Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Desert Blonde - "It Ain't Bad (To Be Alone)"

Photo by Geri Hinkle
Desert Blonde is the musical project of Brooklyn's Zach Hinkle. From an upcoming EP, he has a new-ish single, "It Ain't Bad (To Be Alone)." The song is a moderately rambling, laid back folk song with some serious country roots. For our readers, "It Ain't Bad (To Be Alone)" is going to sound like a much more folkie Hallelujah the Hills with much more straightforward lyrics. It's a straight up folk song extolling the virtues of being by yourself... especially if getting stoned is your cup of tea.

You can listen to "It Ain't Bad (To Be Alone)" below. Live Slow Die Old, the new EP from Desert Blonde, is due out October 23. For more on Desert Blonde, check out the artist's Bandcamp.

Miesha & the Spanks - "Wanna Feel Good"

I've always been a fan of classic garage rock, which is why I'm always obsessed with anything that Miesha & the Spanks put out. The Calgary based duo have a new single out. "Wanna Feel Good" may not be purely classic 60's or 70's style garage rock, but fans of the more vintage side of the genre will find plenty to love here. Miesha Louie's vocals are just dripping with attitude, the song is filled with an attack of fuzzed out (and somehow slinky?) guitars, and Sean Hamilton is pounding his drums like his life depends on it. Punk infused garage rock is a standard in the genre these days, but "Wanna Feel Good" also injects a healthy dose of classic metal into garage punk, which I don't think anyone can argue with.

You can listen to "Wanna Feel Good" below. Singles EP, the upcoming release from Miesha & the Spanks, will be out March 2021. For more on Miesha & the Spanks, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 28 September

I guess everyone saved their releases for this week...

Artist: Pillow Queens
Album: In Waiting
Quick Description: Solid Irish alt-rock.
Why You Should Listen: Not breaking new ground, but feels unique and new all the same
Overall Thoughts: Of the approximately one million releases this week, this was the first one I listened to and it really set the bar high. Pillow Queens has a debut here that feels polished and fresh, while still showing a lot of room for growth and expansion of their sound. Feels like classic 1990s alt rock in some ways, and modern indie in others. Definitely worth time for you in the rotation.
Recommendation: This is not one you'll want to miss.

Artist: Stepbrother
Album: Don't Frighten the Horses
Quick Description: Not sure if this is alt-rock or post-rock or something else, but it's great.
Why You Should Listen: You're into albums that require some engagement.
Overall Thoughts: I don't know what I expected from this, but it absolutely exceeded my expectations. This was an album that has a number of layers and refuses to fit into a box - it's sometimes experimental, sometimes catchy and melodic, sometimes really frustrating, but it's something that requires you to pay attention, which is rare. I really enjoyed this, and it might be challenging for some...
Recommendation: ...but it's worth the effort.

Artist: Troi Irons
Album: flowers, the album
Quick Description: New album from a blog favorite.
Why You Should Listen: Her first fully independent release, it's an artist with an already-unique voice sounding more confident than ever.
Overall Thoughts: I never know how to describe Troi Irons because no one sounds like her. This new album sounds exactly like someone freed from the constraints others might have put on her sound, and the result is something really magical. There's definitely a lot to unpack from this album, for sure, but I think there's something to be said about music that blurs the lines between so many genres and does so with such care. This is a great listen this week.
Recommendation: One of the best of the week.

Artist: Marie Davidson and L’Œil Nu
Album: Renegade Breakdown
Quick Description: Dance music with some intelligence (as opposed to IDM).
Why You Should Listen: This is quite the odd turn, but a good one nonetheless.
Overall Thoughts: I loved Working Class Woman and was excited for what came next. What we got feels like a dusty, velour-covered lounge act through the haze of club culture and, frankly, I'm here for it. It's such an oddity and such a great listen that it's the one I might be most excited to get back to. There's really nothing like this, and I look forward to seeing what this collaboration turns up next.
Recommendation: A fascinating listen.

Artist: Sad13
Album: Haunted Painting
Quick Description: The poppier side of Sadie Dupuis comes out to play.
Why You Should Listen: This is just as odd-yet-accessible as her first solo effort.
Overall Thoughts: It's difficult to take the Sad13 stuff out of the context in which the project and Speedy Ortiz exist, but it's worth a shot. Her voice is so distinctive and the song structures so strong that it's hard to ignore how weird and wonderful this is. Nail me down, and I'd say this album works better on a whole than Slugger, and I feel like what may have started as an experiment is starting to work more as a broader persona, and I'm cool with it. Haunted Painting is great, and you should listen to it.
Recommendation: Make some time.

Artist: Sylvan Esso
Album: Free Love
Quick Description: Latest album from the indie artists.
Why You Should Listen: This might be their best effort yet.
Overall Thoughts: If you can listen to "Ferris Wheel" and not get excited, what are you even doing here? I've been lukewarm on Sylvan Esso up to this point, finding the parts greater than the whole, but I am pleasantly surprised at how wonderful and cohesive this listen is. It's a great album with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and I loved nearly every moment. Come for "Ferris Wheel," stay for a solid listen.
Recommendation: Add this to your rotation.

Artist: Sufjan Stevens
Album: The Ascension
Quick Description: The latest from the enigmatic indie folkster.
Why You Should Listen: We're a long way from the 50 state project.
Overall Thoughts: I remember when The Age of Adz came out and how many people were wondering what happened to that good Christian boy with the acoustic guitar. It's been a while since then, but I feel as if The Ascension is the first effort of his in some time that feels like one large thought. There's a consistency throughout here that's worth noting, and songs like "Video Games" just work in the sort of synthy minimalist landscape Stevens puts across here. I liked this quite a bit, it's worth your time.
Recommendation: Another solid listen this week.

Artist: Geoff Palmer and Lucy Ellis
Album: Your Face is Weird
Quick Description: Some great power pop with some covers mixed in.
Why You Should Listen: This is a great palate cleanser, and a lot of fun.
Overall Thoughts: I wanted to highlight this in a busy week because, while there's a lot of great music out this week, there's not so much fun, and Palmer/Ellis deliver it in spades here. There's a little something for everyone here, and it's something you want to take a little time with. You won't regret it.
Recommendation: Give it a shot.

Artist: IDLES
Album: Ultra Mono
Quick Description: New album from some British punk rockers.
Why You Should Listen: Think if McLusky's politics were more overt.
Overall Thoughts: This is an angry, angsty punk record in all the right ways. I've been obsessed with "Model Village" for a while, but the whole album just hits hard and doesn't let up. If you're someone who misses really good punk music, you should make it a point to get frustrated alongside these guys.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Of note:

* Krakow Loves Adana - Darkest Dreams (Some really good stuff here from a European synthy act.)
* NVDES - Nvdity Worldwide (Great dance music.)
* Blitzen Trapper - Holy Smokes Future Jokes (Blitzen Trapper as consistent as ever.)
* Various Artists - 617 Sessions: Sound of Our Town (The Red Shaydez track in particular is awesome.)
* Anna von Hausswolff - All Thoughts Fly (This is a really interesting and complex listen.)
* Croatian Amor - All in the Same Breath (Another really interesting, different listen. Lots going on here.)
* Squirrel Nut Zippers - Lost Songs of Doc Souchon
* Anya Marina - Queen of the Night
* Fleet Foxes - Shore
* Will Butler - Generations
* The Knock-Ups - Splitting Hairs
* Lydia Loveless - Daughter
* Mint Field - Sentimiento Mundial
* The Band of Heathens - Stranger
* Thurston Moore - By the Fire
* Surfer Blood - Carefree Theatre
* Jordan Tice - Motivational Speakeasy
* Yves Jarvis - Sundry Rock Song Stock
* Hen Ogledd - Free Humans
* Attic Salt - Get Wise
* Bob Mould - Blue Hearts
* Action Bronson - Only for Dolphins
* ShitKid - 20/20 ShitKid


* Melanie Martinez - After School EP
* Anna Ash - Oldies
* Holy Motors - Trouble
* Julia Bardo - The Raw EP
* The I Want You - Fade Back In
* The Muck and the Mires - Take Me Back to Planet Earth

Also out:

* Tim Heidecker - Fear of Death (A truly odd album, but "Oh How We Drift Away" with Weyes Blood is outstanding.)
* Psychic Temple - Houses of the Holy
* A$AP Ferg - Floor Seats II
* Public Enemy - What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?
* The War and Treaty - Hearts Town
* The Freedom Affair - Freedom is Love
* Deftones - Ohms

Science Man - "Crawling Out"

Buffalo, NY's Science Man doesn't make pleasant music. His newest single, "Crawling Out," is a bizarre, intense burst of noise crammed into the confines of a traditional strong, but spilling out quite regularly. It's screeching and grumbled vocals, clanging percussion, and driving guitars that are nearly industrial. Sometimes these elements all seem to be existing in harmony with each others, and sometimes they seem to be trying to escape from each other. But it still falls into a traditional song structure, although possibly against its will.

You can watch the video for "Crawling Out" below. Science Man II, the upcoming album from Science Man, will be out November 6 on Big Neck Records. For more on Science Man, check out the artist's Bandcamp.

Homeboy Sandman - "Extinction"

For his upcoming album, Homeboy Sandman paired with Quelle Chris for production. The second single released from the album proves this is even more of a dream pairing than we could have even hoped. "Extinction" isn't meant to be a top 40 hip hop hit. The new song is perfectly awkward. The production has an awkward and uncomfortable feel to it that you rarely get in modern hip hop. It's quite minimal, but in an almost hypnotic way. It's a mellow song, but this production keeps the tension up. For a genre that has been far too repetitive over the past two decades, "Extinction" is the rare song that breathes a freshness into it without trying to reinvent from scratch.

You can listen to "Extinction" below. Don't Feed the Monster, the upcoming album from Homeboy Sandman, will be out October 9 on Mello Music Group. You can pre-order the album via Bandcamp. For more on Homeboy Sandman, check out his Facebook.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Monday Mix: Jeff's Y-Not Quarantine Radio Takeover

If you missed Jeff's Quarantine DJ session on Friday, it's now on demand! Enjoy this hour long mix of new and recent indie music.

Liz Bills - "Wi-Hi"

The latest from Liz Bills is a deceptively cheerful, dance friendly song that is not-so secretly masking a dark subject. "Wi-Hi" is a funk filled soul/roots jam about being addicted to your phone and social media. It comes out at a time when everyone seems to be talking about the Netflix series The Social Dilemma, and perfectly mimics the high you can get on your apps. "Wi-Hi" is an incredibly catchy, upbeat song that makes you feel good and cheerful until you actually pay attention to it. This is mainly due to the power of Bill's voice, both stunningly beautiful and captivating. Even if you don't care about social media or don't care about how addictive it is, you're going to love this song.

You can listen to "Wi-Hi" below. Liz Bills's sophomore album is due out this winter. For more on Liz Bills, check out her website.

Allison & Moon - "27"

Allison & Moon are one of our favorite Boston bands led by "... a happy person who writes sad songs." They just released a new single, "27," that, according to their Bandcamp, "... is about how young people feel the crushing weight of a society that doesn’t work for them." It's a decidedly pop punk/emo style song, but in the best, most glorious way. This is one of those songs that demands I admit to my secret love of (some) emo/pop punk, no matter how much I may try to ignore it. Most bands in that genre don't have lyrics like "What did the world look like when you were twenty seven? / 'Cause all of my friends have depression. / And I'm still listening to my favorite band in the basement / trying to figure out how much time I've spent..." Maybe it's just me, but I'm well past twenty seven and can relate to this song far more than I should probably admit to.

You can listen to "27" below. The song is available via Allison & Moon's Bandcamp with all proceeds "... donated to key senate races needed to flip it blue." For more on Allison & Moon, check them out on Facebook.

Brass Against Cover Rage Against the Machine Again

We first discovered Brass Against through their Rage Against the Machine covers. While we love all of their 90's rock classic covers, there's always something particularly great when they bust out a brass band cover of a Rage classic. This time they're taking on the 1991 classic "Take the Power Back." They brought in Sofia Urista (my personal favorite of their vocalists) for this one, and as always their cover keeps all the power of the original. A brass band version of a rap rock political anthem could easily come across as a pure novelty, and that is some of the initial appeal. But by the time Brass Against are finished with "Take the Power Back," you're completely devoted to their cause.

You can watch the video for Brass Against's version of "Take the Power Back" below. For more on Brass Against, be sure to check out their website.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Jeff is YNot's Quarantine DJ Today

A programming note - Jeff is on Philadelphia's YNotRadio today at 2pm and again at 10pm to spin some tunes as this week's "Quarantine DJ." It's streaming online at, so check it out! I had a blast putting this together.

If you're here because you heard me on the radio, welcome! Hope you find some music to enjoy!

Izzy Heltai - "Father"

Photo by Joanna Chattman
I've been referring to Northampton, MA based Izzy Heltai's music as mainstream modern folk with just enough of a unique spin to keep it appealing to music snobs, too. His latest single, "Father," might be the perfect example of that. It's a quiet, deeply personal song that starts off painfully sparse but ever so slowly builds and builds as it goes on. It walks that line between accessible/mainstream and indie expertly. 

You can watch the video for "Father" below. Father, the upcoming debut album from Izzy Heltai, will be out October 9. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Izzy Heltai, check out the artist's website.

Natalie Sweet - "Lip Service"

Natalie Sweet has spent some time in bands, serving as the singer of The Shanghais and guitarist and singer of Control Freaks. Now she's going out on her own with a new single, "Lip Service." "Lip Service" is a sugary sweet pop garage rock song. It has all the sweetness and pop you'd find in a song like "Sugar Sugar" by The Archies, but fuzzed out garage rock guitars. For many of us, that combination is an absolute dream, all wrapped up in a two minute package. 

You can listen to "Lip Service" below. Oh, By the Way... It's, the new album from Natalie Sweet, will be out October 23 on Rum Bar Records. You can pre-order it via the label's Bandcamp. For more on Natalie Sweet, check out her Bandcamp.

Opin - "Ezprt"

Hailing from Richmond, VA, Opin have a truly unique sound on their latest single. "Ezprt" sounds fairly familiar, as it mixes a lot of familiar elements. It's almost even mainstream, but takes a bizarre swerve to the left before hitting the world of pop. "Ezprt" can best be described as dark funk. It also has this swirling, dreamlike feel in virtually all instruments. It feels very synth heavy, but not New Wave or 80's in any way. It's a laid back song that inspires you to move, at the very least in your chair. "Ezprt" is the kind of song that worms its way into you the more you listen.

You can watch the video for "Ezprt" below. Media & Memory, the upcoming song from Opin, will be out October 23 on WarHen Records. You can pre-order a copy on the label's Bandcamp. For more on Opin, check them out on Facebook.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

First Listen: New Releases for 18 September

Artist: Tyler Childers
Album: Long Violent History
Quick Description: Great raw rootsy folk music.
Why You Should Listen: This feels really pure and authentic.
Overall Thoughts: I think what impresses me the most with this is that it sounds kind of dirty and dusty? It's kind of what I expect from roots music at its core, and this is just an expert effort. Mostly instrumental, but all great.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Little Hag
Album: Whatever Happened to Avery Jane
Quick Description: First album under this name from Avery Mandeville.
Why You Should Listen: Think Sarah Shook if she grew up on Tumblr.
Overall Thoughts: I love love love love love this album. Little Hag is a really fun listen with some irreverent moments, some crazy great musicianship, and songs that make you smile just as much as they keep you bopping your head. This was a true surprise for me this week, and it's one that I'm sure has some real longevity. A really solid indie rock effort - if you can't get into "Tetris" or "Facebook," what's the point?
Recommendation: One of the best of the year.

Artist: Anjimile
Album: Giver Taker
Quick Description: Debut album from a Boston-based artist.
Why You Should Listen: This has a lot of buzz around it, all warranted.
Overall Thoughts: Anjimile is doing something special with their singer-songwriter/folkish effort here. When I heard some of the lead singles, I wasn't 100% on board, but somehow the cohesive unit of this album turns it into something much more impressive. There's a mood and clarity here that's lacking in a lot of music that comes out on a regular basis, and the raw feeling behind it all makes this something truly special.
Recommendation: A mandatory listen.

Artist: Emma Kupa
Album: It Will Come Easier
Quick Description: New solo album from the British singer-songwriter.
Why You Should Listen: Emma Kupa's involvement in something almost always makes it great.
Overall Thoughts: Emma Kupa has been in a host of indie bands over the years, and this solo effort is just great. So many catchy songs like "Nawlins" and "Nothing at All" really bring around what's special about this. A pleasant, poppy listen from a skilled songwriter.
Recommendation: Worth the time this week.

Artist: Native Harrow
Album: Closeness
Quick Description: New album by a favorite here.
Why You Should Listen: Native Harrow has a sound that forces you to pay attention.
Overall Thoughts: We've covered Native Harrow a few times here, and her debut really got me last year. Again, your expectations are something different going in, but the results of this one are an album that grabs you and doesn't let go. The duo are skilled songwriters with a sound that toes the lines between folk and rock genres. I really liked this album, and you will too.
Recommendation: Put it in your rotation.

Artist: Cults
Album: Host
Quick Description: "Go Outside" act with another stellar release.
Why You Should Listen: Cults has been a very consistent act.
Overall Thoughts: In my brain, Cults had one big hit and I always forget they're around until they put a new album out and then I say "wait, I really like this band." I liked their last album enough, but I thought it was a poppier affair than their reputation allowed. This definitely continues in that vein, but in a different way - it might be my favorite effort of theirs yet. It feels more confident, fairly accessible, and pretty great on a whole. I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to this one.
Recommendation: Don't sleep on this.

Artist: Fenne Lily
Quick Description: A second album that doesn't hit the sophomore slump.
Why You Should Listen: It's less folk and more exploratory.
Overall Thoughts: Fenne Lily still isn't for everyone, but I feel as if her second album is for more people than her first was. Still super confessional and introspective, this is music for people who care about the stories and mood behind their songs, and that's what sets Fenne Lily apart. If you're up for a singer-songwriter challenge, don't miss this one.
Recommendation: Worth the time.

Of note:

* Handsome Ghost - Some Still Morning (A really solid, gorgeous record.)
* Body Double - Milk Fed (Don't sleep on this one.)
* Rudy De Anda - Tender Epoch (Don't let the occasional language barrier get in the way.)
* Lily / Lucy - Laugh Now Cry L8r (Interesting odd pop effort featuring Lucy Konigsburg.)
* Eivor - Segl
* Boyfriend Machine - The Steady March to Death
* A. G. Cook - Apple
* otta - Songbook
* Ian Wayne - Risking Illness
* Sarah Davachi - Cantus, Descent
* Butcher Brown - #KingButch
* Jealous of the Birds - Peninsula
* Namir Blade - Aphelion's Traveling Circus
* Gillian Welch - Boots No. 2, The Lost Songs, Vol. 2


* Semisonic - You're Not Alone (They haven't missed a step.)
* Elysian - Water EP
* ONBC - Forty Thousand Tears
* American Authors - Counting Down
* Sinead O'Brien - Drowning in Blessings
* Luke Howard and Tilman Robinson - Dark Angels
* The Queers and the Two Tens - Cha Cha Cha
* GA-20 - Live Vol. 1
* The Persian Leaps - Smiling Lessons
* Galya Bisengalieva - Aralkum

Also out:

* Ava Max - Heaven & Hell
* Osees - Protean Threat

The Short Fuses - "The Pink"

Picture via Facebook
The Short Fuses are one of those bands that I just discovered only to find out that they're releasing their first new music in fifteen years. According to their Facebook profile, they're "Blondie, MC5, and Motorhead in a blender." You can't argue with that description, and I have no idea how anyone can resist that. "The Pink" is a perfect example of that. It's loud and fast rock and roll with more edge than you could possibly want, and just the slightest bit of pop sensibility to somehow make this combination catchy. So... yeah. It's literally as they advertised. 

You can listen to "The Pink" below. Dawn of the Deaf, the first new album from The Short Fuses in fifteen years, is due out on October 23 via Rum Bar Records. You can pre-order the album via Bandcamp. For more on The Short Fuses, be sure to check out their website.

Joan of Arc - "Destiny Revision"

Photo by Chris Strong
Joan of Arc have been an indie rock staple for twenty five years now. Throughout that twenty five year history, Tim Kinsella has been the only permanent member of the group. The band is set to release their final album in December, and "Destiny Revision" is the first single from that final album. It's a quiet, lovely song that feels deeply intimate. It's the kind of song that lulls you into almost a trance, and then gently pulls you out with the occasional burst of quiet noise, including what may be a guitar solo towards the end. 

Tim Kinsella says of the song: “‘Destiny Revision’ was a personal song when it was written a couple years ago, about winging it when your life fails to play out as you'd imaginedUnfortunately that simple sentiment now has a much more expansive and darker resonance as all of us in America face a fascist administration using the pandemic as an opportunity to consolidate power, and we all struggle to imagine our futures.” 

You can watch the video for "Destiny Revision" below. Joan of Arc's final album, Tim Melina Theo Bobby, will be out December 4 on Joyful Noise Recordings. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Joan of Arc, check out their website.

Lydia Loveless featuring Laura Jane Grace - "September"

Photo by Megan Toenyes
The new and highly awaited album from Lydia Loveless is due tomorrow, but we're getting to hear our most highly anticipated song from that album early! When we first heard about the album, we couldn't wait to hear "September" since it featured a guest appearance by Laura Jane Grace. The song is a gorgeous piano ballad, which isn't quite what I expected from the pairing of Loveless and Grace, but I can't argue with the result. A piano ballad always has the possibility of falling into the land of overly sappy, but Loveless and Grace avoid that. Just their vocals inject enough attitude, and lyrics like "Do you really wanna fuck with me" finish the job. Like many Loveless songs, it's beautiful on the surface, but the lyrics tell another story.

You can watch the video for "September" below. Lydia Loveless explains the video: “‘September’ is a song about the loneliness and ache of being a teenager. I wanted to depict that in the video without being too personal, and we thought Bridget and Kyle would be the perfect people to star in it. There’s nothing I love more than not being in my own video, so I loved just watching everyone get into character and tell this sad story in front of me.” 

Daughter, the new album from Lydia Loveless, will be out September 25 on her own Honey, You're Gonna Be Late Records. You can order a copy here. Lydia Loveless has three livestreams scheduled, including a full band virtual release show scheduled for tonight (September 24). You can get tickets here. For more on Lydia Loveless, check out her website.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Clint Hoffa & Lycouz - "Introduction"

Sweden doesn't seem like an obvious place for hip hop to come from, but here are Clint Hoffa and Lycouz. The duo are set to release their debut album this Fall, and right now we can hear their new single, "Introduction." How is Swedish rap? Surprisingly great. "Introduction" is a modern take on the 90's trifecta of House of Pain, Cypress Hill, and Funkdoobiest (aka one of the tours I regret missing the most). If you miss killer party friendly rap songs like those three used to deliver, you're going to need to check out Clint Hoffa and Lycouz.

You can watch the video for "Introduction" below. The new album from Clint Hoffa & Lycouz will be out this Fall. For more on Clint Hoffa, check out his Facebook. For more on Lycuz, check out his.

Shadow Show - "What Again Is Real?"

Even though it may feel like years ago, Shadow Show released their album Silhouettes merely seven months ago. It's a strong contender for our top ten of 2020, so we're thrilled to already have new music from the Detroit trio. "What Again Is Real?" is a new single, and it's exactly what we want with new music from Shadow Show. It mashes together the retro 60's sounds of garage rock, psychedelia, and girl groups into one cohesive unit that is pure perfection. It's incredibly trippy while staying grounded in pure rock and roll.

In a post on their Bandcamp page, Shadow Show say about the song: “Upon this journey we accept that despite inevitable doom, everything is okay- or so says the girl with flowers in her head.” 

You can listen to "What Again Is Real?" below. The song is available as a single with a cover of "Is This a Dream?" from The Feminine Complex via Hypnotic Bridge Records. You can get a copy via the band's Bandcamp. For more on Shadow Show, check out the band's website.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Leith Ross - "Tommy"

Photo by Bronwyn Fong
The latest single from Toronto's Leith Ross is a tribute to their grandfather. It's a quiet indie folk/indie pop song about missing their grandfather and their shared love of music. It's the kind of song that's incredibly specific to their relationship, but can still tap into a universal sense of loss and mourning. It's a very simple, gorgeous modern folk song that is guaranteed to suck anyone in.

Leith Ross says of "Tommy": 

"My grandpa was a wonderful man, and the kind of musician who couldn't read sheet music to save his life but played five instruments and could follow you on any song. He inspires me and when things are hard I think of him, and it helps. I often remember him starting a song on his mandolin and my grandma would say to him, 'Oh Tommy I love that one. Play it for the kids, and Leith, you should learn so you can play it for your kids.' So I would sing along. 
This song honors a lovely man and the woman who loved him most."

You can listen to "Tommy" below. Motherwell, the upcoming EP from Leith Ross, will be out October 16 on Birthday Cake. For more on Leith Ross, check out the artist's website.

Skegss - "Fantasising"

Photo by David Harington
I have no idea how Australia has been doing it, but they've been cranking out bands that lean heavily into their 90's influences the past few years. The latest we've discovered is Skegss. Their latest single, "Fantasising," is this upbeat, fuzzy guitars that lives in the time between grunge in nu-metal. It's an upbeat, breezy power pop song that would have probably been called post grunge twenty five or so years ago. It's the kind of song that's perfect to dance to, but back then it would have been somehow moshed to.

You can watch the video for "Fantasising" below. The song is available as a single via Loma Vista Recordings. For more on Skegss, check out their website.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Aaron Frazer - "Bad News"

Photo by Alysse Gafkjen
You might know Aaron Frazer as the drummer and co-lead vocalist in Durand Jones & The Indications. Frazer is striking out with a solo album, and the debut single will work for any fan of Durand Jones & The Indications. "Bad News" fits into the classic soul through a modern filter that we love about Frazer's band, but doesn't just sound like an Indications's b-side. It's a gorgeous song that will suck you in despite its laid back vibe. In fact, it almost lulls you in before you realize how intense it truly is.

The song is laid back despite its serious subject matter. Aaron Frazer explains the meaning behind "Bad News":

“I wrote ‘Bad News’ last November, originally as a song about climate change - a threat that feels so big, so existential, that sometimes it's easier for us to just look away. But today, I think it's taken on a new meaning. It's become a song that gives voice to the things everybody is experiencing right now: isolation, and figuring out how to get through our daily life in the face of relentless bad news.”

You can watch the video for "Bad News" below. The song is available now as a single via Dead Oceans/Easy Eye Sound. For more on Aaron Frazer, check out the artist's website.

Anne Malin - "Hourglass"

Photo by Rachel Winslow
Nashville's Anne Malin have been described as "art country," "Gothic country," and "ghost country." All of those descriptions meet up perfectly in the duo's latest single, "Hourglass." "Hourglass" has a little bit of a cabaret feel to it, while still being distinctly country. Anne Malin Ringwalt's vocals seem particularly vulnerable on this track. Plus, there is some wonderfully horrific noise that comes in towards the end, with nothing else truly changing. Is it feedback? Metal on metal? Some unknown instrument being mercilessly abused? Whatever it is, it adds to the song perfectly.

Anne Malin Ringwalt explains the new quarantine written and recorded song:

“'Hourglass' started, lyrically, from my sense of detachment from time during the pandemic. When I wrote 'somewhere an hourglass stands at night / sand slips by in the moonlight' I was feeling—at the depth of Will and my unemployment—out of control but loving the experience of how dense our days together were, how our days blurred together. I was picturing time as something far away from us. The image of sand inside the hourglass got me thinking about summer, though, and all the ways I’d enjoy my time pre-covid. As I wrote, I moved from this sense of temporal bewilderment to my relationship with Will. We’re getting married late this summer, so when I sing about 'last July' I’m singing about Will proposing to me—how time seemed to be opening up for us then, the possibility we felt. How does one enter that sense of possibility from a pandemic? I tried to sing towards that."

You can listen to "Hourglass" below. Waiting Song, the upcoming album from Anne Malin, will be out October 2. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Anne Malin, check out the band's website.

Friday, September 18, 2020

J.E. Sunde - "Love Gone to Seed"

The latest from J.E. Sunde is quite simple in its brilliance. "Love Gone to Seed" is a fun pop-tinged Americana song with an upbeat feel. The Minneapolis singer/songwriter is nailing the mainstream neo-folk thing perfectly, and there is plenty here for fans of bands like The Avett Brothers to absolutely love here. But Sunde has his own unique vibe that is just slightly left of center enough to satisfy the music snobs, too. It could be his perfect use of instrumentation lingering in the background just enough to keep it interesting, or his Bob Dylan putting a little more effort into singing vocal style, but "Love Gone to Seed" will work for virtually anyone.

According to J.E. Sunde: "this song is about a relationship ending. Probably one whose ending is for the best, even as the fellow is futilely attempting to save it. One partner is trying to hold onto something that has run its course while the other holds the belief that for love to be true and worth pursuing there should be no need for a person to compromise in any way."

You can watch the video for "Love Gone to Seed" below. 9 Songs About Love, the upcoming album from J.E. Sunde, will be out on November 20. You can pre-order a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on J.E. Sunde, check out his website.

Faye Webster - "Better Distractions"

We've been absolutely loving Faye Webster's ultracool combination of laid back 60's vibes updated with a modern indie rock/pop sound. Her latest single, "Better Distractions," personifies that immaculately. It's an insanely dreamy tune that is guaranteed to make you need to move, despite it being a slow ballad. As with any of Webster's songs, "Better Distractions" is just impossibly cool. There are a lot of other artists that we cover here that are combining 60's retro cool with a modern sound, but no one is quite nailing the vibe like she is.

Webster says of "Better Distractions": 

I wrote this song kinda without knowing I was writing itIt’s a kind of free association, just thoughts running straight from my head onto paper untouched. I also think it’s best my band has ever sounded on record.” 

You can watch the video for "Better Distractions" below. For more on Faye Webster, be sure to check out her website.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Kaylee Elizabeth - "Passing Through"

Photo by May Xiong
Kaylee Elizabeth is known as one half of Seattle's The Native Siblings, but is striking out with a new solo project under her own name. Her debut single, "Passing Through," starts off as a modern take on traditional Irish folk. (She spent time in Ireland studying traditional Irish singing.) Slowly the song starts to morph into more of a contemporary song, with feet planted firmly in the sounds of indie rock, folk, and indie pop. 

Kaylee Elizabeth says of the song:

"'Passing Through' was inspired by looking out a car window on a long drive—the glimpses of the physical structures that are being built, lived in, or are slowly falling down, and wondering who the people are that have come and gone in those places. It is realizing that our time here is a breath, but that there are many things which can be passed down from generation to generation that are beautiful. This video was filmed in Washington with my dear friend Celia at her farm. Having lost my mother at the age of 17, there have been many moments since where I have desired motherly wisdom. I'm beyond grateful for a tribe of women that I call my 'surrogate mothers,’ and Celia is one of them. I wanted there to be a generational representation in the video, and I wanted it to be personal and display an actual meaningful relationship that spoke to the theme of the song." 

You can watch the video for "Passing Through" below. Kaylee Elizabeth's debut album is due out in 2021. For more on Kaylee Elizabeth, check out her website.