Archive for March 21st, 2009

Shrag, The Thermals, Swanton Bombs, Eugene McGuiness, The Henry Clay People, Art Brut

shrag_portraitIn response to djeddieo’s recent recommendation, The Ettes, I present Shrag.  Not quite the same throwback as The Ettes, but they are a mostly-girl punk group from the UK so I’m unfairly throwing them in the same mix.  Shrag’s take on their punk is a little more methodic than the peppier Ettes.  Ghosts Before Breakfast brings memories of old school Brit girl punk, like X-Ray Spex.  But FortyFive 45’s is clearly the song that will pave their way.

Additional cred goes to Shrag as they are MySpace friends of The Thermals. Here you can hear the title track off of their upcoming album Now We Can See.  Immediately recognizable as The Thermals, this tune is a little more radio-friendly sounding than most tracks off of their previous (amazing) album The Body, The Blood, The Machine.  But don’t be fooled, one quick listen to the lyrics and they certainly haven’t softened their commentary.

sbswan1I had initially heard Shrag on the Huw Stephens BBC1 podcast, where I also heard the London duo Swanton Bombs (which I’m learning is the name of a professional wrestling move).  I don’t know how to describe these guys, but I’m the most excited about them of any band in this post; at times polished (Turnstile), at others rough (I Like It)…  I can’t decide which I like better.  My current favorite Sorrysayer sounds like a cross between Ray Davies and Jonathan Richman backed by The Fall.  Their current 4-song EP, Mammoth Skull, is available at iTunes.  You can also download their debut LP for free here.  The duo is made up of Dominic McGuinness on guitar, piano and vocals and Brendan Heaney on drums.

If you like the more polished stuff, Dominic’s brother Eugene McGuinness has a music career going in his own right.  Eugene’s approach is much more of the cool, pop crooner type.  So cool, he even has a song called Fonz.

hcp1The Henry Clay People are an LA based group whose MySpace description appropriately reads Americana/Indie/Rock.  But the songs about working and drinking, and even traces of Skynyrd guitar fills (listen to Something In The Water), don’t fall flat as some corny southern rockers.  Mixing in nods to Pavement and Modest Mouse keeps an interesting edge.

Finally, I haven’t quite decided if Art Brut are a novelty act or not.  Their 2006 album Bang Bang Rock and Roll is a very smart and funny work of punk snarkiness.  Even so, I let their follow up album, Its A Bit Complicated,  fall to the wayside; most likely of fear that their tongue-in-cheek approach may not continue to stand up past one album.  Well, their next one, Art Brut vs. Satan, is due out on April 20.  It was produced by Frank Black, and apparently has a song that pays tribute to the Replacements… With those two factors I may have no choice than to get back on the Art Brut train.  Alcoholics Unanimous is the first single…