The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Widowspeak: The Swamps (Captured Tracks, 2013)


Widowspeak lanzó a finales del año pasado The Swamps, un Ep en el que de alguna manera, avanzan el que podrá ser su sonido en un hipotético segundo larga duración. Personalmente, adoro los Eps, pues en ello los grupos pueden incluir los temas justos que a lo mejor sobran en álbumes que igual tienen algo que sobra. También está la solución de incluir en ellos temas que probablemente fuesen descartes de otras sesiones, directos, o sencillamente, canciones inéditas.
The Swamps me suena un poco a solución intermedia: un poco de avance de cómo evolucionará su sonido (algo más de instrumentación, algo más de producción…), pero también algo de descartes. No sé, en The Swamps no encuentro el punto de calidez y de magia que encontraba en su álbum de debut, aquel fantástico Almanac, un disco en el que nada sobraba, y en el que la calidez y la cercanía inundaban todos sus surcos.
Echo en falta algo más de esa calidez aquí, aunque algunos cortes (Smoke and mirrors, True believerThe Swamps) son suficientes como para darle al disco más que un aprobado alto.


True Believer” is the first song Widowspeak recorded for The Swamps, and fittingly it’s the one that sounds closest to Almanac. (Thomas has said this EP, which Kevin McMahon also produced, leans more toward Widowspeak’s last record than their putative third LP). It opens much like “Locusts”, with a similarly note-bent but lower-pitched bloom from Thomas’ Fender Telecaster. Where the latter track was tightly coiled like a tense calm before the plague, on “True Believer” Hamilton literally lets her hair down (“tangled sheets, tangled hair”) and swoons into the romanticized slide guitar. The religious imagery on Almanac’s “Dyed in the Wool” can also be found in “True Believer”–“speak in tongues,” “shake off that devil fever,” “pilgrim lips”–but this time Hamilton tinges her turns of phrase with the vivid mysticism of the South’s voodoo culture rather than falling back on idiomatic poetry in the vein of “cut from the cloth.”
Hamilton’s lyrics “The house was a good one, but the yard was overgrown” on “Calico” are actually a good metaphor for Almanac, a fine record that still occasionally got lost on its forays into Western and Latin themes. Most of The Swamps, by contrast, rides on opening instrumental “Theme From the Swamps”, obviously a kind of mission statement for the EP. Those six creaky, twangy, back-porch rocking-chair notes prove to be a tangible yet versatile anchor for Widowspeak’s songwriting. This time, most of the genre-specific accents–the castanet rolls on “Smoke and Mirrors”, shakers rattling in the background of “The Swamps”, tambourines stalking through “Calico” like spurs on a cowboy boot–enhance what’s already there instead of distracting from it. The only weak spot on The Swamps might be “Brass Bed”, a lovely track that suffers from simply too much going on–multi-part harmonies, twinkling pianos, and “That’s Amore”-esque guitar stylings, and awkward lyrical syntax (“Find me underneath the linen/ Trying hard to get forgiven”).
Widowspeak do their best work when they take a minute to smell the sage, not necessarily when they forge ahead into new territories; and to a certain extent the band recognizes this and embraces it on The Swamps. In a recent interview, Thomas suggested that Almanac, with its big, brassy arrangements and relatively quick tempos, was an exercise in nostalgia “backlash” while their latest collection of songs takes the opposite tack. “You can’t be too nostalgic, you can’t get caught in something like that,” he said, referring to the former. “In the swamps, you feel sticky, and slowed down, and caught. And in terms of our music, we’re never like a really fast, loud band.” He’s right: Hamilton’s languorous croon will never be able to fully escape Hope Sandoval’s shadow–nor should she try–and Thomas’ arrangements will probably always owe a fair piece to the 60s’ gun-slinging theme songs of the Wild West, which have been the band’s bread and butter since Widowspeak‘s album cover re-imagined the giant spiders from Wild Wild West. Widowspeak seem to have found a home in the swamps, and now they’re inviting us in to set awhile” (Pitchfork)

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11 abril, 2014 Posted by | Widowspeak | Deja un comentario

Rasputin´s Secret Police: Kids with no friends, Zoe (Fleeting Youth Records, 2014)

Estos tipos desde luego no tienen reparo a la hora de las mezclas de darle todo el volumen posible a sus guitarras, y a sus pedales de distorsión… Me recuerda mucho la época Grunge.


11 abril, 2014 Posted by | Rasputin´s Secret Police | Deja un comentario

Dirty River: Releaf (Fleeting Youth Records, Single, 2014)

“Releaf is a smartly penned tribute to weed personified by two separate encounters with two different women. Lead singer Forrest Hackenbrock’s austere vocals crawl like freshly exhaled smoke over tramping drums and hazy guitars that’ll leave you just as relaxed and euphoric as the leaf he pays homage to” (Press)

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11 abril, 2014 Posted by | Dirty River | Deja un comentario

Freschard: Monsters / And the rain (Wiaiwya Records, Single, 2014)

Pop íntimo pero no por ello menos intenso…

Freschard grew up in a farm in French Burgundy. She started organizing shows in the barn when she was about 12 years old. Aged 18 she moved to the big city, Paris, where she baked pies and cakes in a cafe. There, a local musician and regular customer called Andre Herman Dune wrote a few songs for her to sing. She called her first E.P. “Neon Orange”. Homeless in Paris, she saved up just enough money to get herself a ticket to New York. There she found an old electric guitar and started writing her own songs. She recorded her second e.p., “Shower Gel”, with Mike Gomez on lapsteel guitar. In 2004 she moved to Berlin, where she recorded her first LP, “Alien Duck”. Her second album, “Click Click”, recorded in 2006, features a drummer (Leo Bear Creek), and electric guitar by Stanley Brinks. On her third album, “Moonstone”, she plays the drums herself. On her fourth “Shh…” she also plays the flute. Her latest album “Boom Biddy Boom” is a masterpiece…”

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11 abril, 2014 Posted by | Freschard | Deja un comentario


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