mercredi 6 avril 2011

Poly Styrene, Generation Indigo

Future Noise Music
March 2011

Once described by Billboard as the “archetype for the modern-day feminist”, Poly Styrene was the unforgettable front woman of punk pioneers Xray Spex and is renowned for her discordant vocals and ball busting witticisms. Thirty years on from the band’s shambling, musical rebellion and this iconic female figure of Brit punk is back. With the help of uber producer Martin Glover (AKA Youth from Killing Joke), Generation Indigo is Styrene’s latest solo effort and is a kaleidoscopic view into music genres as the singer strives to move away from old punk tricks.

Worry not loyal fans, there is still some of X Ray Spex‘s signature sounds here. ‘No Rockefeller’ is a sauntering summer number contemplating issues of race while a Spex style sax plays out over Styrene’s smooth vocals. Similarly, ‘Code Pink Dub’s’ offbeat guitar strums and driving bass lines are reminiscent of her fellow 70s sirens, The Slits with Styrene’s reggae rap and pulsing beats.

By contrast, new single, ‘Virtual Boyfriend’, is a step into the modern age for Styrene commenting on the dating troubles of a 2000 teen – “we haven’t seen each other at all, text or a missed call, myspace friend that’s all…” The track, (co-incidentally picked as Video of the Week on 6 music’s Nemone’s show in light of its release last week) is laden with sparkling synths and and 80′s cyber vocals, not too dissimilar to electro duo, Robots In Disguise.

A hearty release to consume, Generation Indigo clearly serves up an exotic range of styles and at some points, you can’t help but wish the ambitious front woman had stuck with just one. The moments of genius lie in Styrene’s ability to hark back effortlessly to those ska sprinkled sounds of the 70′s rather than the album’s chirpy pop hits about her love of rubber soles and coloured canvases that all seems a little contrived.
Poly Styrene once sang the infamous line ‘”People think little girls should be seen and not heard” – thanks to this release, a whole new generation (Indigo or not) can still hear her strong female voice.

*originally posted on thegirlsare


*originally posted on thegirlsare

New York bands are cool. C’mon, there’s no denying this. From the nonchalant swagger of The Strokes to their punk predecessors, The Ramones, the Big Apple is responsible for a plethora of hipsters who all know their way around a great melody. Coasting are no exception to this, despite their small geographical placement a few miles or so west in the NY borough of Brooklyn. But as the Sex and The City starlet, Carrie Bradshaw proudly states ‘Brooklyn is the New Manhattan’, yah?

Geography aside, Coasting are comprised of Fiona Campbell (drums) and Madison Farmer (guitar). The band’s sound is an eclectic and invigorating mix of everything from surf rock to riot grrrl greatness to a lo-fi ambiance not too dissimilar to NME darlings, Warpaint. An obvious comparison in style for Campbell’s primal drums is Sleater Kinney‘s Janet Weiss and this is not a likeness doled out on a mere whim. Hell no, Campbell can drum. The intense and frenzied tom rolls of Same Old Same Oldare reminiscent of Weiss’ spine tingling tom work on Sleater Kinney single, ’Entertain’. Campbell’s ‘other’ band, Vivian Girls, would make for another lazy reference but there’s a spray of surf in Coasting’s sound and even a sense of twee pop in their bitter-sweet girl group vocals.

The all girl duo met while working for DIY godfather Todd P building stages, taking door money and tending makeshift bars late into the evening. There’s certainly an undercurrent of his DIY approach to their recordings and song writing structures too. The group’s method of composition is centred on hanging out, jamming and intuitively running with what sounds right. With tracks titles, like ’Snoozefest’ and ’Hots for Teachers’, this pair ultimately excel in youthful exuberance and FUN. Their Cramps-esque guitars stylings are soaked in New York grunge cool but also, from over the waters, angsty grunge strums that are not a far cry from Male Bonding‘s similarly raw riffs.

Both the Dalston trio and Coasting share a sound that makes for a welcome retreat to yonder days of abrasive drones and slacker pop hits and that’s certainly a sound worth riding the wave of…

Paper Dollhouse, A Box Painted Black

*originally posted on thegirlsare

Many lead singers take the plunge into solo careers and all with varying degrees of results. After the release of Stevie Nick‘s solo album, following her extensive career in Fleetwood Mac, Rolling Stone deemed her “The reigning Queen of Rock and Roll”. Courtney Love could’ve only wished for the same reaction to her solo offering, America’s Sweetheart which instead, only saw her ‘reform’ Hole as a guise for her, ultimately, solo endeavours.

Paper Dollhouse is the work of Astrud Steehouder, vocalist and guitarist in London three piece The Rayographs. A Box Painted Black is her debut album and sees Steehouder following the footsteps of Nicks and co and stepping out on her own. Inspired by surreal and Gothic moving pictures like Czech classic, Valerie and her Week of Wonders and band name donor, Paperhouse, Steehouder has created a transgressive collection of folk tinged songs dense with intensity and draped in a brooding backdrop.

Track ‘Loved You More Than Ever’ is a dark and bewildering art performance piece which yearns for a cascade of flickering images to be shown during its swirling vocal progressions and Steehouder’s meandering monologue. It seems only apt then to hear that Paper Dollhouse has recently been working with photographer and writer Nina Bosnic in a live capacity using a variety of sonic and visual techniques including an old slide projector, a Dictaphone and prismatic imagery, to create a show as haunting as it is bare.
Similarly, track ‘Black Oak Tree’ deserves to play out on the edit credits of a classic western movie, with its sombre and Cash-esque Blues riffs and lyrics such as “words carved into the dirt track, so long”. Like the raw and initial demos of Dry that Polly Harvey spun out way back in 1992, A Box Painted Black is a collection of songs bound in emotive tonality as well as a fresh nativity.

As Steehouder says herself, it is “music for scenes in films that haven’t yet happened – but when they do, she is sure to be at the forefront of this cinematic new wave approach.

mercredi 30 mars 2011


With acts like James Blake, Chase and Status and even Miss Spears playing homage to electronica beats in her recent release, dubstep is rife in charts. In a genre that has long been dominated by almost entirely male producers, the dub scene is having somewhat of a facelift and one visage at the fore front of this change is Australian dubstep artist/producer, Kito.

Read the introducing piece on dubstep down under, here :

dimanche 20 mars 2011

Ladyfest Paris 2011!!!

Esben and The Witch @ Point Ephémère, 28.02.11

Brighton is a city renowned for spawning an impressive array of starlets, from the father of electronic dance, Fatboy Slim to the recent rock duo, Blood Red Shoes. Who knew, alongside these indie delights, this sunny seaside shore had something as potent as Esben and The Witch brewing. Tonight’s show at Point Ephémère is the band’s final day of their European tour and as the ominous smoke fills the stage like the theatrical welcoming of a villain, Esben and The Witch greet Paris with their eerie drone.

*Photo by Cheri Amour

The Joy Formidable @ Fleche d'Or - 25.02.11

The Joy Formidable first released their début single ‘Austere’ in 2008, a year when (alarmingly) Canadian crooners Nickleback climbed to the top of the charts once more. In light of this, The Joy Formidable‘s expansive and ethereal sounds were a beacon of light in a sea of otherwise mundane indie. Three years on and Chad Kroegar and co. have just announced plans for their seventh, yes seventh, release. Yet, there is something to be said for a gradual career building and, with their début album The Big Roar finally released just last month, The Joy Formidable certainly prove that slow and steady really does win the race. I was lucky enough to catch up with the Welsh trio before their sold out show in Paris last week to talk about influences, a possible Febreeze sponsorship and incorporating cannons into their stage show…

*Photo by Cheri Amour