feature image via the blond-o-sonic shimmer trap
In Autostraddle’s tender infancy, I used to scrimp and save all year in order to head down to Austin for SXSW, where presumably all the new bands I’d ever care about were playing industry showcases all week long. I’d load up on open bar whiskey and wander the streets, consuming questionable streetcart tamales, making out with rappers’ girlfriends and then writing all about it in a series we referred to as the Captain’s Log. Nowadays, it’s a bit harder for me to get away, and I haven’t been able to make it to Austin in a couple of years. Still, as the weather gets a bit warmer I get the itch to come out of hibernation and start checking out new bands. Here are couple of new songs by new artists who’ve been haunting my headphones lately.
CHVRCHES – “Recover”
Here’s the funny thing about CHVRCHES – they’re a brand new (formed in 2011) Scottish electropop band who’ve only just arrived on American shores within the last couple of weeks, and their breakout single “The Mother We Share” garnered them an incredible level of hype.
I was lucky enough to catch their first-ever New York City show Monday night, and I was blown away, because for a relatively young band, their live show was tight, polished, and seemingly ready for arena tours. Singer Lauren Mayberry’s voice has a sweet, youthful quality that reminds me in some ways of Julia Volkova from t.A.T.u. (sorry for the weird compliment guys, it really does), and the catchy, melancholy tracks they played called to mind popular synth-heavy acts like M83 and the Knife. Their latest single “Recover” has been stuck in my head all week.
Widowspeak – “Ballad of the Golden Hour”
Widowspeak’s Molly Hamilton gets a lot of Mazzy Star comparisons for her breathy, dreamy singing voice, but it’s a compliment that’s well deserved.
The Brooklyn-based band’s second record Almanac shows the band expanding on their lo-fi, 90s-influenced rock with more of a fleshed-out, classic country edge. My absolute favourite track is “Ballad of the Golden Hour,” with haunting guitar licks swirling under Molly’s wistful refrain: “We could never stay forever / We were destined to grow cold.” Girl, I feel you.
Savages – “Husbands”
If you ever asked me to design my ideal band, I’d probably tell you I wanted an absurdly good-looking all-girl rock band to authentically recapture the energy of late 70s/early 80s post-punk in the vein of Joy Division, Killing Joke and Public Image LTD, with sexy, yelping vocals like Siouxsie Sioux or an angry PJ Harvey. While their sound is decidedly familiar, Savages’ songs are moody and energetic enough to keep me riveted.
I saw ‘em play earlier this week, and I spent a fair amount of time staring awestruck at guitarist Gemma Thompson, who’s just as talented as she is smoldering hot. Their record Silence Yourself will be out May 7 on Matador Records.