Friday, May 28, 2021

Sierra Ferrell Covers The Stanley Brothers

Photo by Alyssa Gafkjen

New blog favorite Sierra Ferrell continues embarrassing me with her greater knowledge of classic country than I have. Her latest is a cover of The Stanley Brother's "I Just Think I'll Go Away." The original is a classic honky tonk crooner along the lines of Hank Williams, just with more banjo. Ferrell's version keeps the classic country vibe, but adds a lot more modern soul in. I mean, a lot more. The cover adds some Drive-By Truckers style keys and Ferrell is absolutely belting the song out at her very best Janis Joplin level. If you've been on the fence with joining us on the Sierra Ferrell bandwagon, we'll scootch over some because you're gonna want on after this one.

You can watch the video for Sierra Ferrell's cover of "I Just Think I'll Go Away" below. Sierra Ferrell's album is scheduled for release this summer on Rounder Records. For more on Sierra Ferrell, check out the artist's website.

Brad Marino - "Local Show"

As live music is starting to return, Brad Marino's "Local Show" is the perfect song to get us prepared. It's a glorious power pop song that's an ode to local shows. It's an upbeat celebration of trying to get people to come to see local bands even if they have to pay, stay up too late, and stand in a mostly empty club. It's a fun song about the pitfalls of being in a local band but still loving every minute, because if you don't love it, why would you even bother?

You can listen to "Local Show" below. Looking for Trouble is due out June 4. It will be available on CD via Rum Bar Records and on vinyl on Spaghetty Town Records. You can get your copy through Bandcamp. For more on Brad Marino, check out the artist's Facebook.

The Chelsea Curve - "Don't Look Down"

Boston's The Chelsea Curve have mastered this form of power pop meets punk that we can't get enough of. Their latest single, "Don't Look Down," is somehow one of their most punk and most pop without being even remotely pop punk. It's unbelievably catchy and filled with wonderfully jangly guitars. Despite all of that, it has this biting edge in Linda Pardee's vocals. It's just dripping with punk attitude in complete opposition to the cheeriness of the song's music. Of course, that's the charm of "Don't Look Down" and why you need to check the song out.

You can listen to "Don't Look Down" below. The song is available as a single via Red On Red Records and can be downloaded on Bandcamp. For more on The Chelsea Curve, check out the band's Facebook.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Narcotix - "Lilith"

Based out of Brooklyn, The Narcotix are a West African art-folk band. Their latest single, "Lilith," embodies that description. It reminds me of a more organic Kalbells with a little more of a pop sound and a strong African root. "Lilith" creates this swirling sound that envelops the listener in this warm, dreamlike state. It's a lush, gorgeous song that will have you transfixed. It's filled with reverbed and layered vocals, synths, and Congolese guitar riffs. Even if that doesn't sound like your thing, you owe it to yourself to give The Narcotix a shot.

In a press release, The Narcotix explain the new song:

""Lilith" was created in a tantric temple in Oakland, CA. She was also Adam’s wife before Eve, made from the clay whence Adam came instead of his rib. But that’s another story. Birthing her was our very own form of ritual. Bumbling Becky found the catchy keyboard riff (or perhaps it found her), and Esther swung her voice in a swirly pattern to match the surrounding smoke. Thus the zygote known as "Lilith" was formed."

You can listen to "Lilith" below. Mommy Issues is due out June 11 and can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp. For more on The Narcotix, check out the artist's website.

Dill the Giant - "WEED MAN SON"

Another day, another killer hip hop song out of Canada. Dill the Giant is a first generation Jamaican-Canadian. His new single, "WEED MAN SON," is a tribute to the island of his father's birth. It's an ultra chill hip hop song with just the slightest hints of reggae to flavor it perfectly. Dill's flow is stellar. Without sounding like a throwback, "WEED MAN SON" captures the same kind of positive and reminiscing feel of some of the biggest early 90's rap songs. This is the kind of song that could easily be the summer song of 2021. Seriously, keep an eye on Dill the Giant. This is an artist with unlimited crossover appeal.

Dill the Giant says of his new song:

“I had the chance to go to Jamaica with my dad and walk around where he grew up so a lot of the song is about being Jamaican and some of the stuff I learned and saw while I got the chance to be over there with my family. It’s kind of a homage to the island, the culture, and my family, with the stuff I love about it."

You can listen to "WEED MAN SON" below. The song is available as a single via Birthday Cake Media. For more on Dill the Giant, check out the artist's Twitter and Instagram.

Squirrel Flower - "Flames and Flat Tires"

Photo by Tonje Thilesen

The latest song from Squirrel Flower starts off with a killer, menacing grunge era guitar riff. It's going to make you expect a Mudhoney or Soundgarden song. Instead, the song morphs into a gorgeous, chilled out Squirrel Flower song. That riff does linger underneath the song never quite letting it settle into folk or dream pop. "Flames and Flat Tires" keeps its very own sound that way. It's an intense and beautiful song, despite the underlying menace.

Ella Williams (aka Squirrel Flower) explains the new song:

“I wrote ‘Flames and Flat Tires’ on my second day of quarantine in Bristol, England ahead of recording. It was late August, hot, I was staying in a place that opened onto a party street, and every night I stayed up listening to the sounds of the revelers and the birds squawking and screaming until 6am, then all day watched people hanging laundry in their backyards through my kitchen window. This was one of those tunes that just falls out."

You can watch the video for "Flames and Flat Tires" below. Planet (i) is due out June 25 on Polyvinyl. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here. For more on Squirrel Flower, check out the artist's website. Current tour dates are below the video!

Fri. June 25 - Rough Trade Instagram Livestream
Sat. June 26 - Chicago, IL @ Sleeping Village (early and late) - 
Wed. Sept. 15 - Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse $
Thu. Sept. 16 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle $
Fri. Sept. 17 - Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar $
Sat. Sept. 18 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer $
Sun. Sept. 19 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club $
Tue. Sept. 21 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel $
Wed. Sept. 22 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club $
Thu. Sept. 23 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club $
Sat. Sept. 25 - Montreal, QC @ Fairmount Theatre $
Sun. Sept. 26 - Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre $
Tue. Sept. 28 - Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop $
Wed. Sept. 29 - Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall $
Fri. Oct. 1 - Nashville, TN @ Cannery Ballroom $
$= supporting Soccer Mommy

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Mouraine - "Badmon"

Photo by Tyrell Bonnick / Dakidt Usoment

(If you had ever told me that artists out of Canada would help reignite my love of hip hop...) The latest is Mouraine. The Sudan born and Edmonton based artist has released "Badmon." The new song is this near perfect blend of laid back and intense hip hop. It has a classic old school feel while still musically sounding like 2021. Mouriane has a flow that is just effortless sounding. He's the kind of rapper that makes you think everyone can rap, like a more energetic Snoop Dogg. 

You can listen to "Badmon" below. Bigger Dreams is due out August 6 on Birthday Cake Media. For more on Mouraine, check out the artist's website.

Olivia Kaplan - "Still Strangers"

Photo by Michelle Simunovic

Performed solo, the latest single from Olivia Kaplan's upcoming album is one of the most captivating we've heard in a while. "Still Strangers" focuses on Kaplan's vocals. Her guitar plays the same notes repeatedly, almost on a loop. The intensity of the guitar slightly changes so you barely notice, giving the song an almost hypnotic feeling. Kaplan is conveying so much emotion and intensity in her voice and guitar playing without rising much in volume. It's the kind of quiet power you hear in artists like Squirrel Flower and Elliott Smith. "Still Strangers" is a solo ballad that despite clocking in at 5:36 still leaves you yearning for more.

You can listen to "Still Strangers" below. Tonight Turns to Nothing is due out June 25 on Topshelf Records. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Olivia Kaplan, check out the artist's Facebook.

Kekko - "Past Lives"

Photo by Jared Rezel

Singaporean duo Kekko have taken three distinct but closely related genres and mixed them into a gorgeous sound. Their latest single "Past Lives" is a thrilling blend of shoegaze, dream pop, and psychedelia. It may lean a little more into the pop side of those three sounds, but it's such a unique blend of pop even the snobbiest of us won't mind at all. It's the swirling haze of shoegaze, the uplifting lilt of dream pop and the trippy beauty of psychedelia. It lazily drifts through these genres seemingly at random, ebbing and flowing throughout the song.

Cherie Kekko says the song “... conveys the cosmic connection that Tim and I share, about how a force like Love can transcend time and space, and even span across lifetimes.”

You can listen to "Past Lives" below. Dreaming Life is due out June 11 on Spirit Goth Records. For more on Kekko, check out the artist's Twitter and Bandcamp.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 21 May

Artist: Olivia Rodrigo
Album: SOUR
Quick Thoughts: The running joke of the moment is that lot of us older folks are looking at this album and saying "crap, we're old." Because we are, and this is a young up-and-coming artist from the Disney starlet factory, and we all loved Billie Eilish and don't want to make it weird, I guess. But this album? Yeah, it's pretty good. I can forgive some questionable production choices (the album sounds somewhat hollow and light at times, and overly compressed at others), but the songwriting is tight and some of these are real bangers. It's a solid pop album from someone who is making music for our children's generation and that's okay. You might not relate to "drivers license," but so what?
Songs of Note: "brutal," "drivers license," "good 4 u"

Artist: Lord Huron
Album: Long Lost
Quick Thoughts: This is a really interesting album. It's rootsy folk stuff, but it has an almost conceptual bar music feel to it that gives off an aura of performance alongside the general songs. I liked the experience of this album as much as the music, which is not something I can say very often. You owe it to yourself to check it out.
Songs of Note: "Mine Forever," "Long Lost," "Twenty Long Years"

Artist: Claire George
Album: The Land Beyond the Light
Quick Thoughts: I don't remember how I tripped up on Claire George, but this is a debut album worth noting. It's indie electro pop for sure, but holy crap are these songs ones that just trap themselves in your head - I'll be singing "Pink Elephants" all summer. It's a really solid album and one that I think I'll be grooving to for a while, and I think Claire George has the potential to explode on the scene this year.
Songs of Note: "You Don't Feel the Same," "Pink Elephants," "Northern Lights"

Artist: Allison Russell
Album: Outside Child
Quick Thoughts: Allison Russell is a roots singer from Canada, and I'm officially obsessed. Her songs are really passionate, the instrumentation gorgeous, and this could be your new favorite songwriter if you're into this sort of thing. Not only my favorite album of the week, but easily a favorite of the year up to now.
Songs of Note: "Nightflyer," "Persephone," "The Runner"

Artist: HAERTS
Album: Dream Nation
Quick Thoughts: I don't know why more people aren't talking about HAERTS. "No One Needs to Know" is an all-time favorite song of mine, and they have a wonderful, accessable sound that should make them super famous. This new album feels a little darker than the bright tones of their previous work on first listen, but it still has songs like "Days Go By" that will not leave my head at all. If you're a fan, congrats, this is great. If you're new, this will almost certainly make you want to check out their back catalog.
Songs of Note: "It's Too Late," "Days Go By"

Artist: Lula Wiles
Album: Shame and Sedition
Quick Thoughts: I wanted to highlight this as Ken and I have both become fans of Lula Wiles, and this new album is angry and melodic and strident and stellar. It's great. They're one of the great roots acts of late, and this is an essential album for an essential time.
Songs of Note: "Oh My God," "Mary Anne"

Artist: Billie Marten
Album: Flora Fauna
Quick Thoughts: I'm late to the Billie Marten party, but when I discovered Feeding Seahorses by Hand a few years back, I fell in love with the instrumentation and songwriting. Flora Fauna is the opposite of the act of feeding seahorses. It's instead a messy, chaotic, beautiful record that feels a little darker and less sparse than her previous efforts. It's a jolt to the senses, but it works incredibly well and it was one of the first albums I went back to this week. Definitely worth the time.
Songs of Note: "Walnut," "Creature of Mine"

Of note:

* Green Heron - Feet on the Floorboards (A lot of great moments in this New England roots record.)
* Gary Numan - Intruder (I guarantee this is better than you think it will be.)
* CHAI - WINK (A lot of fun packed into a 35-minute package.)
* Audrey Nuna - a liquid breakfast
* Reigning Sound - A Little More Time With Reigning Sound
* Georgia Anne Muldrow - VWETO III
* Robert Finley - Sharecropper's Son
* Colleen - The Tunnel and the Clearing
* Mdou Moctar - Afrique Victime
* Holiday Sidewinder - Face of God
* Roddy Woomble - Lo! Soul
* Lydia Ainsworth - Sparkles and Debris
* The Mistons - World of Convenience
* Caliph - Immigrant of the Year
* Bill and the Belles - Happy Again


* The Tragically Hip - Saskadelphia (A release of an early EP from the band.)
* Biig Piig - The Sky is Bleeding (Sleeper release of the week.)
* No Joy - Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven (Beautiful renditions from their previous efforts.)
* Mannequin Pussy - Perfect
* Ducks Ltd. - Get Bleak
* Counting Crows - Butter Miracle Suite One
* Agnes Obel - Live From Brooklyn

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Sa-Roc - The Sharecropper's Daughter (Deluxe Edition) (Deluxe re-release of one of the best rap albums of 2020.)
* clipping. - Wriggle (Expanded) (A reissue of their Sub Pop debut with some remixes.)
* Zara Larsson - Poster Girl (Summer Edition) (Reissue of her previous album with bonus tracks.)
* Gordi - Refracted: Live at Phoenix Central Park

Also out:

* Lambchop - Showtunes
* Patrick Paige II - If I Fail Are We Still Cool?
* FACS - Present Tense
* Qveen Herby - A Woman
* Erika de Casier - Sensational
* Benny the Butcher and 38 Spesh - Trust the Sopranos

The Fretless featuring Ruth Moody - "Retrograde"

It takes a truly unique artist to take traditional string instruments and make a song that sounds so futuristic. Neo-trad string quartet The Fretless have done this with their latest single. Teaming with Ruth Moody of The Wailin' Jennys on vocals, "Retrograde" doesn't sound like a song made with string instruments. Sure, there are some parts where it's obviously strings, but for the majority of the song "Retrograde" sounds more electronic. It's a huge atmospheric sound that would be at home scoring a film. Moody's vocals add to the feeling of the song, which is interesting since she's normally associated with folk and not electronic music.

Ruth Moody says of the song:

“This one had me singing all over in my range. 'Retrograde' has a mysterious, otherworldly dimension to it, and I think the guys really tapped into that magic with their string arrangement.”

You can listen to "Retrograde" below. Open House is due out October 22 and The Fretless will be releasing a new single each month up until the album's release. For more on The Fretless, check out the artist's website.

Totally Slow - "Dead Skater"

We're all going to be too old for this song from Totally Slow, but we're probably going to like it anyway. "Dead Skater" is a punk song. It's loud, fast, and obnoxious. It's going to remind you of bands like Unwound and Jawbox. It's thrashy and melodic and certainly not made for middle aged dads to listen to. (Fun fact: I first listened to this song since the subject line of the email submission had a typo so the song was called "Dad Skater.") There's also a ton of metal edge to "Dead Skater," which just makes this song sound like mid 90's Warped Tour to me.

You can watch the video for "Dead Skater" below. Casual Drag is due out June 4 on Refresh Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Totally Slow, check out the band on Facebook and Twitter.

Lydia Loveless Covers Bob Dylan

Photo by Megan Toenyes

"Oh, Sister" is one of those Bob Dylan songs that should be a lot more well known. Off of 1976's Desire, it's virtually perfect. Yesterday was Bob Dylan's eightieth birthday, and it also saw the release of Happy Birthday Uncle Bob! A Dylan Tribute featuring thirteen covers of Dylan classics. Lydia Loveless took on "Oh, Sister" and completely reimagined it. The lyrics and the male/female vocals remain intact, but while Dylan's original is a smooth folk/soul classic, Loveless gives the song a modern pop sound with a beat that's borders classic drum 'n' bass. It's an interesting take on the song that works much better than I expected.

You can listen to Lydia Loveless' cover of "Oh, Sister" below. Happy Birthday Uncle Bob! A Dylan Tribute is available now on Bandcamp and features covers from HEELS, Jon Snodgrass and His Buddies, Shane Sweeney, and more! For more on Lydia Loveless, be sure to check out her website.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Link 80 Covers Rancid

We both love covers here at If It's Too Loud..., and I have a certain fondness for 90's era Warped Tour punk, so when I heard there was going to be a tribute album to Rancid's 1995 classic ... And Out Come The Wolves, I knew I was fully on board. ... And Out Come The Lawsuits! features Bay Area bands each taking on a song from the album. The first we can hear is Link 80's take on "Junkie Man." It's pretty much a dead on cover, maybe with the ska element cranked up a notch or three. That also means the song is a little more bouncy and fun, but that's kind of the point of covers, isn't it?

You can listen to Link 80's cover of "Junkie Man" below. ... And Out Come The Lawsuits! is due out June 4 on Lavasocks and Sell The Heart Records. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp

Izzy Heltai - "Beauty Queen"

I'm almost getting tired of posting about how great Izzy Heltai. The Western Massachusetts based folk artist is on this ridiculous streak of great singles. The latest is "Beauty Queen." It's a laid back dreamy folk song that may be the most pop of anything Heltai has put out so far. It's the kind of song that could easily be included on your favorite television drama, but it still has that quality that Heltai has mastered of being mainstream and still being able to appeal to folkie snobs.

In a Bandcamp post, Izzy Heltai says of the new single:

Pandemic romance is nuts, or at least the way I experienced one was. Intense, dramatic, and unsustainable. All exacerbated by the fact that I was scared I would never meet anyone again due to how hard it is to date or literally just make a new friend right now.
Without the distractions of pre-pandemic life, it was pretty easy for me to spiral into obsession, and I probably put up with a lot more shit than I would have normally.
But hey, at least I got this song out of it.

You can watch the video for "Beauty Queen" below. The song is currently available via Bandcamp. For more on Izzy Heltai, check out the artist's website.

Live Shows: Diablogato and The Devil's Twins, The Porch Southern Fare & Juke Joint, Medford, MA 5/22/21

Four hundred thirty seven days. That's a long time to go without seeing live music, especially when you've been going to one to four (or sometimes more) shows per month for twenty (or more) years. But that's how long it had been since I had seen Against Me! in Holyoke, MA on March 11 before everything shut down. But, shows are starting up, and since I'm fully vaxxed I decided to make my very first show back this past Saturday with Diablogato and The Devil's Twins.

The Devil's Twins played a shorter acoustic duo set to start off the night. Obviously it wasn't quite as rockin' given it was just them and an acoustic guitar, but I don't think anyone really cared. The crowd treated The Devil's Twins like they were The Beatles at Shea Stadium. The pure joy felt between the band and the crowd was palpable in the air. I'm not sure if it was the reception or just the joy of getting to play music for a crowd again, but Nicole Coogan needed a few seconds after the first song after she got caught up in the emotion of it. It was truly a lovely moment. We all missed this so much over the past year plus, and it was phenomenal to get it back. The band tore through what could have been a greatest hits set without missing a step from the previous seventeen (?) months. Songs like "Bad Karma," "If You're Gonna Be Dumb," and their cover of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" have been missed.

Despite Diablogato being a local band, I hadn't seen them live since February 2019 when they played a show with Salem Wolves and The Devil's Twins. Seeing a band I've wanted to see again to help end my quarantine concert drought was perfect. They played their amped up rockabilly injected punk in a way that didn't quite fit the supper club venue that The Porch is. It was definitely a set that would have been better suited to a standing venue and not a sitting with tables one [Edit: I have since found out The Porch is not normally a seated at tables venue but has been due to COVID regulations], but no one was complaining. Diablogato received the same ovation between each song that their fellow band did. If this is what going to shows is going to be like from now on, it's going to be beautiful. After a few songs, singer Drew Indingaro said that even though he's forty four and "... jaded as fuck...," he was still getting emotional. 

Once you're fully vaccinated and you feel comfortable enough to do it, get out and see your local bands. We all need this right now.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Double Star - "See It Through"

As we've mentioned before, Boston seems to be having a power pop resurgence as of late. (Not that power pop ever truly left Boston, for that matter...) Our latest discovery is Double Star. They've previously been referred to as "punky doo-wop" and "The Clash meets Indigo Girls." When you hear their latest single, those comparisons are spot on. "See It Through" is a jangly pop rock song with some toned down punk riffs and the best "woo hoo hoo"s we've heard in years. They also pull off being a punk-ish band with a horn section that isn't quite ska. It's the kind of song that also pulls off being too pop for punk and too punk for pop without being even remotely pop punk. Double Star are the perfect type of fun we all need right now, so expect to hear more from them here as much as possible!

You can listen to "See It Through" below. Say Something Now is due out August 14. For more on Double Star, check out the band on Facebook.

Lou Barlow - "In My Arms"

Lou Barlow's upcoming solo album is shaping up to be exactly what we want from him at this point. The latest single from the album is as DIY as it could possibly be. He played the drums on this one, and broke out a J Mascis signature squire for some of the guitar work. "In My Arms" is a chilled out folk-ish but definitely not folk song. It's the kind of bedroom indie rock that Barlow has been making for decades now, just updated by musical and recording skill, age, technology, and maturity. It's pretty much the perfect Lou Barlow song for fans of any of his musical projects.

You can watch the video (which Barlow made himself) for "In My Arms" below. Reason to Live is due out May 28 on Joyful Noise. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Lou Barlow, check out the artist's website.

Friday Freebie: The Girls - Armed to the teeth

Hailing from Wilmington, NC, The Girls specialize in a certain kind of throwback power pop. Their latest album, Armed to the teeth, is filled with eight songs that combine garage rock, the aggression of punk, and buckets of glam. They're loud, fun, thrashy, sometimes a little trashy, and just pure rock 'n' roll. While this may sound like a pure 70's throwback, The Girls add more than enough modern garage rock and 80's metal in here to give the songs on Armed to the teeth their very own sound. The Girls are taking familiar and well trod elements but mixing them up in their very own way. 

You can listen to "CAPE FEAR" below. Armed to the teeth is available for the "name your price" option on Bandcamp. If you choose free, be sure to give them a follow on Facebook.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Lucy Dacus - "VBS"

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Until I read Lucy Dacus' explanation, I had no idea VBS stood for Vacation Bible School. I'm not sure I know anyone who went to one, although I do remember being jealous that all my friends were going to CCD together and I wasn't (this was before anyone told me what it was). "VBS" as a song starts off as a midtempo folk adjacent indie rock song. Dacus' voice, as always, is going to be what draws you in. There's just something about her delivery that makes every single song feel intimate and like she's singing just to you. "VBS" may just be the greatest example of that phenomenon. It feels like she's just sitting with you and only you. Just that alone would make this song great. And then a burst of guitar and feedback kicks in and makes this a Best of 2021 contender.

In a press conference, Lucy Dacus explains the new song:

“VBS means vacation bible school, and I went to tons of them. It's where Christian parents send their kids over the winter, spring, or summer breaks from school to get closer to God, maybe learn some outdoor skills, and bring home useless crafts and totems like fruit of the spirit sand art and purity rings. I wrote the song in the van on the way to Nashville to record Home Video after seeing one of those readerboards outside a church advertising a wholesome church camp for kids. I thought about my first boyfriend, who I met at VBS, the resident bad boy who loved Slayer and weed more than Jesus. I took it upon myself to save him, and make him stop doing drugs (with an exception for snorting nutmeg). God, I was so lame.”

You can watch the video for "VBS" below. Home Video will be out June 25 on Matador Records. You can pre-order/pre-save a copy here. For more on Lucy Dacus, check out the artist's website.

The Crew - "One Voice"

We throw the term "supergroup" around quite a bit here, but The Crew is a bonafide supergroup. It features Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman of Rancid, Fletcher Dragge and Byron McMackin of Pennywise, and Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies. (This might be the very first time I'm ever seen Muir's last name and him not referred to as "Cyco Miko.") "One Voice" is a call to unity in the punk scene, and it sounds exactly what a band made up of members of Pennywise, Rancid, and Suicidal Tendencies should sound like. It's a classic 90's punk song with vocals from Armstrong, Dragge, and Muir. It's a one-off all star punk jam, and just the kind of thing we could use as we enter what used to be Warped Tour season.

You can watch the lyric video for "One Voice" below. The song is available digitally via Epitaph Records here. Physical copies were available via Stay Free Recordings but sold out very quickly.

Cold Expectations - "Summer Dress"

Photo by Joan Hathaway

When a band names a song "Summer Dress," it kinda has to be a summery song. Cold Expectations have released a perfect, laid back summer song. It's a bright and breezy indie rock song that borders on pop but doesn't quite go that far. It has that hanging out by a fire acoustic guitar hang out feel, even though it's an indie rock song. Even without the video, it's a great beach song.

In a post on Bandcamp, the band explains the new song:

"Summer Dress was written on a Sunday, thinking on how it’s the most peaceful day, and how it kinda puts all the other days to shame with its sense of purpose and clarity. With all our daily doses of chaos, at least you know that on Sunday the noise can be filtered out, or at least it strives to be that, for me. That’s where the opening lines came from. Summer Dress is intended to be earnest and optimistic – themes that aren’t easy to weave into 3-minute indie-rock, which tends to skew more jaded. This one is all about hope, anticipation and breathlessness."

You can watch the video for "Summer Dress" below. The song is available as a single via Red On Red Records and can be downloaded on Bandcamp. For more on Cold Expectations, check out the band's Facebook.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Rachel Baiman - "When You Bloom (Colorado)"

Photo via Facebook

There's just something about the music of Rachel Baiman. On one hand, a song like "When You Bloom (Colorado)" is a straightforward singer/songwriter song. It's leaning heavily towards being folky and rootsy but it's a little too adult contemporary to squarely fit into those boxes. It's well done mainstream music. On the other hand, it's not. Baiman just has this odd factor in her music that sets her apart. Maybe it's that she has this truly unique quality to her voice that's beautiful but not traditionally so. It's more captivating. Or maybe it's that the music is full but still sparse, with a beat just a little too upbeat to fit the song but that makes the song far more interesting. Whatever it is, Rachel Baiman anything new from Rachel Baiman is always a must listen.

In a Facebook post from Signature Sounds, Rachel Baiman explains the new song:

"This is a song for my little sister. We had a tumultuous relationship at times throughout our childhood, but in our adult years we have become extremely close friends. She moved to Nashville a few years back, and I’ve come to rely on her heavily and feel very protective of her. She recently accepted an offer for a PhD program in Boulder, Colorado, and while I’m happy to see her chase her dreams, it also breaks my heart a little bit because I had envisioned being able to see her through so many more phases of her life. It’s a feeling of wanting to be there every step of the way to make sure that she won’t get hurt and knowing that I can’t do that."

You can listen to "When You Bloom (Colorado)" below. Cycles is due out June 11 on Signature Sound Recordings. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Rachel Baiman, check out the artist's website.

Split Single - "95 Percent"

Photo by Joe Losurdo

Jason Narducy's (Bob Mould Band, Superchunk, Verbow) project Split Single features Mike Mills (R.E.M.) and Jon Wurster (Superchunk, Bob Mould Band) this time around. If hearing about members of all of these bands collaborating sounds glorious to you, there is no chance you're not going to adore their latest single. "95 Percent" sounds like a slightly more classic rock version of Superchunk. It's an absolute anthem, written as if Superchunk were planning on rocking football stadiums instead of decent sized clubs. 

In a press release, Jason Narducy says of the new song:

“As a liberal person, I can get tripped up by my tendency towards empathy. Part of me wants to believe that politicians are earnest in their efforts to help all Americans even when I know they are not. So it can backfire when I get hesitant and confused but overall I think it's positive because I never fully trust ANY of them. I'm 95 percent committed and 95 percent suspicious. I'm also not good at math.”

You can watch the video for "95 Percent" below. Amplificado is due out June 25 on Inside Outside Records. You can pre-order a copy of the album on Bandcamp. For more on Split Single, check out the band's website.

Melkbelly - "Prehistoric Worm"

Photo via Facebook

Chicago's Melkbelly are one of the many bands I was supposed to see last year, but obviously that didn't happen. They just put out a single and have a hometown show scheduled for September, so maybe it might happen by the end of this year? "Prehistoric Worm" was put out on their Bandcamp last week, and it may be one of my favorite songs of theirs. It starts off with an odd blast of noise before the drummer's sticks count the song in. And then there's more noise before the song gets into its groove. This is that kind of weirdo indie rock goes pop that Melkbelly have perfected. They have nailed the whole loud/quiet/loud thing, but with the fun and off kilter feel of The Breeders more than the Pixies.

You can listen to "Prehistoric Work" below. The song is available as a single on Melkbelly's Bandcamp. For more on Melkbelly, check out the band on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 14 May

Artist: Johanna Samuels
Album: Excelsior!
Quick Thoughts: I love good singer-songwriter folk-adjacent music these days, and the title of this record definitely gives off a fun and light vibe. The actual music, though, is extremely appealing, with a lot of interesting stuff going on. I love the gorgeous instrumentation, and the songwriting is top notch. If you're looking for something really pretty and gorgeous, with enough interesting flourishes to keep you coming back? This is your record.
Songs of Note: "Sonny," "Nature's Way," "All is Fine"

Artist: Smol Data
Album: Inconvenience Store
Quick Thoughts: I don't recall how I tripped up on Smol Data but holy crap is this good and fun. This is a neat little indie pop/punk record that's really just a good time start to finish. It reminds me a lot of The Beths crossed with Illuminati Hotties, which is right down my alley and might be up your alley, too.
Songs of Note: "Salaries (Bankruptcy Eve)," "Tinceltown," "Last Call Indie Darlings"

Artist: Sara Bug
Album: Sara Bug
Quick Thoughts: If you're a reader of the blog, you know Sara Bug. This was one of the more anticipated listens of the week around these parts, and for good reason: Sara Bug is an exceptional songwriter with some really solid songs that stick around. This is definitely a favorite around here, and I know I hope she breaks through and breaks out.
Songs of Note: "Rosebank," "Lotta Pride," "Ride on Sundys"

Artist: Holly Macve
Album: Not the Girl
Quick Thoughts: Alongside Smol Data, this might be my other favorite listen of the week. This is alt-country via Ireland the way you want it: great vocals, great songs, and a little bit of an attitude. This one came out of left field for me, and I am very excited to spend more time with it.
Songs of Note: "Bird," "Be My Friend," "Daddy's Gone, "Sweet Marie," "Who Am I?"

Artist: Morcheeba
Album: Blackest Blue
Quick Thoughts: Ken sent this over and I rolled my eyes a bit, since occasionally he'll send me, like, a Powerman 5000 record and that's just not my speed. But imagine my surprise when I learned that Morcheeba is not a nu metal act from the turn of the century? News to me, and good news in that it's trip-hoppy and not Limp Bizkity. It reminds me a lot of Portishead, but with a love for jazz and soul, and it's great. I spent some time in their back catalog this weekend as a result, and I hope there's still room on the bandwagon.
Songs of Note: "Sounds of Blue," "Sulphur Soul," "The Moon"

Artist: Charlie Benante
Album: Silver Linings
Quick Thoughts: Best known as the drummer from Anthrax, this is really just a metalhead's take on surfing the radio dial, and I'm frankly here for it. They're faithful renditions of well-known songs from all eras, but they've got the additional crunch behind them that makes it something more. It's worth at least one listen, but I have a feeling you'll go back for more.
Songs of Note: "Teardrop," "Rhiannon," "Bad Guy"

Artist: Juliana Hatfield
Album: Blood
Quick Thoughts: I didn't want this to fly under the radar this week, especially since there are a few songs here that feel like they're a little more adventurous than what we're used to from Juliana Hatfield. On the other hand, there are some of her better recent works on here, like "Mouthful of Blood," that definitely tell me that she's far from aged out of the alt-rock landscape.
Songs of Note: "Chunks," "Mouthful of Blood"

Artist: Morellas Forest 1988
Album: Tales
Quick Thoughts: A song from Tales was on the NPR New Music Friday playlist and I learned this was a precursor to bands like Starflyer 59 and Joy Electric. The album is heavy on the reverb and arpeggiated chords, and it may as well have been a Hib-Tone single culled from the record bins in Boston. Just a great listen from an album people never thought would see the light of day.
Songs of Note: "Honeylands," "One Fine Days"

Of note:

* Riley Downing - Start It Over (Singer from The Deslondes, a ton of great moments.)
* Platinum Max - Critically Acclaimed, Vol. 1 (If you watch All Elite Wrestling, you will recognize some of Max Caster's diss tracks collected here.)
* Fightmilk - Contender (A lot of solid indie/punkish songs here.) * Not Waving - How to Leave Your Body
* Simon Stalenhag - Music for Satanic Children
* The Juan Maclean - I Can't Explain
* Damien Jurado - The Monster Who Hated Pennsylvania
* The Black Keys - Delta Kream
* Paul Weller - Fat Pop
* The Chills - Scatterbrain
* Sarah Neufeld - Detritus


* Heather Valley - Wildflower Radio (Nice little covers EP. "If It Makes You Happy" is a highlight.)
* Molly Tuttle - ...but i'd rather be with you, too (Another covers EP with another great Sheryl Crow cover.)
* Curt Florczak - Scraping by on the Hope of Redemption (Longtime guitarist has some great power poppy tunes here.)
* Kate Clover - Channel Zero (The title track is a really great song.)
* Kalie Shorr - 3x3 Vol. 1: The Chicks (Three (fka Dixie) Chicks covers.)
* Amos the Kid - No More New Ideas
* fanclubwallet - Hurt is Boring
* Rodrigo y Gabriela - The Jazz EP
* Freedom Fry - Reprises
* Nap Eyes - When I Come Around

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Blitzen Trapper - Holy Demos Future Demos (Demo versions from their latest.)
* Lera Lynn - On My Own Deluxe
* Big Thief - Live at the Bunker Studio
* Long Neck - Left of the Dial Live
* Great Lake Swimmers - Live at the Redeemer 2007

Also out:

* St. Vincent - Daddy's Home
* Gary Peacock and Bill Frisell - Just So Happens

K.C. Jones - "Beginnings and Ends"

One thing you'll notice about Louisiana's K.C. Jones is that she incorporates a lot of genres into her music. Her latest single, "Beginnings and Ends," could have just been a great roots based singer/songwriter tune. Instead she adds little pieces of classic country, Appalachian folk, psychedelic rock, and even some killer country rock guitar into the song. It's the kind of Americana that can be very easily enjoyed by the casual music fan as background music, and also enjoyed by people who like to delve further into the song they're listening to. "Beginnings and Ends" was always going to be a great song, but Jones has turned it into a truly memorable one.

You can watch the video for "Beginnings and Ends" below. You can pre-order/pre-save the album hereQueen of the In Between is due out June 18. For more on K.C. Jones, check out the artist's website.

Willy Mason - "Oh My Country"

Photo via Facebook

Back in March we were surprised by Willy Mason's new single as it moved away from his singer/songwriter folk sound into an almost electronic rock sound. With his latest, "Oh My Country," he's mostly back to his more standard sound. It's folk-ish, but with a little more noise behind it. Noise might not be the correct term here. "Oh My Country" has this haunting sense of foreboding creeping beneath it nearly the entire length of the song. There are song electronic sounding whirls and backing vocals that make the song cinematic. It's a slow song, but it's intense.

You can listen to "Oh My Country" below. Already Dead is out August 6. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here. For more on Willy Mason, check out the artist's Facebook.

The Prefab Messiahs - "Bubble"

Worcester, MA's own Prefab Messiahs had their original run back from 1981-1983. The band reunited in 2012 and have been sporadically releasing new material since then. According to a press release, they are a "... proto-lo-fi post-punk left-field garage-pop band."

Their latest single, "Bubble," is about living in your own echo chamber/bubble and only ever hearing from people that think just like you do. It's a classic psychedelic garage rocker. If you've ever enjoyed anything else we've brought to you from The Prefab Messiahs, you're going to like "Bubble." It's a trippy rock song with just enough of an edge to it. This type of music is completely timeless and could have come out anytime in the last sixty or so years. (Except for the Bowie reference, which means it can't be more than twenty six year old.)

You can watch the video for "Bubble" below. Music for Concerned Citizens is due out July 9. You can pre-order your copy via Bandcamp. For more on The Prefab Messiahs, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Babehoven - "Bad Week"

Photo by Jessica Chappe

Babehoven has been around since 2017, but the band has moved around quite a bit. It started when Topanga, CA native Maya Bon was a college student in Portland, OR, and has continued in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and currently Arlington, VT. Their latest single, "Bad Week," is a tough one to categorize. The song is filled with a sense of pain and desperation. It's an absolutely gorgeous song, with Bon's vocals achieving a level of beauty not really heard in indie rock while still keeping the whole indie rock vibe going. The addition of what may be an organ providing a feedback like drone over almost the song washes over the listener and amps up the intensity despite the song being relatively mellow.

In a press release, Maya Bon says of the new song:

“This song is a hand reached inward to the swelling and amorphous cavities of griefAs time keeps moving forward, I have found that it can feel as if the 'bad days' keep going, growing into 'bad weeks,' 'bad years,' into new levels of struggle that are hard to move through. Though this realization can feel staggering, it can also feel like an honest admission to self: these times are very hard and yet I want to move forward, I want to feel, I want to grow. ‘Bad Week’ is my attempt to commit to myself in these feelings.”

You can listen to "Bad Week" below. Nastavi, Calliope will be out July 9. You can pre-order a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on Babehoven, check out the artist's website.

Sierra Ferrell Covers Bob Dylan

At the risk of this site becoming an unofficial Sierra Ferrell fan page, here's her doing a cover of Bob Dylan's "Walkin' Down the Line." Recorded as part of her recent livestream series, her version keeps the classic folk sound and feel of the original. Of course, Dylan songs aren't usually referred to as bouncy, but in Ferrell's hands "Walkin' Down the Line" turns into an upbeat cheery folk song. There is so much joy in the performance of this song that it's impossible not to get sucked into it. If anything, this reminds me more of Spirit Family Reunion than Bob Dylan.

You can watch Sierra Ferrell covering "Walkin' Down the Line" below. For more on Sierra Ferrell, check out the artist's website.