More discoveries this Sunday, also kind of paying some dues to a couple of bands. Enjoy!
Joanna Gruesome. I know, I know. My bad. I'm super-late at this party. My excuse is that I didn't like "Sugarcrush" at first (still believe its a great song with a too noisy end) but after seeing them making many of the best-of lists I gave a proper listen immediately realising my (huge) mistake. Based in Cardiff, the quintet met in an anger management counseling group (bad behaviour at school) forming late 2010. Their explosive shows around the local scene and a couple of 7" on underground labels Art Is Hard and Happy Happy Birthday To Me, made the buzz grow, until Fortuna Pop! signed them, releasing debut album "Weird Sister" (Slumberland in the US) in September 2013. Menacing twee-pop that mutes into hardcore explosions? Yes sir, extreme contrasts are what define Gruesome's style. Think on Veronica Falls melting with Bikini Kill, shiny pop melodies packed with a killer noise. Knock-out.
The Felt Tips. Another band long-time pending on my MUST-LISTEN list (yes, I do have that list), they began to form in late 2005 when Spaniard Miguel Navarro landed in Glasgow and replied Andrew Paterson’s old ad looking to form a band members. It was a slow start and until 2008 the quartet wasn't completed. Local shows and 3 singles on Cloudberry and Weepop came out between 2007-2009, until they managed to get funded by the Scottish Arts Council (aww Scottland) funded to record their debut album, "Living and Growing", on Plastilina Records in 2010. Gigs around Europe and US followed, with the group back in studio in 2012, unleashing their sophomore LP, "Symbolic Violence", in May 2013 on Firestation Records. Pure, classic jangle-pop so full of hooks, bittersweet lyrics and emotional crushes you won't believe their albums barely last 30 minutes. Indie-pop artisans.
Ancient Times. Based in Brighton, George Smale started as a solo act in July 2012 with three recorded demos, but by November it was already an expanded live band project. First release arrived in February 2013, the split cassette EP with Furrow "From the Land to the Sea", followed by "Nightschool/Hieroglyphic" single on Soft Power Records in October. His stunning little collection of tunes grows next week with single "Healer", via Jigsaw Records. Sure, The Smiths influence (his vocals, my godness!) is evident, but there's much more: dream-pop, shoegazer vibes, swerving structures, enduring riffs... Don't forget this name.