Sweden’s answer to new-new-wave, The Mary Onettes make woozy, 80s-inspired pop. Though oft-lauded for their unabashed leanings towards the more mass side of The Cure and New Order—the side where we all begrudgingly agree those bands were not actually for romantic misfits alone—the fellows take a moodier (but no less catchy) turn on their latest album. Islands drops November 3rd on Labrador while two excellent, keyboard-riddled tracks await below.
Sounds like: Echo and the Bunnymen
The Mary Onettes - Puzzles
The Mary Onettes - Dare
The Mary Onettes' RCRD LBL Page
(Photo: Jeff R. Williams)
Former Ghosts offer a particularly cool adaptation of ’80s-born DNA, a remixture of the elegant Gothicisms that defined the early years of labels like 4AD, Mute and Factory: spectral, electronic, haunted and haunting. “Mother” is from Fleurs, the debut album from the dark-star trio of Freddy Ruppert (This Song Is a Mess but So Am I), Jamie Stewart (Xiu Xiu) and Nika Roza (Zola Jesus), and it’s got so much restrained emotion that the air around it seems to quiver. Fleurs comes out October 20 but the band’s tour starts tonight in Phoenix (full dates after the break). The bad news is that Roza won’t be on this tour due to her studies, as she explains here. The good news is that Freddy and Jamie will.
Former Ghosts - Mother
Former Ghosts - The Bull and the Ram
Former Ghosts' RCRD LBL Page
The big noise in NYC this weekend is the WFMU Fest at Music Hall of Williamsburg, three nights of packed bills headlined by Faust (tonight), Pissed Jeans (Friday) and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (Saturday). If you like your punk rock dangerous and edged with synth-paranoia — well, first of all let’s be friends, but more importantly, do not sleep on TV Ghost (one of Friday’s openers). On “The Recluse,” the Indiana band imagines surf rock as a very bad trip…and that is a very good trip. The group’s killer full-length debut is out now on In the Red — it’s either self-titled or called Cold Fish, possibly both, these things are not always clear. But if you aren’t within striking distance of Brooklyn, check out the rash of TV Ghost dates after the break.
TV Ghost - The Recluse
TV Ghost's RCRD LBL Page
It’s been a while since music seemed wild, and The Rakes are the first to admit it’s hard out there for a post-punk/new-waver what with all the tweeting and nicotine patches. We’re apt to agree—how does anyone remain a badass these days? Us plebs don’t know how they manage to pull it off. Calling bullsh*t on the London music scene to run amok in Berlin in double breasted pea coats, smashing soundstages, and spewing off their thorny gang mentality seems to have figured into it. Keeping it fresh with bleach-spotted guitars and that patented blend of breezy hardcore could be the rest. Available as a UK import since March, The Rakes’ third LP Klang is coming to the digital masses on October 20th, courtesy of itunes.
Sounds like: Joy Division, The Libertines
The Rakes - Bitchin' In The Kitchen
The Rakes - Retreat
The Rakes - Binary Love (Loving Hands Remix)
The Rakes' RCRD LBL Page
Before fall swallows up everything, it’s worth raising the flag for one of this summer’s worthiest reissues: Zoned, the compiled works of the severe and shadowy German duo 39 Clocks. These ’80s art-cats split the difference between the Velvet Underground and Suicide and came up with something minimal and pure; “39 Explosion Heats” would sound viciously modern in any age, a deadpan hip-shaker of revolutionary sexiness that the Baader-Meinhof Gang could only dream of achieving. It would appear that 39 Clocks never went anywhere without their sunglasses on, so I’ve decided to follow suit. The least I can do for the cause.
39 Clocks - 39 Explosion Heats
39 Clocks' RCRD LBL Page
(Photo: Dawn Garcia)
Do people still buy chorus pedals, those wondrous little devices that make guitar strings sound like swords of gleaming water? We rarely hear them anymore, this single from Los Angeles musician Devon Williams aside. Williams just signed to Slumberland for his new LP, which he's preceding with a (clear!) 7" of this brief, aqueous new wave tune, available here for the very reasonable price of four dollars.
Devon Williams - Sufferer
Devon Williams' RCRD LBL Page
(Photo: Doug Seymour)
When the Feelies played July 4th with Sonic Youth in NYC’s Battery Park last year, it was like no time had passed since the massively influential North Jersey band’s last show, in 1991. Everything was crisp, punchy, and most important, fast — which bodes well for those who’ll get to see the band play their classic debut, Crazy Rhythms, in its twitchy, jangly entirety this weekend (including opening night at ATP). The album and its 1986 followup, The Good Earth, receive the deluxe reissue treatment this week — get wired with the title track from the former and check out the band’s few dates after the break.
The Feelies - Crazy Rhythms
The Feelies' RCRD LBL Page
Spent the weekend trying to find something to dislike about Pens. No dice. The London trio, on tour in California this very week, is the first band in ages to really recall the energy of early-’80s Rough Trade groups (and their ilk) without merely trying to mimic their moves—as in, they are amateurish young punks with cheap gear, but they aren’t just celebrating amateurism as an ethos. They are also blubbering fans who post videos of Cocteau Twins and Breeders on their own blog, they make cool videos for –$40, and most important, they write short, killer songs like “Freddy,” from their album Hey Friend, What You Doing?, which you’ll want to get next month. It doesn’t hurt that they take charming photos. If my English-American dictionary is accurate they are trying to tell us, “Peace, peace and up yours.”
Pens - Freddy
Pens' RCRD LBL Page
(Photo: Elizabeth Weinberg)
Since we first wrote about her last August, and again in May, Lissy Trullie has had New York around her finger. She inked a deal with Downtown, who will release her debut album (slated to be produced by Suede's Bernard Butler) in early 2010, and lined up a re-release of the Self-Taught Learner EP for October 20. This flip of "Boy Boy" from Vancouver's U-Tern is like astral, Maxx-ready new wave, the original's modish guitars poking through clouds of hydromassaging synths. MP3 below; UK residents can see Lissy on tour with The Cribs and Adam Green in September.
Lissy Trullie - Boy Boy (U-Tern Remix)
Lissy Trullie - Boy Boy
Lissy Trullie - Self Taught Learner
Lissy Trullie's RCRD LBL Page
Congrats to Amanda Blank, whose I Love You LP hit stores on Tuesday. We're celebrating by giving away yet another remix–DJ Eli Escobar's restlessly robotic new wave flip of "Make It Take It." MPfree below, get I Love You for cheap on iTunes here, and catch Ms. Blank out on tour, dates up at her MySpace.
Amanda Blank - Make It Take It (DJ Eli Escobar Remix)
Amanda Blank - Make It Take It
Amanda Blank - Might Like You Better
Amanda Blank - Might Like You Better (Rusko Remix)
Amanda Blank's RCRD LBL Page