My eye was initially caught by Joanna Gruesome a year or two ago. Snagged by the the witty wordplay of the name, I scrolled past their bandcamp page and immediately sputtered out something along the lines of: “Joanna Newsom? Joanna GRUESOME!” with a slap on my thigh and my head chucked back. “Ha! With a band name like that, this has gotta be good!” This may have completely disregarded the “Don’t judge a book by its cover, don’t judge a band by their album art” rule, but believe me, this first impression didn’t lead me in the wrong direction. This band was great. I think I listened to their track “Do You Really Wanna Know Why Yr Still In Love With Me?” at least a hundred times before my seventeenth birthday.
It’s been a while since I drove around in my beat up Toyota, jamming to the jangly pop records that my car used to practically run off of. So when I heard about Joanna Gruesome’s new release, I decided to go on a mission for the sake of nostalgia with my car keys in one hand and the new Joanna Gruesome / Trust Fund split in the other. Joanna Gruesome’s side of this split is exactly what I was hoping for while squeezing the edges of my steering wheel. They proved that they are more than just a band built on a foundation of nostalgia alongside my other seventeen-year-old phases (i.e. trying to teach myself to skate, not shaving for twelve months, never tying up my shoes) – Joanna Gruesome was, and still are, the band that turns my insides to mush. Their fuzzed out guitars and sickeningly sweet vocals left me pulled over by the side of the road in a heap in the backseat only two songs in: blushing from the feeling of longing I was left with, but also flushed from the breathlessness that bursts out of the faster tracks that open this first half of the split.
Their companion, Bristol’s five-piece Trust Fund, may seem smaller than Joanna Gruesome upon first glance, but their contribution to this release is what keeps each side cohesive. The spotlight was stuck on them to seal this split with a kiss – and regardless of their obscurity, they worked well in center stage. Shouted harmonies and an infectious beat feel like a quick peck on each cheek. Trust Fund don’t stick around for long through to leave lipstick on your skin, but they’re short and sweet time by your side is enough to keep them on your mind. This split made me feel a lot of feelings; feelings of nostalgia, for the sake of my seventeen-year-old self, as well as a lot of hopeful feelings. Joanna Gruesome have once again carved their name into another phase of my life, and Trust Fund have set up a stage for themselves in the indie pop valve of my heart. I have high hopes for what both of these bands have in store for me. I’m sure to be going on a roadtrip with these guys as my soundtrack very, very soon. You’re all welcome to join me.