The Canadian experimental R&B project the Weekend goes from riveting to underwhelming in its transition from its last mixtape to its first new commercial studio album.
Royal Headache is an Australian rock outfit with a self-titled album made of the stuff that makes guitarists smash their six strings into into splinters--even if they're playing to a generous estimate of 25 people in a smelly old basement.
ON the track "Girl," a single guitar chord rings out with unnerving feedback on its tail just as the band gets ready to deliver one of the hardest ins I've heard on a rock track of this fidelity. The recording is somewhat lo-fi, but it doesn't stop the band from reaching through the speakers, grabbing a hold of my brain, and shaking it with all the power they can muster.
The track works at a fast tempo, being driven by a punchy snare drum and an electric guitar that sounds the way chewing on tin foil feels. Uh, I mean that in a good way. I guess I'm looking for a way to describe the rough, metallic timbre of this guitar. If you're looking for a musical comparison, it definitely hits me in the same manner the guitars did on Iceage's 2011 album New Brigade. In short, the guitar sounds is boss, but it's no surprise considering Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s Mikey Young and Straight Arrows’ Owen Penglis had a hand in the recording.
The real show-stopper here, though, is the band's vocalist, "Shogun." Yep, that his name, but he's earned it with singing like this. He's got a Danzig circa 1982 quality to his voice that I'm loving. Very soulful, gutsy, unrelenting, and enthusiastic. The guy runs in the red throughout this entire track, and it's a thrill to listen to.
This Royal Headache album dropped last year in Australia, but the people at What's Your Rupture? will be giving it a US release on the 8th of May.
With this potent blend of post-punk, soul, noise, and pop, I can hardly wait. Here's the cover art:
I didn't find Girls' sophomore LP to be as instantaneous, well-produced, or fun as the California band's debut, but there's still a great set of tracks here--not to mention a load of ambition in the extra instrumentation. I totally respect the fact that these guys have to try new things to order to keep from stagnating, but I'm not in love with every move Girls make on this album. "Just A Song" has an ending ruined by some editing experiment that went horribly wrong. I'm not sure if I'm really into the soulful backup vocals that find their way into some of these tracks, and I'm not sure how long the novelty a track like "Die" will stick around.
Like album, this thing is as varied as a mixtape made by a friend. This time, it just feels like my friend's tastes are varying even further from mine.
Indie rock songs seem to be soundtracking a lot of car commercials lately, and if you didn't know better, you might think that's exactly what this new Girls video is supposed to be. This new clip for "Vomit", our first taste of the forthcoming Girls LP Father, Son, Holy Ghost, begins with gorgeous, professionally-shot footage of a bright red Mustang convertible, which lies in wait during the song's first minute. Soon enough, the track explodes with that massive sound that Girls have such an affinity for, and the car roars to life. In subsequent three minutes, the driver -- who is never seen on camera until the end -- cruises around in the car, taking in the city lights and the nightlife around him. The video perfectly captures the grittiness of the track, and works conceptually with the song's central line -- "The nights I spend alone, I spend alone looking for you baby... Looking for love".
When "Vomit" changes in tone around the four minute mark, we see that the driver is none other than Girls frontman Christopher Owens himself. When he finally reaches his destination, Owens switches off the radio and the other half of Girls, bassist JR White, jumps in.
Long story short, this video is awesome, and makes the song easier to appreciate on a deeper level. This is what all music videos should aim to do.
Father, Son, Holy Ghost arrives September 13th on True Panther Sounds.
Finally, we've got a track to munch on from this forthcoming Girls album, Father, Son, Holy Ghost.
Worried about the band losing its personality in a sea of new instrumentation, I was weary of listening to this initial album track, "Vomit."
The quiet and depressing introduction was hilariously ironic for me, because it was basically mirroring my fear that I wouldn't like the music. But as soon as the explosion of guitar, organ, and drums dropped, things just started to feel more and more right with the world. Yeah, the song is still titled "Vomit," but I was getting into it. The word "vomit" never felt so good.
Fuzzed out guitars, female backup vocals, and some heavy basslines really make this track a killer. Not a lover, not a fighter, but a cold-blooded and heart-wrenching killer.
Listen above and look for this album's release on September 13th. Cover art time: