Thursday 10 March 2022

Lewsberg - In Your Hands

Lewsberg have one or possibly two songs, and they're both Velvet Underground songs. Some of my favourite records play the same hand - Bewitched by Luna, for example. It's repetition as an aesthetic, like Galaxie 500.

Any cynicism I had about Lewsberg was blown away seeing them live recently. Their narcotic, monochromatic balladry is restrained and perfectly poised. It's atonal abstraction that's wonderfully unemotional - Yo La Tengo if they'd never heard The Beach Boys.

In Your Hands has no hits. That's the point. The vocals, like Nico's, are litanic, the music sparsely melodic, heavily rhythmic, tribal and ceremonial. It might be an acquired taste. I love it. Acquire it.

Wednesday 9 March 2022

Beachheads II

In which Beachheads wind down the windows, feel the breeze in their hair and set the radio dial to AM. The Cars, Raspberries, Cheap Trick and The Undertones are on rotation. Beachheads - who are titling their albums numerically like their powerpop forebears White Wires - have put in place stricter quality control measures this time round and struck gold.

There's something approaching a powerpop hit factory in Norway. Frode Strømstad from I Was A King and Rider (their debut ep was one of last year's finest offerings) produced the album, and Anne Lise Frøkedal makes a guest appearance.

Anyone sad about Teenage Fanclub not making them like they used to must tune in. And anyone buying the excellent Standing In The Shadows compilations on MeanBean would do well to live in the present by buying this collection of impulsive, knockout pop songs.

Friday 4 March 2022

Doe St

Reports of dolewave's death are greatly exaggerated. Doe St's starting point is Layman's Terms by Boomgates. The album is ragged and playful like Scott & Charlene's Wedding's debut, roughhouse jangle like The Twerps' Black Eyes, sweetly rueful like Dick Diver's Calendar Days, and strong, gutsy and brutally tuneful like Unity Floors.

Like Everybody Split by Possible Humans three years ago (whatever did happen to them?), Doe St is an instant classic that suggests dolewave - pop punch, noisy assault, slacker tendencies - but doesn't rely on a scene. A lot of their raw rock'n'roll sounds like it was made up jamming after a few beers. It's the sort of record only young people with nothing to lose and everything to give can make.

This type of gamble doesn't often pay out, but when it does - and Doe St have hit the jackpot - you've got a classic album. No idea if they can do it again - lightning seldom strikes twice - but this is the sound of kids rolling the dice and getting two sixes every time.

Out now on Legless Records: