Would You Tell Me If the Boat Is Sinking?

Veronica Falls, Golden Grrrls and Brilliant Colors at the Tractor, Seattle | 21 March 2013


The Spring-time Slumberland traveling show stopped in Seattle last Thursday night. Veroncia Falls from London were the headliners and for good reason, their second album is no sophomore slump and adds some diversity by varying the tempos and adding a little more nuance in the form of some good old fashioned psychedelia to their jangling flying nun influenced pop. All of the leaves were reading that this would be great fun to see them play again. Too bad that it was kind of a disappointment. If the band would have just played it would have been a great show. They sounded great. The guitar and vocal interplay between Roxanne Clifford and James Hoare appeared to be in top form and everyone at the Tractor was grooving to it. The only thing was, the band weren’t happy with it and quipped to the sound guy between nearly every song that something was wrong. First it was more vocals, then it was less vocals then it was move, then less, then something else. By that time it had became a joke to everyone in the audience and a huge distraction to an otherwise good show. Too bad. I have said this before here, and it applies to not only bands playing but anytime you are speaking, acting, or doing anything in front of an audience: don’t dwell on the bad. Oftentimes you are the only one that notices. When you incessantly bring attention to it then you become the distraction/problem. People are paying to hear you play, you are professionals. If the sound is sub-par in your monitor deal with it and carry on.

stream: Veronica Falls – Teenage (from Waiting For Something to Happen out on Slumberland)

Golden Grrrls

Glasgow’s Golden Grrrls on the other hand were a bundle of wide-eyed fun. They obviously have drank at the K fountain. Beat Happening, Lois and Tiger Trap all are obvious influences, and being Scottish I’m sure they’ve imbibed their fair share of Pastels and Vaselines records. So it was fun seeing them play in the fertile ground of where their indiepop roots were first mixed together (they played Olympia the night prior). The three piece band of two guitars and drums were ramshackle and sweet in their delivery. The sound of Golden Grrrls lo-fi indipop aesthetic is quite prevalent these days, but few do it this well and with this kind of enthusiasm.

stream: Golden Grrrls – We’ve Got… (From their self-titled album on Slumberland)


In the middle of the two British Isles bands was the Bay Area’s Brilliant ColorsI remember the last time I saw them I was kind of impressed by how much they rocked out live. I continue to be impressed. Singer and guitarist Jess Scott has nack for writing noising melodic songs that seem to get new legs when the are played live.

stream: Brilliant Colors – I Was Born a Fantasist

All three bands had excellent merchandise for sale. Veroncia falls had CD versions of their second covers EP that coincided with the release of their album. Golden Grrrls had tour only 7-inch for sale and Brilliant Colors had an exclusive flexi for sale.

Singles of the Year Countdown: 10-1

The 7-inch single has been around since 1949. That’s 62 years and counting! In my humble opinion the 7-inch single is still the essence, pinnacle and acme of pop perfection. Optimally, it’s one song, one side (Some try to squeeze on more). That’s no room for screwing up. You always hear that releasing a 7-inch is a money losing proposition, but that thankfully, doesn’t keep pop geeks from doing it. In honor of true blue pop geek vinyl junkies out there, here is the fourth and final installment of the annual Finest Kiss top 40 7-inch singles countdown.

1. Exlovers – Blowing Kisses (Young and Lost Club)

Exlovers have been around since 2007 and have a couple singles and an EP under their belt, but nothing that reaches the heights of this amazing single. Blowing Kisses breathes the rarefied air that Chapterhouse was imbibing around the time of Whirlpool. Flip it over and the B-side Moth-eaten Memories is just as good but shows that they can do more than just write a go-for- the-jugular pop song. They do epic well too.

mp3: ExLovers – Blowing Kisses

2. Boomgates – Layman’s Terms (SmartGuy)

Brendan Huntly gets his punk rock barbaric yawp kicks in his other band Eddy Current Suppression Ring. Boomgates showcase sensitive side. There’s a little Go-Betweens, a little Mekons and some Comet Gain in their songs. Layman’s Terms has this plaintive yearning sound with just enough muscle to carry it through.

mp3: Boomgates – Layman’s Terms

3. Nick Waterhouse – Is That Clear (Innovative Leisure)

Nick Waterhouse is maybe a kid genius, or just an old soul in a 24 year old’s body. He’s obsessed with old obscure 45 singles and hangs out with Ty Segall and isn’t afraid to use the Saxophone. Is That Clear is an intense, crisp and surprising single from someone his age. He adeptly uses horns, piano, and back up singers to killer effect. A cover of Them’s I Can Only Give You Everything is a good indicator of where he’s coming from. He’s got an album in the can due out in April.  Can’t wait.

mp3: Nick Waterhouse – Is That Clear

4. Radar Eyes – Miracle (Hozac)

The jangly guitar intro of Miracle makes me wonder if Chicago has some kind of Paisley Underground. Probably not, paisleys don’t grow in the frozen tundra, or maybe they do. They’re kind of like magic mushrooms, you just have to know where to look. Look no further than Miracle, it’s euphoria inducing.

mp3: Radar Eyes – Miracle

5. Golden Grrrls – New Pop (Nightschool)

Glasgow’s Golden Grrrls released two high quality singles this year. New Pop just edged out their first single Beaches in my book. Why? Because its hyper guitars and girl-boy vocals easily induced wild dancing and general craziness in my house whenever it was played, that’s why.

mp3Golden Grrrls – New Pop

6. Evans the Death – Threads (Fortuna Pop!)

Blistering guitars and the cool killer voice Katherine Whitaker make for an undeniable combination. It’s hard to believe that this was Evans the Death’s first ever single. They sound like they must have known what they were doing at inception. This record pulls from so many great bands that have gone before to create something fresh sounding. I want to know what documentary it is that Whitaker sings about that she should not have watched. My guess is Faces of Death.

mp3Evans the Death – Threads

7. Still Corners – Cuckoo (Sub Pop)

This is plucked from the Still Corners album, Creatures of an Hour which is good, but spotty. Cuckoo was rightly identified as single material. Its icy Broadcast-like groove gets me every time.

mp3Still Corners – Cuckoo

8. Andy Human – Toy Man (Tic Tac Totally)

Andy Jordan displayed his dark side earlier in the countdown as Lenz. Andy Human showcases his lighter, playful side that hung out with the Duckman, loved pink and went to prom where OMD was playing.

mp3: Andy Human – Toy Man

9. The Limiñanas – (I’ve Got) Trouble In Mind (Trouble In Mind)

This was a tour only single which is a pity. It’s like preaching to the converted. Anyone showing up at a Limiñanas gig already knows this French band can cut a groove plus large que La Manche, and this record does exactly that. It also gives their label the perfect theme song. Bonus!

mp3: The Limiñanas – (I’ve Got) Trouble In Mind

10. Puberty – Invitations (Telephone Explosion)

The idea behind Puberty was for Intelligence duo Lars Finberg and Susanna Welbourne to shed their instruments and front a band of ringers.  Haskins, Ash and J weren’t available so they got Hernandez, James, Church and Jaworski (sounds like a law firm) for their band. Invitations sounds spacey and remote, and it slithers around just enough to be freaky. In a year where there were no releases from the Intelligence, this will more than do.

mp3: Puberty – Invitations

Golden Grrrls Guts

Today’s music is brought to you by the letter G*.

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.

mp3: Golden Grrrls – Beaches (order the 7-inch from Night School)

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.

mp3: Girls Names – Seánce on a Wet Afternoon (out soon on Slumberland)

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.

mp3: Slug Guts – Hangin’ In the Pisser (order Howling Gang from Sacred Bones)

*mp3’s snagged from Pinglewood, Tough Love and Raven Sings the Blues respectively.