June 15, 2013

Today's Hotness: Princess Reason, Ghost Outfit

Princess Reason -- s/t (detail)

>> Sometimes, Soundcloud really delivers. After all, without it we wouldn't have known about Princess Reason, a young and somewhat shadowy band from College Park, Maryland. The act's self-titled album, out now digitally and eventually on tape via Tricot Records, is a welcome breath of meditative, DIY pop. Not much can be gleaned about Princess Reason from the Interzizzles, but what little there is at the Tricot Records Web presence indicates that this is a group of friends unpretentiously offering a glimpse into its own aural, DIY reality. All product is presently made by hand, and most visual characterizations of the collective depict bookshelves, mixing station desks, and simple, clean visuals suggesting a bright, but decaying innocence. "We Are Splitting," one of the highlights of the Princess Reason release, commences with a picked, drop-tuned guitar figure that guides the singer's wandering melody through a rumination on the "little house we all share." With an ambient delay looped in the background, the song briefly pauses before doubling in volume for a more rambunctious passage that calls to mind the scratchy guitar work of early Modest Mouse, or the paralyzing melancholy of Brian McGrath's too-short-lived post-Wendyfix project Mantissa. "We Are Splitting" smolders to a single ember and then winks out; listeners can almost feel the cool wisps of air from the AC unit and the diminishing light coming through the blinds as the players push back from a shared, melancholy reverie and slowly regain their senses after another intimate bedroom catharsis. Grab this dreamy release for any amount desired at the Princess Reason Bandcamp right here; we've embedded "We Are Splitting" for your listening pleasure below. -- Edward Charlton

>> Industrial Britain: bleak, unforgiving and yet -- as history has shown for decades -- surprisingly inspiring. A steady thrum of clanging and droning acts sourced from gray, stiffening urban environs has sound-tracked the nation's musical comings and goings since a young Ian Curtis or Mark E. Smith first clutched microphones and gave voice to the disenfranchised. The tradition lives on in the music of Mancunians Ghost Outfit, a pair whose visceral sound is among the latest to have caught our ear. Ghost Outfit announced recently the pending release of a debut full-length titled I Want You To Destroy Me, due June 24 on Salford-based SWAYS Records. Singer/guitarist Jack Hardman, and drummer Mike Benson proffer a churning, thick, no-wave-indebted take on UK indie rock and noise-pop, and lead single "Killuhs" opens with repetitive string bends and colossal, destructive tom hits. When Mr. Hardman's pleading vocals edge in to the mix, the increasingly moody tune begins to echo the desperation of frayed and emotional contemporaries such as Scotland's We Were Promised Jetpacks, shoegazing Danes Heaviness and the Czech Republic's The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa. It's here, too, that one first gets a sense of the precise attention to detail the band employs, despite its minimal set-up. Marvel in the cross-channel dimensions of Hardman's guitar tone, or the foreboding, over-dubbed whisper that accompanies his voice ever so briefly shortly past the minute mark. Thereafter, he manages a brief, faraway holler, before the song engulfs him with an instrumental groove that carries it through to its conclusion, uncontainable distortion sparking off in all directions. Ghost Outfit perform with such fresh conviction, and it's apparent the two live and breathe despondent rhythms and a thorny, de-tuned fever, an ideal soundtrack to all that is crumbling and soon to be missed. This reviewer can't recommend this album enough; I Want You To Destroy Me is available for pre-order now as an LP or CD (an LP purchase rates a CD, download and 10" x 10" art insert, as well) via Ghost Outfit's Big Cartel page right here. Stream the dynamite track "Killuhs" via the embed below. -- Edward Charlton

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