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Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Joanna Gruesome: Peanut butter (Fortuna POP!, Slumberland; 2015)

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Los galeses Joanna Gruesome continúan haciendo del Punk-Pop su bandera. Melodías contagiosas, guitarrazos a mansalva, ritmos frenéticos y, como siempre, buenas canciones.

“Rival groups will be disappointed to learn that the record is a further experiment in combining hyper melodic pop music with sonic violence. Officials have confirmed that the album contains a record number of hooks, traces of nut and elements of jangle pop, British hardcore punk, atonal music, screaming and drone organs. Yet they have issued warnings of “a marriage of radical politics with peanut butter spread”. One authorized statement reads: “Weighing in at a concise 25 minutes, the album hurtles through its ten songs, each one a succinct, powerful gem.”
Like their debut “Weird Sister,” the new album was recorded by MJ from Hookworms, with the aim of heightening the group’s “pop” and “aggressive” elements to excessive and hitherto unrecorded levels. As songwriter Owen Williams explains: “We tried to make it shorter, more economical and attempted to pack as many hooks and screams in as quickly possible in order to avoid short changing the consumer or wasting her/his/their time. Lyrically it’s more obtuse and surreal but also attempts to mock trad masculine rock themes whenever things do get more lucid. But sometimes musically we embrace them by doing embarrassing guitar solos. I’m not sure how much else I’m at liberty to say but one thing I will disclose is that the record is a response to threats posed by rival groups.”
The record has also seen the group explore new and potentially dangerous lyrical territory. Opener “Last Year” is reportedly about experiencing personal tragedy and the occult in a waterpark and a pizza restaurant. Yet “Jamie (Luvver)” is a straightforward pop song about having a crush on someone named Jamie, queer literature and Welsh public transport. These tracks are followed by the incredibly catchy “Honestly Do Yr Worst,” a song about espionage, rival groups and the radical possibilities of peanut butter spread. Things become surreal on “There Is No Function Stacy”, a song about “someone called Stacy who wrongly believes a party is happening that she’s been invited to. The narrator has to painfully explain to her that there was never a party and she fabricated it all”, while on “Crayon” Williams addresses his approach to lyrics directly. ” Sometimes you can undermine hetero macho rock shit through nonsense words, obtuse statements, action, melody, sound or aesthetic rather than through traditional lyrics .”
Speaking confidentially, one official confirms that “The sixth track, “I Don’t Wanna Relax,” is yet another hook-filled potential single. This is swiftly followed by “Jerome (Liar)”, a fan favorite based on a subversive folk tale.” On “Separate Bedrooms,” the group cover a song by Bristol DIY act Black Terror (now performing as “CUP WINNERS’ CUP”), a group known for their attention to melody. The penultimate track is the “crushing, sparkling” “Psykick Espionage,” a song about telepathy and the occult in rock’n’roll, and “the first time I ate an avocado.” The record is brought to a close by “Hey! I Wanna Be Your Best Friend”, a heartwarming number about radical friendship and Thin Lizzy appreciation. Under media interrogation, guitarist George Nicholls confesses to the themes of the record : “It’s about radical politics, fancying people and espionage. The first record was more about violence and revenge fantasy, whereas this one is more about peanut butter.” (Slumberland)

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14 febrero, 2016 Posted by | Joanna Gruesome | Deja un comentario

Tyrannosaurus Dead/Joanna Gruesome: Split Single (Odd Box Records, 2014)

Dos grupos evidentemente cercanos al Fuzzy y al Pop más ruidoso comparten single este próximo 21 de Julio. Buenas noticias para los seguidores del género y de estas dos divertidas bandas.

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16 julio, 2014 Posted by | Joanna Gruesome, Tyrannosaurus Dead | Deja un comentario

Joanna Gruesome: Weird sister (Fortuna POP!, Slumberland, 2013)



Joanna Gruesome son uno de esos grupos con los que da gusto encontrarse de vez en cuando. Huyen de artificios, son naturales al cien por cien, son bastante auténticos y continúan haciendo lo mismo desde el momento en que comenzaron, allá por 2011 ( o al menos desde que yo les conozco), es decir, ese Pop desbocado, algo salvaje y con bastante saña, al menos en cuanto al tratamiento de las guitarras se refiere.
Los de Cardiff han regrabado algunos de sus antiguos temas (Sugarcrush, Candy, Madison), pero les han vuelto a dotar de esa energía desbocada. Y es que Weird sister es un disco con apenas treguas (quizás algunos pasajes centrales o temazos como Wussy void). Personalmente me recuerdan mucho a The Delgados, otra banda que en sus comienzos no se cortaba nunca a la hora de emplear el overdrive. Pero Joanna Gruesome suenan mucho también a Los Campesinos!, tamizados quizás por la distorsión ramoniana, suenan a Veronica Falls, a C86, a Punk-Pop, a Riot Grrrl, a blah blah blah…
Un trabajo imprescindible si quieres comprender de qué manera la juventud reinterpreta y reinterpreta de una forma más o menos parecida una determinada forma de ser y de comportarse ante la vida durante determinadas épocas. Un disco delicioso.


Weird Sister’s frenzied tone sometimes causes leads to a bit of motion blur; there’s not a bad song in the bunch, but when everything’s this revved-up and scuzzed-out and just plain exhilarating, slowing your mind down long enough to pick out a highlight seems a thankless task. Still, “Mickey”-style chanter “Secret Surprise” may be the best of the bunch, tumbling from its punchy verse into an especially sweet, soft-focus chorus, throwing a little whizz-bang guitar onto the pile, then toppling over. “Lemonade Grrrl” starts out almost bashful; by the end of Dave Gruesome’s drum interlude, that placidity’s a pile of broken glass. Shouter “Graveyard” moves from an echoey Edge-style guitar intro to a Thurston-worthy squeal before dipping into a regal chorus not far from UK twee-poppers Veronica Falls. But you don’t listen to Weird Sister for the individual moments so much as the push-and-pull between them. Joanna Gruesome’s forever pulling you close, asking for your ear, then screaming bloody murder into it.
McArdle sings with more impact than precision, and her band’s distortion-slathered music frequently matches her powerhouse voice fervor-for-fervor. That means, as often as not, picking up on every last shout becomes a somewhat flummoxing task. (McArdle was kind enough to type up the lyrics and send them my way, but even her version came with a couple conspicuous blank spots and one instance of “nonsense noises.”) Still, compared to yet another reverb-dunked mumbler who isn’t even trying to say much of anything, I’ll take the gale force McArdle every time. And even when her words get lost in the fray, the Gruesomes are there to punctuate each sentence. Besides, the well-past-promising Weird Sister– a deeply passionate, impossibly noisy twee record– just feels like the sort of thing you spend months and years with, not days and weeks, poring over every little detail, memorizing each scrappy hook. That might just be the weirdest thing about Weird Sister: you think it’s going for your throat, then it gets you right in the chest” (Pitchfork)

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4 octubre, 2013 Posted by | Joanna Gruesome | Deja un comentario

Joanna Gruesome: Joannna Gruesome (Ep, 2011)

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Un Ep de presentación de una banda novel se asoma hoy por el blog. Se trata de Joana Gruesome, el debut homónimo de estos cinco chicos de Gales, que se marcaron un Ep de Noise-Pop poderoso y corajudo. Su saña dirige sus miras hacia gentes de los noventa como Dinosaur Jr., My Bloody Valentine o Galaxie 500. Yo les veo, además otra referencia: The Delgados, especialmente por su manera de combinar temas sañudos con una visión delicada pero a la vez descarnada de reinterpretar el Twee-Pop. Ésto se hace evidente en cortes como Pantry girl, Candy o Lemonade grrl. En los otros cortes, Joanna Gruesome muestra su cara más enérgica y rabiosa: Yr dick, Sugarcrush, Madison.
Un disco grabado con pocos medios y en pocas tomas pero con la tremenda ilusión del que empieza. Ésa que tan a menudo echamos de menos en bandas más consolidadas. Muy recomendable.

Joanna Gruesome – Joanna Gruesome (Ep, 2011) 

“New bands are new. That’s kind of in their nature. But often the sound they’re making isn’t all that new. Some people like this. It reminds them of their youth, or they simply enjoy to hear new songs of a particular sound despite that movement not having been ‘alive’ for a few years (there are other reasons also, of course). Other people don’t like this. “No,” they say. “You are ripping off bands from yesteryear. Make something original, don’t just copy old artists, you swines,” they scowl.
The latter of those two groups would most certainly not like ‘new’ band Joanna Gruesome for they make music that isn’t all that ‘new’. They would quickly recognise that the Cardiff five-piece make noises very similar to those heard widely in the 90’s. The fuzzy, jangly, slacker electric guitar strums combined with twee boy-girl hushed vocals – recorded with a distinct lack of care for clear sounds. They might also notice that even recently this sound has been re-touched upon by those “evil” (their words, not mine) Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.
The first group, though, are likely to enjoy Joanna Gruesome. They would probably recognise that the band are clearly still in their early stages; trying to find a sound that they can call their own, whilst being influenced by and giving respectful nods to the bands (early My Bloody Valentine, Galaxie 500, Beat Happening, Dinosaur Jr, Rocketship, and countless more) that they love so dearly. Perhaps they’d also appreciate and respect the lo-fi and DIY ethics of the band, recording demos in garages and not worrying too much about sounding preened and perfect.
Although likely to split opinion, I think most will agree that Joanna Gruesome show some definite ‘potential’ (apologies for using one of the most horrid words in music writing) and that the songs – although far from perfect – have a definite lazy-sounding and enjoyable catchiness to them. It’s probably best if you just decide for yourself, though” (

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2 febrero, 2012 Posted by | Joanna Gruesome | Deja un comentario


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