Sunday Suggestion – St Vincent – Marrow

St Vincent (Annie Clark) has received huge critical acclaim with her most recent effort and rightly so as far as I’m concerned. Her self titled fourth album was sublime, showcasing a hugely talented artist at work. The progression from her debut album Marry Me from 2007 and to St. Vincent this year is clear and her style was really honed and refined with songs such as Marrow from her second album Actor from 2009. The eerie lyrical twists and turns of the track are surrounded by a very sparse set up with distantly wailing vocals along with a pulse-like drum beat and gently scratching guitars. This sets the song up perfectly for the shot of Clark’s heavily reverberating and fuzzy guitar as she urgently spells out for help. These swift switches of sound are carried off with such an effortlessness. She also controls her vocals as opposed to screaming over the noise and places them just ahead of the raging guitars. Not only does this maintain the songs surreal feel, but it also accentuates the fuzzy guitar bursts. A profound and well formed track and she’d go on to do even more.

Owen Riddle

Sunday Suggestion – St. Vincent – Marrow

St. Vincent (Annie Clark) has received huge critical acclaim with her most recent effort and rightly so as far as I’m concerned. Her self titled fourth album was sublime; showcasing a hugely talented artist at work. The progression from her debut album Marry Me from 2007 and to St. Vincent this year is clear and her style was really honed and refined with songs such as Marrow from her second album Actor from 2009. The eerie lyrical twists and turns of the track are surrounded by a very sparse set up with distantly wailing vocals along with a pulse-like drum beat and gently scratching guitars. This sets the song up perfectly for the shot of Clark’s heavily reverberating and fuzzy guitar as urgently spells out for help. These swift switches of sound are carried off with such an effortlessness. She also controls her vocal as opposed to screaming over the noise and sits it just ahead of the raging guitars. Not only does this maintain the songs surreal feel, but it also accentuates the fuzzy guitar bursts. A profound and well formed track and she’d go on to do even more.

Image from www.mtv.com

Sunday Suggestion – The Raveonettes – Suicide

The Raveonettes have always been a prime example of how combining different genres and sounds can work and they’ve done so since their debut in 2003. The Danish duo have combined sounds such as Shoegaze and Surf Rock to their base line garage sound. They’ve always operated in the sort of the respected background without great commercial success but it was a lack of such that doesn’t bother them so much. My personal favourite work by them is 2009’s In and Out of Control; a great piece of bubble gum and classic pop that is thinly spread under darker musical tones beneath it and of course the darker lyrical elements remained. A great contradiction. A song from their fourth album that best encapsulates these elements of their work is the song ‘Suicide’. It slowly opens with the steady strikes of the guitar and suddenly breaks into a rhythmic and melodic pop song with the sugar coated harmonies and the garage like guitars. Aside from the obvious darker undertones of the songs lyrics, there is also the darker musical feel and aura about the song. A certain tragic feel from the churning and slightly distorted rhythm and how this is broken down and spaced out in the verses. Along with this is the sort of sarcasm of the happy vocal style tinged with the tragedy of the subject matter. A great song with the dual quality of being a song you can get involved in, yet a song that you can stop and think about.
Image from www.indyish.com

Sunday Suggestion – Julian Casablancas – River of Brakelights

For my first Sunday Suggestion of the year I’m going to blast back to 2009 when a certain Julian Casablancas set out to create his debut solo venture Phrazes For The Young and led many to question the future of The Strokes. However, if anything it was just Julian taking a breather to perhaps expand and explore his own musical direction which at that time was separate from The Strokes. I think many will probably look to ’11th Dimension’ as their stand out track and though it was a pretty successful single, the album did feature a lot of changes and alterations in tone and feel despite it being quite a short-lived album in length. My favourite track has to be ‘River of Brakelights’. It opens in the stuttered and staggering fashion with the off-cut synths and samples. As the cascading rhythm section overlaps it; the song begins to feel rather eerie with a sense of the mysterious about it. But as the reverbs kick in and the rhythm solidifies it becomes a lot more real with Julian’s vocal linking it all together. The bridge section has a rapidity and stepped up alertness that brilliantly throws you into the chorus. Here, Julian delivers one of most wholesome and tuneful vocals with the rhythm guitars latching on to the melodic hooks it provides. It then all so easily falls back into it’s disjointed allure that cradle Julian’s slick and well crafted lyrics easily.The second time of asking, everything is ramped up and turned up and the melody, the harmony and tuneful vocals are all enhanced further. It is a great track that showed that Julian was not just a frontman but a musician in his own right.

http://youtu.be/DaaKsg6n8Sg

Image from www.sfgate.com 

Sunday Suggestion – The Horrors – Mirror’s Image

Back in 2009; when the world had fallen whole-heartedly to the plastic pop we still endure today; a spectral of colourful sound with darker depths had emerged to create a modern masterpiece. That masterpiece was Primary Colours from Essex (Yes that’s right! Put away your stereotype filled rifle) band The Horrors. Fast forward to 2040 and you’ll notice that the value of their work is permanent while the work of JLS and Cheryl Cole; who topped the charts that year will be confined to the dustbin of history. Like a disposable camera. The album was a huge re-evaluation and rethink and a magnificent clash and re-jigging of their influences and past sounds. Something much more significant in recent years due to the general lack of innovation with music in general. It is an album filled with perfectly placed walls of sound, manipulated layers, ranges of depth and tone with unconventional driving forces and melodies. It is immensely difficult to pin point a song from an album full of more obvious choices like Who Can Say or Sea Within A Sea, but for me Mirror’s Image best encapsulates the scale and sound of the album. It opens with gently lapping and oscillating synths and a subtle beat to slowly push the song your way. The rotating bass then arrives to usher in a chorus of grinding and reverbing guitars that churn out a distorted and out of focus rhythm that’s all tied together with Faris’ low toned and alert vocal. The higher pitched synths in the background add melody and counter act the deep sounds being put in. The cymbal heavy percussion expands and stretches the sound out and beyond while a rough yet razor sharp lead riff from Joshua Hayward cuts its way through the built up sound. If this was 2009 I would be giving this 10/10 and it’s Mercury Prize nomination isn’t credit enough for a simply great album.

http://youtu.be/0EOPIi4Q3lM

Image from  http://www.funkygibbins.me.uk