wears the trousers magazine

free music friday: the pack a.d.
March 5, 2010, 10:11 am
Filed under: free music friday, mp3 | Tags: , ,

The Pack a.d.

Right from the moment the bass dunk-dunk-dunk arrives amidst the grating fuzz of ‘Crazy’, it’s clear that The Pack a.d., Vancouver’s rawest and buzziest duo, aren’t holding anything back third time around. A gem of the grittiest kind, the song teeters on White Stripes messiness but retains enough composure to keep driving and driving its hooks into our heads. A perfect retort to those who still brainlessly contest the ability of women to really rock hard, The Pack a.d. make it look so easy, so effortless. There’s a fantastic energy to ‘Crazy’, building throughout the song’s duration to reach a passionate, climactic ending with shrieks and grunts. There’s also one hell of a chorus, which benefits from Becky Black’s fearless and brilliant vocal performance. New album We Kill Computers is due May 3 through Mint Records. MP3 after the jump.

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blood red shoes: fire like this (2010)
March 3, 2010, 12:28 pm
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , ,

Blood Red Shoes
Fire Like This •••
V2 / Co-op

It’s all a bit too easy with Blood Red Shoes. They’re the tastiest, most palatable pill in all of rock, sliding down the throats of the record-buying public with the slightest of contractions. Anyone expecting a challenging and exciting progression from their 2007 debut Box Of Secrets may find themselves confused by the first half of Fire Like This; essentially, it’s just more of the same long guitar phrases, punchy drums and sweet overlapping vocals that build up to the chorus into boring shouty melodies. Take ‘Don’t Ask’ as a prime example. You can practically hear the teenagers singing along, but there is a sense of something lacking. It’s like Blood Red Shoes by numbers. There’s a middle drop-out section with a lovely thick guitar sound, but it’s just so predictable that it does nothing to accelerate the heart rate and fails to ignite to the usual levels of angst that we’ve come to expect from Stephen Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter’s disaffected tales of boredom, isolation and frustration.

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giant drag: swan song EP (2010)
February 24, 2010, 10:01 am
Filed under: EP, review | Tags: , ,

Giant Drag
Swan Song EP •••½

Having switched out their male half a couple of times, Californian duo Giant Drag are back in their original and righteous state after a three-year break from releasing. The long promised Swan Song opens with its title track, a moody fuzzball of repetitive sliding guitar sounds that instantly recall Sonic Youth, providing the perfect base for singer and lead songwriter Annie Hardy to slur her cutesy melodies all over. The cutthroat comedy heard on 2006’s debut album Hearts & Unicorns and in their hilarious live monologues is still prominent, however, and with Hardy’s slightly bitter twang and Micah Calabrese’s thick bass synths, not all four songs are as delicate.

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free music friday: vivian girls
February 5, 2010, 1:41 pm
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Vivian Girls
‘He’s Gone’ (The Chantels cover)

Like thick strawberry milkshakes, palm trees and old, worn-in denim, Vivian Girls make us feel good. Their sunny dazes send us into reverie, erroneously reminiscing on the best times of our lives. ‘He’s Gone’, the B-side of forthcoming single ‘My Love Will Follow Me’, is an a cappella cover of The Chantels’ 1957 hit, appropriately recalling the softer side of a style that Vivian Girls are giving a modern-adolescent update, shoving some retro classic down the throats of every teenager who’s cool enough to listen. And it’s very feminine. And we love it. Locking together, the three girls’ voices walk as one, drifting precariously into American suburban chic, each one rebelling and swaying but eventually getting drawn back into the wave of sweet, sweet noise. The song itself is a good choice too. The lyrics and minor-sounding harmonies echo the darker elements of the band when armed with their instruments, dripped in gloomy nihilism and surf-punk garage rock. Live, this song is even more of a dream, as if summer has come very, very early. MP3 after the jump.

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free music friday: thus:owls
February 5, 2010, 1:12 pm
Filed under: free music friday, mp3 | Tags: , ,

‘Climbing The Fjelds Of Norway’

They may not live there but with this twinkling beast of a song, Sweden’s Thus:Owls effortlessly transport us to the landscapes of their geographic neighbour. An immediate accolade is the syncopated rhythm section, which is almost experimental in its minimalism and movement, considering the pop intentions of the song. The result is pretty epic and, along with the vocals, evokes the likes of The Joy Formidable or, if we’re being crude, Björk. Chief songwriter and frontwoman Erika Alexandersson (formerly of solo project eRika) has a stunning voice that manages to be both flailing and piercingly resonant, endearing us with an accented melody that moves and morphs without glitch. ‘Climbing The Fjelds Of Norway’ is a beautiful, beautiful song. Thus:Owls’ debut album, Cardiac Malformations is out on March 1; if this song is anything to go by, look forward to a whole forest full of enchanted treats. MP3 after the jump.

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