Posts Tagged ‘reeks of effort’

Joanna Gruesome/Trust Fund at Razorcake

Trust Fund took me a couple listens to warm to. I like the unpolished style, and the vocals, when they harmonize, are great. They can get a little too precious sometimes, but then the majority of the time they’re pretty good, whether it’s a guitar buzzing with distortion, or the harmonized vocals, or even when whoever is taking the lead vocal really sings and doesn’t do the spoken thing. The way they sing in “Scared” is great, with the backing vocals, how they play off one another and stay on point when the song changes tempo. The horn that comes in around the middle of “No Pressure” makes the song! It adds a little extra character and emphasizes the morose tone of the song. The more I listen to their side, the more it grows on me. If they did a tour of playing only living rooms, I bet it would be great. I have to admit this is the first time I’ve listened to Joanna Gruesome, which only shows I’m lazy, as I tend to check out just about anything connected to Slumberland records. This is the kind of pop I really like. It’s tuneful, sugary sweet in parts, noisy, slightly jagged, and a combination of dreamy guitars and dreamy female vocals. “Jerome (Liar)” starts off their side very upbeat, then they transition into “Satan (Desire Edition)” which is downbeat and a touch noisier. I like the bit of distortion that is put on the vocals, and when the song suddenly picks up and gets a little heavier, I’m over the moon. The vocals on “Coffee Implosion” are perfect. Songs for listening to when winter starts to melt into spring. –Matt Average

Joanna Gruesome/Trust Fund at Performer

It’s always a joy to get new Joanna Gruesome vinyl, and this time out fans are treated to a delicious two-fer: a split LP with three new tracks from Joanna Gruesome plus three new tracks from UK newcomers Trust Fund.

The whole affair adds up to a noisy, punk-fueled skin abrasion (but in a good way, ya dig?) The split is a co-partnership between Athens, GA-based HHBTM Records and the UK label Reeks of Effort (headed up by Joanna Gruesome member Max Warren). And if this showcase is any indicator of things to come, we can’t wait for more label team-ups from these two.

In short, this split rules. You’ve got two rad bands from across the pond dishing out three cool new tracks apiece. Their sounds are different, yet complementary, and on the whole it all just works. Highly recommended.


Joanna Gruesome/Trust Fund at Maximum Rock and Roll

This split with Wales Joanna Gruesome and UK band Trust Fund offers up some dreamy pop. What I love about Joanna Gruesome is how contained and sweet and melodic they can be, while utterly ripping at times. I mean it’s a hard line to walk, but they do it damn well. Their songs are not as catchy as those on their recent Slumberland full-length Weird Sister, but they certainly still solid….you don’t put your best stuff on a split y’know? Trust Fund sounds sonically similar, but in such close comparison they lack the same punch as Joanna Gruesome.

Joanna Gruesome and Trust Fund at Get It On Vinyl

Only on vinyl can you really enjoy the magic that is a split EP. Digital only music consumers will never understand just how awesome they can be. The best splits are ones that compliment both bands who share just enough influences while at the same time maintaining their distinction.

Joanna Gruesome makes splits even better. Let’s start there.

We were introduced to Joanna Gruesome a couple years ago, and have been in love ever since. After releasing their first full length, Weird Sister, the Alanna Gruesome led low-fi project had some leftovers and the good folks over at Happy Birthday To Me Records were kind enough to make sure these tracks were not left to be lost studio cuts.

Included on the Gruesome side are two new songs, “Jerome” and “Coffee Implosion” as well as a re-working of “Satan” off of Weird Sister. The song is heavy, but more subtle than the original arrangement. Even with the weight of the track, it has a soothing quality, melodic and beautiful, even with the whaling guitar at the close. “Coffee Implosion” shows more confidence in Alanna Gruesome’s voice as compared to her earlier works. The band has grown tighter too, their low-fi sound becoming even more infectious.

The flipside is an introduction to another band from the same demographic. Making a name for themselves in the underground is Trust Fund. The first track, “Reading the Wrappers” is a darker song, but finds the groove with the chorus breakdown. The real magic of Trust Fund is the side closing track, “No Pressure.” Slower paced, the band achieves harmony with great harmonies, soothing guitars, and subtle horns.

Make sure to pick up a copy of this split from your local independent record store or directly from HHBTM Records.


Joanna Gruesome at Big Takeover (print)

JG are a bunch of hardcore kids who grew up and decided to play indie pop. That might be an overly simplistic description, but sonically its pretty accurate. Their tracks on this split, the Gruesomes’ first post-Werid Sister release, finds them toning down their aggressive side and focusing more on the sugarysweetness with bubbly, hook-laden tracks such as “Jerome (Liar).” TF are a good companion, sharing a similar musical style but with enough distinction so they don’t run together completely. Their first two tracks are a bit more of a straightforward mid-tempo rock ’n’ roll than the Gruesomes, the closing “No Pressure” is a sweet melancholic pop ballad.


Joanna Gruesome at the girls are

It’s been a year since the release of Joanna Gruesome’s debut full length, Weird Sister, and the impression it left remains unfading. While critically praised from both sides of the Atlantic, it’s perhaps one of the most unsung records of recent times; reflecting the age of its creators, its glorious and abrasive petulance only heightens with age. It’s an album that has proved indelible, uncovering hidden depths with every listen, rather than revealing itself to be hollow at the core, like many albums that prevail upon first impressions.

This 12” split with Trust Fund ison first inspection, fast paced and melodically-driven. Opener ‘Jerome (Liar)’ recalls the glory days of C86 in its melodic discordance and a chorus that is indie pop perfection. Elsewhere, ‘Coffee Implosion’ and ‘Satan’ are snippets of the band at their most hushed and introspective; the latter being a comparatively stripped down and languid reworking of one of the more contemplative moments on Weird Sister.

For all their likeness to the “shambling” sounds of yesteryear, it’s frustrating to read misguided critics dismissing Joanna Gruesome as 90s revivalists, just as much as it is to see overt pigeonholing of singer Alanna: comparisons with female front-women of yore are plentiful – fromBelinda Butcher to The Breeders – while they are no doubt merely complimentary, it would be fairer to say that Alanna has her own respective qualities. Here, she sounds more confident vocally, veering from soft refrains to sporadic clamour, and the band stick to their accomplished formula of melding genres and sub genres to triumphant effect. Ultimately, if this is just a snapshot of what else Gruesome has to offer, then a full-length follow-up could not come sooner enough.


Joanna Gruesome at SeeSound

An excellent double hander from whippersnappers Trust Fund and slightly older whippersnappers Joanna Gruesome that I can whole-heartedly recommend.

There’s a melodic trio of tracks from JG, Jerome (Liar) is almost Go-Go’s, seemingly upbeat and a perfectly brief piece of indie pop.
J&MC feedback accompanied slow-burn Satan could have been written by Malory Knox (the character not the band), morphine slow violence seethes behind it’s tuneful surface. Finally, after another squal of feedback, right chiming Television guitar meets Primitives pop on Coffee, a standout from last Indie Tracks festival set.

The archly named trust fund are giving better value in the minutes department and the more upbeat selection makes a welcome counterpoint to Gruesome’s set. Trust Fund are from Bristol, sound like a “collective”
and make dreamy Indie Pop with a brain. Sounding a bit like a reined in Broken Social Scene but with a more joyful harmony vocal approach that is a little 60’s… and a little stoned. The songs are gentle (rather than weak) – the pace is fastest on Scared but even then it’s bubblegum aggression, Jonathan Richman jitters. They float away finally on No Pressure, a Twin Peaks small town reverie that has the confidence not to rush, No Pressure an indeed appropriate title.

The bands have little in common beyond the Indie Pop pond they swin in but complement each other’s sound very well. Too often split singles have one very obvious “winner”. Here it’s a photo finish for first place.


Joanna Gruesome/Trust Fund at Big Takeover

Now gaining momentum after the success of their debut album, Cardiff, Wales-based Joanna Gruesome return with three new songs backed by some friends from Brighton, Trust Fund.

“Jerome (Liar)” opens the Gruesome side with a punch. Aberrantly noisy within a spunky melodicism, it’s a quick bit of punk to get things rolling. An alternate version of “Satan (Desire Edition),” from 2013’s Weird Sister follows, with the epic, Stereolab-ish “Coffee Implosion” finishing the side.

Trust Fund’s songs offer a perfect compliment to their friends’ songs with a tasteful blend of pop and distortion. “Reading the Wrappers” begins quietly and builds to a noisier finish without losing any fluidity, while “Scared” delivers some energetic art pop. “No Pressure” finishes the side with quiet, emotional honesty fit for the Chris Isaak contingent.

Though a quick release, it is significant for both continuing Joanna Gruesome’s sonic explorations and introducing us in the States to Trust Fund. It’s a good way to keep your turntable warm this winter.


Joanna Gruesome/Trust Fund at The Le Sigh

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.


Joanna Gruesome/Trust Fund Video Release at Impose

In September, U.K. indie pop pals Joanna Gruesome and Trust Fund teamed up for a six-song split, released via Reeks of Effort (UK) and HHBTM (US). We’ve already shared the hooky mid-tempo call-out cut “Jerome (Liar)”. Now we are excited to now premiere a video for the song, plus a video for Trust Fund’s “Reading the Wrappers”. The part-animated, part-filmed videos were created by London artist and illustrator Rose Robbins. “The videos are about a pair of individuals and their quest to understand each other,” Robbins said. “I wanted the videos to have a narrative link of some kind, despite the songs being by two different artists, and about two separate things.”