Father, Son, Holy Ghost is the new album by San Francisco indie boys, um, Girls. Their debut album, called simply Album, made waves on its release in 2009 and this follow up is even better (if you ask me). There are sounds here reminiscent of early 90s grunge and shoegazing, but more than that Father, Son, Holy Ghost just drips mid-70s FM radio rock vibes. In a good way. Whereas some bands can really over egg their puddings using the kitchen sink-formula (choir! organ! strings! fuzzy guitar! bland mush!) Girls have got it just right, tempering their mix with the right balance of romance and melancholy. Check out this sweet car-fetish video for the single “Vomit”, which is available as a free download from the band’s Facebook page:
Girls - “Vomit”
Don’t worry - despite the title there’s nothing sick or NSFW in there, even though I detect shades of both Dazed And Confused and Cronenberg’s Crash. Father, Son, Holy Ghost is out now on Fantasy Trashcan/Matador records - there’s more info, including tour dates, on this page. If you like “Vomit” you can listen to the whole album right here:
And it’s directed by Drew Barrymore. It’s a beautiful looking four-minute recreation of West Side Story based in LA, featuring Chloe Moretnz (Kick Ass) and Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf) as star crossed lovers caught in the middle of a turf war, and it’s got a suckerpunch ending that is actually quite moving (a very rare feat for a pop promo). The song ain’t too shabby either:
Best Coast - “Our Deal”
To see the making of Best Coast’s “Our Deal” go here and you can find their album Crazy For Youhere.
Fans of forward thinking pop music and alternative/electonica, here’s something that’s definitely worth checking out - it’s the new video (and album Shangri-La) from DFA’s Yacht.
A little bit arty, a little bit metrosexual, Yacht have been round in some form or other for nearly a decade, so while their aesthetic might seem achingly hip and oh-so-now, it helps to remember that they’ve been doing it longer than most. Centred around the core duo of Jona Bechtolot and Claire Evans (Evans joining Brechtolot in what was previously a solo act in 2008), their live show expands the ranks to become a fuller five piece band.
Although having released albums on smaller independent labels in the past, Yacht are now part of the DFA stable, and fit very neatly into that label’s bracket of electronic rock, wearing those particular disco-meets-punk and electronica influences on their sleeve. Their recent live shows have seen them cover both the B-52’s “Mesopotamia” and Judas Priest’s “Breaking The Law” both of which make sense for different reasons. I gotta admit that I was not much of a fan of Yacht in the past, but this new album has taken me by surprise. It’s pretty damn good, and contains a few really cracking tunes, such as “Love In The Dark”, “Beam Me Up” and “Tripped And Fell In Love”.
Worthy of particular mention though are the album’s two opening tracks, “Utopia” and “Dystopia (The Earth Is On Fire)”, which lay out Shangri-La‘s themes of dualism from the get go. Although they are two separate tracks, they have been both comped into one video, which is quite the novel idea and makes me wonder if it has been done before? Either way the video is great and definitely worth a watch - it may be cheap but it is very well done. However, if you are not a fan of triangles, you might want to look away…
Yacht - “Utopia” / “Dystopia (The Earth Is On Fire)”
Destroyer is a Canadian band, but it’s also principally the work of singer/songrwiter Dan Bejar. Earlier this year Destroyer released their 11th album, called Kaputt, to a mixed reception. I kind of get why - this is an album that smells of sun tan lotion, so a mid-January release date seems a bit odd.
Ok, first off I have to admit that I am new to this band. This is worth mentioning at the start because Destroyer have been around for over a decade, have released ten albums already, and Bejar has worked with the acts Swan Lake and New Pronographers. The response to this album from the Destroyer fanbase has been mixed, as it is quite a departure from their better known sound. Some have been turned clean off it by the musical reference points (Avalon-era Roxy Music, Don Henley, Prefab Sprout, mainstream 80s soft rock, I even detect a smidgen of Enya in there). But this hasn’t put me off at all - not just because I admit to having a soft spot for that kind of thing, but because Bejar infuses the album with such a strong personality and sense of musicality that he makes it work, especially over the two final tracks that combined last more than half an hour.
If there was one word I would use to describe this record, it’s “Balearic”. The longest-running myth about the British dance scene is that in 1987 a group of DJs went on holiday to Ibiza, discovered ecstasy, and returned to London to start the acid house revolution. The problem with that is that the renowned DJs in Ibiza at the time were not really playing acid house - they played a mixture of different genres that all tended to fall under the British umbrella term “Balearic” (after the group of islands of which Ibiza is a part). In essence “Balearic” was anything that sounded good on a beach, and in practise this could include some music that dance snobs and music purists would find reprehensible (Chris Rea, The Blow Monkeys, etc).
To me Kaputt captures the essence of those musics perfectly. It’s music for lazing around on sunny summer holidays, for playing on the drive to the beach, or after the barbecue. It’s a perfect post-club record too, as the tracks blend seamlessly into one another bringing to mind a more 80s sounding Air, all held together by Bejar’s unique songwriting and delivery. If there is any justice, this will get picked up by dance fans as their new classic comedown soundtrack.
Fans of modern indie rock might recognise the name Seb Thompson. Apart from being an incredible drummer and a production powerhouse, he is a founder member of Trans Am and also drums for Ian Svenonious’ excellent Weird War. He now has a new solo project called Publicist that does away with rock stylings and goes straight for the disco jugular.
Publicist is essentially a one man band, that features electronics programmed by Thompson, vocodered vocals, and live drumming. Though still a pretty new concern with only a couple of singles under the belt (including “Momma” featuring vocals from Svenonious, and last year’s Keep It Off The Record 12”) even at this early stage it looks and sounds great. This shouldn’t be a surprise to Trans Am or Weird War fans, as it’s obvious from those groups how talented Thompson is. For me it’s great to see him directly expressing the electronic dance elements audible in Trans Am.
There’s not much info floating about on Publicist so far, but you can see and hear more at his MySpace (*spit*). Publicist is making a live appearance tonight at Brooklyn’s Zebulon, and for an idea of how fun that will be watch this live clip: