Tag Archives: London

August 3, 2017 — “Stupid Things” by Girl Ray

Girl Ray

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Stupid Things” by Girl Ray (2017, from the album Earl Grey).

Girl Ray is an indie pop trio of 19 year-olds from London. They are Poppy Hankin (vocals/guitar), Sophie Moss (bass), and Iris McConnell (drums). I just learned about them this morning because of a friend’s tweet that he was eagerly anticipating the release of the band’s debut record tomorrow (August 4) via Moshi Moshi Music. I’ve listened to a few songs, and I really like what I’ve heard. I’ve done a little bit of research, and I still don’t know much about them.

Some of the things that I’ve read compare them to the c-86 sound and lo-fi twee pop. Some compare them to stuff like Belle and Sebastian. Some are brave enough to mention Hankin and Harriet Wheeler out of The Sundays in the same breath. Some mention Hankin and Nico in the same breath. Every article I’ve read mentions Todd Rundgren. The band say that they’re influenced by Pavement, Pixies, Cate Le Bon, David Bowie, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Beach Boys, ABBA, and others. Also, as a bit of trivia, the girls went to the same high school as Ray and Dave Davies out of The Kinks.

The only really close comparison to twee pop that I might make is to say that I’m reminded of The Softies, or Brave Irene, or any of Rose Melberg’s projects that weren’t called Tiger Trap. There’s a bit in tonight’s song that reminds me A LOT of the hit song “Evil Woman” by Electic Light Orchestra. And in a general sort of way, especially on some of the other songs, I’m reminded of Badfinger. These young gals have a lot of talent, and with the exception of Cate Le Bon, no matter what band you compare them to, it’s from before they were born.

They formed in 2015, and released their first single –“Trouble”– last autumn. They followed with a single for “Preacher” last month. After a lot of rave reviews in the UK music press and a few over here, they’ve generated a lot of buzz around their debut record coming out tomorrow.

Tonight’s song is, from what I’ve read, about having a supercrush (intentional reference back to Tiger Trap) on someone, then doing a bunch of stupid things just to get close or feel close to them. Things like obsessively watching a movie that their crush mentioned in passing, or obsessively eating and drinking stuff that their crush eats and drinks. You know… Standard issue pseudo-stalking.

I don’t know if the Bandcamp clip is an abbreviated version of the real song or if the music video is an extended version, but the Bandcamp version picks up at about 1:10 of the video. Either way, here’s the audio:

“Stupid Things” by Girl Ray

It’s that first bit with the piano and the “Ooh hooo hooooo-oooo” that makes me thing so much of “Evil Woman”. It’s the first thing I thought of as soon as I heard the first few seconds of this song. After that, it doesn’t sound like or remind me of ELO at all.

For good measure, here’s the cinematic video for the song:

They have sold out of the first pressing of the vinyl, but you can still buy the album via Bandcamp on CD or as a download.

July 29, 2016 — “Surround” by PURS

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Surround” by PURS (2016, from a standalone single).

PURS is a fuzzy indie rock/noise rock/shoegaze quintet from London. I didn’t think that I knew anything about them when this song popped up in my Soundcloud feed a couple of weeks ago, but it turns out that I already know some of their backstory. I was waiting to see if I could learn something about them, but there’s nothing about them on the interwebs other than a few terse write-ups and this interview from the good folks over at the inimitable The Blog That Celebrates Itself. When I read that interview, something sounded a little familiar. It took a little while for me to put the pieces together, but when I finally did, it felt like finally getting the really tight lid off a jar.

A lot of people will say that PURS reminds them of the poppier side of Lush. The band says that they’re inspired by the likes of MBV, Cocteaus, Lush, PJ Harvey, Sonic Youth, and even The Smiths. It’s probably no surprise that a lot of people have written that PURS reminds them of “alternative rock” from the 90s, and I totally get that. So far, PURS has only released two songs, and I like them both a lot. It’s hard for me to get my own analogy going, but I was sort of reminded of something much more contemporary than that. I was reminded of their fellow Londoners The History of Apple Pie.

Here’s the backstory that I was already familiar with. Serra Petale (vocals/guitar) and Mattias Bhatt (drums) are also in a band called Kid Wave. Petale is Australian and Bhatt is Swedish, and they ended up playing in a London band with another Swede and an Englishman. Last October, I wrote about Kid Wave, and you can read that here.

Without further ado, here’s tonight’s song:
“Surround” by PURS

There’s definitely some Sonic Youth in that intro, and there’s also definitely some 90s pedal effects going on there. I can certainly understand why people compare them to bands from that golden age of indie rock. This is, though, slightly sexier and considerably less grimy than Sonic Youth. Less eccentric than Pavement. More fun than PJ Harvey.

Whatever the comparisons may be, I really like the two songs that I’ve heard, and I hope there’s more to come from this band.

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