Thursday, October 11th, 2007

The Pink Wig To My Salieri

I don’t know where y’all were on Tuesday night but if you weren’t at the Drake Underground, and I know for a fact that you weren’t, then damn were you missing out. No matter what else you were doing – on safari, fighting crime, being Gypsy punks – you were still missing out.

And what you were missing out on was the Toronto debut of Brooklyn’s Jealous Girlfriends, in town following a Pop Montreal appearance on Sunday. I talked a bit about them last month when the show was announced but that was before I got a hold of their eponymous album. It’s a rather stunning record that straddles both sides of the Atlantic effortlessly. It melds hazy atmospheric fuzz with giddy amphetamine British art-rock (think mid-period Blur) with spiky New York attitude and a whiskey shot of Southern soul – all served with smirk, but a deadly serious one. In case I’m not being clear, I really like this record which is why it’s that much more astonishing that it’s not even available as a proper CD – just an independently released CD-R. Sometimes I don’t understand the world.

Also meant to be on the bill was Kinetic Stereokids from Flint, Michigan but they ran into border issues, leaving the bill as just the Jealous Girlfriends and some “special secret guests” who turned out to be Montreal’s Hot Springs. This was a stroke of good luck because I’d meant (but failed) to see them a couple of times in the past few weeks and now here they were, added to a show I was going to see anyways. I’d caught them back in March during CMW and was pretty impressed with the intensity of their show so I was a little surprised when I finally heard their new album Volcano, which was a lot more smoothed out and poppier than that show had led me to expect (note – not complaints). Similarly, their show on this evening was ratcheted down a couple notches as far as maniacism goes. Frontwoman Giselle Webber was still entertainingly loopy and the band as a whole animated and entertaining but with the sparse crowd, it may have been they just didn’t feel compelled to go all out. But even so, the strength of the songs on the album, in all their glam-punk classic rockery – were evident, and that wasn’t something I picked up on quite so clearly in March.

And even though the crowd was even thinner by the time the Jealous Girlfriends took the stage, they didn’t hold anything back, deadly serious about the rock but also determined to have a good time – they were just as likely to punch you in the face as give you a noogie (musically speaking). While singer/guitarist Holly Miranda is the obvious aural and visual focus of the band, live I really appreciated what Josh Abbott contributes, vocally. His powerful pipes are the perfect counterpoint for Miranda’s smoky rasp and really sounded terrific when they harmonized on lead vocals together. Throw in manic guitarwork from both overtop a deep bed of synths and douse liberally in sweat, you’ve got maybe the best unattended show of the year. If there’s any justice in this world (and I’m not convinced there is), this is far from the last time I – or you – will be hearing about The Jealous Girlfriends.

On the occasion of Volcano‘s release and the Hot Springs’ show at Lee’s a couple weeks ago, they made the press rounds talking to The Toronto Star, Hour, NOW, The Montreal Gazette and Chart.

Update: sorry about the JG MP3s – someone’s domain registration expired today! Hit up their MySpace until they get that fixed or I’ll post the tracks tonight.
Update 2: Website back! Go bask.

Photos: The Jealous Girlfriends, The Hot Springs @ The Drake Underground – October 9, 2007
MP3: The Jealous Girlfriends – “Something In The Water”
MP3: The Jealous Girlfriends – “Machines”
MP3: The Hot Springs – “Headrush”
MP3: The Hot Springs – “Bacteria”
MP3: The Hot Springs – “Caco Disco”
Video: The Jealous Girlfriends – “How Now” (YouTube)
Video: The Hot Springs – “Bacteria” (MOV)
MySpace: The Jealous Girlfriends
MySpace: The Hot Springs

One of the things about discovering and wanting to get the word out on new, up-and-coming bands is that it’s sometimes hard to find the opportunity to write about them without rehashing the same info (“hey, remember these guys? Still good!”). So I was pleased to see this bit at Filter announcing that San Francisco’s Minipop, who were on of this year’s SxSW discoveries, have gotten a deal to release their album A New Hope on November 6. I’m glad for the opportunity to finally replace my little promo CD-R with a proper copy.

Stereogum is streaming “Young Bridge”, the first single from the UK expanded edition of Land Of Talk’s Applause Cheer Boo Hiss. It’s out October 22 and the band, coming off a UK tour with The Decemberists sadly truncated by illness, will be at the El Mocambo on October 29 with Film School.

The Village Voice fires a shot across the bow of hipsterdom and irony, using Okkervil River’s The Stage Names as ammunition. NPR is also streaming an interview and session the band recorded for the World Cafe.

So Much Silence has MP3-ified The Twilight Sad’s recent session for KEXP. The Riverfront Times also has a feature on the band, who at one point was supposed to open up the recent east coast dates for The National – at least that’s what some early leaked concert listings implied. I’m still a bit perplexed that even though they’ve made a couple journeys back to North America since their ElMo show back in April, there’s been no Toronto stop. Come back, Twilight Sad. Our hearing has recovered and needs to be abused again.

The Riverfront Times also talks to Adam Franklin, in town at the Drake on October 25.

A smattering of concert announcements – Oh No! Oh My!, The Deadly Syndrome and The Silent Years are at Sneaky Dee’s on October 23, Castanets at the Whipper Snapper on November 3, The Cribs have a date at the Horseshoe on November 14 – they were supposed to be here in August… did that get cancelled and rescheduled or do they just really like it here? And finally, Shonen Knife will be at Lee’s Palace on Lee’s Palace on November 27.

By : Frank Yang at 8:32 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. daniel says:

    frank, have you tried giving the new radiohead a listen? i know you’ve kinda soured on them but the new record might be something you like. anyway, just thought i’d ask.

  2. Chris says:

    JG’s influences are a little too close-to-the-surface for me (Spoon on "Something in the Water" and Radiohead in "Machines"). Guess it’s just me though. People do love them. I hear they really hold it down live.

  3. secret says:

    Woah, I think I did miss out. Goddamn me and my all night sex-marathons!

  4. Frank says:

    daniel – yes, I have. And I have thoughts. But the last thing the world needs right now is another blog talking radiohead so I’ll probably get around to it in a while.