Brody Dalle – Diploid Love

diploidloveIt’s hard to believe that it’s been a decade since the release of Coral Fang, which would irrefutably ignite Brody Dalle’s music career and the punk rock scene alike. That’s not to say that life for the former Distillers star has run smoothly; if anything, it’s been the exact opposite. Having battled a crystal meth addition, suffered the breakup of The Distillers and ended her turbulent relationship with Rancid singer Tim Armstrong, Dalle’s first solo album Diploid Love is what she describes as a recording about life: “creating it, living it and surviving it”.

Rat Race is an ambitious opening track, with a combination of driving rhythm guitars and the implementation of neat little pop pulses as a side-liner. Setting the tone for the record, the clear theme resides around determined toughness and enduring life, no matter what the odds. The multiple layers give the track added depth in terms of first-rate production values; it’s just a really slick piece of contemporary punk rock.

Don’t Mess With Me showcases Dalle’s absorbing gravelly vocals that pierce through the killer funk beats and fragmented song breaks. Her voice is outstanding and it’s tracks like this, reminiscent to the Distillers era, that we realise just how much we’ve missed her.

But it’s the triumphant centrepiece of the album Meet the Foetus that shows how much pregnancy has influenced and shaped Brody as both an artist and parent. Encompassing themes of pure untainted ecstasy and illustrating a wholesome love for life, it’s an orgasmic foundation for an epic upsurge within song writing creation.

As a whole, the album displays a clear transition phase, maturing into a sound that we’ve not heard from Dalle before. Carry On displays a new vocal softness, which you wouldn’t think capable from her smoke filled lungs. The ringing piano, sweet natured lyrics and levelled down harmonic drone is a strong sentiment of actuality.

Dalle’s life has (and probably always will be) a wild and stormy ride, which she’s managed to dramatically convey through Diploid Love. It was the album that we’ve all been waiting for and one that, like many Brody inspired records before, has the potential to become a cult-classic.

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The Pretty Reckless – Going To Hell

The Pretty Reckless

The Queen of Smut is back and she’s filthier than ever. Yep that’s right, Taylor Momsen & Co return with their second album instalment Going To Hell. And if you thought the leather chaps, heavy eyeliner and raunchy hits were a passing phase then you’d be very wrong indeed…

Opening track Follow Me Down starts with stimulated sex noises and it wouldn’t surprise us if they were the real deal either. Like an evil mermaid luring men to sea, you then pursue the tortured songstress down to the water, where she tells you “I’ll be down here on my knees.”

Well if Momsen was looking for a reaction then she’s certainly got one. Some might see it as a hackneyed gimmick, but if you manage to look past the cheap façade and view her as an icon of self-expression then you’ll realise the music is a standalone achievement.

Losing any signs of returning to the light side, the former Gossip Girl star confesses her sins on standout single Going To Hell and the Marilyn Manson– esque gothic thumps of Why’d You Bring A Shotgun To The Party? cements her status as the anguished rock’n’roll bitch you really don’t want to fuck with.

House on a Hill and Dear Sister are stripped back to a vulnerable pace, which displays Momsen’s impressive vocal and gravelly tonality. It’s tracks like these that strengthen the bands credibility, allowing them to diversify themselves away from the looming threat of controversy, which at times undermines their genuine talent.

The Pretty Reckless will always put on a display and whether it’s a cringe-worthy one or not, the music shouldn’t be shunned for entertaining artistic expression. Especially in a time when a lot of acts are contrived to fit in, you have to give them credit for sticking to their guns and musically showing promise beyond expectations.

Momsen was always going to steal the show, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. The second album instalment from The Pretty Reckless offers a satanic palate of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll that’ll have you converted in no time.

Album Review: Maximo Park ‘Too Much Information’

Maximo Park

Catching our attention with Apply Some Pressure back in 2005, indie-pop rockers Maximo Park have continued to produce intellectually sharp and witty hits ever since. Their fifth album Too Much Information is another step towards musical evolution, taking a reflective stance and embracing the dark side of electronica.

Maximo Park, like a fine cheese or wine, only become more refined with age. Their dark and romanticised lyrics infused with a nerdy comic-book style persona have always given them a distinct edge. But long gone are the days of hasty guitar riffs and Kaiser Chief style ‘Oooohh’s’, this time we’re greeted with moody synths and poignant lyrical density.

Give, Get, Take is merely an entrapment for older fans, where the punchy track will undoubtedly become a key festival hit. Yet, the foreboding Brain Cells delivers something marvellously superior. You’ll be hard pushed to find a song quite so entrancing and euphorically pleasing.

Leave This Island is perfectly graceful, where the indulgent lyrics are like an emotionally binding contract between lead singer, Paul Smith, and the listener. That’s not to say the whole album is only filled with melancholy and electronica though, because that’s certainly not the case. Guitar led tracks like Her Name Was Audre hone in on the bands quirky feel, whilst compellingly clever lyrics hold down the track with the rest of the album’s sentiment.

Still marvelling at the band’s grown up and seamlessly led new direction, it’s clear they’ve endeavoured for a higher-class of indie sound. Have they achieved what they set out to do? Certainly. There’s no such thing as too much information on this album, where it’s Smith’s unguided lyrical tendencies that have produced a complexity to Maximo Park that we’ve all been waiting for.

Album Review: Deaf Havana ‘Old Souls’

deaf havana

Deaf Havana have been plugging away at the underground rock scene for over 7 years now, where their reputable hit song Friends Like These quickly catapulted them into the limelight in 2009. New album Old Souls is a step in a different direction for the band, with flourishing songwriting expanding their horizons towards a more conventional and matured sound.

Gone are the days of screaming vocals and sweaty Emo kids clambering to crowd surf at one of their intimate shows. Nowadays the band and their image have changed greatly, swiftly manoeuvring towards a cleaner and more tailored edge. Perhaps it’s a step towards growing up but Old Souls prove they can do more than just yell loudly into a microphone.

Boston Square is an uplifting anthemic opener that could be easily imagined ringing out the halls of a sold out stadium tour. The track seems to be proving a point here; they’re ready for mainstream success and boy are they hungry for it.

Follow up track Lights is delicately crafted and refreshingly sincere, where it’s clear that singer-songwriter James Veck-Gilodi has some stories to tell and we’re pretty glad he decided to share them with us.

Subterranean Bullshit Blues is definitely the stand out track of the album; lyrically intelligent and emotionally driven the band really pulls together to conjure up something improbable here. Infusing elements of soul into a catchy and intellectual rock anthem the song encompasses depth and compassion throughout.

However, if old fans were waning for a bit of old school Deaf Havana then fear not Mildred (Lost A Friend) is the track you need to skip to. Catchy and harmless this little number is chorus driven and definitely uplifting enough to harness a good drinking game with your pals.

The good thing to know is that even though the band are maturing within their songwriting capabilities and musicality it’s refreshing to hear that they’ve kept their comradely friendly sound.

Old Souls is a step towards greater things for Deaf Havana, where their notably unresolved adolescence keeps their burning passion and spark alive, but now with a more refined authority.