Friday, January 30, 2015

SOUND BITES: girl stuff

a pair of related mini-reviews

Beach Day  Native Echoes (CD 2014)
Kanine Records

Can we take a break from describing bands -- especially fem fronted ones -- as retro or revisionist? Sure, Beach Day’s latest release has its share of Shadow Morton moments. Many bands in the recent past have been tagged as having the “Girl Group” sound: Vivian GirlsBest CoastCultsDum Dum Girls

Look, it’s not throwback anymore, it is (or has become) current. Just because I was alive the first time around for The Shangri Las and you weren’t doesn’t mean it isn’t new to you. This duo (former trio; long story) is produced by the able Jim Diamond,  known for overseeing groups like The HentchmenThe Mooney Suzuki  and Outrageous Cherry. His touch doesn’t mean that Beach Day is “garage” as they have also been labeled. Not groundbreaking by any means but with ear pleasing hooks, catchy melodies and the tiniest bit of indie guitar crunch,  just press play and enjoy. 

Beverly  Careers  (CD 2014)
Kanine Records

No, my fellow reviewers, Beverly is not a  “girl group”, at least not in the sense of '60s post doo-wop harmonies. If anything, they are akin to that somewhat demeaning '90s label  “Women In Rock” ( used with no small amount of awe, as if women had never rocked out before). This is evident when the first few tracks instantly remind of bands like Jale, The Spinanes, Breeders or Eve’s Plum.  Not a bad indie-pop pedigree but upon closer listen, one is left mostly with riffs rather than songs, riffs hung on a beat with a few vocal refrains. 

Still, it’s a pleasant listen and will garner attention  for that… and perhaps more so for band member Frankie  Rose, ex Dum Dum Girl, another band with promise that turned out not a little anemic. Still, the bar for melody, hooks & composition  in popular music has fallen since the rise of techno, dance and hip hop and critics are falling all over themselves for this CD.  Me, I’ll listen but remain upright. 

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