Friday, 13 October 2017

Pre-Code Hollywood - Shake It Out

I'm not entirely sure who it was who originally introduced me to this mash up, but I think it was my friend Michelle Drury who combines her encyclopediac knowledge of all things Fall, Doctor Who, Radiophonic Workshop and Wars of the Roses with a similar degree of knowledge of all things Pre Code Hollywood and silent film.

This mash up is pretty apt given that the official promo video for 'Shake It Out' is very 1930s glamour anyway. This particular take on it never fails to cheer me up, as did Florence Welch's very emphatic disowning of the Conservative Party's unauthorised use of the Florence + The Machine's version of 'You've Got The Love' at their recent party conference in Manchester. I didn't make it to the customary anti-Conference march this year because I had a horrific migraine, but I gather it went well.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Pale Honey - Get These Things Out Of My Head (Official Video)

Gothenburg band Pale Honey are currently touring with our friends Pink Milk (whose album I now have!) in Sweden, but will be playing a London show at The Old Blue Last on November 7. Their second album, Devotion, is out now and this single, 'Get These Things Out Of My Head' captures life on the road for the band, as well as providing a taster of the album. It is, in their words, 'Heavy', but is also an exhilarating ride.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Wolf Alice - Beautifully Unconventional in the Live Lounge

I'm posting the live session version rather than the promo video to this single because I really don't like the promo at all, and feel it undermines (what I understand to be) the message of the song. That is to say, there's nothing innately offensive about using the well trod big white dress, blonde wig Monroe/Debbie Harry circa Parallel Lines schtick but, Ye Gods is it tired... There are some promo videos that you watch and feel really disappointed by. Not just because the idea is tired, but because it doesn't even seem to be the right tired idea to fit the image/sound of the band in question. It feels weird. Like you're watching that video of the the Waitresses 'I know what boys like' with the Kirsty MacColl version of 'They Don't Know' dubbed over the top of it.

'Beautifully Unconventional' isn't the new 'Rebel Girl' by any means, but it has a nice affirmative female solidarity message all the same. Not so much 'Rebel Girl' as 'She's Amazing'. The album, Visions Of A Life, is out now, and it's really, really good and definitely lives up to the hype. It should consolidate the momentum the band are building up around themselves and has all the hallmarks of an indie rock classic.

On that theme, Wolf Alice are the band at the heart of Michael Winterbottom's new film, On The Road, which follows the band as they tour the UK. The film weaves fictional characters and situations in and out of the day to day activities of the touring band. An unusual concept, which seems to have garnered a positive response, critically, so far.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Miya Folick - God Is A Woman - Live at London Calling

Along with Daughter's 'Burn It Down', this is my current song that I'm obsessed with. On 'God Is A Woman' we find Miya in a brooding, contemplative mood and, as such, this song isn't as guitar orientated as most of her work, or as angry/self lacerating.  It's a bit of a quiet recording, but it's also the only clip of 'God is a woman' that there is on YouTube so 'twill have to do.

'God Is A Woman' is available through Spotify and other streaming sites though, if you want to follow up by listening to the excellent recorded version

Friday, 29 September 2017

"I'm not right...inside": Wild Ones' return with classic new album

Wild Ones by Jeremy Hernandez
US band Wild Ones are due to release a new album of sparkling slightly skewed electro pop at the beginning of October. The title, Mirror Touch, refers to the medical condition mirror touch synesthesia and to the "physiological experience of empathy. How can you know yourself when in public you become everyone else?" It's this sense of contradiction and disorientation that runs through the album.

From a musical perspective, the band grew up on Cocteau Twins and En Vogue, and this knowledge provides you with a good bit of context when it comes to approaching their sound. On one hand there is a dark synthy element to a lot of the songs but this sits alongside the more evident bouncy electro pop and R&B elements.

Opening track 'Paresthesia' is all crashing electro chords, heavy synths and insistent, nagging percussive urgency. Singer Danielle Sullivan's vocals are reminiscent of Visions era Grimes, and are similarly sweetly endearing. This is a very bouncy track but in an offbeat way; wonky pop at it's best, with a great hook and chorus. It's a real ear worm, not to mention being a strong contender for song of the year. Sublime, euphoric and blissful despite it's dark lyrics.

The synth led 'Do you really' is a less urgent piece, but has similarly great hooks and bridge. More Naked And The Famous or Metric than Grimes, it's very sing along to. It's followed by the bouncy electro pop of 'They're not me', and the emotive and sweet electro ballad 'Invite Me In', which seems a good cousin to our friends Overcoats and their more electro orientated work. The most recent single, the soft and gorgeous lullaby 'Standing in The Back at Your Show', is similarly lovely.

Perhaps the most subversive track here though (aside from 'Parasthesia') is 'Wanna be your man', which follows the sad piano, crashing drums and swooping guitar of the instrumental 'Night Shift'. This is a laconic slice of electro pop that comes across like early Sugababes via Blondie and is just too good. This is woman as sexual pursuer, the swaggerer, the aggressive one. It has all the hallmarks of a pop classic and sits nicely along recent works by Gothic Tropic and Overcoats.

It's followed by the big song with big emotion that is 'Love + Loathing', in which brooding verses contrast with the emotional explosion of the chorus."Infatuation is so hard to hide"acknowledges Sullivan. There is a similar urgency to 'Forgetting Rock'N'Roll', with its pounding drums, swaggery synths and blurred and disoriented backing vocals, all making for good post disco electro pop.

The album ends with the bouncy but lyrically outspoken, shouty chorus fuelled 'No Money', which is another slice of classic electro pop. "Another hundred billion dollars gets me closer to God" snarls Sullivan in what is a (probably) unintentional nod to Nine Inch Nails, a reference only enhanced by the excellent insistent and unyielding drums at the end.

A perfect wonky pop album then, intelligent and innovative, also catchy as hell.

Mirror Touch is out on Topshelf on 6 October

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Daughter - "Burn It Down"

I heard this by chance on Lamacq on 6music on Monday and it quite literally stopped me in my tracks... It is currently haunting me and, my God does it feel so 2017...