With her latest EP, Tender Warriors Club, the reliably wonderful Lady Lamb (a.k.a. Aly Spaltro), is consciously trying to keep an open heart. Her Tender Warriors Club website reads:
find the courage to be sensitive
be emotionally vulnerable
be comfortable with & embrace solitude
never compromise their integrity
practice self-acceptance & self-love
give an honest effort
As far as manifestos go, that’s a damn fine one. And one that is utterly prescient. And Tender Warriors Club is a welcome addition to Lady Lamb’s catalogue of delicate but fierce music. She wears her emotions on the outside, and causes us to do the same. I can’t count the times that I’ve been moved to tears by her without even realizing I’m crying. Damn.
By Tim Murr
Ten minutes is barely enough time for some films’ opening credits to run, much less properly set up the first act. Writer/director Izzy Lee deftly creates a three-act story in just minutes that feels every bit as complete and satisfying as a full-length feature. Her new film Innsmouth takes a police procedural and drops it into Lovecraftian horror. The result is truly something to behold.
By Tim Murr
Singer/guitarist Annabelle Lee (ex-Mexican Slang) describes Peeling’s debut EP, Rats In Paradise, as being “about shedding past traumas, transcending pain and finding a way out,” she says. “It’s too easy to become disillusioned; I want to create catharsis and release.” Well, congratulations on succeeding. Rats In Paradise is a wonderfully realized collection. The four tracks, “Magic Eye,” “Leisure Life,” “In The Sun,” and “Wet Nurse” feel very similar to Las Vegas Story-era Gun Club. Even Lee’s vocals remind me of Jeffery Lee Pierce at his most reserved.
Kadhja Bonet’s debut, The Visitor, is timeless and otherworldly; pulling the lucky listener into a spacey, jazzy world of poetic lyrics and Bonet’s stunner of a voice. It’s a bit psychedelic, it’s definitely jazz influenced, and it’s a cinematic type of soul that no one else is making.
I’m going to admit this right off the bat: there were a few times in listening to Julia Jacklin’s fascinating debut, Don’t Let The Kids Win, that I couldn’t quite make out what she was saying. On the opening track, “Pool Party,” I was drawn to the languid retro feel, a slow dreamy sway of a song, and the unusual timbre to Jacklin’s voice. I just had no idea what the lyrics were (and to me, as a reviewer, lyrics are important). But it didn’t actually matter, because the feelings are evident; there is a heaviness, a sadness that runs through the Americana-esque song.
By Adele Wearing
I want to talk about the new Ghostbusters movie, although what I have to say has little to do with the ghosts. I don’t even want to talk about how the film made me review my opinion of reboots in general, although it did.
What I want to talk about is female friendships and why Ghostbusters might be one of the most important films of the decade.
By Brian Baker
Don’t let Clara Venice’s saccharin appearance fool you. The cover of her Electric Dream EP features her in multi-colored, pig-tailed hair, licking a lollipop. However, her synth-infused pop is by no means child’s play.
For the first half of the 1990s, if Redd Kross was involved in something, I was interested. Any band they toured with or recorded with or even name-checked was a band that I would check out. I was rarely disappointed. Enter The Muffs, who I associated with Redd Kross originally because they were both from Southern California and had both punk rock and bubblegum pop cred. And there was the Bill Bartell connection. Plus, Kim Shattuck and Melanie Vammen were ex-Pandoras members, a band I was fond of after hearing them on WTUL New Orleans in the mid-’80s.
Not long after the band’s eponymous debut, Melanie left and former Redd Kross drummer Roy McDonald replaced original drummer Criss Crass. So I was extremely interested in hearing Blonder and Blonder, The Muffs’ 1995 release from Warner Bros./Reprise Records.
After several years paying her dues in various Toronto bands, Robyn Phillips was visited by a vision. Adopting the name of Isabella Rossellini’s character from Blue Velvet, Phillips began writing songs informed by this persona, eventually gathering other musicians to complete a full band. Vallens’ first album Consent is out today and it reveals that Phillips’ commitment paid off: it’s a stunning debut.
Photo by Shelby Fenlon
We get a lot of music press releases at Popshifter and sometimes it’s a slog to sift through them, always hoping to have our ears dazzled by a new band but frequently being disappointed.
This is not the case with Toronto, Ontario’s Vallens, the brainchild of guitarist, singer, and songwriter Robyn Phillips. Vallens makes the kind of music that makes you sit up and take notice. The title of Vallens’ stunning debut album is Consent, a word with a lot of connotations—especially for women. Thankfully, the songs don’t shy away from such emotionally charged issues but explore them. Musically and lyrically, Consent is moody, mysterious, and captivating… and definitely deserves your attention.