Friday, July 23, 2021

Quest for Tuna - "She Can't Surf But She Sure Can Bowl"

Red on Red Records recently unearthed a Boston surf rock classic from 1989. Boston and surf rock don't sound like they'd exactly work, but this one from Quest for Tuna somehow does. Maybe it's the fact that it's called "She Can't Surf But She Sure Can Bowl" since New England is a bizarre haven for bowling, particularly around 1989, which is when my dad and I would battle over control of the TV. He'd insist on local candlepin bowling, I'd want to watch wrestling, but I digress... Quest for Tuna sound more like vintage Boston punk with some surf guitar. Jay Allen's vocals are wonderfully rough. These guys are definitely an ancestor of Dropkick Murphys and other 90's Boston punks.

You can listen to "She Can't Surf But She Sure Can Bowl" below. The song is currently available as a single via Red on Red Records' Bandcamp

STL GLD - "Extra"

Photo via Facebook

You don't think about art museum and hip hop working together very often, but most hip hop groups aren't STL GLD. In addition to their ongoing collaborations with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston based group recently teamed up with the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. Over a three day period, STL GLD set up shop in Plummer Hall, which was constructed in the 1800s. The result of those three days is "Extra." The track has that laid back yet intense feel that no one pulls off quite like STL GLD does. Maybe it's just the knowledge of the song being recorded in a world class art museum, but "Extra" just feels a little more highbrow than other songs they've recorded. As always with STL GLD, the new song sounds and feels like them while moving out in a new direction. How they're still just our little secret baffles me.

You can watch the making of documentary that includes the video for "Extra" below. If you're in a rush and only have time for the song, it starts around 15:00. For more on STL GLD, check out the artist's website.

(Green River) Festival Friday - Kimaya Diggs

With the Green River Festival returning August 27-29, we're going to highlight some of the lesser known artists playing that we're most excited to see. The bottom of the poster at any festival contains some gems you don't want to miss, and especially so this year at Green River!

Kimaya Diggs is a Western Massachusetts based artist. Her music is nearly impossible to define by genre, but that's what we do so we'll give it a shot. Diggs brings us a mesmerizingly gorgeous blend of simple, acoustic folk mixed with jazz vocals and classic soul. It's truly a genre all her own, and it's going to be a perfect way to ease yourself into an all day music festival. While songs like "Sweet Pea" and "How Am I Sposta Know" are perfect chill out on a blanket songs, this is hardly mellow background music. Diggs' music is chill, but impossibly captivating. She's the type of artist that is going to silence a crowd as they watch in rapt attention.

Kimya Diggs is playing Saturday at the Green River Festival. Saturday and weekend passes are sold out, but you can get Friday and Sunday tickets at

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Jackson+Sellers - "The Devil is an Angel"

Photo by Ashley Osborne

Jackson+Sellers started out when Jade Jackson reached out to Aubrie Sellers about singing background vocals on a track. That must have gone well since the pair are releasing an album as a duo. The first single from the collaboration is "The Devil is an Angel." The song is an absolute garage rock rager mixed with classic country and modern pop. It's an odd combination that works well. It's dirty guitars, gorgeous harmonies, and just enough twang to demand your attention. It could be considered alt-country (maybe?) but Jackson and Sellers have too much sheen on their vocals. The duo have crafted an amazing song that we think you're going to become completely enamored with.

You can watch the video for "The Devil is an Angel" below. Breaking Point is due out October 22 on Anti- Records. You can pre-order/pre-save a copy here. For more on Jackson+Sellers, check out their website.

Girlpuppy - "Miniature Furniture"

Photo by Brandon McClain

With the second single off her upcoming EP, we're getting more and more rabid for the new release from Girlpuppy. "Miniature Furniture" is a laid back, upbeat indie rock/pop/folk song. The song just feels like a light and breezy summer song, especially with some country meets indie rock slide guitar. It's absolutely perfect for anyone that has been digging anything from Snail Mail or Phoebe Bridgers. "Miniature Furniture" is a masterful song that combines pop, folk, and indie in such a way to draw fans of all three in.

As light and breezy as the song feels, there is a sadness to it. Becca Harvey (aka Girlpuppy) explains the song is:

"... a culmination of experiences from a summer where I was traveling back and forth to Chicago and Pasadena all whilst coping with a difficult break up.

"I was having a really tough time dealing with the breakup, but instead of addressing the feelings I was experiencing, I distracted myself with travel and spent time with friends. I always find myself trying to hide from confronting my emotions head on by doing things to keep myself from thinking about how sad I am. This upbeat song really embodies the fleeting feelings of happiness while also being so depressed.
"I associate great memories with this song because I wrote it with two of my friends Grace Repasky and Maggie Geeslin (of Lunar Vacation) and it was such a fun experience. The miniature furniture title is a reference to an exhibit at The Art Institute of Chicago that I visited during that summer.”

You can watch the video for "Miniature Furniture" below. Swan is due out August 20 on Royal Mountain Records. For more on Girlpuppy, check out the artist on Facebook and Twitter.

Damu the Fudgemunk featuring Blu - "God Speed"

Photo courtesy Damu the Fudgemunk

For the second single off Damu the Fudgemunk's KPM Crate Diggers series, which seems him working with KPM's extensive archive of records, the producer brings in Blu. "God Speed" is the result, and it's truly a unique blend of hip hop. KPM's archive isn't limited to the genres hip hop typically samples, and "God Speed" uses mostly samples of string and wind instruments and beats that could be from a jazz, marching band, and some other type of record. The song is surprisingly stark, and while it's hip hop, it's such a unique version of hip hop. While most releases in the genre tend to get repetitive and follow a tried and true formula, Damu the Fudgemunk is giving us some of the most intriguing sounds we've heard in a long time.

You can listen to "God Speed" below. Conversation Peace is due out September 3 on Def Presse. You can pre-order/pre-save a copy here. For more on Damu the Fudgemunk, check out the artist's Bandcamp and Facebook.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 16 July

Artist: Willow (a.k.a Willow Smith)
Album: lately i feel EVERYTHING
Quick Thoughts: Willow (Smith), daughter of Will and of the hair that whips back and forth, has a very aggressive, Poppy-meets-hyperpop (...hyperpoppy?) effort here that is surprisingly impressive and effective. It's a nice gamble of sorts for an artist that could have a lot of success staying in a pop starlet lane. This won't be for everyone, and I think that's at least partially the point, but recruiting folks like Cherry Glazerr and making things loud and aggro worked for me.
Songs of Note: "Gaslight," "Come Home," "¡BREAKOUT!"

Artist: John Mayer
Album: Sob Rock
Quick Thoughts: It's easy to forget that John Mayer's debut album, Room for Squares (20 years old now!) was actually really solid. Mayer is a great guitarist and a solid songwriter, but also often comes across as an example of rock excess. Sob Rock not only leans into it with the Richard Marx pastiche, but it shows why Mayer is so good at what he does. This is very, very good, and worth a listen.
Songs of Note: "Last Train Home," "New Light"

Artist: K.D.A.P
Album: Influences
Quick Thoughts: This electronic effort from the Broken Social Scenester is interesting, not only because of who it's from, but because the sort of lo-fi approach that you don't always get in the electronic space. I don't have a lot to say about this one as much as just knowing that it exists is a good thing.

Artist: Joshua Burnside and Laura Quirke
Album: In the Half-Light
Quick Thoughts: It's not easy to make a statement in four songs, but holy crap this EP. This is the sort of dark, stark Americana we love, and it just keeps getting better as it goes on. At only four tracks, it's just a taste of what something more could be, but in a weird release week, this deserves some time.
Songs of Note: "Far Away the Hills Are Green"

Artist: John R. Miller
Album: Depreciated
Quick Thoughts: Speaking of solid roots efforts, here's John R. Miller with a lightweight, fun record that hides the pain and hurt behind a little bit of jaunt. I don't have a whole lot to say about it, but I kept getting surprised by how into this I was, and I think it's got a shot at being a sleeper favorite for me this summer.
Songs of Note: "Lookin' Over My Shoulder," "Borrowed Time"

Artist: Anna Tivel
Album: Blue World
Quick Thoughts: I've been critical of the pandemic-era music dumps we've seen. While artists need to get paid, there's a fair amount of creative bankruptcy in putting out demos and live efforts that no one is asking for. Anna Tivel has two pandemic-era releases that buck the trend - instead of just dumping out odds and sods from her records, she's instead either reinventing her latest (like with The Question (Live and Alone)) or reinventing her best efforts as she does with Blue World. This is a gorgeous record that reimagines many of her songs as if you wandered into a smoky jazz club and stumbled upon a gem. We love Anna Tivel here, and she's probably the best kept secret we have in these parts outside of David Wax Museum. Make time for this.

Of note:

* Dee Gees - Hail Satin/Foo Fighters - Live (If all mainstream music allowed themselves to get weird more often, the world would be better off.)
* The House in the Woods - The Spectral Corridor (Ambient-adjacent project from Pye Corner Audio's Martin Jenkins)
* Eliza Shaddad - The Woman You Want (Eliza Shaddad is always sneaky great.)
* Anna Meredith - Bumps Per Minute (18 Studies for Dodgems)
* Karen Black - Dreaming of You
* Tin Can Collective - Axiomatic Alarm Clock
* Charli Adams - Bullseye
* Clairo - Sling
* Wavves - Hideaway
* Steve Dawson - At the Bottom of a Canyon in the Branches of a Tree
* The Wind Ups - Try Not to Think
* Ida Mae - Click Click Domino
* Tones and I - Welcome to the Madhouse
* Lucid Express - Lucid Express
* The Lasso, Jordan Hamilton, and The Saxquatch - Tri Magi
* JOON - lag


* Yves Tumor - The Asymptomatical World EP
* Esther Rose - How Many More Times
* A Place to Bury Strangers - Hologram
* Attawalpa - Patterns
* Jayla Kai - Epitome
* Candy Ambulance - Hard-Boiled
* Jennie Lawless - I Am Here to Make Friends
* Ambar Lucid - Get Lost in the Music
* Margo Price - Live from the Other Side
* Catie Turner - Heartbroken and Milking It
* Cakes da Killa and Proper Villians - Muvaland Vol. 2
* The Secret Sisters - Quicksand EP
* Moonsign - Light From a Second Floor Apartment Window

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Joseph Spence - Encore: Unheard Recordings of Bahamian Guitar and Singing (This is an outstanding compilation.)
* Turin Brakes - The Optimist LP - Original Demos
* Drive-by Truckers - Live at Plan 9 - July 13, 2006
* Genesis Owusu - Missing Molars (Swnt Deluxe)
* John Vanderslice - ETHICAL JUTE MOUSE: Lost Songs from Tiny Telephone 2001 - 2021
* Joyce Manor - Joyce Manor (Remastered)

Also out:

* Tramp Stamps - We Got Drunk and Made an EP (Insultingly awful.)
* Instupendo - Love Power A-to-Z

Bite Me Bambi Cover The Go-Go's

As a card carrying music snob blogger, I like to pretend I'm above the ska punk cover. No self respecting music "journalist" would dare admit to liking a ska punk band releasing a cover of a classic song from the 80's! The audacity! Luckily I'm over forty and don't require this site to pay the bills, so I'm bringing you Bite Me Bambi covering The Go-Go's iconic "Our Lips Are Sealed." A ska cover of "Our Lips Are Sealed" is a perfect pairing. It's already a joyously fun song, and ska is a joyously fun genre. Plus, Bite Me Bambi are ridiculously fun, so there we go! Is Bite Me Bambi covering "Our Lips Are Sealed" a truly mind-blowing, life altering song? No, but it doesn't need to be. It's just fun. It's also July, and as we get older summer means less and less fun, so let's all savor this as a fun summer thing and get over ourselves.

Bite Me Bambi says of the cover selection:

"We wanted a fun summer song and have always wanted to do a Go Go's song. We had initially planned to do the song during covid, but it got lost in the shuffle of other tunes. Terry Hall from ska legends The Specials co wrote the song with Jane Wiedlan so we thought it would be a cool one to make into a Ska song. As it turned out, we ended up recording it pretty close to the 40 year anniversary of the release date of the original, and the induction of the Go Go's to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so we thought it was Kismet. That is the yearbook answer...Okay the real answer was a awesome song to rollerskate to.."

You can watch the video for Bite Me Bambi's version of "Our Lips Are Sealed" below. A download of the song can be purchased here. For more on Bite Me Bambi, check out the band's website.

Children of the Flaming Wheel - "Trenches"

Children of the Flaming Wheel feature three members of Hallelujah the Hills (which accounts for 75% of the band). Since we are obviously huge HtH fans here, we kinda have to give Children of the Flaming Wheel a shot. While their new single, "Trenches," is wildly different from anything their other band has released, longtime fans are still going to find a lot to love here. Their Bandcamp bio describes them as "galapagogo garage punk for the freakazoids!" Surprisingly, what you're imagining in your head is probably pretty close to what "Trenches" sounds like. It's a pretty rockin' psychedelic version of garage rock, but it's a short burst of psychedelia at just over two minutes. It sounds like if The 13th Floor Elevators came during the punk explosion of the late 70's.

You can listen to "Trenches" below. The song is available as a download here. For more on Children of the Flaming Wheel, check out the band's Bandcamp.

Calicoco - "Heal Me"

We first discovered Calicoco back in 2019, a year after they released their amazing album Float. We became enamored with Giana Caliolo's music. The combination of 60's crooner style vocals with modern indie and folk hits such a sweet spot of my musical taste. When I saw Calicoco had a new single out, I was thrilled for more of the same, but "Heal Me" straight up rocks. This is not the direction I expected, but I'm certainly not complaining. "Heal Me" keeps everything we loved about Calicoco before, but cranks up the noise. Sure, the cover of Heartless Bastards' "New Resolution" earlier this year gave us a hint of what Calicoco could do while rocking out a bit more, but this new song is an entirely new direction. It reminds me of Stef Chura going a little more in a straightforward rock direction while keeping the indie rock buzz and crunch.

You can watch the video for "Heal Me" below. Underneath is due out September 3 on Dadstache Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Calicoco, check out the artist's website.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Jennah Barry - "Venus In Heat"

Photo by Dario Lozano-Thornton

Nova Scotia's Jennah Barry has released a new single, and if you were a fan of last year's Holiday you're going to love this one. "Venus In Heat" dives even deeper into the 70's AM radio sound of her previous release. It's not quite a full on 70's throwback, though. This one keeps plenty of modern pop and dream pop intact. It's a modern take on a vintage torch song with just the slightest hints of country, making it a gorgeous melding of genres into something that sounds fresh and familiar at the same time. That's kind of Jennah Barry's entire thing, and what we're coming to adore about her music.

Jennah Barry says of the new song: "This song is about the first few days of falling in love, when you feel great and terrible all at the same time."

You can listen to "Venus In Heat" below. The song is available as a single via Bandcamp. For more on Jennah Barry, check out the artist's website.

Colleen Green - "It's Nice to Be Nice"

I can't think of any artist that would release a song called "It's Nice to Be Nice" that I would want to listen to besides Colleen Green. That's just truly the magic of Green. In her hands, "It's Nice to Be Nice" is more about wishing she could exile her own negativity. It's not preaching to the public at large to be more kind, it's about her own struggle. It's done in that incredible pop meets indie rock style that only Green can truly pull off. This is one of her more pop songs, but it still has all that DIY punk and indie vibe that we need in a Colleen Green song. She's the rare indie rocker that seems to get better and better the more pop and closer to mainstream she gets.

You can watch the video for "It's Nice to Be Nice" below. Cool is due out September 10 on Hardly Art. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here. For more on Colleen Green, check out the artist's website.

JATK - "Conscious Wonder"

Photo by Aneleise Ruggles

We're suckers for really well done power pop, and JATK (the project of Boston singer/songwriter Matt Jatkola) is quickly becoming a new favorite. His latest single, "Conscious Wonder," is a prime example of that. It's this giant, jangly as anything pop song that reminds me of mid-90's Matthew Sweet, Atlantic-era Lemonheads, and a little Gram Parsons thrown in. It's a gorgeous and sunny pop song literally perfect for this period of the summer (if it ever stops raining here in New England). If this was released in 1995, this would have been a pretty decent local radio hit.

As with all truly great power pop, the sunny vibes of "Conscious Wonder" mask a much darker story. Matt Jatkola explains:

“The lyrics are about hugging the line between existence and non-existence, and they touch on some heavy subjects about death and struggle. I wanted the sound of the track to encompass the feelings of joy and grief at once. Not an easy task, but I think we captured something special. You can tap your foot to it or dance to it, but there's some twangy country lap steel longing away in the background too. Nothing is ever just happy and that's ok. There's a comfort in thinking that, in some way, you're going to live forever. You won't in a real sense, but you will in a philosophical sense. And at the very least, you're alive today. These are all truly wonderful things to contemplate and write about. They're especially poignant topics for me right now.”

You can listen to "Conscious Wonder" below. The song is currently available on JATK's Bandcamp. For more on JATK, check out the artist on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Live Shows: Service and Miracle Blood, Ralph's Rock Diner, Worcester, MA 7/16/21

As venues open and shows are ramping up again, I haven't been quite comfortable going inside a venue yet. My COVID anxiety hasn't settled down yet, so for right now I'm sticking with outdoor venues. Luckily, Ralph's, everyone's favorite dive bar/punk and metal club in Worcester, is currently hosting shows outside on their "patio." Patio is in quotations since it's really more of the end of their parking lot that's kinda cordoned off with some tables and chairs. There's a PA, but no lighting system except for streetlights and some string lights. In other words, it's pretty perfect if you know and love Ralph's.

I finally made it down to one of these since Service was playing. They are one of my favorite discoveries from last year, and I couldn't wait to see their ultra-aggressive noise punk in person. For a band that hadn't played a show in who even knows how long at this point, they mastered that tight but loose combination I need in a live show. It may not have been technically perfect, and there were a few sound issues, but it's literally an indie punk show in a parking lot, so that's a requirement. Plus, they played loud to the point that free earplugs were handed out to whoever wanted them for an outside show. It was a little strange seeing a show like this with the majority of the crowd sitting at chairs and tables, but it's how we're all adjusting right now. But a loud, screamed filled rock performance by musicians who are shockingly talented was exactly what I've been missing all this time.

Next up were Miracle Blood, who I didn't know of before this show. Sporting a singer who kept informing the crowd about how much distortion pedal was being used in each song (much more humorous in person than it sounds when I write it), the Boston band played a blistering set. Even the song that was almost a ballad ended up being crushingly loud (and distorted!) by the end. This is a band that made a song about a Pomeranian be one of the loudest songs of the night. To me they sounded like if Jello Biafra jammed with The Melvins without ever sounding like when Jello Biafra actually played with The Melvins. Miracle Live in that area between punk and metal while refusing to commit to either. They're a band we'll be keeping an eye on from now on.

Apologies to both Pillowman and Dando Fever for missing their sets. I had an early morning on Saturday, so I needed to bail early. Plus, my baby steps to live music includes building up to a four band bill. Normally I'd avoid a cover band on purpose, but Dando Fever specialize in the music of The Lmeonheads and Juliana Hatfield, so missing them was a true bummer.

The Cocker Spaniels - "Racism Priest"

The Cocker Spaniels is the musical project of North Carolina's Sean Padilla, "... a 40 year old black dad who likes Prince and Guided By Voices a lot," and reflects those two artists in his music. I know you're thinking that mixing Prince and Guided By Voices sounds like a horrible idea, but now you've thought about it for a few more seconds and love the idea. And you're right to love it. On his new single, "Racism Priest," Padilla takes the smooth soul side of Prince and mixes it with the frenetic indie rock of Guided By Voices. Yeah... it's fantastic, even with the less than fantastic story behind it.

Sean Padilla explains the story behind the song:

"This song was inspired by a White person with whom I attended middle school, who privately messaged my spouse on Instagram last year to apologize for having called Black people the N-word when she was younger (when she and I were classmates). I had no idea that the slur had ever been in her vocabulary but, then again, that may be why she apologized to my spouse, whom she only knows through the internet, instead of to me. It was an awkward situation that instantly killed our friendship."

You can listen to "Racism Priest" below. The Cocker Spaniels Are Still Alive, and So Are You (which sees Sean Padilla playing almost all the instruments on) is due out August 13. You can pre-order a copy through Bandcamp. For more on The Cocker Spaniels, check out the artist's Facebook.

Charming Disaster - "Spooky Action"

Songs inspired by quarantine and lockdown are going to be a fact of life for the foreseeable future. It was (is?) such a massive part of everyone's lives for over a year, and it's impossible for art to not reflect that. Hopefully the rest of these songs is as good as Charming Disaster's. "Spooky Action" is one of Charming Disaster's cabaret meets folk that we've come to love from the duo. It's far more melancholy than their usual songs, and lacks the sense of humor and joy that permeates their music, but this wasn't exactly a fun time for most people so it's quite understandable. Instead, "Spooky Action" is a beautiful, sad ballad about loneliness and reuniting.

Since it is still a Charming Disaster song, it does have more flair than other quarantine inspired songs. The band explains:

"'Spooky action at a distance' is a quantum physics phenomenon where two particles that are physically separated affect each other as if they are still connected.

"We wrote this song when we were quarantined in two separate locations during the 2020 lockdown, and recorded it together after we were reunited, holed up in our studio like a couple of kids in a treehouse. It includes a secret message in Morse code."

You can listen to "Spooky Action" below. You can get a copy of the single on Bandcamp. For more on Charming Disaster, check out the band's website. Current tour dates are below the song.

July 20-22: Charming Disaster’s Musical Tarot Show at FringePVD, Providence, RI

Aug 20-21: The Foundry, West Stockbridge, MA

Friday, July 16, 2021

Abby Huston - "Apartment"

Photo by Ryan Gary

Richmond, VA based producer/songwriter Abby Huston's music is described as indie, easy listening, soul, and R&B. Their most recent single, "Apartment," has echoes of all of those genres. It's a quiet, thoughtful track that still has the groove of soul or R&B. It's an almost painfully intimate song, the kind where you feel like you're listening in on someone's private thoughts. But, Huston has crafted a song that you'll feel yourself needing to listen to, and maybe even doing a slow little dance in your chair despite how chill it is.

In a press release, Abby Huston says of their new song:

"'Apartment’ is about depression and anxiety, self-doubt and acceptance through accountability. It’s about the stubborn resistances of our spirit and inner wisdom, and how that can settle into hopelessness, self-isolation, and negativity. It’s a reminder that we can accept the purpose and ability to transform into the people we want to be.
“The lyrics show the arrival of this enlightenment, because for me, amidst everything else in the world, realization can come in like waves, like leases, like semesters, like days and verses—it took time. In the case of “Apartment,” acceptance didn’t come until the final chorus."

You can listen to "Apartment" below. The song is currently available as a single via Egghunt Records with an album due out in the Fall. You can get the single over at Bandcamp. For more on Abby Huston, check out the artist's Facebook.

Homeboy Sandman - "No Beef"

When you first see that Homeboy Sandman has a song called "No Beef," you would assume it's the Urban Dictionary definition of "To fight or Scrap with another person." Instead the song is about Homeboy Sandman being vegan. In fact, it may very well be the best song about being vegan ever recorded. "No Beef" is an off-kilter alt-hip hop jam. Musically it doesn't quite sound like any other hip hop out there despite being purely hip hop (even without the sample from "La Di Da Di"). It's an interesting song that branches hip hop off into a direction it doesn't normally go into.

Homeboy Sandman says of the new song:

"I had psoriasis all over my body. It was driving me crazy. I asked the doctor “could it be something I’m eating?” She looked me dead in the eye, straight faced, “food has nothing to do with it.” Thank God for the intuition to disregard her “treatment plan” intended to make me a lifetime customer of the medical industry. Year and a half after removing all meat and dairy from my diet my skin is completely clear. I met a dude who told me he cured his diabetes eating plants. I talked to a guy just the other day who told me he cured his mother’s cancer. It’s all in The China Study you should read that. I’m not saying every body is the same. I’m just saying my doctor straight lied to me. Now that’s true, that’s why I never have no beef." 

You can listen to "No Beef" below. Anjelitu is due out August 6 on Mello Music Group. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Homeboy Sandman, check out the artist's Facebook.

Flossing - "Switch"

Flossing is the new musical project of Heather Elle, formerly of BODEGA. Her new single, "Switch," is a surprisingly catchy electroclash/dance track with some hip hop influences about BDSM. (I have friends that would be disappointed that I didn't pick up on the subject matter based on the title alone...) It reminds me of some of the more mainstream electronica or trip hop of the late 90's mixed with some darker industrial, like Sneaker Pimps mixed with Ruby. It has just the slightest hints of darkness while still being an upbeat song. 

Heather Elle says of the new single:

"‘Switch' is the most honest documentation of my psyche in 2020... a messy and perverse mental excavation. In its dual moods, the song represents the complexities of coinciding grieving processes — my mother passing suddenly before tour, ending a five-year relationship, leaving a band, and learning that my city and industry would be on an indefinite hold.”

You can watch the video for "Switch" below. Queen of the Mall is due out September 10 on Brace Yourself Records. For more on Flossing, check out the artist on Instagram and Bandcamp.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Little Hag - "Get Real"

Little Hag came out of virtually nowhere to release what was probably If It's Too Loud...'s album of 2021, Whatever Happened to Avery Jane? (It was my #4 album of the year and Jeff's #2.) Avery Mandeville's musical project is back with a new-ish single, "Get Real." In a Facebook post, Little Hag states that this is a remixed song, possibly from her time recording music under the name Avery Mandeville. (It's hard to find her previous releases online...) This version of get real is a bizarre version of pop punk goes dirty protopunk. It's a lot edgier than what we got with the previous album. Of course, then the song takes a few unexpected swerves into the realm of Gwen Stefani style pop. Finally the song goes into more of an alt-singer/songwriter territory, so it's wonderfully all over the place while still sounding like parts of one cohesive song.

You can listen to "Get Real" below. Little Hag has two new releases coming out in the next two months: An EP titled Breakfast on August 11 and an album called Leash on September 24, both presumably on Bar None Records. You can pre-save/pre-order these here. Little Hag is playing a show this Friday (July 16) at the House of Independents in Asbury Park, NJ. For more on Little Hag, check out the artist on Facebook.

Shovels & Rope Cover Shakey Graves

Photo via Facebook

It's nice to see an artist cover their friends and peers instead of just their heroes and predecessors. It's a throwback to the early days of rock 'n' roll when everybody covered everybody. Shovels & Rope are masters of the cover, releasing three albums of covers (so far!) As part of Dualtone's twentieth anniversary, they were asked to cover Shakey Graves' "Dearly Departed." The original is a powerful, uplifting anthem, with foot stomping drums and an absolutely scream-along worthy chorus. Shovels & Rope slow the song way, way down and turn it into a quiet ballad. It's an interesting choice, since Shakey Graves' original features Esme Patterson and would have been absolutely perfect as is for the husband/wife duo of Shovels & Rope. But, the best covers are ones where the coverer puts their own spin on the song, and that's ultimately what this one is.

You can listen to Shovels & Rope's version of "Dearly Departed" below. The song will be included on Amerikinda: 20 Years of Dualtone which is currently on Spotify with physical copies available for pre-order here. For more on Shovels & Rope, check out the artist's website.

TORRES - "Thirstier"

Photo by Shervin Lainez

What else can we truly say about TORRES at this point? Mackenzie Scott's latest single, "Thirstier," starts off almost as a ballad. It's quiet, with gently strummed guitar over a faraway electronic beat. And, if that was all the song was, it would be a gorgeous ballad that we'd completely adore. Then, the rock kicks in making it a mid-90's style power pop rocker. "Thirstier" then goes full on loud/quiet/loud for the rest of the song, although even the quiet parts are less quiet after that. It's a love song about how intense a relationship can be even as it goes on, with a chorus that includes the lyrics "The more of you I drink / The thirstier of you I get."

You can watch the video for "Thirstier" below. Thirstier is due out July 30 on Merge Records. You can pre-order/pre-save a copy here. For more on TORRES, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.

Sun. Aug. 29 - Fairfield, CT @ StageOne
Mon. Aug. 30 - Portsmouth, NH @ Press Room
Tue. Aug. 31 - Cambridge, MA @ Sonia
Fri. Sept. 3 - Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place
Fri. Sept. 10 - Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest
Sat. Sept. 11 - Maquoketa, IA @ Codfish Hollow Barn
Mon. Sept. 13 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern
Tue. Sept. 14 - Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups
Wed. Sept. 15 - Detroit, MI @ Marble Bar
Thu. Sept. 16 - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
Fri. Sept. 17 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
Sat. Sept. 18 - Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
Sun. Sept. 19 - St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
Tue. Sept. 21 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
Wed. Sept. 22 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
Sat. Sept. 25 - Boise, ID @ Treefort Music Festival
Mon. Sept. 27 - Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern
Tue. Sept. 28 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
Thu. Sept. 30 - San Francisco, CA @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall
Fri. Oct. 1 - Santa Cruz, CA @ Atrium @ Catalyst
Sat. Oct. 2 - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
Sun. Oct. 3 - Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
Mon. Oct. 4 - Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge
Wed. Oct. 6 - Dallas, TX @ Deep Ellum Art Co.
Thu. Oct. 7 - Houston, TX @ Bronze Peacock
Fri. Oct. 8 - Austin, TX @ 3TEN @ ACL Live
Mon. Oct. 11 - Chattanooga, TN @ House Show
Tue. Oct. 12 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
Wed. Oct. 13 - Asheville, NC @ ISIS Asheville
Thu. Oct. 14 - Nashville, TN @ EXIT/IN
Fri. Oct. 15 - Knoxville, TN @ Open Chord
Sat. Oct. 16 - Durham, NC @ The Pinhook
Sun. Oct. 17 - Washington, DC @ Union Stage
Mon. Oct. 18 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
Thu. Oct. 21 - New York, NY @ The Bowery Ballroom
Fri. March 11, 2022 - Glasgow, UK @ Mono
Sat. March 12, 2022 - Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
Sun. March 13, 2022 - Manchester, UK @ Night & Day
Mon. March 14, 2022 - Bristol, UK @ Exchange
Tue. March 15, 2022 - London, UK @ Bush Hall
Thu. March 17, 2022 - Paris, FR @ La Boule Noire
Fri. March 18, 2022 - Gent, BE @ Charlatan
Sat. March 19, 2022 - Utrecht, NL @ Ekko
Mon. March 21, 2022 - Berlin, DE @ Frannz Club
Tue. March 22, 2022 - Hamburg, DE @ Uebel & Gefährlich (Turmzimmer)
Wed. March 23, 2022 - Cologne, DE @ Bumann & SOHN
Thu. March 24, 2022 - Heidelberg, DE @ Karlstorbahnhof
Fri. March 25, 2022 - Zürich, CH @ Rote Fabrik
Sat. March 26, 2022 - Bologna, IT @ Locomotiv

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 9 July

Artist: Attacca Quartet
Album: Real Life
Quick Thoughts: We don't do much, if any, modern classical here. Just not our lane. Attacca Quartet's new album, however, has me rethinking that. The string foursome do some really impressive and progressive stuff with their instruments and with the songwriting, to the point where pieces that involve acts lime TOKiMONSTA and Squarepusher sit alongside other originals, it all blends together perfectly. This is my favorite thing I've listened to this year by far, and you need to make time to give it a shot.
Songs of Note: "Real Life," "Xetaka 1," "Remind U"

Artist: Covey
Album: Class of Cardinal Sin
Quick Thoughts: I wish I knew how to properly describe Covey. This debut album has a lot of emo overtones to it, but instead of being overly earnest and over-the-top, it shows a level of restraint and stability that gives the whole effort more weight. Each song feels almost perfectly crafted, and whether it's "Sam Jam" (which has stuck in my brain for months) or "1991" (which will stay in my brain for months), we're seeing the first album from a singer-songwriter who, if there's any justice, will make significant waves.
Songs of Note: "1991," "Cut on the Crease," "Four Dollar Sandwich," "Sam Jam," "Point Mutation"

Artist: Dylan Cartlidge
Album: Hope Above Adversity
Quick Thoughts: Dylan Cartlidge has produced an album here that has some real deep thoughts and concepts throughout its runtime, but still has the feel of a summer party album. I fell in love with "Yellow Brick Road" some time ago, and listening to this album really solidified that it wasn't a one-off stroke of luck. This won't work for everyone, for sure, but I'm glad it exists and that I opened myself to it. Just a great listen.
Songs of Note: "Brown Bread," "Yellow Brick Road," "Dare to Dream"

Artist: Drug Store Romeos
Album: The world within our bedrooms
Quick Thoughts: Drug Store Romeos provide some light, dreamy, electronic-tinged indie pop, and, man, it's just great. As someone who really enjoys the more reverb-heavy shoegaze-style stuff, this ticks a lot of boxes and ends up being a surprise favorite this week. It's out there, for sure, but you'll hear some of these songs and realize after a few listens how often you've been humming them to yourself. This is definitely worth your time.
Songs of Note: "Secret Plan," "Walking Talking Marathon"

Artist: Half Waif
Album: Mythopoetics
Quick Thoughts: Half Waif is a favorite of ours, and her new album is Half Waif at her finest. We've loved her previous efforts, but this latest release is pretty great from start to finish. Solid melodies, strong songwriting, and earworms like "Horse Racing" make this one to look out for.
Songs of Note: "Horse Racing," "Swimmer," "Fortress"

Artist: Daniel Avery
Album: Together in Static
Quick Thoughts: I didn't want this to get lost in the shuffle this week, but if you're looking for some instrumental ambient-adjacent electronic music perfect for the plague times we're exiting, don't miss this one. It's absolutely a superlative release this week.
Songs of Note: "Endless Hours," "Midnight Sun"

Of note:

* Matthew Dear - Preacher's Sigh and Potion: Lost Album (A release of a previously shelved effort from 2009.)
* The Cutthroat Brothers and Mike Watt - The King is Dead (This is as good as you think it is.)
* The Goon Sax - Mirror II
* Jeremy Ferrera - Everything I Hold
* Old Moon - Altars
* Inhaler - IT Won't Always Be Like This
* Happy Axe - Maybe It'll Be Beautiful
* Rejjie Snow - Baw Baw Black Sheep
* The Prefab Messiahs - When Things Fall Apart
* Charlotte Day Wilson - ALPHA
* The Wallflowers - Exit Wounds
* The Frogs - Damaged Goods/Sinned in Reverse


* Babehoven - Nastavi, Calliope
* Taken by Vultures - The Geriatric Throne
* Doug Tuttle - Pinecone
* Lex Leosis - Terracotta
* Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors - Family EP
* Frances Forever - paranoia party
* Katie Toupin - Little Heart
* Tiffany Day - The Dependency Project
* Tkay Miadza - Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 3

Cuffed Up - "Canaries"

Photo by Noah Kentis

Making a song this discordant yet this melodic is quite the feat. Cuffed Up has released "Canaries," which is this unbelievably intense post punk song rooted in 90's indie rock and grunge. It sounds like if Sonic Youth had tried to make the hit song that Geffen Records probably wanted them to. It's filled with these gloriously swirling, distorted guitars that seem to be fighting with each other for dominance as much as they're working together towards the same end. It's the kind of song that sounds like it could devolve into chaos at any second, but Cuffed Up hold it all together just enough. All of this with actual killer vocals are what is going to set "Canaries" apart from other current 90's inspired rock.

In a press release, the band explains the new song:

""Canaries'" is about going down a path that you know is wrong, yet you keep going because some form of shame is driving you. Sometimes, we become numb to the burdens we carry. "Carrying the weight of stones/with pins to his bones” reflects that and the need to be vulnerable with yourself and not accept fate as is.""

You can watch the video for "Canaries" below. The song is available as a single via Royal Mountain Records. You can get a copy here. For more on Cuffed Up, check out the band's website. Upcoming tour dates with The Joy Formidable are below the video.

11/26 - The Crocodile - Seattle, WA
11/27 - Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, OR
11/29 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA
11/30 - The Roxy Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
12/02 - Crescent Ballroom - Phoenix, AZ
12/04 - Bluebird Theater - Denver, CO
12/05 - The Riot Room - Kansas City, MO
12/07 - Turf Club - Minneapolis, MN
12/09 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL
12/10 - A&R Music Hall - Columbus, OH
12/11 - Thunderbird Music Hall - Pittsburgh, PA
12/12 - 9:30 Club - Washington, DC
12/13 - The Sinclair - Boston, MA
12/14 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY
12/16 - Underground Arts - Philadelphia, PA
12/17 - Empire Underground - Albany, NY
12/18 - Higher Ground Showcase Lounge - Burlington, VT