Category Archives: record reviews

LOUD WOMEN’s top 5 albums of 2016

by Kris Smith, LOUD WOMEN Music Editor

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  1. Deux Furieuses – Tracks Of Wire
  2. Witching Waves – Crystal Cafe
  3. NOTS – Cosmetic
  4. Petrol Girls – Talk Of Violence
  5. The Tuts – Update Your Brain

 

10 Runners Up:

  • PJ Harvey – The Hope Six Demolition Project
  • Beyonce – Lemonade
  • White Lung – Paradise
  • Honeyblood – Babes Never Die
  • Bleached – Welcome The Worms
  • Kitten Forever – 7 Hearts
  • The Coathangers – Nosebleed Weekend
  • The Wharves – Electa
  • Actual Crimes – Ceramic Cat Traces
  • Wolf Girl – We Tried
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record review: Doe – Some Things Last Longer Than You

by richard archer

I loathe the term ‘slacker rock’ because it suggests the bands that are dubbed so are sloppy and lacking poise. It may be that bands such as Dinosaur Jr. and Superchunk gave off an aura of indifference, but they had had a sledgehammer delivery on record and stage that let you know that they meant business.The same is true of this record from Doe, who are similar in their sonic method to the aforementioned ‘Chunk. They rarely move beyond the mid-pace on this record and it’s pleasing to hear a band move away from the frenzy of punk into something more unhurried (but not slack). Singer/guitarist Nicola and guitarist Dean kick out riffs that land like the direct hit of a toe-punted football on cold ears, and the interplay between them and drummer Dean on tracks like opener ‘No.1’ give Doe classic three-piece potential.

Off-kilter structure gives the band a further edge. ‘Sincere’ has a few extra or few less bars here and there which surprises and delights when coupled with its cynical lyrics (“You’re so commanding / The lies are outstanding / A perfect betrayal / Of someone who cares”) and lurching dynamic shifts. Elsewhere on ‘Monopoly’, Nicola throws lyrical darts at relationship breakdown (“I never liked your family anyway, anyway / They used to cheat at Monopoly anytime we played”) on what could be a ballad played with cudgels.

The songs are propelled by fabulous production which makes the most of the bands strengths whilst respecting the three-piece value. Where mobs of harmony and fuzz guitar on tracks like ‘Monopoly’ and ‘Something To Tell You’ will give your stereo speakers something to do, they won’t distract from the band performances at the centre.

So here we have a band worthy of being as revered as the classic bands in this most mislabelled of genres. Let’s hope there’s a writer with more creativity and talent than myself who can think of descriptive terminology that better suits them all.

review: Petrol Girls – Talk of Violence

by timothy forster

This is a band fuelled by feminist convictions, leftist politics, compassion, and righteous anger with an integrity backing up their words.

I’ve seen the band a few times and they seem to keep getting better so I was interested to see if they had managed to transfer the intensity and energy of ‘live’ on to album, and I’m glad to say they have!

Of the ten tracks on ‘Talk of Violence’ only one has been previously released physically so basically you’ve got an album of new material, though fans will recognise some of the tracks from gigs. For instance, ‘Touch Me Again’ … They’ve turned a good song into something amazing. Complete ferocious anger at the experience of sexual harassment and assault that women experience in a misogynistic culture. The repeated line “Touch me again and I will fucking kill you” is delivered with all the indignation and anger it deserves. This track has gone up another level in recording.

The album kicks off with the sounds of a protest and the declaration “We want to stop the false peace”, and ‘Clay’ and ‘Fang’ keep up the energy level, with ‘Fang’ living up to my hopes after hearing it live.

Another track fans will recognise is ‘Treading Water’ which has been online as a taster for a few months, it seems to confront the violence of Fortress Europe and its response to refugees before going on to list various forms of insidious and structural violences that are often ignored or justified.

‘Phallocentric’ critiques men’s preoccupations with themselves and their dicks in both public and private life, “Erect shaft-like monuments for your wars’…’Phallocentric we’re not done when you are, Phallocentric I’m bored of your art, I want to play not perform a routine, I want pleasure not just here to please”.

Over the 10 tracks Petrol Girls are focussed, intelligent and intent on highlighting inequality, oppression and injustice wherever and however they are expressed- if you’re offended by this band you might want to have a think why.

All in all ‘Talk of Violence’ actually exceeds my expectations in so much as it does the Petrol Girls I know from gigs complete justice. Live they are ferocious, articulate, angry and confrontational- somehow they’ve managed to translate that into this album. Faultless.

 

review: The Lovely Eggs – ‘Drug Braggin’

by Richard Archer
The Eggs have always backed up their ‘do what we want’ mandate  with the necessary skills – abrasive noise, untypical melody and acerbic lyricism – which seem to sharpen with each record. They’ve really nailed a big production here – it’s immersive and augments their usual high quality performance without compromising the immediacy of their set-up.

This of course means that it’s a headphones treat – fuzz-thick guitar and dino-thud drums accompany a tale of mindless excess sung through a nastier version of that effect that BlackSabbath used on ‘Planet Caravan’, plus other studio tricks and trinkets that only enhance the song’s focus.

Clocking in at nearly 4 minutes, it sustains itself with it’s catchy melody that varies only slightly between the verse and chorus sections, hammered into the ears until just the right point for a soaring third section to break the pattern and pierce the brain. The lyrics have a simple and repetitive quality which work perfectly in the psychedelic mix (“I’ll take what you’ve taken/whatever you’ve taken I’ll bite it in two”) and make it very easy to sing along to.

Stylistically speaking, ‘Drug Braggin’ ticks a load of boxes – ‘stoner rock’, punk and of course pop are all conjured up. Weirdly it reminds me of Donovan but I don’t know why, perhaps there’s a folky element in there too. Regardless, this is my favourite thing they’ve done thus far and I haven’t even heard the flipside yet.

eggs

review: Charla Fantasma – ‘No Excuses, Baby!’ 

by Richard Archer
Charla Fantasma have a slightly cartoonish quality to them, although it feels like a cartoon could be based on them rather than the other way around. Their brash pop songs are funny and quirky in a way that never presents as contrived, and as such there are no cloying side-effects either. For confirmation of their odd charm, look no further than their tale of zombie-related tardiness ‘Late for Work’ – “I turn on my computer as my manager hands me another compliant/ I turn round to ignore him but his breath smells of brains”!

They rock hard too. From the opener ‘Aint Nobody Sure’ onwards the band musters up a mean chug, pushing the guitars way up front in the mix. But the gangs’ secret weapon is their vocal arrangements, at various points we get counter-melodies from drummer Camille Fry and bass thumper Elsa Vincent, a lot of tuneful aaah-ings in the background and some lovely group shout-a-longs.

Consolidating the music is some excellent punk-packaging , (literally) spiky cover art, a fold-up lyric book insert and a cassette in a very pleasing light blue all make this worth the time and modest price tag.

charla

 

review: Nervosa – ‘Agony’ 

by Richard Archer

When I used to enjoy the thrash metal of the 1980’s, it felt like it was a fresh atom-split from the hardcore punk genre. Labels such as Roadrunner specialised in releasing records with very home-made cover artwork and a fixation on gloom, all of which carried a peculiar charm. Later on down the road it all got a bit rhythmically convoluted, moving away from the loud and fast template that it shared with the likes of Motörhead and Dead Kennedys. Where it had broadened in scope (no bad thing), it had also lost some of the snotty immediacy.

Brazil’s Nervosa have the same appeal as that exciting first wave of thrashers, without being throwback. ‘Agony’ is a harder and more straightforward album than their spirited debut ‘Victim of Yourself’, with assured performances running parallel to a refined approach in arrangement. Prika Amaral’s distinctive punchy guitar playing style holds the foreground in the production but she has dialled down on the guitar breaks – check out the brief but blistering solo towards the end of ‘Hostages’ for confirmation. For metalheads, this might be akin to the original punks hearing the staggering two-note guitar solo on the Buzzcocks ‘Boredom’ for the first time.

It’s not an album without curveballs though. The aforementioned ‘Hostages’ includes some unexpected jazz swing from drummer Pitchu Ferraz on the song’s introduction, ‘Guerra Santa’ (meaning ‘Holy War’) has almost folky vibes despite it’s short sharp delivery and final twister ‘Wayfarer’ shows off bluesy skills and reminds me of ‘Sabotage’-era Sabbath. Bassist/vocalist Fernanda Lira holds the album’s final surprise – an acapella sign-off with a slinky croon that you never knew was in there.

It’s tantalising to think where album number three will take the band, but I hope they stay true to their roots. This album will win a lot of new ears and re-energise older ears to the ways of thrash. Loud fast rules.

review: Dizzyfruit (s/t)

by Richard Archer


Dizz
yfruit is a project of Satori Kurosawa, the bass player for London ear-bleeders Flemmings. In this self-titled album she plays guitar and sings across 7 tracks that flirt between Crypt Records-styled rock n’ roll and late 1970’s punk. Backed by members of The Mule Team, this set is as quick as lightning and devastatingly direct in it’s execution. But simple is often the most difficult thing to nail and songs like ‘Unico’ bounce along for a good minute and a half without it ever really mattering that you’ve been listening to just the one chord.

The track titles often give clue as to the kinetic effect of the songs themselves. ‘Rollrecoaster’ is just that, full of leaps and falls, ‘Shake It’ makes with an instant lip-curl and ‘Flying Supercar’ is a no-brakes adrenaline rush of fantastical pop melody.  The great band performances show a genuine understanding of the genres they are drawing from and their easy grooves make this excellent fun to drink, dance and sing along to.

Overall, it’s a tantalising listen – at end of the last song you’re cued up for another and that’s the way it ought to be. Topped off with great cover art by Satori, this is one of the best records you’ll hear this year.dizzyfruit