Tag Archives: indie

2:54 – 2:54

UK sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow taught themselves how to play the guitar when they were teenagers. They’ve since recorded a bunch of songs under a name that may or may not mean anything. Maybe 2:54 was the exact time that they decided coming up with a proper band name was too hard and just said, “Fuck it”.

After a flurry of praise for their Scarlet EP, the Thurlow sisters’ self-titled debut is brooding, dark, dreamy, haunting. These are the words I am using to describe this album because writing music reviews is hard. Fuck it.

Artist: 2:54
Album: 2:54
Label: Fiction

Buy 2:54 2:54

*previously published in Rip It Up issue #1204

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Cate Le Bon – CYRK

Apparently the Polish word for circus is “cyrk”. I have a hard time believing this because of the absence of vowels, and don’t give me that “and sometimes y” bullshit. Disregarding my disdain for the album’s title, CYRK is the second offering from the creepy Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon.

Le Bon first gained recognition with her curious preoccupation with death and unconventional song structures. Le Bon is essentially the British version of America’s St. Vincent. They’re both talented doe-eyed weirdos who just happen to write pop songs that get under your skin and make you feel slightly uneasy.

Artist: Cate Le Bon
Album: CYRK
Label: The Control Group

Buy Cate Le Bon CYRK

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Simone Felice – Simone Felice

The self-titled debut of Simone Felice, is a dark trip down well worn American roads. And by dark, I mean an unnerving preoccupation with death and murder.

The album opener, the deceptively upbeat Hey Bobby Ray, details brutal domestic abuse that ends in homicide. New York Times is a reminder of how morbid modern news outlets can be, and Dawn Brady’s Son has an itchy trigger finger.

Ballad Of Sharon Tate takes Felice’s fixation of mortality a step too far. Eliciting the mental image of Tate ‘with a rope around her neck, and heavy with child’ is just in bad taste.

Artist: Simone Felice
Album: Simone Felice
Label: Warner

Buy Simone Felice Simone Felice

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Ty Segall & White Fence – Hair

Hair is a masterfully crafted ode to psychedelic and garage rock from the 60s and 70s. The record tells the story of Ty Segall and White Fence, two longhaired hippies of the Age of Aquarius living a bohemian lifestyle and fighting against the conscription of writing shitty pop songs in the modern musical landscape.

The duo uses their music to rebel against record labels and society’s so-called “Top 40”. Will Ty and White Fence succumb to the pressures of conventional songwriting? Or will they succeed in their quest to liberate the brainwashed masses that greedily consume manufactured bubblegum pop?

Artist: Ty Segall & White Fence
Album: Hair
Label: Drag City

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Alex Winston – King Con

It really is refreshing when a female pop star sings about something other than their cooch or getting shitfaced. Michigan born Alex Winston doesn’t write songs about her extra terrestrial rape fantasies, or getting high as a “starship” and engaging in promiscuous activity. Instead, the 24-year-old sings about parasitic playfulness and an infatuation with The King.

King Con is bubbling with enthusiasm, so much so that it runs the risk of being grating to some. However, only the coldest of hearts will find anything to dislike about this album. Winston’s genuine passion and zeal drive all twelve tracks, each one just as charming as the one that precedes it.

Winston’s imagination and eagerness results in a record that full of in-jokes and personal flights of fancy. Listeners may not fully understand what Winston is getting at, but the entire record is fun and infectiously catchy.

Artist: Alex Winston
Album: King Con
Label: Island

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The Cribs – In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull

For a decade we have watched The Cribs grow from their lo-fi roots, and hung on every self-deprecating word. Even legendary guitarist Johnny Marr was not immune to the innate charm of the DIY garage rock the Jarman brothers cooked up.

Granted, The Cribs have never been wholly original. Their debut was released on the coattails of all those other rambunctious British bands of the early 2000s, however The Cribs’ ability to write killer hooks and towering choruses has given them a significantly longer lifespan than their contemporaries. Their fifth LP, In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull, is easily their best yet.

Artist: The Cribs
Album: In The Belly Of The Brazen Bully
Label: Wichita

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K-Holes – Dismania

In addition to being one of the ‘core’ medicines defined by the World Health Organization, ketamine is also used in veterinary medicine…and to get people high out of their minds.

New York City band K-Holes get their name from folks who like to snort horse tranquilizer up their noses. Under the influence, users can experience a K-hole, a slang term describing the “subjective state of dissociation from the body which may mimic the phenomenology of schizophrenia, out-of-body experiences or near–death experiences”.

Needless to say, Dismania is murky and dingy proto-punk and, and much like witnessing an overdose in the Botanic Gardens, is hard to look way from.

Snag mp3s of “Rats” and “Frozen Stiff” here (courtesy of Hardly Art)

Artist: K-Holes
Album: Dismania
Label: Hardly Art

Buy K-Holes Dismania

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Gemma Ray – Island Fire

With serious competition at every turn, it’s little surprise that England’s Gemma Ray has meandered in the realm of cultural obscurity for the majority of her career. Her fourth long player, Island Fire, is quirky and soulful enough to catch the attention of selective listeners tired of that other Rey, but the album as a whole suffers from a serious case of dissociative identity disorder.

Some songs are light and playful to the point of being harmlessly forgettable, while others are so mean-spirited that they’re seared into your mind like that time you walked in on your parents bumping uglies.

Artist: Gemma Ray
Album: Island Fire
Label: Shock

Buy Gemma Ray Island Fire

*previously published by Rip It Up Publishing

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Found – Factorycraft

I don’t know if Scottish band Found was trying to be ironic when they gave themselves a name that ensures no potential fans could ever find them online.  Maybe their “off the grid” approach makes them more authentic as artists, or something.

I once read that the Scottish accent is the most pleasing, determined by a poll of people surveyed from around the world.  I’m not sure how accurate that study is, considering Scottish accents are harsh. As in, I can’t understand half of the words that are being said harsh.

Anyway, Found released their first single on a playable chocolate 7″ record. While the song is catchy, it’ll never be as nearly delicious, or desirable, as chocolate.

Artist: Found
Album: Factorycraft
Label: Chemikal Underground

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FisherKing – Circles

The press release that accompanied FisherKing’s debut album, Circles, described their sound as “heartfelt lyrics, memorable melodies and buzzing pop hooks”.  This may sound mean, but I don’t think I could write a more bland and meaningless description of a band if I tried.

FisherKing is essentially a good pub band that I would gladly pay a $10 cover to see, however I would just be using their show as an excuse to go out and get shitfaced. Nothing like feigning enthusiasm for a mediocre band in order to disguise your crushing alcoholism!

Snag a couple of mp3s here (courtesy of Triple J)

Artist: FisherKing
Album: Circles
Label: independent

Buy FisherKing Circles

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