Big Troubles: Romantic Comedy

Big Troubles from Ridgewood, New Jersey, formed somewhere in 2009/10 after being friends since high-school and been in several bands together, currently signed to Slumberland Records brought out their second full-length Romantic Comedy after a number of 7” and EPs. They are currently touring with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Young Prisms and Real Estate and you can locate their sound somewhere in this edge. It’s a style of lo-fi dream pop with lyrical themes such as romance, as the title of the record says, loss of love and things like that. But enough informations, I’ll give it a spin.

Romantic Comedy starts with a lovely opener called She Smiles For Pictures. I like the guitar melody and the keyboard effects and already took the voices from Alex Craig and Ian Drennan to my heart. Misery let me even think of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart again which is definitely not a bad thing because I loved Belong and can’t get enough of stuff in the same musical style that want to bring the Billy Corgan-feeling back to life. Make It Worse is in the same shoegazy style and I love it, as well as Sad Girls. You can call it a rip-off of something and you could be right with that argument but I simply like it so why should I criticise it. And about vocal lines like ‘Love is in the air, but I don’t care, ’cause I don’t want to love anymore’ you just can smile about it and don’t judge them. You’ll Be Laughing is a mid-tempo style with a remarkable background guitar-line to break-up the first half of Romantic Comedy.

Second half starts with one of my favourites of this record called Minor Keys and for the first time played a more straight-forward style of Shoegaze in the third minute that lets me think of Loveless. It is followed by Softer Than Science which is as the title says again calm and peaceful but still likeable, though one of the unspectacular songs on Romantic Comedy. Time Bomb, again as the title says more noisy and experimental. Succesfull, another highlight on this record in my opinion. We have already arrived at the last two track, Engine and Never Mine. The first of the two is some relaxing mid-tempo dream pop where the roots are clearly somewhere Pavement- or Dinosaur Jr.-like with the pinch of originality. Never Mine, like the most on Romantic Comedy is a nicely done closure, stroke the guitar for the last time, aspirate into the mic for the last time and leave the listener in a pleased and entire mood.

I really liked Romantic Comedy and there were almost no bad songs on this. I would really like to see them blowing up in the upcoming weeks and want to recommend it to a fan of every artist I mentioned in this review, you can’t do something wrong by listening to Romantic Comedy. So what are you waiting for, do it!

  • 8.3/10

Video: Cut Copy ‘Blink And You’ll Miss A Revolution’

(off their latest record Zonoscope) Watch the teaser for Blink And You’ll Miss A Revolution here.

St. Vincent: Strange Mercy

American singer Annie Clark alias St. Vincent brought out her third record Strange Mercy. She changed from the style of the second album Actor with symphonic parts to a more synthesizer lasting rock with blustering bass- and guitar-parts by herself. She names her influences Jethro Tull and Frank Zappa. As she went to a party when she was twelve and everyone brought some vinyl she didn’t play Ace Of Base, she played Aqualung from Jethro Tull. And as she grew up in a musical family the condition were good to born a new rock star. By the way St. Vincent is the hospital in which Dylan Thomas died.

The album starts with some strange synthies, a heavenlike voice of Annie Clarke and some catchy guitarriffs. The refrain is a blurping organ and Annie shouting the title of the song. Chloe In The Afternoon is a catchy and memorable opener for a hopefully great album. Cruel has also a very catchy guitartune that instantly get stuck in the head and a very nice ‘sing-along’-part. After two faster and fancy tracks Cheerleader starts calm but turns out in a synthesizer firework. She perfectly finds the balance between freaky synth and serious vocalparts. Surgeon, the fourth track should be the highlight of the record as I heard from several voices but I am a bit sobered by this track, the synths and vocals just did not hit me enough on this song though the part from 3:40 until the end was freaking awesome and really disturbing. One of the best moments on the record for sure. Northern Lights is more in the rock style with strong riffing and for the first time not constant synth but used at the right parts and so also this song is succesfull. The title track on Strange Mercy as well as Neutered Fruits are again slower and with well considered effects. They’re nice not the best songs on Strange Mercy though. A nice bridge was Champagne Year, nice and calm. Dilletante has a great groove and again nice synths, guitars and effects though not the best vocals on the album. Though Hysterical Strength and Year Of The Tiger are two more highlights of the album. The pace was put down to calm the listener with smooth and groovy synth parts and perfectly finished a strong new record of St. Vincent.

There were highlights and awesome fresh new ideas on Strange Mercy though not every track impressed me. But the sum of good songs outweighed the bad ones. But I sensed that the first half was a bit better than the second though to the end there were again two great songs. It is definitely one of the better releases in the last few months. Annie Clark for the win.

  • 8.4/10

(Get Strange Mercy here)

Sleep ∞ Over: Casual Diamond

Chillwave? Dream pop? Hipsters call it witchhouse. I’ll just call it awesome music. Sleep ∞ Over, a female trio from Austin, Texas will release their first record Forever somewhere this month on Hippos In Tanks. Listeners can rejoice in two previously released singles and latterly in a brand-new video to ‘Casual Diamond’. Christine Aprile, the director coped her challenge well and made a perfectly fitting video to the single.

Widowspeak: s/t

I came to these guys as I combed through, they were listed on popular artists and similar artists were Craft Spells and I Break Horses so I had to check this band out. So they come from New York City, Molly Hamilton, Michael Stasiak, and Rob Thomas.

They brought out two 7” this spring with Harsh Realm and Gun Shy on it, the first two songs off the new record. Much more you won’t find yet about the trio on the net but I’m sure you will hear more from Widowspeak in the future. What we have here is moony surf rock with refreshing female vocals and yes, you got it, another soundtrack to the summer. They don’t have to hide from established female-fronted acts such as Cults, The Naked And Famous or Best Coast. They have to compete against Crazy For You, a nearly perfect debut from Best Coast but they well cope with it. Though they play a bit more mid-tempo rock with more use of organs and effect pads.

My favorite songs which got stucked in my head at first listen were Harsh Realm, Limbs, Hard Times and Ghost Boy, where I actually got goosebumps. This is such a mature debut record and I am excited to hear more of them in the future. They perfectly tie in with a fairly list of great new artists I discovered this year so far. 2011 is a great year in music and Widowspeak is a part of it. Great!

  • 8.2/10

Download // Bandcamp

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