Thursday, May 6, 2021

Saint Sister - "Oh My God Oh Canada"

Photo by Ellius Grace

The previous two singles we've covered from Dublin's Saint Sister have been wildly different. "The Place That I Work" was a nearly a capella more traditional Irish folk song, while "Karaoke Song" was total pop. "Oh My God Oh Canada" lands somewhere in the middle. It's more of a folk pop song that leans a little more into pop territory. Although Gemma Doherty is credited as arranger and harpist, so it can't be fully pop. It's this blend of traditional sounds and modern pop that truly make Saint Sister stand out from other artists of the genre.

In a press release, Morgana MacIntyre explains the new song:

“‘Oh My God Oh Canada’ is about the intricacies within your most cherished and complicated relationships. It’s about not knowing where the line is, finding yourself on the wrong side of it and spending months trying to find your way back to the right place. It’s about saying too much and at the same time, nothing at all, giving too much of yourself in one moment but not showing up when you’re needed most. I wrote it about wanting to be a better friend, but knowing I never would be.”

You can watch the video for "Oh My God Oh Canada" below. Where I Should End is due out June 25. The album can be pre-ordered here. For more on Saint Sister, check out their website.

The Mistons - "Transmission"

In the past, we've mentioned the similarities of The Mistons and Mission of Burma. On their new single, "Transmission," the Portland, OR duo drop any similarities to the Boston legends. "Transmission" may still be post punk, and Sean Croghan may sound similar to Roger Miller, but the new song has this bizarre pop sensibility to it. It's still a noisy and discordant song that most of your co-workers will be repelled by, but it's filled with jangly guitars and maybe even a little hint of melody. There are also some strong hints of early rock 'n' roll as if an early 80's post punk band decided to cover Chuck Berry.

You can listen to "Transmission" below. World of Convenience is due out May 21. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on The Mistons, check out the band on Facebook.

RMBLR - "Main Muscle"

If the press release for RMBLR's "Main Muscle" shows the "lighter side" of the band, I'm almost afraid of what they normally sound like. Sure, "Main Muscle" isn't the softest song out there, but it's still a punk rock song. It reminds me of Rancid, and only the crustiest of punks are going to say Rancid made soft music. RMBLR's new song may be on the pop side of punk, but this might be the heaviest pop punk song you've ever heard. It has roots in bands like the New York Dolls, but with more of a hardcore sneer.

You can watch the video for "Main Muscle" below. The song will be out as a single on May 14. MF/EP is due out in June on Spaghetty Town Records and is available for pre-order here. For more on RMBLR, check out the band's Facebook.

Liz Bills - "Come Back Down to Me"

Photo by Sarah Gates

Under normal circumstances, the latest single from Liz Bills would be far too pop for me. In fact, it still could be. But Bills' charm just exudes from "Come Back Down to Me" so much that I can't resist it. It's unabashedly a pop song, but it has just enough of a rootsy feel to keep even us anti-pop snobs entertained. Bills is just one of those universal talents that can transcend genres and dabble equally between a roots/Americana sound and a more funk/disco one without turning away a single fan. Even if you despise the more poppy stuff we (Jeff) post here, you need to at least check out this one.

You can watch the video for "Come Back Down to Me" below. For more on Liz Bills, check out the artist's website.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Tristen - "Wrong With You"

Tristen is a long term favorite here at If It's Too Loud..., and her latest single reminds us exactly why. She's moved away from her alt/pop-country sound a while back in favor of a more pop sound, and "Wrong With You" is a pop song, but Tristen lets just the teensiest little bit of her old country roots bleed into this new one. While Jeff tends to be more of the pop guy than I am, Tristen is the rare exception that I can't seem to resist. At a time when a lot of our alt-country favorites are adopting pop music, Tristen is one of the few doing it this well. 

You can watch the video for "Wrong With You" below. Aquatic Flowers is due out on Mama Bird Recording Co. You can pre-order/pre-save your copy here. For more on Tristen, check out the artist's website.

Descendents - "Baby Doncha Know"

Photo via Facebook

The upcoming album from California punk legends Descendents has been in the works since the band first started. The songs were first written back in 1977 to 1980, but most weren't recorded. They started working on the album in 2002, and because of that it includes guitar work from Frank Navetta, who passed away in 2008. Last year Bill Stevenson sent the recordings to Milo Aukerman who recorded vocals at his home.

The first song is "Baby Donchu Know." It's less than a minute, just to prove it's a classic punk song. It has all the drive and aggression of early Descendents, but with much better musicianship. Plus, the band can make things sound much more smooth now. It's exactly what it sounds like: original pop/skater/mall punk but just done with better tools and craft now. In a world where classic punk bands' new albums are usually a disappointment, this new one from the Descendents will be an absolute delight for fans.

You can listen to "Baby Donchu Know" below. 9th & Walnut is due out July 23 on Epitaph Records. You can pre-order/pre-save a copy here. For more on the Descendents, check out the band's website.

Squid - "Pamphlets"

Photo by Holly Whitaker

The latest from Squid is this frenetic eight minute burst of post punk. An eight minute song doesn't exactly sound like the word "burst" could apply, but "Pamphlets" fits that. It's a fast paced song that chugs straight forward while careening at different speeds and paces. "Pamphlets" is a ride. It seems like it's about to explode at times, and then doesn't. Squid are bringing us all with them on this intense and compelling journey. It sounds kind of like if The Dismemberment Plan went more towards psychedelia and post punk than emo.

Drummer/lyricist Ollie Judge says of the new song: It’s about all the rubbish right-wing propaganda you get through your front door. It imagines a person with that as their only source of news being taken over by these pamphlets.

You can watch the video for "Pamphlets" below. Bright Green Field will be out May 7 on Warp Records. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here. For more on Squid, check out the band's website.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 30 April

Artist: Carsie Blanton
Album: Love & Rage
Quick Thoughts: Ken sent this one over and, man, am I glad he did. "Party at the End of the World" is probably my favorite recent song period at this point, and the whole album is a strident listen that isn't afraid to pair fun with its message. Blanton made the most of her quarantine with an album that reflects the age we're in along with an understanding of how things can improve. A great listen for nearly anyone, and a favorite this week.
Songs of Note: "Party at the End of the World," "Down in the Streets," "Sufferin' Fools"

Artist: Dree Leer
Album: Throw Hands
Quick Thoughts: On the first track, I was taken aback by how heavy this felt. By the third track, I was completely won over. This is definitely on the heavier side, but there's a melodic, alt-rock approach to this that grabs you and makes it sound slightly different than the recent listens we've had as well as any of its comparison work. If you give this a listen, give it time - this is an album that ultimately reveals itself over time as opposed to grabbing you from the word go.
Songs of Note: "You Too," "Stutter"

Artist: Rosie Tucker
Album: Sucker Supreme
Quick Thoughts: I really dug Rosie Tucker's last album. I think I called it a little bit oddball, and while I don't think it was taken the way I meant, my intentions were pure - it's a great indie rock album and, to this day, "Lauren" remains a song I consider an all-time favorite. Sucker Supreme definitely builds on the last album and presents a really solid listen that feels like it has more weight. Songs like "Barbara Ann" pack a bit of a punch, and while I chuckled at the title of "For Sale: Ford Pinto," the song itself delivers in a way the car never did. Rosie Tucker deserves to be a household name, and this album should put them on the map if there's any justice.
Songs of Note: "Barbara Ann," "For Sale: Ford Pinto," "Arrow," "Brand New Beast"

Artist: Cake Pop
Album: Cake Pop 2
Quick Thoughts: A hyperpop supergroup of sorts, this album is a quick hit of all your favorite musical concepts into one quick thirty minute package. I really enjoyed this and found plenty to love, but it might be a little tougher for those who aren't already on board with 100 Gecs and the like.
Songs of Note: "Black Rum," "Candy Floss"

Artist: girl in red
Album: if i could make it go quiet
Quick Thoughts: As both Ken and I are men over 40, girl in red is not an act we should be familiar with. She's big on TikTok, huge within the LGBT crowd... not places we're typically involved. Don't let any of that sway you away from girl in red, though: this album is great. It's defiantly honest alt-rock, and I mean that with all sincerity - this would have resonated with me and many of my friends had it come out in 1997 instead of today (insert overall discomfort that Marie Ulven, girl in red in question, was born in 1999 here). Honestly, this album is awesome and you should listen to it. You'll sound "with it" for your kids and get a good listen out of it, too.
Songs of Note: "Serotonin," "You Stupid Bitch," "Did You Come?," "Body and Mind," "Rue"

Artist: Beachy Head
Album: Beachy Head
Quick Thoughts: Probably the closest thing to an indie supergroup through the Graveface Records folks we'll see, this is an effort featuring people from Slowdive, the Flaming Lips, Casket Girls, and more. It's a very hazy, reverb-heavy record, which might be a turnoff to some, but there is a super melodic aspect to this that resonated with me. It's definitely worth a listen, and moreso if you're into the more lo-fi indie stuff.
Songs of Note: "Warning Bell," "All Gone," "Looking for Exits," "Hiddensee"

Of note:

* Crumb - Ice Melt (Some interesting indie/alt folk/psych.)
* NVDES and Fani Lou - Psychomagic (A solid dancy album with a number of highlights.)
* Birdy - Young Heart (Gorgeous singer-songwriter stuff here.)
* Tōth - You and Me and Everything (From one of the members of Rubblebucket, surprisingly light.)
* Marcus Machado - Aquarius Purple
* Paul Jacobs - Pink Dogs on the Green Grass
* The Dirtiest - Sovranista
* Ashley Monroe - Rosegold
* Matt Sweeney and Bonnie Prince Billy - Superwolves
* Roisin Murphy - Crooked Machine
* Sufjan Stevens - Celebrations
* Julia Stone - Sixty Summers
* Flying Lotus - Yasuke
* Manchester Orchestra - The Million Masks of God
* Croatian Amor and Varg2TM - Body of Content
* The Coral - Coral Island
* Bowerbirds - becalmyounglovers
* Teenage Fanclub - Endless Arcade
* Amy Shark - Cry Forever


* Magdalena Bay - Mini Mix, Vol. 2
* Dave Simonett - Orion
* Hey, Ily - Internet Breath
* Kitty Crimes - HILUX
* Fresh - The Summer I Got Good at Guitar

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Metronomy - The English Riviera (10th Anniversary)
* PJ Harvey - Uh Huh Her - Demos

Also out:

* Cœur de pirate - Perséides
* The Dropkick Murphys - Turn Up That Dial
* Guided by Voices - Earth Man Blues
* Demons - Privation
* Dawn Richard - Second Line

Jess Cornelius - "Body Memory (Peach Fuzz Version)"

Photo by Rachael Pony Cassells

We don't normally cover remixes or reworkings of songs here at If It's Too Loud..., but we loved Jess Cornelius' 2020 album Distance quite a bit, and she's reworked the song "Body Memory" to the point that it's a completely new song. The album version of "Body Memory" is a catchy dance adjacent track about the lasting effects of a miscarriage. "Body Memory (Peach Fuzz Version)" is a much darker version. It's stripped down to a more bare version, heavy in reverb with other instruments muted. It's not all dark. Eventually the song does come around with an ending that feels more uplifting, but still not the jam of the original. This is like the difference of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" versus Johnny Cash's, but by the same artist.

Jess Cornelius talks about the new version of "Body Memory":

I’d started playing the song for myself in a totally different way – on echoey guitar instead of keys, with a dreamy, melancholic mood, and wanted to record it as a sort of ‘part two’. It’s like a new cover of my own song, I guess. When I started recording the demo I ended up capturing all these distant sounds that got all distorted in the process: a nail gun, a baby, police sirens, which I kept in for the final recording. I added harpsichord, synth and drums, and Jarvis Taveniere added bass during the mixing. The rolling toms and shaker in the outro added this new little groove and moved the mood again. To me this almost feels like a new song; 'I was my own woman once' is now less defiant and more reflective, maybe even yearning.”

You can watch the video for "Body Memory (Peach Fuzz Version)" below. For more on Jess Cornelius, check out the artist on Facebook and Bandcamp.

The Wolff Sisters - "Boston Town"

Last Friday the Dropkick Murphys released an album, and this Friday we'll have a new one from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Released in between those two Boston behemoths is The Wolff Sisters with "Boston Town." It might not be as rambunctious as their fellow Boston bands, but The Wolff Sisters' latest could become just as much of a local anthem as the others'. "Boston Town" is a quiet, somewhat upbeat folk/pop song about leaving Boston but keeping your ties to the city. But, of course, being about the city it has a strong Celtic feel and it's a little mournful. It might be the perfect summer song for New England. It's upbeat and cheery, but with a darkness knowing it won't last anywhere near long enough.

You can watch the video for "Boston Town" below. You can get a copy of the single via Bandcamp. The Wolff Sisters will have a new album out sometime in 2022. For more on The Wolff Sisters, check out their website.

Sierra Ferrell Covers Charley Pride

Photo via Facebook

Ever since discovering Sierra Ferrell in late 2020, we've been craving more music from her. Unfortunately it seems to be forever since we've heard anything new, so we'll take anything we can find. Ferrell has started a virtual three night concert series called "Pick Your Poison." The first night was back on April 18 and was "Honky Tonk night at American Legion" themed. A few videos have been released from that performance, and one is a cover of Charley Pride's "Snakes Crawl at Night." It's about as perfect as you'd expect from Sierra Ferrell. It's a fun cover that lets Ferrell show off her classic country chops. You can tell how much fun she and her band are having, and that's what we truly want with a cover. Plus, the video is just the right level of over the top from the classic country costumes to the American flag made from Christmas lights as the backdrop. 

You can watch Sierra Ferrell covering "Snakes Crawl at Night" below. May 2 was "Calypso night," (WHOOPS!), but May 16 will be "Jazz Night at The Basement." You can get a ticket to that performance here. For more on Sierra Ferrell, check out the artist's website.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Skyzoo featuring Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - "Bed-Stuy is Burning"

There has been an uptick in hip hop artists teaming with brass bands lately, and we're all in for it. The latest is Skyzoo who brought in Hypnotic Brass Ensemble for his latest single, "Bed-Stuy is Burning." The song is a lament about the gentrification of the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn. It's a mournful song that also implores other cities to fight gentrification. The horns of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble add just the right feeling of loss and sadness. It's an interesting technique since brass bands are usually used for a celebratory feeling. "Bed-Stuy is Burning" captures what the neighborhood truly lost as it became just another corporate American neighborhood.

You can watch the video for "Bed-Stuy is Burning" below. All the Brilliant Things is due out June 11 on Mello Music Group. You can pre-order the album via Bandcamp. For more on Skyzoo, check out the artist's website.

The Dents - "Homeless"

As you most likely have noticed, Boston has a great garage rock/power pop scene that we cover. A lot. If you're into that sort of thing, then you're going to love The Dents. The Dents have the heavier side of power pop covered. "Homeless" is a hard edged rocker that dips its toe into grunge territory. But, it's still oddly catchy and melodic. If anything, the crunchy guitars and all out fuzz doesn't quite fit the vocals. While Jen D'Angora and Michelle Paulhus have plenty of punk edge to their vocals, their harmonizing shouldn't fit with the driving force of the music. Except that it does. Perfectly.

You can listen to "Homeless" below. The Dents' self-titled album will be out June 4 on Rum Bar Records. You can pre-order a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on The Dents, check out the band's Facebook.

Robert Finley - "Sharecropper's Son"

A lot has been made of Robert Finley's backstory, and that's because it's more interesting than 99% of the bands that we cover here. Finley became an overnight soul sensation at the age of sixty seven. At that point, he has lived through a divorce, house fires (yes, plural), and had to give up carpentry due to losing his sight. His latest single, "Sharecropper's Son," is a soul/blues stomper about growing up as the son of sharecroppers. It's about how hard that life was, but it's also a celebration of that life. Despite the accomplished musicians producer Dan Auerbach assembled for the album, the focus is on Finley's vocals. His voice is both weathered and beautiful. He has the kind of voice you can't help but get sucked in by, and why would you ever try to resist it?

Robert Finley says of the song:

I’m born to tell my story and where I come from. Even though the cotton fields weren’t a pleasant place to be, it was real and a part of my life. I came from the cotton fields to Beverly Hills, and I think it’s a story worth telling. My dad was proud and full of pride growing up. He didn’t want to be seen in the welfare line, so he worked hard in the field and did things his way and would go hunting to bring home food for us.”

You can watch the video for "Sharecropper's Son" below. Sharecropper's Son, the album, is due out May 21 on Easy Eye Sound. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here. For more on Robert Finley, check out the artist's Twitter and Facebook.