I try not to dwell on comparisons between bands but when one comes along and just reminds you of everything you’ve ever liked (ever), it’s hard to ignore that. HUNK! have that kind of sound. When I was originally shown their song “Laidbare”, I thought it was one of Rose Melberg (Tiger Trap, Go Sailor)’s new projects. Then on other material, they jump between Jale, Plumtree, Full Of Fancy, Cub, all effortlessly. That’s not to say that HUNK! are totally like any of the previously mentioned, rather they have bits and pieces that are blended into their own unique sound.
All of this out of a trio from Galway, Kerry and Cork in Ireland. I’m really looking forward to hearing more from them.
Not so long ago in 2011, a band called Shoppers released Silver Year, which was one of my favourite things to come out at the time. Unfortunately, not too long after that, they broke up.
Thankfully, it didn’t all end there. Former members of that band have now stepped out under a new moniker, with an even grander sound. There’s still reminders of what once was, mostly in regards to song titles. There’s a familiarity in the vocals, but it’s against a totally new backdrop. This isn’t Shoppers part 2. It’s a big step forward.
This is their first release, I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling.
I only had to hear this once to have the chorus stuck in my head for the rest of the week. Happy to see Amplify Dot getting more and more attention.
Um, don’t go near the comments, though. Apparently it’s impossible to reference things outside of your musical genre. You’re only allowed to talk about Kurt if you are a flannel wearing guitar playing (white) dude.
The “go out with a bang” line is cheeky but for the most part it is a song about doing a lot in the short time you have.
Also, you’ve got more than enough shitty post grunge bands to choose from if you’d like to argue about who is REALLY running his name into the ground.
Chances are if you’re on this page, you already know about Bis. HOWEVER, I need to post this because a) I’ve somehow gone this long without doing so and b) because they are REUNITING FOR A ONE OFF SHOW IN LONDON IN JULY. Excuse the caps. Here’s the page with the event info. Tickets go on sale at noon tomorrow. Hopefully I will be able to get one before they instantly sell out. Fingers crossed!
Twee is at its best when it’s slightly shambolic and a bit off. The vocals here are sweet yet there is the tiniest glimpse of sadness involved. The whole thing is shaky and a bit awkward, but it gives a lot of heart to a song that is less than two minutes long.
With an accompanying video like this, you could easily mistake it for some lost raw gem from the early 90’s. It’s not really news that a lot of modern bands are looking to that time for inspiration these days (some are full out ripping off) but when it works, it’s great. This isn’t an homage as it is a continuation.
I wrote a post on Liz Phair’s Exile In Guyville not too long ago. I quite like the idea of discussing what I consider to be classic albums in terms of female artists. I don’t know if this will be a regular thing, but I’m going to do it again right now.
That said, Fiona Apple has made her way back into reguar rotation for me recently. The album being the one that formerly held a world record for longest title: When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He’ll Win the Whole Thing ‘fore He Enters the Ring There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won’t Matter, Cuz You’ll Know That You’re Right,
The last time I properly sat down and listened to this album would have been well over a decade ago. It was released in 1999, and my older sister was a massive fan of Fiona’s. So much so, that it was probably over a year later that I finally found a chance to pry it out of her CD player and have a proper run of it myself. I would have only been about 14 or 15, but the angst and honesty portrayed in each individual track resonated with me in ways I hadn’t previously felt when listening to any sort of music. I was young, so I couldn’t even comprehend half of what she was singing about, but it felt as if I did.
This was the first time I learned that angry music doesn’t have to be loud. I mean, screaming with a guitar on stage gets the point across too (and is a lot of fun), but you can be just as vengeful with a piano or acoustics.
“Paper Bag”, for example, is a jazzy musical number that sounds safe enough, but is there a more personally insulting line than “I thought he was a man but he was just a little boy”?
Fiona’s lyricism is what makes her so special. It is a rare point of being so deeply personal but still managing to be entirely relatable. The fact that she put this record out at the tender age of 22 is impressive but also depressing when you take its content into consideration.
This album seems to focus on a relationship that is unfortunately too common, the kind that is poisonous but addictive. It also deals with mental health and the effects it can have on the matter.
“Fast As You Can” is a really good example. Most of the song is about pushing somebody away before they get to learn about your personal demons. On the other hand, it also deals with the desire to give in to them.
“Get Gone” is towards the end of the album and sees a moment of clarity. It’s all about finally realizing that this person is bad for you, and you might not always make the right decisions, but ultimately you know that you deserve better.
Listening to this album again in my 20’s gives it a completely new face. I am no longer a teenager romanticizing the situations she sings of, I am a woman who has dealt with them. I can now understand where the pain in her voice comes from, and it makes the songs all the more powerful.
“I Know” is the closer of the album and is on my Favourite Songs Of All Time list. It is probably the most mellow track on the album but is by no means soft. I don’t really need to explain what it’s about as it tells itself. Still, it sums up everything I love about her songwriting. My favourite part being in the last line, where you’re left to complete it yourself: “It’s okay, don’t need to say it…”
London (Ontario, Canada!) rock and roll. This band have been playing together for a little while now, but this is their debut recording.
So Young is fronted by Paterson, who has been heavily involved in the city’s music scene for the better part of a decade. In fact, she used to put on concerts in her living room, hosting a number of established and soon-to-be well known names. In early days, she could be found in various venues with not much more than an acoustic guitar accompanying her unique vocals. She also played cello in Olenka & The Autumn Lovers. As someone who has always been associated with folkier roots, it’s a dramatic but welcome change to see her front this sort of outfit. It seems as if she has finally found the sound most suited to her. It’s like all of those years were like practice building up to this.
Considering this is the first release, it might be worth paying attention to this band. They could very well be on to something good here.
Not to be confused with similarly named NY band Very Okay, Very Happy are a pop punk outfit from Philadelphia. At their most positive, they are relatable to bands like Full Of Fancy. On the other end of the spectrum, such as on “Angry Swan”, they seem closer to Desaparecidos. The whole record is full of fun, catchy hooks fronted with passionate vocals. Even when the subject matter is about stray felines.
Real name Shatonya Davis, she named herself after a childhood nickname. I’m going to guess it wasn’t complimentary, so that is pretty much the greatest middle finger you could give to your detractors. This woman’s material involves a great deal of self awareness but also exudes confidence.
Not to mention, she really was an awesome MC. The whole record is really obviously of its time (1991) but this was a great era for women in hip hop. It is just a shame that she only ever put out one album.
Again, this is from her only release, Female Preacher.
Despite the vintage sounds and looks here, the lyricism is a more modern take on what it is to “be a lady”. It’s less about the old school style its aesthetics are based on, and more a call out on girl hate.
Hopie has a really distinctive voice, but musically she seems to jump between quite a lot of styles. It is done in such an effortless way that no two songs sound the same, but it’s still clearly her.