Debut album ‘Weird Sister’ out now via Slumberland Records
STREAM: “Tugboat” (Galaxie 500 Cover)
Cardiff-based noisepop five-piece Joanna Gruesome are set to release “Sugarcrush” as a digital single on November 18 via Slumberland Records. The single’s B-side is a cover of Galaxie 500’s “Tugboat,” which was a firm favorite during the band’s break-out shows at CMJ’s Music Marathon last month. Hear a stream of the track over at Pitchfork, and check a video of the band performing “Sugarcrush” live at Pitchfork’s CMJ showcase.
Thrilling Cardiff-based noisepop five-piece Joanna Gruesome will be releasing their terrific debut album via Fortuna POP! (Europe) and Slumberland (USA) in September. Brimming with irresistible pop melodies and spiked with dissonant fuzzy jangle, their songs are shot through with loud discordant feedback and super-fast, hardcore punk drumbeats. This album sees their first foray away from recording in a living room to a proper studio under the guidance of producer MJ of the much lauded Hookworms.
Kicking it against sexism and homophobia, nothing is off-limits, drawing inspiration from DIY scenes such as Riot Grrrl/noisepop/C86 /K Records as well as post hardcore like Drive Like Jehu/Converge and the art rock of The Velvet Underground and My Bloody Valentine, Joanna Gruesome offer a staggeringly diverse album, unexpectedly quiet and surprisingly loud.
Joanna Gruesome comprise Alanna on vocals, Owen on guitar, Max on bass, George on guitar and Dave on drums. They all met in an anger management counseling group. During the course they were told that writing, making music, dancing or painting could relieve tension and help reduce feelings of anger. One initiative involved a project where they were assigned a group to compose and perform a song in front of other members. Initially they found each other infuriating but gradually acknowledged their musical chemistry and decided to continue with the band outside the therapy group.
Most of the album was written during a month long stay in a seedy west Brighton hotel (now closed down) called The Hell House. The residents were pretty strange, kept attempting occult rituals/using Ouija boards etc and many of the songs were written to distract from the weirdness. Heart-wrenching and exhilarating in equal measure, these are not cheerful songs.
Awash with nods to mental illness and the dark recesses of the mind, the record is littered with references to the devil or zombies and allusions to comic books. “Secret Surprise”, in which mental illness takes a physical form and is fought using razor blades. Or “Anti-Parent Cowboy Killers,” which is about stealing a scooter and driving it into the ocean when you should be in school LEARNING. Or “Sugarcrush,” about spending a summer burning knitwear.
They have built-up a phenomenal live reputation, blending obnoxiously loud guitars and the occasional band uniform, with a high energy performance dispersed with quieter reflection, boy/girl vocals and teenage angst.