wears the trousers magazine

sounding off: november 2009 (iii)

Part three of our November roundup looks at debuts from Norwich indie-pop upstarts The Kabeedies, US sensation Kid Sister and the homemade charms of Lady Lazarus.

* * *


The Kabeedies
Rumpus ••••

Norwich’s keenest The Kabeedies bounced onto our radar with a triumphant performance at Glastonbury 2008, and they’ve been picking up momentum ever since. Following on from an enjoyable pair of EPs comes the irrepressible band’s debut full-length, appropriately named Rumpus. A jauntily pop, heels-in-the-air, loop-the-flipping-loop of an album, it successfully marryies compulsively danceable rhythms with vocal melodies so infectious the government will no doubt soon be putting up posters in bathrooms telling you how to wash your ears.

Lead single ‘Petits Filous’ is a quirkily lovable bashabout with all the hallmarks of classic tweee indie: male/female dual vocal, speak-singing in the verses, ‘80s pop culture references and earnest similes a-go-go. Not that the song isn’t greater than the sum of these parts, but those of you who feel like whipping out your indie bingo cards, like the rest of us, will not be disappointed. There are stronger tracks on the album though – the athletically jangly ‘Lovers Ought To’, for instance, or the No Doubt-esque sunshine pop of ‘Comic Splendour’ – so anyone who finds their interest piqued by ‘Petits Filous’ should find that there are plenty more sweet treats in store.

Katy Knight
UK release date: 09/11/09; www.myspace.com/thekabeedies


Kid Sister
Ultraviolet ••••
Downtown / Universal Republic

After much stalling, it seems that all the behind the scenes creative tweaking has paid off for Chicago native Kid Sister, aka Melisa Young. Continuing on from the bright, buzzing promise of 2007’s ‘Pro Nails’ single, which featured her part-time mentor Kanye West, Ultraviolet includes production from a slew of respected studio including Sinden, XXXChange, Herve, Yuksek and, most predominantly, her boyfriend A-Trak. Bridging slick pop with dizzy rap and grimey, expert electro, the tracks melt seamlessly into each other like one big laser-bright party. Every track is club worthy, with catchy hooks and feelgood vibes reverberating over slick beats and big sounds.

Where lesser rappers might struggle, Young’s tight rhymes and rapid-fire flow show she’s more than capable of keeping pace. She also keeps true to her girl-next-door moniker, avoiding the easy route of sexploitation female MCs. As she raps on the sweetly down to earth ‘Let Me Bang’, “I’m trying to rap more about some normal girlie shit rather than bump and grind”. From the retro rap feel of ‘Life On TV’ and the ‘80s pop of ‘Daydreaming’ to the party crunk of ‘Step’ (guest starring Estelle) and the soca-charged electro of ‘Switchboard’, this is a super fun, solidly crafted debut.

Charlotte Richardson Andrews
Available on import only; www.myspace.com/kidsister


Lady Lazarus
Home Recordings EP •••
Apartment Life

California’s Melissa Ann Sweat hasn’t long considered herself a musician but she’s been involved in artistic pursuits – writing, drawing and painting – since childhood. Playing keyboard, glockenspiel, accordion and ‘found instruments’ on this debut EP from her Sylvia Plath-derived alter ego, her musical naivety is well disguised. Sweat makes a convincing stab at Karen O channelling PJ Harvey, resulting in a consistently interesting and complex collection of songs.

Relationships pepper this personal record, with Sweat looking for a lover on ‘Bones’ and waving goodbye to another on ‘My Dear Man (Unrequited)’. There’s no hint of sentimentality though, more thoughtful introspection and an appetite for all life has to offer, both good and bad. Highlight ‘Master & Servant’ is not the Depeche Mode cover you might expect but a simultaneously charming yet terrifying original (“Lately the devil’s been talking to me / he’s been saying I’m some woman I’d rather not be”). The minimal arrangements and work-in-progress production affords a sense of immediacy that might have been lost beneath a studio polish. While at times the lo-fi sound can get frustrating, Sweat paces through these seven tracks in under 15 minutes and all are release-worthy compositions.

Richard Steele
UK release date: ; www.myspace.com/ladylazarusintheory


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