Tuesday, May 31, 2022

First Listen: New and Missed Music for 27 May

Artist: Bob Vylan
Album: Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life
Quick Thoughts: As I play a little long weekend catch-up, I tripped up on Bob Vylan and had my mind blown away. This British duo gives a real Public Enemy by way of Rage Against the Machine fronted by Dizzie Rascal sort of thing, and it comes together as loud, angry, and unapologetic. You don't have to agree with them to enjoy what's here, but the whole package from lyrics to presentation demands real attention. I don't see how this won't end up one of my favorites of the year, because it's that good. Drop whatever it is you're doing and listen to this album.
Songs of Note: "Big Man," "He Sold Guns," "Wicked & Bad," "Pretty Songs," "Whatchugonnado?"

Artist: Georgia Harmer
Album: Stay in Touch
Quick Thoughts: It's tricky to take Canadian singer-songwriters and not simply compare them to their predecessors, and it's difficult to listen to Georgia Harmer from time to time and not hear either her aunt, Sarah Harmer, in how she presents a melody, or Kathleen Edwards in how she turns a phrase. Then there are songs like "Headrush" and "All In My Mind" that sound specific and special to her, and before you know it, you realize you're listening to something truly special. This is a great listen that flew under a lot of radars and shouldn't have, because it's one of the better recent releases.
Songs of Note: "Headrush," "All In My Mind," "Just the Feeling"

Artist: Eliza and The Delusionals
Album: Now and Then
Quick Thoughts: I'm a sucker for polished power pop, and Eliza and The Delusionals have brought the heat since their first EP in 2017. Their long-awaited full-length debut delivers on all counts, harkening back to the Letters to Cleo/Veruca Salt vibes from the turn of the century, and it just rocks. Make time for this one.
Songs of Note: "Nothing Yet," "Lonely," "Bed Song," "Save Me"

Artist: Rosie Carney
Album: i wanna feel happy
Quick Thoughts: Rosie Carney's take on Radiohead's The Bends spent a good amount of time in rotation for me during the pandemic year, and this new album shows that some of the bedroom-style instrumentation and airy quality carried over to her original songwriting in all the right ways. "Ceiling" floats away in such a gorgeous way, and "sugar" has a perfect Julien Baker-esque build. I kept being surprised by this album, and I just loved every moment. Check it out.
Songs of Note: "ceiling," "sugar," "time waits for no waiting room"

Of note:

* Melissa Weikart - Here, There (Another great folky listen this week.)
* Wilco - Cruel Country (A solid return to their roots, literally and figuratively.)
* Stars - From Capelton Hill
* Maia Friedman - Under the New Light
* Companion - Second Day of Spring
* PENDANT - Harp
* Rip Room - Alight and Resound
* Cathedral Ceilings - Summer of Misguided Dynamite
* Slow Fawns - Isolation II
* Aaron Turner and Jon Mueller - In the Falls
* Seratones - Love & Algorhythms
* WhoMadeWho - UUUU
* Dehd - Blue Skies
* Heather Woods Broderick - Domes
* Alexia Avina - A Little Older
* Lost Cat - Lost Cat
* Liam Gallagher - C'Mon You Know
* Slang - Cockroach in a Ghost Town
* Steve Earle - Jerry Jeff
* Kwengface - YPB: The Archive
* Wild Wild Wets - Love Always
* HAAi - Baby, We're Ascending


* RudeGRL and Chris Constantinou - Femme Power
* Aquarian - Mutations II: Delicious Intent
* Coco Bryce - a Cherry Riddim
* Los Saints - Welcome to Confusion
* Your Old Droog - Yod Stewart

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Liam Gallagher - Down By the River Thames

Also out:

* Honeybee - Honeybee

Sarah Klang - "Belly Shots"

Photo by Fredrika Eriksson

Sweden's Sarah Klang has a new single out that sounds much more American than European, although it reminds me of a non-American artist. "Belly Shots" is a ballad that is steeped in 60's pop, but with a strong country/Americana feel to it, mostly in the guitars. It creates this easy going and captivating sound, although most of your focus is going to be on Klang's vocals. She just sucks the listener in with her quiet singing. "Belly Shots" is a mesmerizing blend of Americana mixed with retro 60's pop cool and modern alt-pop. It's like a combination of Julia Jacklin and early Molly Burch.

Sarah Klang says that “'Belly Shots' is about leaving your 20’s behind. A very much overrated time in your life, it turned out.”

You can watch the video for "Belly Shots" below. The song is out now on Pangur Records. For more on Sarah Klang, check out the artist's website.

Sweet Teeth - "No Me"

When I'm writing about a band, I like to have a unique perspective on them and not just mirror what is written in their press release or in pull quotes from other publications. But, as I was listening to the latest single from Sweden's Sweet Teeth, I kept thinking it sounded like Husker Du meets Dinosaur Jr. Reading their press release after, they kept being compared to both of those bands. Sometimes you just can't avoid what everyone else is saying. "No Me" just has that gruff but kinda poppy early alternative punk rock of both Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr. Plus it includes a guitar solo that just sounds like a J Mascis solo, and singer Andreas Axelson has more than a little of a Bob Mould thing going on in his vocals. Of course, if you're going to sound like other bands you could do a lot worse than Husker Du and Dinosaur Jr.

Sweet Teeth says of their new song:

"’No me’ was, if we remember correctly, the second song we ever wrote and you can sort of hear that. It is by far the most Hüsker Dü- inspired verse we’ve ever done, and in the beginning we were almost all about the Dü! Lyrically, it handles the most overtly punk stance you can have, namely ”I don’t care what anyone thinks about me and I’ll do what the f* I want”. Childish? Well maybe.. but does it ever get old? Never! The title comes from my nephew Bill, who said ’No me’ when he was angry…anyway, hope you enjoy it!"

You can listen to "No Me" below. High Anxiety is due out in the Fall on Lovely Records. For more on Sweet Teeth, check out the band on Facebook and Instagram.

Lou Barlow and Company - "Only Fading"

Lou Barlow has been making music for almost forty years now, but we haven't quite heard anything like his newest release. Credited to Lou Barlow and Company, Barlow has teamed with Eat Fire Spring for two new songs. "Only Fading" sounds solidly like Lou Barlow, but not quite what we've heard from him in the past. It certainly doesn't sound like Dinosaur Jr, Sentridoh, The Folk Implosion, or his folkier solo work. It sounds the most like Bakesale or Harmacy era Sebadoh, even though that doesn't fully explain the sound. Maybe it's more like his solo work, but a more rock version of that sound. But at this point in his career it's exciting to hear an artist like Barlow be able to change things up like this!

You can listen to "Only Fading" below. The song is available as a single with the B-side "Sacrifice" over at Bandcamp. For more on Lou Barlow, check out the artist's Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Aunt Kelly - "Worse For You"

Photo by Georgia Smith

So far we've brought you two songs from Chicago's Aunt Kelly: "Billboard Lady" and "Nurturing." While both are power pop songs, "Nurturing" was more alt-rock and "Billboard Lady" was more piano based pop that sounded like it could have been from musical theater. "Worse For You" is right in the middle. It's definitely a piano driven power pop song, but there is enough guitar to keep it still an alt-rocker. That being said, "Worse For You" is an upbeat pop song that is propelled by Kelly Hannemann's charm. Of course, with any upbeat pop-ish song that I like, the song's subject matter isn't quite as cheery as it sounds. The song is about living with bipolar disorder and how that impacts those around you.

You can watch the video for "Worse For You" below. Remember is due out June 10. For more on Aunt Kelly, check out the band's Facebook.

Momma - "Lucky"

Photo by Sophie Hur

Brooklyn's Momma have released a single that is going to be intensely nostalgic for those of us in our early to mid-forties. "Lucky" has that mid-90's alt-rock power pop sound that was all the rage then. Think bands like Weezer and Veruca Salt. It's all crunchy guitars and slacker solos. It's the kind of song that is deceptively heavy even though it's mid-tempo but filled with dreamy pop hooks. Plus, never before has anyone sung in a 90's slacker style as well as Etta Friedman and Allegra Weingarten do here. This song is much more poppy than we would have ever admitted in 1995, but this would have gone straight to the Buzz Bin back in the day.

Etta Friedman says of the new song:

“I wrote it after my significant other and I had to spend an unknown amount of time apart from each other on opposite sides of the country. I wanted it to feel anthemic, like a sappy and sentimental love song, but I still wanted to speak on how exciting it feels to know you found true treasure with someone you are in love with.” 

You can watch the video for "Lucky" below. Household Name is due out July 1 on Polyvinyl Record Co. and Lucky Number Music. The album can be pre-ordered and pre-saved here. For more on Momma, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.

08/12 - Providence, RI @ Fete Music Hall !
08/13 - Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground !
08/16 - New Haven, CT @ Toad's Place !
08/17 - Asbury Park, NJ @ The Stone Pony !
08/19 - Richmond, VA @ The National !
08/20 - Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa !
08/21 - Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre !
08/23 - Orlando, FL @ The Beacham Theater !
08/24 - Tampa, FL @ The Ritz Ybor !
08/26 - Birmingham, AL @ Saturn !
08/27 - Knoxville, TN @ The Mill & Mine !
08/28 - Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall !
08/30 - Bloomington, IL @ The Castle Theatre !
08/31 - Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre !
09/02 - Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall !
09/03 - St Louis, MO @ The Pageant !
09/04 - Columbus, OH @ The Athenaeum Theatre !
09/06 - Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theatre !
09/07 - Millvale, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre !
09/09 - Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore !
09/12 - Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall #
09/14 - Toronto, ON @ The Drake #
09/16 - Chicago, IL @ Sleeping Village # 
09/17 - Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club #
09/20 - Seattle, WA @ Barboza %
09/21 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios % 
09/23 - San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop %
09/24 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo %
09/25 - Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room % 
09/27 - Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar %
09/30 - Austin, TX @ Mohawk - Indoors ^
10/01 - Dallas, TX @ Three Links ^
10/02 - Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall - Upstairs ^ 
10/04 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl ^
10/07 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's #
10/08 - New York, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg #
! w/ Snail Mail
# w/ waveform*
% w/ Pardoner 
^ w/ teethe

Live Shows: Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves, Club Passim, Cambridge, MA 5/25/22

I almost skipped this show. With all of the horrific events of this week, I was in a fog all day Wednesday. I had little to zero motivation to do anything at work and just kind of went through the motions of my daily life. I certainly didn't expect to enjoy myself watching live music, and figured I might as well spend my evening doom scrolling while half paying attention to whatever I watched on TV. But... I headed into Cambridge and it ended up being just what I needed.

Somehow, even though I've been going to concerts in the Boston area regularly for over twenty five years and I've been listening to folk consistently for over ten, this was only my second time going to Club Passim. For those of you who don't know, Club Passim opened in 1958 as Club 47 and is just a legendary folk venue in Harvard Square. It's commencement week at Harvard, and as I walked through groups of graduating students and their parents, their cheer and hopefulness was fairly contagious. I'm a little too pessimistic to be fully cheered up from this, but it was at least nice to see people happy.

Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves were exactly what I needed Wednesday night. They played two sets. The first was mostly made up of songs from their 2019 self titled album and the second was mostly from their excellent 2022 album Hurricane Clarice. Their banjo and fiddle music just has a certain darkness to it, and sometimes that can be cathartic. The first set was mostly instrumentals, but when you're watching musicians as talented as these two, that's all you need. "I Don't Want to Get Married" was a highlight of the first set. I'm much more familiar with Hurricane Clarice, so the second set was my favorite of the night. "Ostrich with Pearls" was thrilling even without the recorded story from one of their relatives. The duo played a song called "Better Days Coming" that didn't make the album because it was too hopeful. As Tatiana Hargreaves said, "If you want to believe that, be my guest." 

Yeah, this kind of musical pessimism was exactly what I needed this week.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Goon - "Angelnumber 1210"

Photo by Josh Beavers

Goon feel like one of those bands I should know a lot better. Their latest single, "Angelnumber 1210," has a bit of a shoegaze or dream pop feel to it, but a much more organic version without that giant wall of fuzz shoegaze tends to have. But there is also an element of a more straightforward alt-rock sound, as well as more of an art rock vibe. Somehow "Angelnumber 1210" pulls off this bizarre sound that is relatively accessible while still having a unique and completely indie, non-mainstream thing going for it. It's like an odd combination of My Bloody Valentine, Pixies, and Neutral Milk Hotel, and that's just scratching the surface.

Frontman Kenny Baker explains the new song:

“My wife has always had a fondness for the number 1210, we always notice it when it pops up, and she even has it tattooed. I love being open to patterns and numbers like that. I don’t really believe that numbers have inherent prophetic meanings, but I do think they’re interesting and powerful in a way that kinda suggests some order behind the chaos of everything.”

You can watch the video for "Angelnumber 1210" below. Hour of Green Evening is due out July 15 and can be pre-ordered on Bandcamp. For more on Goon, check out the band's website.

Chelsea Rose - "Fallin'"

Los Angeles's Chelsea Rose has been described as a "sophisticated pop" artist. Her latest single, "Fallin'," truly encapsulates that description. It's a mostly spoken word song that leans towards the poetic side of spoken word. Rose's vocals have this easygoing intensity with a backdrop of a modern take on a 60's groovy bossa nova sound. It's the kind of style that feels both completely current while being retro cool. Chealse Rose's debut solo album could be an absolute treat once we get to hear it.

Chelsea Rose says of her new single:

"I never intended to write a spoken word song, but this one just came out that way, so I went with it. "Fallin'" tells the story of falling in love while out on the road; it tells the story of closeness, distance, longing, and an eventual ending of falling back into loneliness. Sometimes when I'm crushed and really going through heartbreak, writing is the only way to process and heal."

You can watch the video for "Fallin'" below. Truth or Consequences is due out June 3 on Paul Is Dead Records. The album can be pre-ordered here. For more on Chelsea Rose, check out the artist's website.

I AM - "Bend of the Universe (Trust With All Your Heart)"

Photo by Tiffany Smith

I AM is Isiah Collier on saxophone and Michael Shekwoaga Ode on drums. The closest genre their music is would be jazz, but they transcend that label with their music. Their latest single, "Bend of the Universe (Trust With All Your Heart)," is an experimental freak out with roots in jazz while still reaching past the confines of any one genre. At times the song is strange and discordant, but there's just something about it that will keep sucking you in. The sounds of saxophone and drums swirl around each other throughout the song, taking turns leading each other through this intense musical experiment.

You can watch the video for "Bend of the Universe (Trust With All Your Heart)" below. Beyond is due out June 10 on Division 81 Records, and can be pre-ordered here

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

First Listen: New Releases for 20 May 2022

Artist: Subjective
Album: The Start of No Regret
Quick Thoughts: When it comes to British breakbeat/drum'n'bass stuff, few are as great at it as Goldie is. Since he hit the scene in the 1990s, he's put out consistently solid material, and this new collaborative album with James Davidson is rock solid. Different enough to stand out, but familiar enough nonetheless, it hits its mark perfectly. If you're an electronic music fan, you owe it to yourself to listen to this one.
Songs of Note: "Lost," "Breakout," "Reflection"

Artist: Tess Parks
Album: And Those Who Were Seen Dancing
Quick Thoughts: Tess Parks made her debut album in 2013, and we haven't heard much from her solo since then. She has collaborated with Brian Jonestown Massacre singer Anton Newcombe on a few albums, though, and this sophomore individual effort definitely has shades of the stoner drone style and influence. I really and truly loved this listen, and I'm looking forward to going back through her whole catalog, but this is worth your time in a busy week.
Songs of Note:

Artist: Annie Hamilton
Album: the future is here but it feels kinda like the past
Quick Thoughts: To say I've been excited for this record for some time is an understatement. Ever since "Kitchen" from her debut EP dropped, she's been one of my favorites, and this full length effort shows the world that she's far from out of song ideas. A little anthemic, a little crunchy, with hooks upon hooks upon hooks, this is one of my favorites so far.
Songs of Note: "Exist," "Again," "Labyrinth"

Artist: SOAK
Album: If I never know you like this again
Quick Thoughts: Wanted to highlight SOAK in a busy week, as the last album was great and this one is as well. Really stellar indie singer-songwriter stuff here, and absolutely needs to be in the rotation.
Songs of Note: "purgatory," "neptune"

Artist: Jordana
Album: Face the Wall
Quick Thoughts: I liked Jordana's last album quite a bit, and her new effort continues this trajectory of smart and sharp singer-songwriter goodness. She's got a little more polish on this set of songs than what you might expect, but the result is some truly honest music from a pretty unique voice. Give this a listen.
Songs of Note: "Get Up," "Catch My Drift," "Play Fair"

Of note:

* Craig Finn - A Legacy of Rentals (A solid solo effort from the Hold Steady frontman.)
* Charlie Hickey - Nervous at Night (Singer-songwriter stuff that is full of good surprises.)
* mxmtoon - rising (Excellent, understated pop.)
* Sylvia Rose Novak - A Miss / A Masterpiece (Her best effort yet, with a lot of really great songs.)
* Matmos - Regards/Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer (A solid concept album from the experimental act; "Cobra Wages Shuffle" is great.)
* Boldy James and Real Bad Man - Killing Nothing
* Mary Lattimore and Paul Sukeena - West Kensington
* Harry Styles - Harry's House
* Daniel Villarreal - Panama '77
* Horse Meat Disco - Back to Mine
* Thomas Dollbaum - Wellswood
* Porridge Radio - Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky
* Uffie - Sunshine Factory
* Delta Spirit - One is One
* Banditos - Right On
* Ben Talmi - Berkshires
* Mavis Staples and Levon Helm - Carry Me Home
* John Doe - Fables in a Foreign Land
* Body Type - Everything is Dangerous But Nothing's Surprising
* Seth Walker - I Hope I Know
* Rodhad and JakoJako - In Vere
* Lykke Li - EYEYE
* Grant-Lee Phillips - All That You Can Dream
* Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Dirt Does Dylan
* Bird Language - 625 Days
* Tourist - Inside Out


* Have You Ever Seen the Jane Fonda Aerobic VHS? - Troglodyte
* Birdy - Earth: Taurus' Songs
* Paper Tigers - I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me This Sooner

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Undercover on the Streets: A Vagrant Records Tribute (Don't miss the "Chips Ahoy" and "At Your Funeral" covers.)
* The Muffs - Really Really Happybr> * Moby - Reprise - Remixes

Also out:

* Anvil - Impact is Imminent
* Merzbow - Animal Liberation - Until Every Cage is Empty

Andrea Gillis featuring Tanya Donelly - "About a Girl"

If you're not excited about Andrea Gillis and Tanya Donelly working on a song together, I don't know what to tell you. "About a Girl" is a perfect song for both Gillis and Donelly. It's a mainstream singer/songwriter, folk adjacent pop/rock song. It's right on the edge of being fully pop, but Gillis keeps just enough edge in her voice to keep it rock. Plus, I don't think anyone could ever complain about hearing Tanya Donelly's vocals for back up. Gillis's grit and Donelly's dream like harmonies make a stellar combination.

Andrea Gillis says of her new single:

"This song is about a girl; a girl in your world likely to forget...
"I wrote this tune not only with myself in mind, but also for all the girls that never really wanted to do the whole 'gotta be sexy so people will pay attention thing.' Though it is unavoidable, we all go through the phase, uncomfortably. We just do our thing.
"Hanging with our pals, rockin' out, getting 'real' jobs, having families, going out on weekends, etc.
"About A Girl is completely about what you hear on the recording, there are no hidden meanings or weird underlying things that I didn't want people to hear in case it wasn't 'cool.' This tune is from me to you ladies!
"My sister pal Tanya Donelly (Belly, Loyal Seas) finished this tune with her incredible voice, she took it to another place. I'm still pinching myself..
"No one is as lucky as I am. I love my band. There are no greater humans, EVAH."

You can listen to "About a Girl" below. The song is available as a single on Red On Red Records, and can be downloaded via Bandcamp. For more on Andrea Gillis, check out the artist's Facebook.

Dehd - "Window"

Photo by Atiba Jefferson

Chicago's Dehd are absolute masters of that newfangled punk that is infused with a ton of pop hooks without being even remotely pop punk. Their latest single, "Window," is this song that slowly builds into an absolute epic. It starts off slow and just builds and builds with all the power of a band like Pulp or U2, but a lower scale punk pop version. It's as catchy as possible without being too saccharine, and even had more than just a hint of an edge. And it does all this while remaining mostly a ballad. Dehd are the kind of band that are going to be huge by this time next year.

Emily Kempf says the new song is about "... “being obsessed with true love and the construct of ‘the one.’ I wrote it to address my addition to the terrible and wonderful pursuit of perfect love.”

You can watch the NSFW-ish video for "Window" below. Blue Skies is due out May 27 on Fat Possum. You can pre-save/pre-order the album here. For more on Dehd, check out the artist's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.

Wed. May 25 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom ! - SOLD OUTThu. May 26 - Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall !Fri. May 27 - Montreal, QC @ Theatre FairmountSat. May 28 - Toronto, ON @ Lee’sPalaceSat. Jun. 4 - Chicago, IL @ Metro * - SOLD OUTSat. Jun. 11 - New York, NY @ Governor's Ball Music FestivalSat. Jul. 9 - Chicago, IL @ Square Roots FestivalSun. Aug. 21 - Hasselt, BE @ PukkelpopMon. Aug. 22 - Rotterdam, NL @ RotownWed. Aug. 24 - Utrecht, NL @ Tivoli De HellingFri. Aug. 26 - London, UK @ All Points EastSun. Aug. 28 - Edinburgh, UK @ Connect FestivalSat. Aug. 30 - Birmingham, UK @ The Castle & FalconSun. Aug. 31 - Cambridge, UK @ Junction 2Fri. Sep. 2 - Wiltshire, UK @ End of the Road FestivalThu. Sep. 4 - Maastricht, NL @ Bruis FestivalWed. Sep. 21 - Madison, WI @ Majestic TheatreThu. Sep. 22 - Omaha, NE @ SlowdownFri. Sep. 23 - Denver, CO @ The SummitSat. Sep. 24 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The DepotTue. Sep. 27 - Portland, OR @ Crystal BallroomWed. Sep. 28 - Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw TheatreFri. Sep. 30 - Seattle, WA @ Showbox at the MarketSat. Oct. 2 - San Francisco, CA @ August HallWed. Oct. 5 - Los Angeles, CA @ Belasco TheaterThu. Oct. 6 - San Diego, CA @ Observatory North ParkFri. Oct. 7 - Tucson, AZ @ Rialto TheaterSat. Oct. 9 - Austin, TX @ ACL FestWed. Oct. 12 - Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine TheaterThu. Oct. 13 - Phoenix, AZ @ The Van BurenSun. Oct. 16 - Austin, TX @ ACL FestFri. Oct. 21 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn SteelSat. Oct. 22 - Philadelphia, PA @ The FillmoreSun. Oct. 23 - Washington, DC @ Black CatTue. Oct. 25 - Boston, MA @ RoyaleWed. Oct. 26 - Montreal, QC @ Corona TheatreThu. Oct. 27 - Toronto, ON @ Opera HouseWed. Nov. 2 - Milan, IT @ MagnoliaThu. Nov. 3 - Aaru, CH @ KiffMon. Nov. 7 - Copenhagen, DK @ LoppenTue. Nov. 8 - Stockholm, SE @ KristallenWed. Nov. 9 - Oslo, NE @ John DeeFri. Nov. 11 - Hamburg, DE @ MolotowSat. Nov. 12 - Brussels, BE @ Grand SalonWed. Nov. 16 - Bristol, UK @ The LanesThu. Nov. 17 - Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social ClubFri. Nov. 18 - Sunderland, UK @ Pop RecsSat. Nov. 19 - Glasgow, UK @ Oran MorSun. Nov. 20 - Dublin, IE @ Button Factory *  w/ Pixel Grip! w/ 81355

Frances Chang - "support your local nihilist"

Photo by Em Joseph

Brooklyn's Frances Chang just released one of the most sonically interesting songs of the year. "support your local nihilist" is either an art punk song masquerading as a pop song or a pop song masquerading as an art punk song. Chang's vocals are pure pop, almost like the Top 40 kind but probably a little too indie pop... most of the time. But this single couldn't be considered pop by any stretch of the imagination. It's an absurdly noisy song that's structure devolves completely by the end. It's just buzzing guitars that eventually just implode. What's bizarre is how much harmony exists in "support your local nihilist." This is the kind of song you're going to either love or hate, but you'll at least find it intriguing either way.

You can watch the video for "support your local nihilist" below. The album support your local nihilist is due out July 22 on destiny is a dog and can be pre-ordered through Bandcamp. For more on Frances Chang, check out the artist on Instagram and Twitter.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Mamalarky - "You Know I Know"

It's been a little while since we've heard from Mamalarky. On their new single, the band keeps a little bit more of the psychedelia meets R&B sound they had on "Will I See U?," last year's collaboration with Benet. "You Know I Know" is a little but more pop than the previous single, and goes towards psychedelic pop. There is still enough noise in here for indie rock fans, particularly in the clangy guitar. Yeah, that's right, Mamalarky makes guitars clang in a pop song. It's a truly unique sound coming from a band that's starting to be known for surprising us over their short two year span of being a band.

Livvy Bennett says of the new song:

"'You Know I Know' was never supposed to come out, but my bandmates told me it would make for a great single. I accidentally wrote a rock banger that sounded like it could have come out in 2007, like MGMT meets Weezer meets Sheryl Crow. "The song is about growing up in Texas and having really overwhelming dreams of playing music and takin' it on the road. Having those dreams come to fruition recently has been exciting and has further grounded me in appreciating how much Texas, and Austin specifically, gave us the proper nutrients to do what we're doing now."It's also a bit about, ya know, death and impermanence. Having all your accomplishments and high notes framed by mortality is a good way to make sure you're taking it all in."

You can watch the video for "You Know I Know" below. The song is available now as a single via Fire Talk Records. For more on Mamalarky, check out the band's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.

7/5 - Asheville, NC - the Grey Eagle*7/6 - Atlanta, GA - Aisle 5 *7/7 - Nashville, TN - Third Man Records* 7/8 - Memphis, TN - Hi-Tone Cafe* 7/10 - Dallas, TX - Deep Ellum Art Company* 7/11 - Austin, TX - Antone's* * = w/ Jerry Paper

Live Shows: Bob Mould and J. Robbins, Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center, Greenfield, MA 5/22/22

Bob Mould and J. Robbins are both legendary punk rockers who have been doing solo work as of late. The two are currently on a tour together showing the different ways punk rockers can go solo in different styles. Sunday night they came to Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center, and I could not resist checking it out.

First of all, I have to say that I love how fantastic music venues are popping up in cities and towns not really known as huge music hubs. Places like Hawks and Reed and NOVA Arts in Keene are great alternatives to every concert being in Boston or Providence. Not dealing with traffic and having plenty of parking is never a bad thing, and these venues are first class and not just a PA in the corner of a rec center.

I'm much less familiar with J. Robbins, either as a solo artist or with Jawbox. (I know, I know... I need to listen to Jawbox more.) Robbins is doing the more traditional punk goes solo thing. His set was seated with an acoustic guitar. He even brought along cellist Gordon Withers for the tour. The cello was a great addition, adding some intensity to the music. Odd that a cello adds some punk to a show, but here we are! Robbins had a great set mostly taken from his 2019 album Un-becoming. I'll have to fall down a Jawbox/J. Robbins rabbit hole this week.

I've seen Bob Mould as Bob Mould Band before, but never solo. Turns out there's not truly a difference between the two. Instead of a more traditional solo show on acoustic guitar, Mould attacked his electric guitar like he had a full backing band. His songs don't lose any intensity with just him, and he certainly isn't playing them in a more relaxed manner. Mould got just as sweaty and his glasses just as foggy as any full band show you've ever seen. He bounced around the stage so much his microphone was swaying along with him. He made full use of the stage, stalking it and moving around the full area when he wasn't singing. Not only were Husker Du classics like "I Apologize" and the show closing "Something I Learned Today" highlights, but a newer song like "Siberian Butterfly" off 2020's Blue Hearts held right up with his classics. No matter what form Bob Mould takes next tour, be sure to get out to see him.

Officer X - "Moon Man"

Photo by Lauren Mangini

I'm not a huge metal guy, but I grew up in the 1980's so I have to have at least a little bit of an appreciation for the genre. Every now and then, a band just clicks with me. Officer X are one of those. The Boston band's new single, "Moon Man," sounds like classic heavy metal. This song is back when metal could be fun instead of trying to be scary and lacking anything resembling melody. Maybe it's just that singer Rodrigo van Stoli (who was also in Bang Camaro, which makes perfect sense) sounds a lot like Joey Belladonna, but "Moon Man" reminds me a lot of classic 80's Anthrax. It has that epic sound is a little but more fun that trying to be badass.

Rodrigo van Stoli says of the new song:

“I wrote the lyrics after reading The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall, an 1835 short story by Edgar Allan Poe. It's about a businessman from Rotterdam who runs into all kinds of trouble with clients and creditors, and decides to build a balloon and escape to the moon. The lyrics take that as a launchpad. There are lots of references to the original story in the lyrics – the whole trip took 19 days, for example. Once the idea took shape it all became more abstract, and like most of my lyrics it was more about words that sounded good and worked with the music.” 

You can watch the video for "Moon Man" below. For more on Officer X, check out the band on Facebook and Twitter.