Tag Archives: brix smith

The LOUD WOMEN Albums of 2017

Drumroll please – it’s time to announce the winners of LOUD WOMEN’s Albums of 2017 poll*! And the winners are …

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The Menstrual Cramps: We’re Not Ovaryacting

Desperate Journalist: Grow Up

Kesha: Rainbow

Downtown Boys: Cost of Living

Nervous Twitch: I Won’t Hide

Diet Cig: Swear I’m Good At This

Brix & the Extricated: Part 2

The Darts: Me.Ow

Pet Crow: A Simple Guide to Small and Medium Pond Life

Bratakus: Target Grrrl

You can check out the winning albums on this Spotify playlist (excluding Nervous Twitch and Bratakus, who are both far too punk for Spotify – find them instead on Bandcamp)

*As voted for by members of LOUD WOMEN’s wonderful reviews and events team, including: Cassie Fox, Kris Smith, Abby Werth, Abigail Brady, Vicki Thompson, Hannah Kessler, Marissa Schlussel, Stacy Norman, Charley Stone, Kitty Fedorec, Sarah Lay, Phil Whaite, Gemma Gompertz, Alex Sarll, Jess McPhee, Tegan Christmas, Richard Archer, Jenny Bunn, Keira Cullinane, Hannah Wright. Thank you all for your time! x

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Brix & The Extricated: Part 2

brixReview by Jelly Cleaver
Brix & The Extracated: Part 2
Out now. Spotify

Made of four former The Fall members, and full of reworkings and offcuts of The Fall songs, the obvious thing to do would be to constantly cross-compare this album to The Fall’s extensive back-catalogue. But Brix Smith is a very different character from their notorious front-man Mark E. Smith. The standard narrative from The Fall’s cultish following is that US-born Brix Smith brought in a more mainstream, accessible sound when she joined the band in 1983, and now we can finally hear what they would have sounded like if she was in charge. They’ve recast The Fall from its Manchester origins to the eastern coast of the USA, with the energy of a teenage garage band flown into a high-end LA studio. It’s more pop-punk than post-punk, with happy, jingling guitar riffs combined with battle-cries of rage.

Being able to choose just an album’s worth of material from several impressive careers’ worth means that the quality of the song-writing is incredible. Brix wrote ‘Hotel Bloedel’ when she was just 17, you can imagine that they’d only bother to hold onto these songs for so long because they’re pretty good. The lyrics sound like an American beat poet angerly transposed into Manchester side-streets, and they happily hammer through changing time signatures and complex harmonies.

For me, ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ and ‘LA’ are standouts, being distinct from the more pop-punk songs in using guitar effects other than just more distortion. ‘LA’ is the most psychedelic, with dirty string-bending guitar riffs so echoy they sound like someone screaming in the distance. ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ has more jazzy chords that depart from the punk standard 3 chords progression. Written by guitarist Steve Trafford for The Fall and originally called ‘Midnight in Aspen’, it sounds completely different with Brix’s new vocal parts.

The only thing I feel lets the album down is the strange choice of over-production on the vocals. On their live performances Brix’s voice is more snarling, but weird effects make it sound less like a woman loosing her shit and more like an 80s music video featuring a boy choir. I think the biting lyrics deserve more, and they can obviously deliver this live.

Despite the rage and cutting lyrics, this is a punch-the-air-in-triumph album, an album that takes the bad times with a shot of whisky, an over-all positive album which you could probably never say of The Fall. It’s Part 2 of their whole careers, and you can tell that they’re feeling optimistic about it.

https://open.spotify.com/album/0r7zkqnZsAOyBJ36ZPH3Xc

Part 2 by Brix & The Extricated on Spotify

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lorna draws … rebellion festival


Day 1 – Thursday

I caught an early train and came straight from the station to catch Werecats at 2pm on the Introducing Stage. I play in The Pukes with Cil, and in Rabies Babies with Mike and it is beautiful to watch them in Werecats. Cil and Pip play off each other’s harmonies and inter-song chat, and they play fun and fantastic mid-80’s pop-punk with fuzzy guitars, smiles and fuck-you attitude, like in the days when pop-punk was great.

I spent most of the afternoon hanging around The Pukes’ merch stall, and went back to the Introducing Stage at 6.30pm for The Svetlanas, a tsunami of hair and hardcore, and at 8pm to catch The Tuts. If I was 18 and in a band then I would definitely want to be in The Tuts. They are energy, humour and fantastic pop punk tunes.

Day 2 – Friday

On a sunny day Blackpool is a beautiful place.
I had midday drinks with friends in the bar at the end of North Pier. The organist entertained us with seaside hits and 80 year old couples waltzed.
I wished that I could waltz.

At 1.20pm Maid Of Ace played the new Tower Street Arena open-air stage. They rocked tough and fast. I bought both their albums afterwards.

I got sunburn after a while, so I headed back to the Winter Gardens and caught a few bits of bands, had a couple of beers, and then went to hear Brix Smith being interviewed by John Robb on the Opera House stage. I learned that Brix Smith wrote one of my favourite Fall songs, Hotel Blodel, and she told entertaining stories of music-obsession, Manchester & ‘merica. She returned to the Opera stage a while later to perform an awesome set with her band. Their performance was my favourite of the festival. I LOVED every second of it. I felt the nostalgia of being a teenager in my bedroom listening to Perverted By Language, and loved the new songs they played.

Ramones tribute band Ramonas played the Empress Ballroom at the end of the night. This room is enormous with a sprung dance floor. Very few bands can get away with playing the Empress. The Ramonas OWNED the place. They were easily the most professional, tight and deadly band of the weekend. They didn’t pause for breath. They pretty much did ‘It’s Alive’, as the Ramones did it, but better. They are Ramones-plus. I am still in awe of the musicianship of these women.

Day 3 – Saturday

The day begun with The Pukes’ Blow the Roof Off Rebellion – Biggest Band of the Festival workshop. It was as fun as ever with around 30 people taking part. Two people during the festival told us that they had done our ‘Here’s 3 Chords Now Form A Band’ workshops in previous years and had gone on to form their own bands. Total Punk.

Favourites bands of the day were oi-pin-ups Hard Skin and fab M.D.C on the Pavillion Stage, and on the Introducing Stage, Shot! a multi-nationality London US-style hardcore band, and Amsterdam squat band Cracked Up.

Day 4 – Sunday

Highlight of the day was listening to Dave Dictor being interviewed and read from his book: MDC: Memoir From A Damaged Civilisation.
When asked about sexism/equality in the punk scene, Dave tells that on their current 40+ date European tour they have only come across one band with a woman in (Svetlana). I love Dave Dictor for noticing and caring.

I had a good wander around the Punk Art, and met new favourite printmaker/artist, Zoe Girl Shit. (check out her stuff – it rocks).

My Rebellion was cut short to catch the 8pm train home, but before I left I had a couple of anarcho treats on the Arena Stage. Anthrax UK followed by the best finale imaginable – Hagar The Womb. I love this band so much. They are funnier than Hard Skin, more punk than anyone, and were possibly the only band who were drinking chocolate vodka on stage.

 

Lorna Tiefholz plays in Rabies Babies and Mountain of Fire and Miracles,
and she draws and blogs at ‘Gigs and Pencils’