Friday, May 31, 2024

Live Shows: A Place to Bury Strangers, Suuns, and JJUUJJUU, Crystal Ballroom at Somerville Theater, Somerville, MA 5/30/24

A Place to Bury Strangers are a band I've been a fan of for years now, but have just never gotten around to seeing them live. Their live shows are the stuff of legend, with reports of pure chaos breaking out at shows, and just giant amounts of pure noise. I'm happy to report that the legends are true.

Opening the show Thursday night was JJUUJJUU, a band I have some familiarity with. They played a raucous set of noise rock that was still rooted in the moist basic rules of rock song structure. They had a bit of an almost blues rock sound, but mired down in just pure, loud, abrasive noise. It was in your face, but in an almost polite way. Their live show was much louder than the recordings I associate them with, which are much more chill and lovely. They were a fun rediscovery.

Suuns played next. They reminded me of early Mogwai without the extreme highs and lows. Their songs danced between being lovely and abrasive, but like they were trying to find the middle ground. And they did at times. Suuns provided a relatively chill out room between the two more aggressive bands, and were what we needed before the main course.

During A Place to Bury Strangers' set, frontman/guitarist Oliver Ackermann dropped his guitar multiple times, got it wrapped in cables while playing, and ended up smashing it. And that was just during the first song. The second song started with him playing a second guitar while standing on the corpse of the first. The entire set was an auditory assault of just pure noise and chaos. Maybe I'm not a big enough fan, but I literally have no idea what songs they played, or if they were even playing released songs. In other words, the set was great.

At one point, Ackermann hopped off the stage and into the crowd, followed by drummer Sandra Fedowitz, who was carrying her drumsticks. Bassist John Fedowitz was left alone on stage making horrific feedback. Eventually we heard some more music start up, and the crowd slowly wandered to the back of the venue to find all three members using some sort of rig, and playing in the midst of the crowd. Audience members began dancing in a circle around them, with some invited to join in on drums.

After making their way back to the stage, the audio assault continued from there. (It was also a visual assault with some of the most punishing strobe lights I've ever experienced.) The set ended with Sandra Fedowitz gleefully moving individual drums to the front of the stage to play them and scream along. John Fedowitz joined her on vocals, while Ackermann picked up an amplifier and carried it around the stage to create even more noise.

The whole ordeal was insane, and pure magic.

Already Dead - "The Spirit of Massachusetts Avenue"

Photo by Roberto Terrones @ Berto Media

Massachusetts has a long history of fantastic working class punk bands, and our newest favorite is Already Dead. Their latest single, "The Spirit of Massachusetts Avenue," is their most punk song yet. It explores how Mass Ave goes from fancy suburbs and colleges to hospitals and then homeless encampments. It's an absolute rager of a song that recalls the early days of Dropkick Murphys. "The Spirit of Massachusetts Avenue" is a hard and fast track filled with buzzsaw guitars and shouted vocals. Already Dead are coming around just when we need local blue collar punk heroes more than ever.

Vocalist/guitarist Dan Cummings says of his band's latest song:

“The song is an observation that just one road can be two separate worlds caused by social structures and allocations of resources. And it delivers a very deliberate ‘%$#@ you’ to those who have the power to change things in one of these worlds for the better, but choose not to.”

You can listen to "The Spirit of Massachusetts Avenue" below. Something Like a War is due out in July. For more on Already Dead, check out the band's website.

Dead Pioneers - "Bad Indian"

Photo by Jose Chalet-Hernande

Dead Indian take a spoken word piece and perform it over punk rock riffs for their new single. "Bad Indian" sees vocalist Gregg Deal telling tales of his Native American experience over music that combines the sounds of bands like Suicidal Tendencies, Rage Against the Machine, and The Minutemen. It's an incredibly bad ass song that is filled with anger projected through a sense of humor. Seriously, Deal is hilarious here as he channels his rage. Dead Pioneers have one of the most exciting sounds we've heard from the world of punk for a while, and we're dying to hear more.

Gregg Deal says of his band's new single:

"'Bad Indian' originated as a spoken word piece that was mentioned to articulate experiences I’ve had in real life. Everything articulated here is true, and meant to stand as an example of some of the difficulties Native people of North America experience. The cultural nuances of this piece are important, though. We are not a stoic people, we are a humous biting people, the result of which is rooted in the concerted effort to eliminate our people through colonialism and acts of genocide. How do you speak of stereotype, micro-aggressions, racism, white supremacy and casual genocidal language? Like this. 

"Bad Indian is all of that and more to me. Bad Indian is the statement of what’s possible to me. Good and bad experience informs our existence, and what we do with that is what matters. From being a Native person on the receiving end of racism and genocide to an artist who is unsure if I can pull off spoken word with punk riffs. It speaks possibility, it’s speaks truth, and it speaks that truth to power."

You can watch the video for "Bad Indian" below. Dead Pioneers' self-titled debut is due out August 16 on Hassle Records, and is available for pre-order through Bandcamp. For more on the band, check out their website.

Kate Bollinger - "Any Day Now"

Photo by Juliana and Nicola Giraffe

For her upcoming debut album, Kate Bollinger took inspiration from the pop, rock, and folk of the 1960's. That sound is all over her new single, "Any Day Now." The song is a light and breezy track that isn't exactly a throwback. Instead, it's an updated version of those sounds made fresh for 2024. It has roots in pop music, but an artsier version of pop than what you typically hear. If I'm being forced to make comparisons to current artists, "Any Day Now" sounds like a cross between Faye Webster and Kate Nash. Bollinger has crafted a song that is loads of fun without being cheesy or embarrassing, which can be rare.

Kate Bollinger says of her new single:

"My good friend Matt [E. White] was visiting from Virginia and we got together to play some music. We wrote this song and then drove around Los Angeles together. That same day he helped me realize the kind of record I wanted to make, which I subconsciously knew but couldn't really find the words for until then. A few months later, I recorded the song at Sam's [Evian] place in upstate New York with a band we put together. We spent the first day practicing the songs. The next day we recorded the first two songs, ‘Any Day’ Now being the second one. We did it all live in the room, no headphones or click, done in the spirit of most of my favorite music from the late 60s."

You can watch the video for "Any Day Now" below. Songs From a Thousand Frames of Mind is due out September 27 on Ghostly International, and is available for pre-order here. For more on Kate Bollinger, check out the artist's website.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Doing Anything This Weekend?: May 31-June 2

Doing Anything this Weekend? is a feature here at If It's Too Loud... where we feature some live shows in and on the far outskirts of the Boston area. Our main rules are that they have to be reasonably priced shows that you can attend last minute. They'll feature If It's Too Loud... approved bands, and we'll provide event links when possible. And since we're in outdoor music season, these events are weather permitting. If you're looking for last minute plans this weekend, we recommend:

Friday May 31

The Wolff Sisters and Molly O'Leary at Askew, Providence, RI

Zip-Tie Handcuffs, Kal Marks, and Idiot Genes at Deep Cuts, Medford, MA

Buffalo Tom at The Drake, Amherst, MA

Hubby Jenkins at The Porch Southern Fare & Juke Joint, Medford, MA

The Promised End, Origami Summer, Miniluv, and One Fall at Koto, Salem, MA

Abigail Lapell and Helen Hummel at The Parlor Room, Northampton, MA

Saturday June 1

Abigail Lapell and Audrey Pearl at Club Passim, Cambridge, MA

FieldFest: Local Music Festival featuring Michael Kane & The Morning Afters, Ruby Golden Tiger, Baxter Hall, and The Benjis at Bellforge Arts Center, Medfield, MA

Sapling, Orca Bones, Battlemode, The Jacklights, and Double Star at Midway Cafe, Jamaica Plain, MA

The Roscoes, blindspot, and The Ghouls at Warp & Weft, Lowell, MA

Sunday June 2

Live Pro Wrestling featuring Salem Wolves at Rejects Beer Co., Middletown, RI

Pucker, Heather Rose In Clover, Nymphidels, and The Blondshells (Blondie tribute) at Askew, Providence, RI

Ash & Eric film premiere and concert at Club Passim, Cambridge, MA

Marisa Anderson and Thalia Zedek with Karen Sarkisian at Deep Cuts, Medford, MA

Abigail Lapell at The Word Barn, Exeter, NHAbigail Lapell at The Word Barn, Exeter, NH

Tinkertown - "Red Eyes"

Photo by Chris Gorman

Tinkertown is the musical project of Dean Fisher (Juliana Hatfield Three, Tanya Donelly, Dylan in the Movies) and vocalist Gabriella Lawrence. Their latest single, "Red Eyes," is a theatrical grown-up indie rock song. It includes elements of jazz and Americana along with the more rock based sound, and it's just a chilled out, laid back kind of song. It's kind of perfect for the upcoming season as it feels like it's not in a rush and just moves along at its own pace. "Red Eyes" has the vibe of people that are making the music they love, and having a great time doing so. And who doesn't want to hear that?

You can listen to "Red Eyes" below. American Gothic is due out June 21 on American Laundromat Records, and is available to pre-order here. For more on Tinkertown, check out the band on Facebook. If you happen to be in the Boston area, they're playing a show tonight (May 30) at Lizard Lounge with special guest Tanya Donelly!

Jenny Parrott - "I Hear It All the Time"

Photo by Fernie Renteria

Jenny Parrott is one of those artists that you're either going to adore or just not get, with very little in between. They're labelled an alt-folk artist, although that description doesn't quite fit their latest single. "I Hear It All the Time" is a song heavy on the Omnichord, with Parrott's vocals sounding more like a 60's girl group than anything on the folk side. It's a fun and somewhat quirky track that reminds me of 90's artists like Money Mark or Beastie Boys side project BS2000. We're definitely landing on the adoring Jenny Parrott side of things, and hopefully you'll be joining us!

Jenny Parrott says of their latest single:

“It’s that awful burn in your chest when people casually mention someone who has deeply wounded you, and you wonder if it was all your fault.”

You can watch the video for "I Hear It All the Time" below. Love Spell is due out June 28. For more on Jenny Parrott, check out the artist's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the video.

June 22         Austin, TX @ Museum of Human Achievement (album release show)
June 26         Philadelphia, PA @ Rosy’s Taco Bar East 
June 27         Queens, NY @ The Keep
June 28         New York, NY @ Parkside Lounge  
June 29         Sheffield, MA @ Down County Jump
June 30         Hamden, CT @ Best Video - confirmed 
July 5            Richmond, VA @ Brambly Park
July 12          State College, PA @ Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts
July 15          Detroit, MI @ Aaron's House 
July 19          Knoxville, TN @ Albright Grove Brewing Company
July 20          Nashville, TN @ Brown's Diner
July 25          Milwaukee, WI @ Linneman’s Riverwest Inn
July 26          Madison, WI @ Kiki’s House of Righteous Music
July 27          Iowa City, IA @ The Black Angel
July 28          Cedar Falls, IA @ Octopus
Aug 2            Laramie, WY @ Reed’s Package Liquors
Aug 15          Enterprise, OR @ Concerts at the Courthouse
Aug 16          Joseph, OR @ Wallowa Lake Lodge
Aug 21          Boise, ID @ Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park

Live Shows: Boston Calling, Harvard Athletic Complex, Boston, MA 5/26/24

Tysk Tysk Task
Photo by Ken Sears

Friday and Saturday night were one thing, but Sunday was an entirely different animal. The trains heading into Harvard Square were completely packed, and the areas in front of the Red and Green stages were full before a single note was played. The quadruple threat of The Killers, Hozier, Meghan Thee Stallion, and Chappell Roan were the reason. I'm typically great at weaseling my way through crowds without being too obnoxious about it. Friday night I was able to get relatively close to Leon Bridges halfway through his set, and Saturday I ended up about five people back for Frank Turner about twenty minutes before he went on. However, Sunday it was nearly impossible to get near either of the main stages unless you got there hours early. There was still a lot to see and enjoy, and here are my highlights of the day!

Tysk Tysk Task

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I loved Tysk Tysk Task's set opening up the Orange stage for the day. The Lowell woodland grunge quartet went all out for the biggest show of their time as a band, and the stage was fully decked out with various faux plants. And they absolutely killed it. The band was very obviously having fun on stage, and were all smiles for their thirty minute time slot in front of a packed crowd. There are just times you watch a band you love become rock stars before your eyes, and this was one of those times. They even inspired a rare Boston Calling mosh pit towards the end of their set. It was just a few years ago that I saw Tysk Tysk Task thrilled to be playing in front of twenty paying customers. It's great to see how much they've grown since then.

Billy Dean Thomas

Billy Dean Thomas had one of the toughest timeslots to be playing. They were up against Chappell Roan, who had the biggest buzz of the entire festival by far. I didn't catch their entire set, but they had a full band backing them up to make their live show even more intense. It was more of a rap rock sound than their typical pure hip hop style. With an artist like Thomas, you never quite know what you're going to get, and this was an unexpected thrill. I wish I could have caught the entire set, but...

Chappell Roan

Chappell Roan is one of those artists that isn't my normal style. It's a much more mainstream pop sound than I typically enjoy, but I felt like I needed to check her out to see what all the fuss was about. She was simply amazing. For an artist with only one studio album out to have enough confidence and charisma to play in front of tens of thousands of music fans at the level she did is astounding. It was like watching a veteran with decades of experience instead of an up and coming artist. The crowd was fully behind Roan, screaming along to every word and dancing an absolute storm for the entire hour long set. Don't be surprised if Chappell Roan is headlining in the next few years.


Unfortunately not a lot of people made it down to the Blue stage on Sunday, possibly because of the four monster acts on the other end of the festival grounds. That was good for me as I was able to get a good spot for Blondshell. It wasn't quite as intimate of a space as when I last saw her at The Middle East Upstairs, but Sabrina Teitelbaum was able to make it not feel like a giant festival stage, either. She just has such an easygoing and 90's slacker style delivery and stage persona that you just kind of feel like it's more of an intimate performance despite how big it was. Even having thousands scream out lyrics instead of two hundred just made the performance more fun.


I'm embarrassingly late to the Alvvays party, but did everyone else know that they're amazing? They're just one of those bands that I know of, and I know that they're great, but I just never quite took the time to become a huge fan of. That all changed Sunday night when they closed out the Blue stage. Alvvays might have been the highlight of the entire festival, and anyone who didn't choose them over Hozier missed out. Their version of guitar based indie pop is meant to be heard live in front of an adoring crowd. They had the most fun set of the night as the crowd danced for the entire hour they played. And of course a couple got engaged during "Archie, Marry Me," which I'm pretty sure happens at every one of their shows at this point. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Blood - "One Dimensional Man"

Photo by Morgan Kelley

In the winter of 2021, Blood moved from Austin, TX to Philadelphia. There the band recorded their debut album, which is set to be released in August. The first single from that album is "One Dimensional Man," and if you have an affinity for certain musical styles from the 90's, you're going to love this one. To me "One Dimensional Man" sounds like a cross between Jeff Buckley and Radiohead's first two albums. It's quiet and intimate while also being an epic song. It's a melodic song with a ton of jangly pop thrown in, and it's undeniably infectious. Although, when a song is as great as "One Dimensional Man," you don't mind it being lodged in your head for an extended period of time.

You can watch the video for "One Dimensional Man" below. Loving You Backwards is due out August 2 on Ramp Local, and is available for pre-order here. For more on Blood, check out the band on Instagram.

Marley Hale - "Drunk On You"

Photo by Silver Strawberry

If you're wondering what Americana from Brooklyn would sound like, allow us to introduce you to Marley Hale. Her latest song, "Drunk On You," is a modern torch ballad with some of the most laid back slide guitar ever recorded. The song is rooted in old timey country, but with a modern sensibility. It doesn't sound like a throwback, but has the same spirit as classic country. Not many vintage country songs start off with the line "If whiskey were a woman I'd fuck her," just to show what kind of country ballad you're getting into here. "Drunk On You" is the type of song that makes you immediately want to hear more from an artist. Luckily we won't have to wait too much longer to hear more from Marley Hale.

Marley Hale says of her latest single:

“When I first wrote ‘Drunk On You,’ I played it alone, even when performing with the band. It was one of the first songs I wrote after getting sober, and the first to really address my sobriety. In those first months after quitting, everything felt new––every emotion was stronger than I’d ever remembered. ‘Drunk On You’ was my attempt to grapple with it, and accept where I was in my journey. Even now, playing the song with a band, I feel everything I did when I first wrote it.”

You can listen to "Drunk On You" below. By My Own Ways is due out July 26. For more on Marley Hale, check out the artist's website.

Feldspar - "Cobblestones"

Feldspar are a post-hardcore band that formed in late 2023 and are based in Rome. Their debut single, "Cobblestones," leans into the hardcore side of post-hardcore. The song is fast and heavy on gang vocals. While Feldspar get compared to bands like Life of Agony, Sheer Mag, and Fiddlehead, I'm hearing similarities to Fucked Up. "Cobblestones" is heavy and abrasive, but also includes some strong melodies hiding along the hardcore. Plus, if you like extended break downs , this one will be right up your alley. Feldspar might be the first Italian post-hardcore we've covered, and we're anxiously waiting to hear more.

You can watch the video for "Cobblestones" below. Old City New Ruins is due out September 30 on Time to Kill Records, and is available for pre-order here. For more on Feldspar, check out the band on Instagram.

Live Shows: Boston Calling, Harvard Athletic Complex, Allston, MA 5/25/24

Frank Turner
Photo by Taylor Hill Selects

Saturday's Boston Calling had a bit of a musical theme. Friday's "I Hate Boston" and "Good Tits, Big Heart" shirts were replaced with tie dye and cowboy hats (especially the free Miller Lite ones being handed out). The day was a bit more mellow with a country/folk/jam band sort of theme with some exceptions to the full day of music. Here are some of our highlights.

Senseless Optimism

Senseless Optimism had a tough crowd to win over, as she was mostly playing to Frank Turner and Trey Anastasio fans making sure they had a spot up front. She quickly won over the crowd with her unique style, and the fact that she's one of the most engaging live artists in Boston today. Her style encompasses so many different genres to make her sound that it almost works in every setting. It fit it smoothly enough for both the jam band fans and the folk-punkers to get into it. She also busted out a wildly unhinged cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" that sounded closer in spirit to The Stooges than the classic rock mainstays. It was the perfect way to kick off Saturday's festival.

Highwater Haulers

While preparing for the festival, I had been listening to a Boston Calling playlist on Spotify. I had never heard of Highwater Haulers previously, but after they popped up a few times I knew I wanted to check them out. They are described as a "cosmic rock and roll outfit," and I certainly can't argue that. They play a style that reminded me of when Drive-By Truckers focus more on the country side of their sound while keeping the punk and rock in place. Taylor Brennan played some of the most firey guitar solos of the festival, and certainly the most athletic. Highwater Haulers were one of the best discoveries of my weekend.


Cakeswagg has been one of those artists I know more by name than anything else, so I was excited to take a break from the country/folk theme and check out some hip hop. Joined by DJ WhySham, Cakeswagg took the stage with a group of background dancers and absolutely slayed the crowd. Her energy was unmatched, and had more than enough swagger and confidence to win over the crowd immediately. This was one of the most surprising sets of the weekend for me, and one that made me a fan within maybe thirty seconds of Cakeswagg taking the stage.

Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls

I've been a fan of Frank Turner's for years now. Some of his albums work better for me than others, but he's been consistently good to great for well over fifteen years. His live show is unmatched (Saturday was show number 2884 for Turner), and Saturday showed that it's been far too long since I've last seen him. There isn't a better frontman in all of folk-punk, and he's right up there in all of punk. His show demands audience participation, and he got it. You either join in with his show completely, or you get left behind. Towards the end of his set, and during "Photosynthesis" (which was the song I discovered him through), he got the crowd to make a large circle. If you had been to a punk show before, you knew what was coming up. He coaxed the audience into a circle pit, and with Frank Turner fans it was the fun kind. That energy kept up for the rest of his show, including Turner jumping into the audience to crowdsurf. He said he had one more show in Boston this year, and we'll be there.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

A Place to Bury Strangers - "You'll Be There for Me"

For their latest 7" single release, A Place to Bury Strangers delve back into their more electronic sound. "You'll Be There for Me" is a much more straightforward electronic rock track than we've come to expect from the Brooklyn band. It's more aligned with a New Wave meets 90's techno than their typical electronic experimentations. It's almost dark wave, but not quite. This might be the most dance friendly song we've heard from A Place to Bury Strangers, although it would only allow for awkward dancing. Of course, they do bring the noise back towards the end, but just enough to remind you of who you're listening to.

You can listen to "You'll Be There for Me" below. You can order a copy of the vinyl here through Dedstrange. For more on A Place to Bury Strangers, check out the band's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the song.

May 29 - Providence, RI - Alchemy w/ Pons & Ski Club

May 30 - Boston, MA - Crystal Ballroom ^

May 31 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg ^

June 1 - Philadelphia, PA - Underground Arts ^


Joe Gittleman - "Hold Up"

Joe Gittleman has been the most prolific of his ex-bandmates since The Mighty Mighty Bosstones split up, and he's back with a new single. "Hold Up" picks up where his former band left off. It's a laid back ska song with some of the ska punk edge, but in an easing into middle age kind of way. This isn't a song for ripping it up in the pit, but it's perfect to play when you need to feel cool on a weekend rip to Target. It's a fun song that is just meant for aging ska fans, and it even features Dave McWane of Big D and the Kids Table for added Boston ska scene coolness.

You can listen to "Hold Up" below. Hold Up, the album, is due out June 21 on Bad Time Records, and is available for pre-order here. For more on Joe Gittleman, check out the artist on Instagram.

Tysk Tysk Task - "Spiral"

Photo by Samm Scho

Tysk Tysk Task's recent singles have all felt like a collective unit of music, despite sounding quite different from each other. Their latest is "Spiral," which goes in an opposite direction from the previous single, "My Side." While "My Side" was a two minute punk track, "Spiral" is a minute minute epic ballad. Singer/guitarist Samantha Hartsel has never sounded better than she does here, despite how dark the song feels. As the song starts, there is an intense feeling of foreboding that just builds and builds. Once the vocals kick in, the heaviness of the song begins to weigh on you. The song is absolutely gorgeous, possibly because of the darkness and emotion it conveys. And then the guitar solo eases its way in, and somehow the mood seems to lift. If a guitar solo can be uplifting, Tysk Tysk Task pull it off.

You can listen to "Spiral" below. Helium Dreams is out now. For more on Tysk Tysk Task, check out the band on Instagram and Facebook.

Live Shows: Boston Calling, Harvard Athletic Complex, Allston, MA 5/24/24

Photo credit: Boston Calling, Alive Coverage

Boston Calling is New England's largest music festival, drawing forty thousand music fans from all over for three days of music. This was surprisingly my first year attending Boston Calling, and there is simply too much for one post, so we're breaking it down day by day. Here are my highlights from day one!

Madi Diaz

We've been fans of Madi Diaz for a while, so it was great to see the Nashvile singer-songwriter live for the first time. I was also unaware that she spent time in Boston, and she talked about living ten blocks from the venue. Taking the Green Stage with her guitar and only accompanied by a drummer, Diaz was the perfect way to start off my day with her upbeat mix of indie rock, singer-songwriter fare, and pop. I was also pleasantly surprised by how much of her music the crowd knew. I tend to live in my musical bubble, unaware of what's popular or not, and Diaz is much more well known than I thought. 

The Wolff Sisters

The Wolff Sisters opened up the Orange (aka local) Stage, and I was thrilled to finally see them. The trio of actual sisters were playing with a bass player and a drummer, and I had unusually high expectations for them. The well exceeded any expectations I had. It definitely helped that they had a large number of fans in attendance to help build the excitement. The Wolff Sisters played a thirty minute set of folk, country, and folk-rock songs that were an absolute delight. I've been a fan for years, but this set will insure that I make seeing them again a priority.

Ric Wilson

One of the nice things about a festival like Boston Calling is that you get to see artists you probably wouldn't otherwise. Ric Wilson is an artist I would never seek out, but I wandered over to the Allianz Blue Stag to catch his set after The Wolff Sisters. The Chicago dance/electronic/hip hop artist is a dynamic performer, and I was almost instantly sucked in. Wilson has an almost supernatural charisma which had the audience hanging on every moment of his set. Even a story about hanging out in Boston at a restaurant that sold three dollar margaritas was compelling. Boston Calling can give us a chance to step out of our musical comfort zones, and when I can discover an artist like Ric Wilson, that's a great thing.


I hadn't seen JVK for almost two years. Back then, they were playing a nearly empty News Cafe with Tysk Tysk Task, and even under those conditions they flat out gave it their all and played like they were rocking an arena. Friday night they rocked the Orange Stage, and quite simply blew the crowd away. They have a unique style that mixes hard rock, punk, indie rock, and pop that is just made for playing a large stage. Jo Krieger is one of the most dynamic frontpeople in Boston, and the band plays like veterans that have been doing it for decades and not just a few years. As much as I'd like to have seen JVK in between August 2022 and Friday night, seeing how much they've grown in that time was amazing. I'm expecting a repeat trip to Boston Calling at a much larger stage in the near future.


Boston rapper kei closed out the Orange Stage Friday night. I saw her play a brief set at the 2022 Boston Music Awards and was instantly hooked. Hell, the entire audience was instantly hooked by her live show. At Boston Calling, she brought a DJ, drummer, guitarist, and back-up dancers to obliterate the stage, which she did. It was perfectly orchestrated chaos on stage, especially when guests like Clark D joined her. It's amazing seeing someone at such an early stage of her career have such charisma and confidence on stage, but that's just kei. If anyone in the Boston hip hop scene is poised to make a huge national splash in the next few years, it's definitely her. Get ready for her headlining set in 2027.

Leon Bridges

I was a huge fan of Leon Bridges 2015 debut album Coming Home. It seems like I blinked and he went from playing Great Scott and Royale to Agganis Arena. I didn't catch all of the neo-soul star's set on the Happy Valley Red Stage, but what I saw was transcendent. Even playing in front of tens of thousands of people, it somehow felt like a much more intimate performance than it was. I was personally happy that he did go back to Coming Home at times, and the crowd seemed to also know the earlier songs, too. My only complaint (which is weird for a music festival) is that the sound was too low. I was able to weasel my way fairly close to the stage, and still had to contend with a chatty crowd.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Viruette - "Big Fat Nothing"

Photo by Jimmy Del Ponte

Most bands try to list a wide array of bands as influences, but few seldom live up to having wildly varied influences listed in a press release. Boston's Viruette are an exception to that. The British/American band lists Modest Mouse, Steely Dan, Blur, and Chet Baker as influences, and I can actually hear them all in their latest single. "Big Fat Nothing" is a huge indie rock song layered in upbeat pop side of Britpop, the complexities of prog rock, and plenty of unexpected jazzy elements. It's an ambitious song that just gets better and more intriguing as it goes on. It's the kind of song with so many changes that you barely recognize the beginning as you start you second listen. This is also the style of song that just gets better and better with each listen as you uncover things you missed the time before. "Big Fat Nothing" isn't meant to be background music while you update your spreadsheets, so make sure you can give this your full attention sometime soon.

You can listen to "Big Fat Nothing" below. Your Lacuna is due out June 14 and is available for pre-order through Bandcamp. For more on Viruette, check out the band on Instagram.

Loveletter - "Dead Weight"

Photo by Lacey Browne

If you loved Loveletter's previous single as much as we did, just wait until you hear their latest. The New York City trio just released "Dead Weight," and it's a sludgy burst of indie rock noise. At some points it sounds like mid-80's Sonic Youth, while at others it sounds like Sleater-Kinney jamming with The Melvins. "Dead Weight" one of those singles that you hear and immediately fall in love with the band. Loveletter are just a force of nature, and if you've ever dreamed of a Sonic Youth/Sleater-Kinney/Melvins supergroup, this is going to work perfectly for you.

Gabriella Zappia says of her band's latest single:

“This is kind of the foundation of Loveletter: heavy sludge, throbbing basslines, fuzz guitar, and massive drums. The contrast in the B part, where the bass takes over the melody, adds some light to shape the darkness. You’ve got to be economical with a 3 piece.”

You can listen to "Dead Weight" below. Testament is due out June 7, and is available for pre-order through Bandcamp. For more on Loveletter, check out the band on Instagram.

Marisa Bloom - "Dairy Queen"

Fairfield, CT's Marisa Bloom has just released the perfect song for what many consider to be the start of summer. "Dairy Queen" is an upbeat blast of nostalgia mixed with pop punk and power pop. We haven't hit the relaxed lazy days of summer yet, and Bloom's song perfectly captures the anticipation and excitement we feel as summer starts (especially if you're in a locale with a true winter). "Dairy Queen" is just a fun summertime anthem filled with longing and a sense of joy. Sometimes you just need a fun song to rock out to, and that's exactly what Marisa Bloom provides.

Marissa Bloom says her song is about "... that longing for an Oreo blizzard or an unrequited crush that gives you butterflies.”

You can listen to "Dairy Queen" below. The single is out now on Pilot Light Records. For more on Marisa Bloom, check out the artist on Instagram and Facebook.

Boston Calling Local Spotlight - kei

Artist: kei

When and where: Friday 7:00-7:40, Orange stage

If I'm being completely honest, if I had only heard kei's music, I might not be a fan. She plays a more newfangled version of hip hop than I normally enjoy. It's not bad by any means, it's just not my preference. But I saw her perform at the 2022 Boston Music Awards, and she blew me and everyone else in that room away. I had conversations with people at the 2023 Boston Music Awards about how amazing she was. I had a conversation with someone in the last month about how amazing her performance was. kei playing Boston Calling this year could very well be might propels her to true stardom. Get to the Orange stage as early as you can for this one. The small area in front of the stage is sure to be packed by the time she's done.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Doing Anything This Weekend?: May 24-26

Doing Anything this Weekend? is a feature here at If It's Too Loud... where we feature some live shows in and on the far outskirts of the Boston area. Our main rules are that they have to be reasonably priced shows that you can attend last minute. They'll feature If It's Too Loud... approved bands, and we'll provide event links when possible. And since we're in outdoor music season, these events are weather permitting. If you're looking for last minute plans this weekend, we recommend:

Friday May 24

Jake Blount, Nic Gareiss, and Sammy Wetstein Trio at Epsilon Spires, Brattleboro, VT

Scissorfight, Viqueen, and Condition at The Press Room, Portsmouth, NH

Glacier, Circus Trees, and Lesotho at Koto Asian Fusion, Salem, MA

Stephanie McKay and Cliff Notez at Uncommon Stage, Boston Common, Boston, MA

Saturday May 25

Carissa Johnson, The Fatal Flaw, and The Callouts at Askew, Providence, RI

Minibeast, Fugue State, and Shirese at Gallery X, New Bedford, MA

Sunday May 26

Pride Pregame featuring Milahroy, Django James, and Linnea's Garden at Warehouse XI, Somerville, MA

Ultrabomb - "Rage Bomb"

Photo via Facebook

Ultrabomb are a punk rock supergroup consisting of Greg Norton (Husker Du), Finny McConnell (The Mahones), and Jamie Oliver (UK Subs). Their latest single, "Rage Bomb," is a fast is dissonant punk track that sounds kind of like Husker Du playing a more mainstream and modern style of punk. Greg Norton is always going to sound like Greg Norton, but a song like "Rage Bomb" isn't as abrasive as a lot of his previous band's music was. But, this is a punk song, so there is plenty of abrasion within "Rage Bomb." It's always a pleasure to hear punk and indie royalty still sounding a great and vital as Ultrabomb sounds here.

You can listen to "Rage Bomb" below. Dying to Smile is due out June 7 on DC-Jam Records, and is available to pre-order here. For more on Ultrabomb, check out the band on Instagram and Facebook.

Elsy Wameyo - "Umva"

Photo by Holyziner

Elsy Wameyo is a Naroibi-born and Adelaide-based singer, rapper, and producer. The artist's new single, "Umva," is a refreshing hip hop song that doesn't sound like much else out there. The obvious comparison is fellow Australian Genesis Owusu (who Wameyo has toured with), but I'm also hearing some British garage and American soul in "Umva." Wameyo has this ability to take traditional or mainstream hip hop and put a brand new spin on it without it sounding too different. This is the kind of song Top 40 fans and underground hip hop fans can both enjoy.

Elsy Wameyo says of her new single:

“There’s a comfortability that comes with understanding one’s greatness. Respectfully, in this game I know I run laps around most so it’s easy to say and do whatever I want. I know exactly who I am and have nothing to prove. I carry myself with a lot of pride because Elsy Wameyo is that girl and they know that too. Umva is a statement. This is who I am, who I've always been and how I've always felt. You’re welcome.”

You can watch the video for "Umva" below. Saint Sinner is due out July 26 on AWAL, and is available for pre-order here. For more on Elsy Wameyo, check out the artist on Instagram and Facebook.