich, DE @ Ampere
Wed. Oct. 14 - Milan, IT @ Magnolia
Thu. Oct. 15 - Zurich, CH @ Exil
Fri. Oct. 16 - Frankfurt, DE @ Das Bett
Sat. Oct. 17 - Cologne, DE @ Artheater
*= supporting Waxahatchee

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Katie Malco - "Brooklyn"

Photo by Sam Manville
The latest single from Katie Malco's upcoming album may be a mellow ballad, but it hides an intensity. "Brooklyn" could have just been your standard, generic singer/songwriter type of song. But it's far from that. The clang in the guitar is your first hint that this song is different, as it ratchets up the tension. Malco's voice ever so slowly gets more desperate as the song goes on, until the song eventually explodes into a glorious alt-rocker.

Katie Malco says of the song:  "'Brooklyn' is about a friend of mine that moved to start a new life in New York. We've been friends for years and I've always felt protective of her. I went to New York for the first time to see her, having hardly even left the UK before, so it felt like a massive significant trip for me. It was her birthday and we had a big night to celebrate. On the last night we had a heart to heart where I tried to persuade her to come home - at this point she was hardly making enough money to live. She said she wouldn’t stay forever, to appease me, but that she was going to give it her best go. It wasn't until later that I realised I wasn't asking her to come home because I was worried she wasn't going to survive - she always does - I was asking her to come home because I needed her."

You can watch the video for "Brooklyn" below. Failures, the debut album from Katie Malco, will be out June 5 on 6131 Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Katie Malco, check her out on Facebook and Twitter.

Ben Kweller - "Starz"

Photo via Facebook
When Ben Kweller released his first new song in eons way back in February, I thought we'd have more information on his upcoming album by now. We do have a new song, "Starz." I can find virtually no information on this new song on the interwebs, so we'll go solely with how the song sounds.

"Starz" is a straight up power ballad. This is a song that teeters closely to being a prom song level power ballad, if the guitars weren't so crunchy and there weren't thunderous drums to back it all up. This is as if 90's alt-rock decided to make a tribute to 80's schlockey power ballads, and I mean that in the most positive way possible. This is a huge, sappy love song made for those of us that love sappy love but hate huge sappy love songs.

You can listen to "Starz" below. Circuit Boredom, the upcoming album from Ben Kweller, will be out at some point in 2020. For more on Ben Kweller, check out his website.

E - Complications

The impossible to Google Boston supergroup E (consisting of Thalia Zedek, Jason Sanford, and Gavin McCarthy) has released a new album on Bandcamp. Given the pedigree of those involved, Complications is both surprisingly and not surprisingly accessible. That's not to say E don't get noisy and discordant on this new album, because they certainly do. Complications does a great job of staying experimental and challenging to the listener while keeping some pretty great melodies intact. A song like "Acid Mantle" does a great job of this. It's abrasive at times, catchy at some, and sometimes both at once. "Contagion Model" might be the best song on the album. It's just a classic edgy indie rock/post punk song that will have you singing the chorus of "It's contagious / Pass it around" out loud, so maybe keep your car windows up for that one. Complications is filled with nine songs that are going to draw you in just as much as they push you away, but knowing who's involved in the band, you're probably going to expect that.

You can watch the video for "Contagion Model" below. Complications is available now via E's Bandcamp. For more on E, check them out on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 24 April

Artist: Black Dresses
Album: Peaceful as Hell
Quick Description: Great noisy pop music from some masters of the craft.
Why You Should Listen: This is probably the best effort they've put together so far.
Overall Thoughts: In an era with a lot of electro-clashy loud pop music, and with artists like Rina Sawayana and Poppy getting into the genre mashup biz, here's Black Dresses who have put out a surprisingly accessible and immediately addictive effort with Peaceful as Hell. It's brash, it's loud, it's endless fun, and songs like "Damage Suppressor" really bring to the forefront how special this is.
Recommendation: Don't miss out.

Artist: Vanessa Peters
Album: Mixtape
Quick Description: Cover album with a ton of indie favorites.
Why You Should Listen: Come for the Weakerthans effort, stay for some great music.
Overall Thoughts: I feel like I should have known Vanessa Peters before now, but no matter. This is an effort with a great take on many indie classics and beyond, and the musicality along with the combination of making a song your own while not straying from what makes a song work is expertly done here. Worth the time, worth the energy.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Artist: NOVA ONE
Album: lovable
Quick Description: Somewhat fragile indie singer-songwriter stuff.
Why You Should Listen: Ken's a huge fan of this, and I found a lot to love, too.
Overall Thoughts: The Providence musician branches out on what's effectively a solo effort, and it is pretty brilliant in a lot of ways. NOVA ONE knows their way around a song, and the light-ish touch that goes along with so many of the efforts makes it feel a lot more frail than it is below the surface. This is something that really should get more attention, and hopefully, when things open up, this is something those in the region can experience in person.
Recommendation: A solid listen this week.

Artist: Hazel English
Album: Wake UP!
Quick Description: Indie pop at its finest.
Why You Should Listen: This is the type of record you can put on and always find something new to love.
Overall Thoughts: I've been waiting for this record for a while, and man, if there's a bad song on the album I have yet to find it. So much of this album puts a smile on my face, and so many songs have the potential of being long-term favorites, it's stunning that this is simply a debut album. If you enjoy solid songwriting and great indie pop, you owe it to yourself to look this up.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week.

Of note:

* Dana Jean Phoenix and Powernerd - Megawave (Awesome retro rock.)
* Lila Blue - Leave Me Be (Strong PJ Harvey vibes from this.)
* Whitney Rose - We Still Go to Rodeos (Great rootsy stuff here.)
* Brendan Benson - Dear Life (A solid listen and his best in over a decade.)
* Wuzee and Samil - Like Food Stamps for Liquor
* Darren Hayman - I Can Travel Through Time
* Chris Keys and Quelle Chris - Innocent Country 2
* Alice Bag - Sister Dynamite
* Lucinda Williams - Good Souls Better Angels
* Emily Rockarts - Little Flower

Seven Song Albums:

* Tilman Robinson - CULTURECIDE (Really strong instrumental moody music.)
* mxmtoon - dawn (A great effort from a rising indie pop voice.)
* I Am the Manic Whale - Gathering the Waters
* Bad History Month - Old Blues


* Kailee Morgue - Here In Your Bedroom (Do not miss out on this pop EP.)
* Elise Davis - For the Flies ("Emo Clothes" may be one of my favorite songs of the spring.)
* Taylor Janzen - Devotion (Three excellent songs here.)
* Forever Honey - Pre-Mortem High (Keep an eye on this act.)
* Kidbug - Dreamy (Indie supergroup; if the album is as good as these preview tracks, watch out...)
* MAITA - Someone's Lost Their Goddamn Wallet
* Finlay - Edge of Mine
* Sunny War - Can I Sit With You?
* Zsela - Ache of Victory
* Doves - Remnants I
* Charlotte Rose Benjamin - Party City
* Ransom Pier - Three Love Songs

Also out:

* Danzig - Sings Elvis (This makes no sense whatsoever.)
* Steep Canyon Rangers - North Carolina Songbook
* The Used - Heartwork
* Lindstrom - Live at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter
* King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - Chunky Shrapnel
* Sylvan Esso - WITH

Virginia Trance - "Some People"

We first came across Virginia Trance (aka Scott Ryan Davis's musical project) with their ode to Lou Reed "Hello Lou Reed." The latest single from their forthcoming album, "Some People," keeps the theme going as according to a press release the new song is Velvet Underground inspired. You'll definitely hear the Velvet Underground influence in "Some People," especially in Davis's vocals. There's definitely a feel reminiscent of songs like "I'm Waiting for the Man" here. Except Virginia Trance are far sunnier sounding than The Velvet Underground could ever pull off. Also, there's more of a down home Americana sound with "Some People." It's less filthy NYC streets in the 60's and more laid back Southern chill. 

David explains the lyrics: "This is a call for compassion if anything. I was partially responding to the unexpected death of a friend and mentor. Abstracting the real facts and casting a wider net. Anger, Loss, and misunderstanding. A Janus pointing in every direction with a bed of country-esque jingle-jangle guitars (where is Michael Nesmith?). The saxophones wash over the listener offering release to some people like you and me."

You can listen to "Some People" below. Vincent's Playlist, the upcoming album from Virginia Trance, will be out May 8 on BYM Records. For more on Virginia Trance, check them out on Instagram and Bandcamp.

Gray Bouchard & The Dedications Cover The Cars

Photo by Lauren Piandes
As we all sit in quarantine for longer and longer, we're all getting bored and videochatting with groups of friends is getting more and more common. This is also leading to bands hopping on Zoom or another software and practicing or even recording. We're all for this, especially when it leads to kick ass covers. The latest is from Gray Bouchard & The Dedications. The power pop leaning towards pop but also some pretty epic rock band have recorded a cover of The Cars beyond classic "You Might Think." If you've been listening to their album Love in the New World as obsessively as we have since it was released a lifetime ago in February, this is a perfect cover for The Dedications. They stay faithful to the original, albeit with crunchier guitars. Bouchard even does an admirable job singing in his own voice and not imitating Ric Ocasek. (That might sound obvious, but have you ever sung this song out loud without doing an Ocasek impression?)

You can watch the video for Gray Bouchard & The Dedications version of "You Might Think" below. For more on Gray Bouchard & The Dedications, check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Tanya Donelly Covers Bob Marley

We're now in week three of Tanya Donelly's Sunday Series of covers. This week, besides the usual contributors of Russell Chudnofsky and Joe McMahon, it's a true family affair with husband Dean Fisher on percussion and daughters Gracie and Hattie Fisher on vocals. The song of the week is Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds." A reggae cover may seem like an odd choice for a 90's alt-rock legend, but the song has a family history. According to Donelly: "My fab daughters Gracie and Hattie lend their beautiful voices this week. I've sung Three Little Birds to them their entire lives, since they first had ears to hear it, and it was one of the earliest songs they learned to sing along to when tiny. We've performed it together in front of people a few times, most recently at the Janovitz family holiday bash at The Burren." I was lucky enough to see them perform this live at The Burren show, and their rendition is reworked in the most spectacular way. It keeps the spirit of the original but changes it just enough to not be a carbon copy.

You can listen to Tanya Donelly and family's version of "Three Little Birds" below. This week all proceeds will be to help out the staff of The Burren and ONCE Somerville. You can get a copy at Donelly's Bandcamp. For more on Tanya Donelly, check out her Twitter and Facebook.

Destroy Boys - "Honey I'm Home"

Photo by Kai Mosley
We're probably too old to be into Destroy Boys, but if Billie Joe Armstrong (who we're younger than, thank you very much) can be a fan, so can we. You're going to read a lot about how punk Destroy Boys are. I'm not saying they're not punk, they're just a newer form of punk. Their latest single, "Honey I'm Home," is much smoother than what I as a middle aged dude would normally consider punk. It's not quite as smooth as pop punk, though. "Honey I'm Home" definitely has an edge to it, although it is a little flashy. If anything, it's punk in the way Mannequin Pussy and Priests are punk. Sure, it's probably not what guys in their forties and fifties consider punk, but shouldn't punk evolve? If Destroy Boys are showing us a current direction punk is going in, maybe we should let them lead us there.

You can watch the video for "Honey I'm Home" below. For more on Destroy Boys, check out their website.

Henry Jamison featuring Ed Droste - "Green Room"

Vermont's Henry Jamison reached out to Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste about collaborating on a song, and we should all be thrilled that Droste agreed. That song, "Green Room," is an absolute folk pop delight. As a music fan, it's been thrilling seeing Jamison grow as an artist. Years ago we wrote that he showed an incredible potential, and with a song like "Green Room" he's just starting to reach that potential. Plus, it might be the best song ever inspired by the film Spirited Away.

Jamison explains: 

The song is specifically about being in LA and seeing the movie Spirited Away come on the TV while I half-slept on the green room couch. It was my then-ex-girlfriend’s favorite movie and brought on a flood of memories. It also features a very compelling character called ‘No-Face’, a being who is so spiritually empty that it needs to devour everything in its sight, a mythical “hungry ghost”. Being in LA, home to many would-be stars, I was forced to ask if I was a hungry ghost myself, as my career had taken me away from so many things I missed so badly.

You can listen to "Green Room" below. Tourism, the upcoming EP from Henry Jamison that also features collaborations with Darlingside, Fenne Lily, and Lady Lamb, will be out May 15 on Color Study. For more on Henry Jamison, be sure to check him out on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Emily Keener - "Boats"

Photo by Dalton Brand
"Boats," the latest single from Cleveland's Emily Keener, is incredibly simple in its beauty. The song is your basic singer/songwriter folk song, and an unbelievably stunning one at that. Keener's voice is the focus of the song, and once she starts singing you'll know exactly why. It's a simple song about a simple subject. The song is about Keener's first time on a sailboat on Lake Erie on a summer night. According to Keener: "I wanted to write a song that was so simple, just about appreciating the loves in your life and the moments we get lucky enough to end up in every now and again." Despite how calming and chill the song can be, there is the slightest amount of noise that wanders in every so often, building to a dazzling crescendo at one point in the song.

You can listen to "Boats" below. I Do Not Have to Be Good, the upcoming album from Emily Keener, will be out May 22. For more on Emily Keener, check out her website.

Archie Shepp, Raw Poetic, and Damu The Fudgemunk - "Learning to Breathe"

Photo by Earl Davis
Jason Moore (aka Raw Poetic) had been sending music to his uncle for years. His uncle happens to be legendary jazz saxophonist Archie Shepp. It wasn't until Shepp heard his nephew's collaborations with producer/DJ Damu the Fudgemunk that he decided he was ready. The trio have an album coming out, and the first single, "Learning to Breathe," is simply a must hear. The album was improvised, and the melding of jazz and hip hop in "Learning to Breathe" is impossibly raw. There is a feeling to the song that you rarely get in modern music, let alone modern hip hop. Jazz and hip hop have been combined before, but rarely does it combine in such an intriguing and immediate way.

You can listen to "Learning to Breathe" below. Ocean Bridges, the upcoming album from Archie Shepp, Raw Poetic, and Damu The Fudgemunk will be out on May 22 via Redefinition Records. You can pre-order a copy here

Friday Freebie: Comet Pond - Spirit

Even though February feels like another lifetime, it was only two months ago. It was back in February that we brought you a Friday Freebie in the form of Comet Pond's 2019 album And to Think. This past Monday (4/20, of course) they released a new album. Spirit is everything we loved about And to Think, but even more so. Spirit is filled with these laid back indie rock jams that border on being power ballads. Songs like "Want" and "For You" are like a combination of Nada Surf and Sebadoh's more sensitive side. "Dreamt" keeps that up, but with a slight hint of a country twang. "Rock and Roll Guitar" is a more organic shoegaze that leans towards Americana. "Come Down" is a bizarro New Wave track that gets a little new agey at times. Comet Pond are becoming masterful at feeling very familiar on your first listen but burying sounds deep into the song to find once you go back. Spirit is going to be worth your time the more and more you listen.

You can listen to "Dreamt" below. Spirit is available for the "name your price" option at Comet Pond's Bandcamp. If you choose the free option, be sure to give them a follow on Facebook

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Skullcrusher - "Places/Plans"

Photo by Silken Weinberg
Skullcrusher is the musical project of Los Angeles based artist Helen Ballentine. If her new song "Places/Plans" is any indication, Skullcrusher will quickly become a favorite here. Despite being mostly Ballentine's voice and a soft guitar, "Places/Plans" isn't quite folk, but maybe folk adjacent. It's a layered in a way to truly be mesmerizing. It's a hypnotizing song about isolation that was written a year ago but seems to have been made for right now. 

Ballentine says of the song: I thought a lot about my self-worth during this period of uncertainty. Places/Plans’ attempts to communicate the beauty and vulnerability of being alone and what it means to let someone else in to see that. It feels like the thematic core of the EP. It is a song for being alone in your room, lying on the floor with a book and the window open, but also for letting someone in to lie with you.”

You can watch the video for "Places/Plans" below. Skullcrusher's self-titled debut EP will be out June 26 on Secretly Canadian. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Skullcrusher, check out the artist's Bandcamp and Instagram pages.

Cuddle Magic - "What If I"

I first discovered Cuddle Magic years ago because of their ties to both David Wax Museum and Lady Lamb. When your members are associated with those artists, you're guaranteed we're going to listen. The New York/Philadelphia chamber pop sextet are set to release a new album and they've shared the first single, "What If I." It's a gorgeously layered song that's perfect in its simplicity. The entire album was recorded using twenty three microphone in a bathroom without headphones, amplification, or overdubs. If "What If I" sounds this amazing recorded in such a unique way, maybe more artists should try that out.

Guitarist/Vocalist Benjamin Lazar Davis says of the song: “'What if I' is the first and only song in 15 years of being a band that every member of Cuddle Magic wrote a song together. The track started when Cole Kamen-Green brought in this amazing seed that was a little loop he found in a Johann Sebastian Bach chorale. Then Christopher McDonald joined us to work on another section that would later become the bridge. Much later, Kristin Slipp and I took out the old seed and soon had the chorus melody, & it was that night that Alec Spiegelman and David Flaherty showed up and together we would complete the lyrics to the song and put the finishing touches on the melody and form."

You can listen to "What If I" below. Bath, the new album from Cuddle Magic, will be out July 3 on Northern Spy. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Cuddle Magic, check out their website. The band is also giving away bathroom essentials such as bidets and toilet paper (2020, y'all...) to their followers on Spotify.

Puppy Problems - "Villain Story"

Photo via Facebook
One thing that quarantine has given us is a bunch of benefit compilations featuring one-off songs from some of our favorites. Outlive the Sun: ERASED! Tapes benefit comp is from Boston label ERASED! Tapes featuring sixty nine (nice...) tracks to benefit Cosecha, which is raising money to help undocumented immigrants in the U.S. facing financial hardships due to COVID-19, and Families for Justice as Healing, which is working to end the incarceration of women and girls. One of the songs on this compilation is from Puppy Problems. Their song, "Villain Story," is a stripped down near folk track, but much more along the lines of 90's bedroom recordings. It's just vocals and a quietly fuzzy guitar drawing the listener in. Hearing songs with this sound happens less and less frequently, and for those of us raised on this sound, "Villain Story" will be like a warm blanket of nostalgia.

You can listen to "Villain Story" below. The song is available as part of Outlive the Sun: ERASED! Tapes benefit comp, which is available now on ERASED! Tapes's Bandcamp. For more on Puppy Problems, check them out on Facebook and their own Bandcamp.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Rosa Bordallo & Duane Lauginiger - "33"

Last fall Brooklyn's Rosa Bordallo (formerly known as Manett) released the fantastic Reef Walker. As was the case with many artists, she released a new single on 4/20. "33" is a collaboration with Duane Lauginiger, the producer of Reef Walker and a member of Birds, another one of our favorite Brooklyn musical artists. "33" is mesmerizing. Bordallo's vocals and Lauginiger's guitars take equal turns in the spotlight and are both required to tell the tale of the song. Her vocals draw you deeper and deeper into the song, while his guitar is what hypnotizes you. It's a mixture of folk singer/songwriter and psychedelia you don't see nearly enough. 

You can listen to "33" below. The song is available now via Rosa Bordallo's Bandcamp. For more on Rosa Bordallo, check out her Facebook.

The Gobshites Cover House of Pain

A Boston area "Folk 'N' Irish" band covering House of Pain isn't a shocker. It's pretty obvious, but that's because it works so well. Foxboro's The Gobshites covering the ultra-iconic "Jump Around" and releasing it as a free download on 4/20 and not St. Patrick's Day is a little surprising. It's, of course, a ridiculously fun cover. This isn't Johnny Cash covering "Hurt" by any means. "Jump Around" done on more traditional Irish instruments in a punky sort of way isn't meant to be completely serious. It's a hip hop party anthem reworked as an Irish punk party anthem. If this sounds like your kind of thing, you're gonna love it. The Gobshites even squeeze a bit of "Insane in the Brain" from House of Pain's former tourmates Cypress Hill and Van Halen's "Jump" in at the very end for good measure.

You can listen to The Gobshites's version of "Jump Around" below. The song is available as a free download over at the band's Bandcamp. For more on The Gobshites's, check them out on Facebook.

Talkin' to Johnny - Talkin' to Johnny - EP

Being as obsessed as I am with the music of Sallie Ford, I have no idea how this slipped by me for this long. Talkin' to Johnny is the latest musical project from Ford, featuring her on vocals and drums, Maria Kohler (aka Kitty Crimes) on guitar, and A Walker Spring playing bass. The trio released their debut EP earlier this month. Talkin' to Johnny - EP is six hard rockin' songs. While it still has the blues base of Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside and Sallie Ford, Talkin' to Johnny is straight up 70's style rock 'n' roll. This is a huge sound with much more showboating (in the best possible way) than I would expect. They're giving us killer guitar solos that sound like a lo-fi Led Zeppelin. Like I said, not what I was expecting to hear from a Sallie Ford project, but it's great to hear an artist stretch outside of their normal comfort zone like this.

You can watch the video for "Man Moon" below. Talkin' to Johnny - EP is available now via Sallie Ford's Bandcamp. For more on Sallie Ford, check her out on Facebook and Instagram.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 17 April

Artist: Fiona Apple
Album: Fetch the Bolt Cutters
Quick Description: New album from the alt-singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: A lot of people are arguing that this may be the best album of the year.
Overall Thoughts: Internet chatter this weekend focused a lot on Pitchfork's perfect score for this album, Apple's first since 2012. Apple doesn't produce new music very often, and she is very much an artist's artist with everything that goes along with that. This album? It's definitely an achievement, probably her best since Extraordinary Machine, and it's 100% the album from this week that I will be going back to first. Best of the year? A transcendent experience? That remains to be seen, but this is an album with a lot of layers and is absolutely worth listening to whether you're a fan or not. It's rare, in 2020, for an album to not only be the topic of conversation but also be worthy of it, and Fetch the Bolt Cutters ultimately achieves that.
Recommendation: A mandatory listen.

Artist: The Pack A.D.
Album: it was fun while it lasted
Quick Description: Canadian duo's final album.
Why You Should Listen: If you're only discovering them now, you'll regret missing them after all this time.
Overall Thoughts: I can't quite place how I felt when listening to this. There was a lot of familiarity surrounding this listen, as the album felt fun and weird and like a secret you just uncovered and can't wait to share. It's a shame I've since learned that they're calling it quits, but at least there's a robust back catalog. If you like oddball indie rock, this is certainly worth the time, and you might find some new favorites out of the whole thing.
Recommendation: A great listen this week.

Artist: Sarah Siskind
Album: Modern Appalachia
Quick Description: New album from a well-connected folkie.
Why You Should Listen: Come for the guests, stay for some great music.
Overall Thoughts: I didn't know Sarah Siskind by name prior to this weekend, but I dug out this album in part because of the guest spots from Bill Frisell and Justin Vernon. Turns out there is a ton to love in this album - it's a really gorgeous rootsy album with a lot of great alt-country tones and a great take on the genre that's often evocative of Jason Isbell. If you like roots music, if you can listen to "Carolina" and not really feel something, I'm not sure what to say.
Recommendation: One of the best listens this week.

Artist: Blushh
Album: R.I.P. Apathy
Quick Description: Debut album from some indie pop-punkers.
Why You Should Listen: Their early singles/EPs showed a lot of promise.
Overall Thoughts: There's a lot in this subgenre out this week, but my favorite of the batch is absolutely Blushh, which is a firecracker of an album that is a ton of fun. Songs like "All My Friends" are one thing, but "Too Dark" and "Deal With It" are great all on their own, too, and the whole thing is just really evenly balanced in the best possible way. In a busy week it might be easy to overlook, but you won't want to miss out on this one if you can help it.
Recommendation: Definitely worth the time.

Artist: Skylar Gudasz
Album: Cinema
Quick Description: Beautiful, contemplative singer-songwriter music.
Why You Should Listen: Gives off some great, moody vibes.
Overall Thoughts: There are a few musicians out there who give off a specific sound that always pings something in my head, and Aimee Mann's sound circa Bachelor No. 2 is one of them. Skylar Gudasz, in her new album, provides some serious Aimee Mann vibes throughout as the album progresses, and the result is a low-key favorite this week that hit all the right tones for me. I fully get that this may not work for everyone, but if you're seeking some advanced and mature songwriting, you owe it to yourself to give this a proper chance. Chances are you'll be rewarded by repeated listens.
Recommendation: A solid effort this week.

Artist: The Mountain Goats
Album: Songs for Pierre Chuvin
Quick Description: John Darnielle heads back to the boombox.
Why You Should Listen: It's vintage Mountain Goats, both in theory and in practice.
Overall Thoughts: I doubt this album exists without the quarantine, and it's a real blast from the past in a lot of ways. A number of great songs are here, and a lot of stuff that would probably be incomphrensible if this was your first exposure. This is unlikely to be any fan's favorite Mountain Goats effort, and yet it's probably one of my favorite efforts of Darnielle's in years. Ultimately, your mileage may vary, but this is a great listen.
Recommendation: Worth the time, especially for fans.

Artist: Rina Sawayama
Quick Description: Interesting mashup of 90s pop, PC Music, and nu-metal.
Why You Should Listen: This is a lot of where the direction of pop may be heading, and Sawayama may be leading the charge.
Overall Thoughts: Listen, "XS" and "STFU!" are both great songs. They've been out there for a while and I've loved them both, but I wasn't sure whether this could hold up through an entire album. Good news: it can and it does. A lot of this will sound like it was taped off of Kiss 108 22 years ago, and other parts will make you feel like Poppy didn't go goth, but the whole package is one that people should be talking about a lot more. Just a great, eclectic listen.
Recommendation: Definitely the most ambitious listen of the week.

Of note:

* Tashaki Miyaki - Under Cover, Vol. 2 (Don't skip out on their version of "Take My Breath Away," which could be an alt-universe Twin Peaks theme.)
* EOB - Earth (Solo effort from the Radiohead bassist; has lots of good moments.)
* R.A. The Rugged Man - All My Heroes are Dead (Really great rap effort here.)
* Girl Skin - Shade is on the Other Side
* Elbow - Live at the Ritz
* RJD2 - The Fun Ones
* Answering Machine - Bad Luck
* Tomo Nakayama - Melonday
* Toner - Silk Road
* Wyldlife - Year of the Snake
* The Electric Mess - The Electric Mess V


* Jaguar Jonze - Diamonds & Liquid Gold (Don't sleep on this one.)
* Zelma Stone - Dreamland
* Ally Evenson - Not So Pretty

Also out:

* Soul Asylum - Hurry Up and Wait
* Brett Newski - Don't Let the Bastards Get You Down
* Let Spin - Steal the Light
* Jungle Brothers - Keep it Jungle
* Shelby Lynne - Shelby Lynne
* Shabazz Palaces - The Don of Diamond Dreams

Rough Francis - "Tito's Revenge"

Photo via Facebook
We've been digging the proto-punk garage rock of Rough Francis for a while. Garage rock is kinda one of our things, and no one really is doing it better than Rough Francis. On their latest single, "Tito's Revenge," they keep the bare bones of their sound but heavily tweak it. "Tito's Revenge" is much, much louder than what we've come to expect from the Vermont rockers. It's dancing in the realms of metal and dub. That's a sound I'm shocked I've never heard before, but that's most likely since metal dub could be the biggest musical trainwreck imaginable. But Rough Francis bring us metal/dub/proto punk, and they make this work better than anyone could have anticipated.

You can watch the video for "Tito's Revenge" below. Urgent Care, the new album from Rough Francis, will be out soon. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Rough Francis, check them out on Facebook and their website.