Ordinarily, Valentine's Day is a celebration of a special someone that you already love, however, this year it transpired that it was a day for finding a new love.Step forward Joanna Gruesome. As legend would have it, the band's members met while attending anger management classes and I had to work hard to quell my own anger at previously dismissing them as hipster nonsense, based solely on their flippant name.
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Milagres is the band to have caught our ears this week; the talented foursome from Brooklyn has bashed out yet another set of golden sounds. Entitled Violent Light, the name of the LP alone screams the over-synthed luminosities of multicolour techno-pop. Yet what you really find with indie group Milagres’ glowing new LP is a refreshing mega-mix of pop, trippy synths, rock and edge. The album is simultaneously emotional, hard and charismatic; it marks a move from their debut Glowing Mouth, released in 2011, which hits darker notes reminiscent of a gloomier time for frontman Kyle Wilson, who spent a stint in hospital following a climbing accident producing the band’s first release.
“You strike me as the kind of person who has never made love before, therefore you are easily satisfied in general and with everything”. So shrieks James Smith to bring to a rather unceremonious end ‘Brat’, the schizophrenic closing track on Post War Glamour Girls’ debut album ‘Pink Fur’. It might seem a rather presumptuous claim, but judging by this record Smith’s band are extraordinary judges of character – ‘Pink Fur’ sounds like the human mind set to music, capturing its euphoric highs as well as its empty and paranoid lows. And it is absolutely sublime, from the dignified musicality to the madcap lyrics. Comparisons abound with the likes of Nick Cave, the Smiths and the Birthday Party, but PWGG have a sound all their own, a heady blend of light and dark which is simply addictive.
The release of new LP ‘The Brink’ later this month signals the return of Sydney-born rock band The Jezabels. And what a comeback it is; after a whirlwind success with their debut album Prisoner, the foursome has hit a new note with their second album of newfound guitar riffs and feistier drum rolls. Whilst the band’s previous album saw a more understated style of rock and roll, the upcoming collection basks in a Paramore-like vibe, upping the volume to give nostalgia and adventure a brand new voice.
To mark a new name, attitude and record, indie band Augustines formerly known as We Are Augustines are set to release self-titled album February 3rd 2014. Following publication of their debut album Rise Ye Sunken Ships in 2011, the band have left behind their heartbreak and come back fighting with a record packed with cheer-filled anthems and expectant choruses. Previously admired for their ‘scrappy vitality’ and ‘gruff yet sophisticated rafter-raising’ (SPIN), Augustines’ new album encompasses exactly that. The Brooklyn-born trio is the success of former indie rock outfit Pela, of which Eric Sanderson and Billy McCarthy were members. McCarthy forms the band’s guitar lines, whilst Sanderson accompanies on bass, vocals and keys. With the addition of drummer Rob Allen, Augustines formed and moved camp to Seattle.
Prior to A Wilhelm Scream’s pulsating set, sprightly UK punks Gnarwolves delivered an energetic if largely uninspired batch of throaty punk very much in the vein of the recently reunited Basement. It’s been hard to avoid the hype the Brighton outfit have been on the receiving end of over the past 12 months, but there’s little on show to convince they they've got the songs in their arsenal to rise above this level. Their unpolished pop punk is functional enough, but there’s just not enough big tunes on display to get this jaded old hack hot under the collar.
Monday, 24 March 2014
Annie Clark, otherwise identified by her more majestic moniker St. Vincent, is the female art-rocker of the moment. Bold, beautiful and anything but self-conscious, the rock queen released her fourth self-titled album on February 25th, 2014, a follow up record to her earlier works Marry Me, Actor and Strange Mercy. Clark also worked on a collaborative album with David Byrne entitled Love This Giant in 2012, and made an appearance on the film soundtrack of The Twilight Saga: New Moon after working with Bon Iver on the song ‘Roslyn’; it is fair to say St Vincent has well and truly earned her place in musical stardom.
Joan Wasser aka Joan As Police Woman is back with her fourth studio album, The Classic, set for publication on March 10th 2014. The Maine-born singer-songwriter began her career as a violinist for the Dambuilders, and has since released three albums as a solo artist: Real Life in 2006, To Survive in 2008 and most recently 2011’s The Deep Field. The Classic features the same soulful, multi-layered harmonies we expect from the star, yet its sound is instilled with a maturity and mellowness absent in her previous work.
Sifting through impending musicians, rock star wannabes and fame-thirsty instrumentalists can for any reviewer be a barren harvest. However, the inevitability of eventually stumbling across the glint of a hidden gem makes the whole process worthwhile. One of these fruits, and a juicy one at that, is Jordan Lee’s Mutual Benefit, and their magnificent forthcoming album Love’s Crushing Diamond.