Clean Girls – ‘American Mothers/Last House’ CS
After two punishing vinyl only releases, Clean Girls solidified a good argument that they were one of the most dynamic bands of 2013 . While the goofy “noise rock” tag has been pinned on Clean Girls, there’s more going on here than just crushing distortion and trying to replicate the Cherubs/The New Flesh/early Unwound templet. While tracks like “Modern Family” and “Old Crow” are completely blistering, songs such as “June Girls” and “Never Wobble In Boots” implement as many delicate moments as they do blown out in the red moments. 2014 will see the release of both of these EPs on one cassette along with bonus tracks. If you have yet to hear Clean Girls, now is the time.
York Factory Complaint – ‘Lost in the Spectacle’ LP
York Factory Complaint formed in 2009 as a two-piece, but within a year and a half, founding members Ryan Martin and Michael Berdan had worked with live collaborators from Genesis Breyer P-Orridge to Domokos of Future Blondes. The bandâ€™s permanent membership also swelled to four with the addition of Theresa Smith and Michael Yaniro. After a series of recordings with the newly expanded lineup, Smith and Yaniro left the group in 2012. Lost in the Spectacle, YFCâ€™s first release for Accidental Guest Recordings, is the result of the original, streamlined duo of Martin and Berdan formalizing the sound of their project in the studio for the first time since the departure of their former bandmates. Itâ€™s also the definitive statement of where the band stands today. Conceived as a sort of sonic embodiment of Martin and Berdanâ€™s increasingly disgusted worldview, Lost in the Spectacle builds around its noisy industrial back- bone with surprising, beat-driven passages and intense, all-too-human vocals. For an album so unrelenting, though, it offers a certain accessibility thatâ€™s uncom- mon in contemporary noise music. Lost in the Spectacle is an extended hand, an invitation to the impressive work Martin and Berdan are doing. Itâ€™s immediately striking, but repeated listens reveal its depth. This is a statement record, and the message comes through loud and clear: Tune out the bullshit. This is whatâ€™s real.
Brando – ‘Resign Yourself: Brando Collected 1997-99’
Brando’s gloomy brand of lo-fi pop didn’t really fit anywhere, much less in Bloomington, Indiana. In the 90s they seemed to be the go to opener for all the bigger Indie/College whatever you wanna call it – Rock bands rolling into town. There was something different about Brando though. Maybe it was a combination the â€œslacker-lessâ€ execution in the songs or the dramatic themes which was predominate in much of their songwriting. At the time this combination may have been a little too much for people to digest, but as with a lot of things, time has treated Brando’s output extremely well. Resign Yourself: Brando Collected 1997-99 pulls material from three Brando LPs released in the mid-late 90s on the Smokey Lung record label. Tracks such as â€œThe Seedâ€ and â€œResign Yourselfâ€ recall the dark downer pop vibes of The Velvet Underground s/t LP with Siltbreeze era Guided By Voices. Other cuts like â€œNo More Guestsâ€ and â€œThe Leaving of Ayetchâ€ display Brando experimenting with minimalist Brian Wilson-esq pop that will leave you humming the songs for days and wondering to yourself why this band wasn’t huge. For some, revisiting this collection underscores the fact Brando were a great band. For most, it’s a revealing look at a band who created music that even today still sounds as fresh and different as it did 15 years ago.