If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Sugarcrush” by Joanna Gruesome (2013, from the forthcoming album Weird Sister).
Joanna Gruesome is a noise-pop quintet from Cardiff, Wales. The band’s name is obviously a reference to folk musician Joanna Newsom, but no mistake should be made: this is not a folk band. Their influences range from punk to twee, shoegaze to pop. According to the legend that surrounds the band, the five members met while they were all attending anger management classes, and they started making music together as an exercise in control. I don’t know anything else about them other than the fact that they’re on Slumberland Records, which has been one of my favorite record labels for nearly 20 years.
The band have already self-released a couple of 7″ singles an EPs. Weird Sister, which will come out on September 10 via Slumberland, will be their debut album. I’ve only heard a few songs by this band, and I like each song for different reasons. On “Secret Surprise” they sound like a blend of a riot grrrl band like Bratmobile and a twee band like their fellow Cardiffers Los Campesinos!. On tonight’s song, they sound like a blend of noise-pop legends Swirlies and their Slumberland labelmates Veronica Falls.
These and other reference points are pretty obvious, so their record should find a comfortable slot in my collection. And yours.
“Sugarcrush” by Joanna Gruesome
The first ten seconds and the last 45 seconds are eerily similar to the absolutely smashing Swirlies song “Bell”, from their nearly perfect album Blondertongue Audiobaton. If you don’t already own at least one copy of Blondertongue, you really need to get one (more). This isn’t about Swirlies, though.
Just as the kids in Los Campesinos! do, the kids in Joanna Gruesome go by their given names plus “Gruesome” as a joke surname. They are: Alanna Gruesome (vocals), Owen Gruesome (guitar), Max Gruesome (bass), George Gruesome (guitar), and Dave Gruesome (drums). Either this is an homage to their partners in Cardiffian twee, or it’s just “a Cardiff thing”. The only other Cardiff band that I’m familiar with is Super Furry Animals, and I know literally nothing about them except that I own one of their records.
You can pre-order Weird Sister from the Slumberland Records web store here. As with most Slumberland releases, the pre-order has an option for a limited edition vinyl. In this case, the vinyl is a swirl of pink and milky white. You can also opt for the CD version. All pre-orders come with other promotional goodies (poster, badge, stickers). In fact, every time you order anything from this label, you’ll get something cool with it.