Review: By the time you reach the muffled, eccentric opening bars of "Tenderness", just past halfway on "Anak Ko", Jay Som's remit is clear. The Los Angeles singer-songwriter has left her shoes, or rather shoegaze, behind. This time she's walking barefoot through a lo-fi musical tapestry, baring soles and heartbreak while musing on the importance of self-value. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the head-noddingly agreeable "Nighttime Drive" to the jerking, grunge-y "Peace Out", it's equal parts gorgeous and effortlessly- not to mention breathily- cool, sexy and surprising. Perhaps what's most reassuring, though, is that there's every chance this could all come across as affected and a little too self-aware. Nothing could be further from the truth from what we can hear- an honest work representing the next step in the evolution of a truly exciting American indie talent.
Review: You know the crew mean business, or at least mean not to give a flying guitar what you think, when they call themselves Tropical Fuck Storm. Perhaps what's most surprising, then, is the troupe's second album proves beyond doubt that despite the name, their music is accomplished and, while challenging at times, instantly enjoyable. The fact that Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin are also members of The Drones should tell you everything there is to know here. TFS is as logical a progression into an artsy, unpolished and unapologetic unknown as could ever be possible when you consider these guys are disinterested in playing anything by numbers. Logic is perhaps not the operative word, then. Like the unkept character propping up your local bar who suddenly reveals themselves to be a borderline-musical genius, respectfully avoiding the cliche of addressing individual tracks is the least we can do.
Review: It's the album that shot them to glory in one fell swoop, hitting stores at a time when the BBC had just listed Australia's great indie hope in the taste-making Sound of 2009 list. And, as this 10th anniversary special edition proves, the record has lost none of its emotional power or infectious musicality in that time. Opening with the pared back-yet-desperate "Love Lost", the tone is set for a record that packs as much punch as it does reel from the punishments life so readily hands out. Veering between bruised and ballsy, quiet and confident, tracks like "Rest" and lead single "Sweet Disposition" position them among the most vital and arresting guitar outfits on the scene. Soaring vocals, arpeggiated chords and frantic crescendos abound. On the stylistic flip, "Fools" and "Soldier On" showcase a far more delicate musicality, revealing a band as heartbroken as they are heartfelt.