Sunday, 2 September 2012

Parasol and Troubled Sleep

Do you want a punk rock ballad that sounds as vital by the glare of the sun as it does by the glow of candlelight (clue: you really do)? Then wrap your ears around Parasol's Firecracker, which lasts two minutes and collapses in a cascade of girl group harmonies and giggles.

The other three tracks on Parasol's Crush Season ep are essential, too. They remind me of the tough pop stuff I was listening to 20 years ago - the first records by Magnapop, Jale, Zuzu's Petals and Arcwelder. On the strength of Crush Season, people will be remembering Parasol fondly in 20 years' time, too.

Troubled Sleep "currently reside, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, in brooklyn". Similar to their agitated neighbours like Heaven's Gate, they know their MBV records inside out, as well as the Swirlies and Lorelei. The Wacky Past Is Now ep shows them attacking their influences with enough panache and elan to make a sound all their own. I'd put money on them having tattoos underneath their cardigans.

Both these records are on Puzzle Pieces, what is (slowly) becoming one of my favourite boutique labels. There were two superb 4-track 7" EPs last year from Bad Banana and Four Eyes; now these fine efforts from Parasol and Troubled Sleep.

All Puzzle Pieces records are cheap and packaged lovingly. They give away downloads of the EPs - some might think this is a crazy business model, but Puzzle Pieces know that good pop records sell. As they rightly say, at only $9.50 for both EPs: "What a steal! Saves on shipping too."

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