Monday, June 14, 2021

Sunshine & the Blue Moon - "Born 2 Boogie"

Photo by Laura-Lynn Petrick

"Born 2 Boogie" is just a fun, dirty rock 'n' roll song. Sunshine & the Blue Moon claim that the song was inspired by bands like The Doors and The Stooges, and they are definitely not wrong. "Born 2 Boogie" is this slinky garage rocker from the ages before punk was a thing. The lyrics are kinda silly, and it's not a fast song, but it straight up rocks. It's like if The Stooges took one of their eight minute freak out album filler songs, got serious about it, and turned it into a four minute monster. 

In a press release, the band says of the song:

"This track was borne out of ripping around town and rocking out at dingy venues – all the broke people getting together to cut loose at shows.
This one was real fun to record. Getting to sing those silly lyrics and do those over the top screams, it's almost cathartic."

You can watch the video for "Born 2 Boogie" below. Born 2 Boogie is due out June 25 on Majestic Silk Records. You can pre-order a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on Sunshine & the Blue Moon, check out the band's website.

Emily Davis and the Murder Police - "Don't Make a Promise"

Photo by Fernie Ceniceros

Emily Davis and the Murder Police are a folk-punk band out of El Paso, TX. Usually bands described as folk punk lean quite heavily on the folk side of that description. On their latest single, "Don't Make a Promise," Davis and band unleash this fiery blast of a song. It sounds like Dolores O'Riordan fronting early Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls or mid 90's Dropkick Murphys. But, you know... southern. This is hard and heavy folk music that forces its way into punk. Plus, Davis' vocals have a little bit of a theatrical metal edge to them, and the band busts out what may be the greatest guitar solo in the history of folk punk.

You can listen to "Don't Make a Promise" below. Never a Moment Alone is due out June 25. You can pre-order your copy via Bandcamp. For more on Emily Davis and the Murder Police, check out the band's website.

Bella White Covers Buck Meek

Photo via Facebook

Just as most artists are winding down at home performances and covers series, Bella White has started one up! This week saw the beginning of her "Under the Covers" series which will see her covering a song from another artist from the comfort of her bed weekly. The debut edition is a cover of Buck Meek's "Candle" from his Two Saviors album released back in January. It's obviously going to be a more stripped down version and missing the steel guitar of the original, but other than that it's quite true to the original. White takes Meek's song and makes it more of a traditionally folk song. It's a gorgeous cover that sounds far better than most bedroom covers, and we can't wait for week two!

In a Facebook post, White explains her choice of "Candle":

"when this song came out in January I found myself listening to it a lot. Perhaps I was relying on it (and the whole album) as a source for escapism to get through the pandemic winter. i hope you enjoy my take."

You can watch Bella White covering "Candle" below. For more on Bella White, check out the artist's website.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Tamar Berk - The Restless Dreams of Youth

Tamara Berk started off playing in indie bands in Chicago and Portland. Now she's located in San Diego and has released her debut solo album. The Restless Dreams of Youth is filled with twelve songs that are going to give you 90's singer/songwriter alt-rock flashbacks. These are straight up rock songs along the lines of artists like whitechocolatespaceegg era Liz Phair and Juliana Hatfield. What's truly great is how the album feels like a cohesive collection of songs without being repetitive. "Shadow Clues" is a hard rock song, "Socrates & Me" is still an acoustic rocker, and "A New Case" is a piano driven ballad. All of these songs are sequential on the album and all three are wildly different while still sounding like they all belong. And then "Better off Meditating" is a power pop delight. If you have a certain fondness for mid 90's radio friendly alt-rock, you need to check out Tamar Berk.

You can watch the video for "Shadow Clues" below. The Restless Dreams of Youth is available now via Bandcamp. For more on Tamar Berk, check out the artist's Facebook.

Destroy Boys - "Drink"

Photo by Ash Gellman

The latest from Northern California's Destroy Boys isn't going to make punk purists happy, but I don't think they really care. "Drink" fits into that newfangled punk category that is poppy and almost kinda dancey while still being a rock song. It almost sounds like Mannequin Pussy decided to make a mid 90's power pop song while listening to a ton of Be Your Own Pet. Having a song be this firmly planted in the world of pop while still having a true punk edge is an interesting sound. Somehow, the song comes across as being oddly comforting which is rare in the world of punk.

You can listen to "Drink" below. You can get a copy of the single here. For more on Destroy Boys, check out the band's website. Upcoming tour dates on the Sad Summer Festival with All Time Low, The Story So Far, The Maine, and more are below the song.

AUG 6, 2021 Heart Health Park Sacramento, CA
AUG 7, 2021 City National Grove Outdoors Anaheim, CA
AUG 20, 2021 The Orlando Amphitheater at the Central Florida Fairgrounds Orlando, FL
AUG 21, 2021 The Masquerade Outdoors Atlanta, GA
AUG 27, 2021The Rooftop at Pier 17 New York, NY
AUG 28, 2021 MECU Pavilion Baltimore, MD
AUG 31, 2021 EXPRESS LIVE! Outdoor Columbus, OH
SEP 3, 2021 Stone Pony Summer Stage Asbury Park, NJ
SEP 4, 2021 The Palladium (Outdoors) Worcester, MA
SEP 5, 2021 Skyline Stage @ The Mann Philadelphia, PA
SEP 7, 2021 Stage AE Outdoors Pittsburgh, PA
SEP 10, 2021 The Rave / Eagles Ballroom Milwaukee, WI
SEP 11, 2021 Crofoot Festival Grounds Pontiac, MI

Jyroscope & Montana Macks - "Frozen In Time"

Photo by Jason Nelims

For the first time in the history of If It's Too Loud..., we may have discovered a hip hop song that fits our aesthetic. Chicago's Jyroscope (I.B. Fokuz, Collasoul Structure, and DJ Seanile) have an upcoming collaborative EP with Montana Macks that is basically about finding the balance between family life responsibilities, work, and your following your art. The first single, "Frozen In Time," is a chilled out old school hip hop song the likes of which I haven't heard in decades. With it's killer horn, it reminds me of Guru joining De La Soul. There's something almost meditative in "Frozen In Time" without it being even remotely dull.

I.B. Fokuz says of the challenge in finding a life balance:

As husbands and fathers, artists... asiatic men. The balance is defined by spinning plates. Managing the day-to-day with our families on our backs. A leap of faith is the dice we roll on our kitchen tables. Still hungry, still crafting our magnum opus. Still men of principle... keeping our worlds intact.”

You can watch the video for "Frozen In Time" below. Happy Medium is due out July 23. You can pre-order a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on Jyroscope, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Bnny - "Ambulance"

Photo by Alexa Viscius

Jess Viscius started Bnny after someone left a guitar in her apartment. She started teaching herself to play and found songwriting to be therapeutic. The Chicago based artist started Bnny which also features her twin sister Alexa and three of her best friends. The band's newest single, "Ambulance," is amazingly sparse. Viscius' vocals are just over being a whisper with a softly played guitar and minimal bass. Because of this, "Ambulance" feels impossibly intimate and more than a little discomforting despite being beautiful. It almost feels like a friend asking you to listen in to recordings of their therapy sessions with them. The subject matter of the album adds to this, as it was written as Viscius was processing the death of her partner.

Jess Viscius says that the new song "... is about wishful thinking. It’s about guilt and forgiveness. It’s about reconciling with your past. It’s about saying goodbye.

You can watch the video for "Ambulance" below. Everything is due out August 20 on Fire Talk. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here. For more on Bnny, check out the band's website.

Mia Pixley - "Where You Stood"

Photo by David Pettijohn

Mia Pixley's music is as unique as her story. A transracial child of Nigerian and Venezuelan descent, she was adopted and raised by a middle class white family in Austin, TX. Growing up in all white environments did not reflect her origins. Pixley says of this experience: 
“Nowhere was home. My identity was a weak shell, ill-fed by cultural neglect. This lack of identity was the most shameful and identifying thing about me. Music became my private way of connecting to myself. Music became my secret garden.” 

"Where You Stood" is a folk song that reflects Pixley's roots. Considering that her instrument of choice is a cello, the obvious comparison is Leyla McCalla. That is not inaccurate, but Pixley also adds a more classical element to her folk than traditional folk. "Where You Stood" is a lovely and captivating multi-layered song despite its simplicity. Mia Pixley is going to be an artist you're going to want to pay attention to for a long, long time.

You can listen to "Where You Stood" below. Margaret in the Wild is due out July 23. For more on Mia Pixley, check out the artist's website.

Durand Jones & The Indications - "Love Will Work It Out"

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Durand Jones & The Indications have become our favorite neo-soul band and with good reason. Their songs are just consistently great. Even as they slightly play with their sound, the results are fantastic. Their latest single, "Love Will Work It Out," drops the disco we heard in "Witchoo" and brings back more of the classic soul. This time around, classic soul is more along the lines of 70's soul. The groove in "Love Will Work It Out" is front and center, even in front of both Durand Jones and Aaron Frazer. This is the kind of song that would make Barry White and Isaac Hayes proud.

In a press release, the band says of the new song:

“For months into the pandemic and the racial/political chaos that ensued, we found it hard to write. The biggest creative dry spell we'd experienced in a decade. The constant barrage of horrible news felt overwhelming, and songs just seemed inadequate in response to police murdering people in broad daylight. Songs felt inadequate in the face of a virus that decimated communities and kept us apart from our loved ones. We marched, protested, cried, wiped down our groceries, stopped wiping down our groceries, unplugged, breathed, replugged, reengaged. And when music finally flowed, the first song we wrote together was ‘Love Will Work It Out.’ Because conflict and confrontation require bravery, AND so does keeping the faith in the goodness of one another. It's a big part of what so many people are fighting for- the benefit of the doubt, the ability to be seen as whole, the space to love and trust. It’s been a tough year, but we’ve come out the other side steady and hopeful.”

You can watch the video for "Love Will Work It Out" below. Private Space is due out July 30 on Dead Oceans in association with Colemine Records. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Durand Jones & The Indications, check out the band's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.

Sat. Sep. 4 - Hershey, PA @ Harrisburg University At The Englewood
Tue. Sept. 7 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club w/ 79.5
Wed. Sep. 8 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer w/ 79.5
Fri. Sept. 10 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel w/ 79.5
Sat. Sept. 11 - Washington DC @ 9:30 Club w/ 79.5
Mon. Sept. 13 - Chicago, IL @ Vic Theatre w/ 79.5
Tue. Sept. 14 - Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line w/ 79.5
Thu. Sept. 16 - Denver, CO @ Gothic Theater w/ 79.5
Fri. Sept. 17 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Commonwealth Room w/ 79.5
Mon. Sept. 20 - San Diego, CA @ Soma w/ 79.5
Mon. Sep. 21 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium w/ 79.5
Wed. Sept. 22 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium w/ 79.5
Thu. Sep. 23 - Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl w/ My Morning Jacket
Fri. Sept. 24 - Dana Point, CA @ Ohana Fest
Sat. Sep. 25 - Berkeley, CA @ Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley w/ My Morning Jacket
Tue. Sep. 28 - Troutdale, OR @ Edgefield w/ My Morning Jacket
Wed. Sep. 29 - Spokane, WA @ Spokane Pavilion at Riverfront w/ My Morning Jacket
Fri. Oct. 1 - Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theater w/ My Morning Jacket
Sat. Oct. 2 - Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theater w/ My Morning Jacket
Sun. Oct. 3 - Bend, OR @ Les Schwab Ampitheater w/ My Morning Jacket
Fri. Oct. 8 - Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Music Festival
Thu. Oct. 28 - Sun. Oct. 31 - Live Oak, FL @ Suwanee Hulaween
Sun. May 22, 2022 - Monterey, CA @ California Roots Festival

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Diamondtown - "Hide"

Hailing from Nova Scotia, Diamondtown are made up of members of Nova Scotia's underground rock elite such as Eric's Trip, Dog Day, and Century Egg. Their new single, "Hide," borrows from the band's influences of 80's goth, shoegaze, and psychedelic pop into a sound they call dream rock. Dream rock is obviously related to dream pop, but the more rock side of it. "Hide" has the feel of psychedelic 60's pop mixed with shoegaze quite strongly. It could be that I'm writing this in the third day of an early July heat wave, but the song just feels heavy and hazy. Plus, it has some of the most gorgeously lazy sounding guitar work I've heard in decades.

You can watch the video for "Hide" below. You can get the single over at Bandcamp via Label Obscura. For more on Diamondtown, check out the band on Facebook and Twitter.

Lucy Dacus - "Brando"

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

It's going to be hard for Home Video to compare to Lucy Dacus' 2018 album Historian. That was my favorite album of 2018, and possibly my favorite album since Lady Lamb's Ripely Pine in 2013. Not only was Historian great, but it had the benefit of new artist excitement for me. But if Home Video has songs like "Brando," it might end up being this year's Historian. "Brando" is more of a dance song than anything off Historian, and usually pop or dance songs don't work for me. "Brando," though? It's great. It has that great feel of Dacus' earlier music while being a disco-lite dance song. Compared to the heaviness of some of her more recent songs, this one is a breath of fresh air.

Lucy Dacus says of the new song:

‘Brando’ refers to a very dramatic friend I had in high school whose whole personality was the media he consumedHe showed me a lot of amazing movies and music, but I think he was more interested in using me as a scrapbook of his own tastes than actually getting to know me. He claimed to know me better than anyone else but I started to feel like all he wanted from me was to be a scene partner in the movie of his life.”

You can watch the lyric video for "Brando" below. Home Video is due 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. Current tour dates are below the video.

Wed. June 23 - Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheater @
Tue. July 27 - Lewiston, NY @ Artpark Amphitheater !
Wed. July 28 - New Haven, CT @ Westville Music Bowl !
Thu. July 29th - Bethlehem, PA @ Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks !
Fri. July 30 - Worcester, MA @ Palladium (Outdoors) !
Sat. July 31 - Queens, NY @ Forest Hills Stadium !
Tue. Aug. 3 - Charlottesville, VA @ Sprint Pavillion !
Wed. Aug. 4 - Raleigh, NC @ Red Hat Amphitheater !
Thu. Aug. 5 - Asheville, NC @ Rabbit Rabbit !
Fri. Aug. 6 - Atlanta, GA @ The Eastern !
Sun. Aug. 8 - Birmingham, AL @ Sloss Furnace !
Fri. Sept. 10 - Richmond, VA @ The National &^^
Sat. Sept. 11 - Richmond, VA @ The National  &% - SOLD OUT
Mon. Sept. 13 - Saxapahaw, NC @ Haw River Ballroom %
Tue. Sept. 14 - Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West %
Wed. Sept. 15 - Nashville, TN @ Brooklyn Bowl %
Fri. Sept. 17  - Dallas, TX @ Trees %
Sat. Sept. 18 - Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall - Downstairs %
Sun. Sept. 19 - Austin, TX @ Scoot Inn %
Mon. Sept. 20 - San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger %
Wed. Sept. 22 - Tucson, AZ @ 191 Toole %
Fri. Sept. 24 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Theatre at Ace Hotel %
Sat. Sept. 25 - Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory OC +
Mon. Sept. 27 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore %
Thu. Sept. 30 - Vancouver, BC @ Hollywood Theatre $
Fri. Oct. 1 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom $ - SOLD OUT
Sat. Oct. 2 - Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre $ - SOLD OUT
Tue. Oct. 5 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge $
Wed. Oct. 6 - Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater $
Fri. Oct. 8 - Iowa City, IA @ The Englert Theatre $
Sat. Oct. 9 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue $
Mon. Oct. 11  - Chicago, IL @ The Vic Theatre
Tue. Oct. 12 - Columbus , OH @ Newport Music Hall $
Thu. Oct. 14 - Toronto, ON @ The Opera House $
Fri. Oct. 15 - Montreal, QC @ L’Astral $
Sat. Oct. 16 - Boston, MA @ House of Blues $
Mon. Oct. 18 - Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground $
Wed. Oct. 20 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer ^
Fri. Oct. 22 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club $ - SOLD OUT
Sat. Oct. 23 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club #
Mon. Oct. 25 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel - SOLD OUT
Tue. Oct. 26 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel

%= Bachelor supporting
$ = Bartees Strange supporting
^ = Shamir supporting
#= Laura Stevenson supporting
^^=Thao supporting
&= with Julien Baker
@=supporting Shakey Graves
!=supporting Bright Eyes
+=Miya Folick supporting

Laura Stevenson - "State"

Photo by Bon Jane

Jeff has previously stated that Laura Stevenson's 2011 album Sit Resist is pretty much why If It's Too Loud... exists. I can't really argue that point, so we're obviously huge fans. I really hate typing this next point and being that guy, but as much as we've loved her releases in the past ten years, nothing has really hit us the way Sit Resist did. But... now we have "State." Her latest single isn't similar to her now classic album, but that's what's so exciting about it. "State" starts off in that quiet, contemplative way that Stevenson's newer music has, and then it bursts into an alt-rock explosion of loud guitars and pounding drums. Stevenson's vocals have always been an absolute highlight of her songs, and that's certainly the case here. She doesn't exactly scream to match the volume, but she ever so slightly strains her voice to be heard above it. This is the exact point in her career that Stevenson could easily get in a groove and stay comfortable. Luckily for us, "State" marks a new evolution in Laura Stevenson's career.

You can watch the video for "State" below. Laura Stevenson's self-titled album is due out August 6 on Don Giovanni Records. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here. For more on Laura Stevenson, check out the artist's website.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 4 June

Artist: Various Artists
Album: The Problem of Leisure: A Celebration of Andy Gill and Gang of Four
Quick Thoughts: This isn't a tribute album as much as a collaboration between the late Andy Gill and the artists that came on board to cover their favorite Gang of Four songs. I don't consider myself a connoisseur of Gang of Four, and really only know the big hits (if you can call them that), but this collection is really solid. There are plenty of highlights, but what's most interesting is how well many of these newer acts fit their own sound into the Gang of Four model. The Tom Morello/Serj Tankian one in particular is awesome. Either way, make some time for this no matter where you fall within your Gang of Four fandom.
Songs of Note: "Damaged Goods" (by Idles), "To Hell With Poverty" (by HOTEl), "I Love a Man in a Uniform" (by Herbert Gronemeyer and Alex Silva), "Natural's Not In It" (by Tom Morello and Serj Tankian)

Artist: Hildegard (Helena Deland and Ouri)
Album: Hildegard
Quick Thoughts: This was an unexpected surprise this week. I've become a fan of both Ouri and Helena Deland individually, and this collaboration really brings out the best in both women. The result is a dancey, poppy, accessable listen in a complex and mysterious package. I don't have a ton to say about it, but it's worth your time this week.
Songs of Note: "Jour 3"

Artist: Japanese Breakfast
Album: Jubilee
Quick Thoughts: I've liked everything Michelle Zauner has put out as Japanese Breakfast, but I didn't expect Jubilee. While it largely retains a lot of the signature shoegazey almost-too-honest songwriting that's put her on the map, this album feels both brighter and more immediate. The first few songs in particular are absolutely killer, and the whole album screams breakout record. Now's your chance to get in on the ground floor.
Songs of Note: "Paprika," "Be Sweet," "Kokomo, IN"

Artist: Tristen
Album: Aquatic Flowers
Quick Thoughts: We're unabashed Tristen fans here, and so it's no surprise that both Ken and I are super into Aquatic Flowers. Recently, Ken noted that the pre-release tracks felt a lot like a combination of her earlier country-tinged work and her more recent pop adventures, and he's spot-on. Tristen sounds like no one else does, and this unique perspective to songwriting sets her apart. Both familiar and new at the same time, this is a true highlight not only for the week, but for the year.
Songs of Note: "Complex," "Athena," "I Need Your Love"

Artist: Wallice
Album: Off the Rails
Quick Thoughts: I don't know how I tripped up on Wallice. I know "Punching Bag" hit a playlist at some point, but this debut EP is one of my favorite listens this week. Wallice does indie rock singer-songwriter storytelling with just a bit of attitude and a ton of fun, and you get the weight of the songs just as much as the skewed perspective you'd expect from a release that looks and sounds like this. You're going to love this if you give it your time, I promise.
Songs of Note: "23," "Off the Rails," "Punching Bag," "Hey Michael"

Artist: Wolf Alice
Album: Blue Weekend
Quick Thoughts: Wolf Alice's first album was one of my favorites of 2015, and I had a mixed feeling on the follow-up. Thankfully, thhis long-overdue third effort is the perfect mix of the first two records and finds a band that sounds as confident as they look. It's accessible alt-rock with some indie cred, and I'm really happy that there is so much to love here. They're back!
Songs of Note: "Smile," "Delicious Things"

Artist: Satsang
Album: All. Right. Now.
Quick Thoughts: Satsang is an act I know nothing about at all. But this is some roots-tinged singer-songwriter stuff that hit the spot for me. The group has some great folky songs that exist effortlessly alongside songs like the title track that would fit right in with many radio hits today. This is absolutely a dark horse record for me this week, and feels like a band that you might be saying "I remember them when..." in a few years.
Songs of Note: "All. Right. Now.," "Back Around"

Of note:

* Liz Phair - Soberish (Definitely has its share of moments.)
* Chris Thile - Laysongs (Religious songs with Thile and his mandolin. It's definitely not subtle, but it's still gorgeous.)
* Brad Marino - Looking for Trouble (Don't judge this by its cover art.)
* Crowded House - Dreamers Are Waiting (Better than you expect it to be, I promise. A true highlight this week.)
* Fixions - Singularity
* Hard Nips - Master Cat
* Tthe Fey - Palm Tree Shade
* Pote - A Tenuous Tale of Her
* Loraine James - Reflection
* Turner Cody and the Soldiers of Love - Friends in High Places


* Little Big - COVERS (This is legitimately unhinged and I love it.)
* Wombo - Keesh Mountain
* Butcher Brown - Encore
* Tricky - Fall to Pieces (Live)
* Amy Macdonald - The Human Demands Acoustic EP

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Guster - Ganging Up on the Sun (Expanded) (I listen to "Sorority Tears" and wonder what Elephant Six-tinged Guster could have been...)
* The Avalanches - Since I Left You (20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
* Various Artists - And Out Come the Lawsuits (Rancid tribute album.)
* Mike Cooley, Patterson Hood, and Jason Isbell - Live at the Shoals Theatre

Also out:

* Rostam - Changephobia
* Billy F. Gibbons (of ZZ Top) - Hardware
* James - All the Colours of You
* Rise Against - Nowhere Generation
* Raheem DeVaughn and Apollo Brown - Lovesick

JATK - "Japanese Butterfly"

Photo by Aneleise Ruggles

JATK is pronounced "Jack" and is the musical project of Boston's Matt Jatkola. This project is chronicling Jatkola's cancer journey. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in early 2020 is now in remission. JATK's latest single, "Japanese Butterfly," is a burst of mid-90's style power pop with some T-Rex style glam thrown in. It's all buzzy guitars swirling with some of the catchiest vocals around. "Japanese Butterfly" was written after Jatkola finished his cancer treatment which helps make it one of the most positive songs about cancer out there.

Matt Jatkola says of the new song:

“The music came really fast. I had the entire song structure, all the guitar parts, even the basis for the drums, bass, and vocal melodies demoed out within a couple hours. I knew this song was a full band rock song immediately. It's not modeled after any sound specifically, but there are elements that remind me of Cheap Trick.”

You can listen to "Japanese Butterfly" below. JATK's debut album is due out later this year, but you can find the maxi-single for "Japanese Butterfly" over at Bandcamp. For more on JATK, check out the band on Facebook and Twitter.

Middle-Aged Queers - "Size Queen"

Our favorite "queercore" Oakland supergroup (members have been in bands such as Fang, The Shudders, The Insaints, etc.) are back with a new single. "Size Queen" is a killer old school punk song. It sounds like The Dead Kennedys (the real Dead Kennedys) reunited in the 90's for the Warped Tour, decided to go slightly melodic but thrashier. It's fast and heavy, with all the gang vocals you could possibly want and some of the best punk rock guitar solos around. 

Lead vocalist Shauners says of the new song: "Size Queen is about the good ol' 'Murican mantra of 'bigger is better' and how its ubiquitousness seeps into every facet of our lives, even the bedroom."

You can listen to "Size Queen" below. The song will be available on a split 7" with the Lolly Gaggers on Outpunx Records and Turkey Baster Records. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Middle-Aged Queers, check out the band's Facebook.

Pony Hunt - "Who Are You"

When we first heard "Stardust," the first new song from Pony Hunt in five years, we noticed that their doo wop meets Americana sound had an extra added oomph of indie rock. We expected more of the same from their second single, but "Who Are You" goes into completely new territory. The new song is far more orchestral than anything we've heard from Pony Hunt in the past. There is still the slightest shred of doo wop, but that's mostly just in Jessie Antonick's vocals. Upon reading the press release and learning that the song was inspired by Roy Orbison, the new sound makes perfect sense. It's from that time period bridging crooners and early rock 'n' roll, but with Pony Hunt's folk sensibilities.

You can listen to "Who Are You" below. VAR! is due out July 23 on Wing and Wing. You can pre-order a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on Pony Hunt, check out the artist's website.

Monday, June 7, 2021

The Umbrellas - "She Buys Herself Flowers"

Some bands just sound like California. San Francisco's The Umbrellas sound like San Francisco in the best possible way. Their latest single, "She Buys Herself Flowers," has that classic Bay Area pop sound all the way back to the 1960's. This isn't a retro throwback song, though. Far from it. The Umbrellas inject the sound of the past with a modern indie dream pop sound. Those two eras and genres mesh together remarkably well. If anything, "She Buys Herself Flowers" sounds like a forgotten vintage classic covered by a dream pop band of today.

In a press release, the band explains the song and video:

“'She Buys Herself Flowers' is about finding value and worth in oneself instead of dwelling on what that-one-person-said-that-one-time. Keith wrote the catchy riff and we all worked off of it to create a song that lingers around like a short story. The video was made when we stayed with our good friend Zoë Zag in LA. All five of us crammed in her car and ran around town with her pointing at things for us to climb on top of or underneath. She went on to Xerox each still into a video that immortalizes the freedom of touring and finding solace through friendship and music."

You can watch the video for "She Buys Herself Flowers" below. The Umbrellas' self-titled album is due out August 6 on Slumberland Records. You can pre-order/pre-save a copy here. For more on The Umbrellas, check out the band's Bandcamp and Instagram.

The Cutthroat Brothers and Mike Watt - "Wrong"

The pairing of The Cutthroat Brothers and Mike Watt have a new single off their upcoming album. "Wrong" is this great blast of dirty blues based proto-punk mixed with Mike Watt's thing. You know what I mean by that. Mike Watt just has this genre-less sound with his playing that is just pure Mike Watt. "Wrong" is a mess of blues and weirdo punk that you're probably going to love. Plus, it just has a certain boogie to it that's purely irresistible. Not much punk based music can be described with "boogie," but that's what makes this song killer.

You can listen to "Wrong" below. The King is Dead will be out on vinyl on June 12 for Record Store Day with a digital released scheduled for July 9 on Hound Gawd! Records. For more on The Cutthroat Brothers, check out their website.

Doug Tuttle - "Lead Mask"

It's been a couple of years since we've heard from Massachusetts based musician Doug Tuttle, so a new song from him is a little extra welcome right now. "Lead Mask" still has that 70's era singer/songwriter vibe we've loved in Tuttle's previous releases, but this new song sounds a bit more modern. Interspersed with the chill 70's vibe is some indie psychedelic guitar soloing and some modern bedroom pop amenities, particularly the drums. We're always in favor of an artist branching out their sound a bit, especially when they keep intact what we've always loved about their music. 

You can listen to "Lead Mask" below. Pinecone is due out July 9 on Wild Honey Records. You can pre-order/pre-save the EP here. For more on Doug Tuttle, check out the artist's website.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Justin Golden - "Arm's Length"

Photo via Facebook

We haven't heard any new music from Justin Golden since 2019, but luckily we finally have something new. "Arm's Length" is exactly what we want from a Justin Golden song. It's a laid back folk song with a little blues thrown in to help keep things interesting. While Golden's music has always had some crossover or mainstream appeal, this new song is the type that can appeal to everybody. Golden just has this warmth in his voice that is welcoming and compelling. You can't not listen to him, and it's impossible not to enjoy it. 

You can listen to "Arm's Length" below. For more on Justin Golden, check out the artist's Facebook.

Nightwatchers - "1905 & The Muslim Exception"

Despite being a bit of a history nerd, I'm also American so my knowledge of European history is a bit lacking. Enter French punks Nightwatchers. According to a press release, their upcoming album, Common Crusades, deals "... with events surrounding France's violent colonization and exploitation of its occurred territories." The first single from the album is "1905 & The Muslim Exception." The obvious comparison here is going to be Bad Religion, not only for the political message but also the fact that it's both hardcore and melodic. Nightwatchers also bring in some post punk tuned guitars, giving them a unique sound.

You can listen to "1905 & The Muslim Exception" below. Common Crusades is due out this Autumn on Lövely Records. For more on Nightwatchers, check out the band's Facebook and Bandcamp.

Molly Burch - "Heart of Gold"

Photo via Facebook

When I first saw Molly Burch was opening for Tennis, it didn't exactly make sense. Burch's blend of doo wop inspired folk adjacent indie rock didn't seem to mesh with the dance friendly indie pop of Tennis. As more new songs from Molly Burch's album get released, it makes more and more sense. "Heart of Gold" is a gorgeous disco song. There is plenty of Burch's classic sound in here, but "Heart of Gold" is a dance song, and a great one at that. It's merging the retro 60's cool that we love Burch for with disco, and that's a sound we never knew we needed as much as we apparently did. Plus, Burch's voice is one of the most captivating we've ever heard no matter what genre she's performing in.

You can watch the video for "Heart of Gold" below. Romantic Images is due out July 23 on Captured Tracks. You can pre-order the album here. For more on Molly Burch, check out the artist's website.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Tristen - "Cool Blue"

As we hear more from Tristen's upcoming album, it sounds more and more like she's keeping her newer pop sound but dipping her toes back into the alt-pop country that put us on her bandwagon. "Cool Blue" nails that sound perfectly. It's a breezy pop song with just the perfect amount of classic country. Plus, Tristen is bringing some vintage 60's cool into the song to make it irresistible. This is all with "Cool Blue" being a fairly simple song. It's light instrumentation focusing on Tristen's vocals, which have never sounded stronger. This may end up becoming your favorite song from Tristen.

You can watch the video for "Cool Blue" below. Aquatic Flowers will be out June 4 on Mama Bird Recording Co. You can pre-order/pre-save a copy here. For more on Tristen, be sure to check out the artist's website.

A Place to Bury Strangers - "I Might Have"

Photo by Heather Bickford

Since we last heard from them, A Place to Bury Strangers have retooled their line up. Founder Oliver Ackermann has recruited John Fedowitz and Sandra Fedowitz of Ceremony East Coast to join the band. If you're concerned about a reworked line up changing the band's sound, don't be. "I Might Have" sounds like what we want from A Place to Bury Strangers. It's a chaotic mess of a song, and I mean that in the best possible way. It's a mid-tempo rocker, which is rare for a song with this much going on. "I Might Have" just festers and brims with a disaster waiting to happen. It's noisy rock at its finest tinged with some industrial noise. If that sounds perfect to you, you're gonna love this one.

You can watch the video for "I Might Have" below. Hologram is due out July 16 on Dedstrange. You can pre-order/pre-save the EP here. For more on A Place to Bury Strangers, check out the band's . Current 2022 European only tour dates are below the video.

Wed. March 9  - Hamburg, DE @ Hafenklang
Thu. March 10 - Dresden, DE @ Beatpol
Fri. March 11 - Warsaw, PL @ Klub Poglos
Sat. March 12 - Prague, CZ @ Futurum
Sun. March 13 - Bratislava, SK @ Randal Club
Mon. March 14 - Budapest, HU @ Durer Kert
Wed. March 16 - Bucharest, RO @ Control Club
Thu. March 17 - Sofia, BG @ Mixtape5
Fri. March 18 - Thessaloniki, GR @ Eightball
Sat. March 19 - Athens, GR @ Temple
Mon. March 21 - Skopje, MK @ 25th of May Hall
Tue. March 22 - Belgrade, RS @ Club Drugstore
Thu. March 24 -  Zagreb, HR @ Mochvara
Fri. March 25 - Bologna, IT @ Freakout Club
Sat. March 26 - Rome, IT @ Largo
Sun. March 27 - Milan, IT @ Legend Club
Tue. March 29 - Zurich, CH @ Bogen F
Wed. March 30 - Munich, DE @ Backstage
Thu. March 31 - Martigny, CH @ Caves Du Memoir
Fri. April 1 - Paris, FR @ La Trabendo
Sat. April 2 - London, UK @ Lafayette
Mon. April 4 - Antwerp, BE @ Kavka
Tue. April 5 - Munster, DE @ Gleis 22
Wed. April 6 - Amsterdam, NL @ Melkweg
Thu. April 7 - Groningen, NL @ Vera
Sat. April 9 - Stockholm, SE @ Hus 7
Sun. April 10 - Oslo, NO @ John Dee
Mon. April 11 - Copenhagen, DK @ Pumpehuset
Tue. April 12 - Berlin, DE @ Hole 44
Wed. April 13 - Cologne, DE @ MTC

Footings - "Bayou"

Hailing from Peterborough, NH, Footings is a musical project led by Eric Gagne along with members of Pile, Bunny's a Swine, and Rick Rude. Their latest single, "Bayou," is that kind of ultra chilled out indie rock that is so laid back it can barely be considered rock. Despite the amount of strings and the quiet vibe, "Bayou" isn't even remotely folk. Well... it does check some neo-folk boxes, but folk isn't the intention of the song. It's an atmospheric rock song with hardly any elements of rock. 

In a Facebook post, Eric Gagne says of the new song:

"I went on a surfing trip to the west coast of Nicaragua a few years back. One day, everyone took a ride to Leon to rattle around there on a day with choppy waves, but I stayed behind. I spent most of the day recovering from a night out drinking tequila, sitting on this creaky covered porch overlooking the ocean. The beach was wild horses and packs of dogs playing in the shallow water. There were cops with machine guns stealing fish from the fishermen coming in from the morning work. I drank cold beer and smoked lousy weed, playing this old beat up acoustic guitar, scratching down lyrics and chords as I went. Bayou was written right there, finished as the halfmoon started rising, looking like a kid's drawing of a boat."

You can listen to "Bayou" below. Annihilation is due for a release this summer. For more on Footings, check out the band on Facebook. The band currently has a live show scheduled on July 31 at NOVA ARTS in Keene, NH.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Wolf Castle - "Welfman"

Photo by Phyllis Grant

Pabineau First Nations MC Wolf Castle is back with a new single that's furthering my fandom of Canadian hip hop. "Welfman" is a "de-colonial, working class banger." It's that kind of underground hip hop that could possibly break out at any moment. "Welfman" is a truly killer hip hop song that anyone that has ever been even slightly into rap is going to enjoy. Wolf Castle is a ridiculously talented rapper with a unique flow and voice that is laid back at one moment and aggressive the next. Seriously, do yourself a favor and jump on this bandwagon early.

In a press release, Wolf Castle says of the new song:

"Welf" was an insult when I was in school, short for "Welfare" used to make fun of people who were poor. My family's had their struggles and so have a lot of other people where I'm from, so I wanted to make a song that said it was okay to be from that, and to do what you had to do to get by. It was my way of saying "Screw you" to those people. The insult ironically also sounds like "Wealth" and I also wanted to abbreviate it to "W.E.L.F" standing for "Working Everyday Living Famous."

You can listen to "Welfman" below. Da Vinci's Inquest is due out August 6 on Forward Music Group. You can pre-order a copy via Bandcamp. For more on Wolf Castle, check out the artist's Facebook and Twitter.