Thursday 29 August 2013

September Girls go Fortuna Pop!

I know this blog looks like it's rapidly turning into a Fortuna Pop! fanzine, but if Sean Price will insist on snaffling all the best bands, then what's a 39 year old boy to do?

News reached me this afternoon that Dublin's finest, September Girls, have gone and signed to Fortuna Pop! and will release a single in October, then an album in deep, depressing January - which is something ease the pain of spending Christmas with your parents, isn't it?

Aside from all of that, the band are releasing a limited edition tape for Cassette Store Day on 7 September via PINS’ label Haus of Pins, entitled 'Ships'. It's a thing of rare beauty, as you can hear for yourself...

Friday 23 August 2013

Ancient Times - Nightschool/Hieroglyphic (Soft Power Records)

Ancient Times is a teenager called George Smale. With a name like that you might think he belongs in a terrible insurance brokers' office, but the fact is he's more talented before the age of 20 than most.

This double A-side on the ever-excellent Soft Power displays a quite thrilling talent for writing jangly, vulnerable indiepop music.

'Nightschool' sounds like the sort of song Morrissey should be singing, if he wasn't so bloody awkward; it's all back seats of cars and soaring, sad vocals. Meanwhile, 'Hieroglyphic' is altogether more sparse. Smale's sweet foghorn voice starts off over drums and bass, before the drums kick in, and then the growling guitar. It sounds like something from the first Kitchens of Distinction album, and there really is now higher praise.

There's only 250 of these blighters, so you best get your finger out. See here for more details, and an Ancient Times tour you've probably just missed.

Saturday 17 August 2013

Joanna Gruesome - Weird Sister (Fortuna POP!)

From the very first moment the scattergun pop of 'Anti-Parent Cowboy Killers' creeps under your skin and grabs you forever, to the last few drops of sprawling lament 'Satan' drains you dry, 'Weird Sister' rules the entire world.

Quite what greatness Joanna Gruesome have created here, I'm not sure they know. It's a mess of noise, dreamy pop, violence, and a whole heap of creativity in just 28 minutes that most bands would be hard pressed to match across a dozen albums.

There are songs here that fans of the band will be familiar with ('Sugarcrush', 'Madison', 'Lemonade Grrrl'), but they've been given a new lease of life after being re-recorded.

'Madison' was a bruising piece of perfect pop before, now it's a monster - all MBV-ish guitars and sneering dual vocals. It's the sort of song that makes you want to stick your coat on, head outside, and sort out what's wrong with the world. If 'Taxi Driver' ever gets remade, with, say, Danny Dyer in the lead role, then 'Madison' would be its theme tune.

Lemonade Grrl heads into the territory where shoegaze meets The Wedding Present, and, again, it's almost like a new song after having more than 50p spent on its recording. It's relentless strumming and pace holds you like nothing else.

But it's probably 'Secret Surprise' that is the most perfect of the ten perfect songs on 'Weird Sister'. By Joanna Gruesome standards, it's almost an epic. It's about four songs in one, with vocalist Alanna McArdle playing two characters in the same play. It's an absolute riot.

The theme continues with 'Do You Really Wanna Know Why Yr Still in Love With Me', which, on the face of it, is a pretty straightforward pop song, with perfect vocals by McArdle, but with a tumult of noise and feedback that gives your goosebumps.

'Candy', meanwhile, is the kindest of homages to Galaxie 500. Those who keep up with these things might have heard or seen Joanna Gruesome's stunning live version of 'Tugboat'. 'Candy' merely emphasises their love of the long-departed heroes.

Just when we think they're going soft, and before this album disappears, here comes 'Graveyard', a vital blast of vitriol that sounds like a little like early Pixies are their most raw. It songs like this that make me want to forget that I'm nearly 40 and can't dance, and go our and pretend to be young again. But I'm a bit tired, so I'll just listen to this album again and have an early night.

Let's get this straight; you don't just want to listen to this album - you need to. It's as simple as that. It's one of those albums that, when you get old, you'll be able to go back to time and time again. It's the sort of record you'll want to play to everyone who comes around to your house. It's the LP that'll be on your turntable now, tomorrow, next week, and in 25 years' time. You know what to do.

Sunday 4 August 2013

Joanna Gruesome: Give in, but don't give up

It's the Sunday afternoon after Indietracks, and I've just spent the entire day washing a shed (no - really). In London, people are getting stopped, searched and asked to "go back home" simply because of the colour of their skin. Is the UK sleepinwaking into fascism? Sometimes it certainly feels like it.

It's at times like this that we need a shot in the arm, a blast to the head, a kick in the shins. Joanna Gruesome, the mighty Joanna Gruesome, provide it in spades with a new track from their debut album out on 16th September.

'Secret Surprise' is like a bouncing bomb aimed at in the faces of those at the who peddle lies to fit their agenda of stigmatising the poor or weak of mind and body. It's a clarion call for those who find that this spiteful government (and their equally weasel-minded opposition) in the UK goes against every fibre of their being. If the word anthem hadn't been so abused over the years, then I'd call it that too - but I won't.

Frankly, it's an essential 2 minutes and 44 seconds of incendiary pop. It hits the sweet spot somewhere in the clouds between Huggy Bear, Pale Saints, The Make-Up, Ailsers Set, and Le Tigre. The album, when it comes out on Fortuna Pop! and Slumberland is set to change lives. You may as well give in to the inevitable right away.