These two winners from the review slush pile will feel quite familiar to fans of music from the '90s. The first is the latest project from a pioneer and hero of the Riot Grrl and twee scenes, and comes out on February 15. The second is a lo-fi aftershock from the Year Punk Broke, and comes out a week later.
Brave Irene – S/T EP
Tiger Trap, Go Sailor, The Softies–now you can add Brave Irene to the stellar list of Rose Melberg-fronted pop bands. And while the five-member lineup is a bit larger than her previous groups, its sound is anything but bloated. The peach-fuzzy guitars and warm keyboards perfectly complement the sweet vocal harmonies without adding an iota of excess, while the crisp drumming just manages to keep the Vancouver group's songs from floating away into the ether. And as the band's songs are deceptively simple and straightforward, only the purist of ideas (“Bank Holiday,” “Hit the Grass Running,” “River to the Sea”) seem to provide the basis for lyrics. At times, the band's hyper-sweet brand of post-twee leans toward psychedelic and garage rock with its keyboard raveups, but it never strays far from pop purity. [Slumberland]
Yuck – S/T EP
Heavily informed by bands like Dinosaur Jr., Teenage Fanclub, and maybe even the Lemonheads, this U.K. group with connections to Israel, Japan, and the U.S. hoards its influences and approaches which take turns shining in different songs. Maybe the coolest sound recalls the lesser-known band from France, Les Thugs, with expertly crafted fuzz and a ton of distortion somewhat masking the impossibly catchy pop structures of “Holing Out” and “Rubber”–each with awesome, amazing, and inspired NSFW videos (including the one below). “Suicide Policeman” is another interesting song, with its comfortable indie strumming suddenly becoming usurped by reverb and lounge. Playing “What does this song sound like?” can be distracting, but the band is enjoyably on its way to carving out its own sound and racking up earholes. [Fat Possum]