Everything Slays: What Indie Rock Can Learn From Animation’s Queer Voices

 

The world is a sharp place, and art that serves only to map out its painful edges proves as useful and welcome as Owen Smith’s post-election hubris, or chlamydia, or waking up and realising that Owen Smith’s post-election hubris has somehow given you chlamydia. The scenes that leave a real scar are those that locate the intersection of tragedy and farce; the ragged contours, the poignant moments Simon Reynolds once described as “the exquisite meshing of two contradictory feelings”. It’s driven by characters who compromise the expectations attached to their role, and by proxy, the way we identify ourselves within them. The world’s villains are still easy enough to caricature. But if you happen to fall outside the heteronormative matrix, chances are the heroes don’t look anything like you either.

Continue reading at Drowned in Sound

Beach House – B-Sides and Rareties

‘All I wanted comes in colours,’ Victoria Legrand once sang, and while it’s tempting to mark that as a collection of euphonically pleasing words rather than a mission statement, there’s an element of both. Perhaps I’ve read too much into Beach House’s artwork over the years, but all those records seem to hold together as cohesive shades from start to finish: the woozy amber of the first two releases; Teen Dream’s pearly whites; the cobalt midnight of BloomDepression Cherry, of course. It’s no coincidence that their reviews tend to be written in visual terms, too, with inclusion of the term ‘widescreen’ increasingly mandatory since their 2010 breakthrough. Whichever way you cut it, Beach House records tend to come in colours.

Continue reading at Drowned in Sound

Big Thief – Capacity

Capacity is a record of the first morning light, dusted with snow and blood. “There is a darker darkness and a lighter light on this album,” Adrianne Lenker explains, and while nothing could be truer than this, they are not separate: every pristine landscape bears the mark of the prior night’s reds and blacks, and even the darkest nighttimes are shot through with the hot, white clarity of a hangover returning a borrowed memory. “The sugar rush, the constant hush,” Lenker gasps on ‘Mary’, and Big Thief’s second album somehow captures both at once.

Continue reading at God Is In The TV Zine

Interview: Escaping together with Nite Jewel

 

At the height of last summer – that woozy July that ushered in May’s tenure, heat that withered the pound like grapes on a vine – the Guardian published a thinkpiece by the writer Frank Cottrell Boyce. Still basking in the glow of co-writing the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony with Danny Boyle, his article took aim at various contemporary malaises: Brexit, cuts to library and arts funding, East London. But what grabbed me above all was this:

“Innovation comes from those who are happy to embark on a course of action without quite knowing where it will lead, without doing a feasibility study, without fear of failure or too much hope of reward. The engine of innovation is reckless generosity.”

Unscheduled, the sentiment returned to me talking to Ramona Gonzalez, AKA Nite Jewel. It seemed a perfect fit for her attitude, her ideas, the spirit of autonomous creativity that burns through her like ethanol.

Continue reading at Drunken Werewolf

Perfume Genius and the redemptive spirit of No Shape

In the music video for “Slip Away”, the first single taken from the new Perfume Genius album, Mike Hadreas runs through a slideshow of soft-focus fantasies, away from a cast of hapless villains, towards an implied happy ending. Like a dream, the detail is somehow both blurred and crudely exaggerated; the antagonists’ faces are painted in caricature, and overcome by Hadreas dashing through the exploding set, hand in hand with his fairytale bride. Most of all, for an artist who dealt nothing but shade on 2014’s comeback “Queen” – all vicious contours and slicked-back hair, lips frozen in a permanent sneer at American heteronormativity – “Slip Away” presents a palette that is warm, dynamic, and deliriously playful. It’s the story of No Shape.

Continue reading at Drunken Werewolf

This Ain’t A Scene: Clash Meets Diet Cig

 

Let’s get one thing straight: Diet Cig do not care for your bullshit.

Specifically, they have no interest in your studied, angular math-rock poses, your immaculately dishevelled stage presence, your boys’ own preconceptions about what does and does not qualify as punk. They do not have time in the day for anything that reeks of the patriarchy, from the President down to your friend Joel, who’s actually, you assure us, a really nice guy. They bet he is. Most of all – and it may be difficult for them to stress this enough – they do not care about your band. They feel they made this abundantly clear on ‘Scene Sick’, and would politely ask you to refer back to that song for further instruction.

And yet, there’s an awful lot that they do care about. Alex Luciano, human firecracker and Diet Cig frontwoman, cares about making things better. She talks of establishing their live shows as safe spaces, and the positivity that can be conducted on those nights. She tells me that being in a band, or even just going to see one, is a “radical act” in itself today. Noah Bowman, the band’s drummer and “chill” counterweight to Luciano’s nervous energy, cares about how awesome that Pinegrove record was. (We still love it too.) Both of them care about their hometown of New Paltz, New York, but they care about soaking up as much of the world as they can, too.

The duo took some time out to speak to Clash about their forthcoming debut album, ‘Swear I’m Good At This,’ and Alex made some loud karate noises in between. By the end of the call, we cared the shit out of Diet Cig.

Continue reading at Clash

Diet Cig bottle power pop lightning on Swear I’m Good At This

Did it occur to you to stop for a moment and think about what all this might be doing to the kids? Do you even know where you left them? Like a beleaguered prime minister, we’ve abandoned them in the pub, forced to make their own way between the fruit machines and the soothing baritone of Jeff Stelling. And guess what? They know all about Article 50, and the attempted repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and now they’re drinking, smoking, reading Dick Hebdige, and having sex in the back of trucks with boys who share their first name. On Swear I’m Good At This, upstate New York duo Diet Cig have effortlessly captured the zeitgeist in half an hour of adrenaline-fuelled power pop, bottling a lightning I’d forgotten could still strike.

Continue reading at Drunken Werewolf

Pure Comedy and the infuriating charm of Father John Misty

You don’t need me to tell you this, but I’ll say it anyway: Father John Misty is kind of a dick. He fancies himself a loveable provocateur on Pure Comedy, singing about having sex with Taylor Swift on live TV and then recoiling in horror at the suggestion that it might have been, you know, a little provocative. He was supposedly tripping on acid during that performance, as he was for his car-crash interview with Radcliffe & Maconie, and he’s keen for you to know it. What a rock star! What a modern day Tim Leary! And of course, he hates “the intersectional-virtue-warrior style of music writing” that us modern scribes peddle, ruining whatever politically incorrect lark he imagines himself to be peddling instead.

How tempting it would be, then, to dismantle his 80-minute treatise on the globalised world with the kind of withering gallows humour he evidently deems himself to have mastered. To tear it apart, to denounce the whole thing as a pretentious, self-serving footnote in the annals of rock history. But I can’t do it. Some writers have compared him to David Foster Wallace’s portrayal in The End of the Tour, but my mind wanders instead to John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity, finally listening to the demo tape handed to him by the obnoxious little punks on the street. Because, hand on furrowed brow, we must face the unwanted truth: Pure Comedy is a hot, brash, unbridled success.

Continue reading at Drunken Werewolf

British Sea Power return to glory with Let the Dancers Inherit the Party

Say what you like about British Sea Power, you can’t fault their industry. Since their last studio album, 2013’s lukewarm Machineries of Joy, the band have kept busy with various suitably charming projects: soundtracking a 2014 documentary film about the globalisation of Bhutan; refashioning their back catalogue for perhaps the third time on Sea of Brass; touring an exhaustive box set edition of their near-perfect debut. None of this is surprising for a band who have lived in thrall to antiquity, though such revisions inevitably invite the listener to compare the glory days to the modern era, a period that might uncharitably be called Austerity British Sea Power. Now back with a decadently-titled new record, Let the Dancers Inherit the Party, it may be time to loosen our belts a little.

Continue reading at Drunken Werewolf