Friday, June 2, 2023

Speedy Ortiz - "You SO2"

Photo by Sherviz Lainez

The latest from Speedy Ortiz seems to combine their two sounds. "You SO2" has plenty of indie rock guitar throughout, which is more in line with their earlier releases. But there is still plenty of the pop sound the Philadelphia based band has been playing with lately. In fact, "You SO2" might be the band's most pop/dance oriented track to date despite how much rock guitar it contains. It's a fun song that showcases everything we've come to love about Speedy Ortiz over the last ten years, and how far they've come as a band during that time period.

You can watch the video for "You SO2" below. Rabbit Rabbit is due out September 1 on Wax Nine Records, and is available for pre-order here. For more on Speedy Ortiz, check out the band's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.

July 28 - Chicago, IL @ Wicker Park Fest

July 29 - Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen (w/ The Good Life)

Sep 5 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's

Sep 6 - Kingston, NY @ Tubby's

Sep 7 - Hamden, CT @ The Space

Sep 8 - Somerville, MA @ ONCE at the Center For Arts at The Armory

Oct 18 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat

Nov 2 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo

Nov 6 - San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop

Nov 8 - Portland, OR @ Polaris Hall

Nov 16 - Denver, CO @ Globe Hall

Nov 17 - Omaha, NE @ Slowdown

Nov 18 - Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck

Dec 16 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom

Rebuilder - "Hold On"

It took me a while to hop aboard the Rebuilder bandwagon, but now that I'm fully on I'm thrilled to bring you their latest song. "Hold On" is filled with that intense energy that is a hallmark of a Rebuilder song. It's upbeat and bouncy pop punk that is in stark contrast to the lyrical subject matter. It's a fast paced and heavy pop punk anthem about how terrible the world is and not knowing what to do about it. It's definitely not your typical pop punk subject, but Rebuilder isn't (but is?) your typical pop punk band. "Hold On" is perfect for live show sing-a-longs by being one of the most contagiously catchy songs around right now. Even if you typically turn your nose at pop punk, you owe it to yourself to give Rebuilder a chance. You'll thank me for this one some day.

You can watch the video for "Hold On" below. The song is available via A-F Records. For more on Rebuilder, check out the band on Facebook and Instagram.

Saltwater Hank - "Nii Wila Waalt"

Saltwater Hank is a First Nations Ts'msyen artist that combines his love of country and roots music with his own heritage. His upcoming album is written entirely in the Ts'msyen language Sm'algyax, and the first single is "Nii Wila Waalt." The song defies anything that you're expecting to hear. It's driven by a heavy, electric blues guitar along with some country style fiddle. "Nii Wila Waalt" is surprisingly heavy, and the combination of blues guitar with country fiddle would be enough to sell us on the song. But then you add in Saltwater Hank's traditional singing, and it just adds in an entirely new element. Sure, you're heard blues songs, country songs, and traditional First Nations music before, but never put together quite like this.

Saltwater Hank says of his new song:

"This is a series of natural events that indicate when we are supposed to harvest things. These protocols have been passed down since time immemorial, and are really indicative of how the gregorian calendar just does not make sense to us. We go after salmonberries when the ripening bird sings, and that’s that. We only harvest in good weather, because the weather is a very powerful thing that is meant to be respected. We always harvest our seaweed first because we have to dry it right away. If we strip cedar bark, the old people say it will rain, and we can’t dry our seaweed outside if it’s raining. If we strip the cedar bark too early it will also hurt the tree."

You can listen to "Nii Wila Waalt" below. G̱al’üünx wil lu Holtga Liimi is due out July 1, and is available for pre-order through Bandcamp. For more on Saltwater Hank, check out the artist's website.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Live Shows: En Attendant Ana, Adult Learners, and Hands & Knees, O'Brien's Pub, Allston, MA 5/29/23

Memorial Day weekend was pretty bonkers in the Boston area. There was the massive Boston Calling that took over everyone's attention, plus just about every other music venue was hosting a killer line up of bands. It was such a strong weekend of live music that I was starting to regret my plans of seeing En Attendant Ana at O'Brien's, even if it was the French band's first time playing in Boston in five years. Turns out my decision was perfect as Monday night had one of the best performances of the year.

En Attendant Ana didn't have to be great. They were playing a dive bar with a capacity of seventy-five, and it wasn't sold out. It was the kind of night that saw the TV still on with people angrily yelling about the Celtics game instead of watching the bands play. But En Attendant Ana pulled off a mystifying performance. Stereolab is the obvious band to compare them to, due to musical style and their country of origin, but live they ended up being so much more. There was a much more focus on rock that offset the French pop/twee sound to a stunning degree. Songs like "Same Old Story" and "Principia" were mesmerizing live. The crowd started off with the standard five foot indie rock semicircle around the stage, but as the night went on we were all slowly pulled closer and closer to band without even realizing it. It was a night of pure joy, as any expectation was met and exceeded wildly. By the time they closed with "Wonder," the dozens in attendance were enraptured. The song was the perfect choice to close, as it just builds and builds into a perfect crescendo for the night. And then they ended with a perfect cover of The Pogues' classic "I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day." It was just a perfect night of music.

Adult Learners played second Monday night. They played a set of ultra-sugary sweet indie rock/power pop songs, but sped up at a furious rate. It was such a fast set that they appeared to run out of songs on the setlist, so they had to choose a few on the fly to close out their set. They were truly fun with catchy songs, so let's hope they end up playing more shows soon.

Hands & Knees opened up the night, playing their first show in five years. They seemed a bit rusty, but in a way that worked with their sound. They play music that also qualifies as twee, but with too heavy of a guitar sound. And just a little of a country/Americana twang. Hopefully they don't wait until 2028 to play another show, because they have a really fun vibe.

Trash Rabbit - "Ace Anthem"

Boston's Trash Rabbit are proud to be an emo band, and their latest single is defiantly emo. But "Ace Anthem" is more than just your typical emo song. It takes all of the elements that make up the genre and then just expands on them. There is much more indie rock style guitar in "Ace Anthem," and the song just has a pure groove to it. There's an odd undercurrent of 60's style psychedelia that was a wild surprise, and it dares you not to dance. Emo isn't usually inspired by music from six decades ago, but Trash Rabbit have brought in such a great element to this song. This might be one of the most brilliant and creative songs in the normally strict genre in a long, long time.

You can listen to "Ace Anthem" below. For more on Trash Rabbit, check out the band's website.

Palehound - "My Evil"

Photo by Tonje Thilesen

The latest from Palehound shows El Kemper's project sounding nothing like we'd come to expect. "My Evil" starts off in a fairly standard way. It's not quite folk, an it's not quite indie rock. The song exists in the realm in between that is what we've come to love from Palehound. But then the song's chorus comes in boldly with much more low end than expected. It's such a dark turn and creates a truly cinematic sound for "My Evil." Kemper is an artist that is starting to come fully into their own, and is confident enough to make such surprising moves. The best musical explorations tend to keep true to what fans love about a band, and just expanding that musical universe.

El Kempner says of their new song:

“'My Evil' is about the extremely humbling experience of realizing that yes, you Are the asshole. I found myself acting in ways I was ashamed of, and realizing how capable I was of hurting somebody when I was trying so hard not to. Sometimes when you try so hard to be a 'good person' you’re actually swinging so far and recklessly that you make a full circle back to being a shithead. It can be very hard to forgive yourself, and this song is a portrait of that struggle for me.”

You can watch the video for "My Evil" below. Eye on the Bat is due out July 14 on Polyvinyl, and is available for pre-order here. For more on Palehound, check out the artist on Instagram and Facebook. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.

10/17: Syracuse, NY @ The Lost Horizon # 

10/19: New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom #

10/20: Philadelphia, PA @ The Foundry #

10/21: Washington, DC @ Union Stage # 

10/23: Richmond, VA @ Richmond Music Hall #

10/24: Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall #

10/25: Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade - Purgatory # 

10/26: Nashville, TN @ Blue Room @ Third Man # 

10/28: Austin, TX @ TBA 

10/29: Oklahoma City, OK @ Factory Obscura

11/01: Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge $ 

11/02: San Diego, CA @ Casbah $ 

11/03: Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room $ 

11/04: San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel $ 

11/06: Seattle, WA @ Madame Lou’s $ 

11/07: Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios $ 

11/09: Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court $ 

11/10: Denver, CO @ Globe Hall $ 

11/11: Fort Collins, CO @ The Coast $ 

11/14: Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry $ 

11/15: Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon $ 

11/17: Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle $ 

11/18: Columbus, OH @ A&R Music Bar $

# w/ Empath

$ w/ alexalone

Be Your Own Pet - "Worship the Whip"

Photo by Kirt Barnett

Here are words I couldn't be more excited to write: Be Your Own Pet are about to release their first album in fifteen years. The new single off that album, "Worship the Whip," sounds exactly like what we want Be Your Own Pet to sound like in 2023. It still has that noisy punk aspect, but a tiny bit mellowed out. It also fits in perfectly with the current breed of punk that is more than a little dance friendly. All this truly does is show how far ahead Be Your Own Pet was back when they first started out. "Worship the Whip" exceeds all expectations we could have possibly had about a BYOP reunion.

Vocalist Jemina Pearl Abegg says of the band's new song:

“‘Worship The Whip’ is about the right wing authoritarian personality. Aggressive and domineering to people who don’t think like them, while at heart being a submissive to the authority figures who use and abuse them.” 

You can watch the video for "Worship the Whip" below. Mommy is due out August 25 via Third Man Records, and is available for pre-order here. For more on Be Your Own Pet, check out the band on Instagram and Facebook. Upcoming tour dates are below the video. (Alas, no New England dates as of yet...)

6/3 - Primavera Sound - Barcelona, Spain 

6/5 - Third Man - London, UK *SOLD OUT *

6/6 - The Moth Club - London, UK * SOLD OUT *

6/7 - The Moth Club -  London, UK *SOLD OUT *

6/10 - Primavera Sound - Madrid, Spain

9/16 - Third Man Records Blue Room - Nashville, TN

10/18 - Local 506 - Chapel Hill, NC 

10/19 - Union Stage - Washington, DC  

10/21 - Elsewhere Hall - Brooklyn, NY  

10/22 - Underground Arts - Philadelphia, PA

10/23 - Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland, OH

10/24 - Third Man Records - Detroit, MI

10/25 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL

10/27 - The Back Room at Colectivo - Milwaukee, WI

10/29 - Headliners Music Hall - Louisville, KY

11/8 - Soda Bar - San Diego, CA

11/9 - Teragram Ballroom - Los Angeles, CA

11/11 - Great American Music Hall - San Francisco, CA

11/12 - Moe’s Alley - Santa Cruz, CA

11/14- Harlow’s - Sacramento, CA

11/16 - Star Theater - Portland, OR

11/17- Neumos - Seattle, WA

11/18 - The Pearl - Vancouver, BC

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Bedroom Eyes - "Brood"

Boston's own Bedroom Eyes are set to release their first new music in four years, and judging by the first single, it's gonna be epic. "Brood" has this fantastic blend of slacker rock meets shoegaze. It's filled with some of the most distorted guitars of this century swirling and swirling around you. There is also some lovely examples of the whole loud/quiet/loud dynamic, except this might be more soothing/pounding/soothing. "Brood" feels like such a dream, the kind where you're just strapped in and enjoying the ride your subconscious is taking you on. As intense as Bedroom Eyes can get, it's an oddly melancholy song at times.

You can listen to "Brood" below. Turned Away is due out July 18 via a La Carte Records, and is available for pre-order through Bandcamp. For more on Bedroom Eyes, check out the band on Instagram and Facebook.

Grrrl Gang - "Spunky!"

Photo by Tiny Studio

When a band calls themselves Grrrl Gang, you can basically guess what they sound like, and you would not be wrong. The Jakarta based band might add a little more pop into their blend of riot grrrl based punk, but I can't imagine anyone who loves punk isn't going to like "Spunky!" It's a fast paced punk rocker that still has a melodic edge to it that keeps the song surprisingly fun. It sounds more like if The Beths decided to go more punk, and if that doesn't appeal to you, I have no idea what you're even doing here.

The song describes singer Angeeta Sentana's experiences during a manic episode. She explains:

“I feel like I’m on top of the world, untouchable. I do things without thinking, always chasing after that feeling of instant gratification. I feel extra confident in myself—to a point of grandiose thinking—and that I could do anything."

You can watch the video for "Spunky!" below. The album Spunky! is due out September 22 on Kill Rock Stars (US), Trapped Animal Records (Europe), and Big Romantic Records (Japan and Taiwan). It's available for pre-order here. For more on Grrrl Gang, check out the band on Instagram and Twitter.

The Natvral - "Lucifer's Glory"

The Natvral (aka Kip Berman's post The Pains of Being Pure at Heart musical project) is back with new music. "Lucifer's Glory" continues Berman's dabbling into t6he world of Americana, but this single amps it up a notch. Considering Berman now lives in New Jersey, it's very easy to compare any roots based singer/songwriter to Bruce Springsteen, but in the case of this song it's also very apt. "Lucifer's Glory" isn't quite as anthemic as Springsteen's arena rock hits, but it's also not quite as stripped down as Nebraska. This one is more like early Springsteen when he was still working it out at The Stone Pony and before he was a national sensation. The star quality is still there, but in a bit of a more scrappy, indie rock kind of way.

Kip Berman says of his new single:

"Don’t let the title fool you— It’s not a full throated 'Hail Satan,' but it is full throated. I suppose I could’ve called it 'Paradise Lust.'"When you hit rock bottom, but wish you could fall deeper - when you’re proud to lose, ‘cuz you know the kind of people who win- when only what’s missing remains…"Sure, It’s perverse, crushing, and wrong. But it’s also alright. There were other options, but only one choice. That’s Lucifer’s Glory."

You can listen to "Lucifer's Glory" below. Summer of No Light is due out September 1 on Dirty Bingo Records, and is available for pre-order through Bandcamp. For more on The Natvrl, check out the artist's website.

Kiltro - "Softy"

Photo by Julien Brier

We loved the unique blend of Latin rhythms, folk, and dance music we heard in Kiltro's previous two singles, but their latest seems to have come out of nowhere. "Softy" still has all of those elements, but it's both the most mainstream pop of their previous singles while still being the most left-field. The Denver based band have created a song that almost sounds like something that could easily be played on an Adult Contemporary radio station if it wasn't so odd. It's just soaking in too much reverb to ever to considered mainstream, even though Chris Bowers Castillo just has a voice your mom would adore. 

You can listen to "Softy" below. Underbelly is due out June 2. For more on Kiltro, check out the band's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the song.

June 1 - Denver, CO - Mercury Cafe

June 21 - Detroit, MI - Lager House

June 22 - Columbus, OH - Woodlands

June 24 - Bethlehem, PA - Sabor Festival

June 25 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s

June 26 - Cambridge, MA - Club Passim

June 28 - Brooklyn, NY - Baby’s All Right

June 29 - Vienna, VA - Jammin Java

June 30 - Richmond, VA - Richmond Music Hall

July 1 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle

July 3 - Nashville, TN - The Basement

July 6 - Madison, WI - The Bur Oak

July 7 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry

July 8 - Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen

August 9 - San Francisco, CA - Cafe Du Nord

August 10 - Los Angeles, CA - Gold-Diggers

August 11 - Pioneertown, CA - Pappy's & Harriets

August 13 - Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar

August 16 - Austin, TX - Ballroom

August 17 - Houston, TX - WOMH Upstairs

August 18 - Dallas, TX - Club Dada

August 19 - Oklahoma City, OK - Resonant Head

August 25 - Denver CO - VORTEX 2023 at The JunkYard

September 14 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir

September 16 - Vancouver, BC - The Cobalt

September 17 - Seattle, WA - Barboza

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

First Listen: New Releases for 26 May 2023

Artist: Miya Folick
Album: ROACH
Quick Thoughts: Miya Folick has carved a nice little singer-songwritery niche for herself in recent years, and her latest effort feels like a leveling up of sorts. Solid, compelling songwriting and interesting instrumentation make for a really great album that could serve to launch her into the bigger conversation.
Songs of Note: "Bad Thing," "Get Out of My House," "Drugs or People," "Cartoon Clouds," "Shortstop"

Artist: Kassi Valazza
Album: Kassi Valazza Knows Nothing
Quick Thoughts: This album made both of our shortlists this week, and it delivers. It's a gorgeous slice of Americana with enough familiar trappings to offset its own unique voice. I loved, loved, loved this album and would recommend it even in a busy week. Absolutely worth your time.
Songs of Note: "Song for a Season," "Rapture," "Smile"

Artist: Clark
Album: Sus Dog
Quick Thoughts: Clark is a producer/musician who just quietly released one of the better electronic records in recent memory. I tripped up on this because of the Thom Yorke guest spot on "Medicine," but the whole album expertly straddles the line between challenging IDM and more straightforward club bangers. A mandatory listen this week.
Songs of Note: "Town Crank," "Clutch Pearlers," "Medicine"

Artist: Pink Birds
Album: All is Free and Better
Quick Thoughts: Pink Birds is the perfect act for our time. The modern incarnation of Ladies Gun Club bills themselves as "Emmylou Harris meets PJ Harvey" and I cannot agree more. It's got a sort of smoky barroom feel while never being predictable, and for every song like "Wake Me," you get a more aggressive "Jacksmoke" or the absolutely manic Bjork cover. This is my favorite listen this week by far, and you shouldn't miss it.
Songs of Note: "Wake Me," "Howling Wind," "Crawling Down the White Line," "Trophies," "Jacksmoke," "Army of Me"

Artist: Yuksek
Album: Dance'O'Drome
Quick Thoughts: Yuksek continues with the disco revivalist mindset we've come to see in some recent releases. This is a fun and upbeat listen with some serious danceability and hooks for days - "The Night" in particular is a favorite of the week overall. Definitely check this one out.
Songs of Note: "Santas Almas Benditas," "Overly Human," "The Night," "Dance'O'Drome"

Artist: Twin Princess
Album: Blood Moon
Quick Thoughts: A shout-out to Twin Princess, who supply a fun record this week that's filled with all the sort of synthy goodness you come to expect these days. I loved this album in so many ways, and if "Allston" doesn't grab you I don't know what to say. Just a solid album from start to finish.
Songs of Note: "Allston," "Blood Moon"

Of note:

* Sparks - The Girl is Crying in Her Latte (A fairly solid new effort from the legends of art pop.)
* Jam City - Jam City Presents EFM
* Divine Sweater - Down Deep (A Nautical Apocalypse)
* sophie meiers - shine__space
* AJJ - Disposable Everything
* M. Sage - Paradise Crick
* Stuck - Freak Frequency
* Miranda & the Beat - Miranda & the Beat
* Ultramarine - Send and Return
* Kevin Morby - More Photographs (A Continuum)
* Arlo Parks - My Soft Machine
* Water From Your Eyes - Everyone's Crushed
* Radiator Hospital - Can't Make Any Promises


* Saya Gray - QWERTY
* The Dandy Warhols - The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
* Fishbone - Fishbone
* Dev Lemons - Delusional
* Luxury Deathtrap - This Armor
* Grave Saddles - There You Ain't
* Only Child - Srs One
* Loyal Lobos - Una Freak
* quickly, quickly - Easy Listening
* Daði Freyr - I'm Still Making an Album 2/3
* The Orielles - The Goyt Method
* UgLi - girldick.
* Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves - Hurricane Clarice: Outtakes, Vol. 1

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Toad the Wet Sprocket - All You Want (Bonus Edition)
* Noisia - The Resonance IV

Also out:

* Panic Pocket - Mad Half Hour

Wobbly featuring Ana Machado - "White Eggs"

Wobbly is the musical project of San Francisco multimedia artist, composer, and improviser Jon Leidecker. He's also a member of Negativland and Thurston Moore Group. His latest single under Wobbly, "White Eggs," is a bizarre electronic song with Ana Machado on vocals. It's experimental electronic music that still has enough of a semblance of song structure to be mostly able to be danced to... kinda. It's a little jerky and has a unique rhythm that doesn't exactly make sense, but this isn't just experimental electronic music to stroke your chin to. It's relatively laid back, but will still inspire movement in the listener, as long as they have an open enough mind.

You can listen to "White Eggs" below. Additional Kids is due out June 9 on Hausu Mountain Records, and is available for pre-order through Bandcamp. For more on Wobbly, check out the artist on Bandcamp.

Joe Gittleman - "Carrie O"

Joe Gittleman, who you might know as the bass player of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, has a new single out that is the most Bosstones sounding song he's released so far. "Carrie O" is a laid back ska song with plenty of horns (provided by members of Big D and The Kids Table) and ska style guitar. This is what a band like the Bosstones should have aged into. It has all of the fun of classic ska-core, just in a much more chilled our form. It's the perfect song for everyone that now puts orthopedic inserts into out checkered Vans. Plus, all of the talk in the song about the South Carolina shore gives "Carrie O" the perfect laid back summer vibe.

You can listen to "Carrie O" below. The song will be included on a split 12" with Bad Operation due out June 16 on Bad Time Records. This is available for pre-order here. For more on Joe Gittleman, check out his Instagram.

Buck Meek - "Haunted Mountain"

Photo by Sherin Lainez

Aside from being the guitarist in Big Thief, Buck Meek has been quite the established solo artist. His 2021 album Two Saviors was a favorite of mine, and now he's back with new music. "Haunted Mountain," co-written with Jolie Holland, is a ramblin' style country song. It has just the slightest hints of indie rock, but other than that this is just a straight up country/Americana track. It's an upbeat song that just has a timeless quality. It feels like it could have been released any time in the last fifty to sixty years. In fact, the occasional indie rock guitar has some roots in Neil Young, which adds more to the timeless quality.

Buck Meek says of his new song:

“It’s about being humbled by the thing you’re drawing power from only at which point an actual, fair relationship begins."

You can watch the video for "Haunted Mountain" below. The album Haunted Mountain is due out August 25 on 4AD, and is available for pre-order here. For more on Buck Meek, check out the artist's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.

Fri. Aug. 18 - Brecon Beacons, UK @ Green Man FestivalSat. Aug. 19 - Oslo, NO @ Langs AkerselvaMon. Aug. 21 - Copenhagen, DK @ StengadeTue. Aug. 22 - Berlin, DE @ Kantine am BerghainWed. Aug. 23 - Groningen, NL @ Noorderzon FestivalSat. Aug. 26 - Edinburgh, UK @ SummerhallSun. Aug. 27 - Glasgow, UK @ StereoMon. Aug. 28 - Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social ClubTue. Aug. 29 - Manchester, UK @ YESWed. Aug. 30 - London, UK @ LafayetteFri. Sept. 1 - Brussels, BE @ BotaniqueSun. Sept. 3 - Vlieland, NL @ Into the Great Wide Open FestivalTue. Sept. 5 - Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso | TolhuistuinWed. Sept. 6 - Paris, FR @ Le Hasard LudiqueTue. Sept. 12 - Milan, IT @ Magnolia Segrate *Wed. Sept. 13 - Turin, IT @ Spazio211 *Thu. Sept. 14 - Nyon, CH @ La Paranthese*Sat. Sept. 16 - Bologna, IT @ Locomotiv Club *Fri. Oct. 27 - New York, NY @ Racket * solo