Friday, January 29, 2021

Kelly Duplex Covers The Sundays

For many of us, The Sundays are a legendary band. Their 1990 song "Here's Where the Story Ends" was quite formative and remains beloved. While the original would be what we now call dream pop, Kelly Duplex have taken a crack at the song and reinvented it. The New Orleans band take on the song as an alt-rock anthem. The song can't help but have a dreamy quality, and Kelly Duplex rely on that, but they fuzz out the guitars more and add crashing drums to their version. This cover coiuld never truly be considered hard rock, but compared to the original this one is practically blistering. They kept the beauty intact, though, making this a cover you simply need to hear.

You can watch the video for Kelly Duplex's version of "Here's Where the Story Ends" below. It will be included on their self-titled album which is due out February 12 on Strange Daisy Records. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Kelly Duplex, check them out on Facebook.

Brad Marino - "What Do You Know?"

We're quickly becoming Spaghetty Town Records disciples over here at If It's Too Loud... The label has been cranking out no nonsense pure rock 'n' roll lately, and their releases are just perfect if you're in the mood to just rock. Their latest release is the new single from Brad Marino. The Rochester, NH based musician's latest, "What Do You Know?," is some of the finest power pop we've heard in a while. There's a little bit more of an edge than you normally get with power pop, but it maintains the catchiness and fun that you expect. "What Do You Know?" is just good, fun, edgy guitar based garage rock.

You can watch the video for "What Do You Know?" below. Looking For Trouble is due out this spring on Spaghetty Town Records. For more on Brad Marino, check him out on Bandcamp and Facebook.

Juliana Hatfield - "Mouthful of Blood"

Photo by David Doobinin

Juliana Hatfield has been shockingly prolific as of late. She's been averaging a new album every year since 2017, and she's set to release a new album in May. The first single from that album, "Mouthful of Blood," is going to be adored by anyone who's even had a passing interest in Hatfield over the past three decades. "Mouthful of Blood" is both gritty and melodic. It truly sounds like it could be from any period of Hatfield's career. The song has the edge of her 90's releases while keeping the mature side of her more recent work. 

Hatfield explains the songs on the new album: “I think these songs are a reaction to how seriously and negatively a lot of people have been affected by the past four years. But it’s fun, musically. There’s a lot of playing around. I didn’t really have a plan when I started this project.”

You can listen to "Mouthful of Blood" below. Blood is due out May 14 on American Laundromat Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Juliana Hatfield, check out the artist's website.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Sara Watkins Covers Willy Wonka

Photo by Jacob Boll

Children's music is basically universally terrible, so when an artist is going to release an album of children's music that will actually be great, we need to make sure you know of it. Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek, I'm With Her, The Watkins Family Hour) is beloved around here, so when she announced she was putting out a kids' album, we knew we had to pay attention. When we find out the first single is a cover of "Pure Imagination" from 1971's Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory? Now that's a pure delight. Somehow Watkins makes her version even more whimsical than the original. Focusing on her vocals with mostly strings backing her, "Pure Imagination" is wonderfully cinematic even without the visuals of the chocolate factory.

You can watch the video for Sara Watkins' version of "Pure Imagination" below. Under the Pepper Tree will be out March 26 on New West Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Sara Watkins, check out the artist's website.

Shovels & Rope featuring Sharon Von Etten Cover The Beach Boys

Photo via Facebook

I've been a huge fan of Shovels & Rope's series of Busted Jukebox albums. I tend to love everything Shovels & Rope puts out, and then add guest collaborators and cover songs and you're hitting my absolute sweet spot. The duo tends to pick not obvious covers and reimagines classics in their Americana/folk/rock 'n' roll style perfectly. For Busted Jukebox Volume 3, they're changing it up a little. They explain in a Facebook posting:

"The minute we realized that the word Juicebox sounded like the word Jukebox, we knew that volume 3 of our covers series would have something to do with kids. The songs on Busted Juicebox: Busted Jukebox Vol 3 are collaborations with friends who are also navigating the unique circumstances of raising children within the structures of a traveling band or within the music world. In many ways diapers and nap schedules replace sex and drugs as the sustaining routines of our touring lives. So many of our friends in the arts have become parents, and it feels comforting to know there is a tribe of artists, nurturing men and women, who are finding their way out there and that we have one another for encouragement and support. These songs on Juicebox were all chosen because of some connection we have to them. Childhood movie favorite, old lullabies and songs we just understood differently once we became parents ourselves. And considering the circumstances of the last year, and the resulting time we have had with our children, this album has never been more appropriate."

The first single is a cover of The Beach Boys' classic "In My Room" and features special guest Sharon Von Etten. The original is a dreamy, whimsical classic. While the cover still keeps some of that whimsy, dreamy feeling, it's decidedly more rock based. It's exactly how you'd expect Shovels & Rope to tackle this song, which is a perfect thing.

You can listen to Shovels & Rope featuring Sharon Von Etten take on "In My Room" below. Busted Jukebox Volume 3 is due out on February 5 and also features collaborations with The Secret Sisters, Deer Tick, M. Ward, and more! You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Shovels & Rope, check out the band's website.

Buffet Lunch - "Red Apple Happiness"

Photo by Owen Godbert

Scotland's Buffet Lunch have one of the more unique takes on indie rock you've heard in a while. I'm going to steal a word from their press release and describe their music as "upbeat wonkiness." Their new single, "Red Apple Happiness," is a charmingly upbeat oddity. There's the usual indie rock hallmarks of slightly off kilter singing and noisy guitars, but also horns. The song just kind of meanders at its own pace, in whatever direction it feels like. It sounds like Pavement went completely bonkers. Despite this description, it's a quite pleasant listen. Maybe not for Taylor Swift fans, but for those of us that tend to go for music a little more odd, it's an absolute delight.

You can watch the video for "Red Apple Happiness" below. The Power of Rocks, the debut album from Buffet Lunch, will be out May 7 on Upset the Rhythm. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Buffet Lunch, check them out on Twitter and Tumblr

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Fake Fruit - "No Mutuals"

Oakland's Fake Fruit are a band you need to know about right now. Their latest single, "No Mutuals," is a burst of fun post punk. While most post punk is dark and gloomy, Fake Fruit contain a party in this song... even though it has some of the dark and gloom required for post punk. Singer Hannah doesn't exactly follow traditionally styled singing. She's doing her own thing that's somewhere between a growl and actual singing, but damn if it isn't compelling. And then there's the guitar that is perfectly accompanying her while threatening to just scamper off on its own. "No Mutuals" is the kind of song you're going to remember hearing for the first time for years to come.

You can watch the video for "No Mutuals" below. Fake Fruit's self-titled album will be out on March 5 on Rocks in Your Head Records, and can be pre-ordered here. For more on Fake Fruit, check them out on Facebook.

Minor Moon - "No Lightning Fix"

Chicago's Minor Moon has my favorite Bandcamp bio of the year (so far): "not your daddy's dad rock." Sam Cantor's project has a new single out, and that description fits "No Lightning Fix." The new song could very easily have spun its wheels in the modern mainstream folky singer/songwriter genre, and it would still have been a great song if that was the case. Cantor is showing that he could have knocked it out of the park doing that. Instead, "No Lightning Fix" makes a few swerves into various kinds of country inflected alt rock. Some of these swerves are gentle and subtle, and some will gently give you whiplash. The song builds and builds as the song progresses. Cantor took what was already a simply great song and turns it into a superb one.

You can listen to "No Lightning Fix" below. Tethers will be out March 26. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Minor Moon, check out the artist's website.

Nervous Dater - "Middle Child"

Photo by Nicole Hogan

It's been a few years, but Brooklyn's Nervous Dater are finally back with new music. "Middle Child" shows a slightly changed sound. The band's previous work made me come to terms with my love of emo I was trying to hold back (although theirs was a louder, more aggressive alt-rock inspired version of emo...). The new song definitely keeps a good chunk of that emo sound, and plenty of alt-rock crunchy guitars, but "Middle Child" veers off into an interesting direction. It's decidedly punk rock, but a really beautiful version of punk rock. This just straight up rocks in an early Smashing Pumpkins (if they had formed in 2010) kinda way.

You can listen to "Middle Child" below. Call in the Mess will be out February 26 on Counter Intuitive Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Nervous Dater, check out the band's website.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 22 January

Artist: Cheekface
Album: Emphatically No.
Quick Description: I don't know how to describe this, exactly...
Why You Should Listen: ...but it's awesome.
Overall Thoughts: This is an odd one. It appears we missed their 2019 debut, and that's too bad because this album is kind of amazing. The delivery is so deadpan and matter-of-fact, the songs quite the story, and it just works in a way it shouldn't? That's not a knock against it - this album made me laugh a few times and I'm excited to get back to it. "'Listen to Your Heart.' 'No.'" is the lead track, and you'll know pretty quickly whether this works for you the way it did for me.
Recommendation: Truly an acquired taste, but one I loved.

Artist: Harmony Byrne
Album: Heavy Doors
Quick Description: Gorgeous singer-songwriter music from Australia.
Why You Should Listen: Something about this album grabbed me from the very start.
Overall Thoughts: We missed this one from last year, and man, I wish we hadn't. This is a really great listen, with songs that have a weight to them that's missing from a lot of other albums like it. It's just like a song like "Sweeter Than Sugar" sticks to you in such a fascinating way, it's a listen that makes you notice whether you intended to or not.
Recommendation: Make time.

Artist: Fox Face
Album: End of Man
Quick Description: New album from our fave feminist punks.
Why You Should Listen: Their debut was great, and so is this.
Overall Thoughts: I didn't expect a new album, but Ken gave me the heads-up and I'm glad he did. This album is bold and brash and awesome in all the right ways, and while perhaps we aren't all as angry as we were the last few years, it's still got the sort of carthatic release you often look for in albums like this. There's lots of room on the bandwagon for this one, so hop on.
Recommendation: A great listen.

Artist: Lande Hekt
Album: Going to Hell
Quick Description: A long-awaited (for me, anyway) debut indie rock effort.
Why You Should Listen: It's indie with a punk sensibility.
Overall Thoughts: I fell in love with the music of Lande Hekt with her debut EP, Gigantic Disappointment. There was something about it that just worked, and as songs like "80 Days of Rain" started dropping, I knew we'd be in for something special. This is a very melodic listen, with some great songs that will get trapped in your brain, but there's something more significant about it that stands out at the end of the day, and this might just end up being one you go back to a lot this year.
Recommendation: A favorite this week.

Artist: Juana Everett
Album: Move On
Quick Description: Understated, sneaky folk rock.
Why You Should Listen: Has a light twang to go with its roots.
Overall Thoughts: This one kind of surprised me this week. Out of nowhere comes this album, with a lead track in "Drifter of Love" that just grabs you, and before long I was mainlining the whole album. Juana Everett has a unique take here that works so well in so many ways that, with any justice in the world, should propel her to stardom. I love basically every moment of this album, and I'm sure I'll find even more to love as I give this more listens.
Recommendation: An under-the-radar gem.

Artist: Thee Conductor
Album: Spirit of a Ghost
Quick Description: Off-kilter chamberish folk.
Why You Should Listen: A unique blend of genres makes this a compelling listen.
Overall Thoughts: There's a lot to unpack with Thee Conductor, and I wanted to highlight this if only because it's such a really interesting release. It's a musical project with some different collaborators, including Bonnie "Prince" Billy, and listening to it feels almost like it's a transporter to a parallel realm. It's eerie and awesome, and if it works for you, you're gonna love it.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Of note:

* Palberta - Palberta5000 (I don't know how I feel about this one quite yet, but it's easily the most ambitious listen of the week.)
* CARM - CARM (This is also an interesting listen.)
* Rhye - Home
* Teen Creeps - Forever
* Kimi Jr. - Cooler Returns
* ELIO - Can You Hear Me Now?
* Bixep - Isles
* Typhoon - Sympathetic Magic
* James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra - The Wide, Wide River

* Widowspeak - Honeychurch (This is really solid.)
* Nicol & Elliott - The Storm (This is so good, and "Dragging Me Down" is an early 2021 favorite.) * Madeline Kenney - Summer Quarter
* Erick the Architect - Future Proof EP
* Maggie Lindemann - PARANOIA
* Harmony Byrne - The Songs I Sing When No One is Listening
* Arca - Madre
* Jon Mueller - Family Secret
* Bella's Bartok - Autoerotic for the People
* Camp Trash - Downtiming
* Logic1000 - You've Got the Whole Night to Go
Also out:

* Jeremiah Fraites - Piano Piano

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - "The Final Parade"

Photo via Facebook

The word "epic" doesn't usually apply to The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but their latest single is epic in both length and scale. Coming in just shy of eight minutes long, "The Final Parade" is about three to four times the length of the ordinary Bosstones song. Dicky Barrett has called this new song "a love letter to ska music and the people that make ska music," and "The Final Parade" is certainly more ska than anything else the Bosstones have ever put out. This isn't ska-punk, and it's certainly not ska-core. And then there's the amount of guest stars involved in this song. It's a tired joke that ska bands consist of huge amounts of musicians, and the Bosstones alone have nine members ordinarily. How many guest stars could "The Final Parade" possibly have? If my count is correct, it's thirty one:

Tim Armstrong (Rancid)

Aimee Interrupter & The Interrupters

Stranger Cole

Angelo Moore (Fishbone)

Jake Burns (Stiff Little Fingers)

Jay Navarro (Suicide Machines)

Chris DeMakes

Pete Wesilewski

Roger Lima (Less Than Jake)

Jimmy G (Murphy’s Law)

Toby Morse

Rusty Pistachio (H2O)

John Feldman (Goldfinger)

Laila Khan (Sonic Boom Six)

Robert Hingley (Toasters)

Dan Vitale (Bim Skala Bim)

Dave McWane (Big D and The Kids Table)

Sirae Richardson

Erin Mackenzie

Brie McWane (The Doped Up Dollys)

Jesse Wagner (Aggrolites)

Karina Denike (The Dance Hall Crashers)

Christian Jaccobs (The Aquabats)

Jon Pebsworth (Buck O Nine)

Peter Porker (The Porkers)

Steve Jackson (The Pietasters)

Felipe Galvan (Los Skanarles)

Jet Baker (Buster Shuffle)

Fumio Ito (Kemuri)

Glen "The Kid" Marhevka (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy)

Roddy Radiation (The Specials)

You can watch the video for "The Final Parade" below. The song is currently available as a single via Hellcat Records here. For more on The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, check out their website.

Sun June - "Everything I Had"

Photo by Santiago Dietche

Despite having five members, the latest single from Austin's Sun June is a very quiet, introspective song. The instrumentation on "Everything I Had" is both sparse and lush, focusing mostly on Laura Cowell's vocals. It's a charming modern folk/indie pop song, with the music truly complementing and structured around Cowell. It's one of those songs that sounds upbeat and sunny, even though you know in your gut it's just not.

Laura Cowell says of the new song:

"'Everything I Had' is about feeling stuck and wishing you could go back in time. It misses when things were new and easy and full of promise. It feels very 'Austin' to us, because things change here so quickly and it's easy to fall into a rut and feel like the city is moving on without you. Friends are always leaving town too, so sometimes it's fun to think moving to LA or New York would solve all our problems. It's also fair to say that the song has taken on some new meaning during the pandemic. We're all missing someone or something right now."

You can watch the video for "Everything I Had" below. Somewhere will be out February 5 on Run for Cover Records and Keeled Scales. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Sun June, check out the band's website.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Holly Macve - "Be My Friend"

Photo by Maximillian Kinghorn-Mills

"Be My Friend," the latest song from Brighton based Holly Macve, crams in so many musical styles that it should be a complete disaster. But her now song is simply gorgeous, with each style gracefully complementing the next. The first thing you're going to notice is a country/Americana twang to the guitar. As Macve starts singing, you get a huge 60's girl group vibe. Somehow those two sounds merge together, in a way that with some slight morphs to the guitars, it brings out a shoegaze/dream pop sound that will remind you of Mazzy Star. "Be My Friend" should be a trainwreck, but Holly Macve pulls off a brilliant song masterfully.

You can watch the video for "Be My Friend" below. Not the Girl will be out April 16 on Modern Sky. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Holly Macve, check out her website.

Paul Jacobs - "Half Rich Loner"

Photo by Christopher Vincent

The latest from Montreal based musician Paul Jacobs is an interesting one. "Half Rich Loner" has a little bit of a folk rock feel to it. There's definitely a bit of a ramble going on here, despite it not truly being folk at all. Encasing the folk ramble is some huge 70's style glam rock. "Half Rich Loner" has some serious funk and groove to it. If you've ever wished that Bob Dylan had jammed with T. Rex instead of the Grateful Dead, this one is definitely for you. To make the song even more unique, the beats have a modern, almost electronic sound to them, despite Jacobs being the drummer for Pottery.

You can watch the video for "Half Rich Loner" below. Pink Dogs on the Green Grass will be out April 30 on Blow the Fuse Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Paul Jacobs, check out the artist's Facebook.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Nana Yamato - "Do You Wanna"

Photo by Nana Yamato

Nana Yamato's musical career began in a way that's kind of a dream for many of us. She had been going between her apartment in Tokyo, her school, and her work over and over again. One day she stopped at Big Love Records to pick up and Iceage album, and started going there every day after school. Her passion became collecting every indie rock release (hello, my college years) and that led to her creating her own music. Her newest single, "Do You Wanna," is some of the most compelling underground pop you'll hear this year. I'm only calling it pop because that's the closest genre I can come up with. It's about as far away from American Top 40 as Little Hag is, but it doesn't quite fit in as rock, either. It's almost a sonic collage, if a collage can be made with each piece seamlessly melding with each other, like they always belonged together.

Nana Yamato explains her new song: 

“This is a song about self-transformation, what I felt in the process. When I was younger I thought I was an independent person, but in fact, I was selfish and left it all to others. All the things I thought I don’t like were actually caused by myself. When I realized that, I felt like I was the only one who was left behind in the world. I was ashamed of myself. I had to change myself. It wasn't easy for me. I'm still in the process. I wonder if this is what it means to become an adult."

You can watch the video for "Do You Wanna" below. Before Sunrise is due out February 5 on Dull Tools. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Nana Yamato, check out the artist on Instagram.

Yard Act - "Dark Days"

Photo by James Brown

Yard Act may have only formed in 2019, but the Leeds based band has already built up quite a loyal following. Their debut 7" sold out of its five hundred copy pressing in one day, and their latest sold out one thousand copies in two hours. That song, "Dark Days," shows why. "Dark Days" has this killer post punk sound, and while it has the dark vibes that permeate most post punk, this new song is almost bouncy with a bizarro sense of fun. The vocals, particularly the chorus, add an almost cartoony vibe to the disjointed guitars throughout the song.

You can watch the video for "Dark Days" below. The song is available via the band's own Zen F.C. label. You can get a copy here. For more on Yard Act, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

The Pink Stones - "Blueberry Dream"

Photo by Mason Dominey

We're of the age where if we find out a band is from Athens, GA, we're going to give them a listen. And if I see that the same band features a founding member of Drive-By Truckers, it's impossible for me to not at least give them a shot. The Pink Stones feature John Neff, who was a member of Drive-By Truckers for their first two albums and then rejoined from 2006-2012. Now he's a member of The Pink Stones, who just released their debut single. "Blueberry Dream" fits the name of the song perfectly. It's a dreamy country rock song, filled with a hazy swirl of guitars. It sounds like if Wilco had kept some more country in their sound while they moved to artsy dad rock. 

You can watch the video for "Blueberry Dream" below. Introducing... The Pink Stones will be out April 9 on Normaltown Records/New West Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on The Pink Stones, check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

MIC Johnson Jr. featuring DV Alias Khryst - "Get Wit Me"

Photo via Facebook

The latest from Rochester, NY based MIC Johnson Jr. is perfect for hip hop fans who love the mid 90's just before Puff Daddy took over. "Get Wit Me" has a laid back feel while still having a little bit of intensity to keep things interesting. It sounds like if you merged Dr. Dre's g-funk sound with early Wu-Tang Clan, which is a combination that should have been made decades ago. It's not a pure throwback, though. Despite these elements, "Get Wit Me" does sound like a modern update of 90's hip hop.

You can watch the video for "Get Wit Me" below. Growth Spurt will be out on High Caliber Music. For more on MIC Johnson Jr., check out the artist's website.

The Barettas - "Touchè"

Photo via Twitter

The Barettas are an insanely fun guitar rock duo. They're much more pop than most rock duos (not as garage as The White Stripes, not as Americana as Shovels and Rope) we cover while staying fully in the rock category. Their latest single, "Touché," reminds of what would happen if you mixed the poppier side of No Doubt with early The Strokes. (Of course, the No Doubt comparisons could mostly be because of Katie Bulley's vocals reminding me of Gwen Stefani's.) "Touché" is great pop rock that leans just enough to the rock side for us music snobs to still get into.

You can watch the video for "Touché" below. For more on The Barettas, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Favourite Daughter - "Long Distance"

Indie pop may be the moniker of the moment right now, but the latest from Favourite Daughter stands above most other songs in the genre. "Long Distance" is an epically huge pop song that builds almost imperceptibly from verse to verse before it fizzles out towards the end. Unlike most indie pop, "Long Distance" is a rocker, and is shockingly noisy at times. The feeling of anxiety and desperation gets more and more intense as it goes on due to the subject matter. Despite all that, Favourite Daughter has crafted a song that is still a fun listen.

Favourite Daughter says of the song: 

"I wrote "Long Distance" on an unplugged, rented electric guitar during a blackout on a night off from an opera gig I was doing in Halifax in the summer of 2019, in tears after a frustrating phone call with my then-girlfriend. We were spending a four month stretch away from each other while I travelled for work. Neither of us were communicating well, and our daily check ins became monotonous. Both of us kept up the charade that we were good, while allowing fear and resentment to build up, which ended up costing us the relationship entirely."

You can watch the video for "Long Distance" below. The song is currently available on Favourite Daughter's Bandcamp. For more on Favourite Daughter, check out the artist's Facebook.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Tigers On Opium - "I May Sound Like a Drunk... But I Feel Like a Matador"

Hailing from Portland, OR, Tigers On Opium bring a level of rock we don't cover all that often here at If It's Too Loud..., but would if it was this great. Their latest single, "I May Sound Like a Drunk... But I Feel Like a Matador," is an epically huge hard rock song that occasionally crosses the border into metal, but never quite stays long. Their press release refers to them as "stoner rock," which I can't argue since there are some heavy early Queens of the Stone Age influences here deeper than just the verbose song title. "I May Sound Like a Drunk... But I Feel Like a Matador" is what you would get if Refused and The Hives rocked so hard on tour that they merged into a single entity.

You can listen to "I May Sound Like a Drunk... But I Feel Like a Matador" below. Their upcoming EP, 503-420-6669, will be out January 22 on Forbidden Place Records. For more on Tigers On Opium, check out their website.

JP Harris - "Take Off Your Tinfoil Hat"

There's a wonderfully long history of political folk songs that skew more humorously than angry. Joining this pedigree is the latest from JP Harris. "Take Off Your Tinfoil Hat" is a ramblin', upbeat folk/country song about all of the right wing QAnon conspiracies that seem to be destined to never die. Harris just takes all of these theories into an ongoing string with one after another until the chorus (which also includes some), and then starts up with some more. I'm pretty sure some of these are fake... but who even knows any more. "Take Off Your Tinfoil Hat" is a fantastic tongue in cheek song that somehow finds the humor in a subject matter we're all pretty sick of by now.

JP Harris says of his new song:

"It seems as we become ever more connected, with an infinite wormhole of information at our fingertips, that as a species we are rapidly losing our ability to discern truth from fiction, our most valuable learned skill of critical thinking, at what could almost be called the genetic level. Our technology is evolving faster than we are.

"It is sad to say that the precedent to believe the most outlandish conspiracies has been long established; MK ULTRA, the Tuskegee Experiments, the CIA’s counterintelligence program, and countless other declassified examples of shadowy governmental behavior give people the thread of doubt they need to latch onto something they can fight for.

"And with very few legal consequences enforced or even in place by the Federal Communications Commission for spreading false information, the Kremlin-style 'Fake News' label and shock-jock reporting have emerged as the only allegedly-trustworthy reporting for those right of center, steering an enormous headcount of Americans away from balanced and factual reporting. Can’t we just change the slogan to 'Make Conspiracies Believable Again'?!”

You can listen to "Take Off Your Tinfoil Hat" below. The song is available now via Free Dirt Records here. For more on JP Harris, check out his website.

Talib Kweli x Diamond D featuring A.F.R.O. - "Far Out Bar Out"

Talib Kweli is enough of a hip hop legend that we're guaranteed to pay attention to anything he is involved in. He has a collaborative album coming out with Diamond D, and the first single is truly great. "Far Out Bar Out" showcases the flows of all three MCs (the song also features A.F.R.O.) over one of the most old school musical backdrops I've heard in ages. (There are scratches! Scratches!) It's the kind of minimalist hip hop that used to just be considered hip hop. Somehow, despite the song throwing back stylistically, it avoids being just a throwback track. "Far Out Bar Out" is what hip hop would sound like in 2021 is Puff Daddy and autotune never happened.

You can watch the video for "Far Out Bar Out" below. GOTHAM, the collaborative album from Talib Kweli and Diamond D, is sue out later this year on Javotti Media. For more on Talib Kweli, check out his website here. More info on Diamond D can be found on his Twitter.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 15 January

A little more catch-up and some solid new listens.

Artist: Pearl Charles
Album: Magic Mirror
Quick Description: Gorgeous retro indie pop.
Why You Should Listen: Reminiscent of Feist in many ways, but really bright and fun.
Overall Thoughts: I don't see that we caught her previous album, although it appears I was listening to it at one point. Still, this album was so wonderful. In what's been a real weird time in America, you have an album here that really does some interesting stuff in its approach to pop music. A truly fascinating listen, and one that I think most everyone would find some value in.
Recommendation: Make time for this one.

Artist: Pom Poko
Album: Cheater
Quick Description: New album from the Norweigian indie rockers.
Why You Should Listen: Lots of growth from their debut while still staying familiar.
Overall Thoughts: Pom Poko always seems off, but in that good way when you're hearing things repeatedly and still find something new. The sort of sometimes-difficult indie rock put forward by Pom Poko here make it an easy recommendation early in the year, as songs like "My Candidacy" or "Like a Lady" tend to linger. Overall, one I'm looking forward to getting back to.
Recommendation: Worth a spin.

Artist: Chris Brokaw
Album: Puritan
Quick Description: Instrumentalist and collaborator with basically everyone has a super indie rock album.
Why You Should Listen: It's got a singer-songwriter sensibility, but with a good indie bent.
Overall Thoughts: I don't have a ton to say about this Chris Brokaw effort, but I didn't want it to go unrecognized this week. This definitely has a folk feel to it, but it still works in a variety of ways for basically any audience. I fully enjoyed my experience with this record, and I hope it has staying power.
Recommendation: One of the best of this week.

Artist: Buck Meek
Album: Two Saviors
Quick Description: Solo effort from a member of Big Thief.
Why You Should Listen: Has an outlaw country feel with an indie rock sheen.
Overall Thoughts: I didn't know Buck Meek was part of Big Thief until I went hunting for the album cover. It doesn't feel like a Big Thief record, but knowing that now definitely helps with a bit of the feel of the whole thing. It's a very pleasant listen on a whole, with a few songs here that stuck out at me. If you like what we normally feature here, you'll find something to like here.
Recommendation: Should make your rotation.

Artist: Danielle Durack
Album: No Place
Quick Description: Gorgeous singer-songwriter effort.
Why You Should Listen: Danielle Durack is fast becoming a favorite around here.
Overall Thoughts: She's been great for a while, but this album steps up the game in a few ways. "Broken Wings" has been in semi-heavy rotation for me since release, and the rest of the record holds up in a similar way. A folky, indie pop-style record, I really adore this effort and, in a just world, it becomes the breakthrough she deserves.
Recommendation: A solid listen.

Artist: Comfy
Album: Volume For
Quick Description: Interesting, divisive indie rock.
Why You Should Listen: This was the most talked-about album between Ken and I think week.
Overall Thoughts: So Comfy. When this record is on, WOW is it good. There's so much going on here that this album doesn't always work, but whether it's an experiment or just not 100% working remains to be seen. I think, for me, I liked this a lot more than Ken did, as it reminds me a lot of the early-2000s indie rock I felt in love with. It's a record that's challenging, but is also likely worth the effort.
Recommendation: Give this a shot.

Of note:

* Five Iron Frenzy - Until this Shakes Apart (A ska punk record that's better than you think it should be.)
* Matthew Sweet - Catspaw (In case you were wondering? He's still got it.)
* Samia - The Baby Reimagined (One of the better efforts of this type of COVID release.)
* Flo Milli - Ho, Why Is You Here?
* You Me At Six - SUCKAPUNCH
* King Felix - Going Under Soundtrack
* Nancy - The Seven Foot Tall Post-Suicidal Feel Good Blues
* Dale Crover - Rat-a-Tat-Tat
* Kate Davis - Strange Boy
* Front Line Assembly - Mechanical Soul
* Sleaford Mods - Spare Ribs
* Shame - Drunk Tank Pink


* Death Cab for Cutie - The Georgia EP
* Kuwaisiana - Chapter 2: Al-Baab Al-Thani
* Beach Bunny - Blame Game
* Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou - The Helm of Sorrow
* Just Friends - JF Crew, Vol. 1

Also out:

* OG Swaggerdick - Flaccid Rap

Lydia Luce - "All the Time"

Photo via Facebook

Lydia Luce has earned a reputation as being the "go-to" strings session performer in Nashville, playing with artists like Dolly Parton and Eminem. Her solo music adds to her musical diversity, somehow combining her classical work with indie rock. "All the Time" is an epic indie rock song that just builds and builds throughout. It's on the lines of an artist like Lucy Dacus, but on a bigger, more theatrical scale. The song almost sounds like it's an attempt at writing an indie rock influenced Broadway musical.

Lydia Luce describes the new song:

“This song is a conversation with myself. I have learned so many things about myself in my late 20s and one of those is that I struggle to hear and trust my voice. The world is so noisy and I am constantly working on drowning that noise out. This song is me calling myself into light and love. It's dark in the spaces of uncertainty where you’re fishing around trying to determine how you feel based off of what others feel. There is no peace there, only restlessness. If I do the hard work to calm my thoughts and external noise, I can ascertain what is true for me.”

You can watch the video for "All the Time" below. Dark River will be out February 26. For more on Lydia Luce, check out the artist's website.

Editrix - "Tell Me I'm Bad"

Easthampton, MA's Editrix continues their run of killer, unique indie rock songs with "Tell Me I'm Bad." The new song is a weirdo song that isn't quite noise rock since it follows a fairly normal song pattern, but it isn't too far off from noise rock. It wildly swings tempo, but in its own pattern. At no point does it ever explode into sheer chaos, nor does it seem like it is about to. "Tell Me I'm Bad" is the kind of indie rocker that just festers. It's the kind of song that could be called "quirky," but it's just not cutesy enough for that description. I guess the best description for this is "Western MA indie rock," which many of us will understand immediately.

You can listen to "Tell Me I'm Bad" below. The album Tell Me I'm Bad will be out February 5 on Exploding in Sound Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Editrix, give them a follow on Instagram.

Monday, January 18, 2021

No Year - "What People Say"

Portland, OR's NEW YEAR are back with another dose of their heavy 90's infused rock. "What People Say" sounds a little cleaner than "Sundown" without losing any of the power of their previous song. It's less sludgy and has a little more of a 90's East Coast feel than a Pacific Northwest sound the previous song did. That's not to say that "What People Say" isn't filled with the remnants of early grunge from bands like Tad and Mother Love Bone, because it certainly is. But it also has some elements of Fugazi and Sonic Youth in here, so I don't think we could possibly be more on board for this one.

You can listen to "What People Say" below. SO LONG will be out January 29 on Inferior Planet. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp.

Prateek - "If I were a dog"

Photo by Haley Hatkey

It's going to be easy to dismiss Prateek's latest single, "If I were a dog," as a novelty or comedy song. And it is a funny song. "If I were a dog" sees the Boston based singer/songwriter theorizing about how he'd spend his days if he was a dog. It's a song about wishing he could "piss on every tree stump," "make friends with all the bugs and snails," and "jump in every puddle." It reminds me quite a bit of The Lemonheads' "Outdoor Type" in both humor and musical style. It's the kind of song that is guaranteed to get Prateek some enthusiastic cheers once live shows can come back, but the humor helps mask some of the melancholy of the song, which is that it's preferable to be a dog than a human with a job.

You can watch the video for "If I were a dog" below. The video features footage fans sent in of their dogs. The song is available now via Bandcamp. For more on Prateek, check out the artist's website.

Boise Cover Band Cover David Bowie

Way back in 2002, Built to Spill's Doug Martsch got together with some local friends and formed Boise Cover Band, releasing a tour only cd in 2003. That disc is finally seeing a digital and vinyl release, and you can hear their version of "Ashes to Ashes." It's quite simply a gorgeous version, which is exactly what you'd expect from a Bowie cover that Doug Martsch is involved in. What is surprising for fans of Martsch's other bands is that guitar is not at the center of this song. All instrumentation is relatively quiet, pairing with Martsch's voice splendidly. If anything, this is a folk-adjacent version of "Ashes to Ashes."

You can listen to Boise Cover Band's version of "Ashes to Ashes" below. Unoriginal Artists will be out on March 19. You can pre-order your copy via Bandcamp