The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

The New Pornographers: Brill Bruisers (Matador, 2014)

New-pornographers

Que The New Pornographers son un grupo que hace un Pop feliz y brillante ya lo conocíamos. Brill Bruisers no es más que la confirmación de ello.

“The evolution of New Pornographers hasn’t been measured by changes in their core sound so much as in energy level, with a discography that can essentially be plotted alongside a DJ console’s BPM lever. And since their 2005 masterwork Twin Cinema—an album that perfectly balanced their formative power-pop freneticism with loftier, widescreened ambitions—that lever has been gradually sliding down, with Challengers from 2007 and Together from 2010 emphasizing more patiently paced set pieces that tiptoed the fine line between gracefully decompressing and killing the buzz altogether. But even if such gambles cost them a few ADD-addled admirers along the way, you get the sense the New Pornographers would soldier on at their own leisurely clip even if no one was listening. Because, for the principals involved, the New Pornographers are less a band than a holiday resort, “a vacation from rock’n’roll music, inside rock’n’roll music,” as resident siren Neko Case once put it. And boy, do they ever need it now. Since the release of Together, the band’s principal songwriters have experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows: Dan Bejar produced his most immaculate, universally acclaimedDestroyer album to date with Kaputt; conversely, bandleader A.C. Newman and Case eachreleased sobering, uncharacteristically introspective solo records written in the aftermath of deaths in their respective families. So if the previous two New Pornographers records sometimes had a procedural air about them (with each vocalist checking in to collect their three-song rations), the vim and vigor of Brill Bruisers forcefully reasserts just how important and therapeutic the enterprise is to all involved. And that album title is brilliantly apropos for both the song-factory connotations and intimations of violence: here, the New Pornographers resemble not so much a supergroup as a gang, wielding hooks like shivs, guitar riffs like machine guns, and synths like laser beams. The opening title track isn’t just a blown-out bubblegum pop song made from a box full of Bazooka Joes—it’s a swarming, instantly thrusting you into a dizzying flurry of “bo-ba-ba-bo” harmonies coming at you from all sides. The steady beat of latter-day New Pornographers may remain, but it’s delivered with the force of a body check. While greatly indebted to pop movements of the past—from ’60s psychedelia to ’70s glam to ’80s new wave—the New Pornographers have never felt like a purely retro exercise, their best songs too jacked-up and exuberant to lapse into studious classicism. But Brill Bruisers feels like their most contemporary recording to date, and a great deal of credit for that lies with the person who, historically, has been the one least likely to be mentioned in a New Pornographers review— Blaine Thurier—and fellow keyboardist Kathryn Calder. In contrast to Together’s cello-dramatic sound, Brill Bruisers foregrounds their playing, not to opportunistically recast the band as au courant synth-pop, but to restore the forward momentum that was in scarcer supply on recent records, from the starbursts that propel Case’s daydreamy turn on “Champions of Red Wine” to the zippy oscillations that power Bejar’s triumphant “War on the East Coast” to the meaty tones that lend the authoritative march of “Backstairs” (the band’s most imposing rocker to date) a little extra spring in its goosestep. Thurier and Calder’s elevated roles speak to the more integrated teamwork in effect on Brill Bruisers; while tracklists on past records could be easily segregated by singer, there’s a greater degree of vocal trade-offs and harmonic interplay that heightens the communal, celebratory sense of occasion. And with the Fleetwood Mac attack of “Fantasy Fools”, the delirious “Dancehall Domine”, and Tommy-sized closer “You Tell Me Where”, the New Pornographers deliver the sort of pure pop head rush they haven’t unleashed in years. (Bejar is an especially feisty mood, hurtling himself into his trio of heart-racing contributions like a drunk who’s just found out the wedding he’s at has an open bar—all the while, in true contrarian fashion, showing up to the New Pornographers’ most modernist album yet with a batch of songs that require harmonica solos.) As ever, the exact meaning of the songs are evasive, but their ascendant arcs readily cast them as underdog anthems for whatever great challenge you face. Within such a maximalist context (not to mention a bulky 13-song tracklist), acoustic-tempered, middle-geared songs like “Marching Orders” and “Wide Eyes” can’t help but pale next to the aforementioned showstoppers. But Brill Bruisers’ most revelatory, parameter-expanding songs are actually the most stripped-down: Calder’s quick-hit “Another Drug Deal of the Heart” serves the same reprieving function here that Tobin Sprout’s minute-long melodic morsels did on Guided by Voices’ classic mid-’90s records, while Newman’s “Hi-Rise”—boasting a circular harmony assembled from clipped vocal tics—imagines what the posthumous, animatronic line-up of his band will sound like at a 22nd-century intergalactic tiki-bar residency. As legend has it, when recording the New Pornographers’ 2000 debut,Mass Romantic, Newman’s primary instruction to Case was to “sing like a robot”; with the futurist sound of Brill Bruisers, the whole band embraces a more electric version of itself—bulked-up in chrome-plated armor, firing on all cylinders, and ready to steamroll anything in its path” (Pitchfork)

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12 mayo, 2015 Posted by | The New Pornographers | Deja un comentario

Homeless: Cuando éramos Punk-Rockers (Vídeo-Single, 2015)

Homeless presentan “Cuando éramos punk rockers”, tema extraido del LP “La ciencia lo sabe” editado por Discosdelrollo y grabado en el estudio Grabaciones Sumergidas bajo la producción de Juan Antonio Mateos.
El videoclip ha sido dirigido por Félix García y encarnan los papeles Ronda Madera y Fernando Velázquez.

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11 mayo, 2015 Posted by | Homeless | Deja un comentario

The Bat Pajamas: Wrong house (Fleeting Youth Records, Single, 2015)

“Wrong House” is a scuzzy affair, built with tinny shreds of guitar and muffled vocals that change from troubled howls to blood-curdling screams in a matter of seconds. The song highlights their grungy, dark, and disheveled punk rock they dub “Witch Punk.” 

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9 mayo, 2015 Posted by | The Bat Pajamas | Deja un comentario

Mikal Cronin: MCII (Merge, 2015)

En este último trabajo de Mikal Cronin, el californiano vuelve a tirar por los caminos del Power-Pop más convencional aunque no por ello ésto quiera decir que MCIII sea un disco menos sorpresivo o epatante.
Explorando por los caminos del Pop, Cronin se dedica a adornar sus melodías con capas de guitarras convenientemente distorsionadas, muy a lo noventa, aunque el concepto general que me queda al escucharlo es la de estar ante un bonito ejercicio de Power-Pop convenientemente actualizado, es decir un género tardo setentero con sonoridad de los noventa y registrado en los dos mil con la magia de un virtuoso multiinstrumentista como MC


“Do I shout it out?/ Do I let it go?/ Do I even know what I’m waiting for?/ No, I want it now/ Do I need it, though?” Throughout MCII, Mikal Cronin gets in these ruts. His lyrics are delivered as someone who’s never fully sure of his next move and who’s completely unclear about his ambitions. He’s sure that he’s in love, but he keeps letting it slip away. Somehow, he keeps mucking up his day-to-day communication. It never used to be like this. He keeps talking about how time is getting away from him, which might be his way of acknowledging a crisis about getting older, though it’s just as likely that he’s accidentally spending hours clicking on YouTube videos. He wonders if he’s wrong. (He doesn’t think so.) He consistently has good intentions, but he’s inadvertently prone to choking on the follow-through. He sums up his turmoil pretty well in “See It My Way”: “I hear the song– I wanna sing along with you/ But when I try I’m out of tune/ I turn and walk away.” It’s a sweet and snappy sentiment from someone who’s ultimately out of sync. This is Cronin’s pop poetry for the aloof.
So it’s somewhat ironic that MCII is also his most fully realized, beautifully arranged, and well-crafted work to date. Since he’s spent the past year shredding for the masses in the Ty Segall Band, it’s easy to forget that he recently earned his B.F.A. in Music and learned how to compose for different instruments. He rightly noted that his education came in handy for hisMerge debut, which subs out some of the psych freakouts from his first album for string arrangements. K. Dylan Edrich, who recently contributed strings to Thee Oh Sees‘ most recent two albums, lends her talents to a handful of songs, from the plaintive violin solo on “Peace of Mind” to the frantic viola on “Change”. 
One of the most impressive things about MCII is how Cronin balances “power” and “pop”. He makes the “pop” part of the equation look effortless– in 10 songs, he offers 10 solid, catchy melodies. When it comes to “power,” he’s much more conservative than he’s ever been before– especially when you consider Slaughterhouse. There are entirely acoustic songs here that pretty well prove that he doesn’t need to rely on punk rock sludge. So when the tender stuff is over and he steps on the fuzz pedal, the effects are extremely satisfying.
Album closer “Piano Mantra”, for example, begins with a particularly fragile-sounding Cronin singing “I’m tired, I’m sick, I’m broke up.” Edrich’s strings are quietly introduced, then an acoustic guitar and some drums, and finally at the end, a feedback screech ushers in a distorted electric guitar. It doesn’t even take center stage or threaten to become the main attraction– it just adds a sturdy, noisy spine to Cronin’s formerly delicate ballad. Everything– strings, fuzz, slide guitar, etc.– is purposefully and carefully implemented. He uses the more muscular sounds to offset his bubblegum jangle, and while he did ask Ty Segall to lend a hand on the album, he only brought him on board for two guitar solos. Neither are very flashy– they’re well-placed bursts of power that complement the melody.
There’s one moment in particular that puts to rest any notion that Cronin is just a glorified garage sideman: “Don’t Let Me Go”, the only track Cronin recorded entirely by himself at home. It’s just him, his acoustic guitar, and his voice singing both the melody and harmony. With that skeletal structure, he loses the “I’m not sure what’s next or why I act like this” tone and gets straight to the point. He pleads for the person he loves to give him another shot. “You’re all I know,” he sings in his falsetto. It’s the most direct, vulnerable statement he’s ever made, and in an album otherwise packed with uncertainty, it’s powerful.
Cronin has said that his first favorite album was Nirvana’s In Utero– a record noisily recorded with Steve Albini before the band went to R.E.M./Katrina and the Waves producer Scott Litt to soften a couple of the album’s songs. There’s a loose analogy at play here– Cronin recorded MCII with Eric “King Riff” Bauer at his Bay Area shred factory, Bauer Mansion. Later, he had the album mixed and mastered at Berkeley’s hallowed Fantasy Studios. (Cronin has admitted that he got the idea from Segall, who worked in those same two studios for Twins.) The outcome is a great sounding album that sits nicely between the poles of “fuzz war” and “cooing balladeer.” Cronin has proved with this album that, like Cobain before him, he’s so much more than a longhair with a fuzz pedal. He’s an excellent pop craftsman who knows how to turn the power up for maximum effect” (Pitchfork)

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8 mayo, 2015 Posted by | Mikal Cronin | Deja un comentario

Darren Hayman: Chant for socialists (Wiaiwya, 2015)

Chants for Socialists cover art

“While we’re on the subject of both Darren Hayman and May Day, now is the perfect time to pay-what-you-want for Darren’s great, and important, Chants For Socialists album (including the single May Day).
I can’t imagine too many of you don’t already have it, so please tell your chums – it includes 10 magnificent tunes to join you on your walk to the polling booth on Thursday” (Wiaiwya)

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7 mayo, 2015 Posted by | Darren Hayman | Deja un comentario

Freschard: Shhh… (Wiaiwya, Single, 2015)

Ah… ese aroma tan intemporal del French-Pop…!!

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7 mayo, 2015 Posted by | Freschard | Deja un comentario

Honeyblood: No big deal / The black cloud (Single, 2015)

Nuevo material del dúo de escocesas Honeyblood: mucho más pulido, sonido más limpio, menos aristado y adornado con melodías atractivas. Creo que el formato pequeño de Ep´s y sencillos les va mejor que el álbum.

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6 mayo, 2015 Posted by | Honeyblood | Deja un comentario

Honeyblood: Honeyblood (Fat Cat Records, 2014)

El debut de las escocesas Honeyblood se grabó en el baño de casa, en una cassette. Un disco quizás demasiado valorado por lo que representa: las chicas han hecho un bonito esfuerza en materializar varios temas que no dejan de ser acercamientos al Pop de guitarras más propio de las Riot Grrrls que, como aventuran en otros foros, querer compararlas con grupos de la talla de Breeders, Throwing Muses o Camera Obscura (aquí personalmente pienso que se les ha ido la mano con las comparaciones). Lo malo es que quizás tampoco resistan una comparación con un referente mucho más claro como Best Coast. En definitiva, buen Pop, bonito ambiente en general y un buen disco de Indie de guitarras. No mucho más…


“One part of ‘90s indie lineage that usually goes unmentioned among the nostalgics is that the era’s albums tended to dissolve into filler in the back third, and Honeyblood is no exception. Just looking at the album’s tracklist, you can almost pinpoint the spot where they’ll break the monotony with an uptempo cut—in this case, the clipped exasperation and petulant shout-along of “All Dragged Up”—but for the most part, Honeyblood admirably sidesteps the potential pitfalls. Some bands record lo-fi albums as a statement of purpose; others because that’s all they could afford. Honeyblood were previously in the latter position, and as a result their debut doesn’t sound overproduced as much as it does properly heightened, like a well-developed photograph.  The lovelorn “Fall Forever” melts on record like a sugarcube, “No Spare Key” and single “Bud” receive a clean frame around their lyrics, “Killer Bangs” is properly raucous, and the quieter “Super Rat” is gracefully produced, with guitars that initially sound like little pirouettes escalating the song to the level of ripping contempt: “SCUM! BAG! SLEAZE! SLIME! BALL! GREASE!”
As you might imagine from that exultation, Honeyblood is populated by the canonical post-riot-grrrl cast of characters: asshole dudes, and the women exasperated or over them in the most cathartic ways. But though Tweeddale’s still working through growing pains as a lyricist—for every great opening salvo, there’s a throat-clearing hedge—Honeyblood’s got a sense of voice some debut acts would be lucky to possess. “Choker”, in particular, feints past platitudes and scumball-sleaze dude clichés to become something more layered; it was inspired byAngela Carter’s story “The Bloody Chamber,” about a bride marrying a man implied to be theMarquis de Sade, whose wedding gift is a choker of “flashing crimson jewels round [her] throat, bright as arterial blood”; the song, accordingly, whiplashes from hooky to doomy to unnervingly placid. It’s not exactly a dark song, though, which is key, as the best moments on Honeyblood work in complex emotions.
“Biro” is the most wistful track on the album, a late-summer wash that sounds gorgeous on record. It possesses the record’s most lasting hook, as well as its most indelible line: “All the pain you’ve been through will be the making of you.” It works both as something to take to heart and a to-date career statement, as the making of Honeyblood turned out all right, after all.” (Pitchfork)

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6 mayo, 2015 Posted by | Honeyblood | Deja un comentario

The Shaykes: Catch me if you can (Pavement Records, Single, 2015)

Sonoridades rockistas, nada nuevo bajo el sol, pero sí buen rollo y mucho Pub-rock en las venas…

‘Catch Me If You Can’ is a shamelessly honest song about a man escaping the clutches of a desperate woman. Matty D’s cheeky vocal style allows him to get away with jaw dropping (yet brutally honest) lyrics like ‘Girl, you’re not the one, but maybe two or three.’ The song is an incredibly catchy, high energy mix of surf rock, and garage grunge” (Press)

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5 mayo, 2015 Posted by | The Shaykes | Deja un comentario

Captain Excuse & His Crooked Crew: Insular (2015)

Como un músico en un islote, como reza su título, así se presenta la música de Captain Excuse & His Crooked Crew, una isla sonora en un panorama absolutamente variopinto. Huyen de cualquier etiqueta y realizan la música que les apetece. Se podrían encuadrar en una especie del Indie-Folk, un sonido intimista con instrumentación ajustada y matices cercanos a la Americana.
La autoedición como forma de trabajo y manera de entender la música. Amigos y ex-compañeros de fatigas musicales, unas escuchas a esta Tripulación Maldita te trasladarán a ese espíritu Insular.

“Crooked times and warped psyches produce skewed melodies. Those angular hard emotions coalesce in The Crooked Crew, a band primed to develop after rock ‘n’ roll. They project glacial, redemptive tunes of introspection- that inwardly melodic new terrain.
Via many guises Captain Excuse has continued unstaled by custom to tap the source of the original with oftentimes a pop edge. A viable pop frame for myriad convergences that permeate the work as if the most vital of vocabularies have to be the commercial, but as dignified transport. After the influences that make a band evolve this one has arrived at a contemplative edifice of atmospheres.
Insular is comprised of tunes questing to mean something by these crooked veterans undimmed by time” (Tony Sanders)

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4 mayo, 2015 Posted by | Captain Excuse & His Crooked Crew | Deja un comentario

Disco Las Palmeras!: Asfixia (Sonido Muchacho, 2015)

“Disco Las Palmeras! continúan fieles a no cambiar su voluntad por estremecer a partir de la saturación sonora. Todo lo que define sus dos anteriores trabajos ha permanecido intacto en esteAsfixia, con la diferencia de saber diversificar sus límites para que el torrente arrase con todo en el mayor número de direcciones posible. Si Nihil Obstat sirvió para adentrarse en la casa oscura yUltra para escribir desde dentro de ella, en Asfixia abren las ventanas para sacar a la luz el concentrado de ira y decepciones. Un trabajo de letras influenciadas por lo social y al mismo tiempo muy bien ramificado en el lado más mordaz del ser humano. La intensidad sigue siendo un elemento muy diferenciador, estando presente en cada riff, en cada bocanada de aire, en cada distorsión que parece que va poner fin a algo que en el fondo nunca llega.
Si algo notamos detrás de este nuevo LP, es una enorme meticulosidad existente en todos los aspectos. Nada queda a merced de la desmesura sonora, sino que todo queda perfectamente empastado. Las primeras canciones del trabajo quizás no sean el mejor ejemplo para darnos cuenta de ello, pero el resultado final sí que arroja mucha luz sobre esto, reconociendo el propio grupo el empeño que han puesto en ello. La fórmula sin lugar a dudas es muy acertada. Rugir como siempre en temas como el inicial ‘Tarde y Mal’ para abrir la puerta de un autodestructivo shoegaze en otros como ‘Morir o Matar’, que impacta igual de fuerte. Por el camino, nos encontramos combinaciones intermedias como ‘El Final del Círculo’ que condensan una hiperactividad de elementos que general el desasosiego perfecto. Tremendos los cambios de intensidad y los espasmos que se producen a lo largo de él, desarrollando estructuras en espiral que devoran el descontento con todo lo que nos rodea.
Sin perder de vista lo efectivo que puede llegar a ser un estribillo directo y con mensaje, Disco Las Palmeras! explotan a la perfección todo lo que ocurre en ‘Cállate la Boca’. Progresiones de guitarra que invitan al puño en alto junto con todo lo bueno que tiene hacer colapsar la base del tema. En esa línea de contundencia, en armonía con lo regurgitante de las letras, aparece también ‘Fuego’. Tiempos más decelerados pero misma actividad de la vena yugular para que en este caso la distorsión esté un paso por encima del apartado vocal. El hedor que supone la situación alcanza su máximo en ‘Disparo’, el momento donde la frustración se vuelca hacia la ira sin esconder nada. Todo toma un sabor amargo que al mismo tiempo sana, mirando hacia nuevas direcciones relacionadas con un sonido más crudo, donde todo comienza y acaba en las cuerdas de la guitarra que a estas alturas ya estarán ensangrentadas.

Explorando también ese terreno de dinamismo basado en los teclados aparece ‘Élites’. La catarata disonante nunca había encajado tan bien con lo arrollador de su propuesta, incidiendo como un martillo y apelando a la entereza en frases tan reveladoras como No pienses en pensar. El final de este tema es otro de los momentos culmen del trabajo, alcanzando una saturación máxima en la que sin embargo podemos distinguir todos los elementos que intervienen. Es ahí cuando nos damos cuenta de la buena mano en el apartado de producción que tiene el trabajo. Dejándose engullir por un placentero caos, el fin el disco lo marca ‘La Calma’. Una base de ruido blanco que impregna todo y gracias a la cual nuestro sistema nervioso descansa después de escuchar el trabajo completo” (Mindies)

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4 mayo, 2015 Posted by | Disco Las Palmeras! | Deja un comentario

Kigo: Like amber (Single, 2015) / Never Knowing (Single, 2014)

La figura de Kigo ya ha aparecido previamente en TJB. D. Pearce (responsable del grupo) es un personaje que, desde el dormitorio de casa, nos ha teletransportado en repetidas ocasiones por hooks del mejor Dreamgaze con gotitas de Noise, por pasajes del mejor Madchester salpicado con distorsiones inesperadas.
La mejor manera de perderse en un mar de Shoegaze. Y lo mejor de todo, Kigo ofrece toda su música en descarga gratuita y disfrute garantizado.

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3 mayo, 2015 Posted by | Kigo | Deja un comentario

Leave Them All Behind: A tribute to Ride (The Blog That Celebrates Itself, 2015)

VA - Leave Them All Behind - A Tribute To Ride cover art

Un nuevo tributo a la banda de Oxford (quienes recientemente han vuelto a los escenarios), partícipes y creadores de un sonido y de un género tan vigente hoy en día como hace los veinticinco años largos en los que aparecieron los primeros discos de Ride.
Bonita recopilación que puedes conseguir al precio que consideres oportuno visitando el enlace.

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2 mayo, 2015 Posted by | Ride | Deja un comentario

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