Sydney Eloise & The Palms are a combo from Atlanta, Georgia whose terrific debut album Faces is a tasty stew of classic Girl-Group pop, Laurel Canyon Country, and 70s AM rock. But despite the obvious retro influences it still sounds very new. Imagine Jenny Lewis produced by Phil Spector and you’re near the mark. Then go and buy it.
If Jeff Lynne made this record just to make me feel 14 again he couldn’t have done a better job. He’s recreated the classic ELO sound of the 1970s so well I feel like I should be listening to this in my bedroom while reading a comic.
Braids are a three-piece group from Montreal who I’ve just discovered via this brilliant track. Released a few months ago, “Miniskirt” is a fiery feminist anthem that also happens to be a cracking electronic pop record. It’s taken from their third album Deep In The Iris which doesn’t all scale the heights of this one but is pretty great too.
The new album by Miley Cyr… WAIT! COME BACK! COME BACK! Bear with me, I swear I haven’t lost my mind.
The new album by Miley Cyrus is a collaboration with The Flaming Lips called Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz that also features Ariel Pink. Intrigued by this team-up and wanting to be hip to the zeitgeist I gave it a listen online thinking I would last about five minutes and need an ear bleaching after. But instead I discovered that… (whispers) it’s actually quite good.
Well, about 75% good anyway. With 22 tracks clocking in at 92 minutes it’s way too long and weighed down with Miley’s self-indulgent need to keep telling us she enjoys sex and drugs. She obviously thinks this is edgy and controversial but instead I just want to give her a clip ’round the ear and wash her mouth out with soap. The album’s rambling, druggy nature makes me think of it as her “Exile On Main Street” but The Stones were mature enough not to record stoner nonsense like “Fuckin Fucked Up” and “I’m So Drunk” — I don’t think Mick Jagger ever sang a teary song about his dead fish either.
But cut out all that bollocks and you have a very strong collection of trippy spacepop that is as wonderful as you might think a young girl singer fronting The Flaming Lips would sound like. As the father of a young girl myself I have opinions about the way Miley dresses and behaves, but I do admire her balls in putting out something as quirky as this. As George Michael said, listen without prejudice.
Destroyer’s Kaputt was my album of the year back in 2011 and the follow-up Poison Season is finally with us. I’m happy to say that it’s very, very good indeed, with the same smooth 70s/80s influences but with a heaped tablespoon of Springsteen and Bowie added to the mix.
Shana Cleveland is frontwoman of garage-rock band La Luz but I prefer the acoustic music she makes with her side project The Sandcastles. Though they’ve have been together six years they’ve only just released their first album Oh Man, Cover the Ground which is a real treat and highly recommended. Listen/buy it here.
I saw Wolf Alice again last week, that’s the second time this year. Don’t think I’ve seen the same band twice in one year since my early 20s, next I’ll be putting their posters on my bedroom wall and taping their live sessions off the radio. The kids still do that, right?
In the five months since the previous gig the London foursome have put out an album and done a shitload of touring, and as a result seem to be gaining an audience here in the States. Back in March I saw them in a small room in front of about 100 people, but this time the space was bigger and packed with, I guess, about 500 punters — not exactly a football stadium crowd but the vibe was very different too. Instead of merely curious onlookers, most of the crowd seemed to be partisan fans judging by the way they cheered and sang along to the songs. Nice to see that the band’s old-fashioned graft is paying off – as long as they don’t get too big, I don’t actually want to see them in a football stadium.
Having a bigger, enthusiastic crowd really helped the performance and they were even better than the first time. Good though they are at more gentle songs like “Swallowtail” (which they played live for the first time in the States), it’s on big riff monsters like “You’re A Germ” that they can really blow the roof off. If I was the sort of person who used the word “rock” as a verb I would do so. I left with the kind of happily satisfied buzz you only get from booze, sex, and great concerts.
Here’s some dodgy-quality video what I shot myself. I don’t think Jonathan Demme has anything to worry about.
I don’t know about you but I think 2015 has been a pretty good year for albums, and we still have new releases from Chromatics, Frank Ocean, and Lana Del Rey to come so it could get even better.
My contenders for best of the year so far include Wolf Alice and Roisin Murphy, but they’re currently being beaten out by Holychild’s terrific debut album The Shape of Brat Pop To Come which is chock-full of big, brash pop songs. I’ve featured the LA duo here before but I’m plugging them again because they’ve released another track as a single, and I don’t want to end the year lamenting the fact that they aren’t more popular — so buy the bloody thing, you won’t regret it.