Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Gerycz/Powers/Rolin - "Rotations"

Photo by Matthew Chasney

As a song title, "Rotations" seems to imply a certain level of psychedelia, although a very organic and simple one. That is what you get with the latest single from the trio of Gerycz/Powers/Rolin. The band is Jayson Gerycz of Cloud Nothings, Jen Powers, and Matthew J. Rolin. Gerycz/Powers/Rolin release improvised music that combines roots, free jazz, and rock. "Rotations" is a trippy yet laid back take on experimental folk and jazz. This one is not going to be for everyone, not by a long shot. But, if you're a fan of experimental music and/or psychedelia, you're going to want to check out "Rotations." It's filled with an almost hypnotic drone and instruments going their own way but towards the same location, one never trying to take the spotlight from the others. 

You can watch the video for "Rotations" below. Lamplighter is due out September 3. The EP can be pre-ordered here

The Aquadolls - "Disappearing Girl"

Photo by @_kotoko

A punk rock power ballad doesn't sound like it could be possible, but The Aquadolls somehow pull off the impossible. The Southern California trio's latest single, "Disappearing Girl," is a beautiful and sugary sweet ballad that almost sounds like it would have fit right at home on Dial MTV in the late 80's. But, The Aquadolls are a band that has opened for Pennywise and X, and the song does name check Sonic Youth, so it has to have just enough of a punk edge to keep this one interesting. There are a lot of pop artists out there that mainstream outlets refer to as punk, but The Aquadolls actually pull it off.

Lead singer Melissa Brooks says of the new single:

"“Disappearing Girl” is about not being able to put yourself first while in a relationship. No matter how much the other person wants to reach you they can’t, and you continue to drift apart until the relationship fizzles out into a distant dream."

You can watch the video for "Disappearing Girl" below. The single is out now via Enci Records. For more on The Aquadolls, check out the band on Facebook and Twitter.

Treeboy & Arc - "Logistical Nightmare"

Photo by Sam Joyce

There seems to be a resurgence lately of danceable post punk, and we're here for it. The latest is Leeds is Treeboy & Arc. Their latest single, "Logistical Nightmare," is a rant about social media that is going to make you want to groove. It's a high energy song with vicious vocals that could be from any time in the past forty years. While "Logistical Nightmare" is quite dance friendly, it's not a full on dance song. There is too much of a punk edge to be fully a dance song even if it is a blast to listen to.

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

"Logistical Nightmare is about how infuriating it can be to watch people navigate social media. Whether it’s a painful infographic telling you how to drink water on a hot day or a re-shared article by someone who definitely didn't read it.

"Social media can be a great tool for people at times, but more often than not I feel the cons outweigh the pros. I guess writing a 3 minute song about it all probably only made me hate it even more…"

You can listen to "Logistical Nightmare" below. Life Preserver is due out August 6. The EP can be pre-ordered here. For more on Treeboy & Arc, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

First Listen: New Releases for 30 July

Artist: Poise
Album: Vestiges
Quick Thoughts: This was a surprise release for me, and one I truly loved. Poise has a really great indie alt-rock sound, and this album scratches the itch that I've got for the sort of female-fronted 1990s feel we love here. Picking only a handful of songs was difficult, as this is absolutely a favorite of mine this week. Don't miss out.
Songs of Note: "New Kind of Love," "Everything I Want," "Delusion"

Artist: Billie Eilish
Album: Happier Than Ever
Quick Thoughts: This is probably the mainstream summer release most people are talking about. So let's be kind of direct here: this is a good album and a solid follow-up to her incredible debut effort, but she set the bar very high to start and this doesn't deliver in quite the same way. To be fair, she had one of the great debuts of the last few years, but this is more flashes of brilliance that go hand-in-hand with some less interesting fare. It's not bad by any means, but it's just not what I hoped it would be. Definitely give it a listen, but
Songs of Note: "I Didn't Change My Number," "Happier Than Ever," "Oxytocin," "Lost Cause," "NDA"

Artist: VIAL
Quick Thoughts: Another alt-rockish effort, this one with a lot more punk flavor. I was shocked at how many times I looked over at what was playing because I think I liked each song as much as the next. It's a solid effort with a ton going for it, and I look forward to revisiting it.
Songs of Note: "Ego Death," "Mr. Fuck You," "Something More," "Roadkill," "Vodka Lemonade"

Artist: Pageants
Album: Sun and Settled Days
Quick Thoughts: I know I've liked Pageants, but this album surprised me time and time again. It's gorgeous and poppy and feels as summery as the cover and title look. If you like bright-sounding indie pop, this needs to be in your rotation this week. Not much else to say about it, except that it's great.
Songs of Note: "Where Did the Time Go," "Please Hurry"

Artist: koleżanka
Album: Place Is
Quick Thoughts: Ken sent this over and I'm glad he did. There are a lot of genres represented in Place Is, and koleżanka effortlessly jumps between folk and rock and the varying styles therein to create something truly unique and interesting. A solid listen on a whole, and one I hope no one else misses out on.
Songs of Note: "A Mouthful," "Vegan Sushi," "Words For No One"

Artist: TORRES
Album: Thirstier
Quick Thoughts: For real, how are we still sleeping on TORRES? Every album has been better than the one before, and this one in particular is screaming for a breakout. TORRES has not only found her voice, but is trying to call as much attention as possible to it, and the result is an amazingly wonderful album that is not only a favorite of mine this week, but has a decent shot at being on a few best-of lists for the year. Just a great listen.
Songs of Note: "Are You Sleepingwalking?" "Don't Go Puttin Wishes in My Head," "Hug From a Dinosaur," "Thirstier"

Of note:

* Ty Segall - Harmonizer (Another solid surprise release from Segall.)
* Durand Jones and the Indications - Private Space (A number of these songs should be a breakthrough if there's any justice.)
* LUMP - Animal (Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay project with a lot of positives.)
* GFOTY - FEMMEDORM (Maybe GFOTY's best effort yet.)
* Anya Hinkle - Eden and Her Borderlands (A lot of wonderful roots songs in here.)
* Diamond Field - Diamond Field
* skirts - Great Big Wild Oak
* Angel Snow - Low
* Ric Robertson - Carolina Child
* Prince - Welcome 2 America
* Electric Six - Streets of Gold
* Kei-Li and HMLT - Drifters
* Son Volt - Electro Melodier
* Punk Rock Factory - Masters of the Uniwurst
* W O L F C L U B - Just Drive - Part 2


* ADRA and Alice Hubble - ADRA Hubble
* Lauran Hibberd - Goober
* Ghostemane and Scarlxrd - LXRDMAGE
* Prom Queen - Toxic
* Kiesza - Crave (Deluxe)
* meganeko and Shirobon - PSY2K

Live albums/Compilations/Reissues:

* Xiu Xiu - Dear God I Hate Myself (Deluxe Reissue)
* Stone Temple Pilots - Tiny Music... Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop (Super Deluxe Edition)
* Death Valley Girls - Street Venom (Deluxe Edition)
* Deer Tick - Live from Fort Adams

Also out:

* Bleachers - Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night

The Wolff Sisters - "Where I Got Lost"

The latest single from The Wolff Sisters isn't reinventing the modern mainstream folk genre. "Where I Got Lost" is a straightforward modern folk pop song. What sets The Wolff Sisters apart from other artists is just how great they are. "Where I Got Lost" does take a few twists and turns to get where it's going. It starts off as a laid back, heartfelt song, and just keeps getting better as instruments start wandering in. Piano, fiddle, etc. all seem to take their turns adding a little something to the song as it builds with slightly more intensity. Once we get to the electric guitar solo that seems to be done by a country guitarist who grew up on indie rock, the song truly starts hitting its peak, but it hasn't quite. The focus shifts back to vocals, which might just be the finest moment of the song.

You can listen to "Where I Got Lost" below. The song is currently available as a single via Bandcamp. For more on The Wolff Sisters, check out the artist's website.

The Cocker Spaniels - "Family Narc"

Aside from The Cocker Spaniels' (aka forty year old dad, show booker, and multi-instrumentalist Sean Padilla) Prince meets Guided By Voices sound, one of our favorite things he brings to music is a sense of humor. Artists that can have funny songs without being novelty acts are few and far between, but The Cocker Spaniels adds humor into his inventive sound. His latest single, "Family Narc," exemplifies that. It reminds me a lot of someone like Ben Folds who can release funny songs while still being a respected musician. "Family Narc" keeps the groove and funk of Prince with the bouncy noise of Guided By Voices.

Sean Padilla tells the story behind the new song:

"This song was inspired by an inside joke from the 'Cousin Chat Room' about a cousin of mine who has a reputation for snitching on other cousins to our older relatives. This cousin is nicknamed The Feds'; when she enters the chat room, everyone says time to be quiet - here come the Feds.'"

You can listen to "Family Narc" below. The Cocker Spaniels Are Still Alive, and So Are You is due out August 13 on Evil Island Fortress. You can pre-order a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on The Cocker Spaniels, check out the band's Facebook.

Live Shows: Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys, Julie Rhodes, The Devil's Twins, and Salem Wolves, ONCE at Boynton Yards, 7/31/21

This past Saturday was an interesting one. While all four bands that played are some of my favorites, Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys, Julie Rhodes, The Devil's Twins, and Salem Wolves are four bands I would never have picked to all play together. Sure, any two of them would make perfect sense, maybe even three of them would. But all four just seemed like a strange bill. A fantastic bill, but a strange one. Plus, it was a chance to check out ONCE Somerville's latest chapter. Obviously I was going, no matter what.

ONCE Somerville was/is a beloved local independent venue. Somehow they transformed a restaurant's function room into one of the best places to see a live show in Boston. When it closed last year during the pandemic, it was a huge blow to the arts community, but they vowed to continue in a new location. The temporary new location is at Boynton Yards. Maybe it was the inclusion of the word "yards" in the name, but I pictured a green space with a small field and some trees. Turns out it's in a parking lot in an industrial area of Somerville with the MBTA commuter rail running directly behind the stage. But, this is ONCE we're talking about, and they've somehow transferred the charm and joy of their previous location to this one. No idea how they do it, but JJ Gonson and her crew and magicians.

Salem Wolves took the stage for their first show since the start of the pandemic. They have a completely retooled line up with Grey Bouchard being the only previous member. The band joyously took the stage, and while Salem Wolves shows are always a blast, this one was particularly joyous. They played some new songs that hadn't been recorded yet, but also had the live premier of many songs from their 2020 EP Never Die!!! Along with a new line up came a slightly changed sound. Salem Wolves are still your favorite stadium ready garage rockers, but they've added some 90's style indie rock guitars to that sound. In other words, they took a sound that I already loved and tweaked it towards me even more. Definitely looking forward to seeing where they go from here!

Next up were The Devil's Twins, who I've seen play with both Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys and Salem Wolves before. While Nicole Coogan and Jeremiah Louf have played as a duo in the past few months, this was their first full band set since... well, obviously. The band tour through their set of metal infused garage rock, with Nicole Coogan's powerful and primal soulful vocals grabbing everyone. The Devil's Twins are always a band ready for a party, and the joy the band had along with the crowd made this one a performance for the ages. Looking around the crowd, you started noticing just how many audience members had tattoos of The Devil's Twins "2" logo. If they can inspire that level of loyalty among their fans, you can just imagine the love in the air for their first show back.

Oddly enough, Julie Rhodes might have been the oddball of the night. She and her band, The Electric Co., play a straightforward style of blues rock. They were definitely the most mainstream band of the night, and while black would be the chosen color for most in attendance, Julie Rhodes was selling tie dye shirts. But Julie Rhodes & The Electric Company are great. Like... ridiculously great. Her vocals are always compared to Janis Joplin, and while that's obviously the singer all female blues rockers are compared to, Rhodes lives up to the comparison. Her guitarist (I apologize, but I haven't been able to find his name online) may have been one of the best guitar players I've ever seen. Derek Trucks is the obvious comparison here, not for musical style but for the way he effortlessly pulled off some of the best solos you'll ever see. Somehow Julie Rhodes is just our little secret here in Boston, but if there's any justice in the universe she'll be rocking stages worldwide very soon.

Finally, Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys closed out the night with their highly anticipated return to the stage (although they did play a family friendly matinee show hours earlier). The band pulled out all the stops for their return, opening with the brilliant "Dino Domina" with Walter Sickert and Mary Widow starting the song of singing in the middle of the crowd. That set the tone for the entire night, as performing in the crowd or the crowd performing themselves was the theme of the night. Each song had a friend of the band performing burlesque or other arts on offshoots of the stage, coming straight up from the crowd instead of the backstage area. Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys have always included their fans and friends in their family, and this night truly showed that. The adoration the band has for each other, their art, and their fans was on full display, and it doesn't sound like they've missed a single step during their year and a half off. Even their The Shining inspired song, "Dull Boy," was a pure celebration when played live. They even crammed their fan favorite (and always requested) cover of the Ghostbusters theme into the end of the night.

The night was a perfect welcome back for all four bands and even ONCE. Let's make sure it's not another year and a half next time.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Phantom Ocean - Secondhand Ghosts

According to their Bandcamp bio, Salem's Phantom Ocean play "Blues and punk infused alt-rock." What's fantastic about their debut EP is how all five songs sound wildly different versions of that. "Notice Me Senpai" is an upbeat, almost poppy song about a very unhealthy relationship (to put it mildly). "Jersey Devil Blues" is a dirty blues stomper, like the noisier side of early White Stripes. That's immediately followed by "First & Always" which I previously described as discordant as hell and along the lines of bands like Shellac and Mission of Burma. "Tricky Ricky" sounds like it Charming Disaster decided to be noise rock. The EP closes with the noisiest version of "In the Pines" that you can imagine. As wildly different as these songs are, they all somehow form a cohesive release.

You can listen to "In the Pines" below. Secondhand Ghosts is now available via Bandcamp. For more on Phantom Ocean, check out the band's Instagram.

Dori Freeman - "The Storm"

Photo by Kristen Crigger

According to a press release, Dori Freeman's upcoming album is a "'grunge country' opus." I don't know if I'd call it grunge country personally (I think early Deer Tick nailed that perfectly), but "The Storm" is a fantastic slice of alt-pop country. "The Storm" goes down a little too smoothly to be aligned with grunge, but has far too much of an edge to be mainstream country. Putting an edge on any music that contains Freeman's voice can't be an easy task. "The Storm" shows that she could easily be the next country superstar, but she's far too cool for it. The song also has just enough of a retro cool feel to it to really make it something special. If I had to compare it to another current artist, I'd go with early Tristen. (And if you know what kind of Tristen fans we are, you know that's high praise.)

Dori Freeman says of the new song:

"I wrote 'The Storm' as an anthem for women who've been put through the ringer by men who didn’t deserve them. Storms and floods are powerful imagery for tumultuous relationships so I wanted the song to have a big swelling chorus to reflect that."

You can watch the video for "The Storm" below. Ten Thousand Roses is due out September 10. You can pre-save/pre-order the album here. For more on Dori Freeman, check out the artist's website. Upcoming tour dates are below the song.

August 6 - Appleton, WI - Miles of Music Festival
August 18 - Philadelphia, PA - City Winery
August 19 - New York, NY - City Winery
August 21 - Round Hill, VA - B-Chord Brewery
September 23 - Asheville, NC - Isis Music Hall

Typhoid Rosie - "All I Need"

Photo by Mark Doyle

Brooklyn's Typhoid Mary are back with the latest feminist anthem from their upcoming album. "All I Need" takes the usual punk sound we've come to expect from Typhoid Mary and slowed it down and changed it up a bit. Instead there's a very 60's doo wop or crooner sound to the song. Of course, this is still a punk song. It's a bizarro doo wop song dripping with attitude, gang vocals, and warped guitars. "All I Need" is the sonic equivalent of being given a candy apple with razor blades just jutting out of it. Plus, it features vocals from Coolie Ranx formerly of The Toasters and currently with Pilfers.

In a press release, Rosie Rebel says of the new song:

"Ninety percent of the songs dudes write that we thought were love songs are really about sliding a girl's panties off. Maybe its time we mix sh*t up. This is the song that happens when a grown-ass woman rips the mic out of some douchebag's hand who's held that mic for way too long."

You can listen to "All I Need" below. Queen of Swords is due out August 13. You can pre-order a copy over at Bandcamp. For more on Typhoid Rosie, check out the band's Facebook and Twitter.