‘I love this record – I think it’s my best’

Martin Carr’s latest album, New Shapes of Life, was written in the aftermath of Bowie’s death and is a wonderful collection of electronic-tinged, honest and reflective, futuristic-soul songs, but making the record took its toll on his mental health. We spoke to him to find out more…

Read More https://sayitwithgarageflowers.com/2017/11/05/i-love-this-record-i-think-its-my-best/
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GIITTV: Charlotte Carpenter – Shelter EP (Let It Go Records)

The cover of Charlotte Carpenter‘s latest EP, Shelter, sees our heroine sat opposite a pint of bitter which may or not be hers (I bet it is!). Interestingly, the glass is half full…or perhaps it’s half empty? The answer to this perenial teaser is probably a closely guarded secret but key to understanding the pro-genesis behind the 4 track EP and the current state of her psyche. Look more closely at the EP cover and you will see her face split in two, subordinate to the outside light, whilst wearing a pink t-shirt under a black leather jacket and sat beneath a half and half window. The message seems uncomplicated, this is an EP of contrasts; either that or I’m reading waaaaay too much into matters.

Carpenter is arguably the most interesting Northampton export since Carlsberg opened up their brewery and her own particular brand of bluesy-rock goes down just as well with a packet of dry roasted peanuts. Not many artists are courageous enough to admit being inspired by a trip to a motorway service station (apparently ‘Shelter‘ conceived during one such visit) but then Charlotte Carpenter is no run-of-the-mill artist.

The title track percolates with a cinematic throb which provides the perfect bedrock for Carpenters’ robust vocal delivery; this is a marked progression from her previous offerings and demonstrates an artist who is growing in confidence and self-belief. Some may scoff, but there are echoes of Portishead‘s Dummy album throughout the track, a disturbing sense of the macabre mixed with a sense of impending doom. Previous single ‘Fire‘ is included here; it’s a full-on rock romp which could easily have featured as the soundtrack to a late-70s road movie and, once again, offers a contrast in pace to the rest of the EP.

The remaining tracks hint at the flip side to Charlotte Carpenter, showcasing a pencant for a delicate vocal with minimal musical intervention. ‘Hey Mr Cowboy’ comes over all spaghetti Western with an effortless strum complimenting a laconic vocal; if they ever re-make Pulp Fiction then this track is a necessity. Finally, ‘Lately’ signs off the EP with a ludicrously simple stab at my heartstrings; it feels as if the track was written in 5 minutes flat on the back of a fag packet but I bet it wasn’t.

None of this answers the question of whether her glass is half full or half empty but mine is positively overflowing. Catch her on tour now before she starts on the Diamond White trail to super-stardom.

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GIITTV: Tracks Of The Week #1

The She’s – Heartbreak

Wonky attitude-riven post-punk with a ’60s-tinged call and response choruses, from this brilliant San Francisco band of childhood friends. Lifted from their forthcoming album “all female rock and roll quartet” which is out on Empty Cellar Records 17th November. (BC)

http://ift.tt/2xbb170


Art School Girlfriend – Bending Back

Sumptuous minimal, pulsing pop from Polly Mackey who has been involved in a few musical projects down the years. Her new guise may be her best yet if ‘Bending Back’ is anything to go by mysterious and beguiling, echoing the works of Everything But The Girl only placed in a setting of contemporary production. Mackey’s gorgeously wistful vocals detailing the push and pull of the centre of control in a relationship. (BC)

http://ift.tt/2yBlquc


Catholic Action – Black & White

Glasgow’s Catholic Action recently shared the video for latest single ‘Black & White’ lifted from their forthcoming album In Memory of. The track see-saws between an intimacy and riot of riffs and percussive breakdowns it’s delightfully reminiscent of mid-period Primal Scream and early Strokes. ‘Black & White’ was written by frontman Chris McCrory, as a reaction to finding out about the death of David Bowie. (BC)

http://ift.tt/2xbb1E2


The Purple Lights – Not Alone

East London duo The Purple Lights have come up with a totally original mixture of rock attitude and heavy reggae grooves, organic and totally authentic.  One of the hardest working touring acts and prolific songwriters, they’ve lugged their positive presences all over the festival circuit in 2017 and become resident artists at The Roundhouse.  This track is their most catchy, with lyrics that are designed to reassure anyone having a less than a great time in the world right now. Out on PLR Recordings on 17/11/2017.  (BW)

http://ift.tt/2yBlr1e

Photo: The She’s by Molly DeCoudreaux

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GIITTV: Various Artists – Even a Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973 (Light In The Attic)

Stereotypes of video games and technology might be crude, but they’re not baseless – Japan is rich in culture and heritage. But for the tenth most populous country in the world, its contribution to music can seem slight. There are many reasons for this: there’s the obvious cultural and language differences, but in 2017 with better understanding only a phonetap away, there’s a far more direct barrier – limited access. The portion of Japanese music available to Western ears on streaming services is minor, thanks to complicated licensing agreements and laws. Even with the world at our literal fingertips on Spotify, Japanese music remains a fairly specific interest. Light In The Attic, the wonderful label behind acclaimed reissues of music by acts from Lewis to Lizzy Mercier Descloux, attempts to fix it with a trilogy of archival compilations exploring specific Japanese scenes. The series’ first entry, Even A Tree… tackles a specific period of Japanese folk tradition, but the results feel more familiar than expected.

Fair warning: nearly all of this compilation is performed in Japanese. So if lyrical comprehension is vital to your experience of folk and rock, the charms of this selection might pass you by. Given how we experience our folk heroes like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, listening to music like this in a different way – not for its personal candour or political rousings but instead its sense of texture and melody – can be a strange experience.

But if you can get past that, the results are rewarding. At nineteen tracks, there’s a lot to pick from, but there’s plenty of highlights: Akai Tori‘s fingerpicked ‘Takeda No Komori Uta‘ marries ghostly Kate Bush vocals to droning cello tones; Sachiko Kanenobu daydreams through cooed “ba ba ba” vocals on ‘Anata Kara Toku E;‘ and Takashi Nishioaka‘s ‘Man-in No Ki‘ is a psychedelic spiral of proto-shoegaze guitar. The most familiar name here is probably Yellow Magic Orchestra member Haroumi Hosono, who unexpectedly dabbles in country guitar on ‘Boku Wa Chotto‘, but there’s only one dud and that comes from Fumio Nunoya, whose strained bellow jars on the thankfully-short ‘Mizu Tamari.’

What makes Even A Tree… so fascinating isn’t how different it sounds to Western tradition, but how similar. The voices are different and the melodies come from Eastern pentatonic scales, but a well-written song can transcend its era and culture, and most of this compilation manages to do that. There is so much out there – a cursory scan of Discogs re-issues or visit to cult blog Listen To This will only confirm how deep this alternative canon of music goes. To mine through it could only be an impossible task, yet Even A Tree… finds moments of neglected brilliance, showcasing obvious appeal from a cult niche.

Even A Tree Can Shed Tears: Japanese Folk & Rock 1969-1973 is out on October 20th through Light In The Attic.

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GIITTV: Marc Almond – Birmingham Symphony Hall, 17/10/2017

Marc Almond has the music business sussed. Not afraid to play the odd lucrative ‘nostaligia’ festival, (and rightly so), he is then free to concentrate on adding yet more gems to his extraordinary catalogue, taking whichever artistic direction catches his fancy. Almond can certainly not be accused of taking the commercial route; the art comes first, whether it be an album of Russian romantic songs (2003’s Heart On Snow) or indeed his new album, Shadows and Reflections, the theme of tonight’s show. An album of mainly covers, it would have been easy to go for the big-hitters, but instead Almond hand-picks some relatively obscure 60s tracks and adds a couple of self-penned modern day Almond classics.

The Symphony Hall stage is filled with Almond’s band, which comprises a full eighteen members and boasts five backing singers and a five-piece string section as well as regular guitarist Neal X (introduced by Almond tonight as “Neil Whitmore…because the venue is posh!”). Shadows and Reflections’ majestic opener, the simply titled ‘Overture’ emanates from the stage and it sounds immense; lush and dramatic, instrumental save for the swooping backing vocals. Almond appears to a great reception, dressed all in black with shades, and launches into the record’s title track. It’s immediately clear that he loves what he does, he can barely contain his excitement and comments on how lucky he feels to be playing such “lovely songs wth lovely musicians in a lovely venue like Birmingham Symphony Hall”.

Tonight’s show is split into two halves with the first section ostensibly dedicated to the new record; and indeed the first few songs come from the album (including a wonderful take on Billy Fury‘s ‘I’m Lost Without You’ and The Yardbirds‘Still I’m Sure’). However, never one to be predictable, the first half also includes a storming ‘The Days Of Pearly Spencer’ and a version of David Bowie‘s early track ‘London Boys’, originally recorded for the 2007 covers album Stardom Road (“David Bowie told me he liked it more than his version. Not really true of course, but a nice thing for him to say!”).

‘Blue On Blue’, one of the new record’s highlights is also a highlight this evening, one of Burt Bacharach‘s sublime canon that had its tune recycled for Royksopp‘s ‘So Easy’, and the two previously-mentioned self-penned songs from Shadows… appear next to each other. Stylistically, ‘Embers’ and ‘No-one To Say Goodnight To’ fit in perfectly with the album’s style and Almond is maybe only half-joking when he proclaims them “The best songs on the album…because I wrote them!” A lovely version of Young Rascals reflective ‘How Can I Be Sure?’, the album’s first single, is also a highlight.

A playful poke at Morrissey (or Siouxsie?) precedes Almond’s version of the Timi Yuro song ‘Interlude’ (“I had been meaning to record it for years and then someone beat me to it. I heard the version and it was mildly disappointing, which was a shame as one of my friends sang on it”). Almond still hasn’t recorded the song, but on this evidence, he certainly should.

A rousing ‘Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart’ is a singalong anthem, like all the tracks tonight benefiting from the lush backing of the band. Fittingly, it is dedicated to its original singer and Almond’s co-vocalist on his Number One hit version, Gene Pitney.

If the first half of the show threw up some surprises, then the second half is even more unpredictable. ‘I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten’ re-starts the show, the song made famous by Dusty Springfield and originally also featuring on 2007’s Stardom Road. Two Russian songs, one that made Heart On Snow (‘The Storks’) and one that didn’t (‘The Sun Will Rise’) make an unexpected appearance, the former being re-titled ‘The Cranes’ as Almond had apparently misinterpreted the song’s title previously- it was dedicated to servicemen and women everywhere as its theme is that cranes “represent the souls of dead soldiers”. It is a beautiful track, but possibly not one for the Rewind festival!

Other highlights, among many, are the acapella ‘Scar’, accompanied by the five backing singers, and an energetic romp through the 1991 hit ‘Jacky’. Soft Cell‘s ‘Torch’ is absolutely stunning, transformed from synth duo to a vast, expansive sound, the five backing singers coming into their own, and the familiar riff played on an actual trombone. The incredible ‘My Hand Over My Heart’ stakes its claim as a strong contender for Almond’s greatest ever composition, its arrangement perfect for this evening’s set up, while ‘Tainted Love’ appears only as a brief medley with the Northern Soul classic ‘Gonna Find Myself A Party’.

By the time the ultimate Almond anthem ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’ ends the show, Almond, in fine voice throughout, has once again proven that he is a true original.

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GIITTV: St. Vincent – O2 Manchester Apollo, 18/10/2017

Annie Clark is the woman who fell to earth. In the guise of her alter-ego St. Vincent she crash-lands in Manchester tonight on the second and final date of her lightning visit to this country. These shows comprise the English leg of her Fear The Future tour. They also coincide with the release of St. Vincent’s fifth solo album MASSEDUCTION, but could just as easily be seen as a parable for the 35 year old Texan artist’s vision of future live presentations within popular culture.

In an act that probably lies somewhere between utmost conceit and supreme confidence, at these shows St. Vincent is her very own support act. Or at least The Birthday Party is; a short film that marks Annie Clark’s directorial debut. Released earlier this year as part of a new all-female horror anthology called XX, the film features a taxidermy cat, a dead husband, a rapping panda bear and a bunch of eight year old kids, one of whom is fancily dressed as a purple toilet.

Drawing loosely from the Harold Pinter play of the same name and elements of Stanley Kubrick’s direction of The Shining, The Birthday Party packs plenty of suburban anxiety, absurdity and general weirdness into its relatively short duration. It also has the most dramatic of soundtracks – influenced in part by the late Chris Cornell of Soundgarden – which lays down an oblique marker for what will follow.

As the curtain moves slowly back, St. Vincent’s first physical appearance of the night sees her highlighted stage left in a single spotlight. Dressed in matching shocking pink PVC swimwear and thigh-length boots, she cuts an incredibly spectacular Queen of the Galaxy figure, a modern day Barbarella if you will.

St Vincent’s music is equally astonishing and at this point she is merely starting on a journey through her past. She carefully selects moments from her back pages, moving chronologically from Marry Me’ (the title track from her 2007 debut album) to the highly apposite Birth In Reverse’ (taken from her self-titled fourth long player, which was released some three years back) as she makes her way slowly to the other side of the stage in 10 carefully measured song-steps.

This first part of tonight’s musical performance provides a retrospective travelogue of some of the musical places St Vincent had visited prior to the advent of MASSEDUCTION. It produces a tumult of often wonderfully-skewed creative ideas, almost fully realised as the complete embodiment of art-rock progression.  It is just St. Vincent, her guitar(s) and a fully supporting backing track and as she disappears behind the closing curtain at the end of ‘Birth In Reverse’ in a demonic squall of guitar you could easily be mistaken for hearing that sound as the death throes of her musical past.

One short intermission and a costume change later and St Vincent returns to perform MASSEDUCTION in its entirety and in the exact sequence of the record. By now stood on a podium in the centre of the stage and performing in the midst of a kaleidoscope of what is the most magnificently choreographed light storm, from a distance St. Vincent resembles variously a robot, an Annie Clark mannequin and a highly sexually-charged female Subbuteo player.

As it lurches from the insistent fevered pop of ‘Pills’ to the proto-funk of ‘Savior’ right through to the crystallised disco-beat of ‘Fear The Future’ the music follows similar stylistic leaps, illustrating firmly St Vincent’s global energy and her stratospheric grasp of what all live music shall probably look and sound like in the future. There does remain a nagging feeling of emotional detachment throughout the evening, though, and St. Vincent continually walks an artistic tightrope between that of securing total audience absorption and heightening the risk of their complete alienation. But on this evidence alone it is a high-wire balancing act that she manages to complete nervelessly and to absolute perfection.

Like Simone de Beauvoir before her, Annie Clark was surely made for another planet altogether. But unlike the great French author and philosopher she has not mistaken her way.

Photo credit: Simon Godley

A few more photos from this show can be found HERE

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GIITTV: EXCLUSIVE: JENN VIX ‘Unlocked’ EP Premiere

JENN VIX is known for collaborating with two members of The Cure, Tin Machine and the bands for David Bowie and Iggy Pop. But the new cinematic single ‘Unlocked‘, unveiled just ahead of the release of the EP by the same name features the original PSYCHEDELIC FURS’ guitarist JOHN ASHTON (the third time they have collaborated). The full EP ‘Unlocked’ is released today and we have the premiere listen here:

http://ift.tt/2yXfL4A

“Jenn’s haunting voice draws you in immediately and possesses a vulnerability that feels genuine,” says John Ashton. “Her music is where minimalist groove electronica meets gritty rock guitar and melodic bass, which for me, is far from a bad neighborhood to be hanging around in. It’s dark and vibey.”

This five-track release sees Vix at her best. With weighty lyrics surrounding personally challenging experiences, her vocal delivery on ‘Complicated Man’ has earned her comparisons to Shirley Manson of Garbage.

I wanted to explore different sounds, and it felt good to do so. After my illness, it took me a year and a half to be able to even listen to music again. Change is scary, but it can also be refreshing. I recently had to burn a few bridges, but they say that the brightest light can come from the bridges you burn. I agree,” explains Jenn Vix.

The ‘Unlocked’ EP is available on the usual streaming and store platforms, but is already available for pre-order on Jenn Vix’s Bandcamp at http://ift.tt/2hRkwBV

TRACK LIST
1. Alive Again
2. Complicated Man
3. Nerve
4. Complicated Man (Into The Veldt Mix) by Danny C. Chavis
5. Unlocked

The post EXCLUSIVE: JENN VIX ‘Unlocked’ EP Premiere appeared first on God Is In The TV.

GIITTV: St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION (Loma Vista)

MASSEDUCTION arrives 10 years after St.Vincent’s (Annie Clark’s) enchanting debut, Marry Me. She’s spent the last decade evolving by mixing sweet melodies against her new wave and art rock leanings.She’s positioned herself at the centre of inventive songs that burst with ideas and expansive production. She always finds beauty amongst chaos, which can be traced back to Marry Me’s, ‘Your Lips Are Red’. After a chaotic three minutes of clashing drums and abrasive guitars, she strips everything away, delicately repeating the refrain, “your skin’s so fair it’s not fair”. On Masseduction, Clark has found new ways to communicate these deep contrasts in tone and mood. She also explores new themes and goes further emotionally than before, making a record that rivals her best work.

The three preceding singles kept people guessing about the album’s direction and showed Clark’s confidence in displaying her chameleon-like character,. A song referencing New York isn’t the most original idea, yet the yearning first single, ‘New York’, is one of her most moving and direct love songs. It has the same tenderness of previous career highs, ‘I Prefer Your Love’ and ‘Just The Same But Brand New’. The weary sadness in her voice as she sings, “I have lost a hero, I have lost a friend, but for you, darling, I’d do it all again” is heartbreaking — in the best possible way. It begins as a graceful piano ballad and then it introduces gorgeously orchestrated gentle beats and synths . It ends at 2.30, and it’s all too brief.

Los Ageless’ sees the return of her trademark scuzzy guitar playing. The guitars squeal and add textures to the pulsing synths in the verse. In the chorus she lets out an impassioned cry of, “how can any have you and lose you and not lose their minds too?”. Third single, ‘Pills’ has Clark indulging her kitsch side, where she pushes the unhinged nursery-rhyme style to an annoyingly addictive effect:, “pills to wake, pills to sleep, pills pills pills, every day of the week”.Pills’ eventually breaks down with a glorious prog-induced coda that would fit on At War With The Mystics by The Flaming Lips. There are shades of Bowie as a sleepy saxophone appears through the haze, which is a sharp contrast to the schizophrenic first half.

It’s admirable that Clark finds new ways to flesh out her ideas as she pushes her music sonically in bold directions. It never overshadows how strong the songwriting is, as Clark sounds firmly in control. ‘Sugarboy’ begins with backing vocals that recall The Chap, before a fast electronic beat comes in sounding somewhere between, ‘I Feel Love’ and ‘Ray Of Light’ (and it’s as good as that sounds). She plays with gender in a way that Prince often did as she sings, “boys I am a lot like you, girls I am a lot like you”. His influence is all over the slinky R&B of ‘Saviour’ where sexual desires are featured heavily. They reappear on the title track as she repeats, “I don’t turn off what turns me on”.

Along with, ‘New York’, the ballads provide some of the most striking moments. ‘Happy Birthday Johnny’ is a reflective call-back to ‘Prince Johnny’ and ‘Marry Me’, and it’s just as gorgeous. The simple piano backdrop is a perfect complement to the tragic tale of her struggling friend. When a slide guitar appears, it’s reminiscent of Susanne Sundfør’s recent masterpiece, Music For People In Trouble. The album highlight, ‘Slow Disco’, is characterised by her soulful vocal and a warm orchestral arrangement that gives MASSEDUCTION its emotional centrepiece.

One of the most striking things about MASSEDUCTION is Clark’s demonstration of impressive vocal versatility. She goes to opposite extremes, sometimes in the same song. For someone who often appears stylised, her humanity is totally exposed. Sometimes she appears defiant and other times she sounds like the complexities of her life are all too much. On the brash pop song  ‘Young Lover’, she ends the song shrieking the title as the dramatic new wave guitars, synths and drums cascade around her. On the excellent 80s-industrial synth-pop inspired ‘Fear Of The Future’, Clark addresses her anxieties with an aptly frantic vocal.

On ‘Smoking Section’, Clark’s voice is raw as if she’s tired from wrestling with thoughts about her relationship. There are hints of a twisted take on Bjork’s ‘Hyperballad’ when she sings, “sometimes I go to the edge of my room, I think I’ll jump just to punish you”.Smoking Section’ closes the album with Clark repeating, “it’s not the end” with more than a hint of Beth Gibbons. It leaves the album on an uncertain note.

In some ways, MASSEDUCTION  isn’t a huge departure from Strange Mercy or St. Vincent — it has the same illuminating production. Her personality and imagination remain her biggest assets, but she never sacrifices her spontaneity. Everything feels bigger and more pronounced, making this her most eclectic and exciting record to date. On the title track she teases, “oh what a bore to be so adored”. She should be used to that, because this exceptional record showcases her formidable talents yet again.

The post St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION (Loma Vista) appeared first on God Is In The TV.

GIITTV: St. Vincent – Masseducation (Loma Vista)

Masseduction arrives 10 years after St.Vincent’s (Annie Clark’s) enchanting debut, Marry Me. She’s spent the last decade evolving by mixing sweet melodies against her new wave and art rock leanings.She’s positioned herself at the centre of inventive songs that burst with ideas and expansive production. She always finds beauty amongst chaos, which can be traced back to Marry Me’s, ‘Your Lips Are Red’. After a chaotic three minutes of clashing drums and abrasive guitars, she strips everything away, delicately repeating the refrain, “your skin’s so fair it’s not fair”. On Masseduction, Clark has found new ways to communicate these deep contrasts in tone and mood. She also explores new themes and goes further emotionally than before, making a record that rivals her best work.

 

The three preceding singles kept people guessing about the album’s direction and showed Clark’s confidence in displaying her chameleon-like character,. A song referencing New York isn’t the most original idea, yet the yearning first single, ‘New York’, is one of her most moving and direct love songs. It has the same tenderness of previous career highs, ‘I Prefer Your Love’ and ‘Just The Same But Brand New’. The weary sadness in her voice as she sings, “I have lost a hero, I have lost a friend, but for you, darling, I’d do it all again” is heartbreaking — in the best possible way. It begins as a graceful piano ballad and then it introduces gorgeously orchestrated gentle beats and synths . It ends at 2.30, and it’s all too brief.

 

Los Ageless’ sees the return of her trademark scuzzy guitar playing. The guitars squeal and add textures to the pulsing synths in the verse. In the chorus she lets out an impassioned cry of, “how can any have you and lose you and not lose their minds too?”. Third single, ‘Pills’ has Clark indulging her kitsch side, where she pushes the unhinged nursery-rhyme style to an annoyingly addictive effect:, “pills to wake, pills to sleep, pills pills pills, every day of the week”.Pills’ eventually breaks down with a glorious prog-induced coda that would fit on At War With The Mystics by The Flaming Lips. There are shades of Bowie as a sleepy saxophone appears through the haze, which is a sharp contrast to the schizophrenic first half.

 

It’s admirable that Clark finds new ways to flesh out her ideas as she pushes her music sonically in bold directions. It never overshadows how strong the songwriting is, as Clark sounds firmly in control. ‘Sugarboy’ begins with backing vocals that recall The Chap, before a fast electronic beat comes in sounding somewhere between, ‘I Feel Love’ and ‘Ray Of Light’ (and it’s as good as that sounds). She plays with gender in a way that Prince often did as she sings, “boys I am a lot like you, girls I am a lot like you”. His influence is all over the slinky R&B of ‘Saviour’ where sexual desires are featured heavily. They reappear on the title track as she repeats, “I don’t turn off what turns me on”.

 

Along with, ‘New York’, the ballads provide some of the most striking moments. ‘Happy Birthday Johnny’ is a reflective call-back to ‘Prince Johnny’ and ‘Marry Me’, and it’s just as gorgeous. The simple piano backdrop is a perfect complement to the tragic tale of her struggling friend. When a slide guitar appears, it’s reminiscent of Susanne Sundfør’s recent masterpiece, Music For People In Trouble. The album highlight, ‘Slow Disco’, is characterised by her soulful vocal and a warm orchestral arrangement that gives Masseduction its emotional centrepiece.

 

One of the most striking things about Masseduction is Clark’s demonstration of impressive vocal versatility. She goes to opposite extremes, sometimes in the same song. For someone who often appears stylised, her humanity is totally exposed. Sometimes she appears defiant and other times she sounds like the complexities of her life are all too much. On the brash pop song  ‘Young Lover’, she ends the song shrieking the title as the dramatic new wave guitars, synths and drums cascade around her. On the excellent 80s-industrial synth-pop inspired ‘Fear Of The Future’, Clark addresses her anxieties with an aptly frantic vocal.

 

On ‘Smoking Section’, Clark’s voice is raw as if she’s tired from wrestling with thoughts about her relationship. There are hints of a twisted take on Bjork’s ‘Hyperballad’ when she sings, “sometimes I go to the edge of my room, I think I’ll jump just to punish you”.Smoking Section’ closes the album with Clark repeating, “it’s not the end” with more than a hint of Beth Gibbons. It leaves the album on an uncertain note.

 

In some ways, Masseduction isn’t a huge departure from Strange Mercy or St. Vincent — it has the same illuminating production. Her personality and imagination remain her biggest assets, but she never sacrifices her spontaneity. Everything feels bigger and more pronounced, making this her most eclectic and exciting record to date. On the title track she teases, “oh what a bore to be so adored”. She should be used to that, because this exceptional record showcases her formidable talents yet again.

The post St. Vincent – Masseducation (Loma Vista) appeared first on God Is In The TV.

GIITTV: Sløtface – The Cookie, Leicester – 17/10/2017

Expectation (noun) – the act or state of looking forward or anticipating.

Last month, I showered Sløtface with semi-passionate plaudits for their debut album Try Not To Freak Out. I did so whilst sitting in a bar in downtown Bruges and the 8.5% Belgian craft beer may have been partly responsible for the phrase “…an untamed romp through the sun-soaked folly of youth.” Nonetheless, this bunch of Norwegian miscreants have been tearing it up across the country recently, or at least that’s what their Facebook page claims and having lived with many of their punchy, vivacious reminiscences for a few months, I find myself in a state of mild excitement. Trust me, this isn’t the norm; I’m actually a miserable sod at heart.

However, four numbers in and my spider-sense is telling me something just doesn’t quite feel right, perhaps it was the calamari I scoffed just beforehand or is it something more rudimentary? After all, the band have wasted little time in warming the sparse audience with better known numbers such as ‘Magazine’ and the infectious ear-worm that is ‘Pitted’ and yet I am still in a state of puzzlement. Then it hits me like a Perseid meteor shower, the problem with Sløtface is that they are just too damn professional. This is a band who ought to be the very antithsesis of the oil town from which they hail (Stavanger), they should be loud, raucous and shambolic but instead they are politeness personified, more in keeping with Harlow with which Stavanger is twinned.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not disappointed, just a bit surprised the band are halfway through their 45 minute set with the hand brake still on. I am desperate for them to cut loose, shout a few obsenities and maybe, just maybe, launch themselves with wanton abandonment into the crowd. But no, we are encouraged to sing Happy Birthday to one of the crew and I’m starting to wonder whether my daughters’ 5th birthday party wasn’t wilder than this.

Then, as if by magic, they tear through ‘Sun Bleached’ and the shackles start to be shed. The fact this wasn’t a Summer blockbuster still rankles with me but by now we’re moving through the gears, culminating in a mad dash through ‘Empire Records’ which, scandalously, was omitted from the album. Sløtface are finally cooking with gas and I’m left to contemplate quite why the reserved bunch of misfits from 15 minutes ago are now happily bouncing around with the rest of us without a care in the world. For the next 15 minutes we are all young again; we’re all free.

Oddly, ‘Slumber’ comes across as possibly the track of the night with some soothing harmonies in amongst the rambunctiousness and the omnipresent ‘Nancy Drew’ reminds me just what appealed to me about Sløtface to begin with; that sense of mischief coupled with an ear for a great anthemic chorus and judging by the amount of inane gurning on the way out, the general populace appear to have had a fine night of entertainment,

I stick by my original summation of Sløtface, they ooze fun and I hope their ambition never compromises their sense of youthful exuberence; I just want them to let go of their inhibitions more or perhaps it’s just me and my excessively high expectations. As Confucius sagely noted “The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools”.

Or to paraphrase “Patti Smith would never put up with this shit”

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