Tag Archives: pop

Catcall – The Warmest Place

For all of you wannabe pop vocalists belting Katy Perry songs into your hairbrush while standing in front of your bathroom mirror, the debut album from Sydney’s Catcall is your blueprint to mainstream success.

Like Katy Perry, the voice behind Catcall, Catherine Keller, isn’t particularly strong. What Keller lacks in god given talent she makes up for in catchy electro-hooks and sheer enthusiasm.

So remember, kids, just because you can’t sing, doesn’t mean you can’t ride the electro-pop slutwaves. Get yourself Pro Tools, autotune the shit out of your voice, and listen to lots of 80s New Wave records. Computers! The wave of the future!

Artist: Catcall
Album: The Warmest Place
Label: Ivy League

Buy Catcall The Warmest Place

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Eugene McGuinness – The Invitation To The Voyage

I’m not entirely sure who Eugene McGuinness is trying to be: ’70s David Bowie or late ’90s Robbie Williams. The Invitation To The Voyage is full of confounding juxtapositions; sonically shifting from spacey disco anthems to garage surf and trippy rockabilly.

McGuinness is so completely all over the radar that if he were a character from a movie he would be equal parts greasy sax guy from The Lost Boys and that dude who wore Abba’s poop around his neck in that movie about drag queens.

Artist: Eugene McGuinness
Album: The Invitation To The Voyage
Label: Domino

Buy Eugene McGuinness The Invitation To The Voyage

*previously published in Rip It Up issue #1203


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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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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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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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Charlotte Gainsbourg – Stage Whisper

Charlotte Gainsbourg’s Stage Whisper is a double album featuring fresh studio tracks and live recordings of songs from two most recent LPs, IRM and 5:55. While any Gainsbourg aficionado will certainly appreciate the live performances, the real draw is the studio material.

Picking up where IRM left off, the dark nu-disco electro pop of Stage Whisper is pitch perfect; with Gainsbourg’s cold, mechanical vocals gliding over hard, fuzzy beats. Now that I think of it, Gainsbourg hasn’t been this sexual since her brush with incestuous paedophilia with papa Serge on the track Lemon Incest back in 1984.

Artist: Charlotte Gainsbourg
Album: Stage Whisper
Label: Elektra

Buy Charlotte Gainsbourg Stage Whisper

*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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Wavves – Life Sux EP

At this point in Nathan Williams’ career it is safe to say that he has become the buzzband reincarnation of Willie Nelson.  Oh, wait, Willie Nelson isn’t dead?  Huh.  Well good for him.  Do I want to hit this?  Of course.  What was I saying?  Wavves.  Right.

It seems to me like naming your EP Life Sux is an open invitation to journalists to trash your music.  Maybe that was the intention.  But he’s just doing his thing, hanging out with his buds, making music. I wonder if Williams only wants to be Dave Grohl because it’s a pain in the ass to spell Krist Novoselic.

Artist: Wavves
Album: Life Sux
Label: Ghost Ramp

Buy Wavves Life Sux

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The Enemy – Streets In The Sky

In their relatively short career, The Enemy have been criticized for being an inauthentic, manufactured band at nearly every turn.

Most of the resentment stems from the fact that the band spends most of their records preaching about the class struggles and shackles of modern life, while playing to stadiums and darting around the globe in Learjets.

The only sin The Enemy is really guilty of is that they believe they are doing something more meaningful than playing pub rock anthems to drunken Brits that can relate to lyrics like:

“Half the kids who you grew up with,
Were pushin’ prams by the time that they were just sixteen”

Its safe to say that this record continues the downward spiral of self-parody that began with Music For The People.

Artist: The Enemy
Album: Streets In The Sky
Label: Stiff Records

Buy The Enemy Streets In The Sky

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