The JangleBox

Indie, Noise, Shoegaze… Music

Blister in the Sun – VIOLENT FEMMES: We can do anything (Pias, 2016)

We Can Do Anything

Si la semana pasada nos hacíamos eco de la frescura y la calidad del último trabajo de Dinosaur Jr., hoy me quiero fijar en la vigencia del proyecto VIOLENT FEMMES que inició su andadura en 1981. Ya son años… Gordon Gano, Brian Ritchie y John Sparrow facturaron el año pasado este We can do anything (Pias, 2016), que como su propio título indica, más parece declaración de intenciones al pronunciar que “puedo hacer lo que quiera”. Un disco que es un auténtico retorno sonoro a los orígenes de aquel legendario primer álbum, adornado con aportaciones más folkies (Memory, Issues, What you really mean, Foothills, I´m not done), incluso pequeños himnos populares que podrían sonar en una taberna irlandesa como We can do anything o Travelling solves anything; o cortes más feroces como Holy ghost o Big car. Un bonito reencuentro entre dos viejos colegas como Gordon y Brian, dieciséis años después de su última ruptura.

“The Violent Femmes spent the bulk of the 21st century either touring their old hits or suing each other over the proper royalty payment of said hits. Gordon Gano and Brian Ritchie buried that hatchet in 2012 and reunited the following year, losing drummer Victor de Lorenzo after those 30th anniversary concerts — but the pair soldiered on, recording We Can Do Anything, the band’s first album of original material in 16 years, with Dresden Dolls drummer Brian Viglione. We Can Do Anything doesn’t bear any signs of outright animosity: Gano sounds as twitchy as ever, always poised on the brink of apoplexy, either at himself or some piece of nonsense, while Ritchie shouts back in solidarity or sarcasm. The years have turned the Femmes‘ rare ballads into something sweet and bruised — “What You Really Mean” is as romantic and affecting as this group has ever gotten — and that functions as a nice counterpoint to the numbers where the geekiness feels studied, pushing the tunes toward the realm of novelty. This delicate balance of tone always proved to be a problem for the Violent Femmes — declarations of angst and galloping cowboy numbers begin to curdle past their sell-by date — but even if the middle-aged Gano and Ritchie can’t resist the clarion call of drunken sea shanties or tunes better suited for a kids records, they do know how to use their craft to not only sharpen the songs themselves, but the record. Even when things get silly on We Can Do Anything, the silliness blows on by, headed toward a bit of revved-up folk or unexpected introspection, and those twists are what makes the album worth hearing” (All Music)

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Melbourne Arts Centre
St. Kilda, Australia 
Costa Hall Deakin University
Geelong, Australia 
All Saints Winery
Rutherglen, Australia 
Lewisham, Australia 
NEX at Wests City
Newcastle West, Australia 
Penrith, Australia 
Fairy Meadow, Australia 
Annies Lane
Queanbeyan Nsw, Australia 
Darwin Entertainment Centre
Darwin, Australia 
The Tivoli
Brisbane, Australia 
Twin Towns
Coolangatta, Australia 
The Shed at Aussie World
Sunshine Coast, Australia

18 enero, 2017 Posted by | Violent Femmes | Deja un comentario

Violent Femmes: Hallowed ground (1984)

La continuación lógica -y natural- del excelso disco de debut de Violent Femmes fue este Hallowed ground (1984). Un álbum en el que las obsesiones de Gordon Gano vuelven a salir a la luz en forma de textos obsesivos o temáticas traumáticas, como la de la religión. Musicalmente, Hallowed ground es una continuación formal de su primer álbum. La desnudez instrumental vuelve a ser una constante, así como la influencia del Folk tradicional (I hear the rain, Jesus walking on the water, It´s gonna rain), como de otras músicas de raíces como el Blues más rural y campestre (Country death song); o la de músicos con la categoría ya de clásicos como Lou Reed (Never tell, I know it´s true but I´m sorry to say). No obstante, y como era lógico, en algún corte se aprecian algunos cambios en lo que a concepción de sus temas se refiere, añadiendo instrumentos antes desconocidos para la banda, como es el caso de Hallowed ground, la canción que da título al disco, que se adorna con arreglos de teclados y solos de guitarra que anteriormente la banda tenía vetados. Black girls, en la que se marcan una improvisación con una gran variedad de percusiones e instrumentación de vientos. Sweet misery blues, un corte que aún partiendo de los cánones del Blues, se adentra en el territorio más vodevilesco, para construir un corte muy divertido.
En definitiva, nos encontramos delante de un disco que conjuga a la perfección la diversión y las reflexiones sobre temas más serios. Un álbum que encumbró al trío formado por Gordon Gano, Brian Ritchie y Victor deLorenzo como los trobadores Folk-Punkies irreverentes que eran capaces de deconstruir un género tradicional a la vez que le mostraban sumisión. Muy recomendable.

Violent Femmes – Hallowed ground (1984)

“After the surprise success of their landmark debut, Violent Femmes could have just released another collection of teen-rage punk songs disguised as folk, and coasted into the modern rock spotlight alongside contemporaries like the Modern Lovers and Talking Heads. Instead they made Hallowed Ground, a hellfire-and-brimstone-beaten exorcism that both enraged and enthralled critics and fans alike. Like Roger Waters purging himself of the memories of his father’s death through The Wall and The Final Cut, bandleader Gordon Gano uses the record to expel his love/hate relationship with religion, and the results are alternately breathtaking and terrifying. Contrary to initial public response, Hallowed Ground is not a parody. Gano, the son of a Baptist minister, may wear his faith like a badge of honor, but it’s a badge, not a shield, and what keeps the songs so volatile is the fact that they’re filtered through the eyes, ears, heart, and loins of a teenager. Like the first record, all of the songs on Hallowed Ground were written during Gano‘s high-school years — he was barely in his twenties when it was released — resulting in a perfect rendering of the sweetness and brutality of the postpubescent teen, especially on the album’s centerpiece; a searing indictment of loyalties broken and the snitches that break them, “Never Tell” is the perfect balm for the bloody righteousness of youth, and when Gano screams, “I’ll stand right up in the heart of Hell/I never tell,” it’s hard not to stand right beside him. Christian imagery aside, Hallowed Ground is not as polarizing as some make it out to be. The band explores gothic Appalachian folk and child murder on the banjo-fueled “Country Death Song,” bawdy and bluesy Lou Reed-inflected infatuation on “Sweet Misery Blues,” and nuclear holocaust on the brooding title track, leaving little doubt that this is the same band that penned underground classics like “Gone Daddy Gone” and “Add It Up.” Even the decidedly politically uncorrect “Black Girls,” with its free jazz mid-section that includes everything from jaw harp to the screaming alto sax of John Zorn and the Horns of Dilemma, is full of the same smirk and swagger that made “Blister in the Sun” the soundtrack to so many people’s halcyon days. The Femmes are nothing if not true to themselves, and Hallowed Ground is a testament to their tenacity, courage, and sheer obliviousness to industry ogling. Each track is as naked as it is bursting with ideas, and as the landscape changes, the band changes with it, leaving the listener at a crossroads; with each incantation, growling invective, and honey-whispered promise, they’re forced to either jump off the gospel train or ride it along with them into the mouth of Hell” (

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18 junio, 2011 Posted by | Violent Femmes | Deja un comentario


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