Thursday, September 30, 2021

Lorne Behrman - "Sandcastles"

Lorne Behrman (The Dimestore Haloes, L.E.S. Stitches, The Sweet Things) has a new song about a difficult subject matter. "Sandcastles" is a slow rocker with Behrman speak-singing like a punk rock Tom Petty. In fact, all of "Sandcastles" sounds like if Tom Petty fronted the NYC Heartbreakers instead of his own ones. 

As for the subject matter, we'll let Behrman explain from a press release (CW: child sexual abuse):

"When I was a little kid, I took karate classes, and there was an instructor there who promised they would give me a kit to build sandcastles if I went with them into the bathroom. This began a very stressful and painful time for me. It was sexual abuse, mind games, and secrets. I was a really sensitive kid—I still am really sensitive—and I felt in over my head, but scared to tell anyone. I remember thinking I wish my soul could disappear into the calf of my leg—like I felt like I had to be at karate, but I wished I didn’t have to be present. I have the best parents—open, loving, and there for me, always—but I had too much fear and shame to tell anyone. I felt like I deserved this, so I just dealt with it, and eventually moved on from karate class, though I would experience more predatorial people and have more painful experiences until I addressed this and really got help.

"I would always bring this stuff up when I was drinking, and share with anyone around, but I couldn’t talk about it with people in the daylight. It was always there, hindering my trust, my connection with others, intimacy, body images, feeling safe, and even feeling safe alone—as if I was going to attack myself. It was the nightmare roommate in my head I never wanted.

"I eventually got help, and spoke to many people about this. I got a lot of comfort. One person told me to pray for the person who did this to me. I wanted to punch this guy in the face. I remember walking home that night and just being livid—they don’t understand, I thought. But it dawned on me, that the person who did that to me, probably had that done to them. All forms of abuse are passed on until you stop them. Not long after, I wrote the song.

"As far as a catharsis, I’ve heard people say if you shine a light on darkness it goes away. So, this is me, putting that saying into real life. Singing this in the studio was very hard for me, but my producer Matt Chiaravalle made me feel comfortable. Leaving that vocal booth and finishing the vocals of the song, I felt lighter—like a left a part of my history behind. Hearing it mixed and mastered, and knowing it will be out there scares me. I feel naked and vulnerable. That said, when I listen to the song, I feel like I am speaking up for that little kid that endured that private hell."

You can watch the video for "Sandcastles" below. When I Hit the Floor is due out October 15 on Spaghetty Town Records. For more on Lorne Behrman, check out the artist's website.

Jeremiah Moon - "Kinds of Light"

Jeremiah Moon started taking cello lessons at the age of seven and began studying cello performance at Boston University. In 2013 he moved out to Seattle and started performing with guitarists. In 2018 he started working more seriously as a songwriter. His upcoming EP was recorded in a cabin in Florence, OR. The first single off that EP, "Kinds of Light," is more mainstream than you would expect from a classically trained cellist. I'm going to use the term "folk," but only because I don't truly have anything else. "Kinds of Light" is somehow more pop than I would have expected, and also more experimental. It's one of those songs that's starts off more standard and traditional but ends in what would be a noise rock breakdown if this wasn't cello based.

You can watch the video for "Kinds of Light" below. Sputnik will be released on Enci Records. For more on Jeremiah Moon, check out the artist's website.

Abbie Barrett - "I Will Let You Know"

Boston's Abbie Barrett has released a nearly straight up rocker for her latest single. I only say almost since there are New Wave elements to the song, mainly because it features Greg Hawkes of The Cars on keyboards. If you're going to bring Greg Hawkes in for a song, there's a very specific sound you're going for and "I Will Let You Know" delivers. It's a song that leans towards the poppier edge of garage rock, but it's still heavy for a pop/rock song, especially with this level of Hawke's keys. It's a wonderful modern Boston rock song that gives dues to the ones that came before. You're going to need to check this one out.

You can listen to "I Will Let You Know" below. The song is available as a single via Bandcamp. For more on Abbie Barrett, check out the artist's Facebook.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Jack and the Dull Boy Cover Michael Sembello

I really wanted to hate the new single from Seattle's Jack and the Dull Boy. First, they're a prog metal band. Second, it's a metal cover of "Maniac" from the Flashdance soundtrack. This should be awful... but it turns out it's ridiculously fun. Unlike most metal covers of 80's pop songs, Jack and the Dull Boy keep the pop front and center on this version. It never gets even remotely screamy, or overly heavy just to show off that they're still metal dudes. They're just playing a fun cover, and, as with any truly great fun cover, this could be a tongue-in-cheek or a song they truly love. Or both. We're not going to claim that hearing Jack and the Dull Boy's cover of "Maniac" is going to change your life, but you're going to enjoy the next five minutes of it.

In a press release, Jack and the Dull Boy have this to say about the song (in the third person):

“Jack and the Dull Boy say they obviously have a lot in common with ‘80s legend Michael Sembello in that they’re bearded, slightly stocky, and not particularly photogenic. What’s maybe not as obvious is that the original version of ‘Maniac’ is a heavy metal song dressed in ‘80s synth-pop clothing. Chord progressions, key signature (Eb minor), guitar solo in the bridge, all these ingredients beg the question, ‘Are you sure Steve Harris didn’t write this?’ Jack and the Dull Boy seems to have had some fun connecting the dots between the genres.”

You can listen to Jack and the Dull Boy's version of "Maniac" below. Failure in Three Parts is due out November 19. You can pre-order your copy over at Bandcamp. For more on Jack and the Dull boy, check out the band's Facebook.

Allison Lorenzen - "Mirrors"

Photo by Kyle Johnson

When we receive music submissions the press release will often list genres the song fits into. For the latest release from Allison Lorenzen, the genres listed are indie, folk, experimental, and slowcore. It's an interesting blend of styles that fits "Mirrors" perfectly. As it starts, "Mirrors" could have just been a relatively standard modern indie folk song. It borders on mainstream folk, but strays just a little too far into the experimental side to go all the way in. And that's what makes this song so great and appealing. It's so close to just being a simply good, normal song that your coworkers could enjoy in the background, but Lorenzen doesn't allow it to go that way. It is just unique enough to be truly great and memorable with bizarre sounds like indie rock feedback that somehow fits into an almost mainstream folk song.

You can listen to "Mirrors" below. Tender is due out November 19 on White Sepulchre Records. You can pre-order the album via Bandcamp. For more on Allison Lorenzen, check out the artist's Facebook.

Bruisey Peets - "Poached Eggs"

Ben Usie has had a unique path through music. He lived in DC for almost ten years playing with bands like Pree and Br'er. He started playing solo as Bruisey Pete with an entire stage of sequencers and synthesizers. After relocating to New Orleans, Usie ditched the stage of equipment since it was tough to lug around to bars for shows, and began performing solo guitar shows. Eventually Bruisey Peet picked up three additional members, but they dropped off since playing small shows at 2:00 am become too much for them. This time, Usie came back as a solo piano performer before picking up Lost Bayou Ramblers' Bryan Webre on upright bass.

"Poached Eggs" is the latest song from the current iteration of Bruisey Peets. The style has been dubbed "queer swamp pop," and is an odd little sound that's a little cabaret over a lot of a pop sound. It reminds me of the quieter side of Ben Folds Five with a much darker sense of humor. The song has a light, playful feel that doesn't quite mask an anger that leaks out. "Poached Eggs" very slowly builds into a more chaotic ending that shows off Usie's noisy musical past while still keeping the same structure the song is built on. There's a lot to like here.

Ben Usie says of the new song:

"'Poached Eggs' was written as a poem after a kitchen shift with my brother, Ethan Brasseaux.  I was trying to remind him how special he is as we sweat over making gluten-free bread and buckets of kimchi, and maybe I was really speaking to myself.  There’s a sad clown sincerity that rings triumphant over the absurdity of this consumerist world."

You can listen to "Poached Eggs" below. The album Poached Eggs is due out November 19 on Y'allstar Records (which is my new favorite record label name). You can pre-order the album here. For more on Bruisey Peets, check out the artist's Facebook.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for September 17 and 24

Long hours means a double dose of music this week.
Artist: Adia Victoria
Album: A Southern Gothic
Quick Thoughts: We're big Adia Victoria fans here, and this album came out of nowhere a bit for me. I wasn't expecting new music, and I definitely wasn't expecting A Southern Gothic, which has a true feel that mirrors its title while still bringing the sort of songwriting and musical know-how that Adia Victoria always brings. Right now, I wouldn't be shocked to see this on both of our best-of lists this year.
Songs of Note: "Troubled Mind," "Magnolia Blues, "Mean-Hearted Woman," "You Was Born to Die," "Whole World Knows," "Carolina Bound"

Artist: Ruby Fields
Album: Been Doin' It For A Bit
Quick Thoughts: The album title accurately describes what this album sounds like, even though this Aussie singer-songwriter is only 23. There is some great indie rock here throughout. I enjoyed her initial seven song EP/short album, but this brings it all to another level. This is catchy song after catchy song with no end in sight, and if you like your indie a little more on the poppy side, check this one out.
Songs of Note: "Kitchen," "OUCH," "Clothes Line," "Song About a Boy"

Artist: Bad Bad Hats
Album: Walkman
Quick Thoughts: I've liked Bad Bad Hats for a while (and not just because of their name), but this album feels like a leap forward in their sound and approach. This is super accessible, oftentimes radio-ready music that will earworm its way into your brain with minimal effort - just try to listen to "Milky Way" without getting hopelessly addicted. I genuinely love this album, and I'm absolutely looking forward to getting back to it in what's been a busy new release period.
Songs of Note: "Always on Time," "Milky Way," "Detroit Basketball," "Awkward Phase"

Artist: Sweet Nobody
Album: We're Trying Our Best
Quick Thoughts: This record caught me by surprise. I don't know much about this act, but the sort of jangly, bright-sounding indie rock works like a charm on an old R.E.M. fan like myself. I don't have a ton to say about this one on a whole, but this was such a great listen that I wanted to make sure I highlighted it.
Songs of Note:

Artist: Little Hag
Album: Leash
Quick Thoughts: So we loved loved loved Whatever Happened to Avery Jane last year, a record that was more a compilation of older works than anything else. Little Hag is a proper band now, with a proper album debuting this week, and it's pretty much the perfect vehicle for Avery Mandeville to unleash her true power. The songs are super tight, the lyrics cutting and in-your-face, and they pretty much cement their place in our cold hearts. Just a wonderful listen.
Songs of Note: "Get Real," "Cherry," "Brass Knuckle Keychain"

Artist: Lindsey Buckingham
Album: Lindsey Buckingham
Quick Thoughts: Yes, that Lindsey Buckingham. Fleetwood Mac is a classic act, but might not be everyone's cup of tea. Still, I gave this a shot because why not, and wow am I glad I did. There is some really solid songwriting throughout here (as one would expect), and you forget how solid a guitarist Buckingham actually is. This is a really great listen, and not in an "aging musician past his prime" way. It's a genuinely solid album.
Songs of Note: "On the Wrong Side," "I Don't Mind," "Santa Rosa"

Artist: Amyl and The Sniffers
Album: Comfort to Me
Quick Thoughts: The Aussie punks are back and bigger and bolder and it's just a lot of fun. I don't love punk music as a general rule, but this is a really solid listen with a ton going for it on a whole. I loved this record. It's brash and it's not shy about it, and that's awesome. If you like the heavier/punkier stuff, check this one out.
Songs of Note: "Security," "Guided by Angels"

Artist: Rett Madison
Album: Pin-Up Daddy
Quick Thoughts: Wanted to highlight this one, as Rett Madison is a voice to watch out for. This is a little folk, a little rock, but it's super confessional and heavy without feeling depressing. I liked this a lot, you might, too.
Songs of Note: "Pin-up Daddy," "Kerosene"

Artist: Vapors of Morphine
Album: Fear & Fantasy
Quick Thoughts: I did not know that the surviving members of Morphine were still playing music until this past weekend. I don't know how I missed it, but it's such a good listen that I know I'll be looking back on their earlier stuff. If you loved Morphine because of Marc Sandman, this might not be the same, but if it was more the instrumentation, you'll find this to be right at home.
Songs of Note: "Golden Hour," "Drop Out Mambo"

Artist: Billy Strings
Album: Renewal
Quick Thoughts: This is a rock-solid bluegrass listen from beginning to end, with some real memorable songs that showcase great musical chops and a fun name to go along with it. What's not to love?
Songs of Note: "Know It All"

Artist: Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine
Album: A Beginner's Mind
Quick Thoughts: Sufjan gets back to his folk roots with this latest effort. This collaborative effort is inspired by the horror movies the two watched during quarantine, which is pretty neat overall and gives these songs a little more oomph - certainly not surprising coming from one of the guys who wrote a song from the perspective of John Wayne Gacy... Still, good for longtime fans of Sufjan or folkies.
Songs of Note: "Back to Oz," "Murder and Crime."

Artist: Erin McKeown
Album: Kiss Off Kiss
Quick Thoughts: I've been a fan of Erin McKeown for a while, and her recent output has been solid, but this in particular is a rockin' good time. McKeown unleashes a lot of pent up energy here, and we all benefit from some of the most interesting songs she's put out in years.
Songs of Note: "Cupido Stupido," "Litany for a Minor Character," "Go Along / Get Along," "Landing Spot."

Artist: Poppy
Album: Flux
Quick Thoughts: So this is Poppy's first effort since her mainstream breakthrough, and first post-Titanic Sinclair album. It's distinctly Poppy, for certain, but it's definitely leaning more in the pop-punkish direction than the sort of metal-infused stuff that I really loved a couple years ago. This is really great, mind you, but it's different enough where it might be worth a look if you didn't like her previous direction.
Songs of Note: "Flux," "Her"

Of note:

* Lil Nas X - MONTERO (This won't do it for everyone, but it proves he's the real deal and "Old Town Road" wasn't a fluke.)
* Alessia Cara - In the Meantime (A true return to form.)
* Jose Gonzalez - Local Valley (I'm looking forward to more time with this.)
* Telyscopes - Spectacol /// (There are a lot of truly interesting parts in this album.)
* Alexa Rose - Headwaters (Don't overlook this one in a busy couple weeks.)
* The Queers - Reverberation (Covers album!)
* Public Service Broadcasting - Bright Magic (The sort of vaporwave/hauntology stuff I love.)
* The Ziggens - Oregon (Sort of like a bizarro version of The Coral, but in a good way.)
* The Felice Brothers - From Dreams to Dust (The Felice Brothers don't always work for me, but this is quite good.)
* Ada Lea - one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden (A solid listen with many good moments - "damn" is a dark horse song of the year candidate.)
* James Vincent McMorrow - Grapefruit Season
* Mac McCaughan - The Sound of Yourself
* The Ophelias - Crocus
* Film School - We Weren't Here
* Caleb Landry Jones - Gadzooks Vol. 1
* Solemn Brigham - South Sinner Street
* Lyra Pramuk - Delta
* Injury Reserve - By the Time I Get to Phoenix
* Becca Stevens and The Secret Trio - Becca Stevens and The Secret Trio
* Alex Paterson - Connecting the Dots
* Spencer Cullum - Spencer Cullum's Coin Collection
* Amon Tobin - How Do You Live
* Cold Beat - WAR GARDEN
* Natalie Imbruglia - Firebird
* Pool Boy - All Inclusive
* Bess Atwell - Already, Always
* Andy Shauf - Wilds
* Jelly Crystal - Freak Show
* Alice Hubble - Hexentanzplatz
* Spencer Cullum - Spencer Cullum's Coin Collection
* Joyer - Perfect Gray
* Proc Fiskal - Siren Spine Sysex
* Caitlin Jemma - True Meaning
* El Da Sensai and Jake Palumbo - Solving Cases
* HELIOCHRYSUM - We Become Mist
* Manu Delgado - Environ Me
* Cocktail Slippers - Shout It Out Loud!
* Mini Trees - Always in Motion
* We Were Promised Jetpacks - Enjoy the View
* Anna Egge - Between Us
* MarthaGunn - Something Good Will Happen


* Nora Brown - Sidetrack My Engine (Pure, beautiful bluegrass.)
* Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Emile Mosseri - I Could Be Your Dog (Prequel)
* Brigid Mae Power - Burning Your Light
* Rakhi Singh - Quarry
* Fatima Yamaha - Build Back Bangers
* Laura Jane Grace - At War With the Silverfish
* Breeze - Mixed Up
* 2PrivateMatters - Doubts Run Out
* Izzie Walsh - Ideals EP
* Sweet Nobody - We're Trying Our Best
* BAYLI - Stories From New York
* Hannah Georgas - All That Emotion (acoustic)
* Wolfy - Lofi Beats to Study and Take Me Home To
* Blood Red Shoes - ON THE HOOK
* Metronomy - Posse EP Vol. 1
* Alisa Amador - Narratives
* Machinedrum - Psyconia

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* The Beths - Auckland, New Zealand, 2020 (It's rare that I feel like a live album is mixed well, but this is mixed well.)
* Various Artists - I'll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute to The Velvet Underground and Nico (Solid options here.)
* Jesca Hoop - The Deconstruction of Jack's House (Reworks of her 2020 album.)
* Willy Mason - Bàs Slaodach (Instrumental reworkings from his recent album, this is an odd but compelling listen.)
* Matt Pond PA - The State of Gold (Reissue!)

Also out:

* Wesley Stace - Late Style
* Alicia Witt - The Conduit
* Killer Hearts - Skintight Electric
* Capgun Heroes - Last Call for Adderall

Broadcaster - "Vacation Days"

If you told me the new single from Broadcaster was a song on some random 90's soundtrack or compilation, I would have 100% believed you. "Vacation Days" is the most 90's thing I've heard in decades. It sounds like it belongs on the Empire Records or Clueless soundtrack, or a compilation from Geffen Records you bought for $4.00 to hear a few unreleased songs. It would have been that song you loved but could never find anything else about the band in the pre-internet age. "Vacation Days" has that same upbeat poppy alt-rock sound you'd hear with bands like Gin Blossoms or Letters to Cleo. Even though it's a brand new song, Broadcaster have given us this brand new slice of nostalgia that has me pulling out my copy of DGC Rarities Vol. 1.

You can listen to "Vacation Days" below. Joyride +3 is due out October 8 on Jumpstart Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Broadcaster, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter.

Little Lizard - "Crunchy"

I haven't heard a song this weird and fun in a long time. Haling from Minneapolis, Little Lizard just released "Crunchy." It's a bizarre little instrumental song that mixes sparse electronic elements via an 808 drum machine with horns, keyboards, and live bass lines. If you're of a certain age, this is going to remind you of 90's weirdo little side projects like Ad-Rock's BS 2000. This is definitely not going to be for everyone who reads this, but a lot of us are going to find this to be quite a bit of fun. I really hate using the word "quirky" because it can have some negative connotations, but it truly fits "Crunchy."

You can watch the live performance video for "Crunchy" below. The song is available now as a single via Guilt Ridden Pop. You can find it over at the band's Bandcamp. For more on Little Lizard, check out their website.

I Am a Rocketship - "Fever Dream"

Atlanta based American-Swedish duo I Am a Rocketship have released a new single that pushes on the boundaries of shoegaze. "Fever Dream" has all the drone and the traditional muddled tempo that you expect in a shoegaze song. There's a wall of noise lurking behind softly sung vocals, so we're talking classic stuff here. But I Am a Rocketship add almost a pop and/or folk quality to the song. There is a lot more vocal harmonizing than you could ever imagine in a shoegaze song that is normally more at home in a modern folk/pop song. Plus, there are strings and even times where the noise slowly fades away and leaves just harmony. You wouldn't expect any of that in a traditional shoegaze song, but it's great when bands like I Am a Rocketship expand on the genre.

You can watch the video for "Fever Dream" below. Lies and Legends is due out November 11. You can pre-order a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on I Am a Rocketship, check out the band's website.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Destroy Boys - "Escape"

Northern California's Destroy Boys are giving us another sample of their upcoming album before it's out next week. "Escape" is the kind of song that the crusty middle aged dude in me hates calling punk, although it is. Sure, "Escape" is quite poppy but still has just enough edge and crunch to it to keep it from being pure pop. That being said, this is such a poppy song. It's the level of pop that usually turns me off, but when a song is this great it's impossible not to love. Maybe it's the oddly 90's slacker vibe you can hear throughout, especially in the vocals. Not many bands can combine punk, 90's indie rock, and pop in a way that is this compelling, but Destroy Boys pull it off. Plus, there's a spoken part in the middle that sounds like it's a phone call which is making me oddly nostalgic for the late 80's.

Frontperson Alexia Roditis says of the new song:

“‘Escape’  is about wanting an out from the regular life I was living. I wrote it pre-pandemic, though you might not have known that if you listened to it. It’s about wanting to go on tour and wanting to escape reality in any way possible.”

You can listen to "Escape" below. Open Mouth, Open Heart is due out October 8 on Hopeless Records. You can pre-save or pre-order the album here. For more on Destroy Boys, check out the band's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the song.

SEP 30 The Dip @ Redding, CA
OCT 1 Bottom Of the Hill San Francisco, CA 
OCT 2 Harlow's Restaurant & Nightclub Sacramento, CA
OCT 3 The Holland Project Reno, NV
OCT 5  The Vera Project Seattle, WA
OCT 6 Lola's Room Portland, OR
NOV 19 Chain Reaction Anaheim, CA
NOV 20 VooDoo Room San Diego, CA
NOV 21 Nile Theater Mesa, AZ
NOV 23 Antone's Austin, TX
NOV 24 Ruins Dallas, TX
NOV 26  The End Nashville, TN
NOV 27 Purgatory At The Masquerade Atlanta, GA
NOV 28 Crowbar Tampa, FL
NOV 30 Local 506 Chapel Hill, NC
DEC 1  Songbyrd Music House Washington, DC
DEC 2 Space Ballroom Hamden, CT
DEC 3 Market Hotel Brooklyn, NY
DEC 4 First Unitarian Church Philadelphia, PA
DEC 5 Fête Music Hall Lounge Providence, RI
DEC 6  Brighton Music Hall Allston, MA
DEC 8 Mahalls Cleveland, OH
DEC 9 The Sanctuary Hamtramck, MI
DEC 10 FRI Cobra Lounge Chicago, IL
DEC 11 SAT Odyssey Lounge Springfield, MO
DEC 13 89th Street Collective Oklahoma City, OK
DEC 14 Launchpad Albuquerque, NM

Live Shows: Pete Bernhard and The Huntress and Holder of Hands, The Word Barn, Exeter, NH 9/25/21

Saturday was a ridiculous day filled with live shows in the Boston area. No matter what I chose, I was going to have some level of FOMO. But, I've been hoping to get back to The Word Barn before they close up their meadow stage for the season, and with a dual bill of Pete Bernhard of The Devil Makes Three and The Huntress and Holder of Hands playing solo, I truly couldn't pass that up. 

During the show, MorganEve Swain mentioned that she hates playing solo since it was all her and any mistakes couldn't be covered up. I was personally curious how The Huntress and Holder of Hands songs would work solo seeing that her music is quite noisy. Sure, it's primarily folk but with elements of indie rock and even metal it can get quite loud and discordant. Stripped down to just guitar and vocals her music was at its most bare bones. Swain played a good amount of new songs that were just being played live for the first few times, including last year's "Doctrine." If their solo form is this intriguing, I'm looking forward to see how they morph into album tracks. She also pulled out a cover of her late husband's (Dave Lamb) and a version of Alice in Chains' "Nutshell" that was mesmerizing. She closed with Brown Bird's "Bilgewater" to end a stellar solo set.

Pete Bernhard started his set almost immediately after Swain's ended due to the threats of rain that plagued the night. (Hoping that this show would be able to held outdoors led to constantly checking the weather all week and even all day, which was a rollercoaster.) He joked about trying to quit smoking and how he'd be angry is he died from something else right after quitting, and recommended not releasing an album during a pandemic. Obviously his solo sets are going to be a lot less raucous than a The Devil Makes Three show, but it was no less fun. He played the first half of his set truly solo and was joined by Swain on fiddle for the second half. The pair are playing a handful of smaller New England venues as a semi-tour, and you could just tell how happy they are to be playing live music again. I've coincidentally been on a Devil Makes Three kick lately, so seeing Bernhard playing solo in one of my favorite venues was serendipity. 

The magic of The Word Barn's meadow was in full display Saturday night. I don't know why outdoor concerts in New England have been sequestered to the summer for so long. With a slight chill to the air, a fire, cider donuts, and the leaves just starting to change color, late September is quite literally perfect. The sound of crickets (or frogs?) accompanying the music was lovely. Plus, MorganEve Swain's dog Zed joined in at some points, which was impossibly charming.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Kitner - "Malden, MA"

Photo by Brittany Rose Queen

It's been said that Boston's Kitner were created out of a love of both The Get Up Kids and The Replacements, which you're going to hear all over the band's music. Their latest single, "Malden, MA," also brings in some Dinosaur Jr love into the fold. The song starts off with some Bruce Springsteen style harmonica, but then the alt-rock kicks in and the song truly kicks off. If a song is going to be inspired by Dino Jr, it's going to need some huge guitar solos and "Malden, MA" provides those. As a Dinosaur Jr aficionado, I'm going to say the song sounds like post-Lou Barlow Dinosaur Jr around the time of "Feel the Pain" and "Start Choppin'." If you've been waiting for a full on Get Up Kids/Replacements/Springstreen/Dino Jr mash up, you're finally in luck!

You can listen to "Malden, MA" below. Shake the Spins (which will also songs named after such New England based places as Beth Israel, Orient Heights, and New Haven, CT) is due out October 1 on Relief Map Records. You can pre-order a copy here. For more on Kitner, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter.

Cuffed Up - "Bonnie"

Photo by Ana Karotkaya

Post punk has been having a huge resurgence the past few years, but no one has been doing it quite like Cuffed Up. The Los Angeles based band just released a new single, "Bonnie." It's definitely a post punk song, but it shatters what you would normally consider to be the genre. There's an intensity throughout the entire song, even during the more melodic pop leaning parts. But the song doubles down on the noise with plenty of classic indie rock feedback and forces in some grunge style crunching guitar. Post punk isn't usually this heavy or hard rocking, and it never combines this level of heavy with pop hooks. Cuffed Up are going to have some serious buzz behind them sooner than later.

The band explains how the new song is inspired by an alternate timeline Bonnie and Clyde:

""Bonnie” is an anti-love anthem about the grief and pitfalls of a serious relationship crumbling due to lies and deceit. This is explored through the eyes of Bonnie (of Bonnie & Clyde fame), in an alternative universe where Clyde selfishly leaves Bonnie for dead. Bonnie is arrested and she decides to give Clyde up to the cops out of pure spite. Not because he left her in a dangerous situation — purely because of the end of their romantic, albeit toxic relationship."

You can watch the video for "Bonnie" below. Asymmetry is due out October 22 on Royal Mountain Records. You can pre-order/pre-save a copy here. For more on Cuffed Up, check out the band's website. Upcoming tour dates opening for The Joy Formidable are below the video.

11/26 - The Crocodile - Seattle, WA
11/27 - Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, OR
11/29 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA
11/30 - The Roxy Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
12/02 - Crescent Ballroom - Phoenix, AZ
12/04 - Bluebird Theater - Denver, CO
12/05 - The Riot Room - Kansas City, MO
12/07 - Turf Club - Minneapolis, MN
12/09 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL
12/10 - A&R Music Hall - Columbus, OH
12/11 - Thunderbird Music Hall - Pittsburgh, PA
12/12 - 9:30 Club - Washington, DC
12/13 - The Sinclair - Boston, MA
12/14 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY
12/16 - Underground Arts - Philadelphia, PA
12/17 - Empire Underground - Albany, NY
12/18 - Higher Ground Showcase Lounge - Burlington, VT

Forgotten Friday: Kenickie - At The Club

Forgotten Fridays is an occasional feature here at If It’s Too Loud... where we go back and find the lost records of our glory days. We played these on our college radio shows, put them on countless mix tapes, and then forgot they existed. We go back and remind you of their existence, and help decide if they were any good.

Way back in the 1900s, if we had never heard of an opening band we had virtually no way of checking them out before the show. You either got there late to miss them or watched them blindly. Either way it was a roll of the dice since you could miss out on a life changing opening (Mogwai opening for Pavement comes to mind) or sit through the worst thirty to sixty minutes of your life. When I saw that dog. at The Middle East in Cambridge back in 1997 (I think?), I got there early enough to see Kenickie. It wasn't life changing, but I came back with a band I played constantly on my college radio show for the rest of the year.

Kenickie (obviously named after the character from Grease) lasted a mere four years and put out two albums. Hailing from Sunderland, they got pumped into the Britpop genre, which is pretty fair but they also combined pop punk and power pop into their sound. Their 1997 debut album At The Club is a combination of hyper Britpop singles mixed with some more lowkey power pop/alt-rock album tracks. There's a lot of electronic experimentation going on here, which makes sense in the post-Trainspotting scene. 

Listening to At The Club in 2021, it's surprising how well it holds up. The big singles, "In Your Car" and "Punka," seem a bit more dated than the rest, but that's only because all Britpop does in retrospect. The rest of the album definitely sounds like the mid-late 90's, which is when it was made, after all. It's shocking how many sounds this album encompasses. It bounces wildly between indie rock, Britpop, power pop, post-grunge, etc. from one song to another. While I consider that a huge plus, I wonder if the genre hopping turned off some listeners at the time. The crowd at The Middle East was an ultra-hipster one that didn't seem amused at a band that existed for pure fun. It's rare that I would have been the least jaded in a crowd, but I'm glad I came out of that night with a love of Kenickie.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Electric Petals - "Cherry Red"

Photo via Facebook

The latest single from The Electric Petals is going to remind you of Iggy Pop, and with good reason: "Cherry Red" is written as an homage to Iggy's period of time working with David Bowie in Berlin. While the song comes across as more modern than the classic period of 1977-1978, The Electric Petals nail the slinky and groovy aspects of Iggy's late 70's music. It could be the horn, but this is also giving me some Morphine vibes as well. 

In a Facebook post, the band explains the new song:

"Cherry Red paints a picture of stumbling into a dark and dingy alleyway door lit up with red light. Once stepping through the door, you feel energized and free, dancing in a dark room where you can only make out other dark silhouettes. It’s a feeling and experience that is few and far between at the moment and we wanted to bring that back: the exotic feeling of exploring an unknown city alone and stumbling into a hole in the wall that turns into an amazing night."

You can listen to "Cherry Red" below. Wild at Heart is due out sometime this Fall. For more on The Electric Petals, check out the band's website.


Photo via Facebook

Boston's Oompa is back with a new single. "OUTTA PATIENCE" would normally be a little too modern mainstream hip hop for my own personal taste, but this is Oompa who just can not make a great song. It's a fast paced track that gets a little more R&B or EDM than I would normally like, but Oompa keeps just enough of a hip hop edge in her verses to keep "OUTTA PATIENCE" great. This is the perfect kind of song to make both The Kids and us crusty old music fans happy. This is just a wonderfully fun modern hip hop song, and sometimes this is just the thing that we need.

You can listen to "OUTTA PATIENCE" below. Unbothered is due out October 1, with a release party on October 8 at The Paradise in Boston. For more on Oompa, check out the artist's website.

Heather Maloney - "Perch-less Bird"

Northampton, MA's Heather Maloney is known for crafting absolutely beautiful modern folk music, and her latest single is a perfect example. "Perch-less Bird" is perfect folk/pop. Maloney's vocals are truly the focus of the song with string arrangements accompanying a dance friendly beat. As the song goes on, it ever so slowly moves from a folk song to more of a pop/dance track. Maloney crafted this as a break up song, and the way it goes from melancholy to joyful seems to match the path of a break up in an ideal way.

In a press release, Heather Maloney says of the new song:

“When I originally sat down to write this song, I was giving myself a songwriting challenge to write a 'break-up' song because I’d never written one before. But the more I thought about it, I realized how many break-up songs have a clear victim/villain, and that they always seem to revolve around one very common theme: blame. In an effort to turn the camera away from whoever the finger is pointing at and focus on the finger-pointing itself, I ended up writing this song about blame and it’s role in our failed relationships. How tempting it is, how destructive it is, how effective it is at prohibiting us from the growth, peace, closure and relief that come with real accountability."

You can listen to "Perch-less Bird" below. The song is out now as a single via Signature Sounds. You can get a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on Heather Maloney, check out the artist's website.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

This Lonesome Paradise - "Needles & Pines"

Astoria, OR's This Lonesome Paradise make Americana, for lack of a better term. I only say that because we cover a lot of Americana here, and their new single "Needles & Pines" lands squarely in Americana, but it doesn't really sound like anything we've covered before. The song is an extremely dark version of the genre. Today is the first day of Autumn, and this is a perfect song to post for that. This is the soundtrack to chilly temperatures, earlier sunsets, trudging through leaves in the woods, and all around creepiness. "Needles & Pines" is a combination of dark lyrics with darker vocals, wailing harmonicas, and everything dripping in reverb that has us desperate for more.

You can watch the video for "Needles & Pines" below. Electric Dreams is due out on October 31 on American Standard Time Records. You can pre-order your copy over at Bandcamp. For more on This Lonesome Paradise, check out the band's website.

Buffalo Nichols - "How To Love"

Photo by Merrick Ales

Buffalo Nichols is an impossibly captivating performer. I discovered him opening for Drive-By Truckers, and anyone who can win over a crowd waiting for ear-splitting Southern rock with quiet solo blues as an unknown is a truly special performer. For a taste of the Nichols' live experience, you need to check out the live video of his latest single. "How To Love" is masterful. It's played with a guitar that seems wonderfully slightly out of tune. Nichols' voice sounds like it is coated with both honey and whiskey on this one. It's a beautiful song that's just rough around the edges enough to keep it interesting.

In a press release Buffalo Nichols says of the new song:

Here I'm exploring the necessity of empathy and attempting to better understand human behavior. One can be overly compassionate and forgive harm done in situations where boundaries should have been set.”

You can watch the video for "How To Love" 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 (once again opening for Drive-By Truckers) are below the video.

10/2/21 - St Louis, MO – The Pageant*
10/3/21 - Nashville, TN – 3rd & Lindsley
10/4/21 - Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium*
10/5/21 - Lexington, KY – The Burl
10/6/21 - Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue*
10/7/21 - Chicago, IL – The Hideout
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*
10/20 - Cincinnati, OH – MOTR Pub
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*
11/9/21 - Washington, DC – Songbyrd
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*
11/16/21 - Denton, TX – Andy’s
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