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Artist of the Month
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March 2015
Blood Sound
"Nightclub
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Blood Sound’s post-punk tracks are informed by an audible nostalgia for the dance floors and goth clubs of the latter ‘80s. Their latest LP Nightclub is a hybrid of dark wave and dream pop. Marrying synth-drenched harmonies with emotively vibrant lyricism, the subtle romantics of the band’s debut full-length fit seamlessly with the buzzing percussive backbeats of earlier cuts by Cold Cave (circa Love Comes Close) or The Cure’s “Primary” stripped bare to its core.
 
“TV Synth 1” sets the tone for Nightclub’s narrative with a brief yet textured prelude to “I Don’t Want.” Relatable like an antithesis of The Smiths’ “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out,” Blood Sound’s “I Don’t Want” personifies the complexities of yearning, desire, and loneliness. As frontman Chris Jordan croons “I don’t want the city’s lights to go down/I don’t want to find home,” guitar riffs magnify the weight of his words without casting them melodramatic. The track is a fitting anthem for the passing of youth, failed love, and transition.
 
The buzzing start of “L.A. Punk” explores that thin line between authenticity and commoditization, the song’s instrumentation paying homage in its own way to the early underground and its subsequent subcultures. As if channeling a sedated rendition of Peter Murphy’s tone and diction, “L.A. Punk” is as memorable as it is brooding. “Acid Summer” gives an inward glimpse at the intimate nature of grief, mortality, and memory. When Jordan sings, “The 1980s died that day,” the listener feels it in their gut. It’s undeniable. The connection between what is experienced and how that experience is remembered is amplified by the track’s thumping tempo.
 
“Empty” plays out like the perfect soundtrack to an inevitable breakup, coupling affection with exhaustion, with the synth framing the heart-wrenching truth of lines like “I was too in love to say/that your story was a bore/Now I gave up on bad dreams and endings/beginnings and beginnings.” It offers a viable catharsis for jilted lovers with a penchant for fuzzed-out refrains.
 
“TV Synth 2” precedes the lyrically minimal yet heavy “Embrace” which serves as Nightclub’s melodic memento mori. “Almost” is subdued yet gripping, slowing the momentum of the record in advanced of “TV Synth 3,” which unfolds like a VHS fever dream. “Fake Blood” is evocative, with reverb and a pulsating backbeat that swells as the song progresses. Arguably the darkest track on the album, Jordan’s diction is hypnotic, “Kill your dreams and wait for/the fake blood to pour out.”
 
Ending with the well-placed “Catacombs,” Nightclub’s final track encapsulates the thrill of beginnings and the way one remembers them. Set to a beat reminiscent of Joy Division’s quintessential single “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” “Catacombs,” much like the songs that precede it, is reason alone to return to Nightclub. - Dianca London Potts

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Album Review: Science & Advice - The Armchairs

Album Review: Science & Advice - The Armchairs

It should be readily apparent to anybody with a working set of eardrums that The Armchairs fall firmly in the same camp as a handful of other 60s-esque pop acts cropping up. But where exactly they draw inspiration from is somewhat more of a mystery, because this certainly isn't the simple pairing of Beatles and Beach Boys that we've come to expect. Instead, we're treated to an odd menagerie of Zombies, Kinks, and earlier, goofier Floyd (you know, before the rest of the band decided not to pickup Syd). This is a slight, but welcome, change of pace, and what's even more welcoming is the way they throw it all together. It seems that most bands, when under these prestigious influences, would either a) condense it all into pure power-pop confectionery or b) partake in the more indulgent qualities of psychedelia, to the point of tedium. The Armchairs manage to land it somewhere right in between, a sweet spot of controlled lunacy.

Opener "Grampa Yells Portents at Strangers" starts things off right with crazily shifting time signatures and vocal harmonies. It kind of feels like four songs in one, which proves representative of the album's feel as a whole; tracks are short, almost fragmented, but still intense and fully realized. If there's any obvious single, it's "Little Sammy Ghetz" which begins and ends with an irresistible interlocking guitar riff that makes it hard not to get some muscles twitching.

But The Armchairs seem to know better than to trifle with too many obvious hooks. Why do it the easy way when you can do it the fun way? This is an album populated by guitars, alternately crunchy and spacey, awesomely analog-sounding synths, and joyous harmonies. But it's also populated by mind-melting freakouts like "What For My Cow Eating There?" and tracks like the forty-nine second punk explosion "Harrison Ford". So, to get to the heart of it, Science & Advice is a record that manages to do all of these things with such panache making the album an impressive debut by the oddball but loveable quartet. You can stream and download the album here or purchase it at Punk Rock Payroll where it will come packaged in a handmade travel pillow - perfect for those partiers who never know where they’ll pass out at. (Cover art by Vincent Finazzo) - Joe Poteracki

 

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