As I look back across my musical life, Vancouver’s The Organ became important to me around the time I first moved to Manchester and I started to engage with artists outside of the mainstream. Those initial experiences of flicking through the records in Piccadilly were the beginning of my love for discovery and I still cherish much of that period’s collection. The Organ released only one LP ‘Grab That Gun’, seemingly due to both label and touring pressure, but it’s fair to say their recorded output deeply ingrained itself on me. I heard from a friend a while back that after taking a break from music, guitarist Debora Cohen had started a new project and have been keeping an eye on things ever since…
Taking her name from the Lars Von Trier film Dancer In The Dark (probably one of the most depressing films I’ve ever seen) Cohen is displaying all the magic that made The Organ so special. It’s certainly clear she was one of the creative forces behind their ability to write great pop melodies, along with singer Katie Sketch whose vocal ability was a driving force, but All I Ever Wanted is evidence enough that Cohen is more than capable of holding her own. At times the subtle and arresting arrangements remind me of Interpol, guiding us to a breathtakingly beautiful and melancholy conclusion.
“I found you when you were sleeping… Don’t wait for me, I cannot love”
As I listened to Stars by Liverpool quartet SeaWitches for the first time, I actually felt alive inside. I could hear my heart beating faster than usual, pounding against my chest. Taken from forthcoming EP ‘Tear Back The Sky’, Jo Herring’s lovelorn vocals dance above unremitting melodies. The contrast between her personal lyrics and the soaring sounds around them is compelling and exquisite. With hints of No Shout’s No Call’s era Electrelane, SeaWitches have for me, produced the track of the year so far. Urgent, romantic and utterly beautiful. Sha Sha la la la.
Electrelane defied and transcended all the usual indie rock constraints over a period of 10 years together, producing one of my favourite albums of all time in No Shouts No Calls.
I was lucky enough to promote one of Verity Susman’s first solo outings under the name Vera November back in 2010. In the time since she’s toured intermittently, including a handful of dates with the still active Electrelane and released her first official solo material…
To Make You Afraid is the creation of an artist experimenting sonically and vocally. Organs sigh beneath a swirl of electronics as Verity’s voice takes centre stage, from textured emotive refrains to melodious howls. In addition, Jack Barraclough’s visual’s playfully cut and paste into a psychedelic world constructed with science fiction fantasy – its unmistakably brilliant.
The above photograph of Seattle’s Chastity Belt (taken by Sarah Creighton) recently popped up on my facebook wall thanks to one of those inescapable buzzfeed links proclaiming it “the most painfully awkward press shot”. Awkward for conformist fuckwits perhaps but for those of us that enjoy subversion and bravery in music: it’s brilliant. And guess what? Chastity Belt only make music to die for…
Comprising of Julia Shapiro (guitar, vocals), Lydia Lund (guitar), Annie Truscott (bass), and Gretchen Grimm (drums) they’ve created a sound that shares the same DNA with Electrelane’s ‘No Shouts No Calls’. Black Sail is one of those songs that just patiently drifts into your head and fills it with dreams.
Watch Chastity Belt perform Black Sail live on KEXP