God Is In The TV > Reviews > Albums > Fortnightly Shortbites – Albums April 2022

Fortnightly Shortbites – Albums April 2022

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Yes I know it’s been more than a fortnight since the last one. So bite me. I do have a life, you know? Seriously though, April threw many great releases at us. We’ve strived to cover a couple of handfuls of those here…

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While Deer Scout‘s debut for Car Park Records is notable in its brevity, clocking in at just over 22 minutes, this is not an album to skip over. Woodpecker is a gentle yet dark delight, with Dena Miller singing an airy, finespun Americana lilt over delicate, picked spindles of acoustic guitar and bowed strings. Miller’s voice barely carries the weight of lyrics that look back on past regrets and the treacherous, folded corners of love. Album highlight ‘Breaking the Rock’ recalls the fractured torment of Jason Molina as its chorus burrows under the skin in search of shame and weakness. Whereas ‘Cowboy’, ‘Kat and Nina’ and ‘Afterthought’ show a more carefully sanguine, naive side to Deer Scout as, like Joanna Newsome, she stirs in us a state of childlike vulnerability. Trev Elkin 7/10

Fold

Brighton duo Clark Left and Richard Jayston aka Diner make music spiked with bitter experience. On debut album Fold, they layer up infectious Can-inspired grooves, tricksy synth drones and angular guitar hooks, embellished with Eno style atmospherics.  Left says the album “is about men in my life that I’ve loved and lost; the men in power that are destroying every good thing that’s left, and songs about lost love and depression.” Compelling like a David Lynch dream sequence, Fold is not always an easy listen as it somehow homes in on the things we’d rather not admit to ourselves. Diner propel themselves, battered and bruised, with the reslient energy and determination of someone who has nothing to lose and everything to prove. For a taster of this Diner’s uneasy offerings, check out the intensely building paranoia of ‘Arm the Ridge’, ‘Everyone’s Arrived’ with its post-rock vision of hell on earth (“everyone dance, it’s all over now the comets don’t matter”) or the head-spinning woozy repetition on ‘Yours’. Trev Elkin 8/10

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Burning brightly but briefly, the flair of Lou Roy‘s debut album Pure Chaos is hard to pin down. It seduces with brilliant alt-pop flashes, while stunning us with a liberating idgaf attitude. Lou Roy’s vocals are assured and dynamic, stacked up in the mix like a choir of Tori Amos characters. Her lyrics transport us via the power of chaos magic from lesbian desert sex parties to the brash hedonism of Vegas and beyond. Foley effects like bottle tapping rhythms and Snickers wrapper scrunching, along with stoned side-conversations add to a sense of Lou’s comedy and individuality.   The result is that every song here stands on its own and bursts with huge personality, something co-producer Sarah Tudzin (Illuminati Hotties) apparently ensured, refusing to let Lou edit the album’s silliest moments. We recommend you check out the triumphant ‘Uppercut’, below for a glimpse into Lou Roy’s world.  Trev Elkin 8/10

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The third release from Market, the personal project of Brooklyn producer and multi-instrumentalist Nate Mendelsohn, is also worth your time if cathartic, self-effacing songwriting is your thing. Mendelsohn is known for his more edgy studio work with artists like Katie von Schleicher (who co-produced and appears on this record), Frankie Cosmos and Vagabon, but new album The Consistent Brutal Bullshit Gong treads a steadier songwriting path beaten by Elliott Smith or Sufjan Stevens. Market’s disregard for the fourth wall pulls us into each track, so we’re sat alongside Mendelsohn as he lies out on the couch, reeling through a list of how he’s trying and failing to write sad songs about how shitty he’s been to everyone he knows: “When am I gonna stop writing songs about being an asshole to my friends / and just start never being an asshole to them?” The experience is so introspective and personal it’s almost like being part of an intervention, with Mendelsohn ‘doing the work’ publicly, as on ’26 (therapy)’. However, some cutting humour calls out his own bullshit, preventing this being just some self-indulgent account of male relationship crisis: “Half of these feelings aren’t my feelings anymore / but I guess I can still enjoy the notes and chords”. Trev Elkin 7/10

 

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From Melbourne but sounding like they stepped out of CBGB’s circa 1975, Romero clearly take their too-cool-for-school cues from Blondie, with some Thin Lizzy axe-gnashing guitars thrown in for free. Debut album Turn It On has the hot vintage, fuzzed up production style The Strokes resurrected 21 years ago. Love it or loathe it, this treatment dominates Alanna Oliver’s vocals across the entire album, rendering it a bit characterless after a few plays.  That said, there are some real gems buried in the rough. ‘Halfway out the Door’ about getting strung along by a non-committal lover, the tight guitar-vocal-drums interplay on ‘Things They Don’t Tell You’ and the kooky hook on ‘Talk About It’ are fun, fresh takes on a sound that’s been revisited by so many others before. Trev Elkin 6/10

jane inc faster than i can take

Jane Inc. is certainly a major talent, her music not fitting in the knife or fork drawer, nor the spoon drawer, while at the same time slotting comfortably into all three. If anything, it fits better in the ‘odds and sods’ drawer just below, where the sieve or the rolling pin goes. I guess what I’m saying is that there’s a refreshing mix of styles on Faster Than I Can Take, so whilst other reviewers have deemed her “impossible not to dance to” – and indeed, there are numbers up there in the booty shaking clubs patronised by the likes of Madonna (the fantastic ‘2120‘) or Janelle Monae (‘Human Being‘), there are also more reflective, pensive tunes like ‘An Ordinary Thing‘ which barks closer to the Barbara Dickson tree than the Roisin Murphy shrubbery that grows through several other tracks. And now I’m really starting to wonder what on earth the local cafe put in my coffee today… Loz Etheridge 7/10

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On the new new album, Sydney-born multi-instrumentalist Kat Frankie delivers a sterling record, each song drips with a pathos and melodrama. Balancing intoxicating tapestries with a theatricality. With powerful and elegant vocals and a detailed storyline about the “inextricable relationship between beauty and decay”, the Berlin-based artist casts light upon surfaces already rusting; meditates on the “in-between” moments where past and future touch. Recent single ‘Spoiled Children’ is symbolic, nagging guitars, infectious chorus that luxuriates in a longing and trauma. The art rock of ‘The Sea’ with its alluring delivery and dark smoke hewn backdrop, is redolent of early Anna Calvi.

Musically inspired by 1990’s Indie rock and following up on her 2019 a cappella work (B O D I E S EP), Shiny Things illuminates Kat Frankie’s musical virtuosity whilst her vocals carry an emtional heft reching deep into her narratives its a rich experience one you will want to return to over and over again. 7/10 Bill Cummings

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Kloot Per W – Arbre a Filles

He might be getting on for 70 but the erstwhile Claude Perwez, aka Kloot Per W is still capable of some highly agreeable tunesmithery, which is evidenced here on Arbre a Filles in abundance. Sometimes it sounds like Iggy Pop doing Eurovision, which is something I’m sure we’d all like to see. ‘Girl On The Phone‘ is a standout with its intense bossa nova (I think. But don’t quote me on that – I’m no expert on Latin American dance Hall!), and the following title track, which mixes garage punk guitar with Liminanas style voice-over in a laid back jazz-funk style. And the wonderful ‘Je Suis La Mort‘ (‘I Am The Death‘) has a real Britpop style feel about it, like a French language version of Supergrass‘s ‘Mansize Rooster‘ or Oasis‘s ‘The Importance Of Being Idle‘. Above all, Arbre a Filles is a whole lot of fun, really. Loz Etheridge 7/10

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Anton Barbeau, cousin of US actress Adrienne, has been making music in his own right since the early nineties now. While I haven’t heard everything that he’s ever released, what I have heard is always very palatable, sometimes bordering on ‘genius’, such is his previous effort Oh The Joys We Live For, which received a lot of ‘car time’ from me! One year on, his latest collection Power Pop!!! is another entertaining collection. The title track is like a coming together of David Bowie and The Everly Brothers, perhaps with David Holmes on synths, while other cuts suggest a hint of late sixties psychedelia or, on the surprising ‘Hillbilly Village‘, the old kids’ television show Banana Splits. Yes really. But that’s juxtaposed with tunes such as the gripping ‘The Sound‘ which is like a journey to an unknown land, and the very brief ‘Pompadou Toupee‘ which is like Laurie Anderson produced by Phil Spector. The great thing is how Barbeau consistently evades categorisation, which creates a wonderfully eclectic listen throughout. Loz Etheridge 8/10

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I remember about eight years ago or so ago now, a label emailed me out of the blue and suggested I listen to a track from a new album by a special Scottish artist. That track was The Bird and the subsequent debut album was the stirring Bones you have thrown me and blood that artist was Kathryn Joseph. I believe I was one of the first to write about her solo work, I tell this tale not to say “I was first” but to explain how Joseph’s music has left an indelible mark on myself and many others. Four years on from the heartbreak of her second album, For you who are the wronged is a devastating study in pain and rich empathy that gives voice to the voiceless, the victim, the abused; it’s unbearably personal yet intensely universal. We have all suffer through life, we all carry trauma with us, some more than others. Standouts include the superlative lead single ‘What is keeping you alive makes me want to kill them for’ and the starkly raw ‘the burning of us all‘ and enveloping and crushing ‘Of all the broken‘. Absolutely spellbinding suites of sound conjure up the likes of Cat Power and Portishead, hypnotic piano motifs, and subtle percussion house Joseph’s vocal, a voice that bristles with pain and compassion for others, a voice for those who are silenced and those who have been abused. It’s simply superlative and is her best work yet, which is saying something. Incredible. Bill Cummings 9/10

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