December 5, 2013

Today's Hotness: Palberta, The Derevolutions, Reindeer

Detail of the art from Palberta's My Pal Berta

>> My Pal Berta, the recently issued, self-released and free debut by upstate New York indie trio Palberta, sounds like a well-painted train about to derail: that's a good thing. The young co-eds that make up this no-wavey, dream-pop unit brim with ideas, raw energy and spunky charisma, which all find their way into My Pal Berta, a title which we presume is something of an homage to classic outsider rock act The Shaggs. Pal is an uncompromising assortment of savant post-punk noise moves and oddly heartening and forlorn backing vocals. A highlight of the set, the song "Sweat Pap," rides a deep, commanding bass groove before erupting into an exposition of the diverse elements of the threesome's sound. Soon after the start a duality emerges between the vocals, as a creepy, haunting background harmony underscores the lead singer's manic squeaks, squeals and exclamations. A menacing unpredictability in her leads manages to sound cute and terrifying at the same time. Meanwhile, the atonal guitar work recalls masters of the form, such as The Pop Group and Deerhoof, springing from melodic pings and scrapes to phased blasts of prickly distortion. This art-punk approach, and especially the devastating screams and grunts that eventually emerge, are delivered with such unwavering conviction that we cannot imagine Palberta staying below the radar for long. Like the hotly-tipped NY house-show now act Perfect Pussy, Palberta reveal an anxious and powerful female energy, and we can't wait to hear what happens next. Stream all of My Pal Berta via the Bandcamp embed below, and click through to download the album for any price. -- Edward Charlton

>> Now that My Bloody Valentine has finally delivered a sequel to Loveless after two decades, the burden of creating the next great follow-up arguably falls to the beloved Australian electronic troupe The Avalanches. Their 2000 classic Since I Left You not only was borne from strife similar to that which resulted in Loveless, but also the record from the Aussies similarly rewrote the rules of a genre and then -- abrupt silence. The wait continues, of course, but a recent single from an act called The Derevolutions reintroduces a similar sense of sample-heavy adventure that certainly calls to mind highlights of The Avalanches repertoire. The Derevolutions, as best as we can tell, hail from Northampton, Mass., and have been steadily releasing fresh slices of delicious sample-delica for months. Each song to date has featured fetching, new wave-inspired artwork, but otherwise carries nothing in terms of discographical detail other than a Mediafire link and a pointer to Facebook. That intentional anonymity only serves to heighten the mystique, in our opinion. Perhaps the best of The Derevolutions' small but blossoming catalog is the intoxicating "We Found That Beat." The tune rides an endless hook on its way to revealing a brilliant mixologists' song suite. "We Found The Beat" is more than just a killer groove, though: bouncy, bright guitars and echoey strings slide up against the undeniable Roland-808 backbeat to produce a syrupy bump-and-grind that induces serial head-nods, if not outright rug-cutting. Chirpy, cheerleader-esque vocals announce each new chorus and echo the kinetic and exuberant toasting of another early 21st century outfit, The Go! Team. The Derevolutions sugar-pop smarts and air of mystery make the act one to watch for 2014 within (and without) the increasingly thrilling Massachusetts music scene; two even newer tracks, the tropicalia-tinted "Crazy Janey" and the near-deliriously great "Pascualita," were recently added to this Soundcloud page (although now the latter has disappeared again... more mystery...), which we recommend monitoring closely. Stream "We Found That Beat" via the embed below, and click through to download it and the rest of The Derevolutions' brilliant offerings. -- Edward Charlton

>> It's very gratifying to see (well, hear) a longtime musical hero return from a prolonged absence with music that immediately lives up to their back catalog. It happened just last year with Kurt Heasley and his Lilys, via an amazing single "Well Traveled Is Protest" (not to mention Lilys' recently unveiled interpretation of the classic carol "Good King Wenceslas," which is streaming right here). "Well Traveled" reinforced the promise that the passage of time does not have to tarnish a unique mind. We feel the same excitement about Boston dream-pop luminary Seana Carmody and her new supergroup, Reindeer. The quartet, which also includes former members of Scarce, The Bevis Frond and Overflower, dazzles on two new tracks in ways similar to the mighty Swirlies of yore. "Tony," one of the aforementioned pair which surfaced at Bandcamp last month, is a subtly rolling, psychedelic indie pop strummer. Commencing with Carmody's cooing and reverse-delayed purrs, the tune quickly establishes a simple structure -- basic, yet rich with detail in the perfect tone of the guitars. Thereafter, Carmody's familiar lead comes into focus; time has not changed its innocent, child-like timbre and inflections. After the second minute, the song subtly slows in tempo and the guitars take on the same compressed and warbled vibrato character that coursed like blood throughout Swirlies' tremendous BlonderTongueAudioBaton. "Tony" is immediately joyous, albeit perhaps in a hard to define way (that may have more to do with nostalgia than we'd like to admit, since that makes us feel old). The second track, "Blue & White," is perhaps even more affecting, with a wistful melody, denser guitars and a more poignant vocal. Each song is available for a dollar at Bandcamp, and worth a lot more. Buy two, three, even ten copies, as perhaps that money will go toward a future Reindeer album that will bristle with more of these great compositions. We've embedded both tracks below for your auditory enjoyment. -- Edward Charlton

1 comment:

osr said...

F Y I , to any unlikely new readers , the Palberta album "My Pal Berta" has since been issued on cassette by OSR Tapes (