Category Archives: record reviews

review: GUTTFULL – #notallmen

by kofi smith – originally published on thegirlsare.com

notallmen

London sax-punk five-piece GUTTFULL are poised to release debut EP ‘#notallmen’ on 20 July.

Featuring Cassie (formerly of The Wimmins’ Institute) on guitar, Gemma and Louis (formerly of Kenickers, possibly the world’s first Kenickietribute band) on bass and drums, Phil on saxophone and Moe on vocals, GUTTFULL have been in existence for little over six months, but have already played a string of successful gigs and radio sessions and chalked up thousands of views for their debut Trump-targeting video ‘Arsehole’.

The band were also highlighted as one of ten bands “reinventing riot grrrl” by the TeamRock website, as chosen by the highly-acclaimed deux furieuses.

With influences andcomparisons ranging from X Ray Spex and early Slits to Bikini Kill and Downtown Boys, GUTTFULL concoct a unique blend of sounds from the last four decades, and frontwoman Moe’s vocals have already been likened to Poly Styrene. On latest video ‘Keyboard Warrior’ the band flex their feminist muscles with a lyric aimed at internet trolls. The track also features on LOUD WOMEN’s debut compilation album ‘LOUD WOMEN: Volume One’.

Bursting with a generous six tracks, GUTTFULL’s EP features both previous singles as well as anti-patriarchy live favourite ‘Mafu’ (a Samoan word for ‘rotten’), Tits and Nails’, ‘Does Your Girlfriend Know You’re Here?’ and new single ‘#notallmen’, with accompanying video due on release day. The band state that the lead track “is a tongue-firmly-in-cheek ballad for men who love to think of themselves as feminist allies, yet prove themselves to be anything but”, while the artwork features a brilliant collage of discredited male celebrities.

#notallmen EP is self-released by GUTTFULL on 20 July, download through their Bandcamp, or pick up a limited edition CD at their launch at the Lexington on 20 July, when they support Skinny Girl Diet with The Franklys and Fightmilk.

review: ‘Heart First Aid Kit’ by Grace Petrie

by Lisa Black

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So good I bought it twice before I even heard it!

For a self-confessed Grace Petrie obsessive like myself, a new Grace album is like all your birthdays and Christmas arriving at once. I bought the download as soon as it was released even though I was at Glastonbury where you can’t use your phone for listening to music if you hope to be able to contact friends when you lose them (without spending an hour waiting in queue for the recharge tent). I even knew I wouldn’t have the chance to listen to the digital album before I inevitably bought the CD when it was released a few days later, to bring the Grace Petrie section in my CD collection up-to-date.

If you haven’t joined the Petrie fan club yet, you’ve got some catching up to do – this is her 5th album, plus she released a 6 track EP last year [There’s No Such Thing As a Protest Singer] and a live album in 2014 [Live at St Pancras Old Church] – but I envy your inevitable falling in love moment.

I had mine in early 2012 when I, already tragically late to the party, heard Petrie’s first album (Tell Me a Story, 2010) and was stopped in my tracks by this bold young voice that spoke the truth about longing and loss and sang fresh and timely political songs you could dance and sing along to that had enough wit, passion and poetry to rival Billy Bragg’s. When I searched for more of Grace’s music online I read a review that said something along the lines of ‘Like many others, I have fallen in love with her’ and I have come to enjoy Grace’s gigs (and I’ve been to a few now – on average one a month over the last couple of years) as much for the joy of watching the uninitiated fall under her spell as anything else. Like Bragg, Grace gives her gig-goers a heady mix of pop/folk, poetry, political passion and laughs and comes across as such a lovely person you want her to be your best friend.

This album seems all the more precious because it contains several songs that Grace has been playing live for a while now and fans have been dying to have in their hands because they are Petrie at her finest. ‘Nobody Knows That I’m a Fraud’ and ‘The Vegan Song’ are perfectly crafted to be brilliantly funny. You’ll still be laughing at the rhymes on the 10th listen.

Fierce protest songs such as ‘God Save the Hungry’, ‘Make America Hate Again’ and the heartbreaking ‘Bad Guys’ (written in response to the vote for airstrikes on Syria) rile at recent developments in politics at home and abroad while ‘You Build a Wall’ ends the album with a hopeful call to collective action (“You build a wall, we’ll build a bridge”).

But in my view on this album, as on those that came before, it is in the love songs where Petrie’s genius shines the brightest. ‘Sunshine’, ‘She’s Not You’ and ‘Done Deal’ are all achingly beautiful and tender. ‘The Golden Record’ (which tells the true story of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan’s ultimate mix tape) is a perfect love song with several lines that have gone straight into my Top Ten Petrie Lyrics (“And I couldn’t stop it, not for anyone”).

The stand out track for me is ‘Coldwaterproofjacket’- a perfect pick-me-up song that is so gorgeously hooky and lyrically brilliant (“You bring me up like a deep sea diver”)…I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect ‘Heart First Aid Kit’ to cure my Post-Glastonbury Blues.

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Lisa Black getting a cwtch from Grace Petrie herself

review: The Franklys – Are You Listening?

areyouLast autumn The Franklys. played the first LOUD WOMEN Fest and they were outstanding: mesmeric, energetic, playing a kind of danceable garage rock.

Are You Listening? is superb! It starts off with ‘Castaway’, a good, straightforward rock track elevated by Fanny Broberg’s superb guitar work.

Complex, catchy, energetic, nimble rock that, yeah, fulfills some of the criteria for being ‘classic old school rock’ but is far too light on its feet to be compared to the more lumpen bands that term can conjure up. The Franklys might cite Led Zeppelin as an influence but their music is much more agile, much more interesting.

The songs deal with relationships, growth and development, war and democracy: in short, they explore the darker side of the human condition.

On this album Jennifer Ahikvist proves herself to be a very sophisticated vocalist, able to emote without ever being melodramatic.  Fanny Broberg excels on lead guitar, and Zoe Biggs and Lexi Clark are a tight, creative, equally talented rhythm section.

Stand out songs for me at the moment are ‘Keeper’, ‘Don’t Kill Your Friends’ and ‘Imaginarium’ but the whole album is overflowing with talent, craft, energy and danceable, catchy rock.

The Franklys have successfully captured the excitement and energy of their live performances on this release and if you like rock in any of its various forms then you should check this out.

Buy the album direct from The Franklys

review: The Coathangers – Parasite

a2728717029_16review by Kate Whaite
Reviewing this EP is my very first experience with The Coathangers. I don’t know how that’s possible, but I am very much in love at first listen and so excited to dip into to their back-catalogue.
Apparently while I was oblivious, The Coathangers (Julia Kugel on guitar, Meredith Franco on bass, Stephanie Luke on drums, and everybody on vocals) have been in Atlanta making cracking rock tunes for over a decade. Title track ‘Parasite’ sounds like the soundtrack of the cool kids’ Halloween party I never got invited to. I can’t think of a better way to explain it.
‘Wipe Out’ introduces a more melodic note, showing an appealing lyrical weary contempt for the vicious circle of drinking, embarrassing yourself, being hungover, getting sober, and doing it all again. Only they say it more concisely — “Wipeout, dry up, can’t stop” goes the chorus. It is probably physically impossible not to bop along to this song, and with the catchy, sing-song, call and reply of “Say you’re sorry” you’ll be singing along, too. And I haven’t even mentioned the handclaps! I love handclaps.
‘Captain’s Dead’ stands out as a tasty piece of summer garage. It’s exactly the kind of thing you want to be blasting as you pull a beer out of the cooler at a barbeque where you and all your friends are having a sundrenched endless afternoon. You should definitely wear sunglasses while you listen to this.
“Captain of a Dixie Cup/ You thought you had it all but you made it up” sounds like such an innocent insult, but cuts so deeply. They’ve made a pleasingly weird video for this tune as well.
‘Down Down’ is haunting and seductive and its energy reminds me of The Kills’ early records. Lyrics like “Don’t worry about me/ I don’t need you at all” reinforce that The Coathangers are just doing whatever they want and not really caring if you like it or not, which everyone knows is the best way to do anything. The vocals in this are particularly enchanting — raw and scratchy in such an unpretentious way as to actually let you believe in the honesty of the expression.
The closer, ‘Drifter’, is slower and a touch wistful, reminiscent of early rock and roll love songs. A little vulnerability peeks out here, with the vocalist sweetly asking “I heard you saying something/Was it all about me?” I, for one will definitely be talking to everyone I know about The Coathangers. The Parasite EP is great from start to finish. It’s got a comfy DIY feel, simple arrangements that mean nothing comes between you and the tunes, and a good sense of fun.
Go check them out at their bandcamp.
Don’t mind me, I’ll just be obsessing over this band all summer.

review: Ivy Crown – ‘Timeout’

ba0dda259b80fd901244317c2cadf258983a9facreview by richard archer

Starting with a blast of infernal amp noise from guitarist Natasja, this debut single from Danish metallers Ivy Crown hits a sudden charge with a riff so abrasive it could peel wallpaper if it was played loud enough. What is surprising is that it sets up a pop melody from singer Camilla that feels untypical yet fits right into the ferocious sonic scuffle.

Along the way we get a pleasing shout-along of ‘No No No No/ I don’t care, NO!’ as a prelude to an anthemic chorus that switches to half-speed, allowing for maximum lurching in the crouching tiger pose (I’m imagining that’s what is done, I’m no dancer). Propelling all of this is some fantastic rock drumming from Sara – a blaze of accents and burly fills that keep everything bowling along with energy.

‘Timeout’ is a fine opening shot for the threesome who have each left their mark on the track, whilst sounding more than the sum of their parts. The production is also very good, keeping the band’s heart and grit audible through the professional gloss which ensures that the individual performances shine. For those (like me) who are not accustomed to newer generations of metal, this might be a door-opener into the genre.

Single available on ITunes, Apple Music, Spotify etc