Wolf Alice – “My Love Is Cool”

DNA: The Sundays; Joan Jett; Smashing Pumpkins (if D’arcy sang lead most of the songs); Sex Pistols; and a dash of Pixies

It’s my obligation to introduce you to Wolf Alice. “My Love Is Cool” is one of the strongest albums of 2015. Before 2015, Wolf Alice was not on my radar. I’m assuming the band isn’t on your radar, either. We need to change that.

The vibe of the album changes from song-to-song. Ellie Rowsell fronts this four-piece band from London. The band is tight. Some songs feature Rowsell’s lilting vocals reminiscent of Harriet Wheeler (e.g., “Turn To Dust“); other songs feature guttural screams from the soul rivaling Johnny Rotten’s and Alain Jourgensen’s epic screams (e.g., “You’re A Germ” and “Giant Peach“). The guitarist (Jeff Oddie), the bassist (Theo Ellis), and the drummer (Joel Amey), similarly transition from atmospheric backgrounds, to straight-up rock-and-roll sounds, to punk-rock mayhem.

My favorite song by far is “Your Loves Whore,” which features a compelling drum intro (think “Bullet The Blue Sky”), a chunky bass hook, and great crescendoing guitars. Rowsell displays her vocal prowess on this song. Another great track is “Moaning Lisa Smile,” a grungey relative of any Elastica song.

“My Love Is Cool” is an album to explore. There are surprises on each track, all equally enjoyable for multiple reasons. The song videos are equally creative, with “You’re A Germ” winning for the most creepy.

Recommendation: On a scale from Dorothy Zbornak (“Forget It”) to Blanche Devereaux (“Get It”), “My Love Is Cool” is a 10 Get It.

Joywave – How Do You Feel Now?

DNA: The Killers; Big Audio Dynamite; and Big Audio Dynamite II

One song. It took one song to introduce me to Joywave, a band from Rochester, NY. That song is “Tongues [NSFW],” a perfect combination of an infectious, sample-based hook, a prominent falsetto voice, and simple but deep lyrics. (The video is brilliant and features another unique New York-based band, KOPPS.) I can’t wait to hear more music from Joywave and am ecstatic that this band is building (already has) a fanbase beyond NY.

It’s unfair to focus on any one song because the album has many strong ones. Each song is slightly different and borrows from different genres of music. “Somebody New” starts off the album, giving the listener an introduction to the many sounds of Joywave. It is a heavier sound with strong vocals. “Carry Me” overshadowed the already stellar “Tongues,” with a catchy chorus. “In Clover” borrow unintentionally from Big Audio Dynamite’s strongest songs. The ironic lyrics and saccharine vocals on “Nice House” make a wonderful song.

Joywave has staying power and stands out among the many new releases in 2015. Although a different vibe from “How Do You Feel Now?”, I recommend listening to the Joywave’s “Koda Vista.”

Recommendation: On a scale of Joe Polnachek (Forget It) to Tootie (Get It), “How Do You Feel Now?” is a Get It, 9.

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