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Lovely people who read The Streetlamp

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Griff says: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? Yes, we will!

It seems that I've been neglecting the music a bit. A Streetlamp reader mentioned casually to me recently that they were enjoying the increased visual art coverage and even coping with the metamorphosis into a free anarchist bookshop but that they "wished we could post more free, new music like we used to do". Well, of course, we still do post free, new music but we probably have done so less this year than in previous years so I'd like to make up for that right now by offering a bumper crop of the sort of thing that I like to listen to myself. And, no, it's not hip hop or indie-folk but belongs to that other strand of music to which I continually return - the girl group. Obviously, girl groups can, and do, make music of all genres so I should specifically state that what I mean here is the original girl group sound, as made popular in the 1960s. Basically, this is a fairly primitive pop/rock'n'roll hybrid with close vocal harmonies, extensive backing vocals, handclaps etc. This particular pop template has really been reinvigorated in indie music over the last few years and along with its cousin, the 60s surf-pop sound, is increasingly being mined to good effect. Other related early pop music styles, like doo-wop and garage can also be heard regularly in the current indie-pop output and are often fused with tweepop and/or punk influences to produce a ragged or aggressive production style which contrasts nicely with the simple pop melodies and structures.
To illustrate what I mean by the above, here are three bands who are currently on the playlist at Streetlamp HQ:



First up is The Velveteens who released a 9-song, homemade, DIY cassette album, available too as a digital download on bandcamp, earlier this year. This song features clever song-writing which touches on the typical girl group tropes, such as star-crossed lovers (particularly those thwarted by age difference), the ghost/dead lover, the lover from the wrong side of the tracks, unrequited love, school-related songs etc etc. The spin The Velveteens give these well-worn topics is to write them with a sense of knowing irony and to perform them in a ramshackle, lo-fi, garage style that sounds like The Raincoats playing the Shangri-Las greatest hits. Now, for someone like me that description comes somewhere close to musical heaven. Here's the song 'Chico' to give you a taster:




If you liked that, visit their bandcamp page 'here' for more.




My next recommendation is La Luz from Seattle, US. This four-piece only formed in the summer and  released their debut recording, the Damp Face EP, just last month. La Luz have a cleaner, more polished sound than The Velveteens and borrow more explicitly from surf-pop than from the girl-group genre but they are equally as exciting. Just have a listen to the amazingly beautiful 'Easy Baby':



If you liked that, visit their bandcamp page 'here' for more.



Last, but not least, is Silkies from Austin, Texas who take the basic girl-group pop sound and thoroughly scuff it up with some fuzzed-out guitar and punk/garage sensibility. Silkies have just released the second track off their upcoming Like One EP, which will be available as a digital release on Young Latitudes and as a limited release tape from Heart Throb Records on October 29. Here is the first single release from that EP, 'Like One', which is available as a digital download on a name your price basis:



If you liked that, visit their bandcamp page 'here' for more.



So, there we have it, three bands who all take the late 50s pop sound/early 60s girl-group sound and then give it their own individual spin to great effect. I, personally, think all three bands are superb and I'm sure that the Streetlamp readers will find at least one who is to their taste.


Griff
xx

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