Tuesday, August 31, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 27 August

Artist: Suzanne Santo
Album: Yard Sale
Quick Thoughts: I don't recall how I tripped up on Suzanne Santo, but her song "Ghost in My Bed" from a few years back is an all-time favorite. This new album continues to show how great she is at this sort of alt-country, roots-tinged music, with a number of high points. This is a great listen, and one worth listening to even if it were a busy week.
Songs of Note: "Mercy," "Goldrush," "Save for Love," "Afraid of Heights"

Artist: Madi Diaz
Album: History of a Feeling
Quick Thoughts: Madi Diaz is another name I remember, but I don't quite recall my first time listening to her. Still, History of a Feeling gives massive Julien Baker energy, especially on songs like "Do It Now" and "Think of Me," the latter of which is one of the most brutal songs I've heard in a while. This may be one of my favorite listens of the year, never mind the week or summer. You owe it to yourself to give this one some time.
Songs of Note: "Crying in Public," "Think of Me," "Woman in My Heart," "Do It Now"

Artist: Indigo De Souza
Album: Any Shape You Take
Quick Thoughts: This is definitely the week of "acts I discovered at some point for some reason," and Indigo De Souza does an awesome job of bringing some crunch to the singer-songwriter table. The whole album is great, but when songs like "Hold U" or "Darker Than Death" hit, they hit hard, and there's something to be said about an act that isn't trying to stay within any specific convention. Definitiely worth the spin this week.
Songs of Note: "Darker Than Death," "Die/Cry," "Hold U," "Way Out"

Album: Screen Violence
Quick Thoughts: Everyone loves CHVRCHES, and this latest album is a good reminder as to why. Solid melodies, great instrumentation, messages that ring loud and clear. Is it possible to call a band like CHVRCHES underrated? I don't know, but I do know that I really enjoyed this album.
Songs of Note: "He Said She Said," "How Not to Drown," "Final Girl," "Good Girls"

Artist: Water From Your Eyes
Album: Structure
Quick Thoughts: A last-minute grab for this week, this is a very interesting listen that surprised me repeatedly. There's some interesting stuff happening on this record that gives it a complexity of sorts that I didn't anticipate - it's not quite post-rock, it's not quite traditional indie... I liked a lot of this, and it's one I'm looking forward to getting back to.
Songs of Note: "My Love's," "Track Five"

Of note:

* Tré Burt - You, Yeah, You (Lots of Bob Dylan energy here.)
* Brother Ali - Brother Minutester, Vol. 1 (One minute rap songs, a pretty cool concept album.)
* Teenage Bottlerocket - Sick Sesh! (Solid punk record!)
* Kanye West - Donda (Far too long and not very adventurous, but has its moments.)
* Big Red Machine - How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last
* Toad the Wet Sprocket - Starting Now
* Men I Trust - Untourable Album
* 3OH!3 - NEED
* Steve Gunn - Other You
* The Bug - Fire
* Ramson Badbonez - Lead By Example
* Gretta Ray - Begin to Look Around
* Emma Blackery - Girl in a Box
* Nite Jewel - No Sun
* Breeze - Only Up


* Son Lux - Tomorrow's Reworks Part I
* Elohim - Journey to the Center of Myself, Vol. 2
* Babehoven - Nastavi, Calliope (Remixed)
* Ghostemane - Fear Network II
* KUU, Alex Metric & Riton - How to Change Your Mind

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Martin Gore - The Third Chimpanzee Remixed
* Steven White - THE FUTURE BITES (Deluxe Edition)
* CAPSULE - FRUITS CLiPPER (2021 Remaster)

Also out:

* Mouse Rat - The Awesome Album (Andy's band from Parks and Recreation)
* Maisie Peters - You Signed Up For This
* Evann McIntosh - Character Development
* Brian Setzer - Gotta Have the Rumble
* Dan Disgrace - Light Entertainment for Strange Times
* Superstate - Superstate

War & Pierce - "Mercy"

Musically, the latest single from the duo of War & Pierce is one of the most pleasant singles you've heard in a while. "Mercy" is a smooth folk and soul song that features Sunny War and Chris Pierce at their absolute best. It's a beautifully chill track that has a little intensity underlying the song. It's reminding me quite a bit of Marvin Gaye. Also, like Gaye's best work, the smoothness and sonic appeal of the song is in stark contrast to the message within the lyrics. It's a song about police brutality where the duo pleads about just wanting some mercy.

Chris Pierce explains the message behind the song:

“Our new single ‘Mercy’ deals with the constant resilience required by people of color in the United States and beyond. It recollects real-life situations while demonstrating that in life and death situations there remains no assurance that mercy will be shown or even considered on those targeted. It challenges those who target human beings based on race and intolerance to not live in fear and not make decisions based on fear.”

You can watch the video for "Mercy" below. War & Pierce will be releasing a new album in the Spring of 2022. For more on War & Pierce, check out the artist's Twitter.

Live Shows: Green River Festival, Franklin County Fairgrounds, Greenfield, MA 8/28-8/29/21

Sierra Ferrell
Photo by Ken Sears

This weekend saw the triumphant return of the Green River Festival after the obvious year off. It was a month later than it has been in the past and at a brand new location, but you never would have known based on how smoothly things ran. It was a weekend of fantastic music filled with respectful, joyous music fans. Nothing could have run more smoothly, with the exception of a little too much sound overlap between some of the stages. Here were my musical highlights for the weekend! (Note: I was unable to attend Friday night, and I'm not including any artist I only saw a few songs of).

Bella White

This one can't be a surprise to anyone who has been reading If It's Too Loud... over the past few months. I've gone fully into rabid fan mode on Bella White, but with good reason. At only twenty years old, her stage presence and banter makes it feel like she's been doing this for decades longer than she's been alive. While last year's album Just Like Leaving was pure old fashioned Americana with just a little bit of a modern flair, White pulled out a couple of new songs. One of them ("Flowers On My Bedside" it may have been called), had a more contemporary feel and a little bit of a ramble. It was brilliant, and may end up being the song of the year when it is released. She also played a more mellow version of "Do You Think About Me At All." Her vocals gave me goosebumps despite being in the heat of the noon sun. Not only was White one of only three artists I watched an entire set of, I watched her entire set twice on Saturday. The setlist was exactly the same, and the stage banter was pretty much identical. Normally that is one of my biggest live music pet peeves, but White pulled it off with her charm. Now I just have to talk myself out of seeing her a third time this week at The Word Barn.

Zara Bode's Little Big Band

Zara Bode's Little Big Band was my big discovery of this year's festival. I knew literally nothing about this band, but with good reason. It turns out this was their very first live gig. They stepped in when another artist cancelled, and since Bode is also one of The Sweetback Sisters, the producers of Green River took a chance. I'm thrilled they did. As the name suggests, they played a version of big band style music and played a ton of standards and classics. Bode's voice is absolutely stellar and irresistible, so hearing her play covers of Ella Fitzgerald and Hank Williams was a wonderfully pleasant part of my afternoon.

JD McPherson

Somehow, despite being a fan for ten years, this was my first time seeing JD McPherson. I grew up on classic rock 'n' roll, so it always has a soft spot in my heart. McPherson plays a spot on version of classic 50's style rock 'n' roll, so I'm obviously going to be a fan. The crowd was a wonderfully mix of all possible generations, from elder Boomers to middle school kids all having a great time dancing and singing along. He even pulled out some covers of Richie Valens and Chuck Berry songs just to make his set that much better. Hopefully I won't have to go another ten years before seeing him again,

Vapors of Morphine

Never seeing Morphine play live is one of my biggest regrets. They were just one of those bands I was going to see "next time," and that ran out when Mark Sandman died in 1999. In 2009, Morphine members Dana Colley and Jerome Dupree teamed up with Jeremy Lyons to form Vapors of Morphine at a Mark Sandman tribute concert. They're still going, with Tom Arey replacing Dupree on drums in 2019. I'm usually very dubious of bands like this, since they can go into Sublime with Rome territory. But Vapors of Morphine are doing this the right way. They're playing Morphine classics along with their own songs. The Morphine ones tend to be the crowd pleasers, especially since Colley is playing his sax like J Mascis plays guitar. He's making sounds come out of that thing you would never think possible. Part of it is via effects pedals, but it's such a thrill to hear them live. Plus, hearing those saxophone solos played by the man who originally played them just can't be beat.

Rachel Baiman

For opening the third day of a music festival, you have to ease people into it. Most people are tired of the two previous days of sun, music, and maybe even some alcohol. But you still need to wake them up. Rachel Baiman was the perfect choice. Her version of modern folk-ish pop/rock is mellow enough for a Sunday at noon but upbeat enough to get people moving. She and her band are simply captivating performers, and I can't imagine Baiman didn't end up with a slew of new fans by the end of her set.

Bonny Light Horseman

I really enjoyed Bonny Light Horseman's 2020 album. The folk supergroup of Anais Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson (Fruit Bats), and Josh Kaufman play a compelling version of timeless modern folk that could have come out anytime in the past few decades or so. Their album was truly great. But live? Live is completely different. I've never seen a band play music that was so calm and mellow yet so thrilling. They held a field filled with thousands of people in rapture. It was a near religious experience for all of us there. Drive-By Truckers' Patterson Hood mentioned that he was in tears because their set was just so beautiful. He wouldn't have been the only one on Sunday. Even if their album wasn't one of your recent favorites, I implore you to make it to one of their live shows. You can't be disappointed.

Sierra Ferrell

If anyone had an excuse to have a bad set this weekend, it was Sierra Ferrell. Her and her band's van broke down Saturday morning, making them miss another festival in Kentucky. They had to take a last minute flight to make Green River on Sunday, leaving their bass player behind since there wasn't room on the plane. Plus, their set began with horrific microphone feedback that took a few minutes to fix. But, that's when Ferrell's charm kicked in. I've never seen microphone feedback make a set, but that is what happened Sunday. Playing as a trio, Ferrell's band had more fun than any other band that played all weekend. Taking time to chat with the crowd repeatedly and even play an impromptu "Happy Birthday" to a fan, they barreled through a set of old timey country and jazz. Sierra Ferrell is another artist you need to check out as soon as possible. A party is guaranteed to be had.

Drive-By Truckers

I was very curious how Drive-By Truckers would handle a ninety minute festival performance. The band usually plays for well over two hours, and tend to just be getting warmed up around the hour mark. The band took the stage, dedicated the somber "Tornadoes" to the people of Louisiana, and just took off from there. They crammed a sixteen song fan favorite set into an hour and a half by cutting everything out. The only other stage banter was Patterson Hood declaring "We got about twenty minutes left, let's rock this motherfucker out!" with twenty minutes left. The band alternated songs between Hood and Mike Cooley through the set, with Cooley possibly getting the bigger songs. "Women Without Whiskey" got me shockingly emotional as I realized how much I missed being at a barrier yelling out the lyrics to my favorite band's songs. Out of their sixteen songs, only two were from last year's The Unravelling. This set was for the fans, with Drive-By Truckers playing such beloved songs as "3 Dimes Down," "Ronnie and Neil," and the absolute brilliant final stretch of "Let There Be Rock," "Marry Me," "Hell No, I Ain't Happy," and "Shut Up and Get on the Plane." This was the ideal way to bring their blend of countrified rock back to their fans, and win over some new ones at a festival.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Fantastic Negrito featuring Miko Marks - "Rolling Through California"

Fantastic Negrito is just one of those artists that should be much bigger than they actually are. If there is any justice out there, his latest single should propel him to the stardom he deserves. "Rolling Through California" is a rootsy blues song with some modern day groove. It's definitely the grooviest song ever written about climate change. Yes, Fantastic Negrito has crafted an upbeat party jam about climate change. It's the kind of song that will have you dancing long before you pay attention to the lyrics and realize what it's about, much like how classic Public Enemy did.

In the YouTube description of the video, Fantastic Negrito explains the meaning of his new song:

“It all came together on that fateful day September 9, 2020. Everyone in Northern California woke up to a blood red sun on an orange sky. The air quality was the worst we had ever experienced. It felt and looked apocalyptic. Everything came to mind; climate change, drought, water management. It was quite terrifying and it inspired me to write a song that would bring attention to how treacherous our yearly fire season is. I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes in fear of being trapped by fire. We must find the will to meet this environmental crisis.”

You can watch the video for "Rolling Through California" below. You can get a copy of the single here. A portion of the proceeds will go to support firefighters, first responders, and communities impacted by wildfires. You can find more info on that cause here. For more on Fantastic Negrito, check out the artist's website.

Walter Alice and Brandie Blaze - "Party In My Heads"

With their band Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys, Walter Sickert blends folk, rock, metal, cabaret, punk, and just about every genre of music you can imagine, but I never expected Sickert to go hip hop. However, that's what you get with their latest musical project. Performing under the name Walter Alice, Sickert has brought in Boston MC Brandie Blaze for "Party In My Heads." (A Facebook post calls this song "A brutally positive, Dystopian, end of summer jam." Gr
anted, sometimes the Army of Broken Toys do dip their toes in the world of hip hop, but "Party In My Heads" is a full on hip hop song. Well, not quite. There is more than a little of the industrial sound of Ministry here, but this is still mostly hip hop. What's truly surprising and great is how great of a rapper Sickert proves to be. You would expect them to be blown away by a more experienced MC, but Sickert holds their own right alongside Blaze's fantastic verse.

You can listen to "Party In My Heads" below. The song is the start of a new project that will see Sickert collaborating with artists they admire. For more on Walter Sickert, check out their Facebook. For more on Brandie Blaze, check out the artist's Facebook.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Natalie Jane Hill - "Orb Weaver"

Photo by Julian Neel

Austin's Natalie Jane Hill has crafted an absolutely perfect modern folk epic with "Orb Weaver." The song isn't a throwback or old timey by any means. Instead, it's a timeless folk/Americana song that could have been released any time in the past fifty years. It's a simple song, with Hill's mesmerizing vocals mixing expertly with a picked guitar and possibly some steel guitar poking out of the background for atmosphere. "Orb Weaver" is far more hypnotic than haunting, and is a truly beautiful, organic folk song from Hill.

In a press release, Natalie Jane Hill says of the new song:

“'Orb Weaver' is a song about comparing myself to the hidden intricacies that I might find on a walk in the woods. I attach most of my memories to what is visually around during a certain time. Sometimes there is a comfort to the natural world and other times there is a harshness. My experiences can almost mirror them. I’d like to think that nature has a way of telling us exactly what we need to hear."

You can watch the video for "Orb Weaver" below. Solely is due out on October 29 via Dear Life Records. You can pre-order a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on Natalie Jane Hill, check out the artist's Facebook.

Kinnie Starr - "Runnin' Right Beside You"

The latest song from Kinnie Starr defies all genres. The Juno winning artist has been making music for twenty five years, and was even signed to Mercury/Island/Def Jam in 1997. Her latest single, "Runnin' Right Beside You," sounds like if an electronic artist decided to try to craft a folk song using electronic instruments, and also combine their indigenous heritage and hip hop. It almost sounds like an organic, stripped down M.I.A. It's a mellow but intense song that you might not be able to resist.

In a press release, Kinnie Starr says of her new song:

“'Runnin’ Right Beside You' is a song about the freedom of potential movement forward after the grand pause of a pandemic.

"With an aggressive reframe and a push to immediately implement green technologies using indigenous knowledge that we are servants of the land, imagine what the future could look like!

"Our leaders are not leading, and people are in a state of unrest. Here in so-called Canada, our government drags its feet on getting clean drinking water into all indigenous communities and on proper management of waste (our garbage could be being properly cared for and re-used for energy like it is in cities such as Stockholm).

"Our government has also dragged it’s feet around the truth of residential schools for years, and has not fulfilled even a fraction of the calls to action of the TRC which was launched in 2008."

You can listen to "Runnin' Right Beside You" below. The song is available as a single via Birthday Cake Records. For more on Kinnie Starr, check out the artist's website.

(Green River) Festival Friday - Drive-By Truckers

I know, I know. The whole point of these Festival Fridays has been to highlight lesser known artists playing this year's Green River Festival. The band closing out the main stage of the entire weekend isn't exactly lesser known, but they are my favorite active band so how could I resist? The Drive-By Truckers' blend of southern rock with punk guitars is going to blow everyone who sticks around to the end away, and here are the reasons I'm beyond excited to see them this Sunday night.

1. They only have ninety minutes. A typical Drive-By Truckers show lasts from anywhere between two and three hours. Hell, they usually take the first hour to get warmed up before the performance reaches transcendence. What will they be like with a shortened set?

2. I've never seen them at a big, outdoor festival before. I've only ever seen them in clubs and theaters. While clubs are the kind of shows I love the most, sometimes you just want to see certain bands play in front of the giant crowds they deserve to play in front of. Plus, watching the sun go down and the setting get darker as their set goes on fits the Drive-By Truckers' vibe perfectly.

3. This is a band that has never shied away from politics. Of course, for some reason that we'll never ever figure out, that was never an issue until the last five or so years. There will be people looking to avoid politics at a music festival (which seems bizarre to me), but with Sunday also including Ani Difranco, you're going to get at least two sets that don't avoid politics. How heavily will Drive-By Truckers rely on their more recent, more political albums? We'll find out Sunday!

Drive-By Truckers play the Greenfield Savings Bank Stage at 6:00 on Sunday. Somehow tickets are still available for Sunday, and you can find out more information here.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Lydia Loveless - "You're Leaving Me" / "Let's Make Out'

Lydia Loveless has been delving into pop music for the past few years, all but abandoning her alt-country roots. Her newer sound hasn't worked for all her fans on every release, which is fine. Artists should change their sound up as they grow, and sometimes not everyone will be on board. But anyone that has stopped paying attention is going to miss out on her latest single. "You're Leaving Me" and "Let's Make Out" are the best songs Loveless has released with her more pop oriented sound. "You're Leaving Me" is a pop ballad, with Loveless doing her best take on crooner style vocals and just the slightest hints of country hiding in the background. "Let's Make Out" is the most Loveless song title we've had in years. This one is much more of a 90's pop rocker and sounds like Letters to Cleo covering Loveless's "Boy Crazy." This pair of new songs has us rabid to hear what else Loveless has been working on for the past year.

You can listen to "Let's Make Out" below. The songs are available now via Bandcamp on Lydia Loveless' own Honey, You're Gonna Be Late Records. For more on Lydia Loveless, check out the artist's website. Dates for a co-headlining tour with Lily Hiatt are below the song. (Of course, no New England dates are included...)

The Queers Cover The Monkees

Photo by Michael Oswald

New Hampshire punk legends The Queers have long worn their love of classic oldies on their sleeves. Joe Queer and crew have covered The Beach Boys, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Hollies, etc. for years, plus a lot of their originals have that classic sound. Somehow, they've never released an entire album of covers, but that will change next month. The first single off that album is a cover of The Monkees' "Valleri." It's not a song I knew just by name. Instead of the typical bubblegum pop Monkees song, "Valleri" is much more psychedelic, presumably from The Monkees' more serious period. The Queers take most of the psychedelia out of the song (most, but definitely not all) and strip it down into a crusty pop punk anthem. You know... they make it sound like The Queers.

You can listen to The Queers' take on "Valleri" below. Reverberation is due out September 24 on Cleopatra Records. It will also feature covers of "Love Potion #9," "The Kids Are Alright," "Deadman's Curve," and more. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on The Queers, check out the band's Facebook.

Marissa Nadler - "Bessie, Did You Make It?"

Photo by Nick Fancher

Marissa Nadler has kept herself busy during the pandemic. Suddenly experiencing wanderlust while being stuck at home. She learned to play the piano, and wrote many of the songs on her upcoming album on piano instead of her usual guitar. She also binged a lot of reruns of Unsolved Mysteries, which helped inspire the first single from the album. "Bessie, Did You Make It?" takes the standard murder ballad and makes it about female empowerment and survival. "Bessie, Did You Make It?" is haunting (This is a murder ballad by Marissa Nadler, after all), but it's also strangely warm. If you can imagine that instead of a cold spot, ghosts created an ideally warm, comfy hug, you can imagine the texture of this song.

You can watch the video for "Bessie, Did You Make It?" below. The Path of the Clouds is due out October 29 on Sacred Bones and Bella Union. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on Marissa Nadler, check out the artist's website.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Legendary Shack Shakers Cover "Rawhide!"

Photo by FishBones Photography

The Legendary Shack Shakers are celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary by inviting former members to join them on a new all country & western album. The first single from that album is a cover of the theme song to the television western Rawhide. Of course, the Legendary Shack Shakers can't just do a straight cover of "Rawhide!," but this does come quite close. It's probably ninety or so percent faithful to the original, except for the bizarre darkness and sense of dread that the cover evokes. It's a fun reworking of the original that is perfect for this group of musical legends.

You can watch the video for the Legendary Shack Shakers' version of "Rawhide!" below. Cockadoodledeux (a reference to their 2002 album Cockadoodledon't) is due out October 8 on Alternative Tentacles. You can pre-order the album in various bundles here. For more on Legendary Shack Shakers, check out the band's website.

My Morning Jacket - "Regularly Scheduled Programming"

Photo by Austin Nelson

My Morning Jacket are one of those bands I feel like I should be more into than I actually am. They're equal parts indie rock and folk with a little (ok, way more than a little) jam band thrown in. I even saw them at the Newport Folk Festival all the way back in 2012 and really, really enjoyed them. But for some reason, I've never truly jumped into their catalog.

In October, My Morning Jacket are releasing their first new album in over six years, so now may just be the time to get fully invested in them. "Regularly Scheduled Programming" is the kind of epic we expect from the band. It starts off mostly with Jim James' vocals, almost sounding like a hymn. Slowly the song builds into more of an epic, adding instruments and a choir, which just adds to the religious feel of the song. Eventually the song builds into a crescendo of psychedelia that sounds like Sonic Youth's later, more jammy period. Yeah... I feel like now is the time to finally join the My Morning Jacket fandom.

In a press release, Jim James says of the new song:

“This song really hits home for me after what we’ve gone through with the pandemic. But even before then, it felt like so many of us were trading real life for social media, trading our own stories for the storylines on TV, trading our consciousness for drugs. We need to help each other wake up to real love before it's too late."

You can watch the video for "Regularly Scheduled Programming" below. My Morning Jacket's self-titled album is due out October 22 on ATO Records. You can pre-order your copy here. For more on My Morning Jacket, check out the band's website.

Gustaf - "Best Behavior"

Photo by Felipe Torres

We've been digging Gustaf for about a year now. The Brooklyn band's blend of infectious dance friendly post punk has been impossible to resist. Their latest single, "Best Behavior," changes up their formula a little. "Best Behavior" is more of a groovy, chilled out track. It's mid-tempo and maybe just a little too laid back to really dance to, but you're still going to be beckoned to move to it. It features Lydia Gammell speak singing over some disjointed funk almost like a bizarro world version of Tom Petty where he jammed with George Clinton and Gang of Four.

Vocalist Lydia Gammell explains Gustaf's new song:

"The song’s ethos is a bit of the old and the new attitude for Gustaf. Our narrator, the ‘ego slob’, is bargaining with itself, scrounging for self compassion and self assurance despite a pile of hurt feelings in its wake. In demanding spoils despite having done nothing to earn them, we see the initial cracks in a brutish facade— our antihero slowly realizing maybe the shell they built for themselves was not built for the world."

You can watch the video for "Best Behavior" below. Audio Drag for Ego Slobs is due out October 1 on Royal Mountain Records. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here. For more on Gustaf, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.

10/1 - Charlotte, NC - Snug Harbor
10/2 - Knoxville, TN - Mill and Mine 
10/3 - Cincinatti, OH - MOTR Pub
10/4 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern
10/6 - Milwaukee, WI - Cactus Club
10/7 - Saint Paul, MN - Palace Theatre #
10/8 - Chicago, IL - Riviera Theatre #
10/9 - Detroit, MI - Saint Andrew's Hall #
10/10 - Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall #
10/12 - Boston, MA - House of Blues #
10/13 - Philadelphia, PA - The Fillmore #
10/15 - New York, NY - Terminal 5 #
10/16 - New York, NY - Terminal 5 #
10/17 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club #
10/18 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club #
10/20 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel #
10/21 - Nashville, TN - Cannery Ballroom #
10/22 - Atlanta, GA - Masquerade - Heaven Stage #
10/25 - Austin, TX - Stubb's #
10/26 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theater #
10/27 - San Antonio, TX - Paper Tiger #
11/2 - Birmingham, UK - The Sunflower Lounge $
11/3 - Bristol, UK - Rough Trade Bristol $
11/4 - London, UK - The Dome $
11/6 - Brighton, UK - Mutations Festival @ The Green Door Store
11/8 - Leeds, UK - Hyde Park Book Club $
11/9 - Manchester, UK - YES (Pink Room) $
11/10 - Liverpool, UK - Arts Club Loft $    
11/11 - London, UK - The Windmill, Brixton
11/13 - Utrecht, NL - Le Guess Who Festival    
11/14 - Kortrijk, BE - Sonic City Festival
11/14 - Brussels, BE - Witloof Bar
11/16 - Berlin, DE - Cassiopeia      
11/17 - Haldern, DE -  Haldern Pop Bar
11/18 - Paris, FR - Les Femmes S'en Melent @ Petit Bain
11/19 - Lille, FR - The Black Lab
11/20 - Luxembourg City, LU - Rotondes Klub
12/02 - San Diego, CA - Soda Bar %
12/03 - Joshua Tree, CA - Pappy's %
12/08 - Seattle, WA - Barboza (Headline)
12/09 - Portland, OR - Bunk Bar (Headline)
12/18 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour *
12/19 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour *

# - supporting IDLES
$ - supporting Pillow Queens
% - co-headline w/ Kills Birds
* - supporting Osees

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 20 August

Artist: Lorde
Album: Solar Power
Quick Thoughts: Lorde has made some seriously iconic songs over the years, which makes Solar Power largely a confusing affair. It's not that the album is bad - in fact, on first listen, I might like it more than Melodrama - but that it's very unassuming. It gives a definitive inluenceresque summery vibe, and that was somewhat unexpected from someone who presents as a more oddball dark pop star. Regardless, this album is likely to be divisive, but put me fully on team Solar Power.
Songs of Note: "Solar Power," "Stoned at the Nail Salon," "Secrets From a Girl (Who's Seen It All)"

Artist: Warp Trio
Album: Warp Trio's Pandemic Disco Fantasy
Quick Thoughts: I'm pretty sure this contemporary classical act hit my radar thanks to the amount of Attacca Quartet I've been listening to, and this is apparently a concept record that goes along with a multimedia effort. The music, for what it's worth, is interesting and different, and I fully and completely dove right in. Worth it for the effort.
Songs of Note: "I: Captivity," "III: The Well"

Artist: L.A. Exes
Album: Get Some
Quick Thoughts: An indie supergroup of sorts with Jenny Owen Youngs, Sam Barbera (Beginners, Holy Fever), Rachel White (engineer for Weezer), and Steph Barker (Baby Bulldog) doing 1960s-style girl pop. So many great harmonies, so many great lyrics, and so much to love here that I hope this becomes a bigger deal than even they dreamed. If you like fun, you'll like this.
Songs of Note: "Temporary Goodbye," "Skinny Dipping," "Linger"

Artist: Lung
Album: Come Clean Right Now
Quick Thoughts: Man, this was an unexpected treat. We've covered a couple of the advance singles here, but this is just an electric cello and drums, and it's sort of like if the Dresden Dolls discovered Cursive instead of Tori Amos. There's so much to love here, and "Air" in particular is my favorite new song in a while. It's heavy but artsy, it's an interesting listen without overstaying its welcome, and I think you'll be rewarded for giving it a shot.
Songs of Note: "Air," "I'm Nervous," "Sorry," "Sun God," "Arrow"

Artist: The Joy Formidible
Album: Into the Blue
Quick Thoughts: I think I was three songs in on this when I realized how consistent and good The Joy Formidible has been over the years. I don't have a ton to say about this album, which is the latest in a line of really solid alt rock, but I would be lax in not recommending it in a busy week. Give this one a spin.
Songs of Note: "Into the Blue"

Artist: Sturgill Simpson
Album: The Ballad of Dood and Juanita
Quick Thoughts: We like Sturgill Simpson here, and even if you don't quite get it, you have to appreciate his efforts. The latest (and last?) is a straight-up classic country record, complete with an overarching theme and some good ol' fashioned storytelling. It's a great listen, and well in line with his Cutting Grass series last year. Don't miss this one.
Songs of Note: "Shamrock," "Ol' Dood (Part II)"

Artist: Tropical Fuck Storm
Album: Deep States
Quick Thoughts: Tropical Fuck Storm has never quite grabbed me the right way, but I heard "G.A.F.F." last week and realized what I had been missing. Deep States isn't trying to drop any earworms into your skull, and it's abrasive and artsy and challenging. It's also kind of brilliant? The whole listen just really grabbed me, and listening to random songs is a disservice to the effort here. Make some time for this.
Songs of Note: "G.A.F.F."

Artist: James McMurtry
Album: The Horses and the Hounds
Quick Thoughts: It's been a while since we heard from James McMurtry, and the only negative I can say about this slice of pure country is that it's too bad it has to compete with Sturgill. There may not be a bad song on here, and each one is as catchy and infectious as the one before it. Welcome back.
Songs of Note: "Canola Fields," "The Horses and the Hounds"

Artist: Orla Gartland
Album: Woman on the Internet
Quick Thoughts: I've never heared of Orla Gartland before this weekend, and I'm glad I found her. This is very modern singer-songwriter material, and has a lot of highlights worth hearing. I don't have a ton to say, but if you're looking for something that gives off solid Emily Kinney vibes, check this one out.
Songs of Note: "Things That I've Learned," "Over Your Head"

Artist: Various Artists
Album: A Carnival of Sorts: An R.E.M. Covers Compilation
Quick Thoughts: Wanted to highlight this Bandcamp charity compilation, as I'm a big R.E.M. fan and there's a ton of cool offerings here. Desperate Journalist does a version of "Finest Worksong" in particular that really works well, but this is a solid investment for a good cause.
Songs of Note: "Finest Worksong" (Desperate Journalist), "Crush With Eyeliner" (Bugeye), "Moral Kiosk" (GodNo!), "Driver 8" (Man's Body)

Of note:

* GA-20 - Try It... You Might Like It: GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor (Solid blues music.)
* Sierra Ferrell - Long Time Coming (A lovely little roots record.)
* Martha Wainwright - Love Will Be Reborn
* ToiToiToi - Vaganten
* Shannon and The Clams - Year of the Spider
* Morly - 'Til I Start Speaking
* Angus and Julia Stone - Life is Strange
* Bnny - Everything
* AJ Lee and Blue Summit - I'll Come Back
* Lorkin O'Reilly - Marriage Material
* Bambies - Summer Soon
* David Duchovny - Gestureland
* Jeff Rosenstock - 2020 DUMP
* The Bob's Burgers Music Album Vol. 2


* Karen Jonas - Summer Songs
* Molly Burman - Fool Me With Flattery
* Sam Blacky - Summer Solstice
* Angel Olsen - Aisles
* girlpuppy - Swan
* HONEYMOAN - Palace

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Various Artists - Italians Do It Better (A bunch of Madonna covers.)

Also out:

* Cartel Madras - The Serpent & The Tiger
* Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster - The World Inside

Stores - "Bones"

Liverpool's Stores have released one of the most 90's singles of this decade. "Bones" has this rollicking slacker vibe to it. The song is a burst of fun that seems to be missing in most of today's slacker rock and evokes artists like Beck and Pavement. It's filled with fuzzy guitar riffs that feel like the kind of alt-power pop bands like Superdrag and Local H used to bring us. It's an undeniably catchy rocker that ends up imploding unexpectedly/expectedly in the best possible way at the very end of the song.

You can listen to "Bones" below. The single is currently available digitally via Eggy Records over at Bandcamp. For more on Stores, check out the band on Instagram.

Matt Pond PA featuring Nada Surf - "Spaceland"

Matt Pond PA recently got the rights back to their 2015 album The State of Gold. They set about re-recording the album and re-sequencing it. The first redone song available to listen to is "Spaceland." How is the new version different from the original? I'm honestly not sure since the original The State of Gold seems to be pretty much scrubbed offline. The new version features Matthew Caws and Louie Lino of Nada Surf and is a complete expression of pure joy. It's an indie rock/pop anthem that is endlessly upbeat and positive. It's an absolutely gorgeous song that sounds exactly like Matt Pond PA and Nada Surf joined forces to craft an epic.

In an email newsletter to fans, Matt Pond explains the song and new version:

"'Spaceland' was originally the last song on The State of Gold. It's a hazy vision of the first club we played on the west coast, a place where dreams and reality collide — beautiful palm trees overlooking littered sidewalks. We sat on the sidewalk for hours, killing time until the barback opened the gate to let us in.

"Spaceland had a glass smoking room in the back and a Galaga machine next to the bar. I dropped quarter after quarter into that machine while we waited to soundcheck. The green room was a closet, the stage always felt two feet too small. Somehow, the space was perfect.

"When we got the rights back to The State of Gold, I knew that I wanted to change the order and remaster the album. And I knew that I wanted to re-record 'Spaceland' and put it first.

"The song has always felt alive to me. It has an undeniable pulse. Matthew Caws and Louie Lino from Nada Surf found the pulse and gave Spaceland a new life. An uncontrollable smile overtakes my face every time I think about Matthew's new bridge."

You can listen to the re-recorded version of "Spaceland" below. The new version of The State of Gold is due out September 22. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Matt Pond PA, check out the band's website.

Buffalo Nichols - "Back On Top"

Photo by Dustin Cohen

A lot is being made of the fact that Buffalo Nichols is Fat Possum Records' first solo blues artist in over twenty years. The Houston born but Milwaukee raised artist has this amazing brand of blues. His latest single, "Back On Top," showcases his vocals and guitar playing. Vocally, Nichols is truly a unique gem. He has this soft and ultra smooth singing voice. It's really pleasant. As in, he could easily be winning nationally televised singing reality shows. But, then we get his guitar playing. In direct opposition to his voice, Nichols is playing a feedback heavy blues guitar. This vintage guitar sound mixed with his smooth, soulful vocals creates this amazing blend you're going to adore.

You can listen to "Back On Top" below. Buffalo Nichols' self-titled debut album is due out October 15 on Fat Possum Records. You can pre-order/pre-save a copy here. For more on Buffalo Nichols, check out the artist's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the song.

10/2/21 - St Louis, MO – The Pageant*
10/4/21 - Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium*
10/6/21 - Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue*
10/8/21 - Chicago, IL – The Vic*
10/9/21 - St Paul, MN – Palace Theatre*
10/10/21 - Iowa City, IA – Englert Theatre*
10/12/21 - Madison, WI – Barrymore Theatre*
10/14/21 - Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall*
10/15/21 - Pittsburgh, PA – Mr Smalls*
10/16/21 - Cleveland, OH – House of Blues*
10/19/21 - Detroit, MI – Majestic*
10/21/21 - Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theatre*
10/22/21 - Birmingham, AL – Avondale Brewing*
10/23/21 - Asheville, NC – Rabbit Rabbit*
11/3/21 - Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl*
11/4/21 - Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl*
11/5/21 - Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl*
11/6/21 - Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl*
11/8/21 - Wilmington, DE – The Queen*
11/10/21 - Winston-Salem, NC – The Ramkat*
11/11/21 - Charleston, SC – Charleston Music Hall*
11/12/21 - Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse*
11/13/21 - Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse*
11/15/21 - Little Rock, AR – Revolution Music Room*
11/17/21 - Dallas, TX – Granada Theater*
11/18/21 - Austin, TX – Scoot Inn*
11/19/21 - Austin, TX – Scoot Inn*
11/20/21 - New Orleans, LA – Tipitina's*
*supporting Drive-By Truckers