Hugs and Kisses #38: New Bloods’ Kill Rock Stars Record


New Bloods play the Cake Shop on Saturday, May 3.

Hugs and Kisses

The Continued Outbursts of Everett True

THIS WEEK: New Bloods, The Secret Life (Kill Rock Stars)

For one day only, I’m happy.

Let’s not be sidetracked by irrelevant details. The debut album from Portland’s New Bloods is, in many respects, my dream record: the off-key harmonising and scraping violin of The Raincoats’ vital, early period (all menacing pauses and gentle wonderment) matched to… wait up. I was going to write, “Matched to the booming earthbeat of bootleg-period Slits and some rhythmic Gossip foreplay” but… wait up.

Point one: that’s so clichéd, that’s so glib, that’s so blah.

Point two: right now I can hear traces merely of The Raincoats’ alienated, nervous worldview and none other, and I also know that within another couple of listens I’m going to have forgotten even that comparison as I learn to live within these searing, scathing melodies, as happened with Erase Errata and PJ Harvey before. (Um, I’m not referring to a Raincoats influence on the latter two, in case you’re wondering. Just that I found it impossible to initially discuss either artist without referencing a certain other.)

Point two, point five: it’s only on YouTube you can hear The Slits… and I am talking specifically a sound achieved by default and crap recording technique on that ‘early’ Rough Trade album. (Although, damn me if one of these ladies doesn’t sound precisely like Ana de Silva — or was it Gina Birch, I never did figure it was important to figure it out: anyway, that bit where The Raincoats all chorus in trembling indignation, “No looking at me/No looking at me”.)

Point three: The Raincoats and The Slits shared a drummer during the period we’re discussing.

Point four: Gossip don’t do bass.

No, no. Let’s not be sidetracked by irrelevant details. I mentioned the addition of the New Bloods to that most rarefied of pantheons — Everett True’ New Favourite Band Ever — to a former holder of that title, London’s all-female, jarring and mischievous Wet Dog last night at a Brighton antifolk night wherein compère Larry Pickleman was so stoned he walked off stage halfway through a song oblivious. And they replied that there is a joint gig for the two bands planned in Bristol next month, which is — for me, leastways, kind of like that Rolling Stones/The Who double-header that absolutely no one has been looking forward to whatsoever. I mean, is it possible that one band would cancel the other out? Would charisma matter? What about Sarah Wet Dog’s new nerdy Jarvis Cocker specs that she wears to such devastating effect? Frankly, I tremble for my London sweethearts.

Point five: New Bloods’ The Secret Life doesn’t sound like any of the aforementioned bands, possessing very much its own spirit and ramshackle beat and freshness and harmonies, and the fact I see fit to draw into play reference points from three decades back only does to prove a) my own desperate, decrepit age, b) the adage that when faced with a straightforward choice between trying to give flesh a band’s sound and using a batch of readymade reference points yr average critic will always take the easy route, c) everyone loves best the music they first encountered in situ with the adult world, and d) I am totally crap at describing music that I love so immediately, so much.

New Bloods are ace cos they sound like New Bloods and cos they sound human and secretive and like fun, mysterious people to hang with, and cos you just know they want to party but don’t want to compromise identity, and cos they are.

I am happy today.

Hugs And Kisses Top 5

More stuff that makes Everett True happy like clowns aren’t

1. Thalia Zedek Band, “Next Exit” (from the Thrill Jockey album Liars And Prayers)
When I was 25 I used to listen to Otis Redding’s take on “A Change Is Going To Come” over and over on my Dansette, with the volume maxed up, the lights turned out, until the whole rotten world would stop revolving.

2. New Bloods, “Oh Deadly Nightshade” (from the kill rock stars album The Secret Life)
Wherein everything (pitifully) described above happens simultaneously, no fanfare, just chills.

3. The B-52’s, “Planet Claire” (from the Island album The B-52’s)
I was 18. I had a straight choice between Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures and this. I chose this. I wish I’d stuck to it.

4. The Breeders, “Istanbul” (from the 4AD album Mountain Battles)
My favourite song about my favourite city — I especially like it as it has no real relevance.

5. Wild Beasts, “Vigil” (from the forthcoming Domino album Limbo Panto)
Love is both beautiful and insane.