Northern Ireland’s Sea Pinks are back with album number three, and they were quick about it. I guess when you have a pocket full of songs as good as these you want to strike while the iron is hot. Sea Pinks are the vehicle of Girls Names drummer Neil Brogan. The new album Freak Waves picks up where last year’s Dead Seas left off. It’s more jangling goodness with some slight shifts and tweaks that add to the pleasure gained from listening to Sea Pinks.
Opener Lake Superior is an instant classic with its rockabilly swagger and infectious chorus. It’s the most immediately infectious song on the record, but it gets better. The pensive, sad ones are where Brogan seems to really excel. On False Spring he almost sounds like a Beach Boy, easily bringing to mind the melancholy beauties that Brian Wilson use to pen. An Act of Treason is another sunset over the waves tear-jerker. The entire record has a sadness about it, but it’s subliminal because the songs retain a twinkle to them that belies the sadness. I love the upbeat jangly rockers like Lake Superior and A Pattern Recognition, they’re so well done it’s hard not to, but the sad slower ones are the rip tides that don’t let go.
Earlier this year Belfast, Northern Ireland’s Girls Names unleashed their scorcher of a debut album. Its bright pop sensibility broke through clouds of gray that you would expect to find from a band that makes the northern reaches of the island of Ireland their home. Its a moody little thing that takes the soaring vocal cues from 60’s girl groups while the music tends towards 80’s post punk. Shake the Boggle container and and the letters that formed Girls Names now read Sea Pinks. The whole band move one space to the left (or right). Drummer Neil Brogan moves out from behind his kit to play guitar and sing while bassist Clair Miskimmin takes his place at drums and Girls Names singer/guitarist Cathal Cully becomes the bassist.
Sea Pinks have just released their first album in a super limited way of only 250 copies. It follows a cassette and a 12″ ep. Sea Pinks are of course cut from the same cloth as Girls Names, but Brogan’s songs have more of a 50’s rock n’ roll bent to them. The song Dead Seas takes it’s cue from Elvis Presley‘s Marie’s the Name of His Latest Flame (and the Smiths‘ Rusholm Ruffians?) and Harbour Shake shimmies like a sock hop. His guitar playing is janglier too. I bet he’s listened to a few Byrds records because Fountain Tesserae jangles like it was 1967. The record also has some swagger in Oh London, Heir Apparent. Both brim with an infectious confidence that has made this record continue to grow on me. Sea Pinks won’t change your life with their jangly goodness, but they will make your life more bearable when you spin their record.
Golden Grrrls are a trio from Scotland who have just released their first 7-inch single on Night School Records in the UK. It’s an edition of 300 and sure to go quick as their noisy melodic boy-grrrl lo-fi sound is sure to pleasure at least 300 people’s ears enough into buy it. They kind of remind me of Sexy Kids which is no small feat.
Coming off of two EP’s and a split single with Brilliant Colors are Girls Names who hail from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Slumberland has scooped up the band for the US release and it’s not surprising since they have a similar dark sound to Crystal Stilts.
Speaking of dark sounds, Brisbane, Australia’s Slug Guts have a record called Howlin’ Gang out next week on Sacred Bones. Sounding like a more accessible Birthday Party or early Hunters and Collectors, their Hangin’ in the Pisser might just be the best song I’ve heard all week. Psychobilly goth is back with a vengeance.
It’s been a crazy week over here at Finest Kiss central. The fiber has been clogged with ace songs piping from various points of dissemination. Keeping up is a pain and a blast at the same time. To quote one of those 80’s teen movies: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. So in a futile attempt to keep up, let’s stop and look around.
This has been out since sometime in March, but it just showed up in my mailbox this week. Ireland’s Girls Names do something that only Irish bands can do, and that is make gritty, anthemic indie rock. They just sold out of the second pressing of their EP that’s out on Tough Love, but you can still get the superior Captured Tracks four song 12″. They’re a little bit of A House some Power of Dreams and a whole lot of bombastic, reverbed goodness.
Joining the PENS in the post post riot grrrl UK are Trash Kit. Like the PENS they are a trio that bring to mind Huggy Bear, Skinned Teen and looking even further back the Raincoats and the Slits. Fame is a minimalist, hand clapping umm, riot.
Moving back over the US of A, Frisco to be exact. Wet Illustrated were born stoked. California-speak for indie-rock surfers. Their debut 7″ was recorded by Fresh & Onlys‘ Tim Cohen (where does he find the time?). Wet Illustrated use to be a Television Personalities cover band. I bet they know the Art Museums.
This Many Boyfriends‘ single I Don’t Like You (‘Cos You Don’t Like The Pastels) could be the trainspotters’ single of the year. Sounding like a meld of the Pooh Sticks and Art Brute and reinforcing the notion that in today’s society it’s not what you’re like, it’s what you like!
I inadvertently saw Cloud Nothings at this year’s SXSW and was kinda smitten. The Cleveland band’s first album Turning On came out earlier this year and already the band is moving on. A super limited 7″ came out on Group Tightener a few months ago and now Old Flame is about to unleash the Cloud Nothings next super jangly affair.
After three singles, former PipetteRose Elinor Dougall is ready to release a full length album. Going against the grain of her first three upbeat dancy singles she’s opted for a paranoid ballad. Will her beau find her out as a uninteresting fake or figure out that Rose is the best thing to happen to him since, well, since forever? We all know the answer to that, no?
Shark Toys are from SoCal but remind me of the Intelligence albeit a much less blown-out Intelligence and one that grew up on Shrimper Records instead of Wire the Urinals and Cabaret Voltaire. Their first single came out earlier this year on Felter Skelter and it contains a song to live your life by…Stayed up all night and I listened to records…Yeah, I kinda know about that.
Oh man, is it good to hear the Vaselines again! Last year when they played Seattle they did a couple brand new songs which gave us hope that a new album would eventually appear. Prayers have been answered, Sex With an X comes out in September on Sup Pop. Amazingly this is their first new record in 20 years. Now don’t get me wrong, I liked Eugenius and Suckle, but this new Vaselines’ song confirms the fact that they should have never broken up. Yeah the 80’s were shit, but at least they had the Vaselines.
Oh my (Talula) Gosh, The new single from Amelia Fletcher’s Tender Trap is Heavenly. Not only that, Do You Want a Boyfriend? is smart, cute(does he have to like the Jesus & Mary Chain? Yeah, that would be heaven!), packed full of harmonies and sees the band swinging back towards a more guitar oriented blast of sound reminiscent of Fletcher’s two earlier bands. The single comes on white vinyl and is out now, with a full album entitled Dansette, Dansette to follow soon.
Aias answer the question: What happens when a C-86, lo-fi, girl group goes to Spain? Answer, nothing really new, except it’s sung in Catalan. That’s not really a gripe because these three chicas from Barcelona not only have the sound down but know how to write a song too. It’s not really ground-breaking, that’s fine by me though, pushing the envelope is overrated. Their debut 7″ recently came out on Captured Tracks 7″. This song ain’t on it (but is still bueno). It’ll be on their forthcoming album due any day now on Captured Tracks.
We have Bubblegum Lemonade to thank for making this post go to eleven. Their new single on Matinée is buzzing barrel of hooks and reminds me of a young Teenage Fanclub. The A-side is a preview of the Scottish band’s upcoming second album. It’s an ode to pirate radio, that uses the Beach Boys’ Caroline Knows for some kind of double entendre. The single comes on red vinyl with two b-sides one of them Stalling and Laughing, alludes to hometown heroes Orange Juice, and is limited to 500 copies.