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Dum Dum Girls with Blouse – Johnny Brenda’s (Philadelphia) – March 23, 2014
Nothing – Guilty of Everything (Relapse)
Sure, there’s nothing (pun not intended) particularly original going on here and this Philadelphia-based quartet are not the first group of hardcore punks to turn to shoegaze and dream-pop, but I don’t care. Guilty of Everything is a gorgeous, addictive record that should be at the top of your playlist if you are an adherent or follower of U.S. shoegaze revival bands, up there with even The Sleepover Disaster.
Perfect Pussy – Say Yes to Love (Captured Tracks)
I have no idea why this Syracuse-based band is getting much more attention than singer Meredith Graves‘ last band (the also excellent Shoppers) as this just picks up right where Shoppers’ Silver Year left off. Nevertheless, I’m glad they are getting attention from Pitchfork and the like as this is an excellent, if often jarring, record that feels like a punch to the face after its 8 songs and 23 minutes are said and done. I should also mention that along with Holograms‘ Forever, this is definitely on the harder-edged side of what the great Captured Tracks label has released. In other words, this isn’t dream-pop, but noisy, full-throttle punk rock with often buried vocals. Also, the digital version contains 4 extra live bonus tracks.
Real Estate – Atlas (Domino)
The long-awaited follow-up to 2011’s watershed Days doesn’t quite match up to its predecessor, but it comes close. It’s a bit more of a grower or at least it was for me. The basic sound is the same, shimmering majestic jangle pop in the vein of ’80s Flying Nun bands like The Bats and UK bands like Felt along with U.S. counterparts from the same era like the later work of The Feelies (and on one song, Galaxie 500). So what’s changed? Martin Courtney‘s lyrics focus on a more mature perspective than the school-age musings of Days, but otherwise Atlas treads very similar territory. In this case, though, that is a very good thing.
La Sera – “Losing to the Dark”
Although the equally long-awaited follow-up to 2012’s Sees the Light (one of my favorite records from that year) won’t be out until May 13th, one song from it has been released (listen here). It’s an upbeat, Blondie-ish ditty about the perils of losing a lover to drug and alcohol addiction with Katy Goodman‘s vocals coming across as more tough (and more than a little bitter) than sweet. If this is a slightly new direction, I can’t wait to hear the rest!
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Simple and Sure”
The first song released from yet another long-awaited album (their third release, Days of Abandon, is out on April 22nd) splits the difference between their 2009 self-titled Lp and 2011’s shinier, Alan Moulder-produced Belong. You can listen to it here.
Beverly – “Honey Do”
The new band of Frankie Rose and Drew Citron (a member of Rose’s live backing band and also a member of Avan Lava; she is the main singer and songwriter here) has a song out that will be on their self-titled debut on Kanine and also on Kanine’s Record Store Day sampler. More information and a stream of the track is here. If the rest of the Lp is as catchy as “Honey Do,” it will be among my favorites of the year for sure. And Kanine is sure a great label, with recent releases by Bleeding Rainbow, this band and the forthcoming album by Fear of Men.
Super Wild Horses – “Alligator”
The opening track from their 2013 album Crosswords (their second) is one of the catchiest songs I’ve heard in years. Super Wild Horses is another great band from Melbourne, Australia who seem to be cut from the same cloth as other bands of recent vintage who can cite The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Raveonettes as their main influences. In other words, this is right up my alley! Thanks to Jamie Touhill for introducing me to this band!
Mitch Friedland – The Bandstand (Brian)
Now here is something different. This is actually the soundtrack to a story by Roddy Doyle that was released on 5 5” records. Each composition on the soundtrack corresponds to a chapter in the story. you can read more about this release here.
That aside, many readers of The Big Takeover will recognize Friedland as the lead singer and guitarist of Springhouse. This, however, is absolutely gorgeous instrumental music that reminds me somewhat of Raymond Scott Woolson. The compositions are short and to the point so the natural inclination is to play it over and over again.
Charles Bradley: Soul of America (Not Rated)
This 2012 documentary ostensibly chronicles the build-up to the release of the then 62 year old Bradley’s debut album No Time for Dreaming. In addition to exposing some of the inner workings at Daptone Records, this also documents Bradley’s incredible life story up to that point. This documentary and Bradley in general is inspiring not only for his perseverance and talent, but in how he treats others as well.
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