It’s finally starting to feel like fall and you know what that means: HALLOWEEN. Sure costumes, candy and parties are important, but what students need to know about is Radio 1190’s Halloweek. Starting Monday, we will be spinning spooky tunes through Friday and we will be giving away vinyl, T-shirts and concert tickets. Tune in to win and also check out radio1190.org for updates. Meanwhile, here’s what we have in rotation:
Dublin-based group Girl Band began by releasing its brand of noisy, cathartic post-punk on Bandcamp, but has signed with Rough Trade and released its debut album, Holding Hands with Jamie. Most of the tracks, like “Paul,” start opaque and formless with bursts of noise and heart-pounding drums, only to slowly grow into a giant blast of fury and aggression. Dara Kiely’s vocals are sloppy and improvisational as he shouts nearly incoherent mantras — just like yells of a drunk Irishman.
Though all this noise is quite daunting, tracks such as “Texting and Alien” contain a sliver of melody to temporarily please the listener — then only to be bombarded by sheets of suffocating noise. The percussion is primal and pounding; it strays from overusing cymbals, and instead utilizes strange industrial instruments. To the untrained ear, each track may sound similar — but after multiple listens, they stand out in their own strange and noisy way.
When North Carolina label Paradise of Bachelors first started, the first record it released was Nashville’s Promised Land Sound. Now that the label has a few successful releases under its belt, Promised Land Sound has dropped its second album, For Use & Delight.
The group channels the stomping-hippie country of Neil Young and CCR, but with the stoned-out, freewheeling vibes of Crosby, Stills and Nash. The group is tight, but sounds natural and effortless. The album teeter-totters from full-on country-tinged rock ‘n’ roll jams to mellow and rollicking tunes, which showcases the good dynamics of the group.
Even though Promised Land Sound sports intense guitar riffs and groovy rhythms, its sound is warm and familiar. Where the group really shines is with the more mellow free-form psych-folk crooners, such as “Northern Country Scene.” Promised Land Sound encapsulates all that American music truly is.
American-born, Toronto-based art-pop musician Meg Remy, of U.S. Girls, has been making music since 2007. It wasn’t until this year that her breakout album, Half Free, put the musician in the public eye. Though she plays pop music, the sound is dark, smoky and sexy. Much like film noir, grand pianos, bongos and lush strings back up the theatrical and breathy vocals. Though this combination may sound like Lana Del Ray with a dark edge, U.S. Girls dabbles in electronic and sounds more like John Maus — or even Ariel Pink, with confidence. The lead single “Window Shades,” with its vibraphone and keys, sounds much like a theme song for an espionage movie.
Though the album’s strength resides in sounding incredibly mysterious, it also suffers in sounding too hazy. The instrumentation is gorgeous, but isn’t as captivating as it was meant to be.
Calvet is Radio 1190’s music director. Read more of his reviews: coloradodaily.com/columnists.