The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

El Mundo Today – THE SMITTENS: City Rock Dove (Fika Recordings, 2018)

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“The Smittens are a 6-piece indiepop band that make upbeat and introspective tunes, tinged with vulnerability and optimism. While sonically the elements of multi-layered harmonies, countermelodies and ba-ba-ba singalong hooks still play a large part in The Smittens’ approach to songwriting, as each of the 4 main songwriters has grown, the overall perspective of the songs seems a bit moodier, and more serious. They’ve long since left behind the label of being a ‘cute’ or ‘twee’ band since their debut album 15 years ago.
City Rock Dove is instead an album of transition, ennui and nihilism; honing in on personal politics and gender queerness. The album contends with the turbulent changes of modern America serving only to cement the status quo – and it’s not just the outside world that’s changing either: The Smittens are also singing about the changes in themselves and taking a hard look inside. Gary Olson (Ladybug Transistor) returned to mix the new album, having been instrumental in helping develop the richer textures first seen on 2016’s Love Record Breaker EP.
The album opens with the coming-out anthem Three States, Dana’s very personal tale of change. His vocals for the song were recorded over 2 years during the course of his gender transition. It’s a window into vulnerability, fear, determination and growth: there’s beauty in complexity. Gender and sexuality are behind Cats for Cats, taking a gay dating app cliche (“masc. for masc.”) as the opening refrain, and contemplating being 40, in a long term relationship and how freedom of experimentation always comes with its own costs.
Infinity Pools is a homage to Spanish tontipop, and also inspired by Max’s longstanding love of tropicália. It’s a heady mix of pretentious experimentation and the most basic, simple, silly, absurdly infectious pop.
Missy takes the lead on album closer Prince of Sweden, a love letter to Scandinavia. “I love Cole Porter’s song “You’re the Top” because it’s a rolling list of things that are the best-of-the-best and being the Prince of Sweden seemed like it could be one of those… at least as good as being compared to cellophane. No political innuendo intended.”
The band is friends first and open-hearted indiepop revolutionaries after that. Max Andrucki, Missy Bly, Colin Clary, Dana Kaplan, Holly Chagnon, and David Zacharis switch up instruments, song-writing, and singing to create catchy, harmony-driven pop anthems and queer love songs—always brilliantly lyrical, and often brazenly political. They’re based in Burlington, Vermont and in New York City. City Rock Dove is their 6th studio album, and third release with Fika Recordings” (Press)

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17 octubre, 2018 Posted by | The Smittens | Deja un comentario

The Smittens/The Just Joans: Split Single (2009), Wee Pop

Volvemos a encontrarnos hoy con una nueva referencia del sello londinense WeePop, y en concreto con el nuevo trabajo de unos viejos conocidos por este blog, The Just Joans, quienes han colaborado en la edición de este single compartido con The Smittens en el que ambas bandas se versionean una a la otra. Pero vamos por partes: The Smittens son un combo norteamericano de Vermont que factura un Dream-Pop de bonitas melodías y sonoridades Jangle, con una ya extensa carrera a sus espaldas. En el disco han versionado el conocido What do we do now de los escoceses, incluido en su Ep Hey boy, you´re oh so sensitive (WeePop, 2008), una preciosa canción que nos evoca a los primeros Belle and Sebastian. Lo cierto es que han respetado al máximo la original, rindiéndole merecido tributo y aportándole su sonido Jangle. El segundo tema que han incluido en el single es Summer sunshine, tema propio y que personalmente es el que más me gusta de los cuatro que componen el disco: irresistible melodía y voces perfectamente acompasadas y acopladas en esta pequeña oda veraniega. Por otra parte -en la otra cara, en la edición de vinilo- está la aportación de The Just Joans, grupo escocés de Motherwell ya conocido por este blog, quienes han aportado una versión de The Smittens: Gin and platonic, del álbum Gentlefication Now dándole un cierto aire Twee-Folk bastante agradable, imprimiendo un cierto giro sonoro a sus grabaciones ya apuntado en su anterior Love and other hideous accidents (WeePop, 2009), su último trabajo hasta la fecha. Para cerrar el disco, la regrabación de I hear you´re the man now, John, tema que, salvando-las-distancias, nos lleva en el tiempo a las primeras grabaciones de gentes como Fairport Convention, con ese aire Folkie aportado por la instrumentación acústica utilizada en su grabación y la majestuosidad de sus voces. Disco más que recomendable para seguidores del Pop de Anorak, con especial dedicación a las melodías. Por cierto, en esta ocasión podéis conseguir el disco pinchando en la página de WeePop, por un precio de risa y con un package realmente currado y casi personalizado, gracias a la labor de Camila, a quien agradecemos desde aquí su dedicación y apoyo al blog.

“Both such quintessentially WeePOP! bands, The Just Joans and The Smittens represent two different sides of the atlantic and two aspects of the indiepop sound: The Smittens with their more uptempo handclaps, jangles and percussion, and The Just Joans showcasing a more uniquely british anarok styling and lineage. Long time admirers of each others work, they finally got to meet and play together at last years Indietracks festival. Friendships were made, plans were hatched, and the result is a joined release with them covering each other’s songs as well as a single of their own. To hear The Smittens singing about the Buckfast tonic wine and wearing Kappa tracksuits is in their cover of “what do we do now” is just too good!! They round out their side with a new track called ‘Summer Sunshine’ full of that much loved percussion and jangle, with a big wiggly synth line for the summer! The Just Joans went for ‘Gin and Platonic’ from The Smitten’s ‘Gentlefication Now!’ album, and a re-recording of one of their own earliest and favorite tracks, ‘I Hear You’re The Man Now, John’ from their album ‘Last Tango In Motherwell’. The split is going to be available on 7″ vinyl next week (available to pre-order now) and on our traditional 3″ cds later in the month” (
MySpace-The Just Joans
MySpace-The Smittens
Página WeePop Records

28 agosto, 2009 Posted by | The Just Joans, The Smittens | 2 comentarios


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